Although I was never running after any trends and never cared about the so-called “mainstream“, in the more than thirty years, in which I was working as a photographer and artist, a lot of artists have affected my own work. Artists such as René Magritte, Salvador Dalí and M.C. Escher drew me early in the spheres of surrealism. Sigmund Freud also exerts) a not too small influence (after all, I'm from Vienna ;-)). And in the the photographic world and there where and are some artists who were more or less beacons on my own photographic way.
Would I have the time (and the money) to have my own collection, these artists certainly an integral part of it. I want to present to you a "Top 10" list of these artists, my own, subjective and virtual collection. Yes, it is predominantly so-called "classic". "Hip Artist" (such as Cindy Sherman and Andreas Gursky) you will not find here. And that has the simple reason that I can do very little with the vast majority of works of contemporary photography. But if you are interested in building your own collection, then the works by artists of my "Top 10" are certainly not only a good investment but (and especially) also works with a certain aesthetic and artistic standards. At least in my opinion...
Ansel ADAMS (1902-1984)
No serious photographer (and collector) can ignore him. He influenced a whole generation of landscape photographers, he was prominently involved in giving photography her place in the art world. For some time his picture „Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico“ was the most expensive photograph. His books on the technical aspects of photography where, at least for my generation, more or less „the Bible“.
Ansel Adams, “Aspen, Northern New Mexico“, 1958
W. Eugene SMITH (1918-1978)
An American photojournalist, renowned for the dedication he devoted to his projects and his uncompromising professional and ethical standards. Smith developed the photo essay into a sophisticated visual form and he was obsessed with photography. When he joined Magnum in 1955 he started a project to document the city of Pittsburgh. The project was supposed to take him three weeks, but spanned three years and encompassed tens of thousands of photographic negatives. It was too large to ever be shown...
W. Eugene Smith, “Tomoko Vemura in Her Bath“, 1971
Yousuf KARSH (1908-2002)
According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, he is "one of the greatest portrait photographers of the twentieth century, [who] achieved a distinct style in his theatrical lighting“. When I was at art college we always tried to copycat this distinct lighting when doing portraits. For sure you have seen many of his famous portraits (eg of Albert Einstein, Hemingway or Winston Churchill).
Yousuf Karsh, “Humphrey Bogart“, 1946
Robert CAPA (1913-1954)
The „founder“ of modern war photography, a (co-)founder of the Magnum Agency (the first cooperative agency for worldwide freelance photographers). Archetype of at least three generations of war photographers. Maybe not technical perfect or artistic but nonetheless somebody one can not ignore in the history of photography.
Robert Capa, “Pablo Picasso and his wife Francoise Gillat“, France, 1948
Aleksander M. RODCHENKO (1891-1956)
One of the founders of constructivism. Rodchenko was one of the most versatile Constructivist artists to emerge after the Russian Revolution. He worked as a painter and graphic designer before turning to photomontage and photography. His photography was socially engaged, formally innovative, and opposed to a painterly aesthetic. Concerned with the need for analytical-documentary photo series, he often shot his subjects from odd angles - usually high above or down below - to shock the viewer and to postpone recognition.
Alexander Rodchenko, “In Russia“, 1920s
Robert MAPPLETHORPE (1946-1989)
known for his sometimes controversial large-scale, highly stylized black and white photography. His work featured an array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits and still-life images of flowers.
Robert Mapplethorpe, “Ken Moody and Robert Sherman“, 1984
Herb RITTS (1952-2002)
was an American photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculptures. Most famous for his fashion and celebrities pictures he too (like Mapplethorpe) formed the photographic style of the 1980s and 90s.
|Herb Ritts, "Dizzy Gillespie, Paris", 1989|
Sebastião SALGADO (born 1944)
is a Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist. He has traveled in over 120 countries for his photographic projects. Most of these have appeared in numerous press publications and books. Touring exhibitions of this work have been presented throughout the world. I still can remember the first time I saw his work. We where standing in front of it an where wandering how he could achieve the tonality in his pictures...
Sebastião Salgado, “Churchgate Station, Bombay, India“, 1995
Jerry N. UELSMANN (born 1934)
an American photographer and forerunner of photomontage. Uelsmann is a master printer, producing composite photographs with multiple negatives and extensive darkroom work. He uses up to a dozen enlargers at a time to produce his final dreamlike images.
Jerry N. Uelsmann, “Untitled“, 1976
Erik JOHANSSON (born 1985)
is a Swedish-born who creates surreal images by recombining photographs and other materials. He captures ideas by combining images in new ways to create what looks like a real photograph, yet with logical inconsistencies to impart an effect of surrealism. Some finished images are the combination of hundreds of original photographs...
Erik Johansson, “Dreamwalking in between worlds“, 2014
Michael KENNA (born 1953)
is an English photographer best known for his black & white, unusual, landscapes with ethereal light achieved by photographing at dawn or at night with exposures of up to 10 hours. Most famous and enchanting are his pictures from Japan.
|Michael Kenna, "Kussharo Lake Tree, Study 6, Kotan, Hokkaido, Japan", 2007|
As I said before, these are some artists, whose work I would collect myself if i would have time, space (and, of course, money). Laking this possibility on the walls there is hanging (besides some posters of photo exhibitions of some of the above mentioned) my own artwork. Maybe you want to have a look at it too. You can find some of it at my >website and my >photoblog...
Chris Dematté, “Falls of Falloch“, 1999
[from the “Avalon“ Portfolio]