4.25.2014

If you could take a workshop (or just have dinner) with any one photographer,

living or deceased, who would you pick and why?

Not a hard decision for me. I believe that Richard Avedon was the second most influential photographer of the entire 20th century and, as far as being an engaging and intellectually stimulating dinner companion I have not doubt he would rank first above all the rest.

But variety is the spice of life (and how we learn to like new things) so I'm interested to hear from the VSL readers about their choices. The rules: Choose one photographer only (but you can include other names as you describe your selection process), no dissing other people's choices (especially mine----) and let's try not to go for the most obscure choices possible---it would be nice to be able to search the web for your choice's work and enjoy it. Links are encouraged.

Thanks to Frank for asking me this question over coffee on Weds. It's been rattling around in my brain ever since.

Let the suggestions begin:


89 comments:

Bob Dein said...

Steve McCurry (Richard Avedon would be my #2).

nigelrobinson said...

Hi Kirk,

I'd pick Man Ray. In my opinion, as an artist (not just a photographer) he is in the first rank from last century.
I'm certainly not going to diss Avedon, as he shares his birth date with my son.
I'm interested to see how else will be picked in this.

Dave Jenkins said...

Without question, B.A. "Tony" King. http://timeandquietpress.com/

But no workshops, just a few quiet dinners to enjoy his company, after many years of occasional correspondence.

I don't think the kind of thing Tony does can be taught, and only a very few can learn it. I consider him to be this country's greatest almost unknown photographer. If he were interested in self-promotion, he might well be considered one of America's greatest living photographers.

Craig said...

I'm sure my answer would vary if you asked me on another day, but the first name that pops to mind is Cartier-Bresson. Or maybe Kertesz. Or Edward Weston. Vivian Maier would be an interesting choice, but she might not want to talk to anyone about photography.

Limiting myself to living photographers... well, there's a guy named Kirk Tuck who I think is pretty cool. Gordon Lewis is a good street photographer. I've spoken on the phone briefly with Michael Smith, who publishes his own work under the Lodima Press imprint, and I think going out into the field with him would be an interesting and enjoyable experience.

theaterculture said...

Louis Lumière, who is generally credited as the photographer of the Frères Lumière's films. That's assuming, of course, that I can't bend the rules and have Louis at the same table. I would love to spend a long time over dinner and fill them in on the current state of the motion picture business and moving image technology, and hear what they'd make of where their invention has gone!

Ed said...

Jay Maisel.

jaymaisel.com

I have always admired his work and I was able to meet him at a conference. He advised me to take his workshop and I did - 1 week of photographic perfection, he lectured, we shot and he critiqued.

His honors include: PDN’s 20 Most Influential Photographers
The 30 Most Influential Photographers of the Decade
The ADC’s Hall of Fame 1995
The Nikon Masters Series

He teaches interesting photos need: light, color and gesture.

John said...

David duChemin
http://davidduchemin.com/

Roy Benson said...

Ernst Haas, without any hesitation, for his marvelous eye and use of color.

Roy Benson

Roy Benson said...

Ernst Haas, without hesitation, for his marvelous eye and use of color.

Roy Benson

Mark Levison said...

Galen Rowell - because he would challenge me on many levels (composition, skill, physical, ...) and he achieved so much with limited gear. He focused on the image not the camera.

---
BTW You often comment about the negative feedback around your (non) reviews. Keep them up, if I cared for detailed menu item by item reviews I could read dpreview. I read your blog to see one person's opinions. Your comments on the GH3 make it likely to the camera for my wife to shot video's for her business.

Thanks for an interesting, opinionated blog.
Mark

Mark Bridgers said...

Probably Bill Jay. Ansel, Mitch Dobrowner, Peter Turnley come to mind, but I think Bill would be memorable.

Ed Brooks said...

Eugene Smith [Minimata]

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Dinner with Yousuf Karsh. I think that would be as insightful as it would be nice.

Peter E. said...

I've had a workshop with Nat Geo's Sam Abell and it was wonderful , but he's mostly just teaching now.
So if I was going to work with someone else in my favorite genre of documentary and travel there's none better than Steve McCurry. http://stevemccurry.wordpress.com

Allen said...

