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The 6th edition of FotoTV.News is a special edition on the photo-festival Les Rencontres d'Arles.
With this issue we will provide you with another perspective on Les Rencontres d'Arles. Like always, Marc personllay attended the festival. Find out what he liked and disliked as he is looking back on the event in this film.
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In this film FotoTV’s founder, Marc Ludwig, talks to photojournalist, David Douglas Duncan about his Korean War photographs, his extraordinary career and the adventures and events he witnessed and recorded.
One of the most influential photographers of the 20th century Duncan was a prominent combat photographer for the United States Marine Corps, perhaps his most famous photographs were taken during the Korean War.
Duncan discusses his photo narrative of the Korean War, while his vivid combat scenes giving us an eyewitness account of the courage and ordeal of the fighting men and what their world was like. At the time of the photographs Duncan was a marine, and therefore most fighting men were completely unaware they were being photographed, while he took pictures of battling and dying men side by side, documenting their many unforgettable warrior faces.
Duncan’s Korean War photographs are truly iconic as they also convey the brotherhood and daily life of an ordinary soldier. He lived with the men following fellow marines through a series of fearful battles taking photographs on the rapidly changing front line.
In this film, photographer Thomas Struth and book publisher, Lothar Schirmer, of Schirmer/Mosel, discuss Struth's collective exhibition for the SK Cultural Foundation at Media Park in Cologne, Germany.
Struth is one of the three pillars, including Thomas Ruff, and Andreas Gursky, fondly termed as "Strufski". All three are Alumni's of the Dusseldorf Art School, having learned photography in the master classes of famed pair, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and are credited for elevating the status, as well as the prices being paid for color photography prints today. In the early 1980s Struth added a new dimension to his work when he branched out from landscape, city scenes and daily scenes of people and started to photograph family portraits.
Struth was not proactively seeking to photograph as many families as possible, how many photographers approach this subject. He steadily became involved in what would become an unending project after a meeting with a friend, Ingo Hartmann, who is a psychoanalyst. As Struth himself says, "Photographing families is a relatively difficult and personal matter that requires a different approach than that of photographing a jungle or something that is inanimate. As a result, his family portraits attempt to show the underlying social dynamics within a seemingly still photograph. In developing the show for the SK Cultural Foundation, Struth's approach was not the least bit ordinary. Like a conductor enveloped in an orchestration of music, Struth likens his exhibit to the different executions within a classical musical composition; from the Overture to the Andante Moderato, the subtle changes in dynamics and soft-hued colors in his presentation engages viewers, inconspicuously conveying them to the next scene.
In this film, photographer, Harry Gruyaert sits down with FotoTV and reflects on his life, career highlights and his priorities as a photojournalist.
Starting out in fashion, Gruyaert soon realized that he was more inclined to landscapes and people, rather than photographing the latest styles. He was absolutely enthralled by the locations he visited and fell in love with Morocco after his first trip there. His trip to Morocco was personal and professional success, where he produced intense photographs of light, color, objects, people and situations depicting an undisturbed, beautiful scene of life. Visions of pure landscapes and daily life saturated with rich and colorful surroundings.
For his first serious body of work, Gruyaert made photographs of distorted TV images, covering current events such as the 1972 Munich Olympics to produce a vibrant caricature of the new stories. He explains, “I had a television set that didn't work properly; as my assistant and I moved the antenna, fiddling with the switches, it was possible to obtain fascinating colors. At the time, of course, the video recorder didn't exist, not to mention the freeze frame. So I set my camera to 1/8 sec and f4.0, held my camera steady and sometimes moved very close to the screen to frame it differently.”
At the heart of Gruyaert’s work is his affinity to structuring the intense nature of color. His images are beautiful in terms of life, luminosity and the people in relation to their situations. A contrast of elements assembled into refined graphics of shadows, hue, light and atmosphere.
Gruyaert studied at the School for Photo and Cinema in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. He then began freelance fashion and advertising work in Paris, while working as a director of photography for Flemish television.
In this film curator and photographer, Michael Ebert shows us select images from the outstanding Civil War Photographs Collection, which he meticulously digitally restored to their original quality.
During the challenging restoration process, Ebert reveals to FotoTV the previously unknown details he discovered about the everyday life of the people who lived and worked around, or fought in the American Civil War more than 150 years ago. To arrive at the best results possible, he used a Wacom Cintiq 21UX with interactive pen display, one of the industry’s most intuitive image editing tools.
