Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Paul Salveson - an alien mind


Announced at the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards at the Sony World Photography Awards on 25 April, Between The Shell is the title of Paul Salveson's bookwork which won the First Book Award for 2013. The book will be published by MACK later this year.

Salveson’s work was selected by a panel of five judges from 100 invited submissions by international photographers. The judges were: Michael Mack (MACK), Polly Fleury (Wilson Centre for Photography London), Liz Jobey (FT Weekend Magazine), Greg Hobson ((National Media Museum ) and photographer Clare Strand.

Making use of commonplace objects Salveson's photography is the theatre of the absurd. He says of his work: Often my photographic process unfolds like a private performance in an empty house, or after everyone falls asleep. My engagement emerges from a perspective that precedes familiarity, disregarding the functions and cultural associations that objects are assigned. I try to process my surroundings with an alien mind.

You can go to the First Book Award site HERE 
and Paul Salveson's HERE.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Harvey Benge - new PHOTOGRAPHY blog


I've started a new tumblr blog (no I don't need more work right now) where I'll just post my own photographs. I've called the blog MORE USELESS PHOTOGRAPHS. That, because I believe the pictures are useless until I've done something with them. Often consigned to the trash.
If there are any other photographers with tumblr blogs out there, if you'd care to "follow" mine I will reciprocate. You can go to my blog HERE.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Photography - a million years from 1972...

Jason Evans

It never ceases to amaze me that there are still photographers out there who still seem to think it's 1972. Photographers who are blinkered to fresh ways of seeing and seem to think that among other things clever juxtapositions and silly irony is still the way to go.

In a recent piece on aperture's online magazine - Nine Years, A Million Conceptual Miles - curator Charlotte Cotton makes a compelling case for photographers and curators to reconsider the photographic medium in this frantic digital age.

Every photographer who is interested in moving their practice forward should read and heed this piece. You can do so HERE.

Without giving anything away, here is the last paragraph from the article. Read this then read the rest.

It is clear that we are a million conceptual miles from where we were even nine years ago—when there was a pernicious idea that photography had to adopt the values, traditions, and rhetoric of other art forms and simultaneously deny its own broad lexicon of dynamic and quotidian meaning in order to have credibility. I look at the work of photographers such as Artie Vierkant and Kate Steciw, as well as that of Asha Schechter and Lucas Blalock, for instance, and get a mighty rush of excitement about photography’s bright new future. I find myself struggling to find the words to discuss their work—though I am neither short of opinions nor inexperienced at looking at new photography. My stumbling block is this: for the first time in my professional life, I am seeing independent photography that doesn’t operate in a conventional art-photography way … and I don’t know how to position myself. It is beyond the discourse that I know, and I experience this as a really positive expectation for the field of photography as art. This is why I think that those of us who have a genuine vested interest in the future of photography as contemporary art should open our doors and just let this new life come in.

Lucas Blalock - Untitled (Crystalline Screw), 2009

Carter Mull

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Garry Winogrand - all you ever wanted to know about his practice...

I recently saw a copy of the blockbuster catalogue which supports the Garry Winogrand show currently running at San Francisco MoMA. This book is an absolute must for any lover of photobooks and the work of Winogrand.
In the course of seeing the book and thinking about Winogrand I came across a fascinating  post on a site called Eric Kim Street Photography. The post was titled 10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach you About Street Photography. And indeed he can teach and as a plus the post itself covers just about everything you ever wanted to know about the man.

You can go there HERE.

Without giving away too much from Eric Kim's detailed and highly readable post, to summarize, here is a list of the 10 things.

1   Shoot a lot
2   Don't hesitate and follow your gut
3   Smile when shooting on the street
4   Don't shoot from the hip
5   Don't crop
6   Emotionally detach yourself from your photographs
7   Look at great photographs
8   Focus on form and content
9   Become inspired by things outside photography
10 Don't call yourself a "street photographer"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Photographers whose work I like - No20/ Bruno Zhu


Bruno Zhu was born in Portugal and lives and works between Paris and London. A strange combination of name and place. And it's the same with Bruno's photographs. Here is a photographer who not only knows the value of chance but circumstance too. Circumstance as one picture relates to another adding energy and power to a work. It's clear that Bruno Zhu has a clear conceptual and visual strategy for his picture making, asking questions of himself and demanding that the reader of his work do the same.

