The PhotoBook

November 14, 2014

Hiroshi Watanabe – The Day the Dam Collapses

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Copyright Hiroshi Watanabe 2014 co-published by Daylight Books and Tosei-sha Publishing Co., Ltd

First I need to declare that I may be a tad bit biased in my photobook review as I was one of the text editors for this book.

Hiroshi Watanabe’s (b. Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan 1951, currently resides in Los Angeles since 1975) recent photobook, The Day the Dam Collapses, is unusual in as he is well known for his photographic projects utilizing black and white film while this book project is completed with color/digital capture.

Watanabe has been making color digital “snapshots” for many years while deferring to his medium format camera and 120/220 film for his more serious projects. Since the birth of his recent child, he has become a bit more reflective and over a period of five years built a large body of color digital work. What I find interesting is that Watanabe will zoom in to examine the details and introduce a high degree of ambiguity, much as he does with his large format capture. In this regard, he has a consistency of vision.

Watanabe is very familiar with a square image that results from his medium format camera, the square being an inherently a static framing as compared to a traditional 35mm format or 8 x 10” image. Even though his digital camera has the capability to create rectangular images, Watanabe imposes the equal sided format that he is so comfortable with. After so many years working with a 6 x 6 vision he is able to introduce a delicate balance and tension within this structured format. The square image, printed one per page, seem to gain some dynamic energy due to the random placement within the page’s frames.

The photographs upon first reading appear playful, but with closer examination, an undercurrent of tension and drama develops. This is apparent as both singular images and as well as the carefully pairing of images as they play off each other across the book’s gutter. In one page spread, below, an object that appears to be childlike is awash and submerged on the shoreline surf. There appears to be a large air bubble above the face, as though the air is being exhaled. The agitation of the water and this object being total submerged is startling as it is disturbing.  One the facing page is photograph of a bare tree or bush situated in front of a wall, revealing the skeleton of the plant’s structure. This plant may be dormant at the moment or has died. For the reader, both of these images are ambiguous and both have a dark undertone that is further reinforced by their approximation on the page spread.

Interestingly, the book’s title hints at a pending disaster, creating more tension, which is subsequently elaborated on by Watanabe in his Afterword. He acknowledges that the reader and everyone we know will as some point die, when we never know. Nevertheless we take for granted the normal, banal aspects of our lives as though we might live forever, a somewhat fatalistic viewpoint. Watanabe is essentially evocating that the reader should remain grounded in the moment and see the wonderful things as these are today.  The book’s dust cover provides another metaphoric reading; perhaps life is as delicate and fragile as the wings of a butterfly.

As a book object, this was designed in conjunction with the Daylight team in the US and subsequently printed in conjunction with Tosei-sha in Japan, an interesting collaboration that was orchestrated by Watanabe. The dust cover is printed on an interesting paper with a beautiful texture, although I also note that this paper is also a dirt magnet, so handle carefully.  The essay was written by Watanabe with the text provided in English and Japanese. The pages are numbered while the photographs lack captions.

One aspect of this photobook that does bother me is that although this is a very beautifully printed object, the binding does not allow a lay flat viewing for the reader as you will note the inclusion of my hand frequently in the book’s interior photographs, below. The flip side is that this is a stronger book binding technique.

Other Watanabe photobooks reviewed on The Photobook include: Love Point, Veiled Observations and Reflections, 99 Findings (iTunes which includes my interview of Watanabe), Ideology in Paradise, Findings.

Cheers!

This photobook review co-published in EMAHO magazine.

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November 12, 2014

Photobook events

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 4:56 pm

This is just a quick shout out about some current and pending photobook events. These are always great opportunities to hold, see, compare and purchase photobooks. It can also be a slight bit overwhelming, so give yourself plenty of time, which is good advice that I need to take myself. Also, for some popular book stands, the crowds can get pretty dense, which does not lead to good opportunities to examine popular titles.

There are three interesting photobook events occurring in Paris (France) later this week. I am guessing if these were events you were planning to attend, you are already well on your way! Which is of course: Paris Photo, OFFPRINT and Photobook Fest. Regretfully all are located at different venues, but not that far apart as the Paris Metro is great way to get around.

If you missed last month’s Art Book Fair (hosted by Printed Matter) in NYC, you will have another opportunity when this event occurs in LA at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA next January 30 – Feb 1, 2015. This will be the third year for the LA version and again at MOCA, which is not a bad venue but can be a confusing facility with all of its nooks and crannies to hide the various exhibitors.

