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:
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, “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!
As well as a preview of the catalogue:
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) :
Great TED Talk by Iwan Baan, using photography to document the informal appropriation of buildings and spaces.
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:
In Mark Steinmetz’s photographs, young women stretch out on automobile hoods and brocade sofas, lost in thought. Old black men wear resigned expressions and baseball caps that say: “Been there.” Hitchhikers peer into the rolled-down windows of stopped cars, looking more vulnerable than menacing.
For nearly 20 years, the Athens photographer has quietly prowled the South, from Knoxville to Atlanta, capturing moments that seem ordinary at first, but slowly open to reveal a complex inner landscape of feeling and emotion.
Influenced by Americans Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand (whom he met as a student in the ’80s) and French masters Atget and Cartier-Bresson, Steinmetz is a rare practitioner of the lost art of black-and-white camera work. An artist of rigor, discipline, craft and consistency, he roams the streets for his material, develops the film in his dark room and pulls his striking silver-gelatin prints by hand. His work is in the collections of America’s most important museums (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago). It has been published in a highly regarded trilogy of books from Nazraeli Press (“South Central,” “South East” and “Greater Atlanta”). But until just recently, the shy, 40-something, Yale-educated artist who came South to teach at the University of Tennessee and the University of Georgia hasn’t generated much of a buzz locally.
“He was right under my nose. He was 40 minutes away in Athens,” says Julian Cox, the High Museum curator of photography, “and I didn’t know what he was doing.”
Have a look at this interview and this article with plenty of photographs.