Thursday, 2 December 2010

Steve Pyke - On the Phone

This month, Professional Photographer magazine ran an 8 page spread on Steve and his work. The magazine is in all good stores now but here is a quick look at the interview Grant Scott did with Steve.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Why i have been photographing philosophers for the past 25 years

The New York Times have today published an article and slide show I wrote for The Stone, their philosophy blog that goes some way to explaining how i have been photographing philosophers for nearly 25 yrs now. - LINK HERE

And here is a link to my website which for the first time has all the photographs and statements from the first volume published in 1992. The second volume of Philosophers will be published in May by Oxford University Press. - LINK HERE

Professor David Wiggins, London, 4 September 1990 ©STEVE PYKE

Friday, 20 August 2010

Behind the scenes of 'Astonauts'

Dr Buzz Aldrin, Los Angeles, 1998 ©STEVE PYKE

Steve's 'Astronauts' series can be seen here on the website as well as accompanying text and quotes from many of the subjects Steve photographed.

This post is not about the images themselves but some footage from behind the scenes with video from

The Johnson Space Centre

Eugen Kranz

Walter Cunningham

Fred Haise

Alan L Bean


All clips taken from 'Moonbug' a film following Steve's travels as he photographed these icons of the 20th century. The film was made by Nichola Bruce and more information on the documentary can be seen here.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Tomothy Geithner photographed in Washington

I Recently photographed Obama's treasury Secretary at the treasury in Washington...

Timothy Geither ©2010 STEVE PYKE

Friday, 2 July 2010

Image in July Vanity Fair - Herman Cornejo

The following image is in this months Vanity Fair and from a shoot with Argentinian born ballet dancer Herman Cornejo

Image: Herman Cornejo ©2010 STEVE PYKE

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Image featured in Sebastian Guinness Gallery exhibition

My Image of David Bryne is featured in 'Inspiration' an exhibition of photographs curated by Photographer Perry Ogden as part of the Photo Ireland Festival

See the Sebastian Guinness Galery for more information here
And the Photo Ireland website here

David Byrne, London 1985 ©2010 STEVE PYKE

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Mike Huckabee for the New Yorker

There is a piece in this weeks New Yorker on possible
Rep candidate Mike Huckabee for next term as President with an image I took at his home in Little Rock

Mike Huckabee ©2010 STEVE PYKE

Friday, 16 April 2010

Jack and Duncan

Photographing both my sons Jack and Duncan from twenty minutes old and consistently since, I have been mapping the way human faces evolve.
The quotes below are taken from an interview on the series with Sean O'Hagan of The Observer, Sunday January 8, 2006
The images can be seen on the website including the full interview and slideshow here

Duncan 1990-2006 ©STEVE PYKE

'I suppose you'd say I'm a bit obsessive, but there is always love in the making of these kinds of intimate photographs. I have another series of less formal family photographs which I call "Acts of Memory", in a way, every photograph is. Every image I make is about the person before the camera but it is also about the photographer. For a portrait to work, there has to be a connection between me and the subject. A conversation that takes place in an eighth of a second.'

'The more you make portraits, the more aware you become of that crucial instant and all that is contained in it. I tend to work quickly nowadays, it often seems to help provoke a spontaneity. Instinct is not all in photography, but it's a big part of it.'

Jack 1988-2006 ©STEVE PYKE

The earliest photograph of Jack included here was taken when he was just 20 minutes old. ('I'm actually surprised he waited that long,' says Jack, only half-jokingly.) If all goes according to plan, the last photograph Steve will ever take, in the very face of his imminent death, will be a portrait of Jack. 'If that happens,' he says, as if he has given this some considerable thought, 'and who knows what might occur in between to stop it happening, it will then literally be a life's work. But more than that it will be a project that began when his life began and will end with my death. It's an odd one to take in sometimes.'

