Websites, part 14
Sometimes photography is very much like show business. The only difference really, is that , more often then not, photography prefers what happens backstage than on the scene. Not that it will ignore what happens on stage, because that needs to be documented too. But how it all works, how it all happens, what the public cannot see, that is a source of constant fascination for the photography world. The world is photography’s stage. What happens on it, from the political histrions to the most bizarre insect hidden in the rainforest, from the flirtatious games light plays on objects and things to the shapes and forms that marvel us, it’s all in a day’s work for those who know how to capture it. Sometimes, unfortunately, doing so can be extremely dangerous, as we have so sadly been reminded with the sudden death of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros. “Entering war zones brings a chance of injury or death, no matter what precautions are taken. It’s a profession where the very fabric of the job is risk, like firefighters or coal miners. And just as we don’t disband the fire department every time a firefighter dies doing his job, we shouldn’t allow our grief for our fallen friends overwhelm the core mission of our profession.” -Chris Hondros, Jan 2006. This one is for you, Tim and Chris.
1. Noor photo agency
Headquartered in Amsterdam, which is already unusual, the young Noor photo agency is of a special kind. Launched loudly a few years ago during Visa in Perpignan by Stanley Green of Agence VU fame, it has succeeded against all odds. It seemed ridiculous, at the time, to launch yet another news photo agency when all existing ones where suffering huge financial set backs. Furthermore, it seemed pointless to aggregate talents in one new place when there were so many other options. But against all odds, Noor is still here, and going strong. With such photographers as Nina Berman, Jan Grarup, Yuri Kozyrev or Jon Lowenstein, it has now succeeded along side older brother VII and grandfather Magnum. There are a lot of challenges still ahead and photographers more than anyone else know that nothing is forever, but in the mean time you can appreciate their work on their website.
2. Bruce Gilden
Who has never dream of walking along a famous street photographer? Who wouldn’t give all their earnings, plus maybe those of his neighbors to have had the chance to be next to Henri Cartier Bresson when he shot those legendary pictures. Well, the bad news is that you cannot. However, the good news is that you can walk along famous Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden. Thanks to a video created and posted by the BJP, the British Journal of Photography, one can spend an insightful 12 minutes next to Bruce Gilden as he photographs the streets of Derby, England. It is very rare that a photographer, especially a street photographer who relies so heavily on spontaneity, would allow to be followed by an intrusive video camera. This is the exception that breaks the rule.
3. Out my window
Out my window is a very special project that can only live on the internet. In order to connect the similarities and differences of life in a highrise, Katerina Cizek has set up an interactive documentary. From 13 cities in 13 cities, she has set out to photograph the lives of tenants in 13 different apartments, solely using photographs and interviews. The result is amazing in its depth and innovation. By entering people’s personal space and stories, she is able to bring forth a whole range of emotions and situation that better explain the world around use. Like a patchwork puzzle, each image connects to another, furthermore exposing detailed elements of individuals that become guides of their own existence. None of the images are exceptionally good individually. It is in how they relate to each other in exploring and explaining life that they transform in high-powered instrument of revelation. Highrise : Out my window is a perfect example of how photography and web technology can be combined into a powerful experience.
4. Irina Werning
Irina Werning has an acute sense of humor. However, she also has an acute eye for revelation. This argentinian photographer loves to mess with her surrounding by rearranging its elements into something that it’s not. She also likes to play whit time and that is exactly what she did with her Back to the Future project. She took old photographs of people when they were kids and recreated them exactly with the same person as adults. The result is not only amusing but extremely precise. She somehow found the same clothes, the same location, got the same expression as well as the de coloration of the film. As you travel from snapshot to snapshot, you pass from simple amusement to being force to reflect on time and how these people, like ourselves, have changed. Or not. It is a study in the evolution of life, how we do become who we are, how sometimes it seems that our whole live is already written in our childhood.