18 May 2008

Best Shots?

Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite (1974)
~ Photograph © Judy Dater


"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The
I'm going to take tomorrow."
~ Imogen Cunningham

I have now linked to 50 plus installments of the "Best Shots" essays/interviews that Leo Benedictus has done at The Guardian. This evening I came across this remark from Imogen Cunningham. You may already know it. It seems to me to puncture the conceit of the Best Shots series pretty thoroughly. There is an element of seeking and surprise in many of the most memorable photographs. (Just as there often is a large portion of contrivance in many too.) Here, though, I don't just imagine Cunningham discovering a lithe model waiting naked behind the next tree. Her remark reminds me too of the restlessness of some photographers, for whom the question "What is your favorite photograph?"would be be nearly senseless. For instance, I remember reading somewhere that Josef Koudelka has virtually stopped developing any of his film as he travels taking photographs. If my memory serves, he couldn't really answer the question.



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