Photographers of the Year 2004


General Photography

It might appear to be a bit early to pick the Photographers of the Year 2004. But apart from the fact that I will be leaving town over Christmas I’m also fairly busy with job applications, and I don’t expect any changes in my selection.

As usual, the selection is highly subjective. So while the photographers, who are mentioned below, have reason to rejoice (I hope) all the others, who are not mentioned below, again find solid proof that I’m out of my mind and that my taste just plainly sucks. But as I said many times before, this weblog reflects my personal taste and nothing else, and it doesn’t say anything about merit, success, quality or whatever else. My Photographers of the Year 2004 are simply the people whose work has impressed or inspired me the most this past year or whose work I would buy in a heartbeat if I had the money (Santa, hear that?!). Having said this here they are (in alphabetical order):

Susan Bowen’s panoramas are breathtakingly beautiful. The little anti-conformist in me also enjoys the fact immensely that she uses a cheap plastic camera to create them.

Nathalie Grenzhäuser’s Omaha Beach series might be the most impressive photo series I’ve seen this year. Outstanding work.

Hans-Christian Schink’s documentary series about new highways in East Germany for me combines the best of what people often attribute to the Düsseldorf school but what, in fact, is quite common in Germany. It’s this kind of stuff where you could write pages and pages to describe it. I’m not going to contribute to this largely academic exercise. Let me just say it’s what makes people say “What’s up with those German photographers?”

Stefanie Schneider’s work makes excellent use of what looks like badly exposed outdated Polaroid film. Whether it actually is what it looks like is quite irrelevant. The results are very appealing.

Alec Soth has been everybody’s darling lately, and even the aforementioned anti-conformiste thinks he needs to be added to the list - especially since I have been able to enjoy his book Sleeping by the Mississippi.

Update (15 Dec): See, that’s what you get when you don’t wait until the end of the year. Richard Ross is a late addition to the list. His photography provides huge encouragement for part of the photography I’m working on right now (none of which I have shown anywhere so far).