Saturday, March 31, 2012

New York, The AIPAD photography show 2012

The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) will hold the 32nd edition of The AIPAD Photography Show New York, one of the world’s most important annual photography events, this weekend, March 29 – April 1, 2012, at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street in New York City.
Seventy-five of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will present a wide range of museum-quality work, including contemporary, modern, and 19th-century photographs, as well as photo-based art, video, and new media. The AIPAD Photography Show New York is the longest running and foremost exhibition of fine art photography. The Show commenced with an opening night gala on March 28, 2012, to benefit inMotion, which provides free legal services to low-income women.
AIPAD 2012 will present four new member exhibitors: David Zwirner, New York; Sasha Wolf Gallery, New York; Paul Cava Fine Art Photographs, Bala Cynwyd, PA; and 798 Photo Gallery, Beijing.

A wide range of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will exhibit at The AIPAD Photography Show New York. In addition to galleries from New York City and across the country, a number of international galleries will be featured from France, Germany, Great Britain, Argentina, Japan, and China.

Tim Hetherington at Yossi Milo Gallery's booth, AIPAD 2012
The Association of International Photography Art Dealers [AIPAD] was organized in 1979. With members in the United States, Australia, Canada, Europe and Japan, the Association has become a unifying force in the field of photography. AIPAD is dedicated to creating and maintaining high standards in the business of exhibiting, buying and selling photographs as art.

Photography by Kyle Chayka

The Met - Naked before the Camera

André Kertész, Distortion #6, 1932
Since the beginning of art and in every medium, depicting the human body has been among the artist's greatest challenges and supreme achievements, as can so easily be seen by Museum visitors walking through the galleries of Greek and Roman statuary, African and Oceanic art, Old Master paintings, or Indian sculpture. Tapping veins of mythology, carnal desire, hero worship, and aesthetic pleasure, depictions of the nude have also triggered impassioned discussions of sin and sexuality, cultural identity, and canons of beauty. Controversies are often aroused even more intensely when the artist's chosen medium is photography, with its accuracy and specificity—when a real person stood naked before the camera—rather than traditional media where more generalized and idealized forms prevail.
In the medium's early days—particularly in France, where Victorian notions of propriety held less sway than in England and America, and where life drawing was a central part of artistic training—photographs proved to be a cheap and easy substitute for the live model. While serving painters and sculptors, many nineteenth-century photographic nudes were also intended as works of art in their own right. Still others bore the title "artist's study" merely to evade government censors and legitimize images that were, in fact, more likely intended to stir a gentleman's loins than to enhance his aesthetic endeavors. Outside the realms of art and erotica, photographic nudes were made to aid the study of anatomy, movement, forensics, and ethnography.
In twentieth-century art, the body became a vehicle for surreal and modernist manipulation and for intimate odes to beauty or poems to a muse. Beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s, nudity and its representation took on new meanings—as declarations of freedom from societal strictures, as assertions of individual identity, as explorations of sexuality and gender roles, and as responses to AIDS. Naked before the Camera surveys the history of this subject and examines some of the motivations and meanings that underlie its expression.

Naked before the Camera at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 27 to September 9, 2012

Brassaï , L'Academie Julian, 1931

Friday, March 30, 2012

Auckland, Autumn light in Sandringham

Sandringham is a suburb 15 minutes or so from downtown Auckland. Californian bungalow style houses on large plots line orderly grids of tree shaded streets. I wandered these quiet streets early yesterday morning in hard Autumn light under an ice blue sky. Here are some photographs.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective

The Guggenheim Museum's 264 page catalogue to Rineke Dijkstra's retrospective is now available. The volume is the first comprehensive monograph on Rineke Dijkstra to be published in the United States. The catalogue accompanies the first U.S. mid-career survey of this important Dutch artist's work in photography and video; it features the Beach Portraits and other early works such as the photographs of new mothers and bullfighters, together with selections from Dijkstra's later work including her most recent video installations. Also included are series that she has been working on continuously for years, such as Almerisa (1994-present), which documents a young immigrant girl as she grows up and adapts to her new environment. The catalogue features essays by exhibition curators Jennifer Blessing (Senior Curator of Photography at the Guggenheim) and Sandra S. Phillips (Senior Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). 

Here is a link to amazon

The Observer - The Month in Photography

The Observer has recently launched an online monthly guide to the best of what's happening in photography, including both exhibitions and books. The overview is presented in the form of a slide show and is well worth a look, HERE.

