vrijdag 18 augustus 2017

Views & Reviews Barcelona En Blanc I Negre Xavier Miserachs Photography

Sociedad Editorial Eleca Espana (2003), Hardcover, 256 pages

Xavier Miserachs, Barcelona, 1962. MACBA Collection. Courtesy of MACBA Study Centre and Xavier Miserachs Fonds. © The Estate of Xavier Miserachs.
Miserachs Barcelona
18 September 2015–27 March 2016
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona

The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) is dedicating an exhibition to the Barcelona-based photographer Xavier Miserachs (1937–1998), whose work has been on long-term loan to the Museum since 2011. Miserachs Barcelona, focusing on the photobook Barcelona, blanc i negre (1964) offers a journey through time in which the images are arranged in the form of large murals, shop-windows, enlargements and projections, proposing new ways of seeing and reading photographs in the exhibition space. The exhibition will include a photography seminar and make available to the public Miserachs’ archive.

In September 1964, Miserachs published his major work, Barcelona, blanc i negre, a photobook bringing together nearly 400 of his photographs. From 1961, Miserachs worked professionally in advertising, photojournalism and, above all, street photography, “the pleasure of wandering around trying to represent what to me seemed distinctive and significant about the place.”

Miserachs participated in some exhibitions, but believed the best place for photos was in the pages of magazines and books. He wanted to make “a strictly photographic book of free style and content,” composed of images forming a set that can be read and watched like a film or novel. That is, a photobook—the model that at that time defined the history of photography, marked by the publication of masterpieces such as Life is Good & Good for You in New York by William Klein (1956) and The Americans by Robert Frank (1958).

Barcelona, blanc i negre draws on two models. The first is The Family of Man, a travelling exhibition initiated by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1955. It was here that Miserachs realised his true vocation and discovered that the photography that is often called “humanistic” and refers to abstract concepts can also serve to “tell, communicate, explain and increase the knowledge of others through our own experience.” The second is identified with the urban photobooks of William Klein, whom Miserachs admired for his “highly original way of portraying cities by focusing on the signs provided by their people and spaces.” 

Barcelona, blanc i negre begins with a carefully disordered sequence that bursts into the city one morning. Later, you discover the city through its inhabitants, with stories of work and celebration, newly arrived migrants and the bourgeoisie of good families, slums, the Gothic quarter and Eixample, shop windows, advertisements and grafitti…and always people in the streets, of all ages and classes. The photobook seems to follow a classic maxim: “The city is its people.” Miserachs avoids tourist and historical clichés, preferring to delve into the theme of modern culture, the urban experience and its space: the city.

The great narratives of literature, film and photography of the last century are urban, and their heroes are waylaid walkers such as Eugène Atget, the pioneer of street photography, the active equivalent of the flâneur described by Charles Baudelaire and studied by Walter Benjamin. Like “the painter of modern life” of the Parisian poet, Miserachs is a curious passerby, an indefatigable pedestrian who walks the streets, markets and parks, browsing in shop windows and pavement cafes, stopping by the factories at knocking-off time and in station waiting rooms, and who ends the day on the dance floors and in the all-night bars.
Photobooks invite us to look and read. To adapt these actions to the museum, the exhibition Miserachs Barcelona proposes several ways of looking at and reading photos in the art space. The viewer encounters the photos of Barcelona, blanc i negre arranged in the form of large murals, shop-windows, enlargements and projections. 

The exhibition opens with a twilight panorama, both unreal and documentary, that refers to the distant horizons of the cinema. Next, you enter the city, recreated in a Meccano-like construction that evokes the style of exhibition displays during the years in which Miserachs prepared his photobook. It is a model that began in the lecture halls of the Bauhaus and reached its photographic zenith with the portable structures used for The Family of Man. 

