Sunday, October 31, 2010

Paris in November

I will be in Paris for all of November, so please excuse a slow down in my blog postings. But lots to report on my return to Auckland in December.

On the subject of Paris here is an artist's bookwork that I really like. It's from Hans-Peter Feldmann published in 2005 by Salon Verlag Cologne. Simply 30 "found" photographs of the Tour Eiffel. A nice way to turn the picture postcard cliché on its head.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

White Press is cooking!

With Christoph and Markus Schaden in the kitchen White Press are bound to cook up some innovative and tempting new photo books with the freshest of ingredients. With nine great custom-made books since 2008 this is an imprint to watch. And collect!

They say this about themselves, "The White Lines follow new directions in print, focusing on the paramount discipline of the photo book. Coming from photographing, collecting, designing, producing and selling, here is where it all comes together. White Press Editions start off with a white piece of paper in mind. Then we begin to think and create — always in close coop with the author/photographer. Boosted by the community and carefully guided by Christoph Schaden, each book carries the individual features it deserves in the end. It’s a bit like cooking: Almost all possible ingredients are widely known. The combination and balance makes the recipe."

You can check out White Press here:

Friday, October 29, 2010

William Eggleston at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents William Eggleston: Democratic Camera—Photographs and Video, 1961–2008, the most comprehensive U.S. retrospective of the Memphis-based contemporary photographer. The exhibition traces the artist's evolution over a five-decade-period and brings together more than 200 photographs, including his iconic images of familiar, everyday subjects in addition to lesser-known, early black-and-white prints and provocative video recordings. A key figure in American photography, Eggleston is credited with nearly single-handedly ushering in the era of color photography. His inventive use of color and spontaneous compositions have profoundly influenced subsequent generations of photographers, filmmakers, and viewers. LACMA's presentation is the first Los Angeles retrospective of the artist in more than three decades. On view until January 16, 2011.

The photograph: William Eggleston, "Untitled," from Los Alamos, 1965–68

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paris Diary, May 2010

When I was in Paris in May / June this year I made a diary. Photographs of course.
It's 226 x 160 mm, 24 pages with 19 photographs printed on a 160 gsm coated art stock. The edition is limited to 75 copies, each signed and numbered.

The book work will be available from ABC Artists' Book Cooperative and at OffPrint Paris during Paris Photo, November 18 -21.

Alternatively you can obtain a copy direct from me via email:
The edition is 10 Euro plus postage.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

JR wins TED

The TED Conference has awarded its 2011 TED Prize to the street artist known as JR, who has plastered enormous photos on slums, industrial sites, office buildings and demolition sites in Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, Cambodia, France, Spain, the US and elsewhere. The TED prize , awarded annually to an individual who exemplifies innovation, includes a $100,000 cash award and the chance to see “a wish to change the world” realized. Previous winners have included President Bill Clinton, singer/activist Bono, chef and anti-obesity advocate Jamie Oliver and photojournalist James Nachtwey.

JR, who calls himself a “photograffeur,” dramatically transforms the neighborhoods where he posts images, sometimes at the risk of arrest or police harassment. In his best known project, “Women are Heroes,” JR and a crew of local volunteers posted large, close-up portraits of women on the walls and roofs of favelas in Rio De Janiero.

JR’s photo displays are usually a form of protest. In Shanghai, he is now plastering a historic neighborhood that is being demolished with his portraits of the area’s elderly residents. But earlier this year, he created a purely artistic statement in Vevey, Switzerland using images by other photographers. According to JR’s web site,, he displayed images by Man Ray, Helen Levitt and Robert Capa.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Auckland, the Springtime light continues...

... some photographs I made yesterday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Luc Tuymans at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The first U.S. retrospective of the work of Belgian contemporary artist Luc Tuymans, and the most comprehensive presentation of his work to date is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago from October 2, 2010 through January 9, 2011. The show features approximately 75 key paintings from 1978 to the present and reunites works from important series as initially set out by the artist, thus restoring intended dialogue among the works.