Jack on the images
'The really strange thing about these photographs, apart from the most recent ones, is that I don't remember any of them being taken,' says Jack. 'I might vaguely remember a shirt I was wearing, or a haircut I had, but that's all. Sometimes my dad will say to me, "Oh, that one was taken in Ireland or London in such and such a year," but I don't remember anything about the time or the place. It's odd because they're evidence of me growing up but they're also a bit unreal. The more I look at some of them, the more it feels like it never really happened.'

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Steve Pyke on editing

It became apparent to me from the beginning of my career the importance of the photo 'edit'. often the events that happen during a portrait session can be spontaneous, exciting and therefore subjective. the edit comes later and is more objective, the decisions made in editing are based on a distance from the session and reflect that. I think its refreshing to get this perspective, to sleep on things if you like. The idea of editing whilst making the images, which is common today for me personally would disrupt the place I am with the sitter. Time changes your perspective on sittings, whether its 24 hours or 24 years. the edit i can make whilst revisiting past work can be radically different from the edit made at the time.

Working at The New Yorker always involves my photo editor, also the creative director; Elisabeth Biondi. Often certain images on a contact will stand out and its the easier choice to take. But its also the case that we see different elements in the session and pick differently. Working with good editors who have involvement and input into the final edit is an imperative part of the creative process.

I recently worked with Fader magazine who were devoting an issue to David Byrne. I had photographed David in London in 1985 and there were two images I edited that became iconic of Bryne at this time. Phil Bicker the creative director at Fader wanted to revisit the session and maybe find something else there. there was an image we found which appears on this cover that was very powerful, yet was completely overlooked at the time. looking back in 2009 at portraits i had made in 1985 other images spring out, why had i chosen this image at the time over this new one? its all to do with getting a perspective which to me seems inevitably linked to time.

Steve Pyke NYC May 2009

Fader Cover May, 2009

Steve Pyke Philosophers book coming out on Oxford University Press late this year (2010)

Philosophers 1989
-1996 © Steve Pyke

Here is a little background information on the series from Steve,

The History: I was commissioned to photograph a portrait of Sir A.J.Ayer in London October 1988. He was very poorly but the ten minutes I was promised stretched to three hours, we got talking and by the end of our conversation he suggested I should make studies of other philosophers. From this sprung a series of 100 of the western worlds leading philosophers, including Noam Chomsky, Iris Murdoch and Jurgen Habermas.

A J Ayer, London, 5 October 1988 © Steve Pyke

Iris Murdoch, Oxford, 13 November 1990 © Steve Pyke

Jurgen Habermas, Frankfurt, 6 November 1991 © Steve Pyke

As I photographed each philosopher I would ask them who they felt was central or had influence on their own work. As the list grew, whenever the names cross-referenced I would write to them and try to arrange a sitting.

I prefer to photograph sitters at home, I don’t often however work with props or even show location, they seem sometimes to be a distraction in the portrait. Whilst with them I also asked if they could give me some idea in a few sentences what philosophy meant to them. I always use my old twin lens Rolleiflex, a camera I began my photographic work with thirty years ago.

It took nearly three years to photograph this generation of philosophers and culminated in a number of exhibitions. Many of the portraits are now in both private and public collections, such as the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Noam Chomsky, Boston, 29 May 1990 © Steve Pyke

This work was funded on my own faith, the sale of my apartment and a strong commitment from my gallery. It was originally published by Cornerhouse Publications (ISBN 0-948797-76-2) this edition quickly sold out and was republished by my gallery Zelda Cheatle Press. The resulting book Philosophers (ISBN 0 951837 18 4) is now very much sought after and is similarly in collections and universities worldwide.

Inevitably with a project of this scale there were philosophers that I wanted to include but was not able to at the time. Now 20 years on I have completed a second stage of this odyssey photographing the contemporary generation of thinkers. This amounts so far to another hundred portraits

One of the wonderful aspects of my journey through the faces of philosophy has been the correspondence, the erudite hand written letter and now the e-mails defining philosophy.

SP NYC March 2010