Stanley Greene (1949-2017)

Stanley Greene, one of the finest photographers of conflict around the world over the last 30 or so years has died in Paris age 68 after having suffered with liver cancer for some years. His father was a part of the Harlem Renaissance, and he trained to be a painter, joined the Black Panthers and refused to serve in Vietnam. Meeting Gene Smith changed his life, and Smith gave him space in his studio and persuaded him to study both the technical an aesthetic aspects of photography, first at the School of Visual Arts in New York and later at the San Francisco Art Institute.

More than any other photographer, Greene in his later career (after working in music photography, newspaper work and then fashion) became a photographer truly in the spirit of Gene Smith; as I wrote some time ago, he was “haunted by the ghost of Gene Smith and the nagging of his example and his advice to photographers “You have to give something back.”

Greene though widely published was more of a photographers’s phtoographer than one widely known to the public, and at times suffered because his work was too uncompromising and too raw for editors. I’ve written a few articles about him since I came across his work and was truly bowled over by it back in 2004 – when my reaction was to write and publish a 2000 word essay on him for the web site I was then working for. You can read a little of that in Stanley Greene, and a later article about how I missed meeting him in Brixton two years ago.

Rather than read more by me, I suggest you go to Time to read Olivier Laurent‘s STANLEY GREENE – The death of a poet, illustrated by some of Greene’s images and including a video of Green himself talking and below that, HIS LIFE, HIS LEGACY in which around 15 photographers and editors who worked with him reflect on his impact.

There is also ‘Stanley Greene, Teller of Uncomfortable Truths, Dies at 68‘ by James Estrin on the NY Time Lens blog, and doubtless there are or will soon be many more obituaries.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.