stettner louis verkeersbord met

Hij heeft veel gezien.
Drieënnegentig geworden, geleefd in de tijdspanne tussen 1922-2016, op straat te vinden vooral in Parijs en New York die hij zijn ‘spirituel mothers’ noemde.
Het dagelijkse leven van dagelijkse mensen als onderwerp voor zijn camera.
Begonnen op zijn dertiende, aangemoedigd door Alfred Steiglitz en Paul Strand vind je nu zijn collecties in het Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art en in hetVictoria and Albert Museum.
Ondanks de museumtentoonstellingen bleef hij toch lang onbekend bij het grote publiek.

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Greatly appreciated by fellow photographers and discerning collectors, the problem as photography critic Kelly Wise aptly states: “rarely is his work shown in breadth.” Which is precisely the purpose of his book Early Joys. Slowly a legend has blossomed about his early photographs (1947 – 1972) that has strongly influenced young photographers. Yet its true scope and depth has been only available to those fortunate enough to visit his print room.

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There is a most stirring and perceptive Introduction by his teacher and lifelong friend, the famous French photographer Brassai (Stettner is the only photographer to be honored): “Stettner has always been fully conscious that the role of the photographer is not to turn away from all reference to reality, but on the contrary to express a profound experience with it.”

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Mr. Stettner, a New Yorker, was a product of the ‘Photo League’ and its emphasis on socially conscious, documentary work, exemplified by members and supporters like Weegee, Berenice Abbott and Robert Frank.
“I have never been interested in photographs based solely on aesthetics, divorced from reality,” he wrote in his photo collection “Wisdom Cries Out in the Streets,” published in 1999. “I also doubt very much whether this is possible.”
While living in Paris after World War II, he also found inspiration in a new wave of French photographers, including Robert Doisneau, Brassaï and Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose outlook seemed to dovetail with the league’s. (William Grimes NY Times)

(Hieronder Christmas Eve 1950)

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He began studying photographs at the print room of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and observing, through the camera’s lens, the streets around him. New York was his subject, the place he described as “a city I love, a city that forgives nothing but accepts everyone — a place of a thousand varied moods and vistas, of countless faces in a moving crowd, each one silently talking to you.” (ibidem)

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Stettner’s elaborate shrug is typical of the masters of his form and kind. Photographers tend, vocationally, to understate the intellectual preparation necessary to their work, as other visual artists tend to overstate theirs. The myth of accident – I was there, that’s what I saw, you would have seen the same – remains essential to the form, in part because the element of serendipity really is essential to its beauty: if we try to make photographs too artful, we miss what makes them art. (Adam Gopnik)

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Terwijl nu iedereen te beginnen met de lagere school-kinderen minstens één camera op zak heeft, vraag je je af of er van het dagelijkse leven nog foto’s overblijven die niet ontsierd worden door het gezicht van de selfie-fotograaf.
(Voor het tegendeel verwijs ik je graag naar het ‘dagboek’ van Luc Dewaele)
https://lucdewaele.com

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Het ogen-blik in elke foto vastgehouden mag zich blijven uitstrekken voor al de ogen die er  later hun blik op richten, en dank zij de kunde van de fotograaf de ruimte herkennen, alsof ze ooit de onze was, en voortaan inderdaad van ons geworden is en zal blijven.

Ons lot aan elkaar verbonden, waar we ook ter wereld verblijven.

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(met Franse ondertiteling)