To the degree possible, I’d like to help people take better, more expressive, and more personal photographs. Just a decade ago, the only people who had the equipment to take great photos were hobbyists, artists, and pros; today we all have access to remarkable cameras. To be good isn't much about the equipment, it's about learning to see; and it only takes looking at lots of images for our brains to start to see things in a new way. Composing photographs on the fly, as it were, is a craft. There’s natural ability, like anything, but it’s mostly practice. While I manage a collection of many historic and beautiful photographs, there are a select few I think are particularly appropriate to show in the Neomodern gallery—the work of the mid-century street photographers of Paris, mostly. The beautiful, funny, poignant work of Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, and Elliott Erwitt, to name just a few, is characteristically similar to the kind of photographs people readily take with a smartphone: handheld, candid and mostly unposed, unlit by artificial means… they are not of models, or shot in a studio… and they aren’t “conceptual” or complicated, they are just snapshots from gifted photographers. Good for lots of different reasons. Sometimes even blurry, sometimes framed oddly. Still magical.
Seeing the world through their eyes gives us a nuanced reference for improving our photos. They tacitly give us permission to see things differently, to crop, to break rules. Because there are no rules. I don’t think people need to take classes at first, or learn software. It all begins with looking at pictures, and taking pictures. For many people, it starts with a selfie.
When those historic photographs were taken back in the 1940s, they were printed by someone who was particularly skilled at seeing and printing photographs; sometimes it was the photographer, but many times it was a printer. The printer is the partner to the photographer. They are a team, like a movie director and editor. In many cases, the images that we see as iconic are collaborations.
Our company has a simple purpose: to collaborate with people with cameras in the printing of their work, and to make a lasting physical object. I’d like to connect people to the historic work of artists like Kertesz and Cartier-Bresson through their own picture taking. There’s a direct connection from you with your smartphone to Ansel Adams.
Seeing a beautiful manifestation of your tiny digital image … it’s a cool thing. There’s a reason the hobby of photography has long flourished—the enshrining of a moment, rendering it permanent, is enormously gratifying. It’s great that we can so easily take pictures today. It’s wonderful that we have a constant opportunity to make them really good and occasionally special.