Happy New Year

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My favourite Books of the Year 2015

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As we come to the end of 2015 it’s time to share with you my favourite books I bought during the year. It has been a year in which ‘retrospective’ books caught my eye and heart. First up is Josef Hoflehner Retrospective 1975-2015.

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Really the book contains only a couple of photos taken prior to 2002 so the work is taken from the many book he published between then and now. But having published over a dozen books in that time, there is a lot to choose from. And indeed there is a lot here in this teNeues publication.

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With excellent printing quality, this large format (12inx13in ) book has over 200 black and white images, presented in a straight forward style, one square formatted photo per page. They are not presented in chronologically or grouped by publication but are mixed up, grouped in pairs perhaps of similar theme or others for contrast of content. This makes for a lively read through the book.

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As can be seen from my illustrations, all photos float on the page which creates a quiet viewing environment which benefits the work.

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I must admit that I have not got one of his books before but became aware of his work through magazines and on line. If you find his work interesting and inspiring and you have not got any of his books then this retrospective will give you a lot and is highly recommended.

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Next up is Harry Gruyaert’s retrospective book published by Themes & Hudson which I wrote about earlier in the year here.

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Likewise another great book which is reviewed below is On This Earth, A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt. It’s a beautiful soulful publication.

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The City is a Novel by Alexey Titarento and Small Things in Silence by Yamamoto Masao were also great buys in 2015 and I will write more on them in the new year.

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On This Earth, A Shadow Falls- Nick Brandt

blogEntryTopperNick Brandt started photographing the animals of East Africa around the year 2000 and in 2005 produced the first book, On This Earth. Since then two more books have been published, A Shadow Falls and Across the Ravaged Land. This particular volume, which I got this year, is the Artist's Edition book, entitled, On this Earth, a Shadow Falls, (Big Life Editions) was published in 2010, combining the best 90 photos from the first two books, in a larger volume with much superior printing to the first two books.

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Brandt’s work is nothing like the colour documentary style that is prevalent in wildlife photography today. He photographs on medium format using black and white film and does not use telephoto or zoom lenses. The resulting work is a combination of wide panoramas and close up portraits. He photographs the animals as he would a person.

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Brandt has said "You wouldn't take a portrait of a human being from a hundred feet away and expect to capture their spirit; you'd move in close."

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In his afterword in On This Earth, Brandt explains the reasons for the methods he uses:
“I’m not interested in creating work that is simply documentary or filled with action and drama, which has been the norm in the photography of animals in the wild. What I am interested in is showing the animals simply in the state of Being. In the state of Being before they are no longer are. Before, in the wild at least, they cease to exist. This world is under terrible threat, all of it caused by us. To me, every creature, human or nonhuman, has an equal right to live, and this feeling, this belief that every animal and I are equal, affects me every time I frame an animal in my camera. The photos are my elegy to these beautiful creatures, to this wrenchingly beautiful world that is steadily, tragically vanishing before our eyes.”

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His work is at once monumental and reflective. There is an intimacy to the images and an unhurried gaze which reveals and rejoices in the personality of these magnificent creatures. There is real engagement with the animals by Brandt and it leaps off the pages. They are shown at rest and reflective, or on the move, alert, in communal gatherings, supportive and protective.

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The book itself is a very fine example of quality printing. Large, 14in by 15in it’s hardcover is bound in linen with an inset cover plate. The pages inside is like fine photographic baryta paper. Most photos are printed in a light sepia and the quality binding allows the book to open pretty flat to view the panoramas that can stretch to 26 inches or so.

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A quality package all round and worth seeking out by the animal and photographer lover alike.

Nick Brandt gives some background to the photos on his website here


5th. Lumix Festival

The 5th LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism takes place from Wednesday, June 15th until Sunday, June 19th, 2016 in Hanover Germany. Staged every two years the festival attracts young photojournalists from all over the world. All students and professional photojournalists under the age of 35 are welcome to submit their work for the 5th LUMIX festival and based on those submissions 60 photojournalists will be invited to exhibit their work during the festival. The exhibitions accompany an attractive program which includes portfolio-reviews, lectures, panel-discussions, guided tours and a technique showroom.

The highlights of each festival day are the evening lectures delivered by internationally renowned photographers. The end of the festival is marked by the closing party on Saturday evening, which hosts the granting ceremonies of the FREELENS Award, the LUMIX Multimedia Award, the Lammerhuber Photography Award and the HAZ Audience Award.

The festival aims to be a platform for discussions, a picture show and a talent forum that appeals to professional picture editors and an interested expert audience as well as those who simply love photography. More information can be found here

LUMIX festival for young photojournalism from Lumix Festival on Vimeo.

Walker Evans- Depth of field

WE_bookYet another retrospective book is about to hit the shelves, Walker Evans: Depth of Field. Evans was one of the key American photographers who changed the course of art photography in that country from the domination of modernist abstraction to a more socially committed documentary photography. This book, published to coincide with an exhibition of the same name, promises to be quite comprehensive in it’s coverage. The photos in the book range from his earliest images taken in the early 1930’s with a vest pocket camera, to his final photos from the 1970’s, using the then new SX-70 because his regular equipment became too heavy to carry around. The book has the benefit of commentary from two of Evan’s longtime friends, photographers John T. Hill and Jerry Thomson. It is a large book 10 inches square approx. 408 pages, 350 b/w and 50 colour photos. It is published by Prestel. Price around €75.
Link to short video on Evans here

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.

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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

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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


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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


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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
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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.