Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2014

Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2014 - Finalists' Portfolios from Leica Camera on Vimeo.

Book Highlight - Revelations Wynn Bullock


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According to the press release, Wynn Bullock: Revelations offers the most comprehensive assessment of the photographer's extraordinary career in nearly forty years. Produced by the High Museum of Art in partnership with the Center for Creative Photography to accompany a traveling exhibition, this retrospective traces Bullock's evolution from his early experimental work of the 1940s, through the mysterious black-and-white imagery of the 1950s and the colour light abstractions of the 1960s, to his late metaphysical photographs of the 1970s. The book presents 110 images, including some from the Bullock estate that have never been published before. An essay by the High's Curator of Photography Brett Abbott explores the nuances of Bullock's approach to photography and its fascinating relationship to the history of science and philosophy. All I can say is that it is long overdue. For release in June 2014. Published by University of Texas Press. Get it while you can. UPDATE Publication put back until late July 2014.
Conversations with the Masters interview 1971
Bullock website

Dvorak - Serenade for wind, cello and doublebass Op.44


Michael Collins, London Winds and RNO play Dvorak’s Serenade for Wind. Such life enhancing music.

One Picture at a Time - Gunnar Smoliansky

blogEntryTopperIn 2012 I discovered the photography of the Finnish photographer, Pentti Sammallahti. Last year (2013) I had another lovely discovery, that of the Swedish photographer Gunnar Smoliansky. His first ever exhibition in the UK, at the age of 80, was held in the Michael Hopper Gallery in London and I subsequently read about it in Black and White Photography Magazine. Impressed by the photography in the magazine, I sought out his retrospective book One Picture at a Time published by Steidl in 2009.

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The book covers his entire career, at the time of publication, 1952-2008 and is one generous book containing as it does over 230 tritone printed plates.

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Smoliansky has said that he dislikes getting involved in projects preferring instead to take one picture at a time. A great title for the book, as the viewer is asked to experience the pictures one by one. There is no sequencing, images sit side by side independent of each other, strong, bold, enigmatic, playful, abstract, tender.

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As Gerry Badger says in his concise essay in the book, ‘Smolliansky is not making art but responding to life’

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At times one see’s the influence of photographers like Lee Friendlander, Aaron Siskind or even Andre Kertész. His compositional style is clean, precise, one might say classical.

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Smoliansky has said that ‘You need fresh eyes and not experience when you are about to take a photograph'

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The book also contains an essay by Marie Lundquist which is nicely spread out, a page at a time, throughout the book, encouraging one to read it as you encounter it.

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As to the production of this book I can have only the highest of praise. Printed on a nicely weighted warm paper stock, the tritone printing is up to Steidl’s high standards. About 30cm x 30cm, it comes in a cloth bound hard cover with dust jacket.

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At time of writing it seems difficult to get new but hopefully a second edition will come soon. This photographer deserves to be better known worldwide.

Gunnar Smoliansky’s website

The Decisive Moment Henri Cartier-Bresson

A classic photograph of the 20th Century

A date for your 2014 diary?

LUMIX festival for young photojournalism from Lumix Festival on Vimeo.


The 4th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism will be held from June 18th - June 22nd 2014 in Hanover Germany. Check out details here.

My books of the year-2013

blogEntryTopperThis year has been a very good year of for photography books. The picture above shows my top five. But the top place goes to Agnes Sire’s book on the Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain.

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Published this year, one year after his death and some 40 odd years after he gave up professional photography, SERGIO LARRAIN is a welcome reminder of this man’s sensitive and poetic vision. I say reminder, but in truth, much of this work is new to me which makes it all the more exciting. Agnes Sire has collected around 200 works by Larrain. Most of the photographs were taken between 1951-1963 approx.

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His photos have a lovely visual movement to them while at the same time placing the viewer in a contemplative space which is part of the genius of Larrain.

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“A good picture is born from a state of grace. Grace becomes manifest when one is freed from conventions, free as a child in his first discovery of reality. The game is then to organize the triangle.” SL

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The production values for this book are high. A comfortable size, 30 x 22cm, it handles well and the reproductions are quite fine. Layout design is unfussy, serving the work well. There are a number of double page spreads but I must say minimal damage is done to the many images due to content and the very good binding. In short the book looks good, feels good and is good.

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As well as the photographs we find out about the photographer from copies of handwritten letters and photocopies of notebooks and texts which goes into his philosophy of life. An essay by Gonzalo Leiva Quijada tracing his life rounds off his portrait.

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This is a book I will treasure, and learn from in the years to come.
Sargio Larrain published by Aperture 2013

Video
Sergio Larrain Retrospective Rencontres d’Arles France

My other books of the year are:-

  • INTO THE ORIENT by Marc Riboud. Editions Xavier Barral See Blog
  • ONE PICTURS AT A TIME by Gunnar Smolainsky. Steidl. My discovery of the year. Review to come.
  • GENESIS by Sebastiao Salgado. Tashen See Blog
  • SUDEK -THE LEGACY OF A DEEPER VISION. Hirmer Verlag. Got late 2012 but I’ll include it for 2013


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World Press Photo Exhibition


blogEntryTopperThe World Press Photo exhibition is showing in the chq building in Dublin from November 30th - December 22 2013
The exhibition "aims to inspire understanding of the world through the highest quality in photojournalism”.
Check out:-
http://www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2013
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/video/?vid=1.1610761
If going to exhibition well there’s an app for that!  
http://www.worldpressphoto.org/app.

Marc Riboud - VERS L'ORIENT

blogEntryTopperIn 2009 at the age of 86, Marc Riboud received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sony World Photography Awards in Cannes France, his home country. In 2012, Editions Xavier Barral published Vers l’Orient (into the Orient) which focuses on early work by Riboud. In 1955 left France on a trip to the East, traveling to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China and Japan. In all it took him 3 years.
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A Magnum photographer, he was mentored by none other than Henri Cartier-Bresson who encouraged him to go. This we find out in the Short essay the Riboud writes in the book. “I often found letters from Henri waiting for me at General Delivery in Kabul, in Jaipur, in Madras, in Ahmedabad, or in some Indonesian city whose name I forget.” 

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As to the content of these letters, little is revealed. Riboud does tell us “Henri again as he was when I met him – infused with that determination to proclaim what he believed to be the right way to photograph, to look at painting, to understand a country, to shun the picturesque, to ‘think’ a story, to ‘organise it in the mind;’ and of course to see – to learn to see – form and beauty.” 

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Editions Xavier Barral have presented this previously published work in the form of five books in a box. The books by themselves are small and unassuming. Measuring about 190mm square, each have about 64 pages.

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The attention to detail is excellent from the beautiful linen cover to the lovely matt paper stock to the binding. All this combines to make the work feel precious, a quality which the work exudes. Riboud work has an elegance and poetry that is supported with this presentation.

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The reader is well served and I can have only have the height of enthusiasm for this collection.

Marc Riboud website

Contacts with Marc Riboud (YouTube)