You probably don’t know who the people behind the famous photos are unless you are a serious photographer. With his “Behind Photographs” series, Tim Mantoani, an American photographer, hopes to change everything.
Mantoani rented a 20×24 Polaroid camera, which is an exceptional rarity. It weighs 235 pounds (106kg) and comes with a custom-made wheeled tripod. Mantoani said that the cameras were extraordinary and could produce images of 20×24 images after being ‘peeled apart.’ “Renting the camera was very expensive, so I wanted to shoot something important to me. I called two photographers I knew, Jim Marshall, a legendary music photographer, and Michael Zagaris, a sports shooter.
He told us that the process was unique for me and the subjects. He also said that the viewer could see both the photographer and the photograph in one image. I also asked each photographer to write about their photo at the bottom of the print. Then I started to contact other photographers. I shot from California to Boston and recorded over 150 photographers using this format over five years.
Steve McCurry – Girl in Afghanistan
Steve McCurry, Peshawar (Pakistan 1984). This girl was my search for 17 years. I finally found her in 2002. Sharbat Gula is her name.
Jeff Widener – Beijing 1989
Harry Benson – The Beatles
Harry Benson: Brian Epstein, Beatles Manager – I had just informed them that they were number one in America and that I would be going with them to New York. 1964
Lyle Owerko – 9/11
Lyle Owerko: Who would have thought that such a beautiful, warm day could be the backdrop for one of the most challenging and confusing events in the history of humanity? This is just one part of a massive event that connects the stories of millions of people and thousands of stories. The event’s full scope and impact can not be captured in words. I cannot summarize the sounds, smells, or voices that remain in my memories from that day. I tried to capture the essence of 9/11 as best possible, so future generations could better understand the event and have evidence of how innocence can be taken away at a moment’s notice. I hope that the pain and wounds will eventually heal, and wisdom and peace will triumph over the darkness of the event so that humanity can move on to a time of grace & understanding.
Marry Ellen Mark – Ringmaster with Elephant
Marry Ellen Mark: This is my 1990 photograph of Ram Prakash Singh with his beloved elephant Shyama. Ram Prakash Singh was a ringmaster at “The Great Golden Circus” in Ahmedabad, India. This photograph was taken as part of my Indian Circus Project. It was a wonderful experience to photograph 18 circuses across India. I love India and the circus. Shyama, unfortunately, died just a few months later – it is believed he was poisoned by chapatti. Ram Prakash Singh was also heartbroken.
Thomas Mangelsen – Brown Bear
Thomas Mangelsen, Brown bear, Brooks Falls Katmai National Park (Alaska). July 1988. This possibility was pre-visualized by watching documentaries about Katmai bears and looking at a photo in Alaska Air Magazine showing a group of bears at the falls. The time was when I was working on a documentary about Sandhill Cranes. It took me a week to get back from shoots. I called the Anchorage park headquarters and inquired about obtaining a campsite. They told me that all the sites were full, except one location near the bear trail. Nobody wanted it, but I accepted it. Then I captured this image over a week. I would stay up until dark and go to the falls most days before sunrise. I took 35 rolls of film that included just the head, shoulders, and falls of bears. Six weeks later, I found this image in the yellow box. It was quite a pleasant surprise.
David Doubilet – Circle Of Barracuda
New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. Three times, the school of chevron sailor barracudas circled him, and they were swept into the dark afternoon sea. The oceans are not straight lines. This is why the barracudas can defend themselves by making a perfect circle. 70% of the planet’s surface is the ocean. It hides a lot of beauty. It is a place where light behaves in an entirely different way. Global warming/climate change is all about water. The coral reefs I spent most of my life in are now very endangered. This is not just because of rising temperatures but also because of changes in ocean chemistry. Jennifer Hayes, my partner, and I love to explore this world. It’s the majority of our planet. It is a world without corners, which may disappear by the end of the century.
May Pang – John Lennon
May Pang: Summer 1974 Long Island Sound NY. Julian and his father, Julian, enjoy a relaxing time together. This photo was called “Family Portrait.”
Neil Leifer – Ali vs. Liston
Neil Leifer: Ali vs. Liston – May 25, 1965, Lewiston, Maine
Vincent Laforet, Me and My Human
Vincent Laforet: I have witnessed some amazing things in my twenty-year-old career. Many were terrific, some were terrifying, and all were significant historical moments. One of the most exciting things I have learned from aerial photography is that taking a step back (or 1,500 feet up) often forces the viewer to be more in touch with the image. They can then study the greater detail and let their imagination run wild. Central Park, NYC. “Me and my Human”
Bob Gruen – John Lennon
Bob Gruen: John Lennon invited me to visit his penthouse apartment. On the east side, I was asked to photograph the cover of John Lennon’s ‘Walls + Bridges. After taking a series of portraits, we took some informal photos to promote the album cover. I asked him if the New York City tee shirt I gave him one year ago was still in his possession. He agreed and put it on. We made this photo.
Elliott Erwitt – Two Dogs With Owner
Elliott Erwitt: This picture was taken in 1974, right across the street from my apartment in New York’s Central Park. It’s been 38 years since the event, and I’m sorry I’ve lost track of all those who took part.
Lori Grinker – Mike Tyson
Lori Grinker: Mike Tyson – 1980, age 14. When I was a student, I started a project about young boxers. Cus D’Amato, the legendary boxing legend, told me Mike would be the next grand heavyweight champion. He was right, and I continued to work with him for almost a decade. He was a sweet, troubled kid who took a different path than the one he was guided to.
Nick Ut – Napalm Attack In Vietnam
Nick Ut: June 8, 1972, Trang Ban Village Kim Phuc 9-year-old South Vietnamese girl, drops napalm in her village.
Herman Leonard – Jazz Musicians
Herman Leonard: It was 1948 in New York at the Royal Roost. I had the unique opportunity to photograph giants of jazz during an afternoon rehearsal with my trusted 4×5 Speed Graphic. It’s a beautiful career! You can do what you love while still being entertained.
Marilyn Monroe – Douglas Kirkland
Douglas Kirkland: This is my Evening With Marilyn
Carl Fischer – Muhammad Ali
Carl Fischer: Muhammad Ali, New York, 1967