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Category Archives: Faded + Blurred

A Record Of Real Life: Nan Goldin

What a great resource Faded + Blurred is, you really should bookmark the site and go there often. This time we get one of their spotlights on an important photographer. The ever divisive Nan Goldin. Divisive? Well most people don’t get her work, don’t like it, find it difficult but she remains a major figure in contemporary photography. It is easy to see the line between her work and say that of Richard Billingham and his series on his parents “Ray’s a laugh”

“I knew from a very early age, that what I saw on TV had nothing to do with real life. So I wanted to make a record of real life. That included having a camera with me at all times.” – Nan Goldin


Do you ever look at someone’s work and think “I just don’t get it. Why is this important? Why is it in a gallery?” I have thought that of Nan Goldin’s work for years. To be honest, her work just dumbfounded me. How could this be considered art? I always thought they were just poorly lit, grainy snapshots. I wouldn’t take more than a fleeting glance without immediately passing judgment that I didn’t like it and therefore it wasn’t worth my time to examine or understand. As I was looking for a subject for the Spotlight, Nan Goldin’s name was suggested and my gut reaction was no. I realized, however, that if I don’t like something the least I can do is ask myself why not. I have come to the conclusion that all art is worthy of examination and questioning. If you don’t know anything about the work, you should find out as much as you can and you may come to appreciate it. Understanding the why behind what someone does can influence and sometimes even change your opinion of the work itself.


Even if you’re not familiar with many photographers by name, you may have heard the name Nan Goldin. Since the 1970s, she has been known for her shockingly raw images of desire, addiction, sexuality, and abuse. Her style is a part of the “snapshot aesthetic” which became popular in the early 60s and contains everyday subjects that don’t seem to be framed in any particular way. Goldin’s work, however, can’t be defined by just one particular style. When you find out what it was she was trying to do with her pictures, you learn that there are layers of meaning that go far beyond the first cursory glance. READ MORE HERE



Goldin was born in 1953 in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Living behind a facade of perfection and respectability, her parents taught her that there were certain things you just didn’t talk about – the biggest being her older sister’s suicide at the age of 19. Goldin was only 11 at the time and withdrew into herself. She says she didn’t speak for a very long time, but she still managed to cause trouble. She ran away at 14 and ended up in several different foster homes, but it was during this period that she was enrolled in an alternative education program. This was a place for kids that had been kicked out of “normal” schools – she says they all did drugs, had sex, and partied – but it was a place where she found people she connected with. It was here where she was given her first camera, a Polaroid, by a teacher. After that, the camera rarely left her hand.


See the full article on Faded + Blurred here


Dreaming With Open Eyes: Ernst Haas

From the ever wonderful Faded+Blurred we get this view of Ernst Haas

“You become things, you become an atmosphere, and if you become it, which means you incorporate it within you, you can also give it back. You can put this feeling into a picture. A painter can do it. And a musician can do it and I think a photographer can do that too and that I would call the dreaming with open eyes.” – Ernst Haas



In all of the Spotlights I have written, I have never come across a photographer so respected by his peers as was Ernst Haas. He was one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century as well as one of the pioneers of color photography. Artists such as Cartier-Bresson, Cornell Capa, and Elliott Erwitt counted Haas as one of the greats. Ansel Adams expressed his admiration of him in a letter, saying, “I am very happy you exist. Photography is a better art because you exist. Can I say more? No!” Jay Maisel has said, “It is rare that the man equals the artist: Ernst did… His work was awesome, not just to me, but to an entire generation of photographers. The depth and breadth of it will emerge for years to come. I think it will be a startling revelation because he was as prolific as he was sensitive. He had a different head. It wasn’t overly crammed with photography; it was full of music, art, philosophy, and history. In short, he was a rarity, a well-educated man without cynicism, in love with the work around him.” read more here


He bought his first camera in 1946 – actually, it wasn’t so much bought as it was traded for. He had received 10 kilos of margarine for his 25th birthday and he proceeded to go to the black market to trade it for a 35mm Rollieflex. “I never really wanted to be a photographer,” he said. “It slowly grew out of the compromise of a boy who desired to combine two goals – explorer or painter. I wanted to travel, see and experience. What better profession could there be than the one of a photographer, almost a painter in a hurry, overwhelmed by too many constantly changing impressions? But all my inspirational influences came much more from all the arts than from photo magazines.”


