5 Photography Documentaries to watch now
I’m always intrigued to know how photographers tick. What kit do they use? How did they get the shot? What made them want to photograph in the first place? There have been some brilliant photography documentaries made over recent years. I’ve been thinking about my favourites and here they are:
Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington
April 2011, Misrata, Libya. A group of photographers are sitting in a car with their driver. The Bee Gees' ‘How deep is your love’ plays on the radio. Outside of the car is a war zone. A voice is heard asking ‘Which way is the front line from here’. That day, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, along with Chris Hondros, a Getty Images photographer were fatally wounded. This film is a wonderful tribute to the photographic career of Hetherington made by his personal friend Sebastian Junger. It also includes an in-depth look at his photography career and includes tributes and memories from his loved ones.
Available on UK iTunes
Bill Cunningham New York
‘The best fashion show is definitely on the street, always has been, always will be.’ The words of Bill Cunningham, photographer for the New York Times. He worked for the newspaper for almost 40 years before his death in June 2016 and was best known for his candid shots of fashion on the New York City Streets. This profile of Cunningham provides an interesting insight into his life and work both through his own eyes and those of the fashion world.
Available on UK iTunes
Don’t Blink, Robert Frank
Named by the New York Times as the most influencial living photographer, Robert Frank is a pillar of American photojournalism. He produced the iconic book ‘The Americans’, a highly influential study in post-war American photography. Filmmaker Laura Israel worked as Robert’s editor for many years but she was reluctant to approach him about the idea of a film at first as he had turned down other directors. She did ask him though and Robert agreed to being the subject of the film. The result is a great insight into his work, family, friends and day-to-day life.
Finding Vivian Maier
A mystery box, loaded with film negatives is bought at auction for $380. The photographer: an unknown by the name of Vivian Maier. Maier worked as a nanny. What nobody realised when she was alive was that she had taken and kept hundreds of thousands of street photography images during her lifetime. Telling the fascinating story of how the images were discovered, this film also talks to those who knew her as a very private woman. She is now considered one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers.
Available in the UK from iTunes
The President’s Photographer
Missing the Obama days? I recently discovered this documentary. It's available to watch on YouTube (divided into four parts). It follows Barack Obama’s official Photographer during his White House years, Pete Souza. The film gives a fascinating insight into Souza’s role, capturing key moments in history mixed with behind the scenes shots of Obama with his family. Souza had his own office in the White House, a room previously used as the official barber shop of past presidents! The film is a glimpse behind the scenes of a photographer who has created key images in history.
Available on YouTube
Any I haven’t mentioned? I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.