Tuesday, December 12, 2006

molto paolo

Sadly enough, I just got around to reading my November issue of Photo District News. Inside is an interesting article by Edgar Allen Beem about Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin. What caught my eye and attention was the statement by Pellegrin that, 'Every ten years or so, there is a body of work that is one step further, a breakthrough in the history of photography.' The last such influential book he argues was Giles Peress's Telex: Iran. Pellegrin maintains that Peress's work has been the dominant influence in photojournalism, 'an esthetic of inclusion, of packing as much as possible into a picture, often with vertiginous, titled horizons and imagery falling into and out of the frame,' writes Beem. 'The busy, multilayered views of Peress were ideally suited to an age of upheaval,' continues Beem.

Lately Pellegrin has been exploring the idea of subtracting from photos, the opposite of the current esthetic. Beem writes ''the 'process of taking away,' Pellegrin says, really amounts to 'searching for the essence of a story.'' I really like that, 'the essence of a story.'

All too often, especially in multimedia, photojournalists are doing things and telling stories because we can. Getting to the essence of a story sometimes gets forgotten or lost along the way as we rush around with our gear, computer and sound equipment. What is the best way to tell our subject’s story? That should be our first question.

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