zaterdag 24 februari 2018

a Fascinating Testament to the lasting Power of Catalan’s Cultural Independence IZAS RABIZAS Y COLIPOTERRAS Juan Colom Photography


CELA, Camilo José. Izas, Rabizas y Colipoterras. Rocafort and Barcelona: Editorial Lumen, 1964. Quarto, original photographic laminated boards, later brown printed dust jacket.

First edition, with later limited edition dust jacket, number 123 of only 200 dust jackets printed following Cela’s 1989 Nobel Prize for Literature, featuring 28 black-and-white photogravures of Barcelona prostitutes by Juan Colom.

“From 1958 to 1961, Joan Colom surreptitiously photographed the lively social sphere of Barcelona’s red light district, known as the Ravel. Colom exhibited this series to great acclaim at a gallery in Barcelona as well as throughout Spain. Then in 1964 he made the fateful decision to publish it in book form, collaborating with the novelist Camilo José Cela. Izas, Rabizas y Colipoterras flaunted a theatrical, black humor infused with Goya-esque wisdom about matters of the flesh. Its charged images were accompanied by a provacative, idiomatic text written in Catalonian dialect. The dictatorial Franco regime took such offense at the book that Colom stopped photographing, possibly in fear for his life… Taking the profane as a route to the sublime, the shifting positions that Colom navigated as a photographer, voyeur, and participant were echoed in Cela’s text. With fine sardonic humor, Cela muses about life in the Raval, making rich use of various literary genres and voices…Colom’s intense involvement in the drama of the Raval and his affection for its people give his work a special piquancy… Colom, his work, and his daring book remain a fascinating testament to the lasting power of Catalan’s cultural independence” (Deborah Garwood). Parr & Badger I:220.

une bibliothèque - Maison européenne de la photographie
Attinger, Irene
ISBN 10: 2330075197 / ISBN 13: 9782330075194
Dans le prolongement de l'ouvrage "Une Collection", publié en 2015 et devenu collector, cette nouvelle publication invite ceux qui aiment les livres à découvrir l'exceptionnelle collection de livres de photographie appartenant à la Maison Européenne de la Photographie. Les cent livres présentés dans cette édition sont choisis parmi les 32 000 références de la bibliothèque de la MEP qui en font la bibliothèque de photographie la plus grande d'Europe et témoignent ainsi de l'importance du livre dans l'histoire de la photographie. L'ouvrage est une sélection de livres d'auteurs, choisis tant pour leur qualité éditoriale qu'artistique, révélant un rapport particulier entre l'oeuvre photographique et l'objet livre. - Nombre de page(s) : 240 - Poids : 1582g

FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2007
Joan Colom and Brassai

Joan Colom and Brassai (Gyula Halasz) have a lot in common. Both started photography after the age of 30. They were fascinated with street life both in the day and at night. Both chose specific areas in which to work. Brassai’s was the 13th arrondissement in Paris. Colom’s the neighborhood of El Raval in Barcelona. Both photographed people in those areas who would be considered marginal. Lastly, both often cropped their images to find more perfect forms.

The Fundacio Foto Colectaniain in Barcelona published a book called Brassai - Paris Colom - Barcelona: Resonancias which compares these two artists and their working methods. The first half is dedicated to Brassai and the second to Colom.

The work of Brassai is, of course, the more well known of the two. The books Paris By Night and The Secret Paris of the 30’s have seen many editions and printings since their first appearance. Brassai had written of this time in his life,

“During my first years in Paris, beginning in 1924, I lived at night…we reveled in the “beauty of sinister things.” Sometimes impelled by an inexplicable desire, I would even enter some dilapidated house, climb to the top of its dark staircase, knock on a door and startle strangers awake, just to find out what unsuspected face Paris might show me from their windows.”

Much of Brassai and his work is common knowledge but what is interesting about Resonancias is that we are shown several of Brassai’s photos as they were exposed on film in full uncropped versions and overlaying the photograph are crop lines specifying how he manipulated the final image.

The book poses that since Brassai was a writer as well as photographer, he was more accepting of his art’s need for revising after the first attempt. Brassai was using the equivalent of a medium format camera mounted on a tripod. The slow film available also meant a need to provide the light (magnesium powder) in order to make proper exposures and freeze his moving subjects. Using these tools, the edges of his photographs were bound to be imprecise and require alterations. Much in the way a writer toils over word choice and grammar in order to create a finer sentence.

