donderdag 29 september 2016

EveryDay Africa Peter DiCampo Austin Merrill BredaPhoto International Photofestival 2016

BredaPhoto: Everyday Africa
15 september - 30 October 2016 in the MOTI window gallery
Peter DiCampo & Austin Merrill – Everyday Africa
War, poverty, exoticism: Africa has its share of stubborn stereotypes. But social media hold out opportunities to change its image.

woensdag 28 september 2016

Views & Reviews Anthroposceneries Mandy Barker Caleb Charland Yann Mingard Maija Tammi Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam 2016 Photography

Anthroposceneries - East Wing at Unseen Amsterdam

Works by: Mandy Barker, Caleb Charland, Yann Mingard & Maija Tammi

Just a few short weeks ago the International Geological Congress met to discuss if they should formally recognize that man’s influence on our planet has caused such significant geological conditions and processes that a new epoch has been created: The Anthroposcene.  A range of scientists have used this term to describe the influence human behavior has made on the Earth’s atmosphere in recent centuries. These ‘influences’ have directly contributed to drastic changes on our climate and the natural environment.

The Anthropocene has no agreed start date; some scientists believe the shift began with the Industrial Revolution – others believe it was put in motion during the rise of agriculture and farming. At the South African conference expert opinion was leaning towards a start date of 1950, when radioactive elements from nuclear bomb tests were blown into the air. All agree to varying degrees that human impact on land use, ecosystems, biodiversity and species extinction has resulted in undeniable change or in some cases, has completely halted the growth of biodiversity, upsetting the fragile balance of our ecosystems.

In response to these ongoing discussions and debates, East Wing presents Anthroposceneries at Unseen Photo Fair 2016, a series of imagery commenting on the ideas of the Anthropocene in varied ways. Through in-depth research and in some cases experimentation, the artists meditate on concepts of time, illness, decay, energy and pollution resulting from the disruptions presently affecting our fragile ecosystems.

The artists: Mandy Barker (UK), Caleb Charland (USA), Yann Mingard (CH) & Maija Tammi (FI) through their fascinating explorations enlighten viewers to connections between science and photography, which they have developed through their own long- term research and experimentation.

Mandy Barker continues her ongoing study of marine plastic debris pollution through, “Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals”, which has its premiere at Unseen Photo Fair. The artist travelled to Ireland in 2014 with the aim of researching studies on plankton made in the 1800’s by marine biologist, John Vaughan Thompson in Cobh, County Cork. Mandy contrasts his findings with current research on similar species of plankton, which are today ingesting plastic particles. Employing historical aspects of science and photography in her practice, she raises questions on issues regarding how plastic has now invaded the most basic foundations of our environment.

Yann Mingard presents, Seven Sunsets: Chapter One of the Anthropocene Project; In this new work Mingard compares studies of a number of 19th Century paintings by William Turner which recorded the effects of pollution in our stratosphere caused by several significant volcanic eruptions. Mingard contrasts these with appropriated images of present day air pollution in Chinese cities photographed from 2013 – 2016. Seven Sunsets examines man’s influence historically on the environment and long-term ramifications of these changes.

Another premiere at Unseen this year is White Rabbit Fever by Finnish artist, Maija Tammi. Balancing visual metaphors that describe the process of death, decay and immortality, Maija raises complex issues surrounding the definitions of each. Her visual research includes the study of immortal human cancer cells. Known as the HeLa line, these cells were harvested from Henrietta Lacks in the 1950’s, and are continuously grown to this day in laboratories everywhere around the world, exceeding life expectancy. White Rabbit Fever balances perceptions of death and eternal life through natural processes of disease and decomposition with medical intervention.

