Friday, 24 May 2013

A Photographic Memory by Rachel Seed - Interviews with photographic legends

I met Rachel Seed when I was teaching at the Maine Media workshop in Camden, Maine.
As I go to know her better she shared a passion and remarkable personal project idea with  me.

Rachel tragically lost her mother at a very young age, so she never knew her mother.

As she grew up of course she had many questions that could not be answered.

Rachel and her Mother Sheila share a passion though.


Rachel's mother did something quite unique, she travelled extensively to conduct interviews with the very biggest name in photography.

Including Cartier Bresson, Don McCullin, Bruce Davidson, W. Eugene Smith.

Armed with the tapes she followed in her Mothers footsteps and interviewed the surviving photographers, and the widow of Cartier Bresson

To quote Rachel.

   ‘This project began when I uncovered some boxes of short films at my dad's house about the photographic icons Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Cornell Capa, Lisette Model, W. Eugene Smith, William Albert Allard, Don McCullin, and others. My mother, Sheila Turner-Seed had directed and edited the films in the early '70s. Since she died so long ago, I thought maybe I could learn more about her life if I retraced their origins.

Excerpt from Sheila's typed transcript of her interview with W. Eugene Smith.

I discovered that her raw interviews had been sitting like a time capsule at the International Center of Photography since 1979 when my dad sent them there for safekeeping. This led me to start A Photographic Memory, a film celebrating my mother's life and work, as well as ICP founder Cornell Capa's vision for photography. 

In A Photographic Memory, I go on a journey to learn – through our shared profession – about the mother I never knew but whom I so desperately need to know. My mother, Sheila, was an ambitious New York and London-based writer, editor and producer who died suddenly in 1979. I was 18 months old and she had completed, a few years earlier, a series of award-winning film programs about influential photographers that were co-produced by International Center of Photography founder Cornell Capa and Scholastic. After revisiting these photographers in New York, France and England or, if deceased, their closest associations, I am blending my mother’s 1970s interviews with my own footage, creating a posthumous mother-daughter collaboration that connects me to my mother while re-examining the course of the careers of some of the most influential photographers in the history of the medium’

Letter from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Sheila.

The trailer left me wanting to see more, not just because it offers a rare insight into the biggest names in photography, but because Rachel actually went out there and did it.

We ALL have at least one brilliant idea, but Rachel is making hers happen.

Someone asked the author Frederick Forsyth what advice would you give someone who wants to write a novel?

He paused and replied 'Sit down and write it'

I will be contributing to this Kickstarter as I want to see the finished project, and listen to the wisdom of all of those great shooters, and to see what Rachel discovered on her journey.


Libby said...

Her feelings with respect to discovery and personal revelations during this process look to be astounding.

The project that has recently captivated me is the one about Jacques Bolsy

which has some parallels because it is also a labor of love. It's also a little close to the heart for me because I have a 1947 cast aluminum 35mm Bolsy B sitting here. Sweet little camera.

Here's hoping both projects will come to full fruition. They are both important stories.

Unknown said...

Hi Libby,

Like Jacques, its great to see people giving heart and soul.

I too hope they succeed.