J. Paulsonn | Ohio | 01/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Covers the following photographers: Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Duane Michals, Sarah Moon, Nobuyoshi Araki, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Jeff Wall, Lewis Baltz, Jean-Marc Bustamante."
C. Seawell | hammond, la United States | 02/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The format of the DVD is great for breaking up and talking about the work geared toward specific projects/subjects--people vs. landscapes etc. But it is also great because you're hearing the artist speak a little about his concept or method and the backstory of his imagery/series. True, the translator (English or French) sounds stilted and hokey and doesn't quite drown out the native tongue--but c'mon. This is photography as art, not reportage or documentation--therefore, it should not be watched as a how-to technical manual either."
Unique and Thought Provoking
Alan Christopher | USA | 04/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD collects 11 filmed segments made for French Television over the course of several years. Each segment is almost exactly 13 minutes long.
In each segment an individual photographer speaks about their work - their own personal backgrounds, their inspirations, their methodology and their objectives. In some cases they speak their own commentary, and in other cases a narrator reads their commentary, speaking in the first person. In either case the commentary comes directly from the artist, discussing their personal backgrounds, their methods and their own work.
There is no set list of questions or any type of script that is followed (the discussion is a bit different in each and every case). As they speak we view their work. In some instances we see contact prints containing shots that may have not been quite what the artist intended ("rejects" or "test shots") or images that were later cropped, in addition to "successful" shots. But again, every segment is a bit different.
This is an outstanding film for better understanding the goals or motivations of individual artists, as well as the thought process behind their work. The focus is generally more personal (introspective) and in some cases conceptual. The emphasis is not as strong on the technical details of their work - although that aspect does come up, as does their individual working methods (such as finding a subject or preparing for the shot). The degree to which each is covered varies from segment to segment.
What also comes across very strongly and consistently is the dedication or commitment that each artist brings to their work. It would not be an overstatement to say that as a group they are truly passionate.
These are fascinating for anyone interested in contemporary art of any type - you do not need a background in photography to appreciate these segments. In some ways there may be less here for photographers themselves (as technique is not the primary focus). Instead it is a unique opportunity to understand different artists' work and - in some cases - their creative process.
Personally, I was deeply engaged by all of these segments (though some more than others). They should probably be taken in small doses. A lot of images and commentary are packed into each segment.
Because each has a different narration and a different rhythm, extended viewing (in one sitting) can become fatiguing. But I can't fault it for that. Five stars for being different, fresh, and though-provoking."
Unusual But Still Interesting
K. Tanaka | Midwest USA | 01/07/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This French "Contacts" series (I have three) is a rather unusual body of documentary work. Basically you are presented with a series of photographers talking about themselves and their work. On screen you see their images, or contact sheets of their work, but never the artist. The sound is either the translated monologue with the native language in the background or, depending on you language selection (English / French) the actual artist's voice.
The visual quality, in terms of design and encoding, is mediocre.
This series is interesting to watch once. But try to get a used copy or, better yet, see if you can rent them."