Photographer Mark Seliger’s show Capture on the Reserve Channel on YouTube offers a unique insight into the craft of photography by having candid conversations with some of the best photographers working today. By including a celebrity who is also into photography into the mix, the conversation expands into photography’s transcendent ability to offer different kinds of people a way to express themselves. Actor Kevin Bacon chats about music with music photographer Bob Gruen. Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov shares his work with conflict photographer Ben Lowy. Capture takes people who wouldn’t otherwise have an occasion to be together, and unites them through their shared passion for photography. The result is an honest and revealing conversation about what photography means in our ever changing world.
In the introduction for Capture, Seliger states that, “A great photograph needs no explanation, but on Capture, these incredible people tell the stories behind their most memorable images.” What ends up being discussed is not just these stories, but greater issues pertaining to the pros and cons of photography being the democratic art form that it has become. The topic of Instagram comes up in one episode, with the commentary that not everyone who posts images is a great photographer, and because of that it’s more difficult to find people who are worth following. The desire to see great photography and not just the fuzzy details of peoples’ lives is still paramount. Photographer Bob Gruen makes this distinction in episode 5, “A good photograph can show you the facts of what is going on, but a great photograph can show you the feelings.”
Photography is everywhere, and that is not always a good thing, especially for young photographers trying to break in to the field. Photographer Ben Lowy brings up this point in Episode 6, when he talks about how photographers are often taken advantage of because they allow their images to be published for very little, or no money. “They will take the exposure because they need it, but we undervalue ourselves, and then no one gets paid.” A lot of attention is often paid to what cameras people shoot with, a point photographer Mary Ellen Mark implies is irrelevant in Episode 7; “It’s not what you shoot with, it’s the pictures that you make.” Even though she laments that we are losing access to photograph in certain places because of the internet, Mark still offers inspiring advice to students who take her workshops, and to all aspiring photographers. “Do your own work, be an artist. Even if you have to do something else, take photographs because you love to take them. That’s what you should do.”
Capture, hosted by photographer Mark Seliger, is on the Reserve Channel on YouTube.
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