Luc Tuymans (born 1958) is considered to be one of the most significant painters working today. While addressing issues of history and memory his distinctive visual style and approach emphasizes the tensions between the handcraft of painting and the mechanical eye of photography. Interested in the after-effects of the most traumatic events of the last and present century and their representation in the mass media, Tuymans uses a muted palette to create paintings that are at once sumptuous and subtle, enigmatic and disarmingly stark.

Born and raised in Antwerp, where he continues to live and work, Tuymans draws on the historical traditions of Northern European painting as well as photography (with his use of polaroids as source material), cinema and television. He appropriates images from a variety of sources and makes use of cropping, close-ups, framing and sequencing to offer fresh perspectives on the medium of painting as well as larger cultural issues. Whether interiors, landscapes, or figural representations, his works might initially suggest relatively innocuous depictions of everyday life, but there is almost always another meaning lurking beneath their surfaces. Like veiled memories, Tuymans's paintings oscillate between coherence and illegibility, challenging viewers' certainty about not only what they are looking at but also how they should be looking.

Surely it is against these considerations that any substantive art practice should be measured and evaluated.

The painting: Bridge 2009

Larry Sultan on failure

"When it comes down to making work that really sings, I don't know if I can teach any of it. I don't even know if I can do any of it half the time. It's so much about failure, it's so much about making pictures that are so utterly boring and overstated, you're endlessly disappointed. And in that process you hopefully find something that draws you back and calls to you." Larry Sultan.

The photographs: Girl on bed is from Larry Sultan's series and Scalo bookwork The Valley (2004) and the portrait of Larry Sultan was made by Kelly Sultan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LE BAL BOOKS (and more) Paris

Taking it's name from the fact that the space was once a ballroom, LE BAL has recently opened behind the Place de Clichy in Paris. Devoted to the "image document", which includes photography, film, video and new media, there is a book shop, exhibition space and you can get a coffee. The book shop is directed by Sebastian Hau who comes direct from Cologne with impeccable credentials and a sharp eye. With around 2000 titles, including sought after classics, rare contemporary editions and self published books LE BAL is a welcome addition to the Paris photo scene.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Photographers whose work I like - No 8 / Damien Lafargue

Damien Lafargue is the driving force and brains behind the Paris based photographers collective, Get The Picture, of which I'm pleased to be a member. Damien is also a photographer whose work I admire.

He writes, ""I became a photographer in my early twenties. For several years, making ends meet meant shooting what I was told to: people, events, things ; a whole lot of crap on its way to be printed in the pages of the press. I'm done with that. Nowadays, I'm more like a backpacker, freely strolling the world and paying attention to what I did not have the time to discover before. I don't know where I'm going, I'd be lying pretending the opposite. I know it's not a very consistent artists statement, but this is where I stand. I'm just a guy taking his camera on a tour."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I was blown over this morning when an unexpected courier arrived with a delivery from Steidl in Germany which turned out to be a complete set of LEWIS BALTZ WORKS. Number 189 from an edition of 1100. Blown over at this unexpected generosity but even more at the substance and enormity of this set of work.

Lewis Baltz's vision has a sense of quiet inquiry, an almost forensic investigation into the nature of things, a close look at the ISness of the World. Baltz's work is an unflinching example to anybody who has even chanced to hold a camera in an attempt to make a serious picture.
The work is an antidote to the current flood of photography that pretends to be art but is only arty. Work that decorates and doesn't challenge. Work that shouts a lot but says nothing.

Baltz's photographs ask the hard questions, knowing that there are no answers. His pictures meditate on issues of control, power and influence yet find beauty amidst
desolation and destruction. Wonder amongst the common place.

And of course Baltz's pictures coalesce here into ten individual volumes. Ten works in their own right. Because Baltz is also a book maker, an author who knows the power of the book. Included are four as yet unpublished projects together with reissues of classic rarities such as Park City (1979), which just by itself is worth the price of admission.

