Best Photography Book

photo-52

Hey we friggin won..again!
Sorry but i say so humbly..promise. But we just won Best Book POYi for (based on a true story).. and on the eve of our Burn meeting and Book Publishing workshop in New York. I am just happy for my team for this book was a collaboration if ever there was one. Here Candy Pilar Godoy, Diego Orlando, Eva-Maria Kunz and me in the mirror (of course) check it out.. POYi Best Photography Book

75 Responses to “Best Photography Book”


  • Nathan, close to Ridgeway on the road between New Haven and Shawneetown. Have you been to old Shawneetown?

  • I have been there but not for a while. I was fairly close to that area for work yesterday… As close as Carmi. I had to pick up a truck there … The owner had wrecked it hunting..and I swear i’m not making this up.. he wrecked it while chasing a coyote in reverse.

    What brought you to the area?

  • I’m from southern Indiana. Went to Illinois all the time as a kid. Lucky never died at Garden of the Gods. Drinking age was 19 and in those small towns they’d serve you if you looked 15. Old Shawneetown (not to be confused with Shawneetown) is infamous for its bars and generally high level of violence back to at least prohibition (both my grandfathers told stories). Last time I was through it looked more like a meth scene, but I popped in one bar for carryout and got a seriously bad vibe. Wouldn’t wanna go there late. You should definitely check it out.

    So where are you? I was guessing near Carbondale? Maybe Marion.

  • I live near Fairfield but I was living in Carbondale (and working in Marion) last year.

  • I’ve been all around that area. is Le Maroc still going? I forget exactly where it was. Not too far from West Frankfort. That was one of the strangest bars I’ve ever been in, which is saying a lot. Most likely it’s changed. Hard to believe someplace could stay that corrupt for that long these days. In Fairfield, if you’re interested in history, look up info on the Shelton gang and their war with the Birger gang during prohibition. They actually dropped bombs from an airplane. I was in Carmi not too long ago to see a meth lab. Didn’t work out but I heard some stories. Wild place, southern Illinois.

  • MW…

    I like the way you approach your subjects. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person, animal or landscape it’s always very factual. You don’t seem to pursue the iconic image, instead you accept whatever you find and give it your own touch. I envy your approach and I somehow believe it must be part of you your character, I for example chase the extreme in everything black or white, never grey, 0 or 10 rarely 5. Your style makes for good “storytelling”…
    Hmm storytelling… There’s a subject we can wax on about for hours.

  • Paul, thanks, interesting observations. Depending on one’s definition of “iconic image,” I wouldn’t say I don’t pursue them. Perhaps it’s just a matter of skill? Or different definitions? I never really thought about it like you do. Of course the great majority of what you see from me are walking around images, or driving around if I’m outside of NYC. The southern Illinois photos I linked to are just tourist pics. I was on my way to a national forest to go hiking. Blue sky, fluffy clouds, stereotypically lonely church on the prairie… what’s a guy with a camera to do?

    But back to iconic type photos, yea, now that I think about it I’m not all that into it. Perhaps I feel that style has been too much appropriated by the advertising ethic? I’ve seen way too many commercial photographers’ work that employed painstaking artifice to recreate the look and feel of traditionally iconic documentary photography images. And now it seems to be working in reverse as well. Look at Pellegrin’s now famous images of his assistant with the gun. How different is his flow from actually hiring a model? Not very. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar photos in ad campaigns for jeans. And since following burn and having some idea of how the photo was created, I think of David’s iconic type image of the red haired farm boy in North Dakota. I don’t equate that with commercial photography or Pellegrinism. It was a real farm boy on his real farm and he no doubt runs around in the very location he was photographed. It’s an honest picture brilliantly executed the old fashioned way. Still, it’s not farfetched to imagine an ad campaign using a large crew and a model to come up with a similar photo to sell genetically modified wheat or DKNY jeans. I think maybe our definition of what an iconic photo looks like might have to change somewhat.

  • marcin luczkowski

    Bravo! Congrats!

  • MW…

    I’m not really up on the Pellegrin controversy, although I was surprised that image one first prize. I can come up with five or six more interesting images Pellegrin shot this year which are far more memorable than the assistant with weapon photo.
    BTW talking of iconic or memorable images here’s a great post by the one and only brilliant Mike Johnston on The Online Photographer on the same subject…
    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2013/02/so-you-want-to-be-famous-heres-how.html

  • Paul, interesting article. Regarding the author’s advice to focus on hits (if you want to be famous), I think David has said, or at least implied, the same thing. I remember him replying to the charge that his North Dakota trip was a failure by saying that on any shoot all he really needs is one good photo and he got one, so the trip was a success. I think you and many others here who are so in love with books provide the best counterargument. Well, “counterargument” isn’t the right word, but many people do carry more about a body of work and the stories it conveys than any particular iconic image.

