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Five Greatest Photographers of All Time

September 8, 2009


Even the notion of a post like this is absurd, dangerous, inflammatory, and can cause people to lose their jobs.

There have been so many great photographers throughout history that culling down to five just isn’t possible.

So, with having said that, here are my top five.

5. Mathew Brady/Alexander Gardener (These gents brought war from our imagination to our collectively seared minds, no easy feat at the time.)

4. Sally Mann (Controversial photographer who showed us you need not travel the world to make a career, or beautiful images of what is closest to home.)

3. Vietnam Era Photographers (Had perhaps the most powerful effect on global politics and change than any group of photographers in history. Adams, Ut, Burroughs, Huet, Page, Burnett, Kennerly, etc, too many to name)

2. Salgado (I’m only using one name here because that is all I need to use. Works on a scale beyond any doc photographer in history. Dreams up projects of this scale, gets them funded and delivered, and isn’t a guy that has to tell you how great he is.)

1. Jeff Bridges in the 1976 remake of King Kong

(I know you are probably saying, “What the F are you talking about?”) I live close enough to Hollywood to see the effect it has on our population, so yes, this photographer isn’t real. Or….is he?

Let’s just take a look at why he takes my top spot.

1. He has as job that allows him to be a serious longhair. Shoulder length hair and a beard that alone could contain a second, enormous gorilla and nobody would know.
2. He sneaks on to the research boat and isn’t shot, strangled, tossed overboard or mutilated. No, they end up feeding him, key for all photographers, and THEY GIVE HIM A JOB!
3. He gets to visit a tropical island….for free.
4. He doesn’t choose to do so, but is basically given a key into the inner workings of the petroleum industry, cementing future work and job security if he had chosen to go in that direction. You find oil on an island today and that ape would be vaporized in eight seconds.
5. He makes the first pictures of a lost tribe, which surely would have been the cover of at least a dozen publications, AT THAT TIME. Today, MAYBE one cover, cause finding a lot tribe won’t beat out some starlet puking on Sunset.
6. He never had to get model releases.
7. Did you see Jessica Lange. Did you? I had to pack my body in ice for three days after seeing that movie. I was seven. I didn’t know what happening. I just knew I liked it. The Jeff Bridges character secures one of the hottest movie leads of all time. Hello.
8. He gets to play with and run from a giant ape. (Didn’t think I needed to mention this, but just to be safe.) (Was however puzzled that a giant ape on the loose in Manhattan really grabbed any attention.)
9. He gets to hold the mayor of New York hostage, via a pay phone! In today’s world, with our 700 ways of communication, the mayor would NEVER get your call.
10. He gets to ride a motorcycle through New York with no traffic.
11. He gets the best view of the giant ape/gorilla, who we all know by this point is just a hot and bothered young pup looking for a date, fall to his grizzly death. No camera however, which is a serious character flaw of our dashing, young star.
12. Yes, as the movie ends, we all know the ape/gorilla is headed toward the glue factory, but our hero, the “official photographer” still has a chance of getting the girl.
13. Did I mention he probably gets the girl? Did you see her? Did ya?

(On a side note, if anyone knows where I can get a Jessica Lange poster, please contact me immediately.)

So I know all you gear heads out there are sending in letters of protest. Hold your shorts. Rent this film and see for yourself. Without a doubt, this guy is the greatest photographer of all time. I checked with all the serious photo-people in New York and they said I was right.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Wissinger permalink
    September 9, 2009 8:12 pm

    Jessica Lange was fine in King Kong. But in The Postman Always Rings Twice she was…what’s the word?…un___believable. (That’s not the right word, but they haven’t inveted it yet.) Watch it tonight.

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