Zhu's 72 page bookwork TURBO 85 is in his own words - a brief analysis of the urban skeleton undertaken in the areas of Nation and La Défense Paris, France.
I know La Défense quite well and have often been there to shoot, but never pictures quite like these. TURBO 85 is sublimely banal and ordinary yet there is something else in this work that keeps me looking.

His Compact series or journey as he calls it is stranger still. Simple images mashed together into new compositions. Zhu says of it - I wanted to present Compact as a platform where I could highlight my thought process so to deconstruct the notion of what a photograph is. In the heart of the series lies a necessity to destroy and rebuild data in order to retrace the movement of photographing.

Here is work and a photographic practice well worth checking out. You can do so HERE.
And HERE too.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Photobook - an award for books on newsprint

Bookdummypress and Reminders Project Stronghold have joined forces to launch a new photography publication award. It celebrates the newsprint’s contribution to the evolving creativity of self-publishing. Newsprint is a medium with minimal commercial strings attached and allow for a range of experimentation. It has the potential of reaching a diverse audience, the work will be spread to a wider area, faster. It is an autonomous medium accessible to all. This award is intended to stimulate to take a renew approach towards this format and to introduce photographers to a way to self-publish and self-distribute their work.

The guest jury includes Matthew Carson (ICP) and Tomo Kosuga (VICE Magazine JP). No Entry Fee. Click here for further information and newsprint publication samples.

Deadline for entry May 1st, 2013

Bookdummypress is a publishing company and an online bookstore specializing in artist publications, their studio is located in the West Village of New York City, founded by Victor Sira and Shiori Kawasaki in 2011. In addition to its own titles, the online bookstore stocks periodicals, artworks, artists’ editions, rare and out-of-print items and other in-print titles by noted publishers. 

Reminders Photography Stronghold is a curated membership gallery in Tokyo making multi-photographic activities possible (exhibitions, workshops, events, photobook room, photographers in residence, photography grants, publishing). 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Paris Photo LA - 24 photographers will sign their books...

Paris Photo Los Angeles, the inaugural United States edition of the renowned Paris fair, announces a robust book-signing program and screenings series. Paris Photo Los Angeles will be held at Paramount Pictures Studios  April 26–28. The scheduled book-signing program is as follows and will take place in various locations throughout Paramount Pictures Studios:

Friday, April 26:
1pm Steve Schapiro / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
2:30pm Charlotte Dumas / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
3pm William Eggleston / Gagosian Gallery / Stage 5, Booth 1
3:30pm Connie Samaras / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
3:30pm Richard Misrach / Aperture Foundation / New York Street Backlot, Booth D2
4pm Michael Kenna / K.O.N.G. / Stage 31, Booth 8
4:30pm Gusmano Cesaretti / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
5:30pm Catherine Opie / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4

Saturday, April 27:
1pm Michael Kenna / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
1pm Doug Rickard / Aperture Foundation / New York Street Backlot, Booth D2
2pm Chris McCaw / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
2pm Barney Kulok / Aperture Foundation / New York Street Backlot, Booth D2
3pm Alec Soth / Harper's Books / New York Street Backlot, Booth L2
3pm Tom Bianchi / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
3:30pm Stefan Ruiz / Aperture Foundation / New York Street Backlot, Booth D2
4pm Todd Hido / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
4pm Roe Ethridge and Torbjørn Rødland / Steidl/Mack / New York Street Backlot, Booth L1
4pm Veronique Bourgoin / Dirk Bakker Boeken / New York Street Backlot, Booth F1
5pm Jill Greenberg / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4

Sunday, April 28:
12:30pm Brett Van Ort / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
2pm Joni Harbeck and Neil Krug / Artbook D.A.P. / New York Street Backlot, Booth C4
2:30pm Jochen Manz / Dirk Bakker Boeken / New York Street Backlot, Booth F1

You can go to the Paris Photo Los Angeles site HERE

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Photobook Club Paris, launches April 28

With its aim to promote and enable discussion surrounding the photo book format The Photobook Club Paris joins the list of clubs from Auckland to Bangalore, to Madrid and New York, Tokyo and Toldeo with its first meeting on Sunday April 28 at Le Bar Florèal in the 20th.
Pablo Porlan and Emilie Hallard are the brains behind Photobook Club Paris and looking at their programme it's going to be a great evening. If you want to know more or check out the programme you can go to The Photobook Club home page HERE, Alternatively head for their facebook page HERE.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Photographic Art Practice - some thoughts

Photographers don’t want to be photographers anymore they want to be artists. Easy to say, difficult to do. It’s blindingly simple to point and shoot and ask questions afterwards. However, it’s more than likely that these pictures will join the endless stream of photographic noise and will amount to not much. To go beyond this and build a worthwhile camera based art practice requires self imposed guidelines and questions asked first. This is something I think about all the time and the points below are really written to myself.

