Discussion in 'Talk About Anything Photography Related' started by David M, Apr 12, 2018.
Have you come across writers like Victor Burgin?
Yes, I first came across Victor Burgin's images and writings in the 1980's. I've not read much of his writing just a few shorter pieces and his approach is so very different to my way of working and thinking.
It's that kind of Marx/Freud/Sociology-based writing that I find so unsatisfactory.
My list would be.
Borut Peterlin. Superb wet plate and Albumin prints. Like his vlog as well
Ian Ruhter. Brilliant giant wet plates and a drives his camera!
Don McCullin. A photographer I tried to emulate in my journalist days
Clive Butcher. Would love to own one of his giant prints.
Alex Timmermans. His wacky style is very thought provoking.
Paul G Johnson. A great vlog
Having begun this thread, I've been remiss in not making suggestions of my own.
Edwin Smith, now slowly gaining more recognition. He manages to convey the sensation of being there, but of somehow having an enhanced vision of what you see. An excellent printer, too. His work is held by the RIBA, who put on an exhibition of his work fairly recently.
You may see more at: https://huxleyparlour.com/artists/edwin-smith/
This is not meant to be anything to do with ego but, I really like my friend Helen's photography a lot.
Helen has always specialised more in B&W than colour; she seems to have an eye for seeing tonality and patterns, whereas I see more colour. Over the past 20 years, she has taught me how to "do" B&W and, since I am the tech-savvie one, I do the scanning and printing under her watchful and critical gaze.
We work together well (even with the odd "constructive argument") and the majority of B&W images on our website are hers.
She might not have been published or recognised yet but fame isn't everything
I think Edwin Smith regained recognition in the mid 1980s just over a decade after his death, I've always equated him as a British Atget, another photographer whose work I appreciate.
Ian, I rate him rather higher than the much-promoted Atget. I seem to be alone. No doubt I am missing something, but much of what we like about Atget is the quaint and curious subject matter, now vanished, whereas much of Smith's subject matter is still readily available. A good deal is unconsciously familiar through guide books we may have seen.
When you examine Atget's life, he was not the mute inglorious Milton that he's often taken for.
Joanna, has there been a reciprocal influence on Helen, giving her more colour vision? It seems likely.
David, I think the importance of Atget is not just his images but his influence on later photographers, his ways of working etc. In that respect Edwin Smith has been much less important and like Atget had never received wide scale recognition in his life time, I first came across a few of his images in a book while at school in the mid-late 60s.
I'll agree that Smith's work is excellent, I wouldn't have bought the book "Edwin Smith - Photographs 1939-1971" back in the mid 80's if I didn't appreciate his work. Looking at it now 30+ years on I'm noticing different images, perhaps because my own work changed direction when I moved abroad. I'd guess it's 12-15 years since I'd last looked through it. I have more affinity to Smith's work than Atget's which is I think what you are also alluding too, there is a remoteness of time in Atget's work but he was photographing what was rapidly vanishing.
Ian, An excellent point. Smith admired him, of course. There are similarities: photography as a second career, interest in documenting, the street sellers and so on. Even the fact that both men considered that they were making useful, rather than artistic work. Although much of Smith's subject matter remains, he and his wife feared that it would soon vanish under a tide of Modernist zeal. Perhaps he played his part in stemming that tide.
"More affinity" might be right.
Atget made weekly rounds of creative establishments, to sell his wares and I wonder about the effect of the conversations that he must have had, on his vision and output. I've seen no mention of this.
Ian, I've been stirred to look at my Edwin Smith books again. Have you come across All the Photo Tricks, which seems to foretell much of the stuff that the RPS Creative Group does? Even if you don't want to practice trickery, it's an interesting catalogue of possibilities. Not at all what one might expect from the maker of those wonderful cathedrals and parish churches.
David, I don't remember that book at all it's quite old though ?1947 and at least four editions through to about 1973, I definitely don't remember the covers. It wasn't in our school library, I had Jacobson's books Developing and also Printing on almost constant loan, again Focal Press books.
I think there were Edwin Smith photos in the various forms of the Focal Press Encyclopaedia of Photography, I think I've read the full version from cover to cover over the years It was the first book where I came across Ansel Adams and Edward Weston !!!!!
I mention the Photo Tricks book because it shows another side of the man. His own photography is free from any tricks other than a remarkable eye, but the book lists and describes all the kinds of things that Photoshop has thrust upon us. He wrote a book on the reproduction of works of art too, which I haven't read.
Olive Cook, his wife, wrote a short introduction to his work with the title, Record and Revelation, which seems a good description of Smiths work.
Olive Cook wrote the introduction to "Edwin Smith - Photographs 1935-1971", I had the start date wrong before.
She seems to have been a remarkable woman, but her history might be outside the scope of this forum.
I'm sure we can forgive you for not carrying the dates of all the books you own in your head.
I don't have that many photographers I like or dislike. For me, it is mostly about the emotional and/or intellectual (emotional) experience. There are one or two exceptions, not limited to LF-photography. Almost the whole body of work shot by Helmut Newton I like very much. Then Gregory Crewdson because he touches me on multiple layers with his work. By extension, I would add Richard Tuschman. I love the paintings by Hopper so there is some kind of a link with these photographers on an emotional, for me, level.
One exception is Michael Kenna.
Sure, there are others, but above mentioned are some of my favorites. But mostly, it is about the image. So it could very well be that I like one of two images from a giving artist and dislike the rest of his work.
Separate names with a comma.