Preview Subtitle for The Genius Of Photography


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This programme contains
some strong language.

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Two photographers are on the road.

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Martin Parr and John Gossage make
very different kinds of pictures,

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but the idea of a photographic
journey is at the heart
of what they both do.

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What's that about? Yellow Ribbon.

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Ah, Yellow Ribbon. Stop! Stop!

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What's the significance of
the yellow ribbon? It came out
of the Iranian hostage situation.

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They're on a five-day shoot-out -
a photographic exploration of
the Misissippi Delta in Memphis,

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one of the most iconic cities
in the American south,

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but the things that catch
their eyes aren't the ones the
average tourists would choose.

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I'm going to wander around the back.
All right. See you in 10. Yeah.

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'I have a responsibility,
as a documentary photographer,

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'to photograph the times we live
in, what the world is about now.

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'Particularly, in America, it is
about the big chain shop, about the
big sort of Wal-Mart or whatever.

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'My job is to try and capture what's
going on. Now, if you get a
great photo as well, that's a bonus.'

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'I look out and say, "I think
there's something to be done here."

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'It tends to be places where no
other photographers I know ever thin
there's anything worth doing.'

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The American photographer
Garry Winogrand once said
that he took photographs

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to see what the world
looked like photographed.

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Photographers have always had
this as their mission statement,

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but the three decades from the
1950s onwards were the real golden
age of photographic journeys.

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Fuelled by existential restlessness,
baby boomer wanderlust
and cheap petrol,

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the photographers set out for
new territories to see what these
worlds looked like photographed

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and this is what they discovered.

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The desert.

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The open road.

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The city street.

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The beach.
The suburban nowhereville.

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The man-altered landscape.

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These are the places
that photography owns

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and this is the story
of the journeys photographers made
to claim them.

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Photography always wanted to
be on the move even before the
technology was really up to it.

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When Timothy O'Sullivan
penetrated the deserts
of the American west in 1867

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he brought his dark room
with him, pulled
[...]
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