zaterdag 22 oktober 2016

The Photobook Review Tulipa Graphic Design Willem van Zoetendaal Leendert Blok Jasper Wiedeman Photography

The PhotoBook Review’s Publisher Profile
Willem van Zoetendaal did not become a photobook publisher out of a sense of vocation. Many of the activities that form an integral part of publishing are anathema to him. Cost balancing? Zoetendaal shrugs. If he feels the urge to bring out a book under his imprint, Van Zoetendaal Publishers, then that’s exactly what he does, even if the financing is not yet in place. Van Zoetendaal selected five books from his collection that, together, as told to Arjen Ribbens, tell the story of his publishing house. This excerpt comes from the latest issue of The Photobook Review.

Tulipa, L. Blok and Jasper Wiedeman, Basalt, Amsterdam, 1994


L. Blok and Jasper Wiedeman

Basalt • Amsterdam, 1994

This was the first book that I published myself. I set up a foundation, Basalt, for this purpose, together with the art historian Frido Troost (1960–2013), so that we could apply for grants. Why the name Basalt? Because I was born at The Hague’s breakwater. This is the first in a series of books in which I juxtaposed historical and contemporary photography. In this case, it was autochromes from the 1920s by Leendert Blok, a photographer who worked for flower bulb cultivators in the Netherlands’ Bollenstreek region, and photographs by Jasper Wiedeman, who had just graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, where I was teaching at the time. By contrasting the two, you get differing perspectives. Contemporary photography can open a new window on history. I had the good fortune that there were a lot of students at the academy back then who felt connected to traditional photography. Many of them went on to achieve international renown, including Céline van Balen, Rineke Dijkstra, Hellen van Meene, Paul Kooiker, and Koos Breukel.

To Sang Fotostudio, Lee To Sang, Basalt, Amsterdam, 1995

To Sang Fotostudio

Lee To Sang

Basalt • Amsterdam, 1995

One day in the early 1990s, I passed a photography studio called To Sang Fotostudio in Albert Cuypstraat, Amsterdam. In the window, I saw a photograph of a fellow journalist with his daughter on his lap. The photographs in the window provided such a beautiful record of this colorful, largely immigrant neighborhood, that I gave my first- and second-year students money to go and get their portraits taken here. In 1995, I published a large-format folder of twenty-three portraits by the studio’s photographer, Lee To Sang. The design is entirely subordinate to the image. But the book works. Frido Troost and I put a lot of work into the picture editing. This publication made quite a stir: an exhibition about To Sang Fotostudio traveled to various photography festivals, Tate Modern acquired a number of the photographs, and Johan van der Keuken made a documentary about To Sang. His photography studio became a cult success. Martin Parr is one of many significant figures who went there to have their portraits taken. After he retired, Lee To Sang gifted me his archive—some seventy thousand negatives. So it is still a resource for publications to this day.

Quatorze Juillet, Johan van der Keuken, Van Zoetendaal Publishers, Amsterdam, 2010

Quatorze Juillet

Johan van der Keuken

Van Zoetendaal Publishers • Amsterdam, 2010

In Johan van der Keuken’s archives, I found thirty-three photographs of people partying in the streets of Paris. They were all made on July 14, 1958, the country’s national holiday. I arranged the photographs in such a way that they also form a dance. I love slim editions, so I use the negative format less and less—4-by-5 inches, for example, leads to a bulky format for a book. Over the years, I’ve moved away from using stiff paper. This book is printed on paper from Gmund, a German manufacturer whose products I love. It’s fine, uncoated paper: if you don’t want the pictures to show through it, you can only print on one side. So the pages have Japanese folds and are bonded with cold adhesive. There aren’t many pages, but the folded leaves give it a good volume. The cold adhesive binding allows the book to be unfolded easily.

