terça-feira, 20 de setembro de 2011

Estórias 2 / Cair do pedestal

Bagdad, meados de Abril de 2003  - soprava um vento quente e poirento, de mau agoiro, na capital devastada, por aqueles dias e nos hoteis,, onde a "press" se acumulava, aguardava-se em expectativa o próximo movimento das partes em contenda. Praticamente todos os iraquianos tinham desaparecido da zona, deixando-nos em auto gestão e, pela parte que me toca, com uma estadia gratuita no Sheraton. Os americanos estavam ali, ao virar da esquina, e com todas as noticias de pilhagens e anarquia generalizada entre a população, não faltava quem rezasse pela sua chegada. Eu havia dias que percorria a cidade, num discreto jipe encarnado vivo, decorado com uma gigante bandeira francesa e conduzido por um ex-major legionário, um louco meio soldado, meio editor de uma suposta revista de assuntos militares, mas que sabia como ninguém os procedimentos correctos para nos deslocarmos em terreno tão perigoso. Com ele vivi várias histórias entre o horror e o humor, mas essas ficam para outras prosas. Esta é sobre uma estátua. Uma estátua gigante de um ditador de bigodes, de nome Saddam Hussein, bem no meio da Praça do Paraíso, ali a dois passos dos hotéis.
No dia em que finalmente os camuflados americanos deram entrada no que é hoje a Zona Verde, formou-se um circo mediático à sua volta (relembro que estavam pelo menos 500 jornalistas ali ao lado, sem contar com os que vinham embeed..) que teve o seu apogeu no derrubar da estátua citada - o momento que simboliza a queda do regime e o fim da guerra oficial, imortalizado em fotos e videos de todo o mundo e em que este vosso humilde escriba teve (pasmem agora) um papel fundamental. Pois é, esta vocês não sabiam, pois não? Vá, eu conto: durante a manhã já um monte de iraquianos, liderados pelo Schwarzenegger local, tinham tentado tudo, de chinelada a marretada, para derrubar o Saddam de bronze, que nem buliu. Finalmente derrotados viram-se obrigados a pedir ajuda ao US Army, que não se fez rogado e  avançou um monstro de aço, meio tanque, meio escavadora para tomar conta da tarefa. 1º filme: todos os fotógrafos e cameras pensaram que o melhor local para captar imagens seria precisamente em cima da coisa e num instante pimba: 50 jornalistas acumulados lá no alto. Não foi preciso muito para que o comandante do veículo corresse com toda a gente. Esqueceu-se de um pormenor - os portugueses. expeditos, eu e o Nuno Patricio, o camera da RTP, demos a volta e subimos pelo outro lado. Ao ver-nos de novo o jovem tenente só foi capaz de se rir. Tinhamos ganho aquele round.
2º filme: os americas decidiram enrolar uma bandeira iraquiana em redor da cabeça do Saddam, talvez para aumentar o simbolismo da situação. Mas foi aqui que o ambiente mudou. Os locais ali presentes pararam a festa e ficaram numa atitude tensa, com sobrolhos carregados. Sem reparar os militares continuaram a puxar a estátua. De repente eis que alguém me chama. Olho para baixo e vejo dois iraquianos que eu conhecia do meu hotel, onde eram funcionários. De um até me tinha tornado mais ou menos amigo e tido, pelo menos até desaparecer com todos os outros, algumas conversas interessantes. Mas agora reaparecia ali, naquele momento de grande drama e logo a procurar por mim. Percebi que era grave pela sua agitação e aproximei-me da borda do veículo para perceber o que queria. era mais o que não queria. ele e todos os outros - não queriam a sua bandeira no chão, arrastada pelos americas e pelo ditador odiado. Apressei-me a fazer chegar a mensagem ao tenente, antes que fosse tarde. Percebeu de imediato e tomou providências para tirar a bandeira. A festa voltou. Eu tornei me alvo de olhares reconhecidos e palavras de gratidão. Por um momento fiz parte da História,

