“Discover the life and work of Garry Winogrand, the epic storyteller in pictures who harnessed the serendipity of the streets to capture the American 1960s-70s. His “snapshot aesthetic” is now the universal language of contemporary image-making. …”
American documentary photographer Garry Winogrand was called “the central photographer of his generation” by photography curator, historian, and critic John Szarkowski and this documentary movie provides some insights into how and why he earned that accolade.
Winogrand was a key member of the generation that established the snapshot aesthetic as applied to photography in public as a genre in its own right, alongside Joel Meyerowitz, Lee Friedlander, Tony Ray-Jones and others, all relying on Leica M-Series rangefinder cameras and often the 28mm focal length.
Now that street photography has become even more established as a genre and in some manifestations as a cult, practitioners would do well to study its beginnings at the hands of artists like Winogrand and his colleagues back in the 1960s and 1970s, starting with Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable.
“Tish Murtha’s relentless vision can be characterized by a single trait: empathy. She unflinchingly investigated forsaken communities crippled by ineffective government policies and bleak living conditions.
Despite her notable output — powered by an active home darkroom — her work went underrecognized throughout her life and after her sudden death in 2013. Last year, her daughter Ella spearheaded an online campaign to publish a limited-edition book based on Murtha’s series “Youth Unemployment.” She is now having her first retrospective, “Tish Murtha: Works 1976-1991,” on view at The Photographers’ Gallery in London through October 14….
… Gordon MacDonald, the exhibit’s co-curator, deemed Ella the “driving force behind the rediscovery of her work and archive” (Ella herself was blunt as to why her mother had been overlooked for so long: “Because she didn’t have a penis”). This was, Mr. MacDonald said, “a very direct and plausible argument to explain this historic lack of visibility for Tish, and many other female artists and photographers.”… “
“Because she didn’t have a penis” is an apt comment from Tish Murtha’s daughter Ella Murtha explaining why her mother had been so overlooked as a great British documentary photographer for so long.
Yet Ms Murtha was not always overlooked, given her commission to photograph for the London by Night show by The Photographers’ Gallery in London, in 1983.
Three other great British photographers also worked on that show – Bill Brandt, Brian Griffin and Peter Marlow – all of whom were already widely acclaimed and successful documentary photographers or if not at the time of that show went on to be so shortly afterwards.
Except for Tish Murtha.
It is rewarding, then, to see that Tish Murtha is finally starting to receive her due but tragic that it is occurring only after her untimely death at the age of 56 in 2013.
Bluecoat Press – Youth Unemployment, by Tish Murtha – “Youth Unemployment is a key body of work in British documentary history…. Almost 40 years on, her talent shines from each page. Finally, she has the book she deserves.”
Café Royal Books – publishes beautiful small books aka “zines” of British documentary photography by a range artists including Tish Murtha.
Brian Griffin, one of the most creative, innovative and successful photographers and moviemakers I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of publishing his latest book, POP, a chronicle and collection of his remarkable achievements in album cover photography.
POP will be a must-have amongst photography books, revealing the scope of the work and vision of this Black Country outsider who made off to the London Dockland’s area of Rotherhithe to set up studio and revolutionize corporate photography, popular music photography, advertising photography and the art of photographic portraiture.
Brian Griffin’s visionary, minimalist, dense-with-meaning photography appeared as a shining light in the gloom of the corporate world of 1970s Britain. One of the greatest magazine art directors ever, Roland Shenk, spotted Brian Griffin’s maverick talent and commissioned him to contribute to the pages of Management Today, one of several brilliantly designed magazines in the Haymarket Press stable along with advertising industry publication Campaign.
I came across Management Today in the magazine archives of a university art school I was deeply frustrated by, and found a kindred spirit in Brian Griffin, an outsider in the world in which he was working and revolutionizing. His work in the corporate sector, then the music world and then in advertising stood out for his singular vision and rare ability to create something extraordinary out of almost nothing at all.
My last visit to Brian Griffin’s Rotherhithe studio far too many years ago was at the point where he was about to give up photography for directing television commercials, celebrating his transition from one creative field to the other with a big bang of a photography exhibition.
Since those days, I am pleased to say, Brian has become a photographer once again and has enjoyed a string of exhibitions of photographs old and new at festivals and galleries all over the northern hemisphere.
Alas, no gallery or photo festival director in this part of the world has seen fit to invite him to show here, to our very great loss. Pledge to Brian Griffin’s Kickstarter campaign for POP, page through the book when you receive it, and you, too, will wonder why.
Then, perhaps, you will also wonder whether Mr Griffin’s next major book publishing project will be a compendium of his equally revolutionary images in the fields of advertising, corporate, magazine and portrait photography.