THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S EYE
by René de Carufel
t is fall of the year 2003. I had been taking photographs for 30 years and there I was sitting in my studio wondering what the hell is photography all about anyway? I look around and see my library, dozens of books from photographers whose work had inspired me since I was first seduced by the camera. There are many names, some very famous names. I suddenly realize that I don’t know any of them. I know some of their images but not who they really are and especially why they made those images. I feel an enormous wave of curiosity rise up in me: I was about to embark on a long journey to meet and photograph these individuals. The project began close to home with the participation of some of my fellow photographers from Montreal. To my surprise they all reacted positively to my invitation to take their portrait. But I was immediately confronted with a fundamental decision: how was I going to go about it? Of course, I wanted my approach to be personal; I somehow knew I didn’t want to do traditional portrayals of the subject in their environment. I asked myself, what is driving me to want to do this? The answer: to know about their personal vision- how they see the world and how they photograph it. I became fascinated with idea of eyes- the photographer’s eye- and knew I would have to be close, very close, to eliminate any decor that could distract from this central element. Soon the first sessions came around and I began experimenting with that idea; a face is a world in itself, totally mysterious yet infinitely expressive with the imprint of a unique life. I decided I would keep things simple: one light source, one reflector and sometimes some ambient light. The idea of black and white imposed itself- this was to be an artistic endeavor and color is too realistic. B&W transcends reality, extracts its meaning from a world in subtle tones of grey. After a few sessions I found my way onto the path, and some tightly cropped square
images began to emerge. I always asked my subject to refrain from smiling, I felt this could mask the intensity I wanted to capture in their gaze. Proximity naturally creates intimacy, gives the viewer a sense of truly meeting these characters- and this is what I hope you will feel as you turn the pages of this book. The quest to fulfill a dream was on, but anxiety crept in. I now had to locate and convince some of the most talented photographers in the world to allow me to photograph them. I needed to gather plenty of cheek just to dare calling them up. Fortunately for me most photographers are compassionate, they usually love their work and enjoy the people they meet. On the other hand, they also tend to have very strong personalities, be extremely busy and hard to reach. At times many attempts were needed before I got the OK; there were some who passed away before I was able to contact themlike Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon; and there were a few who did not accept to be part of this project. Sometimes I was given as long as necessary to take my pictures, sometimes just a few minutes. They all are extraordinary people who have created extraordinary images. As I came closer to reaching my goal of one hundred photographers, selection became critical. I decided that the project should include photographers from Canada, the UnitedStates and Europe, whatever the domain of photography they excelled in, in order to show as wide a range of visions as possible. Many are renowned, but I decided to include several who are less familiar because I discovered that notoriety can often be a very local phenomenon as nationality and culture varies. In what had become a path of discovery, one thing was clear -this dream project could have no definitive list. There are just so many talents out there. One well-known name would lead to a few new names, and each region would disclose a whole new group of great artists. What joins all the participants together is a passionate belief in the importance of photography
as an art form. At the end of the session, I would present each photographer with 3 key questions, basically the Why? How? What? Which? of photography:
• Why photography? Why did you choose to become a photographer? What triggered your choice? • How would you define your personal photographic vision? What makes you want to take a picture? • According to you, what are the ingredients of a great shot? Some photographers answered verbally right on the spot, and many chose to send their answers later on. A few chose not to answer, a choice which I accept entirely, knowing that their images and writings have already been published extensively in many other publications. I feel photographic portraits can and should stand by themselves. The texts, while not absolutely necessary to the appreciation of the portrait, do offer an extra glimpse into the world of the subject. Taken as a whole, the writings and insights about the creative process collected for this book resonate on a universal level, and are an invaluable source of inspiration and guidance for anyone involved in photography or the arts in general. Once begun the project , continued to expand outward for a period of 2 years, and in the process I have learned much about photographers and photography, perhaps more than in my entire career. I made a decision to present each photographer by the order in which they were photographed, according to each country. It seems to make more creative sense than by strict alphabetical order because it better reflects the path of discovery as it unfolded, often in unexpected and exciting ways. In the early days, after I had shot the first portraits of Canadian photographers, I headed to New York
City to see how my project might be received there. I had the good fortune to meet Arnold Newman at Getty’s Imagesa wonderful man who readily accepted to be one of my subjects. The next day my assistant and I met him at his studio on 67th Street. He welcomed us into his world, the space where he had created for so many years and where some of his amazing portraits came into being. On the walls were exhibited superb vintage prints of his work : portraits of Pablo Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, many presidents and of course his great shot of Stravinsky, and many more. At first he intended only to give me a few minutes of his time as he was attending to his beloved wife who had been quite ill, but he got caught up in the energy of the moment and ended up giving us an unforgettable hour of his time, talking and sharing anecdotes about his life in photography. Several months later when I returned to NYC, I dropped by to give him a print- once again it was a such pleasure to see him. A few weeks later, to my great surprise, I received a letter from him to thank me. I was amazed that he would take the time to write those kind words. As I write this Introduction more than 2 years later, the world has just lost him, - we learned of his death a few days ago. I feel so sad that I will never see him again, and yet I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet him. I returned to NYC many times because it is certainly a fabulous city for photographers. Everywhere you look there is a picture waiting to be taken. The intense energy that it exhales is surely what has been attracting all those photographers for decades. Many were willing to open their doors to my dream venture, but rare was the kind generosity of Jerry Uelsmann who simply invited me to his house in Gainesville, Florida. There I spent a wonderful few hours with him and his wife. His magical imagery is as totally unique as the man is exceptional. I also found that I could not neglect California: Los Angeles and especially San Francisco
where I had the unforgettable pleasure to meet my senior photographer from this book, Ruth Bernhard, who is now over 100 years old. In nearby Carmel, CA, I visited Kim Weston who is the grandson of Edward Weston now living in Edward’s original home. Since I wanted this book to have an international scope, I went to France twice. Paris definitely competes with New York for the title of world’s capital of photography, and finding great talent there is not a problem. I will never forget the exceptional gentleness of Willy Ronis, and the humor and wit of Marc Riboud who insisted on wielding a small disposable camera during the shoot in order to be ‘equally armed’ as he would say. As well, to feel the pulse of the world, I attended the “Rencontres internationales de la photographie” in Arles. Since its inception in 1970, each year some of the most talented photographers in the world meet to show their work and talk about their art. My visit to Arles made it possible to include some photographers from England, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, and as an added bonus I had the great luck and rare chance to meet Mr. Eikoe Hosoe from Japan. So much more could be said about each and every one of these exceptional individuals, but my language is a language of images. I hope that some hint of their unique persona will emanate from the portraits I have created of them, that somehow through their eye you will get a glimpse of their great humanity. René De Carufel
LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHERS USA Newman Arnold Meola Eric Carr Kathleen Maisel Jay Watson Albert Mark Mary-Ellen McCurry Steven Uelsman Jerry Smith Rodney Tcherevkoff Michel Gibson Ralph Nachtwey James Kratochvil Antonin Calfee Julia Hills Francis Gorman Greg Dunas Jeff Diltz Henry Claxton William Carofano Ray Friedkin Anthony Sorel Peter Ohara Ken Kirkland Douglas Parks Gordon Schatz Howard Farber Robert Pagliuso Jean Lewis Michael Weston Kim Bernhard Ruth Marshall Jim Troeller Linda Turner Pete Kennedy William Horowitz Ryszard Greenfield-Sanders Tymothy Meyerowitz Joel Katz Andy Versace Vincent Demarchelier Patrick Larrain Gilles Tenneson Joyce Menuez Douglas Freedman Jill Erwitt Elliott
EUROPE 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95 97 99
Clergue Lucien Matussière Bernard Ronis Willy Salaun Philippe Bassouls Sophie Weiss Sabine Bertrand Yann Arthus Garanger Marc Atwood Jane Evelyne Parr Martin Marlow Peter Gruyaert Harry Damy Ken Merlo Lorenzo Ropp William Pache Philippe Janssis Jean Jakse Barbara Jersic Stane Lovric Mirko Troispoux Yvette Del Moral Jean-Marie Yoshida Kimiko Hosoe Eikoh Ionesco Irena Baltauss Richard Tourenne Paul Janine Niepce Gautrand Jean-Claude Le Querrec Guy Riboud Marc Burri René
CANADA 101 103 105 107 109 111 113 115 117 119 121 123 125 127 129 131 133 135 137 139 141 143 145 147 149 151 153 155 157 159 161 163
Brunelle François Labelle Paul Dubreuil Michel Gagnon Francine Cornellier André Valiquet Carl Bérubé Jean-François Levine Ron Lemoyne Roger Hollinger Heidi Gendon Denis Pilon Michel Lessard Carl Duclos Gilbert Richard Monic Kadyszewski Ladislas Szilasi Gabor Zimbel George Walker Robert Palmer Brooke Burtynsky Edward Gajdel Edward Dickson Nigel
165 167 169 171 173 175 177 179 181 183 185 187 189 191 193 195 197 199 201 203 205 207 209
Arnold Newman USA • Why photography? - Since I was very young I had wanted to paint. I studied Art for 2 years in Miami. I lived there. In the depression my father lost a lot of money, so when I was offered a job in photography in Philadelphia I took it. There I joined a group of prominent photographers and that did the rest. • Define your vision? - God or nature gave me a talentthen I worked my ass off. • What makes a great picture? - Once I was taking some pictures of Mondrian as he was working on a painting. At one point he asked me what I thought of the painting. I made some suggestions, and to my surprise he went ahead and tried it. After he looked at it and said, “It works.” I guess that is the ingredient of a good shot: Does it work?
