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March - Albert Watson.

Albert Watson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1942. He graduated from Royal College of Art in London and moved to New York in 1972 to begin a photographic career. Two years later he was already an established photographer with a studio and staff. Today Albert Watson has achieved world fame. His work has been shown in exhibitions all over the world, and included in numerous magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Life and Rolling Stone. In addition he has produced three books; Cyclops (1996), Maroc (1998) and Las Vegas (2003). A fourth publication in a series published by Phaidon is due in 2004.

I met Albert Watson originally in the early 1980s , when he was already highly recognized for his unique and highly successful celebrity portraits and his work in fashion and advertising photography. His studio in New York was decorated with a large number of  magazine covers he had produced for fashion and general interest  magazines published in the United States and Europe.
I was immediately impressed not only with the visual effectiveness of his images, but also by his high degree of technical knowledge both in recording  the image in the camera and producing the final image in the darkroom. Perhaps this thorough knowledge of his craft may be a reason why Albert Watson sometimes feels that he is considered very technical. “I believe in technique but only as a way of getting where I want to go” he says.

 Albert Watson has come a long way since I met him originally about twenty years ago. Still selected for portraits by top celebrities, he is ranked today  as one of the  great photographic artists in the world.   His images share a unique style and a specific quality that makes them  easily identified as an Albert Watson photograph. His black and white  photographs, many made with Hasselblad,  hanging in his studio and exhibited in  museums and galleries, frequently blown up to gigantic sizes,  dazzle every viewer with their high definition and sharpness achieved by Albert Watson’s  complete control over the entire image creating process from the moment the image is created in the camera until the  print  is finished. His truly extraordinary images,  are however even more admired because of their superb contrast and tonal range achieved with the photographers vision and his  unique approach to lighting that highlights specific areas, subduing other parts of the person or other subject. The range of his work is breathtaking, as clearly seen in his two recent books-Cyclops and Maroc. Another book will be on the market next year.
While his images have the unmistakable Watson trademark,  each image is unique and different from the one he may have produced the day before or will produce the following day. We might perhaps say that Albert Watson achieves in photographing people what Ansel Adams  was able to create outdoors. Albert Watson is unquestionably influencing photography today, but with his constant interest in creating something new and different, he also helps to shape the photographers of the future. Since Albert Watson does not  hesitate discussing his technique and, by doing so, hopes to inspire other photographers  with his vision and approach, he has become  a household word among photography students who hope to achieve in just one picture what  Albert Watson creates every day in every image.

Ernst Wildi