This is a photo of Peter Adams – a legend of our Australian photographic industry. Peter spent 38 years photographing and interviewing 500 photographers from all over the world – those he considers to be some of the most iconic image makers of photography. I stayed with Peter up in the Blue Mountains when I went to see his inspirational exhibition “A Few of the Legends”. His display featured a selection of about 100 exceptional composite artworks. Each work included a famous photo and quote from the legendary photographer being presented, along with a striking portrait of that artist, captured by Peter. At the exhibition, Peter proudly announced the pending launch of his upcoming publication “A Few of the Legends”. The book will feature all the images from his exhibition and hundreds more. For the book, he narrowed down the selection to 280 photographers.
I was so excited by the audacity, quality and historical importance of the project that I immediately pre-ordered a signed copy of Peter’s up-coming book. I look forward to receiving it and spending time absorbing all the wisdom that can be gained from such a huge collection of talented visual story tellers.
After seeing the exhibition, we headed back to Peters place with some other photographer friends. After a great meal with a few red wines (not too many) we retired to the loungeroom. It was riveting listening to all Peter’s different tales of his many years in the industry and the legends he had met. As Peter was speaking, I saw the aboriginal painting behind him and really wanted to get a photo of Peter with that explosion of colour in the background. It seemed like such a contrast to me – Peter with his love for black and white photography, overwhelmed by a colour background. Fortunately, I had my trusty Lumix S5 camera with me, so I asked Peter to stand in front of the painting and I made a memory of the evening. It’s just a fun happy snap of Peter that will always remind me of that night and Peter’s colourful stories. When you feel the inspiration to take a photo, stop and follow the idea – seize the moment. They don’t all work out as masterpieces, but they often capture magical memories.
So, what is the point of my story? What makes a person a legend in the art of photography? Most of the legends I know in our photographic world are not driven to make money. They are simply passionate about taking pictures. They want to unveil a story they are seeing or feeling. They want to capture and reveal to others an often fleeting moment in time. Time – not art critics – will tell who the true legends of the arts are. Legends will be the ones whose images have connected with people and left imprints in their minds.
Looking back over the 45 years of images I have taken is fascinating for me. Each image takes me back to the moment of its capture. I like to carry a camera wherever possible, just in case a photo opportunity arises. And these days, my travel camera of choice is the Lumix S5. Sure, I can choose not to carry a camera and just experience the moment. But sometimes really magical moments happen, and I don’t want to be unarmed when they do. It’s sad when you hear someone’s story of the fish – or picture – that got away. That’s why I love to have a camera nearby.
Anyhow, love and great light to you and remember – seize those magical moments. Be a legend in your own lifetime.