Category Archives: Masters of street photography

MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY … ROBERT DOISNEAU

Written and researched by Stefano Cerquetani

Robert Doisneau

(Gentilly, France 14.04.1912 – Montrouge, France 01.04.1994)

“To those who enjoy breathing the smell of incense, I recommend a different profession. The photographer pulls the sleeve of the rushed man with a blank stare and shows him the free and permanent show of the street”. (Robert Doisneau)

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The greatest exponent of the so-called humanist current of street photography, a lover of stolen shoots, Robert Doisneau was fascinated by emotions, from the small moments of life of a city in turmoil, as the twentieth-century Paris was; on the streets, people meet with inattention, as well as their stories did, drawing a puzzle of feelings that together contribute to define the profile of the city itself.

 

 

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Graduated engraver lithographer at the Etienne school, he decided to leave that path to throw himself into the living and the harsh reality of the suburbs, a dimension that no one considered at the time. He started collaborating in 1946 with the Rapho Photo Agency, a collaboration that will last for almost fifty years, driven by the desire to donate the right dignity and the right value to photography, he concerned himself primarily with subjects that did not interest anyone else and that they had not have commercial value.

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Doisneau does not tell of a conventional city, like the one shown in the world of advertising, fashion, newspapers or movies but a Paris of little people, of the art of the accordion, of adults and children, whose eyes exude humanity and tenderness. Paris is a city in constant motion, which Doisneau photographs in many ways, a city shaken by the ideas of great artists such as Prévert, Cendrars and Picasso, with whom he holds a friendship that will further enhance its great sensitivity, both as a man and as an artist.

 

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He says: “Two things move me along: disobedience and curiosity, as a reaction to group phenomena; in a group one is obedient so that things work out. I was never interested in fame which goes against curiosity and disobedience. The only way out is therefore the cunning represented for me by photography. ”
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His daughter, Francine Deroudille, tells how his father felt more a craftsman than an artist, attentive to the graphics and composition of his work and at the question of how she would describe in one sentence the extraordinary work of her father, she said: “Love for freedom”, a response that is echoed in the words of Doisneau himself: “The few images that, in the course of time, continue to remain afloat piled like corks in the whirlpool of a river, were shot during the hours stolen from my various employers. To me disobedience is a vital function and I must say that I have never deprived myself of it ”

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Many photographers have imitated him and his photos have set a trend: humanity portrayed by him is a unique and outstanding document; never intrusive, his eye is discreet, his camera is never too close to the subject, he does not like close-ups to communicate the essence of the people but he prefers open scenes, where the space speaks and those who inhabit it make it alive and vibrating. In an interview it can be read: “I’ll explain how you can gain the desire to do photography. Often it is the continuation of a dream. I wake up one morning with an extraordinary desire to see, to experience. Then I have to go. But not too far, because if you wait too long, the enthusiasm, the need, the desire will disappear. I do not think one can “watch” intensively for more than two hours a day. ”

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He continues: “I have always tried to make fun of something. Also getting older, what matters is to continue to be curious, to wonder. I still like to go for a walk for a couple of hours. When I choose a corner, a person, so many factors and phenomena come into play that are unconscious: a book that has been read, an old emotion. Sometime one must wait for over two hours on the same spot and observe; wait against all logic. It can happen that something will take place there. Most often it happens with effort and fatigue, it can be vaguely foreseen. Then a character crossed the Seine, just by chance, by mistake. And that mistake is what I’m trying to capture. Sometimes the meetings are planned, some others time they will happen on you. I’m waiting. I wait for the actors to come acting, not in the world that is, but in the one I want to be. ”

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I conclude this brief tribute to the great photographer Robert Doisneau, reporting his comment, which helps to understand the spirit of his work and the greatness of his sensibility:

“Toute ma vie je me suis amuse, je me suis fabriqué mon petit théâtre.”
“All my life I had fun, I made my own little theatre”

MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – Saul Leiter

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

Saul Leiter(Pittsburg 3.12.1923 – 26.11.2013)

“Sam Leiter had, an uncanny ability to pull complex situations out of everydaylife,  images  that  echo  the  abstraction  of  painting  and  yet,  simultaneously,clearly depict the world.”

(Magnum Photographer Alex Webb)

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Although introduced in the US since 1907, color photography has begun to takeshape as an artistic expression only in the fifties, with photographers such asErnst Haas, Helen Levitt, and others. In this generation stands Saul Leiter, whoimmortalized the streets of New York for more than half a century: from thefifties, in fact, until his death in November of 2013.

saul leiter-christmas-1950s Saul  Leiter  was  born  in  Pittsburg,  Pennsylvania,  December  3,  1923.  At  23,having left his studies to become a rabbi, Saul became interested in painting,especially the Impressionist, but soon moved his passion  to  photography. Hebegan shooting in black and white with a 35mm Leica, but in 1948 he moved tocolor, and  he started with other contemporary photographers such as RobertFrank and Diane Arbus, the”New York School of photography”.

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saul-leiter-06 His consecration takes place in 1957, when at the MoMa in New York, duringthe conference "Experimental Photography in Color", is officially recognized asa "Color" author..Influenced by painting, Leiter tries to bring  to photography  the chromaticismand the strong colors of Abstract Expressionism, blurring the subjects throughthe windows wet  with  rain,  framing them with  very accurate  compositionalchoices,  using every color that the city offers. The visual language is that offragmentation, but color intensity is always the most characteristic feature ofhis photos. None of his contemporaries (with the only partial exception of HelenLevitt) has pioneered the use of color as Leiter.

