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Thursday, 29 November 2012


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He has an interesting eye but the image you show is way the stand-out of all those I looked at. He likes the colour red quite a lot.

"All things considered, Magnum photographers are probably the once and future "élite of street." "

It's hard to question that claim. Many of Pinkhassov's images, like those of several of his peers, are excellent examples of characteristics that distinguish those with accomplished skills and talented mind/eye circuits. In partial answer to Gordon's invitation to discussion in an earlier thread, in my opinion the characteristics of the strongest "street photography", whether color or b&w, are:
- gesture and timing,
- multiple visual layers,
- hierarchical frame organization, and
- it prompts more questions than it answers.

Look through Pinkhassov's set with this list in mind and I think you'll see what I mean. Then look through some of Alex Webb's work,
Constantine Manos's work, etc. You may not want to spend much time back at that Flickr group after such a tour.

You're only as good as what you see,

Thanks for picking this photographer out. He is as good, if not better, in colour, as he is (was?) in B&W. This should be compulsory reading (looking) for colour street afficionados.

You gotta be kidding!

[About what? --Mike]

Wow. Consider my gob well and truly smacked!

Dear lord but those are fantastic. The cockerel / chicken shot - FTW!
You are on a roll at the moment Mike - just about everything on here recently has been a Must Read post - thank you for all of it.

Well, that certainly takes Street to a different level.

Really excellent work.

Full credit: I learned of Pinkhassov when I read novelist Teju Cole rhapsodize about Pinkhassov's Instagram feed (yes, he has an Instagram feed, apparently of his iPhone work).

Cole (a propos some of TOP's preoccupations), mused about art photography in the era of social media and the deluge of new images, and mentioned Pinkhassov's preference for modest gear (primarily a crop-sensor Canon DSLR, though he has recently plugged for Fuji's XE1, praising the "softness" of it's images).

Cole's blog at The New Inquiry magazine is called "Double Take", and is about the visual arts: http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/dtake/

A quote:

"it’s no bad thing that everyone is now a photographer... Nevertheless, in looking at a great photographic image from the past or the present, we know when blood is drawn. We know that some images, regardless of medium, still have the power to suddenly enliven us. And we know that these images are few."

That book of interest, Sightwalk, is definitely worth a look. Very nicely put together, and some wonderful images, once you get past the slightly unusual cover material!

These photographs breath and fairly pulsate with life. His compelling
use of color, light and shadow, and choreography of moments all add
up to an array of work that is special, indeed. Bresson would be proud of the effective use of geometry in this man's imagery. Thank you, Mike, for sharing the unique artistry of Gueorgui Pinkhassov!

Hi Mike,

Thanks for exposing another contemporary genius. We sometimes think anything that was good was done up to the 1960's but it's demonstrably not so. Some are moving the game on, but they really don't get enough "exposure" in the gallery market.

Two interesting observations - first, like Nuri Bilge Ceylan, he learned cinematography first which shows in the dramatic lighting, composition and tension in each shot and - second, he combines colour AND tonality to create real depth and dimensionality that is normally the province of the B&W print.

It's humbling but also very inspiring to see how things have indeed moved on. The comparison with "democratic" submissions on sharing sites could not be more stark.

I think such discoveries should convince anyone that photography is still very much alive and well, and there are contemporary photographers, a handful, that are every bit as original and evolved as their illustrious forebears. But then there always were only a handful...

So thanks again, and more please. This is like soul food!

Love his abstraction of form and colour.

Stunning photographs. It was interesting to note in his Magnum biography that he impressed the great Russian film maker Tarkovsky, whose films are among the greatest ever made in my opinion. Stalker, the film Tarkovsky invited Pinkhassov to document is especially stunning visually. Tarkovsky was a still photographers' film maker if ever there were one.

And to really appreciate the man you should meet him in person, he's as fun to talk talk to as it is fun to look at his photographs... ;-)

Lest there be any confusion, from my point of view the Pinkhassov photos are fantastic, jealousy-inducing, and probably as good as it gets in the genre. They also use the same tropes and conventions that have been around for a while now-- horizontal frames, careful placements of the bodies, perpective shift front to back, backgrounds playing off foregrounds, deep shadows with a single light source, and so on. Pinkhassov just does it better than most anyone.

Thanks for showing him to your readers, Mike. How about you start a This is How It's Done series.

Well that made me want to hang up my cameras.

Nobody should be allowed to have taken that many superb images in a lifetime

Wow, that guy is unbelievable. What an inspiration. I especially love the way he's able to place people in parts of the frame where you aren't quite expecting them. That out-of-focus couple kissing--shot through two layers of train doors!

Wow. Wow. Thanks.


I definitely need to be paying more attention to that "layered" look. Need to study more Sam Abell too.

Thanks for introducing this great photographer! I'm afraid I'll have to spend a few nights going through all his photos, trying to learn something...

Wow, great photos. I just discovered Saul Leiter, and I can see a lot of Leiter's influence in Pinkhassov's work, especially the color photos on Pinkhassov's blog.

Color photography--especially color street photography--is so difficult to do well, but both Leiter and Pinkhassov have mastered it.

Unbelievable. Thank you.

Pinkhassov video link talking about the Fuji Xe1

After reading Elisabeth's featured comment and impressive critique I realize that even after 12+ years of serious, amateur photographic efforts I still have a long way to go in furthering my appreciation and understanding when it comes to photography. After all that time one can still feel like a newbie!

I consider being a random excellence photographer along with this guy as the greatest accomplishment in my life (rofl-hahahahhahah). I really don't care about any other awards, for me, this is the mountain.

The genius of this guy simply cannot be overstated, it's depressing (I mean that in the best way). I feel like a donkey. :)

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