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  1. #1

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    How many Documentary style photographers on APUG?

    Was wondering how many of the photogs on this site shoot documentary style images of people?

    Who has been influenced by:

    W Eugene Smith
    Mary Ellen Mark
    Sebastiao Salgado

    ???

  2. #2

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    I would say that most documentary photographers focus on people as subjects, and are at least familiar with the work of those three, and many others. As far as being "influenced by", they certainly are three influential photographers, in general!

    I personally lean toward documentary and journalism when left to my own devices. In the projects so far, probably about About 75% have been about people, but more based on artifacts than on their actual appearances or activities. The other 25% have involved shooting actual pix of people, alive and moving. I love to examine what is left behind, either via abandonment or death.

    Personally, Gene Smith is probably the most influential of those three on me. Although I would not necessarily list him as a big influence, I do enjoy much of what he did stylistically and aesthetically. Mary Ellen Mark I could take or leave (interesting subject matter, but not extremely photographically/visually interesting to me). Sebastio Salado I just do not care for at all, aesthetically speaking.

    When it comes to influences, I don't have many with documentary photography. My influences are more journalistic and "street" oriented. I am actually quite fond of Ansel Adams' small body of documentary work. Lee Friedlander and August Sander are two big influences, although I wouldn't say I take pix anything like Sander. I just appreciate his ability to perform such vast undertakings, while mixing the subjective and the objective quite seamlessly, and to do it all beautifully in a visual sense. If I am lucky, I can take pix 1% as good as Friedlander's.

    Why do you want to know?
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 08-23-2008 at 01:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #3

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    Thanks 2F, Gene Smith is someone I have admired for years, especially his work in Minamata. I have to disagree with you on Salgado, I feel he is the greatest living photographer. Mary Ellen Mark did some great work with her Falkland Road book.

    Adams was a great photographer but I think his portraits are lacking. Agree with you on Friedlander and especially with August Sander who might be the best portraitist ever! Many of his negatives were lost after the war, how many great images lost forever ?

    Why do I want to know? just because most of the people I know do the zone landscape thingy and I get so tired of that, I like to meet people that are interested in photographing people more than rocks (no matter how beautiful the rock is)...

    Thanks for answering my post


    Gerry
    www.gerrryyaum.com
    www.gerryyaum.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Hmm, I think I tend to do more people than rocks, but not quite portraits - mostly street style stuff.

  5. #5
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    APUG has its share of the rocks and trees crowd, but I like to think I'm using some documentary techniques in my work... even though it's work that is very close to home. I don't travel the world to find my subjects... I live with them, but it's more than just snaps.

    I'm not as keen on the work of Mary Ellen Mark as I am with Gene Smith or Salgado... something about many of her pictures strikes me as almost too literal, or something. My only problem with Salgado, is that his books are so damn expensive, and poorly edited. I think he waters down his message with too many pictures. I'd rather see leaner books from him. It would pack an even greater punch for me. He is that kind of photographer who is making extraordinarily beautiful pictures of some of the world's most difficult problems.

    I like it when art and documentary photography intersect.

  6. #6

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    Nothing wrong with staying close to home to make your images, thats where some of the best stuff comes from...look at Sally Manns work, her photographs of her children are very complex and moving. Suzanne your work reminds me of hers.

    hmm yes his books are expensive, try to get them off amazon second hand. I just bought his book AFRICA and was spellbound looking over the images, the photographs were shot all over Africa from the 70s to present day. Sure the images are technically beautiful but I find them also deeply moving also.

    check out the links

    http://rataplas.files.wordpress.com/...o-e-arvore.jpg

    http://atuleirus.weblog.com.pt/arqui...ao_salgado.jpg

    http://fivepercentjapanese.com/art/8..._salgado_1.jpg

    http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...ve/salgado.jpg

    This is one of the Africa book images..
    http://bp2.blogger.com/_J985ePibq94/...%81FRICA+1.jpg

  7. #7
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Oh boy... now I'll have to add another Salgado book to my Amazon wish list...

    I admire Sally Mann's work, but I don't consider it documentary at all... do you?

  8. #8

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    hmm..documenting her family? not sure how to define that word, I always thought of it as basically a recording of the human condition....and she certainly does that...I do not like her death related images (seems like there are quite a few of those) but I really like the photographs she does of her family, lots of emotion and feeling...you can see her heart.

    Bought all of her books that I could find and also Jock Sturges stuff when I first got my 8x10....to shoot Sally Mann's or Jock Sturges portraits with an 8x10 camera is quite a achievement, not sure how they managed to move that big ass camera about and still capture that kind of intimacy.

  9. #9
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Perhaps I'm being a little narrow in the definition of documentary. Yes, she documented her family, but many of the pictures are set up, and work as lovely little narratives or fictions, but there's a real sense of the presence of the camera. This is not a criticism of the work at all, but I often think of documentary as being work that comes from observation, and not from illustration, for lack of a better word.

    With that said, of course, August Sander set things up, and posed his subjects, and his work feels very documentary. Even when Salgodo makes a portrait, that is clearly posed... they feel very documentary. I think there's room for both approaches... but it starts to muddy the definition of the document... or just make it a very broad umbrella!!

  10. #10

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    "...and especially with August Sander who might be the best portraitist ever!"

    ...but keep in mind that Sander was really doing typology, not portraiture. It's an entirely different concept. Portraiture tells you something about an individual, and is rarely documentary. Typology tells you something about a class or group in society, and is almost always documentary in nature. The fact that he was doing typology across all aspects of German society is what got him in trouble. He was documenting groups in society that many viewed as shameful, and documenting them in the *same exact way* he was documenting the upper classes, not placing any one group above or below any other. If he had just been taking people's personal portraits, nobody would have cared.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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