Later, you can literally walk through the pages of Miserachs’ photobook and the crowded streets and squares of a Barcelona without tourists, thanks to large three-dimensional enlargements that transform the space into a stage design in which the viewer becomes an active participant. A further space is dominated by changing projections, in which the viewer is immersed in a past and present that constantly merge. Finally, Barcelona, blanc i negre is displayed on a screen in full detail. Here we also find copies of the photobook and the meandering itineraries followed by Miserachs during its preparation.
Exhibition organised and produced by MACBA. 
Curator: Horacio Fernández

Miserachs Barcelona offers a selection of images from the book Barcelona, blanc i negre (1964), offering a new perspective on the original work. Barcelona: MACBA/RM, 2015. Trilingual edition (Catalan, Spanish, English). Two versions: library and portfolio.

(Photo from Amazon, where you can purchase this for $1,400).

Something I didn’t realize until we spoke with some locals in Barcelona is that the Barcelona I thought I knew— cosmopolitan beach-side, salt spray culture capital—that Barcelona is relatively new. The city looked very different before the Olympics were held there in 1992; in fact, before the games brought international attention, Barcelona had no city beach at all. For the occasion, a stretch of industrial buildings were demolished and the beach was, well, built (so much for sous les pavés la plage).

It was hard for me to visualize. Even harder for me to visualize? Barcelona in 1964. The MACBA exhibit featuring the Catalán photographer’s work was extraordinary for this reason, putting the spotlight on the city and the Barcelonés whose local history seems completely overshadowed by the frenzy at tour-guide hotspots. The exhibit’s design, too, catapulted my imagination backward, as it aimed to interweave museum-goers with the people and scenes from Miserach‘s iconic black and white photos:

The exhibit is worth a visit (it’s there until March 28, so hurry!). I’m currently looking for, er, a more affordable option for the photography book, as it seems like somewhat of a collectors’ item. In the mean time, this Flickr page should do– & I’ve shared some of my favorites below. I think you’ll find evidence that Miserachs met his self-proclaimed goal to seek:
“the pleasure of wandering around trying to represent what to me seemed distinctive and significant about the place.”

Festes de Gracia, Barcelona, 1964


from Barcelona, blanc i negre Micherach Flickr page (shared from toies.wordpress.com)

woensdag 16 augustus 2017

Views & Reviews London Martin Parr Gian Butturini Photography

(Verona): (Editrice SAF) [self-published], (1969).

Folio (333 × 270 mm), pp.[104]. 78 black-and-white photographs. Texts by Butturini and Luciano Mondini, poem by Allen Ginsberg. Quote by Robert Capa printed in black to front free endpaper, rear plain; contents and endpapers toned. Grey paper-covered boards, upper side lettered in gilt; toning to top edge, slightly cocked. Black-and-white photo-illustrated dust-jacket, text in white; toned, chip to head of spine with tape repair, light wear to corners, crudely price-clipped by hand, presumably by Butturini himself. Pencil note to copyright page: ‘Ref. autore 20-11-69’. Butturini’s contemporary presentation inscription in black ink with a spherical drawing to front free endpaper dated 1970.

First edition, a presentation copy. In these scathing photographs of Swinging London at it’s apex Butturini shows a side of London far from the popularised image of Carnaby Street, which he describes in his introduction as being an amusement park of sequins, bad taste, visual clamor, and sales pitch. Having been shocked at what he found on a visit to the City he felt compelled to create this report which contrasts a tourists idea of London with photographs of the homeless, addicts at Victoria Station, and ordinary working Londoners. At the age of 35 Butturini gave up a successful career in advertising to concentrate on photography, this was his first book. ‘Gerry Badger remarks that, ‘It is more Don McCullin than David Bailey... Occasionally, Butturini labours the social contrast, but all in all, this is the book that McCullin might have made about London but unfortunately never has - although he still might.’

Scarce, KVK locates 6 copies in Italian libraries; OCLC locates only 1 copy elsewhere: National Library of Australia.

Parr, M. and Badger, G., The Photobook: A History vol. III pp.154-5.

