Advice for young photographers

David-Alan-Harvey

A few days ago I stumbled upon a very interesting post by Erik Kim: “35 Magnum Photographers give their advice to aspiring photographers.” Useful for young, not-so-young, curious, and transposable for non-photographers.

Full post here:

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/09/26/35-magnum-photographers-give-their-advice-to-aspiring-photographers/

Here’s the one by David Alan Harvey (image above also to his credit) :

“You must have something to ‘say’. You must be brutally honest with yourself about this. Think about history , politics, science, literature, music, film, and anthropology. What affects does one discipline have over another? What makes ‘man’ tick? Today, with everyone being able to easily make technically perfect photographs with a cell phone, you need to be an ‘author’. It is all about authorship, authorship and authorship. Many young photographers come to me and tell me their motivation for being a photographer is to ‘travel the world’ or to ‘make a name’ for themselves. Wrong answers in my opinion. Those are collateral incidentals or perhaps even the disadvantages of being a photographer. Without having tangible ideas, thoughts, feelings, and something almost ‘literary’ to contribute to ‘the discussion’, today’s photographer will become lost in the sea of mediocrity. Photography is now clearly a language. As with any language, knowing how to spell and write a gramatically correct ‘sentence’ is, of course, necessary. But, more importantly, today’s emerging photographers now must be ‘visual wordsmiths’ with either a clear didactic or an esoteric imperitive. Be a poet, not a technical ‘writer’. Perhaps more simply put, find a heartfelt personal project. Give yourself the ‘assignment’ you might dream someone would give you. Please remember, you and only you will control your destiny. Believe it, know it, say it.”

Lewis Baltz: Common objects

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Lewis Baltz, “Fairfax”, 1973, from series “The Prototype works”.

Le BAL is currently hosting a major exhibition of Lewis Baltz, most notably touching on the influence of cinema masters like Godard and Antonioni in series like “The Prototype Works”, “Ronde de nuit”, “Candlestick point”, among others. On display until the 24th August!

Further info:
http://www.le-bal.fr/fr/mh/les-expositions/lewis-baltz/
http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2014/05/28/exhibition/24988/le-bal-lewis-baltz-common-objects
As well as a preview of the catalogue:
http://www.lebalbooks.com/collections/frontpage/products/common-objects-lewis-baltz

Lewis Baltz: Sites of Technology

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Lewis Baltz, “Anechoic Chamber, France Telecom Laboratories, Lannion, France”, 1989-91.

Galerie Thomas Zandler recently brought to Paris Photo an overview of this overwhelming series by Lewis Baltz, unfortunately rather daunting to find over the internet or on book format, long sold-out (well, except for the “complete works” edited by Steidl).

Here’s a quick overview of samples, as well as an interesting interview (in french only) :

http://data-gallery.com/?p=3547

http://deslivresetdesphotos.blog.lemonde.fr/2012/08/20/une-conversation-avec-lewis-baltz/

Lewiz Baltz : “Photography is a Political Technology of the Gaze”

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Lewis Baltz,  “Tract House no 22”, 1971.

“Architecture, real architecture, always defies reduction into two-dimensional representation; if not it’s hardly architecture at all – more like a built piece of graphic design. It would very easy to represent the work of, say Michael Graves because his work already exists in the conditions of an image. It is impossible to represent, with any accuracy, the work of architects like Gehry or Nouvel.
As a quick once-over of any architectural magazine will verify, architectural photography is a closed system that refers primarily to its own canons of representation and only tangentially to the architecture in question. I’ve avoided this dilemma in my own work by only using sub-architecture as a subject.”

Lewiz Baltz, in an interview conducted by Jean-Pierre Greff and Elisabeth Milon.
Full interview here:
http://www.americansuburbx.com/2011/03/interview-interview-with-lewis-baltz.html

Thomas Ruff : Interview by Michael Famighetti

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Thomas Ruff, “phg.08”, 2012.
Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner Gallery, New York and London.

“I see photography as a very classical medium, with of course all kind of genres – portrait, abstract, science photography, and so on. What I am also interested in right now is the negative, since it seems that it is going to disappear soon. When I ask my nine-year-old daughter, ‘What’s a negative?’ she can’t say, as she knows only digital photography.
‘Polaroid? What’s that?’ she asked me some time ago. What interests me is the outcome of all these different kinds of photography and how they change our lives and our perception of the world. I just turned some photographs that I own into negatives, and they look strange. My interest in this process comes from working on the photograms – I make reverse photograms. And you still have these strange, old-fashioned darkroom techniques, like solarization, which I now also practice in the photograms series.”
Thomas Ruff, interviewed by Michael Famighetti

Full interview here:
http://www.aperture.org/blog/thomas-ruff-photograms-for-the-new-age/