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January 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm #17575TerranceParticipant
WOW… to tell the truth until this assignment I have never connected my likes or dislikes based on any photographer by name or specific style. I really don’t actually know that much about real professional photographers. I sit here wondering if this makes me “fake” or simply not daring to set the bar that high for myself or secretly can’t see myself as anything more than an “amateur photo taker”.
When commenting to my wife, she asked me what web sites on photography I had saved on my browser and the only one was The Ansel Adams Gallery. Prior to this assignment my strongest interest has always been the emotion that seems to captivate not just myself but everyone who views a gut renching black and white photograph, Whether the photograph is that of a beautiful landscape or that of a dirty impoverished child or even a war torn cityscape.
There are dozens of photo journalist that at one time or another shot the type of photograph that inspires those emotions within me, some better known examples would be W. Eugene Smith, John Bushemi and Margaret Bourke-White each with so many incredible war ravished photographs to their credit.
There is on e photographer in particular who seems to show the harsh realities of a devastated soul. Dorothy Lange who most people may know her for the photo titled “Migrant Mother”, which I find to be one of those gripping photographs, yet not actually her best, only the most recognizable. She was able to tell a story…..One you would try to tell to yourself as you looked at her work. It wouldn’t matter whether it was an old broken down home, a small child or even a crowd the story is ever present.
Dorothea Lange was born in 1995 in the town of Hoboken N.J, she went uptown to the studio of a famous portrait photographer, Arnold Genthe, and asked him for a job. Becoming his apprentice. Much like Gyula Halasz she was able to earn her living through those with much wealth allowing her to immortalize the struggles of the average person.
It’s exciting to look at the accomplishments of so many who have made a mark on us with their work… Knowing I am at the stage that Dorothea was in 1909 with so much to learn and understand and to figure out how I will use it, so the starts the journey.January 23, 2009 at 2:38 am #18992Duncan RawlinsonKeymaster
Hello and let me begin by apologizing for my late response.
Your write-up was very interesting to read. You brought up many interesting points. You started out by stating that you feel that not knowing much about professional photographers makes you wonder if you are a fake. I just wanted to say that there is a correlation between the two but it is not always of the most significant importance. It is true that in any field, aspiring artists or professionals stand to learn a great deal from their predecessors. Understanding who has come before you and knowing their work will undoubtedly have a great impact on the work you create in the future. However, this assignment wasn’t meant for you to list off the names of celebrated photographers. Instead, it was meant to get you thinking about your own artistic ambitions, style interests and biases as a photographer.
As you mention, every now and again a photograph can really grab your attention. It’s an interesting exercise to sit and think about the common threads that those images have. This often helps tell you something about your interests as a photographer and can help point you in the right direction, provide instruction and inspire you.
After you’ve identified photographers or single photographs that you admire you can deconstruct them from a technical, academic or artistic standpoint to find out why that particular image or photographer has the ability to speak to you.
Your write-up was fantastic because it seems as through you’re now starting to go through this process. You brought up a few different photographers and their impact on you. It seems as through there is something drawing you towards the concept of communicating the visual story of the “devastated soul”. There is something in this sad and dark imagery that has an impact on you. There are many of these stories that need to be told, and I hope to see some of your future assignments explore this issue a little further.
Best of luck!
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