Wrinkled old crones and beautiful girls are camera-friendly. So is war.by Tom Streithorst / December 27, 2012 / Leave a comment
What you take a picture of is irrelevant. The fine art photographer Emmett Gowin taught me that. No matter how poignant or beautiful the subject a photographer must consider shape and form, composition and lighting. A pretty face isn’t enough. This is great advice for an aspiring photographer but it happens to be deeply untrue. Some things are more photogenic than others. Wrinkled old crones and beautiful girls are inherently camera-friendly. So is war.
War and photography go together like marriage and 19th century novels or renaissance painting and martyred saints. But painting could survive without Goya’s series on the Peninsular War and literature without Stendhal’s battle of Waterloo in The Charterhouse of Parma. Without Robert Capa’s picture of the GI in the surf on Omaha beach, or Evgeny Khaldey’s raising of the Soviet Flag over a smouldering Berlin or the portrait by an anonymous snapper of that little boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, photography would be infinitely poorer.