Combining scientific curiosity with a constructive approach to recording natural phenomenon, the series Back to Light by Caleb Charland, expands on the basic grade school science experiment of the ‘potato battery’, taking it to unbelievable lengths; illustrating experiences of wonder. In some cases, the artist wired as many as 300 apples to power 30 individual LED lights under a lampshade. His intricate installations are then photographed in the field, using long exposures to illustrate other possibilities of alternative and sustainable energy.

donderdag 22 september 2016

Views & Reviews Introducing America to Americans New Deal Photography USA 1935–1943 FSA

New Deal Photography. USA 1935–1943

“Through these travels and the photographs, I got to love the United States more than I could have in any other way.” — Jack Delano

Amid the ravages of the Great Depression, the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) was first founded in 1935 to address the country’s rural poverty. Its efforts focused on improving the lives of sharecroppers, tenants, and very poor landowning farmers, with resettlement and collectivization programs, as well as modernized farming methods. In a parallel documentation program, the FSA hired a number of photographers and writers to record the lives of the rural poor and “introduce America to Americans.”

This book records the full reach of the FSA program from 1935 to 1943, honoring its vigor and commitment across subjects, states, and stylistic preferences. The photographs are arranged into four broad regional sections but otherwise allowed to speak for themselves—to provide individual impressions as much as they cumulatively build an indelible survey of a nation.

The images are both color and black-and-white, and span the complete spetrum of American rural life. They show us convicts, cotton workers, kids, and relocated workers on the road. We see subjects victim to the elements of nature as much as to the vagaries of the global economic market. We find the work of such perceptive, sensitive photographers as Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, Russell Lee, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, and Dorothea Lange, and read their own testimonies to the FSA project and their encounters with their subjects, including Lange’s worn, weather-beaten and iconic Migrant Mother.

What unites all of the pictures is a commitment to the individuality and dignity of each subject, as much as to the witness they bear to this particular period of the American past. The subjects are entrenched in the hardships of their historical lot as much as they are caught in universal cycles of growing, playing, eating, aging, and dying. Yet they face the viewer with what is utterly their own: a unique, irreplaceable, often unforgettable presence.

About the series
Bibliotheca Universalis — Compact cultural companions celebrating the eclectic TASCHEN universe at an unbeatable, democratic price!

Since we started our work as cultural archaeologists in 1980, the name TASCHEN has become synonymous with accessible, open-minded publishing. Bibliotheca Universalis brings together nearly 100 of our all-time favorite titles in a neat new format so you can curate your own affordable library of art, anthropology, and aphrodisia.

Great Depression colour photos shine a new light on some of America's darkest days

Menard Scott
13/08/2016 20:49:00 1 0
Pictures, taken from 1939 to 1941, show the US just beginning to pull out of one of its darkest periods
Photos are from a joint project between the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information
The Library of Congress now holds more than 180,000 photos - only 1,600 in color - from the time period
The vivid color photos capture an era generally only seen in black and white
By Kelly Mclaughlin For and Reporter

Published: 14:44 EST, 13 August 2016 | Updated: 20:49 EST, 13 August 2016

The Great Depression is often remembered through bleak black and white photographs featuring long unemployment lines and hungry people waiting for a slice of bread.

As one of the darkest periods in American history, the Great Depression devastated the United States from 1929 to 1939, directly followed by World War II, which lasted until 1945 and kicked American industry into gear.

But even amidst the difficult times, families and neighborhoods tried to make the best of things.

Earlier this year, the Library of Congress has shared stunning photographs that show the period in vivid color, showcasing the strength of families, the recovery of farming and the joys of state fairs as the nation emerged from a dark time.

Female workers employed as wipers take a break for lunch at the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in Clinton, Iowa, in 1943

Young school children sit at their desks in San Augustine County, Texas, in October 1943

Men and women chop cotton on rented land in White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, in June 1941

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders, pose together for a photograph in Pie Town, New Mexico, in October 1940

A selection of the collected photos have been featured in Peter Walther’s new book, New Deal Photography, USA 1935-1943, which was published in July by Taschen.

The photographs peek into the lives of people across the United States, ranging from street fairs to Vermont to lunch scenes featuring women working on the Northwestern railroad.

Taken from 1939 to 1941, the pictures show an America just beginning to pull itself out of a financial disaster that sent nearly 15million Americans into unemployment by 1933.

The photos are a selection from a joint project between the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information to document American life through pictures taken between 1935 and 1944.