See the full article here


Principles Of Moments: Thoughts On Street Photography

As always Faded+Blurred comes up with the goods, this article on street photography is worth your time

One of the things I’ve noticed lately is that the term “street photography” gets batted around willy nilly to describe any given scene that happens to include people in any sort of urban environment. Random people in crosswalks? Street photography. Commuters on trains? Street photography. Person drinking coffee, either walking down the street or sitting at a cafe? Definitely street photography. Oh, and umbrellas…lots of umbrellas. So, what does the term really encompass? For many photographers, if you were to ask them about iconic street shooters, one name that would inevitably make the list is Garry Winogrand, which is ironic since he actually rejected the label. “I hate the term,” Winogrand said. “I think its a stupid term, street photography. I don’t think it… tells you anything about a photographer or work.” Personally, I find nothing wrong with the term, and I completely understand the need to categorize or compartmentalize various genres of photography to provide at least some sort of context. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to label every photo of random people on a street, road, or avenue in any sort of urban setting as street photography, anymore than calling a photo of Uncle Bob or Aunt Mildred snapped just before sitting down to Christmas dinner should automatically be called a portrait. Sure, it may be, but just taking pictures of people doesn’t put you in the same category as Avedon, Penn, Karsh or countless others. Photography is a craft, an art. In my opinion, it comes down to vision and intent and whether you use a camera phone, a DSLR or a vintage film camera, there are principles (note that I didn’t say rules) that once understood, will allow you to make better, more engaging photographs.

Coincidentally – or maybe not – the guardian recently posted a feature highlighting the wonderful work of award-winning photographer Antonio Olmos. In the post, Olmos presents a gallery of images and offers tips for making better street photographs. What I find interesting is that virtually all of the things Olmos references – exposure, composition (leading lines) and light can, and should, be applied to all areas of photography. These are concepts that every serious photographer should not only learn but practice and indeed focus on. These things make the difference between snapshots and photographs.


While men carrying bed frames and riding bicycles is interesting, this photograph is all about the light. The flare from the sun anchors the scene while the dramatic long shadows drive the viewer’s eye into the image.


Rule of thirds, plain and simple. The boys’ feet off the ground implies motion and energy and the negative space at left gives our eyes somewhere to go. Wonderful.


Maybe it’s the graphic designer in me, but I love when negative space is used well. In this image, the wall becomes a canvas of sorts, bathing the subject in a beautiful warm glow.

See more here

Books We Recommend
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Street Photography Now
Vivian Maier: Street Photographer
Extraordinary Everyday Photography
Humans of New York

Photographer Spotlight – Julia Margaret Cameron

Faded + Blurred do not only find the modern greats of photography and spotlight them, there is also a look into the early days of photography and one of the more famous is Julia Margaret Cameron

When I came across the work of Julie Margaret Cameron, I knew she had to be first, mainly because she was one of the first photographers out there. She was born in 1815, but didn’t get her first camera until 1863 at the age of 48 as a gift from her daughter. She says she ran around the house trying to find gifts to give this girl because she was so appreciative. How many of us have felt like that after a photo… when we know we have gotten “the shot”? It just ignites something in us and I think that is what happened to her. She couldn’t stop. She became obsessed with her new-found hobby. She would spend hours taking countless exposures, having her subjects sit while she coated, exposed, and processed each wet plate. She wrote, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied.” She was very lucky to have a supportive family behind her. She took her coal house and made it into a dark room and turned her hen house into her glass house. She had everyone she knew sit for her.I think one of the reasons she is so important to us today is the fact that she was from a well-connected family. Her friends were people like Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry Longfellow. She took many photographs of them that we would not have today. She also took a portrait of Alice Liddell who most of you will know as the Alice from Alice in Wonderland. 




julia-margaret-cameron-04Read the rest of the story here


The Transformative Power Of Light In Photography: Marie Laigneau

On Faded+Blurred there are some wonderful articles and spotlights on photographers, this caught my eye particularly as I have worked on a series called Eternal Light for more than 30 years

One of the things I absolutely love about photography is that initial feeling of discovery in seeing the work of someone new for the very first time. Recently, I came across the portfolio of Chicago-based street photographer Marie Laigneau, whose work is absolutely terrific. In addition to her fabulous photography, her blog offers up some valuable insights into refining the craft of photography. One such post prompted me to email Marie and ask her if she would allow me to share it here on Faded + Blurred. In it, Marie offers some great observations on how light can affect not only the aesthetic value of a photograph, but also our emotional connection to it. Enjoy.

The Beauty Of Things Born Again: Sebastião Salgado

“I tell a little bit of my life to them, and they tell a little of theirs to me. The picture itself is just the tip of the iceberg.” – Sebastião Salgado
Have you ever encountered someone so fascinating or engaging that you can’t even begin to describe them? That is exactly how I felt when I first came across Sebastião Salgado. Considered to be one of the most influential photographers alive today, Salgado’s images are both powerful and compelling. But, it isn’t just his photography that makes him such an important figure; it is the way he has used his work to change the world.

From Faded+Blurred




Salgado was born on a cattle ranch in Brazil in 1944. Growing up, he and his seven sisters led an idyllic life. Living amongst jaguars, crocodiles, and incredible birds; swimming, riding horses, and eating farm-fresh food, Salgado called it “a complete paradise”. When he was just 15 he had to leave this wonderful place in order to finish high school, not knowing he would not return to live there for another 30 years. He ended up at a university studying economics and marrying the love of his life Lélia Deluiz Wanick. He was able to complete his masters in São Paulo, but because of his left-leaning politics they had to leave Brazil in 1969 and ended up in Paris where both of them finished their studies. It was then that Salgado first picked up a camera. “For the first time, I looked through a lens and photography immediately started to invade my life,” he says. “I finished my PhD in economics, and become an economist, but the camera gave me ten times more pleasure.”

