With the recent passing of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson at age 95, I had an interesting realization. It was the power of Cartier-Bresson’s work that almost single-handedly influenced me (as I’m sure it did many others) to examine the creative possibilities and opportunities of the medium. I first saw his book, The Decisive Moment, when starting college at age 17, and it changed the course of my life.
As the years passed, I became familiar with the works of many other celebrated shooters, but Cartier-Bresson was the one who remained my model for the kind of photography and photographer I wanted to emulate: a humble observer of humanity adventuring to some of the most interesting and exotic countries in the world to chronicle life on a daily basis. He made it all look so easy: the storytelling, the human exchange, the dynamic compositions — one great shot after another, and so many of them! He really did capture how special a moment can be. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy will be a beacon of light in a medium that is entirely about light.
In this issue of PhotoMedia, we are delighted to present the work of some of the most creative studio photographers in the business. They demand maximum control of their subjects, with impressive results. The common theme they share is that they make, not take, photos.
Our cover story offers a retrospective of the imagery of Glen Wexler, whose work I have been a great fan of for many years. He is truly one of the masters of photo illustration — a pioneer of traditional, and now fully digital, photo compositing at its most sophisticated level. His expertise allows him to create scenes in the studio from his imagination that are convincing facsimiles of the real world, as well as explorations into the dimensions of the surreal and science fiction. It is easy to appreciate why he is one of the most sought-after commercial photographers in Los Angeles.
San Francisco’s John Lund, on the other hand, uses the control of the studio and his mastery of Photoshop to create images that go totally over the top to tickle your sense of humor. In all my years of publishing PhotoMedia, I’ve never found myself howling with laughter (even while alone) as much as I did while working on this story. John’s wacky photos of animals in human situations have found an appreciative audience that has translated into commercial success, which he discusses in this amusing profile.
We round out the studio coverage with a look at the problem-solving approaches of three respected West Coast photographers: Tim Hawley of Culver City, Calif., Tom Collicott of Seattle, and Hans Sipma of Vancouver, B.C. Together, they prove that exercising creativity in the studio goes a long way.
In other coverage, Yvette Cardozo shares her insights on photographing in extremely cold conditions, while Richard McEnery provides a story on cell phone cameras and a roundup of notable technological announcements from this year’s recent Photokina exposition in Germany.
I also am proud to announce that PhotoMedia recently won a 2004 Apex Grand Award for publishing excellence, our third award in six years. It complements our third Maggie Award, won earlier this year, also for the overall publication.
Also, it is with sadness I report the passing of fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon, and acclaimed photojournalist Eddie Adams. They were 81 and 71, respectively. The word came too late to include tributes in our Industry News section, so I wanted to at least acknowledge both of them here. Avedon, arguably the most influential and famous of contemporary photographers, was almost entirely responsible for the rise of the “supermodel.” Adams was most recognized for his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo from the Vietnam War of a Vietnamese guerilla being shot in the head at point-blank range in broad day-light, but left a legacy of memorable images from decades of work.
As always, please let our advertisers know that you noticed their ads in PhotoMedia. Their support is largely responsible for our being able to bring you in-depth coverage of the world of photography for free. In this struggling economy, our advertisers need to know, more than ever, that their advertising dollars are being well spent.
Happy holidays ahead and enjoy the issue!
Gary Halpern, Publisher