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5 Comments

  1. Anne
    January 4, 2021 @ 5:25 pm

    I really appreciated this post, Anthony and Diana. Thank you. The quotes, your analysis and image choices make this a piece I can see myself reviewing for inspiration, over and over again. I get the impression his camera was part of his being… instinctively seeing, composing, clicking as life carried on around him.

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  2. Dennis Jud
    December 31, 2020 @ 6:08 pm

    Hi Anthony, Great read … thanks! This reminds me of a few books I read a while ago and started to write a book review of two of them.

    It is to be a review and comparison of and between The Tao of Photography – Seeing Beyond Seeing by Phillipe L. Gross and S. I. Shapiro and Another Way of Telling by John Berger and Jean Mohr

    After a lot of ups and downs and ins and outs, in 2011, I started getting more serious about my photography, reading lots of digital photography e-magazines, buying more and better equipment, joining a camera club, going to a major conference, and, recently, taking an online course with Anthony Epes called “The Art of the Image.” This was a great course, but while some of his photos could be categorized as “street,” he makes it a point to say he doesn’t like the genre. (Fair to say, Anthony?) That’s ok, as what he offered in his course was quite universal, and much of what he represented was consistent with some of the theories expressed in these two books.

    While to date I’ve been mostly interested in landscapes and travel photography, I found myself wanting to shoot people more and more. So, maybe for that reason, I’ve found myself gravitating toward Street Photography. I was not at all sure what that really meant (and I am just now starting to get it), but I knew it mostly includes people in (mostly) city environments. So I went out and got two great books about the topic. One is called 100 Great Street Photographs by David Gibson and is a wonderful resource, for me a primer, helping me to figure out what makes a good “street” photograph. I had been, and to some extent still am, struggling with why some street photos are so celebrated. Why, indeed, is street photography in general is so well respected. So often the photos look chaotic and/or as just a “normal” scene on any street. This whole notion of Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” left me wondering … WTF?

    Through some random book perusals and then with Gibson’s book, I started to see a common thread among so many of the photographers around the notion of “the story” represented in a photograph. And to get a better understanding of just what that all means and how to try to achieve that in my own photography, I set off to the library to see what I could find as inspirational. I was going for Henri Cartier-Bresson or Garry Winogrand books, but I came out with The Tao of Photography and Another Way of Telling.

    The Tao of Photography is less a “how to” photography book, but more a thoughtful, philosophical treatise on how to SEE our world in a much more meaningful, rewarding and freeing way. Mr. Gross quickly introduces the teachings of Chuang-tzu, a 4th Century BC Chinese Philosopher and integrates them with mindfulness and “seeing” as a photographer.

    Having a better sense from The Tao of being set free to really see, Another Way of Telling explores the idea of “story” in a penetrating way. The sequence starts with a fun story about a blind Indian girl, then a reflection on intrusion, then permission and choice and then an essay. At first, very theoretical somewhat esoteric, and ultimately very clear and illustrative.

    So, again, Anthony and Diana, thanks much for your ongoing inspiration.

    All the best, and Happy New Year to all.

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  3. Scott Vrana
    December 30, 2020 @ 7:45 pm

    Thank you so much for writing about Elliott Erwitt. Early in this pandemic year I spent a great deal of very happy time with Personal Best, a monster-sized career retrospective. He has long been one of my favorite photographers.

    Though he may affect a casual attitude toward his work, it is clear that he is single-minded about photography. Can’t you just hear, in “Normal Chaos” above, the child on his mother’s hip screaming “put the camera down, dad, and lend a hand here”?

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  4. Paul King
    December 15, 2020 @ 4:23 am

    Thanks Anthony for writing this piece, albeit some time ago.

    Having strolled the streets of London with you I really appreciate the way that you see the world through the eye of the camera. Reading this piece I can see why you draw a reference from the work of Erwitt.

    You say that your work is quite different, but behind the subject matter I think it is very similar. It is the approach to the subject that seems to be more important than the actual subject.

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  5. patricia tedeschi
    December 29, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Mr. Erwitt’s photographs remind me of Vivian Maier and, of course, Cartier-Bresson. I sent the link to my daughter and noted the whimsy and genuine interest in people that he conveys though his images. They each made me smile even as I thought, Wow, how did he capture that moment so “decisively?”

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