It was shortly after this that Salgado got a job in London for the International Coffee Organization as an economist. This job included a lot of traveling and he began to take his camera with him. The images began to take over his life. He realized this was where he belonged, that the camera was his language. He and his wife moved back to Paris in 1973 so he could begin his life as a photographer……….



Ethiopia, 2008


Want more? You know you do, go here

Textus: Seung Hoon Park

You know I am not sure how excited I am about these, they are so reminiscent of the Hockney joiners, but then there is something compelling, maybe I should get past the technique



Berenice Abbott once said “Photography can never grow up if it imitates some other medium. It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.” Despite the fact that digital is where mainstream photography is going, I find it both comforting and inspiring that so many photographers are still shooting film. In fact, while a number of popular stocks have been discontinued, film is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance; either by established photographers going back to it, or in emerging photographers experiencing the magic of silver and light for the first time. I happened upon the work of Korean artist Seung Hoon Park recently and am finding it absolutely fascinating. For his project called Textus,he weaves strips of 8mm or 16mm film together into tapestries of sorts (or placemats, if you prefer), then uses a large-format 8×10 camera to expose the image. As you can see in the photographs below, the results are spectacular; the slight offset in position, angle and depth create almost a kaleidoscopic feel to the images.

Seung Hoon Park’s photographs are available through the Susan Spiritus Gallery in Newport Beach, CA.




Jay Maisel

From the archives of Faded + Blurred a Spotlight on Jay Maisel

He recently turned 80 years old and has more than 55 years of professional shooting under his belt. Jay Maisel is recognized as one of the top natural-light photographers in the world. Having lived in New York his entire life, the city is in his blood and he has used the wonderful backdrop of Manhattan to become a master of street photography. When you look at one of Jay Maisel’s photographs you don’t just see a subject and a background. Each photograph is a mini-masterclass in composition and how to capture the subtle nuances of light playing against shadow.

“You see shape, and how the light hits things, how the color changes from one end of the photo to the other, and how movement affects the mood of the photo.” -Jay Maisel ...READ INTERVIEW HERE






JayMaisel-200See more here on Faded + Blurred


Why You Should Meet Your Heroes: Jonathan Debeer


Why You Should Meet Your Heroes – An Interview With Stephan Vanfleteren
by Jonathan Debeer

They say it is important to have heroes. People you can look up to; whose achievements make you feel small but at the same time, fire you up to do something great yourself.

They also say you should never meet your heroes for in real life, they may fall short of your expectations.

Obviously, they never met Stephan Vanfleteren.

There are few contemporary photographers, especially in Belgium, I hold in such high esteem as Vanfleteren and I’ve had the tremendous honor to interview the man for a piece in the Dutch photography magazine FOTOgrafie. We met in Bruges – a two hour journey for what I was sure would be a 30 minute talk. Still, well worth the travel! Honestly, could I expect the man to give me more of his time?

When we sat down I was completely blown away by his cheerfulness, by his humility, the way he is “down to earth” and by the ridiculously long time he let me interogate him (three whole hours!). The interview left me exhausted and exhilarated. Here was a man for whom held a huge admiration completely living up to the expectations and surpassing them without breaking a sweat. Stephan treated me not only to a fantastic interview, but most of all, a great talk to a terrific person.

So without further ado: a very concise summary.

In 2013, Belgian photographer Stephan Vanfleteren (b. 1969) received a World Press Photo Award for his series on the “African Mercy”, a hospital ship on which patients with tumors, eye and skin diseases are treated. It is but one of the many international awards he received over his career. His big breakthrough came in 2007 with his book and accompanying exposition “Belgicum”, portraying landscapes, people and general impressions of his home country the way only Vanfleteren can. Still, becoming the chronicler of his country was mostly a happy coincidence to him.

“As a young photographer, I traveled a lot. But because I got homesick and longed for my wife and kids I thought: I want to work more in my home country – not just for the papers but also on personal projects. While my colleagues declared me insane I set out to explore the home front in depth.

I had the advantage of having evolved over time and having developed my style early on. But good photography is more than patience and making good images: timing is essential too. I belief inzeitgeist. I think a good artist distinguishes his or herself by his or her ability to feel these things. For “Belgicum” (2007) the timing was perfect: Belgium was embroiled in a deep crisis and everyone was able to distill his own message from my images. It received a lot of attention and even made the national news.”

Interested? Read more here



Magic In The Middle Kingdom: Michael Steverson

On the fabulous Faded+Blurred we find this article


China has always seemed like a fascinating place to me, both for the exotic culture as well as the chance to capture images that are unlike anything I’ve ever photographed before. For the past 8 years, documentary photographer Michael Steverson has been living and working in China’s Southern Guangxi Province, photographing the wonderful contrasts that exist in a country with feet planted firmly in both a more traditional rural way of life as well as the urban landscape of progress. His portfolio is filled with the wonderful colors, textures and faces that populate the Middle Kingdom.



You can see more of this series and other pictures by Michael Steverson here