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What Makes a Photograph Art?

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Uploaded on May 20, 2011

"A photograph isn't successful unless you capture the subject's inner life."

Question: Which photographers have inspired you?

Carol Friedman: 
For me there were two photographers, just two photographers,
Irving Penn
and Richard Avedon, and if, you know, I talk about music lineage I guess
if there
was lineage I come from that school, not the Cartier-Bresson school, not
the
Diane Arbus school, although we all experiment when we're coming up, and
I had
my...  You know, I did run around Paris
with my Leica being Cartier-Bresson, and I did, you know, knock on the
door of
a gypsy family and be Diane Arbus. So we go through our stages. But I
was always interested in the blank canvas, and I learned that the blank
canvas existed through Penn and Avedon, and I had very different
energies and I
never got to meet either one of them or photograph them, but that's kind
of, their work is just, again, indelible.

Question: What makes a photograph art? 

Carol Friedman: I studied with Philippe
Halsman.  He was a great Life magazine
photographer and it was his edict that a photograph isn't successful
unless you
capture the subject's inner life, so I heard that, you know, before I
was 20 and
that still resonates for me, so if you can't...  If
you don't know who someone is by looking at the picture
that I've taken then I haven't succeeded, so in terms of greatness of
photography I think that extends to everybody's work.  You
know you want to believe the moment.  I mean
there are rotten ads and there
are great ads in the commercial world. 
I mean that Louis Vuitton campaign, it's brilliant. And then
there are
other ones that I just want to roll my eyes and say are kidding? you
know that
you take someone very famous in a Dolce & Gabbana ad, who is past
the age
that she should be for this ad, you know, with fake cleavage and a cat
that looks
miserable and it's not working for me. 
You know, and then you turn the page and there is a Guess Jeans
ad that
is so working and it is just singing off the page because it's real and
because
the energy is all there and all the elements come together in the right
way.Recorded on April 21, 2010Interviewed by Austin Allen

Question: Which photographers have inspired you?

Carol Friedman: 
For me there were two photographers, just two photographers,
Irving Penn
and Richard Avedon, and if, you know, I talk about music lineage I guess
if there
was lineage I come from that school, not the Cartier-Bresson school, not
the
Diane Arbus school, although we all experiment when we're coming up, and
I had
my...  You know, I did run around Paris
with my Leica being Cartier-Bresson, and I did, you know, knock on the
door of
a gypsy family and be Diane Arbus. So we go through our stages. But I
was always interested in the blank canvas, and I learned that the blank
canvas existed through Penn and Avedon, and I had very different
energies and I
never got to meet either one of them or photograph them, but that's kind
of, their work is just, again, indelible.

Question: What makes a photograph art? 

Carol Friedman: I studied with Philippe
Halsman.  He was a great Life magazine
photographer and it was his edict that a photograph isn't successful
unless you
capture the subject's inner life, so I heard that, you know, before I
was 20 and
that still resonates for me, so if you can't...  If
you don't know who someone is by looking at the picture
that I've taken then I haven't succeeded, so in terms of greatness of
photography I think that extends to everybody's work.  You
know you want to believe the moment.  I mean
there are rotten ads and there
are great ads in the commercial world. 
I mean that Louis Vuitton campaign, it's brilliant. And then
there are
other ones that I just want to roll my eyes and say are kidding? you
know that
you take someone very famous in a Dolce & Gabbana ad, who is past
the age
that she should be for this ad, you know, with fake cleavage and a cat
that looks
miserable and it's not working for me. 
You know, and then you turn the page and there is a Guess Jeans
ad that
is so working and it is just singing off the page because it's real and
because
the energy is all there and all the elements come together in the right
way.Recorded on April 21, 2010Interviewed by Austin Allen

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