zaterdag 25 februari 2012

Between Walker Evans and Robert Frank John Vachon's America FSA Photography


John Vachon’s America

Photographs and Letters from the Depression to World War II

John Vachon (Author), Miles Orvell (Editor)


From 1936 to 1943, John Vachon traveled across America as part of the Farm Security Administration photography project, documenting the desperate world of the Great Depression and also the efforts at resistance—from strikes to stoic determination. This collection, the first to feature Vachon's work, offers a stirring and elegant record of this extraordinary photographer's vision and of America's land and people as the country moved from the depths of the Depression to the dramatic mobilization for World War II. Vachon's portraits of white and black Americans are among the most affecting that FSA photographers produced; and his portrayals of the American landscape, from rural scenes to small towns and urban centers, present a remarkable visual account of these pivotal years, in a style that is transitional from Walker Evans to Robert Frank

Vachon nurtured a lifelong ambition to be a writer, and the intimate and revealing letters he wrote from the field to his wife back home reflect vividly on American conditions, on movies and jazz, on landscape, and on his job fulfilling the directives from Washington to capture the heart of America. Together, these letters and photographs, along with journal entries and other writings by Vachon, constitute a multifaceted biography of this remarkable photographer and a unique look at the years he captured in such unforgettable images.



Open publication - Free publishing - More fsa


John Vachon (1914-1975) was a long-term photographer for the Farm Security Administration (which later merged with the Office of War Information).  As such, he helped to document American life during the Great Depression and into the war years.

Vachon's letters, especially to his wife (Penny), help us to better understand not just his pictures but the time frame in which he worked.  Miles Orvell uses those photos and letters, coupled with his own commentary, to explain what people at the FSA hoped to accomplish:

Above all, from 1935 to 1943 the government, through the Farm Security Administration, conducted the greatest documentary effort in history, sending more than forty photographers into the field and across the United States to collect images of American life that would result in an archive of 165,000 classified FSA prints, with an additional 100,000 negatives gathered from other sources and put into the general archive.  Most of the FSA images were taken under the direction of [Roy] Stryker, the chief of the Historical Unit, who managed and directed from two to a dozen photographers at any given time (depending on available funding), spread out across the nation.

[John] Vachon toiled under Roy Stryker longer than virtually any other FSA photographer (six years), and he went on, before being drafted into the army, to work briefly for the Standard Oil Company, which was gathering a photographic archive ostensibly relating to oil production, again under Stryker's direction. 
 (John Vachon's America: Photographs and Letters from the Depression to World War II, by John Vachon and Miles Orvell, page 5.)

Although he took some incredible pictures, Vachon's work is less well known than (for example) Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" photos.  Why is that?

A primary reason was that, unlike better-known photographers of the era, he produced no single picture or set of pictures that achieved iconic status.  Fame is partly a function of accident and timing, as well as the photographer's ability to advance him- or herself in the competitive world of photojournalism.  And here Vachon may have had himself to blame, and his own habits of self-deprecation:  immensely gifted yet deeply suspicious of his gifts, Vachon was anything but self-promoting. 
Another possible reason for his general neglect is that he began photographing for the agency in 1937, after Evans, Lange, Shahn, Rothstein and others had already established their reputations by photographing largely rural and farming subjects, often in the South or in dust bowl regions.   (John Vachon's America, page 5.)

Yet ... we have Vachon's compelling picture of a "worker at a carbon black plant" in Sunray, Texas.  What is a carbon black plant?  Vachon personally answers that question in a November 11, 1942 letter to his wife Penny:

This afternoon I worked in a carbon black plant.  Do you know what a carbon black plant is?  It's where they burn natural gas with insufficient oxygen and make carbon which is powdery black stuff in big bags worth 3 cents a pound, used in making tires, paints, & numerous other places. 


The [Texas] panhandle is the seat of the carbon black industry, and on any given day in any given spot you can look all around you and in 6 or 7 corners 40 miles away, no fooling, you see little black places above the horizon.  These are the C.B. plants.  Then as you get nearer, naturally, the little black place gets bigger and bigger.  From 5 or 10 miles it's a huge black cloud out there ahead of you.  Then you drive right up to it and it's just exactly like driving from a sunny day into the middle of night. 