Joan Colom, on the other hand, was using a small, unobtrusive 35mm camera to describe what he was witnessing in the streets of El Raval in Barcelona. His need for altering his photographs arose from the fact that often he shot without looking through the viewfinder. Unlike Brassai who was working most often with the cooperation of those he was photographing, Colom wished to go unnoticed, searching for “images that touch me” and remain authentic.

Because of Colom’s way of shooting, his revisions of the images often wind up with varied frame ratios. Some stay close to the 1:1.5 ratio of 35mm and others are wildly cropped into a vertical panoramic shape that narrow our view and focus our attention.

El Raval, was the red light district of Barcelona where he photographed between 1958 to 1961. Colom’s camera weaves through the crowd grabbing at gesture, expression and body language and often narrowing down the information with a sketch-like directness. Whether he is photographing negotiations for sex or picking out faces in the street life, he does so without judgement. He achieves in his description a tone of the barrio that gives a sense of comradeship among its patrons.

A different book published by Steidl last year called Joan Colom: Raval (French edition is Joan Colom: Les Gens Du Raval) gives us a look at 83 photographs from this body of work. The book is well designed and printed using scans from Colom’s prints instead of negatives. In the reproductions we often see the large grain of the images fall in and out of focus from imprecise enlargements (perhaps something only printers are sensitive to).

When some of this work was published in 1964 as Izas, Rabizas y Colipoterras with writing by Camilio Jose Cela it was met with disapproval from the Franco regime because of the frankness of its subject matter. Partly due to this controversy, Colom put down his camera for twenty years and didn’t return to photography until the 1980’s.

When one thinks of these two artists, Brassai and Colom, it is common to overlook the surrounding cultural environment in which they were working. For Brassai, it was the burgeoning intellectualism of Paris in the 1930’s where he was surrounded by the likes of Henry Miller, Picasso, Mattisse, Giacometti and Jaques Prevert.

For Colom however, it was a Spain repressed and culturally dulled by Francisco Franco.

Ein Fotograf, der nie einer sein wollte

Porträt Joan Colom Altemir

Er liebte die verruchten Viertel von Barcelona. Eigentlich wollte der Katalane seine Fotos niemandem zeigen, nur aufnehmen. Die ehrlichen Bilder der Menschen im Rotlicht-Milieu lösten einen Skandal in der Zeit unter Franco aus.

von Ilona Kolar

„Jetzt ist alles anders“, sagt der über neunzigjährige Katalane den vielen jungen Besuchern seiner Vernissagen, die ihn mit Fragen überhäufen. Und sie wissen gar nicht, wie lange der bescheidene Fotograf auf so viel - auch internationale - Anerkennung warten musste.

Buchhalter aus Barcelona

Joan Colom kam 1921  als Sohn kolumbianischer Einwanderer in Barcelona zur Welt. Seine Eltern hatten einen Blumenladen in der Straße Joaquin Costa nahe der Ramblas. Hier wuchs er auf, studierte Rechnungswesen und arbeitete zwei Jahre lang bei einem Reklamehersteller für Kinoplakate. Nach einer kurzen Zeit beim Militär begann er 1957 als Buchhalter bei einer Textilfirma, wo er bis zu seiner Pensionierung 1986 arbeitete.

Am Anfang war die doppeläugige Rollei

Erst mit 36 Jahren entdeckte er sein Interesse für die Fotografie. Colom kaufte sich eine doppeläugige Rollei und kurze Zeit später die Reportagekamera Leica. Er trat der „Agrupación Fotográfica de Catalunya“ (AFC) - Gesellschaft für Fotografie - bei und ist dort heute noch Mitglied. Um sich am Wochenende von der Arbeit abzulenken, zog er durch die Gassen des „verbotenen“ 5.  Distrikts. Dort fühlte er sich wohl, das war seine Welt. Hier entstanden zwischen 1958 und 1964 seine eindrucksvollen Streetfotografien des Milieus.

Autodidakt mit innovativem Blickwinkel

Aus der Hüfte schoss er Bilder von Menschen, die es zumeist gar nicht merkten. Prostituierte in High Heels, Miniröcken und enganliegenden Strickkleidern erregten genauso sein Interesse wie lachende Straßenkinder und engagierte Händler. Dadurch, dass er nicht durch den Sucher fotografierte, erfuhr er immer erst in der Dunkelkammer, welche Trophäen er von  seinen Wochenendausflügen mitbrachte. Im Gegensatz zum Ehrenkodex der Pressefotografen entwickelte er die Bilder nicht nur, sondern vergrößerte Ausschnitte oder machte aus Hochkant Querformat. Mit dieser Technik war er seiner Zeit weit voraus.

