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In the second part about the Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe you learn more about him and his life.
Hosoe reports on many interesting facts and background information relating to three of his books. Especially, he talks about his third book called "Kamaitachi". In that work he attempts to describe his memories of the war and the way of trying to keep hold of it.
In his whole work Eikoh Hosoe distinguishes between conceptual and intuitional photography: He has developed a theoretical system for keeping balance between both aspects.
That and much more you'll see in this film.
In this FotoTV interview, famed photographer Eikoh Hosoe talks about his early beginnings in photography and his work during his career. He is known for his psychologically charged images, often exploring subjects such as death, erotic obsession, and irrationality. Hosoe was always interested in something new and something strange in photography and he wanted to show the core existence through photography.
Through his friendships and artistic collaborations he is linked with the writer Yukio Mishima and 1960s avant-garde artists such the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata. With Mishima as a model, Hosoe created a series of dark, erotic images centered on the male body, Killed by Roses or Ordeal by Roses (Bara-kei, 1961–1962). The series positions Mishima in melodramatic poses. Mishima would follow his fantasies, eventually committing suicide in 1970. With Hijikata as a model, Hosoe created Kamaitachi, a series of images that reference stories of a supernatural being that haunted the Japanese countryside of Hosoe's childhood. In the photographs, Hijikata is seen as a wandering ghost mirroring the stark landscape and confronting farmers and children. The Kamaitachi series was published in book form in 1969.
Hosoe's approach to photography is philosophical, His work has been exhibited in such significant institutions as the International Center of Photography and Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Nikon Salon, Tokyo; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Smithsonian, Washington D. C. Published works include: Man and Woman, 1959, Embrace, 1971, The Cosmos of Gaudi, 1986 and Eikoh Hosoe, 1986, among numerous others.
In this FotoTV. interview, photographer Steve Schapiro sits down to share his poignant stories and to discuss working with iconic individuals of the 1960's and 1970's.
Schapiro began his career during the golden age of photojournalism. He has worked on films such as "Taxi Driver" and "The Godfather", which gave him the opportunity to work together with Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Jodie Foster and Francis Ford Coppola.
Schapiro has worked for Life Magazine. He shares several personal stories about working for the magazine and the monumental personalities he photographed. He was afforded the opportunity to work with Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy during a time of the 1960's when news changed from 15-minute daily reports to 24-hour news coverage.
Three elements of a photograph important to Shapiro are emotion, information and design. Shapiro recommends that it is important to photograph images that are close to a photographer and meaningful. He also goes on to say that we are now in an age when the camera might become obsolete as more and more people use smart phones to photograph live events. Schapiro’s use of the black and white medium gives an eternal sense of classic photography as his images convey an emotion stronger than that of color. "Today people don't think in terms of black and white", Schapiro says. A collection of his work can be found in the book "Shapiro's Heroes" or "Heroes” as Schapiro humbly calls it.
In this last installment about photojournalist Robert Lebeck he will share stories about his work after retiring as a photographer.
During the 1980’s Lebeck’s career was nearing its end, despite that he did work up until he was 66 creating and photographing numerous stories for numerous magazines. 65 was an age when people normally retired.
In the early 80’s Lebeck had his biggest Photo-story for Stern Magazine. It was entitled Germany in March. It was his biggest photo-story because he received 12 double pages published in the magazine. That had been the most that Stern had published of Lebeck’s work at one time. The double spread was shot in Hamburg at the fish market there. Lebeck’s subject was a young man eating used fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk. The image was so stark and had so much to say just by looking at it, Stern made it the double page opener of the story.
Lebeck also talks about his retirement from the photo industry, while still remaining involved in photography, overseeing several exciting book and exhibition projects to coincide with his 70th and 75th birthdays. Even though he was out of the business as a photojournalist he was still creating opportunities for him to show his work.
The 1970’s were a time when photojournalist Robert Lebeck was a staff photographer at Stern Magazine. Despite being successful he left this position due to changes at the publishing house, but only a short time later to get the position back. How that came about and on which projects he work on until the late 1970’s we will learn from Lebeck in this 6th installment of the mini-series, Robert Lebeck and his life as a photographer.
Lebeck’s first work for the renowned Magazine GEO started in the 1970’s. His assignment was to photograph a woman of the Moluccan Islands (Spice Islands). He was sent a photo by telex, but he couldn’t quite make out the photo, but still he thought it was an assignment he could and did successfully complete.
