9.17.2012

New Ideas in Photography: Bryan Graf

© Bryan Graf, from the series "Wildlife Analysis"

Colin Pantall and Joerg Colberg have organized a collaborative community initiative to start the fall. They asked a range of bloggers and editors to select up to five photographers who "have demonstrated an openness to use new ideas in photography, who have taken chances with their photography and have shown an unwillingness to play it safe. These three categories can be interpreted in any way."

The nominations are being posted starting today. This week I will select and post a photographer each day. My five selections are not in any order.

Other selections for this initiative will be posted on (or by): Conscientious, Andrew Phelps, aCurator, Mrs Deane, Reciprocity failure, Harvey Benge, Microcord, eyecurious, and LPV Magazine.
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First a few words on how I made my selections and interpreted the criteria.

I took "new ideas" to mean visually and thematically fresh photography, but not necessarily working within or creating new modes of photography.

"Taken chances" and "unwillingness to play it safe" I understood as photography that has prefaced the pursuit of the internal logic of a project and individual artistic lines of thought over engaging contemporary visual trends - as well as over the artist's own history in making images.

Finally, I also added my own final criteria, choosing photographers I believe produce strong images in addition to using new ideas and taking chances.

I came up with a list of 24 photographers over the last couple months, adding names as I came across new work or thought of someone's work I believe fits the criteria. I cut the list down to 10 fairly quickly, but have had a hard time getting from 10 to 5. At this point, however, it's time to leap.
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My first selection for the series is Bryan Graf.

The rich depth, importance, and thorough exploration of the landscape in photographic history makes it a difficult genre for "new" and "taking chances." How the hell is anyone going to reinvent the landscape photograph? Graf has worked on this question, using explorations of darkroom post-processing, materials and lighting not for effect, but in service of heightening the grace, simplicity, and atmosphere of the environments he photographs, pushing lines of what the landscape photograph can be conceived of in the process - literally.

© Bryan Graf, from the series "Interchanges, B-Sides & Remixes"

© Bryan Graf, from the series "Winter Sun"