Eric Meola USA • Why photography? - My father was a doctor (a general practitioner). A patient of his was an engineer whose hobby was photography. One day, to get me out of his hair, he asked this engineer to introduce me to photography. The moment I saw an image come up in the developer, I was hooked. It was instantaneous, a love at first sight: I knew then and there that I wanted to be a photographer. • Define your vision? As a photographer, I’ve always been drawn to light and shadow, color, form and graphics; but more and more I’ve been drawn to the human dimension, to the soul of what is in front of me. I’ve always been amazed by the immense visual dichotomy of life. • What makes a great picture? - What makes a great shot is undefinable. What moves you emotionally may not move someone else. You have to have faith in your vision, and hopefully that faith translates into something that is universal and affects all those who look at your images.
Kathleen Carr USA • Why photography? - In college, I was an art major, but hadn’t yet found the media I wanted to pursue. In my senior year, I took a fine art photography course, and after the first roll of film, I knew that I wanted to be a photographer. It just clicked (to make a pun) and has been a lifelong passion. Someone once told me that there are two main kinds of internal creative processes in image making—deductive and inductive. The deductive types, like me and other photographers (and some painters), see something external, and use composition, light, and other creative elements to translate their vision into an image. The inductive mind begins with an internal vision or process to fill a blank canvas or page. I much prefer working photographically. Once I have an image, I’ll add other creative techniques, such as Polaroid transfers or SX-70 manipulations, handcoloring, and/or digital enhancements to express my artistic vision. • Define your vision? - For many years I have photographed nature, people and the landscape in my travels, both in black and white and in color. I was fortunate to have studied extensively with Minor White. His meditative approach to photography had a profound effect on my perception, encouraging a reverence and connection with the
subject before exposing the image. I began to see photography as a vehicle for spiritual growth—a mirror of my inner and outer awareness of life. The energy I sense within the forms I am photographing is fascinating to me. Using a variety of techniques, I experiment with ways to express this presence more tangibly. Caring deeply about nature, especially when I see such environmental destruction in the world, I want my photography to inspire people to honor the earth and all who live upon it. From 1991 to the present I have been working with Polaroid transfers and SX-70 manipulations. The resulting images are strikingly different from the original photographs. I sometimes combine images by double exposing, sandwiching, or sequencing, then handcolor and further manipulate the prints to create distinctive, one-of-a-kind images. Most recently I have been working digitally, including black and white infrared, and exploring creative possibilities in Photoshop with my film and digital images. • What makes a great picture? - For me, images that are great have a mix of elements: strong composition, effective lighting, and most of all, a quality that touches me emotionally. Usually this is an immediate response. It could be a special moment in time, an exquisitely beautiful interpretation of the subject, a new and fresh approach to the subject, an original or well-executed creative technique, or something that unexpectedly catches my attention or reveals something new or for-
gotten, yet important to me.
Jay Maisel USA • Why photography? -Photography was painting and more fun.
• Define your vision? - A good shot has something that delights me and/or something I’ve never seen before. • What makes a great picture? - The ingredients of a good shot: Light, Color and Gesture and above all, Content.
Albert Watson USA
Mary-Ellen Mark USA
Steven McCurry USA
Jerry Uelsmann USA • Why photography? - I became a photographer. It just happened! • Define your vision? - I would like the synthesized and reconstructed images I create to challenge the inherent believability of the photograph. All the information is there, and yet the mystery remains. I subscribe enthusiastically to the belief that an artist can invent a reality that is more meaningful than the one that is literally given to the eye. • What makes a great picture? - The feeling of amazement!
Rodney Smith USA • Why photography? - I originally wanted to be a novelist; the sentiment was there, but not the skill. I came from a very visual family. With photographs, I realized I was able to give form to feeling . The trick: to take a three dimensional experience, and qualify it down to two dimensions. • Define your vision? - My photographic vision is mostly B&W with a little bit of color now and then. • What makes a great picture? - A very strong compositional sense, which I find lacking in most modern photography.
Michel Tcherevkoff USA • Why photography? - I was on my way to law school in France when my sister , a fashion model living in the US , invited me to stay with her in New York. The options became simple , law in Paris, or photography in New York . I was to stay in New York , but not in the way I was expecting. The glamour, the fashion, the models quickly became too superficial, and what was left turned into a 35-year career. For the first time I was able to express myself and turn ideas into images. I created metaphors using perspective, color, shapes, and composition, inventing darkroom techniques as I went along. The results got noticed. After spending some time as an assistant, I was picked up by an agent and my career was up and running. • Define your vision? - I have never been able to define my vision without a long-winded boring answer, so I don’t define it -- it is constant and ephemeral at the same time, evolving, changing. I came up with 3 reasons to take pictures: first , the pleasure to do what I do (most important ) . Second , the reward that comes in the form of an award or a portfolio piece or a noted campaign . Third , the money (least important) . • What makes a great picture? - A great shot is like a great joke , if you have to explain it, it’s not funny;
two mandatory ingredients are: originality and quality .
Ralph Gibson USA • Why photography? - I fell into my vocation quite by chance around 5:30 am while in Naval boot camp. I had scored well in general testing and was assigned to Aerography school, i.e. the Control Tower at the airport. I didn’t show much enthusiasm for this idea so they sent me to Pensacola, Florida, to the USN Photography school. I became passionate in a very short time and while crossing the Atlantic during an enormous storm I shouted to the heavens that “I want to be a photographer!”. Well, I’m still shouting. • Define your vision? - When I photograph the subject becomes a mere pretext for the act of seeing something. I want to photograph how it feels to observe the most banal object. My work is the opposite of an “event based” approach to the medium. My act of seeing is the subject. I believe that photography can perfectly reflect who and what I am at the moment of exposure. With this in mind I accept full responsibility for all elements in the photograph. • What makes a great picture? - I believe that a photograph should show me something that I could not see otherwise. The alchemy of the medium reveals more than we expect.
James Nachtwey USA
Antonin Kratochvil USA
Julia Calfee USA • Why photography? - Photography chose me. What triggered your choice? To go beyond words. First I was a writer and dissatisfied with this means of expression. With Photography I feel as if I am working from the inside whereas with writing I often felt I was on the outside of situations. • Define your vision? - Ultimately the only important issue in my photography is to go beyond the surface; to scratch the veneer, whether that be the superficial polish of civilization, or the apparent political situation, or even the human psyche itself. The question I ask myself is what is really going on underneath the situation? For example, during my five-year project in Mongolia the obvious photographs were the galloping horseman, and the wide expanse of untouched land. Underneath these images were great conflicts in this very structured and hidden society where the powerful influence of age-old spiritualism was ever present. Spirits and Ghosts, completed after five years photographing in this country shows the visual path of my explorations. • What makes a great picture? - Before I take a picture the question I ask myself is what is really going on here? What is going on here that I am not seeing, but that I know is present? Many dif-
ferent levels of not only actions, but also philosophy behind these actions, which work together simultaneously.
Francis Hills USA • Why photography? - I started photography because I became an ‘Internet refugee’ - I’d been sitting at home feeling sorry for myself for a few months and my wife, quite rightly, told me to get out of the house to keep myself sane. So I picked up a camera. Simple as that. Not a plan to find a new career - more to keep myself creatively occupied. • Define your vision? - It’s all about people for me. Whether a model, a celebrity or a portrait sitter - it’s trying to capture a little something of that person. Laughter is a bit of a turn-on for me - I love to get people to laugh in front of the camera. You’ll see it a lot in my work. A real laugh is so revealing and open. That’s the true person. • What makes a great picture? - Difficult to describe, because each shot and sitter are different. Finding that certain something of them as a person- whether it’s a laugh, a tear or just a blank look - it’s capturing that ‘inner spark’ that makes a great shot for me.
Greg Gorman USA
Jeff Dunas USA • Why photography? - My hobby as a kid was my obsession with photography. It still is. • Define your vision? - The rage to see. To keep what I see.
To keep seeing.
• What makes a great picture? - When you look at it - you can’t take your eyes off of it. You want it. It moves you.
Henry Diltz USA • Why photography? - As a traveling folk musician in my 20’s I accidently picked up a camera and found it restful and satisfying to “frame up” things I saw. Pushing the button created a slide that I could later project to entertain my friends. The fact that they could sit through and enjoy hours of my slide shows gave rise to my eventual career in photography. • Define your vision? - Colors, shapes of things that fill the frame in a satisfying way, or trying to capture just the right expression of a friend. • What makes a great picture? - A great shot makes me feel “ah.” It is that moment when it all comes together for just that instant.
William Claxton USA • Why photography? - It’s all about light! As a child I was fascinated by light...light rays through the window, light patterns, the light that brushed over my mother’s hair. The shear beauty and power of light. My actual interest in photography began with the gift of a Box Brownie Camera from my grandmother when I was 8 years old. The magic began. Stunned that I could capture moments that would never happen again, I began photographing everything: pets, family, airplane models, friends and even strangers. Later, I went on to study psychology and art at UCLA. I wanted to find out what sparks the creative urge, what makes one creative and another less so, I never found out. Psychology was not the answer. In my last year at the University, I sold some photographs I had taken of children to a national magazine. I was paid more for these pictures than what I had earned working in the psychology department all year. My father saw my photo credit line in the magazine and showed it to all of his cronies. He was proud of me. One morning I woke up and decided to become a photographer. At last here was something creative, something tangible, something I could share with people and get their reactions. It was very satisfying. • Define your vision? - I don’t know if I can really define
“my personal photographic vision”. It is in every photograph that I take. When I see a person, a thing or event...it may be how the subject looks, what they are engaged in, their body language, or how the light hits them at that moment...all of this makes me reach for my camera. It is a sudden urge to capture something, I don’t take time to analyze just what it is. Our interaction creates a tension, and I feel that I must complete that tension by looking through my lens and releasing the shutter. • What makes a great picture? - What are “the ingredients of a great shot?” Any image that catches a viewer’s attention. To get a reaction, it is most likely to be provocative and, therefore, has some value. The more thought provoking and the more tension created in the eye and mind of the viewer, the more successful the photograph.