Foto Raval: Álbum (Gente de la calle), 1958-1964
Album Foto Raval, 1958-1964 © Joan Colom, Colección Fundació Foto Colectania 

Neue avantgardistische Fotografie

1960 war er Mitbegründer der Künstlergruppe „El Mussol“, aus der später die „Neue avantgardistische Fotografie“ entstand. Obwohl Joan Colom seine Fotos nur aus Leidenschaft machte und sie eigentlich nie ausstellen wollte, drangen sie dann doch an die Öffentlichkeit.

Kurze Jahre der Anerkennung

Coloms Bilder waren inzwischen in Ausstellungen zu sehen und er hatte den heute legendäre Bildband „Izas, Rabizas y Colipoterras“ veröffentlicht, mit den Texten des späteren Literaturnobelpreisträgers Camilo José Cela. Das Buch war so erfolgreich wie provokativ. Das prüde, von der Diktatur und seinen moralischen Auflagen geprägte spanische Volk war entsetzt von den unverblümten Aufnahmen der Prostitution, des Drogenhandels und Elends der armen Bevölkerung. Als dann auch noch eine der von Joan Colom fotografierten Frauen Anzeige gegen ihn erstattete, zog er sich zurück und fasste 20 Jahre keine Kamera mehr an.

Neue Welt und „alte“  Sichtweisen

Das Franco-Regime war beendet, Joan Colom pensioniert, Spanien erwachte und seine Bilder wurden plötzlich wieder beliebt. Colom, der eigentlich nie Fotograf sein wollte, hatte plötzlich wieder die Kamera in der Hand. 2002 bekam er den spanischen „Premio Nacional de Fotografía und 2003 die Goldmedaille für kulturelle Verdienste der Stadt Barcelona. Seine Fotos sind auf wechselnden Ausstellungen im In- und Ausland zu bewundern und im Besitz der Foto Colectania in Barcelona.

Joan Colom lebt immer noch in Barcelona und mit ein wenig Glück begegnet man ihm bei einem seiner Spaziergänge durch das Raval Viertel.

FS Redactie Datum 04/03/2007

Amsterdam - De laatste tijd lijken er steeds meer Spaanse kunstenaars ons koude kikkerlandje te bereiken. Spanje is hot! Letterlijk. Na exposities van bijvoorbeeld de immens populaire designer Jaime Hayón bij Vivid Vormgeving in Rotterdam is het nu de beurt aan fotograaf Joan Colom. De inmiddels 85-jarige fotograaf, afkomstig uit Barcelona, presenteert zijn werk (nu pas!) voor het eerst in Nederland. FOAM wijdt van 16 maart t/m 13 mei een expositie aan hem.

Joan Colom (1921) struinde drie jaar lang, elk weekend, door de rosse buurt van Barcelona, El Raval.

Gewapend met een Rollei-camera die hij uit discretie op zijn heup droeg, fotografeerde hij tussen 1958 en 1961 in een ruige zwart-wit stijl het dagelijkse leven van prostituees, werklozen en kinderen in de armste buurt van Barcelona. Dit resulteerde in een fotografisch essay met grote historische, sociologische en documentaire waarde. Colom had het idee dat hij door het te fotograferen deze wijk weer deel uit liet maken van de rest van de stad.

Joan Colom fotografeerde pas één jaar toen hij eind jaren vijftig begon met de serie ‘El Raval’. Naast zijn baan als boekhouder, sloot hij zich aan bij de belangrijkste fotografieclub van Catalonië. Met een aantal gelijkgestemden richtte hij zich op een nieuwe stijl van fotograferen die zich afzette tegen de op dat moment heersende regels. Wars van esthetiek kozen ze voor het weergeven van de realiteit, hoe hard en indringend deze ook zijn kon. Op een snapshot-achtige wijze (die doet denken aan het werk van tijdgenoten als William Klein en Robert Frank) wist hij de bewoners uit de buurt te vangen terwijl ze met elkaar flirtten, speelden of onderhandelden. Zijn rauwe zwart-wit foto’s laten de mysterieuze en intrigerende sfeer van de armoedige wijk zien, doorspekt met de openlijke seksualiteit en subtiele zelfverzekerdheid van de prostituees.

