Book Highlight- Abstrakt, Ernst Haas

blogEntryTopperDelighted to see that Steidl will once again be publishing another collection of work by Austrian born photographer Ernst Haas. If it is as good as Color Correction mentioned here then we are in for a treat. It is due to be released in late May 2018. Abstrakt is a collection of photographs selected by Ernst Haas for a two-projector 25-minute film he worked on until his death in 1986. The photographs span his entire career in color from 1952 to 1984. Many of the photographs were shown in Life magazine’s first color issue devoted to Haas’ 1953 story on New York, “Images of a Magic City,” and in his 1962 solo exhibition Ernst Haas: Color Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, the first color retrospective at that institution. The photographs in this book show various abstractions―from street detritus to torn posters and other found objects. Haas considered this project to be the culmination of his work in photography.

Kaos and UFO

blogEntryTopperIf you have €1250 burning a whole in your pocket then you could do worse than investing in Taschen’s latest ‘baby sumo’ size book -Kaos, of the work of the renowned Scottish photographer, Albert Watson. But hurry as it goes up by €500 on January1st. 2018. Be aware however that it does not come with the necessary accessory -a taschen book stand
If you are not endowed with the necessary cash may I recommend the excellent UFO book of 2010. Published by Hardie Grant Books it is still in print and at a fraction of the price of Kaos, around €60, UFO (unified fashion objectives) offers an excellent overview of this photographers work covering the period 1975-2008.


Albert Watson is one of the world s most successful fashion and commercial photographers. His striking images have appeared on more than 250 Vogue covers around the world, and have been featured in countless other publications such as Time, Vibe and on over 40 covers of Rolling Stone magazine.


Albert’s celebrity portraits include well-known and iconic movie stars, rock stars, rappers, supermodels, even President Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II (Watson was the official Royal Photographer for Prince Andrew’s wedding to Sarah Ferguson).


The production values of this book are very high. Printed on quite a weighty soft lustre paper, the black and white photos are neutral to warm in colour and colour photos have body and nuance. The binding is of a high quality which allows pages to lay pretty flat when open, a great help when viewing double page spreads. There are also many full page bleeds.



The book focuses mostly on Watson’s fashion and advertising work and if you are a studio photographer and fashion interests you well you are in the hands of a master here. Technical mastery of lighting and equipment to exacting compositions are on display here. There is so much in this book of over 400 pages.





I’m sure Taschen’s book will be excellent also, but for those of us who cannot rise to the very high cost and can forgo the very latest work (and the faux chimpanzee fur fitting), well UFO is your best option.

Kamera8 exhibition


New exhibition and education venue

Delighted to see a new visual arts venue opening up especially one with a strong emphases on photography. Located in Wexford town, they have just had their Inaugural Photography Group Exhibition as part of the Wexford  Féach Foto Event , organized in collaboration with the Wexford Arts Council and funded by Creative Ireland. For more information visit their website here. Kamera 8 describes themselves as follows:-

Kamera 8 is an art co-operative,  also an exhibition and education space for photography and visual art. Located in the heart of the historic town of Wexford, Ireland, Kamera 8 sets out with a cultural agenda focused on standards, innovation, relevant education and cultural exchange between Ireland and correspondent art organisations throughout the world.  Kamera 8 will be working with both artists and members of the public in creating an active and democratic artistic hub, a space for exhibitions, knowledge and dialogue, with the goal of growing and nurturing the public’s interest in photography and visual art in the context of the wider cultural life of Wexford and Ireland.  Founded by photojournalist Claudio Nego, curator Anya von Gosseln and photographer Michael Snoek, with several decades of experience between of them and strong professional backgrounds, Kamera 8 creates the premises for a high standard approach but also for an integrative, multicultural experience.
Wishing them every success in the coming years.

Alexey Titarenko on The Artist Series

blogEntryTopperHaving first mentioned Alexey Titarenko book The City is a Novel here it became one of my favourite books of 2015. Great to see Ted Forbes video of Alexey in his excellent The Artist Series. A highly recommended series of videos allowing photographers to talk about their work and inspirations. Here is a sample of the book. As he writes in his essay City of Shadows, at the start of the book, “Universal emotions perpetuated during the last century…constitute the main themes of my photographs, to the extent of transforming the most documentary among them into elements of a novel — not reportage, but a novel, whose central theme is the human soul.”


