Does quality matter? - the case of Jacob Holdt

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by kezia, May 16, 2010.

  1. While 10 years late to the party I'm thankful to have come across this thread and to have been introduced to the work of Holdt. I consider his photographs to be outstanding. I don't care what equipment he used, it is outstanding in my humble opinion. That said, I think the camera he used adds to the quality of the result given the documentary nature of the work. His work has a spontaneity and 'in the moment' quality that is only enhanced by the snapshot like look of the photographs. He has a remarkable talent for entering into people's lives and capturing decisive moments. I don't see it benefiting much, if at all, from high tech or high priced equipment.
  2. In the case of the book quality mattered. to me.
    I really admire Jacob Holdt. Not just for American Pictures but his continued proactive work as an educator and chronicler of the injustice of elitism and racism. Not without merit even now... an urgent reality. I admire anyone who speaks out and stays the course like he has. It's important. His motivation to point at & improve the inequities seems very genuine. His approach is thoughtful and not unfair even to those who practice racism. It is layered journalism not 1 dimensional as some think.. The bigger picture imo.
    I like his photos, sometimes in spite of his verbosity. I did not like his first book American Pictures self published in the seventies. As a book lover/collector I regrettfully passed it by many times. I was very disappointed back then in the quality of the printing. I had only browsed the the heavily laden text. In time i began to seek it out and read it more thoroughly and appreciate his intent that had already been communicated me through his photos. And in spite of his own minimizing of his photography I find them very effective at communicating and some personal expression. The later book pubished by Steidl United States 1970-1975 was a great improvement focusing on the imagery. As a fan of the book as a stand apart/alone medium of expression the editing and print quality can matter. The camera not at all in this case.

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