Wes Anderson Produces Documentary on Photographer James Hamilton

A new documentary, that is executive-produced by Wes Anderson, explores the life and work of American photographer James Hamilton.

Uncropped, which is in theaters today, celebrates Hamilton who has captured the likes of Patti Smith, Jean-Luc Godard, Meryl Streep, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jack Nicholson over a photography career that has spanned seven decades.

While his work has been published in the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Observer, and New York Magazine, Hamilton is perhaps most famous for his portraits of New Yorkers during his 20 years as a staff photographer at The Village Voice.

The Lost Art of Photojournalism

Between 1974 to 1993, Hamilton captured the famous, infamous, remarkable, and unique figures on the street of New York City for The Village Voice — which was the first alternative newsweekly in the U.S.

The feature-length documentary, which is directed by D.W. Young, explores Hamilton’s story and vast photographic archive to give insight into the heyday of alternative print media and the death of the media economy that fuelled it.

Uncropped — which features interviews with Hamilton’s colleagues and friends at The Village Voice — looks back at an era when photojournalism still had a great authority in documenting underground culture. It also offers a glimpse of how the art of photojournalism has been lost in the age of social media and smartphone photography.

‘Is He the Greatest New York Photographer Ever?’

So far, Uncropped has received extremely positive reviews — with critics hailing the film as a compelling elegy for photojournalism and one of the best documentaries of 2024 so far.

Meanwhile, other critics have questioned why Hamilton is not more of a household name as a photographer.

“As you watch Uncropped, an addictive look at the life and work of the magazine and newspaper photographer James Hamilton, you may think: He’s the greatest New York photographer of them all,” Owen Gleiberman writes in a review for Variety.

“Hamilton’s black-and-white images — in the documentary, we see hundreds of them — have a burnished tactility, and a psychology so effortless that every one of them tells a story.”

Gleiberman adds: “What I’m saying, really, is that James Hamilton is a photographer who could and should have been far more famous — a household name, like Weegee or [Diane] Arbus or Annie Leibovitz.”

More information can be found about Uncropped and upcoming screenings for the documentary on the film’s official website.