Ray Carofano USA • Why photography? - I photograph basically out of the need to self express. I like the possibility of letting people see things differently. I don’t know if I chose photography or if photography chose me. It’s the one thing that I do in my life that feels right; as natural as breathing. • Define your vision? - My photographic vision starts with the eyes, but there is more to it than just seeing. There has to be an emotional connection (a feeling) between me and the subject. Instinct and intuitiveness also play a part. Without emotional connection there is little hope that someone viewing the work will have any feeling for it. I take photographs when I reach a state of mind where all my visual and emotional senses become heightened. I become very aware of the environment around me. • What makes a great picture? - I think what makes a great shot beyond the obvious (subject matter, composition, lighting etc.) is a photograph that communicates to the viewer what the photographer experienced or felt at the time of exposure; A necessary ingredient would be to cause an emotional reaction in the one viewing the work.
Anthony Friedkin USA • Why photography? - I think it was pre-determined for me to become a photographer. When I was eight years old I was given a camera as a birthday present from my Mother’s friend. A Kodak Brownie Starlet. It shot (I think) 12 exposures on 127 film. I photographed all my surroundings: my brother playing and acting out theatre games with his friends, my cat giving birth, I tried to photograph everything that was part of my life. That was the beginning and now over forty-five years later I’m still going strong basically doing the same thing. In truth, my approach to using a camera hasn’t really changed much. I still think of photography as magic, an extraordinary Art form. With it, one can express themselves visually as in no other medium. I was hooked from the beginning. • Define your vision? - In an effort to explain my personal photographic vision, I would have to say the answer rests in my work. It speaks for itself. Photography needs to be experienced first hand. For example, the authentic photogenic prints made by masters, great photographic books, visits to museums and galleries, holding original prints in your hands, and so on. While working I choose everything very carefully : the camera; the kind of lens; the type of film; how I process it; how I print it, and eventu-
ally how the work will be exhibited. Every negative is a screenplay for me, one which needs understanding and proper expression if it is to be brought to life. Vision has to be one of the great miracles in life and to try to record that wonder is a constant challenge for me. The elements which make me want to take a picture and the reasons for it, are far too complex for me to understand. I have instincts, I have questions, I have discoveries which I’m able to validate with my camera. • What makes a great picture? - I am uncomfortable with this question because what works for one photographer doesn’t necessarily work for another. The ingredients or techniques Artists apply in their works are so diverse but the results can be equally successful and rewarding. If you think of Cartier Bresson and Jerry Ulseman, the context of their working methods couldn’t be more opposed: Ulesman who works with multiple negatives, combining the different images to create an extraordinary photograph; while Bresson believes in “The Decisive Moment” where everything is dependent on one negative- one place, one fraction of a second of time. Two ideas, so different, yet each photographer in his own way produces a keen awareness of the power of photography. I will say one thing, I think the purity of the medium, which can be defined in the sense of time and
place is one of the great strengths of photography.
Peter Sorel USA • Why photography? - I found photography at age 13 when my father gave me an ancient Voigtlander. I was immediately amazed to discover my ability to look at an object or a person and make an image of something only I could see.. This feeling never left me. • Define your vision? - I think I had a creative urge all my life and happily, 50 years later, it has never left me. When I am able to shoot a unique picture I am still totally amazed and excited; almost like sex. • What makes a great picture? - Luckily, I find beauty everywhere and that is what to this day makes me want to take a picture. It could be an apple, a face, a beautiful building or a crumpled piece of paper.
Ken Ohara USA â€˘ Why photography? - I just love photography.
Douglas Kirkland USA • Why photography? - Being raised in a small town, Fort Erie in Canada, I dreamed of a much more glamorous other worldphotography provided this, first in fantasy and later in reality. I started out as a photographer in Toronto without achieving much success. Later, I went to New York where I assisted Irving Penn. New York had far greater prospects. I did everything and was very driven. When I turned 25 I was hired as a staff photographer at LOOK Magazine. A very fortunate turn of events, this job opened doors for me. I traveled abroad, met stars in cinema and fashion, and I really grew up. • Define your vision? - My vision starts with reality, then I ask myself if I can make it more “idealic” looking. • What makes a great picture? - One that has a feeling of connection with the subject through the image.
Gordon Parks USA • Why photography? - I was a waiter on the railways, and on a layover in Chicago I saw a newsreel of a bombing in Japan which got my interest. Later in Seattle, Washington, I saw a camera in a store window for 12.50...and the rest was history! • Define your vision? - I feel a natural desire to capture the beauty before me, and a need to have the evidence of it. • What makes a great picture? - I saw a monk immolate himself in Europe (burned into memory)...a great picture is memorable for years.
Howard Schatz USA • Why photography? - I derive a great joy from looking through my camera and making photographs----it has always been magic for me. • Define your vision? - I am mostly interested in things about people---a fascination. • What makes a great picture? - A great photograph stops people in their tracks----there is an exreme “WOW” factor. When an image is “good’ or “interesting” then that’s all it is. I haven’t taken it yet.
Robert Farber USA • Why photography? - My first love was painting, but to express what I wanted as a painter became very frustrating. I lacked the talent to express myself with a brush and canvas. However, by making a number of technical mistakes my photographic images started to look like painting...and that was creatively satisfying. • Define your vision? - My greatest drive to photograph comes from the inspiration I get from looking at all visual arts- cinema, paintings and other photographs. It is usually driven by my desire to capture something of the past from what exists in the present. • What makes a great picture? - When an image created from what would otherwise be a mundane subject becomes visually exciting, that to me is a great photograph. In other words, by isolating the object in an exciting composition, the viewer is drawn into an image that the photographer’s vision alone has made special.
Jean Pagliuso USA • Why photography? - Once a camera was placed in my hands in 1966, I had no choice. It was that clear and that simple. Photography would be my life. When that moment combined with the magic of the darkroom, well, I felt like I was holding “creation” in my hands! After first working in the Art Department of Conde Nast as assistant art director, it seemed imminently possible to slip into this world of Fashion Photography. I remained there for 25 years. After our daughter was born I sensed a much needed shift away from commercialism. At the same time, 1985 I bought a home in Santa Fe New Mexico. The Native American ruins and desert landscape became my focus. I began an ongoing project called “Places of Ritual”. • Define your vision? - My personal vision is something I do not think about. I am simply drawn to an image. I do not question this. I am grateful for this gift. • What makes a great picture? - I think it must move the viewer. Tantalize. Provoke.
Michael Lewis USA • Why photography? - In the early 70s, I was living in the mountains of Colorado where the scenery was breathtaking. I decided to take up photography as a hobby. Some friends and family members started complimenting me on my work and I decided to forego my seasonal work in carpentry and restaurants and return to university to study photojournalism. I saw several features on photojournalism in the old American Photographer magazine and decided that was the career for me. I had a serious case of wanderlust that had so far only included Colorado and Florida. A career in photojournalism seemed like a great opportunity to travel to faraway lands, and insert myself into other people’s lives. I was right. • Define your vision? - My personal vision entails making images that are true to the subject and that will move the viewer. With the land, I look for great light and a composition that will draw the viewer into a scene. When I am working with people, I look for a gesture, a juxtaposition, an expression or a moment that will reveal something about that person’s personality. I am driven to make images that will satisfy what I think is an innate need to create. • What makes a great picture? - There are many things that make a
great shot for me and not all of them are present in each image. I love mood, light, complexity, simplicity, a quiet moment, a decisive moment (apologies to HCB) or interesting content that I have not seen before.
Kim Weston USA • Why photography? - I grew up with photography all around me. I started taking photographs when I was 6 years old. I loved to go into the darkroom with my father and help him. I would sit on a stool and agitate his 4x5 negs in a big tank. So for me it was a natural transition. • Define your vision? - I think a personal photographic vision is a voice, a language we use to communicate with ourselves. Each person is unique in this way, each is voice different. • What makes a great picture? - A great shot is hitting a deer at 150 yards with open sights. I have never liked that term: shot. Sounds more like something you would do with a gun than a camera. To have a great photograph one must be truly excited about the image, it should ring true to one’s voice and excite one to do more.
Ruth Bernhard USA • Why photography? - Photography chose me. When I was a teenager in Berlin, I met some people who had a photography studio. They showed me how to use all the equipment, and I started taking pictures. It was natural for me, I came from a family of artists, especially my father. • Define your vision? - When the subject means something to me, when it resonates. My pictures are very deliberate, there is no accident. For example that photograph of the candy, I took it because it was beautiful. In a similar spirit, I had models who enjoyed being photographed so I photographed them. • What makes a great picture? - A great shot affects you emotionally — makes you become part of it. It has a timelessness. You will never forget it, even if you never see it again. It might even change your life!
Jim Marshall USA
Linda Troeller USA • Why photography? - I was a college student at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. I was an actor in the play Exit the King but got sick and the understudy took over my part. The director gave me his 2 1/4 Rollei camera and suggested I photograph the cast. I loved the drama in the viewfinder and changed my college major to photography. • Define your vision? - I am learning about identity and well being with the camera. My quest has not been thoroughly satisfied as yet. • What makes a great picture? - Atmosphere
Pete Turner USA • Why photography? - I collected stamps when I was a boy. I loved the colours, shapes and pictures of the exotic animals and far-off places. My father led an orchestra. I would play gin rummy with the band members during their off-time for 5 or 10 cents. I would beat them and buy the stamps with my winnings. When we moved to Toronto at the end of World War II, I received the gift of a Brownie camera. I would wander around Centre Island and Toronto Island and shoot my own pictures. I liked it. • Define your vision? - My personal vision has been built up through a lifetime of experiences of taking and making pictures. The breakthrough happened during my first trip to Africa. I saw the triangle shaped roof of a hut with the sun going down behind it. I noticed if I moved around I could roll the sun up and down the edges of the triangle. I realized the opportunity, a new possibility - the difference between taking a picture or molding it like raw clay into something more. • What makes a great picture? - The ingredients of a great shot add up to an image that pleases you, the photographer. The idea is not to please someone else, but to make an image that you like. There is no right or wrong here. Success comes at the
moment in the creative process when you get that gut feeling, the visceral recognition when the image falls into what is yours.
