Featured photographer, Jim Mortram
I have the special honour of being able to feature the work of a photographer whom I admire greatly, Mr. Jim Mortram. Jim’s work is very personal and deeply moving. It has taken a while to get this interview as Jim does not have a lot of time, but I am very glad we managed to do it. I hope you enjoy it.
Having recently been in the darkroom again after a long period of absence, I was fortunate enough to have the chance to produce about 50 contact sheets of my recent work. I had quite forgotten what a thoroughly rewarding and wasteful experience this was. Rewarding in that you can clearly see what you have been doing and how you have been evolving, wasteful in that you realize most of what you have done is rubbish, and that these sheets will never be seen by anyone but you.
Which is what this video is about, I have found a series of videos by great photographers talking about their contact sheets and how they use them. This is a deeply personal insight into the work of people that we have created an image of in our minds. I think we forget that it takes a great many shots to find that truly great one, and the shots you see in the gallery or the magazine have been carefully selected from a great many shots that didn’t work. This is especially true now in the digital age, where you can just junk things that you don’t like. We rarely get to see how the photographer actually selects what they have taken, so this is a nice insight into the mind of a great photographer.
Leonard Freed (1929-2006) was an American photographer born to Jewish immigrant parents in New York. After studying arts in New York, in the 1950′s he travelled around Europe and photographed the Jewish communities that were recovering from the holocaust. working as a photojournalist, he found his direction during the sixties whilst traveling with Martin Luther King, Jr. And following the American civil rights movement. During this time he produced his book Black and White America, which became a considerable talking point during this turbulent era.
Freed Joined Magnum in 1972 and continued to work in difficult and often dangerous environments including Israel, Lebanon, Turkey. His work with the New York Police dept led to another book Police Work, published in 1980.
All in all a great photographer with a unique view on times of great upheaval and change.
Hope you enjoy this one.
I went to see John Sypal’s show ‘An endless attraction‘ today…again. John is a good friend and a passionate camera nut, a kindred spirit you might say.
Whist I was there, John showed me a book that was in the gallery, ‘Exiles’ by Josef Koudelka. Now, if you have not seen this book I suggest you stop everything, switch off the computer and go to a library or somewhere to see it, because it is simply amazing. Easily one of the most breathtaking photography books I have ever read. You can buy it here if you have the cash (you might need to have a chat with the bank manager).
This was not the first time I had seen his work, but it was the first time in a long time, and it shook me. I read a Salgado book afterwards and it paled in comparison, which is saying something. In light of this I have found a video about some of his pictures that I want to share with you. I think this will not be the first, as there are others that I want to share as well, but this is a good starting point.
Please enjoy the video and feel free to leave comments.
A thoughtful and deescriptive short video about some of the work of legendary Swiss photographer Robert Frank. After fleeing the Nazi regime in Europe Frank arrived in the USA in 1947. This video is about his most famous piece of work entitled ‘The Americans’ produced in 1958. Frank took a number of road trips throughout the USA over the period of about 4 years, taking a total of around 28,000 shots! Of these only 83 made the cut.
Frank had trouble getting the work published and the first publication was actually in France. His work was unconventional to the point that many of the traditionalists felt that he was ‘sloppy and without merit’. Funny how attitudes change.
Hope you enjoy the video and that it gives you the impetus to go and read a bit more about this great man.
William Klein was born in the United States but moved to Paris to pursue a career as a painter, but later found himself turning to photography as his creative outlet. He has taken some of the iconic images of the 20th century. He rarely grants interviews, so this is a bit special. He is frank and straightforward in his delivery.
Hope you enjoy it.