They make wonderful backgrounds for pictures for quite some distance, and look exactly like dust storms I've seen pictures of, and I'll bet that's just what they were mistaken for by some dumb FSA photographers I could mention. 


The one I worked in today had 300 what they call hot houses.  Each hot house has several hundred gas jets burning.  I went in one that was off, then they turned it on for me and I got a picture before it got very hot and got out.  It's a beautiful weird sight inside.  High mass.

... Anyway, in working there, I got dirtier, that is blacker, than I have ever been in my life.  Really black all over.  Right through the clothes it goes.  I washed carefully my face and hands, but I'm leaving the rest for a while, it's really kind of beautiful.  It gets very shiny when you rub it. 



About the best pictures I got this year, I think, will prove to be the portraits of some of the black faced workers there.  I got so excited about these guys that I shot up all the film I had with me, and didn't get pix of the buildings, and various operations.  So I'll have to go back again.  And I'll sure make some more of those portraits.  (John Vachon's Americapage 227.)

This image is one of those portraits.  Vachon took it - in 1942 - at a carbon black plant in Sunray, Texas.  








Rare photographs taken of the screen goddess during the summer of 1953, while on the set of "River of No Return." The photos were, taken by John Vachon from LOOK magazine, were filed away for nearly 60 years until the release of "Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos" (Dover Publications). During the difficult shoot, of The River of No Return, director, Preminger had to contend with frequent rain, Robert Mitchum's heavy drinking, and an injury to Marilyn's ankle that kept her off the set for several days.






Between Walker Evans and Robert Frank John Vachon's America FSA Photography


John Vachon’s America

Photographs and Letters from the Depression to World War II

John Vachon (Author), Miles Orvell (Editor)


From 1936 to 1943, John Vachon traveled across America as part of the Farm Security Administration photography project, documenting the desperate world of the Great Depression and also the efforts at resistance—from strikes to stoic determination. This collection, the first to feature Vachon's work, offers a stirring and elegant record of this extraordinary photographer's vision and of America's land and people as the country moved from the depths of the Depression to the dramatic mobilization for World War II. Vachon's portraits of white and black Americans are among the most affecting that FSA photographers produced; and his portrayals of the American landscape, from rural scenes to small towns and urban centers, present a remarkable visual account of these pivotal years, in a style that is transitional from Walker Evans to Robert Frank

Vachon nurtured a lifelong ambition to be a writer, and the intimate and revealing letters he wrote from the field to his wife back home reflect vividly on American conditions, on movies and jazz, on landscape, and on his job fulfilling the directives from Washington to capture the heart of America. Together, these letters and photographs, along with journal entries and other writings by Vachon, constitute a multifaceted biography of this remarkable photographer and a unique look at the years he captured in such unforgettable images.



Open publication - Free publishing - More fsa


John Vachon (1914-1975) was a long-term photographer for the Farm Security Administration (which later merged with the Office of War Information).  As such, he helped to document American life during the Great Depression and into the war years.

Vachon's letters, especially to his wife (Penny), help us to better understand not just his pictures but the time frame in which he worked.  Miles Orvell uses those photos and letters, coupled with his own commentary, to explain what people at the FSA hoped to accomplish:

Above all, from 1935 to 1943 the government, through the Farm Security Administration, conducted the greatest documentary effort in history, sending more than forty photographers into the field and across the United States to collect images of American life that would result in an archive of 165,000 classified FSA prints, with an additional 100,000 negatives gathered from other sources and put into the general archive.  Most of the FSA images were taken under the direction of [Roy] Stryker, the chief of the Historical Unit, who managed and directed from two to a dozen photographers at any given time (depending on available funding), spread out across the nation.

[John] Vachon toiled under Roy Stryker longer than virtually any other FSA photographer (six years), and he went on, before being drafted into the army, to work briefly for the Standard Oil Company, which was gathering a photographic archive ostensibly relating to oil production, again under Stryker's direction. 
 (John Vachon's America: Photographs and Letters from the Depression to World War II, by John Vachon and Miles Orvell, page 5.)

Although he took some incredible pictures, Vachon's work is less well known than (for example) Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" photos.  Why is that?

