on the tram

Praha, CZ. 7 October 2009.

Last month, I had the privilege of attending a talk by Gueorgui Pinkhassov, a Magnum photographer.  He presented some of his recent photographs, both from finished projects and from his current visit to Prague. His talk was fairly relaxed–he asked us which shots we’d like look at and what we’d like to hear about them–and in some ways it felt like getting to hear thoughts from someone’s journal.  What drew his attention to this detail, why he is intrigued with the Canon 7D’s HD video recording, why a hotel room is as legitimate as any location to photograph as art.  We got to see some of his experiments with photo-videos…it was like looking at a breathing photograph.  It would probably be more accurate to call them moving-photographs.  His moving-photos allowed us to see how he explored the shot & framed the composition and it was interesting to see which frame he chose out of the many to be a still photograph.

A quote of his from the website: The power of our Muse lies in her meaninglessness. Even the style can turn one into a slave if one does not run away from it, and then one is doomed to repeat oneself. The only thing that counts is curiosity. For me personally, this is what creativity is about. It will express itself less in the fear of doing the same thing over again than in the desire not to go where one has already been.

I could see this curiosity in his work.  His photos range from simple and sparse to lush and complex.  Many invite you into a story or give you pause.  I loved seeing his [unedited] photos from his visit to Prague, the details by day and the people by night that caught his eye.   After leaving the talk, I pulled out my camera and shot some photos, and then shot some more.  (That’s when I took this photo).  I felt challenged by someone who has been photographing for so long and still experiences the world with fresh eyes through his viewfinder.  The encouragement to me (and to you too): keep shooting, keep shooting.  And then shoot some more.