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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

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Indeed, Mike, 'mum' is an English mom. A significant part of England's foreign currency earnings is generated by selling off all those 'u's (from humor, rumor, etc)that our former non-tax-payers decided they wouldn't be needing after good King George was shown the door.

To be honest, I only recently discovered the photographer McCartney. Over here it's catwalk Stella who gets all the attention. Fashion is SO much more important than photography, after all.

"The reach of my knowledge is nothing when pitted against the extent of my ignorance."

I think I just found my all-time favourite quote. Is this an original TOP-quote, or is the extent of my ignorance even greater than previously anticipated?

Otto.

That's correct, isn't it? "Mum" means mom in English?

Mom is a strange Americanisation of the English 'mum'.

What is the pronunciation? is the 'o' spoken as in hot or is it more like a 'u'?

nope not over here either, I only noticed her recently but then her's is the type of photography thats right off my radar,what do I know, my favourite photographer is Robert Adams.

I didn't know about Mary. Like Jim said, it's Stella who's well known here. I do know that I share the same birthday as the late Linda (and F. Scott Fitzgerald) 24th Sept.

I've always used Ma, myself.

Or Mam, as we say in the north of England......

Harumph.
I have a powerful prejudice against wealthy celebrity photographers whose work is based almost exclusively on their access to other celebrities, and their own 'brand name'. An exhibition at George Eastman House last year left me mystified because the photographs were simply awful- dull, pedestrian, poorly composed black & white shots from movie sets. Ah, but the photographer is a well-known actor, so...there you go. The list of well-connected celebrity dilettantes with photo book deals is long and (to me at least) discouraging. Notoriety and connections evidently trump merit.
Of course, some celebrities are genuinely skilled, even excellent photographers. I love Jeff Bridges' black & white panoramic film-based photographs. His shots taken on movie sets compared with that other actor's (cough-Jessica Lange-cough) is Bambi vs. Godzilla.
Yet I must concede that Mary McCartney's work is relentlessly competent. She has a new photo book on sale that I loathed at first sight, as it's based largely on images of celebrities. But the images on her website are terrific; her technical skills and compositional eye are obviously very good. Dammit.

Geoff,
I had a similar "harumph" reaction when I found out how many famous art photographers are or were independently wealthy. The number is quite large, larger than you might think. (It includes Linda before she met Paul, too.) For every bohemian Edward Weston who suffers in poverty, there's an Eliot Porter who, if memory serves, held a party when his income photography finally exceeded his income from his trust fund; I think he was about my age at the time. Nothing against his work, which is just as good either way.

Let's face it, accomplishment in photography is generally pretty strongly resource-dependent...you need either time or money, and often both.

Mike

Mary McCartney's Off Pointe project, which you can see on her website, was featured in Black & White Photography magazine, April 2007. It's well worth a look. Mike, you were writing about bokeh in that issue, if you've seen it.

My nephew (who is very English) was recently at school in the US for a while, at 8-9 years old. He coped magnificently with all the (to him) strange procedures and terminologies and idioms and spellings - he could see that was just "how things were" there - he was made very welcome, adapted, all fine.

However, one rocky moment came about because of a Mother's Day card he had made at school, addressed affectionately to his "Mum" as usual. The teacher had corrected this to "Mom", in the normal course of her duties, with some comment about careless spelling. Not her fault, she couldn't have known.

But: what an intimate undermining! (Both mother and child soon emerged unscarred, of course.)

I feel Mary McCartney has a long way to go before reaching the heights of Snowdon (a Welsh joke), who tackled the theatre far more adventurously and originally. I thought, given the access she has, the 'Off Pointe' project was pretty mediocre, but people who like being in the company of the 'beautiful set' often foist their pictures onto an adoring cognoscenti. Bah !

"I have a powerful prejudice against wealthy celebrity photographers whose work is based almost exclusively on their access to other celebrities, and their own 'brand name'. "
I agree totally it makes me a little suspicious... Although I was pretty surprised when I saw Brad Pitt´s exclusive "private" photos of Angelina Jolie in the Nov 2008 W magazine.
http://backseatcuddler.com/2008/10/13/pictures-from-angelina-jolies-w-magazine-shoot/
I really liked them, but maybe I´ve got bad taste or I like Angelina too much!
Paul

Interesting.