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spreadSmall01Leiter has worked for more than 20 years as a fashion photographer, but itsbest production is undoubtedly the one about "Street Photography", with  hisphotos taken especially in New York.The  image  of  the  Big  Apple  that  Leiter  shows  is  almost  never  "direct" or"clean":  it is  seen  through  reflections,  mirrors  and  glass,  shadows  andsilhouettes, it offers glimpses of everyday life, peeking between two buses thatintersect, from a taxi speeding, clouded by rain, snow, fog, doors.Virtuoso ofthe depth of field,  he  blurs sections of photos in a way that make them lookstrokes of color.For  him,  the  camera  is not a  tool  for  shooting  reality faithfully,  but  analternative way to see it, reinterpret it. Although his subjects are taken up inthe vortex of Manhattan, he is able to represent  a  peaceful humanity . Thepredominant emotion in his work is the silence, the tenderness, and the gracethat is in contrast to the mad rush of life on the streets of New York.

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Bashful photographer ,  Leiter  was discovered  late  by the general  public.  In2005 he opened the first  exhibition consisting of  his  color  photos  from theHoward Greenberg Gallery of Manhattan and in 2006  the book  “Saul Leiter:Early  Color”  was  printed.  Recently  the  director  Tomas  Leach  shot  thedocumentary “In No Great Hurry ” that shows and tells how Leiter thinks by themeans of a long interview and his photos.

MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – MARTIN ELKORT

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

MARTIN ELKORT (New York 18 aprile 1929)

“A beautiful photograph, like a beautiful poem, always contains a mystery, an elusive and hauntingnucleus that makes us return again to probe its depths, hoping to winnow yet another insight. Themystery is often in plain sight but its meaning may be obscured with the passage of time”

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Martin Edward Elkort is an American photographer, illustrator and writer known above all for hisstreet photography. Born in New York in 1929, he grew up during the Great Depression. He tookhis first "professional" photo at the age of 10, during a car journey with his family in Baltimore. TheBaltimore Sun bought his photos of cars submerged during a flood, and at that point, he is won overby photography. At age 15 Martin contracted polio, and he is forced to spend four months in thehospital. When he returned home, his parents gave him his first Ciroflex, a twin-lens reflex camera.After his recovery, Martin began to go around Manhattan, where he took all kinds of pictures .

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While he was studying painting at Cooper Union in New York City, Martin became a member of theNew York Photo League, an organization of photographers who – through their shots – representedone of the most important and quoted social documentation centers, capable of capturing interestingmoments of everyday life.  Between 1936 and 1951,  the photographers of the  New York PhotoLeague took to the streets to record the effects of poverty, war, racial inequality and social injustice.Their attention was centered on the city of New York and its lively streets: the shoe shiners, acrowded beach at Coney Island, the  windows,  the  children.

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Many of  the  images are  nice,  butharbored a strong social commentary on the issues of class, race, and opportunities. Those of MartinElkort stood out, however, because Martin was always trying to show – although in the contest ofthe difficult historical moment – the joyful and positive side of life, through the innocence of theimages. Its goal was to capture the general optimism of this post-war period.

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With the  camera around the  neck, Martin Elkort walked peering through the frosted glass. Hedeveloped the ability to walk and take pictures to people without them being aware of that. Duringthis period he worked at the Wildenstein & Company gallery where further enhances his knowledgeand photographic technique. When in 1953 he got married, he realized that he would have to support his family by means otherthan photography. He moved to New Mexico where he became art editor and photographer for theNew Mexico Magazine. He moved to different  locations (Los  Angeles,  Alaska,  New  York) tofinally retire in 1966. At that point he decided to write books and articles for various magazines, heworked as a food critic, till finally, at the age of 70 years, he rekindled his interest in photographythanks to digital photography. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, where he continuesto enjoy his street photography and writes articles on several photography magazines, including ” Rangefinder ” and ” Black &White Magazine”.

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The work of Martin Elkort has been exhibited in several cities all over the world and can be foundin the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art,  the Getty Museum,  the ColumbusMuseum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Washington DC Museum of the Holocaust,the Jewish Museum in Brooklyn as well as many corporate and private collections.

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The story of Martin Elkort is told in the documentary  “An American mirror ”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwejuzE5HXY

MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – PAUL MCDONOUGHMASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – PAUL MCDONOUGH

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

PAUL MCDONOUGH

If I am standing in one place long enough, someone might say—‘Did you just take a picture of me?’, I would reply—‘What picture?’ There are no pictures, I am exposing film. When the film gets developed—that is when I discover pictures.”

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Paul McDonough began to take photos with the same aim a painter normally takes a quick pencil sketch to then paint that subject on a canvas. It’s toward painting that McDonough pointed initially his attention. But it is by the means of these first shots that he realized how difficult it would have been to represent in the closed space of a studio, such variety of situations and images and the huge potential of photography when it comes to represent reality. So he progressively left painting and engaged himself completely with photography.

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After various wanderings in other cities, McDonough arrived in New York in 1967. In a city as diverse and cosmopolitan, he got the confirmation that taking photos represented for him an act of liberation: “…to photograph has met my pulse … I have learned to bring with me a camera everywhere, at all times, loaded with film at ISO speed 400. ”

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Paul likes to seize the unique moments, the many oddities that New York offers, managing to mix in a single image both the public and the private. The captured scenes show the movement of New Yorkers who live in the concrete jungle.
Along with the usual crowd of workers and shoppers, there are more secondary characters highly  characteristic: the guy dressed as a Viking, complete with the helmet; “Rat Man,” with wide open eyes and a rubber mouse on his arm to scare people. There is the man dressed as Uncle Sam or the one who sings arias of Italian opera while walking down Fifth Avenue.
At every corner of the city there is the opportunity to capture a special photo, surely something can happen at any moment, worthy of being photographed. This is the spirit that pushes Paul McDonough to go out always with a camera with him.

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His first series of photos that had to relate to the Big Apple, “New York from 1968 to 1972”.
“People are in their own world when they walk”. “If I am standing in one place long enough, someone might say—‘Did you just take a picture of me?’, I would reply—‘What picture?’ There are no pictures, I am exposing film. When the film gets developed—that is when I discover pictures.”