    And the crux of the article is “if you want to be famous.” Personally, I tend to start more from the “if you want to be good” construction. Fame certainly has its uses, far beyond just the social enjoyability of being famous (which some, myself included, would find nightmarish). It opens doors to all kinds of access and provides income. And then there’s the question of legacy, of lasting fame, of being revered after we’ve passed on. Personally, I care nothing for that, at least outside any possibility that my heirs would profit. And there is no reliable cause and effect or mutual exclusivity to these questions of being famous vs being good vs being immortal. I always think of Gauguin and Van Gogh struggling, or unable, to sell their timeless masterpieces while the great majority of successful, famous in their time, painters are largely forgotten. But not all. Many have been successful in their time and achieved lasting esteem. Still, I’m guessing most of the acknowledged greats in every endeavor were more with the “if you want to be good” way of thinking than the “if you want to be famous.”

  • MW…

    For me it’s never been about a body of work, I solely search for single image. I spent too many years in the school art room concentrating and painting on one canvas at a time.
    About being famous I share your worries. I take photos because it’s a necessity or an urge, I’m sorry my motives are pretty selfish. If fame suddenly appeared in my life I’d damn well welcome the extra income but everything else which comes included with fame would surely be a pain in the ass.

  • Paul/MW; In general I think that if a photographer’s end goal is success then that road is full of pitfalls. And anyway; how is success defined? Is it financial success/stability? Peer acceptance success? Or is success just the sheer fact that you are doing top work and constantly striving to do better? I reckon using the latter and hope the others follow in a natural progression.

    I suppose I should post some pics…. I’ve been following Burn but haven’t commented too much; just been shooting. I still seem to be getting drawn to the local punk scene as well as ticking over a few other ideas…

    Here’s a link to some of last Saturday night’s gig pics…
    https://picasaweb.google.com/115095641233118226708/Gig?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCKqfq4TVye61gwE&feat=directlink

  • Great to hear you back into it with gusto again , must be mid century crisis isn’t “Centurian” a heavy metal band who misspelt centurion.

    me I am in this space http://www.etrouko.com/imants.html

  • eduardo sepulveda

    Congrats!! Keep doing it!

    I’m happy to see Eva-Maria, i think i didn’t see her face/smile this way in other pics before.

    Hugs!

  • One interesting thing about cutting my visits to Burn from two or three times or even more a day to just two or three times on just one day a week is to see the rate of story progression and how it varies week to week. Some weeks, I come back to see the story post has not moved on at all. Today, it looks like it has barely moved on one post after more than two weeks. Then there was one week when it had moved on two full posts (not counting David’s “on the road” “EPF” and other bits and announcements, but story posts by emerging, iconic and some in-betweeners as well) or maybe it was even three.

    As for the Pelligrini discussion, what I found most notable for me personally was that when I viewed his winning portfolio, I intellectually recognized each photo as good, yet it all struck me as boring. In my own opinion, this is because the larger world of photojournalism has become conditioned to think that in order for work to be truly deserving, it must be oh so grim and speak almost solely to the misery and injustice of this world. It is certainly important these miseries and injustices be documenting, but when it all begins to look cliche’, even when done by the best photographers, maybe it is overplayed to the point of losing effectiveness.

    On the other discussion of success, I will add my worthless two cents as well. I think a photographer must aim for success. If one does not want to succeed at something, why bother? But to rely on cliche myself, cliche often being true, it just all comes down to the definition of success. At the end of something, a photographer might have a different definition of what success is than what s/he envisioned at the beginning.

    I could give some personal examples, but I believe I have spouted enough for this weekly visit. Now I will see if I can think of something to say about the current essay, which seems to have left the Burn audience largely speechless.

  • “Pellegrin.” – my apologies for the misspelling.

  • Ross…

    I’m sure MW just like me defines success by creating top notch personally satisfying work. The kind of image which hangs in our dinning room wall which never tires me and I feel personally satisfied emotionally and technically.
    BTW how did Suttree turn out? Was it a success?

  • Paul; I was generalising… But I think there are many cases of people shooting a particular style to get noticed. Yet I think that with photography (like music; which I feel has so many parallels to photography) it’s the “doing it because I have to” mentality provides the art that lasts. I had Bowie’s “Space Oddity” cd on today and you just know that wasn’t written to suit a “market”; that had to come from the heart… :-)

    I haven’t started Suttree yet; it’s summer here and I’ve been busy working on the property getting it all ship-shape. We are moving a school building onto it in about a month’s time for my partner to use as her art studio. Changes…… :-)

  • Frostfrog; “it must be oh so grim and speak almost solely to the misery and injustice of this world”. I agree; that’s why I admire Martin Parr so much. I also love the way the Aussie collective “Oculi” do things. So much of their work is just everyday life…

    http://www.oculi.com.au

  • Thanks for the link, Ross. Great stuff!

  • mw..
    I haven’t heard of La maroc.. that doesn’t mean it’s not there…
    When I was younger I was very nerdy about studying our local history here.
    Very crazy past for a very sleepy town.

  • eduardo … :)

  • I haven’t heard of La maroc.. that doesn’t mean it’s not there…

    so when a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, it does make a sound…interesting

  • …and now for something completely different…

    Is Magnum going to do anything to honor Robert Capa’s 100th birthday in October?

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.