Photo stories

2009-11-20 00:00

PHOTO-Wisdom is a feast of hauntingly beautiful images captured by master photographers from around the globe, put together by photographic director­ and editor Lewis Blackwell. Blackwell offers­ a selection of images that are as new to me as the creators of the work, which makes a refreshing read.

From Ethiopian tribesmen to rose gardens, the photographers featured range from fine artists to photojournalists and the selection of images is as diverse as the photographers themselves. The book profiles and interviews 50 photographers whose thoughts, insights and motivations behind their work are printed in conversation form with the questions removed.

In an age where visual social networking is the norm, the reality of the cellphone image has bred thousands of new-age photographers all snapping away at everything from parties to porn.

Photo-Wisdom is a book for those people who want to go beyond the cellphone and start documenting life by shooting pictures that tell stories. The book is not only about creating pictures that do that but tells the story behind the pictures, as told by the masters themselves.

Some of my favourites, Peter Hugo’s chained hyena­ with owner in Nigeria, David Goldblatt’s Fishing at Hartebeespoort Dam and Jürgen Schadeberg’s Nelson Mandela’s return to Robben Island, are well known and frequently published works but in general most of the selected images, from Lauren Greenfield’s colourful portrayal of urban life to Arno Minkkinen’s self-portraits, I haven’t seen before.

Because of the high standards set by the photo-graphers, this is a quality book and with Christmas looming on the horizon I’m sure it will not only end up on a lot of coffee tables, but it will also make you pick up your camera (or cellphone) and head out onto the streets.

• Photo-Wisdom, Master Photographers on Their Art by Lewis Blackwell is published by Wild Dog Press.

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