Who’s your favorite Photographer?

 

Bethan’s chosen photographer is William Eggleston

I discovered this photographer through your classes and more recently online. I was impressed by the way He can bring beauty by a photograph of mundane , everyday objects , people, or things.He was born in Memphis, Tennesse, and as a boy , was introverted, but  from an early age was drawn to visual media, and reportedly enjoyed buying postcards and cutting out pictures from magazines. It was during his University years, which didn’t culminate in a degree, that his interest in Photography took root, and a friend presented him with a Leica camera.

His first photographic efforts were inspired by Robert Frank and Henry cartier-Bresson.First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966 after being introduced to the medium by William Christenberry. Color transparency film became his dominant medium in the later 1960s.

Eggleston taught at Harvard in 1973 and 1974, and it was during these years that he discovered dye-transfer printing, used for commercial work such as cigarette packets,perfume bottles,but he was overwhelmed by the colour saturation and quality of the ink. He used the transfer process for his photography and resulted in some of Eggleston’s most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled The Red Ceiling, of which Eggleston said, “The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I’ve never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that’s wet on the wall ”

At Harvard, Eggleston prepared his first portfolio, entitled 14 Pictures (1974). Eggleston’s work was exhibited at MoMA in 1976. Although this was well over a decade after MoMA had exhibited color photography.

Eggleston published many  books and portfolios,and some of his early series of photographs were not shown until late 2000s

His mature work is characterized by ordinary subjects such as old tyres, discarded air conditioners,dirty and empty cola bottles,no parking signs,but become beautiful photographs.

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Gill’s favorite Photographer is Sam Shaw’s photograph of Marilyn Monroe. Gill explains;

The Flying Skirt photo has an interesting background story to it. It is a set piece poster image. Sam Smith worked as a stills photographer in the 1950s. Marilyn Monroe was a struggling actress and gave him lifts every day to set. They became friends. She called him Sam Spade. By 1954 Marilyn Monroe was playing a lead role in Billy Wilder’s comedy ” The Seven Year Itch”. She was 28 years old and on her way to becoming a major star. She plays a glamorous neighbour and walks over a subway gate. Shaw had visited Coney Island years earlier and remembered women exiting a ride and their skirts blown up by a blast of air from below ground. When reading the dialogue for the film he felt he could use this idea for a set piece poster image. Sam Shaw secured the best position and she turned to him and said ” Hey Sam Spade”. Shaw managed to capture her playful personality. The photo taken cemented Marilyn Monroe as one of the sex symbol of the era. The scene went onto become one of the most famous in cinema history. The original dress sold for $4.6million. Marilyn Monroe died at 36yrs of age. Shaw didn’t publish photos of her for 10yrs out of respect. Shaw went onto photograph many more stars and became a movie producer in 1960. ( ref amateur photographer.co.uk)

 

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Kelly’s favourite photographer; RICHARD BILLINGHAM

Labelled by many an ‘accidental artist’, Richard Billingham was discovered when his art tutor found bags of photographs which Richard had taken of his family life a few years earlier; using a basic aim and shoot camera, cheap film and developed at a local chemist. The photographs showed, in overexposed detail, the reality of living in a poverty stricken West-Midlands tower block with a larger than life, chain-smoking, tattooed mother and an alcoholic father 20 years her senior who had wasted his redundancy on living like a king for a few months. Billingham’s original images showed deprivation and hard-hitting realism alongside typical British stoicism and touching personalities and the collection, published in the book Ray is a Laugh went on to be included in the Royal Academy Sensation exhibition.

Billingham has also created collections of landscaped photographs which again show the gritty reality of life, and has even worked on videos with ‘Ray & Liz’ being completed this year.

The three images created by Billingham; which I feel have ‘ignited my creativity’ are two from ‘Rays a laugh’ and one from ‘Black County’.

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