quarta-feira, 14 de setembro de 2011

Estórias 1

Às vezes lembram-me estórias de coisas passadas. Coisas que eu já quase nem acredito que vivi, apenas as fotos envelhecidas a ligarem-nas à (minha) realidade. Dizem-me que devia passa-las a livro. Talvez. Talvez um dia. Por enquanto vou lembrando-as aqui e ali, ao sabor das memórias que surgem sem aviso. Como aquele voo entre Nairobi e as montanhas Nuba, bem no coração do Sudão. Vindo do Sul desse país, então ainda dividido "apenas" por uma guerra civil longa de 40 anos, depois de duas semanas duras entre os rebeldes do SPLM, descansava agora na penumbra do meu quarto confortável, num dos melhores hotéis da capital queniana, enquanto pensava em ir ao Norte sudanês em busca da outra metade da reportagem planeada. Mas o destino tinha outros planos. Logo nessa noite o encontro com uma das personagens mais extraordinárias e intensas da minha vida, levou-me a alterar planos feitos cuidadosamente e a embarcar numa aventura diferente. Malcolm Max Cassis, bispo católico, originário das Nuba, o território mais isolado do planeta, queria lá ir passar o Natal com um avião carregado de presentes – comida, medicamentos e alfaias agrícolas. E convidou-me. E eu aceitei. Dois dias depois, embarquei no voo da minha vida – horas esquecidas, num DC-3 com 50 anos, piloto colombiano e GPS colado com fita-cola ao tejadilho, num voejo proibido sobre território inimigo e com consequências imprevisíveis. O velho avião estremecia e roncava e fumegava, arrastando-se penosamente em direcção ao seu destino longínquo, enquanto o bispo Cassis, imperturbável, rezava o terço, sentado na única cadeira destinada aos passageiros. Eu esparramado em cima de caixas de medicamentos, só pensava na possibilidade de encontrarmos a força aérea norte-sudanesa de mau humor. Mas não. Após muito, mas muito tempo, a nossa passarola lá começa a descer. No horizonte desenhava-se o contorno maçico da grande cadeia montanhosa das Nuba. A aterrissagem decorreu com a calma relativa de um pato de 40 quilos a pousar num alguidar com água, mas depois de 5 minutos de saltos e ressaltos e imprecações e coisas pelo ar lá parámos. Ufffas, palmas de alivio, parabéns e palmadas nas costas, a salvo finalmente. Seria? Não. Pelo escotilha redonda espiei uma quantidade de gente fardada a correr em direcção a nós, a brandir armas e a gritar. “Que amigáveis, vem-nos saudar mesmo efusivamente”, ainda pensei, antes de ouvir os primeiros disparos. Mas só quando o nosso piloto colombiano, em versão rally, pôs o velho Dakota a fazer um pião e a acelerar o mais rápido que podia pista fora é que eu percebi – tínhamos aterrado no lado errado da montanha, no aeródromo controlado pelas forças governamentais. A nossa retirada muito pouco digna, acompanhada de muito tiroteio, sorrisos amarelos e ainda mais imprecações foi em tudo ignorada pelo bispo, que nem um bocejo se dignou a fazer. Apenas passados uns minutos, já bem alto e longe do perigo, olhou para mim mansamente, fez o sorriso mais aberto do mundo e disse: “bem vindo à minha terra”.

quinta-feira, 8 de setembro de 2011

Wear Good Shoes: Advice to young photographers
By Magnum Photographers




Abbas

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

Upon birth

What advice would you give young photographers?

Get a good pair of walking shoes and...fall in love

Alec Soth

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I spent most of my childhood playing with pretend friends in the forest. It wasn‘t called art, but it was awfully creative. Things were a little

trickier outside of the forest. I was shy and awkward and started to lose my way as teenager. But in 10th grade I had and art teacher, Bill

Hardy, who opened the door back on the forest. I started doing sculptures with found materials outdoors. I documented these sculptures

with photography. After awhile I realized that the joy came more from fi nding pictures than making sculptures.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Try everything. Photojournalism, fashion, portraiture, nudes, whatever. You won‘t know what kind of photographer you are until you try it.

During one summer vacation (in college) I worked for a born-again tabletop photographer. All day long we‘d photograph socks and listen

to Christian radio. That summer I learned I was neither a studio photographer nor a born-again Christian. Another year I worked for a small

suburban newspaper chain and was surprised to learn that I enjoyed assignment photography. Fun is important. You should like the process

and the subject. If you are bored or unhappy with your subject it will show up in the pictures. If in your heart of hearts you want to take

pictures of kitties, take pictures of kitties.

