Bill Pierce on why it makes sense for some photographers to travel light.
David Alan Harvey works, whenever possible, with a small camera (Leica) and a single lens (35mm). David is one of those people, wise before his time, who realizes photography is about what is in front of the lens, not in back of it. All the equipment in the world can’t save your butt if you can’t observe, deal and, sometimes, even understand your subject. Indeed, all of the equipment in the world, when it is hanging around your neck, can be a real impediment to dealing with your subject.
Mentions Henri Cartier-Bresson (who worked primarily with his Leica rangefinder), Richard Avedon (who mostly works with a twin-lens Rollei and an 8×10) and Arthur Grace (whose book Choose Me was shot with a twin-lens Rollei). Via Ian G., aka 4edges.
Traditional media continues to atrophy, but the need for content has not. If anything, there is a greater need for content than there has ever been. Columnists talk about the death of newspapers, but we are all reading more text, viewing more images and watching more video; we just happen to be doing more of it online. Talk to anyone under the age of 30, and chances are that they read few, if any, print publications.
It has become harder to make a living as a photographer, but easier to sell photographs. Online distribution has made media more easily available, but more media now sell at commodity prices. Photographers are no longer paid simply to make a technically competent photograph. Kodak roll cartridge film and Polaroid instant film popularized photography, but it is digital photography that has put the skills of making and developing properly-exposed photographs into many more amateur hands. That has caused deep concern among many aspiring professionals, who find themselves in an arms race with affluent consumers to buy more and more expensive equipment. The price of stock photographs has been driven down to the cellar; microstock photos sometimes sell for as little as a few dollars, or even a couple of dimes. Robert Lam got $30 for a Time magazine cover photo.
I have drafted a cover page for my online book Through the Looking Glass: Photographer Interviews.
Stacy Oborn discusses the process of self publishing a photo book with Elijah Gowin and James Luckett.
What I found intriguing, and worth posting here, was that between Elijah and James I had examples of the two extreme options left to the photographer interested in self-publishing an art monograph. Eljiah was going the whole-hog, no-expenses-spared, best press in the world, best paper, total authorial control route; while James is counted among the much more vast population of photographers casting a hopeful lot with one of the various print-on-demand publishers on the scene these days. I decided to talk with both of them about their projects and processes, fits and starts, and share what I learned here.
Rick Jelliffe writes about how he lived “smaller” in 2008.
In Japan under the Shoguns, there were tight sumptuary laws that prevented ordinary people from such luxuries as chairs and tables. The result was a culture rich in fabric, ceramic, paper, paper, gardens, calligraphy and small objects that could be stored away. There is little stark about a simple traditional Japanese tatami room, which can be contrasted with the starkness of the ideological modesty of Shaker furniture, for example: indeed, the plainness of tatami room merely provides a frame which shows off the beauty of craftsmanship, design and display. So simplicity is not antagonistic to beauty.
I am part of the group show “A Reflection on Life in New York” that is being hosted by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office – New York from December 15-22. The show is curated by Hom Liou.
When you are a young man, you are not yet fully aware how the years can blow past like the wind, that there are good years as well as bad, that they must all be weathered in the same way that trees earn their rings. One of the greatest challenges of becoming an artist is overcoming the fear of feeling like a fool. It is no accident that fools are quickest to overcome that fear.
It was probably long in coming, but it was sad to see the announcement that The Christian Science Monitor is officially moving to a web-only publication. The print version will disappear in April. My former editor at CSM (who now works for The Washington Post) points out that the Monitor has been more or less web-only for a long time now with 1.5 million online readers versus only 50,000 or so print subscribers.
Paul Theroux was one of my journalism idols when I was in high school and college. Because many of his travel essays first appeared in the Monitor, it made it all the sweeter when I first broke into that publication’s pages.
The Monitor was also one of the first newspaper subscriptions I had in my own name. I had professors who encouraged us to buy the newspaper for its Third World coverage, which in those days was nonpareil. Many of the paper’s foreign correspondents were stringers, but the paper made a concerted effort to cover areas of the world normally passed over by other mainstream U.S. publications.