Photography is not about photography

Please look at the picture full size against a grey background.

If you had the choice to invite any living or dead photographer to be in a group with you, who would you invite?

I would love to spend quality time with Gene Smith, Sebastiao Salgado, Andre Kertesz, Paul Strand, Robert Frank, Margaret Bourke White, Brassai, Martin Munkacsi, Elliott Erwitt, Alfred Esenstaedt and Bill Brandt.

Who would you invite to be in your dream team?

Why do I ask – because I am interested in the work of those who have gone before, the greater the sphere of influences I have the greater the opportunity to synthesize subjects, approaches and styles. Photography is not about photography to quote somebody whose name I have forgotten. For me photography is about observing, abstracting and communicating what is thought to be significant to the viewer.

The picture above is a full frame reproduction of the in-camera shot, tri-toned in Lr4. I have quoted Stephane Mallarme a few times before on this blog To define is to destroy, to suggest is create. The thing that interests about this interpretation of the picture is the viewer has to join up the dots. There a lots of suggestions here, does the picture show one, two, three or four different roads?  Would a picture that perfectly and accurately described the reality that afternoon tell a better story? I think not.

What is your photography about and how is your creativity being nourished?

Why not leave a comment with your thoughts?

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012

10 responses to Photography is not about photography

  1. LensScaper says:

    An interesting follow-on from your previous post ‘A Long Road’, Andy. And there is the opportunity to compare. Visually I find ‘A Long Road’ more satisfying and compelling. Today’s image is ‘dislocated’ (or broken) up to a greater extent and remains intriguing because of that. There is greater tension certainly. I particularly like the car in the mid-ground.
    In answer to the question, the two that spring easily to mind are Bill Brandt from the past, and Bob Moore from the present. Bob was a huge help to me in my early years in photography – boundless enthusiasm and generous in his criticism – and his output has always been inspiring. It was nice to see him at the Focus exhibition earlier this year.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Andy thanks for the comments I don’t see Bill Brandt in what you have put on your blog or have I just missed it? Andy


      • LensScaper says:

        Maybe not, but I have always been a lover of high contrast in B&W and his name sprang to mind. There are others whose work I recall seeing from the 70-80s era but their names just don’t spring to mind.


  2. Mike Martin says:

    Andy, the quote is attributed to Swedish photographer Anders Petersen. He appears to have used it in several discussions – Photography is about the person behind the camera, the liberation that comes from overcoming fear or inner inhibition, enabling you you challenging norms of society and ask questions without concern for the answer.


  3. I would love to spend time with a lot of the names in your dream team Andy, and for myself I would add Julia Margaret Cameron; from what I’ve read not only was she an amazing photographer, but her personality was quite something!


    • andybeel says:

      Hi John I was reading yesterday that it was possible to buy JMC’s for 2 Guinea’s each in London in the 1940’s depending on how famous the sitter was. Andy


  4. One of my favorite photography quotes by Julius Schulman “the camera is the least important part of photography”. I’ll add Ansel Adams and Sally Mann to your list.


    • andybeel says:

      Hi Carol thanks for the comments. I am pleased to report that I have not heard of Julius Schulman but I will look him up and he is absolutely right the camera is only a tool to record the idea. Thanks Andy


      • He became famous for his photography of buildings, especially in the 50’s and 60’s. If you have Netflix, there is a really interesting dcomentary on his life and work available.


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