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What will you do on your next flight?

“Improvising with materials close at hand, “Seat Assignment” consists of photographs, video, and digital images all made while in flight using only a camera phone. The project began spontaneously on a flight in March 2010 and is ongoing. At present, over 2500 photographs and video, made on more than 75 different flights to date, constitute the raw material of the project. Visit www.ninakatchadourian.com for more information.”

No other photographer is more influential to me than Eliot Porter – save my father. I knew Eliot through my mother’s long collaboration with him designing and overseeing the production of over twelve of his books during my formative years. His influences on me are too numerous and wide-ranging to list them all here. A few stand out from the rest.

Eliot was a pioneer who elevated the use of, appreciation of, and collectability of color within the medium of photography, aligning his distinctive style with the subtle and complex palette of nature.

Eliot was probably the most widely published fine art photographer of his day. He was at the forefront of a handful of photographers that defined a style that would later characterize an entire genre of photographic environmental advocacy. It was during the production of Eliot’s book Intimate Landscapes where I was first introduced to digital imaging. When I saw the Scitex machines used in the 1970s I instantly wanted to use them for artistic rather than commercial purposes, but thought it might be a lifetime before I could afford what my mother called a “million dollar coloring book” until I got my own copy of the first version of Adobe Photoshop, which was a dream come true. The posters my mother designed to promote the book and exhibit ultimately became some of the Metropolitan Museum’s most successful, far exceeding the reach of the originals. I learned that an artist’s effectiveness could be dramatically extended beyond rare original works of art through publications made available to large audiences.

James Gleick’s (the author who popularized complexity sciences and fractal geometry in his best-selling book Chaos) choice to join forces with Eliot on their book Nature’s Chaos confirmed my opinion that Eliot had intuitively sensed a deeper order in nature than was conventionally seen and portrayed this in his images. Eliot’s background and continuing interest in the sciences informed his art.

Eliot described his book The Place No One Knew, a portrait of Glen Canyon before it was flooded by a dam, as a eulogy because it was released after the flood waters began rising and affected public opinion too late to stop the destruction of the canyon’s destruction. Hearing about both the successes and failures of advocacy through the arts, I decided that while I wanted to make my own contributions in this area, that there were plenty of other artists contributing in similar ways, and that new ways were also needed. He knew this when he threw down the gauntlet one day and said to me, “You know, it’s going to be your generation that decides whether we will hand down a habitable environment to future generations.”

Even more influential to me than his photographs was the man. In his 70’s and 80’s, Eliot was physically fit (walking 5 miles a day), adventurous (travelling to remote locations like Iceland and Antarctica), mentally sharp as a tack (loving intelligent respectful debates with anyone of any age or background and often playing the devil’s advocate just to see where the conversation and the other person would go), and actively socially conscientious (continuing his long-standing participation in organizations like the Sierra Club. He was a shining example in so many ways.

Find out more about my influences here.


Chase Jarvis talks with Chris Jordan – photographer to photographer.

Check out these other Chase Jarvis Live conversations with Zack Arias, Jeremy Cowart, Chris Jordan, Vincent LaForet and many others.

Read my conversations with photographers here.

Jerry Uelsmann

September 10, 2011 | Leave a Comment |

Jerry Uelsmann shares his thoughts on his photography in the space he makes it in.

Find out more about Jerry Uelsmann here.

Read my conversation with Jerry Uelsmann here.

Find more photographers on video here.

“Founded in Paris by Harold L. Humes, Peter Matthiessen, and George Plimpton in 1953, The Paris Review began with a simple editorial mission: “Dear reader,” William Styron wrote in a letter in the inaugural issue, “The Paris Review hopes to emphasize creative work—fiction and poetry—not to the exclusion of criticism, but with the aim in mind of merely removing criticism from the dominating place it holds in most literary magazines and putting it pretty much where it belongs, i.e., somewhere near the back of the book. I think The Paris Review should welcome these people into its pages: the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe-grinders. So long as they’re good.”

In addition to the focus on original creative work, the founding editors found another alternative to criticism—letting the authors talk about their work themselves. The Review’s Writers at Work interview series offers authors a rare opportunity to discuss their life and art at length; they have responded with some of the most revealing self-portraits in literature. Among the interviewees are William Faulkner, Vladimir Nabokov, Joan Didion, Seamus Heaney, Ian McEwan, and Lorrie Moore. In the words of one critic, it is “one of the single most persistent acts of cultural conservation in the history of the world.”

Bookmark this fantastic resource. You’ll return again and again.

Read The Paris Review interviews here.

Read my conversations with photographers here.


Milton Esterow presents Ansel Adam’s last interview.

Read it here.

Read my conversations with photographers here.

 

Martin Parr

May 8, 2011 | Leave a Comment |

Martin Parr shares his photographic insights.

Find out more about Martin Parr here.

Find more photographers’ videos here.

Bruce Davidson shares photographic insights.

Find out more about Bruce Davidson here.

Find more photographers’ videos here.

Dan Winters

April 9, 2011 | Leave a Comment |

Dan Winters reveals his creative process.

Find out more about Dan Winters here.

Find more photographers’ videos here.

Gregory Crewdson

March 20, 2011 | Leave a Comment |

Gregory Crewdson discusses his work.

View more photographers on photography here.

Read more photographers on photography here.


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