Categories
Photography

Portraiture Is Different Than Other Photography

Austin photographer Kirk Tuck explains the difference between portraiture and other forms of photography:

[O]nly (good and great) portraiture requires the photographer to enter into a relationship, a rapport and a collaboration with the subject. No one walks in cold and, on meeting a portrait subject for the first time, fires off five or six frames, deludes themself that they have a perfect shot, and terminates the session. Unless your only goal it a clinical documentation of the person in front of the camera. 

In other words, you have to develop a connection and get to know another human being. That isn’t easy.

Categories
History

Can One Person Change History?

Without Hitler, this much is certain, there would have been no Holocaust. His fanatical anti-Semitism was the engine driving genocide. While it may have been difficult to tell sometimes when Hitler was play-acting, the Führer was always deadly serious when he vented his maniacal hatred of Jews.

Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 611). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Categories
Photography

Is There a Difference Between A Snapshot and a Photograph?

Peter Turnley is a great photographer. I admire his work. I have one his prints hanging in my home.

When I think of photographs of people, I think of posed versus unposed photographs. I prefer unposed photographs. Having said that, either posed or unposed photographs have the potential to reveal something precious and lasting about humanity.

Turnley accomplishes this way more than most photographers, whether or not his subject poses for the camera. That’s what makes his work special.

Categories
Photography

Photography Books

Over the years, I have collected books filled with images that have moved me in a lasting way. I am sharing a list of them here. I will update the list over time.

When I arrived in Paris twenty-five years ago, at the age of nineteen, the city I encountered sang to my senses. My heart and mind were immediately stimulated by its light, vibrancy and texture. The French language entered my ears like music, and suddenly communication seemed not merely functional but a celebration of feelings. I quickly grasped that in order to understand Parisians I would have to speak French well; otherwise, I would never be able to get to know the beautiful, mysterious women I was seeing everywhere I looked.

Peter Turnley, An Affair of the Heart, (page 13) 2000

I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.

James Nachtwey
Categories
Photography

Why Photograph?

Today, I’m posting another in an occasional series of quotations exploring why people photograph. Is photography important today and if so why?


In a deeply personal way I feel an image is a poem about time, about “staying the moment.” Photography can defeat time. Images can keep the memory of a loved one alive, hold a moment in history for future generations, be a witness to tragedy or joy. They can also change behavior, stimulate understanding and create a sense of urgency that will move people to action. Photography is the universal language that speaks to the heart.

Sarah Leen, former Director of Photography, National Geographic quoted in Time

Categories
History

What Comes Next for American Democracy?

Yale historian Timothy Snyder has studied fascism in depth. He has written a thoughtful piece about the future of American democracy in The New York Times. Snyder explains that the past not only helps us to see the risks we face but also points to future possibility. He concludes that:

Democracy is not about minimizing the vote nor ignoring it, neither a matter of gaming nor of breaking a system, but of accepting the equality of others, heeding their voices and counting their votes.

It isn’t complicated. But at this moment, it does not sound easy.