Monday, December 31, 2012

Stephen Shore - letter to a young artist

Stephen Shore gets the last word in this last post for 2012.
In his letter to a student Shore talks about the need for integrity and to make work for the right reasons, to question and to do it for yourself.
I've always felt that the first and most important audience for one's work is one's self. And if anybody else likes what you do that's a bonus and not a given. It's really about authenticity, finding the work from somewhere deep inside yourself, a combination of head and heart. Of course there is never ever an arrival. After all one can always do it better and as there are never any answers only more questions, the exploration continues... Happy New Year!

As a post script to Stephen Shore's letter a friend sent me this quote from the poet Rilke, who is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language. I liked the quote, it's about questions and answers:
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Photography blogs, books and shows - the year's best from THE WORD

If you want an idiosyncratic and different take on the best 2012 photo blogs, books and shows, the good people from Belgium based WORD MAGAZINE deliver...

They say this about themselves:  Word Magazine isn’t a magazine about photography, fashion, music and art. It is a magazine about and for people who love it. The magazine documents contemporary living, photography, fashion, music and art. It is a magazine with both an international tone and a thick Belgian accent, about and for interesting and interested people. With its unique take on contemporary photography, we spot and support both emerging and established photography talent, acting as a platform for image makers to develop and present new works. 

What they have to say is well worth a read and a look. You can go there HERE... Below is just a taste, there is much more on-line.

From Jurgen Maelfeyt
From Felicia Atkinson
From Bartolome Sanson
From Alex Salinas

Saturday, December 29, 2012

London photographs - 4 days in November

At last a chance for me to edit the pictures I made in Europe this last northern Autumn... here a few from London in November. As for Paris, perhaps a new "diary" in the works?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Trent Parke - Minutes to Midnight, a best book for 2013!

In 2003 Trent Parke began a road-trip around his native Australia, a monumental journey that was to last two years and cover a distance of over 90,000 km. Minutes to Midnight is the ambitious photographic record of that adventure, in which Parke presents a proud but uneasy nation struggling to craft its identity from different cultures and traditions. Minutes to Midnight merges traditional documentary techniques and imagination to create a dark visual narrative portraying Australia with a mix of nostalgia, romanticism and brooding realism. This is not a record of the physical landscape but of an emotional one. It is a story of human anxiety and intensity, which although told from Australia, represents a universal human condition in the world today.

At last the book, Minutes to Midnight is due for release this coming January. This Steidl book, 29.5 x 25 cm has 48 tritone plates over 96 pages. I've pre-ordered my copy on Amazon. You can do that HERE.

Street scene, Wiluna WA 2004
Five-metre shark, Cottesloe Beach, WA 2004

Self portrait, Menindee, outback NSW 2003

You can see more of this stunning work on the Magnum produced YouTube clip HERE 

It seems that this new Steidl edition follows a previous less expansive 2005 publication, now out of print, from French publisher Filgranes editions. You can see more on the PHOTOBOOKSTORE page HERE, which includes a video flip through of the book.

Photobooks - one more list worth checking out...

Here is a list from Kominek, Berlin based gallery, publisher and bookshop. Included is Peter Dekens amazing book touch and Gerry Johansson's epic Deutschland from Mack books.

Komineks top 10 photo books for 2012 in no particular order

Photobooks - where to get em....

Still thinking about photobooks and adding to ones library... generally I check out Amazon and UK's Book Depository. The latter was once a source of excellent discounts but now I believe they are owned by Amazon and the big discounts are a thing of the past. What's more both these stores are generalists not specialists.

If you are looking for a knowledgeable, independent photobook store, I've always been impressed by the online operation PHOTOBOOKSTORE based in the UK. These people have good taste, knowledge and commitment and I really like their regular newsletter.
They offer rare and signed books and the information on individual books is of substance often accompanied with a vimeo run-through of the book. They also present recommendations and stock unusual lesser known books.

From PHOTOBOOKSTORE's site - a typical book entry

Then there is photo-eye which in the last few years has done more for photography and the photobook than most. But then I'm stating the obvious.

And last I've always liked LA based ARCANA BOOKS ON THE ARTS with photobooks and much more... well worth checking out. ARCANA has both a store front and online presence.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Photobook - Best Book lists and lists and lists...

There seems to be more Best Photobook lists this year than ever before. More lists than best books? I exaggerate of course but to my eye perhaps less really great books in 2012 than previous years. Anyway, you be the judge of that... here are few of the Best Photobook lists that have hit my inbox...

