Watershed UP members share photographs that marked a watershed in their work. Curated by Julia Baier. Alison McCauleyEarly on, my photography was all over the place. I tried many different ways of working but it wasn’t until the winter of 2008 that I took a couple of photographs that really spoke to me. It happened by accident. I was bored with trying to photograph in the cold, dark and quiet streets of Geneva and went inside a coffeeshop for a break. I was absent-mindedly fooling around with a little compact and the reflections on the glass of the window. Later when I looked through the images, I realised I had made a breakthrough. I had two photographs that really seemed to express what I was feeling at that time. The two interesting images were the first of my on-going series Anywhere but Here, which is about restlessness and longing to be somewhere else. This is the first of those two images. Blake AndrewsI shot it in 2003 in downtown Portland. I barely remember taking the photo but I definitely remember seeing it on the contact sheet a few weeks later. It seemed very ambiguous and mysterious to me. It signified a new direction into confusion that I wasn’t quite sure I was taking yet. Looking back it’s one of the few photos from that period that I still like. David GibsonI took this photograph in 2017 and it immediately and surprisingly felt significant. Taken in London’s Portobello Road Market what struck me was how utterly the subject or context is so removed. I felt that I’d crossed some sort of line, something half-hidden and not totally realised before. Here was a photograph of nothing except imagination. I delight in reading this photograph as the Industrial Revolution in the north of England, great burning furnaces belting out change. It’s a ridiculous thought, others might interpret the photograph differently, or not at all. But it’s one of my favourite photographs. David SolomonsCardiff Castle, 1993. I took this when I was doing a course in Documentary Photography in Newport. We were given specific assignments and told to just go out and shoot a specific theme or subject matter, so a degree of preparation was what we were meant to be learning. Planning was never particularly one of my strengths and so I generally winged my way through the ‘person at work’ and ‘relationship’ briefs. After an unfruitful schlep around the Cardiff Bay area (I soon grew weary of Newport), I decided to have a beer in the Four Bars Inn, just across the road from Cardiff Castle. After my pint, or was it two I don’t remember, I made my way to the bus stop back to Newport and chanced upon the unusual scene of a man talking to a peacock. I took about six shots and went straight home, knowing my day was a good one. Dirty HarrryThis is an image made in Athens in 2009; after 2 walking hours and some boring clicks of silhouettes walking against the sunlight I decided to buy and try a flash, this was the first image I made with this tool that I haven’t stopped using since then. Eléonore SimonMy sister and her son, drying in the hot summer sun after a dip in the pool. Before moving to Chile three years ago, I almost never photographed outside of the streets. I was always interested in photographing candid, mundane moments, but never quite as close to me as my family.I think of this image as a link between my street photography and some of my more intimate photographs, and I’ve become interested in how they work together. Same quiet observations, subtle moments, and a visual ambiguity that appeals to me. This one image made me reflect on how much more meaningful my photography could be if I always let it be guided by my sensibility rather than by arbitrary notions of what the work should be. To me, this image represents tenderness, beauty, serendipity, intuition, creativity and love all at the same time. A hot summer day to be remembered. Graciela MagnoniI made this photo at a friend’s house in Rio de Janeiro in 1988. His name is Orlando and he is with his son. I drove from Sāo Paulo with my brother for the weekend. We had such a great time. This photo is very dear to me. It’s such a beautiful scene that was given to me by my friend unaware. It ended up being a lovely morning surprise. It is a gift when good scenes and photos emerge unexpectedly in the beginning of a photographic career. It shows us the way. Gus PowellFlorence, 1998. It was the summer of 1998 and I had just been an assistant at Joel Meyerowitz’s workshop in Tuscany. A transformative summer for sure. One of the things that stuck with me from Joel was the idea of seeing that first thing that stops you in your tracks and then building upon it. This was the first time I felt like I managed to pull that off. It felt like I was in “control” of the scene . . . that I was “making” a picture rather than just “taking one . . . it felt like I had managed to juggle four balls at once. What a good feeling. Jesse MarlowBrixton, UK 1996. I was still in high school and visiting London on a school cricket tour. This photo was taken out the window of a train as it stopped at Brixton Station. At the time, I knew nothing about “street