Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yan Pritzker

I would like to start by saying that in the last few days, I've been pretty harsh, and Aaron Nace, as confident and popular as he is, did not cause the problems that run throughout the Flickr community.  He's a symptom of a large problem that, though the efforts of some fine photographers, we may be able to watch, slowly disappearing, in the rear view mirror.

One such of these photographers is a fellow named Yan Pritzker.  I stumbled over his Photostream last night, when I was mildly intoxicated.  The next thing I knew, it was three o'clock in the morning. 

One of the photos that really stood out to me was one entitled "The Briefcase"  The simplicity of the subject matter is really fantastic, and the composition gives it this sinister element of espionage.  In the description, he says he's using Tri-X, and I'd assume from the amount of grain that it's probably TX400.  There is some post processing on this shot, but it's done in such a way that nothing is removed from the image, the subject matter is  maintained and enhanced, by the post, not defined by it.

Pritzker's pertinence comes from his approach to his photography.  He's not a trade photographer, and his interest was built from exposure to the craft from an early age.  The way he presents his images is very simple, letting the process speak, instead of the technology. 

He states Richard Avedon as one of his influences, which he wears just enough on his sleeve with his portrait work.  This photo, using all natural light, is striking.  The overall effect achieved by an understanding of simplicity, that seems to permeate every aspect of this shot.  The subject has a ten mile stare to die for, and the low key back drop has some fantastic detail that make the subject appear to be floating in space and popping right out at you.  I love
 this photo, not only because it shows a true grasp of the fundamentals of portraiture, but also because it has an intangible allure.  Of corse, for the gear heads out there, an Epson RD-1, and a 50mm Leica Summicron definitely gives him the right tools for the work he does.

And the final little surprising happy coincidence that I found after I had contacted Yan, was that we have the same aversion to the way that Flickr has changed the face of photography on the Internet.  Here's a short excerpt from an interview with The BPP Group on Flickr

9. What was important for you when choosing you
r pictures for your portfolio?

Every time I go through the Explore stream I see the same pictures rehashed. The macro flower, the over-photoshopped HDR image, the cute baby, the beautiful girl portrait, the long exposure saturated color landscape, the bokeh galore, the water drops caught mid-fall. While all of these are fine examples, and I'm not going to contradict the thousands of people who fav pictures like this, I am choosing pictures that I think stand out in their own way, not conforming to any common flickr standard.
I'd like to close this up with one last photo from Yan's photostream.  It reminds me a lot of my idol, George Tice.  It's got an ethereal air to it, that I just can't seem to put words to.

All photos used with permission of Yan Pritzker (Flickr/Portfolio)

1 comment:

Yan said...

I am honored, thank you!