Saturday, March 8, 2008

Magnum workshop with Paolo Pellegrin

I had the great pleasure this week to be in an inspiring workshop with Paolo Pellegrin in the course of a Magnum workshop series in Oslo… Also, half of the Magnum royalty (inter alia, Chris Anderson, Richard Kalvar, David Alan Harvey, Jonas Bendiksen, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Chris Steele-Perkins, Alex Webb and Chien-Chi Chang) was here to give presentations in the evenings… I was always a big fan of Paolo’s work… now I am even more so… He is not only an immensely gifted photographer and artist but also a warm, compassionate and very thoughtful human being… He took a lot of time to look at my work and made some very helpful comments on how to take it to the next level… And I have started a long-term project here in Oslo, which I want to pursue further over the next few years… Now I have to work on this and deliver… The pressure is on…

Here are some of the other things that Paolo said (I am paraphrasing, these are not necessarily verbatim quotes):

“…Photography is ultimately about yourself in relation to others… this is the same motivation where great paintings, music, writing come from… It is also an interpretation in visual terms of your relationship to a place, situation, people…”

“…in order to be able to produce great photography, it is important to get rid of one’s boundaries and react instinctively to one’s environment… you have to bypass your mental controls and react instinctively, to a point where you don’t seek control anymore and let go of pre-conceived ideas of the subject matter and rules of composition…”

“…Photography is useful in creating evidence; a visual record for future generations... despite its many problems and difficulties, photography contains elements of truth/reality… and manifests itself as this micro exchange between you and a subject…”

“…Ultimately it is important to find your own photographic voice… but as much as you try some might never get there… I have seen this repeatedly with very talented photographers.”

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