Monday, 5 November 2007

VII Seminar: Day 2 - Pasadena (Nov 2-4th)

Image Copyright © Eric Beecroft-All Rights Reserved

Eric Beecroft reports on the second day of the VII Seminar:

"This really is the land of the scarf people. Well, scarves- ethnic scarves, not the old woolen tartan ones you wore when you were seven- and funny shoes. European style leather square toed boots and slipper things.

The second day started with a presentation by veteran conflict photographer Gary Knight. Softspoken, serious and compelling, Gary showed work from various projects of the last fifteen years, beginning with powerful images from his Evidenceseries- essentially gathering visual evidence for the indictment against Milosevic during the war in Kosovo in 1999. The room hushed as his photographs brought a somber, thoughtful tone to the day's proceedings. From Kosovo to Congo, India, Brazil and Darfur, the work continued unabated in quality and intensity.

From Iraq, Gary projected not only the best images he made, but all the images made in between- and, by doing so, you could feel him running, see his photographic thought process and understand that the best in the world also make less then stellar images.

Next up was Antonin Kratochvil, surely one of the most honest- and funniest- photographers present at the seminar. He told stories and showed work on Romanian gypsies, the dying culture of Saxons in central Europe, and discussed his work photographing Bono, AIDS in Africa and his support for the Red clothing label. His most telling quote was "I do it my way,", and it certainly applied to his marvelous work as well as his powerful presence.

Following Antonin, it was the turn of Noor's founding member Stanley Greene. This venerable institution of photography, an understudy of Gene Smith, a child of Harlem Renaissance parents and the creator of one of the most beautiful, brutal and historically necessary of all bodies of work on war: Open Wound, spoke inspirationally on the power of the photographic community to help itself, about his departure from the Vu Agency, and his involvement in the creation of Noor.

Stanley's work- stunning and silencing in its ability to convey, literally, pure evil- from Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabah, and points north south east and west- was dark, brooding, and a departure in style and means (all shot on film, Stanley still shoots black and with his old Leica)."