Whilst my photographic library is now consisting of more books containing words about photographs, than photographs themselves; it is with some excitement that I note two new additions made over the past couple of days.
On my final night of a short visit to New Zealand Louise and I were invited to dine at the home of local wedding/portrait photographers Johannes van Kan and Jo Grams. Also sharing a delicious meal were photographer Doc Ross and his wife Liz. Whilst the purpose of the evening was convivial company, animated discussion about photography and sharing some great wines (New Zealand, American and Spanish), my selfish reason for attending was to take delivery of edition #1 of Ross’ latest book – Fragments of Other Peoples Lives.
Documenting a two month stay in London last year, this set of photographs illustrates the people inhabiting the streets that Ross observed. Working in a style that is reminiscent of Garry Winogrand, these self-printed, self-published monochrome photographs present an unobtrusive observation of what was happening around him. There is no confrontation from his subjects and it is almost as though Ross is invisible – no mean feat in this much more alert and aware twenty-first century.
Whilst still coming to grips with my new camera (see New Landscape, New Camera, Same Old Eyes), it was an opportunity to work the 56mm f1.2 lens doing what it was designed for – portraits. All the photographers got a chance to play.
I mentioned two books to add to the Library. The purpose of my New Zealand visit was to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Queenstown Centre of Creative Photography. It was here that I was offered a new copy of Gregory Heisler’s epic volume 50 Portraits. This volume is to contemporary portrait photography what One Mind’s Eye by Arnold Newman was to mid Twentieth Century portrait photography. Newman had been my mentor in my early photographic years and after seeing Heisler speak in Brisbane many years ago and again in New Zealand last year, he had become my current portrait mentor.
A great night, with superb food and wine and superlative company.