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Peter Fetterman Gallery : The Power of Photography #32


This is the 32nd installment of the online series by Peter Fetterman Gallery called the Power of Photography highlighting hope, peace and love in the world. We invite you to enjoy and reflect on these works during this time.


Marc Riboud
Varanasi, India, 1956
© Estate of Marc Riboud / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“For me photography is a passion, closer to an obsession. It is not an intellectual process. It is a visual one. While shooting, if we think too much we miss the birdie. A good photograph is a surprise. How could we plan a surprise? We just have to be ready.” ~ Marc Riboud (1923-2016)

This 1956 image of Marc’s always reminds me of why I fell in love with photography and why I always return to it like a trusted friend when I am in need of some comfort and inspiration. It has everything a great image should contain. Simplicity, elegance, honesty, tenderness and insight.

I have never been to Varanasi but Marc takes me there on his wings. It is of course beautiful in it’s composition but it is in its humanity that just touches the heart. Marc is like a great choreographer or orchestra conductor. He moves through life and takes us with him and awakens our feelings in a crescendo of emotion, a rare gift.


Martine Franck (Belgium, b. 1938-2012)
Meudon Observatory, Seine-et Oise, France, 1991
© Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos/Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

“The reason I enjoy photography? The improvisation, the randomness and the unexpected.”~ Martine Franck

Martine was one the most intelligent, elegant and dignified people I have ever met. Her graciousness and kindness to me as I embarked on this career was profound. I owe her so much. She possessed a truly rare talent. Her quiet manner, almost an innate shyness covered a strong passion and determination to create beauty. She found architecture and humanity in the landscape as is evidenced here.


George Tice
Grazing Horse, Haworth Moor, Yorkshire, 1990
© George Tice / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“Preparing the “Stone Walls, Grey Skies” book I used the Bronte Sisters writings as research. You could say that Haworth Moor was Bronte country. Their writings were a great influence.” ~ George Tice “I don’t speak emotionally about my pictures. That’s for other people to do. I will say that I love my photographs. That’s what keeps me going.” ~ George Tice

George won a year’s fellowship to photograph in North Yorkshire. He brought the same great insight there and understanding of the landscape and its people as he had done in his native New Jersey. He also mastered the complicated and exacting platinum print process to create exceptional prints such as the above. George Tice was particularly noted for his printing skill, and also served as a master printer for Steichen as well as printing the portfolios of Frederick H. Evans and Edward Weston. Tice’s body of work has continually focused on the American rural and suburban landscape. However this image is part of a vision of Yorkshire created as a result of a joint fellowship from the National Museum of Photography, Film, Television and Bradford and Ilkley Community College. An anthem in photographic form for a turn of the seasons, embracing grey clouds, reflection and perhaps inspiring a day with a Brontë novel, Juliet R.V. Barker authors the afterward of George Tice’s Yorkshire body of work, “George Tice’s Yorkshire is indeed a world of grey skies and stone walls, as his title proclaims. In almost every photograph, rural or urban, moorland or seaside, the landscape is sodden with rain and the skies are clouded and storm-laden. Somehow, this seems entirely appropriate for the prevailing mood of this collection. This is somber, dour portrayal of a country noted for those very characteristics; it is also a celebration of the spirit and drama of a bleak, sometimes forbidding and inhospitable countryside, which nevertheless inspires passion in its admirers. In their writings, the Brontë’s created an evocative and lasting memorial to this landscape; in his superb collection of photographs, George Tice has done likewise.” Juliet R.V. Barker (afterward to George Tice’s Stone Walls, Grey Skies; A vision of Yorkshire.


Bruce Davidson
The Cafeteria, 1973
© Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“A good pastrami sandwich could bring peace to the world.”~ Bruce Davidson

I have always loved delis. I seek them out whenever I’m traveling. I guess it stems back to my childhood. My dad loved them. He was a very silent man but seemed to come alive when he was in one. It was often a place we could spend some quiet time together on a special occasion like a birthday at his favourite one in the East End in London near where we lived. It was something beyond mere comfort food. It attracted people like my dad who were trying to find their place in a modern world having lost the traditional world from where they and their own families had come from Bruce Davidson connected with the great writer Isaac Bashevis Singer in the early 1970’s having produced a documentary on him. Singer introduced him to The Garden Cafeteria on the Lower East Side in New York where Singer would often eat having dropped off a story written for The Jewish Daily Forward whose offices were nearby.The images Bruce took there have a poetic melancholy to them and many of his subjects had been displaced and shattered by their experiences of the Holocaust and were struggling to survive again in a different way in an unfamiliar modern New York.As Bruce eloquently put it,“Isaac Singer allowed me to find something I had never been able to reach before.”


René Groebli
Eye of Love #513, 1952
© René Groebli / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“I tried to convey the typical atmosphere of French hotel rooms. There were so many impressions: the poor-looking furniture in a cheap hotel, the ‘Amors’ embroidered on the curtains. And I was in love with the girl, the girl who is my wife. I think a series of photographs should be compared with a novel or even a poem rather than a painting: let us tell something!”~ René Groebli

The history of Photography is full of examples of the Muse as Inspiration, think Alfred Steiglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Weston and Charis Wilson, Harry Callahan and his wife Eleanor throughout their 63 year old marriage. But none is as powerful or poignant as René Groebli telling of his honeymoon in a simple,  small Paris hotel as his “Eye of Love” series.To my mind,  it is the greatest love story ever told in still images. Now in his 93rd year, René is a source of constant inspiration.  A true life force.


