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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

This book [The photographer’s eye] is an investigation of what photographs look like, and why they look that way. It is concerned with photographic style and with photographic tradition: with the sense of possibilities that a photographer today takes to his work.- The Photographer’s eye, by John Szarkowski, 1966.

The Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego (MoPA), California, celebrates its 25th year anniversary with a unique exposition based on the landmark exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, in 1964 and later published in the historical book “The Photographer’s eye“(1966), by John Szarkowski , the former Director of the Department of Photography at the Museum.

The exhibit at the MoPA (San Diego) starts tomorrow Jan. 19th and will be on display until April 20th, 2008. (more…)

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©Justin Guariglia

During a long period of 8 years, photographer Justin Guariglia (National Geographic Traveler, PDN’s best under 30 in the year 2000), was able to build trust from one of the most reserved Budist communities, the monks at the Shaolin Temple in China. Usually, tourists don’t see the real monks, they only see students at the Temple dressed up to look like monks. This was the first time ever that the monks let a photographer to get a graphic documentation of their art that spans a large variety of kung-fu forms.

See the work, Shaolin Temple of Zen at the dedicated mini-site.

Typically when people think about kung-fu they think about fighting, but reality is something much deeper; it is something very spiritual, it is about enlightenment. It is about fusing the mind the body and the soul together as one, that;s what kung-fu is really about.- Justin Guariglia

The work was published few months ago by Aperture foundation in a book entitled “Shaolin Temple of Zen” and also is accompanied with a 99 images exhibition and videos that are traveling around the world until February 2012. Over at Popular Photography I found an interview with the recently appointed book publisher at Aperture, Lesley A. Martin, where she speaks about the editing work on this book.

This work reminded me of a book a read few months ago, American Shaolin, by Matthew Polly, describing his journey as the first USA American fellow who joined the Shaolin Temple to learn and practice kung-fu. I enjoyed the book, and I think mathew is a contributor of “Shaolin, Temple of Zen”.

In these images, Justin Guariglia has captured one of the last oases of pure, unaffected Chinese culture. This sumptuous book is a must for anyone whose imagination is captivated by the search for the edge of human boundaries in a distant land. Justin Guariglia’s photographs reveal an extraordinary culture dedicated to the pursuit of discipline and excellence – where mind and body are stretched to the extreme.”-Edward Burtynsky


©Justin Guariglia

 

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A couple of months ago I found a book that got my attention. In the cover, Pablo Picasso with a dog. The author and photographer not less than the great David Douglas Duncan, the last of the selected group that changed photojournalism shooting for LIFE magazine, at the time the “mecca” of photography. I should not have been surprised because both masters shared a long lived friendship.

It began in February, 1956 — this bond between two artists. The American photographer was on his way home from Afghanistan. The Spanish painter was sitting in his bathtub at home in the south of France: Voilà! . . . the first Picasso photograph of tens of thousands taken during the next seventeen years when David Douglas Duncan often shared the simple meals, the constant work, the gaiety, the countless explosions of creativity. After other guests had gone, Duncan still remained in the studio — by now his second home. Thus was born a friendship unique in the lives of both men. Two minds, two hearts, each discovering a special communication with the other.

Picasso savors his fish down to the bone, 1957.

David Douglas Duncan was the photographer with the greatest access to Pablo Picasso, access driven by a close friendship. Why was I surprised to see this book? David Douglas Duncan had already published several books about Picasso [The Private World of Pablo Picasso (1958), Viva Picasso: A Centennial Celebration 1881-1981 (1980), Goodbye Picasso (1974)] that were the most intimate photographic record of the artist. But now, in 2006 a new book, entitled Picasso & Lump. Indeed some of the images were published in previous books … but …

Pablo Picasso teases his dachshund Lump with a cardboard rabbit he just cut out from a candy box.

… I opened the book and started to see the images and read the text, and I immediately realized this book was something special. David Douglas had created a master piece of storytelling, conveying the unique relationship of Picasso and his dog, Lump. Two masters, one dog, and an amazing book. So, if you are thinking about a book to gift this season, for anyone who loves photography, art and “dogs” this is a very fine choice. I cherish this book, it always makes me smile.

“Lump and Picasso meet for the first time. Mutual love.”

