I attended a talk last night by Magnum Photographer Mark Power at the Brighton & Hove Camera Club. To describe the talk as inspirational smacks of cliche, but Mark is a remarkable photographer and an extraordinary person.
As a photographer his achievements are amazing, ranging from books such as "The Shipping Forecast" which takes documentary photography into the realm of the imagination - Mark referred to the project as "wanting to photograph the places I'd always imagined them to be" and "The Sound Of Two Songs" a document of his love affair with a country, Poland.
He has documented some of the 20th Centuries most memorable occasions, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall "by accident" apparently and the construction of the Millenium Dome in London. He was asked by the architect Sir Norman Foster to document the redesign of the Treasury building!
If his achievements as a photographer are breathtaking, his modesty is unusual. Self effacing and at times self deprecating, his response to a question from the audience "do you talk to the subjects of your photographs?" was a startled "Good heavens no!" expanding he claimed that he sees himself as an observer rather than a participant and the camera often as a shield from the world.
Mark Power is a photographer that shoots on film because he can. He admits that digital is inevitable but insists that he will stick with film until it is no longer possible to support it. He is currently Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton. His influence will survive him. That is only true of a very few people in this business.