Tag Archives: Concentration

Photographer #447: Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton, 1969, South-Africa, is a photojournalist and documentary photographer who focuses on issues related to conflict, health and the environment. He has traveled extensively to places as Timbuktu, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and India. He is the official photographer for the Global Business Coalition against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Twice he visited the Ukraine, a country with the highest concentration of HIV+ people in Europe, to document the victims of Aids and the social workers and doctors who improve the lives of the infected. His goal was to humanize the disease through his photography and to lessen fear and prejudice against those who live with the disease. His work has received numerous awards amongst which are five awards from the World Press Photo Foundation and six from the Lucie Foundation. His images have been shown in a vast amount of exhibits including one at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and has been published in leading magazines as the National Geographic Magazine, Time, Newsweek and Stern. The following images come from the stories Tuareg Rebels Niger, Aids, Drugs & Uncertainty: Ukraine and Narco-wars in Afghanistan.

Website: www.brentstirton.com

Early Master of Color Photography: Ernst Haas

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Route 66 1969 Ernst Haas

Bored with obvious reality, I find my fascination in transforming it into a subjective point of view. Links backlinks blog comments . Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pure concentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken. linkwheel . Without a descriptive caption to justify its existence, it will speak for itself less descriptive, more creative; less informative, more suggestive; less prose, more poetry.

Ernst Haas from About Color Photography, in DU, 1961

Read more about this ground-breaking photographer, and see more examples of his work, here in Lens Culture.

Behind the Cover: Animal Friendships

To shoot this week’s TIME cover story about animal friendships — which you can read here — photographer Catherine Ledner called on years of experience of hanging out with cute critters, including her work on two books of animal photography, Animal House and Glamour Dogs. But this shoot offered something new, even for the animal pro. Most of Ledner’s work involves pictures of singular animals, while TIME’s portfolio features animal pairs. “I had to make sure that the dogs that were coming were actually friends,” she says.

With that criterion in place, Ledner found that shooting pairs of animals was no more difficult than shooting them one at a time. Like human models, the animals brought their own personalities to the set and Ledner was able to capture the interplay of those forces. Also like human models, the animals brought entourages (a.k.a. trainers) who kept the stars focused on the task at hand—and who conveniently stepped aside when Ledner wanted to let her subjects off the leash, so to speak.

But unlike human models, the animal managed to make the group shots look effortless. “If you’re shooting a group of people, you have an agenda of who you want looking in the lens and who you don’t,” Ledner says. “To get everyone to look good at one time is harder than it is, I think, when you have a bunch of animals.”

Which is not to say that the photographer’s sessions with her animal models were all fun and games. Ledner—who owns three dogs, two cats and four rabbits, but does not frequently photograph her own pets—says that animal photography requires putting cuddliness aside. While people may get relaxed and happy with background music and a festive mood, quiet is important to help a dog (or a bird or a rabbit, as the case may be) maintain his concentration. Luckily, almost all of the animals that participated in TIME’s cover shoot were seasoned professionals. One dog named Billy had sat for Ledner twice in the past. The only non-professional at the session was the rabbit, who was, in fact, a real friend of Billy’s. “The rabbit was so docile. It would let the dog put its head smack dab on top of it. There was just total trust between these animals,” says Ledner. And the photographer was hardly upset about shooting an amateur model: “The bunny’s only six weeks old—and how can you be a pro bunny?”

Catherine Ledner is an American photographer based in California and author of two books: Animal House and Glamour Dogs. See more here.

Read more in the magazine: The Science of Animal Friendships.