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Top 5 – Photography Documentaries 2

  • Inspiration
  • 29/12/17

Here is our second list of Top 5 Photography Documentaries, edited especially for you!

Top 5 – Photography Documentaries 2

Gregory Crewdson – Brief Encounters


Fine Art Photographer Gregory Crewdson’s images are staged to meticulous detail and are utterly stunning. Who wouldn’t want to understand his images from conception right through to the final editing stage and that is exactly what you get with Brief Encounters? Crewdson takes photographs the way a director makes a movie. He comes up with a concept and composes a scene on location – often with a crew of 40 people. “I don’t even like holding a camera,” he says. “I see myself as a picture maker, where I’m interested in the thing that’s happening in front of me.”

Crewdson’s pictures play with reality and fiction and, he says, are “very intimate, private moments, but they’re photographed in a very removed…distanced way.”

Helmut Newton – Helmut by June (1995)

“The way I photograph things is the way I see the world”- Helmut Newton.


This is a film written and directed by Helmut Newton’s wife June Newton. This memorising movie not only shows us the type of assignments Newton was involved in in the 90s, but the way he represents private lives. From the 1970s, June Newton worked as a photographer under the pseudonym Alice Springs (her hometown in Australia). There was only room for one Newton.

The Newtons lived in Paris for 27 years and then moved to Monte Carlo – escaping for the winter to Los Angeles for 3 months of the year. The majority of the footage for the documentary was shot by June in the 1990s using a video camera that she had originally purchased for her husband as a Christmas present. Helmut by June is shot in an intimate and candid fashion and the result is a fascinating portrayal of one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century.

Daido Moriyama – In Pictures

“For me cities are enormous bodies of people’s desires” – Daido Moriyama


Always using a compact camera, he is able to capture and create his own home by connecting pieces of images from his imagination and from the things he saw as a child.

Moriyama is one of the most celebrated artists to emerge from the Japanese Provoke movement of the 1960s. In this film, Moriyama invites us into his studio and takes us on a walk around the atmospheric Shinjuku neighbourhood, his home from home in Tokyo. At 73, he still finds it exciting to walk around the city taking snapshots. He likes to capture the movement of people in the streets and backstreets of Japan. With numerous solo exhibitions under his belt Moriyama sees his prints not as pieces of art but as a single step in the process of making books. His true interest in photography is producing books.

We see him selecting images and turning them to black and white straight away, his love of monochrome will never die, he finds in it n eroticism that is unavailable in colour images. As he says himself: “For me, photography is not a means by which to create beautiful art, but a unique way of encountering genuine reality.”

Malick Sidibé : Dolce Vita Africana


In this 2008 documentary of portraits taken by Sidibé from the late 50s to the early 70s, there is a wide selection of images. Using his medium format camera, his desire is to capture happiness and to move away from what his generation knew and understood under years of military dictatorship. His Africa had only known poverty so he wanted to illustrate the carefree spirit of his portraits. These portraits are taken in the studio with makeshift backgrounds, connecting with the photographer the viewer, also. He laughs contagiously, drawing the viewer closer with the desire to learn more. This is not just an important documentary to understand his art but to understand places and cultures.

Alexey Titarenko – Artist Series


Ted Forbes is an exciting photographer/ filmmaker who started a fantastic channel on photography called The Art of Photography. One part of the channel is the Artist Series, a crowd-funded project where Forbes interviews major living photographers.

In this short but intense movie, we are introduced to Alexey Titarenko and his method of work. We can peek inside his studio and be spectators of his printing/editing process.

He studied music and discusses how classical music plays a very important role in his images. He speaks about his series ‘City of shadows’ (1992) and tells us that the music pushed him to go to particular places and allowed him to find a real subject matter to photograph.

He took certain photos because the music created a narrative – he suggests that listening to the music can help him see images. If the music was long and slow, he was compelled to make images with long exposures, expressing a sense of despair which he suggests is similar to life itself.

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