Steve Pyke - Philosophers intro
Philosophers (Volume I)
©Cornerhouse Press 1993
©Z Press 1993
"For over 30 years, Pyke has photographed the great and the good up close and personal. He has positioned his Rolleiflex mere inches from the faces of musicians, film directors, astronauts and politicians. He has photographed both his sons week by week as they moved from infancy through childhood to adolescence. There is something pared down about his style and obsessive about his methodology. It is as if he is attempting to take essentially the same photograph – or the same kind of photographic portrait – over and over again, and, by doing so, he is repeatedly reminding us how infinitely expressive the human face can be.
Consider his Philosophers series, which started 23 years ago in 1988 when, on assignment for a magazine, Pyke came face to face with the late AJ Ayer, one of the great British thinkers of the 20th century. He was told he could have 10 minutes with Ayer, who was very ill at the time, and whose reputation was formidable-going-on-daunting, but their conversation carried on through an extended photoshoot and for another few hours afterwards. So began another of Pyke's photographic obsessions: the Philosophers series.
A book simply called Philosophers, containing 78 portraits, duly appeared in 1993 on the small Cornerhouse imprint. It sold out and was reprinted by Zelda Cheatle in 1995. Both imprints are now much sought after by photo-book collectors."
Sean O'Hagan, The Observer, September 9, 2011