Below are some frames from February's presentation:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Auckland: AUT St Paul Street Gallery, 2013 photography workshop

Todd Hido, Harvey Benge and Paul Graham
I'm starting to think about which photographers we might invite for the January 2013 AUT St Paul Street Gallery photography workshop here in Auckland. For those readers of my blog who may have been to a past workshop or those perhaps considering attending next year, if you have any ideas and suggestions of particular photographers who might rock your boat, please email your thoughts to me at:

As a reminder as to who we've had over the past seven years of workshops, there has been, Antoine D'Agata, Peter Bialobrzeski, Lewis Baltz, Slavica Perkovic, John Gossage, Alec Soth, Rineke Dijkstra, Paul Graham (twice), Todd Hido, Pieter Hugo and curator Quentin Bajac.
I look forward to your suggestions. And if you'd like to register your interest in the 2013 workshop now, you could also drop me an email.

The class of 2012 with Pieter Hugo and Quentin Bajac

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Harper's Books at AIPAD New York

Harper Levine, photobook seller from East Hampton NY, never fails to excite and amaze with his offerings of rare and exceptional photobooks.  Here is selection he is offering at AIPAD Photography Fair which opens in New York tomorrow.

You can see the highlights HERE and the full list HERE

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Auckland: Luke Willis Thompson, inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam

Luke Willis Thompson's work inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam is a demanding, brave and highly personal work, as confrontational as Tracey Emin's 1999 readymade My Bed but without the fuck you attitude.

Viewers are driven by taxi from the artist's central city gallery, Hopkinson Cundy, to a Victorian period villa in the suburb of Epsom and left to wander through the rooms of the house. Immediately, ones concept of house and home is challenged. Many viewers, I imagine would come from a decidedly Bobo background and this house is far from that. Run down, dirty and packed with junk. Seemingly unloved, disrupting the idea of home comfort, security, warmth and nurture. And yet there is humanity here in the small things. Religious icons a sign of beliefs held, music and a piano, cats, kids toys, family photographs. Normal things. Yet, there is something else. I'm left with an unsettling feeling of an unspeakable past, of horrific events that have happened here that we don't want to know about.

The readymade is about modification and I'm looking for that as I walk through these rooms. But I can't see it. This opens up the nature of perception, what are we really looking at here? I'm thinking of impermanence, the passage of time, the essence of things and our own highly subjective, filtered view of reality, of what and how we see.

This work is a profoundly estranging experience, one that asks more questions than gives answers. It lingers with me still and is not to be missed.

Transport to the Epsom site is provided by Hopkinson Cundy. The work can only be viewed strictly during gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday 11am-3pm up until March 31st. Allow approximately 45 minutes to view the work in its entirety. Bookings (especially for more than 4 people) are appreciated but not essential.

You can go to the Hopkinson Cundy site HERE

And some photographs I made:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Paul Graham, an overview

Recently I came across this site, Lost in Publications. The site offers a comprehensive overview of the work of a handful of photographers all of whom I admire. These include Rob Hornstra, Rinko Kawauchi, Rineke Dijkstra and most recently Paul Graham.

The sites author, Sören, has traced the evolution of Graham's practice with images from his bookworks and commentary.  Well worth a look and a read. 

Included in the text is this pointed quote from Paul which comes from an interview with Aaron Schuman in the online photography magazine SEESAW. The interview  is well worth a read, you can go to it HERE.

"I’m very interested in what keeps this medium alive and moving forward, not just for myself but for the readers/viewers/public. We can all point out cases of rather dead, moribund photography, even sincere reportage photography, where however worthy the intentions of the photographer, however hard they have worked, they’re using a language that has essentially dried up and fails to reach people. If the images have become clichéd, it’s self-defeating."

Monday, March 19, 2012

How to make a photobook, Jörg Colberg writes....

Jörg Colberg publisher of the brilliant photography blog Conscientious has just written a piece, How to make a photobook.

Jörg writes: There actually is no simple recipe for photobook making. If you asked ten people about how to make a photobook, you’d probably end up with ten different answers. That said, from what I can tell, most photobook makers seem to agree on quite a few things. So I thought I’d throw my own thoughts into the mix. I hope that some people might find them useful.
I am perfectly aware that there are many, many details I’m can’t cover in the following. What is more, you might not agree on some of the details. Let me say this again: The following is not intended to be the recipe to making a photobook. What I do think, though, is that it contains many crucial aspects of photobook making.