Also looking ahead is Paris Photo LA, a SoCal version of Paris Photo. Similar to Paris, this huge LA event draws a really big crowd, thus the spin-offs such as the Photobook Independent in conjunction with Photo Independent located literally across the street from Paris Photo LA at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Walking a film/TV sound stage backlot is almost worth the cost of admission! The dates are May 1-3, 2014. For the Photobook Independent, this is an opportunity for self-published photographers and Indie publishers to have an opportunity to show their photobooks and a great opportunity to meet and discuss directly with the authors. (Note: the cost to rent a half or full table for Photobook Independtent is fairly reasonable if you are interested in getting your photobook(s) in front of a large audience – I know that I am considering this option!)

Cheers!

October 25, 2014

Roger Ballen – Asylum Of The Birds

Filed under: Book Publications, Book Reviews, Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Doug Stockdale @ 10:04 pm

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Copyright Roger Ballen 2014 published by Thames & Hudson

This photobook is another introspective project from Roger Ballen, the American (b. 1950 New York) photographer who relocated from New York City to Johannesburg South Africa in the 1970’s. This is the fourth photobook continuing the evolution of the investigation of an unknown place in South Africa;  Boarding House (2009), Shadow Chamber (2005), and Outland (2001).

Similar to his three previous photobooks, Ballen uses intricate and darkly designed sets that are constructed narratives. As he continues his investigation, there appears to be less emphasis on the inclusion of individuals within the frame. As a result, the photographs read more as still lives than the documentary interaction of his subjects as an aspect of theater. The sets include more of sculptural objects. The lines, marks and shapes have grittiness to them, that anticipating that these sets will be photographed in black & white, were probably created with graphite and chalk. The abstract animals and living organisms that inhabit the walls and furniture have a similar appearance to those creatures who inhabit the Lyrical Expression paintings of Arshile Gorky, who Andre Breton call a Surrealist, another aspect of which Ballen’s compositions. Ballen’s use of line is almost delicate in comparison to the heaviness of the Franz Kline, an Abstract Expressionist.

Ballen has stated that “Black and White is essentially an abstract way to interpret and transform what one might refer to as reality. My purpose in taking photographs over the past forty years has ultimately been about defining myself. It has been fundamentally a psychological and existential journey.”

His black and white photographs continue the a similar gritty and graphic appearance that are with the background marks and shapes, lines, graphics, symbols, Less emphasis on the inclusion of individuals within the frame, their presence now inferred by the marks and graphics on the background, sculptural, works of art, animals, predominately birds, objects, depicts an unknown and ambiguous place.

His photographs are ambiguous, abstract, read as singular images and need to be considered within the context of the entire book. These are wonderful photographs to read and contemplate, emotionally charged, tension filled and on occasion, delightfully absurd and humorous. No wonder I am such a big fan of Ballen.

This is a hardcover book with an illustrated dust jacket and paginated. Each photograph is framed with a classic white margin and each has a caption. The introduction was written by Didi Bozzini.

Recommended: Interview of Ballen by Manik Katyal, Editor EMAHO magazine: here.

Previous Roger Ballen title reviewed on The PhotoBook: Boarding House

Cheers

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October 17, 2014

Laia Abril – The Epilogue

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Copyright Laia Abril 2014 Published by Dewi Lewis

Laia Abril (b. 1986 Barcelona, Spain, currently resides in NYC and Barcelona) continues to develop narratives that probe identity issues for women. In The Epilogue, she expands on her earlier photographic project Thinspiration, a self-published zine investigating a pro-anorexia community, essentially women and girls, with obsessive eating disorders who are wasting away. In The Epilogue, unlike her subjects who are anonymous, aloof and distant as they are in Thinspriation, we are fully immersed into the initiate details of one extended American family who is still dealing with a daughter/sister/nice and her tragic binging and purging disorder and ultimately their grief, frustration and loss.

Abril provides a complex and multi-layered voice in conjunction with an interesting mashup of old family photographs, interviews, medical documents, letters and her own photographs. She creates a documentary approach for the own landscapes and portraits of the individuals who have been affected by the principal subject of this story, Cammy (Mary Cameron Robinson, American). Abril’s narrative jumps into the middle of the current family’s situation many years after Cammy’s passing. In the book’s captions Abril uses informal nick-names for her subjects that create a sense of intimacy; while Cammy’s full identity is provided later as this unsettling narrative progresses and then as a newspaper obituary, one of many documents that are inserted into the book’s interior.

