Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paris - Found

One of the pleasures of being in Paris in May and November is le marché d'antiquités or brocante that happens in Rue de Bretagne over a long weekend in both these months. The market is located in the Marais 5 minutes from where I stay.
The street and all the side streets are full of stalls selling every imaginable piece of junk and treasure. What I look for are the boxes of old photographs tossed out because of death, disinterest and the passage of time. Increasingly these photographs are becoming harder to find. Collectors are moving in and the prices are going up.
In fact just off Rue de Bretagne in Rue Charlot photographer and dealer Fabien Breuvart has a gallery space where he presents for sale mounted and matted "found" photographs. Fabien has an eye quality and the unusual and the prices are not at flea market levels.
Here are some photographs I unearthed, in fact was given by the dealer who it turned out knew my work and owned some of my books.

John Waters - Books and more

I found this slim but action packed book (AMMO Books) on the life and works of John Waters in Paris's wonderful remainder art book shop in the Marais, the shop I think is called Mona Lisa. Waters is famous for his, some would say tacky, movies like Female Trouble, Polyester and Hairspray. And a couple of years ago I'd seen a show of Waters plastic art at a NYC dealer gallery and had been blown away by his perception, humor and inventiveness, tacky too.
What I didn't know was that Waters is a book collector. In my new Waters book are some close-ups of his library. He's got books by: Ed Ruscha, Warhol (of course), Gerhard Richter, Luc Tymans, Fischli and Weiss, Martin Parr, Diane Arbus and on Japanese Photography, Contemporary German Photography.... and these are just a few of the photography books.

And for dedicated fans, John Waters will be presenting his one-man show This Filthy World at Auckland's Civic Theatre on Wednesday November 2.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New York - Roe Ethridge book signing

If you're in New York tonight, Wednesday June 28, Roe Ethridge will be signing his new book Le Luxe at Dashwood Books.  6-8 pm, 33 Bond Street between Bowery and Lafayette.

Roe Ethridge, self portrait (Polaroid), 2008

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thomas Struth photographs the Queen and Duke in their first joint portrait

Thomas Struth doesn't usually make portraits he photographs architecture and in colossal scale. With this royal portrait Struth has said, he seeks to place the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh "both in their royal environment... and yet both in their own aura".
There is no pomp and circumstance here, no royal regalia as in Annie Leibowitz's recent photograph, although around them is the baroque splendor of Windsor Castle's Green Drawing Room. The Queen and Duke sit as comfortably as possible, but still rather stiffly. The beauty lies in the Queen's resplendent powder-blue dress and simple black shoes.
The light falls more fully on the Queen, and the Duke appears to fall back  into shadow.
They seem to be comfortably at home.

Thomas Struth, The Prado

Alec Soth - Rome commission 2011

As part of the 2011 edition of FOTOGRAFIA Festival Internazionale di Roma, Alec Soth has been commissioned to photograph The Eternal City.
Since 2003, previous photographers have included, Josef Koudelka (2003), Olivo Barbieri (2004), Anders Petersen (2005), Martin Parr (2006), Graciela Iturbide (2007), Gabriele Basilico ( 2008), Guy Tillim (2009) and Tod Papageorge (2010). All have been asked to portray the City of Rome with total freedom.

The image, from Alec Soth's Broken Manual

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Auckland - SURFACE, photographs from Becky Nunes and Jan Young

It was a pleasure to return to Auckland and see Becky Nunes and Jan Young's collaborative show SURFACE at NKB Gallery in Auckland's Mt Eden. It came as no surprise to find a knock-out, cohesive show with images that would not be out of place in one of Paris's better dealer galleries.
Both sets of work compliment each other and the works by these two photographers are able to coexist in one room because the artists share a basic project, and find disparate means to depict the impermanence of the subjects they are freezing in time. And each in their own way are dealing with the business of seeing, seeing beyond the obvious and a search for the hidden and something inside ourselves. I liked how the works were simple, yet loaded with possibilities. Profound. Authentic. I left the gallery thinking I have to go and photograph NOW, always a sign that what I've just seen has confirmed the power of a medium which so often is dull, repetitive and just plain bad.

