The Fabulous Five

One of the photo podcasts I listen to, the Candid Frame, has a photographer reccomendation at the end of each episode. I realized that between photography, music and comics/ graphic arts I could easily rattle off 5 artists I idolize in each category except photography. Which isn’t to say I don’t love many photographers’ work, but I can’t name them off in a fannish manner as I can creators in other media. So here is a list of 5 photographers I can say I am a fan of…
Sebastio Salgado Gold Serra Pelada, Brazil
1. Sebastio Salgado – the first artist to grab my attention and make me want to take pictures. It was after I saw an exhibit of his “Workers” series that I signed up for my first photo class. Easily the greatest photographer of human rights and the best political photographer to have walked the earth, Jacob Riis coming in at a close second. Kind of the U2 of pictures, which I mean as a great compliment– I definitely believe an artist should have their politics on display if it’s important to their lives.
2. Ralph Eugene Meatyard – from the political to the psychological and philosophical, Meatyard had a strong interest in Zen philosophy and created images that were koans– unsolvable riddles. I love his printing style and I love the fact he wrote himself into his copy of Beaumont Newhall’s History of Photography.
Victor Masayesva
3. Victor Masayesva Jr. – A local AZ mixed media artist who is essentially a photographer yet so much more. His focus is on culture as an insider, not like the “outsider” style images of National Geographic or Edward Curtis. There’s humor and poetry to his work. A similar mixed media Native American photographer is Pena Bonita, who I interviewed during my ASU years.
4. Joan Fontcuberta – This is the kind of work that really pushes boundaries of what could be considered photography. Landscapes that never really existed outside of paintings and blood on slides and imaginary animals. Wonderfully extreme and influential in my current Mythological Monsters series.
frederick sommer
5. Last of the Fabulous Five is Frederick Sommer, who has a grounded surrealism that’s neither cosmic nor conservative. Sommer did a lot in Arizona that I find myself ‘borrowing’ from- dessicated animals, landscapes without horizons. His sensibilities are somewhat close to Meatyard, replacing the Eastern philosophy with scientific scrutiny.


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I'm a multimedia artist in Phoenix, AZ. Main Site - Instagram @primordialcreative + twitter @dbmillerphoto

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