Digital Journal Ben Morrow

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards is a photojournalist who shoots in black and white. His images are particularly effective and impactful to me primarily due to his closeness and intimacy with his subjects. No matter the perspective, whether the picture is of just a subject’s hand or a face, it is a guarantee with Richards' photos that he will be very close to his subjects, filling his frames with them. What I admire most about Eugene Richards is the trust he must have with his subjects that allows him to take honest images of them with his topics coming off more sensitive and intimate more often than not. This is a photographer who really can share in the experiences of his subjects. As for his use of black and white, it adds a timeless element to many of his frames and places a greater emphasis on the form and detail of his images with no colors to distract from them.

https://eugenerichards.com/ (50 Hours, 1983)

Brandon Stanton

Brandon Stanton is a freelance photographer known for his project, The Humans of New York, where he captures images illustrating the diverse nature of New York City’s population. His images usually take a simple and uniform composition where he places the subject in the center of the frame. I think that using a largely consistent composition works well for his project as he is drawing a contrast between the people in New York to illustrate their diversity. With composition really not being much of a factor in his photography from image to image, Stanton leaves us with his subject matter as the singular interest, so it’s a good thing that they’re interesting. Stanton shares with us a person’s distinguishing visual feature of self-expression with each image, it could be their hair, their rings, or their boots; he uses this paired with a caption to give us a peak into who these New Yorkers are. Here’s the caption for the last image as an example: Three Mind-Blowing Facts: "1) These feet belong to a 72 year old man 2) Two years ago he ran a marathon 3) At the North Pole".

https://mymodernmet.com/brandon-stanton-humans-of-new-york-hony/ (Humans of New York, 2010)

Elizabeth Heyert

Elizabeth Heyert is an experimental portrait photographer who's projects always take on a deeply intimate theme and always an enveloping black background. This project of hers in particular is called, The Sleeper. I was drawn to this work at first because of Heyert's distinct style of portraiture that sees her placing her subjects in the center of her frames with ample space between them and the frame's edges to add to the isolation of the image that is established with her black background. So, Heyert's style got me to her work but it was her substance that kept me present in the project that illustrated to me just how personal and intimate sleeping is with every one of her subjects sleeping as is comfortable to them. When I look at these images, I think I can really see who these people are because of the trust they have in Heyert as the photographer. The role monochrome plays in these images is one that is central to the image as it serves to highlight the form of her subjects.

http://www.elizabethheyert.com/projects/the-sleepers/work (The Sleepers, 2003)

Jan Schlegel

Jan Schlegel is a portrait photographer who travels out to Africa and Asia to remote areas where he observes the decline of local identities at the hands of increasing globalization. In his project, Essence, Schlegel photographed people as they were in front of his white backdrop. This project reminds me of Richard Avedon's, In the American West, where he took portraits of miners just as they were right outside of their places of work. These projects fascinate me in the way they take a normal slice of everyday life for a people and celebrate it in isolation in front of a backdrop. I just think it's so intensely interesting what happens to the feeling of an image when you add a backdrop and a soft box (as evident in the catchlights) to an otherwise natural scene. An argument could be made that this more sterile approach to portraiture primes the pictured lifestyle for scrutiny, but that's just not the feeling I get from Schlegel's images.

http://www.janschlegel.photography/essence/ (Essence, 2017)

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon's, In the American West, is a series I've come to adore over the last couple years and seeing it in person has been a wonderful experience for me. I'm inspired by the way this project deviates from his usual work photographing celebrities and fashion for more approachable subjects, but he approaches this new subject matter with the respect of a studio environment while keeping that aspect of the photos restrained by adding no additional light to the scene. Avedon made trips out west to photograph these hard working people, many of which were coal miners, clerks, truck drivers, mothers, and fathers in the name of creating an image of the western setting of his time, but ultimately realizing that as soon as he had depressed the shutter button on his 8x10 camera that he had impressed his own opinion onto his image. To him, no image taken can be impartial, and such is his image of the American west. I love the frankness and openness the images provide, and I also love that it was my introduction to Laura Wilson, one of Avedon's two assistants on the project, who will make her own appearance here sooner or later.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/gallery/2017/feb/25/richard-avedon-american-west-texas-in-pictures (In the American West, 1985)

Jacques Henri Lartigue

Jacques Henri Lartigue has been a photographer that inspires me with the playfulness his photos exude on such a consistent basis. The really cool aspect of Lartigue as a photographer that sets him apart from the other image makers on this page is that he wasn't a professional photographer. He was simply a hobbyist and made his living in painting (which did act as his inspiration for his photography). Even his autochrome photos, which while being largely staged due to the process' long exposure times, have this movement and excitement that just make his images fun. Lartigue seems to maintain this unique lens for which he views the world in his later images where he uses TLR's and 35mm cameras that really give him the ability to express movement in a way he couldn't earlier. I just think that Lartique captured some particularly unique moments in his own perspective and ultimately, his photographs make me feel as though he'd be a fun guy to talk to.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/photo-booth/lartigue-in-color (Lartigue: Life in Color, 1961)