Alex Majoli

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I don‘t remember how I get exited but I defi nitely remember the fi rst picture I took when I was 11 years old (the 2 men walking at Ravenna

port). What I remember is that I was fascinated by the technical stuff of the camera my father lend me that day ... Kodak Retinette.

What advice would you give young photographers?

I would advise to read a lot of literature and look as little as possible other photographers. Work everyday even without assignments or

money, work, work, work with discipline for yourself and not for editors or awards. And also collaborate with people not necessary photographers

but people you admire. The key word to learn is participation!

Alex Webb

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I didn‘t get truly excited about photography (though I actually learned photographic technique from my father much earlier) during my sophomore

year in high school. I had played around with making little (extremely bad) movies, using friends and family as actors, and rapidly

realized that I did not want to work with lots of other people. I wanted to work alone. I began photographing in the streets of Brattleboro,

Vermont, near the school that I attended, and in Boston, where my family lived. I discovered photographing in the street. I‘ve been doing it

ever since.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Photograph because you love doing it, because you absolutely have to do it, because the chief reward is going to be the process of doing it.

Other rewards -- recognition, fi nancial remuneration -- come to so few and are so fl eeting. And even if you are somewhat successful, there

will almost inevitably be stretches of time when you will be ignored, have little income, or -- often -- both. Certainly there are many other

easier ways to make a living in this society. Take photography on as a passion, not a career.

November 15, 2008

Wear Good Shoes: Advice to young photographers

By Magnum Photographers

Page 1 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Alessandra Sanguinetti

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I got into photography when I was around 9 or 10 years old because of a few books my mother had on the lower shelves of her bookcase.

Books by Dorothea Lange, Chim, Lartigue, and also The Family of Man, The Best of Life (around 1978..?), and Wisconsin Death Trip. They

all absorbed me intensely and I know I‘ve carried those images with me all my life, kind of like Imprinting in ducks and geese: whatever

you put next to it when it‘s born it‘ll assume forever that it‘s its mother. Chims‘ photo of the polish girl - probably the same age I was thenwho

had grown up in a concentration camp and her drawing of home; Dorothea Lange‘s Migrant mother; The Best of Life book had a big

effect on me. I vividly remember in the Best of Life the pleasure I had looking over and over again at Avedon‘s photos of Marilyn posing as

different actresses (I didn‘t know who Avedon or Marilyn Monroe were). The photographs of war, especially McCullin‘s photos of Vietnam

were imprinted in my brain, without knowing the politics yet. There was one page of photographs in Best of Life that I especially remember.

The fi rst row shows photography as a witness to time passing, change, the second row shows the effect of speed on a mans face - making

the invisible visible and very strange...and the third row was pure fantasy and play. I think of that page as my fi rst lesson in photography.

Particularly that you‘re free with a camera - you can describe the world, you can invent it, there didn‘t seem to be any rules: a picture of

a pineapple playing a cello was fi ne. Then Wisconsin Death Trip was responsible for my fi rst realization of death and it‘s inevitability, and

my defense reaction was very literal: to photograph everything I cared about so it wouldn‘t disappear forever and people 100 years hence

would know us. That‘s when I asked for my fi rst camera.

What advice would you give young photographers?

I could use some good advice myselff ... but fi rst thing that springs to mind is Bob Dylan‘s‘: „keep a good head and always carry a light

bulb.“

Bruce Gilden

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

In 1966, when I printed my fi rst picture and I saw it coming out, I got really hooked on photography... It was the picture of a cute little squirrel!

What advice would you give young photographers?

My advice: „Photograph who you are!“

Carl De Keyzer

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

At the age of 14 when I processed my fi rst fi lm and printed my fi rst image on a 1922 Agfa enlarger of my uncle with the help of my friend

next door who supplied the expertise and the chemicals needed (his uncle was a garage inventor - chemist who built rockets in his spare

time). My fi rst print showed my boxer dog named Blacky. It was one of my most magical moments of my life.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Give it all you got for at least 5 years and then decide if you got what it takes. Too many great talents give up at the very beginning; the

great black hole looming after the comfortable academy or university years is the number one killer of future talent.