Arthropoda, Harold Strak, Van Zoetendaal Publishers, Amsterdam, 2011


Harold Strak

Van Zoetendaal Publishers • Amsterdam, 2011

Harold Strak is a photographer who has an almost scientific approach to his work. This book contains eighty photographs of the remains of insects that were ejected from spider webs after they were eaten. I chose a rectangular format so that I could show four photographs side by side on each double page spread. The lithography and printing technique were inspired by Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. Their publication Seeing Things (1995), about the history of photography, is one of the most beautifully produced books I know: superior printing in eighty-eight colors, with each print run dried for twenty-four hours. I went to the same lithographer, Robert J. Hennessey, who also lithographs all the catalogues for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Massimo Tonolli, a top Italian printer from Verona, printed it beautifully in tritone.

Mädchen, Diana Scherer, Van Zoetendaal Publishers, Amsterdam, 2014


Diana Scherer

Van Zoetendaal Publishers • Amsterdam, 2014

I’m always present when a book is printed. It was especially important in this case. I like black to be really black, and printers don’t often print it to my liking. I had the cover of this book run through the press one more time in order to achieve the deep black. I made it this big (9 ½ by 15 inches) so that it would become a physical experience. I used two types of paper for the inside; the Japanese paper feels a little bit like the dresses in the photographs. No, there is no text in this book. An introduction would undermine the mystery. In my books, you never find texts about the photographs themselves. You can’t explain photographs. The magic of photography is precisely that you study images yourself and give them your own meaning.

Willem van Zoetendaal is the designer and editor of seventy photography books to date, many of which he published under his own imprint, Van Zoetendaal Publishers. Van Zoetendaal has also curated numerous photography exhibitions in Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Japan, and ran a contemporary photography gallery under his own name from 2000 to 2014.

Arjen Ribbens is an art editor for NRC Handelsblad, the leading Dutch evening newspaper. He is also a part-time publisher specializing in art editions and books on stupidity (De encyclopedie van de Domheid, or The Encyclopedia of Stupidity, 1999).

Translated from Dutch by Heidi Steffes.

donderdag 20 oktober 2016

Views & Reviews Straightforwardly Voyeurism Carnival Strippers Susan Meiselas Photography

USA. Barton, Vermont. 1974. Shortie on the Bally © Susan Meiselas

Susan Meiselas: Carnival Strippers. 1976. Hardcover. With dustjacket.

Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 1976. First edition, first printing. Signed by Susan Meiselas! Original from 1976 (There was also a later edition in 2003). Very important photobook! Andrew Roth, The Book of 101 Books, page 238/239. The Open Book, Hasselblad Center, page 312/313. 802 photo books from the M.+M. Auer collection, page 599. Hardcover with jacket. 250 x 220 mm. 150 pages. 73 illustrations.

Published on 23 January 2015
Susan Meiselas: Carnival Strippers
written by Tom Seymour

Forty years on, Magnum Photos' Susan Meiselas recalls making her first major work, Carnival Strippers

“It’s getting near show time!” the voice would boom out over the cheers of the punters. Susan Meiselas would hover at first near the back of the tent. “Don’t be shy, take your hands out of your pockets, take your money out of your wallets. Rest your elbows on the stage and look up into the whole, the whole goddamn show. Show time! Where they strip to please, not to tease!”

Susan Meiselas was 24 when she started Carnival Strippers. It was the summer of 1972, and her photography experience was limited to portraits of her housemates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She had just completed an MA from Harvard, yet she still was shy and unsure of herself – very unlike the direct intellect of today, who treats Magnum’s offices like a second home. But in the earliest of these early pictures, she had not yet been invited into the showgirls’ dressing room.

Meiselas has seen some terrible things, but rarely – if ever – has she flinched. When they exhumed Saddam Hussein’s mass graves, Meiselas was there, making us witness. When Pinochet’s murderous regime limped into its dog days, Meiselas was there too. On the wall opposite the Carnival Strippers exhibition at London’s Magnum office is her picture of a hillside in Nicaragua, mountains rolling away into the distance, water glinting in the valleys. In the foreground, a pair of legs, still wearing jeans, and the broken butt of a spinal cord snaking from the belt-line. It was, and maybe still is, a favourite spot for executions, and animals lurk their to scavenge. “I had nightmares the first time I saw that image,” I say to her. “Good,” comes the instant reply. “That’s the idea.”

