Vanity Fair Portfolio

Since Vanity Fair published this article a decade ago in January 2001, we’ve lost most of the pioneers featured here. But five — Phil Stern, Ozzie Sweet, Ralph Morse, Lillian Bassman and Eve Arnold — are still “Shooting Past 90”:

(Spreads below are scanned with high resolutions and are therefore very large in size. Click on them to read the article).

9 thoughts on “Vanity Fair Portfolio

  1. Unfortunately, the only real photographs were shot on film…no digital and no Photshop…..Film photographers were a breed of their own, today, anyone today can call thermselves a photographer, pick up a cheap digital at Walmart and start a small wedding photography business. My last film assignment was in Baghdad in 2004 when I used 150 rolls of Kodak Tri-X. Digital was good in 2010 in Tikrit and northern Iraq because I could shoot, shoot and shoot for free, but they will never equal to the b/w longevity or quality over time. At any moment all of those pixel images could vanish into Digi-Land, never to be recovered again. Apart from fire or a nuclear blast, silver negatives will last pretty much forever.

    • I’m reminded of Vivian Maier and even Eugene Atget who’s negatives allowed them to be discovered and brought to world attention; one about a month ago (by my reckoning!), but actually in 2007 and one about a century ago.

      Who will save or even look at CDs or hard drives full of photos old people leave behind? Memory sticks and SD cards with images on them will either be unreadable, corrupted or re-formated and re-used.

      I tell my students to print their images and share the prints with family and friends, label their back ups and keep everything. The world will lose it’s memory if digital files are not preserved as we used to preserve our negatives. Ah, the negative. The missing 50% of photography.

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