A documentary series by Randi Lynn Beach
Explore the creative process behind iconic photographers in their own words.
Watch the reel (3:03)
Eliott Erwitt finds inspiration in the little things, specifically little dogs. Mr. Erwitt has traveled the globe in pursuit of his craft as a photojournalist, commercial photographer, artist and filmmaker. But he is perhaps best known for his humorous photographs of dogs and their owners. He has published numerous books on the subject including Dog Dogs, To the Dogs and Son of Bitch. He lives and works in New York City.
Eddie Adams has photographed 13 wars, including Vietnam. Mr. Adams won the Pulitzer Prize for a photograph of Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner.Since 1988, he had organized an annual photography workshop, where professionals welcome newcomers to the craft. In September 2004 he passed away at the age of 71 due to complications from Lou Gehrig's disease.
David Fahey, gallery director, has been a fine art photography art dealer in Los Angeles since 1975. The Fahey/Klein Gallery represents and works with such notable photographers as Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ralph Gibson, Bruce Weber, Peter Beard, and Edward Weston among many others. Mr. Fahey began his career as a music photographer, but ultimately got his foot in the gallery door by conducting over sixty interviews with selected internationally known fine art photographers.
Ruth Bernhard met Edward Weston in 1935, whose work exposed her to the potential of photography as art. Bernhard's work has been included in the permanent collections of major museums and universities in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico, and has been published worldwide. Bernhard is widely admired for her collection of work on the female nude, embodying classical and sculptural ideals of beauty. Ms. Bernhard passed away December 18, 2006 at the age of 101.
How high is up? Duane Michals has always been self motivated. "I operate out of my own curiosity. You've got two choices, doing or bullshit. Most people bullshit" Mr. Michals began his career as a graphic designer. However during a trip to Russia at the age of 26 he started taking pictures and discovered he was a natural. He says not going to photography school was his saving grace. "If I had gone to photography school I would have learned the rules, and unlearning is the worst thing."
Jerry Uelsmann born in Detroit, Michigan, says he's in a weak position to complain. He's a self-proclaimed happy man, currently retired from teaching and lives with his wife, Maggie Taylor, in Gainesville, Florida.
Arnold Newman doesn't like labels, but if you had to give him one it would be "Father of the Environmental Portrait." At a time when others were relying solely on formal studio settings, Mr. Newman chose to photograph his subjects in their natural environment. He has photographed many of the most interesting personalities of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, John F. Kennedy and Igor Stravinsky. Mr. Newman passed away at the age of 88 on June 6, 2006.
Sheila Metzner has spent her career looking for the mythical in ordinary life. While raising her five children, Metzner built a body of work under the tutelage of mentor Aaron Rose. After nine years she had accumulated 22 pictures, which caught the eye of John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art. Her career took off from there. Ms. Metzner's unique style has positioned her as a contemporary master in the worlds of fine art, fashion, portraiture, still life and landscape.
Andy Summers may be a world renowned musician,, but he started out as a photographer in the English seaside resort where he grew up. Mr. Summers discovered you can only really serve one muse and made a choice between photography and music. He chose music. However he has continued pursuing his fine art photography. In 1983 Mr. Summers published "Throb." Currently he is working on a photography book on guitars with Ralph Gibson.
After Nick Ut's brother, an Associated Press photographer, was killed in Vietnam, he convinced AP to let him work in the darkroom, where he would cry over the photographs he printed. He spent long days in the darkroom before he could eventually take his own pictures. In 1973, Mr. Ut won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news for his photograph "The Terror of War," which depicts children in flight from a napalm bombing. Mr. Ut currently works for the Associated Press in Los Angeles.
David Hume Kennerly got interested in photography when he realized he could get out of class if he took photos for the yearbook. Says Kennerly, "I pawned myself off as a photographer with a lot more experience." After 30 years of documenting history for a living, he doesn't need to fool anyone. Kennerly won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his work in Vietnam. He served as White House photographer to Gerald Ford and has traveled on assignment to more than 140 countries.
For the past 30 years, Mary Ellen Mark has been widely recognized for her numerous books, exhibitions, and editorial magazine work featuring reportage and portraits. She has been published in leading magazines around the globe from Life to Rolling Stone to Paris Match and the New Yorker. She has published fourteen books and has been exhibited worldwide. She also teaches workshops and gives lectures several times a year. Ms. Mark lives in New York City.
David Hume Kennerly
Mary Ellen Mark
Judd Pilossof was thrown into the fire, so to speak, when he was given the opportunity to photograph a cookbook 15 years ago. His love of cooking, travel and wine has helped turn that opportunity into a successful career. Based in New York, Mr. Pilossof has shot for almost every major advertising agency and food magazine. His most recent book, "A Passion for Chocolate," was published by Meredith Press.
Leonard Nimoy; actor, director, producer, poet, author, scholar, philanthropist, artist, photographer. Mr. Nimoy began taking pictures as a teenager in the 1940's with his family's Kodak Autographic and continued his photography education at UCLA under Robert Heineken in the early 1970's. He has published several books of images, most recently "The Full Body Project." He was interviewed in northern California, summer 2008. For more Nimoy photos go to RMichelson.com.
Jack Welpott is perhaps the leader of a generation of fine art photographers that had been traditionally passed over by mainstream collectors. Mr. Welpott says without photography he would have wound up selling insurance in Indiana. Instead he has used the camera to open his mind as well as others to a different way of seeing. He recommends marrying rich in order to support your art. Mr. Welpott passed away November 24, 2007 at the age of 84. He lived and worked in Inverness Calif.
Graham Nash was inspired early on by his father, an amateur photographer who would develop and print his images in the makeshift darkroom in Graham's bedroom. As a child his father showed him the magic of photography; the magic of something appearing where nothing was before. Since then Mr. Nash has gone on to become a member of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and a respected photographer and pioneer in digital imaging with Nash Editions, a leading digital fine art press.
For almost 60 years, Pirkle Jones chronicled people, politics, and the landscape of Northern California. Pirkle Jones' achievements included the National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship and the Award of Honor from the San Francisco Arts Commission. Mr. Jones' work has been exhibited widely in places such as The Art Institute of Chicago, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. He passed away in San Rafael, California on March 15, 2009 at the age of 95.
Although he started his career apprenticing with photographic icons Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank, Ralph Gibson ultimately chose to make his mark by taking pictures of simple things. In 1970 he self-published his first book The Somnambulist and founded Lustrum Press. He has since published numerous books and has exhibited in the world's leading galleries and museums. Recognized the world over, Mr. Gibson says he would still be taking pictures whether he had an audience or not.
© Copyright Randi Lynn Beach, 2014