Some photographs still strike us, years after they were taken. The photograph called “Afghan Girl,” published in National Geographic in 1985, is considered the magazine’s most famous image. The photos taken by John Lennon’s personal photographer, including the iconic image of the Beatle wearing a New York City t-shirt, “present a kaleidoscope of John Lennon's New York Period” that is “beautiful, clear and truthful,” according to Yoko Ono.
But how often does the layperson think about the photographer rather than the person in some of these famous photos?
|Steve McCurry holds his photograph, "Afghan Girl."|
"I looked for this girl for 17 years and finally found her in 2002. Her name is Sharbat Gula."
At the bottom of each Polaroid, Mantoani had the photographer write a short paragraph about the image he or she chose. Some photographers wrote simple descriptions, such as Douglas Kirkland’s “This is from my evening with Marilyn.”
I am holding my photograph of Ram Prakash Singh with his beloved elephant Shyama—taken in 1990. Ram Prakash Singh was the ringmaster of the “The Great Golden Circus”—The photograph was done in Ahmedabad India—This was part of my Indian Circus Project—I love India and I love the circus so photographing eighteen circuses all around India was an incredible experience—Unfortunately Shyama died a few months after this photograph was taken—supposedly he succumbed to a poisoned chapatti—Ram Prakash Singh was heartbroken—me also.
With these Polaroids, Mantoani has managed to preserve the stories behind these images. The photographers cannot live forever, but their work can. Life magazine photographer John Dominis died in December 2013. Thanks to Mantoani’s project, the story behind his photograph of two resting lions will remain for generations to come.
|John Dominis holds his photograph of two resting lions.|