Yet she began here, in the midst of a travelling troupe of showgirls whom took their clothes off to music in a collapsable tent in towns across New England and South Carolina. “I was a young woman trying to figure out what was going on,” she says. “This was the early feminist movement, and the moment I saw the fair, it seemed to represent everything I was thinking about; should women project themselves as objects to be desired? Should we deconstruct that gaze to be taken seriously? I watched these women perform, saw how they were using their bodies. It was very potent.”

The tent would stay erected for three to five days, before packing up and moving on. A dressing room divided the public entrance, where the girls would dance on stage, and a more private entrance: “The degree of suggestion on the front stage and participation on the back stage varies greatly from town to town, depending on legislation and local leniency,” Meiselas says. The audience ranged from bankers to farmers, and there was only one hard and fast rule: ‘No ladies, and no babies.’

“That, in itself, was reason enough to find a way of getting in,” she says.

The women she photographed were between 17 and 35 years old – “runaways, girlfriends of carnies, club dancers, both transient and professional”. They were paid $15 to $50 a night, depending on how well they did, minus expenses.

“Most had left small towns, seeking mobility, money, something different from what was prescribed, or proscribed, by the lives the carnival allowed them to leave,” she writes in the introduction to the book, first published in 1976 (republished by Steidl in 2003). “The girl show is a business, and carnival stripping is competitive and seasonal. Those woman who make it a career find winter employment on a series of related circuits – go-go bars, strip clubs, stag parties, and occasional prostitution. For most women, the carnival is an interlude on the way to jobs as waitresses, secretaries, and housewives.”

The next summer, she turned up again. And then again in 1974 and ’75. She became part of the girls’ inner social lives, sharing in their secrets and private politics. As part of a tradition of photographers in the era, notably with Danny Lyon’s Bikeriders and, in the UK, Daniel Meadows with his seminal Living Like This, she began recording her subjects voices as well taking their picture. She was able to document the conflicts between their public, performative image and their private identities.

Meiselas, who was made a Magnum member in 1976, had the ability to layer these issues into the social milieu and emotional landscape of her subjects. The political and the performative are fused here into a dramatic whole. To look at the girls’ isolated faces now is to feel, somehow, like you might have once known them. Her public scenes look like stills from a film you once saw, and can only half remember.

But in no way was she ever complicit, or supportive, of the world she had so skilfully become embedded. “The recognition of this world is not the invention of it,” she says. “I wanted to present an account of the girl show that portrayed what I saw and revealed how the people involved felt about what they were doing.”

What she discovered was a complex, often contradictory set of motivations and attitudes towards their work, and to sex, money and men in general. Their plain spoken words caught the zeitgeist of the early women’s movement – of public sexuality, self-esteem and identity politics, of how women should respond to, and deal with, the male urge to consume and commodify the bodies of their opposite sex. After almost 40 years of debate, Carnival Strippers remains powerful, potent and fiercely relevant.

Tate Modern in display of voyeurism for photography curator's debut
From Cartier-Bresson via Helmut Newton to Alison Jackson: Simon Baker has 13 rooms of images we should not be seeing

In pictures: Tate Modern's Exposed
Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and The Camera - Tate Modern
Roving eye ... a visitor to the Tate Modern takes in Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Mark Brown, arts correspondent
Wednesday 26 May 2010 17.52 BST Last modified on Thursday 27 May 2010 09.28 BST

It promises to be the most intrusive art exhibition Tate Modern has ever held: 13 rooms of photographs and video footage of things we really should not be seeing – ranging from sex and death to outrageous invasions of privacy.

Somewhat presciently, given the coalition government's promise of legislation to regulate the use of CCTV, the scariness and scale of surveillance features heavily in Voyeurism, which opens to the public on Friday.

The exhibition suggests that, as a society, we have always been voyeurs – it is just that technology now makes it so much easier.

"The exhibition is meant to be a critical look at the issues that surround voyeurism and surveillance," said Simon Baker, Tate's recently appointed photography curator.

"We are raising questions about boundaries, about technology. There are serious moral questions about who's looking, how they're looking and why they're looking."