A primary reason was that, unlike better-known photographers of the era, he produced no single picture or set of pictures that achieved iconic status.  Fame is partly a function of accident and timing, as well as the photographer's ability to advance him- or herself in the competitive world of photojournalism.  And here Vachon may have had himself to blame, and his own habits of self-deprecation:  immensely gifted yet deeply suspicious of his gifts, Vachon was anything but self-promoting. 
Another possible reason for his general neglect is that he began photographing for the agency in 1937, after Evans, Lange, Shahn, Rothstein and others had already established their reputations by photographing largely rural and farming subjects, often in the South or in dust bowl regions.   (John Vachon's America, page 5.)

Yet ... we have Vachon's compelling picture of a "worker at a carbon black plant" in Sunray, Texas.  What is a carbon black plant?  Vachon personally answers that question in a November 11, 1942 letter to his wife Penny:

This afternoon I worked in a carbon black plant.  Do you know what a carbon black plant is?  It's where they burn natural gas with insufficient oxygen and make carbon which is powdery black stuff in big bags worth 3 cents a pound, used in making tires, paints, & numerous other places. 


The [Texas] panhandle is the seat of the carbon black industry, and on any given day in any given spot you can look all around you and in 6 or 7 corners 40 miles away, no fooling, you see little black places above the horizon.  These are the C.B. plants.  Then as you get nearer, naturally, the little black place gets bigger and bigger.  From 5 or 10 miles it's a huge black cloud out there ahead of you.  Then you drive right up to it and it's just exactly like driving from a sunny day into the middle of night. 


They make wonderful backgrounds for pictures for quite some distance, and look exactly like dust storms I've seen pictures of, and I'll bet that's just what they were mistaken for by some dumb FSA photographers I could mention. 


The one I worked in today had 300 what they call hot houses.  Each hot house has several hundred gas jets burning.  I went in one that was off, then they turned it on for me and I got a picture before it got very hot and got out.  It's a beautiful weird sight inside.  High mass.

... Anyway, in working there, I got dirtier, that is blacker, than I have ever been in my life.  Really black all over.  Right through the clothes it goes.  I washed carefully my face and hands, but I'm leaving the rest for a while, it's really kind of beautiful.  It gets very shiny when you rub it. 



About the best pictures I got this year, I think, will prove to be the portraits of some of the black faced workers there.  I got so excited about these guys that I shot up all the film I had with me, and didn't get pix of the buildings, and various operations.  So I'll have to go back again.  And I'll sure make some more of those portraits.  (John Vachon's Americapage 227.)

This image is one of those portraits.  Vachon took it - in 1942 - at a carbon black plant in Sunray, Texas.  








Rare photographs taken of the screen goddess during the summer of 1953, while on the set of "River of No Return." The photos were, taken by John Vachon from LOOK magazine, were filed away for nearly 60 years until the release of "Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos" (Dover Publications). During the difficult shoot, of The River of No Return, director, Preminger had to contend with frequent rain, Robert Mitchum's heavy drinking, and an injury to Marilyn's ankle that kept her off the set for several days.






dinsdag 21 februari 2012

LIFE, TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, Mademoiselle, The Police Synchronicity album, “Paris Collection” for Vogue Duane Michals Company Photography



Duane Michals 1972-1982


Simultaneously while doing his personal photography, Sonny always made his living as the most unprofessional professional photographer – no agent, no studio, no staff (except for a freelance assistant), and no overhead. He did covers for LIFE, TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, Mademoiselle, The Police Synchronicity album, “Paris Collection” for Vogue, New York Times Annual Report, everything that came his way, and all with enthusiasm and great surprise that anyone would hire him. Sonny would always be a freshman and Avedon and Penn would always be seniors.



