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[7Jan19] I thought I might have coined a new term here, but no, apart from being one of the horse noises (a soft breathy whinny) and 'a person resembling a slug', Nichers is also defined as 'a business that offers a product or service that is not offered by other businesses'.

I alighted on the term in the context of a photographer (and by the same token, any artist) who
a) thinks of something first;
b) pursues the notion for an extended period of time; and
c) makes it their own.

Thinking about it, they might not necessarily have thought of the idea first, but they must have picked it up early on and run with it successfully to effectively "make it their own" to the extent that other entrants would be seen as imitators.

[1Aug19] There is a section on oeuvres (a nouanced niche) written in August 2019.

This all stems from my documenting of notable photographers. With Idris Khan today (7Jan19) the list has reached critical mass, but it started with Abelardo Morell and went on to include O. Winston Link, the Bechers and ('to a certain extent') Ed Ruscha. I will now add members to the cluster on this page as I encounter them. Muybridge, obviously.

19Jan19 Nancy Burson added.
25Apr19 Gillian Wearing added.
6Jun20 Rachel Stevens added.

The page might also become a repository for such collective lists as war photographers, architectural specialists and so on.

Abelardo Morell, b: 1948

Abelardo Morell
Venice, 2006
© Abelardo Morell

Morell, who turns hotel rooms into cameras obscura was my starting point for nichers. His was one of the earliest entries on these Photographers pages and I noted at the time,

Morell is a striking example, perhaps the finest, of a photo-artist who has had a single idea that is good enough and strong enough to trade on and make interesting work for his whole career. me

Eadweard Muybridge, 1830-1904

animation © Gobelins

Needs no introduction or explanation. The brilliant embedded YouTube animation is from Gobelins

Bernd & Hilla Becher

Framework Houses, 1959-73
© the estate of Bernd Becher & Hilla Becher

The Bechers took photographs of disappearing industrial (and other) architecture, first in Germany and then elsewhere in Europe and the US. Their niche was to assemble the photographs into displays of similar instances.

They also seem to have educated an entire generation of famous German photographers at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, including Gursky and Ruff.

Andreas Gursky, b: 1955

Andreas Gursky
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
Andreas Gursky
Rhine II, 1999
© Andreas Gursky

Gursky should be mentioned, I suppose, as he became famous and wealthy by producing enormous prints of (on the whole) mundane subjects. As far as this writer is concerned, the appeal has not endured, and once the novelty of size has worn off, they just become mundane photographs enlarged beyond their worth.

I first saw Paris, Montparnasse, in Tate Modern, soon after it opened and it was spectacular. The subject, balconies on a block of flats, in some ways justifies the scale of enlargement in that it allows the viewer to see the individual detail.

Gursky is also at the centre of the rise of photographs as gallery art at gallery prices. His Rhine II (a mundane photograph which does not justify the scale of enlargement) sold for $4.3m (£2.7m) in 2011 (an absurd price for a big snap).

Idris Khan, b: 1978

Every...Becher Gable Sided Houses,
2004 © Idris Khan

I sat down this morning (7Jan19) to write an entry on Idris Khan and was sidetracked into writing this page. Three hours later, I am back on track.

Khan superimposes multiple related images to create a composite.

In his entry, I state that,

This is definitely a clever, niche idea, it was worth doing, and Kahn deserves the credit for thinking it up. But it is (surely) not clever enough or interesting enough to sustain a whole career … and yet, his other works include Every … page from Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida, 2004 and Wikipedia lists, "every page of the Qur'an, every Beethoven sonata, every William Turner postcard from Tate Britain". me

I think the Bechers should get a cut too.

O. Winston Link, 1914-2001

O. Winston Link
Hotshot Eastbound, 1956
© the estate of O. Winston Link

Link pioneered banks of flashguns to photograph steam trains at night. His most famous image is probably  Hotshot Eastbound, 1956

Ed Ruscha, b: 1937

Ed Ruscha
Ed Ruscha
The book and one of the gas stations
© Ed Ruscha

Pronounced "roo-SHAY"), as noted above, this is a marginal entry, but Badger (2007) states that Ruscha "revolutionized both the art of photography and the photographic book".

That was his 1962 work,  Twentysix Gasoline Stations, which contains "apparently artless photographs of the gasolene stations he encountered on his journey … from Los Angeles to his home state of Oklahoma" (ibid).


Nancy Burson, b: 1948

Warhead I, 1982
© Nancy Burson

Burson came to fame for her composites of linked persons, here, world political leaders weighted by the number of nuclear missiles they controlled in Warhead I (1982), comprising 55% Reagan, 45% Brezhnev, "with hints of" Thatcher, Mitterand and Deng Xiaoping

added - 19Jan19

Gillian Wearing, b: 1963 Birmingham

Self Portrait at 17 Years Old, 2003
© Gillian Wearing

Wearing was added to the pages as one of a batch from Higgins' Why it does not have to be in focus (Higgins, 2013). Several are candidates for nichedom, but Wearing stands out,

For Self Portrait at 17 Years Old, 2003 (fig. 1), Wearing wears a silicon mask to replicate her former self and goes to great lengths to recreate a photobooth image. The other images shown below are in the same vein. She has also photographed herself posing as various photographers, including Arbus, Sander and Claude Cahun.Wearing entry

While Cindy Sherman has cornered the market in performative self portraits and will be added to the page in due course, Wearing's subset of this genre is distinctive enough to be regarded as her own.

C&N Part 4 covers a lot of SPists, most of which can be seen has holding feint candles to Sherman and Wearing.

Rachel Stevens, dates?

image sought

Stevens first cropped up in Batchen's Each Wild Idea, a collection of his essays, one of which, Post-Photography (pp. 108-127) is a survey of some of the then contemporary new photographers (the essay brings together several of Batchen's writings from the 1990s and the book was published in 2001).

I was at first sceptical of Stevens' work, but has grown on me over the week since first précising (?) the essay. In the

Rachel Stevens
1. Kodak, 1974, 1998
© Rachel Stevens

name, dates

Logo v.2
© name


Page created 07-Jan-2019 | Page updated 06-Jun-2020