____________

[from the cover] One spring morning in 1957, veteran photojournalist David Douglas Duncan paid a visit to his friend and frequent photographic subject Pablo Picasso, at the artist’s home near Cannes. As copilot alongside Duncan in his Mercedes Gullwing 300 SL was the photographer’s pet dachshund, Lump. Photographer and dog were close companions, but Duncan’s nomadic lifestyle and his other dog — a giant, jealous Afghan hound who had tyrannized Lump — made their life in Rome difficult. When they arrived at Picasso’s Villa La Californie that magical day, Lump decided that he had found paradise on earth, and that he would move in with Picasso, whether he was welcome or not.
This joyous, previously untold story of artist and his dog offers an uncommonly sensitive image of Picasso. Lump was immortalized in a Picasso portrait painted on a plate the day they met, but that was just the start. In an explosion of forty-five paintings inspired by Velázquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas, Picasso replaced the impassive hound in the foreground with jaunty renderings of Lump. Now, as a gift from the artist to his hometown as a youth, all of those luminous canvases are the centerpiece exhibition in the Picasso Museum of Barcelona. Fourteen of the paintings are reproduced here in full color, juxtaposed with Duncan’s dramatic and intimate black-and-white photographs of Picasso and Lump, bringing full circle the odyssey of a lucky dachshund who found his way from reluctant road warrior to furry, super-stretched icon of twentieth-century art.

This joyous, previously untold story of artist and his dog offers an uncommonly sensitive image of Picasso. Lump was immortalized in a Picasso portrait painted on a plate the day they met, but that was just the start. In an explosion of forty-five paintings inspired by Velázquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas, Picasso replaced the impassive hound in the foreground with jaunty renderings of Lump. Now, as a gift from the artist to his hometown as a youth, all of those luminous canvases are the centerpiece exhibition in the Picasso Museum of Barcelona. Fourteen of the paintings are reproduced here in full color, juxtaposed with Duncan’s dramatic and intimate black-and-white photographs of Picasso and Lump, bringing full circle the odyssey of a lucky dachshund who found his way from reluctant road warrior to furry, super-stretched icon of twentieth-century art.

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©Jessica Dimmock, from “The Ninth Floor”

Last year, Jessica Dimmock received the Inge Morath Award for her photo documentary ‘The Ninth Floor’ about several people in a New York apartment living with drug addiction. This work made it into a book that was selected by PDN as one of the best photobooks of 2007 (article in New York Magazine and PopPhoto).

I was studying at the International Center of Photography at the time. I was on the street fiddling with a digital camera because as of then I had not used one before. I was approached by a cocaine dealer who made it clear that he was a dealer. Over the course of the conversation he made it clear that if I wanted to follow him and photograph him I could. He took me to a variety of places – parties, people’s apartments, the owner of an escort service. The last place he ever took me was the apartment where the project starts. He was arrested shortly thereafter, and I have never seen him since, despite trying to find him. But because he brought me to this apartment and made the initial introduction I went back with prints from my first visit. After that, and some slow starts, I was allowed to return at any time.- Jessica Dimmock


©Jessica Dimmock, from “The Ninth Floor”

Over at 5b4, Mr. Whiskets, has a very interesting post about this book and Jessica’s work. This article prompted me to go and take a look at her website and the images from this series. Be ready. The pictures get to your gut, this is raw material indeed. If looking at the images is frightening I can only think about the feelings of Jessica while taking the pictures. Quite an amazing challenge and a piece of work that no wonder has made it into a top photobook of the year. If you browse her galleries, you will notice that Jessica has an special talent, this is photojournalism but with a particular twist, it gets to your gut and soul with fierce feelings, and stays there perhaps way too long.


©Jessica Dimmock, from “The Ninth Floor”

Dimmock’s pictures are devoid of the tell tale language usually spoken by photojournalists. This may be because Dimmock was still a student when she started her project and thankfully she had not been poisoned by too many references to the likes of other journalists or documentarians. She seems to be responding quickly to the happenings and that directness, without pretentious ‘picture-making,’ is her strength.

I have raised the question before of who the audience is for books of this sort. Not that I think the work should be hidden, a book is a natural and perfect vehicle, but it is a world that I do not wish to participate in even voyeuristically. Because of Dimmock I have been given a taste of life on the ninth floor of 4 West 22nd street and I have found it bitter and so nauseating that I have permanently shut the door. – 5b4, Mr. Whiskets

©Jessica Dimmock, from “The Ninth Floor”

The apartment could be a very awful place to spend time in. It was hard to put the time in and to know when to stay or when to go. Sometimes I spent the night, or several days on end. That could be very difficult and very claustrophobic, but it was an important component to my understanding of what was going on. And at this point I have spent a great deal of time with some of the people from this project and I care about them a great deal. I recognize that I cannot change them, nor save them, but they have been incredibly open with me and there is a lot of trust in our relationship. It is hard to watch these patterns get repeated and to watch the pain that occurs.-Jessica Dimmock

©Jessica Dimmock, from “The Ninth Floor”

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PDN online has its own list of the best photo-books in 2007 …

PDN Photo Books of 2007

Martin Parr selection at The Sunday Times (UK) article highlighting the Best Photography Books of 2007 released in the UK.

Martin Parr’s selection:

Some selections at Amazon.com

and also Shutterbug magazine …

and other’s at Shutterbug magazine.