In 1961 vond de eerste tentoonstelling van Joan Colom’s serie ‘Raval’ plaats in het Aixelà in Barcelona, hierna reisde de tentoonstelling door Spanje. In 1964 werden de foto’s gepubliceerd in het boek ‘Izas, Rabizas y Colipoterras’. Het regime van Franco kon deze provocatieve publicatie niet waarderen. Joan Colom stopte met fotograferen door de controverse die ontstond rond het een boek. Het was in de tijd dat dictator Franco aan de macht was, dus je begrijpt hoe het culturele klimaat toen was. Pas in de jaren tachtig nam Joan Colom weer een camera ter hand. De laatste jaren krijgt zijn fotografie internatonaal steeds meer aandacht. In 2002 won hij de Spaanse Nationale Prijs voor de Fotografie en in 2006 exposeerde hij in voor het eerst buiten Spanje.

Ongepolijste juweeltjes van Colom
Eddie Marsman
23 maart 2007
Joan Colom (1921) werkte veertig jaar als boekhouder op hetzelfde kantoor in zijn geboortestad Barcelona. Rond zijn 35-ste kocht hij een camera en werd lid van een fotoclub. Die camera beviel hem maar de fotoclub niet: het ging hem niet om het schieten van mooie plaatjes. Hij meende dat fotografie de werkelijkheid moest laten zien. Die vond hij in de Raval, de rosse achterbuurt van de stad: de plek – ook in het Spanje van toenmalig dictator Franco – waar de publieke moraal haar ware gedaante toont.

Van 1958 tot 1961 struinde Colom er ieder weekend door de straten en fotografeerde de balts van man en vrouw. Hij werkte uit de losse pols, de camera op heuphoogte verscholen in zijn hand. Veel controle op wat er op zijn foto’s kwam had hij zo niet maar in de donkere kamer viel veel te repareren. Met dunne reepjes papier markeerde hij nauwgezet op proefdrukken de betere uitsnede – halve straten, muren en mensen verdwenen, wat scheef stond zette hij recht- om vervolgens de negatieven langs de aangegeven lijnen nog eens opnieuw af te drukken.

Begin jaren zestig had hij enkele exposities en in 1964 werden zijn foto’s door de schrijver – en latere Nobelprijswinnaar – Camilo José Cela gebruikt in een van zijn boeken. Erkenning zou je denken, maar het boek veroorzaakte nogal ophef. Waaruit die bestond en welk aandeel de foto’s erin hadden is niet helemaal duidelijk. Maar voor Colom was het voldoende om met fotograferen te stoppen.

De foto’s werden weggeborgen om pas na Coloms pensionering nu en dan weer op te duiken, meestal in overzichtsexposities van Catalaanse fotografie; in 2002 kreeg hij er een nationale onderscheiding voor. Een jaar later kwamen ze onder ogen van Henri Cartier-Bresson, aan het begin van zijn eigen aanmerkelijk succesvollere carrière eveneens een enthousiast fotograaf van het hoerenstraattheater. En zo kon het gebeuren dat de inmiddels 85-jarige Joan Colom pas vorig jaar in het Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Parijs zijn eerste buitenlandse expositie had. Deze is nu aangeland in het FOAM in Amsterdam.

Aantrekkelijke foto’s zijn het, althans voor wie van ruw houdt: groezelig zwart-wit, soms neigend naar onscherpte, broeierige schaduwen – het beeldgebruik is typerend voor de periode en de amateur Colom hanteerde het met opvallende verve. Een robuuste vrouw die in de deuropening van een café nog even haar onderkleding op orde brengt, een hebberige mannenhand oplichtend tegen het zwart van een rok; het zijn ongepolijste juweeltjes. Zijn steelse foto’s blijven ook na een halve eeuw nog even herkenbaar als aanstekelijk.

Maar als portret van de Raval is het geheel (75 foto’s, de catalogus bevat 50 meer) minder overtuigend. Een uithangbord boven een café of logement, een dansje achter een open deur – echt veel diepgang geeft het niet. Eigenlijk is de Raval niet meer dan een achtergrond waartegen bewoners en ‘gebruikers’ als figuranten optreden in een bijna tijdloos rollenspel.

Nergens ging Colom naar binnen, vrienden maakte hij niet, meedoen deed hij evenmin. Hij bleef een buitenstaander die het theater maar niet het leven uit de werkelijkheid wist te destilleren.

donderdag 22 februari 2018

The History of One of the most magnificent Collections of Photography Books in the World Une Bibliothèque Irène Attinger Photography

Since the Maison Européenne de la Photographie opened in Paris in 1996, Irène Attinger has been its head librarian. The library possesses over 32,000 books, published between 1950 and the present, which are freely available to the public. Irène Attinger looks back in her book at the origins and the evolution of this library, and shares her passion with The Eye of Photography.