Gian Butturini: London
Text by Martin Parr, Allen Ginsberg, Gian Butturini, Luciano Mondini.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Gian Butturini: London.'
“Butturini’s London depicts the poor and the working class who failed to make good in the 1960s, contrasting that with the tourist view" -Martin Parr

In 1969 Gian Butturini was just over 30 years old and a successful graphic designer working in advertising. His journey as a photographer began at Victoria Station when he saw a young man staggering by with a syringe embedded in a vein. He began investigating 1960s London through the Nikon hanging from his neck.

Butturini’s photographs of London are full of pain and sarcasm but also joy and lyricism—hippies and fashionable young women share space with the homeless, the pacifist demonstrations and the orators at Speakers’ Corner. Butturini’s London, in the photographer’s own words, “is true and bare ... I did not ask it to pose.”

Gian Butturini: London is the new facsimile edition of Butturini’s cult 1969 photobook, which interspersed his black-and-white photographs with text by Allen Ginsberg. No less an authority than Martin Parr—who contributes a text to this new edition—has credited Butturini’s photobook with containing some of the best photographs ever taken of the British capital.

Gian Butturini (born 1935) began his career in the early 1950s as a graphic designer in Milan. The publication of London in 1969 marked his transition to photography. After catching the end of the Swinging Sixties in London, Butturini continued to take photographs, documenting the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Fidel Castro’s Cuba and violence in Bosnia, among other key sights and events of the 20th century.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Gian Butturini: London.'

Gian Butturini: London


I have been collecting photobooks for over 40 years now. One of the most exciting moments on this journey is when you discover a book, for the first time, that is clearly a great book, but is not known or acknowledged as a significant contributor to the field.

Because of my natural interest in things British, I have paid particular attention to photobooks by British photographers and also books about Britain produced by foreign photographers. I found that many foreign photographers homed in on cities like Liverpool and London. Britain was in the midst of the swinging sixties, when the British youth scene became an international story. Strangely, this revolution was under-documented by British photographers, who were more interested in the fashion movement as photographed by people like David Bailey and Terence Donovan.

About ten years ago someone showed me the London book by Gian Butturini and I was immediately excited. Just looking at the cover made me think this has to be a great book. When I flipped through the pages, with its strong graphics and grainy imagery, it was abundantly clear this was an overlooked gem. What was even more exciting was that this book had slipped under the radar and was totally unknown in the city that it so ably portrays.

With my curiosity alerted, I wanted to find out more about Butturini and eventually found the contact details for his widow (he died in 2006) who, it turned out lived in Brescia, in Italy. I eventually met with Manuela and her daughter, Marta. Along with her brother Tiziano, Marta had decided to look after their father’s estate. I asked did they have any vintage prints from this project and whether they could tell us more about his time in London. With these questions (and some answers) the story slowly began to unravel.

Gian Butturini had established himself as a successful graphic and interior designer when he was posted to London in June 1969 to work on a trade show. There he found himself compelled to pick up a camera as the city—with its medley of drug users, the underclasses and fashionistas—had a profound effect on him. He realized his calling and started accumulating images which were speedily published later in 1969 in book form. The book cost five thousand lire and the small print run of 1000 copies sold out immediately, having been supported mainly in his town of Brescia, where he was already well known as a designer.

Butturini wanted to make a politically charged book. The London book was the start of his photographic calling and his left leaning manifested itself in his later books that he produced in conflicted territories such as Chile and Northern Ireland. The striking thing about the London book is the strong grainy quality of the images, woven through with the graphics of the same period. These place it firmly in a moment or—or more precisely— a decade of time. Using his considerable graphic design talents, he combined all kinds of tricks to build his narrative, from graphics, torn paper, drawings and small blow up of details of his images. The overall effect works perfectly.

