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Photo Finds – Week of April 16, 2012

Photographers
Steve Simon in Africa

Steve Simon in Africa

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web.

On this week’s Photo Finds, we take a look at the work of editorial and commercial photographer Steve Simon.

This Montreal-born and New York-based photographer is no stranger to those of you who follow the This Week in Photo podcast. Steve is a regular guest there, in addition to being a prolific writer and instructor. He’s the author of “The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Towards Become Great,” a book that has gotten rave reviews and has helped many photographers bridge the gap between the photos that they think they got, and what they actually captured.

Steve’s curriculum vitae makes for some impressive reading. From covering Winter Olympics, to Presidential elections, to shooting at the very edge of the American-Canadian border, Steve Simon’s photography encompasses an impressive and powerful spectrum. It ranges from soaring images taken at the height of political drama, to gritty, even uncomfortable images from the fringes of society.

An image from "America at the Edge"

An image from "America at the Edge"

It’s a testament to Steve’s flexibility and range that he can capture, with equal panache, the semi-ordered chaos that is a political convention, and the brutal and raw horror that is post-genocide Rwanda. It isn’t just that the two events are on different continents, oceans apart, but that Steve does two things that are, to me, the quintessential requirements for a good photojournalist: he captures the essence of his subject, and his images tell stories.

Some of his images, such as those from his Rwanda series, and his “America at the Edge” series, are perhaps the best examples of a passionate photographer dedicated to his craft and the art of storytelling that I’ve seen in recent memory. There’s almost a surreal quality to some of his images. Some of the ones from “America at the Edge” are a bit evocative of Dorothea Lange‘s images from the Great Depression, or perhaps Eugene Richards‘, from more recent times..

One of the images from "Never Forget: Rwanda"

One of the images from "Never Forget: Rwanda"

Others, like the Rwanda images, really have no parallels I can think of. They aren’t images taken in the thick of things, at a time when a photojournalist, trapped in the heat of things, managed to capture the essence of conflict, like Don McCullin or Nick Ut. Rather, they are the images of the difficult aftermath, of sorrow, regret, and shame. There are images of rows of human skulls and bones, of desiccated corpses. These are hard images to look at – and harder still to make, for which Steve absolutely must be commended.

Steve’s done a great job of making some of his best work easily viewable through his website, stevesimonphoto.com. Downloadable PDF monographs are available there, and are worth loading onto your iPad or other device for inspiration. Be sure to check out his site for more info, including his full CV and links to other resources.

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at sohail.me as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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Comments

  • Ian says:

    I think you should check the title of Steve’s book there in the first paragraph. At least, I hope that’s a typo.

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