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The Genius of Photography

The Genius of Photography Ep4 - Paper Movies Play

The American photographer Garry Winogrand said that he took photographs to "see what the world looked like photographed". Photographers have always had this as their mission statement, but the three decades from the late 1950's onwards was the real golden age of the photographic journey. The Genius of Photography -- Paper Movies relives the journeys that produced some of the most acclaimed paper movies. The programme takes a fascinating look at Robert Frank's odyssey through 50s America, William Klein's one-man assault on the sidewalks of New York, Garry Winogrand's charting of the human comedy in Central Park Zoo, Tony Ray Jones's dissection eccentricity at the English seaside, and finally, William Eggleston's guide to Memphis and the American South. Episode four of the series also examines the arrival of colour as a credible medium for serious photographers, as controversial at the time as Dylan going electric.

The Genius of Photography Ep6 - Snap Judgements Play

The final programme, The Genius of Photography - Snap Judgements, asks what a photograph is worth these days. One answer is .9m, the record-breaking price achieved by an Edward Steichen print auctioned at Sotheby's in February 2006. The other answer is around 1/29th billionth of that figure based on the calculation that some 29 billion photographs will be taken in 2006 by phone cameras alone. Photography has never been so valuable and so ubiquitous. From America to China and on to Africa, the programme examines how the business of being a photographer has been changed by the market's sudden interest in what was once the poor relation of the art world.

The Genius of Photography Ep5 - We Are Family Play

Having conquered the street and the road, photographers approached the final frontier: the family and the self. The Genius of Photography -- We are Family is about what happens when photography translates personal relationships into photographic ones, when strangers, celebrities, lovers and children get fed to the camera. It's also about what happens when photographers turn their cameras on themselves—what they choose to reveal, and just what they try to conceal.

The chronological heartland of the programme is the me decades of the 1970's and the 1980's. From Diane Arbus's freaks (we meet Colin Wood, the manic boy clutching the hand grenade in Central Park) to Richard Avedon's confrontations with celebrities like Marylin Monroe, from the confessional diaries of Larry Clark and Araki, to the uncomfortably intimate family portraits of Sally Mann and Richard Billingham, the series takes a photographic journey into some of the most intriguing ideas of the photographic self, including an unforgettable encounter as Nan Goldin photographs Joey the transsexual.
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