In 2016, I curated an exhibition at the Barbican Gallery in London that explored the whole issue of the foreign photographers who have worked in the UK and of course featured the work of Butturini. We showed a series of prints, but also displayed four copies of the book in vitrines to show the audience the strength of the work. So now the cat is out of the bag and the book is now known and appreciated by a London audience. This is the curious thing about our photo-history. It is constantly being tweaked as new discoveries are made, and books in particular are a primary source of this constant shifting. We also get a chance to re-examine and re-define the contribution made by Gian Butturini, by reviving this and the other books that have been overlooked for far too long. Although the book is long out of print, and now fetching a very robust price in the secondary photobook market, this is where this reprint can really score. Suddenly, as in December 1969, a copy of this book can be purchased at a reasonable price. I hope you share the excitement I first experienced when I first encountered this wonderful work. - Martin Parr

vrijdag 11 augustus 2017

The Three Communists Kassel Documenta 14 2017 Hans Eijkelboom Conceptual Photography

For close to a quarter century now, Hans Eijkelboom has been taking to the shopping streets of countless cities around the world (Amsterdam, New York, Paris, Shanghai—and now also Athens and Kassel) to photographically record the dizzying sartorial diversity that is such a defining hallmark of global capitalism—a plethora of visual (“surface”) difference that, when viewed from the perspective of an artist interested in discerning patterns, i.e., repetition, inevitably results in a document of arresting sameness.

A number of Eijkelboom’s mid-1970s photo projects, such as the aptly titled Identiteiten (Identities, 1973), presaged two defining features of the street photography that he is best known for, and which has preoccupied him since the early 1990s—his programmatic predilection for working in series on the one hand (a matter of form), and an almost exclusive focus on dress code on the other hand (a matter of content).

Eijkelboom, born in Arnhem in 1949, is a member of a generation of Dutch artists who played a key role in the establishment of conceptual photography in Continental Europe. His initial forays into photography had a strong performative bent, and almost exclusively involved one type of autoportraiture or other—“the presentation of self in everyday life,” in Erving Goffman’s felicitous phrase. These works were clearly informed by the efflorescence of 1970s Dutch performance art, all the while keying into the emerging discourse of post-1960s identity politics—the photo triptych De Drie Communisten (The Three Communists, 1976) presenting the artist dressed up as a Marxist, Leninist, and Maoist respectively, speaks volumes in this regard—though infused with a deadpan sense of humor all too often lacking in subsequent identity-based art practices. (Comedy, in his ongoing encyclopedic project, is a function of the illusion that dress cannot ever guarantee true distinction.)

Although there is an element of distancing in Eijkelboom’s work that may lend his project an anthropologizing, exoticizing slant (echoes of Desmond Morris’s 1969 The Human Zoo here), his is a deeply humanist practice at heart, and it is no coincidence that his work has often been compared to that of the great chronicler of twentieth-century humanity, August Sander—his work was recently surveyed, fittingly, at the August Sander Archiv in Cologne. It is tempting to characterize Eijkelboom’s subjects quite simply as “people of the twenty-first century” in turn, though presented in cool-headed, gridded sequences reminiscent of the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher and other pioneers of conceptual photography: a subject-object balancing act.
—Dieter Roelstraete

Hans Eijkelboom
(b. 1949, Arnhem, Netherlands)

The Street & Modern Life, Birmingham, U.K. (2014)
Digital video, color, silent
30 min.

EMST—National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens
De Drie Communisten (The three Communists, 1975)
Black-and-white photograph
58 × 120 cm
Neue Galerie, Kassel

Photo Notes 1992–2017 (2017)
270 inkjet prints
50 × 60 cm each
Stadtmuseum Kassel, Kassel


US: OCT 2014

A group of 15 women wearing jean skirts. A group of 12 men wearing t-shirts emblazoned with animals. Middle-aged women in fur coats. Middle-aged men in tan trenchcoats. Multiple people with Louis Vuitton accessories. Dozens of people wearing white jackets. Yellow jackets. Red jackets. Fur-trimmed hoods. Burqas. Printed pants. Fanny packs. Cropped pants. Keffiyehs. Sun visors. Saris. Rain ponchos. And, of course, Canadian tuxedos.