The New York Times 6th Floor Blog... a list of their Top 10 Photobooks, with mentions of Stephen Gills strangely enigmatic work Coexistance, Torbjørn Rødland's sometimes mystifying book Vanilla Partner. And Rineke Dijkstra's Guggenheim catalogue A Retrospective.

TIMES's Best of 2012: The Photobooks we loved. Nominated by a range of TIME staffers plus experts such as Michael Mack, Jeffery Ladd, Jason Fulford, Markus Schaden and heap of others, the list runs to thirty titles. Included is Wolfgang Tillmans Newe Welt, John Gossage's THE ACTOR with brilliant photographs Gossage made in the mid 1970's. Michael Schmidt's Lebensmittel, a book that keeps cropping up on list after list. And deservedly Paul Graham's The Present. Appearing again Torbjørn Rødland's Vanilla Partner.

photo-eye Magazine - the best books of 2012. With 29 nominators each providing a list of plus or minus 10 books, there are books for Africa! Yes Pieter Hugo does get a mention. Along with, Lewis Baltz, Rob Hornstra, Martin Parr, Chris Killip, Stephen Gill, Paul Graham, Anders Petersen, Michael Schmidt, Guy Tillim, Sebastien Girard, Ron Jude, Paul Kooiker, Sam Falls... to name just a few.

The British Journal of Photography - Cool & Noteworthy 2012: The best photobooks of the year. The BJP asked Martin Parr, Gerry Badger, Colin Pantall, Bruno Ceschel, Mark Pearson, Jeffrey Ladd and Sebastian Hau each to come up with a list. Nominees include:
Ron Jude, Robert Adams, Luigi Ghirri, Sacha Maric, Peter Dekens, Billy Monk, Lise Sarfati, John Gossage, Stephen Gill, and more. Paul Graham again...

If you go to the links above you can access the full lists from each source. Last year photography writer Marc Feustel did an amazing job analysing all the "best" list and came up with a summary of who was mentioned where and with how many mentions and so forth. I have it on good authority that Marc is here in New Zealand right now enjoying summer so we may have to miss out on his efforts this year. 

PS - Marc Feustel get's the last word: Sorry guys, I'm about to spend 10 days without a computer or internet, so definitely no list of lists this year. Also, in truth there are more fun ways to end the year than trawling the internet for book lists.  Right!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jeff Wall at the NGV Melbourne

Jeff Wall - The Destroyed Room - 19789
Currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Melbourne is an exhibition of Canadian photographer Jeff Wall's work spanning the years 1978 to 2010. The show features 26 photographs drawn from throughout his career including several large scale works and major light box transparency works such as After 'Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue 1999–2000 and the extraordinary, A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) 1993. Jeff Wall is one of the most influential contemporary photographers working today. He has frequently been called a modern storyteller, and his work is shaped by his profound awareness of Western art and literature. One strand of his practice is conceptual and involves small-scale, thoughtful observations of ‘things’ that appear to have been photographed in situ. The other strand comprises more complex activities, generally including people that are then meticulously re-enacted for the camera.

The show is supported by a comprehensive catalogue authored by curator Isobel Crombie and several short but incisive video presentations which can be viewed on the NGV site HERE - the exhibition runs until 17 March 2013.

Jeff Wall - Boy Falls from Tree - 2010

Paul Graham's American trilogy - Gerry Badger writes in BJP

With the 2012 publication of the The Present, Paul Graham has completed his American trilogy.
Writer Gerry Badger has never been short of words and photographer Paul Graham of pictures. Graham mentioned at his Hasselblad award presentation in Paris in November that he shot over 47,000 frames to arrive at his edit for his The Present series.
In the British Journal of Photography of December 20, Gerry Badger writes and gives an overview of Paul Graham's American series work and his practice.

What is photography about? This is the question every photographer must ask him or herself every day - and the answers are as varied as the number of photographs in the world. And that, as we know, has increased exponentially in the years since John Szarkowski compared the number of photographs to the number of bricks; since the advent of the internet, there are far more photographs around than bricks.