William Kennedy USA • Why photography?
• What makes a great picture?
- I had an innate desire to create and record BEAUTY. That urge and a graphic designer’s eye sent me hurtling into a life of ART. I originally dreamed of becoming a worldrenowned painter. Fresh out of art school and after searching for weeks for a studio, I found a beautiful, cavernous, artist’s loft on 23rd Street in New York City.After painting on canvases to the point of exhaustion and eating hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I realized I was going to starve to death in my fantasy loft. To survive, I needed a job.I met Clifford Coffin at a New York City cocktail party. He was a top Vogue, staff photographer. He asked me if I would join him as his assistant. The year I spent working with him changed my artistic vision and life. I gave up my goal of becoming a painter to become a photographer. I was undertaking assignments for major advertising agencies which afforded me the opportunity to travel throughout the world, and photograph an assortment of very beautiful and very ordinary people.
- GREAT BEAUTY, EMOTIONAL TURMOIL, VIVID COLOR, MONOCHROMATIC COLOR WITH A SPLASH OF BRILLIANT SATURATED COLOR, INCONGRUOUS ELEMENTS TOGETHER, TRIANGULATION OF SHAPES, LOLLIPOP SHAPES, BLUR, HEAVY GRAIN, DIFFUSION, TRUTH AND OVERSIZED IMAGES (6 FEET X 8 FEET MINIMUM), GREAT SADNESS OR GREAT HAPPINESS.
• Define your vision? - I have a desire to create images that become immortal, timeless, and unforgettable. Creativity is a narcotic. There is a huge void in my life if I am not shooting and totally involved in the creative process.
Ryszard Horowitz USA â€˘ Why photography?
space, as if suspended in time.
- I have been taking photographs ever since I was a teenager. I have always liked photography, and quite early in life I came to the conclusion that it was the best medium in which I could express myself . I was not getting enough satisfaction just preserving what was in front of me, I was much more interested in making pictures rather than taking them. My background in fine arts, including painting, drawing and art history helped me to look for inspiration from the great masters, and discover from them everything I wanted to learn about composition and lighting. Interestingly, the work I did in the years before computers were invented is now often assumed to have been digitally assembled. Now, with the advent of the computer, anything which comes from my imagination or from my unconscious can be communicated through the digital media.
â€˘ What makes a great picture?
â€˘ Define your vision? - Photocomposing is the best way to describe what I do. It is in effect very similar to a music composer who gathers unrelated sounds into coherent harmony to create a lucid piece. I assemble my seemingly unrelated images, taken at different times in distant parts of the world, and create seamless compositions where all the elements appear to be in the same
- Whether it is an instant of life captured on film or a photocomposition, an image must not be boring; it must tell a story and touch the viewer.
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders USA • Why photography? - Originally, I studied to be a filmmaker at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. But film was too collaborative. Portrait photography was something I could do on my own. The portraits were my art, not the efforts of a group of people. I liked that concept. • Define your vision? - I am interested in people, their achievements, their talent, their energy, their confidence. I still enjoy meeting new people, to find outstanding qualities in them and then transfer that into my portraits. • What makes a great picture? - Simplicity. For me, it’s always about the face, I keep the focus on the eyes. A little expression says a lot.
Joel Meyerowitz USA
Andy Katz USA • Why photography? - There was never a choice. Ever since the age of eleven, I knew I was going to become a photographer. In school I never studied english or math because I knew I was going to become a photographer. I can’t speak or add, but I can take a picture. • Define your vision? My vision has changed and hopefully will keep changing over the years to come. I have produced portfolios that range from vanishing Jews to Nudes. It keeps things exciting and is one of the reasons I love photography so much. At the moment I am trying to produce images that are visually exciting and pretty. In the past I was not interested in pretty pictures, To me it’s like a puzzle- if the pieces work together that’s when I take my photo. • What makes a great picture? - Light/ Composition/ Emotion
Vincent Versace USA • Why photography? - Two events happened in my life when I was a child that have defined my life as a photographer. Both happened when I was five years old and they both happened within days of each other, and to be honest I’m not really sure which one of them happened first. The first event: my uncle took me into his darkroom and we put a 2 _ negative in the enlarger. I watched him do the dodge and burn dance, then we placed the paper in the developer and I watched as the image materialized in front of memagic. I got a whiff of fixer and I was hooked. The second event: my father took me to see Marcel Marceau at Carnegie Hall. At the end of the performance my father lost me. I was so caught by the performance that I had walked back stage. I yanked on “Bip”’s leg and started pantomiming tug of rope and Bip tugged back. (We don’t need to talk about my very Italian father’s reaction when he finally found me…) In this short space of time, I learned what magic was. • Define your vision? - I tell the truth and see the beauty. I want for all of my images to capture the motion of time with stillness. I don’t want my presence to be felt in my pictures, I want the viewer to experience the moment as if they were there when I shot the shot, to feel same emotional hit that caused
my finger to “spasm” and fire the shutter. My reason for shooting an image is simple. If it looks cool I take a picture of it. • What makes a great picture? - Viola Spolin said “In absolute spontaneity to you get absolute truth. You can only be one way when you are spontaneous, and that’s truthful.” This the the first criteria for a great shot. Moments happen, they don’t re-happen. Shoot the moment as it moves you. A still photograph is called a still photograph because the picture doesn’t move. Not because the objects in the picture are not in motion. The mission, should you decide to accept it, is to capture motion with stillness. Second, it’s not the subject that you are photographing, it’s the light. Images that treat light as if it were as solid a thing as the subject tend to be the ones I find most compelling. Third, the ones that cause shape to become the unwitting ally of color, those are the ones that really blow up my skirt.
Patrick Demarchelier USA • Why photography? - By chance, someone gave me a bellows camera, and I liked it. • Define your vision? - I love nature, animals, landscapes, people and women, and so I photograph them. • What makes a great picture? - For me it is to capture the moment, even a snapshot can be exceptional, but there are also its graphic qualities.
Gilles Larrain USA • Why photography? - I am not a photographer, I am an artist who uses photography to express myself. • Define your vision? - “Photography is a way of asking questions and finding answers” • What makes a great picture? - A good photo is a good photo and you know it when you see it. Your instinct and intuition will tell you.
Joyce Tenneson USA • Why photography? - I am a photographer because I love working with people, I love to delve below the surface façade that we all present to the world and find something unique and hidden about my subjects • Define your vision? - Critics say my style is a complicated blend of sensuality and spirituality. In order to do my best work I try to quiet myself and empty myself of worldly preoccupations. Then I can become a channel to mediate between my world and the world of my subjects. • What makes a great picture? - Unforgettable images always have an element of surprise and mystery that makes the viewer take notice and want to stare at it over and over again.
Douglas Menuez USA • Why photography? -When I was ten, I studied art books of Picasso and Matisse and dreamed of being a painter. Then my dad gave me an old rangefinder and TriX. I was hooked on photography, instantly. At 12, I built a darkroom and roamed the streets of NY trying to be Cartier Bresson. I was hooked hard. I also went through a period of being in love with music, playing in a blues band. But I needed to be shooting all the time. Ultimately I decided that photography was my primary love. I went to art school and that was it. I never really thought I would do anything else. • Define your vision? - My work is a continuous search for the moments of intimacy and emotion that reveal facets of our human experience. I guess I’m trying to figure out my own place in the world, and find meaning by documenting other’s lives. My search is framed by an awareness that life is a mix of the absurd and the divine. I love these extremes but am also drawn to the gradations between them where most of life is lived. With luck, I make photographs that capture some true thing that resonates with the viewer and reveals the experience of my subject. When I am shooting I sometimes go into a state of mind that is like a trance state. I feel my senses are more finely tuned, as I get older I am
beginning to believe there is some higher power working through me. I get into a zone where time slows down; pictures happen in front of me when I am ready to capture them, as if someone had reached down to tap me on the head and say shoot now! It’s beyond training, experience or logic. It all just flows and every picture is a gift. • What makes a great picture? - I can’t define what should be in a great shot, I can only react to a photograph and tell you if I think it’s great. With my own work, probably like most people who spend their lives seeing and shooting, I know right away in my gut if it works. The danger is always that when you are too close to the experience of making a picture, it can sometimes make you more forgiving. But you have to be absolutely ruthless in editing. If it works it works and no excuse- if it doesn’t, it’s out.
Jill Freedman USA • Why photography? - I remember the day I woke up and wanted a camera. As soon as I held it in my hands it felt good. I never had the sense of holding a machine. I read the instructions, went out into the street, shot two rolls, and was astonished with the results. It were as though I had been taking pictures for years, but in my head, without a camera. “That’s it,” I said. “I’m a photographer.” What a relief. At last! Something I wanted to do. I set about teaching myself, learning my craft. Those early years were fired with a passion and intensity I had never felt before. I was obsessed and driven. I thought about photography all of the time, I dreamed about it, I was totally in love. When I finally made my first print, I was hooked for good. It was the first time that I ever finished something I started. My father used to say, “You blow hot and cold.” But it was magic, watching it come up in the developer. Photography is magic. You can stop time itself. Catch slivers of moments to savor and share time and again. Tell beautiful silver stories, one photo alone, or many playing together to form a book. A photograph is a sharing, it says “Hey, look at this!”, it’s a miracle, is what it is. And when you’re going good and you get a new picture you love, there’s nothing better. That’s the joy of photography, and the fun.
Elliott Erwitt USA • Why photography? - With all due respect I would much rather not answer your query. I would sound like a broken record. - Let me just say that I like taking pictures and that is why I do it.