Christopher Anderson

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

My fi rst memory of being excited about photography was seeing HCB‘s „decisive moment“ picture in a magazine (the picture of a man in

mid stride jumping over a puddle) when I was 9 or 10 years old. I had no idea who the photographer was and I don‘t think I even consciously

thought about the presence of a photographer being linked to the image. I was just drawn to the image itself. I even remember asking

myself why I was drawn to this image, and not really having an answer. I cut the image out and inserted into the cassette tape box as a

cover for a mix tape I had made of my favorite songs.

There were some other key moments (fi nding a book by Leonard Freed in a garage sale, for example). In high school, I worked summer jobs

and bought myself a camera when I graduated. During the next several years, photography became a hobby, but I did it in total isolation. I

still had no concept of „Photographer.“ I had no concept of a photojournalist or art or anything like that. I just thought it was fun to make

pictures. If I thought about the idea as a profession, it was as distant as saying; „I want to be a rock start when I grow up.“ It wasn‘t until I

was actually a professional photographer (which happened very much by accident, and I will spare you the boring story here) that it dawned

on me that some people make their living making pictures. I had never pondered the question of why I take pictures or what is the role

of photography or what kind of photographer I wanted to be when suddenly, I was a Professional Photojournalist. It would be another 10

years of working in that capacity before I would begin to ask myself these questions.

Page 2 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Forget about the profession of being a photographer. First be a photographer and maybe the profession will come after. Don‘t be in a rush

to make pay your rent with your camera. Jimi Hendrix didn‘t decide on the career of professional musician before he learned to play guitar.

No, he loved music and and created something beautiful and that THEN became a profession. Larry Towell, for instance, was not a „professional“

photographer until he was already a „famous“ photographer. Make the pictures you feel compelled to make and perhaps that will

lead to a career. But if you try to make the career fi rst, you will just make shitty pictures that you don‘t care about.

Chris Steele-Perkins

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I never had an epiphany about photography. It crept up on me. It started off as a hobby while at school, developed at a technical lever

working as a photographer for the university newspaper, and has always remained a hobby too. Something I can enjoy. Creative Camera

magazine, edited by Bill Jay, (I am going back a while), Life magazine, and some of the few books available at the time by people like Bill

Brandt, Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Cartier Bresson, and Andre Kertez, to name a few, really turned me on to the idea that you could say

something with photography: that you could have your own take on the world and somehow start to express it by the kinds of photographs

you took.

What advice would you give young photographers?

1) Never think photography is easy. It‘s like poetry in that it‘s easy enough to make a few rhymes, but that‘s not a good poem.

2) Study photography, see what people have achieved, but learn from it, don‘t try photographically to be one of those people

3) Photograph things you really care about, things that really interest you, not things you feel you ought to do.

4) Photograph them in the way you feel is right, not they way you think you ought to

5) Be open to criticism, it can be really helpful, but stick to you core values

6) Study and theory is useful but you learn most by doing. Take photographs, lots of them, be depressed by them, take more, hone your

skills and get out there in the world and interact.

Constantine Manos

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst became excited about photography when I joined the junior high school camera club at the age of 13.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Try not to take pictures, which simply show what something looks like. By the way you put the elements of an image together in a frame

show us something we have never seen before and will never see again. And remember that catching a moment makes the image even

more unique in the stream of time. Also, try to do workshops with photographers whose work you admire, but fi rst ask around to make sure

they are good teachers as well as good photographers. Taking good pictures is easy. Making very good pictures is diffi cult. Making great

pictures is almost impossible.

Donovan Wylie

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst became excited about photography as a boy.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Never stop enjoying it. Try and not „look“ for pictures but keep yourself always open and allow yourself to be stimulated by whatever hits

you. Work towards a goal ... book, exhibition... but more importantly work towards fi nding your own voice, your subject and your application.

Accept that your work is more about you than what you represent, try to bridge that balance, without resorting to photographing your

feet! In other words try and translate personal experience into a collective one, it is very possible and I think the key quest of any art form...