1. Make work for yourself, from the head and heart and for the right reasons. If anybody else happens to like the work that’s a bonus and not a given.

2. Don’t follow the market, let the market follow you. If your work is any good it will be discovered. And if it isn’t, so what, you are doing it for yourself after all.

3. When considering a gallerist make sure they are as passionate about what they do, and about your work, as you are. Avoid dealers who are just shopkeepers selling decoration.

 4. An art practice is not just zipping off for the weekend and shooting a couple of models in a field, thinking this is a body of work. A practice is forever, work built up over years, it never stops and there is no arrival.

 5. Study the history of photography looking closely at the photographers you admire and work out why you like them. Look at the work, not to copy but to know what not to copy. In particular look at the ideas behind the work.

 6. Don’t make a picture if somebody has made one just like it already.

7. Realise that the important names in any art arena are often where they are because they discovered and occupied a particular position. For example consider Baltz, Ruscha, Tillmans, Goldin, Graham – this is helpful when thinking about your own voice.

 8. Consider the balance between form and content in your pictures, making sure that the work is idea driven but also looks good.

9. Try and make work that is simple yet profound. Paul Graham says that the work that he is drawn to is where something has been made from the ether of nothingness. Think about this.

10. A sense of mystery in a work is important - what might have just happened or what might be about to happen.

11. Context is important. Both in how the image is made and how it’s read. In making a picture what you leave out is as important as what you leave in. And in the reading, because the viewer is the author, incorporate signifiers in the work which will help the reader to construct their own narrative.

12. Work in series with an overarching narrative in mind. One photograph informs another and individual pictures can have their own individual narrative.

13. Make work that is intelligent and wise not clever and smart.

14. And last, never forget that you can always do it better.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New York - a photographic census

Brandon Stanton is a self-taught photographer and creator of the incredibly popular Humans of New York blog. He's a sort of Bill Cunningham without the fashion focus. His photographs have honesty, humor and an immediate take on the now of NYC. Every day Stanton roams the streets of New York, approaches strangers and asks if he can take their picture. Not long after the  photographs appear on Facebook, with captions drawn from the brief collaboration between subject and photographer. It's no surprise that the Humans of New York fb page has 647,000 likes! 

Stanton says this about his project - My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily following. With nearly one million collective followers on Facebook and Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City.

The HONY blog is well worth a look - you can go there HERE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Photobook - what makes a good book?

In an interview with publisher Michael Mack on today's post from LE JOURNAL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE, Mack says this: very simply, a great book is something where the quality of the work and the quality of the ideas are sufficiently intelligent to be specifically applied to a book form. My biggest problem with most photography books is that they’re simply catalogues of images. They don’t necessarily need to exist as a book; in most cases it is vanity for the projects to end in a book. To me, the greatest books are the ones in which the relationship between the ideas, the images and the form are brought together to become a work in itself. When it becomes a distinct element of the artist’s practice. When the book is the piece.

Form and content! Ideas, Ideas! Perhaps it's blindingly obvious, but the above is so true. Although judging from the many dull and boring photobooks that get published there are a heap of photographers out there who still have not got the message.

You can read the interview with Michael Mack in its entirety HERE.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

René Burri at The Photographers Gallery, London

René Burri - Cuba, 1963. Ernesto Guevara (Che)

If you happen to be in London on Wednesday April 24 there is a chance to go along to The Photographer's Gallery and hear René Burri talk about his practice which has prevailed over fifty years. This is a not be missed chance to meet a man who not only is a great photographer but a delightful and generous individual.

Magnum photographer René Burri has built a body of work that traces some of the world’s most historically significant moments from East Germany and the USSR before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, throughout China and Cuba over several decades, and in Vietnam and the Suez Crisis.  Alongside his iconic black-and-white photojournalist assignments, Burri would take a separate camera with colour film. Published for the first time, these colour images reveal the private, more reflective side of his photographic personality.