In essence, it is a photography exhibition which raises the question of whether photography is actually a good thing, and includes work by well-known figures including Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Miller, Guy Bourdin, Nan Goldin and Robert Mapplethorpe.

The show ranges from images that are straightforwardly voyeuristic, such as Helmut Newton fashion shots, to much more challenging work such as the US photojournalist Susan Meiselas's Carnival Strippers series, in which she photographs leering men in an audience watching strippers. "It is posing a question about the politics of spectatorship," said Baker.

There are also celebrity stalking and paparazzi shots, including snaps of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor canoodling in their swimming costumes and a tearful Paris Hilton on her way to court, and images by Alison Jackson, the photographer who uses lookalikes to comic effect. Newspaper coverage of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales is also included.

One of the most difficult rooms contains journalistic images of death and violence and some people will undoubtedly whistle through the room, upset by awful images of suicide, execution and lynching. It includes images such as Tom Howard's electrocution of Ruth Snyder, from 1928, and Eddie Adams' haunting photograph of a Viet Cong officer being executed in 1968.

The show has been created and curated by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – to where it will transfer in the autumn – but the Tate has tweaked it here and there for London.

Curators would have liked to show Kohei Yoshiyuki's 1971 series, The Park, as it was originally shown in Japan: in a dark room with visitors having to use torches.

The images were taken at night with an infrared camera and show straight couples having sex in Tokyo parks and gay men cruising for sex – all the time surrounded by others looking on, gawping.

Since individual torches would be too much for a mass audience they are, instead, displayed in a dark, spotlit corridor.

The appointment last September of Baker as Tate's first curator of photography reflects the organisation's increasing commitment to the medium, he said.

"The idea also is that photography is taken more seriously within our acquisition policy, that we bring more photography into the collection and that we show more of it," Baker said. That also meant buying more of what could be termed "straight", rather than conceptual, photography and photojournalism.

"There is that whole argument from the 1980s about collecting photographs from artists not art from photographers – that's really a redundant distinction."

zaterdag 15 oktober 2016

Views & Reviews Photographer and cinematographer who captured 30s London Wolfgang Suschitzky Photography

SUSCHITZKY / HALL, NORMAN (ED.). - Suschitzky. Great photographs. Vol. I.

London: Photography. 12mo. Oblong. 24 p. Incl. technical data. Illustrated with photographs.

Published on 12 October 2016
Written by Tom Seymour

All images © Wolfgang Suschitzky, courtesy The Photographer's Gallery

The iconic Austrian photographer and cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, a former contributor to The British Journal of Photography, has died at the age of 104. BJP remembers his lifelong contribution to photography.

Born in Vienna in 1912, Suschitzky was the son of Wilhelm and Adele, a secular, Jewish couple who ran a small bookshop in Vienna that included titles which warranted them, at that place and time, the title of ‘radicals’.

And so, in the 1930s, after his father had committed suicide as the consequences of Nazism became clear, so Wolfgang, a young man in his twenties, sought refuge in the UK.

Suschitzky is best known for his his work, as cinematographer, on Mike Hodges’ 1971 film Get Carter, with Michael Caine as the macho and psychotic London gangster.

It’s remembered as a thriller, a precursor to the many violent gangster films that are now such a staple of British cinema.

But Get Carter, shot with Suschitzky’s ascetic, moral eye, has most value as a piece of social realism, a cinéma verité-esque document of the realities of Newcastle in the 1970s. The Tyneside here isn’t one of chain restaurants and high street clothing shops, hen parties and stag-dos.

Instead, the film orientates – and indeed embeds – its action, and its players, into the people of the city – the faces of the old men who have spent a life working the mines or harbour-side, now sat in the pubs or hiding in the betting shops, the youngsters on the street corners or the dancehalls.

Suschitzky’s career in photography, of course, stretched far behind that. He first owned a photography studio in Amsterdam, his first destination after Vienna.

But, after his marriage to his first wife started to collapse, he left Holland for the UK.

Wolfgang created atmospheric photographs of London shortly after his arrival in the 1930s. Charing Cross Road, the centre of London’s bookselling trade, became an early fascination – a hark back, maybe, to his parent’s bookshop, such an integral place in his childhood. Later, he began to collaborate with artist Paul Rotha, with whom he developed his career in motion pictures.

Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers’ Gallery, who displayed an exhibition of Suschitzky’s work in the London gallery in January this year, said of the late photographer: “Tempering the social conscience of a documentarian with the eye of a German expressionist, Suschitzky created classic works that are both an invaluable documentary of the long vanished time but also brilliantly captured.”

Reviewing the exhibition, Gaby Wood of The Telegraph said: “His images of London, taken with the keen eye and gentle humility of a recent immigrant, are so evocative you feel they must be stills from films made before the war, mysteriously replayed in your mind’s eye.”

He retired in 1987, but his work continued to be exhibited.

In 2007, he was awarded Austria’s gold merit medal lifetime achievement award. The place from which he fled finally realised what a talent they lost.

See more of his work at The Photographer’s Gallery. 

Wolfgang Suschitzky obituary

Customers at a Lyons Corner House in London in 1941, photographed by Wolfgang Suschitzky. Photograph: SYNEMA - Society for Film & Media

Amanda Hopkinson
Friday 7 October 2016 18.21 BST Last modified on Monday 10 October 2016 23.46 BST

Although born in Vienna, the photographer and cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, who has died aged 104, forged his career in the UK where, as a Jew and a socialist, he took refuge in the 1930s. His best-known photographs remain those taken at dawn on Charing Cross Road in London at that time. The steam rising from the asphalt as cloth-capped workers lay the road surface ahead of the steamroller, and the whitish glow of milk bottles on a float, are eerie period essays in black and white, a paean to the dignity of labour.

Suschitzky was the cinematographer for Get Carter (1971), shot on location in north-east England, starring Michael Caine. His early cinematic work – in collaboration with the director Paul Rotha – was in a documentary style similar to that of his stills, with titles such as Children of the City (1944), a dramatised study of deprived children in Dundee, the Bafta-winning The World Is Rich (1948), a hard-hitting documentary that looked at food distribution following the second world war, and No Resting Place (1951), among the first British feature films shot entirely on location. He also worked on Jack Clayton’s Oscar-winning short The Bespoke Overcoat (1955).

Suschitzky’s photography has enjoyed something of a renaissance this century, with his inclusion in a number of group shows, not least Another London: International Photographers Capture City Life 1930-80 at Tate Britain in 2012. On his centenary in the same year, he received a Bafta special award for his cinematography.

Suschitzky’s father, Wilhelm, and mother, Adele (nee Bauer), were secular Jews who owned a radical bookshop in Vienna. Wilhelm, a noted free-thinker, killed himself during the rise of nazism. Wolfgang’s elder sister, Edith (later Tudor-Hart), was also a photographer, and a great influence on her brother.

An image by Wolfgang Suschitzky of workers applying asphalt to the surface of Charing Cross Road, London, in the 1930s

Suschitzky left Vienna, and the Austrofascist regime that seized power in 1934, for Amsterdam, where he met and married Helena “Puck” Voûte, with whom he opened a photography studio. By 1935 the marriage was ailing and he left for London. There, he met Rotha and they began to work together. Suschitzky was committed to photographing his adopted homeland and to helping others escape from his former one, including two cousins who, having been held at Dachau, were eventually released, only to be interned on the Isle of Man.

Despite graduating in photography from the Höhere Graphische Bundes-Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt (School of Design and Graphic Arts) in Vienna, Suschitzky’s first passion was zoology, and he found lifelong pleasure in photographing animals. His animal portraits have a particularly Bauhaus imprint, his zebras a study in geometry.

In 1940 he held his first exhibition – of animal pictures – in London and published his first book, the “how to” guide Photographing Children, which was followed by Photographing Animals a year later. “It always pays to make only slow movements when you take pictures of animals,” he explained. “I never carry food when I walk through the zoo. The animals soon smell whether you have anything in your pocket. As far as possible I avoid zoo backgrounds. They either look depressing or incongruous.” He was characteristically modest: “Any competent photographer can take good animal pictures; there is no particular technical knowledge required … I have the greatest respect for the nature photographer and for those who take pictures of animals for scientific records.”