Created in 1996, the library of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie is a veritable treasury of international fine photography publishing, covering the decades between 1950 and the present; it currently holds over 32,000 volumes. Among the works of photographers representative of the past sixty years, I have selected a hundred books that illustrate the wonderful editorial adventure in photobook publishing, from photogravure to digital printing. Initially dominated by exhibitions (the catalog) or built around literary texts, the photobook has become increasingly autonomous and won the status of a work of art in its own right. This is underscored, starting in the 2000s, by the proliferation of works about photobooks.

The selection featured in this volume does not aspire to be a “hit parade” of the most important publications or to a presentation of the most beautiful books. While a book’s scarcity and its market value may arouse a collector’s interest, they have no bearing on its merits from the perspective of the development of the art of photography. While the publication of a “coffee table book” may signal the artist’s status, it is clear that the majority of seminal books do not belong to this category. My intention in making my selection in Une Bibliothèque was to show the richness and the diversity of photobooks published in different countries and representing various cultures, and thus to contribute to a historical survey of the photobook and, by extension, to a history of the development of the art of photography.

My selection emphasizes monographs built around a distinct theme, whether social or political, rather than exhibition catalogs or comprehensive publications devoted to a single artist. Une Bibliothèque starts off with two books featuring photographic works designed specifically for the format: William Klein’s Life Is Good & Good for You in New York (Paris: Seuil, 1956) and Robert Frank’s The Americans (Paris: Delpire, 1958), both of which are milestones in the history of photography. Each in its own way invents a new form of photographic writing. Far from being simple carriers of images, these books propose, through their layouts, a veritable reevaluation of images, arranged in sequences or in pairs.

The impact of every photograph depends on how it relates to other photographs through its format and as part of a succession of images. As in cinematic montage, an inter-image comes to the fore. In the early 1960s, the deployment of a sequence or several sequences of photographs, whose meaning crystallizes through images alone or with the aid of text and captions, became the paradigm for many photography books.

Each of the books selected here presents an artist’s point of view, a personal universe, but also attests to a presence in the world anchored in time and space. The subjects covered may be of historical importance or reflect social phenomena in a given place and period, or yet reveal a space within, singular and intimate. Nevertheless, every work featured in this volume has a relationship with the universal, since they all bear witness to the collective and individual consequences of the way of the world on human consciousness, as well as to the photographer’s capacity to change our perception of the world. This relationship finds an expression in different cultural areas, in Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Africa.

I wanted to showcase French publishing, which is very vibrant and, at least as far the 1960s are concerned, often overlooked in scholarly publications released in the United Kingdom and the United States. The volume thus deliberately concludes with Bernard Plossu’s Voyages italiens (Xavier Barral, 2015).

Finally, I wanted to focus on the presence of women, so often left behind in a world of photography, which very much remains a masculine domain. Across the different publications featured in this volume, the reader will encounter statements made by photographers, underscoring how important the photobook is to them (Ralph Gibson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Luigi Ghirri, Bernard Plossu, Jeanloup Sieff, as well as David Goldblatt). In order to approach these unique works through a singular prism, I wrote brief presentations of the selected books, paying ample attention to the protagonists of book creation: photographers, writers, editors.

Jean-Luc Monterosso, the director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, formulated the institution’s mission: to bring together, in a single place, exhibition-quality prints, the printed page, and film. He has given me the opportunity to develop one of the largest photographic libraries in Europe. I would like to thank him for his support in the preparation and publication of Une Bibliothèque.

Irène Attinger

Irène Attinger is head of the library and bookstore at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

Une Bibliothèque: Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Published by Actes Sud

The Dutch Photobooks : 

Joan van der Keuken. Paris mortel. Mortal Paris. 1963. With dustjacket.
C de Boer Jr. Hilversum, 1963. First edition, first printing. Martin Parr, The Photobook, vol 1, page 248/249. Scarce photobook title! With the extrem scarce original dustjacket! Hardback with full off-white linen and dustjacket. 285 x 220 mm (11 x 8 1/2 in). 68 pages. 65 photographs in excellent photogravure printing. Text in dutch, english, french, german. Photos: Joan van der Keuken, Layout: Marinus H. van Raalte, printing: DEBO, Hilversum. One of the most important photobooks ever published! Japanese binding! Breath-taking photogravure printing!

