The PhotoBook

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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September 12, 2014

Amit Desai – America Sutra

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Copyright Amit Desai 2012 published by Stephen Cheng, Hong Kong

America Sutra is an amazingly complex and layered artist book created by Amit Desai (b. 1977, Brahmin and resides in India) while he was in transit between one American seaboard and then back again, as well as its Southern border and eventually up to the Northern border, including Hawaii, over a ten year odyssey spanning 2001 through 2012.

Although born in India, he grew up in Valley Stream, New York and eventually began exploring his adopted country. Desai draws equally on his original self as a Hindu and his adopted American heritage while composing this experimental body of work as a Sutra; a collection of short statements and original thoughts with spiritual inspiration, thus attempting to fuse Eastern and Western influences into a very unique narrative.

Although photography provides a base-line, various other artistic aspects of a multi-media narrative are interwoven through the series of books. America Sutra is composed of seven distinct volumes and maintains some semblance loosely kept together by a slip-clover casing. Each volume is a unique vison of America; The Young and The Old, After the Fall, Love is a Photographer, Paradise Park, Time Code, White Mountain and United States. This seven volume set was envisioned to be a collective portrait of the American Dream.

Each of the seven books does maintain a bit of consistency in the dialog within the covers of each respective book, whether the use of Polaroid’s, film, digital capture, hand-made collages and drawings. That said, this is not entirely a photographic book, but leans towards being an artist book, with each of the books having a unique artistic expression. Likewise, the photographs, stories and collages are not always meant to be taken literally, as most are fictional metaphoric narratives.

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As a quick synopsis of the seven journals that comprise this artist book, the first book being The Young and The Old is the earliest book developed in this series, at time when Desai was developing his vision and bouncing between street photography and the studio. This book was photographed while in his early twenties, thus a youthful mad-cap collection of what was seen and playful creations.

The second book, After The Fall, is a surrealist journey, where Desai photographed a roll of film, then reloaded the same roll of film back into the camera to re-expose it again. He was creating chance double exposures, not knowing what may come of his experimentation. It is to be open to the serendipitous layering of memories. The third book, Love is a Photographer is a series of street photographs captured on SX-70 Polaroid film, which ironically is an analog film that went out of production during the creation of this body of work. The photographs tend towards the lyrical and tender.

The fourth book, Paradise Park, is a leap from the analog into to the digital capture, from capturing a poignant moment to creating a fictional body of work inclusive of bubble dialog captions to supplement the visual stories that are being played out and the most massive of the seven books. The fifth book, Time Code is constructed from a surveillance video and edited set of still captures that are resulting from a combination of improve, chance and reactionary theater, as all of the subjects know that they are being recorded.

The sixth book, White Mountain, is a pairing of erotic poems and drawn images, perhaps lithographs, inked, printed and re-photographed with Polaroid’s. The seventh book, United States, is a running dialog of short stories that have been typed out and then framed on top of various colleges. I have the impression that these are a collection of personal stories as told to that Desai during his odyssey.

The reading of each of these seven books is complex in and of its own right, but when slammed together with the other loosely related books, this collection becomes daunting, intriguing and challenging to all of the senses. In my own first reading, I was overwhelmed by the chaotic visions presented in each of the books and then attempting in vain to draw that experience together to frame the entire body of work. I found it necessary to read and delve into each of the books individually and then a greater awareness of the totality began to rise.

As shared by the publisher, “Like the seven chakras of our subtle body, these books exist and are connected energetically on the invisible plain. Each has a different vibration, but the all belong to the same body of energy. Ultimately, it is the realm of feeling that these books come together to form America Sutra as a whole.”

Seven stiff-cover books, four color lithographic printing and perfect bound, all in cased within a hard slip-cover. As a result of the perfect binding, the book’s interiors can be vexing to read as they do not easily remain open. The seven volumes are a part of a multi-media web-based art presentation containing video, images, text and sounds, found here: http://www.americasutra.com For my review, I was working with the second edition of America Sutra.

Cheers!

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September 7, 2014

Wynn Bullock – Revelations

 

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Copyright the estate of Wynn Bullock 2014; published by University of Texas Press, Austin & High Museum of Art, Atlanta

In some regards attempting to write about Wynn Bullock (b. Percy Wingfield Bullock, Chicago April 18, 1902, d. Monterey (CA) November 16, 1975) and his photography is a bit difficult for me having followed his photographic career since we moved the Pacific Coast in the early 1970’s. It seems to me that I am writing about the obvious but I realize that his photographs and diverse and creative background are a bit unknown to the current generation.