Lucien Clergue FRANCE • Why photography? - I became a photographer because I could not continue my study of the violin, and I had the use the Rolleiflex camera belonging to the local newspaper which opened certain doors for me. There was also a local photographer who specialized in photos of bull fights and I wanted to be like him. • Define your vision? - My photographic universe is based on sand: it is on the sand of the beach that Venus Aphrodite was born; it is on the sand of the arena that the bull dies; it is on the sand of beaches worldwide that I’ve followed the biological evolution of the Earth. In general, I choose the moment when I will photograph following the rhythm of the seasons here in Provence. • What makes a great picture? - Anyone can make an photo. There is no set important to have a line, it, follow it and build a body
exceptional rule- it is to hold to of work.
Bernard Matussière FRANCE • Why photography? - I “decided” to be a photographer when I was quite young, just after I realized that I would never be a draftsman. My mother brought me every Thursday, a day without school, to the newspaper where she worked. By chance, I discovered the photo laboratory. There, I would pass many thursdays to watch dazzled (at least the first few times) as the pictures would appear in mysterious liquids underneath the red light. It was magical and has remained that way somewhat. • Define your vision? -I love black and white, fabricated light, natural light, I love people, women also, and I love photography. • What makes a great picture? - Even 30 years after my first images, I have not found any magic formula, the secret that makes a good photo because fortunately it doesn’t exist. There is cropping, lighting, chance, good subjects, that all can be there in unity, and still it will not work every time...
Willy Ronis FRANCE • Why photography? - I became a photographer by chance. I wanted to be a music composer, that was my passion. My father was a studio photographer but that kind of photography didn’t interest me. However in 1932, on my return from military service, my father was sick and could no longer work. It was during the period of economic crisis, so I replaced my father for a period of four years. Upon the decease of my father, I abandoned the studio to creditors, having nonetheless discovered there was a kind of photo that interested me. • Define your vision? - I am first and foremost interested in humanist photography. I want to photograph people immersed in their life, ordinary people, people like you and me. • What makes a great picture? - A great shot has is a perfect balance between form and content.
Philippe Salaun FRANCE • Why photography? - I felt the desire to become a photographer when, by chance , I happened upon an exhibition of photographs at the Town Hall of Nance in 1967- in the space of a few minutes I realized all that a photograph could express. • Define your vision? - A few years ago I wrote: “I am not sure what purpose my photographs serve, but I feel like doing them anyway”. I am still at this point. • What makes a great picture? - I do not think I have created any “exceptional” photos, and I don’t know the recipe. I am satisfied to have created some “good” photos.
Sophie Bassouls FRANCE • Why photography? - Of all the senses, the eye is the one that gives me, always, without diminishing, the most pleasure (light, movement, beauty, ugliness, human beings, cities etc). Work and pleasure remain linked. There was nothing deliberate at first. Photography was a private inclination that, almost without me being aware of it , would become definitive. One in a series of happy accidents, a beautiful Foca camera was offered to me. Also, Pierre Jean Jouve, the great French poet, was to be photographed for the newspaper I worked for, and he insisted on being photographed by a woman; Jean Chalon, the person who was to conduct the interview (for a book collection on writers), a friend of mine, preferred to be accompanied by me rather than the official photographer assigned by the publisher. • Define your vision? - My photographic vision seems to proceed from a long subtraction. It eliminates noise, then the perfume, then the colour, and finally the movement. What remains must nevertheless contain it all. A very strong suggestion. Professional photography imposes itself, is submitted to the requirements of the user. The personal photo often responds to the acute awareness of the moment that will never come back. Photography and
the flight of time. An old story, and a captivating one. • What makes a great picture? - An exceptional photograph is positioned precisely between the known and the unknown of the world.
Sabine Weiss FRANCE • Why photography? - When we are young, we wonder what kind of work we will do later on. As for me, this kind of thought never crossed my mind. Just before I turned 18 however, I began to realize I would need a profession. I thought of what I enjoyed doing the most, and told myself I would become a photographer. Since childhood, I had been doing a little bit of photography, it gave me pleasure to look, to observe things. I had purchased a small camera, and probably had already, without myself knowing, become aware of its magical quality, the power to stop things in an instanthuman beings, moments, lights, time- an eternal witness captured forever by this little camera. Also, because we must be able to save everything that escapes us...to record our collective memory, and we have only to open our eyes... • Define your vision? - In my photos, what is important are the emotions that emanate from the people I encounter. There are no real ingredients, that would be too simplistic...what moves me, what makes me vibrate, what shocks me sometimes, engages or seduces me, could be simply a look, a light, a complicity, or an interrogation. But always, the desire to capture human reality and translate it through my lens, recording at times joy and laughter, at other times misery and loneliness.
The alchemy that occurs between the photographer and the moment is the fruit of chance- an encounter , an emotion... • What makes a great picture? - There are no exceptional photos, but rather exceptional people, living out their experiences, their unique history, their identity, their soul.
Yann Arthus Bertrand FRANCE • Why photography? - I started taking pictures in Kenya. I went there with my wife to do a scientific study on lions. Once the work had begun, I understood rapidly that the image could offer information that was other than the text, that they were complementary. This is why, since that period, my pictures are always inseparable from the text that accompanies them. • Define your vision? - I do not have a photographic vision. I only have one vision; it is the vision of each moment in my life. I believe my desire to take a picture is the desire to continue doing what I enjoy. • What makes a great picture? - I do not think we can talk about ingredients for a photo; simply putit must carry an emotion.
Marc Garanger FRANCE • Why photography? - I became a half a century great difficulty with words. I very natural for with my eye.
photographer ago, because to express stuttered. So, me to express
almost I had myself it was myself
• Define your vision? - When I take a photo, I only yield to an irrepressible desire that pushes me. • What makes a great picture? - An exceptional photograph? A picture that has been done with both the eye and the heart; in any case, it is the viewer who decides.
Jane Evelyn Atwood FRANCE • Why photography?
• What makes a great picture?
- Photography is the best vehicle for me to express what I ‘m seeing and experiencing. Writing is also important, but photography allows me to show what people look like, their environment , and how they belong to those environments. I “became” a photographer only because once I started making photos, people started calling me a photographer. Even after I published my first book on French prostitutes and won the W. Eugene Smith Award I wasn’t sure that I was a “real” photographer. I was afraid that the Smith Foundation might have made a mistake! But I kept doing photos, because I kept needing to –and so I “became” a photographer. I guess I would say that making pictures made me become a photographer. Nothing caused me to “choose” photography. Photography chose me. But the photos I saw at the very beginning, the ones that stayed in my head when I had no other reference in photography, were the images of Diane Arbus.
- Photography isn’t academic, there’s no magic method to produce a great picture. Exceptional pictures come from exceptionally creative minds, an exceptional eye, and the freedom to be able to work.
• Define your vision? - My images are “real”, not set up. Many things can make me want to make a photo – a special light, an incredible event, something beautiful or something ugly, something shocking or unacceptable, something extraordinary or something ordinary.
Martin Parr UK
Peter Marlow UK • Why photography? - When I left university in 1974 it was a very ideological period and I had the feeling that I could change the world. Photography for me was going to be the tool to accomplish this ideal, to show all the injustices around us and thereby instigate change. I soon realized that the world was a little more complicated than this. • Define your vision? - In a word, curiosity- photography has always given me a reason to discover the unexpected, to be somewhere and satisfy my natural instinct to explore. • What makes a great picture? - A great photograph goes beyond the obvious, it surprises or extends our knowledge of the world in an unexpected way, and often has no need of a caption or explanation.
Harry Gruyaert UK
Ken Damy ITALY • Why photography? - I became a photographer because of the expressive potential of the medium. From painting, which is by nature slow in time, I transitioned into photography because of its velocity. Photography for me has become a pictorial and artistic means of expression. • Define your vision? - My vision as a photographer is expansive. I undertake photography projects during my travels, in the studio I produce photographs from nudes and still lives, I also produce thematic installations that are quite different from each other. If I could give one definition of my work, it is the search for form that can potentially become content - a response to stimulation from the exterior world, literature, the experience of seeing a film, the emotion derived from a moment of my life. • What makes a great picture? - Form and content.
Lorenzo Merlo ITALY • Why photography? - Photography is the only artistic medium where I can express myself emotionally. Emotion, according to my way of thinking, is a kind of feeling that exists within a fraction of a second. The click of the shutter records a fraction of time- inherent in the beauty of the photograph, as stated by Henri Cartier Bresson, is this possibility to capture a “decisive moment”. I had been a mechanical engineer, who from the age of 50 and on for many years, would frequent the world of “fotoamaton”. I intuitively sensed that photography could be the incentive that would drive me to abandon a world that was extremely demanding and lacking in creativity, towards a future where I could express myself creatively. In the 1960s, during my travels in the USA, I learned that one could study photography in University. I returned as a student and received a degree in photography. This allowed me to abandon my work, which I did not love. The desire to take a photograph allows me to create important images. The process drives me, allows the possibility to communicate with people in various ways, and simultaneously to capture their reactions and gestures.
William Ropp FRANCE • Why photography? - I’ve always dwelled in the realm of images, first with literature when I was a child, and then when I was a teen-ager at the age of 15, I started theatre, an art which among other things, consists of creating fleeting images without anchor, and yet which persist in memory. At the age of 30, perhaps frustrated by the ephemeral character of that medium, I gravitated towards photography. At the moment I am preparing a short film, which for me is a kind of reunification of both arts while staying close to my photographic preoccupations, entitled “Photogenic Dream”. The story recounts the somewhat delirious pilgrimage of a young man, whose goal is to photograph his dreams. • Define your vision? - To define my own photographic vision is something I generally leave to others, but since you ask, I would say that the shadow aspect of the human being fascinates me. Emerging my models from darkness during the shoot facilitates the introspection that I think any human being feels (with the possible exception of professional models whose job is to know how to trick the camera with appearances) when a camera is pointed at him. They panic suddenly, not knowing with which sauce, digital or analogue, he is going to be
eaten. Darkness forms a protective cocoon around which the most secret things come lightly to the surface of the face. Must there be something to express...? Here I will answer the second part of the question: What motivates me in choosing a model -far from any aesthetic preoccupations- is when I can sense the quality of the interior life in the individual. • What makes a great picture? - You ask about ingredients, I answer that there are no recipes, simply a certain number of elements, that once united, could increase the probability to obtain an exceptional image. Even then, nothing is guaranteed. How many times have I found myself cursing, when all the elements seemed present, and yet the miracle did not happen. Without the guest we are wishing for, there is no hope. Call it fortune, chance whatever you want. As in the home of rural families, there must be an extra plate at the table for the stranger who might show up; room must be left for chance. Some, through fear or too much professionalism, will enclose themself in a hermetic system where technical strength can deprive itself of marvelous surprise, which in my eyes constitutes the essence of creation.