More than 40 photographers contributed to the documentary photography program, according to Slate, but very few were shot with Kodachrome film.

Of the 180,000 images kept in the Library of Congress, only 1,600 are in color. The color photos weren’t available to the public until 2004.

Children, donning American flags and a drum, stage a patriotic demonstration in Southington, Connecticut, in May 1942

A man rests on the porch of a store selling live catfish near Natchitoches, Louisiana, in July 1940

A man takes a swing of his drink at the grounds at the Vermont State Fair, Rutland, Vermont, in September 1941

A worker in Clinton, Iowa, takes a break from work in 1943. Photos that have been released by the Library of Congress are from a joint project between the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information

The United States began its plunge into one of worst economic disasters of the 20th century after Wall Street plunged on October 24 1929, known as Black Thursday, precipitating the Black Tuesday crash, which sent shock waves around the nation.

The massive plunge in an overheated market was followed by a perfect storm of economic calamity, including the widespread collapse of banks, the rise of mass unemployment and huge movements of people from impoverished agricultural states in search of work.

The Great Depression reached its peak in 1933 when some 13 to 15million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the banks had collapsed.

President Franklin D Roosevelt's reform measures would eventually go some way towards getting the country back on its feet, but it was in World War II, more than a decade after the crash, that the country's economy would find full relief.

These rare photographs are some of the few documenting those iconic years in color.

People shop at Eagle Fruit Store down the street from the  Capital Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1942

A women and children stand outside Shulman's Market on N Street and Union Street SW in Washington, DC, in 1941

A group of people ride a horse and wagon through Greene County, Georgia, in 1941

General view of one of the yards of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in Chicago, Illinois, in December 1942

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woensdag 21 september 2016

Views & Reviews Photographers A-Z Books on photo Books Hans-Michael Koetzle Photography

Book o' the Week: 'Photographers A-Z'