If you are even remotely thinking about making a photobook Jörg's article is essential reading. You can go to the full piece HERE.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Auckland, Saturday walking.....

Took my camera for a walk yesterday, wandering the streets around my home. An afternoon of Autumn breezes, gray skies and moments of patchy sunlight. Rain on the way. Days getting shorter with Winter around the corner. Here are some photographs.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Photobook auction, at ADER-Nordmann, Paris

The interest, bordering on obsession with photobook collecting and the associated escalating rise in prices continues with most of the major auction houses offering dedicated photobook sales. The latest, Thursday of  week is at ADER - Nordman, Paris.

Amongst the 320 lots on offer there are books and portfolios from: Nobuyoshi Araki, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Peter Beard, Bernhard & Hilla Becher, Hans Bellmer, Edouard Boubat, Brassaï, Alexey Brodovitch, Bill Burke, René Burri, Harry Callahan, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry Clark, Lucien Clergue, Antoine D’Agata, Bruce Davidson, Raymond Depardon, Robert Doisneau, William Eggleston, J. H. Engström, Walker Evans, Andreas Feininger, Joan Fontcuberta, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Ralph Gibson, Nan Goldin, René Groebli, Eikoh Hosoe, Graciela Iturbide, Michael Kenna, André Kerstész, William Klein, Josef Koudelka, Germaine Krull, David Lachapelle, Sergio Larrain, Sol Lewitt, Danny Lyon, Dora Maar, Man Ray, Chris Marker, Daido Moriyama, Ken Ohara, Martin Parr, Irving Penn, Heinz von Perckhammer, Gilles Peress, Willy Ronis, Ferdinando Scianna, Stephen Shore, Jean-Loup Sieff, Aaron Siskind, Alec Soth, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Josef Sudek, Yutaka Takanashi, Johan Van der Keuken, Bruce Weber, Garry Winogrand, Weegee, Joël-Peter Witkin.

Here are some pages from the online catalogue which you can see buy going HERE

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

William Eggleston - dedicated sale at Christies NYC

William Eggleston: a dedicated auction at Christie's New York on March 12th. In their latest  series of single-artist sales Christie's last night presented to the market a collection of classic Eggleston photographs, 36 lots in total. The pigment prints were in a new large format, 112 x 152 cm, all in an edition of two.
Philippe Garner, Christie's International Head of Photographs, evokes the qualities that make Eggleston's work so special:

Here are photographs in which the commonplace becomes strangely compelling; emotionally neutral suburban scenes that might otherwise appear to have little character are transformed by the subtle embrace of a warm, early-evening light; everyday things, including the most banal elements of domestic interiors that would normally fail to attract our attention, let alone our curiosity, succeed in indelibly fixing their forms, and their very existence, in our consciousness. Eggleston’s discreet roving eye moves fluidly through space, lingering briefly and surely to capture the alignment of elements that will constitute a picture that has integrity and quiet expressiveness.
How does one begin to characterise or explain the very particular sensibility expressed in William Eggleston's photographs? Perhaps there is no adequate verbal equivalent to the pictorial results of this singular photographer's on-going existential enquiry. His pictures just are – without an evident agenda, yet subtly authoritative in their suggestion of a fatalistic reading of the physical world in all its serendipity and seeming randomness. The distinction between what may be described as ugly or beautiful becomes irrelevant, trivial. These images are softly insistent on being read on their own oblique, unstated terms. Their tenacious subliminal impact has earned an ever-growing appreciation. The photographer gives his audience opportunity to sense his view of the physical world, proposing the elements of a relationship of a very particular order, one that is ever-curious, yet non-judgmental, accepting, and touched with a fine-tuned, one might say poetic susceptibility.

Some of the photographs:

Lot 3, untitled 1979, realized $314,500
Lot 6, untitled 1973, realized $422,500
Lot 15, untitled, realized $170,500
Lot 18, untitled 1970, realized $194,500
Lot 22, untitled 1973, realized $386,500
Lot 24, untitled 1979, realized $578,500
 You can see more on Christie's site HERE

Post script: Last week’s William Eggleston auction at Christie’s was an enormous success. All 36 photos up for sale were sold for a total sum of $5,900,250. Profits from the sale will go to the Eggleston Artistic Trust.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Photobook - some thoughts on editing and sequencing

The workprints
 Anybody who has ever made a photobook has started out with a system, a methodology of going about it. A way of (hopefully) making it brilliant. Much has been said about this subject and guidelines laid down by people who know more than most.  Think Gerry Badger and John Gossage. Yet still, why is it that so many photobooks I look at just don't cut it?