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This concept was better expressed by McDonough, in a later interview: “I often live an unexpected joy in finding a detail within the frame that enhances the greater meaning of the image. One detail that I had not noticed at the time of shooting. ”

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In the first years of its activity the works of McDonough were not particularly appreciated: with the exception of three prints sold to the Museum of Modern Art in 1973, for his appreacition to grow we have to wait until 2007, when he met the art dealer Sasha Wolf, who published in a volume the work of McDonough and exhibited his.

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article-0-18D095A6000005DC-155_964x631Written and researched by Carlo Traina

PAUL MCDONOUGH

Se sto fermo in un posto abbastanza a lungo qualcuno mi chiederà – Hai scattato un’foto di me? , Io gli risponderei “Quale foto? Non c’è nessuna foto , sto solamente esponendo la pellicola alla luce. Quando sviluppo la la pellicola – allora scopro se ci sono delle foto”

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Paul McDonough inizia a fotografare con lo stesso scopo per cui i pittori tracciano degli schizzi veloci a matita per riportarli successivamente su tela. E’ verso la pittura infatti che McDonough rivolge i suoi primi interessi. Ma è proprio attraverso quegli scatti che si accorge di quanto sarebbe stato difficile rappresentare nel chiuso di uno studio immagini e situazioni così varie e presenti, e dell’enorme potenzialità rappresentativa che invece la fotografia racchiudeva. Abbandona così progressivamente la pittura e si dedica totalmente alla fotografia.

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Dopo vario peregrinare in altre città, McDonough arriva a New York nel 1967. In una città così varia e cosmopolita ha la conferma che fotografare rappresenta per lui un atto liberatorio: “… fotografare ha soddisfatto i miei impulsi … Ho imparato a portare una macchina fotografica ovunque, in ogni momento, caricata con pellicola a ISO 400.”

A Paul piace cogliere i momenti unici, le tante stranezze che New York offre, riuscendo a miscelare in una stessa immagine sia il pubblico che l’intimo.

Le scene catturate mostrano i movimenti di newyorkesi che abitano la giungla di cemento.

Insieme alla solita folla di lavoratori e acquirenti, ci sono sempre personaggi caratteristici secondari ma unici: quello vestito da vichingo, completo di elmo; “Rat Man”, con gli occhi sbarrati e un topo di gomma nel suo braccio per spaventare le persone. C’é un uomo vestito da Zio Sam oppure quello che canta arie dell’opera italiana mentre passeggia lungo la Quinta Avenue.

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In ogni angolo della città c’é l’opportunità di cogliere una foto unica, sicuramente in ogni momento può accadere qualcosa degni di essere fotografato. E’questo lo spirito che spinge Paul McDonough ad uscire sempre con la macchina fotografica.

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La sua prima serie di fotografie non può che riguardare la Grande Mela: “New York 1968-1972.

“Le persone sono nel loro mondo quando camminano. Se qualcuno mi chiedesse: Mi hai appena scattato una foto?” Io risponderei: Che foto? Non ci sono foto, io sto facendo prendere luce ad una pellicola. Solo quando la pellicola verrà sviluppata io scoprirò che immagine c’è.”

Questo concetto Paul McDonough lo esprime meglio in una successiva intervista: “Spesso vivo una gioia inaspettata nel trovare un dettaglio all’interno del fotogramma che amplifica il significato più grande dell’immagine. Un dettaglio che non avevo notato al momento dello scatto”.

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Nei primi anni della sua attività le opere di McDonough non sono state particolarmente apprezzate: a parte tre stampe vendute Museum of Modern Art nel 1973, per la sua valorizzazione si è dovuto aspettare il 2007, quando cioè ha incontrato il gallerista Sasha Wolf, che ha pubblicato in un volume l’opera di McDonough ed esposto le sue foto.

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MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – JOEL MEYEROWITZMAESTRI DI STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – JOEL MEYEROWITZ

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

JOEL MEYEROWITZ

 (New York, 6 March 1938)

 “An artist’s responsibility is to not avert his gaze. Maybe you can’t correct it by pointing it out, but you can at least certify that you saw it at that time, and that it was painful to you”.

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Beyond the “content” of his photos, one of the main achievements of Joel Meyerowitz in photography is to have transformed the “colour” in a full-blown language. Up to the middle of the 60 because of the technical difficulties to obtain true colours when printing, and most of all of the habit of seeing photos as a scale of greys, colour photography met quite a resistance.  Meyerowitz understood the power of communication behind colours and was able, thanks to his shots so vivid and full of colours, to have colour photography accepted nearly universally as the new way to represent the world.

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JoelMeyerowitz Joel Meyerowitz was born in New York in 1938, in the East Bronx, where he lived “a peaceful relationship with the energy and the spontaneous craziness of life of those streets.” His interest in photography was born after following Robert Frank in a photographic shooting. The ease with which Frank moved, while photographing people on the move, fascinated him so much that he left his job, he borrowed a camera and started taking pictures on the streets of New York.

Meyerowitz has published numerous books and exhibited his shoots in thousands of shows, but two are the “jobs” that stand out for originality: a journey of a year in Europe (with photo shoot directly from the car), and the images of Ground Zero taken immediately after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

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The curiosity to of Meyerowitz to go in a world different from the usual and the desire to dispel the stereotype that portrays the American abroad as the superficial, are the elements that originated the desire for a trip to Europe. He thus took two cameras (one with color film and one with black and white film, to shoot the same scene twice, with two different “eyes”) and then passed 12 months taking pictures especially from the car. It is only after that trip that he finally decided to embrace color. Meyerowitz say so about that experience: “After a few weeks of doing this on a regular basis, I had the sense that I was inside the camera, that the car was the camera obscura and I was in it looking out the window, which was a frame.”

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After a series of collaborations with leading photographers (Garry Winogrand, Tony Ray-Jones, Lee Friedlander, Tod Papageorge and Diane Arbus), Meyerowitz published his first book: “Cape Light” (1979), which is considered a classic of color photography and sold – in 25 years – more than 100,000 copies. 14 more books followed, including: “Bystander: The History of Street Photography”, and “Tuscany: Inside the Light”.

