The Genius of Photography – BBC DVD

I’ve just finished watching ‘The Genius of Photography’ on a BBC DVD made in 2006 by Wall to Wall, six hours of truly entertaining and fascinating video of not only the art of photography but the history, movements and geniuses behind it all, I was entranced from start to finish.

The moments that stand out for me are the pictures of Atget and the fact he wasn’t ‘discovered’ until only a few months before his death and whose photographs are a wonderful portal back to the Paris of the early 19th century, in very fine detail and of some very quirky subjects.  Joel Meyerwitz talks very eloquently of his love of New York street scenes and captures some very evocative moments which remind me of scenes from some of the many movies made in this city.  Nan Goldin and Larry Clark also stand out, but more for their shock approach, although Nan Goldin’s work has very heady colour saturation.  Clark seems to be the sort of person who doesn’t give a damn for anyone and his images to me, whilst true to the sub-culture he inhabits, are more records of that side of life than artful.

It’s very difficult to sum up six hours of video, although the information has, and will have, a lasting influence on what I do from now on, as it is better to view what you haven’t understood up to this point with a very good analytical narrative explaining it and pointing out various areas within the genre’s that required my attention without using academic language.  Backed by a great book by Gerry Badger, reviewed here , the pair together will be something I’ll look at and savour time and again in the coming years.


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