“The Civil War was the world’s first major event to be documented in photographs, which makes the database of images a genuine treasure trove”, Ebert tells FotoTV. “In addition, the so-called collodion process -a flammable syrupy solution- was used at this time. This was a complicated process that posed great challenges for photographers at that time. It produced photographs of a very high level of technical quality on plates, allowing a high degree of enlargement. Nonetheless, over the years, many of the plates were broken or damaged.
For the project, the Library of Congress provided Ebert with original scans at sizes of more than 100 MB. Working with Adobe Photoshop on his computer and, using a pen applied directly onto the screen of the Cintiq 21UX, Michael Ebert then painstakingly restored the damaged images to their original quality. At the same time he enlarged individual details from the images to create entirely new perspectives on the nostalgic photos shot by American Civil War photographers, Mathew Brady, Timothy Sullivan and Alexander Gardner.
The retouched images were part of Ebert’s exhibition “The mirror with a memory”, which was on display as part of the Visual Gallery at the 2008 Photokina in Colgne, Germany.
In this film, photographer and photo-collector, F.C. Gundlach talks to FotoTV at his fashion photography exhibit, discussing his career, his beginnings as a collector and what the word "fashion" means to him.
Gundlach explains that fashion comes into being when it is shown publicly and when there is a collective understanding of a new trend, taste, or smell, or whatever else, that trend becomes a fashion. Furthermore he says fashion is not only happening on the runway, or in fashion houses, fashion is also happening on the streets.
Interestingly enough, on a technical note, Gundlach has become somewhat of an advocate of digital photography. Initially he thought that through digitizing photography much would be lost in regards to content. But he soon realized that not to be the case. He describes how he came to his first digital photo to be displayed in one of his exhibits. "The last photo from this exhibit, a photo of the Pope, Benedict XVI, was a photo I saw published with an accompanying article in large scale in the FAZ Newspaper's Culture Section. It was very difficult for me to find that photo as the photographer was an unknown from Italy. I finally found her and she told me she didn’t have a photo-- but a data file of the image, and this was the first digital photo to be in one of my exhibits. I was skeptical at first, but changed my mind as did most large publishing houses of that time did. There was no data loss and it was simply advantageous in regards to time constraints. Photos could be sent around the world electronically in a fraction of the time it took to send an image via the postal service.
Gundlach is also a genuine admirer and supporter of other photographer's work. He goes on to explain a common feeling many photographers know too well, "Sometimes, photography can be an ambivalent activity. Many photographers have problems with the work of their fellow colleagues. I’ve never had that feeling; to the contrary it interested me. Since I’ve spent a lot of time in America, especially New York, which I nearly never left, with the exception of Los Angeles, I’ve met the American photographers and we had some lively exchanges about photography."
Times and styles change, but fashion will always remain inspirational. In closing Gundlach shares with FotoTV a story of one of his most memorable photos, "I remember in the 1960s when fashion was primarily black and white, reduced to forms and patterns. That worked really well for photography and fashion itself. One of my own photos shot for Brigitte magazine, in front of the Gizeh Pyramids, depicting two models wearing bathing caps has become an iconic image. The photo in the magazine is a variation from what we see printed today. That was a moment where the boundaries of fashion photography were transcended, resulting in a photo that will always be significant and timeless."
With timeless, Gundlach does not mean meaningless, his photo speaks for itself, as do all the photos in his exhibit. Some might say photos are the intermediaries of fashion, and it is Gundlach who is certain that it will always be the case.
In this film Ariana Stahmer, great-granddaughter to Edward Steichen, and co-curator Todd Brandow, meet with FotoTV to discuss the Steichen retrospective exhibit in Paris. For the first time, many of the iconic photos of this exciting retrospective are being shown for the first time in Europe, and Stahmer and Brandow share anecdotes of the Steichen family history, as well as a celebrated history of Steichen’s work.
Steichen was an iconic photographer, one of the most influential and prolific photographers of the twentieth century. His early awareness of the impressionists was reflected through his ultra expressionistic works and his unusual and creative style, which was atypical of that era. But Steichen continued to experiment with new photographic techniques and 1914 marked the end of a certain style of photography for him.
