The Open Road by David Campany

mickyates Japan, Photography, Uncategorized, USA 0 Comments

Carlos Ordonez and I are talking to PhotoBath on “The Road Trip in Photography”, in February.

The more you consider this, the more it’s clear that road trips have been integral to photography almost from the beginning.

An excellent source is ‘The Open Road‘, by David Company (Aperture, 2014). This is focused on the American Road Trip, from Robert Frank in the 1950s to Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs in 2008.

Frank’s road trip led to the seminal work, ‘The Americans’ (1958), published just after Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road‘ (1957). Frank’s book had an introduction from Kerouac. Photography and literature are intertwined.

One of my favourite photographers, Daido Moriyama, was also influenced by Kerouac, and made Japanese road trips in the 1960s and 70s. This became part of his book ‘Farewell to Photography‘, another classic work (1972). Moriyama set out to destroy photography, presenting his publisher with a set of damaged negatives, which could be printed in any way the publisher saw fit.

“In On The Road each phrase is like one shot. The narrative is always moving, always looking at different things at the same time”.

And, for the ‘Instagram generation’, road trips have never been more current – truly a global phenomenon.

Consider Fadi BouKarem‘s excellent work Lebanon USA

From the Aperture website:

The Open Road is the first book to explore the photographic road trip as a genre. It opens with a comprehensive introduction, which traces the rise of road culture in America and considers photographers on the move across the country and across the century, from the early 1900s to present day. Each chapter explores one body of work in depth through informative texts and a portfolio of images, beginning with Robert Frank, and including such renowned work as Garry Winogrand’s 1964, Joel Sternfeld’s American Prospects, William Eggleston’s Los Alamos, and Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi. The Open Road is a visual tour-de-force, pres­enting the story of photographers for whom the American road is muse.

Should be a fun project!

Annie Leibovitz Portraits 2005-2016

mickyates Book, Photography, Portrait 0 Comments

I have always enjoyed Annie Leibovitz‘ work, and in the past few days enrolled in her online Masterclass.

It was most interesting, and I learnt lots of things about how she creates portraits. Her job is to understand the subject, and create a portrait which brings that understanding alive. Her job is not just to put the subject at ease. I was quite impressed with the pre-shoot research that she does.

I was most taken with her approach to simple but effective lighting, with a single strobe balancing the ambient light. She makes good use of cloudy days, and early light. And Annie is happy to use Photoshop to tidy things up.

There were reference documents to download, and an active online community.

Inspired, I decided to treat myself to her latest Photo Book, Portraits 2005-2016. It’s just excellent.

Here are a few images I especially enjoyed.

Alexandra Fuller, 2016

A great example of ‘environmental portraiture’, looks easy but love that balanced light.

Annie noted in the Masterclass that too many lights can take away what natural light gives you.

Bruce Springsteen, 2016

She also noted that you don’t have a person’s soul … just a flat moment of it in a  picture. Annie loves creating a series, a photo story, with each image a different aspect of the subject.

Kim Kardashian, North West, Kanye West 2014

In the Masterclass, Annie also happily admitted that she had photoshopped herself out of the image.

Queen Elizabeth II, 2016

How on earth did she manage to get all those Corgis lined up? Magic I guess, or was it Royal instruction?

By the way, Annie seemed quite proud of the fact that she threw ‘The Decisive Moment’ out of the window a long time ago …

If you haven’t got Annie’s latest book, there is still time for Christmas!