(study the book „Waffenruhe“ by Michael Schmidt) - study all the great photographers and love doing it, start at the beginning, look at

early American, and German, then French, then take a close look at artists using photography in the sixties, Rusha etc. Don‘t get bogged

down in theory, but respect it, read Robert Adams on Photography, in fact embrace Robert Adams generally and you will learn a lot. Read

literature, especially early Russian, French and modern American, (and Irish, Joyce), the journey literature has taken as an art form in terms

of description and representation is very similar to photography. Don‘t rely on style for the sake of it, if you have your own subject, you can

adopt other peoples styles if it helps, and visa versa, if you photograph something every one has, then adopt an style, execution, that can

only be yours, eventually you will achieve both, your own voice will come through, but it can take time. Study the book ‚How You Look at

It‘ ... Important essays there will help you. Always try and be honest with yourself... for example, is the idea of being a photographer more

exciting to you than photography itself, if this is true think about becoming an actor.......................if you genuinely love photography don‘t

give it up. Understand and enjoy the fact that photography is a unique medium. Respect and work within photography‘s limitations, you

will go much further.

Page 3 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

David Hurn

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst got excited by photography the fi rst day I picked up a camera. However this was not until I was 20 years of age. I suddenly realized

that I had an excuse to be anywhere and gaze in wonderment; the camera gave me something to hide my shyness behind. The act of pointing

a camera at another human being is daunting - however clarifying what is unfolding in front of one can give one immense pleasure. I

have had a blissful life.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Don‘t become a photographer unless its what you ‚have‘ to do. It can‘t be the easy option. If you become a photographer you will do a lot of

walking so buy good shoes.

Dennis Stock

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I was drawn towards photography at the age of eighteen and under the GI bill I took a course with Bernice Abbott. She sent me to W.

Eugene Smith, who suggested I seek a job with Gjon Mili. I apprenticed to Mili for four years. Won fi rst prize in „Life magazine‘s Young Professionals

contest.“ Thereafter left Mili and was invited by Robert Capa to join Magnum. Modeled for the very famous picture by Andreas

Feininger, called the „Photojournalist.“

What advice would you give young photographers?

Young photographers should learn their craft well and don‘t expect to make a constant living at taking pictures. But they should FOLLOW

THEIR BLISS. Find time to pursue themes that indicate their concerns, big and small. Above all when shooting, MAKE AN ARTICULATE

IMAGE.

Eli Reed

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst got excited about photography at the age of 10 years old when I saw the photograph of my mother in front of a Christmas tree that I

had taken with a Kodak Brownie Camera. It was the fi rst photo that I ever made. My mother died with a couple of years of making that photograph.

I started looking through magazines such as Life Magazine and it was a beginning. I watched the Civil Rights movement through

photographs that made me feel as if I were there.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Stop talking theory when a camera is in their your and do not over-think the image. Lose the ego and let the photograph fi nd you. Observe

the life moving like a river around you and realize that the images you make may become part of the collective history of the time that you

are living in.

Elliott Erwitt

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

When I discovered the possibility of earning a living without steady employment; in a word, as a freelancer.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Learn the craft (which is not very hard). Carefully study past work of photographers and classic painters. Look and learn from movies. See

where you can fi t in as a „commercial“ photographer. Commercial: meaning working for others and delivering a product on command. But

most of all keep your personal photography as your separate hobby. If you are very good and diligent it just may pay off.

Lise Sarfati

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I was thirteen. My sister Annie-Lou was taking pictures of me all the time while my father was doing fi lms while my other sister Mona was

painted me naked while my mother was writing all day long in her bed. I decided to steal the camera of Annie-lou and to go in apartments

of very old ladies around 90 years old and make portraits of them and photograph their empty bedrooms...

What advice would you give young photographers?

Read a lot and create your own universe. Learn how to construct and create a series. Do not be impressed by other works. Try to innovate or

simply to be yourself.

Page 4 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Martine Franck

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst got excited by photography when as a post graduate student I got a visa to China, this was my fi rst visit to the far East and even

though I knew nothing about photography I felt a need to show my family and friends what I had seen. I got hooked.

What advice would you give young photographers?

My advice to photographers is to get out there in the fi eld and take photographs but also if they are students to fi nish their course, learn as

many languages as possible, go to movies, read books visit museums, broaden your mind.

Harry Gruyaert

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

When I had my fi rst Rolleifl ex in my hand when I was 14.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Be yourself, Don‘t copy anybody.

