Recommended Reading

Nick’s take was created from interviews made in 2000.

Here’s a guide to some of my favorite photographers, and the roots of the kind of photojournalism I practice. Of course, you’ll also want to check out my books which are listed in the app.

As a young photographer, I was influenced a lot by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, but my interest in them passed pretty quickly. I started being interested in Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, and the Magnum and ex-Magnum photographers that are my age, like Alex Webb, Eugene Richards, Sebastiao Salgado, James Nachtwey, Gilles Peress, and Josef Koudelka.

 

Classical Influences

The classic of them all is Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment. You’ll never be able to afford it. You can get it in the library, though, and see where this kind of photojournalism came from.

Eugene Richards: Dorchester Days is his first book, and it’s been republished by Phaidon. You should go find it, it’s a collectors’ item. He has several books including Americans We with Aperture.

Gene’s major influence was Robert Frank, so look at The Americans . That will show you something about where street photography evolved from.

There’s also Ernst Haas, whose opus is The Creation .

 

Magnum and ex-Magnum Photojournalists

If you want to understand Magnum, there’s a book called Magnum In Our Time . It’s from when I was a Magnum photographer, during its 40th anniversary.

Alex Webb has several books. His book about the Amazon was a Geographic assignment that ended up becoming a book. From the Sunshine State is a personal project that he did over the years, just going back to Florida many times. Also see Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds .

With war photographer James Nachtwey, you’ve got Deeds of War , which came from when he was a color photographer shooting mostly for Time Magazine. Later he shot for years in black and white. He published a giant book called Inferno that’s so powerful that it’s really hard to look at. It takes several sittings to absorb.

Gilles Peress has an out of print classic collector’s item book called Telex: Iran . He also has a book about the Rwandan genocide, The Silence . And if you look at that, look at the first picture in the book and the last picture in the book. It’s two pictures he took of a guy that he knew was a murderer — he built the whole form of the book around that photo.

Then, of course, Sebastiao Salgado is a legendary documentary photographer right now, bigger than life. His recent mega projects are Migrations and Workers , two really big books.

Lauren Greenfield worked for several years self-funding to produce project of kids growing up in Beverly Hills. It got a huge amount of attention and now she’s doing very well.

Phillip Jones Griffiths did a book on the Vietnam War called Vietnam Incorporated long out of print  Phillip’s a Welsh photographer, and he had a view of Vietnam that no American photojournalist’s had. He basically summed it up that the Vietnam war was Coca-Cola. It was a war about money.

 

Wildlife Photographers

Chris Johns and Joel Sartore are colleagues at Geographic who come from the same school I do. All three of us came from straight photojournalism and evolved into natural history. Most wildlife photographers weren’t photojournalists first, so there aren’t really a lot of people out there for us to emulate, though I will also recommend:

Mitsuaki Iwago, a Japanese photographer, made a classic in the Serengeti that’s got a real edge to it.

Jane Goodall’s first husband, Hugo Van Lawick, has several books, including Among Predators . Those things are hot. They’re very edgy, classic; they’re not just sunsets and pretty pictures.

Frans Lanting takes beautiful pictures, and he’s set a standard for successful books with Eye to Eye.

 

National Geographic Photographers 

David Alan Harvey is a master of the moment in color whose career began at National Geographic, and he is a Magnum photographer. Check out his book Cuba.

Bill Allard has a book just out called Five Decades. Bill is one of the classic color photographers. His career goes beyond any of us, but he’s still incredibly vibrant.