Saturday, January 26, 2008

Who is Your Favorite Photographer and Why?

Someone asked me recently the following question: Who is your favorite photographer and why?

I found this to be a very difficult question to answer. For as much as I love photography, I never really considered who my favorite photographer was. Certainly, there are many photographers that I admire, but my focus has always been on the image itself and not the person who captured the image. Rather than try to pick a favorite photographer, I found it much easier to decide what my favorite form of photography is. I choose photojournalism. In my opinion, the essence of photojournalism is to capture images that tell a story. I find that the most compelling images are those that effectively convey a story.

My favorite photographers are some of the great masters of photojournalism who are members of Magnum Photos. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Magnum Photos, here is an excerpt from their website:

"Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative of great diversity and distinction owned by its photographer-members. With powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities. Through its four editorial offices in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, and a network of fifteen sub-agents, Magnum Photos provides photographs to the press, publishers, advertising, television, galleries and museums across the world."

"Within the library, most of the major world events and personalities from the Spanish Civil War to the present day are covered. There are constantly updated profiles on most countries of the world, covering industry, society and people, places of interest, politics and news events, disasters and conflict. The Magnum Photos library reflects all aspects of life throughout the world and the unparalleled sense of vision, imagination and brilliance of the greatest collective of documentary photographers. In short, when you picture an iconic image, but can't think who took it or where it can be found, it probably came from Magnum."

Recently, I was fortunate to receive as a gift, a copy of Magnum Stories by Chris Boot.

Magnum Stories is a collection of some the photographic work of 61 members of Magnum Photos. I find this book fascinating because each of these photographers discuss their careers and philosophy toward photography while showing key images from their portfolios.

This book allows the photographers to tell the stories behind some of the most recognizable images of the last sixty years. We also get a sense of the very real danger these photographers face when covering wars and other conflicts around the world. I highly recommend you check out this book.

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