A Photographic Life - 77: Plus Roger Steffens


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By UNofPhoto: A Photographic Life Podcast and The United Nations of Photography. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
In episode 77 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed considering portrait photography, and the importance of history and influence. He also gives details of his latest book that has just gone on sale. Plus this week photographer Roger Steffens takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which he answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’ You can purchase Grant's latest book discussed in this podcast New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography on Amazon, your local bookseller and here www.bloomsbury.com/uk/new-ways-of-seeing-9781350049314/ You can also access and subscribe to these podcasts at SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/unofphoto on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/a-photographic-life/id1380344701 on Player FM https://player.fm/series/a-photographic-life and Podbean www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/i6uqx-6d9ad/A-Photographic-Life-Podcast An actor, poet, broadcaster, writer, lecturer, editor, reggae archivist and photographer, Roger Steffens is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on Bob Marley and the Wailers. It was Steffens who first alerted Paul Simon about African music, leading to the recording of the album Graceland and he has worked with Keith Richards to compile an album of Nyabinghi music recorded in the living room of Richards’s Jamaican home. Prior to this, Steffens worked in an army psychological operations unit in Vietnam, after being drafted during the war. He was told to photograph his assignments, a request that began a 50-year relationship with the camera that resulted in an extraordinary archive of images that trace his life and times during a pivotal period in American history. Steffens returned from Vietnam to northern California in the early 70s and began to compulsively photograph his daily life and that of his friends: John Steinbeck IV (son of the Grapes of Wrath writer) and Sean Flynn (son of Errol) – both of whom had reported from Vietnam; war reporter Richard Boyle (the co-writer and subject of Oliver Stone’s 1986 film, Salvador), British war photographer Tim Page and Ron Kovic, the paraplegic anti-war activist, whose memoir, Born on the Fourth of July, was adapted into an award winning Oliver Stone film. Photographer Page, who roomed with Steffens in Berkeley, schooled him in photography and his images are an evocation of a freewheeling hippie lifestyle: camping in Marrakech, trekking in the forests of northern California, visiting Stonehenge, and music festivals where the North Vietnamese flag was proudly flown. Now in his late 70s, Steffens finds himself enjoying a second life as an acclaimed photographer thanks partly to his children, Devon and Kate, setting up an Instagram account for their father and posting two pictures a day from his archive, a process that lead to the book The Family Acid in 2015. www.thefamilyacid.com Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Focal Press 2014) and The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Focal Press 2015). His next book New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2019. His documentary film, Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay can now be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd47549knOU&t=3915s. © Grant Scott 2019

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