The BBC has aired some wonderful programmes featuring the work of three iconic photographers in the last couple of weeks.
The first was in the “Imagine” series, presented by Alan Yentob, and featured the work of the amazing Vivian Maier, who has become a new favourite of all at StreetSeen. This until-recently unknown street photographer, whose day job was being a nanny to well-to-do families in New York and Chicago has only come to light in the last few years. She took tens of thousands of incredible pictures, many of which she never saw herself, as the films were unprocessed, but which were nonetheless the equal of many renowned masters of the genre. She had no formal tuition, and very little equipment – just a Rolleiflex TLR, with which she got very close in o her subjects, who were often in very poor and quite dangerous districts.
Also in the “Imagine” series was a programme about the utterly incredible Don McCullin, almost certainly the definitive war photographer. He, single-handedly, redefined the medium, and raised awareness of the horrors of wars in remote places, until Rupert Murdoch’s takeover at the Times installed Andrew Neill as editor of The Sunday Times, and its subsequent sad re-focusing on lifestyle rather than reportage.
The last of the programmes was a documentary about the current challenging, but life-affirming Rankin exhibition, “Alive: In The Face Of Death” at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Nobody could watch this, or see the exhibition, and not be moved and uplifted by it. Simply wonderful.
Links to all of these broadcasts are included in the text above. I’d urge everyone to watch them all, but hurry – they won’t be on iPlayer for very long.