You see these lists all over the place. A year end listing of those who have died. There is a somber tone usually, and unless you are made of stone, you will feel the emotional loss.
I think it’s a better thought to celebrate their lives. And their work. The artists discussed here made images that have become part of our lives, whether or not you know their names . At the end of each short piece on these masters, will be some links for you to explore more of their work and lives.
Gordon Parks”American Gothic,” considered to be Parks’s signature image, was taken in Washington, D.C., in 1942, during the photographer’s fellowship with the Farm Security Administration, a government agency set up by President Roosevelt to aid farmers in despair. “It’s the first professional image I ever made,” Parks says, “created on my first day in Washington.”
“: I had experienced a kind of bigotry and discrimination here that I never expected to experience. And I photographed her after everyone had left the building.
At first, I asked her about her life, what it was like. And it was so disastrous that I just felt that I must photograph this woman in a way that would make me feel or make the public feel about what Washington, D.C., was in 1942.”
He was the first black American photojournalist for Life magazine and the first leading black filmmaker with movies such as The Learning Tree and Shaft, when he died at his home in New York. He was 93.
Arnold Newman – (March 3,1918â€”June 6,2006 )
One of the greatest portrait photographers of the past century, the main innovations he pioneered was what has been termed environmental portraits. In other words incorporating the subjects true living or working locations in the image.
OK, thats an explanation of photographs that you should really have a look at. Heck ,it is a visual medium.
Igor Stravinsky, 1946
Click on this link for more info and a look at some sample images.
And while you are there, take a look around the site.
Joe Rosenthal – October 9, 1911 â€“ August 20, 2006
Joe Rosenthal was the photographer who made the image of the soldiers raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. Long considered the most famous war photograph of all time, Rosenthal considered it a blessing and a curse in his continued life in photography. Whether it was constantly being asked if it was set up, or not having his subsequent photography ever reaching anywhere near the notoriety as this image, in every interview i’v ever read…he was tired of the image ruling his life.
Most recently the subject of a movie directed by Clint Eastwood “Flags of Our Fathers”, there is another scenario laid out for you to ponder.
Ruth Bernhard October 14, 1905 – December 18, 2006
Known primarily as a photographer of nudes, this incredible woman has worked with, been involved with, some of the most incredible range of people in the past century.
From a chance meeting with Edward Weston in Santa Monica in 1935, to publishing a book with Melvin Van Peebles, when he was a gripman on the SF cable cars.
Portrait of Ruth Bernhard Â©Larry Colwell
In her own words:”If I have chosen the female form in particular, it is because beauty has been debased and exploited in our sensual twentieth century. We seem to have a need to turn innocent nature into evil ugliness by the twist of the mind. Woman has been the target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of woman, has been my mission – the reason for my work which you see here”
She also leaves a book “Ruth Bernhard, Between Art and Life”, publicly revealing her many affairs with women and men throughout her lifetime.
More have passed away, both famous and not so famous. We would like us to also remember those who have not been as lucky to have lived a long full life as these artists.
Particularly the photojournalists who have given their lives in the war arenas of the world. The “new” concept of becoming embedded with troops is not so new. Look at Joe Rosenthal.
But no less dangerous or deadly.
We’ll return tomorrow with our yearly roundup.