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Iconic Photographer


benjibob342 13 43 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2019 1:49PM
what is it that seperates the icon from the pleb? Could it be the subjects chosen or who you know. who decides you have *it* manypictures look average but attain celeb status.

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17 Nov 2019 3:14PM
I am not sure actually what is your question...what you are trying to mean by celeb status...could you give a little more explanation...
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.7k 58 United Kingdom
18 Nov 2019 1:28PM
Hi Benjamin,

Many photography Icons of old were the privileged or lucky few that had access to cameras and could produce consistently interesting work of good quality, often also following a particular genre - news, fashion etc. They became known for their work in a particular area.

I don't like the word pleb, because it to me denotes someone belittling someone else's efforts, many amatures produce excellent occasional work in subjects they choose when they choose to do it.
And plenty of us take regular photos that sometimes are to too bad.

Modern photography icones are in my view often highly promoted by their own team or a sponsoring company, or again are actually passionate about a particular cause they want to document. But they may not be fully famous icons yet for a few decades. Photography now is ubiquitous and the number of available images is unimaginable - modern iconic has to be very special and accessible to many.

Who do you see as iconic, why do you think of them so?
Why are you and I not yet Iconic?
Chris_L 5 5.3k United Kingdom
19 Nov 2019 1:51AM
I think it's a mistake to describe a photographer as iconic.

There are iconic photographs - definitely. The first photos that come into your mind of Hendrix, Jagger, Bowie, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe etc are the iconic ones - they are icons for the rest. You could use one as a sticker on a drawer full of photos of that person and people would recognise it instantly and know what was in the drawer.

There are some famous photographers, but I don't even know what most of them look like themselves. They are hardly iconic.

You posted this after seeing that Terry O'Neill had died of prostate cancer, I'd describe many of Terry's photographs as iconic, I guess he could be the iconic music photographer.

He had access but he knew what he was doing with a camera. Well exposed, well timed and well composed images. You feel that when you look at portraits by photographers like this that the subjects hold your gaze and you connect with them. It feels closer to being their with them than seeing them on TV does.

Pete Plus
18 18.8k 97 England
19 Nov 2019 8:15AM
Interesting question. I have a few more. Do you only become iconic if the masses like you? What if one person looks at your work and puts you on a pedestal? Are you then iconic to that person? Many iconic photographers are given such status because of who or what they've photographed - David Bailey fashion, Ansel Adams landscapes, Bob Carlos Clarke nudes, Martin Parr life, Don McCullin War etc. All projected to be known as creators of the highest level in their genre by media. So does media make the icons? or do we as admirers?
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.7k 58 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2019 9:49AM

Quote:Do you only become iconic if the masses like you?
I don't know about the need for the masses to 'like' you, but iconic probably mean the masses at least have that person as a known reference point.


Quote: What if one person looks at your work and puts you on a pedestal? Are you then iconic to that person?
I'd say yes for me, as i been inspired by some people with certain styles, even a few on ePhotozine, and to me they have become iconic to me and a measure by which i judge both my own and other photos. And others such as the Suns royal photographer Arthur Edwards MBE as having briefly met him a few times i felt he was a jolly nice chap who took some important photos.

I also think some individual photos become iconic -
the kiss in times square
the vietnam girl
Man and baby poster sold by Athena
mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.7k 2099 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2019 10:11AM
Iconic is a word that is used very freely and has lost a lot of its power as a result. (Other examples - awesome, terrific, terrible, devastating, and absolutely combined with any of the aforementioned... ) It means symbolic of something much bigger, and stills photography does have that capacity to convey a whole epoch or culture, or a single moment in time.

Mass media allow people to experience that - but it's people's personal, emotional response that makes the image iconic.

It's significant that a lot of the photography that is now viewed as iconic has grown in importance as the original subject recedes into the past. Photos rarely become icons overnight. The photos that J-H Lartigue took as a boy weren't 'discovered' until he was 69, they're of gilded youth before WW1 , that world seems so distant now. You can say the same for the classic pop images of the 1960s, before PR took total control.

