Alexey Titarenko: The City Is a Novel

blogEntryTopperThe City is a Novel is the first major monograph of the Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko, devoted to over 20 years of his work (1991- 2014) The book features City of Shadows his poetic essay on this home city of St. Petersburg as well as three other cities, Venice, Havana and New York. This retrospective is not to be missed by fans of his work. It is published by Damian. Documentary on Titarenko can be viewed on his website here

Retrospective Books

I must admit to having a soft spot for retrospective books. One of the latest I got was Harry Gruyaert see here and in true fashion gives the viewer an overview of the visual concerns, stylistic changes, if any, and development of the photographer over time. If coming to a photographer’s work for the first time a retrospective book can be the springboard for further discovery. With that in mind I would like to highlight two books from very different photographers which are about to hit the shelves and have piqued my interest.

The Austrian photographer Josef Hoflehner has produced many books in the last 20 years or so, none of which I acquired at the time of publication, so this new retrospective is an ideal opportunity for me to get really acquainted with his work which comes across at times as similar to Michael Kenna. Josef Hoflehner Retrospective 1975-2015 is a large format book published by teNeues will retail around €90. Some of his work and profile can be seen on Artsy

Jane Bown the celebrated photographer of The Guardian newspaper died in 2014 aged 89. In 2009 a book of her work for that paper, Exposures was published but now seems to be out of print. So it is great to see Jane Bown- A lifetime of Looking, hitting the shelves. Edited by Luke Dodd, this book is said to present the most comprehensive collection of the photographer's work - created during the 1940s through the 2010s. Published by Guardian Faber Publishing will cost around €35

Second Skin

South Tipperary Arts Centre in conjunction with The National Craft Gallery are showing Second Skin in the Main Guard Clonmel from Nov.4th- 6th Jan 2016. For anyone interested in Irish Craft Fashion, and indeed fashion photography, they will find this interesting. More details can be found here

DesignFest Clonmel

DesignFest Clonmel takes place 16-21 November. It is a collaboration between Limerick institute of Technology – Limerick School of Art & Design, Tipperary County Council and Irish Design 2015. It looks behind the scenes of the digital world we live in giving us a chance to meet some of the influencers in this ever-changing industry, and will present some of the work at the cutting edge where media, arts and digital design connect.
The Festival will host a range of exhibitions, workshops, lectures and audio-visual presentations, and a spectacular multimedia installation at the Main Guard on Saturday 21st.
DesignFest Clonmel is all about sharing, inspiring and creating. Most of the festival events are free to attend and open to all, though there are limited places for each. Come along to DesignFest Clonmel to hear successful artists, designers and film­makers share their insights, experiences and tips to inspire you in your own creative pursuits. For list of events visit website

Michael Kenna 2016 Calendar

blogEntryTopperAs an addition to this entry, Michael Kenna’s 2016 calendar from Nazraeli Press will mark the their 20th year to feature his work. Printed on an exclusive, uncoated, natural Japanese paper using Daido black ink, the duotone photos are life-size ( if not a little larger) when compared to his gallery prints and come as close to the originals as possible. I have got a number of these through the years and are really wonderful. Also they can easily be framed. Click the photo above to see the content on the Nazraeli UK site.

Harry Gruyaert

To accompany Harry Gruyaert's retrospective exhibition, at the Magnum Print Room in London, Thames & Hudson have produced a beautiful book which covers the photographer’s work from the early 1970s to 2012 but most of the work is from the 1980’s-90’s. This is a wonderful collection of images and if you are unfamiliar with his work and interested in colour street photography, it is worth seeking out to have a look.



Harry Gruyaert was born in 1941 in Antwerp, Belgium. He began freelance work in Paris, while working as a director of photography for Flemish television. Cinema was a big influence on him especially the work of the Italian director Antonioni. In 1981 he joined Magnum Photos and became a full member in 1986.


Gruyaert style is somewhat formal which combined with his colour palette gives his photos a somewhat contemplative feel, a quiet detachment.


The book is beautifully produced and well printed. Most of the photos were taken with Kodachrome film. As can be seen from the book photos, layout is very clean, one image to a page without any text and no photos span the gutter. Printing quality is very good, as good as Gruyaert has ever received.


I compared some photos from the retrospective to the reproduction in his 1986 monograph Lumieres Blanches (top photo) and happy to see that files have been revisited and reaccessed.


Reds in general have slightly reduced luminance applied thus reducing clipping resulting in greater detail. In his photo above, Belgique, Waterloo, 1980,The area around the car, sky and gable have greater contrast and detail is easier to read.




Along with thumbnails there is a full list of caption and dates in the appendix.


As a single volume, this is great to have. Also worth mentioning at this point is his excellent book Edges, a visual essay on where land and sea meet. Some photos from this are in the retrospective but seen as a whole it is a great experience. Published by Mets & Schilt, Amsterdam it is a beautifully designed book with one photo every second page in a large landscape format.


This may be difficult to get now but if you like the retrospective, then you not be disappointed in this wonderful lyrical book.

Interview on vimeo here

The Language of Dreams

Crawford Gallery
Just opened in the Crawford Art Gallery Cork is an exhibition titled The Language of Dreams. The exhibition examines the influences on Irish art of new ideas regarding creativity, the nature of reality and the hidden depths of the human mind. Containing strands of artistic expression ranging from late nineteenth century Symbolism to Surrealism and late twentieth century Photo-Realism the exhibition includes photographs by one of the foremost promoters of Surrealism in Britain and Ireland, Roland Pentrose.
JC-030021The exhibition continues until 6th February 2016

Eliot Erwitt- Contact Sheets

Eliot Erwitt give some insights into his photography approach in his usual comic style.

British Wildlife Photography Awards 2015

The British Wildlife Photography Awards for 2015 have been announced and once again the standard of photography is phenomenal. The overall winner is Barrie Williams for his image of gannets on a cliff, ‘On The Edge’ above. There were sixteen separate categories including animal behaviour, urban wildlife, habitat, animal portraits, marine life, the hidden secret world that lies in the undergrowth and a special award for wildlife in HD Video. Also two junior categories and a school award - to encourage young people to connect with nature through photography. Lets hope the exhibition travels to Ireland this year. Have a look at the winners here

Book Highlight - Forms of Japan

Michael Kenna’s Forms of Japan, will be a comprehensive retrospective of his photographs of Japan. To be published by Prestel in September 2015, the book will include previously unpublished images plus many of the photographs previously published in his Nazraeli Press titles.


Having got a number of Kenna’s book in the past decade or so I can honestly say that he is always well served when it comes to quality reproductions and book design, in no small part from his own input into the process. Nazraeli Press offer the hightest quality reproductions but have been out of print I believe for a while. So if you have not got Hokkaido or Japan then this Prestel publication is one not to be missed.
Sample from book