Get to know photographer Jock Sturges better with this video interview.

Read my conversation with Jock Sturges here.

View 12 Great Photographs By Jock Sturges here.

Read 25 Great Quotes By PhotographerJock Sturges here.

View more in the Essential Collection Of Documentaries On Photographers.

 

Enjoy this collection of quotes by photographer Jock Sturges.

“That’s my ambition: that you look at the pictures and realize what complex, fascinating, interesting people every single one of my subjects is.” – Jock Sturges

“Physical beauty is such a strange thing.” – Jock Sturges

“Different members of different cultures will think that some things are beautiful.” – Jock Sturges

“The truth is that from birth on we are, to one extent or another, a fairly sensual species.” – Jock Sturges

“As soon as you forbid something, you make it extraordinarily appealing. You also bring shame in as a phenomenon.” – Jock Sturges

“If somebody’s pointing a trembling finger at your pants and saying you shouldn’t be doing that, follow that finger back, go up the arm and look at the head that’s behind it, because there’s almost always something fairly woolly in there.” – Jock Sturges

“A virulent, aggressive minority has decided that Americans don’t know themselves what it is they should see, and need to be protected by people who are wiser than they are, even if they are only a tiny sliver of the population.” – Jock Sturges

“That dichotomy between the public consumption of the work and my intent and practice in making it is an uneasy one for me, on occasion.” – Jock Sturges

“I found myself serving a sentence of public denial from the very second the raid on my apartment happened.” – Jock Sturges

“I’m guilty of extraordinary naivete, I suppose. But it’s a naivete that I really don’t want to abandon, not even now.” – Jock Sturges

“But empirically I’ve come to understand that my photographs really don’t do any harm.” – Jock Sturges

“I became good at defending myself, but as far as I was concerned, that was a transient skill.” – Jock Sturges

“The world is shrinking as we see more and more of it in the media, and the more we see of the world, the smaller we are, the more aware we are of how insignificant any one of us is.” – Jock Sturges

“We live in an age where anonymity is growing in magnitude like a bomb going off.” – Jock Sturges

“Every child is going to grow up. You can see it happen in the books: They get older and older and belong to themselves to a greater and greater extent.” – Jock Sturges

“Before, I’d photograph anything. I didn’t think there was anything more or less obscene about any part of the body.” – Jock Sturges

“Any artist that’s involved in their work is inevitably going to have a focus in what they do.” – Jock Sturges

“I’m an artist that’s attracted to a specific way of seeing and a way of being.” – Jock Sturges

“I know the families that I photograph extremely well, and I’ve known them for a very long time.” – Jock Sturges

“All my life I’ve taken photographs of people who are completely at peace being what they were in the situations I photographed them in.” – Jock Sturges

“I don’t photograph any two people who are remotely the same.” – Jock Sturges

“I’d rather get back to making art than talk about it.” – Jock Sturges

Read our conversation here.

View 12 Great Photographs Collections here.

Read more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers’ Quotes.

View more in The Essential Collection Of Photographers Videos.

This video offers insights into an inimitable icon in photography.

View more Videos On Photographers here.

Read conversations with photographers here.

Artist’s often use consistent palettes for separate bodies of work, some use a consistent palette for a lifetime. This not only makes their work more readily identifiable, it also clarifies the nature of the statements they make. When an artist does this color becomes more than attractive, it becomes a message.

Joyce Tenneson has done this masterfully. Her typically airy palette both light and desaturated give her nude or near nude portraits a distinctive look. The delicacy of her palette not only makes a statement about the more sensitive nature of her subjects but also reveals her own sensitive approach and relationships with her subjects. Her high key palette suggests a concern with spirituality, perhaps more strongly than her occassional inclusions of painted light.

Tenneson often portrays figures in ways that defy conventional representations of the body, selecting alternate body types or ages, posing them in uncharacteristic ways that create expressively complex distortions, and including unusual props.

In Kristin Hands In The Air, the woman’s lack of hair gives this image an edgy undercurrent. Viewers would not be wrong to guess that the woman is struggling with illness. As with so many of Tenneson’s portraits, this image strips away the daily concerns of persona and fashion to show a deeper character in her subjects, tenderly but unflinchingly revealing both their fragility and an uncommon strength in these fleeting moments of grace made more durable by the act of photographing them.

Find my comments on other Masterworks In My Collection here.

Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

Jerry Uelsmann’s 1983 nude is a very influential photograph for me. It makes direct what is typically only implied in some ‘straight’ photographs – that mankind is not separate from nature. The transparent merger of figure and ground is poetically rich in so many ways and on so many levels.

No matter how subtle, traces of color change both visual and psychological dynamics in an image. Choice of paper (the color of the white) and toning (the color of highlights, midtones and shadows) can offer both technical and expressive opportunities. The warm toning of the print in my collection seems particularly appropriate. It’s not a heavy toning, but the print is definitely not neutral. The red of the warm tone seems appropriate for flesh. It gives the image a more approachable feeling, perhaps even a touch of romanticism. It makes the subject seem nearer to the viewer; a cooler color would seem more distant. It changes the impression of ambient temperature and time of day; a cooler color would seem closer to winter and twilight or dawn.

The image is also clarifies the differences between analog and digital processes. The substantial burning/darkening at the top of the print hold the eye in the image longer and minimizes what could be distracting area of contrast if it were brighter, but the way the burning reduces midtone and shadow detail in the region calls attention to technique, where it could be minimized or eliminated in a digital process. I wonder if this image were remastered digitally if the artist would decide to reveal traces of grass in the face, perhaps not as much as is revealed in the body or if an attempt would be made to maintain the volumetric aspects of the body where it is? Neither of these technical considerations diminish the work. We know the artist is working within the limits of a particular medium – masterfully. Still, asking these questions and making comparisons and contrasts with other possibilities offer us more insight into the artist’s vision at large and what he his trying to communicate more specifically in this visual statement. This is only one of so many other reasons why media matters.

(There’s a lot to be learned from looking at originals, which is why we look at masterworks from my collection in all of my  digital printing workshops.)

Find my comments on other Masterworks In My Collection here.

Learn more in my digital printing workshops.


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