Steve Pyke - Philosophers VII
Philosophers (Volume II)
©Oxford University Press 2011
"In 1988, the photographer Steve Pyke, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, was asked by one of the magazines he worked for at the time to photograph the renowned British philosopher Sir A. J. Ayer, considered the heir apparent to Bertrand Russell. Ayer made quite an impression: by 1991, Pyke had produced a series of seventy-eight philosopher portraits, a body of work published two years later as his first volume in the genre.When I asked Pyke what compelled him to keep returning to the subject year after year, he said:
It came from meeting Ayer and being bowled over by him. He was very frail but he had such an invigorated personality and a very inquisitive mind. I had no problem talking with him—of course I wasn’t talking as a philosopher or an academic—but we talked about life and death, about war, his working in the secret service, and we also talked about soccer. I was told I’d only have ten minutes with him, but those ten minutes became four hours. And after that I thought I’d photograph the top ten philosophers, and that spiraled and became seventy-eight.
And then that seventy-eight became more than two hundred. A selection of Pyke’s portraits follows, with a quote from each philosopher about why he or she has spent a life in philosophy. "
-The New Yorker 2011