Book Highlight: Irving Penn | Centennial

blogEntryTopperTo mark the centennial of the birth of American photographer Irving Penn, the Met in New York are mounting what they say will be the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition to date of his work. To coincide with this they are also publishing a large format book Irving Penn- Centennial, which looks like a must buy for fans of this photographer. Exhibition details here

Britain in focus

Britain in Focus: A Photographic History is a new 3 part BBC series in which Eamonn McCabe celebrates Britain's greatest photographers, sees how science allowed their art to develop, and explores how they have captured our changing lives and country. First showing on BBC4 Monday 6th. March 2017 at 9pm. More details here

Art books of the year 2016

These books are my favourite books I bought in 2016, not necessarily published for the first time in that year. Normally these are exclusively photography books but this year I’m including some art books as they can be inspirational in the photographic process. So in this first post I’ll mention the art books.

Having found inspiration in photographing birds in the past number of years, I was naturally attracted to this book.The Book of the Bird celebrates the bird in art with an elegant, international collection of paintings, illustrations and photographs, featuring all kinds of birds from the smallest tits and wrens to colourful exotics. Interspersed though the illustrations are short texts giving background to the pictures and information on bird species. Beautifully reproduced this is a little visual treasure. Check it out here

Many photographers work in projects and although Matisse did not do so nevertheless certain motifs crop up in his work time and time again. This book brings together for the first time the rich collection of Matisse’s paintings of interiors and windows. The distinguished art historian Shirley Blum analyses more than fifty works, from the early painting Studio Under the Eaves (190102) to the great stained glass window at the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1947-51). With perceptive text and scores of luscious illustrations, Rooms with a View reveals the key role of the window in Matisse’s oeuvre. Book details here

Being an admirer of David Hockney’s work, this new book naturally caught my attention. This is a large format book which deals with the relationship between painting, photography and optical instruments like the Camera obscura. Generously illustrated, it is in a conversational style between artist David Hockney and art historian and critic Martin Gayford. Topics discussed are what happens when we try to express reality in two dimensions? Why is the ‘Mona Lisa’ beautiful and why are shadows so rarely found in Chinese, Japanese and Persian painting? Why are optical projections always going to be more beautiful than HD television can ever be? How have the makers of images depicted movement? What makes marks on a flat surface interesting? You get the idea. This may all sound a bit academic but it does not come across that way, and if you are creative person these can be your concerns. As David Hockney has used photography quite a lot in his career, the medium is referred to throughout the book. The reproductions are excellent and the book has the knack of offering up images which you might not easily come across or have considered giving time to. Highly recommended. Details here

Book Highlight: Valparaiso - Sergio Larrain

Aperture’s monograph Sergio Larrain was my book of the year 2013. You can read about it here . If you missed that volume, I am happy to see that his most famous book Valparaiso has just been republished with extra photos which were not in the original publication.
Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain (1931-2012) published very few books during his lifetime, but perhaps the most feted among them was Valparaiso. He photographed this Chilean seaport throughout his career, but it was in the early 1960s, when he returned to his homeland after travelling the world for many years as a Magnum photographer, that it became a focus for his attention. He saw it as 'a rather sordid yet romantic city', standing between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, falling into a slow decline as its trading importance faded away, yet still retaining hints of beauty and magic. Now published in English for the first time with an introduction by Agnes Sire as well as a specially written text by Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, this new edition of Valparaiso is based on a layout that Larrain designed in 1993, in response to the original French edition of 1991. It also includes a selection of previously unpublished photographs taken between 1952 and 1992, expanding the original 36 images to a total of 120. This intimate book features handwritten notes and texts by the artist himself, allowing us to share his singular vision of the world and its moments of grace.
The Aperture publication featured much of this work and the printing was excellent. I only hope the same high values will be again evident in this welcome book. A must buy for Larrain fans. RRP €50 but The Book Depository currently has it for around €30

Pete Sousa-White House Photographer