René Burri was born in Zurich in 1933 and spent his early years studying colour, composition and design at the renowned School of Arts and Crafts in Zurich. It was during his military service that Burri first used a Leica camera. Shortly after, he also developed an interest in film, and from 1953-55 he worked as a documentary filmmaker.
Burri’s life changed forever when the well-known photographer Werner Bischof introduced him to the prestigious photography agency Magnum Photos. After joining Magnum in 1959, his first reportage appeared in Life magazine and he subsequently worked for major news magazines including Look, Bunte, Stern, Geo, Paris Match, Schweizer Illustrierte and Du. Burri received the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize from the German Society of Photography in 1998 in recognition of his lifetime achievement as photojournalist. He lives in Paris.

René Burri will be signing copies of his new book Impossible Reminiscences in the bookshop prior to his talk -  Wed 24 April 17.00-18.00.

René Burri - São Paulo, Brazil, 1960

In my 2007 bookwork, A Short History of Photography, I referenced René Burri's São Paulo image above with one of my own photographs which to say the least was very much a pale imitation of his stunning work. René was kind enough to sign his page in my book and made this comment - Dear Harvey, some of us are luckier than others, you got a woman between two men - I had to "deal" with 4 men on a roof!!  Thanks René!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Photography workshops from the Lichtblick School

Cologne based Lichtblick School have just announced their Spring / Summer program of photography workshops. There is something for everybody with a range of teachers and locations. You can join a workshop at Istanbul in April,Tbilisi in May, Arles in June - July, and Portugal in September. You can check out what's on offer on their website HERE.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Robert Frank's Trolley, New Orleans realizes $663,750

Robert Frank - Trolley, New Orleans, 1955
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie's recent sale of Photographs in New York achieved $7,245,375 / £4,709,494 / €5,578,939, and was 93% sold by value and 84% by lot. The top lot of the sale was Robert Frank’s Trolley - New Orleans, 1955, which realized $663,750, setting a world auction record for the artist.

Philippe Garner, Christie’s International Director of 20th Century Decorative Art & Photographs, and the sale’s auctioneer commented: “Together, the sales of deLIGHTed eye: Modernist Masterworks from a Private Collection and Photographs realized a total of $14,899,500. It was a great pleasure to have taken both sales, which were met with impassioned bidding from collectors online, on the phone and in the room. The strength of these results is indicative of the thriving market for photographs, which continues to gain momentum with every sale.”

Deborah Bell, Christie’s Specialist Head of Department, Americas, commented: “The various owners sale of Photographs saw very strong results, and set several important auction records for artists including Robert Frank, Sante D’Orazio and Erwin Blumenfeld. We were also very pleased with the exceptional results achieved by two photographs by Francesca Woodman, Untitled, Providence, RI, 1975-1978 and Untitled, Rome, 1977-1978, which far exceeded their estimates when they realized $105,750 and $117,750 respectively. We look forward to seeing the same enthusiasm in the online-only auction of Photographs by Diane Arbus, which remains open for bidding through April 12.”

Together, the sales of the deLIGHTed eye: Modernist Masterworks from a Private Collection and Photographs set 13 important auction records:

 · Robert Frank (b. 1924) Trolley - New Orleans, 1955. Price Realized: $663,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969), Dictator, Paris, 1937. Price Realized: $117,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Sante D’Orazio (B. 1956), Pam Grid #1, 2010. Price Realized: $99,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Man Ray (1890-1976), Untitled Rayograph, 1922. Price realized: $1,203,750 World Auction Record for a Photograph by the Artist · Jaroslav Rössler (1902-1990), Light Abstraction, 1923. Price realized: $62,500 World Auction Record for the Artist · Tina Modotti (1896-1942), Untitled (Texture and Shadow), 1924-1926. Price realized: $363,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Adolph De Meyer (1868-1946), The Shadows on the Wall, Chrysanthemums, c. 1907. Price realized: $171,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Francis Bruguière (1879-1945), Experiment, from 'The Way', c. 1925. Price realized: $123,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), Message with Self Portraits, 1915. Price realized: $159,750 World Auction Record for the Artist · Anton Giulio Bragaglia (1889-1963), Salutando, 1911. Price Realized: $135,750 World Auction Record For The Artist · Paul Citroen (1896-1983), New York, 1919. Price Realized: $37,500 World Auction Record For The Artist · István Kerny (1879-1963), Neptun, 1916. Price Realized: $10,625 World Auction Record For The Artist · Paul Strand (1890-1976), Akeley Motion Picture Camera, New York, 1922. Price Realized: $783,750 World Auction Record For The Artist · Hans Finsler (1891-1972), Untitled, C. 1925. Price Realized: $22,500 World Auction Record For The Artist · Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (1893-1965). Reflected Light Composition, 1923. Price Realized: $46,250 World Auction Record For The Artist · Oscar Nerlinger (1896-1969), Katze, 1925. Price Realized: $10,000 World Auction Record For The Artist.

