Legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz was one of photography’s pioneers. In a time when the arts, photography included, were stuck in the past and unwilling to change, he drove the art of photography into a new erra of expression. Because of this he is known by many as “the father of modern photography.” As the documentary explains:
What Stieglitz was driving at was a new vision for a modern world; to teach America to see, and photography was the epitome of a new way of seeing… to shock the world of the arts out of its blind attachment to the past.
Part of the PBS American Masters series, The Eloquent Eye is an in-depth documentary on the life and work of this great man. And it’s well worth an hour and half of your weekend if you can spare it.
Now there’s a headline that’s sure to cause some heated debate (click here for another one). It’s the question asked by the latest episode of PBS’ show Idea Channel:
With its ability to make boring cellphone photos look “vintage” and “artsy”, Instagram has exploded worldwide. Derided by its detractors as a tool for making bad photos worse, we take an alternate view and argue that Instagram is the greatest thing to ever happen to photography. Its simple filters and social networking features are training cellphone photographers everywhere to think creatively about their photos. Plus, the app is turning its worldwide user base into an army of photojournalists capturing striking images of the people and events around them. As the old photography adage goes, “The best camera is the one you have with you.”
Traditional funding models are dissolving, new forms of expressing ownership have arisen to accomodate for remix culture, and artists are finding ways to connect physical art experiences and traditions to the internet. In the digital era, the experience of art from the perspective of the artist and the art audience is shifting rapidly, and bringing more people into the creative process.
PBS art series Off Book created this short video that presents a brief history of the animated GIF:
GIFs are one of the oldest image formats used on the web. Throughout their history, they have served a huge variety of purposes, from functional to entertainment. Now, 25 years after the first GIF was created, they are experiencing an explosion of interest and innovation that is pushing them into the terrain of art. In this episode of Off Book, we chart their history, explore the hotbed of GIF creativity on Tumblr, and talk to two teams of GIF artists who are evolving the form into powerful new visual experiences.
[…] an elegant, moving, and lyrical portrait of this quintessentially American photographer. The documentary weaves together archival footage, photographic images, dramatic readings of the artist’s own writing, and interviews with leading photographers, historians, curators, naturalists, as well as Adams’s family, friends, and colleagues, to tell the story of a man who was at once a visionary photographer, a pioneer in photographic technique, and an ardent crusader for the cause of environmentalism.
It’s about 80 minutes long. You can find out more about the film here.
PBS NewsHour recently aired this interesting and inspiring video profiling photographer Alec Soth, providing a glimpse into what it’s like to work as a fine art photographer. Here’s an interesting quote by Soth in the video,
In a world where there are 500,000 pictures a second being uploaded onto Facebook, what does it mean to be a photographer in that environment?
Soth’s career got a jump start after he was selected for the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and he became a member of Magnum Photos in 2008. Visit Soth’s website here.
The PBS documentary that we mentioned yesterday is actually available online in its entirety. If you’d like to see what it’s like being the official photographer to the President of the United States, then this 20 55 minute program will be very interesting to you. Check out the 20 minute excerpt embedded above or through the link below.
Here’s a interesting little teaser video for “The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office“, a PBS documentary that premiered on November 24th, 2010. It takes you behind the scenes with Pete Souza, the official White House photographer who follows President Obama around everywhere he goes, capturing tens of thousands of photographs every month.