Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Picture editing and how images speak to each other

The Kuleshov Effect
Much has been written about the business of film production from scripting to editing and inbeween, looking at ways to present a story that will be understood by the audience and has the power to be both surprising and involving.

Screenwriter, playwright and director David Mamet's wonderful little book - On Directing Film - is a good example of an acknowledged expert talking about his craft. Mamet proposes that stories should be told not with words, but through the juxtaposition of uninflected images. The best films, Mamet argues, are composed of simple shots. He says that the great filmmaker understands that the burden of cinematic storytelling lies less in the individual shot than in the collective meaning that shots convey when they are edited together.

The Soviet film editor Lev Kuleshov in the 1920s developed a technique, known now as The Kuleshov Effect. Kuleshov put a film together, showing the expression of an actor, edited together with a plate of soup, a dead woman, and a woman on a recliner. Audiences praised the subtle acting, showing an almost imperceptible expression of hunger, grief, or lust in turn. The reality, of course, is that the same clip of the actor's face was re-used, and the effect is created entirely by its superimposition with other images.
The famous shower scene from Psycho is often used as an example of this trope. After watching it, everyone immediately understands that Janet Leigh's character has been stabbed to death, but if you slow it down, only three frames actually show a knife piercing flesh (this is fast enough to count as subliminal messaging). The audience's understanding of what has taken place comes entirely from the way the images and sound are arranged, not from the actual content.

In photobook terms it is clear to most that a series of photographs create a whole where the sum of the parts has the potential to be greater than the impact of individual images. As far as I know little has been written about photobook editing and sequencing. Many of the photobooks I've looked at present a picture sequence that seems purely arbitrary. For example if one accepts the need to provide "breathing space" in a sequence often the blank page occurs on the right with picture on the left. Seemingly treated in this manner purely on the basis of intuition. Alternatively a photographer like Daido Moriyama rarely, if ever, has white pages in any of his books. In the absence of accepted photobook theory, chance, taste and experiment become the benchmarks.

Perhaps it's time that still photographers look more closely at motion picture editing and montage in terms of what that artform might be able to bring to the photobook.

Hitchcock on The Kuleshov Effect
You can see Hitchcock's Kuleshov Effect comments on YouTube HERE.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

David Cook - Meet Me in the Square


David Cook is a photographer whose work I like and admire. David is a lecturer based at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Most of his projects deal with contested space, community and ecology.

Meet Me In the Square is David Cook's new bookwork which is his response to him hearing the news of the earthquake which struck his hometown of Christchurch on 22 February 2011. David recalls... When I heard the news... I flew back to see my family and to survey the damage. Much of the central city had collapsed, or was damaged beyond repair. Returning to Hamilton I unearthed an archive of around 6000 photographs I'd made in Christchurch during the mid 1980's. Mesmerised by these images I started to rebuild my version of the city.

Meet Me in the Square is a stunningly realised work both in content and design. David Cook's photographs are a lovingly objective gaze at a city he called home. The images present a quietly uninflected view of the city with none of the lame jokey image making that still seems to persist in this sort of photography. Cook's images seem effortless as if the photographs just appeared in front of a locked-off camera. The work is intelligent, thoughtful and rewarding. It deserves a wide audience.

The Christchurch Art Gallery will be exhibiting Meet Me in the Square, opening 31 January, running until 24 May.

And the book: 
Meet Me in the Square: Christchurch 1983-1987 / Published by Christchurch Art Gallery /
Designed by Jonty Valentine / 180 pages / 275mm x 210mm / hardcover and flexicover

You can get a copy from the Christchurch Art Gallery shop HERE.

You can check out more of David Cook's work on his website HERE.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Printed Matter's LA ART BOOK FAIR 2015

Printed Matter presents the third annual LA Art Book Fair, from January 30 - February 1, 2015, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

A preview will be held on the evening of Thursday, January 29, 2015, from 6 to 9 pm, at the Geffen Contemporary, with special musical performances by NO AGE and PRINCE RAMA.

Entry to the Preview will cost $10, and includes a Ticket Edition by artist Edie Fake, while supplies last. Purchase here!

Free and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers. Last year’s LA Art Book Fair saw 25,000 visitors over the course of three and a half days.

Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in New York. In September 2014, over 35,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and enthusiasts attended Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR.

You can check out the full list of exhibitors HERE.

Hours and Location / Preview: Thursday, January 29, 6–9 pm / Friday January 30th, 12–7pm / Saturday January 31st, 11-7pm / Sunday February 1st, 11-6pm

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA / 152 North Central Avenue / Los Angeles, CA 90012

Saturday, January 24, 2015



The inaugural PHOTO BOOK MELBOURNE kicks off in a few weeks and promises to be a full-on offering for anybody who is addicted to the photobook. And plenty for those with just a passing interest as well. With exhibitions, a book fair, workshops, talks and studio visits, there is something for everybody.

Organised by Heidi Romano and Daniel Boetker-Smith, who bring to the festival a dynamic combination of curatorial, educational and artist based skills. 

They describe the festival as: A contemporary photobook festival... a the product of observation, conversation and collaboration.
With a deep passion for photography, typography and the printed book, we have curated a festival to engage, challenge and educate a photographic audience. A festival to exchange views on experimentation, curation and collaboration. Research through process and practice.
Photobook Melbourne is an artist-run, not for profit organization dedicated to creating a platform for experimental and innovative artistic photography and book making practices. A platform for artists, bookmakers and book lovers to discuss, examine and appreciate marvellous imagery and outstanding storytelling.
We will bring together expertise and insight directly from the world’s greatest photographers, graphic designers, curators, publishers & printers. Our aim is to share their knowledge with professional photographers, passionate amateurs and the inquisitive book lover. Initiating conversations about the nature of self publishing, form and function, practice and process.

