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Favourite 'discoveries' of 2016

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by Zou, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Spilling over from the Exhibition Lounge - where I posted a thread for sharing your favourite image of the year - how about sharing your 'discoveries' of the year. These don't have to be contemporary photographers, just ones you have found out about this year.

    Mine would be (unsurprisingly!) a Japanese photographer called Yutaka Takanashi. A room of his work is on display (or was in November, anyway) at the Tate Modern in London. I find his work strikes a fascinating balance between Moriyama's at times brutally raw 'in your face' images and a more traditional documentary style.

    I'll need to ponder which other great photographers I 'found' this year. How about you?
  2. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    I became far more aware of Rui Palha thanks to AP's coverage. Strikes me he and Takanashi are from opposite schools; Palha meticulously finding the location then waiting the right thing to happen and Taka instinctively snapping anything and everything and sorting it out later.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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  3. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    This year I 'found' Personal Exposures by Elliot Erwitt. I confess that, although I'd been familiar with his name for years, I had never encountered Erwitt's work.:oops: I must say that I found this book to be the perfect accompaniment to a glass of a decent red, on a summer's evening in the garden.:)

    While not every photograph in the book appeals to me, I do find his overall style rather engaging.
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  4. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    And both have great results. First I've heard of him, just checked his Flickr. There are a lot of folk doing this kind of stuff now, but Palha seems to be one of the more consistently strong amongst them. Thanks for that.
  5. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

    I bought quite a few photobooks this year so here's some I enjoyed, all where either published or 'discovered' by me in 2016 and listed in no particular order:

    Christopher Herwig, "Soviet Bus Stops"

    Raymond Depardon, "Glasgow"

    William Eggleston, "Portraits"
    ( catalogue to go with the exhibition at the NPG and reviewed here in The Guardian)

    Todd Hido, "Intimate Distance"

    Siberia: In the Eyes of Russian Photographers
    (although the book spans 130 years, I was taken by the work of the contemporary photographers Sergey Maximishin, Alexander Gronsky and Liza Faktor)

    Enjoy :)

    peterba likes this.
  6. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Not so much the discovery of a favourite, rather a growing tolerance of Martin Parr's work. I find I can now view it dispassionately and appreciate the results.
    AlanW likes this.
  7. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Agree. It is so hard doing "street" to get any recognisable style or POV. The default is what is actually there, which ultimately, any fool can do. You can wait for a decisive moment, but it still doesn't lift what you do out of the everyman category. Parr is sardonic, which is OK with me.
  8. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Even though the thread was created due to a suggestion of mine, I’m not sure I can really name a favourite discovery. Working out why and getting my thoughts in something vaguely resemling order has taken a while - sorry for the delay. Also, sorry that the explanation is a bit long - I'd suggest you make yourself comfortable before you start – a drink would probably be a good idea.

    Up until retirement, photography was a spare-time hobby and I was more interested in taking photographs than in looking at other people’s, famous or not. Obviously I was exposed to such in magazines, newspapers and so on, which meant I was maybe inspired or at least influenced by them. As for favourites, I had none.

    I think this may be more common than people realise. Maybe there is a spectrum of photography related interest. At one end is the person who takes lots of photographs, but for one reason or another (can’t be bothered, doesn’t want to be too influenced) doesn't read about other photographers very much and at the other the person who takes hardly any, but has an encyclopaedic knowledge of photographers and their works. The former may read the occasional book on the compositional or technical aspects of the hobby and see the occasional big-name picture that way, but otherwise goes his/her own way. The latter may be put off doing much practical work by comparing themselves with and becoming disheartened, much like the beginning guitarist who listens to too much Segovia/Clapton/whoever.

    Somewhere in the middle are the majority who take photographs but have read around the subject (and continue to do so) and have at least a superficial knowledge of the photographic world and its denizens. The point to which, as they become more experienced and/or inspired, photographers from both ends migrate.

    For me, this state continued a couple of years into retirement, with a slight hiatus due to the take-over of digital from analogue, until I started to get more serious about my hobby. And had the time to do something about it.

