Senator Barry Goldwater, Photographer

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Alex Hawley, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Barry Goldwater sent a mounted and framed photography to his good friend and political advisary John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy sent a thank you note that said congradulations on finding a career that you can finally succeed in! :D

    Steve
     
  3. photomc

    photomc Member

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    There was a magazine cover several years ago that feature the Senator and his work. Seem to recall seeing a show of his work as well, back in the late 70's and it was quite good.

    IIRC he was a member of PPA and quite active for some time. Glad to see people are still discovering his work.
     
  4. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Thanks for reminding me about Goldwater -- I've recently been wracking my memory trying to think of a really good photographer who is also a political conservative. The only ones I've been able to think of are essentially exercising mannered tropes, and Goldwater is certainly the arch-example of all examples. His 1950's and 1960's photos look like they should have been made a half-century earlier.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2007
  5. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The original Barry Goldwater prints I've seen certainly wouldn't compete with Ansel Adams, but weren't all that bad. Ex-senator Howard Baker was also a photographer.
     
  6. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    While I never agreed with his politics, besides photography, Goldwater and I shared another interest - ham radio. He was very highly regarded by amateur radio operators - even those opposed to him fantasized about a full-size yagi antenna on top of the White House. Goldwater was an active ham throughout his life and during the Viet Nam War (a time well before internets, global telephoning etc.) was very active "running phone patches" so that troops could contact their families via a ham radio/telephone interconnect.

    As to his photography, I understand he did a number of aerial surveys of the Grand Canyon in the 1950's. This was when much of it was still unexplored. And I believe Goldwater is credited with "discovering" at least one major rock formation in what was an inaccessible part by shooting the same area at different times of the day to "follow the sun".
     
  7. donbga

    donbga Member

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  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Yes, but if you read his 'The Conscience of a Conservative' you soon see that he's a long way from the current cartoon conservative, i.e. he's not a brain-dead redneck born-again Christian warmonger.

    I'm not saying the cartoon variety is the only sort of conservative there is, because Goldwater himself illustrates perfectly that this is not so. I'm just suggesting that the cartoon variety has been on the ascendant lately.

    Surely there must have been a few good Nazi photographers: not Leni, please, because I really believe that she was naive rather than a committed Nazi (and indeed few Nazis apart from Hitler himself appear to have been able to stand her -- an unusually persuasive illustration of the Fuehrerprinzip, perhaps). I do recall seeing other clichéd but still arresting Nazi pictures, though. And of course on the other side of the fence there were quite a few good Communist photographers such as Aleksandr Rodchenko.

    And what about Argentina? The percentage of good photographers from the Argentine has been disproportionately high, but I know little about their political sympathies.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    I liked what I have seen of Goldwater's photos.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Here is the Barry Goldwater Photo website:

    http://www.barrygoldwaterphotographs.com/

    A conservative from the 60's and 70's has little in common with a neocon and the circus going on today. Goldwater would likely have very serious issues with the current administration (but then again who wouldn't, doesn't, unless you have stock in Exxon)

    In perusing his photos it is pretty clear that he photographed for the love of it, and I think that Barry Goldwater, Photographer, can stand alone and apart from Barry Goldwater, Politician.

    Kudos to Mr.Goldwater. RIP
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    In fact Barry Goldwater so strongly rejected the Christian Conservative [Damnit now I have to clean my hands and my keyboard!!!] that he refused to endorse them or speak a Republican Conventions. He said you cannot legislate morals and neither should you promise them in politics.

    Steve
     
  12. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Thanks Roger, good thoughts. I'm in the middle of writing a short essay on war photography and some of the paradoxes outlined in Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others (caution: ugly images) and evaluating it in the light of the sorts of cognitive-evolutionary analysis done by researchers such as Marc Hauser at Harvard.

    Basically, I think that Sontag over-interprets the failures and frustrations of war photography in its apparent inability to halt war altogether. Researchers like Hauser et al, while not studying photography directly, reveal the crucial connection for human morality (which functions at a low level with strong universality, regardless of culture) and the importance of seeing people. Sight, and by extension photography, is (to my delight) a strong moralizing, humanizing force - far stronger than words.

    Conservative/liberal left/right politics aside, I personally cannot think of many (any?) visual artists of any merit who are pro-war, even in the presence of great direct threat (Goya and Picasso come to mind as artists who were clearly threatened but whose images did not advocate violence against their self-declared enemies).
     
