I was talking with some work colleagues a few weeks ago about the machine that is Nadav Kander. Two of the photographers were from advertising backgrounds and so could only marvel at the achievements one such as Kander has made (and perhaps envy his table of trophies from every photographic award imaginable). They also assumed that NK has had as much success in the Fine Art Market as the world of advertising, and why wouldn't they. After all here is one of few photographers on the planet who is able to merge the line between so called fine art photography and advertising (remember those Marlborough ads in the early nineties) producing bodies of work one can only dribble over. But this has been far from true. Nadav has often struggled to be taken seriously in the Art world for the simple fact that he had dominated the Advertising world for so long that serious collectors and indeed galleries have not taken him on board.
Many do claim that its a lot easier for a Fine Art Photographer (hate this title so much) to enter the world of commercial photography than it is for a Commercial Photographer to enter the fine art market, as the commercial approach does not often transfer well to the purism that is Fine Art. Its not enough that a FAP (fine art photographer) should spend months in the desert living off a bit of bread and some salty water in order to create something pure and beautiful. They also have to make no money and lay in wait only to be discovered by a big gallery and perhaps become a little famous in the circle of photography. So is it any wonder that when a hugely successful commercial photographer with plenty of money for projects comes along the Art World is a bit of a snob..
When I first seen Nadav's Yantze River, I knew things would change. Its not just the beauty of the work and the fact that they really are Fine Art images (assuming that fine art means they only serve one purpose which is to be looked at), its the volume of the project. This is a project shot over time in a place revisited with commitment and passion. Its the bread and salty water in the desert, the pure and the beautiful. Ok, he may not of struggled to do it financially, but thats irrelevant. To put it another way, If Nadav had not spent the last twenty years as a successful commercial photographer he would never have got around to do the Yantze River project, let alone afford to do it.
This book (The Yantze River) deserves a lot of respect and is certainly one of the best, and most consistent, bodies of work I have seen in the last decade.

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