January 11, 2011

The Big Show

As I started to write this blog entry, I was reminded of the film “Bull Durham”.  In the movie Kevin Costner, plays the part of an veteran minor league baseball player.  His dreams of making it to the major league or as it  is referred to in the film “the big show” are quickly coming to the realization that he is not going to make it.  In the storyline he is transferred to a very minor league team, where he is to help develop a rookie with a lot of untapped talent.

If you haven’t seen the film, you can guess what happens.  The rookie makes it to the “Big Show” with the help of Costner’s character.  And Costner ends up with yet another minor league team, where he is at the end of the season let go.  However the film does end on a high note, as there comes an opening for a manager the next season.  So once again those dreams of the big show may still come to pass.  If not as a player then as a manager.

It has now been almost five decades since I first picked up a camera and started my path along the lines of this my passion.  And it is now over thirty years that I have been making a living with a camera.  It’s been a good journey, filled with wonderful experiences.  Though I feel that I never made it to the “big show”.  It doesn’t feel like there is much time left to do so.

These days I divide my time between being a father, a wedding photographer and a teacher at the FotoGram in Amsterdam.  Though all three of these “jobs” are new for me, they still fill me with passion.  The subject of this entry is only about one, however they all seem related.

Teaching is for many of us the culmination of our careers.  It is in a manner the passing on of our knowledge or payback for our good fortunes.  When I started at the FotoGram, it was without any real expectations other then the gratification of teaching a subject so dear to me and hopefully inspiring newcomers to our craft.

In a previous blog entry, I wrote about the final projects turned in by the students of one of my classes.  In it I wrote how much pride I had felt over the accomplishments of the students in the classroom.  This time it is about the accomplishments of two of them outside the classroom.

Max as I wrote earlier has a n incredible insight into what evokes emotions in an image.  When I think of him as a photographer, I see a portraitist.  During our classes Max always exhibited a relaxed and experience repertoire with whomever he was photographing. Even though his first professional assignment after leaving the course was  to photograph office interiors, the portraitist still comes through.   See for yourself.  His use of lines, shape and light breaths life into these images, that otherwise would have ended up being just static spaces, in the hands of lesser talented photographers.

3 Shots
My favorites “The Talking Chairs”.
Talking chairs
The Assignment also called for an “iconic” shot of Berlin.  Again the talent shows.
Berlin Gates

The other student that came along in the same class is Beata Fortuna.  After our second class together she approached me and asked if she could show me some of her work.  Immediately I was struck by an intuitive instinct in her work.  So much emotional style and symbolism in the images.  What I was seeing was an emerging artist.  Later during a field trip, I observed the way she conversed with people and knew that she would make a great and badly needed assistant.  She accepted the offer with enthusiasm.  And I am so happy she did.  Here are some shots she made during the party that followed   a wedding ceremony and a couple of her own street images.

For 2 Horizontals2 Guitarsthe artist


Once again I am proud of their accomplishments and for whatever help and inspiration that I may have passed on to them.  In the future I suspect that they will be both be successful.  When these two or other students of mine do become successful, I will feel that in the end the show didn’t pass me up after all.