Hiroji Kubota

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

Sometime in 1961 I did an assistant-like job for Elliott Erwitt. Then I was in college studying a political science. Elliott sent me a copy of

Cartier-Bresson‘s decisive moment as a gift. I knew nothing of photography but this book changed my life.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Study the works of the greatest photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Andre Kertesz. Try to travel to many parts of the world and

understand what a diverse world we live in.

John Vink

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

At twelve when seeing the image appear in the developer: pure magic... It‘s the ONLY thing I miss with digital...

What advice would you give young photographers?

Don‘t stop questioning yourself (it‘ll make you less arrogant). Push. Push, scratch, dig... Push further... And stop when you don‘t enjoy it

anymore... But most of all respect those you photograph...

Jonas Bendiksen

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst started in photography when I was about 14 or 15. I borrowed by father‘s SLR camera and very quickly I was taken by the process.

Together with my father, I built a rudimentary BW darkroom in the bathroom at home. Over the years in high school, I ended up spending

more and more time in there, photographing everything around me, developing the fi lm, printing it, and back out photographing. By the

time I fi nished high school I had to ask, Ok what do I do now? Find something else, or keep doing this, and give it a shot?

What advice would you give young photographers?

Throw yourself off a cliff. Figuratively speaking, I mean. Photography is a language. Think about what you want to use it to talk about. What

are you interested in? What questions do you want to ask? Then, go for it, and throw yourself into talking about that topic, using photography.

Make a body of work about that.

Page 5 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Larry Towell

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

My mom gave me her old Brownie box camera when I was 13 years old. She‘d bought it for $6 with her allowance when she was 13. I took

pictures of my seven brothers and sisters because that was my world. Photography was not a passion yet. It was a tool. Then in university,

I was given a Pentax 35 mm camera and taught how to process black and white fi lm. There was nothing I wanted to do more than go home

and photograph my family. I was in the city, but I wanted to remind myself that I belonged on farmland. It was still a tool. Photography did

not really become a passion until I began meeting victims of human rights abuses in Central America during the Reagan years. The camera

allowed me to share the lives of others, to walk around in their world, to view their horizons. That‘s when I got excited about photography.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Be yourself and look outside of yourself.

Mark Power

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

My Grandad exchanged some loyalty stamps for my fi rst camera when I was just eight years old. Its fi rst outing was on a school trip through

Foxton Locks, part of the extravagant Grand Union Canal in Leicestershire, in the English Midlands. My fi rst picture was of my teacher, Miss

Allen, in 1967. This is not a particularly fl attering picture, and nor does it suggest the dawn of any great talent.

This, however, is not the point...Perhaps choosing Miss Allen as my fi rst subject was a cry for help, a pact between the two of us that she

would look after me. But she didn‘t. Craig Smalley (the school bully) had spotted the camera. All the other pictures were to be of him, and

him alone.

I wonder if he still has those pictures? Of course I had to hand them all over to him after I got them back from the local chemist, or wherever

it was my parents took the fi lm. I told my Grandad; I had to explain why I had only this one picture to show him. I assume he later said

something to my parents because the ‚Smalley‘ threat began to subside. But my plan of recounting the trip aided by twelve pictures came

to nothing, and felt somehow ‚less real‘ because of it.

So photography was immediately elusive, precious, challenging and desirable. I didn‘t take it for granted then, and I haven‘t since. During

a nervous, painfully shy childhood I would painstakingly caption and catalogue all my pictures. Today I imagine they lie somewhere deep in

my father‘s loft, to be re-discovered in some painful but inevitable future.

And then, many years later... I vividly remember, in 1980, seeing an exhibition by the war photographer Don McCullin at the V&A in London.

His pictures touched me deeply - you‘d have had to be made of stern stuff if they didn‘t - and they clearly moved others. Some people were

in tears. At the time I was a third year painting student who had, as yet, shown very little inclination towards photography. But now, to a

young man used to working everyday in the life room, trying to tease an emotional response from a stick of charcoal, a piece of cartridge

paper, and a naked model, McCullin‘s work was a revelation. I knew Rothko could move people, if you were of the right frame of mind and

you were prepared to give his paintings time, but this - these photographs - they were so powerful. They really did communicate. I liked this

democracy.

I decided to be a photographer, though I had next to no idea how.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Although there are far more people trying to ‚be photographers‘ than there were in those heady days of 1980, there are also far more

opportunities. Gone are the days, thankfully, when a commercial assignment, or even a picture in a newspaper, can damage the chance of

gallery representation.