At the moment, I'd have to say a workshop with Ming Thein. I think he could help me hone my eye, and I appreciate that he works in several different genres. His choice of locales isn't bad, either!

Claire said...

Well, Richard Avedon would be my first thought as well, but since he'd be having dinner with you, I'll actually change my mind and share a good meal with Donald McCullin. He's a photographic hero and seems like a fine old gentleman as well. PLus, he's good looking ;)

Jim Waite said...

Hi Kirk,
The politically correct answer would be Kirk Tuck, buutttt you put yourself out there for us on a regular basis. Also, I don’t believe you were looking for that response.
As you may remember, Live Theatre is my thing. There are a number of names but I would most like to have a visit with Michal Daniel. If you haven’t heard of him, there is a brief video about his history and galleries of shows from The Public Theater to The Guthrie at www.proofsheet.com .
Jim Waite
jim@old-fangled.com
www.Show-Shots.com

Anonymous said...

No Fair Mr.T. There are so many I'd love to chat with over dinner and a good burgundy ... Ernst Haas, Phillipe Halsman, Abelardo Morell, Fred Herzog, Joel Myerowitz, Eric Meola, Jay Maisel, Freeman Patterson, Brooks Jensen, Michael Orton, Mitch Dobrowner, Richard Martin, Cartier-Bresson, Henri Lartique, Arthur Myerson, Gary Winogrand, Robert Frank, Duane Michaels, William Eggleston, Vivian Maier, Margaret Bourke-White, Imogen Cunningham .... Any one of the above would do and that's the short list.

Oh yes, and you'd be welcome to join us.

John W

gjhimages said...

Saul leiter

Kitchen Riffs said...

Probably Andreas Feininger. His book, Photographic Seeing, taught me a ton about how to think about taking photos, and I'd like to express my appreciation. David Douglas Duncan would be a close second, mainly because I'd love to talk to him about his experiences photographing Picasso.

mgr said...

Fritz Henle. I imagine he'd have some interesting stories to tell.

steven willard said...

Ill throw William Allard in as someone I have admired for years. His work for National Geographic has been consistently excellent for years.

CRavsten said...

Peter Turnley...He does street photography as well as it can be done.

Ellis Vener said...

Hmm, for a lighting oriented workshop: Dan Winters, Gregory Heisler, Irving Penn, or Pete Turner.

For a seeing workshop: Sean Kernan or Garry Winograd, or Elliot Erwitt

For a photojournalism workshop VII Photo (Nachtwey specificallyr, or Jodi Cobb.

For color: Arthur Meyerson or Eric Meola (I've been to one of Jay Maisel's workshops - back in 1883 in Maine).

For work of the type I never really have done: Eliot Porter or Jack Dykinga (landscapes); Eikoh Hosoe, Jock Sturges or Greg Gorman (nudes).

For fine art printing and general digital processign skills: R. Mac Holbert, Katrin Eismann, and Bill Atkinson at Geg Gorman's workshop.

For the business of photography : Virginia Swanson or Maisel (besides his obvious skills as a photographer, Jay has very sharp business skills.

Ellis Vener said...

I forgot sports: Walter Iooss, Jr and Neil Leifer.

Jim Simmons said...

Lee Friedlander. He has used his photographic wit, intelligence and curiosity in ways that have inspired me, but still leave me wondering about the split between conscious and unconscious approaches.

Carlo Santin said...

Gordon Parks without a doubt. An interesting man with an interesting career, not just as a photographer but a director, writer and musician.

http://www.gordonparksfoundation.org/

If not him then Dennis Hopper, who turned to photography when he couldn't get work in Hollywood for an extended period. His work is rather engaging and he's always seemed like a rather interesting fellow.

Stefan Laarm said...

Anders Petersen

Robert Hudyma said...

My choice would be Irving Penn.

Others that came to mind were: Edward Weston, Arthur Elgort and movie-maker Jean-Luc Godard.

Andy deBruyn said...

Dinner with Minor White would be splendid. I'm pretty sure the conversation would be enlightening and not include "photographic tips".

EmptyDays said...

Josef Koudelka

Bonaventura said...

