Tuesday, July 24, 2012
"He just took a picture of you." – The lost art of the non-celebritographer TV documentary
There's not enough documentaries about photographers on television and the ones that do make it onto our screens always seem to be about celebritographers recreating their idol's most famous images (I'm not going to name names). It's not often there's a documentary profiling a photographer, are they deemed interesting enough? Is it the way that so many photographers can take such interesting images because they can fade into the background? I don't know. It's quite a lot larger subject which I'm not totally prepped to tackle right now.
Either way. The only doc I can sort of remember being on TV that followed actual photographers doing their thing is a doc with Martin Parr and Lee Freidlander? I can't actually remember the name of this documentary, so if anyone can, and find a link to it that would be great. I just remember it was good and they were in a supermarket in America at some point. Not much to go on I know.
Apparently this photographer documentaries not making it onto TV thing has been happening for a while. Joel Meyerowitz, who's known most recently known for his photographs of Ground Zero after 9/11, filmed a documentary created by Robert Gilberg in 1981 which was never picked up by a network and only made it into the public domain after Gilberg died last year.
The film follows Joel Meyerowitz - who along with Stephen Shore and William Eggleston became the first to work solely in colour - on the streets of New York, accompanied by the curator and writer Colin Westerbeck. The film gives us an insight into his approach to street photography and a glimpse of his working methods, including his small 35mm Leica and the large plate cameras.
Top image courtesy Jesse Lirola