His childhood ambition had been to become a zoologist and in 1956 he was delighted to supply the photographs for the book The Kingdom of the Beasts by Julian Huxley, whose scientific views closely corresponded to his own.

Always believing that man was but one remove from animals, and that the child is father to the man, Suschitzky specialised in child portraits that broke with the studio stereotype. He preferred to photograph in natural light, if possible out of doors, and the Photography Year Books printed annually in the 1950s and 60s frequently included his images of children engrossed in building sandcastles and skiing down mountain slopes, while the World Exhibition of Photography used others in the shows What Is Man? (1964) and Woman (1968).

Suschitzky’s work as a freelance cameraman became increasingly heterogeneous, with films as diverse as Ulysses (1967), Ring of Bright Water (1969) and Entertaining Mr Sloane (1970); and those on the artists Poussin (1968) and Claude Lorrain (1970). He was always realistic that it was the film work that paid the bills to support a growing family – he had three children, born to his second wife, Ilona (nee Donat). This marriage ended in divorce. His third marriage, to Beatrice Cunningham, ended with her death in 1989.

Michael Caine, left, and Ian Hendry in Get Carter, 1971, for which Wolfgang Suschitzky was the cinematographer. Photograph: Allstar/METRO

Suschitzky became increasingly interested in themes prompted by Edward Steichen’s international The Family of Man exhibition in 1955, which set out to explore how “people are different the world over, and everywhere the same”. His work for Geographical magazine extended into series on the daily lives of people in Burma, Thailand, Yemen, Ethiopia and India.

By the 1980s, Suschitzky was also working in television commercials and was the cinematographer for the children’s series Worzel Gummidge (1980-81). In the same decade he began to receive somewhat belated recognition for his photography, in the Art in Exile exhibition in the UK (a touring show that originated in Berlin) and exhibitions in London at the Photographers’ Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Zelda Cheatle Gallery. The work on display at the last of these presented images of both his abandoned and his acquired homelands, as seen in Suschitzky’s book Charing Cross Road in the 1930s (1989).

More recent publications include the retrospective Wolf Suschitzky Photos (2006, introduced by the Magnum photographer Erich Lessing), and Wolf Suschitzky Films (with a tribute by the Get Carter director, Mike Hodges), in 2010. Seven Decades of Photography (for which I wrote an introduction) appeared in 2014. In the same year he was granted an honorary doctorate at the University of Brighton.

Wolfgang Suschitzky’s eerie period essays in black and white are a paean to the dignity of labour. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian

Earlier this year he shared a major exhibition with Dorothy Bohm and Neil Libbert, fellow photographers of his heritage and generation, at the Ben Uri Gallery in north London. Called Unseen, it and the accompanying book drew further on “overlooked” images of London, Paris and New York by the three photographers, who all attended the launch.

Suschitzky believed that great photography is “a combination of the right choice of detail, the elimination of all that is inessential and the right moment that makes the picture”. He demystified his technique still further, by adding: “I was always quite content to be a good craftsman.” His cinematographer son, Peter, spoke of Suschitzky’s “patient and discreetly watchful eye, never seeking to impose his own views but always ready to give technical advice, and reluctant to help in decisions involving personal taste”.

Celebrations for his centenary included a party at the Camden Arts Centre and a reception at the Photographers’ Gallery where his work was on show in the print room. When I invited him to lunch in an Austrian cafe in London, a neat queue formed to obtain his signature. With his amused eye, mild manner, gentle warmth and large heart, he was always the gallant gentleman. He signed, then shook the men’s, and kissed the ladies’, hands.

Suschitzky is survived by his partner, Heather Anthony, his children, Peter, Julia and Misha, his five granddaughters, four grandsons and seven great-grandchildren.

• Wolfgang Suschitzky, photographer and cinematographer, born 29 August 1912; died 7 October 2016

This article was amended on 10 October 2016 to include mention of Wolfgang Suschitzky’s third wife, Beatrice Cunningham, and to correct the spelling of his first wife’s name. In addition, the relatives that he helped free from Dachau were his cousins, not his brothers, as previously stated.