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Immediately after the attacks of September 11 in New York’, Meyerowitz was the only photographer allowed to shoot the scenes of destruction. In a few days, he created an archive of thousands of images that document both the disaster and the work of recovery around the World Trade Center. Among these, Meyerowitz has selected 28 images that make up the exhibition “After September 11: Images from Ground Zero.” Between 2001 and 2004, the exhibition was presented in more than 200 cities in 60 countries, and has been seen by more than three and a half million people.

Apart from the monographic collections (such as the photos taken in Tuscany), “Street” images by Meyerowitz largely mirror the everyday life of New York: the faces of everyday people, in the frenzy of the race to work, or in relaxation while resting on a bench. These images are characterized by the play of contrasting colors and lights and shadows, and shoot close to the subjects.

Meyerowitz, in strict “Street” style, is part of the scene, does not hide. With his Leica 35 mm he is always “among” the people and, in contravention of a rule followed in most photography, often he seeks the bright light of the sun, the one that creates sharp shadows on the faces and figures, as well as creates, in the frame, large color contrasts (underlined by signs, posters, flashy clothes) and black.

This, in addition to making Meyerowitz definitely one of the “masters” of the “color photograph”, it places him by authority among the most respected artists ever. His works are in fact exposed in the MoMa museum in New York, in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and in many others.

http://www.joelmeyerowitz.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joel-Meyerowitz/161412238404

http://www.in-public.com/JoelMeyerowitzWritten and researched by Carlo Traina

JOEL MEYEROWITZ

 (New York, 6 March 1938)

“La responsabilità di un fotografo è quella di non distogliere lo sguardoForse non puoi correggere il male indicandoloma puoi almeno certificare ciò che hai che avete visto in quel momento, e che era doloroso per te “.

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Al di là dei “contenuti” delle sue foto, uno dei meriti principali di Joel Meyerowitz nel campo della fotografia è stato quello di avere trasformato il colore in linguaggio. Fino alla metà degli anni ’60 le difficoltà tecniche di ottenere colori fedeli in sede di stampa, e soprattutto  l’abitudine a vedere le foto secondo le scale di grigio, avevano creato una vera e propria resistenza nei confronti della fotografia a colori. Meyerowitz comprese però la potenza comunicativa dei colori, riuscendo infine – attraverso le sue foto vive e cromatiche – a fare accettare quasi universalmente questo nuovo modo di rappresentare il mondo.

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 Joel Meyerowitz nasce a New York nel 1938, nell’East Bronx, dove vive “una relazione tranquilla con l’energia e la spontanea follia della vita di quelle strade”. L’interesse per la fotografia arriva dopo avere seguito Robert Frank in un suo lavoro fotografico. La facilità con cui Frank si muove, fotografando persone anch’esse in movimento, lo affascina così tanto che abbandona il suo lavoro, si fa prestare una macchina fotografica e comincia a scattare per le strade di New York. Meyerowitz ha pubblicato numerosi libri ed esposto le sue foto in migliaia di mostre, ma due sono sicuramente i “lavori” che si distinguono per originalità: un viaggio di un anno in Europa (con foto scattare direttamente dall’automobile), e le immagini di Ground Zero riprese immediatamente dopo gli attentati dell’11 settembre.

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Il desiderio di un viaggio in Europa deriva dalla curiosità di Meyerowitz  di spingersi in un mondo differente da quello abituale, e di sfatare anche il luogo comune che dipinge come superficiale l’ americano all’estero. Prende così due macchine fotografiche (una con pellicola a colori ed una con pellicola in bianco e nero, per riprendere la stessa scena due volte, con due “occhi” diversi) e passa 12 mesi a scattare foto soprattutto dall’automobile.  E’ dopo quel viaggio che decide di abbracciare definitivamente il colore.  Meyerowitz racconta così quell’esperienza: “dopo alcune settimane, ho avuto la sensazione che fossi dentro la macchina fotografica, che l’automobile fosse la camera oscura e io dentro di essa a guardare fuori dalla finestra, che era una cornice. “

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Dopo una serie di collaborazioni con importanti fotografi (Garry Winogrand, Tony Ray-Jones, Lee Friedlander, Tod Papageorge e Diane Arbus), Meyerowitz pubblica il suo primo libro: “Cape Light” (1979) che è considerato un classico della fotografia a colori e ha venduto – in 25 anni – più di 100.000 copie.  Seguono altri 14 libri, tra cui:  Bystander: The History of Street Photography, e Tuscany: Inside the Light.

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Subito dopo gli attacchi dell’’11 settembre a  New York , Meyerowitz è l’unico fotografo autorizzato a riprendere le scene della distruzione. In pochi giorni crea un archivio di migliaia di immagini che documentano sia il disastro che le opere di recupero intorno al World Trade Center. Tra queste, Meyerowitz  ha selezionato 28 immagini che compongono la mostra “Dopo l’11 settembre: Immagini da Ground Zero “. Tra il 2001 e il 2004, la mostra è stata presentata in più di 200 città in 60 paesi, ed è stata vista da oltre tre milioni e mezzo di persone . A parte le raccolte monografiche (come ad esempio le foto scattate in Toscana) le immagini “Street” di Meyerowitz riprendono prevalentemente la vita quotidiana di New York: persone e volti di tutti i giorni, nella frenesia della corsa verso il lavoro, o nella rilassatezza di un riposo su una panchina. Sono immagini caratterizzate dal gioco dei contrasti cromatici e delle luci ed ombre, e

riprese vicino ai soggetti: Meyerowitz in rigoroso stile “Street” fa parte della scena, non si nasconde. Con la sua Leica 35 mm è sempre “tra” la gente e, contravvenendo ad una delle regole più seguite in fotografia, cerca spesso la luce forte del sole, quella che crea ombre nette sui volti e sulle figure, così da creare, nel fotogramma, ampi contrasti di colore (sottolineato da insegne, cartelli, vestiti sgargianti) e di nero.

Tutto ciò, oltre a fare di Meyerowitz sicuramente uno dei “maestri” della “fotografia a colori”, lo inserisce d’autorità tra gli artisti più apprezzati in assoluto. I suoi lavori , infatti, sono esposti al MoMa di New York, al Metropolitan Museum of Art e in molti altri

His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others.

http://www.joelmeyerowitz.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joel-Meyerowitz/161412238404

http://www.in-public.com/JoelMeyerowitz

Masters of street photography – WILLIAM KLEINMaestri della fotografia di strada – WILLIAM KLEIN

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

WILLIAM KLEIN

( New York , 19.04.1928)

“Become an active participant of the scene. Interact with the people, hear their conversations, and as a rule of thumb be close enough to see the colors of their eyes.”

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Take all the rules about photography that you know (technique, composition, etc.), twist them around or deny them and you get an idea of the “subversive” style of William Klein. He was born as a fashion photographer for the Vogue magazine, Klein has frequently experimented in the field of street photography: he had a rebellious streak against the rules and the commonly accepted traditions. His “refusal is without compromises”, and he had an open, ongoing polemic against most of the “styles” of photography contemporary to his time, specifically the one from Henri Cartier Bresson and the other “classics” of the street photography.

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William Klein was born in New York in 1928 from Jewish parents originally from Hungary. After a stint in France till his late teens, in 1954 he came back to New York and realized a photographic book on his city. While shooting photos Klein felt free from any academic restraint, both technical and practical: “I approached New York like a fake anthropologist,” Klein says, “treating New Yorkers like Zulus.” “..The rawest snapshot, the zero degree of photography”. Klein presented an aspect of New York that most of the American citizens were not used to see: he took pictures of the rawest of the Big Apple, showing her aggressive and vulgar side. The Americans found those images repulsive, and even the famous magazine “Vogue”, with which Klein started working for the fashion business, was quite upset by the vision of the New York of the artist. But the success was behind the corner: his book won the Nadar Price and became famous all over the world. New books would follow dedicated to big cities: Rome (1959), Moscow (1961), Tokyo (1962), all of them characterized by raw, grainy, swirling, dynamic images.

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To the rawness of the images Klein added a style completely new: photos often blurred, shaking and grainy, with elevated contrast and with over exposed negatives. But these images transmitted energy, vitality and a sense of rebellion – so peculiar of Klein – that he somehow was able to transfer to the subjects. To shoot his pictures Klein “entered” directly into the scene, he mixed himself with the subjects moving with them, using wide lens (21mm – 28 mm) without considering that the use of such focal lengths would create that distortion that worried photographers so much. On the contrary of most street photographers Klein did not believe it was useful to always carry a camera around : he considered important the quality and not the quantity of time used during the street shoots. Klein distinguished himself also for the special relationships that he built with the subjects  that he took pictures of.

In  street photography generally one would try to capture everyday actions of the common life, by the means of shooting covertly. But Klein is aware that some of the most memorable Street photos were taken with interaction between the shooter and the subject : “ Why pretend the camera isn’t there? Why not use it? Maybe people will reveal themselves as violent or tender, crazed or beautiful. But in some way, they reveal who they are. They’ll have taken a self-portrait” . The same skepticism and sense of rebellion, Klein showed towards the camera equipment. After an almost obsessive study of the best cameras and lenses, Klein came to the conclusion that he could never afford all that equipment, so expensive, and he was so discouraged that for a bit he stopped going out and taking pictures. But then he became convinced how little influence the equipment had with respect to creating memorable images. Suffice it to say that some of masterpieces by Henri Cartier – Bresson were taken in the early ’20s with a primitive Leica 25 mm and at a very low ISO. For this reason, perhaps, the most useful disposition a photography enthusiast can get from Klein is to not worry so much about camera settings or the techniques: the most important thing is to go out and produce images.

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“If you look carefully at life, you see blur. Shake your hand. Blur is part of life“

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BOOKS

New York 1954-1955

Roma + Klein 1959

WELL KNOW PHOTHOGRAPHIC WORKS

The photo “Gun 1, New York” (1955).

The photo “Sainte famille à moto” (Rome, 1956).

The works “Cineposter” done in Tokyo  in1961.

The works for “Vogue” with Street models in  New York  in1963.

The leaflet of the LP “Love on the Beat” (1964), done for Serge Gainsbourg.

The work “Club Allegro Fortissimo” (1990).

Autoportrait” (1995),.

AWARDS

1990 Hasselblad Award

2007 Infinity Award

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Klein/14029288995

Original source reworked by Carlo Traina  erickimphotography.com  

WILLIAM KLEIN

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

(New york, 19.04.1928)

“Diventa un partecipante attivo della scena. Interagisci con le persone, ascolta le loro conversazioni, e come regola generale sii abbastanza vicino per vedere i colori dei loro occhi.”

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Prendete tutte le regole sulla fotografia che conoscete (tecnica, composizione, ecc.), stravolgetele o rifiutatele, e avrete idea dello stile “sovversivo” di William Klein.

Nato come fotografo di moda per la rivista Vogue, Klein ha sperimentato soprattutto nella Street Photography la sua vena ribelle nei confronti delle regole e delle tradizioni comunemente accettate della fotografia. Il suo è un “rifiuto senza compromessi”, una polemica aperta contro molti degli stili contemporanei della fotografia durante il suo tempo, in particolare quella di Henri Cartier-Bresson e degli altri “classici” fotografi di strada.

