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Charles Harbutt
Charles Harbutt

Charles Harbutt

Country: United States
Birth: 1935 | Death: 2015

Charles Henry Harbutt (July 29, 1935 – June 30, 2015) was an American photographer, a former president of Magnum, and full-time Associate Professor of Photography at Parsons School of Design in New York. Harbutt was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, and learned much of his photography skills from the township's amateur camera club. He attended Regis High School in New York City where he took photographs for the school newspaper. He later graduated from Marquette University.

Harbutt's work is deeply rooted in the modern photojournalist tradition. For the first twenty years of his career he contributed to major magazines in the United States, Europe and Japan. His work was often intrinsically political, exhibiting social and economic contingencies. In 1959, while working as a writer and photographer for the Catholic magazine Jubilee, he was invited by members of the Castro underground to document the Cuban Revolution on the strength of three photographs he had published in Modern Photography.

An editor at Jubilee while Harbutt was working there, Robert Lax, used photographs taken by Harbutt for the front and back cover of his first book of poetry, The Circus of the Sun.

Harbutt joined Magnum Photos and was elected president of the organization twice, first in 1979. He left the group in 1981, citing its increasingly commercial ambitions and the desire to pursue more personal work. He taught photography workshops, exhibited in solo and group shows around the world, and joined the faculty of the Parsons School of Design at New School University as a full-time professor, in addition to serving as guest artist at MIT, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Harbutt was a founding member of Archive Pictures Inc., an international documentary photographers' cooperative, and a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

His work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American History, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the U.S. Library of Congress, George Eastman House, the Art Institute of Chicago, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, and at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Beaubourg, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

In 1997, his negatives, master prints, and archives were acquired for the collection of the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona.

He mounted a large exhibition of his work at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City in December 2000 and received the medal of the City of Perpignan at a retrospective of his work there in 2004. He died in Monteagle, Tennessee, on June 30, 2015, at the age of 79. He had emphysema.

Source: Wikipedia


Charles Harbutt’s early fascination with magic and the elusive line between perception and reality steered him toward journalism and its documentary role, first as a writer. But he altered his course in 1959, when he was 23, after being invited by Cuban rebels to document the Castro revolution. Immersing himself in Havana’s convulsive and euphoric newfound freedom, he recalled, “I soon understood that I could get closer to the feel of things by taking pictures.”

Mr. Harbutt went on to become an accomplished photojournalist for major magazines and the renowned agency Magnum Photos. “He and Burk Uzzle took photojournalism and pushed it in a direction away from literalism or classicism,” Jeff Jacobson, a former colleague, told The New York Times, referring to a contemporary whose pictures of the Woodstock music festival in 1969 gained wide attention, “away from certainly the European paradigm of Cartier-Bresson, and away from the narrative paradigm of Gene Smith to something very, very different, very involved with metaphor.”

But Charles Harbutt became disillusioned with his craft, questioning the veracity of the events he was covering, particularly after witnessing undercover government agents provoke violence at a rally in New Haven in 1970 in support of jailed Black Panthers. “The kinds of stories I chose to do, I later realized, were mostly about American myths,” he wrote in his last book, Departures and Arrivals (2012). “I photographed small towns, immigrants, the barrio in New York, and then the enormous changes that came with the ’60s. I tried to be a witness as well as show my feelings about all of this. But maybe I had a sell-by time — expiration date — for being a witness,” he continued. “In the early ’70s, I started questioning this reportage for myself. A host of manipulators had so corrupted and warped public events, I could no longer trust the authenticity of what I was seeing. I realized that I was more interested in pajamas on a bed one Brooklyn morning, or a Dublin woman hauling groceries to her house, than I was in the machinations of politics and history ‘writ large.’ ”

Mr. Harbutt experimented with surreal composition and juxtaposition of quotidian forms in a style he described as personal documentary and facetiously branded “superbanalisms.” Among his most famous black-and-white photographs was one of a blind boy, seemingly trying to transcend his sightlessness by reaching for a ribbon of light on a wall. In another, a bride in a flowing white gown poses pensively below exposed pipes and empty tables in a large basement before her wedding reception.

Charles Harbutt’s own favorite, called “Mr. X-Ray Man,” was shot through a car window on the Rue du Départ near the Montparnasse train station in Paris, where fragments of the cityscape and even of the photographer himself can be seen reflected in the glass. What made it special was that it was unexpected, he explained in Arrivals and Departures. “What I like best,” he wrote, “is that however the picture is made, it’s a surprise to me when I see the photo come up in the developer.”

