Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dennis Stock, a memory

I only discovered yesterday that photographer Dennis Stock had died back in January. This brought to mind his visit to my house in the bush at Karekare back in July 1996. Here is a picture of him, with curator Ron Brownson, arriving breathless but smiling at the top of the 105 near vertical steps cut into the bush from the road up to the house. Later we walked in the wind on the beach and I photographed Dennis sitting on the log in the Karekare pohutakawa glade where Holly Hunter as Ada McGrath had sat in a scene from Jane Campion's movie The Piano.

A long time Magnum member, Stock made the iconic photographs of James Dean in Times Square. Everybody knows these pictures but I suspect few remember who made them.

Here is Dennis's orbituary from The Times issue of January 16.

The photograph of James Dean in 1955 walking through New York’s Times Square in the pouring rain with a cigarette dangling from his mouth helped to immortalise the actor who would soon die in a car accident.

It also immortalised the work of the photographer Dennis Stock, whose talent for catching Hollywood actors off guard, in reflective, ambivalent portraits, would be captured on the bedroom-wall posters of millions of young people in decades to come.

The shot of Dean that appeared in Life, along with black and white pictures of Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando and others, documented the period of mid-Fifties cool that prefigured the explosion of youth culture to come. Stock was there to take some of the best pictures that documented that counterculture of jazz musicians, bikers and hippies as it unfolded over the following decade.

Stock grabbed the chance to work with Dean before he became established as one of Hollywood’s hottest properties. “I knew this guy would take off,” he said. He joined Dean on a trip to his home town of Fairmount, Indiania, in 1955, where he pictured the actor in a pigsty, at his family dinner table, and, presciently, lying down in an open coffin at a funeral parlour.

In the Times Square picture Dean is the only person visible in a soaking Manhattan. The impression created is of a lonely, bedraggled man who at the same time looks coolly unfazed by the bleak world around him.

Another Hollywood star perfectly suited to Stock’s liking of portraying an “attitude of childlike discovery in an adult world” was Audrey Hepburn. As with Dean, Stock was able to photograph her before she became too famous. He was tipped off by his friend Humphrey Bogart, who was about to make Sabrina with Hepburn. “Listen, I’m gonna make a movie with a kid I think you should know more about. She’s called Audrey Hepburn.” This led to his best-known shot of Hepburn, staring dreamily downwards out of a limousine, smiling but melancholic. “She was very un-Hollywood, which was the key to the whole thing,” said Stock. “She wasn’t glamorous. She didn’t try to be glamorous.”

Dennis Stock was born in 1928 in the Bronx to an English mother and a Swiss father. Living in near poverty during the Depression, the family moved several times and, after his father’s death, he joined the US Navy, aged 17, towards the end of the Second World War.

In 1947 he became an apprentice to the Life photographer Gjon Milli in New York. His break came in 1951 when his shots of East German immigrants arriving at New York Harbour won a competition. Stock was invited to join the Magnum agency and became its Holywood representative.

His next phase, from 1957-60, was a study of jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. The black and white shots of musician with instrument or singer with microphone were simplicity itself, but were made special by Stock’s capturing of the light shining on them in bars and clubs amid plumes of cigarette smoke.

In the Sixties, Stock travelled through the US with motorcycle gangs and then took photos of hippy concerts such as Woodstock. One of his best-known images was of the back of a loosely robed, sun-kissed dancer with swinging hair facing a vast audience at the Venice Beach Rock Festival in California in 1968.

Stock is survived by his wife, Susan, and three children.

Dennis Stock, photographer, was born on July 24, 1928. He died on January 11, 2010, aged 81

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Paul Graham - The Unreasonable Apple

Paul Graham's eloquent presentation at the first MoMA Photography Forum, 16th February 2010, makes a case for photographs that are "taken from the world" as opposed to those that are constructed from an artist's vision....

"This month I read a review in a leading US Art Magazine of a Jeff Wall survey book, praising how he had distinguished himself from previous art photography by:

“Carefully constructing his pictures as provocative often open ended vignettes, instead of just snapping his surroundings”

Anyone who cares about photography‘s unique and astonishing qualities as a medium should be insulted by such remarks, especially here, now, in 2010, in this country, in this city, which has embraced photography like no other.

