Joe Deal: I just learned today that the fine photographer Joe Deal is very sick. I last published one of Joe's pictures here in this post, about the New Topographics movement and book. It's hardly the whole story of his life as a photographer, of course, but being part of the New Topographics is probably what he's best known for. He's one of those photographers who are good rather than known. His most recent book, West and West: Reimagining the Great Plains, was published last October, and a major show of his work just opened three days ago at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona.
We wish Joe the best and send our thoughts to him and his family (I went to school with his wife, something I also just found out, although we haven't kept in touch).
First Professor: The English photographer John Hedgecoe has died, on June 3rd. If I'm honest, I have to say I never knew anything about John Hedgecoe the man; I was mainly familiar with his ubiquitous and energetic instructional books, which have long been a staple of bookstore shelves throughout the English-speaking world. The most famous was The Photographer's Handbook, but there are many. His method was to devote one or two pages to a great many topics, covering techniques and technical issues with a catholic comprehensiveness and lots of good example illustrations.
I learned from his obituary at the BJP Online—well, I learned first of all that he is a man, and not a branded consortium like "Franklin W. Dixon"—he might have been, given the many things he accomplished—anyway, I learned that he "established the department of Photography at the Royal College of Art in the mid-1960s, becoming the first ever professor of photography in the U.K. in 1975." That's quite a distinction, right there. His comments quoted at the end of the BJP Online article are interesting, too, especially given the nature of his life's work.
Wadded up: As for the goings-on here at chez TOP, I spent the entire day today writing 2500 words to kick off my new "classic film" book which everybody was so encouraging about, only to toss it. False start. Speaking of "analogue" vs. digital, I believe that wadded-up sheets of paper on the floor surrounding a wastebasket (analogue) is far more eloquent than simply hitting the "delete" key (digital), although the latter is undeniably more efficient and less wasteful of resources. The former has a visual aspect that speaks eloquently of effortful frustration; the latter is just vanished, ffft, with nary a trace.
I'll begin again tomorrow.
(Thanks to Art Elkon, Jeffrey Goggin, and Joe Reifer)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.