Ed van der Elsken: Sweet Life. 1966. First american edition with dustjacket.
Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1966. First american edition, first printing. With the original dustjacket! Scarce! Martin Parr, The Photobook, vol 1, page 254/255. Frits Gierstberg, Rik Suermondt, The Dutch Photobook, page 120/121. Published in the same year (1966) and with the same content and layout regarding the book like the two german editions, the first spanish and first dutch edition. Two years later the french and the japanese editons were published (1968). So wordwide there were published in the sixties 7 different editions; with the identical content and layout regarding the book, but with different covers, dustjackets and slipcases. Hardback with dustjacket. 290 x 290 mm (11 1/2 x 11 1/2 in), 208 pages. 153 black&white photographs. Text and design by Ed van der Elsken.

Rineke Dijkstra: Beaches
DIJKSTRA, Rineke, UCCIA, Birgid
ISBN 10: 395212270X / ISBN 13: 9783952122709
Published by Codax Publisher, Zürich (Zurich), 1996
First edition, first printing. Hardcover. Silver paper-covered boards with tipped-in plate and title stamped in orange and black on cover; no dust jacket as issued. Photographs by Rineke Dijkstra. Essay (in German and English) by Birgid Uccia. Includes a list of plates, a biography, exhibition history, bibliography and awards. Designed by Weiersmüller Bosshard Grüninger. 56 pp., with 18 four-color plates finely printed on heavy matte paper. 13-5/8 x 9-5/8 inches.[Cited in Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: A History, Volume II. (London and New York: Phaidon, 2006).]. Near Fine (moderate surface wear, some smudging on the blank page opposite one plate [not affecting plate], else Fine). Rineke Dijkstra might be the most important photographer of portraits alive today. She channels August Sander through her own poet-soul photographing youth with brutal, unyielding generosity. Her people emerge from beaches, hospital rooms, indefinable space, to haunt us with their imperfect beauty and their fierce necessity of existence. These photographs heroicize individuals in a brazen way. Dijkstra isn't content with confirming that banality is truth. She gives us the truth of fiction, the theatrics of the psychological complexity. She lets us way, way inside. The smudged blood on the collar of a bullfighter is in dialogue with the thin stream of blood running down a new mother's leg as she clutches her hours-old infant with an uncertainty that is astonishing.From Rineke Dijkstra: "In the end, it's the individual that I'm after."From Parr and Badger: "When they first appeared in the 1990s, the portraits by the Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra caused more of a stir than any comparable imagery since Diane Arbus. Her first collection in particular, published as Beaches in this important photobook, resonated with her audience in a number of ways. The images related to the work of both Arbus and August Sander, two impeccable precedents, yet displayed an authoritative voice of their own. Their subject matter, adolescents in bathing suits, was edgy, but was handled by Dijkstra with sensitivity. Furthermore, the rigor of her presentation demonstrated an intellectual clarity and ambition that was enough to announce a major new voice in portraiture, possibly the trickiest of photographic genres to bring off successfully.".

Geert van Kesteren: Why Mister, Why?
Artimo, Amsterdam, 2004. First edition, first printing. At PhotoIreland Festival 2011 Martin Parr selected this title as one of the most important 30 photobook titles of the decade. The title was mentioned also in: Martin Parr, The Photobook, vol 2, page 258/259. Frits Gierstberg, Rik Suermondt, The Dutch Photobook, page 136/137. 802 photo books from the M.+M. Auer collection, page 790. Mint, unread, new condition. Stiff pictorial wrappers (as issued). 215 x 170 mm, throughout illustrated in colour, unpaginated, text in English and Arabic. Preface Jan Gruiters. Introduction Michael Hirsh. The first edition was simultaneously published in English/ Arab and in Dutch/ Arab. Both editions are long-time out of print. For the most part of 2003 and into 2004, van Kesteren made these images in a struggling Iraq, intertwining them with his personal experience of the situation in diary-like notes. In that way, this body of work resonates with an honesty found only when the narrator and photographer of a story are one and the same. The situation in Iraq, following the declaration of "mission accomplished," represented a culture clash of rare proportions, and van Kesteren was witness to what went wrong. He saw clouds of sadness coming from the mass graves created by the Saddam regime, while Shi`ites enjoyed their awakening freedom. Embedded within the ranks of US troops, he witnessed disgraceful raids on Iraqi citizens. And these accounts are presented here for the reader to see, feel, and try to understand. In a clear photojournalistic way, van Kesteren outlines why it will take a long time before the Iraqi people can enjoy the semblance of peace. Accompanying the images is an introduction by Newsweek senior editor Michael Hirsh, with whom Van Kesteren shared several tense moments in Iraq.