Duane Michals (b. February 18, 1932) is an American photographer. Largely self-taught, his work is noted for its innovation and artistry. Michals' style often features photo-sequences and the incorporation of text to examine emotion and philosophy, resulting in a unique body of work.
Michals grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1953 he received a B.A. from the University of Denver. In 1956 he went on to study design at the Parsons School of Design with a plan to becoming a graphic designer, however he did not complete his studies. In 1958 while on a holiday in the USSR he discovered an interest in photography. The photographs he made during this trip became his first exhibition held in 1963 at the Underground Gallery in New York City.
For a number of years, Michals worked in commercial photography, working for Esquire and Mademoiselle, and he covered the filming of The Great Gatsby for Vogue (1974). He did not have a studio. Instead, he took portraits of people in their environment, which was a contrast to the method of other photographers at the time, such as Avedon and Irving Penn.
In 1968 Michals was hired by the government of Mexico to photograph the 1968 Olympic Games. In 1970 his works were shown at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. The portraits he took between 1958 and 1988 would later become the basis of his book, Album.
In 1976 Michals received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Michals also produced the art for the album Synchronicity (by The Police) in 1983, and Richard Barone's Clouds Over Eden album in 1993.














LIFE, TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, Mademoiselle, The Police Synchronicity album, “Paris Collection” for Vogue Duane Michals Company Photography



Duane Michals 1972-1982


Simultaneously while doing his personal photography, Sonny always made his living as the most unprofessional professional photographer – no agent, no studio, no staff (except for a freelance assistant), and no overhead. He did covers for LIFE, TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, Mademoiselle, The Police Synchronicity album, “Paris Collection” for Vogue, New York Times Annual Report, everything that came his way, and all with enthusiasm and great surprise that anyone would hire him. Sonny would always be a freshman and Avedon and Penn would always be seniors.



Duane Michals (b. February 18, 1932) is an American photographer. Largely self-taught, his work is noted for its innovation and artistry. Michals' style often features photo-sequences and the incorporation of text to examine emotion and philosophy, resulting in a unique body of work.
Michals grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1953 he received a B.A. from the University of Denver. In 1956 he went on to study design at the Parsons School of Design with a plan to becoming a graphic designer, however he did not complete his studies. In 1958 while on a holiday in the USSR he discovered an interest in photography. The photographs he made during this trip became his first exhibition held in 1963 at the Underground Gallery in New York City.
For a number of years, Michals worked in commercial photography, working for Esquire and Mademoiselle, and he covered the filming of The Great Gatsby for Vogue (1974). He did not have a studio. Instead, he took portraits of people in their environment, which was a contrast to the method of other photographers at the time, such as Avedon and Irving Penn.
In 1968 Michals was hired by the government of Mexico to photograph the 1968 Olympic Games. In 1970 his works were shown at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. The portraits he took between 1958 and 1988 would later become the basis of his book, Album.
In 1976 Michals received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Michals also produced the art for the album Synchronicity (by The Police) in 1983, and Richard Barone's Clouds Over Eden album in 1993.














zaterdag 18 februari 2012

-Los Amorales Carlos Amorales Artist's Book Latin American Photobook Graphic Design Mevis & van Deursen Piet Zwart Photography



AMORALES, Carlos.
Los Amorales.
(Amsterdam: Artimo, 2001).

(289 x 214 mm), pp.[212]. 162 black-and-white and colour photographs and video stills, texts by Amorales, Patricia Ellis, Cuauhtemoc Medina, Philippe Vergne, and Rein Wolfs, design by Mevis & van Deursen. Photo-illustrated wrappers, white, printed in red.

First edition. In 1996 Carlos Aguirre Morales decided to reinvent himself as a Luchador named ‘Amorales’. He commissioned a wrestling mask based on his own face and began using it in a number of performances. In 1999 he introduced his character to a series of live fights with wrestlers from the Lucha Libre circuit. In each fight the mask was worn by a professional wrestler who assumed the identity of Amorales. Together with the live performances, Amorales also exhibited video footage, stills and photographs of the events and their preparations.

This book was created in conjunction with Dutch designers Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen who, like Amorales had studied at the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. ... The book seems to be a homage to the avant-garde graphic design of the 1920s, like the work of Piet Zwart, called to mind by the excellent typography (san-serif typefaces, constant changes of color and body size, overlays od paragraphs) which highlights the images, photographs and vibrant stills that change color along with the typography. ‘It is a great and unashamed work of “typophoto,” in which… [they] set aside prejudices and showed how simple and beneficial it is to forget about the differences between high and low culture’ (The Latin American Photobook).


The Latin American Photobook

Horacio Fernandez (Author)


A growing appreciation of the photobook has inspired a flood of new scholarship and connoisseurship of the form--few as surprising and inspiring as The Latin American Photobook, the culmination of a four-year, cross-continental research effort led by Horacio Fernandez, author of the seminal volume Fotografia Pública. Compiled with the input of a committee of researchers, scholars, and photographers, including Marcelo Brodsky, Iatã Cannabrava, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio and Martin ParrThe Latin American Photobook presents 150 volumes from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela. It begins with the 1920s and continues up to today, providing revelatory perspectives on the under-charted history of Latin American photography, and featuring work by great figures such as Claudia Andujar, Barbara Brändli, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Horacio Coppola, Paz Errázuriz,Graciela Iturbide, Sara Facio, Paolo Gasparini, Daniel González, Boris Kossoy, Sergio Larrain and many others. The book is divided into thematic sections such as "The City," "Conceptual Art and Photography" and "Photography and Literature," the latter a category uniquely important to Latin America. Fernandez's texts, exhaustively researched and richly illustrated, offer insight not only on each individual title and photographer, but on the multivalent social, political, and artistic histories of the region as well. This book is an unparalleled resource for those interested in Latin American photography or in discovering these heretofore unknown gems in the history of the photobook at large.





Art Talk! - Carlos Amorales door VBS_tv





-Los Amorales Carlos Amorales Artist's Book Latin American Photobook Graphic Design Mevis & van Deursen Piet Zwart Photography



AMORALES, Carlos.
Los Amorales.
(Amsterdam: Artimo, 2001).

(289 x 214 mm), pp.[212]. 162 black-and-white and colour photographs and video stills, texts by Amorales, Patricia Ellis, Cuauhtemoc Medina, Philippe Vergne, and Rein Wolfs, design by Mevis & van Deursen. Photo-illustrated wrappers, white, printed in red.

First edition. In 1996 Carlos Aguirre Morales decided to reinvent himself as a Luchador named ‘Amorales’. He commissioned a wrestling mask based on his own face and began using it in a number of performances. In 1999 he introduced his character to a series of live fights with wrestlers from the Lucha Libre circuit. In each fight the mask was worn by a professional wrestler who assumed the identity of Amorales. Together with the live performances, Amorales also exhibited video footage, stills and photographs of the events and their preparations.

This book was created in conjunction with Dutch designers Armand Mevis and Linda van Deursen who, like Amorales had studied at the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. ... The book seems to be a homage to the avant-garde graphic design of the 1920s, like the work of Piet Zwart, called to mind by the excellent typography (san-serif typefaces, constant changes of color and body size, overlays od paragraphs) which highlights the images, photographs and vibrant stills that change color along with the typography. ‘It is a great and unashamed work of “typophoto,” in which… [they] set aside prejudices and showed how simple and beneficial it is to forget about the differences between high and low culture’ (The Latin American Photobook).


The Latin American Photobook

Horacio Fernandez (Author)


A growing appreciation of the photobook has inspired a flood of new scholarship and connoisseurship of the form--few as surprising and inspiring as The Latin American Photobook, the culmination of a four-year, cross-continental research effort led by Horacio Fernandez, author of the seminal volume Fotografia Pública. Compiled with the input of a committee of researchers, scholars, and photographers, including Marcelo Brodsky, Iatã Cannabrava, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio and Martin ParrThe Latin American Photobook presents 150 volumes from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela. It begins with the 1920s and continues up to today, providing revelatory perspectives on the under-charted history of Latin American photography, and featuring work by great figures such as Claudia Andujar, Barbara Brändli, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Horacio Coppola, Paz Errázuriz,Graciela Iturbide, Sara Facio, Paolo Gasparini, Daniel González, Boris Kossoy, Sergio Larrain and many others. The book is divided into thematic sections such as "The City," "Conceptual Art and Photography" and "Photography and Literature," the latter a category uniquely important to Latin America. Fernandez's texts, exhaustively researched and richly illustrated, offer insight not only on each individual title and photographer, but on the multivalent social, political, and artistic histories of the region as well. This book is an unparalleled resource for those interested in Latin American photography or in discovering these heretofore unknown gems in the history of the photobook at large.





Art Talk! - Carlos Amorales door VBS_tv