  13. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Despite the vastly contrary political views I hold, Barry Goldwater rose to great heights of admiration in my mind when it was he who told Nixon that he had to either resign or face impeachment and conviction. That decision removed any remaining claims of partisanship in the Watergate hearings. It was indeed the "conscience of a conservative" speaking and is the singular event that raised Goldwater from the status of politician to that of statesman.

    One would have to look long and hard and still not find anyone today on the American right who places conscience over ideology the way Goldwater did.
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Actually, today Barry Goldwater would probably be a moderate Democrat! :D

    Steve
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    Argentinian politics are all over the place - from Nazi sympathizers to tree-hugging Vegan enviro-queers. dunno where any of the famous Argentine photographers align though.

    Another interesting political figure (not from the US) who is a big fan of our artform is the King of Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej Rama IX is a serious film shooter, and the last time I saw a pic of him with a camera, he was shooting Contax 35mm SLR gear. Out there on the internet you can surf around and see some examples of his work- he's an average photographer, but he tries. And he still shoots film!

    A bit of gush from a decidedly pro-royal website:

    "King Bhumibol has toted his camera the length and breadth of Thailand as he records the colors of people and places in his Kingdom, however, for studio still life and portrait work, he favors the more dramatic effects of black & white film which he processes and prints himself. If not in his darkroom, His Majesty may be found listening to music or humming a few bars of a potential composition. He is an accomplished saxophonist and clarinetist with a keen enjoyment of jazz especially Dixieland and Blues and an enthusiastic composer of "easy on the ear" melodies. Benny Goodman would have had the King join his band (had not the King been busy doing other things!) and one of His Majesty's compositions, Blue Night, was featured in a Broadway production. As an amateur photographer and musician, many have voiced that King Bhumibol could have been a professional in either."

    From http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/hm_king_bhumibol_2001.html
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Where will the essay appear? I should be very interested to read it. I have to confess that I find Sontag the perfect example of someone who tries to evaluate photography in verbal terms, as a non-photographer, and fails even in those terms. I speak as one to whom words come easier than pictures.

    I shall forthwith examine the Hauser reference.

    Thanks,

    R.
     
  18. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Well, I think you might be getting a little carried away there, but Goldwater would certainly be appalled at what claims to be conservatism today.
     
  19. lee

    lee Member

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    C6h6o3 is right about Barry Goldwater. I was alive when Barry Goldwater haunted the halls of congress and he was pretty right winged as I remember it.

    lee\c
     
  20. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Thanks for the link Jason.

    It was not my intent to spark a political debate when I posted this thread; the intent was to show that photography and politics can be separated and are not intrinsincly linked as some suggest, nor is it the private realm of a specific agenda.
     
  21. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree, and as I indicated earlier the photographs speak for themselves, as they should. I have a very fine appreciateion for the man's photographic efforts. I like his portraits very much, and I also think "Canyon Snow" is quite nice.
     
  22. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I just finished browsing through the website portfolio. Yes, these photos stand on their own. They are impressive. Equally impressive, I think, is that this work spans the most active years of his adult life, from the 1930s to the 1970s. Obviously, photography was not just a passing fancy for him.
     
  23. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I was in California when Goldwater was a presidential candidate. I hope he chose not to endorse some of the Christian conservatives there. However, some certainly endorsed him. Several radio stations seemed to exist solely to raise money, tout Goldwater, and damn most of the World to eternal fire and brimstone. It tainted Goldwater by association, even if he may have rejected their stance..
     
  24. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, nobody can really be responsible for those people, and who'd want to?

    Anyway, I' like to discuss his photography. The article indicates a body of about 15,000 pieces of work, so it was certainly not a passing fancy. The site has about two or three dozen.

    There is a nice little page on the sight devoted to his equipment and methods, in his own words. He shot PlusX and later, TriX.
     
  25. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    JB,

    Following on your suggestion I did a quick review of a couple of dozen of the photos on the website.

    Sorry, but I think they are "nice shots" but they reveal that Barry's calling was not photography.

    They do provide an interesting historical record, however, of and earlier, more bucolic, AZ. The one that existed up until the boom began after the water and electric resources made possible by the Salt River Project started coming online around 1980.

    EDIT: BTW, I think his photographic work tailed off after the 1950's. One might say he was a bit of a "renaissance man"; another might use the term "dilletante". :wink:
     
  26. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd have to disagree, I like the most of the ones I've seen, and 15,000 self processed negs over 50 some years is hardly the work of a dilletante.

    I think its quite allright to not find anothers work to your taste, however, calling an obviously serious photographer a dilletante is a bit much.