German photographer Andreas Gursky’s photograph “99 Cent II Diptych” (see above) was once the world’s most expensive photo.
In it, the Dusseldorf School photographer stitched together a two-part photograph (also called a ‘diptych’) of a vast but empty grocery store in Los Angeles.
Taking another contemporary digitally manipulated view of everyday objects, Gursky’s “Rhein II” sold for $4.3m at Christie’s New York in 2011 — the image became world’s most expensive photo to sell at an auction.
“I wasn’t interested in an unusual, possibly picturesque view of the Rhine… This view cannot be obtained in situ; a fictitious construction was required to provide an accurate image of a modern river,” recounts Andreas Gursky on the work.
However, I still dig the artifice projected in his 2017 high-speed train ride in Tokyo, where he merged multiple photos to give the picture a blurring, hyperreal effect.
Gursky’s “Bahrain I” which reconstructs myriad images of the Bahrain International Circuit racetrack is also one to marvel at — especially for the way its paint-like race-tracks enhance reality.
Regardless of his skill, Gursky tells his students that it’s only because of hours of practice and work that beget his radical intuition.
“People keep trying to find a matrix for the perfect image, but it’s intuition, it’s not something that can be taught.”
Sometimes it’s the written word. Other times, it’s a still photo. If the camera is too revealing, we can communicate via video or sound. Said filmmaker Robert Bresson’s in his 1975 book Notes on the Cinematograph: “A locomotive’s whistle imprints in us a whole railroad station.”
Communication is a game of elements. Film is the art of combining images and sounds; it excludes what overexplains or impresses.
“One should not use the camera as if it were a broom.”
A good filmmaker lets the mind dance with imagination. A movie is both a creative and viewing experience. It can be dull and instantly lively, like the pendulum of our everyday lives.
“My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.”
“The Americans” challenged the presiding midcentury formula for photojournalism, defined by sharp, well-lighted, classically composed pictures, whether of the battlefront, the homespun American heartland or movie stars at leisure. Mr. Frank’s photographs — of lone individuals, teenage couples, groups at funerals and odd spoors of cultural life — were cinematic, immediate, off-kilter and grainy, like early television transmissions of the period. They would secure his place in photography’s pantheon. The cultural critic Janet Malcolm called him the “Manet of the new photography.”
Anna Wintour, the indomitable editor of Vogue and Condé Nast’s most senior editorial figure, is the latest teacher to join the ranks of Masterclass to teach creativity and leadership.
In 12 lessons, Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology. A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years.
The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.
Anna Wintour on how to be a boss
“I know many people are curious about who I am and how I approach my work,” Wintour says. “This is a class for those who want to understand my leadership style and then understand the experiences that have helped me become an effective leader.”
“Own your decisions and own who you are, but without apology.” – Anna Wintour
Everything is contrived, from the glowing burger buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, to the juicy fresh meat. Video takes food advertising even further, making it come alive from its static state.
Tabletop advertising or food marketing is no different from any other product marketing: the illusion never matches the reality of creating it. In reality, the food has been dressed up and augmented to look fresh and mouth-watering like those lobsters in Red Lobster commercials.
Fashion advertising is similar. The model is always more enticing wearing makeup and sporting a six-pack. When models make commercials, they never smile. Badassery sells.
Not surprisingly, food porn and selfies are huge on Instagram too, the people’s marketing platform. A little bit of shoot preparation and filters make both food and faces look better than they actually are.
Today, anyone can use technology to create a Hollywood look. Everyone’s deceiving and buying lies at the same time. We all desire better versions of ourselves, including what appears on our plates.
Vladimir Lagrange took artistic photos of ordinary Russians for the “Soviet Union” Magazine. He also captured a bunch of personal photos that never saw the day of light because of Moscow’s censorship.
In reading up on Vladimir and looking at some of his pictures, it reminded me of this Bertolt Brecht line from War Primer (1955):
“The camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter.”
The rise of mobile photography unleashes the citizen reporter, making it even harder to assess truth from propaganda. The world speaks in images to which people latch on to their own cocoon. Beware the blind spots.