5 favourite DVDs about photography

2012/01/11
Christian Reister

The Genius of Photography

A BBC documentary about the history of photography and its genres like reportage, street photography, portraiture and finally its invasion to the art world. Six episodes, each about one hour. I think there’s no better conclusion of the subject matter with a more prominent list of protagonists so far. Subtitles in English only. Produced in 2007.The whole work is online on youtube, the DVD is available at British amazon and elsewhere.

Zeitgenössische Fotografie in Amerika

Michael Engler’s documentary was originally produced for German television in 1982. Features conversations with photographers like Garry Winogrand, Lisette Model, Robert Frank, Stephen Shore, Duane Michals, Joel Meyerowitz and more. 52 min. German only, no subtitles. Available directly from the author.

Contacts

A series from TV station arte, originally initiated by William Klein. Photographers talking about their contact sheets. At least some of the photographers talking about their contact sheets. The more popular and the more „arty“ they get the less they show contacts but talk about their work in general. Highlights (in my opinion) are Josef Koudelka, Elliott Erwitt, William Klein, Raymond Depardon which are all on the first DVD of the 3 DVD pack. Subtitles in English and French (on my copy at least – there should be an „international“ version out by now and the three DVDs are available separately in some countries).

Radfahrer

An absolutely outstanding documentary about German photographer Harald Hauswald by filmmaker Marc Thümmler that shows his photographs from the former GdR in the 80s along with readings of Stasi transcripts about him. And – that’s it. Nothing but still photographs and those off-text-readings of the Secret Service reports of the GdR. Works perfect. Disturbing and funny at the same time. The DVD also contains half an hour interview footage with Hauswald. Running time of both, film and interview is about one hour. The DVD ist available for € 7 only at the Bundesamt für Politische Bildung. Subtitles in English, Spanish, French and German.

Somewhere to disappear

Still not released as a DVD but I saw the movie at the cinema. A stunning roadtrip with Alec Soth producing his Broken Manual poject. I’m not shure what impresses me more – the photographer or his protagonists. Website of the film is here.

Please free to add your recommendations below.

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