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Thursday, 30 June 2016

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One more thought...

We're now facing a wave of loss of the people who made photography great in the latter half of the 20th century. Davidson. Erwitt. Klein. Koudelka. Meyerowitz. Frank. Eggleston. Friedlander.

Who will succeed them? Most of the best-known names in photography today are not really photographers but, rather, contemporary artists using photographic materials and techniques. Gursky. Sherman. Wall. Sternfeld. Burtynsky has a foot in each side but makes his way mostly with his contemporary art foot.

Names familiar to the photo world are mostly Internet photo hobby celebrities. They are often promoted by manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Adobe) and may be very popular with the photo-tech seminar crowd. But they generally have no substantial bodies of work and are not followed or known by collectors or represented by major dealers.

So who's up next? Anybody?

Wow - thank you for bringing Heath to my attention. I'd never heard of him and I just spent the last 20 minutes clicking around looking for examples of his work. Just beautiful, wrenching stuff.

It's gratingly glib to sum up a life's work in a few words, but I can't help but think that Cunningham depicted people as they wanted to be seen by the world and Heath captured how people actually are - so it's not surprising that Cunningham gained decades of acclaim while Heath did not.

If only I could learn to do black and white the way Dave Heath did!
It's not very plausible that anyone remembers I once commented highlights can be beautiful; anyway, this was what I was talking about.
Such wonderful photographs! They make it hard to understand why Dave Heath was such an obscure photographer. The world can be an unfair place.

The pictures in the obituary shows Mr. Cunningham's equipment was as modest as the man: An entry level Nikon with an old AF-D prime.

I will have to revisit the Dave Heath book. There's some lovely work there, even the late digital color pictures are beautiful. But given the quiet tone of it it's also not hard to understand why he never hit the big time.

Bill was using a DSLR the last year or so. The last time I saw him I was sitting in the coffee shop in the NYTimes building corresponding with Mike our host of all things. I mentioned it to Mike , "Bill Cunningham just walked by with a digital camera" because it was sort of like seeing the Dali Lama in a Burger King or Donald Trump running for president. I guess the last of the one hour photo places must have finally closed.

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