Went to her site and looked at all the pictures. For me, it's a little like listening to Kenny G. They are both obviously talented, both "relentlessly competent", both have obviously put in their 10,000 hours.

But neither appeals to me, even a little bit.

RE: "wealthy celebrity photographers whose work is based almost exclusively on their access to other celebrities"

But have you seen the Sammy Davis Junior book? Amazing stuff, and I love the Jeff Bridges book too. Dennis Hopper's work is worth mentioning as well.

Most people never get past the erroneous idea that Linda (Eastman) McCartney had some family connection to Eastman Kodak.

As for all the harrumphing... part of photography is imagination, skill, patience, etc etc. but part of it is being in the right place at the right time, which often means having access which others do not have, in order to take any pictures at all. Celebrity may be odious, but it does open doors. I think the fact we haven't heard much about Mary McCartney is because she doesn't play the 'famous dad' card, at least not indiscriminately.

I have to say I prefer her work to that of her mother.

"Most people never get past the erroneous idea that Linda (Eastman) McCartney had some family connection to Eastman Kodak."

She didn't, but her family did have a lot of money.

Mike

I suspect most people nowadays if asked who Linda McCartney was would say "Something to do with veggie sausages?"
http://www.lindamccartneyfoods.co.uk/sausages.php

This brings to mind a question I've been wondering about for a while - is there any word on how Lind McCartney reconciled use of gelatin-based film with her very public vegetarianism?

(I'm a vegetarian when it comes to dietary stuff, and I use gelatin-based film, but I also wear leather shoes, so clearly I'm just not a very good vegetarian. I'm wondering if Linda, as a more activist vegetarian, had more to say on the matter.)

I have a problem with your parochial statement. I think it is mostly one way. Americans are parochial. The Brits know our celebrities, artists, actors, music. We don't really know theirs. Give me ten contemporary Brits, French, or Germans. None of them would have any problem listing 10 or 20 of ours. It is not every nation. Just us.

Winsor,
Really? I'm American, and *I* don't know three-quarters of the American "stars" I see on TV and the internet. List the people featured on the the next episode of "TMZ" and I probably won't know two-thirds of them.

Mike

Or Mam, as we say in the north of England......

Oh yes. Some of you northerners are even harder to understand than Americans!

I'm a vegetarian when it comes to dietary stuff, and I use gelatin-based film, but I also wear leather shoes, so clearly I'm just not a very good vegetarian.

Exactly the same for me. I'm a vegetarian, leather shoe wearing film only photographer.

It's interesting to compare some comments about people using their celebrity to gain access to photograph other celebrities. Being provocative I think this should inlcude Jim Marshall - of course he becam a celebrity for taking celebrity photographs...

Consider also Viggo Mortensen I should hate anybody who apart from being a fine actor is a published poet (before he became known as an actor), pretty good painter, expert horesman, exhibited photographer and a jazz musician with 3 cds. Oh and speaks 6 languages. I'm just jealous.

Winsor,

When I was living in Nepal both major English language newspapers had sections on the activities of the Hollywood crowd. In India and now Morocco I see American movies and TV shows every time I surf the channels. I just spent a few days in Madrid where I could not escape American "celebrities". The rest of the world enjoys following these people. Don't blame the American public for this. I don't feel uneducated or ignorant because I can't name any of their gossip rag "stars".

It's hardly suprising that US celebrities are often household names worldwide when you consider the sheer volume of movies and TV series that are exported from the US to the rest of the world. There can hardly be a single US soap star or chat show host that isn't known almost as well in the UK as in the US.

However the only Brit media celebrity that seems to be widely known in the US these days is Jeremy Clarkson.

But sport? I would imagine the average Brit sports fan could reel off scores of soccer players from every nation on earth (including a few from the US) but simultaneously fail to name a single current player in the NFL.

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