In the historical family photographs of Cammy, it is not empirically evident that she had an eating disorder, as she appears to look rather normal, unlike the thin and emaciated appearance of those suffering from Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa). In many ways, Cammy’s outward appearance is similar to a photograph, as surface appearances cannot tell an entire story, but only provides the vaguest of hints.

This sad tale is similar to a mystery novel in Abril’s attempt to discover an unknown person; she interviews the indirect victims of Cammy’s demise: her mother, father, brother, roommate, boyfriend, aunt, cousin, and doctor. In the end we are provided some evidence of Cammy’s life, that she suffered a traumatic life and ending, while leaving an open ended question of how to deal with someone who has a eating disorder. Equally important it calls into question the media’s fascination with the ultra-thin body-image of models, creating the associated cultural peer pressure as to what constitutes “beauty” and “attractiveness” resulting in self-esteem issues and in this case an unhealthy eating disorder.

This unsettling book is a call to action, but can only point to the pending consequences and the potential frustrations experienced by those who are caught up as events unfold. Eating disorders are now global, predominantly (85%) experienced by teen girls and young women but perhaps more prevalent in Western Countries, especially the United States, where this narrative takes place. Thus Cammy, her family and support structure in America is the untended role model to place a face on eating disorders.

I had earlier wrote about how she and her book designer/collaborator Ramon Pez have carefully designed and created what they are calling tri-fold pages into this book object. The revealed panel extends the narrative as well as symbolically “breaking the book” as each of the four tri-fold-pages correspond to a photograph when the subject of the book, Cammy, has experienced a severe break down in her life’s journey. This is yet another testimony that a book design can further reinforce, and in this case, literally extend a narrative. Let’s see if you can do that with your e-pad!

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My one niggle is the black printing on the dark blue page stock at the very conclusion of the book and the tip-in on the book’s front cover which borders almost on being illegible (darn hard to read!). I am guessing that Abril and Pez have a symbolic meaning for this design aspect; it did not come quickly to me.

The book design was complete by Abril in conjunction with Ramon Pez and beautifully color printed by Grafiche Antiga (Italy). The book cover has a tipped in image and the interior also includes gate-folds, inserted letters, documents, and a newspaper obituary.

This photobook review was co-published on EMAHO magazine; here.

Other books by Laia Abril reviewed on The PhotoBook: Thinspiration

Cheers!

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October 11, 2014

America Latina Photographs 1960 – 2013

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Published by Fondation Cartier pour l’art contermporain  with Museo Amparo, copyright the artist, 2013 & distributed by Thames & Hudson

Last year an exhibition catalog, America Latina Photographs – 1960 – 2013, was published jointly by the two exhibiting museums, one in Paris and the other in Mexico for the exhibitions subsequently occurring in 2014.

This is an expansive survey of America Latina photography that includes almost every country in South America, Central America and the nations of the Caribbean Sea. The list of photographers that are included is impressive, with many photographs relatively unknown beyond their own borders. The partial list of photographers includes Elias Adasme (Chile), Carlos Altamirano (Chile), Francis Alys (Mexico), Claudia Andujar (Brazil), Ever Astudillo (Colombia), Artur Barrio (Brazil) Luz Maria Bedoya (Peru), Oscar Bony (Argentina), Barbara Brandli (Venezuela), Marcelo Brodsky (Argentina), Miguel Calderon (Mexico), Johanna Calle (Colombia), Luis Camnitzer (Uruguay), Bill Caro (Peru) Guillermo Deisler (Chile), Felipe Ehrenberg (Mexico), Juan Manuel Echavarria (Colombia), Roberto Fantozzi (Peru), Jose A. Figueroa (Cuba), Carlos Garaicoa (Cuba), Anna Bella Geiger (Brazil), Daniel Gonzalez (Venezuela), Graciela Iturbide (Mexico), Claudia Joskowicz (Bolivia), Adriana Lestido (Argentina), Marcos Lopez (Argentina), Rosario Lopez (Colombia), Pablo Lopez Luz (Mexico), Teresa Margolles (Mexico), Marcelo Montecino (Chile), Damian Ortega (Mexico), Pablo Ortiz Monasterio (Mexico), Leticia Parente (Brazil), Luis Pazos (Argentina), Rosangela Renno (Brazil), Miguel Rio Branco (Brazil), Lotty Rosenfeld (Chile), Eduardo Ruben (Cuba), Graciela Sacco (Argentina), Gegina Silveira (Brazil), Susana Torres (Peru), Jorge Vall (Venezuela), Eduardo Villanes (Peru) and Facundo De Zuviria (Argentina).

