dinsdag 31 maart 2009

New York Photo Festival (May 14May 18, 2008) Photography

Photography, one of the most important visual media of our lives, has been surprisingly uncelebrated, particularly in the United States. New York City, home to the most influential commercial and fine art photography community, has lacked—until now—a large-scale event dedicated to photography. The inaugural New York Photo Festival (May 14May 18, 2008) delivered a dynamic, high-quality event in what is arguably the photographic capital of the world. This event celebrated both contemporary photography and the creative, inspirational talents of the people who produce this work. The New York Photo Festival 2008 took place in DUMBO, an off-the-beaten-track, but easily accessible neighborhood on the Brooklyn waterfront between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

Festival Curators for NYPH 09 include photo editor Jody Quon (New York Magazine); editor, publisher, and curator Chris Boot; William A. Ewing, Director of the Musée de lElysée in Lausanne; and Jon Levy, founder of Foto8 and publisher of 8 Magazine as well as founder of HOST Gallery in London.http://www.nyphotofestival.com/

Leonard Freed Jews of Amsterdam Documentary Photography

1958 Joden van Amsterdam, de Bezige Bij, Netherlands

Leonard Freed: An American in Amsterdam ...

Freed’s first official book, entitled Joden van Amsterdam, appeared in 1958. Whether by chance or grand design, the book, hot off the press, landed in the mailbox of their recently-built apartment in Amsterdam West precisely on the day Leonard and Brigitte got married. It had been Freed’s own idea to make a photo book on Jewish life in Amsterdam – at least what was left of it after the Second World War. Of the 80,000 Jews who had lived in the capital in 1940, after the Shoah there were only 14,000 still alive. When Freed visited Amsterdam for the first time in 1952 as a young Jewish American, he was confronted with the deep wounds and social dislocation of a Europe just emerging from the war. During that first trip to Europe he fell in love with a Dutch girl. He visited her parents’ home, only to discover that the family had been rabid National Socialists during the war. “Can you imagine that?” Freed said. “As a naive Jewish boy from another world I suddenly found myself sitting at table with people that I could not help but find very friendly and likeable, while of course from the Dutch point of view I should have kept my distance from collaborationists like that.” (5) The way that he recounted this distressing experience, with a mixture of empathy and journalistic detachment, was typical of Freed. The ‘light irony’ of which Hofland spoke was not so much dictated by Freed’s character, as the way that life and history presented themselves to him, full of dilemmas, paradoxes and unforeseen outcomes.

Henk Hofland very clearly remembers Freed playing with the idea of doing a photo essay on the Jews of Amsterdam. “I introduced him to my fellow editor at the Algemeen Handelsblad, Max Snijders. He was well informed on this subject. They worked together to do the book.” It must have been an interesting duo, because Snijders (1929-1997) was known as a flamboyant, very self-assured journalist who could talk his way into any situation, while Freed was a man of few words, who preferred to stay in the background. Both were 27, but ambitious in their own way. The publication is proof that there was no lack of synergy when the two came together. While in 1958 there were sensitivities on both the Dutch and Jewish sides about something as explicit as picturing the contemporary Jewish community, Freed and Snijders succeeded in finding a good balance between the shame and guilt of the Dutch and the resignation and reticence of the Jewish community. In his nuanced, almost didactic text Snijders explains how in the thirteen years since the war Jewish life had again taken up its course: “A new community has grown up, less colourful, but hardly less kaleidoscopic.” It was very much the concern of the author and photographer to sketch things as they were at that moment, to paint a picture of a living community. It was explicitly stated that the book was not a catalogue, census or inventory, but was intended to reflect “an aura”. Yet in Joden van Amsterdam Freed could not escape from primarily depicting expressions of colourful orthodox Jewish life although – even back before the war – the Jews in Amsterdam were largely assimilated and secularised. But for a photographer folklore always makes a more interesting picture than a college lecture hall full of students, where there is nothing explicitly Jewish to be seen, while they were perhaps all Jews.

maandag 30 maart 2009

Helen Levitt has died at the age of 95 Photography

Lees verder ...
Helen Levitt, New York City's Visual Poet Laureate, Has Died at the Age of 95

Helen Levitt, one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, who documented the drama of daily life on the streets of her native New York for over seven decades, died in her sleep at her home in Manhattan on Sunday, March 29. She was 95.

Miss Levitt had her first solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1943. Her photographs have since appeared in Edward Steichen's landmark 1955 show The Family of Man and in more recent exhibitions of great importance, including MoMA's Photography Until Now and the National Gallery of Art's On the Art of Fixing a Shadow in Washington, D.C., both celebrating the invention of photography. She has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

From the 1930s through the 1990s, Miss Levitt permitted the publication of only a few books of her photography, but beginning in 2001, she allowed powerHouse Books to publish four volumes of her work to great acclaim: Crosstown (2001); Here and There (2004); Slide Show (2005); and Helen Levitt (2008).

Miss Levitt's incomparable oeuvre includes seven decades of New York City street photography in black-and-white, as well as little-known color work showcased for the first time in Slide Show. Like Lartigue, Kertész, and Cartier-Bresson, Miss Levitt wielded her camera as a seamless extension of her eye, able to capture fleeting moments of life with unsurpassed lyricism and style. As Adam Gopnik remarked in his 2001 New Yorker feature on the artist, "Levitt's photographs, like her city, though occasionally they rise to beauty, are mostly too quick for it. Instead, they have the quality of frozen street-corner conversation: she went out, saw something wonderful, came home to tell you all about it, and then, frustrated said, 'You had to be there,' and you realize, looking at the picture, that you were."

