Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Life vs Hello


Back in the fifties photographer Eliot Elisofon took photos of the real African peoples to show their true majesty and strength of character. Before this many African images were of famine or war.

Back then images (and text and music) made a difference in peoples lives. They hoped to show a better way forward, more understanding, knowledge, history, beauty and information. Perhaps the word I search for here is substance.

The biggest selling Photo magazines were Life and the French Match. Life was bigger than Hello and it had full page colour images of major events such as the first moon landings or the Kennedy's. In many ways it opened up a whole new world in ways that the small B & W Tv screen was unable to. 

By contrast today's Hello magazine is completely about our celebrity culture - and if you scratch beneath the surface I have no idea ( apart from fashion style) what the magazine tells us. There are no scientists, authors, artists and a few musicians, on its pages. It is all gloss, gloss, gloss and I worry for the impressionable young. They appear to be feeding an appetite for gossip, but are they not also creating that appetite? 

Today quality images of nature can be seen in tv films.

Nowadays only the Sunday Times magazine offers some quality photojournalism and nature images in  a proper full page spread. There is today an over emphasis (especially for women) on fashion and celebrity. While I enjoy creative fashion images in Vogue or Bazaar but….

for me nothing quite beats the incredible nature photo, an insightful portrait, the memorable photojournalism war photo, a dynamic or expressive live music image, or a moment in history..

I miss those large colour quality historic Life magazine images.
In fact it was Life magazine that first sparked my passion for photography and portriat drawing.
When I view the magazine racks I am discouraged by the low standards of images - the gaudiness, brashness, lack of subtleties..  

We can view millions of images online these days but to find the quality among the that is the challenge that is both time consuming and confusing too!