W. o’ W.: Mark Steinmetz


“MoMA’s series on Atget and Lee Friedlander’s ‘Factory Valleys’ are wonderfully printed books which demonstrate how richly b/w can describe weather, season, light, and time of day. Perhaps it’s because color is withheld that you have to activate some sort of  poetic imagination in order to read the work. I can feel the effect of sun hitting skin more palpably in Tod Papageorge’s silvery Central Park pictures than in any color picture of someone basking in the sun. There is something excitingly difficult and complex and intellectual in Garry Winogrand’s ‘Public Relations’ (1977) and I’ve yet to see any similar situation in color as tough-minded. Winogrand doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to please anybody.”

“I want to show something of people’s inner lives. I think for portraiture you have to be completely certain that you are interested in photographing this or that person. You can’t be wishy-washy in your motivation. You just have to know that you want to photograph this person and it’s a kind of knowing that eradicates any asking of ‘why?’ My approach is fairly low-key. I don’t want to make waves. I’ll just ask something like ‘Can I photograph you as you are?’ Sometimes I’ll give a little direction like ‘look over that way’ but it’s never elaborate. Having an ability to focus and concentrate is necessary for making good portraits.”

You can read the entire interview whence this is excerpted at http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/a_conversation_with_mark_steinmetz/

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