See also Read the New York Times obituary. Read Sybil Miller's feature in photo-eye Magazine...

John Szarkowski, former director of the photography department at The Museum of Modern Art, once observed, "At the peak of Helen's form, there was no one better."

"At least a dozen of Helen Levitt's photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know. In their general quality and coherence, moreover, the photographs as a whole body, as a book, seem to me to combine into a unified view of the world, an uninsistent but irrefutable manifesto of a way of seeing, and in a gently and wholly unpretentious way, a major poetic work." —James Agee HeBooks has published several volumes of her work: Click to view all titles »

vrijdag 27 maart 2009

An Alternative (III) for Martien Coppens Monsters van de Peel ... Op de grens van land en zee Company Photography

Coppens, Martien. ; Snoek, Paul. - Martien Coppens. Op de grens van land en zee.
Venlo, Chemische fabriek L.van der Grinten, 1964. Linnen. 46o. Met illustraties in z/w. Oplage 1500 genummerde exemplaren.

Martien Coppens was born in 1908, son of a clog maker from Lieshout, a village a stone's throw from the town of Eindhoven. Very soon he developed a remarkable interest for photography (on one of his school reports it is mentioned that the photography could actually use a bit less attention) and follows, exceptionally, an education abroad, in Munich. After some wandering, he establishes himself as independent photographer in Eindhoven. He works on request, but has a preference for free work and for what he callls artistic photography. His photos are authentic and realistic, although the quality of his work was not appreciated by all people at that time. Martien Coppens focused his camera quite often at Brabant farmers and workers, at church buildings, and at landscapes, such as De Peel, but he was also interested in the dynamics of a city such as Eindhoven and her industrial activity. He was an enterprising man who published about seventy photo books, of which some were well accepted by the public.

Martin Parr and Gerry Badger : The Photobook: A History volume 1/ Memory and Reconstruction : The Postwar European Photobook
Martien Coppens was responsible for a number of topographical photobooks during the 1930s and 1940s, documenting the architecture, landscape and art of his native Brabant. These were in a similar vein to the Publishing house Contact's De Schoonheid van ons Land (Our beatiful Country), showing a comparable focus on the cultural heritage of Holland. As the title of Contact's series implies, the kind of photography employed was traditional, large-format, topographically precise, with an emphasis on the picturesque, on heritage and continuity rather than change.It was this kind of rhetoric that was employed by Coppens for his 1947 book Impressies 1945 (Impressions 1945), but his subject was radically different. He still concentrated on the Dutch landscape and architectural heritage, and photographed it in his usual romantic style, but now his theme was the Dutch heritage interrupted by the discontinuities and disruption of war. He chose the lighting carefully, often a combination of sun and cloud that would allow him to set a ruin picked out by sunlight against a glowering, cloudy sky. Add luscious gravure printing, and Coppens's ruins look less like real buildings than stage sets. In all of his work, and in this book in particular, Coppens opposed the prevailing trend in Dutch photography of the time, which was progressing towards a gritty, Existensial realism, and he was criticized for it by other photographers.Coppens, who habitually dealt in nostalgia, photographed this devastated landscape in the only way he knew, even exaggerating the romantic rhetoric of the ruin. But like Jean Cocteau and Pierre Jahan in La Mort et la statues, Coppens demonstrated that there were many different ways in which artists and photographers could come to terms with what had happened to Europe.

donderdag 26 maart 2009

Exhibition review: Ruud van Empel Photography

By Lenka Scheuflerová / PRAGUE DAILY MONITOR / 25 March 2009
When I first saw the portraits by Dutch photographer Ruud van Empel in their real size at Leica Gallery Prague, I recollected the time when I was little and my mother dressed me in my nicest dress and took me to the photographer from time to time. Wearing beautiful dresses and looking directly at the camera, many of the children in Empel's portraits give the impression of such "official" photographs taken for a family album. The only exception is that the children are not standing in a photo studio surrounded by the same borrowed toys, but they are in a forest, surrounded by nature, holding a flower or maybe a squirrel in their hands.

At a second look, however, you can feel there's something strange about the photos, although you do not know what. After a more thorough examination, you will notice some small details, like that their faces are unnaturally smooth and that one of the little girls does not have eyebrows at all… What a trained eye may also find disturbing in some of the children is the unnatural reflections of studio flashes in their eyes, which makes the kids seem as if they had been crying.

Ruud van Empel uses the method of photographic montage. "To produce these portraits, he took photos of several children, let's say five or six, and then combined their faces in a graphic computer programme to create a new, non-existing child," Leica Gallery Prague deputy director Věra Weinerová said.

Using his computer as a paintbrush, Empel creates artificial landscapes for which high-quality processing is typical. Thanks to that, you can spend quite a lot of time in front of each of the photographs, discovering more and more details - dewdrops here, a spider there, small beetles sitting on leaves, a little bird at the back, perfectly illuminated although in the shadow of trees.

The author focuses on perfect arrangement of individual objects rather than on what they look like in reality. It happens then that some of the objects are not in proportion to others in terms of size, but this is offset by a perfect harmony of colours and shapes. Every potentially empty space, like the corners, is filled with details - mushrooms, the Moon, diagonally arranged objects of the same colour - to achieve an aesthetically balanced composition. The resulting images are too perfect, perhaps an impression of what childhood should be like, of a fairy tale, or of a paradise.

