Find out how Alec Soth constructs his projects, why Trent Parke relies on old-fashioned Polaroids and hand-made books, and how forty-one other photographers experiment with new and old technologies, turn their photo-diaries into exhibitions, and attract audiences of millions via online platforms.
This book celebrates the creative processes of the modern photographic era, in which blogs and Instagram streams function alongside analog albums and contact sheets, and the traditional notebook takes the form of Polaroid studies, smartphone pictures, found photography, experimental image-making, and self-published photo-zines. Each photographer presents his or her sketchbook: several pages of images that convey his or her working methods and thought processes. These intimate, oneoff presentations are accompanied by engaging interviews that reveal how the simple act of pressing a shutter can capture and express a fully realized personal vision.
Arnold has been compared to a contemporary Robert Frank (or Frank’s mentor, Walker Evans) for his gimlet-eyed view of the city and its people, but his slavish dedication to daily shooting could be compared to that of the blue-smocked street photographer Bill Cunningham. He’s a full-time freelancer—pocketing a day rate for gigs—but it was a last-minute print sale that once paid the rent. Last March, on his birthday, he sold prints off his feed for $150 a pop and made $15,000. Forbes wrote about it. According to Gawker, Arnold is Instagram’s best photographer.
There are real concerns about putting pictures out there into this bizarre world. I basically made a pact with the devil: I’d trade control for exposure. My gamble is that getting the photographs seen and making them part of the culture is worth more than any risk of residual loss because people are downloading (stealing) my pictures. I know they are stealing my pictures. Let them. I’m betting that the payback will come from wide exposure, not from tight control. I don’t know (yet) if I’m going to win the bet or not. But there it is.