Arnold Newman
Violins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1969
© The Estate of Arnold Newman / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“We don’t take photographs with our cameras, we take them with our hearts and our minds. They are a reflection of ourselves…what we are and what we think.”~ Arnold Newman

The violin is one of my most favorite sounds to listen to. It is so emotional and heart-wrenching.I don’t have to turn on any Mozart, Bach or Beethoven to hear it. I just look at Arnold’s image and hear them all. Justly celebrated as one of the great 20th Century portrait photographers, this is a rare gem in his body of work.


Paul Caponigro
Running White Deer, Ireland, 1967
© Paul Caponigro / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“In my many years of photographing the landscape and prehistoric stones of Ireland, I had come to realize that the life of the place generated a quiet magic. During my photography, there was usually a herd of white deer. They were randomly roving on the grounds on an estate and so I asked permission of the owner and set myself to the task of how to photograph them. Catching them in small groups was unsatisfying but I remembered the talent of the Irish sheepdog and enlisted the help of the owner and his dog to corral a substantial number of these white beasts. I visualized the deers as being spread out before the trees of the estate and set about the choreography of the event. Some 25 or so of these deer were collected at one end of a long field and at my signal the dog was to chase them in my direction. My camera was set up so as to include on my ground glass the grass field as foreground and the trees and background with myself hidden in the tress so as not to be seen.Not knowing what to expect I signaled and to my delight and surprise one of the deer took the lead and the others followed one behind the other. In the subdued light of the day my calculated exposure required the widest lens, aperture and a slow shutter speed of I second. I did not know and could not know what impression would appear on my film but to my delight on processing the film I found a beautifully impressionist feel made by the running white deer.As to capturing something magical, I knew that to be the case when two white swans flew directly over my head and camera moments after releasing the shutter of the lens.”~ Paul Caponigro

We are all very fortunate to spend a week with Paul Caponigro, one of the true masters of this medium. I have enjoyed a great relationship and friendship with Paul for over 30 years now. Whenever I am in need of inspiration I look at his sublime work and hear the deep tones of his voice and the wise words he has always shared with me about photography and even more important his views on life which are always profound but never ponderous. I also revel in his gift for the piano and his insight into music which are equally revealing as his gift for photography. Let us enjoy first one of his most acclaimed and respected images “Running White Deer” – This is how photo history was made. Pure beauty!


Thurston Hopkins
Keeping Warm, Islington, London, 1950
© Estate of Thurston Hopkins / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery
“Before a cat will condescend to treat you as a trusted friend, some little token of esteem is needed. Like a dish of cream.”~ T.S. Eliot

Thurston Hopkin’s dream was to work for Picture Post, the UK equivalent of Life Magazine. It was like a rite of passage to join their ranks. As Thurston told me once, while walking the streets of London doing reportage for other assignments he met many cats that were made homeless by all the war bombings. He proposed to his editor that he do a story on “The Cats of London.” The editor agreed and off Thurston went. Many of these strays had to establish themselves in the bomb sites. They were living and breeding more or less as wild cats would, surviving on the scraps given by friendly neighbors. Back in those days even the normal, “domestic” cats that had loving homes would spend lots of time on the streets. It was a common practice to let the cat out of the house before the owners went to bed as cat doors did not exist then. So even the kitties that had homes were still street cats first and house cats second. The streets have changed, the cars for sure have changed, but the cats are the only things that have not changed in 70 years. The alternative title for this image is “Purr-Fect Parking.” Don’t you just love that English wit?


Raymond Cauchetier
Tirez sur le Pianiste, 1960
© Estate of Raymond Cauchetier / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“I demand that a film express either the joy of making Cinema or the agony of making Cinema. I am not at all interested in anything in between. I am not interested in all those films that do not pulse.”~ Francois Truffaut. 1932-1984

The art of photography is really a solitary pursuit. The photographer can create on his or her own. There are no constraints and the only person you really have to satisfy is yourself. The art of cinema is a collaborative endeavor. Before one can even get to make a film the director has probably been run ragged by getting the film financed and then cast to also satisfy the demands of the financiers dependent on issues beyond the filmmakers control. It is by necessity a collaborative process and often fails and falls short of the original intent.But when it all works and all the elements come together it is magic. I have never seen an image that conveys this better than Raymond’s celebrated image of Truffaut on the set of “Shoot The PIanist.” You just get caught up with the joy and “relief” of creating something truly special. You are there with him.


Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Mexico, b. 1902-2002)
Caballo en Aparador, Segundo, c. 193
© Estate of Manuel Alvarez Bravo / Courtesy of Peter Fetterman Gallery

“Shoot what you see, not what you think. A photographer’s philosophy should be not to have one.”~ Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Manuel Alvarez Bravo consistently sidestepped questions about the interpretations of his images, suggesting that people ask his photographs, and not himself, what they mean. A pillar of the medium and one of Mexico’s most iconic photographers, Bravo’s work has always centered itself in Mexican culture.Themes and motifs are unavoidable in his work. This image brings an almost sinister equine toy horse figure and “unlucky” horseshoe. This unlikely still life murmurs an echo of conquistadors, and colonialism in the form of centaur-like figures from an earlier time in Mexico. But perhaps Bravo has merrily singled out a loaded motif. Mexico’s history echos so clearly in his work, and Bravo had a knack for leading us, like a horse, to water.


Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)
Paris [Quais], 1958
© Foundation Henri-Cartier Bresson / Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

Train stations are very romantic places, especially European ones. They are full of farewells and reunions. Little moments filled with enormous emotions and complex stories. This rare Henri Cartier Bresson is one of the greatest ever taken.


Peter Fetterman Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave, #A1
Santa Monica, CA 90404


The Power of Photography is now a book published by ACC ART Books.

Peter Fetterman : The Power of Photography
Pages: 256 pages
Size: 7.87 in x 9.06 in
ISBN: 9781788841221

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