Ruud van Empel won fame already in the past as a 3D graphic designer in television. Now he applies the 3D method in his photographs, which seems to be bringing him success as well.

"His photographs sell at unbelievable prices," said Jana Bömerová, head of Leica Gallery Prague. "He cooperates with four large famous galleries. He produces 12-piece numbered series, each gallery gets three pieces, and the photos sell in a few days," she added.

Ruud van Empel (Breda, 1958) produced television series as well as theatre posters and stamps. His photographic montages inspired by naive realism are deliberately too perfect and include an excessive number of details and colours - whether placed in a jungle or in a modern office.
In his photographs, Empel focuses on specific topics that he deals with in stages - civil servants in the series The Office (1996-2001), window views in Frame Story (1998-2000), fatal women in Study for 4 Women (2000) and The Naarden Studies (2002).

In his first exhibition in the Czech Republic, at Leica Gallery Prague, Empel presents a selection of portraits of children from his latest series Study in Green. Lees verder ...

Exhibition to last till 18 April 2009
Leica Gallery Prague, Školská 28, Prague 1
open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
admission CZK 50, reduced admission CZK 30

Lenka Scheuflerová
is a staff writer and translator at the Monitor.
She likes writing about business, finance and photography.
You can reach her at

woensdag 25 maart 2009

How Does Photography Change Our Lives? How Has Photography Changed Your Life?

How Does Photography Change Our Lives? How Has Photography Changed Your Life?

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian Photography Initiative invites the public to participate in an unprecedented online dialogue about the impact of photography on history, culture and everyday lives. Visitors to “click! photography changes everything” at http://click.si.edu are encouraged to submit their photos and stories about the many ways photos shape experience, knowledge and memory.

The Smithsonian Photography Initiative recently started selecting stories and images submitted by site visitors on an ongoing basis to be regularly uploaded to the “click!” Web site. In addition, on a bi-monthly schedule, it is issuing more specific and theme-based calls for visitor-contributed content. New images and stories will join an archive of written and filmed commentaries that the Initiative began collecting last year from invited experts investigating how photography has changed the progress and practice of their diverse fields—from anthropology to astrophysics, from media to medicine, from philosophy to sports.

The Initiative is collecting and sharing images and narratives that shed light on how photography influences who people are, what people do and what people remember. Has a photograph been used to document property loss, inspire a hairstylist, sell a house, beat a traffic ticket or helped with the decision about where to go on vacation? Has a single photograph ever influenced what someone believes in or who someone loves? Visitors can go to http://click.si.edu and follow the easy steps to share their stories about the power of photography and to see images and read stories submitted by others.

General public entries will appear alongside those by invited experts such as Stewart Brand, founder and editor of the legendary Whole Earth Catalog, who understood how photography could change the way people viewed Earth and their life on it; Diane Granito, an adoption specialist and founder of the Heart Gallery, who explains how commissioning and exhibiting compelling photographic portraits of foster-care children helped the children find new families and homes; and Lauren Shakely, publisher at Clarkson Potter of a string of best-selling cookbooks, who describes how and why photography can change the kinds of food people crave.

“click!” also presents seven videos—available online, as downloadable podcasts and on YouTube—that feature Smithsonian curators, historians and scientists speaking about photography at the Institution. Visitors to the site can see and hear Lonnie Bunch, the director of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, explain the role photography plays in building a new museum about cultural identity. In another video, Lisa Stevens, curator of primates and pandas at the National Zoo’s Department of Animal Programs, describes how photography, in addition to turning pandas into celebrities, spreads knowledge about little-known species, generates funds and raises public awareness of conservation issues.

At this transitional moment—as digital technology alters the form, content and transmission of photos—the goal of “click!” is to provide a unique opportunity and gathering place for experts and the public alike to reflect on the history, spread, practice and power of photography.

“click! photography changes everything”
In March 2008, the Initiative launched “click! photography changes everything” as an interdisciplinary Web site. The goal of “click!” is to stimulate an unprecedented dialogue about the ways photography enables people to document and actively interact with the world. Later that year, the second phase of “click!” launched, inviting the public to actively participate in a dialogue about the role photos have played in history and their everyday lives, a dramatic alteration of the traditional one-way, curator-to-visitor dynamic.

Marvin Heiferman serves as creative consultant and curator of “click! photography changes everything.” His vast experience organizing major exhibitions about photography and visual culture includes exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the International Center of Photography and the New Museum. “click!” is his first online exhibition project.

Support for “click! photography changes everything” has been provided by several private individuals and foundations, including the Comer Foundation, PhotoWings, The Henry Luce Foundation and the Trellis Fund. Night Kitchen Interactive of Philadelphia is the Smithsonian Photography Initiative’s Web-design firm for http://click.si.edu. Video Art Productions of Washington, D.C., produced the videos for the Web site.

Typo-Foto Photo / Graphics Graphic Design Photography


Dick Maan and John Van Der Ree: TYPO-FOTO. ELEMENTAIRE TYPOGRAFIE IN NEDERLAND 1920-1940. Antwerp: Veen/Reflex, 1990. First edition. Text in Dutch. A near-fine hardcover book in full decorated cloth in a fine dust jacket: the four corners of the boards have all been gently bumped. Out-of-print and very uncommon.
9 x 11.75 hardcover book with 112 pages and 135 color and b/w examples of Dutch avant-garde typography from 1920-1940, including many rare and unusual examples.