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The photographers are segmented by four broad themes; Territory, The City, Informing/Resisting, and Memory and Identity. The central theme to the book is the on-going political and economic instability of this region and the resulting personal chaos that results as described in the introductory text The Violence of Modernity, Latin America Since the Late 1950’s by Oliver Campagnon.

This is a book that is a bit like a delightful jelly sandwich, as the content is very tasty, but spread very thin. Each photographer is represented by only a few photographs, thus providing only the briefest glimpse of those whose careers may span 10, 20 or 30 years. What this exhibition catalog does help provide is a little more insight into the diverse photographic work occurring in a region that has had limited exposure to the Western press. I will have to admit that this book sat on my reading stand for an extended duration as many of the photographers and their work were unknown to me and I needed time to absorb their stories. This is a recommended book that should pique a reader’s interest on the photographic work taking place in America Latina.

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The hard cover book has an exposed taped binding (Swiss Binding) thus the large text block is hanging by the endpapers on the back cover, which seems pretty substantial, yet makes for an interesting photobook design. Another text was provided by Luis Camnitzer, and there is an illustrated Biography section for each photographer that attempts to provide additional information, a selected Bibliography on Latin American Art and a Timeline of Latin American Histories to provide additional context. The engaging graphic design was by Olivier Andreotti (Paris) and the book was beautifully printed by Artegrafica (Verona, Italy).

Graciela Iturbide’s photobooks have been featured previously on The PhotoBook; El Bano de Frida and El Bano de Frida Kahlo

Cheers

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October 2, 2014

Andrew Phelps – Haboob

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Copyright Andrew Phelps 2013 published by Kehrer Verlag

Andrew Phelps (b. 1967, Mesa, AZ & residing in Austria since 1991) returns infrequently to the place of his birth, the arid and desert communities surrounding the regions of Mesa and Phoenix in the American Southwest. His childhood home is resplendent with past memories and with a family visit an expectation to resume old roles with family and friends entertaining with children playing in backyard pools at night.

In my first reading I sense an uncomfortable undercurrent and edge in Phelps photographs, as though everything is not right. Andrews is now having lived in Austria for the past 24 years and on his return he is a now bit of a stranger in a slightly familiar land, perhaps not unlike his feelings of being disconnected during his two weeks in Niigata Japan some years before which was documented in his book Not Niigata.

Daily evolving changes are usually hardly perceptible, such as when one vainly attempts to watch grass grow. When events such as a visiting a distant location after a long absence, the perceived changes can be startling. I liken it to seeing a young cousin after a year’s lapse, in which you observe that the lad has grown at least a foot, while those who live with him have hardly noticed his change in growing stature.

I will have to first admit that I read Phelps recent book Haboob with mixed emotions, having lived for a short period in Phoenix and then later in Yuma an even more desolate, dry, and if possible, hotter location in the Southern Arizona desert. Likewise I have visited Austria a number of times, the place where Phelps now lives, and I can appreciate the vast cultural and physical differences between these two regions. There is an enormous cultural and physical departure from the desert and the verdant lushness of his current home in Austria. He may well have stepped off onto the moon. His eyes have become conditioned to the European culture and landscape, thus this America landscape and ensuing cultural rites are oddly, if perhaps alarmingly, foreign.

The desert communities are surrounded by flat, arid landscapes with barren mountains looming in the background, with small sparse bushes or cactus populating the land. The air is so dry that even in 100˚F degree (plus) heat that permeates this place most of the year it is even difficult for a person to perspire. (yes, I have tried and it takes an enormous amount of energy to break into a sweat) The air is mostly sparkling clear under a cloudless blue sky unless a wind stirs the sand dispersing some fine particles into the air. On occasion, a strong wind whips up a Haboob, a threatening desert storm, which appears on the far horizon as a towering wall of sand advancing from the desert to obviate any vision in the darkness that soon envelops. While living in Yuma, we lived through an enormous Haboob, an experience that I can still vividly recall. Phelps does not capture an huge Haboob, but investigates an autobiographical metaphor of change (and threat) that it represents.

Phelps reminds me in his photographs of the playing children that youth are resilient. They appear in their innocence to accommodate even these harsh arid conditions and still have fun. Thus in reading Haboob, I sense another undercurrent, that of hope.

