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John Bragg
09-08-2006, 07:20 AM
I know she had a controversial life, but this is one of the best sporting portraits ever in my eyes. Anyone else ?

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.artnet.com/artwork_images/1055/72291t.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.artnet.com/Galleries/Artists_detail.asp%3FG%3D%26gid%3D1055%26which%3D% 26aid%3D152364%26ViewArtistBy%3Donline%26rta%3Dhtt p://www.artnet.com&h=146&w=185&sz=5&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=5uNbjCikxtdQHM:&tbnh=80&tbnw=102&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dleni%2Briefenstahl%2Bjesse%2Bowens%2B portrait%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8

Regards, John.

benjiboy
09-08-2006, 07:47 AM
There are many other good, portraits John by photographers who weren't committed nazis, and friends of Adof Hitler.

John Bragg
09-08-2006, 08:03 AM
There are many other good, portraits John by photographers who weren't committed nazis, and friends of Adof Hitler.


I understand that, and (not wishing to get into the background of the author of this image), it is the look of total focus and determination in Owens eye that I find compelling. Nothing else is implied !!!!!!!

Regards, john.

Roger Hicks
09-08-2006, 08:04 AM
There are many other good, portraits John by photographers who weren't committed nazis, and friends of Adof Hitler.

Dear Ben,

It's disputable how committed a nazi she was. Also, it is disputable how far she was a friend of Hitler, and how far they used each other for their own ends.

There are those who will hear only ill of her, and those who refuse to believe any ill of her. Having read a good deal about her, including two major biographies, I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between.

And regardless of which camp you fall in, she was a brilliant photographer. There's no law saying that great artists have to be nice people.

Cheers,

Roger

Michel Hardy-Vallée
09-08-2006, 08:05 AM
ALL sports photography is indebted to Leni Riefenstahl in a way or another. The way she shot the Berlin Olympics pretty much defined the template for the years to follow.

That said, it's a beautiful portrait. I always think of her portraits to be more like the other ones on the same page you linked to: two-thirds to full-length. The expression on Owen's face is so alive, almost amused.

blansky
09-08-2006, 10:29 AM
She was a great photographer and her work was outstanding.

The fact that she worked for the state she grew up in and rose to the top of the heap is a mark of her greatness. Was she a Nazi. Of course. How else would she get the commissions. It was the dominant party of her state.

It is unfortunate that he state turned out to be a what it did, but using her as a whipping boy for that state makes little sense.

Many of the founding fathers of this country were slave owners, and we excuse that by saying they were "of their time".

She was also "of her time" and place.


Michael

haris
09-08-2006, 11:21 AM
Michael precisely said it as it is...

What Bible said: let it throw first stone one who didn't make any sin... something like that, I didn't tell it precisely, but you got the point...

Just think would you reject job offered by your government. And would you think it that situation "My government is evil (if it is), I will reject offered job"

Like Mafia, they give you an offer you can't refuse... :)

I don't know was she Nazi or not, but, she got the oportunity to do what she like (make movies and photographs), government secured her budget, and else, by that working she had oportunity to establish herself as world recognized artist, etc... Not many people would reject that offer. And if you know that offer come from somebody (in this case dictatorship government or dictator himself) for whom you know that lots of bad things can happen if you insult them by rejecting (like stopping you to work, kill you, kill your familly or/and friends, remember that was Nazy government in 1930es/40es, who would say anything if some artist dissapear...), then...

Being suporter of that government or not, rejecting that offer would be dangerous, and than, it would be rejecting of many oportunities. And people sold themselves for much less...

Look what happens these days with Nobel price receiver, Gunter Grass...

Today there are countries which rest of the world don't like, even hate. But, people in those countries don't think they do anything wrong if they work for governments of those countries, and don't pay much attention what rest of the world think. Leni did the same 70 years ago...

resummerfield
09-08-2006, 11:37 AM
She was a great photographer..... .....She was also "of her time" and place.Well said, Michael.

Gerald Koch
09-08-2006, 11:49 AM
There are many other good, portraits John by photographers who weren't committed nazis, and friends of Adof Hitler.
Therefore, we should ignore a person's obvious talent because we have a problem with some of their beliefs. I find this logic rather offensive.

Helen B
09-08-2006, 12:35 PM
So, she used her talent to make some of the best Nazi propaganda ever made. She knowingly glorified Hitler and the Nazi ideal. An ideal which was repugnant in its time and which is repugnant now. Can we really forget all that and judge her photographs in isolation? I'd be interested to know how many of the people who are suggesting that we acknowledge her talent without reservation (if that is what they are suggesting) have seen "Triumph of the Will". Hitler deified.

Best,
Helen

blansky
09-08-2006, 12:48 PM
Many artists through history have used their talents for propaganda. The best artists of their time worked on Catholic propaganda, Greek propaganda, Roman Propaganda, Egyptian propaganda...