This is the best anthology of Dutch typography to my knowledge. Beautifully designed and printed, this book gets my absolute highest recommendation. Includes individual sections and biographies devoted to these pioneers of modern typography: Piet Zwart,Paul Schuitema,Gerard Kiljan, Cesar Domela Nieuwenhuis, Dick Elffers, Wim Brusse, Cas Oorthuys, Henny Cahn and Willem Sandberg.

Typo-foto Elementaire Typografie
Piet Zwart
Paul Schuitema
Gerard Kiljan
"foto als beeldend element in de reclame"
Cesar Domela Nieuwenhuis
Dick Elffers
Wim Brusse
Cas Oorthuys
Henny Cahn
Willem Sandberg
Het "Graffies-nummer" van "De 8 en Opbouw," 24 juni 1939
Reacties op het "Graffies-nummer"
Biografische gegevens

Also included is a bound-in 8-page facsimile of the Dutch graphics newletter from June 24 , 1939: "De 8 en Opbouw," which includes a review of Zwart's "Het boek van PTT" as well as work by Elffers, Brusse and Sandberg.

maandag 23 maart 2009

Portraits by Gerhard Richter Photography

Gerhard Richter Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery

By Ed Sexton Published: 02 March 2009 Review Lees verder ...

Herr Heyde By Gerhard Richter, 1965, Private Collection © Gerhard Richter, 2009

Exhibition Review - Gerhard Richter Portraits – National Portrait Gallery – February 28 to May 31, 2009

The National Portrait Gallery has brought together a selection of Gerhard Richter’s work spanning his entire career for the first UK exhibition of his portraits.

Regarded as one of the world's leading contemporary artists, the exhibition represents a major advance in the understanding and appreciation of Richter's achievements by examining his portraits in detail.

Before you reach the exhibition, Richter's work 48 Tafeln (48 portraits), is on display in the Ondaatje Wing Main Hall. Featuring nineteenth and twentieth century cultural figures it offers a taste of the artist's work.

The portraits are arranged chronologically and divided into five themes, titled using the artist’s own words – 'The Most Perfect Picture,' 'Devotional Pictures,' 'Continual Uncertainty,' 'Private Images' and 'Personal Portraits.'

The exhibition begins with 'The Most Perfect Picture' which includes three portraits focusing on the assassination of John F Kennedy.

Amongst them, the subject matter of 'Frau mit Schirm' (woman with umbrella) is not clear from the picture and neither is the situation. The viewer is presented with an unknown woman holding an umbrella who appears to be weeping.

Richter later revealed how the portrait is based on news footage of Jacqueline Kennedy responding to the assassination of her husband. He explained: “I blur things to make all the parts of a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess of unimportant information.”

Richter’s view is that the machine-made photograph is the ‘most perfect picture’ and many of his portraits present a deliberately blurred or distressed image that masks the reality and context behind the image.

This blurring of reality can be seen in 'Terese Andeszka,' a beach scene that at first glance appears to be a vision of domestic happiness. However the picture used as the inspiration for the portrait is taken from a newspaper story about a young girl who narrowly escaped death on a family holiday.

Helga Matura mit Verlobtem By Gerhard Richter, 1966, Düsseldorf, museum kunst palast © Gerhard Richter, 2009

In 'Devotional Pictures' Richter uses photographs of family and friends, which he describes as ‘pictures taken in remembrance of the people depicted.’

The artist himself appears as an infant being held by his young aunt in 1933 in the portrait 'Tante Marianne'.

Again, the portrait presents what appears to be a happy domestic scene that somehow detaches it from the sad truth behind the picture. The Nazis killed his aunt as part of their euthanasia programme because she suffered from schizophrenia.

'Continual Uncertainty' shows people in a range of ordinary situations, leaving the viewer to invest their own meaning in the portrait - there is a sense of slippage between appearance and how things really are.

You can’t tell what the sources are. For example Richter used advertisements and newspaper images and this experience is analogous to everyday experience where appearances can conceal an unknown reality.

One example is 'Helga Matura mit Verlobtem' - a picture of a posed couple that could be a picture of a mother and son. However the original image was a newspaper cutting of Helga Matura (a prostitute who was later murdered) and her fiancé.

The affinities between Richter and pop artist Andy Warhol become clear in 'Private Images,' particularly in 'Portrait Schmela' and 'Brigid Polk.' Richter used a series of photo booth images of art dealer Alfred Schmela who gave Richter his first one-man show to create the portrait – a similar technique used by Warhol in the early 60s.

A further link is the portrait of artist Brigid Polk, who was one of Warhol’s circle and famous for her ‘tit paintings’ that she created by dipping her breasts in paint.

Lesende By Gerhard Richter, 1994 Collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,purchase through the gifts of Mimi and Peter Haas and Helen and Charles Schwab, and the Accessions Committee Fund. © Gerhard Richter, 2009

Colour starts to come into his work when he is using his own images. A kaleidoscopic image of Gilbert and George is of extraordinary photographic quality and the merged faces create the effect of an over-exposed photo.

Richter's altering and re-working helps to de-personalise his portraits and remove them from their context - the paintings return to being viewed as objects.

Tellingly, the last piece in the exhibition is a mirror – you return to your own image and have to ask yourself what do you see – is it the real person or is it just a re-worked image? See for some essay's ...

zaterdag 21 maart 2009

Traces of War, Survivors of the Burma and Sumatra railways – Photos by Jan Banning Photography

Traces of War by Jan Banning

Victory for the allied forces in the Pacific theatre of the Second World War will be celebrated in August, 60 years after the Japanese Emperor Hirohito conceded defeat. There will be among the celebrants a small, largely forgotten group who will once again have to relive their nightmares of the war in the Pacific.