Now this is maybe just an unthinking review, but what it does illustrate is how 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.

This is tremendously sad, for if we look back, the simple truth is that the majority of the great photographic works of art of the 20th century operate in precisely this territory: from Walker Evans to Robert Frank, Diane Arbus to Garry Winogrand, from Stephen Shore traveling across America in Uncommon Places; Robert Adams navigating the freshly minted suburbs of Denver in The New West, or William Eggleston spiraling towards Jimmy Carter’s hometown in Election Eve, who would seriously propose that these sincere photographic artists were merely “snapping their surroundings”?

So what is the issue? The broader art world has no problems with the work of Jeff Wall, or Cindy Sherman or James Casebere or Thomas Demand partly because the creative process in the work is clear and plain to see, and it can be easily articulated and understood what the artist did: Thomas Demand constructs his elaborate sculptural creations over many weeks before photographing them; Cindy Sherman develops, acts and performs in her self-portraits. In each case the handiwork of the artist is readily apparent: something was synthesized, staged, constructed or performed. The dealer can explain this to the client, the curator to the public, the art writer to their readers, etc. The problem is that whilst you can discuss what Jeff Wall did in an elaborately staged street tableaux, how do you explain what Garry Winogrand did on a real New York street when he ‘just’ took the picture? Or for that matter what Stephen Shore created with his deadpan image of a crossroads in El Paso? Anyone with an ounce of sensitivity knows they did something there, and something utterly remarkable at that, but... what? How do we articulate this uniquely photographic creative act, and express what it amounts to in terms such that the art world, highly attuned to synthetic creation -the making of something by the artist- can appreciate serious photography that engages with the world as it is?

Now, please do not get me wrong, I admire the work of Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall and Thomas Demand - I have zero problems with it, and it is emphatically not an either/or situation. Nor should you misunderstand me in the other direction: I am not arguing for some return to photographic fundamentalism of Magnum style Leica reportage 35mm black & white work or whatever - far from it, for we are clearly in a Post Documentary photographic world now. Both of these disclaimers not withstanding, I have to say that the position of ‘straight’ photography in the art world reminds me of the parable of an isolated community who grew up eating potatoes all their life, and when presented with an apple, though it unreasonable and useless, because it didn’t taste like a potato.

Am I ‘Tilting at Windmills’ here? Perhaps so, but as with the great Don – Cervantes that is – it is to make a point, earnestly, yet with good humor. The point is certainly not the art world versus the photography world, because it is not apples or potatoes, anymore than it is sculpture or painting. The point is that we need the smart, erudite and eloquent people in the art world, the clever curators and writers, those who do get it, to take the time to speak seriously about the nature of such photography, and articulate something of its dazzlingly unique qualities, to help the greater art world, and the public itself understand the nature of the creative act when you dance with life itself - when you form the meaningless world into photographs, then form those photographs into a meaningful world.

Thankfully, as the glass clears, it has become apparent just what Robert Frank or Garry Winogrand or Diane Arbus or Robert Adams accomplished back in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, and for that we must be grateful. For the great exhibitions at the Met, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, and of course MoMA itself; for the books, the catalogues, the enlightened essays: I thank you. But... what of those who work today with equal commitment and sincerity, using straight photography in the cacophonous present? I will not name names here, but for these serious photographers the fog of time still obfuscates their efforts, and the blindness j’accuse some of the art world of suffering from, narrows their options. It means their work will almost never be considered for Documenta, or placed alongside other artists in a Biennale, or found for sale in major contemporary art galleries and art fairs. This does not just deprive the public of the work, and the work of its place, it denies these artists the self-confidence that enables them to grow, to feel appreciation and affirmation, not to mention some modest financial reward allowing them to continue to work. It is also, most importantly, seeing the world of visual art in narrow terms. It is seeing the apple as unreasonable.

