Friday, December 19, 2008

Paris mysteries

Who is the woman in the red coat? What's in the bundle? Where is she taking it? Does the woman in red know the man in the brown coat? What has he got in his pocket? Why is the man in the distance looking back and what has he seen? Who is the man in the red jacket? Did he read the notice on the post? Who put that there? Why does the street sign have a cross? Who is the woman at the window? Questions with no answers.....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Victory of the Trivial edition

My Victory of the Trivial series consists of twenty photographs of unremarkable $2 shop objects. The work was first produced as a gallery show and installation and now this edition of ten, published by FAQEDITIONS. Pigment printed on archival matt paper, the images are each initialed, numbered and assembled in a translucent plastic box. The edition is available in Paris from SPREE galerie and librarie Florence Loewy, and in Cologne from There will be a gallery showing of the series at SPREE, Paris, in 2009.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Paris - Librarie Florence Loewy

Along with Printed Matter in New York the Librarie Florence Loewy in Paris has no equal when it comes to artists' books. In business since February 1989 and from October 2001 located in the heart of the Marais at 9 rue de Thorigny almost next to the Picasso Museum. The shop with its amazing bookshelves (alone worth a visit to see) was designed by the architects Dominique Jakob and New Zealander Brendan McFarlane. The bookstore offers a wide choice of artists' books, multiples, records and other editioned works ranging from the 60's until now. Florence has always (rather haphazadly) had a vase of flowers or something growing in the window. I made this image of her anenomes in 2002 and then this last November her cactus. Florence writes that I got the last shot of the cactus before it ended in the dustbin....

Paris - signs

From Wikipedia- In semiotics, a sign is "something that stands for something else, to someone in some capacity". It may be understood as a discrete unit of meaning, and includes words, images, gestures, scents, tastes, textures, sounds – essentially all of the ways in which information can be communicated as a message by any sentient, reasoning mind to another.
The nature of signs has long been discussed in philosophy. Initially, within linguistics and later semiotics, there were two general schools of thought: those who proposed that signs are ‘dyadic’ (i.e. having two parts), and those who proposed that signs are interpreted in a recursive pattern of triadic (i.e. three-part) relationships.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Paris bicycle - coincidence or conspiracy

I've just had this amazing email from a photographer in Seattle Washington which reads:

Dear Mr. Benge,
Reference this picture that you recently posted on your blog. Looked eerily familiar. I rummaged through my digital archives and, lo and behold, I photographed the self-same bicycle on 25 October 2007. It appears to be parked at the same location (in the fifth; Rue Monge, perhaps). Hard to tell precisely by the scratches whether your picture predates mine, but it certainly is the same lovely chain-guard (and the same Metro entrance)!
Despite my best efforts, I never could pull all the elements of this image together, so it was relegated to the virtual dustbin. The ones that did survive are on my Paris blog (
Someday I may get around to gathering together all the images from my times in Paris; I do love that city!
Tyler M
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

My reply:

Hi Tyler
have just opened your email....well the world certainly is a small and getting smaller place... I've just returned from Paris where I went for Paris Photo in November and it was then that I photographed the wonderful bicycle with the beautiful flowers on the chain guard. And yes it is the same bike in both pictures... how extraordinary. I'm wondering if it's been sitting there since you made your picture....I can't remember tho the exact location for my picture....

if the world in general is small the photo world even strange that one lonely bicycle in Paris could be the catalyst for you in Seattle and me in Auckland talking to each other....I wonder what the world might be like if we all talked about bicycles and coincidences, rather than guns, wars and confrontation.. I'm sure a much better place...

and yes, Paris is a wonderful city....

I've yet to look at your blog and will do so now... I just wanted to get this off to you straight away.... while I'm still stunned and smiling in amazement...

very best from me


Marks of Honour at FOAM Amsterdam - May 2009

MoH/08, a homage to the photo-book will be shown at FOAM photography museum Amsterdam in May 2009. The show consists of the library itself, multimedia-reproductions of the work and large format “inspiration-sketches”. Visitors will see the original works, a multimedia presentation, photographs, drawings and reproductions. Text will be a linking element between the different artworks and will carry the visitor through the exhibition-room.
A documentation of the inspiration source of every invited artist and a complete reproduction of the original photobook with it’s complementary homage will be accessible on computer screens. A catalogue will be published by

The photographers:

Harvey Benge honours William Eggleston
Artist book of 16 pages, hand written text and four tipped in photographs, one inserted loose. Both books contained in a slipcase.

Chris Coekin honours Hendrick Duncker & Yrjo Tuunanen
Book in hay and eco/farmer bag, four pictures of me hitchhiking plus one of the original signs "Hay on the Highway".

Peter Granser honours Robert Frank
Box from linnen with book and a map with four pigment prints on Fine Art Pearl Paper.

Pieter Hugo honours Roland Barthes

Tiina Itkonen honours Pentti Sammallahti
Box with five pictures.

Onaka Koji honours Daido Moriyama
Book, contactsheet and five pictures in handmade wooden box.

Jens Liebchen honours Anthony Hernandez
A sequence of 3 images presented as a Leporello, with text and separate book, in a cardboard box.

Michael Light honours Ansel Adams
Box, Adams book jigsawed along landscape lines; M. Light pigment prints atached to certain Adams images.

Mark Power honours Stephen Shore
Custom made box with book and four large format c-prints.

Matthew Sleeth honours Lars Tunbjörk
A fold out book with „Office“ bound to the middle and then two selfmade inkjet books („Fire extinguishers“ and „Houseplants“) each side folding over the top.

Alec Soth honours Andrea Modica
The edition includes a box with two photographs in a small portfolio responding to Andrea Modica’s Treadwell.

Jules Spinatsch honours Block 2008
8 booklets made out of the calender Block 2008; one for each artist in a box with the title: Deblocked.

Raimond Wouda honours Paul Shambroom
3 pictures as inkjets in the book; they continue the book as leporello.