Posted in narrative photography by Alec Soth on February 9, 2010

My recent post on Viaggio sul Reno, Settembre 1974, brought to mind David Hockney’s photographs from roughly the same period. I’m particularly fond of Hockney’s story that accompanies these two photographs:

“In the winter of 1968 Peter and I took the Orient Express to Munich, to see a show of mine. I remember one morning when we were both on the bottom bed, we opened the curtains, and it was snowing. It was fantastic to lie in the little couch with a nice warm body next to you, gazing out the window at the cute little Bavarian villages half hidden under the snow. It’s a wonderful way to travel. I never photographed it, but I remember it vividly.

Later, we went onto Vienna. We took the subway and Peter went in the next carriage; there he stood, looking back at me as I photographed him. At the next station he joined me and I again took a photograph, still looking at the same place, and he is gone. It was not planned, it just happened that way.

From David Hockney Photographs (Petersburg Press, London, 1982). This book is unusual in that it emphasizes his single images rather than the better known photo collages.


5 Responses

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  1. David Bru said, on February 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Hi everybody,

    I really love this diptych, it really has like a special magic. It’s sincere and honest and when you read the text, a nostalgia feeling can be felt. It is curious how two single and not planned photographs can sometimes be better than other planned.

  2. Jogn said, on February 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I’m kind of like, ok… and?

  3. Jasmine said, on February 12, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I love these two shots; there’s a softly sad atmosphere in them, a melancholy feeling for things found and lost, and something about the transitional nature of present and presence at the same time.
    Thank you for sharing these images.

    p.s. by the way, the Missisipi Niagara exhibition in Milan is charming

  4. Whitney said, on February 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

    The way these two photographs are framed really underlines how simply waiting a few minutes or seconds can completely change the image and the mood of the photograph.

  5. David K said, on May 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’m so glad I found this. You don’t know how few people know how beautiful Hockney’s non-collage photography was (if they know about it at all). I love this Petersburg Press book and I used to visit it often in the Oxford public library.


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