So, what is it we are discussing here - how do we describe the nature of this photographic creativity? My modest skills are insufficient for such things. However let me make an opening offer: perhaps we can agree that through force of vision these artists strive to pierce the opaque threshold of the now, to express something of the thus and so of life at the point they recognised it. They struggle through photography to define these moments and bring them forward in time to us, to the here and now, so that with the clarity of hindsight, we may glimpse something of what it was they perceived. Perhaps here we have stumbled upon a partial, but nonetheless astonishing description of the creative act at the heart of serious photography: nothing less than the measuring and folding of the cloth of time itself."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sophie Ristelhueber wins Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2010

Sophie Ristelhueber (b.1949, France) has been awarded the 2010 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

For more than 25 years Ristelhueber has investigated the impact of human conflict on architecture and landscapes. Using photography and more recently moving image and sound, she records the resulting aftermath in places such as Bosnia, France, Iraq, Lebanon and Kuwait.
Often playing with an ambiguity of scale in her installations, Ristelhueber’s work confounds traditional photographic genres. She unsentimentally draws attention to the scars and traces we leave behind, addressing the essence of our human existence.

The £30,000 award was presented by the film director Terry Gilliam at a special evening ceremony on Wednesday 17 March 2010.

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, who has made the most significant contribution, in exhibition or publication format, to the medium of photography over the previous year.

The three other shortlisted artists for this year's Prize were:

Anna Fox (b.1961, UK) is nominated for her exhibition Cockroach Diary & Other Stories at Ffotogallery, Cardiff (28 July – 10 October 09), initiated by Impressions Gallery, Bradford.

Zoe Leonard (b.1961, USA) is nominated for her retrospective exhibition Zoe Leonard - Photographs, at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (1 April – 5 July 09), initiated by Fotomuseum Winterthur.

Donovan Wylie (b.1971, UK) is nominated for his exhibition MAZE 2007/8 at Belfast Exposed (27 March – 1 May 2009).

This year’s Jury is: Olivia Maria Rubio (Director of Exhibitions, La Fàbrica, Spain); Gilane Tawadros (Chief Executive, Design Artists Copyright Society, curator and writer); James Welling (artist, USA); and Anne-Marie Beckmann (Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany). Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, is the non-voting Chair.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photographers whose work I like - No 2 / Stephan Zaubitzer

Stephan Zaubitzer is a French photographer based in Paris. For a number of years he has been making photographs of cinemas as far afield as Texas, Morocco, Romania, Cuba, Burkina Faso and London. His pictures transcend the mere documentary and enter a world of mutation and the bizarre.

Here are four pictures Stephan made in London. He has this to say about them:

"A frenzy of cinema construction seized the English capital after the First World War, gigantic atmospheric rooms with spangled ceilings, enormous buildings of art déco, gothic and medieval inspiration. In the Sixties, each London street, each district had its cinema able to accommodate several thousands of spectators.
With the arrival of the multiplex, real estate speculation, and finally the low profitability of the large cinema with the single screen, many of these temples struggled to survive. This ground swell took place in all across Europe. Thus, the Gaumont De luxe at the Place de Clichy in Paris, the big room of the world with 6000 seats, became a hotel and a Castorama. In France, and more particularly in Paris, most of the big mono-screens became supermarkets or garages.
London, however with more of a nod to liberal ideology, made a better job than the French of safeguarding these entertainment anachronisms. Many buildings were classified by English Heritage even if they were no longer cinemas. These rooms became evangelic churches, mosques, bingo halls, bowling alleys, nightclubs or dance halls and are obliged to preserve the original architectural elements."

You can see more of Stephan's work of at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Auckland / Rome?

Here are two pictures. The first I made yesterday looking across Queen Street to the Auckland Town Hall and the cities under-welming Performing Arts Center, with hideous apartment blocks in the background.
For all the wrong reasons, I like the neoclassical wall cut off by the blue construction hoarding.

The other picture, I found in a retro shop as I walked into the city. Cost me $2. I assume the city is Rome. Certainly the pine trees are a give away and perhaps the road is the Via Appia Antica. The photograph is hand colored and is number 38 from a series. There appears to be the ruins of an aquaduct in the distance and I like the make-shift wooden fence lining the road.

What is the future of the buildings in my Auckland picture? Probably replaced in under a generation by something equally dire.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Auckland, Mount Roskill, back again today....

.... here are some photographs I made today, walking around my old neighborhood and then at my old school. How strange to be back there.

These pictures are just notes in my photographic sketch book.... nothing firm yet until I have an idea that will fly..... anyway, it's work in progress.....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Auckland, Mount Roskill last night.....