Dutch, English, Australian and American POW s were among more than a quarter of a million Asians - so called romushas foced by the Japanese to work on railways in Burma and Sumatra. They worked in desperate conditions. Between 50 and 80 per cent of the romushas did not survive the regime, not least as a result of being torpedoed in transit. The sinking of the Junyo Maru, for instance, resulted in the deaths of 4000 romushas and 1500 prisoners of war.

Traces of War the Dutch photographer Jan Banning has interviewed and photographed just 24 of the Dutch and Indonesian survivors. The haunting images show them as they worked, naked from the waist up. The words elicit, with a matter-of-fact disinterest, the misery of their constant understanding of death. Unsurprisingly, after their experiences, they have hitherto been loath to discuss their ordeals.

Banning s Dutch publication of Traces of War has all but sold out. Trolley presents the English language version for the many thousands of relatives and children, and the few survivors, who want to know the truths of what happened in Burma and Sumatra.

Jan Banning was born in Almelo, Holland, in 1954, of Dutch-East-Indies parents. At university he studied social and economic history, and has been a photographer since 1981, concentrating on reportage. Lees verder `Ik heb altijd mijn klewang nog' ...

vrijdag 20 maart 2009

Ein Ghetto im Osten Wilna by Moshe Vorobeichic & S. Chnéour Photography

moshe vorobeichic, s. chnéour:
ein ghetto im osten – wilna

orell füssli verlag, zürich/leipzig (schaubücher 27), 1931
size: 19 x 13 cm
photographer: moi ver designer : (unknown)

M. Vorobeichic, who also used the artist name Moi Ver, and whose real name was Moses Vorobeichic (1904), in Israel renamed Moshe Raviv. This painter/photographer is known for his picture-books on the Ghetto of Wilna and Paris (end of the twenties), early examples of the Bauhaus photographic style. (German) From the Preface The Jewish Lane in Light and Shadow by S. Chneour

About Paris : 'The book that introduced Moi Ver to the world is exhilaratingly eccentric, definitely avant-garde.... Moi Ver's Paris is a city in motion, hurtling almost out of control. Cobblestone streets, bustling crowds, facades, railway tracks, bridges. the glittering river, and countless monuments shift and shatter here.... Moi Ver's version of Paris was eclipsed two years later by the publication of Brassai's more conventionally seductive Paris de Nuit, but no one has yet matched Moi Ver's vision of the brutal, chaotic, irresistible modern city.'-Vince Aletti, from the Book of 101 Books

In Paris, his quintessential avant-garde book, Moi Ver succeeded in blending dynamic photographic montage with elaborate graphic layouts. Utilizing the double-spread as one unified place, each turn of the page not only surprised but accentuated the charged rhythm built into the book itself. The bulk of information in these pictures documents mundane street activities in the cobblestone-covered Paris of the late 20s. But the method in which Moi Ver chose to present his material, in its kaliedoscopic layering and frenzied repetitiveness, emphasized an experiential approach to picture construction-as if we, the viewers, were walking about, bombarded by noise and reflected light. Originally published in 1931 by Editions Jeanne Walter with an introduction by Futurist Fernand Leger, now long out of print and exceptionally rare, this facsimile reproduction of Paris brings back into circulation one of the seminal photographic books of the century. See for the slideshow ...
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another example of orell füssli's "schaubücher" (sb), a series of photo books with laminated board covers in a standardised new typography design, see also books 95, 173 or 96.

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sb edition number 27 is a standout and the most sought after: it is a photo documentation of the jewish ghetto of vilnius, the lithuanian city which is called "wilna" in german.

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the introduction was written by zalman shneour (1887-1959), a jewish (yiddish) writer who lived in vilnius and later in paris.

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the book is famous for its photos by moshe raviv-vorobeichic (1904-1995), better known as moi ver.

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moi ver had studied at the bauhaus in dessau, and later worked in paris before finally settling in palestine.

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the experimental photos and photomontages reveal a bauhaus influence.

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a unique feauture of this "schaubuch": ...

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... the whole book is bilingual, ...

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... german and hebrew!

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the hebrew version starts at the "back".

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a stunning book about a fascinating world which was wiped out by the nazis in ww2.

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See for more book design stories ...

donderdag 19 maart 2009


with Nobuyoshi Araki, Richard Avedon, Werner Bischof, Brassaï, René Burri, Harry Callahan, Robert Capa, Larry Clark, Robert Doisneau, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Paul Fusco, Ralph Gibson, Peter Hujar, György Kepes, André Kertész, Josef Koudelka, Les Krims, Jens Liebchen, Susan Meiselas, Ryuji Miyamoto, Richard Misrach, Ken Ohara, Martin Parr, Ed Ruscha, Sebastião Salgado, Aaron Siskind, Stephen Shore, Susan Sontag, Alec Soth, Ralph Steiner, Joel Sternfeld, Paul Strand, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Larry Sultan, Wolfgang Tillmans, Weegee , William Wegman, Brett Weston, Minor White, Garry Winogrand ...

By Matt Damsker
By Stephen Daiter, John Gossage, Jess Mott. Published by the Stephen Daiter Gallery. 340 pages, more than 200 exhibits. Stephen Daiter Gallery, 311 West Superior, Suite 404, Chicago, Ill. 60610. Information: +1-312-787-3350; email: info@stephendaitergallery.com .