Here are some images:

Becky Nunes

Jan Young

Paris - in May, first photographs

Here is a preliminary set of photographs from my time in Paris this last May.....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Roe Ethridge - Le Luxe

I saw this book in Kassel at the photobook festival. Strange, bewildering, difficult, enigmatic, mystifying, in fact all over the place. Everything a great photobook should be. Highly recommended.

Mack books say this:

American artist Roe Ethridge's latest book takes its title from the French "C'est pas du luxe", an ironic phrase which alludes to the superfluous nature of luxury whilst proclaiming how essential it is to existence. Such paradoxes are fluently woven through Ethridge's oeuvre and Le Luxe encompasses his practice from the past decade, without ever slipping into the moribund gravitas of a retrospective.
Plumbing his diverse image inventories, from personal images and magazine commissions to an archive of online screen shots, the book continues his exploration of picture-making that disavows the potential for creating a finished work. Ethridge para-phrases Eggleston when he states that he is "at war with the finished" in an era of digital photography straining towards idealisation. The pristine conditions of photography are undermined in the book's design and riff on Henri Matisse's apposite aphorism "exactitude is not truth" (Matisse titled two of his paintings Le Luxe).
Composed in three parts, Le Luxe contains an unusual backdrop, the everyday of the artist, who worked from November 2005 to January 2010 on one commission documenting a building in downtown Manhattan on a site adjacent to the World Trade Centre. This narrative offers an uneasy balance to the fissures between analogue and digital and Ethridge's consistent undermining of his own certainties.
Roe Ethridge was born in 1969 in Miami and received a BFA in Photography at The College of Art in Atlanta, GA. Ethridge's images emanate from his direct experience of the world. His focus is multiple and restless as he works to capture the vivid and intimate details of his various locales. In doing so, he moves freely among the classic genres of the photographic medium - portrait, landscape, and still life.

NAN GOLDIN, when asked, "Is a photographer an artist?"


"No, anybody can take a picture. Now, you don't even have to be a person, you can be a telephone. There were always too many pictures in the world and today there are billions of pictures. Photography has become less and less real, and my whole motivation is gone, wiped. I became a photographer to make a record that no one could revise, and now anyone can revise it. I gave a talk at the Tate a couple of years ago, and I asked an audience of 200 people how many of them believed that photography was still a true statement. Five people raised their hands."


John Gossage on ONE DAY

When I asked John Gossage if he'd made any photographs on ONE DAY a year after, he said "No, but I do remember Kassel." Here's a picture he sent me.....


Friday, June 24, 2011

Alec Soth's BROKEN MANUAL wins Photobook Festival Award

The Kassel International Photobook Festival presented the best photobooks of the year, works that were nominated by 35 international experts from the photo scene around the globe. All nominated books were presented in a catalogue and exhibited during the festival.

The 2011 Festival Audience Vote for the best book of the International Photobook Award was given to Alec Soth's »Broken Manual«. Which I'm pleased to say was my nomination.

I said this about Broken Manual, Looking like something you might find in your father's workshop under a pile of old Popular Mechanics, Alec Soth's Broken Manual is ostensibly about escape and transformation. This many layered book deals with options and possibilities, chance and circumstance. What is going on here and why? This is a photobook for our times, where particularly right now in America so many things appear to be broken. But not Broken Manual. This photobook is about as close to perfect as you can get.

Here is a short list of other jury members and their nominated best books for 2011:

