John Loengard Puts UpMonday, October 06, 2008
I think that tomorrow's blog, like today will feature pictures of my granddaughters and something on photographer John Loengard. John Loengard ( 1934) was both photographer and picture editor for Life Magazine during the height of its influence on the world of photography. Alas except for a few people who might know, Loengard is not a household name even though he does have a web presence. These days photographers that may interest those under 30 seem to all be called Chip. John would then not be good enough.
What separates Loengard from many other photographers is his beautiful writing when he explains his photographs. The black and white photograph you see here is his daughter Anna and the picture is called Anna, 1975. It is from his wonderful book Pictures Under Discussion (A Bob Adelman book - Amphoto an imprint of Watson-Guptill Publicatioons New York 1987)which I treasure in my photography book library. I will hope that Mr. Leongard does not send lawyers after me for quoting from page 110:
Dinner table conversation about photography changes from year to year, so that what is on everyone's mind now is different from 1973. That was the year I started teaching, when Diane Arbus's work was having its first success and photographic galleries were springing up from nowhere. At the time I wondered if all photography would become not only self-expressive but self-conscious as well. It didn't. Photographers may be concerned, conceptual, confrontational, candid, casual, constructing, but what is important is that they have a point of view.
When I teach a class I often give the assignment: "Photograph someone you love." I ask people to do this so they have a subject about whom they have feelings, a subject that is more than a model, or an object or a shape, or an idea. In this way, they can judge the result not only by its technical success, but also by how well it describes their feelings. Having asked some students to do this in 1975, I thought it was time to put up or shut up. I took on the assignment too, and asked my younger daughter, Anna, to pose quietly in the afternoon light against the dining room-room door, which she did with enthusiasm. She's never been lovelier.
Loengard writes above, "...which she did with enthusiasm." This is something that Rebecca did not show on Sunday afternoon when I took these pictures. But then if you want to know about it read right here, tomorrow.