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William Klein nasce a New York nel 1928 da genitori ebrei di origine ungherese. Dopo una parentesi in Francia fino alla tarda adolescenza, nel 1954 torna a New York e realizza un libro fotografico sulla sua città. Nello scattare le fotografie si sente libero da ogni accademismo, sia tecnico che pratico: “Era come se fossi un etnografo: trattavo i newyorkesi come un esploratore tratterebbe uno Zulu. Cercavo lo scatto più crudo, il grado zero della fotografia”. Klein presenta un lato di New York che molti americani non erano abituati a vedere: fotografa le parti più ruvide della Grande Mela mostrandola cruda, aggressiva e volgare. Gli americani trovano quelle foto ripugnanti, e perfino la celebre rivista ‘Vogue’, con la quale Klein incomincia a lavorare per servizi di moda, rimane sconvolta dalla visione dell’artista di New York.. Ma il successo è dietro l’angolo: il libro vince il premio Nadar e Klein diventa famoso in tutto il mondo. Seguono altri libri dedicati a grandi città: Roma (1959), Mosca (1961), Tokyo (1962), tutti caratterizzati da immagini grezze, sgranate, vorticose, dinamiche.

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Alla crudezza delle sue immagini, Klein aggiunge uno stile completamente nuovo: foto spesso mosse, fuori fuoco e sgranate, ad alto contrasto e con negativi sovra-esposti. Ma quelle immagini trasmettono energia, vitalità ed il senso di ribellione – proprio di Klein – che egli stesso riesce a trasferire ai suoi soggetti. Per fare le sue foto Klein “entra” direttamente nella scena, si mischia e si muove insieme ai suoi soggetti, usando il grandangolo (21 mm-28 mm) senza preoccuparsi che l’uso di focali così spinte crei quella distorsione che tanto preoccupa gli altri fotografi. Al contrario di quello che fanno molti fotografi di strada, Klein non crede sia utile “portare una macchina fotografica ovunque tu vada”. Per lui ciò che conta è la qualità, non la quantità di tempo che usiamo durante le riprese per le strade. Klein si distingue anche nel rapporto che instaura e cerca con i soggetti che fotografa, Nella street photography si usa generalmente catturare situazioni spontanee della vita quotidiana, attraverso immagini scattate “di nascosto”. Ma Klein è consapevole che alcune delle fotografie di strada più memorabili nella storia risultano quelle dove si è invece stabilita l’interazione tra il soggetto e il fotografo. “Perché fingere che non ci sia la macchina fotografica? Forse le persone si riveleranno come sono realmente: violente o tenere , folli o belle. Ma in qualche modo rivelano quel che sono”. Lo stesso scetticismo e senso di ribellione, Klein li mostra nei confronti dell’attrezzatura fotografica. Dopo uno studio quasi ossessivo delle migliori macchine e obiettivi, Klein giunge alla conclusione che mai si potrebbe permettere tutta quella attrezzatura così costosa, ed è così scoraggiato che rinuncia per un po’ di tempo ad uscire per fare fotografie. Poi però si convince quanto sia poco influente l’attrezzatura rispetto alla creazione di immagini memorabili. Basti pensare che alcune delle immagini capolavoro di Henri Cartier – Bresson furono scattate nei primi anni ‘20 con una primitiva Leica 25 mm e con ISO bassissime.

Per questo, forse, l’insegnamento più utile che un appassionato di fotografia può recepire da Klein è quello di non preoccuparsi tanto della macchina fotografica o delle impostazioni tecniche: la cosa più importante è uscire e produrre immagini .

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“Se si guarda attentamente la vita, si vede sfocato. Scuoti la tua mano. La sfocatura è una parte della vita.”

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LIBRI

New York 1954-1955

Roma + Klein 1959

LAVORI FOTOGRAFICI CELEBRI

La photo “Gun 1, New York” (1955).

Le photo “Sainte famille à moto” (Rome, 1956).ü  I lavori “Cineposter” realizzati a Tokyo nel 1961.

I lavori per “Vogue” realizzati con le modelle nelle strade di New York nel 1963.

Il pieghevole dell’album “Love on the Beat” (1964), realizzato per Serge Gainsbourg.

Il lavoro “Club Allegro Fortissimo” (1990).

Autoportrait” (1995),.

PREMI

1990 Hasselblad Award [9]

2007 Infinity Award

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Klein/14029288995

Fonte originale erickimphotography.com  rielaborata sa Carlo Traina

Masters of street photography – Vivian Dorothea MaierMasters of street photography – Vivian Dorothea Maier

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

Vivian Dorothea Maier

(New York 01.02.1926 – 21.04. 2009)

Along the road you can meet the whole of humanity, without recognizing or noticing it. Everything that escapes from the addicted and distracted everyday look, but not from the look and lens of the street-photographers, more often than not even more anonymous than their own subject.

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It is quite curious that today we know Vivian Maier only thanks to an estate agent from Illinois , John Mallof that – an amateur photographer himself, looking for photographic material for the preparation of a book about the Chicago neighbourhoods – in 2007 bought a stock of old negatives (about 40.000), sold at an auction together with the furniture of an old lady who was into financial troubles. That old lady was Vivian Maier, that for her whole life had been shooting as a mere pastime over 100.000 photos (with about 15.000 negatives never developed) kept jealously hidden from the eyes of others. Her images – taken mainly in New York and Chicago – show the average Americans on the road and streets of shopping, with a sad look in their eyes, women wearing hats, the demolition of historical monuments in the name of development, some of the most beloved places in Chicago, the invisible lives of various groups of people, the indigents.

Precisely because of her reserve, and thanks to this desire to photograph exclusively for herself, the biography of Vivian is not as rich in details and episodes as that of other Masters of Photography.

Undated, New York

1950s, Chicago, IL

September 13, 1953, Empire State Building, New York, NY

May 10, 1953, New York, NY

Born on the first of February 1926 in New York, from France mother and Austrian father, she lived her first years in France, but she come back to the United States in the 50′ and she lived for some years in New York acting as a saleswoman in a candy store. Since the forties she moved to Chicago. At the end of the forties she began shooting with a modest Kodak Brownie Box 6×9, an amateurish camera with a single shutter speed , no focus control and no control over aperture.

A woman that did not like to talk, that wore male clothes and shoes, great hats and had always the camera hanging from her neck; that is how the salesmen of CHICAGO CENTRAL CAMERA, an historical shop, described her.

