Legends' photo tips: 'Venture forth'

By Patricia Greig

Patricia Greig gets inspiration for travel photography from some of the world’s greats.
Kiwi photographer Marti Friedlander: 'The play of light on the subject is the catalyst for the moment I choose to press the shutter.' Photo / Marti Friedlander
Kiwi photographer Marti Friedlander: 'The play of light on the subject is the catalyst for the moment I choose to press the shutter.' Photo / Marti Friedlander

Instagram is rife - every man and his dog are at it, snapping pictures of everything including vast expanses of nothing and filtering it to the ends of the Earth. Yes, photography can be a bit of flippant fun, but a few tips from some of the legends of the craft could set you up to capture the shot of a lifetime on the trip of a lifetime.

Venture forth

Marti Friedlander says that she has always felt great affinity for documentary photography. Aiming to capture and extend personal views of life, she writes: "The play of light on the subject is the catalyst for the moment I choose to press the shutter." Friedlander has explained she was "in the right place at the right time" when she began to take her iconic photographs which later featured in her 1974 book Larks in a Paradise: New Zealand Portraits. With this in mind it makes sense to take Friedlander's recent advice in Travel: "Be kind to yourselves and venture forth."

Take care with portraits

American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz has worked for Rolling Stone magazine, Vanity Fair and Vogue, and it's safe to say she hasn't had trouble finding inspirational subjects for portraits. What makes Leibovitz special is that her photos celebrate people, femininity, sexuality and individuality in a world that is otherwise manufactured. Leibovitz says "A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people." And that, my friends, is something to strive for.

Value the mundane

Perhaps I'm biased because a copy of the picture Picasso at a Bullfight by Brian Brake has hung in various bedrooms since I was a child, but Brake had a real knack for capturing candid pictures of people as well as landscapes. His 1963 book New Zealand, Gift of the Sea features many incredible photos of characters - the photo of dairy farmers captured in 1960, for example - who are extraordinary in their ordinariness.

Colour outside the lines

If it's landscapes you're looking at, Robin Morrison is someone whose work you should seek out. Morrison had a knack for capturing vast distances expertly interrupted by the directorial quality of straight lines or edges in the foreground. Morrison's photographs of people are delivered with similar tact - study his Ponsonby Road series from 1977 and prepare to be hypnotised. Learn more about him from the documentary Sense of Place on nzonscreen.com.

Fix up look sharp

Heading into the wilderness? Don't leave without checking Ansel Adams' black-and-white photographs of landscapes and the environment. Famous for his images captured on the West Coast of America, Yosemite in particular, Adams mastered the balance of exposure and contrast for pictures with clarity and depth. Adams' landscape photographs are more often than not big, rich and triumphantly lacking humans.

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- NZ Herald

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