Philippe Pache SWITZERLAND • Why photography? - Even as a child before I could take photos, I was always sensitive to images. A beautiful image makes me happy. I discovered photography during an optional course in college. Above all else was the black and white darkroom work. The magic of the image that appears in the darkroom was the ‘revelation’ (a little play on words...). Two years later, I decided to turn it into a career. I applied to the photography school of Vevey, and fortunately I was accepted. But I had no idea what it really was, the job of a photographer, I only knew it was the only thing I wanted to do in my life. • Define your vision? - I am not well placed to define my own personal vision. Let us say that I enjoy photographing what I like and the people I like. Lartigue gave a magnificent definition of his photography that could be my own: I do photography to appease the suffering that comes from being in a constant state of wonder.” It is always this emotion that pushes me or gives me the desire to take a photo. It is the emotion in a face that makes me feel the need to keep a trace, not the beauty of its features. The emotion that it gives me, fills me. Faces are my “spiritual food”. It is mystery par excellence. The beauty of the world reflects itself above all in certain faces for me. A timeless beauty. Again I would quote a phrase, to which
I subscribe totally and profoundly, from Antonin Artaud: “I tried to make the face express the secret of an old human story”. • What makes a great picture? - I don’t like the idea of an exceptional photo very much, it suggests a great accomplishment. I prefer simple images that are deeply moving. Of course we can talk about beautiful composition, beautiful lighting, beautiful expression in a portrait, but that isn’t enough. Essentially, more than these elements of quality, for me the best definition of a good photograph would simply be that it expresses something that cannot be described, but that can be felt over and above the criteria of quality. A good image is one that keeps our attention: “something is happening...”, it means very little and it means everything. This definition encompasses all genres, be it a landscape, a still-life, a photojournalistic image, a nude, a portrait, a staged image...in the images that touch us something is happening beyond the subject. If there is no emotion that goes beyond the subject, it is only a snapshot of a section of reality. An image without magic.
Jean Janssis BELGIUM • Why photography? - I’ve always been interested in artistic expression, as a child I loved doing theatre; as an adolescent I wrote a lot. When I became a french teacher at the Beaux Arts institute of Liège in 1975, the students gave me, without them knowing, a taste for photography. Today, photography for me is a bit like having a third eye, an optic through which to envision the world, the image that I can make of it, and as well, the images of others. Photography, in spite of (or because of) its realism has the magic power to make me dream, and also to make me reflect as an individual and citizen. In fact, I did not become a photographer, I think it is that I adapted, bended this means of expression to fit who or what I am, to my vision of things. It is rather like photography came to me. • Define your vision? - I need to take photos like one needs to eat, sleep, and breathe. But that is not always true! It is a mix of desire, passion, and suffering. It can enthrall me or exhaust me. Above all it is a commitment. • What makes a great picture? - More important than aesthetic beauty, the ideal photograph should have meaning, universal meaning, a mirror held up for for humanity that helps us grow in our understanding
of who we are. For me, art has the same function as science: to go forward, and discover. To create.
Barbara Jakse SLOVAKIA • Why photography? - Photography is enigmatic. It combines reality with subjective perception. It enables the depiction of the inner world through the outer. Behind the camera, a photographer can be a creator of his/her own life...and the first look through the viewfinder was so tremendously enchanting... • Define your vision? - First of all, if it had been possible, it would have been great to take images through all moments of life, regardless of light, composition, colours ... the differences, changes and shifts are so extraordinary, marvelous . • What makes a great picture? - It’s the shift. When something happens inside of imagination, when the picture succeeds to accelerate the heart beat. And how to describe a good picture? With many, many words ... Dostojevski, Balzac have done this. A combination of emotions, feelings- an understanding of reality provides great works.
Stane Jersik SLOVAKIA ( Barbara Jakseâ€™s partner )
Mirko Lovric SERBIA • Why photography? - In my youth, I wished to become an artist and so I joined the applied art school. In deciding between architecture and photography I immediately chose photography because, in my opinion, it is the most innovative artistic expression born during the industrial revolution. During my studies, I learned the secrets of the classical processes of photography, according to the Bauhaus concepts, and afterwards, I enriched this knowledge through the study of art history and aesthetics. • Define your vision? - I cannot define my own photographic vision with precision. It is both the result of my education and my artistic experience. The plastic sensations of my environment, in nature and in my studio, produce impulses which push me to capture a given motif. In the same way, the taste for work, research into the plastic possibilities of photographic media (the fundamental elements: light, natural objects and photographic paper) awaken the desire to create new work and drive me to do photogrammes. Like my precursors, I work in this domain without a camera. • What makes a great picture? - An exceptional photograph is neither a fixed motif taken in concrete
reality, nor the mummification of an important historical event. It has its own universe. Such a photograph is a work of art in itself, and it opens many avenues for multiple interpretations.
Yvette Troispoux FRANCE
Jean-Marie Del Moral FRANCE • Why photography? - Because I like literature, painting and cinema. To not overcome my timidity. • Define your vision? - A vision slightly off, from the margins, especially off from the great loud events of the world. A play of light , an unusual attitude of a person, an atypical object, a banal landscape, or simply the fact of having taken my camera out of the bag, makes me want to take a photograph. • What makes a great picture? - The silence it imposes.
Kimiko Yoshida FRANCE • Why photography? - I was a fashion designer for ten years. I had my fill of being obliged to respond to the constraints of market demands and the management of a large business. I simply wanted to change jobs and be able to create alone- I wanted to create without having to manage a whole team. • Define your vision? - My desire to make an image answers a desire to create an infinity, a figure of infinity in time. I want to show the unshown that is in what we are given to see, I want to show the unrepresentable at the heart of representation itself. • What makes a great picture? - There is no “ingredient” to exceptional. Exceptional is not expected, it is not calculable, not likeable. However it is to reach the exceptional that I make art. I make art precisely to transform horror, or the impossible to endure- to transform the symptom into the exceptional, into illumination.
Eikoh Hosoe JAPAN • Why photography? - Photography is the only medium where I can express myself. If I wrote well, I could be a writer. If I could paint, I might be a painter. It is the reason I became a photographer. Photography is mysterious because it is a medium that can express subjectively and objectively simultaneously. No other media has such characteristics. • Define your vision? - My style of photography is: theatrical; subjective documentary; poetic. The more I pursue photography the deeper it goes. It is a lifetime of study. I am absolutely fascinated by photography. However, it is illnatured. Just when I think I have captured it, I find I have not. It is like playing hide-and-seek. Maybe I am simply enjoying the play itself. • What makes a great picture? - It is when you feel your truth and the truth of your subject is in accord. You might think it is a great shot, but then not all would agree. Time decides whether it is a great shot or not.
Irina Ionesco FRANCE • Why photography? - When I was young I was a trapeze artist in the circus. An injury forced me find a new direction and I became a painter. One evening, on my birthday, I was in a restaurant when a photographer, a tourist traveling in France, was offering his equipment for sale in order to buy a plane ticket to return home. A friend, the painter Corneille, was there at another table. He bought a camera and offered it to me as a gift, saying I should give up painting, that I had no talent as a painter but perhaps photography would be a better medium for me. I didn’t touch the camera for a long time. One day I met an autistic girl. She was beautiful but withdrawn and seemed to need a mirror as proof of her existence. I became seized with the desire to photograph her, believing that if I could give her a beautiful image of herself, she would no longer need her mirror. That is how I began taking pictures. • Define your vision? - The dazzlement that often privides me the sight of a face. • What makes a great picture? - DESIRE
Richard Baltauss FRANCE • Why photography? - The vision, the light, images have always been my means of expression. I met my first camera at the age of 13. I was immediately seduced and attracted by its aspect of being technical and magical at the same time: to master space, time, light, to structure the world that asserts itself in my frame. • Define your vision? - As a portraitist, what motivates me is to create the necessary conditions to capture the unexpected, the unpredictable; for the emotion to reveal itself, be captured and integrated into the work. • What makes a great picture? - There are no ingredients for an exceptional photo, it is simply the encounter between a subject and its reader, the questions it provokes, and the answers it gives.
Paul Tourenne FRANCE • Why photography? - Why photography? Because of fascination, curiosity for the image. Why does one become a photographer? Because of passion. In the beginning, photography was the technical means available to me in order to capture and, for the most part, to faithfully preserve the charged visual impressions within an image, most particularly that of emotion. • Define your vision? - I have the pure and profound vision of the amateur; the thirst to ‘freeze for eternity something that will never happen again” as Henri Cartier-Bresson says. I take pictures through curiousity, the wonder that comes from diverse situations, unexpected events, multiple subjects: a face, architecture, any kind of happening, a quality of light, a landscape, a humourous situation,etc. All that composes the diversity of the universe of everyday life. • What makes a great picture? - What contributes to creating a great shot? The subject, the light, the equilibrium, the unexpected, and most of all the technical mastery of the photographer without forgetting...chance.