At this time in his career Lebeck started work as the photo-editor of GEO, a new magazine. Rolf Gilhausen collected the best topics and kept them from everybody else until it was announced to Stern Magazine that Gilhausen would use these stories in GEO magazine. Gilhausen had to be careful that Henry Nunn did not find out the plans of Gilhausen because he was not to keen on the idea of having to compete with GEO. Lebeck was appointed photo-editor on a trial basis. He could pick out all the stories and control how the magazine was designed optically. He passed the trial period with amazing results, but he longed to be a photojournalist again. At 50 years old Lebeck thought at first his career was over due to the physical challenges that came along with being a photojournalist, but he soon longed to be a photojournalist again. During this film Lebeck talks about working for Stern Magazine, then GEO as photo-editor, then back to Stern with a high profile shooting: Khomeini and his trip to Tehran. Lebeck would be one of the first ever photojournalist to succeed with photographing Khomeini without his turban, having lost it after a wild greeting and rush from the people on the streets of Tehran.
Using four examples from his BELGICUM project, Stephan Vanfleteren talks here about his photographs and why he is a photographer. His work moving, photojournalistic is a clear reflection his own warm and caring personality.
A typical example is the story about René, a poor, lonely man living in Brussels. Vanfleteren and a writer friend of his met René in a bar. They had a few beers together, René buying some of the drinks although he really couldn’t afford it. It turned out too, that René was on medication and shouldn’t have been drinking alcohol at all. Unable to walk home, René was taken back to his room by the photographer and the writer. They carried him upstairs “like two maffiosi with a corpse”, put him on his bed, took off his shoes, covered him up and left: A poignant episode for Vanfleteren and one that started a whole series of photographs of poor people in Belgium. René became “a kind of a friend” who Vanfleteren visited whenever he was in the neighborhood. “He never knew know how meaningful he was for me”, says Vanfleteren, “You have to be humble and thankful”. René later died. One can feel the emotion in Vanfleteren’s narrative.
Then there’s the serendipitous picture of an old couple, the man taking a snapshot of his wife, whose skirt is blowing up in a parody of the famous Marilyn Monroe image. They are on the parapet of a large church in Brussels, having come there from a little village somewhere to visit Brussels. “There is a lot of love in this picture”, he says. Vanfleteren has captured a magic moment that he couldn’t really believe until he got home and developed the images.
Vanfleteren’s landscapes are misty and mysterious. See the strange image of an old, deserted Mercedes car in a wood, slowly being taken over by Mother Nature. “It was too beautiful to be true,” says Vanfleteren. The windscreen is intact, the papers still in the glove box, the car not vandalized at all. This symbol of movement stands oddly fixed in the landscape.
Finally there are the portraits of fishermen: Memories for Vanfleteren, of his boyhood growing up on the Belgian coast. Over a five-year period he went back again and again to see if these old fishermen were still there. And he found them, listened to their stories of the sea, the heartache of losing friends overboard in storms, and he photographed their deeply lined and weathered faces.
For these portraits he used daylight. Sometimes it was from a window or in a garage. And as always he worked slowly with a large format camera in black and white, sometimes taking an hour for a single picture. He feels uncomfortable with small cameras. “The World is too fast,” says Vanfleteren, “I stand with foot on the brake: That’s maybe the reason I’m a photographer.”
There are more of Stephan Vanfleteren’s pictures on his homepage. The Galerie Hilaneh von Kories in Hamburg, Germany, where his BELGICUM series has been exhibited, also carries a short vita (in German).
In this further installment on the great photojournalist Robert Lebeck, Lebeck will cover his passion for collecting post cards and photographs.
Lebeck began collecting photographs at a time when collecting photos was not seen in context with art or business. Mostly at that time photos were bought or traded at flea markets. And that is exactly what Lebeck did, he dug through thousands of photographs and with his salary growing as his career moved on he was able to make bigger purchases from places like the London Auction. He began collecting 19th century photography because he found it to be very unique. He also chose early photography because it fascinated him because he never formally learned photography he was therefore interested in the early years of photography.
What did Lebeck do when he collected everything he could collect on a specific topic? He went on to collect new things. Much can be said of his private life as well since he remarried every 12 years or so, one could say he
collected wives, but probably his travel and constant dispatching to far away places on assignments led Lebeck to remarry so often.
