The Power of the human face – Photography Picks for February

The human face is an eternal subject of fascination which has consumed photographers since the advent of the medium. This month, we start with two books of two diametrically opposed photographers and their take on portraits: a diminutive version of August Sander’s 1920’s black and white portraits in Face of our Time and a larger than life compilation of some of Mario Testino’s garish images in In Your Face. We also marvel at the diversity and intensity of human relations and finish with the wonders of the Australian and New Zealand wilderness.

Syndetics book coverIn your face
“Often imitated and never equaled, Testino is graced with a natural ability to float effortlessly from studio to backstage to after-party, producing stunning shots in any kind of situation. From royals to mega-celebrities, Testino has shot some of the world’s most inaccessible subjects, always with an ease that betrays the complexity of the task. This unorthodox collection of various images chosen by Testino from the span of his 30-year career reflects the diversity of his work.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverFace of our time : sixty portraits of twentieth-century Germans 
“One of the legendary classics among German photography books, August Sander’s Face of Our Time, is now available again. Compiled by August Sander himself, the book was first published in 1929, with a foreword by German writer Alfred Dublin. The sixty shots of twentieth-century Germans represent only a small selection drawn from August Sander’s major work, which he began in 1910. He has approached his task as a photographer from his own immediate observations of human nature and human appearances, of the human environment, and with an infallible instinct for what is genuine and essential.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe lovers
“Inspired by the love letters her grandfather wrote to her grandmother during World War II, Fleishman began recording the love stories of other couples who have been together for more than 50 years. Finding the letters set her off on a long journey of research, starting with couples in New York, where she then lived, and continuing throughout the United States and Europe. Couples from diverse backgrounds provide a candid, and often moving, look at the experience of enduring love.” (Back cover)

Mary Ellen Mark died on May 25, 2015. Shortly before her death, she completed all the work on what would sadly become the last two books conceived and realised by her: Tiny: Streetwise Revisited and Mary Ellen Mark on the Portrait and the Moment as featured here. Both books were printed just before she died.

Syndetics book coverTiny: Streetwise Revisited
“When first published in 1988, Mary Ellen Mark’s Streetwise received critical acclaim for its honest portrayal of life on the streets and introduced us to Tiny, a thirteen-year-old prostitute with dreams of a horse farm, diamonds and furs, and a baby of her own. Since meeting Tiny thirty years ago, Mark has continued to photograph her, creating what has become one of Mark’s most significant and long-term projects. Here the iconic work of the first edition is presented along with Mark’s moving and intimate body of work on Tiny, most of which is previously unpublished.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverMary Ellen Mark on the portrait and the moment
“In The Photography Workshop Series, Aperture Foundation works with the world’s top photographers to distill their creative approaches, teachings, and insights on photography— offering the workshop experience in a book. Each volume is introduced by a well-known student of the featured photographer. In this book, Mary Ellen Mark offers her insight on observing the world and capturing dramatic moments that reveal more than the reality at hand.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverJacob A. Riis : revealing New York’s other half : a complete catalogue of his photographs
“Danish-born Jacob A. Riis (1849-1914) found success in America as a reporter for the New York Tribune, first documenting crime and later turning his eye to housing reform. As tenement living conditions became unbearable in the wake of massive immigration, Riis and his camera captured some of the earliest, most powerful images of American urban poverty. This important publication is the first comprehensive study and complete catalogue of Riis’s world-famous images.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverProcess
A photographic record of The New Zealand Dance Company at work in the studio on projects including the company’s debut season Language of Living and Shona McCullagh’s Rotunda. 90 images of dancers in the rehearsal hall showcase the creative process of dance through photography. John McDermott’s images are complemented by an introductory essay from leading New Zealand dancer and choreographer Michael Parmenter.

Syndetics book coverPhotography exposure
Photography Exposure is a comprehensive guide to the theory of exposure, explaining the fundamental relationship between the photographic image and the effects of light intensity and duration. It describes the use of lens aperture and depth of field in relation to exposure and outlines the principles of in-camera and hand-held light meters: their strengths, limitations and correct use in a wide variety of lighting situations. Offering a detailed guide to using exposure for expressive purposes, this is an invaluable reference tool.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverAperture magazine anthology : the Minor White years, 1952-1976
“Published on the occasion of Aperture magazines sixtieth anniversary, this is the first anthology of Aperture magazine ever published. Aperture was established in 1952 by a group of photographers, including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Barbara Morgan, and historian-curators Beaumont and Nancy Newhall. Their intention was to provide a forum in which photographers can talk straight to each other, discuss the problems that face photography as profession an art, share their experiences, comment on what goes on, descry the new potentials.” (Adapted from Syndetics)

5Australasian nature photography
“The bioregion that encompasses Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea possesses a unique natural heritage stretching back more than 80 million years, to the break-up of the great southern continent of Gondwana. The South Australian Museum and Australian Geographic focus on enhancing a general knowledge of this extraordinary legacy by encouraging photography of the region’s nature and landscapes, and promoting it in an annual competition to find the Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year. Australian Nature Photography is a collection of ANZANG award-winning and shortlisted images from the 2015 competition.” (Adapted from Syndetics)