These are just a few pictures from a trip to Hong Kong early 2007. I have re-processed them recently, and thought it may be worthwhile to post them… Read the rest of this entry »
As discussed a few days ago in an earlier post, I recently had a four weeks travel – mostly for holidays – to France. It was a great time to get to know my new friend, the magnificent Canon 135mm f/2L *magic* prime lens.
We had visited two provincial regions: the South East, where I was born and raised – a great opportunity to catch up with my family and friends ; the South West, a mystery for us as we never went there before ; and finally Paris – well Paris remains Paris…
I had missed France. Not France itself, but its culture. How great to go to a real bookstore, with plenty of choice to feed my curiosity about history, art, and obviously photography. How nice to get a flan pâtissier (my favorite!) worthing to hold such name. How interesting it was to look at the French society with a – more and more – external standpoint (I no longer live in France for over 6 years…).
So what I try here, is to share with you some of the impressions I’ve had during the trip there. It is by no means representative of the idea I have of France, only stuff I bumped into during the trip – no montage, no setup. Anyway, before you look at the pictures, two little quotes to meditate about France:
I have tried to lift France out of the mud. But she will return to her errors and vomitings. I cannot prevent the French from being French.
Charles de Gaulle
I like Frenchmen very much, because even when they insult you they do it so nicely.
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:
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.
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.
- Tom Stoddart on gettyimages.com : http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Tom%20Stoddart%20Archive
- Official (?) Website: http://www.tomstoddart.com
- “AIDS in Africa” (above), commented by its author : http://blog.gettyimages.com/author/tom-stoddart/
- Tom Stoddard’s best picture (“Sarajevo War”, above), chosen and commented by himself (interesting behind-the-scene and epilogue) : http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/oct/02/photography
- “iWitness” by Tom Stroddart : http://www.trolleynet.com/books.php?book=10
- Tom Stoddard on Iconic Photos: http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/tom-stoddart-sarajevo/