...... I returned to Mt Roskill last night and made these pictures, starting to exploring approaches for a series. An obvious point of entry is the Christian influence. Here a suburb with more churches than any other place in New Zealand.

First, "Welcome to Mt Roskill" and after some photographs made on the summit of the mount. Beneath the permanent cross a group, perhaps a family, perform devotions. I will return again soon. I'd like to discover more..... everything was so different back when I grew up in the shadow of this little hill of scoria.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Aaaaaaaart! Overload!

Alec Soth reports on his quirky LITTLE BROWN MUSHROOM blog, his response to a couple of recent days spent in New York, as he says, overindulging in the NYC art fairs and the Whitney Biennial. He seemed pleased to return to the serenity of Minnesota.

Alec gives a link to a piece written by Peter Plagens in the current issue of Art America..... it's a good read and sort of sums up the state of the art.....

"At the end of one cold, damp day of perambulating through 50 or so art emporia, here’s my take: artists are looking a little overwhelmed these days. Not by the ongoing (if diminishing) recession, or the withering competition for the slightest fingernail hold on the climbing wall to art-stardom, or the number of intractable social problems that don’t seem to be mitigated in the slightest by what gets put on the walls and floors and in those black-curtained little video rooms nestled within galleries. Rather, I think, it’s by the sheer amount of stuff—material stuff, electronic stuff, emotional stuff, psychological stuff, journalistic stuff, theoretical stuff and satirical stuff—that comes bubbling up out of (or, much of the time, blasting forth from) the society in which we live.

Old news, you say. Perhaps. The term “information overload”—which refers to the glut of words, pictures, facts and opinions that modern life forces down our gullets like corn mash down the throat of a pâté goose—is about 45 years old....

....But things are different today (I hear every mother say). Not only are the aural and visual dins almost deafening and blinding, and not only is the speed at which they’re conveyed approaching simultaneity, but the analysis, punditry and attendant bloviating are delivered just as fast. And quicker than you can say “Jaron Lanier,” the second round of analysis, punditry and bloviating attendant to the first arrives, and so forth, practically ad infinitum. As a result, it’s extremely difficult for an artist today to take any sort of stand, except a stand against taking a stand, or a stand that mocks all stands, or a stand that blankets all stands. Lately, in concrete terms—that is, the aggregate of all the materiel in all those esoteric rooms in a gallery neighborhood—taking a stand has amounted to the likes of laying fluorescent paint over brown old-masterish glazes, displaying crates that the video monitors were shipped in alongside the monitors, pasting cartoony glyph faces on Classical bodies and writing more words across a single drawing than there are in this essay. There are endless variations—collaborative and individual—on “Exquisite Corpse,” endless and usually unintentional solo-show variations on the Duchamp-designed 1938 Surrealist exhibition in Paris and an overlay of Jean-Michel Basquiat on practically everything. The dominant operative philosophy in all of this is the absolute opposite of “If in doubt, leave it out.” (I wish I could think up a rhyming equivalent, but I can’t.)

Is this bad? Not necessarily. (It’s almost impossible to make a charge of “bad art” stick these days; for every plausible opprobrium, there’s a plausible huzzah.) It’s just, well, dispiriting. What you want—OK, what I want—from serious art is distillation, an actualized sense of the tenor of the times being presented not in merely smaller replication or aleatory lists, but in concentrated form, in visual synecdoche. While I may not know that quality the minute I see it, I know it later, trudging home from the galleries, when a work of art I’ve viewed an hour or two before sneaks back into my consciousness, with a piercing summary of the zeitgeist that silences the accumulated cacophony of what I’ve seen."

So, where to from here?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Books on Books #5 #6 #7 #8 now available

Following Errata Editions 2008 representation of four classic photobooks: Atget's PHOTOGRAPHE DE PARIS; Walker Evans AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHS; Sophie Ristelhueber's FAIT and Chris Killip's IN FLAGRANTE, four new rare and out of print titles have been added to the series and are now available.

Great! This series is wonderful!

You can buy the books direct from Errata, their site is on my blog list.....