I think we have to take their work as it presents itself.

That said, she certainly did glorify the Aryan myth beautifully.

To some, the pictures used during the FDR era were propaganda for communism/socialism which helped dig the US out of the depression. Fortunately/unfortunately the war did the real work.


Michael

Krasnaya Zvezda
09-08-2006, 01:13 PM
...

Just think would you reject job offered by your government. And would you think it that situation "My government is evil (if it is), I will reject offered job"
...

Yes. Referring to current administration of U.S., I would decline, and probably not respectfully.

billschwab
09-08-2006, 01:24 PM
Therefore, we should ignore a person's obvious talent because we have a problem with some of their beliefs.When it comes to the glorification of Hitler and his beliefs?

YES

B

copake_ham
09-08-2006, 01:35 PM
So, she used her talent to make some of the best Nazi propaganda ever made. She knowingly glorified Hitler and the Nazi ideal. An ideal which was repugnant in its time and which is repugnant now. Can we really forget all that and judge her photographs in isolation? I'd be interested to know how many of the people who are suggesting that we acknowledge her talent without reservation (if that is what they are suggesting) have seen "Triumph of the Will". Hitler deified.

Best,
Helen

Well said, Helen.

Someone who could make "Triumph of the Will" was more than just a "casual Nazi" trying to get government work!

She glorified a man and an ideology that systematically slaughtered over six million people. She was fortunate enough to avoid the Nuremberg noose and lived long enough for subsequent generations to become unaware of her role in supporting and advancing a hideous death machine.

And let it not be forgotten that Jesse Owens accomplishments in the 1936 Olympics were greeted with derision by Hitler and his cohorts. So to say his favorite photographer took the "definitive" portrait of Owens is an insult to Owens!

Gerald Koch
09-08-2006, 01:36 PM
Richard Wagner was a rabid antisemite and as some as his contempories remarked "not someone you you want to invite to dinner". However, does this negate his obvious musical genius.

Thomas Edison used to tour around the US electrocuting dogs and puppies to "prove" that his DC power was safer than the AC power advocated by Westinghouse. Does he somehow lose his talent because people shouldn't like him?

Should we demand that famous people have absolutely perfect characters? I think not.

billschwab
09-08-2006, 01:48 PM
Richard Wagner was a rabid antisemite... does this negate his obvious musical genius. Not the kind of thing I put on to entertain friends. That's for certain.

This thread is telling me a little more than I want to know.

B.

MattCarey
09-08-2006, 01:59 PM
She was a great photographer and her work was outstanding.

The fact that she worked for the state she grew up in and rose to the top of the heap is a mark of her greatness. Was she a Nazi. Of course. How else would she get the commissions. It was the dominant party of her state.

It is unfortunate that he state turned out to be a what it did, but using her as a whipping boy for that state makes little sense.

Many of the founding fathers of this country were slave owners, and we excuse that by saying they were "of their time".

She was also "of her time" and place.


Michael

Unfortunately, we will never know who the excellent photographers (and other people) were who decided not to join the Nazi party.

Careful with the word "we". I don't excuse the founding fathers for being slave owners. It is a shame (in the truest sense of the word).

If you were a scientist, I would ask, "who is the greater human--Albert Einstien or Werner Heisenberg".

One left Germany the other stayed. Both were excellent Physicists. One is the better person.

Matt

Roger Hicks
09-08-2006, 01:59 PM
I'd be interested to know how many of the people who are suggesting that we acknowledge her talent without reservation (if that is what they are suggesting) have seen "Triumph of the Will". Hitler deified.


"Without reservation," no. "Acknowledge her talent," yes. And I have indeed seen a good deal of her work -- probably at least as much as anyone of my age (mid/late 50s) both cinematic and still.

I do not think I have seen any here in the former camp ("Without reservation"). Anyone who refuses to join the latter camp ("Acknowledge her talent") must surely have a strange definition of talent.

Cheers,

R.

c6h6o3
09-08-2006, 02:03 PM
I'd be interested to know how many of the people who are suggesting that we acknowledge her talent without reservation (if that is what they are suggesting) have seen "Triumph of the Will". Hitler deified.


Frankly, I don't see that much talent. I think she was perfectly suited to the task of glorifying Nazism. She was every bit as much of a photographer as Hitler was a painter, or Albert Speer was an architect. Like all Nazi attempts at art, her work will be relegated to the historical dustbin it so richly deserves.

Roger Hicks
09-08-2006, 02:03 PM
Both were excellent Physicists. One is the better person.

True. And your point is...?

Staying in Germany didn't detract from his physics. Your opinion -- my opinion, the world's opinion -- of his personality and politics doesn't change that. Any more than it changes Leni's talent.

Cheers,

R.