Yet what is clear is that a number of ‚good pictures‘ are no longer enough; today it has to be about ideas, and about the intent of the work.

If you have something to say, and even better you have an innovative way of saying it then opportunities are out there.

I sense that photography is concerning itself with real issues again. For some time much of photography seemed to be about itself, and

while this was fi ne, and interesting in some cases, it‘s not what photography is really good at. Understand this by familiarising yourself

with the rich and wonderful history of our medium. Be proud of it, what it has, and what it can, achieve. Don‘t try and reinvent the wheel. Be

inspired. Try and copy, if you like (because no one can).

Find a subject you care about. Something that moves you. Something which stirs your rawest emotions. And then have patience.

Page 6 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Martin Parr

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

When my Grandfather lent me a camera (he was a keen amateur) and we went out shooting together.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Find something you are passionate about, and shoot your way through this obsession with elegance and you will have potential great

project.

Mikhael Subotzky

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst got excited about photography when I went traveling in South East Asia as an 18 year old. I bought a cheap Nikon SLR for the trip and

thought that I had taken fantastic pictures. When I got back, I showed them all to my uncle (photographer Gideon Mendel), and he fl ipped

through them quickly and nonchalantly as if they were amateur snaps (which they certainly were!) Despite this disappointment, the bug

had bitten, and I was drawn to continue to photograph - I guess, in search of the kind of aliveness of interaction with the world that I started

to feel through taking those early pictures.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Stick to one project for a long time. And keep working on it through many stages of learning, even if it might feel fi nished. Its the only way

to break through what I think are some vital lessons that need to be learnt about story-telling and how to combine images.

Olivia Arthur

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I fi rst became excited about photography when I started working for my student newspaper. Though I was just excited by taking my own

pictures and seeing them in print. It was quite a while before I made the jump to thinking about photography in the bigger picture and

started looking at other photographers work.

What advice would you give young photographers?

My main piece of advice for young photographers who have just come out of college is to get away from the ‚hubs‘ of photography like London

and New York. There are so many photographers touting their portfolios round in places like this that people end up fi ghting to do jobs

that are not what they really want, just to make ends meet. It‘s the kind of environment that doesn‘t fuel anyone‘s creativity (well mostly

anyway...). My advice: go out and do the things they really want to before getting tied in...if they don‘t take the risk at the beginning they‘ll

fi nd it much harder to come back and take it later on.

Paolo Pellegrin

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I was studying architecture in Rome and felt it wasn‘t right for me, so when a photography school opened in Rome that year I decided to

give it a try. Quite immediately, and for the fi rst time in my life, I realized that this medium could become the direction and expression that I

had long struggled to fi nd.

What advice would you give young photographers?

I believe photography - like many other things one does in life - is the exact expression of who one is at a given moment: every time you

compose and release the shutter you give voice to your thoughts and opinions of the world around you. So other than the obvious patience

(photography is a complex medium, a voice which requires time to develop) and perseverance and the necessary humility when dealing

with others, I would recommend working to become a more developed and informed individual, a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen.

This will translate into a deeper more complex understanding of the world around you, and ultimately into a richer and more meaningful

photography.

Page 7 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Patrick Zachmann

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

When I was teenager my older brother who liked photography-an uncle coming from Algeria brought with him a handmade enlarger in

wood called „Imperator“ and a Rolleifl ex and gave them to him- used to take me to a photographic club called les „30X40“ (from the size

of prints). Once a month, a bunch of fans of photography met in Paris to exchange their experiences, knowledge and love for photography.

There was one guy, very old fashioned, living alone with his old mother who was historian in art and specialised in photography. Every

month, he was preparing a lecture on a great photographer. That‘s the way I discovered the big names of photography-some of them were

even invited. One day, he introduced to us Diane Arbus and I got a big emotion. That might be the fi rst time I had been really excited-even

„moved“ would be more correct- about photography. Later, my brother gave up with photography-my parents didn‘t let him and wanted him

to have a „real“ work- while I became a photographer fi ghting against them.

What advice would you give young photographers?

You have to fi ght for beeing a photographer! More seriously, my advice for young poeple is to go to exhibitions, to see books and try to do a

personal project which they feel they have a unique approach of it because they are close the subject and need to express and understand

urgently things about it.

