Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quote: Henri Cartier-Bresson

"Some of my best photos were taken in those first days with my Leica. But, at the time, my general standard was extremely low; I destroyed all my medicocre negatives just before the war. Exceptional photographs continue to be rare, even though my general standard has improved. In all my photo essays I am always looking for a unique photo, the exceptional one that could be looked at for more than a few seconds. It takes a great deal of milk to make a little cream."

"Only the photograph that springs from life is of interest to me. The joy of looking, sensitivity, sensuality, imagination, all that one takes to heart, come together in the viewfidner of a camera. That joy will exist for me forever."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Salgado's Graphic Beauty

When I first got Salgado's book "Workers" several years back I was put off by the contrast and grain of the images. Today thou as I look at the photographs I am struck by the graphic beauty of the work. The grain, contrast along with the compostion of the b/w photographs work so well together. Salgado is creating an alternate reality that speaks to his voice on the subjects he photographs. The b/w, the grain and the contrast seperate the work from the reality they were shot in but by doing so he has constructed a new reality a better reality in a way, a expression of his artistic understanding of the true reality of his subject.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Studying Salgado

Been studying Salgado's work the last few weeks, there is so much humanity in his photographs. You can feel the hearts and souls of the people he has photographed. Went through the books "Africa" and "Sahel: The End of the Road", tonight I am paging through the book "Workers".

Looking at his work you see beauty, pain, suffering, strength, weakness, hope, determination, all the good and bad that is mankind. To capture all of this with a camera is something else, hard to believe he did it all. A part of his work that does not enough credit is his landscape work, often the landscape photographs are very strong and moving and give overall balance and strength to his books.

The greatest photographer alive.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Which Direction to Go?

Have been thinking a lot about the direction I want my photography to go. I am now 44years old and running out of time to make the images I want to make in my lifetime. I keep thinking to the photographer I admire most, the man I feel is the greatest living photographer. His work is the work I admire more than any other, I feel he has created the greatest and most important body of photographs of any living photographer, Mr Sebastiao Salgado.

I want to push my work in Mr Salgado's direction, to do it my way but to also create work of substance with a wider range of emotions and impact like Sebastiao Salgado. I need to tell a bigger story with a larger canvas.

Photographer races clock to honor last few World War I vets

(CNN) -- Photographer David DeJonge plans to capture a vanishing bit of history Tuesday on a trip to Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.

There he hopes to photograph 107-year-old Frank Buckles -- one of the few men still alive who fought in World War I. Buckles will lay a wreath at the grave of Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, who led U.S. forces in Europe in World War I.

The visit comes 90 years to the day after the end of World War I, an occasion that led to Veteran's Day in the United States and Armistice Day in other nations.

For DeJonge, it's a poignant reminder that time is running out in his quest to find and photograph the few surviving veterans of the war, which raged from 1914 to 1918.

"In my view, America has missed the boat in documenting this part of history," said DeJonge, a portrait photographer from Zeeland, Michigan. "It was such a pivotal moment in global history."

He has raced the clock for the last two years to photograph the dwindling number of surviving World War I veterans, a mission he embraces with a keen appreciation for the ticking clock: Eight of 12 veterans he has photographed in the last two years are now dead.

"It's a tragic loss - a tragic loss for the project and for global history," he said. "These are the last breaths of the last souls who witnessed one of the most horrific wars this world has ever seen." Watch photo sessions with remaining veterans »

DeJonge knows of only 10 living veterans worldwide who fought during World War I.

Four live in Britain, two in Australia, two in France and two in the United States -- Buckles and 108-year-old John Babcock of Spokane, Washington, who served with Canadian forces during World War I, DeJong said.

Each week or month that passes, it seems, brings news of an aging veteran succumbing before DeJonge can find the time and money to photograph him.

Not long ago, he said, two Jamaicans who fought with the British during World War I died. The last known German, French and Austro-Hungarian veterans died in the last year as well.

"These are the last of the last," he said.

DeJonge said he first became interested in photographing war veterans in 1996, when he worked on a project to chronicle U.S. veterans of several wars. The subjects included two men who served during World War I.