Photographers A-Z
By Hans-Michael Koetzle
Published by Taschen, April 2011
12.8 x 10.2 x 1.7 inches, 444 pages
Reviewed by Geoff Wittig
Two idiosyncratic German publishers stand out in the photo book world. Steidl reflects its founder's passion for photography, exemplified by a range of beautifully produced books for connoisseurs, such as Mike's favorite Bruce Davidson opus, Outside InsideA recent article on Gerhard Steidl in the New York Times reflected on his almost monastic lifestyle, devoted to his art. The other publisher is Taschen, at first glance the "anti-Steidl." Active members of the L.A. "glitterati," founder Benedikt Taschen and partner/wife Angelika seem to go out of their way to be provocative, with a goodly number of fetish- and sexually-themed titles. If the reflectiveOutside Inside exemplifies Steidl, Helmut Newton's brash and campy Sumo(the big one) may characterize Taschen. But giant expensive tomes likeSumo are matched by many more affordable titles. Taschen has published a range of very reasonably priced large monographs on photography icons from August Sander to Edward Weston to Paul Outerbridge. They also have released a range of modestly-sized and very inexpensive small softcover monographs. And $10.19 for a hardcover Atget, Paris? Hard to beat for pounds (or kilos) of book per dollar. Reproduction quality has varied from just okay to pretty good. More recent titles include Sebastião Salgado's beautiful book Africa [now out of print —Ed.], with reproductions that are very good indeed.
This is a long-winded preface to Taschen's recent encyclopedic survey of photographers past and present. Photographers A–Z (here's the U.K. link) is a large, heavy volume that provides brief but pithy coverage of literally hundreds of individuals. The author's explicitly stated criterion for inclusion is "those whose contribution to the culture of the photographic image is beyond question, whose work is internationally recognized, presented and discussed–even if controversial." Koetzle acknowledges a preponderance of Americans and Europeans, but there is also extensive representation of Asian and Latin American photographers.
The book's design is clean, slick, pure modernism (rather than post-modern). Most entries get a single page, with a select few extending across the gutter to a second. Each begins with a terse but spot-on summary of the photographer's work. For example, Annie Leibovitz is introduced with "Staged portraits of American celebrities from the worlds of (pop) culture, politics, and high society. Star photographer of the 1980s and 90s in two respects." This is followed by a dense chronological survey of the subject's career and important projects. Next is a telling quote from a photography critic, ranging from the well-known (Vicki Goldberg, A.D. Coleman) to the obscure. Finally there is a list of important exhibitions, followed by (Hallelujah!) a selected bibliography for each photographer, including monographs and projects as well as relevant anthologies containing the artist's work.
A sample spread (pages 46–47) from Taschen's Photographers A–Z.
The photo reproductions included with each entry are not full-bleed large images. Instead, as with Errata Editions, you get reproductions of the covers and 2-page spreads of photo books. These provide you a sample of the photographer's work in book form. And this photo reproduction format spells out this volume's mission. It deliberately treats photo books as the primary location for significant and accessible photography. If you want large, high-quality, beautifully reproduced examples of each artist's work, you will not find them here—but this volume will tell you exactly where they can be found in book form.
This book is an irresistible browse. You can page through the entries and in just a few minutes reacquaint yourself with a dozen great photographers you're already familiar with, and find a bunch of great leads for books to seek out at the library or Amazon. Better yet, you'll get a tantalizing look at great talents you've never heard of, but may find well worth looking into. For me the biggest delight was being reminded of many wonderful photographers who had fallen off my radar screen, but whose work I love. Now I know where to find more of their best images in print.
There are some older books out there with a similar mission. Abrams'PHOTO:BOX featured one or two images from each of 200 famous photographers. Phaidon's Centurywas more explicitly a survey of the 20th century in photography, but covers some of the same ground, with a very well-chosen selection of images. Finally, Phaidon's The Photo Book is the closest equivalent, with "500 pages on 500 photographers," each represented by a single iconic good-quality reproduction. Taschen's new book has a rather more eclectic mix, with a wider selection of Asian and Latin American photographers. In customary Taschen style, there's also a larger representation of nude and erotic subjects—Araki gets two pages, Walker Evans only one. Overall it's a fascinating selection of styles and eras. And for the lover of photo books, the bibliography entries are priceless. Just be forewarned that this feature may end up costing you far more than the purchase price!
Here's the link again.

Book Review: Photographers A-Z

A fascinating book about four hundred photographers that obviously invites comparison with Phaidon's The Photo Book which featured five hundred alphabetically. Both books come from European publishers and reflect a world view of the art though I thought Koetzle's was perhaps a more personal choice.
There is an important visual difference between the two books that might be relevant to potential buyers. The Phaidon book has a simple format of one large photo a page for each photographer plus some short biographic detail and it works well enough. The Taschen title presents the photos as facsimiles from a photographer's published books so the actual shots are really large thumbnails, very similar to Parr and Badger's two volume history of the photo book. As a publication designer I love this format but it might not suit everyone especially if they expect to see large photos in their art books.
As well as the book spreads each photographer has a hundred words or so biography and a selective exhibition and book listing. The four hundred chosen by Koetzle for inclusion do seem to me rather personal. Jack Delano and Russell Lee are not included, Julius Shulman is but not Ezra Stoller. Magazine art directors Alexander Liberman and Alexey Brodovitch are here and so is painter David Hockney but James VanDeZee isn't. Still, there are a lot of European and Japanese camera folk I'm not familiar with so turning the pages was a pleasant bit of photographic serendipity.
The really big names, for example: Capa; Cartier-Bresson; Frank; Lartique; Leibovitz; Renger-Patzsch; Rodchenko get two pages with spreads from two or three books or magazines (oddly Walker Evans only gets a page with two spreads from Fortune magazine). The book's production is the quality one would expect from Taschen, a matt art with 175 screen. I found a slight annoyance with some of the text setting, though. The biographies are set in one long block with no paragraphs and the book and exhibition listings are printed in a grey tint making them a bit hard to read in artificial light. Nicely all the book and magazine facsimiles have a tone drop shadow which gives them a slight dimensional feel on the page.
The Phaidon and this one are both reference books to great photographers but presented in two different formats. I like looking through both but have a preference for Koetzle's edition.
Photographers A-Z - 04
Snap. Two books look at the same folk, each in their own way. See also 

