I’ve been in the business of photography for forty years, and during that time most of my work – before I switched to digital in 2003 – has been stored in an analog archive.
Now I have twenty filing cabinets and thirty storage containers filled with past work, much of which I haven’t even seen. Having been in the field all this time I haven’t had time to take stock. One of the few good consequences of the pandemic year has been that I could turn my attention to my archive and start to explore what is in my office.
Howard Chapnick gave me a job at Black Star Photo Agency in 1981, and I was with them until becoming one of the founding members of VII Agency in 2001. A lot of the work in my cabinets was developed and edited by people at Black Star after I shipped the film and after Time Magazine, where I’ve been a contract photographer since 1990, made their selection. I’m poking around these “A selects” because I’m thinking about doing a book on my conflict photography. While much of that work is known there is also a lot of undiscovered material. However, those A selects don’t include the transparencies in the storage containers that have only ever been previously seen by whoever developed the film. I have not edited any of that material until now, and I’m interested to see what is those boxes.
In this series of weekly videos I am going to take you with me on a journey into my archive – to see what I have, and, as I scan a selection, tell you about how the work was made and give you some of the stories behind the images.
Let’s start with this first look at my office and how I am doing the scanning.