Excellent. A “how to” film that actually explains how to do something. Rare.
I remember being in awe of this photograph when I first saw it back in the early 80s. So simple. So graphic. But also so painterly in its treatment of light and composition. I was a junior pencil-sharpner in a Dublin ad agency at the time and realised great conceptual ad work was being produced in tandem with beautifully crafted images by photographers like Brian Griffin in the UK. So I left for Paris:) And the rest is geography. (line pinched from copy king Peter Russell). Check out Griffin’s masterful photographic work that helped make the London ad scene a powerhouse of advertising creativity right through the 70s, 80s and 90s. Thanks to David Dye for posting this interview on his blog and reminding me why I wanted to work in advertising in the first place. It really was an incredibly creative and innovative time to be in the business. I miss it. Link to interview: IN-CAMERA 1: Brian Griffin..
In the words of W. Eugene Smith, one of the great practitioners of humanistic photography, “What use is having a great depth of field, if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?”
While reviewing this collection of album cover portraits (see link), I noticed one possible criteria for selection that was completely absent: one of technical excellence. Dylan’s portrait for his “Blond on Blond” album, for example, is a photograph with “camera shake” – usually the bane of many a photographer when the camera or subject (or both) are moving in unison with a slow shutter speed. These photographs usually get binned. Nevertheless, this photo has succeed in becoming part of the iconic vocabulary of modern music. In this day and age where precision and rationality are venerated – and have the technology to deliver it – we are in danger of forgetting why things “work” and why they don’t. Perfection doesn’t work. Perfection rarely interests people. It’s boring. Like music itself, it’s the seemingly random empty spaces between notes that confers harmony and emotion and not only the perfect notes themselves. Photographers don’t need to be perfect technicians to make great photographs – they need to be able to capture images that convey emotion with sublime subjectivity. The best photographers are usually humanists. They understand that life is messy (like this poorly written piece) and transient and create work that celebrates this fact rather than trying to ‘perfect’ it.
I’m a huge fan of the Thin White Duke. He needs no introduction. His amazingly prolific creativity across many decades and mediums speaks for itself eloquently. The travelling exhibition of his blockbuster V&A archive show at the Philharmonie de Paris/ Cité de la Musique, Paris includes over 300 objects including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork and rare performance material from the past five decades. I recommend a visit. Even though photography was ‘interdit’, I still managed to capture a few snaps with my iPhone. Rebel Rebel 🙂 If you would like to see more of my mobile music photography, please visit: http://seanhayesmusicphotography.tumblr.com
Link to exhibition details: http://hyperallergic.com/157037/william-mortensen/
To celebrate Halloween: The most bonkers and controversial of the early pioneers of photography. William Mortensen. Thanks to Thierry van Biesen for reminding me of the past master and his ghoulish and grotesque work. Happy Halloween y’all.
My goodness, where to begin?
There are so many brilliant photographers that I could probably fill all 365 things to be grateful for with them alone.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some outstanding photographers during my 30 long years in the ad industry. Most of whom were artists in their own right. I’m not going to feature them here just in case I forget someone and invoke their ire.
Instead, I’m going to show some of the photographers whose work has inspired me over the years. Certainly not an exhaustive list. Hope you like them. Feel free to make your own suggestion.
We could argue the toss as to what makes a great photograph – composition, light, concept. But what I feel a great photo should do is tell a story or ask questions of the viewer.
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