On 1952 Vivian finally bought a Rolleiflex 6×6 and her shooting style started to develop. Her talent is similar to the one of the most important figures of the American Street Photography, photographers like Lisette Model , Helen Levitt, Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand.
Her photographs betray an affinity towards the poor, probably due to the emotional relationship that Vivian feels towards those who were forced to struggle to get by. To survive in fact Vivian worked as a nanny at some families, especially for the three children of a rich family, who then saved her in old age, when – extremely poor – they would take care of her as a second mother, paying her the rent of an apartment, among other things.

At the end of the ’50 she decided to pass to color photography, using 35 mm films, Kodak Ektachrome and several models of Rolleiflex (3.5 T , 3.5 F, 2.8c , Automat) but also a Leica IIIc, a Ihagee Exacta , a Zeiss Contarex and several other reflex cameras.

1954, New York, NY

August 12, 1954, New York, NY

The use of colour made alive what was not clearly visible in her work before and her shots would become more abstract, as the passing of time. The people slowly crawled out of her photos and were substituted by objects , like newspapers and graffiti.

Vivian Maier died in 2008 , but thanks to the work of Maloof her photos are still alive and kicking on Flickr  and on the website vivianmaier.com , che Maloof did open to make known to fans and critics the life and the shots of the “nanny-photographer”, and, most important thing to answer to two important questions still open : “Who was Vivian Maier and what there is behind her incredible vision?”

East 108th Street. September 28, 1959, New York, NY

1955, New York, NY

http://www.vivianmaier.com/
http://vivianmaier.blogspot.it/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagohistory/sets/72157631424543584/Written and researched by Carlo Traina

Vivian Dorothea Maier

(New York 01.02.1926 – 21.04. 2009)

Lungo la strada si può incontrare l’intera umanità, senza riconoscerla o notarla. Tuttaquella che sfugge all’occhio assuefatto e distratto del quotidiano, ma non agli sguardi eagli obiettivi degli street-photographer, spesso più anonimi dei loro soggetti

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Sicuramente è curioso che oggi conosciamo Vivian Maier solo grazie all’agente immobiliare dell’Illinois John Maloof che – fotografo per passione, ed in cerca di materiale fotografico per la scrittura di un libro sui quartieri di Chicago – comprò nel 2007 uno stock di vecchi negativi (40.000 circa) messi all’asta insieme ai mobili appartenenti ad una anziana signora in difficoltà economica Quella signora era appunto Vivian Maier, che nella sua vita aveva scattato per puro passatempo più di 100.000 foto (oltre a 15.000 scatti non sviluppati) gelosamente nascoste agli occhi degli altri. Le sue immagini – riprese prevalentemente a New York e Chicago – mostrano gli americani medi per le strade dello shopping con uno sguardo triste, donne con i cappellini, la demolizione di monumenti storici per un nuovo sviluppo, alcuni dei luoghi più amati di Chicago, le vite invisibili dei vari gruppi di persone, gli indigenti. Proprio a causa della sua riservatezza, e di questo desiderio di fotografare esclusivamente per se stessa, la biografia di Vivian non è ricca di particolari ed episodi come quella di altri Maestri della Fotografia.

September 13, 1953, Empire State Building, New York, NY Undated, New York 1950s, Chicago, IL May 10, 1953, New York, NY

Nata a New York il 1 febbraio 1926 da madre francese e padre austriaco, Viviantrascorre i suoi primi anni in Francia, ma torna negli Stati Uniti negli anni ’30 e vive per alcuni anni a New York lavorando come commessa in un negozio di caramelle. Dagli anni ’40 in poi si trasferisce a Chicago. Alla fine degli anni ‘40 anni inizia a fotografare per gioco con una modesta Kodak Brownie box 6×9, una macchina amatoriale con una sola velocità dell’otturatore, nessun controllo di messa a fuoco e nessuna manopola di apertura.Una donna che non ama parlare, veste abiti e scarpe da uomo, indossa grandi cappelli ed è perennemente con la fotocamera penzoloni intorno al suo collo: così la ricordano gli impiegati nello storico negozio di apparecchiature fotografiche di Chicago Central Camera.Nel 1952 Vivian acquista finalmente una Rolleiflex 6×6 ed il suo stile comincia aprendere forma.Il suo talento è paragonabile a quello delle figure più importanti dell’American street photography, come Lisette Model, Helen Levitt, Diane Arbus e Garry Winogrand.

Le sue foto tradiscono un’affinità verso i poveri, probabilmente a causa di una parentela emotiva che Vivian sente nei confronti di coloro che sono costretti a lottare per tirare avanti.Per sopravvivere infatti Vivian fa la baby-sitter presso alcune famiglie, soprattutto a tre bambini di una ricca famiglia borghese, che poi la salveranno in vecchiaia, quando – estremamente povera – si prenderanno cura di lei come una seconda madre, pagandole tra l’altro l’affitto di un appartamento.Verso la fine degli anni ’50 decide di passare alla fotografia a colori, utilizzando pellicole di 35mm Kodak Ektachrome, e diversi tipi di Rolleiflex (3.5T, 3.5F, 2.8c, Automat) ma anche una Leica IIIc, una Ihagee Exakta, una Zeiss Contarexe varie altre fotocamere reflex.

1954, New York, NY August 12, 1954, New York, NY

L’uso del colore rende vivo ciò che prima non era visibile nel suo lavoro, e le sue foto diventano più astratte, come il passare del tempo. Le persone lentamente strisciano fuori dalle sue foto e vengono sostituite con oggetti, giornali e graffiti.Vivian Maier muore nel 2008, ma grazie all’impegno di Maloof le sue foto continuano a vivere su Flickr  e sul sito vivianmaier.com che Maloof ha aperto per fare conoscere agli appassionati e ai critici la vita e gli scatti della “bambinaia-fotografa”, e soprattutto per tentare di rispondere alle due questioni rimaste aperte: “Chi era Vivian Maier , e cosa c’è dietro la sua straordinaria visione ?