By almost any standard, this Daiter Gallery exhibition of photography books has it all: breadth, depth, and a scholarly commitment to contextualize the emergence of the fine-art photo book as an art form unto itself, differentiated from the often famous individual images collected in the books. And yet, reading through the insightful essays that pace this catalogue--from photographer/collector John Gossage, or Professor Alex Sweetman, or collector David Tippit, among others--it becomes apparent that the best and most enduring of these bound portfolios speak volumes for themselves, without much need for big-picture explication. Photography being the most democratically accessible of art forms, it's only natural that it would come to inhabit the book world of mass distribution with none of the uneasiness that attends to mass-produced images of, say, great painting or sculpture.

Indeed, it's fair to say that photographs were meant to be passed around, and in codex they often achieve the sort of comprehensiveness and continuity that can otherwise only be achieved by a carefully curated exhibition. Thus, the large-format, in-your-face ambition of, say, Richard Avedon's novelistic 1985 "In the American West," which was conceived as much for publication as for the gallery wall, is an arguable apotheosis of the photo book form--a masterwork that achieves much more the longer you live with it, contending and commiserating with its hardscrabble characters (as I have for so long) than it could possibly achieve any other way.

In contrast, such other classics as 1972's "Diane Arbus" collect images that have taken on a mythic singularity--the identical twins, the sensual dwarf, the domesticated giant--and matter more as necessities of the medium than as sweeping concepts. Of course, sandwiched between the conceptual coin that pairs Arbus and Avedon are photo books of a teeming variety, and the Daiter exhibit collects wonderful examples of the rare and the truly readable. Alphabetically, the roll call moves almost magically, continuing from Baltz to Bullock, to Cartier-Bresson's 1949 first edition of "New-York," to Larry Clark's renegade explorations of "Teenage Lust" and "Tulsa," to Eggleston, Walker Evans, Friedlander, the groundbreaking art books of Ed Ruscha, and so on.

Ultimately, what Daiter delivers with this book and exhibition is a succession of reasons why photography is the once and future mode of revelation, and why photography books so are marvelously attuned to the medium. One need only consider the unique, accordion-fold continuity of Ken Ohara's "Self Portrait: 365 Diary" of 1972, which reminds us that long before the Internet gave us the power to upload and blog our pajamaed selves across the universe, visionary photographers were already experimenting with comparable notions of intimacy, immediacy, and connectivity.

If anything, "From Fair to Fine" could dig a little deeper with each example: many of the books are presented with brief descriptions that give us an idea of what sets them apart or makes them classic, but too many of them go undescribed (other than for some vital statistics). A shame, since this microcosmic book of books makes us want to know everything that lies between its many covers.

Matt Damsker is an author and critic, who has written about photography and the arts for the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Philadelphia Bulletin, Rolling Stone magazine and other publications. His book, "Rock Voices", was published in 1981 by St. Martin's Press. His essay in the book, "Marcus Doyle: Night Vision" was published this past November.

dinsdag 17 maart 2009

Reviving out-of-print PhotoBooks by Errata Editions Photography

Continuing her series on photography books, Liz Jobey applauds a venture to create new editions of out-of-print volumes

Eugène Atget's Photographe de Paris (Errata Edition)

Eugène Atget's Photographe de Paris. Photograph: Errata Editions

Well, here's a good idea: a new series of photography books about photography books. If this sounds a bit like trainspotting, it probably is. But one of the main growth areas in photography over the past decade has been the interest in photographic books – not so much in new titles (though there has been a definite expansion there), but in second-hand books, the ones that are increasingly rare, out of print, and out of the range of most pockets.

Errata Editions, a small American press, has just launched its first four titles, based on the idea – which, as far as I know, has never been tried before – of presenting rare and out-of-print books in their original formats: not as facsimile editions or reprints, but as page-by-page reproductions, scanned from the original, displayed in their original sequences, with their original texts (translated into English where necessary), title pages, colophons and even errata slips.

Each book has a new essay by a contemporary photo historian, a short biography of the photographer, data about the original publication – where it was printed, how many copies, etc – and a list of other titles by the same photographer. In other words, each Errata book acts as a kind of host to its original title.

Walker Evans's American Photographs (Errata Edition).Walker Evans's American Photographs. Photograph: Errata Editions

The first four titles in the series are Eugène Atget: Photographe de Paris – which was the first book of Atget's photographs, published in 1930 three years after his death; Walker Evans's American Photographs, published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1938; FAIT, the French photographer Sophie Ristelhueber's book of desert landscapes, made after the first Gulf War in 1991 and published in France (and in England as Aftermath) in 1992; and In Flagrante, the British-born photographer Chris Killip's book of pictures taken in the north-east of England at the end of the 1970s and early 1980s, published by Secker & Warburg in 1988.

All four are outstanding works; all are out of print, and the prices of the first editions, despite the financial crisis, are still rising. A quick check on Google reveals the Atget to be available for between $1500 and $2,000 (£1,000-£1,400); In Flagrante, the hardback edition (of which only around 500 copies were distributed), up to $4,000 (£2,800), and American Photographs, published in an original edition of 5,000) around $1,000 (£700). I couldn't even find a copy of FAIT for sale online, only a quote from the photographer and book collector Martin Parr, who said he'd bought six copies when it was published because he knew it was important.