Lee Friedlander, no question for me.

Jim said...

Ansel Adams. David Vestal would be a second choice.

christian said...

Boy am I out of step! My choices would be Deborah Turbeville and/or Sarah Moon.

Dennis said...

Jay Maisel

Anonymous said...

Ansel Adams. For both his photography and historically his take on the beginnings of photography to advance environmental issues.

Marino Mannarini said...

I had to toss a dice: Jay Maisel

Anonymous said...

Late to this game, but the late Galen Rowell - both because his columns in Outdoor Photographer (and later his books) and his photography inspired me to take up photography more seriously as a hobby, but also because - imo - he was the best of his era in terms of landscape photography.
Ken

GFF said...

I don't shoot much street, but Alex Webb consistently amazes me.

Chad Thompson said...

James Nachtwey, but I fear that I'd leave the dinner in tears.

Anonymous said...

Roy Stryker head of the FSA photography section.

Anders said...

For me that would be Steve McCurry or Francesca Woodman - unfortunately Francesca is not alive anymore, but I'm sure it would have been interesting to meet her.

Anonymous said...

Nicéphore Niépce, George Eastman, or Edwin Land. Imagine the stories they would tell.

Mark Bellringer said...

William Klien… but I think having dinner would be best… taking a workshop is for those that dream of being a photographer...

ColinB said...

Jane Bown - Guardian newspaper photographer for about the last 50 years. She'd have some great stories and since she only used one camera and one lens there wouldn't be any gear talk.

Omer said...

Mike Disfarmer. He rejected his farm family heritage yet made very poignant photographs of the denizens in his rural home town of Heber Springs, Ark.

Andrew Burday said...

I'm tempted to say Cindy Sherman, just for the pleasure of watching the inevitable flameout from some techie dude, but it wouldn't be true.

The interesting thing about this question for me is that my choices for a workshop would be quite different from my choices for dinner. Answering the dinner question, my shortlist is Berenice Abbott, Koudelka, and Friedlander. I have to give the nod to Friedlander. Abbott and Koudelka (have) led fascinating lives, but I don't know how much of that you could get at in a single dinner. Just from his photos and the sensibility they express, I can't help thinking dinner with Friedlander would be one hell of a good time.

John Krumm said...

Alfred Stieglitz. I recently saw a documentary on him and he was pretty amazing. Early to recognize photographers and other artists, he promoted people in his NY gallery. And his own work was impressive and very modern at times.

Old Gray Roy said...

It's a wash: David Alan Harvey or Rondal Partridge. Followed closely by W. Eugene Smith and Ansel Adams.

Ed Posthumus said...

Hi Kirk
I have to admit that when I read your post it put a bug in my brain also. I am newish to this whole photo picture thing and have never shot film in a "serious" way but I like to think that I am shooting digital "seriously". With that being said, I know that many of the methods that the old masters practised still apply but I think back to your post about how complicated photography has become. I want to find out what the digital practitioners have to say and think.
I still haven't answered the question because I think my reply might not sit well with tone of the comment's I am reading.
O well, open the gates of ridicule, but I actually want to sit down to dinner with Scott Kelby.

Calvin Palmer said...

Bill Brandt for me. I would be greedy and have a workshop plus dinner.

John said...

Wynn Bullock. Hard to describe why, but their was always something undescribable in his photos for me.

Chaz L said...

Gene Smith (although I suspect he might not be the most engaging or upbeat dinner companion).

Failing that, Edward Weston would do nicely.

David Blanchard said...

David Edwards
http://davidedwards.photoshelter.com/

His photo "Kazakh Eagle Hunter" that appears on the top of his web page appeared in the same issue of National Geographic that had Steve McCurrys famous cover photo.

I've already had lunch and a workshop with DaveE but would enjoy another.

-db-

Larry Cordeiro said...

I'm a hugh Eugen Smith fan, but a friend I worked with many years ago who isn't famous except to his close circle of friends. He enjoyed talking about photography in it's purest form. Gear was of little matter, he and loved to talk technique the printing process, and sharing ideas. Chuck would be my choice, for one more dinner.

ajcarr said...

