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Author Topic: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art  (Read 14905 times)

Isaac

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Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« on: February 12, 2015, 03:19:16 pm »

Quote
"Beginning in the mid-1940s his intentions as a photojournalist on assignment for magazines show clearly in his contact sheets. He worked fluid situations with great thoroughness, photographing not just for the 'one single photograph' but for story-telling sequences.
…
Although he has rejected this interpretation of his enterprise, the evidence at Magnum Photos demonstrates that almost all of his work began as journalistic reportages for picture magazines. From these reportages, he selected his best single images to present as art in books and museum exhibitions. Without the photojournalism, however, there would have been little photographic art."

Claude Cookman in Henri Cartier-Bresson: the man, the image & the world pages 394-396
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 05:22:16 am »

The conclusion seems a little too far fetched, IMHO.

In the same way landscape photography would exists even if National Geographics wouldn't, I think than HCB would had produces a lot of photographic art even without the journalistic reportages  assigned to him.

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Iluvmycam

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 08:05:36 am »

Cartier-Bresson was kinda dogmatic. Just as a lot of the photogs seem to be. Photogs get stuck on an idea and go out of their way to sell themselves and everyone else on the validity of it. He was not very flexible on some things. Maybe back then he had something to say about this topic, but it does not make much sense to me.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 08:08:32 am by iluvmycam »
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 12:22:30 pm »

In the same way landscape photography would exists even if…

Instead of asking if the work of a particular photographer was done within one kind of photography, your analogy asks if an entire kind of photography was based on a particular magazine.

… even without the journalistic reportages …

We'll never know.

However, the contact sheets can show if the photographic art is a selection of the photojournalism.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 02:07:13 pm by Isaac »
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2015, 12:05:09 pm »

Instead of asking if the work of a particular photographer was done within one kind of photography, your analogy asks if an entire kind of photography was based on a particular magazine.
I cited NG just because it's one of the magazine known by a wide public (not because I think it represents landscape photography).


We'll never know.

However, the contact sheets can show if the photographic art is a selection of the photojournalism.
That's why I thougth the conclusion was far fetched: we cannot know if photojournalism was necessary for Bresson to do photography.
Given that He was trained in paintings, I think he would have done photography nonetheless.
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RSL

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2015, 01:05:21 pm »

Look at HCB's photographs in historical sequence and you'll see that a lot of his best street photography was done early on, before he became a full-time photojournalist. Once Magnum became a reality the artistic quality of his work sometimes slid a bit, though there were many photographic triumphs even after that. Check out The People of Moscow to see what I mean.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2015, 11:56:09 am »

Look at HCB's photographs in historical sequence and you'll see that…

…the vast majority are from the mid-1940s onwards.
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RSL

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2015, 04:21:37 pm »

Right, Isaac. From after the war. It was pretty hard for him to photograph in a prison camp. Check his stuff from before the war.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2015, 05:15:54 pm »

Check his stuff from before the war.

Which represents a tiny fraction of Cartier-Bresson's photographs.
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RSL

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2015, 07:46:47 pm »

Quite right, Isaac, but he wasn't a full-time photojournalist then and he was into surrealism. When he shot "Behind the Gare St Lazare" in 1932 the war was still a long way off. Once he became a photojournalist he often was forced to do a kind of shooting that wasn't real street. If you were to try photojournalism, which you won't, since you talk about photography but apparently never have done it, you'll see why he sometimes simply had to get what he could get. Most of the work still was head and shoulders above most of his contemporaries'.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 01:48:25 pm »

That's why I thougth the conclusion was far fetched: we cannot know if photojournalism was necessary for Bresson to do photography.

We do know that Cartier-Bresson did photography before he did photojournalism.

After reviewing Cartier-Bresson's contact sheets: the author does know that from the mid-40's, Cartier-Bresson's photographic art was selected from Cartier-Bresson's photojournalism.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2015, 02:17:39 pm »

Quite right, Isaac, but he wasn't a full-time photojournalist then and he was into surrealism.

In the same way that saying he was french is just labelling until we are told how being french influenced his photography; saying he was "into surrealism" is just labelling until you say how being "into surrealism" influenced his photography.

For example, until we are told "find and compose a graphic background and then wait for the right person to enter the frame" can be seen as "a surrealist idea of the combination of composition and chance".
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RSL

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2015, 02:56:36 pm »

In the same way that saying he was french is just labelling until we are told how being french influenced his photography; saying he was "into surrealism" is just labelling until you say how being "into surrealism" influenced his photography.

You can't "say" anything intelligible about a photograph, Isaac. You have to look at the photograph. It's the same thing with poetry. As Archibald MacLeish made clear, you know the meaning of a (good) poem only IN the poem. There's nothing you can say about a good poem that can even begin to convey what's in it. So it is with a good painting; and so it is with a good photograph. You can't say how surrealism influenced HCB's photographs. You have to look at the photographs.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2015, 03:11:52 pm »

You can't say how surrealism influenced HCB's photographs.

As you insist, I shall just accept that you cannot say how surrealism influenced HCB's photographs.
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RSL

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2015, 04:04:30 pm »

Okay. That's best. Neither can you. Neither can anybody else.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2015, 05:04:45 pm »

I don't have information about the tactics employed by the surrealists -- others are better informed. I don't have access to Cartier-Bresson's contact sheets -- others are better informed.

Recognizing where we personally are ill-informed is one thing; insisting that others are equally ignorant is another.
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RSL

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2015, 06:35:30 pm »

Sorry to hear about your ignorance, Isaac. It's a self-imposed shortcoming.
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Isaac

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Re: Without the photojournalism … little photographic art
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2015, 10:55:52 pm »

"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so."
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