Photo Week 2012 – Reportage by Getty Images with Tom Stoddart and Peter Dench
View event here.
After reviewing portfolios at Getty’s Open Edit with his team all day, Vice President of Photo Assignment for Getty Images Aidan Sullivan introduced the evening with a short overview of the kind of work Reportage by Getty Images engages in. He explained that Reportage, five years old this September, is an autonomous agency within Getty and was launched as:
“an agency [to] represent what we believe to be some of the finest photojournalists working today. We set about creating this website, bringing in the photographers, and I’m very privileged to work with not only some of the greatest photographers around today, but also the greatest editors, many of them are here this evening. It’s a joy to work with them and share their passion, and it is real passion.”
Peter Dench demonstrated some of that passion as he took the audience through a sample of images featured in his crowd-funded book England Uncensored.
“I think it’s appropriate that Tom is here giving a talk tonight as well, because visually we’re both very, very different, but I think we still share the same drive and enthusiasm to tell an engaging story through our photographs.”
Dench‘s playful delivery buoyed the audience along as he provided an irreverent look at this green and pleasant land and its relationship with getting pissed. Full of bright colour, Dench made a point of contrasting his work with Stoddart‘s:
“When I joined IPG Tom […] gave me some advice. He said “Peter, if you photograph a woman in a yellow dress, all you see is the yellow dress, but if you photograph her in black and white, you see her soul”. After I’d wiped up the wine I’d splattered down my top I said “Tom, you’re wasting your breath, all I see is a picture without colour.”
The widely respected Tom Stoddart, who has worked with Aidan Sullivan for 35 years, also picked up on Sullivan‘s comments about passion.
“It’s the one thing that I think that people trying to get into the industry don’t really understand. This is not a job, it’s an existence.”
Referencing the great Don McCullin, who had popped by the Club earlier, and his commitment to photography still at the age of 75, underlined his point.
Like McCullin, Stoddart is known for his images of war and human suffering. Stoddart‘s Perspectives exhibition, featuring classic images of disasterous world events he has covered over the years, opens on the 25th of July to highlight the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Healthcare in Danger campaign.
While speaking of going back to Sarajevo to meet the Bosnian war’s survivors who he had photographed, Stoddart said:
“It’s great- it’s not very often you get the chance to square the circle in our work, you’re normally in someone’s face for 5/100th of a second- I once worked out that I probably worked only 2 minutes in my life”
Stoddart’s work couldn’t be more different from Dench’s, but Sullivan pointed out that they are both storytellers with serious messages behind their work. A true showcase for Reportage, the evening demonstrated how varied their stories can be and the breadth of subject-matter photojournalism can cover.