maandag 14 oktober 2013

Industrial Worlds David Goldblatt Henri Cartier-Bresson Robert Doisneau Elliott Erwitt Industria Bologna 2013 Company Photography

Lewis Wickes Hine, Spinner, Cotton Mill, Macon, Georgia, 1909 Photo: Lewis Wickes Hine©

In some circumstances industry is alluded to as society’s grey area. This can be seen in the controversial relationship with images of the industrial world. For decades, photos of factories have been treated with total indifference and it was rather common for them to be thrown away when a company moved site. It is only recently that we have started to re-evaluate and retrieve them, thus realizing we have eliminated the evidence of almost half of the world, the history, the universe of industrial production: a world that provides a valuable key to understand our lives, our thought and our activities.

With this exhibition and the works of 47 photographers, MAST begins the writing of a history of industry and opens a discussion on industry itself, starting from its own photographic patrimony. (Curator: Urs Stahel)

Henrik Spohler, From Global Soul, 2008 Photo: Henrik Spohler ©

The mirror of industry
Cesare Colombo is the Italian expert in 19th to 21st century Italian industrial photography. He represents the most appropriate introduction to Foto Industria.

Convinced of the importance of the creative aspects in this field of photography, he has developed a fascinating and richly illustrated conference on the subject showing, the wide range of aesthetic forms of expression as well as the historical and social interest provoked with the discovery of these documentary photos.

Foto Industria taped this conference which is presented in the form of a 30 minutes permanent projection in the prestigious setting of Bologna University.

A pleasure for the senses as well as for its extremely valuable historical significance.

Work places
We miss Gabriele Basilico , who disappeared at the beginning of 2013. We miss his way of making us believe that nothing is banal.

His photos elevated the commonplace, not necessarily to make it more beautiful, but certainly to make it more interesting.

His highly precise frames and the right distance shots used to manipulate perspectives and symmetry enabled him to bring a sense of movement to solid mineral matter, making the frozen dynamic.

We thought we had already seen all his best photos. Here is a side that, apart a few photos, had never exhibited: corporate commissions.

Brian Griffin Annual Report 1974-2013

A non-conventional portrait photographer; that works only on commission, mainly for manufacturing industry or rock record covers.
Staging his portraits, making screen stars of the anonymous staff who work in production, sales, organisation, research, secretarial work… right up to management level.
He remains true to his working class origins which he glorifies in his work. The liberties he takes with the white collar classes are astonishing.

Harry Gruyaert Raw materials
Pioneer of colour photography, member of the Magnum cooperative, Manufacturing industry, Industrial landscapes, brightly coloured hi-tech equipment, fire, … these all are ingredients for a his colour geometry.

For thirty years he has illustrated public relation or financial brochures (Arkema, Cogema, Renault, Ford, Areva, Fret SNCF…), internal communication events (Sollac).

The first exhibition of, the best of his corporate photographs.

Labor Limae
Any corporation that commissions work to Massimo Siragusa is striving to appear strongly contemporary.

The beauty in his photography comes from a kind of radiance spread over the image while being set within a very strict context…

The success of this photographer shows the graphic maturity of his clients.

Many of the corporations he works for have based their brand image on refined industrial design, an italian specificity. Massimo Siragusa enhances the value of their product image by creating brilliant visual settings, while developing his own personality.

On the mines
David Goldblatt is one of today’s most important contemporary photographers both for his social commitment and for the quality of his compositions.

These photos were shot in the 1960s; the work is surprising for its toughness and diversity.
The mines are always a huge component of South African life. While they represent the country’s great wealth they also reveal its enormous social differences, they are emblematic of the complexity of the issues at stake in South Africa.

Foto Industria is the first in Europe to present this exhibition created by the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg.

Airbus A 380
What a piece of luck to be able to follow an enormous industrial adventure from A to Z. And what luck that it was achieved by a photographer who knew how to calculate the perfect distance, showing the enormity, the human and technological adventure, the infrastructures, and the countless details.

In order to build the Airbus A 380, it seems that everything had to be invented from scratch: the buildings, the means of transport, the equipment, right down to the launching events in a exceptional scale.

And this is where the talent of the photographer comes in. How to convey the feeling of such enormity without compromising creativity. How to “make a picture” when everything is already so spectacular.

Step by step, three years’ work is revealed. Mark Power, e member of Magnum Photos, tells an industrial fairy tale.