Child with Toy Hand Grenade the Photo Book Ian Jeffrey Photography

Photographers A-Z - 05
Title spread.
Photographers A-Z - 01
Photographers A-Z - 02
Both books look at Larry Burrows. Left, the Phaidon edition that has one big photo a page throughout the book. Koetzle's book uses facsimile spreads of each photographer's work.
Photographers A-Z - 03
Photographers A-Z - 06
Photographers A-Z - 07
Photographers A-Z - 08
Photographers A-Z - 09
Photographers A-Z - 10
Photographers A-Z - 11
Photographers A-Z - 12
Photographers A-Z - 13

Damian Zimmermann
Fotografie und Texte zur Fotografie
30. März 2011
“Fotografen A-Z” von Hans-Michael Koetzle

Das Fotobuch lebt. Das merke ich nicht nur daran, dass die Zahl der Publikationen, speziellen Buchläden, Internetblogs, Festivals und nicht zuletzt auch die Preise für vergriffene Exemplare ständig steigen. Ich merke es auch, weil der Kölner Taschen Verlag, der ja eher für Mainstream-Ware bekannt ist, nun einen dicken Wälzer (444 Seiten, 49,99 Euro) zu diesem Thema herausgebracht hat. Der Titel “Fotografen A-Z” suggeriert eher ein Fotografen-Lexikon wie die ebenfalls bei Taschen erschienene Foto:Box, doch es geht in dem Buch von Autor Hans-Michael Koetzle tatsächlich weniger um die Fotografen, sondern vielmehr um ihre “schönsten Monografien”, wie es in der Pressemitteilung heißt.

So ist das Buch nun auch eine Art Enzyklopädie geworden, streng alphabetisch (und nicht etwa chronologisch) geordnet, die kompetent Auskunft geben will, die aber nicht den Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit erhebt. Wie soll sie auch? Dafür lädt sie ein zum ziellosen Blättern, Stöbern, Surfen – kurz: zum Entdecken. Und zu entdecken gibt es viel, denn das Buch geizt nicht mit großen, populären Namen wie Nobuyoshi Araki, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Anton Corbijn, Peter Lindbergh, Man Ray, Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, Leni Riefenstahl, Cindy Sherman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ellen von Unwerth und Weegee, stellt aber auch weniger bekannte vor.

Das ist zwar alles schön und gut und lockt sicherlich auch Kunden an, die sich sonst eher nicht mit dem Thema Fotobuch auseinandersetzen würden. Wahrscheinlich aber auch nur die. Denn die Texte, die Koetzle dem interessierten “Leser” liefert, sind wenig aufschlussreich: Ein als Fließtext getarnter Lebenslauf wird durch die Auflistung von Ausstellungen und weiteren Büchern des Fotografen angereichert. Auf die Bilder geht Koetzle kaum, auf die vorgestellten Monografien gar nicht ein. Dafür werden Journalisten, Kuratoren, Sammler, Fotografen und weitere “Foto-Prominente” kurz zitiert und beziehen so wenigstens ein wenig Stellung.

Natürlich ist es nicht einfach, ein gescheites Buch über Fotobücher herauszubringen, schließlich haben Martin Parr und Gerry Badger mit “The Photobook: A History” die Messlatte sehr hoch gelegt: Die zweibändige Publikation gilt heute als Kanon, Standardwerk und Bestellkatalog für Sammler zugleich. Der Taschen Verlag tut gut daran, sie nicht einfach zu kopieren. Gleichzeitig muss er dem Leser, der immerhin 50 Euro für “Fotografen A-Z” hinblättern soll, inhaltlich mehr liefern als bloße Faksimiles aus Büchern und Zeitschriften. In der jetzigen Form wirkt es jedenfalls wie ein Schnellschuss aus der Hüfte und verkommt zum bloßen Coffee Table Book. Und genau das sollen gute Fotobücher ja eben nicht sein.