Janine Niepce FRANCE • Why photography? - Since my youth I have been drawn towards the visual arts. I completed a degree in art history. At that time, I did some photos of monuments for a professor who advised me to become a photographer. But my happiness comes from catching people in action- this corresponds to my character. Stendhal wrote: ‘True happiness is when your passion is your profession.” Henri-Cartier Bresson told me that if I was to be interested in the events of society I ought to document myself as a journalist. • Define your vision? - Because it makes me happy. I can’t live without making photos, I am very curious, I like to keep a memory of what interests me. I disappear behind the subject, for me photos arise out of an emotion. Thematically my subjects deal with: women, the French, and rural people (when I am not out of the country). • What makes a great picture? - The emotion, the light, and the graphic qualities.
Jean-Claude Gautrand FRANCE • Why photography? - I began very young with my first camera, small, made of bakelite- a gift. I made banal “memento snapshots”. I was passionate for painting, and educated myself in art history at the Louvre Museum. Inspired, I made my first attempts at pastel and painting but rapidly realized it was not my true calling. I returned to my small camera, empty of ambition or passion, until the day a friend gave me a demonstration of image processing in the darkroom. The magic worked like a virus. From that day onwards, I photographed with avidity while remaining an amateur in the strict sense of the word- it was only much later that I realized the true potential of the photographic language thanks essentially to a few of the books available at the time. • Define your vision? - Among the books that played an essential role for me in developing my own photographic vision were two works by Dr Otto Steinert entitled ‘Subjektive fotographie’. They had the effect of an atom bomb on the sleepy photographic world of the sixties. I was discovering all that contributed to the strength, the originality of the medium available to one’s vision, the creative role of a photograph, stripped of all constraint. Beyond simple representation, it was clear that the object could be neglected to the benefit
of imaginative vision, photography could borrow from reality to more effectively escape it. Paradoxically, it was Edward Weston who allowed me to not wallow in an excess of originality, to lean toward the world of form, built with matter and light. I would work in two parallel but complimentary directions: one of form and expressive graphism, and one of great respect for objects or landscape, captured with a maxium of rigor and passionate pantheism. • What makes a great picture? - To take a photograph is an exceptional moment that takes into account a large number of parameters: the encounter, the discovery, the communion with the subject. Personally, I often work in series, an obsessive process of taking inventory that begins with intense observation followed by continuous movements around the object or the location in question. Each thematic series is an enterprise in seduction, possession, and comprehension. When complicity is total with the subject, when there is a perceived echo of complicity from within it, the charm settles in, and we can understand the meaning of its message, pierce its mystery. This is that chance moment in the meeting of all those diverse elements, that creates an exceptional photograph.
Guy Le Querec FRANCE
Marc Riboud FRANCE • Why photography? - I became a photographer because I didn’t know how to talk, and so I looked. Because I didn’t know how to do anything else, and I found it more and more enjoyable to look. • Define your vision? - Like the musician hums, I photograph. Photography is a breath. A visual surprise, a glimpse, a spark like lightening that suddenly illuminates the crest on the horizon, but lasts only the time of the flash. Never again will we find the same sight, the same landscape, the same streetscene. • What makes a great picture? - If it carries an emotion that is already good and if the photographer has a good eye it is even better.
René Burri FRANCE
François Brunelle CANADA • Why photography? - I believe that I became a photographer upon seeing the nudes of André de Dienes, being young, and then the book of Richard Avedon in 1984. It seemed so exciting that one could create such strong images. • Define your vision? - I like sculpture, and I think that my images are static because of that. I like immobility, calm and passivity in spite of the fact that I am hyperactive. • What makes a great picture? - What is most important is to sense authenticity, truth saturated with beauty.
Paul Labelle CANADA • Why photography? - It was chance. I wanted to put some animation in my life. My life finally had a meaning through this medium, and I felt useful. • Define your vision? - This medium had great sensitivity, it preserves or transforms the many realities of our humanity. The beauty of what we are, its incredible attractiveness, its integrity when it captures the interiority of our beings. • What makes a great picture? - Simplicity and its capacity to preserve this trace of life that our humanity possess.
Michel Dubreuil CANADA • Why photography? I never chose to be a photographer, I simply started borrowing my father’s camera to take pictures. I was 16 years old; ever since, I have never stopped doing photography, it has become my profession and remains my means of expression. • Define your vision? Attraction, intuition, atmosphere, to document, to attempt, softness and contrast, discovery, mix of colours, abstractions, observation, enchantment, the unusual- all these words point to my vision and my desire to take a photo. • What makes a great picture? An exceptional shot contains a wellbalanced composition and captures an intuitive personal truth
Francine Gagnon CANADA • Why photography? - The first time I looked through the view finder was a deeply unsettling experience. I was 20 years old and searching for my career path. This love at first sight with photography was to change all my plans. • Define your vision? - Through my images, I speak of very personal subjects that are dear to me. Photography allows me to clarify them, to communicate and share with others. When I exhibit my photos, I have access to a public forum. My voice radiates farther than in my ordinary life, it is heard by a larger number of people. That is why I choose my subjects with care. Photography is a part of me. I cannot not conceive of my life without it. In fact, it is the part that is the most sacred. I create photos out of the need to seize the essential and to communicate it. • What makes a great picture? - What makes a great shot? First and foremost emotion. The image must touch, connect, dazzle, disturb, inspire, intrigue, and surprise the people who look at it. It must ignite an interior dialogue with the spectator. Next in importance come the choices of composition, the context and the intention in how the image is presented.
André Cornellier CANADA • Why photography? • What makes a great picture? - My father was working for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He borrowed a 16mm projector and kept it at our house for a year or two. He would bring films home in the evening or on the weekend. I was the designated projectionist for my brothers and sisters. I saw many films. I became the projectionist at the Dauphin Cinema. All of this made me want to make my own films. In high-school I made 3 or 4 movies with an 8mm camera. During Expo 1967, the youth pavilion organized a short film contest. My film was chosen to be part of the official selection and was shown there. When I saw it alongside the 80 other films from all over the world, I had to realize that my images were really very bad. My cousin had a pentax 35mm camera which he wanted to sell, and I purchased it for 25$, thinking that if I took photos I would learn to frame my images better. I never did return to film- I suppose I still have not finished learning. • Define your vision? - The world, the artists, the travels. Photography is a way to talk about the world, to tell its history; to meet people I would not have known otherwise, and to travel to places where I would have never gone. To know ordinary and extraordinary people from other cultures, to meet other artists and creators.
- A photo must do more than show, explain or be beautiful! It is the point of view of the artist (who transcribes in his own style) that will make the photograph exceptional or not. The stronger the point of view, the more the sensitivity of the artist will be present, and the more captivating the photograph. If the artist puts his heart, the work will have a soul. The rest is unexplainable: an inspiration, some availability, a subject, a location, a lighting...
Carl Valiquet CANADA • Why photography? • What makes a great picture? - It is difficult to say precisely, but I believe that I became a photographer following a series of revelations. First revelation: my father, who was taking pictures as a hobby, gave me his kodak 620 Kodamatic. I was about 9 years old. I began taking pictures of my friend Richard. Then his sisters Lise and Yolande posed for me, and then- I understood the powerful attraction of a camera. In 1966, I was a student studying mathematics at the University of Montreal . I couldn’t understand anything. One saturday morning, a girlfriend invited me to join her in a church basement where an amateur photo club had set up a darkroom. I watched as an image started to slowly appear on the paper floating in Dektol, and that was the second revelation. I was conquered. The following year the film Blow-Up by Antonioni came out on the movie screens: the third and final revelation. The conquest was complete- I quit University. • Define your vision? - Without a human presence in front of my lens, I hesitate to take the picture. Photography for me is a kind of universal key. A key to enter into contact with humans. I do not have a photographic vision per se. What I have is a need to know the world, to enter into connection with people, and that is what my camera allows me to do.
- The lighting and cropping are important of course, but the emotion that comes out of a photograph is what makes it exceptional or banal. I believe a good photo is a photo that allows different interpretations according to the viewer. Everyone will feel an emotion that is his or her own.
Jean François Bérubé CANADA • Why photography? - I arrived at photography after dabbling for a while with comic strips. Although I lacked the required qualities of the true cartoonist, I was still attracted by the universal communication of these kinds of images, and I understood that photography could play the same role. Whatever the country, whatever the language spoken, a photograph, just as well as a comic strip image, can be decoded, understood. • Define your vision? - I discovered the true power of light. To catch its momentary and fleeting trace still fascinates me. Whichever camera, format or technology- each time it is a surprise, a revelation. • What makes a great picture? - For me, an exceptional photograph stands the test of time. It might seem like it is coming from another era, but it will always seem actual. It is and will always stay, pleasing to the eye.
Ron Levine CANADA • Why photography? - The medium was immediate. Being young, instant gratification was important to me at the time. However, as I continued shooting, spending more and more hours in the darkroom and behind the camera, I realized that I was truly enamoured to see my ideas and vision reflected in the images I was producing. • Define your vision? - Since I usually photograph people... real people in real situations... I find that I am fascinated by people’s lives: in prison, on the backroads of one country or another, the struggle people face to survive. The expression on one person’s face, the location, the story behind the person... all these are ingredients that enrich an image and add up to make a great photograph. • What makes a great picture? - Location, location, location... and a relatively comfortable subject
Roger Lemoyne CANADA • Why photography?
• Which is your favorite shot?
- I became a photographer because I am curious and visual by nature. I have always made drawings, and I have never liked to stay in one place for very long, or to know what will happen next- it would bore me. So, it was almost a foregone conclusion. To see it all, and live it all. I was in Australia looking for work in cinema, my field of study, but I couldn’t find anything. Someone told me about a photographer who needed an assistant. I got the job. Since then, I make my living with photography.
- I don’t have one single picture that I like more than all the others. Anyway, I do not look back much on my previous work. Yes there are images that stand out more than others but that can be for different reasons.