East 108th Street. September 28, 1959, New York, NY 1955, New York, NY

http://www.vivianmaier.com/
http://vivianmaier.blogspot.it/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagohistory/sets/72157631424543584/

Masters of street photography Masters of street photography

Written and researched by Carlo Traina

THE MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand
(New York, 14.01.1928 – Tijuana, 19.03.1984)
“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed”.

“Consider Garry Winogrand’s picture: so rich in fact and suggestion, and so justly resolved, more complex and more beautiful than the movie that Alfred Hitchcock might derive from it.”
(from “Looking at Photographs” by John Szarkowski)

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Garry Winogrand is one of  the “giants” of  the Post-War Amerian Street Photography . Together with “legends” like  Alfred Stieglitz , Henry Cartier Bresson , Elliott Erwitt , Robert Doisneau , and so on , he is considered one of the founders of Street Photography.

His shots have immortalized the everyday life in the American metropolis in the ‘60 and ‘70 . After studying painting and photojournalism , Winogrand was quite impressed by the social photography of Walker Evans and Robert Frank . His final goal was to represent the American society through the moods , the faces, the behaviours and the everyday situations of the common people and of the society (political and cultural events, protest demonstrations and social events). For this reason he liked to shoot going on the street without any previous plan , using a quick rangefinder camera and wide-angle lenses with manual focusing. When shooting he often tilted the lens upwards, with shoots literally taken from the hip . Between the end of the ‘60 and the beginning of the ‘70 , Winogrand went everyday on the streets of New York with his Leica M4.  The photographer Joel Meyerowitz , that was often with him , so describes him during such days : “Garry set a tempo on the street so strong that it was impossible not to follow it. It was like jazz. You just had to get in the same groove.” Winogrand  “Street Photography” is an introspective, thoughtful, intimate but also ironic way to look at the American society which before had never been paid much attention. He was , without any doubt , one of the most prolific photographers of his times (he has taken over 5 millions photos) and one of the more passionate. However, he despised the term “Street Photographer”: he simply considered himself as a “photographer” , and he was more interested in taking photos than being classified by the critics and the art historians.

Winogrand died at the age of 56 , but he has left behind a huge archive of 300.000 images , most of which never developed . Some of these were collected , exposed and published by the MOMA museum in a volume titled “ Wimogrand , Figments from the Real World”

Awards : Three Gugghenheim Fellowship Awards (19641969 and 1979) and one National Endowment of the Arts Award (1979).

Portfolio:

ü  The Animals (1969), a significant collection of images taken at the Bronx Zoo and the Aquarium in Coney Island,

ü  Women are beautiful (1975), tribute to female beauty in different places and situations,

ü  Public relations (1977), in which he devoted his attention to the resonance of the media on people’s reactions,

ü  Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo (1980).Written and researched by Carlo Traina

THE MASTERS OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand
(New York, 14.01.1928 – Tijuana, 19.03.1984)

“La fotografia non è cosa si fotografa, ma ciò che appare al fotografo”.

“Consider Garry Winogrand’s picture: so rich in fact and suggestion, and so justly resolved, more complex and more beautiful than the movie that Alfred Hitchcock might derive from it.”
(from “Looking at Photographs” by John Szarkowski)

garry-winogrand-3

Garry Winogrand è uno dei giganti della Street  photography americana del dopoguerra. Insieme ai “mostri sacri” Alfred Stieglitz, Henry Cartier Bresson, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Doisneau, ecc., viene considerato uno dei promotori della Street Photography.

 

Le sue fotografie hanno immortalato la vita di tutti i giorni delle metropoli americane degli anni 60-70.

 

Dopo gli studi di pittura e fotogiornalismo, Winogrand rimane molto impressionato dalla fotografia sociale di Walker Evans e Robert Frank. Il suo scopo è quello di fotografare la società americana attraverso gli stati d’animo, i volti, gli atteggiamenti e le “situazioni” giornaliere della gente comune e della società (eventi politici e culturali, manifestazioni di protesta, eventi mondani). Per questo ama fotografare scendendo nelle strade senza progettare prima, usando una macchina fotografica rapida a telemetro e lenti grandangolari con messa a fuoco manuale.

Nei suoi scatti spesso inclina la lente verso l’alto, con riprese fatte letteralmente dal fianco.

 

Tra la fine degli anni 60 ed i primi anni 70, Winogrand va con la sua Leica M4 nelle strade di New York ogni giorno. Il fotografo Joel Meyerowitz, che spesso lo accompagna, così descrive quelle giornate: “Garry imposta la sua camminata con un ritmo così forte che é impossibile non seguirlo. E’ come il jazz: basta entrare nello stesso solco.”

 

La street photography di Winogrand è un modo introspettivo, riflessivo, intimo ma anche ironico di guardare la società americana cui non si era mai prestata molta attenzione.

 

Egli è stato senza dubbio uno dei fotografi di strada più prolifici del suo tempo (ha scattato più di 5 milioni di fotografie) ed uno dei più appassionati. Tuttavia, odiava il termine “fotografo di strada”: semplicemente vedeva se stesso come un “fotografo”, ed era più interessato a fare fotografie che a farsi classificare dai critici e dagli storici dell’arte.

 

Winogrand è morto all’età di 56 anni, ma ha lasciato inedito un enorme archivio di 300.000 immagini, molte delle quali mai sviluppate. Alcune di queste vennero raccolte, esposte e pubblicate dal MOMA in un volume dal titolo Winogrand, Figments from the Real World.

 

Premi: tre Gugghenheim Fellowship Awards (19641969 e 1979) e un National Endowment of the Arts Award (1979).

Portfolio:

ü  The Animals (1969), una raccolta di significative immagini scattate allo zoo del Bronx e all’acquario di Coney Island,

ü  Women are beautiful (1975), omaggio alla bellezza femminile in luoghi e situazioni differenti,

ü  Public relations (1977), in cui dedicò la sua attenzione alla risonanza dei media sulle reazioni della gente,

ü  Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo (1980).