#5 -William Klein: Life is Good & Good for You in New York Trance Witness Revels is regarded as one of the most influential and groundbreaking photo books created in the last half century. Published in 1956, its visual energy captured the rough and tumble streets of New York like no artbook had before or has done since. Books on Books 5 reproduces in its entirety Klein’s brilliantly photographed and designed magnum opus. The American Art historian, Max Kozloff, contributes an essay called William Klein and the Radioactive Fifties.

#6 - Yutaka Takanashi’s Toshi-e (Towards the City) is a landmark two-volume set of books from one one of the founders of the avant-garde Japanese magazine Provoke. Published in 1974 and considered the most luxurious of all of the Provoke era publications, its brooding, pessimistic tone describes the state of contemporary life in an unnamed city in Japan undergoing economic and industrial change. Books on Books 6 reproduces all one hundred sixteen black and white photographs that make up the two volumes. Photographer, writer and book historian Gerry Badger, contributes an essay called Image of the City - Yutaka Takanashi's Toshi-e.

#7 - David Goldblatt’s In Boksburg stands as one of the most important observations of a middle-class white community in South Africa during the apartheid years. Published in 1980, it presents an accumulation of everyday details from the community of Boksburg through which a larger portrait is revealed of white societal values within a racially divided state. Books on Books 7 reproduces all seventy-one black and white photographs as well as Goldblatt’s eloquent introduction to the work. The noted writer and editor, Johanna Lehan, contributes a contemporary essay written for this volume.

#8 - Koen Wessing's Chili, September 1973 is a shocking document from a socially concerned and politically engaged Dutch photojournalist. Published in 1973, just months after the fall of Salvador Allende to Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’etat, it describes the tense days of the military attempt to root out public opposition in the streets of Santiago. Books on Books 8 reproduces every page spread from Wessing’s gritty documentation of Chile’s darkest historical moment. The art historian and film theorist, Pauline Tereehorst, contributes a contemporary essay called The Man in the Grey Suit.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Collier Schorr's new book Blumen arrived today....

Amazon has this to say about it....

The American photographer Collier Schorr has been working in Southern Germany for the past 13 years, compiling Forest and Fields, a fictional documentary portrait of a small town inhabited by historical apparitions. Merging the roles of war photographer, traveling portraitist, anthropologist and family historian, Schorr interweaves tales of war, emigration and family. As an ongoing suite of artist's books, Forests and Fields is also a project about bookmaking. In the latest installment, Blumen, Schorr moves away from portraying the figure and instead creates arrangements of objects against the landscapes and domestic or commercial settings of her much-investigated town. When people do appear in Blumen, they are usually props in a larger examination of this dialogue between objects and landscape. Flowers, signage, plums, chairs and plaster fawns are the real protagonists of this volume, further detailing the daily life of the townspeople of Schwabish Gmund. A boxed, numbered and signed special edition of the complete set of the Forest and Fields series will be available when the project has been completed.

Forest and Fields in one of my favorite books and Blumen works superbly well right alongside it. Schorr is dealing with potentially dangerous and difficult territory but here the flora is treated with a loaded and almost malevolent twist. Knowing her first book I wouldn't expect anything less.

Forest and Fields is entirely shot in black and white (except for one picture) and Blumen all in color. Unlike Forest and Fields which was printed on a gloss art stock, Blumen is on a mat paper and unfortunately the crisp, sharp color reproduction that you would expect from Steidl is lacking in some of the pictures. No matter it is still a knock-out book.

The first picture are the covers of the two books together, followed by several of the double page spreads from Blumen.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photobook editing - some thoughts

Having made a few photobooks over the years I've developed my own particular system of editing. Here are some thoughts on that process..... the last point is the most important, the realization that you can always do it better!

1. Carefully define the idea and nail down what you're trying to say. What you're trying to communicate. Write that down in one sentence. Difficult sometimes with me because I'm working with abstract ideas, I don't do pictures of coal miners in Wales.

2. Once you're certain about the idea, give the work a title, then you've defined a firm conceptual platform against which to evaluate each picture. Take my series FIRST EVER PICTURES OF GOD for example. Having come up with a title I was amazed how quickly I knew if a picture was a first ever picture of god or not.

3. Make sure the idea is your own and don't ever do a rehash of somebody else's. If somebody has done a great book about The Niagara Falls don't come up with a luke warm version.