Robert Adams: Mark Steinmetz »The Ancient Tigers of my Neighborhood«
Gerry Badger: Doug Rickard »A New American Picture«
Quentin Bajac: Michael Wolf »Tokyo Compression«
Marcelo Brodsky: Joao Ripper, Sergio Carvalho »Retrato Escravo«
Bruno Ceschel: Jason Fulford »The Mushroom Collector«
Jörg Colberg: Johan van der Keuken »Quatorze Juillet«
Diane Dufour: Edmund Clark »Quantanamo: if the light goes out«
Valérie Fougeirol: Rob Hornstra, Arnold van Bruggen »Empty Land, Promised Land, Forbidden Land«
David Goldblatt: Jo Ractliffe »As Terras do Fim do Mundo«
John Gossage: Lewis Baltz »Works«
Guido Guidi: John Gossage »The 32" ruler / Map of Babylon«
Jeffrey Ladd: John Baldessari »Parse«
Daido Moriyama: Osamu Wataya »Juvenile«
Martin Parr: Michael Wolf »Tokyo Compression«
Chris Pichler: Jim Goldberg »Rich and Poor - 25th Anniversary Edition«
Andrew Roth: Atilla Richard Lukacs »Polaroids«
Markus Schaden: Nazraeli Press »Six by Six (6x6)«
Ingo Taubhorn: Helena Schätzle »Die Zeit dazwischen«
Jürgen Teller: Boris Mikhailov »Maquette Braunschweig«
Ivan Vartanian: Toshiteru Yamaji »Buta To Occhan«
Laurence Vecten: Garry Trinh »Just heaps surprised to be alive«

The nominated books were presented in a superbly designed hard covered book, with a double page spread devoted to each nomination.

More here:
and here:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Artist's Books, Kijk Papers in Kassel

Coinciding with the Kassel Photo Book Festival an exhibition in the Control Room for Art - Kiji Papers - of over 80 contemporary Artist Books was held in their small but perfectly formed gallery space a few minutes walk from the Documenta Hall. My book work Aide-Memoire was included. It was a pleasure to go to the opening and meet so many other books makers, collectors and curators. Including Maxwell Anderson (UK), Bruno Ceschel (UK), Laurence Vecten (FR), and Chiara Capodici (IT).

Here are some photographs.

You can see more here:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Printed Matter is pleased to announce the opening of ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative, a new exhibition surveying work from members of the print-on-demand collective ABC. The group, established in 2009 by Joachim Schmid, is a growing network of artists committed to the production and distribution of artists’ books through Print on Demand technology. The exhibition is open June 2nd - June 30th, 2011.

The opening reception was last Thursday with a conversation with group members David Schulz and Hermann Zschiegner, along with Bruno Ceschel (Self Publish, Be Happy), discussing the creative and productive implications of self-publishing and PoD distribution. Printed Matter is located at 195 Tenth Ave, between 21st and 22nd street in New York.

ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative features upwards of 60 publications representing the recent production of the cooperative’s 28 members. Taken together, the collection of books illustrate how PoD services have become a powerful platform for book artists who--with little or no upfront costs, and free of other regulative forces—are able to quickly produce and release new work that both matches their artistic intent, and exists in supply that responds directly to demand. The rising popularity and promise of the decentralized model suggests that PoD will continue to be a tremendous resource for book-makers.

The exhibition includes work by: Harvey Benge, Erik Benjamins, Victoria Bianchetti, Julie Cook, Joshua Deaner, Deanna Dikeman, T. R. Ericsson, Fred Free, Jochen Friedrich. Mishka Henner, Jean Keller, Jonathan Lewis, Michael Maranda, Lydia Moyer, Robert Pufleb, Travis Shaffer, Joachim Schmid, Andreas Schmidt, David Schulz, Andrea Stultiens, Victor Sira, Elisabeth Tonnard, Burkhard von Harder, Mariken Wessels and Hermann Zschiegner.

In conjunction with the exhibition, 16 artists have produced original 8 x 10" prints, available through Printed Matter. For more information, please email

ONE DAY - revisited

It was the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere yesterday, June 21st and one year ago on that day 10 photographers in 10 diffferent parts of the World set out to make a book in a day. Jessica Backhaus, Gerry Badger, Harvey Benge, John Gossage, Todd Hido, Rob Hornstra, Rinko Kawauchi, Eva Maria Ocherbauer, Martin Parr and Alec Soth. The editions, all 10 of them in a boxed set were published by Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg and launched during Paris Photo last year.

My ONE DAY book was shot in Auckland and back here again after my last Europe trip I revisited the ONE DAY idea. The day was fine and bright with long winter shadows. Here are some photographs. I'm wondering if any of the others did the same.