These are just some of the clothing items that show up in People of the Twenty-First Century, a new book of street photography by Dutch photographer and conceptual artist Hans Eijkelboom. These photos are taken from Eijkelboom’s long-standing “Photo Notes” project, wherein he would station himself near shopping centres, museums, or busy city intersections and look for a clothing trend or sometimes common behaviour. After noticing the trend, such as women wearing striped tank tops or shirtless men on rollerblades, Eijkelboom would photograph these passersby. The results of the project are presented in People of the Twenty-First Century, signaling Eijkelboom as a photographer of street style.

Since the early ‘00s, street photographers have been documenting “street style”. Street style photographers capture “unique” and “interesting” outfits worn mostly by non-celebrities. The outfits that capture the attention of the street style photographer are usually admired because they strike a balance between “sophistication” and “elegance” on the one hand and “edginess”, “individuality”, and “quirkiness” on the other hand. The people featured on street style blogs create outfits that are well-coordinated, different, and have the potential to stand out in a crowd.

This kind of photography has evolved and changed over the past several years. For a time, street style photographers sought out their subjects, happening upon them in the streets or museums of the elite cities of the world. Many of us swooned over blogs like The Sartorialist and later Hel Looks. Maybe, if we lived in one of these cities, wondered why no one ever stopped us for a photo. Eventually, people began to make subjects of themselves, creating and maintaining a social media presence to show off their style and #ootd to a larger audience. Facilitated by the #selfie, we encourage others to notice and appreciate our great bargains, designer items, smart choices, and evolving styles.

There is much to read, even if primarily online, about how the rise of street style photography and fashion blogging have democratized fashionableness and made it accessible to the citizenry. One no longer needs to be a model, editor, designer, or actor to become a “presence” in the fashion world.

In fact, the writers of prominent style blogs have become present in the industry, covering openings, fashion weeks, and other important industry events. At present, street style photography captures the mega-outfits worn by the non-celebrity people who lurk outside of runway shows at the various fashion weeks. On street style blogs or in magazines that now have pages devoted to street style, the outfits are well thought out, and often comprised of a careful and complex combination of pieces from high- and low-fashion.

Yet, many of the items and outfits featured by street style photographers and increasingly bloggers can produce an alienating rather than a democratizing effect. Street-style-caliber outfits are not especially practical for people with young children, or for people without the time or inclination to stay apprised of lightning-fast trend cycles. They are also often out of the reach of people who are not thin, as well as those without the disposable income (or copious credit) to regularly update their wardrobes.

One of the things that makes People of the Twenty-First Century so compelling and so significant, then, is that it both broadens and upends the predominant understanding of street style as supercool, unique outfits worn by supercool, unique people. The book inverts the now-sedimented notion of street style, and re-articulates it as a broad category of sartorial expression that parallels and subverts the orderliness and systematicity of human culture.

Hans Eijkelboom (b. 1949) is a Dutch photographer and conceptual artist based in Amsterdam. Active since the ‘70s, he was part of the Dutch movement of conceptual artists whose engagements with “machine-like image reproduction and a radically deskilled anti-photography” informed Eijkelboom’s approach. Eijkelboom uses photography as the medium through which to execute his conceptual art works. In 1975, he completed “De Drie Communisten (The Three Communists)”, which depicted him next to portraits of Marx, Lenin, and Mao while wearing outfits that matched each communist.

Eijkelboom’s projects have also been united by a commitment to self-portraiture, underlined by what Tony Godfrey calls a “concern with identity, how we present ourselves and how others perceive us”. In 1973, he completed a photo series in which he photographed other people wearing his clothes (“People Wearing my Clothes”). Because Eijkelboom has long been committed to a methodical and meticulous approach to the image, his photographs are typically presented as serial images in a grid-like format.

