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.






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.














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





zaterdag 11 februari 2012

Why is great British documentary photography overlooked at home? Chris Killip Documentary Photography


Why is great British documentary photography overlooked at home?

Photographer Chris Killip has a major retrospective show in Germany – but his gritty, hard-hitting images of England deserve more recognition from British galleries


Time for recognition ... Photographer Chris Kilip. Photograph: Kent Rodzwicz



Last week, a major retrospective of Chris Killip's work opened in the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany. For the uninitiated, Killip is a British photojournalist whose best known work is a book called In Flagrante, published in 1988, and is sometimes described as "the most important photobook to come out of England in the 1980s." (It currently changes hands on the collectors' market for £300 to £400, but you can purchase a recent reissue from Errata Editions for just under £30.) See for a review ...

Killip belongs to a generation of great British photojournalists that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and also includes Tony Ray-Jones, Graham Smith, Chris Steele-Perkins and Brian Griffin. All worked predominantly in black-and-white and looked long and hard at the changing face of British society in the 1970s and 1980s. Though it would be hard to think of another British photobook as influential as In Flagrante, Killip's work, like that of his contemporaries, is all but overlooked by British curators at the moment. The fact that a major retrospective of his work is currently taking place in Germany rather than in his native Britain surely raises questions for our major art institutions, not least why it wasn't held at Tate Britain or the Hayward, which seems to have all but given up on photography of late. Or at the Baltic in Gateshead? (Killip lived and worked just across the Tyne in Newcastle from 1975 until the late 1980s, and made some of his most powerful images in the north-east.)

Surely, too, a group retrospective of the above-named pioneers of British photojournalism is long overdue? My instinct is that this kind of work has long been out of fashion with our arbiters of culture in Britain. It is black-and-white, gritty, hard hitting and politically provocative – the photography critic, Gerry Badger, correctly described In Flagrante as "taken from the point of view that opposed everything Thatcher stood for". For all the above reasons, of course, Killip's brilliantly composed photographs have a certain renewed potency at a time of enforced austerity in a Britain that is, if anything, even more divided. More than that, though, they are great photographs per se and, as such, should be seen. It's time the lost generation of great British documentary photographers were acknowledged for their groundbreaking work at home as well as abroad.
Watch a slideshow of Chris Killip's images on his website









donderdag 9 februari 2012

El rectángulo en la mano Sergio Larrain (1931 - 2012) Latin American Photobook Photography


The photographer Sergio Larrain (1931 - 2012) passed away yesterday morning at his home in Chile. Born in Santiago, Chile, in 1931, Sergio Larrain studied music and forestry before discovering photography in 1949 during a trip to Europe and the Middle East. He joined the staff of the Brazilian magazine O Cruzeiro before finding work at the MoMA in New York.


In 1958, a grant from the British Council enabled him to make an eight-month study of large British cities. (Pictures from the study were published as London in 1998). The same year, Henri-Cartier Bresson, after seeing Larrain’s street scenes and portraits of children, invited the Chilean to Paris, where he stayed and worked for two years.
He got involved with Magnum in 1959 and became a member in 1961, the same year he photographed the poet Pablo Neruda’s house. In 1966 the photographs were published in a book, Una Casa en la arena, accompanied by a text from Neruda.
Before his return to Chile in 1963 and with the encoura gement of the Brazilian poet Tiago de Melo, Larrain published his first book, El rectángulo en la mano, featuring a selection of photographs of children wandering the streets of large cities like Valparaiso and Santiago.
“I started in Valparaiso, roaming the hills night and day. The little girls walking down a staircase was the first magic photo that presented itself... A good photograph is born from a state of grace, and grace manifests itself once we are delivered of conventions, free like a child discovering reality.”
After meeting the Bolivian Oscar Ichazo, Larrain gave up photography to concentrate on his study of mystical Eastern cultures, writing and painting but rarely picking up his camera. He retired from social life to live in solitude and live a life that reflected his newfound philosophical principles.
Bernard Perrine
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.




Sergio Larrain’s first book is the impossible to find El Rectangulo En La Manopublished in 1963 to accompany an exhibition in Santiago, Chile. It is a staple bound booklet of 12 folios (a folded sheet of paper) containing 17 images that are mostly from a series he shot of vagabond children in Chile. The copy that I have seen has the last page and image in the book cut out and a quote by Hass (Ernst?) is “whited out.” The owner of that copy thinks this was done by Larrain’s hand. A copy has been found recently and is reported to have the 17th photo still intact with no text “whited out.” The copy that is shown in Martin Parr’s Photobook (page 102) is the same that I have seen and Parr’s description states that it is a book of 16 images. This small rarity gets more mysterious all the time.

It is a wonderful book that teases you into the work of Larrain. You are left wanting more and more. Most would say that it suffers from poor reproductions as they are simple, rather dirty looking letterpress but it contains a great deal of charm in its lo-fi production. If you are ever in Paris, there is a copy at the Romeo Martinez library in the basement of the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie that you can request to see. Also I (5B4) have been told that MOMA in NYC has copy in their research library. Either would be worth the trip actually.









dinsdag 7 februari 2012

Greetings from Jakarta Postcards Dutch East Indies Scott Merrillees Photography


Greetings from Jakarta: Postcards of a Capital 1900-1950 is the most comprehensive visual record of Jakarta ever published covering the first half of the twentieth century which was also the last half century of colonial rule. Four hundred and sixty postcards from the author's own collection are brought together here to reveal a city that has largely vanished and is barely recognizable even to most life-long residents. Three hundred and sixty-two of the postcards have individually researched captions and are linked to period maps which enable the reader to identify the precise location of the each image.

This book is the result of twenty years of collecting and research by Scott Merrillees to try and answer the questions: what did Jakarta look like in the past and how did it evolve into the city it is today? It is a continuation of Scott's first book, Batavia in Nineteenth Century Photographs, which focuses on Jakarta during the second half of the nineteenth century. The aim of both books is to transport the reader back to the Jakarta of an earlier age and bring it back to life for the understanding and enjoyment of modern residents and visitors alike before it is lost forever.

See also Indonesia 500 Early Postcards ...

G. Kolff & Co.   (1852-1922)
Batavia (Jakarta), Java

Gualtherus Johannes Kolff moved to the Netherland Indies in 1850 and opened a bookshop at Batavia two years later. Soon after he began publishing various lithographic produts eventually including postcards. These cards included chromolithographic and monochrome images of local views and types. These cards gained a wide audience and Kolff later opened offices in Bandung and in Amsterdam.

Boekhandel Visser & Co.
Weltevreden [Jakarta], Batavia (Jakarta),
Buitenzorg (Bogor) & Bandoeng (Bandung), Indonesia


F.B. Smits Boekbinderij - Encadrementen te Batavia


TIO TEK HONG, "Weltevreden. Special Depot of Java postcards.

Photobooks & Photography Dutch East Indies | Promote Your Page Too