For me, it would have to be the late Bill Brandt. In recent years his star has waned relative to his contemporaries, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Ansel Adams, but Adams held Brandt in high esteem.

Brandt's ultra-contrasty images don't appeal to some people, and his use of a second-hand police surveillance camera with an ultra-wide-angle lens to distort bodies in his nude photos aren't everyone's cup of tea, but he produced some incredibly dramatic images, be they portraits (just look at his photo of Stravinsky, or of Francis Bacon, or Harold Pinter, or Henry Moore, or Peter Sellers, or ... well a large part of the British and European artistic elite), or landscapes (e.g. the two photos of Top Withens, possibly the model for Heathcliffe's cottage), or social documentary (the East End of London, and some harrowing photos of miners in the North East of England during the Depression). His compositions break every rule in the book, but they just work, because he had an eye for tensions and balance that we mere mortals can only dream of.

Stan Semuskie said...

For me it would be Gene Smith and then Edward Steichen..

Tom Foster said...

#1
David Douglas Duncan for his extensive photojournalism experience
#2
Elliott Erwitt for his unique view of the world

Art in LA said...

I love sports photography, so I'm with Ellis above ... Walter Iooss, Jr or Neil Leifer.

Keith Mallett said...

Hi Kirk,

Tempted to say Ansel Adams but I would have loved to meet Peter Dombrovskis, a man who spent much of his life roaming in the Tasmanian wilderness with his Linhof Technica. I have never seen an image of his that I did not admire.

http://www.peterdombrovskis.com

http://www.aiprintgallery.com/p215070906

Keith Mallett said...

Hi Kirk,

I was tempted to say Ansel Adams. But I would have loved to have met Peter Dombrovskis, a Tasmanian landscape photographer who spent much of his life roaming the wilds of Tasmania. Here are some links to share some of the incredible beauty of Australia.

http://www.peterdombrovskis.com

http://www.aiprintgallery.com/peter-dombrovskis

Aldy Ariffi said...

William Eggleston. My #2 would be Elliot Erwitt

Aubrey Silvertooth said...

Probably John Sexton. Alan Ross, Ansel Adams, Art Wolfe, and Bill Fortney make the short list. You did as well. I still look for you when I go to Precision when I am in Austin.

Ann Peterson said...

Sally Mann , in particular the later pictures of her husband, and Martine Frank.

Ann Peterson said...

Also Joel Meyerowitz, dinner in NY or Italy!

Dean Beasom said...

A very difficult choice. I took workshops with both Lucien Clerque and George Tice. Lucien would be a fascinating dinner companion. Peter Gowland and his wife were also interesting to meet. But, in part since I never had the chance to meet them, I would have to pick between Edward Stichen for his WW2 Navy work, or David Douglass Duncan for his Korean War photos.

Kevin Mayo said...

My first reaction was to say Ansel but I stopped and thought about it for a minute and jumped to Gene Smith. I saw a retrospective of his work in Philadelphia years ago and it was amazing. Then I thought some more and I would love to have dinner with Alfred Eisenstaedt. I think Eisie would be fun to talk to for hours an end.

Mark Matheny said...

I'm glad that's an easy one for you. Of all the influential photographers, old and new, the choices seemed endless. But as I thought through the question, reviewed all the photo books on the shelf, and wondered who I would most want to sit down with for a few hours and discuss life, photography, and vision I believe Peter Turnley http://www.peterturnley.com/frenchkiss/ would be my choice. Especially when it comes to his B&W images. His images generally have a lot of things going on within them but still the main subject always stands out. I'm very intrigued by that ability.

Bill Hatcher http://www.billhatcher.com/ also has an amazing way of capturing his subjects, from great distances, but still making the subject the center of attention. I just can't figure out how he does it.

Kirk Tuck said...

I'll have to agree that a dinner with Eugene Smith would be an event. The stories that I've read about him are so intriguing. Talk about living your art....

Thanks also (Nigel) for reminding me about Man Ray. Would love to sit in a little café and share a big carafe of wine with him!

Kirk Tuck said...