To place into context his black & white landscapes have that Brett Weston West coast appearance while his investigations into abstraction (both black & white and color), metaphysics and symbolism place him much closer to the photographic likes of Minor White. He was a friend of and knew many member of the f/64 group that birthed modern (straight) photography but he experimented in techniques and unorthodox manipulations of the photographic materials more than most of his peers. This was probably a result of living in Paris and the influence of the post-impressionist in the early 1920’s and his association with the photographers/artists Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

As the book’s editor Brett Abbott states; “Ultimately Bullock was of the existentialist lineage drawn by Sartre. He (Bullock) pursued his art under the premise that an individual must live passionately and sincerely and that his experiences – including creative acts – were as important as philosophy and science in the unraveling the meaning of human existence.”

The two Bullock photographs that were selected for Edward Steichen’s “The Family of Man” exhibition the mid-1950’s were highly acclaimed and he gained international recognition as a result. He, like others in the 1960’s, struggled with the reproduction of color photographs and as a result only displayed his color experiemental work as slide shows. Fortunate for the reader, included in this retrospective is a large selection from his oeuvre “Color Light Abstraction”. His later black & white photographs are reversal prints (sometimes inverted) that are a delightful challenge to read.

As a book object this retrospective is dense with photographs and the essay’s are clear, informative and footnoted and accompanied by an illustrated chronology. The interior photographs are beautifully printed as originally conceived without the mild cropping of the early books illustrating his work, with the photographic plates having generous white margins, captions; including dates of the work accompany each photograph. Recommended.

Cheers!

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July 7, 2014

Brooks Jensen – Looking at Images

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Copyright the photographers 2014 published by LensWork Publishing

Brooks Jensen is the Editor and Publisher of the LensWork journal and almost exclusively is focusing on Black and White photography. The bi-monthly journal is released concurrently in a print edition and a DVD that contains additional portfolios and audio interviews of the artist by Jensen.

Jensen also publishes a blog, also titled Looking at Images, where he provide extensive homilies about a singular image selected from the LensWork journal portfolios. Jensen has carefully selected a broad group of his published essays which provides the material for this book. In this book, Jensen’s photographic commentaries are sequenced alphabetically as to the photographer work that he is discussing. Each photograph and photographer being discussed is provided a two page spread with the photograph on one page which faces Jensen’s commentary on the other.

I am very honored that Jensen has selected one of my images from the In Passing project which was published in the #74 issue (January/February 2008) on page 252 and 253. This is the same photograph and a similar commentary that Jensen wrote about on his Looking at Images blog in 2010. I have known that Jensen was immediately taken by this image from the early days of my submission, as he had quickly asked if I would be open to a print exchange for one of his. That deal was a no brainier as I had been earlier intrigued by one his photographs, so we did the print swap. I guess you can say with Jensen as a collector of my work, this photograph keeps resurfacing in a very nice way. Likewise, the publication of In Passing in LensWork was a great validation of this somewhat controversial project and led to my subsequent publication of In Passing in a hardcover book through Blurb (Now sold out and out of Print).

As an insight to how Jensen categorized his commentaries, my image is a warmed toned black and white, not a pure black and white photograph, thus my photograph is grouped in the Colored Images section of the book, as were a number of other toned images. Which may seem odd as my print color is very close to all of the slightly warm selenium toning photographs printed in LensWork.

A couple of other Left-Coast photographers that are included are Hiroshi Watanabe, Aline Smithson, Ray Carfano and Larry Wiese of the 122 commentaries published. There is a strong emphasis on Modern Black and White Photography, there are some interesting Contemporary Black and White photographs included to make this a fairly diverse body of commentaries.

As a book object, the stiff cover book has a decent heft for the 264 pages and I am assuming from the high quality of the printing (another forte of LensWork), that this book was printed and bound by the same Vancouver, Canada printers that print the LensWork journal. Jensen has also included a QR code with each commentary that links to an audio file about this photograph and topic.

Cheers!

Douglas Stockdale

Looking_at_Images_Douglas_Stockdale-In_Passing

Looking_at_Images_Hiroshi_Watanabe-Kabuki_Portraits

Looking_at_Images_Aline_Smithson_Arrangements_in_Green_n_Black

Looking_at_Images_Larry_Wiese_Portfolio

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