And yes, I agree with Chris, the word applies to the pictures, not the photographer.

19 Nov 2019 1:06PM
I do agree with Chris and Moira, the word icon or iconic would be attributed to the work, the image, not the photographer. For the artist, photographer or otherwise, to be called such, he/she would have to be so much more than “just” a photographer, like Elvis was more than “just” a Rock & Roll singer, and Marilyn was so much more than “just” a movie star. A photographer, maybe Andy Warhol? Any thoughts?

Alan
Chris_L 5 5.3k United Kingdom
19 Nov 2019 5:53PM
Moira you are so right about language. I dislike the way superlatives are used interchangeably by people who have not been taught, or bothered to learn, the appropriate usage.

The merging or overuse of adjectives robs our language of nuance and meaning. You see it on epz image comments. If everything thought to be good or better is described as 'awesome' or 'great' how are the the truly awesome things going to be described? People will fudge it with "truly awesome". That begs a question about their previous comments.

There's a major difference in meaning between words such as 'envious' and 'jealous', between 'decimate' and 'destroy', but people often use the wrong one.

When I watch some quality TV like The Crown, Downton Abbey, Jeeves and Worcester or even Game of Thrones I realise how much I love the English language and how much the best of it is missing or misplaced in our modern conversations.
saltireblue Plus
9 9.9k 38 Norway
19 Nov 2019 6:03PM

Quote:There's a major difference in meaning between words such as .../... 'decimate' and 'destroy', but people often use the wrong one.

Decimate is an interesting example of how languages are constantly being changed and developed. Historically, the word meant to remove/kill one in ten ('deci' is the Latin for 'ten'), however in recent times it has taken on the meaning of to largely destroy or remove a large proportion of a group or people or a city or community.
This has happened in my lifetime as we were taught the historical meaning when I went to school, and has come since the start of the 70s.
SlowSong Plus
11 8.4k 30 England
19 Nov 2019 6:26PM
I often use the wrong word but, hey, more serious things to worry about.
saltireblue Plus
9 9.9k 38 Norway
19 Nov 2019 6:48PM

Quote:I often use the wrong word but, hey, more serious things to worry about.

Of course there are more serious things to worry about, but the evolution and fluidity of languages is fascinating.
SlowSong Plus
11 8.4k 30 England
19 Nov 2019 7:04PM

Quote:
Quote:I often use the wrong word but, hey, more serious things to worry about.

Of course there are more serious things to worry about, but the evolution and fluidity of languages is fascinating.


Yes it is. Go back a few hundred years and English would be completely incomprehensible to most if us.
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.7k 58 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2019 7:13PM
Listening to my under 10 learn English now is quite a revelation, the most interesting one was the ferm 'Fronted Adverbial' to describe a particular part of a sentence structure.
I think i got lost at 'verb' when i was at school. I'm getting a second chance at lernin Smile
Chris_L 5 5.3k United Kingdom
20 Nov 2019 5:38PM

Quote:in recent times it has taken on the meaning of to largely destroy
Which means that you end up with two words that mean the same and one of them becomes redundant. The language will just become more bland, like Plasticine when all the colours get mixed together.

Current pet hate is television interviewees who say the word "obviously" before they state anything. It does not matter if what they say would have been obvious to viewers or not: "Obviously the car has come around that bend, obviously the street was still flooded at that time and obviously the driver has been distracted by his phone on something. Obviously the accident investigators have to their job first before we can let the recovery truck come for the vehicles. Nobody was injured but obviously there could have been." Even when they get one right, then that means they are stating the bleedin obvious and obviously they know it. Obvious innit?

How many times do you need to see a word, like 'obviously', or any other word, obviously, before your brain, obviously, starts thinking of it as nonsense? Might just be me?


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