The Errata books are modestly-sized (175mm wide by 240mm high), solidly-constructed hardbacks, bound in black cloth, with the title and series number stamped in white on the front and spine. A wide band of cream art paper folded around the middle of each book shows a photograph of the cover of the original title and forms an elegant variation on the traditional dust jacket. It is obvious that these books, born of the success of other books, have been designed to become collectors' items in their own right.

Sophie Ristelhueber's FAIT (Errata Edition).Sophie Ristelhueber's FAIT. Photograph: Errata Editions

The idea for Books on Books comes from Jeffrey Ladd, who since 2007 has written the widely-respected photoblog 5B4. (I've written about him before, when I was trying to discover the identity of "Mr Whiskets", the pseudonym he chose for his original pieces. Now, though, most people who read him know his real identity.) Ladd is a photographer and a printmaker, and teaches at the International Center of Photography in New York. Books on Books came out of his realisation that, as rare photography books continued to shoot up in value, some of the greatest titles would all but disappear from public view. With his co-founders, Ed Grazda and Valerie Sonnenthal, he decided on the format and, somewhat miraculously, persuaded executors and photographers that re-presenting their original books this way meant they would have a second life without the difficulties, or expense, of reprints and facsimiles. It was also important to Ladd that his series should be affordable and available to students and photo-enthusiasts alike.

One of the surprising things about these new editions is that, although some of the photographs are reproduced at a smaller scale, the way they are presented makes you look at the images differently. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it turns the original pictures into "objects", but they now sit on a page-within-a-page, with the margins, gutter markings and page edges of the original clearly visible around them. Initially there is a sense of dislocation when you look at the pictures, as if you were looking at specimens. But once you get used to the shift , there are times, particularly when the images are reproduced one to a page, when it almost simulates the feeling of looking at the original book.

Chris Killip: In Flagrante (Errata Edition).Chris Killip: In Flagrante. Photograph: Errata Editions

One advantage of the uniform format is that you notice connections between the different titles. Ladd says he chose the first four because they each had links to one other, and this is certainly clear when you move from Atget to Walker Evans and see the similarities of approach and subject matter. Evans first saw Atget's photographs in 1929 in New York and, as John T Hill explains in his essay on Evans, Atget was "perhaps the single most potent influence in shaping Evans's style". This is not to say that Evans copied Atget's photographs, but what he saw in them must have reinforced his own instinct that a clear, direct documentary picture taken from ordinary life could contain a kind of poetry, become a work of art.

All four titles are resonant of their time. Atget as the great photographer of late 19th-century Paris; Evans, the documenter of mid 20th-century America; Ristelhueber, who transformed the photography of war, just as modern warfare itself was changing in the early 1990s, and Chris Killip's experience of living among two small working-class communities on the north east coast as Thatcherism was starting to threaten their already fragile existence. Like Evans's photographs, each of Killip's is a complete statement in itself, with its own emotional, political and aesthetic charge. It was when I saw some of these photographs in Newcastle in 1977 that I realised for the first time how it was possible to look at a photograph as you might at a painting, and find internal rhythms and resonances that reach beyond the basic visual information supplied. I always wondered why In Flagrante was never reprinted. It turns out it was because Killip didn't want it to be. He believed it was a book of its time, and should remain so. Now, though, reproduced in this new format as a work of reference, he has been pleased to see it reappear.

The history of photography has been measured out in books. Books are still where photographers present the most definitive versions of their work. One of the ironies of the past few years has been that when it comes to old books, audiences have been growing as the books have been disappearing. This new venture is a way of redressing the balance.

Eugène Atget: Photographe de Paris; Walker Evans: American Photographs; Sophie Ristelhueber: FAIT and Chris Killip: In Flagrante, from the Books on Books series, published by Errata Editions, £33 each.

maandag 16 maart 2009

Dutch Households by Taco Anema Photography

AMSTERDAM.- Two new exhibitions dealing with the theme of family in photography will open at Huis Marseille this spring. Along with the unusual and extensive collection of daguerreotypes from the Enschedé family, which includes the oldest known photograph in the Netherlands, contemporary family portraits by the Amsterdam photographer Taco Anema will also be on display. A new portrait of the Enschedé family has been done by him as well. With his series Hollandse Huishoudens (Dutch Households) Anema shows just how removed today's family portrait is from the stately, occasionally rather forced-looking group portrait of the past, which has been handed down to us on small and intimate silver-plated copper plates. Anema's group portraits are scenes, or tableaux vivants. An informal, socially and sociologically inspired outlook lies at the heart of these. Furthermore, these large-scale color photographs are curiously reminiscent of the idiom in family portraits painted in the early part of the previous century. Taco Anema's households are indeed more 'tidy' and certainly less caricatural than what the Dutch refer to as 'Jan Steen households'. But they are also warmer and of a more casual atmosphere—more convivial and Dutch—than, for instance, the highly formalized family portraits by German photographer Thomas Struth. They convey less tension than the masterly but complex group portraits of Rineke Dijkstra. Not only does Anema's work show a strong stylistic development of the family portrait; his photographs reveal the extent to which the Dutch family is changing—and has changed.

Taco Anema (1950) has his origins in the tradition of documentary photography, which has become highly developed in the Netherlands. The development of Anema's work, from the 1970s up to now, runs parallel to this tradition. Following his study of sociology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Anema decides to become a photographer in 1975. He buys the book Sweet Life, an absolute masterpiece by Ed van der Elsken, and a Nikon Nikkormat camera with a 50-millimeter lens. In those days a good photographer was a leftist photographer, and photography was an instrument for activism.