Man Ray - Untitled Rayograph, 1922

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Auckland - walking my camera...

The purpose of this blog is not to be a platform for my own work, it's about what interests me in the world of photography. When I'm not based in Paris, I'm blogging from my studio here in Auckland NZ (as I am today) and the posts are mostly about what's happening in Europe and the United States. After all cyber space has no geographical boundaries. However, I am a photographer and I make pictures, almost every day. And occasionally I like to post them. Here are some I made yesterday...

Photography IS...

I found the text based image above on German publisher HATJE CANTZ's fotoblog. It was posted by Cologne based photo guru Markus Schaden who wrote: Time by time it is necessary to re-think photography. This Manifesto is a fantastic statement compiled by Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber. The Dusseldorf based Photographers  are friends of mine and I am a big follower of all their activities in Photography. Aside great photographic work they do fantastic books and founded a little independent foto festival called’ AntiFoto’ : Fresh, open minded and with all passion for a new freedom in Photography. Please be inspired as well. ITS THE FUTURE AND THE PAST. I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Karl Blossfeldt at Whitechapel Gallery London

Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) is recognised for his extensive and unique collection of photographic plant  portraits that reveal the tactile qualities, intricate forms and uncanny aspects of flora. His fusion of scientific observation, sculptural form and surreal composition pioneered an artistic style that forged new approaches to modern art and photography.

Working at the junction of Art Nouveau and Modernism, Blossfeldt developed a series of homemade cameras that allowed him to photograph plant surfaces in  unprecedented magnified detail. Working as a tutor in Berlin from the late nineteenth century until his death, Blossfeldt’s works were primarily used as teaching tools and were brought to public attention in 1928 by his first publication Urformen der Kunst (Art Forms in Nature). Swiftly regarded as a seminal book on photography, Blossfeldt’s factual yet finely detailed imagery was praised by Walter Benjamin, adopted by the Surrealists and mass produced in magazines and books.
The exhibition is a major presentation of Blossfeldt’s work and consists of over 80 silver gelatin prints made and used during his tutorship. In addition, five rarely-seen large-scale prints will also be shown. These historic photographs are accompanied by his original publications, a set of working collages made in preparation for his books along with a number of avant-garde writings that embraced his work, including a text by Georges Bataille.

This Whitechapel exhibition opens April 16 until June 14.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Xavier Ribas writes - On the 24th of February 2004, heavy machinery entered an empty industrial plot in Barcelona occupied by some sixty Gypsy families. Over a few days two diggers drilled and lifted up the concrete floor of the site, intimidating the Gypsies and finally pushing them out. They left behind a contorted surface, like a horizontal wall, to protect the site and keep it empty. This method of dissuasion demonstrates the economic value of violence and destruction in order to control space. The broken ground, the fissures and fragments of concrete slabs standing up like remnants of ancient Mayan stelae give testimony, still today, of this displacement. 

This is a quietly insistent bookwork, a typology of change, displacement and loss. There is a strange beauty in these photographs, at odds with the facts. The bookwork is a testament to the iniquity of power over the powerless, politics and control. As with all profound artworks Ribas has made something out of nothing and a record of a cities act of destruction which made nothing out of something. There are elements of Baltz and Gossage in this work both artists who have examined landscape from a politically charged point of view.

The work is part of the much larger project entitled Concrete Geographies. Spanning several years and including several subseries, the larger project explores a variety of different landscapes marked by violence, history or politics.

CONCRETE GEOGRAPHIES, NOMADS is limited to 687 copies, each copy signed by Ribas and is stunningly produced with tri-tone reproductions. The book is available from photo-eye HERE. Alternatively you can go to Xavier Ribas's website and purchase there.

B Side Books, 2012. Hardbound. 84 pp., 33 tritone illustrations, 9-1/2x11-3/4".

Publisher BSide books has a facebook page which is worth checking out, you can go there HERE.