Photography in 100 Words
Exploring the Art of Photography with Fifty of its Greatest Masters, by David Clark, photography journalist and author.
David was the senior features writer on Amateur Photographer magazine for nine years, during which time we both met and he interviewed many of the world's great photographers.
This book aims to do just that. David Clark has selected 50 iconic images by some of the world's greatest photographers and asked them to explain how the pictures were made and their creative approach. From these interviews he has chosen 100 words – two from each photographer – that encapsulate their philosophy, and which are picked out in bold in the text.
The highlighted words work on two levels. As well as giving insights into iconic images from the photographers who took them, they build over the course of the book into a unique creative lexicon of the photographic medium – one which crystallises its many aims and functions, perspectives and meanings.
The book includes work by: David Bailey, Jonas Bendiksen, Harry Benson, Yann-Arthus Bertrand, John Blakemore, Steve Bloom, Harry Borden, Polly Borland, Nick Brandt, René Burri, Edward Burtynsky, Dan Chung, Joe Cornish, David Creedon, Nick Danziger, David Doubilet, Elliott Erwitt, Chip Forelli, Martine Franck, Ralph Gibson, Josef Hoflehner, David Hurn, Colin Jones, Nadav Kander, Thomas Kellner, Michael kenna, Frans Lanting, Steve McCurry, Mary Ellen Mark, Joel Meyerowitz, Clive Nichols, Simon Norfolk, Simon Park, Trent Parke, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mark Power, Steve Pyke, Humphrey Spender, Dennis Stock, Tom Stoddart, Matt Stuart, Wolf Suschitzky, John Swannell, Danis Thorpe, Charlie Waite, Albert Watson, Art Wolfe, Tom Wood, Harry Cory Wright.
From the book:
German photographer Thomas Kellner’s images seem to be motivated by a combination of dedicated artistic endeavor and playful irreverence. Since 1997 he has worked on a series of carefully arranged ‘deconstructions’ of iconic buildings such as the Eiffel Tower, Brooklyn Bridge and Westminster Abbey.
Initially inspired by Cubist art, Kellner decided to take a building’s constituent elements, reduce them to fragments and rearrange them in different ways. At first sight his images look like straightforward photomontages, but closer examination reveals that they are actually contact sheets made from strips of negatives running in sequence. Instead of being a step towards making a print, the contact sheets are the finished artwork.
‘On one level,’ Kellner says, ‘these images are a reaction to mass photography, to say, this is an over-photographed building – don’t waste any more time or materials on it. Another reason is to question the kinds of image we find in contemporary mainstream photography. It has stayed in tradition of the Renaissance-like window on the world, while Fine Art has moved on to totally different ideas and horizons.’
When preparing to shoot a particular building, he sketches out how many frames to use, what to include in each frame and which lens to use. Then he uses a light meter to determine the best single exposure and uses it for each frame.
Kellner’s ‘London Eye’ uses 144 frames to visually explode this popular landmark into a dynamic mosaic of recurring patterns and shapes. He says that his method was dictated by the circumstances in which he photographed the scene. ‘The London Eye security guards gave me only 15 minutes,’ he says. ‘I had to prepare everything in advance, run onto the ground and shoot it as fast as I could, without much control. I think the shooting speed is still inherent in the image, and that’s what makes the capsules fly so much.’