As a book object the printing and binding are excellent as you would expect from a Kehrer publication. The layout of the photographs is classical with ample white margins and a nice cadence in the flow of photographs. The front cover has a lacquer coating that depending on how the book is held, will reveal to the reader the silhouette of what appears as two running horses. This a subtle hint at the wild animals which had at one time roamed what is now trim and proper suburban neighborhoods. An interesting layering, as this lacquer coating is situated on the subject of the cover photograph; paint strips used to select colors for decorating homes, which appear to be discarded on the desert floor.

Phelps previous book Not Niigata reviewed on The PhotoBook; here.

Cheers

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September 29, 2014

World PhotoBook Day > October 14th

Filed under: Photo Book NEWS, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:07 pm

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Copyright the photographers, various titles recently published by Aalphabet

A brief shout-out about the pending World Photobook Day occurring on October 14th. This fun day (this year on a Monday) originated by The Photobook Club of Madrid in conjunction with my buddy Matt Johnston whose idea was to form the various Photobook Clubs from his base of operations over in England.

This date is a direct homage to the first known photobook: Photographs of British algae with Cyanotype impressions by Anna Atkins (a trivia question if I ever saw one!). As the exact publishing date is unknown, they have taken the date that appears in the registry records of the copy in British Library: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/photographyinbooks/record.asp?RecordID=3048

So here is a short list ideas for how to participate in this event:

  • Post a #PhotoBookDaySelfie on social media: an image with you and your current favorite photobook.

  • Discuss your love of photobooks via the twitter hashtag #PhotoBookDay

  • Donate a photobook or photozine to your nearest public library or school library. One of the things  that I am considering.

  • Buy a photobook. Many bookshops and publishers will make special discounts for the day. As alternative, read a photobook that you have not picked up for a while or one that you have acquired and not really spend time with yet.

  • For me, I think I will be publishing a photobook review on the blog this day.

So what about you?

Cheers!

September 23, 2014

Landmark – The Fields of Landscape Photography

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Copyright the various photographers 2014; Published by Thames & Hudson

This photobook is a curatorial discussion of the contemporary practice of landscape photography and perhaps why the practice of Landscape photography matters today. The editor of the book, William A. Ewing, a museum curator and writer about photography, makes the elegant point that the current (and urgent) issues of pollution, war, global warming to name but a few, could not be better suited for public and political discussion than by the practice of landscape photography. Ewing argues that as a result landscape photograph has come in par with portraiture as readers are daily inundated with landscape photographs in one form or another.

On this blog I am not as keen to write about photobooks that provide a survey of a genre of photography, but I have to admit to a fondness for contemporary landscape photographs. And although a little reticent to review this book, I will say that Ewing successfully lured me in with clear and articulate writing and an interesting selection of supporting photographs for each of the ten themes that he advocates; SublimePastoralArtefactsRupturePlaygroundScarControlEnigmaHallucination, and Reverie.

Ewing has selected a diverse set of 100 photographers and 250 photographs to broadly illustrate his themes. In general after reading his reasoning’s, I concur that these ten themes provide a broad investigation of contemporary landscape with a slight niggle here and there as to his image selection. The reader may find that some contemporary photographers or images have been grossly overlooked (or maybe should not have been included as these individuals are not known as “Landscape” photographers) but overall I think Ewing is continuing to extend the discussion as to what is a contemporary landscape photograph and why should it matter.

Of interest to me is that in Ewing’s historical review he states that for contemporary Landscape photography, the New Topographics exhibition and subsequently the Dusseldorf school seems to have a strong and lingering effect.

This horizontal, dense hardcover book with dust jacket is beautifully printed and bound, with each photograph presented classically with a nice margin that makes the book a delight to hold and read. The editor of the text for the Preface, Introductions and Historical background is William A. Ewing. Each of the photographers provides a short concise statement (Artists’ Voices) about their landscape practice which I found to be equally fascinating and informative. A book to consider if one is interested in the contemporary practice of Landscape photography.

Cheers

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September 21, 2014

Tri-Fold Pages

Filed under: Photo Book Discussions, Photo Books — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:16 pm

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Copyright Laia Abril 2014 “The Epilogue” published by Dewi Lewis Publishing

I just received Laia Abril’s photobook “The Epilogue” and I was surprised by a design aspect of her photobook that is both unique as well as very smart;  interior pages (leaf) that a reader could pull out to reveal a hidden panel. Perhaps this page design has been lurking out there in the designers book of tricks, but it was new to me. It is similar in idea to a gate fold to conceal interior page panels, but with an interesting twist.

