Came across some photographs by Paul Schutzer this week and it was an eye stopper. I would put him up there with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helen Levitt in terms of personal understanding; he seems to fall into the kind of natural habitat that defies convention; though they have merits, and much excellence the works of Diane Arbus, Zoltan Kluger, Robert Capa, Cornell Capa, Roman Vichniak, Margaret Bourke-White, are more ideological, staged, contrived and somehow consciously employing design elements and teasing out parts of the mystery….
Great stuff but there is a warmth of tone, a timbre in Schuster’s work that seems to defy time and context and presents juxtapositions that emit rays of brilliance; there is very little pose and gesture beyond the basic necessity. A very gifted artist. I forgot Reza Deghati who could also be close to that inner circle. There is something fundamentally democratic about his work, in that all of his subjects from celebrity to commoner share an equal part of this world, or an equal portion of the grand plan that ties us together in a collective destiny. There is also an element of the unselfconscious who can permeate all kinds of psychological boundaries and connect the sacred and profane with a subtle dash of humor. Love the work.
Through a friendship with a cancer researcher at a university hospital, I have become familiarized with the concept of genetic markers and what is boggling even revelatory is how physical traits can change over a relatively short period of time when the genetic history so to speak is transplanted into new contexts, say geographically. Looking at Schutzer’s photos one grasps the sense of transience, of movement and some of the absurd preconditions that our mental reflexes give rise to.
interesting that his career was started by finding a “discarded object” which reminds me of the Walter Benjamin essays on the revolutionary and emancipatory potentials of the waste object.
( see link at end) …When Schutzer was 10 years old, he starting shooting photographs with a broken camera he found in a waste basket in Brooklyn, NY. Years later, after studying to he a painter, then a lawyer, he realized that what he really wanted to do was shoot photographs.
Photography of the human experience became Schutzer’s preoccupation. In 1956 he joined LIFE’s Washington bureau and that began his short-lived hut fruitful career….
…Although his life span was tragically short, Paul had seen and photographed much of the world, and much of what he saw appeared in the pages of his magazine: the Berlin Wall, the earthquake in Iran, the Algerian War, Nixon in South America, Kennedy through his campaign onto his funeral, Cuba and Castro, Lebanon, and Vietnam. Schutzer won several national photojournalism
ds, including the University of Missouri’s News Photographer of the Year Award in 1959 and the George Polk Award for foreign coverage in 1958. He often accepted dangerous assignments. A colleague said Schutzer had “almost too much courage.” Read More:http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Schutzer.html