Edgar Martin

I found Edgar Martin's, The Rehearsal of Space & the Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite, during our book share and was struck by his approach in documenting the happenings of the European Space Agency. Most of his photographs are either wide shots of the agency's scientific and sterile space or shots of "things" isolated from their space. In both situations, I feel like Martin leaves me without many clues as to the relationship these subjects have with their space and use. This is valuable in a way because it leaves all that up to the imagination (ie. How do people interact with this environment? What could this possibly have to do with the space agency?). My favorite images from this series are the ones like the lego set pictured above where they just stick out between the images of sterile environments, and I think because I have a relationship with it so I can better picture how it's interacted with.

http://www.edgarmartins.com/work/the-rehearsal-of-space-the-poetic-impossibility-to-manage-the-infinite-2014/?show=photographs (The Rehearsal of Space and the Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite, 2014)

Fun fact: The second photo reminds me of some of Alexey Titarenko's work in, The City of Shadows. This is important to me as it was this body of work that showed me early in my growing interest of the photographic medium a direction you could take your work creatively that has you seeing a way you cannot with your own vision. I really need to take a look at Titarenko later in this assignment.

André Kertész

André Kertész was a Hungarian photographer of the early 20th century whose photography is kept in the small, square book titled, The Early Years. The form factor is actually the reason I picked the book up and the reason it is so small is interesting. Kertész didn't have access to an enlarger early in his photographic career so he developed contact sheets and that's how this book was assembled. Turning to his subject matter, his photographs have a "slice of life" quality to them and even at times a spontaneity that reminds me of Lartigue. I admire photography that can have fun like that while still observing something of a moment.



https://loeildelaphotographie.com/en/event/andre-kertesz-mirroring-life/ (The Early Years, 1964)

Alexi Titarenko

Alexi Titarenko is a Russian photographer who has been capturing cities in an easy style that is all his own for the better part of 30 years now. These images are from his first collection of work in St. Petersburg titled, City of Shadows. I was first made aware of Titarenko's work earlier on in high school and it opened my eyes to an avenue of seeing that was only available by way of a camera. His black and white film exposures show movement in a matter of seconds rather than fractions of a second in a way I still find wholly unique with the way it shows the motion of the city. In Titarenko's exposures, you can see where people have been, where they've touched, and to an extent where they are going. When I see these images I think about how this is only one way a photographer can take his work and that there are many other directions you can take your work that are just as unique.

http://www.alexeytitarenko.com/ (City of Shadows, 1994)

Jim Lommasson

Jim Lommasson's editing is what I see in his work, Shadow Boxers, with the way he arranges images with varying approaches that tell different angles of the continuing story of the boxers he photographs. In the five images I've selected to share Lommasson (in order) frames his subject far away in the center of his frame so that his environment can speak to who he is as a boxer, he layers his image to provide context to the liveliness of a boxing studio, he uses the iconography around his subject to portray expectations and pressures, he layers another image, and he gives us a closeup of a man wrapping his hands in an intimate and telling fashion. These are all distinct images of distinctly different people, but the way Lommasson places them next to each other lets them come together to tell a story about who these boxers are as a community. The images' approaches are important in that together their differences tell a more descriptive story, and that's what I see when I look through his book.

http://www.lommassonpictures.com/american-fight-clubs#!/page/416935/american-fight-clubs (Shadow Boxers: Sweat, Sacrifice & the Will to Survive in American Boxing Gyms, 2005)

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson trained under Avedon and took her own look at the American west in her own work, That Day, where she makes the focus of her version of the west its diversity. Wilson captured images of cowboys, cockfighters, Hutterites, performers, the affluent, and all their counterparts that come together to challenge a typified west or maybe even Avedon's vision of it. She seems to have approached shooting her subjects in a way that accentuates their character. This is especially noticeable for me in the closeup of the cockfighter's hands, the stoic pose of the Hutterite, and the movement of the performer (for which she cites Lartigue as her inspiration). I just really admire Wilson's work and it's so cool to see who inspired her and how that's reflected in her imagery.

http://www.cartermuseum.org/exhibitions/that-day-laura-wilson (That Day, 2015)

Scott Borrero

I needed some color right about now, and that need reminded me of Scott Borrero who was there to help me out. Borrero is an commercial photographer which is quite a step away from what I've been looking at so far, but I've followed his work for a couple years now and am continually impressed by his use of color, composition, and light. His photos are simple and very readable, but there's a level of attention and polish that is difficult not to notice and this could be attributed to his background in retouching (look at the composited first image). I'm not convinced that this is work I'd want to do but it's definitely work I can admire.


Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is another commercial photographer I've been following for a couple years now. I found his work through his videos done for Minnesota Public Radio's The Current radio publication. Ryan's work with brands and cyclists is very much of note, but what really caught my attention were his portraits for MPR. These photographs feature indie and local music artists in ways I haven't seen them before and that stopped me. I haven't seen Josh Tillman with a somber, almost reflective quality, Jeremy Messersmith looking off to the side with something weighing heavy on his heart, or Kerry Alexander looking anything but fierce. This observation in and of itself was something I found unique, but what was truly impressive was how Ryan managed to show a different side to these artist while keeping the portraits' feel consistent to the artists' personalities. This is a guy I'd really want to work with.


David Brookover

Going back to something a bit more monochrome, David Brookover is a photographer I find fascinating because of his printing. I watched an interview where he talked about capturing his landscapes in a way in which he could go to his printers with an image that had the technical latitude to convey what he needed to about the environment. The printers would then deliberate over which specialized processes would best replicate Brookover's vision as the photographer for the people who would view his work. Every decision his printers made was with the aim of transferring the photographer's vision to the gallery goers -- and there were quite a few decisions to be made. A few weeks ago I had it in my mind that printing would be as simple as pressing a button marked "print", but I was very wrong with that estimation for our K-Lab printers and even more so with the processes that the print makers describe. Brookover's work is beautiful in the way it depicts natural scenes, but I can't see them without thinking about the crazy world that is photography printing.


Josef Kouldelka

Josef Kouldelka's images resonated with me in a similar way that Eugene Richards' did, which I consider to be a wonderful thing and it makes sense with their journalism work being of the same time. Kouldelka's pictures here are of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Prague with the very first image being taken just hours before in the invasion would start with the frame being just about as empty as the streets. His work varies tremendously in subject matter but he always comes back to depictions of time and of place which together creates something of a space for his moments to exist in. The most prevalent contributing factor to this would be his use of space which I found to be instantly noticeable with what you can't see being just as important as what Kouldelka has chosen to exclude from the frame.

https://www.magnumphotos.com/photographer/josef-koudelka/ (Invasion 68, Prague, 2008)

Vanessa Winship

I found Vanessa Winship's book, And Time Folds, when I was looking for a book for our color book share and was attracted to it by her use of color and black and white photography when we might usually find one or the other process in a body of work. She described her color choices as a means of controlling the abstractions present in her images as she thought that color might sometimes only serve to distract from the essence of a picture. To me, this rationale and mixture of color and monochrome serves as a study of what color brings to images and what is left when it is left out.

http://www.bjp-online.com/2018/06/winship-time-folds/ (And Time Folds, 2018)

Richard Mosse

Here in Richard Mosse's body of work titled, INFRA, he documented the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo with Kodak's Aerochrome film, a since discontinued film stock for military reconnaissance -- a product of war in and of itself. Mosse takes this idea of shooting with military equipment and runs with it in his later work, and I find the idea of incorporating your subject/theme into the very fiber of the image to be quite intoxicating. This approach to photography just laces each picture with a greater focus on emotion's relationship with subject.

http://www.richardmosse.com/projects/infra (INFRA, 2012)

William Wegman

William Wegman is a photographer that I keep coming back to because his work is just so specific and so foreign to me. His process seems to involve a studio, a couple dogs, a large format camera, props, and nothing else; Wegman appears know exactly how he wants to express his creative vision and I just think that's so cool. The dogs he works with are so expressive and seem to take any form he requires of them which speaks to their relationship, but also to the work that's being made. I'm not sure what to say about his work right now, it's a little difficult to put the words down, but I just think this guy rocks.


Duane Michals

Duane Michals has more complex photographs where he arranges images in panels to tell a story, but the works of his that acted as inspiration for my final project were his images of what could be described bluntly as the mundane. He captures imagery of spaces that are largely empty that gives them a real sense of place, and in a way, also seem to be self-reflective. It's this aspect of self-reflection that I think could be most useful in my project and with Michal's work I think I might be able to find it in spaces both intimate and otherwise.

Jordi Huisman

Jordi Huisman has a way of photographing mundane spaces as Michals does, but he further characterizes them (or himself?) with his strong use of color and light that are often supported by a secondary focus on repetition. What his work does for me is it shows me a more stylistic approach to what I see as being a similar end to Michal's work.

Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore's work incorporates color in a way that informs the viewer. His use of color shows the viewer where to look as a focal point but it also works out from that point as a narrator for the environment. To get more specific about the colors' relationships, he doesn't really use clashing colors, they are all complementary and it all serves to tie his images together graphically.

Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz's photos takes the relationship observable in Shore's photography between color and the environment and extrapolates on it exponentially. Here, color divides foreground from background, it makes images something akin to diptychs, and in the images with people it also seems to make the people an environment device. These images are incredibly impressive to me in their design.

Created By
Ben Morrow


Eugene Richards and Brandon Stanton

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