Anema's first published series of photographs deals with the squatters' movement, particularly with the squatters' riot in Amsterdam's Vondelstraat. His black-and-white photographs appeared in the popular magazine Nieuwe Revu (now called Revu), then the second-best periodical (after the progressive Vrij Nederland) for publishing photographic essays.

Around 1980 Taco Anema photographs and publishes regularly with the well-known documentary photographers of that time: Willem Diepraam, Bert Nienhuis, Hans van den Bogaard, Han Singels, Hans Aarsman, Theo Baart, Lex van der Slot and Hannes Wallrafen. On his own initiative he makes a number of trips to Poland in order to chronicle the strikes and protests taking place there, as well as the rise of the free labor union Solidarnosz. These photographs were published in the newspapers De Volkskrant and Trouw, and in the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer. To Anema himself, they signified the start of his career as a documentary photographer.

Times change, though, even for the successful genre of documentary photography. The personal commitment of both photographers and newspaper/magazine publishers gradually takes on a more commercial slant, and assignments begin to dwindle. Various photographers devote themselves to producing photography books, others to new narrative structures, such as sequences or conceptual forms of photography. As photography begins to be regarded as an art form during the 1980s and 90s, the documentary photographers also shift their focus to new, spatial forms of presentation. The number of photo exhibitions then increases significantly.

Portrait Photography and Group Portraits
Taco Anema is becoming increasingly specialized in portrait photography. From 1980 to 1995 most of his portraits were done for newspapers and magazines: (Nieuwe) Revu, De Groene Amsterdammer, Volkskrant, Trouw and NRC-Handelsblad. His strength seems to lie more and more clearly with the group portrait. In staging these he manages to orchestrate the arrangement of diverse groups in a lively and meaningful way. The ultimate composition should, in his view, also reflect some aspect of the group's identity and its social role. In addition to this, he experiments with visual formulas that are sometimes taken directly from the history of painting. Anema's first series of group portraits to be displayed in a museum was made with different groups of inhabitants from the town of Enkhuizen. His success as a photographer of group portraits became established when the Holland Festival granted him the assignment of producing a series of portraits of the participating groups.

Just as in his earlier photographic reporting, Anema wants not only to show but also to convey a 'story' about the infinite differences among groups of people. In his new work he uses mainly the composition and only existing light in order to shape his point of view. He translates his idea about their mutual relationships into a spatial structure. With this he uses body language, poses, props and especially light as narrative and visual elements.

Dutch Households
Since 2002 Anema has been working on a series about a hundred families in the Netherlands. Within the genre of the group portrait, he is intrigued by the phenomenon 'family', partly because conservatism and progressiveness contend for predominance here. The family as 'the cornerstone of society' seems a conservative institution, yet it does reflect the very changes in the make-up of the Dutch population, as well as its lifestyles and forms of cohabitation. And today's multicultural society is, in his view, quite apparent in the average living room.

Following a relative lack of interest for some time, Dutch family life and the family are now regaining attention. In the Netherlands there have been projects such as Kinderrijk (2002) by Annie van Gemert, dealing with large families, and Familie in Beeld – Vriesendorp uit Dordrecht (2007), a large-scale commission project in which the Vriesendorp family had themselves photographed by prominent photographers such as Koos Breukel and the duo Blommers/Schumm. (See also Kors van Bennekom ... & Sally Mann ...)

A comparison with the portraits of Struth highlights the expressive power of Anema's group photographs. The families in Struth's works are positioned formally in relation to each other and in relation to the camera. The Dutch Households of Anema are more stratified; the accent lies with intimacy, togetherness, and the group complies with the dimensional aspect of the living room. Another difference is that, with Anema's work, a great deal can be discerned from the poses and body language, while it is the face and the gaze that give direction to the Struth portrait. Furthermore, Anema's family portraits are 'built' around the household environment, their natural habitat. These portraits are quite varied and colorful. All the discussion on contrasts between 'native' and 'non-native' families is put in perspective by his approach.

Huis Marseille's Collection
In April 1931 the photographer Dr. Erich Salomon gave a lecture on his work titled Mit Frack und Linse durch Politik und Gesellschaft (With Tuxedo and Camera through Politics and Society) at Hotel Kaiserhof (Berlin). Among the 400 guests were many high-level German political, industrial and academic officials, who now saw themselves in life-size projections. Those projections were accompanied by the incisive commentary of the photographer himself, who explained how he had made their portraits without being noticed. The lecture became the starting point for his book Berühmte Zeitgenossen in unbewachte Augenblicken, published that same year.

Both the text of Salomon's lecture at Hotel Kaiserhof and the majority of the glass slides that he used for this withstood the war and are now in the Salomon Archive of the Berlinische Galerie. In 2001 Huis Marseille commissioned the reconstruction of Salomon's historic lecture. This was carried out by the photographers Hans Samsom and Ewan Baan, in collaboration with Peter and Trudy Hunter, the Berlinische Galerie and Laura Samsom-Rous. The Dutch text is read by writer and former diplomat F. Springer, the English text by filmmaker Keith Washington. This projection will now be shown again in connection with the daguerreotype portraits of the Enschedé family and Taco Anema's Dutch Households.

Trudy Hunter recently donated a very beautiful series of seven photographs by her father-in-law Dr. Erich Salomon to Huis Marseille. Salomon had made the portraits of conductor Bruno Walter (1876 - 1962) around 1930, presumably during a concert at Covent Garden, London. This series of photographs will also be on display with the projection.