Photography has something to do for me, like with Diane Arbus, with oneself through the others and with unconsciousness (sorry for my

English: I mean „l‘inconscient“) a psychoanalytic approach. I will answer to a third question because it‘s linked with above: why did you

become a photographer? I became a photographer because I don‘t have memory. It took me quite a long time to understand that trough

my personal researches („Inquest of identity or a Jew in search of his memory“, „Chile. The roads of the memory“, „My father‘s memory,“

etc...), I was looking for the „missing“ pictures. Making my book „Inquest of identity“, I found out that my aunt-my father‘s sister who was

a Nazi camp survivor- had at her home a picture of my grand-parents deported and killed in Auschwitz that my father never showed to us.

Thanks photography, I met my father‘s parents that I never knew. That‘s what I like with photography. It helps me to understand myself and

the past through the present.

Peter Marlow

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

At about nine years old I was given a makeshift horizontal enlarger which seems to be made of old tin cans and large magnifying glass, I set

it up with a friend in our cellar and we made our fi rst prints, about 2 inches square, in the complete darkness as we did not have a safelight,

the cellar contained my father‘s home-made wine store, so the longer we stayed down there in the damp and cold, the drunker we got! I

met a young German travel photographer recently in Barcelona, talking to him, I realised he had never ever used fi lm.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Be yourself, get up early, and don‘t try too hard, as whatever is trying to come out will come eventually without any effort, learn to trust

your instincts and don‘t think about what others will think or about the process too much. Work hard but enjoy it.

Steve McCurry

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

While I was studying fi lm in university I took a fi ne art photography class where I was introduced to the photography of Dorothea Lange,

Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans. My interest shifted from fi lmmaking to still photography.

What advice would you give young photographers?

If you want to be a photographer, you have to photograph. If you look at the photographers‘ work you admire, you will fi nd that they have

found a particular place or subject, and then have dug deep into it, and carved out something that is special. That takes a lot of dedication,

passion, and work.

Stuart Franklin

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

When I bought a second hand twin lens refl ex camera in Victoria, BC and hitchhiked to Mexico and South America - aged 19.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Follow your heart and never give up.

Page 8 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Susan Meiselas

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

I think I became excited by photography when I connected with the Strippers and saw myself as a storyteller with a camera and recorder...

What advice would you give young photographers?

Dig in and follow your instincts and trust your curiosity

Thomas Dworzak

When did you fi rst get excited about photogaphy?

As I kid when I tried to photograph grasshoppers, close-up. Later on, at 15, probably when I ran up to a cop arresting some activist who

had chained himself to a newspaper building, and the same year when I ended up in a demonstration in Poland. Feeling the adrenalin; the

camera was the excuse and the shield to hide behind.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Try live something intense, at home, abroad... it does not matter. It has to be passionate. And once you know the basics forget about photography.

Thomas Hoepker

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

My grandfather gave me his old 9x12 cm view camera when I was 14. I still have it. It has black bellows and a (broken) ground-glass. It was

hard to work with but it had an aura of magic to it. Also it smelled nice. It took a tripod and a black cloth to focus the image and then a cassette

had to be inserted with a light sensitive glass plate. It helped me to understand the basic elements of photography. Today I shoot with

digital cameras like everybody else but in all their perfection they lack the magic and excitement of this old monster.

What advice would you give young photographers?

Avoid all photo schools and courses. Most will give you lofty ideas and twist your mind in one direction. Find your own way to photography,

nobody will ask you later if you have a diploma. Visit as many museums as you possibly can. The images you see (painted, drawn, etched

or photographed) will stay with you for the rest of your life. They will help you to discover good pictures in real life. Suppress any silly ambitions

of becoming a great artist. Being a good photographer is diffi cult enough.

Trent Parke

When did you fi rst get excited about photography?

The fi rst time I saw an image magically appear in a developing tray in my parent‘s laundry (makeshift darkroom) when I was 12 years old.

What advice would you give young photographers?

To photograph what is closest to you and the things that you enjoy and have an interest in. Make the whole process as fun and least diffi

cult as possible.

Published on http://blog.magnumphotos.com on November 15, 2008. © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.

Page 9 of 9 © 2008 Magnum Photos and the authors. All rights reserved.