Source: The New York Times


 

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1977
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United States
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I do my best to get it right in camera, which makes the editing process very simple. I work mostly in Lightroom but I do bring my black and white images into Photoshop for a bit of fine-tuning. Basically, I want my editing to look pure, while gently enhancing the overall essence and feeling of the photograph.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?Sally Mann, Jock Sturges and Mary Ellen Mark have been my favorites from the very beginning.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?Work to master your technique -- and your artistry. Work really hard. Be dedicated, committed and determined. Never stop exploring, reflecting, learning and growing. Have patience. Know that the journey of photography is not always an easy one, but it is an absolutely amazing one. Be authentic and make genuine connections. Remember to be grateful, kind and giving. Do your best and don't ever give up!AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?The greatest gifts a photographer could give themselves is allowing time and being patient. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?I would love to share a couple of photography projects that I recently learned about and am inspired by...I had the opportunity to take a workshop from Mary Ellen Mark and I'm greatly inspired by her work and authenticity (both professionally and personally). She and her husband recently launched a kickstarter campaign, which I am thrilled to support: STREETWISE: Tiny RevisitedAnd 'The Return' kickstarter is another project I am happy to support. It is so incredibly beautiful and heartfelt: The return: Book ProjectLove these words shared in the project video: "State the intention for spirit to be present in your finished object, it will be. My soul need these images."AAP: What are your projects?For the past few years, I have been working on my 'From the Sea' series. This summer, I am planning to travel the US for a few months and will not only be photographing in various bodies of water across the US, I am also planning to launch a new project. While I'm not quite ready to release details of my new project, I hope you'll stay tuned.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?Wow, that's a tough question. Receiving that first message from Jock Sturges was pretty darn amazing and winning photoNOLA was such an incredible gift. I never saw either coming.AAP: The compliment that touched you most?Every compliment greatly touches me. I truly am so appreciative for all that others share with me.AAP: If you were someone else who would it be?I'm quite happy being me and can't imagine being anyone else. AAP: Your favorite photo book?Oh how I love photography books. I have so many that proudly grace my bookshelves -- books which I've collected over the years. Sally Mann's Immediate Family was the first photography book I owned so it's pretty special. I also had the opportunity to have Sally Mann sign my books last summer, while attending her talk at the University of Michigan.AAP: Anything else you would like to share?No matter what your personal journey, don't be afraid to dream and dream big -- you just never know what's possible with a little dreaming and a lot of hard work. Don't forget the importance of authenticity and don't ever forget to share your gratitude with those who have assisted you.Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to share. This has been the most amazing journey and I'm beyond grateful.
Ted Anderson
United States
I'm a photographer and designer (graphics and exhibitions) living in upstate New York, with a passion for photographing landscapes, interiors, and people. The pared down features in many of these photographs reflect my interest in natural history, and in the passage of time and the remnants of the past in the present. While the photographs were taken in places as diverse as the lakes and beaches in Maine, gardens in England, and the rural hills of central New York state, all of the images reveal my preference for the simplicity and a certain joyfulness that can exist with austerity. Is there a story behind each of these images? Always.Ted Anderson is presented by TBM Photography NetworkTBM Photography Network regularly presents the popular series: "Photographer Spotlight.” In this part of their newsletter and FaceBook page various fellow photographers are interviewed to learn more about what motivates them, what their goals are and what direction they wish to take with their art. In this segment they welcome the talents of photographer Ted Anderson. TBMPN: What best describes your particular style of photography? TA:I am drawn to austerity, simplicity and to capturing beauty in places that might seem lonely to some. I think a lot about the relationship between people and their environments, and sometimes I look for a figure or a remnant of the past in my exterior or interior photographs. I do not put elements together artificially, but try to present images as I find them. Sometimes I allow stories to arise from the moments captured with the camera. TBMPN: What equipment do you regularly use? TA:My main camera of choice is a Nikon D90 with an 18-100mm lens and a 50-200mm lens. When shooting landscapes, I often go with the wide angle settings. I use a small variety of filters that include neutral density and polarizing filters. Any processing is done on a Mac computer, and I work primarily in Photoshop’s Camera Raw and in Silver Efex. TBMPN: Who or what do you consider your major influences? TA:There are many photographers and painters whose work I admire, but right now I’d have to say that the photographs of Brett and Edward Westen, Julia Margaret Cameron and Walker Evans come to mind. I also love the paintings of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. Visually I am also inspired through music and words that include songs by Bill Callahan, novels by Marilynne Robinson, and the poems by W.S. Merwin. TBMPN: Why did you choose photography as your method of expression? TA:As a kid I loved to draw, and I’ve also composed songs on the guitar for years. Photography, however, is what brings to me the greatest level of creative satisfaction and that sense of connection to others. Just about anyone can take a photograph, but to create an image that might move another person emotionally or intellectually is a challenge that I enjoy. TBMPN: What do you wish to accomplish with your photography? TA:I wish to continue expressing myself both artistically and emotionally and to keep creating images with which people can connect. I recently heard from an old friend, someone I haven’t seen in years, who had requested a print that she’d seen online. That sort of thing does not happen every day, and when it does, it’s quite wonderful. TBMPN: What are your current projects? TA:This past year I have been photographing more portraits, and I’m in the process of setting up a few more portrait sessions. I will be having a solo exhibition in 2016 at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. This exhibition will include landscape and interior images from New York State as well as portraits. In the meantime I am always thinking about new locations to explore. TBMPN: What are your plans for future projects? TA:I’d like to see my photography business expand a bit over the next couple of years. I would like also to take on more portrait and interior photography projects. This next July (2014) I will be in England for two weeks and will have an opportunity for some informal wedding shots in the countryside. I’ll also have the chance to do some street photography in London. I can’t wait!
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