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Quite a project, indeed. I am looking forward to see the book. 55 top photographers, each a different assignment “illustrating every imaginable aspect of Thailand today”. Very interesting indeed.

_______________

Thailand: 9 Days in the Kingdom, a photographic book commemorating the auspicious occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday, will be launched in December 2007.

With over 350 photos illustrating every imaginable aspect of Thailand today, including the economy, the regions, rural and city life, urban development, tourism, fashion, arts and crafts, and various other aspects, the book will be a dramatic record of the change and development that have been achieved in Thailand during the reign of His Majesty.

A team of 55 top photographers from 19 countries are in the Kingdom of Thailand from January 14 to 22, 2007. They include 11 Thai and 44 international photojournalists from Europe, America and Asia, portrait photographers, documentary photographers and specialists in fields such as aerial, nature, lifestyle and underwater photography.

All these photographers have been given their individual assignments, allowing them to capture images of life throughout Thailand according to their talents. Mr Surat Osathanugrah, Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board, said: ‘Thailand: 9 Days in the Kingdom is not just an ordinary book, but a “visual time capsule”.’

The book Thailand: 9 Days in the Kingdom will be produced in full colour, with 288 pages, 255 mm x 355 mm (portrait) and published in English, Japanese, French and probably several other languages, and will be sold around the world. In Thailand, the book will be on sale by December 2007 at a price of 1,750 Baht.

The publisher Editions Didier Millet, and sponsors of the project will jointly donate Baht 9,000,000 to His Majesty the King for charitable use. [source]

James Nachtwey: I went to Lop Buri, to Wat Phra Baht Nam Phu, and focused on the work of one of the volunteers in the AIDS hospice, Father Michael Bassano. I wanted to focus on one person rather than take on subject superficially. I didn’t conceive of this book, I just conceived of what I wanted to do. I don’t work from the point of view of trying to make things look good, or even try to make them look bad. I try to make them look as I perceive them to be. There’s nothing good about AIDS or tuberculosis and yet the man I photographed is doing a great deal of good in the midst of a tragic situation. Father Bassano is a paradigm of positive life force, an amazing human being. He’s a very, very inspiring man. I was privileged to spend a week with him [source]

Steve McCurry: I chose Buddhism. I’ve been interested in Buddhism as a way of thinking for a long time. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been to Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Laos, Thailand, Nepal… It’s a reoccurring theme in my work. So I thought, why not do a book about it and come back to Thailand. You need to delve into it, not just scratch the surface. To go beyond clichés, you need to spend time. If you breeze through a temple, they all seem the same. You need to go into the backrooms, the living quarters. It’s all about discovery, seeing things, wandering around. The fun, the joy, the reward is the journey. You just wander around and wait for serendipitous situations. I don’t think too much. Things must touch me. [source]

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© Ion Zupcu from “Works on Paper”

Most people take images of other people to preserve memories; I photograph objects to preserve my memories. – Ion Zupcu

Ion Zupcu was born in Romania in 1960. He began his explorations of photography working in a studio in his native city. While spending long hours in his living room taking care of his daughter but with the desire to take photographs himself, Mr. Zupcu began to take still-life photographs of vases and flowers. During this same period he came across the still life and staged photography of other artists, an encounter which influenced him greatly. Ion came to New York in 1991. While driving a yellow cab, he met the owner of a black and white photo lab and began working for him, learning the tools of traditional black and white printing. In 1993 he made his first visit to the International Center of Photography and also discovered the three Ansel Adams books – The Camera, The Negative and The Print.

In 1998, after seven years of separation, he was at last reunited with his daughter and wife in New York, and their arrival awakened in Mr. Zupcu a sense of purpose and newfound motivation. Previously focused on landscape subjects, he discovered a passion for still life photography. He began spending long hours shooting, studying and mastering the art of still life printing. His first serious investigation into the genre began in 1999 with a series entitled simply Flowers, which was followed by numerous collections of photographs depicting bottles, fabrics, eggs and portraits. His latest project is entitled “Works on Paper.” Mr. Zupcu’s prints and sepia-tones all of his own work [from bio]

I find the work of Ion Zupcu really amazing. The finesse of his images, the creativity to depict simple objects with an artistic perspective and the play of light are amazing. You can feel his photographs, with the incredible shallow depth of field and tonality that only large format cameras can achieve. His later project, “Work on Paper” has been published in a beautiful book that I had the pleasure to browse few days ago. The beauty of simplicity.

People don’t have time to stop and discuss the way they feel about shapes, styles, and objects they see. So my images are a conversation with myself, a diary of what I see. I chose the edge of paper as the focus, to leave the rest of the image a mystery.- Ion Zupcu


© Ion Zupcu

 

 

 

 

 

 

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