Muhammad Ali and the meaning of Self Respect

Cassius Clay, 19, running by pier, Miami, Florida. Circa 1961. Flip Schulke.

I recently started watching the Ken Burns film on Muhammad Ali (I tend to watch things in 20-30 minute chunks, so I’m not done yet). Even after having watched just the intro, I had some thoughts I wanted to share. Consider this post similar to those “reaction videos” you see on YouTube, but a serious one.

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Harry Benson CBE on spontaneity in photography

Beatles pillow fight, 1964

“I dislike studio photography because it’s not spontaneous. Anything you could go back and do five minutes, five months or five years later is not a great picture; you’ve lost the spontaneity… Studio photography is not really photography — it’s dress designing.”

“To me, a good photograph is a glimpse and gone forever. It can never happen again; it’s spontaneous. The Beatles will never have another pillow fight…”

Harry Benson CBE

This quote is from the October 2021 issue of Digital Camera World. I don’t single-mindedly adhere to the quote’s ethos, but I understand, respect, and try to harness its point of view.

There are many ways to analyze the practice and history of photography. I’m an armchair art historian, but I do believe one of the most fundamental axes running through photography has staged photography at one end of the spectrum and spontaneous photography at the other.

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