Every photographer answers the question in the images they make, but not so many choose to answer it formally by making a trio of high-profile photobooks. That is what Paul Graham has done in his ‘American trilogy' - American Night (2003), a shimmer of possibility (2006) and The Present (2012). Note that the question I have posed asks what ‘photography' is about, not photographic art or the photographic media. Photography, pure and simple. Well, hardly pure and hardly simple. Graham has consistently questioned the notion of photography as art - ‘conceptual' photography, fabricated photography, artsy-fartsy photography - not because these genres are bereft of achievement, but because they have achieved a certain cultural hegemony in the art market and museum. "There remains a sizeable part of the art world that simply does not get photography. They get artists who use photography to illustrate their ideas, installations, performances and concepts, who ‘deploy' the medium as one of a range of artistic strategies to complete their work. But photography for and of itself - photographs taken from the world as it is - are misunderstood as a collection of random observations and lucky moments, or muddled up with photojournalism, or tarred with a semi-derogatory ‘documentary' tag," he has said.

You can read the complete piece HERE

And you can go to the Paul Graham archive HERE

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jeff Wall - what I love about art

Art affects life but we don't know how, Jeff Wall's take on art expressed in under a minute and worth a look HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Steal Like an Artist - a creative manifesto

Austin Kleon's philosophy "Steal Like An Artist" is a creative manifesto based on 10 things he wish he'd heard when he was starting out. Austin is a writer and artist. He's the author of Newspaper Blackout, a best-selling book of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. A great list, with good ideas, but there should be an 11th point, Woody Allen's thought about showing up.

Kleon talks about his ideas HERE:

And you can look at his blog Newspaper Blackout HERE:

Or get the book HERE:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Le Journal de la Photographie - your daily photography fix

Born from a dream and from our assessment that in the current new medias no one was covering photography in its entire extent, our Lettre shares and informs daily on the events in the world of photography.
Available in English and French, Le Journal is featured in the form of a “newsletter”, a web site and an iPad application to all audiences interested in photography
Subscription, which is free, enables the user to access to a summary of the articles. A hyperlink will lead you to the full text. 
Our source of information is endless as we have made an inventory of over 400 major galleries devoted to photography, 50 photo festivals, 17 months of Photography – inspired by the one launched in 1980 in Paris by Jean-Luc Monterosso.
There are as well 25 auction houses that have featured their images. All major museums today posses a photography department. The Metropolitan, the MoMa, the Whitney, the MEP, le Jeu de Paume, the Tate Modern… Two new photography museums have just opened in San Francisco and in Los Angeles.
In Moscow, in January 2011 the opening of the Museum of Photography by Olga Sviblova featuring 9,000m2 was covered by the press internationally.
When we enter ‘photography’ in the search engines today, 333 million available links are listed; original prints that would go for a few thousand some fifteen years ago are now sold for 20 or 30 times more.
Over a million dollars for Avedon’s “Dovima and the Elephants” sold at Paris-Photo 2011, 500,000 U$D for Stephanie Seymour’s nude, also by Avedon, sold in Germany in December 2010, 2 million dollars for three images by Richard Prince. Andreas Gursky’s value has multiplied by 50 since 1999. His photograph “99 cents II” is an absolute record standing at 3 million dollars.
Because there are a few web sites that gather all the information of this world in constant expansion; Because no magazine today captures the mutation of the photographic world and its extraordinary richness; Because there is no web site or application that deals with photography on a daily basis; Because there is no world agenda of photographic events;
Because there is no place of open expression and editorial quality that allows the diffusion and broadcast of information to a qualified audience interested in photography;
Accessible photography for everyone is essential.

You can subscribe to Le Journal de la Photographie HERE 
and go to Le Journal's website HERE 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Daido Moriyama - Paris and London

Held in Paris this last Saturday at Polka Galerie, a workshop was presented as a tribute to a similar event held in Tokyo in 1974. Participants were invited to select from one of five images from a series made by Moriyama in Paris in 1988 - 1989. The serigraphs, 60 x 80 cm, were offered on either white or silver paper, signed by Moriyama for the reasonable price of 120 euro.

Showing currently at the galerie is the Daido Moriyama Cycle - Part 3, Serigraphies - which runs until January 12. Here, thirty works on large canvas are presented for the first time in Europe. Polka Galerie, 12 rue Saint Gilles, Paris 3ème.

