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Andreas Feininger, BBC Master Photographers

I thoroughly enjoyed this BBC documentary on Andreas Feininger (1906-1999) and viewing his photography, particularly his use of telephoto lenses to shoot at a distance and capture the monumental scale of his subjects.

Source: photographersgallery.com by Andreas Feininger
Source: photographersgallery.com by Andreas Feininger

Some points of note:

  • He was one of the first to use telephoto, making his own camera around 1936 as it was too expensive to buy a lens.
  • He talked about standing further away to show monumental scale with a telephoto lens as it doesn’t distort the perspective of elements; they are kept in proportion. He discusses the use of different lenses for different purposes – giving an example of a wide-angle lens to exaggerate the perspective, and give a strong feeling of depth in a shot looking down on a skyscraper.
  • Feininger’s use of light is exquisite. He discusses how important it is particularly in b&w, using it to show different moods and aspects of same subject.
  • He has strong views that a photographic subject has to be unusual or eye catching otherwise he suggests they are boring (something that can be seen anywhere).
  • It is discussed how is work near to spirit of painting – it interprets the subject; not that it copies the painting. Also , how moment so important in photography (vs painting) as it can’t be changed afterwards.

BBC Master Photographers, Andreas Feininger (1983). Film editor Julian Miller (editor), Peter Adam (producer).  [YouTube]. Available from:https://youtu.be/23UjjfnlDDc [accessed 21.11.15]

Photographers’ Gallery, Andreas Feininger [website]. Available from: https://www.photographersgallery.com/by_artist.asp?id=11 [accessed 21.11.15]

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