After looking over Nadav Kander's Yangtze River work again last night and posting the piece below I couldn't get the images out of my mind. It seems obvious now why he won the Prix Picket prize. I mean this series shows environmental issues, documents how people harmonise with their surroundings, is visually stunning (mainly due to the big smog factor,again another environmental issue), consistent from start to finish, and forms a historical document which will stand the test of time. Wether or not this body of work will be regarded as much as say Robert Frank's The Americans in years to come I am not so sure (the prints may not last that long). But there is no doubt in my mind that this is an important body of work.
There are of course a few issues which may deter Kander's work from getting the recognition in years to come that he may or may not deserve. Firstly there is Kanders career, its vast, and he has to be one of the worlds most successful advertising photographers of his generation. This guy has won so many awards he has a whole area filled with trophies and plaques in his studio (yes I have seen it). Due to his huge success Kander has been able to pretty much go where he chooses and do whatever is necessary to produce a series of images. But people dont like this, they dont believe that a photographer can spend twenty years at the top in advertising and switch to fine art funded solely by his earnings. But why shouldn't he? He may have won a hundred thousand euros for his Yangtze River, but how much did he spend on it (5 trips to China, retouching fees, equipment etc). Again people seem to have a problem here that if a photographer can pay to do what they want it is somehow unfair. Misrach, Eggleston, in fact most of the big American photographers (with the exception of Robert Frank who was skint) had money. But they didn't earn it from photography like Kander, so whats the problem. I have been in this fine art game for a while now and have to admit it seems like a rich mans hobby most of the time (and no I am far from rich, or comfortable for that matter!). We can all complain about the 'photographer' that drives round in their Bentley getting out to take the odd snap and producing exquisite prints, but this kind who stand the test of time usually do so not because of there money but more so there talent. Yes it may be easier to stay at the top in these circumstances, but we can always find excuses as to why others have succeed before us, a lucky break here, a friend there, slept with him/her etc. And then theres the whole grants thing which drives me potty. Personally I have not recieved a bean from any one (establishment or otherwise), and even if I did I would probably spend it on sweets and magic beans..

And so my friends, what is the point I am trying to make, well simply put, YOU CANT BUY TALENT. Its as simple as that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr Doyle, I must commend you on your fastidious taste, sir. The gentlemen's photography is excellent.

Keep up the good work with the blog, I love it.

All best, regards & etc.,
I remain,
living as The Dude, in LA,