4. Decide on how many pictures are going to be in the book. It's Alec Soth's view that a book should have around 50 pictures, any more and the pictures can end up being forgettable. I agree with Alec.

5. When working on your short list of pictures try and make sure that each picture stands on it's own feet and ditch any pictures which you know are nothing more than filler.

6. The best pictures are mysterious and enigmatic. Any that are not axe. There are two sorts of pictures in my view, the "What The!" and the "So What", get rid of all the "So What". And don't worry we ALL make our share of "So What" pictures.

7. If you have even a single niggle of doubt about a picture you can be sure it's crap because our pictures are our babies and we want to love our babies to bits, warts and all. If there is a niggle get rid of it.

8. Make sure you have a range of different sorts of pictures in the edit. Tight, wide, monochromatic, highly color-saturated, figurative. And so on. I give each pictures a value in my head and compose the edit a bit like a musical composition, high notes here, low notes there.

9. Print out postcard sized prints (I do 4 up on an A4 sheet) of all the photographs that make your short list.

10. Lay all the short list postcard pictures out a big table and start to make a sequence. For the book I've just finished editing I decided on having 49 pictures so I made a series of 7 sequences each with 7 pictures. I started each set of 7 with a beginning picture and an end and then filled in the gaps. It was only when I had the 7 sequences that I felt worked did I put the sequences in order. In fact finally this book only has 30 pictures.

11. Never start an edit at the beginning and work towards the end because you can be sure you'll use up all the brilliant pictures at the front and the work will tail off towards the end.

12. If one of your best and most brilliant pictures doesn't work in the edit for some reason don't try to "shoe horn" it in. Save it for another book.

13. One of two crap pictures in a photo book can ruin the whole thing, bit like bad apples in the barrel. So be ruthless.

14. Once you've done this leave the edit sitting on the table and keep coming back to it. After all objectivity and sound judgment improves with time. Most edits, after all the rational thinking has been done are made purely intuitively and intuition changes like the wind. Show some trusted colleagues. Notice I didn't say friends, they are all going to say they like it anyway.

15. Last, make some prints of the pictures to the final size they are going to appear in the book and then get a properly bound book dummy made. Doing this gives you the feel of the book and lets you see what the pictures and book will ultimately look like. It's important to do this because photographs take on different incarnations often with only the slightest alteration in size.

16. Once you've done the edit, start again because there will always be ways of making stronger, tougher, better.

And good luck, have fun!

If anybody has any other ideas on this fraught subject please let me know.

The pictures: The beginning, the middle and the end, as of today anyway.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Duane Michals - Nothing is as it seems

I came across these wonderful quotes from Duane Michals a photographer who is on of my short list of favorite artists with a camera. The quotes deal with "appearance" which sits alongside the idea of "view" which is up there with the Buddhist concept of "emptiness".

Here they are:

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be."

“How foolish of me to believe that it would be that easy. I had confused the appearance of trees and automobiles, and people with a reality itself, and believed that a photograph of these appearances to be a photograph of it. It is a melancholy truth that I will never be able to photograph it and can only fail. I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing.”

Michals, now 78, is largely self-taught, and makes work noted for its strange innovation with a style which often features photo-sequences and the incorporation of text to examine emotion and philosophy. A unique body of work.

It is little wonder then that in 1965 he travelled to Belgium to photograph Rene Magritte.
He writes of that visit: "If I indulge myself and surrender to memory, I can still feel the knot of excitement that gripped me as I turned the corner into Rue Mimosas, looking for the house of Rene Magritte. It was August, 1965. I was 33 years old and about to meet the man whose profound and witty surrealist paintings had contradicted my assumptions about photography."

And a delight to see that in May Steidl will publish a book of Michals Magritte photographs.

Sadly my attempt to persuade him to come to Auckland to present at an AUT ST PAUL St workshops failed. "Too far", he said.
Michals is known for his irreverent, sense of humor. On various attempts to reach him by phone I was pleased to find him "not home" because I then got to listen to his crazy answer phone messages for which he is renowned.

The photographs:

Christ in New York, No. 2: Christ Sees a Women Who Has Died During An Illegal Abortion

This Photograph is My Proof, 1974