Gerry Badger speaks of John Gossage's book THE POND as "an artist's book, a book by a photographic artist, and a work of photographic literature at the highest level". I'm sure Gerry would agree and wouldn't mind me saying that the books in LEWIS BALTZ WORKS are of the same order.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My new bookwork is now available. AS IT IS? IN FOUR CHAPTERS. The work deals with the truism that WE DON'T SEE THE WORLD AS IT IS, BUT AS WE ARE, questioning perception and authorship.

The books are 226 x 160 mm, 96 pages in all with 52 photographs printed on a 160gsm art stock. This limited edition is of 75 copies, each signed and numbered.

The bookwork will be available in Paris from ABC Artists' Book Cooperative and at OffPrint Paris during Paris Photo, November 18 - 21.

Alternatively you can obtain a copy direct from me via email:
The edition is 30 Euro plus postage.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

John Gossage - THE POND

John Gossage is a virtuoso maker of wonderful photobooks. It's great then to see the reissue of his important and remarkable 1985 book THE POND.
Considered a groundbreaking book when first published, John Gossage's THE POND remains one of the most important photobooks of the medium. As Gerry Badger, coauthor of The Photobook: A History, Volumes I and II, asserts, "Adams, Shore, Baltz — all the New Topographics photographers made great books, but none are better than THE POND." Consisting of photographs taken around and away from a pond situated in an unkempt wooded area at the edge of a city, the volume presents a considered foil to Henry Thoreau's stay at Walden. The photographs in THE POND do not aspire to the "beauty" of classical landscapes in the tradition of Ansel Adams. Instead, they reveal a subtle vision of reality on the border between man and nature. Gossage depicts nature in full splendor, yet at odds with both itself and man, but his tone is ambiguous and evocative rather than didactic. Robert Adams described the work as "believable because it includes evidence of man's darkness of spirit, memorable because of the intense fondness [Gossage] shows for the remains of the natural world."

The re-issued version of THE POND has from Gerry Badger an informed essay, Genesis of a Photobook which not only discusses John's book but talks about "the criteria that coalesce to make a great photobook". Gerry quotes John's own list of attributes....
1. The book should contain great work. 2. It should make that work function as a concise world within the book itself. 3. It should have a design that compliments what is being dealt with. 4. It should deal with content that sustains ongoing interest.

These benchmarks should be tattooed on the arm, written on the back of the camera or stuck up on the computer of every aspiring photobook maker!

And last but not least, get yourself a copy of THE POND you will not be disappointed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The NY ART BOOK FAIR, Nov 5-7 at MoMA PS1

Printed Matter, Inc. and The NY Art Book Fair will take over all three floors of MoMA PS1, November 5-7, to present 275 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, museums, galleries, and artists from twenty-four countries, exhibiting the very best of contemporary art publishing. The Fair will open with a preview on Thursday, November 4 from 6-9 p.m. Admission to the preview and to the Fair is free.

Included amongst the many exhibitors is ABC Artists' Books Cooperative, a group of us who all make books print-on-demand. And from Paris onestar press who as early as 2000 was publishing books on a print-on-demand basis and published my bookwork Aide Memoire.

Auckland - some pictures I made in Ponsonby....

.... three today and one last week.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

William Eggleston - Graceland portfolio

Amongst the highlights of Sotheby's New York photography sale held yesterday was a copy of William Eggleston's Graceland portfolio. This was published by Washington, D. C.'s Middendorf Gallery in 1984. The edition is of 31 copies plus 4 artist's proofs and is a portfolio of 11 dye-transfer prints, each signed in pencil and with the date and portfolio stamps and plate numbers. This edition was number '28' marked in pencil, on the reverse, each framed, 1983, printed in 1984; accompanied by the original clamshell portfolio box and printed matter.

Sotheby's pre-sale estimate was between 80,000 - 120,000 USD. The lot sold for 134,500 USD which includes the buyers premium. That's 12,227 USD an image. A great buy for somebody!

Over the years Eggleston has published a number of portfolio editions often 10 images in various edition sizes. These are worth checking out on his site: