B R A N DE N B U R G ’ S HE R OE S

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Jim Bran­den­burg is a hero to many pho­tog­ra­phers and not just to those who spe­cialise in na­ture and wildlife. Doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phers and stu­dents of pho­to­jour­nal­ism of­ten cite his name as a ma­jor in­flu­ence. So who are the pho­tog­ra­phers that in­spire Bran­den­burg?

Who are your he­roes?

Ernst Haas is my god. Eu­gene Smith in black and white and Ernst Haas in colour. Those two with­out ques­tion, no-one else. They were both to­tally crazy people. I met Ernst. Ernst was an in­cred­i­ble pioneer, ex­per­i­men­tal with emul­sion and colour and Ko­dachrome and 35mm. Eu­gene Smith, of course, was cer­ti­fi­ably nuts and drank a lot but, no ex­cuses, he was to­tally com­mit­ted. He was us­ing Pho­to­shop be­fore there were com­put­ers, he got into trou­ble for ma­nip­u­lat­ing his im­ages, dou­ble print­ing, dou­ble neg­a­tives, burn­ing and dodg­ing. But it was his vi­sion. I don’t fault him for that at all. Bril­liant, ab­so­lutely bril­liant. Not many people to­day know of Ernst Haas and Eu­gene Smith. I talk to many people and in Amer­ica you’d think they would know who Eu­gene Smith was. Ernst Haas lived in Amer­ica, he was Aus­trian. Those two are the pho­tog­ra­phers I ad­mire the most. They are gi­ants, but young pho­tog­ra­phers to­day have never heard of them.

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