Two strong recommendations today for excellent but almost unknown photoblogs:
The first is a new blog attached to the established site of Clay Enos, who had previously been half of the StreetStudio team (the other half being fellow New York photographer Stephan Ghukfvin). Clay’s blog, begun late last year: Take Pictures.
Three 35mm rolls of Neopan 1600, three rolls of HP5+, all in Xtol 1+1.
As the saying goes, you’re never quite so fully aware as in the first second after the hammer comes down on your thumb.
Even if families are drowning in photos, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing, compared to the rest of the world. 3000 pictures of your three-year-old almost doesn’t compare when you realize that during that same year you’ve seen far, far more photos of Michael Jackson, Jennifer Aniston, and George Bush than you have of the people whose pictures you should value the most.
Joerg wonders if our lives are drowning in pictures — or in his specific words, “photographic white noise.” Specifically, are people overwhelmed by their own portraiture? A child born today can expect thousands of photos to be emailed and archived on CDs before their first month of age. Byt the time they are old enough to pay attention, will they even be aware of any in particular?
This problem is not a newly-minted one, particularly comparing photos to paintings (and before 1850, the percentage of people who had portraits of familty members was miniscule). Berger’s Ways of Seeing hints a bit at it, as do Barthes’ Camera Lucida and Sontag’s On Photography. After many weeks of searching, I’ve finally tracked down a copy of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s 1952 The Decisive Moment (why hasn’t this book ever been reprinted?), and HCB comments directly to this issue, not as a problem but merely a characterisitic of the medium:
While I was typing Pt I (without even thinking that it would become Pt I), part of the paradox vexing me was there on the desk, staring intently from the cover of the January PDN in the form of Jude Law, shot in classicly-crisp B&W by David Bailey, with the tag: “The Legends Issue.” So here we have Jude Law, promoting Alfie and dressed-up in 60’s Saville Row. Knockout pic, but — part of The Problem of B&W Nostalgia, right?
The “Legends” in PDN have a little gallery here — Bailey, Donna Ferrato, Danny Lyon, and Sylvia Plachy. Last year’s Legends Issue included Sebastaio Salgado, who was mentioned on the last post’s comments.
Such “Legends” present their own paradox — photographers who continue to do new and inspiring work even as the world seems to be moving off in some other direction. Plachy’s last couple of books, for example, have knocked me flat — terrific, inspiring, humbling stuff throughout. But are artists like these exceptions partly because they can carry that history with them like a shield?
The problem that was picking at me in the previous entry really was: where are the great new B&W photographers?