Co-curator Brandow explains that beginning in 1915, Steichen successfully made the shift from pictorialism to modernism, his photos underwent a dramatic change, notably, marked by their luminous detail and their very life-like depiction. The photographic work he had experienced during the war infused him with a new passion for sharp-focused pictures and he developed a keener interest in the new technical advances in photography. His first fashion photographs were original and different and soon he began working out of a commercial studio in New York, specializing in advertising photography. He became a chief photographer for Condé Nast, thereafter producing atmospheric and legendary still lifes and editorial fashion stories for Vogue and Vanity Fair.
Of the many exhibitions Steichen created, the largest and most famous was "The Family of Man", an exhibition of over 500 photographs that depicted life, love and death. Stahmer explains that this particular exhibit is a brilliant legacy handed down by her great-grandfather, teeming with his humanist vision, and carrying the message of hope for mankind.
In this film, portrait photographer Fabien Breuvart discusses a recent large scale project entitled, "Sit and look at the sky", an impressive wall of over 290 photos.
Breuvart is also a collector and seller of antique photographic images, mostly work from unknown or amateur photographers. He owns a fantastic selection of old Paris pictures of anonymous Parisians from the 1920’s to the late seventies, and pictures of some French icons.
Breuvart describes his photography collection of amateur works as being real, wild, and describing a fleeting moment. For his own photography work in the studio, Breuvart uses a simple lighting approach, never attempting to beautify his subjects. He would like his sitters to recognize their personality when they see their photos, something, which he believes, his customers highly value.
For Breuvart, photos are the means to come into contact with other people. You can browse his extensive collection in his store, "Chacun son image", or have your unique portrait taken in the adjacent studio.
In this film, “Unseen” we visit photographer and filmmaker Elliott Erwitt during his exhibition at the “Flo Peters Gallery” in Hamburg, Germany. Erwitt takes us on a visually stimulating journey through time as he walks and talks us through the gallery, commenting on several pieces of his finest work. He eclectically shares with us a humanistic, witty, and personal side of himself that enthralls, surprises, and entertains.
Erwitt discuss in detail some of his early advertising work and divulges a little trick he used that can actually be seen in an end shot. In addition, Erwitt shows us other “once in a lifetime moment” photos, like the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the photograph of JFK’s grieving widow Jackie Kennedy.
Other images stand out due to their placement, just as Erwitt himself stands out in this interview. He wears a plastic “sunny-side up” egg pinned to his lapel, which therefore, one might think he is a comedian or an odd fellow. But it’s exactly this transcending quirkiness that makes us so fond of Erwitt and his work. He himself says in this interview, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and the plastic egg on his lapel befits this phrase absolutely. He goes on to show us his shootings with Marilyn Monroe, pointing out that he placed her portrait next to a portrait of a dog in the gallery. Was there a connection to be discovered? No, it’s just simply that Erwitt is the opposite of mundane and has a multifarious approach to his work, and it is this approach that holds our interest at apex levels.
Erwitt third book, “Unseen”, hence the movie title, is a book of rediscovered, overlooked, and never before seen photos from his archives. He describes the process in making the book as depressing and interesting; depressing because he comes across old mistakes he made in photography, and interesting because he comes across rare gems of unusual photos, some more than fifty years old.
Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents. In 1939 he emigrated to the United States, together with his family. And as a teenager living in Hollywood, he discovered his interest in photography while working in a commercial darkroom before taking photography classes at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 he moved to New York and began studying film at the New School for Social Research.
In 1953 Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer and in the late 1960s he served as Magnum's president for three years. Erwitt became known for kind irony, and for a well-proportioned sensibility, which was traditional to the spirit of Magnum. In the 1970s he then turned to film. At first documentaries, then in the 1980s he produced eighteen comedy films for Home Box Office, (HBO) in the United States.
Erwitt’s work is centered primarily on the observation of people, his pictures capturing life's most intense moments. One of the most accomplished photographers of his generation, Erwitt describes himself as a professional photographer by trade and an amateur photographer by vocation.
What led to his fame and longevity can be accredited to a single image and being at the right place at the right time; the kitchen debate photograph, taken in 1959 of Krushchev and Nixon arguing and grandstanding in front of a refrigerator. With his signature style and wit, his images tell the viewers, stories of the famous and the ordinary, the strange and the prosaic.
He was quoted having said, “It's about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It's simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what's around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy."