Tag Archives: Photographs Not Taken

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • Forty years after AP photographer Nick Ut took the iconic ‘napalm girl‘ photograph in Vietnam, photographer David Burnett writing for the Washington Post reflects on an exposure that could have been his. He was standing mere feet away from the scene, surrounded by journalists, re-loading film into his Leica when he missed what became a most emblematic moment. The entry seems like it might have been a good fit for Will Steacy’s collection Photographs Not Taken, which features similar essays from photographers on moments that never became their pictures.
  • “Radical change in the photography industry during the past five years has ignited an explosion of photo collectives,” writes James Estrin for the New York Times’ LENS Blog. He explores this recent trend after witnessing an impressive presentation by the newly formed Grain collective at the Look3 Festival in  Charlottesville, VA last month. The post offers a good bit of context for this May, 2012 Wired piece: “7 Budding Photo Collectives You Need To Know.”
  • New Yorker’s PhotoBooth profiles Underage, an exhibition of work from six emerging photographers in their late teens and early twenties on view at Photoville, an exciting, week-and-a-half-long photography happening which kicks off in Brooklyn this Friday, June 22,  and features 60,000 square feet of exhibitions, hands-on workshops, nighttime projections, a “photo dog run,” and a “camera garden.” Find daily programming here.
  • Time‘s LightBox goes “Behind the Cover: Capturing the American Dream,” exploring the process of the photo shoot for the birds-eye-view cover image by Jeff Minton that illustrates Jon Meacham’s article, “The History of the American Dream,” for this week’s magazine. They also profile Mike Sinclair, whose photographs accompany the same article inside the magazine. His current exhibition, Public Assembly, is on view at Jen Bekman Projects in New York City until June 23, 2012.
  • A few things on street photography this week. Blogger and photographer Blake Andrews, who is interviewed by LPV Magazine here, reviews Cedar Pasori’s recently published “50 Greatest Street Photographers Right Now,” with an extensive selection of images. PetaPixel posts the highly informative video by Portland-based photographer Jimmy Hickey, “How to Photograph Complete Strangers” and the free 31-day “program” and e-book by street photographer Eric Kim, “Overcoming Your Fear of Street Photography in 31 Days.” This fall, we’re very excited to be publishing a monograph by Doug Rickard, “A New American Picture,” which offers a radical rethinking of street photography–photographs re-taken in Google’s Street View.
  • Fototazo does another Book Discussion Group Recap on Gerry Badger’s collection of essays, The Pleasure of Good Photographs, this time focusing on “Without Author or Art: The Quiet Photograph,” exploring the restrained work of Stephen Shore, among others.
  • The Fotojatka festival that traveled to cinemas around the Czech Republic last week screening audiovisual photography slideshows is now offering them free on their website featuring work by Kristoffer Axén, Nikos Economopoulos, Erwin Olaf, and Reiner Riedler.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

  • LightBox presents an essay written by Tim Hetherington, who was featured in Aperture issue 204, from the new book Photographs Not Taken, one year after the photographer’s death in Libya. The collection, compiled by Will Steacy (one of Aperture’s Green Cart Commissioned photographers), also features essays by Roger Ballen, Ed Kashi, Mary Ellen MarkAlec SothPeter van Agtmael and more. Additionally, PDN features an 8 image retrospective by Hetherington, whose work is now on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York (through May 12, 2012).
  • This week in commentary: LPV Magazine  digests Instagram articles by Om Malik, the New Yorker’s Ian Crouch and New York Magazine’s Paul Ford, finds out, “Facebook Buys Instagram, Some Photographers Sad.” APhotoEditor reads Paul Melcher‘s poignant article on La Lettre de La Photographie alongside Marc Andreessen‘s WSJ piece “Software Will Eat The World,” and explores “how a company with 13 employees and no profits [Instagram] can replace a now bankrupt company [Kodak] that once employed over 120,000 people with annual sales of $10 billion as the ‘manufacturer’ of a device to bring photography to the masses.” In related news, NPPA opens a mobile phone photo contest, calling for entries through Sunday, April 22, 2012, while Magnum Photos has deployed another team to Rochester to document the once-vibrant home of Kodak as part of their Postcards From America series.
  • Poynter investigates the controversy over the Pentagon delaying the LA Times from publishing photographs of US soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan corpses, a story which has since elicited over 2000 comments on the Times’ website.
  • Sophie Calle, featured in Aperture issues 191 and 142, talks to the Guardian about her best shot from the series Voir La Mer, in which she “took 15 people of all ages, from kids to one man in his 80s, to see [the sea] for the first time.” She photographed them from behind so as to not obstruct their initial encounter, and she captured the entire process, including their reactions, on video. Her current exhibition, Historias de Pared (at Museo de Arte Moderno Medellín through June 3, 2012) is reviewed on Fototazo.
  • In honor of Albert Hoffman’s infamous Bicycle Day (April 19), LIFE Magazine shares a number of never-before-published dream-like photographs that were to accompany an original 1966 article titled, “New Experience That Bombards the Senses: LSD Art.”
  • American Suburb X shares journal entries from William Gedney on “Kentucky, Sex and Diane Arbus,” alongside scans of the archival material culled from the Duke University Rare Books and Manuscript Library.  Speaking of rare books, ICP Library profiles some of the innovative and experimental photobooks they found and photographed at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair last week.
  • Time Magazine releases their annual list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World,” alongside a portrait gallery of 24 of the honorees.  Included this year is artist Christian Marclay, of the monumental video installation recently purchased by MoMA, The Clock, and the 2007 Aperture monograph Shuffle, which takes the form of a deck of cards. The Clock will be shown for free this summer from the middle of July to mid-August at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. Stake out your places now!

Photographs Not Taken: A Chapter by Tim Hetherington

A new book, Photographs Not Taken, conceived and edited by photographer Will Steacy compiles personal essays written by more than 60 photographers about a time when they didn’t or just couldn’t use their camera.

The book, released by Daylight, is a fascinating compilation by a wide cross-section of image makers from around the world and is often filled with thoughts of regret, restraint and poignant self-realizations.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Tim Hetherington’s tragic death in Misrata, Libya, we present one of the most eloquent chapters from the book, in which the photographer offers his thoughts on depicting the dead in photographs and the questioning moment he had after making a picture of a dead soldier in Afhganistan:

There are many reasons not to take a picture—especially if you find the
 act of making pictures difficult. I was not brought up with a camera, I
 had no early fascination for pictures, no romantic encounters with the 
darkroom—in fact I didn’t become a photographer until much later on 
in life when I came to realize that photography—especially documentary 
photography—had many possibilities. One thing for sure was that
 it would make me confront any inherent shyness that I might feel. It
 did, but I still find making pictures difficult, especially negotiating and 
confronting “the other,” the subject, and dealing with my own motivations
 and feelings about that process.

This personal debate about making pictures was particularly apparent 
during the years I lived and worked in West Africa. In 2003 I lived as one 
of the only outsiders with a rebel group that was attempting to overthrow 
then-President Charles Taylor. It was a surreal experience—cut off
 and living in the interior of the country, I accompanied a rag-tag army 
of heavily armed young men as they fought their way from the interior 
forest into the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia. Reaching the edges of
the city was an exhilarating experience after weeks of living in a derelict 
front-line town with little food. At one point, the rebels took over the
 beer factory and, after liberating its supplies, turned part of the facility 
into a field hospital where people with gunshot wounds were treated 
with paracetamol. Outside the factory compound lay about five bodies 
of people who, from the look of things, had been executed. A number 
had their hands tied behind their backs and most had been shot in the
 head and, despite the graphic nature, I had no qualms about making 
some photographs of these people.

Not long after, government forces counterattacked to push the rebels out 
of the city. Everyone was exhausted from the lack of sleep and constant 
fighting, and the retreat quickly turned into a disorganized scramble
 to get out of the city. Soldiers commandeered looted vehicles, and I 
even remember one dragging a speedboat behind it in the stampede 
to escape. To make matters worse, government soldiers were closing in
on the escape route and began firing from different directions on the 
convoy of vehicles. One rocket-propelled grenade took out a car behind
ours, and at one point we abandoned our vehicles and took shelter in a
nearby group of houses. I began seriously considering abandoning the rebels and heading out on my own toward the coastline on foot, but luckily thought better of it and got back inside the car with the group I was with.

The road slowly wound its way away from the low-slung shacks of
 the suburbs and back into the lush green forest. Our close-knit convoy 
started to thin a little as some cars sped out ahead while others, laden 
with people and booty, took their time. The landscape slid by as I tried
 to come down and calm my mind from the earlier events—I was in a
 heightened state of tension, tired, hungry, and aware that I was totally 
out of control of events. Just as I started to feel the euphoria of being
 alive, our car slowed in the commotion of a traffic jam. A soft-topped 
truck up ahead that was carrying about 30 civilians had skidded as it
 went around a corner and turned over on itself. A number of people 
had been killed and wounded—probably having the same thoughts of 
relief that I had before calamity struck. Now they were dead and their 
squashed bodies were being carried out from the wreckage. Someone 
asked me if I was going to photograph this—but I was too far gone to be
able to attempt any recording of the event. I couldn’t think straight, let 
alone muster the energy needed to make a picture. I just watched from 
a distance as people mourned and carried away the dead. My brain was
 like a plate of scrambled eggs.

There isn’t much more to add, but I always remember that day and the 
feeling of being so empty—physically, mentally, and spiritually—that it
 was impossible to make the photograph.

Years later, when I put together a book about those events in Liberia, I
 included a photograph of one of the people who had been killed outside 
of the beer factory. I thought it was an important picture but didn’t
 dwell on what it might mean for the mother of that boy to come across 
it printed in a book. My thoughts about this resurfaced recently as I put
 together a new book about a group of American soldiers I spent a lot of 
time with in Afghanistan. They reminded me a lot of the young Liberian 
rebel fighters, and yet, when I came to selecting a picture of one of their
 dead in the battlefield, I hesitated and wondered if printing a graphic 
image was appropriate. It was an image I had made of a young man 
shot in the head after the American lines had been overrun—not dissimilar
 from the one in Liberia. My hesitation troubled me. Was I sensitive
 this time because the soldier wasn’t a nameless African? Perhaps I had 
changed and realized that there should be limits on what is released 
into the public? I certainly wouldn’t have been in that questioning position 
if I’d never taken the photograph in the first place….but I did, and 
perhaps these things are worth thinking about and confronting after all.

—Tim Hetherington

Tim Hetherington (1970-2011) was a British-American photographer and 
filmmaker. His artwork ranged from digital projections and fly-poster exhibitions to handheld-device downloads. Hetherington published two monographs, Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold (Umbrage Editions, 2009), 
and Infidel (Chris Boot, 2010). His Oscar-nominated 
film Restrepo, about young men at war in Afghanistan, was also released in 2010.
 Tragically, Hetherington was killed while covering the 2011 Libyan civil war.

Photographs Not Taken also features work by Roger Ballen, Ed Kashi, Mary Ellen Mark, Alec Soth, Peter van Agtmael and many others. More information about the book and how to purchase it is available here

On April 22, 2012 from 2:00-4:00pm, MoMA PS1, located in Queens, NY, will host a a panel discussion with contributors Nina Berman, Gregory Halpern, Will Steacy, Amy Stein, moderated by Daylight founders Michael Itkoff and Taj Forer.