photography” but upon reviewing my slides at the lab a few weeks later, I was intrigued by the curious moment I had captured and knew that candid photography was for me. Julia BaierThis picture was taken in 1998 in Bremen. At that time I was still very shy about taking pictures outside. On the day this photo was to be taken, I gave myself a jolt in the morning and wanted to overcome my fear. I rode my bike and my camera to the main station and my love for taking pictures in public space began. It was a turning point and therefore this picture is very valuable to me. A short time later I started working for a daily newspaper in Bremen while I was still studying. Maciej DakowiczFor me it must be one of my Cardiff After Dark photos. I started taking photos of the weekend nightlife in Cardiff in late 2004, soon after moving there. The initial success of this project gave me enough confidence to quit my university job and become a full time photographer in 2009. This photo is probably the most well known from the series. Matt StuartThis photo only exists as a 1000 pixels longest edge jpg on Instagram. I took it the day after the UK Brexit vote and the day after I was voted into Magnum photo agency. It is a meeting of sorts…I was so excited by it I sent the low res jpg to one of my best friends @chillioctopus Trent & Narelle and accidentally deleted the RAW file by formatting the card. After realizing what I had done I tried to retrieve the data, I even went to a data recovery expert… but alas it was gone, luckily it still exists here on Instagram. But in high resolution, it has long gone.A career high and low…res Matt WeberMy gallery said I’d be remembered for this image. I’m not sure if that’s true. It certainly depicts the New York of my youth pretty well. Melissa O’ShaughnessyThis New York City photograph from 2016 marked a turning point for me for several reasons. First, it is one of the first street photographs that I’d taken that I knew was a good one. More important still is what it taught me about how the camera can reveal and describe so much more than the human eye can register in a split second. I saw the central couple coming towards me and knew that I wanted to include the hand in the stop sign in the frame. The moment is filled with seemingly choreographed gestures and expressions, and at the moment I pressed the shutter the husband (or so I assume, since the woman in the sunglasses is wearing a wedding ring) turned to ogle the well-built woman next to him. As they say, the devil is in the details: the sign on the subway pillar behind the couple reads “Fair Weather Friend.” Paul RussellWhen I moved from film to digital photography in 2003, I set myself the task of trying to get a few good photos every single month of the year, and I’ve just about kept this up so far. Often the last half-decent shot I’ve taken is important to me, as it’s an incentive to keep on keeping on – even if in a couple of months’ time I realise that it’s not so great. So, here’s a photo I took today (8 May 2020), which shows Weymouth bay with three empty cruise liners just hanging out in the background. Peter KoolHere’s a picture I made in 1981, my early days as a photographer and it was in fact my first assignment. I was asked to make some pictures in an Antwerp bar that was going to close down because of the bar owner retiring. Richard BramKentucky Derby Hats, 1989. In 1989 though I had worked it for the previous three years, I didn’t have my own credentials for the Kentucky Derby. The only way to get in was assisting an older sports photographer. This meant I couldn’t get away to make my own photos except in short bursts between the action on the racetrack. It was a bitter first Saturday in May: rain, sleet, snow, hail, and a north wind that howled all day long, known ever after as “The Derby from Hell.” In the Paddock area, this couple from New Jersey were wearing their special Twin Spires hats hoping that the TV cameras would put them on air so their friends back home could say “I saw you guys on TV!” Due to the weather they were having a miserable time and seemed to be regretting the whole thing that year. What I love about the photograph is the combination of mild disgust on his face and her look of concern and love with a touch of “I told you so.” Together with the other miscellaneous track characters taking shelter, it was one of the earliest moments that the frame was really full in an unposed image. It all worked and I knew something special was in the photograph. Siegfried HansenAs I started to take street photos 20 years ago, I saw the photo from Henri Cartier-Bresson of a cyclist, titled Hyères, France. He made something beautiful out of a simple scene. I realized you have to find a good location and then wait for a suitable subject to enter the frame and complete the composition. So I started to look for good place and I found this spiral staircase and to complete this scene I was waiting for a white car. This was a key moment for me to understand how photographs like this one from H.C.B. work. First to see the place and second to play with the foreground and background.