Viviane Sassen. Flamboya.
Contrasto, Rome. 2009. First edition, first printing. One of the best photobooks in 2010 (Photoeye, Santa Fe), selected by Alexa Becker (acquisitions editor) and Rinko Kawauchi (photographer). Hardcover (as issued). 240 x 300 mm (9.5 x 12 inch). 96 pages. 49 color illustrations. Essay: Edo Dijksterhuis and Moses Isegawa. Translation: Michael Gibbs. Layout: SYB. Condition: Outside with slightest trace of use, but with no defects. Inside excellent, flawless. Overall near mint condition! Collector`s copy! Flamboya includes photographs taken across Africa—from Cape Town to Kenya to Zambia—that disregard traditional boundaries of genres and tackle the problematic bond between photography, imperialism, and the colonial imagination. Viviane Sassen’s aesthetic vocabulary suggestively recalls documentary as much as staged photography and relies on a visual economy that invites the formulation of multiple interpretations. Seen through Sassen’s lens, the ethnic Other interrogates the traditional nexus laid between vision, knowledge, and power, which lies at the heart of the history and ideology of photography. "Viviane Sassen`s Flamboya brings together photographs from her recent visits to Africa. Though predominantly raised in the Netherlands, from the ages of two to five Sassen lived in a Kenyan village with her father, a doctor who worked at a neighboring polio clinic. The memories from the photographer`s early childhood are, as Edo Dijksterhuis describes in the book`s essay, "tinged with black." In 2001 at the age of 29, Sassen returned to Africa with a camera and began taking the gestural pictures that reflect her complex and loving relationship to the place. For some, her photographs may call to mind the work of Araki, Nan Goldin or even Wolfgang Tillmans, and yet Sassen has a way of seeing that remains her own.Flamboya includes primarily portraits that Sassen made collaboratively with her subjects, some spontaneous and others performative. Red clay, fabrics, concrete and the ocean provide the surreal backdrops to her collection of images. The portraits are unusual in that they emphasize the contours of the body, its movement, physicality and skin, rather than the facial features of the subjects, which are often obscured by harsh shadow or paint. The shadow and the paint, which appear throughout the book, seem to reference Sassen`s symbolic experience or memory of the ethnic `Other` - more certainly, it continually provokes questions in the viewer.The format of the book is atypical in its playful utilization of smaller pages, which aid to construct the intricate relationships between the sequenced images. These pages also make certain photographs feel secretive or hidden until they are unveiled by the reader, perhaps a considered parallel to the notion of the shadow in her photographs. Though a recent discovery, I`ve returned to Flamboya many times already for its recurring beauty and mystery - likely a book that I will not forget to open again." (Shane Lavalette) Shane Lavalette (born 1987, Burlington, VT) is a photographer currently living and working in Somerville, MA. In 2009, he received his BFA from Tufts University in partnership with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally. In addition, Lavalette is the founding editor of Lay Flat, a publication of contemporary photography and writing on the medium.

woensdag 21 februari 2018

Photographer Study All Zones off Peak Tom Wood Parr Badger II Street Photography

Tom Wood
All Zones Off Peak
Photographs: TOM WOOD
Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing
96 pages
Year: 1998
Comments: Hardcover with dust jacket, 248 mm x 298 mm.Ref Parr & Badger p308 the photobook Vol 2.

Fantastic concentration... an epic of the everyday – Mark Haworth Booth

I can not think of a more engaging body of contemporary work – Chris Killip

As good a set of photographs as one sees every five or ten years – if you're lucky – Lee Friedlander

Long out of print All Zones Off Peak is an extraordinary book. Wood spent over fifteen years and shot over 3,000 rolls of film photographing Liverpool and its people from a bus. Visually stunning and dramatically revealing it is a body of work of immense power.

Photographer Study – Tom Wood, All Zones off Peak

All images used in this post are copyrighted to the individual photographer stated and are only being used for educational purposes.

All Zones off Peak (Wood, T. (1998). All Zones off Peak. 1st Edition. England. Dewi Lewis Publishing.)  is a body of work by Photographer Tom Wood  and was recommended by my Tutor quite a while ago. After much searching and waiting, I finally managed to reserve a copy to view at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

The book is a result of a 15 year bus journey across Liverpool, where Wood photographs the world beyond the window as well as fellow travellers on the bus and waiting outside.

