Three major contributors to The Online Photographer—
Peter Turnley signing books for fans at the Leica Store in San Francisco last night (despite the complications of the World Series). Photo by Ctein.
Ctein and John Camp in Bloomington, Minnesota. If the man on the left looks like a photographer-physicist and the man on the right looks like a novelist, you probably should ignore that. Photo by David Romm (used with permission).
(When I first met Ctein in the '90s, I asked how I would know him, as we were meeting on the street in San Fran. He said something like "You can't miss me. I look like a radical gay Jewish cross between Rasputin and Jesus Christ." And sure enough, when I saw him from a distance coming toward me on the sidewalk, I thought, "that must be Ctein," and it was. He now looks very different, more like a lifelong hippie scientist crossed with Galdalf. John to me looks like maybe a "star professor" at a major University, those academics whose fame reaches past their departments to spread campus-wide and maybe further. Or do you have a different take based on first-blink appearances?
I don't know what a photographer looks like, unless it's a guy in a Domke vest with three DSLR bodies hanging off him at various points, at least one with an enormous telephoto. I remember hearing when Walker Evans was at Yale that the "uniform" for the serious acolyte was faded jeans, an army surplus jacket, and a worn used Leica.
Alfred Stieglitz, seen here in 1934, didn't quite fit the stereotype, although he favored capes...hard to know exactly what that meant, since styles have changed so much. It would be an affectation today—was it then, too? Or as much?
I seem to remember an early photograph of Edward Weston in both a cape and a beret, although Weston habitually dressed casually after he went bohemian.
This is probably quintessential photographer style, eternally:
Lee Friedlander by Richard Avedon. Speaking of whom, this is how Avedon dressed:
...The style telltale being the second button undone (de rigeur for male fashion photographers everywhere?) and of course the partly rolled-up sleeves (always cracking the nut, as Avedon would say—his studio operating expenses ran to $60,000 a month in the '90s).
And that's not even getting into the distaff side. I'd nominate Dorothea Lange as the quintessential female photographer style icon, for her particular mix of dashing artiness and frumpery. Although you can't fault this look:
That's Imogen Cunningham in 1967, and I believe the photo is by Jim Alinder. Now there's a lifelong hippie, and, if you Google her, you'll see she did have a wonderful sense of photographer style.)
(Thanks to John, Ctein, and David Romm)
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Featured Comments from:
Patrick Dodds: "This beautiful photograph [contains nudity, albeit inoffensively—it was the first "full frontal" nude published in LIFE magazine —Ed.] of Imogen Cunningham was recently referenced on Zack Arias' blog and should be shared widely—it's delightful."
Mike replies: Yes indeed, it is wonderful. It's been shared widely since it was taken in 1974 by Judy Dater—her best-known photograph. The model is Twinka Thiebaud, who posed for a number of prominent photographers, and who is now nearing 70 and living in Los Angeles. The photograph is thought to be based on Thomas Hart Benton's "Persephone," in which he paints himself as voyeur peering around a tree trunk at a nude woman, in a clever play on an artist painting a model.
R. Edelman: "I visited the Leica San Francisco store today to view Peter Turnley's photos that were on display there, and to check out the book French Kiss. I did not meet Mr. Turnley as he was out on a Master Class. The photos on display were wonderful in all respects: subject matter, composition, lighting, and printing. The book is of a technically high production quality, and the photos therein contained more of the same wonderfulness that characterized the photos that were on display. Henri Cartier-Bresson has nothing on Peter Turnley, my friends. I ended up ordering two of the French Kiss books; one for myself, and one to be used as a gift for my beloved aunt, who is herself a fine photographer and a Leica enthusiast."