dinsdag 5 april 2016

Summertime the Soundtrack of Amsterdam Blues Aram Tanis Street Photography

Title of publication: Amsterdam Blues
Name of artist: Aram Tanis
Additional contributor/s: Marlene Dumas
Design: Aram Tanis
Press: Aram Tanis Publication
Publication date: March 2012
Place of publication: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Edition size: 500
Format: Hardcover
Size: 24.5 x 17 cm
Number of pages: 152
Type of printing: Offset
Type of paper: Promail Plus 160 Grams
Name of printer: Kedde Printing
Number of pictures: 94
Description of book: Aram Tanis is open towards the undiscriminating beauty residing in all things, also those things seen as obscene, that make us the tragic, cultural beings that we are. This is what Tanis has captured in this book while going through his hometown Amsterdam.
The best thing about self-publishing: You can make all the choices yourself.
Artist website: www.aramtanis.com
Book Soundtrack: 

Amsterdam Blues bears its name well. There's a lot of grit to Aram Tanis' book, one that you'd be hard pressed to find in the cloroxed city of Amsterdam these days. It shows the bizarre and erotic which have since the 1990s given way to a more hygienic debauchery. Tanis' voyeuristic collection of Nan Goldin-ish vignettes rings true with nostalgia for a time when dirty was dirty, not staged for tourists; what his lens has captured leaves us wondering if such a disheveled Amsterdam can indeed still be found.

Tanis's real talent lies in juxtaposition, as he couples photos that would otherwise not make you bat an eye; matching compositions, contrasting subjects, marriages sometimes witty and sometimes simply esthetically intriguing. It is somehow the biggest strength of the book, one which almost makes up for the astonishing number of pictures within pictures. I get really annoyed at photographers who simply take photos of existing art, and Amsterdam Blues is replete with snapshots of advertisements, wall art and TV screen shots - other people's work. By the end of the book, the reader is left wondering how many of the photos were actually taken by the author, instead of camouflaged plagiarism.
Nonetheless, Amsterdam Blues is a bewitching vision of discombobulated times gone by, and Tanis plays well with the beauty of the ugly and uncomfortable. In that way, despite its lack of narrative, the book remains cohesive and eyebrow-raising - and with a little imagination, you can almost hear the punk rock soundtrack.

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