Right now I'm in the process of editing, sequencing and designing a new bookwork so this post is really written to myself, a reminder of things I must remember not to forget. I've written about this before but the fundamentals can bear repeating over and over again. Here goes.....

1. Have a strong compelling idea. Fresh, exciting, demanding. Not derivative or seen it all before.

2. Come up with a riveting, compelling title for the book. And do an amazon check and make sure somebody else hasn't got there first.

3. Start with really good photographs, many more than you will finally need.

4. Including  bad pictures will only drag down the good ones.

5. Don't shoehorn in a crap picture just because it fits the idea. Nor include a great picture that doesn't fit the idea.

6. Make a sequence that surprises, challenges and puzzles. Ask more questions than give answers.

7. When you put pictures together don't make the reason blindingly obvious and make sure the sum of the parts is not less than the impact of the individual photographs.

8. Try and sequence the book based on a conceptual flow not purely visually.  A  sequence made visually is generally too obvious not to mention dull and boring.

9. Don't have more pictures than necessary. A book of around 50 or so pictures will work best. Less is often more.

10. Give the pictures room to breath with plenty of white space.

11. Consider the rhythm and flow of the work. Sequencing photographs is like composing music.

12. Think about what makes a great artwork and make sure what's been done measures up to that. Does the work have  a sense of mystery, a veiled narrative and a reason for the reader to want to come back (and back) to consider the work?

13. Don't over-design  the bookwork. The book is for the photographs not as a showcase for clever design. In fact avoid "clever" completely.

14. Make sure the work has a feeling of authenticity about it. Avoid the contrived.

15. Make the edit and the sequence and then do it again, and again, because it can always be done better. Always.

16. When you have something you really think works make a book dummy which is a close as possible to the final book. This will give you a sense of the outcome of the work on both a visual and tactile level.

17. Finally, remember there are no rules. And even if you think there are, set out to break them. 

In the past I've made bookworks by printing postcard size prints of the potential images and spreading them out on a large table to edit and sequence. Although with this book I did make postcard prints I also went directly to making an indesign document and then converting the work to PDF files as I went. I've ended up with umpteen PDFs that chart the progress of the work, gradually refining and hopefully making the book better. I find this method really flexible and simple and using indesign is a breeze.

The NO pictures

The YES pictures

The book dummy

As an addendum to this post, in an email exchange, Jörg Colberg, founder and editor of the well known and influential blog Conscientious wrote this. All true and good advice.
Well, first of all you have to have good photos to make a good photobook. Without good photos, it's an uphill struggle (some books don't need good photos, but they rely on a great concept). And then the concept of the book just has to work. There's a lot of gimmicky work out there, where people are trying too hard to be cool. So making a really good book is very hard, much harder than most people think. And people don't realize that the only thing that will make books stand out is the quality of the whole package, not your elaborate shrink-wrap or whatever you come up with. So yeah, substance it is.

Robert Adams: THE PLACE WE LIVE - at LACMA

Since taking up photography in the mid-1960s as a response to the rapidly changing landscape of his native Colorado, Robert Adams has been widely regarded as one of the leading chroniclers of the American West. Edited and sequenced by Adams himself, The Place We Live surveys a career spanning four decades. This unprecedented retrospective features nearly 300 black-and-white photographic prints as well as a selection of the artist's many important photo books. Adams’s work reflects his extended dedication to describing the changing Western landscape, the growth of its built environment and the lives of its inhabitants. The Los Angeles presentation highlights Adams’s extraordinary portrayal of the terrain of the Los Angeles region. The exhibition opens at LACMA today and runs until June 3.

Since his early years as a photographer, books have occupied a central place in Robert Adams’s artistic practice. Following his belief that “photography is editing - start to finish,” he and his wife, Kerstin, have worked together, sometimes over many years, to arrange groups of pictures into expansive sequences expressly conceived for the printed page.

The over thirty monographs that Adams has published to date harness the unique narrative and poetic potential of the book format, allowing individual images to relate to and build upon each other in order to form larger visual statements capable of addressing complex questions. Not only do these volumes trace the evolution of the photographer’s vision, they also afford the richest view of his lifelong endeavor to faithfully describe “a landscape into which all fragments, no matter how imperfect, fit perfectly.

The Yale Art Gallery site offers a comprehensive overview of all Adams' bookworks each with a full description including date of publication and number of plates.
It is well worth a look, HERE.