A painting of me

More Magnum Talks at the Drake

    8 May 2009, terribly early in the morning

I arrived at the Drake early to make sure I got a seat for the lectures by Magnum photographers Peter Marlow, David Allan Harvey, and Christopher Anderson. I arrived so early — before the doors officially opened — I had time to get a drink upstairs in the lounge. I ordered a Manhattan and sat at the bar reading a comic book. Christopher Anderson was sitting near by. If only I knew what he looked like. I finished my drink and went back downstairs, only to discover the room was packed. God damn it. This talk may have been even busier than the last. Somehow I managed to get a seat, after some miscommunication between me and a lady who was apparently not saving one for a friend.

Each photographer discussed the path they’ve taken when it comes to their photography. Peter Marlow was up first, and he was hilarious. He got his start by borrowing his buddies portfolio to secure a job as a cruise ship photographer. What? He managed to get press work while the cruise ship was docked in New York, and things moved from there. He showed us his early work, and then moved on to work he is currently doing exploring a factory closure in Liverpool. His early works are full of people, while this later work is about the absence of people.

Christopher Anderson was up next. He was actually showing us the portfolio he would present to the Magnum photographers next year when he goes up for full membership. We got to see a full retrospective of his work, and the stuff he is working on right now. He also presented his new book, Capitalio. He studied anthropology, but ended up choosing to pursue photography after working for a newspaper in their photo lab. Much of his work is about people — refugees — so his anthropology studies probably do come in handy. He has some pretty amazing photographs, though many of them seem to be the result of his not being too careful with his life.

David Allan Harvey was last. He started with some of his earliest photographs, an album he made for his grandparents when he was 14 or so, and then moved on from there to show new work he is doing on families that is in a similar vein. His plan is to create an exhibit and book that hopes to captures what he produced as a 14 year old boy — though he feels there is no real way to recapture that innocence. Harvey seems very interested in helping out aspiring photographers. A lot of his talk was advice for budding photographers and passing remarks about former students. I picture him more as a teacher than a photographer.

I was planning on mingling with the crowd after the talks, but Shima was making Persian food, and that trumped talking to strangers.



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