Robert Shnayerson, the matchless editor, wrote me, “I confess that a fascination with impermanence—the world’s torrential changes—has given me a respect for photography as an art of freezing instants that can never be exactly repeated. Nothing else (even painting) quite matches the veracity and longevity of an honest photograph.”
He also suggested my new book’s title should be called “Moment By Moment,” and he’s right. The book is a retrospective, and I agree that a good photograph is one that cannot be repeated. This singularity may explain why the image of a moment can hold our interest forever. I’ve searched for such pictures most of a lifetime, moving from one possibility to another.
Once, I photographed J. R. R. Tolkien who wrote “The Lord of the Rings.” He spent his life examining the English language at Oxford University and invented languages of his own—I asked him to write something in one of them. I love the way his left hand huddles with his right. This simple bit of reality takes on a pulse of its own. It defines a moment I hope lives on.
John Loengard, Moment By Moment
Published by Thames & Hudson
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative: Barbara Morgan by John Loengard
“My mother looked for the ‘nodes’—the points where she felt thought and purpose and motion in dance came together,” says Doug Morgan. She wanted a moment when the dancer defies gravity. She tried to catch a sense of levitation in her pictures.”
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Dmitri Baltermants by John Loengard
Dmitri Baltermants, graduated in mathematics from Moscow University just before World War II and became a photographer. As a war correspondent for the newspaper Izvestiya, he flew into the Crimean town of Kerch in a small artillery-spotter plane. Close by the landing strip, men a...
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Weegee by John Loengard
Arthur Fellig, known as Weegee, waited on the sidewalk in 1943 as Mrs. George W. Kavanaugh (third person from the right) arrived for the start of the 60th Season of New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Mrs. Kavanaugh noted it was wartime and apologized for wearing last year’s ...
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Walker Evans by John Loengard
In the summer of 1936, Bud Field and his family posed for Walker Evans and James Agee, two young journalists from New York City on assignment for Fortune magazine to investigate the conditions of tenant cotton farmers in Alabama. Since Evans was on loan from a federal government ...
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Alfred Eisenstaedt by John Loengard
“I will be remembered when I’m in heaven,” says Alfred Eisenstaedt. “People won’t remember my name, but they will know the photographer of that picture of that nurse being kissed by a sailor at the end of World War II. Everybody remembers that.” (It’s not his favori...
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Philippe Halsman by John Loengard
While nearly every photographer I’ve known handles negatives with their bare hands, nearly every curator puts on white cotton gloves. Yvonne Halsman, widow and collaborator of Philippe Halsman, hesitated a moment before I photographed her. She wondered aloud what would be prope...
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Alexander Gardner by John Loengard
On August 9, 1863, the day before Alexander Gardner opened his new studio at 7th and D streets in Washington, President Abraham Lincoln came in to pose. The President used pictures from the session in his campaign for re-election the next year.
CollectionCelebrating the Negative : Harry Callahan by John Loengard
In 1956 I received at $10,000 grant from the Graham Foundation. It was really meant for architects, but none of them could leave their practice and take a year off.
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Margaret Bourke-White by John Loengard
“The Louisville flood burst into the news almost overnight,” wrote Margaret Bourke-White, who was in New York City at the time.
In the archives of...Celebrating the Negative : Andreas Feininger by John Loengard
The Navy put lights on the rotor blades of a helicopter used in night missions and called in the press to show off its innovation. After newspapers had published their photographs, Life magazine’s picture editor asked Andreas Feininger if he thought he could do better.