The “Photo Notes” project, from which People of the Twenty-First Century emerges, started in November 1992 when Eijkelboom started a photo diary comprised of up to 80 photographs every day. Eijkelboom created a set of rules for photographing, and he followed them exactly. He would go into town, station himself outside of a city landmark or busy intersection, and wait until he noticed the repetition of a certain item of clothing or perhaps a behavior. Once he noticed something of interest (people wearing leather jackets) or selected a behavior (two women walking arm-in-arm), he would photograph as many people as he could find wearing the clothing or engaged in the behavior.

People of the Twenty-First Century displays Eijkelboom’s surreptitious street photographs in grids, with anywhere from nine to 15 images per page. Each page is “stamped” with a date, time, and location; the photos are presented in chronological order. The photographs were taken primarily in Amsterdam and Arnhem, NL (where Eijkelboom was previously based), but the book is decidedly international in scope. Taken together, the photographs are both indicative of and distinct from the assumptions that might be held about what clothing choices dominate in which locations. People wear fur coats in New York City and Paris, argyle sweaters in Nairobi and São Paolo, Che Guevara t-shirts in Amsterdam, Jesus t-shirts in Mexico City, “migrant worker bags” in Shanghai, over-the-knee socks in Tokyo, niqabs in Marrakech, hoodies in Cairo.

Several reviews have pointed out that People of the Twenty-First Century is a book about difference within sameness. Reviewers note that Eijkelboom’s photographs show us that even though people wear the same clothing items, they wear them in unique ways.

In his essay at the end of the book, David Carrier writes that Eijkelboom “uses repetition to communicate awareness of difference: the closer you look at any page of this book, the more diverse you will find the people who are dressed in similar ways.” Eijkelboom’s photos reveal, Carrier implies, the diversity among people and their fashion choices. In 2007, for instance, it was considered on-trend to wear a short jean skirt paired with leggings. (Eventually, we did away with the skirts.) On 24 April 2007, Eijkelboom photographed 15 women dressed this way. However, when one looks more closely at these photos, they discover that each woman has her own expression of this look. The shoes and tops worn with the jean skirts are different, as are the jean skirts themselves; some are pleated, some are frayed, and one is actually jean-skirt overalls. The women are racially diverse, and they have a range of hair styles.

At the same time, it’s important to consider whether the differences in the styling of cookie-cutter clothing are significant enough to applaud. Are minuscule variations on the same clothing item actually tantamount to difference in expression? Do we actually see difference and distinction when someone pairs Lululemon leggings with a blue racer-back tank top instead of a green ribbed tank top?

Importantly, Eijkelboom’s photographs illustrate not that clothing items themselves are monotonous but that the idea of a particular clothing item is itself uninspired. The book presents leopard print tops, flower-print tops, striped tops, blazers, hoodies, and scarves; however, all of these items are made distinct in terms of cut, shape, length, material. Insofar as the items are rendered distinguishable by details of tailoring and pattern, it is the idea or the concept of a leopard print top that is revealed to be redundant.

By focusing on the banality of and distinctions within unremarkable or “basic” clothing choices, Eijekboom’s photographs reveal, as Dieter Roelstraete argues, the “illusory logic of individuation” that upholds both the garment industry and fashion journalism. The book’s focus on the repetition of clothing items and, in turn, the paradoxical uniformity of personal style undermines the idea that we in the West understand our style as something that establishes us as distinct individuals. People of the Twenty-First Century shows us this in photographs of people wearing different iterations of the same clothing item, and it also shows us this across the photographs.

Nowhere is the uniformity of style more evident, however, than in the book’s representation of men in business suits alongside women in animal-print tops alongside men in NYPD police uniforms. The juxtaposition of these sets of photographs undermines our belief in the idea that fashion and clothing enable us to express our individuality.

