Time’s 100

I may have mentioned Time’s 100 Photos before, their collection of ‘The Most Influential Images of All Time‘, with ‘the stories behind 100 images that changed the world, selected by TIME and an international team of curators‘. If not, it’s an oversight on my part.

It’s certainly a list containing some remarkable images, and a number that it would be hard to criticise their inclusion, though my own personal choices would be mainly different – and with less of an American (that is USA) bias. There are a number of images I simply don’t recognise among the many more familiar, which either says something about me or something about them, and also some pictures where I might have selected another image from the same photographer or event.

There is some interesting text about each of the images, and for some further images or a video. The videos, 20 of them are also listed on a separate page and I have to admit to not watching all of them, and to skipping briefly through some others.

But one I paid more attention to than most is the one that brought me back to this site, from a link on Rob Haggart‘s A Photo Editor blog. Untitled (Cowboy) Photograph by Richard Prince is I think the longest of the Time videos at around 15 minutes. It includes some fairly lengthy scenes of Prince talking about his appropriation of the Marlboro adverts, as well as comments and images showing some of the team of photographers who made the pictures as ‘work for hire‘, and some experts from the art world.

One of the more fascinating aspects is that Prince introduces (at around 9.04) the 1949 Leonard McCombe essay in Life,  Cowboy, which was the inspiration for the Marlboro campaign.

I ended up thinking I would have liked to see more about how the original images were made, and that the actual Marlboro adverts were generally more interesting as cultural artifacts and as images than Prince’s selections from them.

This case differs from some of Prince’s other image thefts in that none of the photographers concerned has any copyright in the images, which are not – as Prince states he thought when he made them, in the public domain, but the intellectual property of Marlboro.

Capa and Margaret Bourke-White both get a couple of images into the collection – and you can probably guess which two. The texts which accompany both the Capa images are severely misleading, as too is the video in which John Morris talks about the D-Day image and his part in it.

The commentary on the ‘Falling Soldier‘ states that in the 1970s:

‘a South African journalist named O.D. Gallagher claimed that Capa had told him the image was staged. But no confirmation was ever presented, and most believe that Capa’s is a genuine candid photograph of a Spanish militiaman being shot.’

It’s a belief that now only those who pride themselves on being ill-informed and dismissing the evidence and research can hold to. If Time’s comment is true then there are plenty of flat-earthers in photography.

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