Lewis Blackwell’s “Photowisdom”

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Photographers usually prefer to let their images speak for them, but I think strong images make you curious not just about the subject matter but also about the photographers themselves. You want to know more—more of what the photographer was thinking, what motivated them, what they were after. The new book Photowisdom: Master Photographers on Their Art seeks to provide those insights.

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Lewis Blackwell, the former group creative director at Getty Images and onetime editor in chief and publisher of Creative Review, interviewed photographers about “their techniques and vision, what the medium means to them and why they were drawn to photography in the first place,” writes Conor Risch in a PDN interview with Blackwell. “Blackwell then worked with each photographer to edit down and refine the text, and selected images that represented the photographers’ work.”

Among the photographers in the book, published by PQ Blackwell/Chronicle Books and featuring 200 images, are Elliott Erwitt, Chuck Close, Joel Meyerowitz, Lauren Greenfield, Platon (who I saw interviewed on BBC America this morning in a segment that ended with his saying that as long he doesn’t have to start shooting weddings, he’s happy), and Nadav Kander.

“It surprised me how much [working on the book] refueled my own passion for photographers and photography, and discussion of photography,” Blackwell told Risch. PDN, by the way, named Photowisdom one of the Notable Books of 2009.

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