It’s not often that a photogapher is himself so photogenic and so charismatic as Stephan Vanfleteren. This is the first of two interviews with him and it’s really worth watching both.
Vanfleteren’s work is readily identifiable as his own: Classical and documentary portraits, some landscapes, all in rich black and white tones, often with a thick black line inside a white border and mounted in a black frame. Stunning, compelling images.
The interview takes place in his exhibition ‘BELGICUM’ and he begins by talking about how this project came to be. It is an overview of 15 years of his photography in Belgium. A personal, nostalgic, melancholic view. “Just the way I see it“.
Not may photographers do projects on their own country so he’s quite happy about that. As a press photographer he’s seen a lot ot the world but, as he says, “You forget about your own country. And especially while Belgium is so small. It’s like being a boxer – this is your ring, your territory where it all has to happen. And Belgium’s a strange country.”
Some of the photographs were ‘stolen’ from the street. But in the main they are taken in the intimacy of poor people’s homes. Sometimes, Vanfleteren says, he was the first visitor they had had in weeks or months. It is charachteristic of him that he “kind of became friends with them and visited them again” when he was in the neighbourhood. “I feel comfortable with these people, more than sitting with a banker.” Everyone in this exhibition portrayed with dignity and respect.
Vanfleteren then goes on to talk more generally about his approach to photography and his decision to stick with black and white. It was a concious decision made some six months after art school and beginning his professional career. He chose the ‘little thing’, the ‘narrow track’ because he just felt good about it. Resisting pressure from the newspapers to deliver colour images cost him some interesting assignments. But the quality of his black and white work meant that he was still always in demand and he kept getting work. Now he has a body of work which bears his style while others adapt, as he says, from month to month to new fashions.
When making portraits Vanfleteren is rather quiet and contemplative. There is no shouting or loud music or rapid changes of pose. He moves slowly round his subject “as in a dance”, occasionally giving instructions on where to look. Even after all these years taking portraits is something very special to him. “It’s an energy that is very strange. Even if you see the people years later there’s a connection. Because some people really let you into their life, their heart or their mind – so it’s something very intense. That’s why I like portrait photography.”
The beautiful thing about photography, Vanfleteren says, is that you can “really go wherever your head is”. If you feel sad and melacholic you can express that: If you feel outgoing, go out, meet people and express that too.
Stephan Vanfleteren sums up his refreshing approach this way: “I don’t want to be a photographer that proves that he can photograph everything. I want to be a happy man. And how you become happy is to photograph the things that you are interested in. ‘Artist’, ‘documentary journalist’ - The words I don’t think about. I just want to make photographs that I like and that other people can understand and feel too.”
Learn more about this outstanding photographer in Part 2.
In this further installment on the great photojournalist Robert Lebeck, Lebeck will cover the 60's and his work during that period, which he photographed some of his greatest photo stories.
During this time he also had made a great experience working as an actor for a friend of his. The project was a TV mini-series based on the Writer jack London, in which Lebeck played the title character.
Lebeck further goes on to describe his switching from Kristall Magazine to Stern Magazine and working for the legendary Art Director of Stern, Wolf Gilhausen to whom everyone referred to as the "Eye". Lebeck tells of stories where the famous Art Director, sorts through photos and picking out the bad pictures that he referred to as pickles. One of the most famous photos Lebeck took was actually a collage of two photos. It was the legendary shot of Robert Kennedy’s funeral, in which one woman could be seen kissing the flag covered casket on one side of the photo and another woman on the direct opposite side of the photo can be seen laying a hand on the casket. Gilhausen was very amused and very proud of putting these two shots together. It would be a picture that was to be seen around the world.
Welcome back to our miniseries on Robert Lebeck. In this third installment we will learn about his most favorite photo and how he came about shooting it as well learn the obstacles he faced to get “The Shot”, something no other photographer present could do.
The most incredible thing about the photo is that it is a symbol of strength and the end of colonial rule. A regular African guy jumps up and steals away the sword of the Belgian king.
In other such conflicts the scenes were never photographed this way. This is an event would have landed in the columns of newspaper, had not the photos been created.
Robert Lebeck was at the right place at the right time and as he clicked away with his Leica he was already creating the shots that would become immortalized.