Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The photographer as subject

Tim Mantoani has shot more than 150 portraits of famous photographers holding their most iconic or favorite photos for his new book Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends, a sampling of which can be seen in this slide show and below. Mantoani used the huge and nearly extinct  20×24 Polaroid format, and compounding the historic value of the project were the deaths of several of the photographers after they had posed for him.
Mary Ellen Mark: "I am holding my photograph of Ram Prakash Singh and his beloved elephant Shyama — taken in 1990. Ram Prakash Singh was the ringmaster of "The Great Golden Circus." The photograph was done in Ahmedabad India. This was part of my Indian Circus Project. I love India and I love the circus so photographing eighteen circuses all around India was an incredible experience. Unfortunately, Shyama died a few months after this photograph was taken. Supposedly he succumbed to a poisoned chapatti. Ram Prakash Singh was heartbroken. Me also."
Douglas Kirkland: "This is from My Evening with Marilyn."
Elliot Erwitt: "The picture I am holding was snapped in 1974 just across the street from my apartment in New York's Central Park. It has been 38 years since that event and sadly I have lost track of the participants."

On a very similar theme is Artists in Their Studios: Images from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. Below, Kay Bell Reynal's photo of painter Mark Rothko at work, 1952.


  1. What a find. I luv DailyGlean for this very reason.

  2. Nice touch! The opportunity to see those who see it all. I really appreciated these photos. Thanks for posting!