Charles Harbutt

One of the daily posts I receive from L’Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography) was about Charles Harbutt and brought back to me some warm memories of a workshop of his I attended around 15 years ago at Duckspool. It had been a workshop with Harbutt back in the 1970s at Paul Hill’s The Photographers’ Place in Derbyshire which had changed the life of Peter Goldfield, leading him to found Duckspool, and as I wrote (sadly on the occasion of Peter’s death in 2009) “perhaps had I met him 20 years earlier it would have changed my life too.

I’d come across Harbutt in the 1970s, but only through the pages of his book ‘Travelog’, published in 1974 which very much reflects his attitude to photography that he expressed in a lecture you can read in Visura Magazine. The Unconcerned Photographer, delivered in 1970 when he was President of Magnum Photos. It’s perhaps a curious co-incidence that in it he twice quotes from and comments on his Magnum colleage Leonard Freed, the only other photographer whose workshop at Duckspool I attended.

In the article on L’Oeil de la Photographie, Harbutt says how the The Image Gallery Redux show which is at Howard Greenberg’s gallery in New York until Feb 15th 2014 reminds him of his early years in photography, as it includes a picture taken when he was only 17 and “three pictures from a migrant farm workers story I did for a magazine called Jubilee where I worked when I got out of college in 1956.” He tells the story of that job in Cuba, and its a good story that I won’t spoil here when you can read it in his own words.

The best place to see Harbutt’s work online is Visura Magazine, where you can find a slide show of his photographs and a number of articles.

Another article from the same day The Image Gallery Redux 1959-1962 gives some more information about the show, which features work by Harbutt and 21 other photographers, including Duane Michals, Saul Leiter, Sid Grossman, Charles Pratt, David Vestal and Garry Winogrand, who all showed work at the pioneering New York gallery opened by photographer Larry Siegel.  The Howard Greenberg Gallery web site was suffering from ‘technical difficulties’ as I write, but you can still download the PDF of the Image Gallery from the show with thumbnails and titles to see what those of us who are not in New York are missing.

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