I quickly queried both Abril and the publisher, Dewi Lewis, as to what they were calling this design aspect. Abiril and Ramon Pez, her photobook design collaborator,  are calling it tri-fold pages, while the publisher is calling this a concertina fold out. Both descriptions seem applicable, but I am going to defer to Abril and Pez for what this design is called as they were responsible for the initial concept of this design as part of the final object. I do give immense credit to the Dewi Lewis publishing team for advancing this design into the resulting photobook as well as the spot-on printing execution by Grafiche Antiga (Italy) which is already a well know high quality photobook printer and binary.

The subtly of the design and execution lies in the near invisibility of the fold until the reader notes the subtle added thickness of the page and upon grasping, extendes the page out which reveals the hidden panel (see the example below from the photobook’s interior). For this book the revealed panel extends the narrative as well as symbolically “breaking the book” when the subject of the book, Cammy, has experienced a severe break down in her life’s journey. Brilliant!

Looking down on the top view of the book, the tri-folded pages are a bit more apparent.

Cheers

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September 18, 2014

Henri Cartier-Bresson – Here and Now

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Copyright the estate of Henri Cartier-Bresson & Magnum Photos, published by Thames & Hudson 2014, first English edition

This is a thick and dense retrospective that devils deep into the details behind the well-known French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (b.  August 22, 1908, Chanteloup-en-Brie, FR , d.  August 3, 2004, Montjustin, FR). Although this monograph is really not meant to be an exposé per se by the Clement Cheroux, the editor of the book, he does provide a comprehensive and tantalizing biography of the photographer, cinematographer and painter. Cheroux reveals, at least for me, some little known facts about this elusive and private photographer. A quick snapshot of Cartier-Bresson, who is known for his Surrealist, Communist propaganda, filmmaking (director & actor), photo-reportage & co-founding Magnum Photos and who became known for the decisive moment and later in life, painter.

The book is broken into multiple chapters with the key ones for which characterize Cartier-Bresson and his photography; The Attraction of Surrealism (the underlying concepts for what became known as his decisive moment), Political Commitment, Film and War and The Choice of Photo Reportage.

Cheroux provides a clear distillation of the Surrealism principals as these relate to Cartier-Bresson’s early oeuvre, that which provided the building blocks for his latter propaganda photographs and lead into his decision for a career in photo reportage. As a student painter he had learned pictorial design and composition, which he then applied to Surrealism photography. He would first find and compose a graphic background and then wait for the right person to enter the frame. This was a surrealist idea of the combination of composition and chance, which Cartier-Bresson labeled “simultaneous coalition” and was later re-branded by a book publisher as the “decisive moment”. Cheroux explores the principals of Surrealism that Cartier-Bresson adopted; Dialectic Synthesis, Fixed-Explosive, Veiled-Erotic, Magic-Circumstantial, Daydreamers and the Salt of Distortion.

It was also during the days of Surrealism that Cartier-Bresson became more elusive about his past as well as secretive about himself, as his parents owned one of the 200 largest companies in France (a thread company which merged with Thirez to form TCB in the 1930’s). It was his family’s wealth that although allowed him the economic freedom to travel where he chose, but created a philosophical issue with the economic tenets of Surrealism.

As a result Cartier-Bresson adopted various names to publish his photographic work. The conflict created by his family’s wealth subsequently became even more acute for Cartier-Bresson with his active participation with the French Communist party in the mid to late 1930’s. After WWII the sanction of the communist party and those associated with it created further angst for Cartier-Bresson, but as a result of having kept a low personal profile he was able to deftly side-step almost all of the communist purging that occurred in the late 1940’s and well into the 1950’s. He became very public about his photographs, but learned to be very private about himself.

The massive book was first published in French by Editions du Centre Pompidou, Paris, copyright 2013 and subsequently this first English edition by Thames and Hudson, 2014. The book was published in conjunction with the Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, that ran February to June, 2014. The photographs images were reproduced as close to the original C-B prints, such as the warm tone print provided below. The book was edited by Clement Cheroux. Perhaps lost in the fine print, but very obvious in the print quality that this book was printed by Steidl in Gottingen, Germany. Very nice and a recommended book for the fans of HC-B and photojournalism.

Cheers!

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