Ultimately, in the way that People of the Twenty-First Century asks us to look at red jacket after red jacket after red jacket, it summons us to inadvertently elide the people wearing those jackets. In the way that the photos invisibilize the wearers of the clothes, it breaks down the belief that what we wear is somehow indicative of who we are.

Eijkelboom’s photographs also reveal the astonishing repetition of fashion trends and the patent eagerness of the public to continuously consume the same things as new trends. Photos from Amsterdam show a recurring trend of bare, female midriffs in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2006. In 2014, after Photo Notes ended, there was another resurgence of the bare midriff via the repopularization of the crop top. Because our sartorial attention has been shortened by an industry that cycles through trends at warp speed (Cline, Overdressed), we get excited about “new” items, even if they have already been trendy before.

Along these lines, the photos also reveal our never-ending consumptive practices: there are dozens of photos of people carrying shopping bags, whether from department stores like Macy’s or fast-fashion go-tos like Topshop. In the context of the book, such photos suggest that endless consumption in mainstream stores, which profit from conformity, will never facilitate anyone having a unique personal style.

We also see the depiction of uniform style across age categories. When the jean-skirt-and-leggings trend was big in 2007, it was primarily worn by younger women. Yet, older people are also shown sharing different items in common: one page shows photographs of primarily older people wearing fleece zip-up sweaters; most of the women depicted in furs are also older. Especially revealing is the way that children are depicted throughout People of the Twenty-First Century. As much as we in the West encourage our children to believe that they are special and unique, Eijkelboom shows us that we often err on the side conformity, as is made clear by the photos of female children wearing Spice Girls t-shirts or pigtails.

People of the Twenty-First Century also shows us how the monotony and repetition of clothing circulates in a globalized context. Eijkelboom includes photos taken in Mumbai in 2010. One series of photos captures women in saris; another shows men in button-up shirts paired with recently re-popularized Gandhi caps; another series shows men and women in graphic t-shirts worn with jeans. Photos from Nairobi bear a similar pattern. Photos like these not only affirm the transplantation of Western clothing into the countries that largely produce it; they also demonstrate how people in non-Western countries are engaged in a complex blending of Western clothing with traditional items and styles.

This is a complex, thought-provoking, interactive and entertaining collection of photography. Eijkelboom’s approach to street style photography is effective because it parodies the unique-individual-who-stands-out-in-a-crowd trope. The photos isolate the individual in a crowd only to show that they are not distinct from those in the crowd from which they came. In this way, People of the Twenty-First Century shows us the absurdity of the concept of unique style but also helps us understand how people make their own looks out of repetitive cycles of the same things. Although the book is promoted as an assemblage of “anti-sartorial photographs of street life”, its take on fashion is, in the end, neither dismissive nor uncritically accepting of the notion of personal style.

zaterdag 5 augustus 2017

My Library is my Museum Photobook Phenomenon VicenC Villatoro Photography

Photobook Phenomenon
VicenC Villatoro
ISBN 10: 8417047050 / ISBN 13: 9788417047054
Published by Rm/Ccccb/Fundacion Foto Colectania
Hardcover. Dimensions: 10.2in. x 7.5in. x 1.0in.As the photobook becomes increasingly broadly recognized as a genre with its own rich history, canon and critical culture, Photobook Phenomenon surveys the views of those who have played a leading role in defining this genre: Martin Parr, Gerry Badger, Markus Schaden and Frederic Lezmi, Horacio Fernandez, Ryuichi Kaneko, Erik Kessels, Irene de Mendoza and Moritz Neumuller. In addition, it features various contemporary artists who have contributed a genuine vision to the medium and who discuss the creative processes involved in producing a photobook: Laia Abril, Julian Baron, Alejandro Cartagena, Jana Romanova, Vivianne Sassen, Thomas Sauvin i Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber. Photobook Phenomenon also explores the challenge of displaying a photobook through a number of interactive systems that make it possible to look through and experience the book and photography from diverse viewpoints.

