Archives for posts with tag: critic

I thought I would share this comment as an admiration of such reading of a single photography.

Irving Penn made this portrait of Jean Cocteau during a 1948 trip to Paris for Vogue. Each thread of Cocteau’s tie, vest, and suit is etched in light and shadow; the patterns and the texture pop out in vivid, tactile detail. The drape of his coat over an extended arm adds drama and balance to the composition. Cocteau is dressed in the sartorial attire of a dandy, which, by all accounts, he was. There is an air of flamboyance about him, until you look at his face. His dead-serious expression registers the fierce intelligence of a keen observer, as if he is taking our measure while deigning to allow us to take his.

Words by Philip Gefter (original article on Irving Penn Photography here), via The Selvedge Yard


I believe that the average person can help a lot, not by giving material goods but by participating, by being part of the discussion, by being truly concerned about what is going on in the world.

Sebastião Salgado is, as the tilde indicates, Brazilian. He is now 65 years of age and – above these administrative considerations, it is his path to professional photography that is interesting.Back in 1968 he earned a master’s degree in economics from Sao Paulo University. Only 3 years later he eventual completed his doctorate in Paris, before turning to photography in 1973.

Over the course of his academic studies and until 1973, Salgado worked for the Brazilian Ministry of Finance and more notably for the International Coffee Organization (agency created under the auspices of the UN), for which he took part in several missions in Africa. During these travels, Salgado started photography and these images brought from Africa eventually led him to abandon his promising career as an economist.

Southern Sudan. 1995 (Amzonas

He rapidly join the Sygma Agency in Paris and later was affiliated with Gamma and the prestigious Magnum agencies. In 1994 he founded the “Amazonas Images” agency, exclusively dedicated to the promotion of his work.

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Another massive book (30.9 x 42.5 cm and a mere 2.1 kilos!), from famed Holloywood Photographer Mario Testino, and foreworded by Nicole Kidman, which supposedly brings you in the life of celebrities. The list of those portrayed here would be long but let’s only mention, Demi MooreCameron DiazAngelina JolieBrad PittGeorge Clooney.

Mario Testinos Let me in

Mario Testino's Let me in

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Following the first blog entry, which is originally an introduction to what this is all about, I started the second post. I did not want it to start on photo gear. software or workflow-related topics. I instead chose to present you a photographer I like :  Tom Stoddart.

Just in case you have not heard from him yet, here is a sample of his most renowned works:

Sarajevo War (Tom Stoddart / Getty Images)

AIDS in Africa (Tom Stoddart / Getty Images)

AIDS in Africa (Tom Stoddart / Getty Images)

Tom Stoddart was born in Morpeth, United Kingdom in 1953. Since 1978, he followed information and reported for newspapers such as Time Magazine and the Sunday Times, regardless of the danger (he got badly injured in Sarajevo in 1992 during the Yugoslavia Wars) and the location (AIDS issues around Africa, Tchernobyl’s consequences, famine in Sudan, Tony Blair’s campaign in UK, tsunami in South East Asia, 9/11 in the U.S.A., etc. ,etc., etc.)

Self-taught, he cites Henri Cartier-Bresson, Don McCullin, Eugene Smith. 3 masters of photography from whom he picked their respective and so particular traits : the sense of instant from Cartier-Bresson (see the Sarajevo War picture above: a moment later the capture was gone), the loyalty to information of McCullin and the humanism of Smith.

Porin in the USA (Tom Stoddart / Getty Images)

Porn in the U.S.A. (Tom Stoddart / Getty Images)

Stoddart also cultivates paradoxes. In a way, there is an irony for a photographer who did so much to give a face to the victims of AIDS in Africa to come up with an editorial work titled “Porn in the U.S.A.”, coming up as an AIDS scandal was hitting the San Fernando Valley ‘s industry. Further, he spent years documenting war, yet he eventually glorified the US Women Marines (and was once commissioned by the British Royal Marines).

A witness of our times, is probably the most suitable title we can give him. Not a witness in terms of “been there, shot that”, but a witness sharing intensely his experiences. Stoddart’s pictures are suing with his own feelings and contradictions. He shows us how squarish the big sphere we live on is turning, because humans, at the center of his photography, made it this way. And the strength of his work is here.