• Define your vision? - I photograph people at critical moments of their lives. The important thing is that it be true, that the photographed moment has a certain transparency which gives us insight into what is happening in the subject’s mind. At the same time there must be a certain graphic structure. I cannot do pictures only for the informational aspect. What motivates me the most is injustice. How can we accept the injustice of the world and just say nothing? • What makes a great picture? - The emotion that is caught, above all, but there is always an X factor as in all arts. Ansel Adams said that if there were compositional rules, he didn’t know them.
Heidi Hollinger CANADA • Why photography? - My parents bought me a CANON AE-1 when I was 12 years old. I used to practically live at the 1-hour photo shop down the street. I could never wait to see my photographs . Photography is a link between past and present. It is the only way to do the impossible: to make time stand still. • Define your vision? - I am constantly striving to break stereotypes. And to evoke a soulful portrait. I made it my mission during my 10-year residence in Moscow during the 1990’s. Russia was and still is terribly misunderstood. • What makes a great picture? - When all elements are aligned in your mind and a reality is revealed. And definitely great light.
Denis Gendron CANADA
Michel Pilon CANADA • Why photography? - In the middle of the 60’s, I borrowed a book from two friends who were amateur photographers. A didactic book featuring the work of photographers who had marked the world of photography: Avedon, Eisenstaedt, Halsman, Penn etc. For me it was a discovery, a form of expression that was accessible and magical at the same time. • Define your vision? - Define my photographic vision? Hum! Simple and distilled. I don’t know exactly how to answer the question “what makes me want to take a picture?” I don’t know, but I like when it happens. I never question myself about these things. Questions could break the magic. • What makes a great picture? - An exceptional photo is timeless. It transcends time when it captures a certain public or touches an individual. It carries a message, translates a feeling or a state of being. We all aim for it, but...
Carl Lessard CANADA • Why photography? - When I was 22 years old, I received my Bachelor in Physiotherapy but realized it was photography that really animated me, and I decided to dedicate myself to it exclusively. • Define your vision? - Timelessness and love of beauty best defines my vision. If I see something that moves me I feel the desire to take a photo and then give it to others. Kahlil Gibran (author of the book ‘The Prophet’) wrote: ‘Beauty is life when life unveils its sainted face’. My means of expression is through what I see, like the poem for the writer. • What makes a great picture? - I don’t believe there are any ingredients, but I think that a photograph is exceptional when it reveals the truth.
Gilbert Duclos CANADA • Why photography? - In 1971, I had a one year stay in Paris. In principle I was supposed to study but instead ended up doing 36 little jobs among which was a stint as a courier on a moped. I criss-crossed the city of Paris, tentatively making some timid attempts at photography. Upon my return, following the advice of my sister-in-law who seemed to feel I had a certain talent for composing images, I registered myself in photography at the college Cegep du Vieux-Montréal. It marked the beginning of a happy adventure which still surprises and fullfills me to this day. Funnily enough, an old flame from my youth (who is today a talented journalist) swears that at the age of 12, I vowed on the steps of her balcony that one day I would become a photographer. • Define your vision? - My personal photographic vision can be discovered through my book. All my motivation resides in the hope of creating a new image that will immerse me anew in that irresistible, indescribable state that permeates me when another photograph is added to my collection. I approach my photography with a dash of craziness, a generous helping of luck, some determination, some patience, a little doubt and most of all- pleasure.
Monic Richard CANADA
Lad Kadyszewski CANADA
Gabor Szilasi CANADA • Why photography? - I became a photographer a bit by chance. I began my studies in medicine in 1946, but because of political problems I was unable to continue my studies (I tried to leave the country because of the communist regime, but was caught at the border and imprisoned for 5 months). Images in general (paintings, drawings, etchings, photo, cinema, etc) have always interested me. I felt the need to express myself through images so I made photos. • Define your vision? - I was always interested in realism, in the life that surrounds us, the human being in their environment. I consider myself a humanist photographer, hence the need to preserve experiences and important personal moments, knowing that everything changes continuously, all is in perpetual flux. I desire to take a photo if I feel that the content, form, lighting, feeling are all present at once. • What makes a great picture? - According to David Hockney, 45 seconds are sufficient to perceive a photograph (its content, shape, its message if there is one, etc). In an exceptional photo, each viewing brings something new, a new discovery, a certain freshness. I own a photograph by André Kertész which possesses all these qualities.
George Zimbel CANADA • Why photography? - When my uncle, the architect B.Sumner Gruzen, asked me to print his 1930’s European photographs, I was 14 years old. By the time I had finished that project, I was totally hooked on photography as my life’s work. Fortunately for me I seem to have a natural eyethis gift plus dedicated hard work has moved me forward. • Define your vision? - My personal vision (Upbeat) is also my photographic vision (Upbeat). Whether I am shooting or just walking, I see happenings that excite me. True to my vision, I shoot what stimulates me, not what stimulates an art director. I have managed to maintain this philosophy by changing where I shoot rather than how I shoot. • What makes a great picture? - For me authenticity is very important. I know that incredibly interesting things happen in every day life, so reality does not fight art ( See Breughl). I make my own prints. In 1949, John Ebstel at the Photo League taught me that every print should have the textures of the original scene and therefore a beautiful print does not take away from believability, it anchors it.
Robert Walker CANADA • Why photography? - During the early seventies I was working with the 3M color in color machine, the first colour copier. Adopting the then new aesthetic approaches of Edward Rusha and Berdn and Hilla Becher, I appropriated popular cultural images found in sets and series, such as catalogue furniture photographs, pornographic playing cards, Chinese propaganda posters, supermarket product packages etc. I abruptly juxtaposed different images and printed them on the 3m colour copier. By today’s standards, the prints were raw. Linear definition was blurred and the colour lacked nuance, but I didn’t regard this as a drawback. The process suited my needs in that it exaggerated the similarities in colour and design between the two juxtaposed elements, thereby casting the original images in a new and often humorous light. In 1975 Lee Friedlander came to Montreal to conduct a workshop in street photography. I had no knowledge of straight photography at that time but decided to enroll out of a sense of curiosity. I was impressed that a photographer could express such a strong personal and unique vision of the visible world, in both form and content, a concern that modernist painting had abandoned decades ago. I became enthralled with the complexity of the process, and in attempting it, felt more engaged than I did with my previous work which merely involved recycling readymade images. • Define your vision?
- As I became more aware of the contemporary masters like Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Gary Winogrand, I began to feel that black & white photography had reached an impasse that its expressive possibilities were exhausted. I switched to colour, never to take a black and white picture again. At that time there was no canon of colour photographers to learn from. William Eggleston’s Guide had just been published and there was the odd portfolio in photo magazines of people like Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz and Neal Slavin, but basically, I was on my own. When I was an art student at university, I painted pictures using bright primary colours and when I started to photograph, I felt my most successful pictures incorporated this same bright palette. I have always been more interested in producing formally resolved colour pictures than capturing “slices of life”. My allegiance is more to painting to than photojournalism. In 1977 I moved to New York adjacent to Times Square and it is there that I found my Giverny, my Mont Sainte-Victoire. This wellspring of consumerism provided visual fodder for me to produce pictures for the next twenty years. The challenge to try to construct a legible image out of the constantly shifting chaotic scene of Times Square was formidable. I felt that these symbolic laden photographs reflected the changing world in an oblique but meaningful way. • What makes a great picture? - Too difficult to say. In painting or sculpture, a masterpiece embod-
ies a powerful original statement, beautifully rendered with a profound interplay between form and content. Because of the mechanical perfection of the machine, photography is not governed by these criteria – great shots have been produced by amateurs on holiday, fashion photographers, real estate documenters, as well as all the best intentioned high minded art photographers. Each photograph has to be analyzed on its own merit which essentially gets down to a matter of taste.
Brooke Palmer CANADA
Edward Burtynsky CANADA • Why photography? - I was 11 when I got my first 35mm camera and began to take pictures. I was fortunate to have access to film by bulk loader and refillable cassettes. There were no restrictions on how many images or what images I could make. Photography became a way for me to sketch my world, often taking 4 or 5 minor variations of the same thing or shooting for the simple curiosity of how that thing I was looking at would appear as an image. I was self taught in developing and printing and I will never forget the magic of watching images emerge out of the developer bath under the warm orange glow of the safelights. I liked film and almost went into it. Upon deep reflection I chose to study photography. Photography allowed me to follow my own vision and to control the creative path from beginning to end. Photographs also occupy a different place in our minds. They become part of our memory and work very differently than moving pictures. Fine art pictures when exhibited in our home and work spaces share with our day to day lives and enrich us even though we may not pay them attention each time we pass them. They do however hold a place of reflection and wonder about the things that make us human. • Define your vision? - I look to find the defining essence of an idea, then search for the places
that can yield this type of image. Most of my work is tied up in research. When I get to my subject I feel I am no longer taking pictures but making them. I have developed a personal language of ideas, colour, composition and subject, and each image I make moves those areas of concern forward. I like the idea that one can find original paths if they follow their own instincts and not get too caught up in what everyone else is doing. To find an original voice there must be a great deal of internal struggle with voice and intuition. To confront the idea of being able to do anything within one’s chosen medium the biggest question becomes “What do I do?” I am always turning that question around in my head and letting the most salient ideas lead me to my next subject.. • What makes a great picture? - Good light, composition, complexity, colour and detail. I also believe that a body of work begins to define a philosophy and politic that a singular image cannot. A good image is one that does good justice to the subject and is part of a greater vision.
Edward Gajdel CANADA • Why photography? - My earliest experience with photography was through a six year old’s sense of awe when my older sister created a temporary darkroom in our dinning room. She put the blank piece of paper into the clear liquid and I watched an image magically appear. This experience had tremendous resonance for me and was the spark that triggered my future interest in the medium. • Define your vision? - At its best it is the possibility of being a conduit for powerful communication. • What makes a great picture? - The absence of ego.
Nigel Dickson CANADA