The first half of the  book is all in black and white, mostly taken in the reign of  Thatcher’s Government. The subjects appear to mirror the timeless effect of black and white in their everyday grey gestures and postures. Each picture is carefully thought out and composed. Some focus on the passing landscape outside and people going about their everyday life oblivious to the camera. In others he has concentrated on fellow passengers and in some cases has used a combination of the two. One image in particular titled Kensington 1988 was taken on the top deck of a bus. Wood has focused on a shop out of the window but in the top left corner of the frame are the hands of a male passenger reading a book and holding a cigarette. The bus is obviously stationery and he has also captured the bus stop sign with another sign directly above of an arrow pointing “To the Circus”. It is the tiny details like this that make his images so interesting and with each view another detail is revealed to the viewer in the never-ending layers of the story in his pictures.

In each picture it is quite clear that the  photographer is a passenger on the bus. Wood captures reflections in the glass, mirrors and parts of the window frame within the photo frame. His ability to capture the sometimes grey expressions of his subjects somehow suggests that the toil of their bus journey mirrors their everyday struggles in their life journey.

1983 (Netherton). Copyright Tom Wood

The second half of the book is in colour and appear more abstract with the use of reflections within reflections but equally still drawing the viewer in and creating a fascinating story.

In the accompanying text Mark Holborn quoted:

“The journey is the oldest narrative device”

It therefore seems quite appropriate that the last picture in the book is one of the photographer standing on the street and photographing the passengers on the bus. It appears that he has alighted at this final destination and is waiting for the bus to move off. Ironically many of the passengers appear to be looking at / watching him as opposed to the other way round.

London Road, City Centre, 1994. Copyright Tom Wood


Wood, T. (1998). All Zones off Peak. 1st Edition. England. Dewi Lewis Publishing.

All Zones Off Peak
This image is taken from Tom Wood’s All Zones Off Peak, a series of photographs taken from bus windows in Liverpool between 1979 and 1997 - years that exactly coincide with an unbroken period of Conservative government. At first glance they read like studies of the disenfranchised of the Northern inner cities. Wood’s bus journeys visually connect the regenerated areas of the city with more neglected, peripheral spaces: the declining high streets, areas of wasteland, cleared slums and abandoned houses of the inner-ring suburbs. But what is really interesting about Wood’s project is the slow-burning, cumulative effect of the series as a whole, a small selection taken from over 3000 rolls of film and 100,000 photographs. These photographs are not about capturing specific moments but the endlessly repeated routines and minimal, wordless communities produced by bus journeys.

Wood used a Leica camera with a quiet shutter and shot from the chest or stomach, allowing him to take photographs unobtrusively, in the manner of Walker Evans’s secretly-taken New York subway portraits. Rather than catching his subjects unawares, though, Wood reveals them in that semi-introspective, blank-faced mode we adopt in routine public spaces. All these unnamed people, absent-mindedly following their fixed timetables and prescribed routes – all inhabiting what Georges Perec called “the infra-ordinary,” the sphere of existence that lies beneath notice or comment, and within which “we sleep through our lives in a dreamless sleep”.

Mundane quote for the day: ‘Objects and words also have hollow places in which a past sleeps, as in the everyday acts of walking, eating, going to bed, in which ancient revolutions slumber.’ - Michel de Certeau

Tom Wood: All Zones Off Peak
July 1999

Stanley Road, Bootle, 1989

Tom Wood was born in Mayo in 1951, grew up in Cowley in Oxford, and then studied painting at Leicester Polytechnic. He moved to Mereyside in 1978 and has taught photography part-time there and as a visiting lecturer while pursuing long-term photographic objects. He has written many books and his work is represented in major public collections including MOMA New York ; International Centre for Photography, New York; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Tom Wood’s All Zones Off Peak is the culmination of a fifteen year photographic odyssey around Liverpool. From the simple starting point of photographing from a bus, he has created a Joycean vision of the city – a complex, lived-in, living reality.

Jim Vausham

Tom Wood shot more than three thousand rolls of film in realizing this ambitious and compelling project. From the earliest silver prints, to the recently completed large-scale color images, it is a remarkable achievement that explores new ground in photography. With a beauty that catches you unawares, the work delivers an extraordinary  picture of the ordinary.

Tom Wood’s art lies in his commitment to the multi-layered lives of people he depicts. Never sneering at them, or appropriating them for some political cause, Wood’s work nevertheless holds a political message. The social realities he portrays are underpinned by the thoughts and dreams of his protagonists; at every instant, the ‘real world’ is open to transformation.

Wood’s only loyalty is to the living city he photographs, the way its people populate and inhabit it, and most of all the ways in which, in every way and everyday ,we move in constant relation to others, known and unknown, living and dead, who also walked these streets and breathed this air.