Photography and painting, a long standing relationship
This month we’ll be exploring the long and rich relationship photography and painting have enjoyed and how both media inform and inspire each other to this day. We’ll be visiting the visual world of some of the pioneers of colour photography and discovering a long awaited publication following Eve Arnold’s death earlier in the year. Finally, we’ll be learning how to improve our use of flash through a new and comprehensive book on the subject.
Snapshot Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard
“The advent of the Kodak camera in 1888 made photography accessible to amateurs as well as to professionals. Artists were not immune to its allure, and many began experimenting with the camera as a means of capturing images as studies for final works and of observing the world and the people in it. Snapshot investigates seven Post-Impressionist painters and printmakers: Pierre Bonnard, George Hendrik Breitner, Maurice Denis, Henri Evenepoel, Henri Rivière, Félix Vallotton, and Edouard Vuillard. Although celebrated for their works on canvas and paper, these artists also made many personal and informal snapshots. Depicting interiors, city streets, nudes, and portraits, these photographs were kept private and never exhibited. As a result, most have never been published. Juxtaposing personal photographs with the related paintings and prints by these Post-Impressionist artists, Snapshot offers a new perspective on early photography and on the synthesis of painting and photography at the end of the 19th century.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)
Norman Rockwell behind the camera
“Another book that explores the relationship between photography and painting in an artist’s creation process is this fascinating insight into Norman Rockwell’s iconic work. A natural storyteller, Rockwell designed his narrative in the most minute details, carefully orchestrating each element for the camera – selecting props and locations and choosing and directing his models- before beginning to paint. The author delves into the archive of nearly 20,000 photographs housed at the Norman Rockwell Museum to create an intriguing work of photography, art, and Americana, to give us a new outlook on the working methods of one of America’s most iconic illustrator, while unveiling a newfound treasure of Norman Rockwell images in an unexpected form.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)
Fred Herzog: Photographs
“The definitive book about the stunning oeuvre of a pioneer of colour photography. For more than five decades, Fred Herzog has focused his lens on street life, and his striking colour photographs – of vacant lots, second-hand shops, neon signs and working-class people – evoke nostalgia in an older generation and inspire wide-eyed revelation in a younger one. The images that we now consider iconic once relegated Herzog to the margins: his bold use of colour was unusual in the 1950s and ’60s, a time when art photography was almost exclusively associated with black-and-white imagery. Fred Herzog has worked with Kodachrome slide film for over 50 years, but only in the past few years has technology allowed him to make archival pigment photographic prints of exceptional colour and intensity. Fred Herzog: Photographs showcases this innovative artist’s impressive collection in a beautifully crafted volume. Providing authoritative texts are four titans of the art community: Claudia Gochmann’s introduction anchors Fred Herzog’s place in the history of photography, Sarah Milroy shares a conversation with Herzog , Douglas Coupland comments on what Herzog ’s colour photos reveal about Vancouver and Jeff Wall focuses his photographer’s eye on a single Fred Herzog image.” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)
The day in its color
“Charles Cushman (1896-1972) photographed a disappearing world in living color. Cushman’s midcentury America–a place normally seen only through a scrim of gray–reveals itself as a place as vivid and real as the view through our window. The Day in Its Color introduces readers to Cushman’s extraordinary work, a recently unearthed archive of photographs that is the largest known body of early color photographs by a single photographer, 14,500 in all, most shot on vivid, color-saturated Kodachrome stock. From 1938-1969, Cushman–a sometime businessman and amateur photographer with an uncanny eye for everyday detail–travelled constantly, shooting everything he encountered as he ventured from New York to New Orleans, Chicago to San Francisco, and everywhere in between. His photos include portraits, ethnographic studies, agricultural and industrial landscapes, movie sets and media events, children playing, laborers working, and thousands of street scenes, all precisely documented in time and place. The result is a chronicle of an era almost never seen, or even envisioned, in color. This well-preserved collection is all the more remarkable for having gone undiscovered for decades. What makes the photos most valuable, however, is the wide range of subjects, landscapes, and moods it captures–snapshots of a lost America as yet untouched by a homogenizing overlay of interstate highways, urban renewal, chain stores, and suburban development–a world of hand-painted signs, state fairs, ramshackle shops, small town living and bustling urban scenes. The book also reveals the fascinating and startling life story of the man who stood, unseen, on the other side of the lens, surely one of America’s most impressive amateur photographers and outsider artists. With over 150 gorgeous color prints,The Day in Its Colorgives us one of the most evocative visual histories of mid-20th century America that we have. The images featured in this book are also available through the Indiana University Archives – an amazing online resource.” - (some text adapted from Amazon.com description)
Beaton in Vogue
“Sir Cecil Beaton began his photographic career as a boy with a Brownie camera and debuted in Vogue with what Beaton himself called “a slightly out-of-focus snapshot” in 1924. For 50 years he contributed photographs, drawings, and written dispatches to the British, American, and French editions of the magazine. More than a collection of photographs, this book is a biography combining Beaton’s own skillfully written text, and exquisite illustrations. His illustrated essays for American Vogue are also available through ProQuest’s Vogue Archive , accessible on our website as originally published. Images spanning his career trace subjects from the Windsors to Picasso to Twiggy, with reprints from Beaton’s amiable chats about style and society.” – (some text adapted from Library Journal summary)
All about eve
As promised in my February post , the Eve Arnold retrospective has arrived! Despite her accidental encounter with photography, at the age of 34, Arnold’s talent and daring brought her immediate recognition and she was picked up by Magnum Photos only 5 years later. Arnold may be best known for her black and white images of Marilyn Monroe, but she has chronicled figures as diverse as migrant potato workers and heads of state in addition to screen icons during her assignments, which involved everything from politics, social issues, travel, to current events and a little glamour. Guided by her own words, this volume features Arnold’s now iconic photographs as well as many never-before published images. A beautiful publication of chronologically and thematically presented photographs, spanning her long and varied career.
Sketching light, an illustrated tour of the possibilities of flash
Now, for the technical manual. If you tend to refrain from using flash, claiming that ambient light is your style and that flash photography is unflattering, think again. With the help of this book (and a generous amount of time), you could be on your way to creating high quality flash images. Divided into bite-sized sections, this book intends to cover a very wide range of lighting situations with details of behind-the-scenes pictures and sketches that show light placement, power settings, f-stops, and shutter speeds, as well as detailing what motivates his choices. In an anecdotal style, the author shares his experience of particular shoots, offering insight into the creation of each image. Entertaining and informative.