I've been ruminating over Charlotte Cotton's essay The New Color: The Return of Black-and-White, which I blogged about recently, as well as some of the responses to it.
One thing that has come to mind is this; whether we believe or not that black and white might be on the the rise as the new darling of the art world, who exactly is doing new, vigorous, exciting, innovative work out there in black and white?
Cotton gave her list - some of which seem worthy, others perhaps not. But that list aside, who else is out there? Right now it actually seems a pretty sparse field. Some of the best work is still being done by the old guard from the Sixties and Seventies (okay and Eighties) - Friedlander, Gossage, Adams, the Bechers, Frank - they remain innovative. Certainly, I hope this crowd keeps going at full steam and coming up with new ideas, but who are the new generation of up-and-comers, the new guard - those with a whole career ahead of them?
One of the most continually innovative and fresh would have to Sugimoto, but he really belongs to the group I've already mentioned. There are also Basilico and Geoffrey James for example, but they are really masters of Modern photography, probably pushing it's boundaries as far as it can go?
I've hunted my bookshelves, and magazine pile and meandered around the internet, but I'm still a little stumped (I also hunted back through the archives of some blogs like Conscientious - and discovered a surprisingly small amount of contemporary B&W there). So my question is: who is there out there?
There were a couple on Cotton's list that have caught my eye.
An-My Lê (above) for one and Jason Evans (images higher up) for another. I like the way An-My Lê's Small Wars and Vietnam work has, among other things, taken the New Topographics deadpan cynicism and put a whole new twist and take on it. (Along with Susan Lipper, who Cotton also mentioned)
So - here's the big question - any more good suggestions for who to watch and where to find them?