He tried to interest a photography organization in a national project to document the remaining U.S. World War I vets -- about 600 were alive in the mid 1990s, DeJonge said -- but that didn't happen.

So he set out two years ago to try to do it on his own. DeJonge has received some financial help here and there, he said, but has paid most costs himself.

"I have paid about $100,000 of my own money," he said.

He spends about half his time at home in Michigan, taking photographs to earn his living. He spends the other half conducting research, traveling to points distant or photographing aging vets.

"I have an incredibly supportive wife," he said.

He is trying to find money and time to take pictures of two vets in Australia and two in France, he said. And he would love to check out unconfirmed reports of an elderly man in the Ukraine who says he served with the Russian military during what also is known as the "Great War" and "The War to End All Wars."

In March, he donated nine portraits of World War I vets that the Pentagon plans to display permanently. He traveled to Washington that month with Buckles, who drove an ambulance in Britain and France during the war as a corporal in the U.S. Army.

In a White House ceremony in March, President Bush paid tribute to Buckles, who said he lied about his age and enlisted at age 15.

"Mr. Buckles has a vivid recollection of historic times, and one way for me to honor the service of those who wore the uniform in the past and those who wear it today is to herald you, sir, and to thank you very much for your patriotism and your love for America," he said during the March ceremony.

DeJonge and Buckles plan to drive Tuesday from Buckles' cattle farm in Charles Town, West Virginia to Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.

The photographer said he feels "just an unbelievable respect" for men and women who served their country. And he savors the living history lessons they provide.

"It really is like stepping back in time," he said.

Jacob Israel Avedon, Sarasota, Florida, August 25,1973

“When you pose for a photograph, it’s behind a smile that isn’t yours. You are angry and hungry and alive. What I value in you is that intensity. I want to make portraits as intense as people.” - Richard Avedon, from a 1970 letter to his father Jacob Israel Avedon

Sunday, November 9, 2008

All Night Session

Just finished a 15 hour darkroom session, starting to see double! Here are a few more images that might make it into the VAAA Ladyboy head submission for next year.

Some New Ladyboy Shots

I have finished developing all the 120mm b/w Ladyboy film from the 2008 shoot. I am hoping I can put together a submission of this work for the VAAA next year.

New Work

Am off to Hong Kong in a little more than 1 week. I have been trying to figure what kind of images I am going to make there. A few weeks back I went out shooting with a friend in the countryside, we found an old Russian church that had been abandoned for about 30 years. I made some images at the church that were in part influenced by Ralph Gibson. Maybe when I go to Hong Kong I will try doing details of things/parts of things with the Leica. These 2 photos were made at the church.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Interesting? or Profoundly Powerful?

I will donate some work to the VAAA gallery (the gallery that has rejected my work 3 times with the 4th rejection on the way in the mail as I type this). When I went to talk about the donation for the VAAA auction today I ended up introducing myself to a very nice lady that was there running the place. She actually knew who I was, remembered some of my submissions and also my group show work. Turns out the submissions committee members had some discussions amongst themselves (before they rejected the work for the VAAA) about possible galleries that might show the work. The way I understand it the VAAA will not show the work because they are Provincially funded and do not want to push things to far (translation: the subject matter and nudity is to controversial). That is fair enough, I do not blame them for protecting their funding and gallery. Not showing work that they think is good because it is controversial is a bit suppressive and cowardly but maybe the greater good is served as they can help show and raise awareness of the arts. Even if the work they show plays it safe, any art is better than no art.

The lady that helped me was kind and polite and gave me some helpful advice and also complimented me on my work. Initially she said the work was " Interesting!" I laughed and said "Yeah I get a lot of that." She then told me no that is not what she meant, she said the work was "Profoundly Powerful" which was nice, it sounded better than the first thing anyway!

I will probably make a submission of some ladyboy head shots I made this last trip in my next submission to the VAAA, who knows they might even get in!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quote: W. Eugene Smith

"And never have I found the limits of photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold..."

Quote: Paul Strand

"I like to photograph people who have strength and dignity in their faces, whatever life has done to them, it hasn't detroyed them."