The William Klein and Daido Moriyama exhibition continues at Tate Modern, London - running until January 20.
With work from the 1950s to the present day, the exhibition demonstrates the visual affinity between their urgent, blurred and grainy style of photography and also their shared desire to convey street life and political protest, from anti-war demonstrations and gay pride marches to the effects of globalisation and urban deprivation.
The exhibition also considers the medium and dissemination of photography itself, exploring the central role of the photo-book in avant-garde photography and the pioneering use of graphic design within these publications. As well the issues of Provoke magazine in which Moriyama and his contemporaries showcased their work.
You can go to the Tate Modern site HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paris Photo 2013 - a MUST GO!

Without doubt there is no better photo art fair than Paris Photo. There's something for everybody. For me it's not so much the work on the walls. I'm a photographer and writer not a collector and besides the price tags are too rich for my budget and I've run out of wall space anyway. Then there are the photobooks. With Steidl and MAC alone that will keep the average photobook collector running on a high for some time.

Paris Photo for me is all about the people. Despite the fact that everybody is doing it, the photo world is very small and there is a feeling that everybody knows each other. The pleasure is in hanging out and renewing friendships and meeting new people.
The Grand Palais is an amazing venue, like several football fields rolled into one. But always a chance to meet. For example...Todd Hido on the lookout for new books and later at his gallery show opening. Dewi Lewis and Caroline Warhurst to chew the fat about publishing. John Gossage with his latest bookworks and his show opening at Galerie LWS. Lewis Baltz and Slavica Perkovic book signing at librarie Mazarine. Stephan Zaubitzer to touch base on his LA cinema shoot. David Kregenow searching for more photographers to shoot. Terri Weifenbach and an unexpected meal with Yasunori Hoki. Jeroen Kummer and a productive talk about book design. Jimmy Tomenou from librarie agnes b. Jeffrey Ladd with the latest from errata editions. Sebastien Girard with his stunning new book, Strip - o - Gram. David Bennewith, NZ designer based in Holland. Tim Clark from 1000 Words photography. Aron Morel from Morel Books, London. Xavier Ribas, photographer and photo-educator whom I hadn't seen for 12 years or more and a gift of his new book Nomads. Jim Cooke from Brighton University photography department. Diane Dufour directrice of le-bal. Christian Patterson. Gerry Badger. Morten Anderson, first sighted eyeing the books in galerie Yvon Lambert. Henry Wessel and a drink with Lewis Baltz at cafe Flor. Jill Hartley and her book-launch. Myriam Barchechat and more talk about book design. Chris Coekin and a surprise gift of his wonderful book The Altogether.  Paul Graham at his Hasselblad Award presentation. David Campany with Paul Graham. Lotte Sprengers, Dutch photographer and a gift of her new book Home. Corinne Noordenbos and a chance to repay the 30 Euro I owed her. Damien Lafargue, Sylvia Ammon and photobook talk. Bruno Ceschel from Self Publish Be Happy. Frits Gierstberg from Nederlands Fotomuseum. Quentin Bajac on his way to MoMA NYC. Curt Holtz, publisher Prestel. Wolfgang Zurborn and the anticipation of Kolsch in Cologne. Maciek Herman from Warsaw. Yossi Milo and talk of Hurricane Sandy. Ferdinand Brueggeman galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne. Rinko Kawauchi, Koji Onaka, Patrick Remi, Pedro Alfacinha, Clare Strand, British photographer whose work I like but had never met. Jessica Backhaus, Nigel Dickinson, Bruno Hadjadj from galerie Spree, Paris. Harper Levine and more new photobooks than you can imagine. Stephen Gill with his new book Coexistance, Nina Poppe, Christophe Schifferli, Florence Loewy, Bert Teunissen, Joachim Schmid, Jonathan Lewis, Andrew Phelps with his new bookwork Haboob. Yannick Bouillis, Eva Marie Ocherbauer, Marc Feustel, Maxwell Anderson, Susan Lipper, Chiara Capodici, Torben Eskerod,  Rolf Philips,  Christine Rose Divito, and more......
This may appear to be name dropping. Perhaps it is. But I simply wanted to make the point that Paris Photo is about making connections, learning,  and hanging out with people you like and respect. It's about luck too. Sitting home and looking at the wall isn't going to get you anyplace, but by turning up at Paris Photo surprise connections and opportunities will occur. As Woody Allen says, 90% of life is showing up. And he's right. 

So see you at Paris Photo 2013, Grand Palais, 14 - 17 November. Or if you feel so inclined Los Angeles, 25 - 28 April 2013.

You can go to the Paris Photo 2012 site HERE

And you can see this VIMEO Paris Photo round up HERE