Report Rotterdam
A quarter of a century on the same subject is unheard of. But what a subject. The most gigantic port in Europe. The most spectacular among the means of transport between the industries and trade of northern Europe and the rest of the world.
Freek van Arkel has clambered on port cranes and every type of ship multiplying his points of view; time has given him insight, expertise and the trust of his subjects, and therefore he has been granted exceptional access. Camera angles convey the dynamics of endless motion and show the prodigious logistics behind this gigantic water ballet.

Siobhan Doran The restoration

The complete restoration of a hotel as prestigious as the London Savoy is, at the same time, both a huge and délicate task. For a photographer, the work in progress is therefore a complex adventure. A sloughing metamorphosis revealing the Savoy’s skins as they are about to be shed, followed by the others gradually taking their place.

Although the Savoy was the first grand luxury hôtel in London in the 19th Century, it was also the first to be completely fitted with electric lighting and to possess electric lifts, at that time. Its full restoration has to achieve the sense of absolute luxury.

Man and machine
For Henri Cartier-Bresson a sense of freedom was the key to his photographic intuition.

So it was not IBM’s policy to ask this great photographer to limit himself in delivering a specific message. He was given carte blanche all over the world to document people at work.
1967 was a period of great transformation: production line work had changed little since the industrial revolution and safety regulations were rarely applied, but it was also the moment when the era of engineers, computer science and robotisation was beginning.
For the first time, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation has granted the scoop of presenting this little-known work.

Because he was often late for work Robert Doisneau had to leave Renault in 1939, he was 27 years old, after 5 years as company photographer.
He shot photos of automobiles in settings to convey a rather opulent and leisurely lifestyle.

Deeply rooted in the working class tradition he also took photos of assembly lines, factory canteens, worker hiring… His tender but facetious eye did not fail to capture workers lying on a pile of car tyres when crossing the iconic site of l’Île Seguin at Billancourt.
This exhibition was created at La Villette in Paris; it is one of the last series of silver gelatin prints produced under Robert Doisneau’s supervision.

The head of communications of the very large reinsurance company SCOR, whose corporate image of absolute reliability is the guarantee of good management for its shareholders, must have been a brave man. It took a lot of courage to impose a hilarious gag to illustrate each one of the group’s insurance activities.
Elliott Erwitt is the marvellous photographer of everyday absurd and burlesque, his famous dogs are more human than their owners.
In order to illustrate the worst possible catastrophes he invited a swarm of children to play doctor, construction, gymnastics, in the bath or climbing, for the most delicious ever produced financial brochure.

Jacqueline Hassink The table of power 2

Her very small book “Tables of Power” was heralded as an important event when it was published in 1996 and updated in a bigger version since.

Applying an almost scientific protocol she photographed the Board Rooms of the largest world companies, without any presence.
Quite a radical and exceptional access to these corporations, rated at Dow, Nasdaq, Nikkei or CAC 40, which often wield more power and influence than certain governments.
This aseptic, emblematic vision of power is a clever blend of surprise, humour, solemnity and scepticism.

Work force
Bill Hunt is one of today’s best photography collectors. For the first time he is exhibiting this recently compiled treasure of photos on American industrial companies.
The photos are spectacular by their size, the sheer numbers of the people pictured here and the prodigious staging of such blatantly displayed power.
This practice is quite specific to the United States. It is hard to imagine the cinematographic organisational skill that was necessary to stage each one of these gigantic photos.

China under construction
As he spent a large part of his life in China, Claude Hudelot has gathered together several impressive photo collections depicting the People’s Republic of China.
The systematic use of photography for propaganda purposes became one of the prerogatives of the regime in which even Mao Zedong himself often liked to pose.
Foto industria is the first exhibition of this large and surprising collection, more than 300 photographs of carefully composed groups and production workshops to glorify the image of working to build the Communist State.

Analyzing work today: company photobook collections
Photography books have been generating a lot of interest among collectors and art historians in the last years. Mirelle Thijsen has focused on identifying the best post-war photobooks published by Dutch companies. This fascinating reference work, Het bedrijfsfotoboek 1945-1965. Professionalisering van fotografen in Nederland (The Company Photobook 1945-1965. Professionalization of Photographers in the Netherlands), has become a rare collector’s item.
Borrowing from both Dutch and international institutions, Mirelle has offered to create, for Bologna, an original contribution based on remarkable company photobooks.

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