This is going to piss some people off…

Posted in Age by LBM on December 29, 2011

Following up on my post on the age when photographers do their most influential work, I decided to look up the ages of the photographers who’d made the most influential books of the year (according to the EyeCurious tally of 52 year-end lists): Here are the top five:

Christian Patterson (39)
Rinko Kawauchi (39)
Yukichi Watabe (34 in 1958)
Ricardo Cases (40)
Valerio Spada (39)
Gregory Halpern (34)

Alex Webb (59) and Guido Guidi (70) tied for 7th place.

PS. Be sure to check out Martin Parr’s recent comment on the age discussion here

20 Responses

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  1. AC said, on December 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    All men?

    • LBM said, on December 29, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      Rinko (tied for 2nd) is female.

  2. Rob Landis said, on December 29, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Congratulations! 42 is the new 25.

  3. Aron said, on December 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    At least you are Alec Soth! That is something….

  4. Tom said, on December 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    “Forty-two-year-old Alec Soth” has a better ring to it than “the late Alec Soth.” Unless you can invent a time machine (which would be quite an accomplishment for someone your age) those are pretty much your options. Happy birthday. Now get over it and get back to work.

    • LBM said, on December 30, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Tom, you win the award for most humorless commenter of the year! I’m not anxious about my age. I guess I need to put smiley faces next to all of the posts….Alec 😉

      • Tom said, on December 30, 2011 at 9:12 am

        Sorry, I’ll try to be funnier in the new year — if there is one. The Aztecs might be right. Now, see, that’s an attempt at humor (an irony thing). Woody Allen made a fortune with those kind of jokes. ;^)

  5. Ed Hamlin said, on December 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Come on Alec, it’s not all that bad when you reach 52. Look at it this way, you still have 28 more years till your 70. Besides some of the data is old, it doesn’t consider fifty is the new forty.

  6. Patti Kuche said, on December 29, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Well, aren’t they just the lucky ones!

  7. Andi said, on December 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    And you still look amazing. Happy birthday!

  8. harlan erskine said, on December 30, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Alec, Happy Birthday! Sorry you are so concerned with your age. I wonder how many other artists go through this but are not as public or social (shall we say) about it… ps who is this post pissing off? the old or the young?

  9. igor said, on December 30, 2011 at 3:27 am

    C’mon Alec! Happy Birthday, you are in good company, today Patty Smith is 65!

  10. cameravagrant said, on December 30, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Right, I’m the perfect age then, as I turned 38 a couple of days ago. So, better get cracking then, LOL.

    Happy b’day, mate.

  11. jc said, on December 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

    When I was 27 I’ve been told from some very influent people that I was as a photographer a true genius, but I didn’t believe them, and I hided myself into silence and anonymity.
    Now I realized they were right, and here I am on this blog with my great selfishness to tell the world how brilliant I am… but it’s too late, with 44 I can tell you I’m definitely fucked up, everyone sees me as and old horse with good tricks in his bag, and they feel so sorry for me, and can see it in their eyes.
    My time is simply gone, and I try to face it : the art market loves fresher and fresher meat, this is the time for baby artists, not for old bastards like me.

  12. Timothy Hyde said, on December 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I’m not sure what this proves. Yes, Immediate Family, Bye By Photography, A-1 The Great North Road, and The Pond were hugely influential, but Deep South, Shinjuki, A Shimmer of Possibility, and Berlin Wall–all done years later–were hardly pale derivatives. I think what is at work here, as much as anything, is the novelty factor. Like Christian Patterson’s book this year, they each broke new ground, explored new territory and new ways of seeing. These insights and approaches continued to grow in the photographers’ later work.

  13. Marc Solomon said, on December 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Hey Alec, I suspect you do not remember me? I asked you for a Rodarte Map of locations. Anyway it looks like it is your birthday so Have a Wonderful Birthday along with Happy Holiday Greetings to you and everyone!!!
    Enjoy & Enjoy some more.
    Your buddy out West!

  14. Simon Crofts said, on January 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    What seems to me interesting about your list is that photographers are becoming recognised so late – mostly well into their 30’s or 40’s. Even the youngest is pretty mature at 34, and the average age of the ones you list is 44. No one at all in their 20’s showing up.

    When you take account of the fact that, when picking out book discoveries, most commentators are probably going to prefer to pick out photographers that aren’t the obvious, well established choices, and that curators are probably more tempted to establish their reputations by discovering the next big talent rather than someone well known your list seems if anything to point to the fact that photographers mature surprisingly late. Seems to me anyway.

    • LBM said, on January 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Great point Simon. I was similarly surprised. 35-40 was golden this year. I wonder how often this is the case.

      • Simon Crofts said, on January 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

        Yes, allowing a bit for the tendency to pick up and coming rather than well established, talent, the average age of 44 among the photographers selected for the books, that would seem to point to a peak in photographers’ abilities at the age of somewhere around the age of 50.

        Whether or not that is a typical year is another matter, but it does seem to point away from 20-something as the optimum age.

  15. markus said, on August 5, 2012 at 2:32 am

    corriere della sera has published a two spread infographic on 90 painters from 1200 to 2000 and at what age the did their most well known works, what color, size of paintings…in italian. have alook.

    41-45 years seem to be the magic age.

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