The exhibition highlights the role of the photobook in contemporary visual culture and takes it as the departure point for a reinterpretation of the history of photography. Nine curators with years of expertise in the forefront of the photobook movement share their respective visions in a joint exhibition at the CCCB and at Fundació Foto Colectania.
Publications illustrated with photographs, also known as photography books or simply photobooks, have grown in popularity in recent years and now occupy a central place in contemporary photography.

The exhibition runs simultaneously at the CCCB and at Fundació Foto Colectania, tracing the history of the photobook from its origins to contemporary production. It does so through the eyes of nine international curators who are experts in the field: Gerry Badger, Horacio Fernández, Ryuichi Kaneko, Erik Kessels, Martin Parr, Markus Schaden, Frederic Lezmi, Irene de Mendoza and Moritz Neumüller, who is the executive curator of the overall project.

The book is the natural home for photography.
Gerry Badger, photographer and curator

The phenomenon
Recent years have seen a period of great expansion for photobooks, which now occupy a central position in contemporary photography. Today, more books are produced than ever; they are bought and sold, swapped and collected. Independent or self-publishing of books and zines has become a high impact phenomenon in both the editorial and the artistic sector, and now, at the peak of the digital era, we are seeing a return to the printed object. For many artists, this format is not just a useful means for showing their photographs, but also the perfect space for experimentation and creativity. Added to these factors there is also a growing interest in reinterpreting the history of photography in terms of the historic role of the photobook and printed photographs, as shown by ambitious studies and projects conducted worldwide.

Contemporary talents
Also taking part in the exhibition are various contemporary artists who bring their own very special vision to the medium, as well as illustrating the processes of creation of a photobook: Laia Abril, Julián Barón, Alejandro Cartagena, Jana Romanova, Vivianne Sassen, Thomas Sauvin and Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber.

A photobook is a story in images.
Turning its pages is like watching a film or reading a novel.
Horacio Fernández, photographer and curator

An exhibition with over 500 photobooks
Among its many contents, Photobook Phenomenon ranges from the works of Rodchenko, William Klein and Robert Frank to Japanese photobooks, pioneers in the phenomenon. Photographer Martin Parr presents the best examples from his own private collection. A section dedicated to photobooks of protest and propaganda brings together the most radical designs. Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Gabriel Cualladó and Henri Cartier-Bresson are other names present in the exhibition, along with the latest proposals by renowned contemporary artists who bring their own very special vision to the medium, such as Laia Abril and Vivian Sassen, as well as illustrating the processes of creation of a photobook.

We are seeing a marked return to the printed object.
Moritz Neumüller, executive curator of the exhibition

The challenge of displaying photobooks
Photobook Phenomenon also addresses the challenge of exhibiting a photobook, using various interactive systems to explore and “experience” the book and the photograph from very differing viewpoints.

The show sets out to bring the photobook to a broad public; to do so, it has recourse to various digital devices and technologies, such as video and touch screens, along with reading areas and a series of parallel activities related to the communities associated with the world of the photobook.

Exhibition layout
Photobook Phenomenon is divided into seven thematic sections that dialogue with each other to give us an idea of what a photobook is, from very differing perspectives. Six of the sections (plus the reading space at Beta Station) are located at the CCCB and the seventh one at Foto Colectania (Passeig Picasso, 14, Barcelona). They can be visited independently or jointly, without changing the meaning of the show.

The exhibition is organized in seven exhibition chapters and one reading space in the Beta Station of the CCCB:
The Collector’s Vision. Martin Parr’s Best Photobooks
Propaganda books versus protest books
Reading New York. A PhotoBookStudy on William Klein's “Life is Good & Good for You in New York”
Five Aspects of Japanese Photobooks
Contemporary Practices + Contemporary Photobooks (Beta Station)
Fascinations and Failures
The library is the museum (displayed at Foto Colectania)
More information on the chapters of the exhibition in the field "Sections".

Life is Good & Good For You in New York by William Klein from The Klieg Light on Vimeo.