Issue No. 58
The World Of Photography
For the fifth article in our Regional Focus Series, we travel to St. Petersburg, Russia. In a city whose name has changed as often as its fluctuating fortunes brought on by political upheaval and war, freedom of artistic expression suffered for most of the 20th century. With the winds of liberty blowing new life in the arts, photography today flourishes like never before.
A photograph he took in 1946, at the tender age of 15, is to this day one of his most enduring. Spending most of his early years mining for “human touch“ pictures at Coney Island, he was invited by Steichen to exhibit in Family of Man (but declined), and also became a friend of Eugene Smith. Numerous books later, the work of this humanist lensman stands out as some of the most precious of the era.
Bodies, stark and sensual; water, dark and mysterious; flowers, fragile and severe—innovative and uninhibited, she combines the elements into dazzling mosaics. “I’m not interested in photography as a reality, but as a journey of self-reflection.”
“I think of myself as a filmmaker making still movies. I’m a storyteller attracted by mystery, antiquity, and echoes of the past.”
Dennis lived his whole adult life with acute rheumatoid arthritis. He had a passionate love for his craft, creating thousands of images under extreme difficulties, and left a legacy of photographs that testify to the power that art can excite in man.
“A wonderful thing about black and white photography is that it’s already an abstraction. The world isn’t black and white. No matter how we print it, it’s an interpretation. We get away with things that we’d never get away with in color.”
“I find myself attracted to the ordinary, to things that people walk by because they are simply part of our daily life.”
“It’s dissatisfaction that drives an artist. He must be obsessed by the idea that the image he has been striving so hard for is still to come.”
Kenneth Van Sickle
He started out as a painter (and sometime photographer) in Paris in the 1950s. One day when he was sketching in a park, a colleague turned to him: “You know, your paintings aren’t very good, but your photographs are really good.” This was an epiphany for Van Sickle: “As soon as he said it, I knew it was true.”
“It’s when I photograph at night without the distraction of people that I feel I can really get to the bones of the city.”
“In my images I constantly provoke the conscious part of the mind, so that the subconscious one arises and expresses itself,” she says. “Layering allows me to suggest this kind of ‘invisible’ reality.”