Monday, April 28, 2008

Different but Equal




Two different but equally great pictures from this Sunday's New York Times. The top one (from the travel section) is a 1942 picture of Ansel Adams by Cedric Wright. It has always been one of my favorite portraits of a photographer. Sure, it's a little hokey - the photographer as heroic figure silhouetted against the sky - but it's also three terrific pictures in one: a grand view of Yosemite, a striking portrait of Ansel at work, and a cool picture of a 1941 Cadillac Series 61 station wagon. It may look contrived, but this is really how Adams set up to take many of his best pictures including the famous "Moonrise".

Underneath (from the Book Review) is an out-take from Norman Seef's 1974 cover shoot for Carly Simon's 1975 album, Playing Possum. Seef is a photographer you don't hear a lot about today, but for much of the '70s he ruled the roost, photographing the major recording artists of that era. He did most of his work in his Sunset Boulevard studio coaxing relaxed and extroverted pictures out of his subjects. The Carly Simon pictures look like they could have been taken yesterday - both in terms of clothing (or lack of it) and attitude. Seef is currently finishing a documentary based on film he would shoot while taking his rock star stills.




And the image chosen for the actual album cover. Tough choice...


8 comments:

ChuckEye said...

Perhaps more important to note is the fact that all of Adams' Yosemite pictures were taken no more than 10 feet from a road through the park. Takes a bit of the magic out of the notion of the man in the mountains roughing it and coming up with a good shot. But hey, 8x10s weigh a ton! You wouldn't want to leave your car either...

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Is THAT ever incorrect.

Chuckeye - You need to bone up on the basics, man.

The Year in Pictures said...

I don't know where you got this information from, but from all accounts I've read, Ansel spent plenty of time
up in the mountains and not just on top of his car.

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

emily said...

I think they should've gone with the other shot of Carly for the cover.
Thanks for this blog - it's one of my favorites to read everyday.

robert said...

don't you love the simplicity of it? It looks so amateur, a seamless, one light, a nondescript studio...and a real moment.

I want to go back...

Brack's Photo A Day said...

"I want to go back..."
It made me think the exact same thing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, great.

Now I can't get the Au Pairs out of my head... relic of my youth.

-- desertwind

http://www.last.fm/music/Au+Pairs/Equal+But+Different+-+BBC+Sessions+1979-1981

Becs said...

I remember reading one review of that Carly Simon album. It went something along the lines of "Five bucks to get a good shot of Carly Simon's ass is worth it." At the time, the remark infuriated me.

But now, I think: She wasn't exactly running away from the camera, was she?