On Monday February 16 at 6.00pm at the Photography Studies College I will lead a 60 mins discussion on how local photographers can publish a photo book for international distribution. The discussion will touch on different publishing models, what sells and doesn’t, who collects and reviews them, what makes them successful and new opportunities.

Panelists include Stephen Dupont, Ingvar Kenne, Louise Hawson, Dan Rule of Perimeter Books, Angel Luis Gonzalez of Photo Ireland, Paulina de Laveaux of Thames & Hudson.

You can see more including the full programme HERE.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Art Blogs well worth a look - a list from Art F City


Art F City creates and archives critical discourse, and commissions ambitious artist projects. Through a daily mix of blunt criticism, commentary and community-minded journalism, they add an unparalleled dosage of purposeful opinion to the contemporary art community.
Art is without a public purpose if it is not tested and understood. To this end, Art F City provides a moderated public forum across comment threads, artist essays, and roundtable criticism. Their nine-year archives provide an extensive historical record of that discourse.

Art F City have created a blogroll that includes a heap of different sources and resources. More than enough art for everybody. Included are magazine style art blogs, single-author blogs, online art journals and more... here is the single-author list. You call see all by going HERE.

Active Single-Author Blogs
About Last Night, Terry Teachout
Art Blog Art Blog, Joshua Abelow
The Art Law Blog, Donn Zaretsky
Art Law Office, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento
Art Sucks, Coco Art Juggernaut
Blake Gopnik (Content also published on artnet News)
Chris Rusak
Culture Grrl (Began on Blogspot, but quickly moved to Arts Journal)
Dennis Hollingworth
Ed Winkleman
Fette, Sans, Greg Allen
HaberArts, John Haber
I Like This Art, Jordan Tate
In Terms Of, Christopher Howard
Jerry Magoo (Group blog run by artists)
Joanie Gagnon San Chirico
Lorna Mills and Sally McKay
Latent Image, Max Marshall
Let My People Show,Robin Cembalest
The Modern Art Notes Podcast, Tyler Green
Newgrist, Joy Garnett
A New Nothing, Brian Ulrich
Prosthetic Knowledge, Rich Olegsby
Real Clear Arts, Judith Dobrzynski
Tom Moody (plus archives)
Uhutrust, Michaela Eichwald

Art F City provides a great ART fix be sure to check them out...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

FotoBookFestival Kassel - Book Dummy Award now open


The 7th FotoBookFestival Kassel invites all photographers to present their thus-far unpublished photobooks to an international public and to eminent experts. In 2015 the best 50 books will be shortlisted by a pre-jury and will be exhibited at international photo events in Kassel, Dublin, Madrid, Oslo, Paris, Rome and São Paulo. From these 50 titles, 3 winners will be chosen by an international jury of experts at the Fotobookfestival Kassel in June.

The winner of the First Prize will be given the opportunity to realize their dummy as a published  book in cooperation with the festival's production partner, k-books, Germany, and will be reported on in the magazine European Photography. The First Prize also includes, apart from the book production, the presentation of the photobook-work during the Fotobookfestival in Kassel in 2016. The Second Prize is a book production voucher valued at € 500; the Third Prize is a voucher valued at € 300 given by our partner, k-books.  

You can find out more and enter HERE.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pieter Hugo at Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson, Paris

Pieter Hugo - Pieter and Sophia Hugo at home in Cape Town, 2010

From January 14th to April 26th, Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson, Paris, is showing Kin, the most recent project of South-African photographer Pieter Hugo.
Kin is a bittersweet perspective on Hugo's homeland of South Africa. It is a meditation on the ideals of home, both familial and humanistic. It explores the tenuous ties that both bind us to and repel us from others.
Over the past eight years Hugo has turned his eye on cramped townships, contested farmlands and abandoned mining areas; psychologically charged still lifes in people's homes; sites of political significance; drifters and the homeless; his pregnant wife, and his daughter moments after her birth; the domestic servants who have worked for the Hugo family over three generations. The series alternates between intimate and public spaces, with particular emphasis on the growing disparity between rich and poor, and reveals Hugo's deeply conflicted feelings about his home. It confronts complex issues of colonisation, racial diversity and economic disparity. Kin endeavours to locate his young family in a country with a fraught history and an uncertain future.

Hugo describes the Kin project as: an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being 'colonial driftwood' ... South Africa is such a fractured, schizophrenic, wounded and problematic place. It is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow ... How does one live in this society? How does one take responsibility for history, and to what extent should one try? How do you raise a family in such a conflicted society? Before getting married and having children, these questions did not trouble me; now, they are more confusing. This work attempts to address these questions and to reflect on the nature of conflicting personal and collective narratives. I have deeply mixed feelings about being here. I am interested in the places where these narratives collide. Kin is an attempt at evaluating the gap between society's ideals and its realities.

Pieter Hugo - Mandy Matlala, Langaville, Ekurhuleni, 2012

Pieter Hugo - War memorial, Springs, 2012

Pieter Hugo - Neels du Plooy, Hennenman, 2013

Born in Johannesburg in 1976, Pieter Hugo grew up in Cape Town where he currently lives. His work is held in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne; Huis Marseille, Amsterdam; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others. He is the winner of numerous awards, including in 2008 the KLM Paul Huf Award and the Discovery Award at Rencontres d’Arles. He won the Seydou Keita Award at the ninth Rencontres de Bamako African Photography Biennial, Mali, in 2011, and was short-listed for the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.