"Jim Waite said...
Hi Kirk,
The politically correct answer would be Kirk Tuck,"

Jim, you should know by now that "Kirk Tuck" is never the politically correct answer... :-)

Mike Rosiak said...

Tough assignment!

Ctein, for his printing chops, he writes well, and is into science and sci-fi in a big way.

Mike Johnston at TOP. Depth of exposure and experience, writes well, and likes cars and good audio.

Kirk ... Tons of market experience, diversity of interests, and writes well. (Notice a pattern here?)

Jacques Henri Lartigue. At my current 72 years, maybe despite an extremely late start, I can emulate him, and have my first show at MOMA. (big !!)

James Weekes said...

I am one more person who won't follow the rules and name one, so I'll cheat and say;

Living-Lee Friedlander by a lot

Dead-Irving Penn by a nose over Avedon, two giants.

ODL Designs said...

Annie Leibovitz, in the modern word of stars and superstars she has made some icon images/portraits...

Or dead...

Edward S. Curtis as I so much enjoyed his romantic vision of First Nations.

James Pilcher said...

I've already done it. Last October. My life is complete.

Roland said...

Today: Thomas Hoepker (dinner)

German photojournalist from 1960 onwards. Cameraman in the 1970s for German TV.

Known in the US perhaps as former president of Magnum Photos and for his photos of 9/11.

http://mediastore.magnumphotos.com/CoreXDoc/MAG/Media/Home1/2/0/f/8/NYC14238.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hoepker

I saw an exhibition of his work in the "Fotomuseum" in Munich in 2006. Part of the exhibition was an interview where Hoepker talked about the way he works and what is important for an interesting picture. Guess what ... it's not about gear or about "fireworks coming out of a model's ears".

On any other day perhaps:

Kristian Schuller (dinner):
An excellent fashion photographer. A bit crazy perhaps.
http://www.kristianschuller.com/

Jeanloup Sieff (workshop or dinner):
http://www.jeanloupsieff.com
Inspiring if you are interested in fine art nudes.

Hans Hass (passed away last year):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Hass
He did a lot of underwater photography and films.
Being a diving instructor myself, this would have been a great dinner conversation.


An of course Kirk Tuck should I happen to visit Austin. Someone told me, there are some nice BBQ Restaurants in your area.

Andrew Lamb said...

I once photographed a model, who worked with Avdeon, countless times, in the '50s.

I'm afraid to say she didn't have a nice thing to say about him, which reminds me of the old expression about not meeting your heroes.

Having said that, I would have liked to have met Saul Leiter.

Paul Glover said...

Being into both landscape and black & white, Ansel Adams seems the obvious choice, but Clyde Butcher would be another contender here.

Brook said...

Joe McNally. He is a thoroughly knowledgeable photographer from many years of experience, very entertaining, and just plain seems to be a real nice guy. If he happened to be hanging around with David Hobby that day it would be a real bonus.

neopavlik said...

Margaret Bourke-White. Read her book and did a report on her years ago. Portraits, architecture , and photojournalism. Managing to get access to Gandhi , WW2, and her FSA work.

Tom said...

Horst P. Horst His lghtning skils were amazing
http://www.vogue.com/voguepedia/Horst_P._Horst

Scott said...

Anne Liebowitz. Since Avedon is no longer available.

Cpt Kent said...

You. While you're having dinner with Mr Avedon.

Marko Oja said...

Daido Moriyama. I think I'm still way too focused on the technical aspects of taking photographs and I think he'd be great at helping to let go.

Kieran O'Toole said...

Looks like I have Pentti Sammallahti all to myself. A nice lunch followed by a long walk.... I hope he speaks English "cause my Finnish 'aint so hot.

David Mantripp said...

Stuart Klipper

Michael Hagburg said...

I am way late here, I know, but I am sort of surprised that no one would want to spend some time with Walker Evans, especially given his history of trying new things and being willing to embrace new technology. You could sign me up for that workshop anytime. Mike

donbga said...

In case it hasn't been mentioned:

All of the above! ;)

stefano60 said...

Sebastiao Salgado, no doubt.

James Weekes said...

After reading the list, I would say your readership has exquisite taste in Photography. Not a clinker in the bunch. Says a lot about your photography and your writing.