    Over the last couple of years, having more time available (not to mention broadband internet access), I have been learning more about the names I have heard and discovering others. Some are more impressive or interesting than others.

    I have been reading about them, there being a dearth of exhibitions in easy traveling distance. Usually through anthology type books like 50 Contemporary Photographers you should know and the like, that deal superficially with a number of related (possibly loosely) photographers.. But also through the occasional book from the T&H Photofile series and the Beetles & Huxley Gallery used to sell exhibition catalogues quite cheap, which was useful. And the occasional ‘proper’ photography book.

    One result of this is that my knowledge of most of my ‘discoveries’ is superficial, with one or two exceptions where I have been impressed by one or two pictures and dug deeper.

    So most of the ‘discoveries’ I’ve made will be ‘old’ names to most people here (though there may be one or two as iggorant as what I am!) and I don’t think I have any favourites - some I like, some I don’t, and even the ones I generally like, I don’t like every image.

    So who do I like?

    Lichfield, Snowdon (portraits and photo-journalism), Donovan, Mapplethorpe, some Cartier-Bresson, Marc Ribaud.

    Those I’ve come across in the last year that I think may reward a bit more looking at?

    Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Akari, Ann Bown, and a couple of others.

    Yes, names that are well known to some, probably most, of you, some whose names I knew but not much else. I’m still moving to the middle of the spectrum and due to no local exhibitions (mind you, now I’ve received my free bus pass, ‘local’ may take on a wider meaning), a small local library with a very small photography section and limited funds, the journey may take a while.

    But at least some of the byways will be signposted on these boards. ;)
    peterba, Catriona and Zou like this.
  9. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    The journey is the thing!
    One thing I can say which helped me was an exercise which took place over a few years, and that was emulating the style of an iconic photographer. This could be a modern, current icon or a past icon, but I know I learnt more trying to do that than all my former experience, studies, practical work under a tutor in a class or just reading and looking. Sometimes I didn't even like the photographer, but that didn't matter. Studying his style, looking at his work, learning about his motivation or history was invaluable. I also grew to respect them more and more! Some really suprised me in their lasting effect on me and my work.
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  10. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Not sure that would be totally helpful - his/her motivation might be financial! ;)
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Chicken!! I know, it is difficult, :p
  12. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Still good to recognise though. If you know money was the factor, they likely have an eye for the commercially strong images. It helps to inform how you view their work. For example, that's one reason why I can't get overly excited by much of Dali's art - I know he was chasing the $$$ and trying to get attention. Magritte, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. He had far more interesting motivations, and (for me) far more interesting work.
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  13. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    The thing I remember influencing me most of all was not the work of any particular photographer but the way that work was presented in publications. Some of the computer software brochures in the seventies were great, like those from a company called "BOS". Ilford put out some great publicity material like the "FP3 - Film of Many Faces" booklet. I've still got some of these and they still make me think I have to do better.
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  14. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Agree. Amazing how repetitive people get in any art when they are getting paid well for it. Find a formula, churn it out. People have commented about one trick ponies before. They certainly give that appearance, but I'm sure they could turn their hands to other things if it were worth their while.
  15. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I think the worst for that was late Picasso. He had, apparently, a tendency when he needed a few Francs to just cobble together a painting and rely on his signature enabling a high price.
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  16. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    The thing is - even if they were only going after the big bucks - and even if you don't like their work, it is amazing how trying to emulate their style teaches you so much! I guess I covered about 20 different photographers and it was the best photography lesson I ever had.
  17. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Quite, the exercise is surprisingly powerful.:)
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  18. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    A quick epilogue:

    One source of possible photographers to follow up on is the A Brush with Greatness column in the Observer Magazine.

    There's always a pic and they always give a photographer credit, making it easier to go Googling for photographers whose image is interesting.

    Well, I find it interesting and useful, even if the text can be a bit meh. ;)
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  19. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

    Must have missed this thread first time around. I discovered Letizia Battaglia. Some graphic images but great documentary work in a testing environment.
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