John Miller – in conversation about his historic photographs of the Māori Land March

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Photographer John Miller with one of his photographs of the Māori Land March when it arrived in Wellington on October 13 1975. John was photographed at Te Unga Waka Marae in Auckland, at the commemorations of the 40th anniversary of the March in September 2015. Credit: John Miller

Acclaimed documentary photographer John Miller (Ngāpuhi) has documented social and political dissent and cultural events for more than four decades.  John photographed the Wellington section of the 1975 Māori Land March; from Porirua to its arrival at Parliament grounds.  The photographs have become well-known following their reproduction in books, exhibitions and school resources. In this session, John will talk with Paul Diamond about his photographs of the Māori Land March, and his involvement with the march organisers, Te Roopu o te Matakite.

A Wellington City Libraries talk, organised in partnership with the National Library, as part of the Turnbull Gallery exhibition, ‘Not one more acre’: The Māori Land March 40 years on.

Supported by LIANZA Te Upoko o Te Ika a Maui regional group.

When: 12.30-1.30pm, Wednesday 21 October
Where: Ground floor, Wellington Central Library
Cost: Free

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The Māori Land March on the Wellington motorway, October 13 1975.
Credit: John Miller

Syndetics book coverHīkoi : forty years of Māori protest / Aroha Harris.
“What have Maori been protesting about? What has been achieved? This book provides an overview of the contemporary Maori protest ‘movement’, a summary of the rationale behind the actions, and a wonderful collection of photographs of the action u the protests, the marches and the toil behind the scenes. And it provides a glimpse of the fruits of that protest u the Waitangi Tribunal and the opportunity to prepare, present and negotiate Treaty settlements; Maori language made an official language; Maori-medium education; Maori health providers; iwi radio and, in 2004, Maori television.” (Syndetics summary)

Whina : a biography of Whina Cooper / Michael King.

Syndetics book coverRaupatu : the confiscation of Māori land / edited by Richard Boast and Richard S. Hill.

September Photography

This month two influential New Zealand photographers feature prominently in our selection. Laurence Aberhart and Ans Westra, household names in the world of photography, bring us two views of what once was and how things have changed. In stark contrast the works of fashion and celebrity photographers Brian Bowen Smith and the Markus & Indrani pair take us to a world of glamour and artifice, showing how photography has chameleon like qualities and is a tool that can depict very different facets of the world.  Historical and nature photography are not ignored either, nor the staple of instructional manuals.

Laurence AberhartLaurence Aberhart – Recent Taranaki Photographs
Published to accompany the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery exhibition of the same name, this fittingly understated yet gorgeous book contains the 30 new works comissioned for the exhibition, together with earlier photographs representing Taranaki and held by the gallery. A celebration of Aberhart, one of New Zealand’s most respected photographers, as much as the Taranaki region, and the special bond that connects them, this book is also a reflection on Aberhart’s relationship with and depiction of  some of New Zealand vanishing landscapes and landmarks.
Words that come to mind to describe Aberhart’s work range from quiet, contemplative, melancholy, timeless to austere. This quote from the artist “What inherently interests me is the transitional: the pieces in our landscape that were something once, aren’t that anymore, will be something different in the future, or may not exist. I’m interested in capturing them when they’re somewhat adrift”, is an apt description of his aesthetic and intellectual focus.
The book also includes insightful essays on Aberhart’s work and creative process. (Staff review; Image supplied by Govett-Brewster Art Gallery)

syndetics-lcNga tau ki muri = Our future
“The purpose of the book is to give a directive to the country, an awareness of things changed and lost within its short history. If we don’t plan for the long term and keep taking stop-gap measures, we leave very little behind. Instead of becoming like the rest of the world, this beautiful place should become a shining example of hope for survival in a newly balanced environment. ” Includes 137 Westra photographs of the New Zealand landscape, with text contributions from Hone Tuwhare, Russel Norman, Brian Turner, David Eggleton and David Lange. (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcBrian Bowen Smith – Projects
“Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Brian Bowen Smith became a professional photographer by a less traditional route than most. While performing as a pro athlete, Bowen Smith happened to catch the eye of legendary photographer Herb Ritts, who invited him to appear in a Gap ad campaign. Ritts subsequently became his mentor and friend. Four years spent as Ritts’ assistant helped Bowen Smith to establish his photographic style, and assignments for W, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Self and Interview soon followed. Now living in Los Angeles, Bowen Smith has established himself as a veteran celebrity and beauty photographer, having worked with some of the best-known TV, music and movie stars of today (both up-and-coming and established), among them Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Warren Beatty, Orlando Bloom, Adrian Brody, Cindy Crawford, Sheryl Crow, Cat Deeley, Emily Deschanel, James Franco, Scott Glenn, Ethan Hawke, Demi Moore, Carolyn Murphy, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Hillary Swank and Billy Bob Thornton, among many others. As this first monograph shows, many of these stars have gone on to become close friends. Projects spans the gamut of Bowen Smith’s work, from personal work to commissioned assignments done over the past ten years.”(From amazon.com)

syndetics-lcMarkus + Indrani – Icons
“Markus Klinko and Indrani–the hottest team in celebrity and fashion photography–have produced album covers for Beyonce, Mariah Carey, and David Bowie, and shot everyone from Lady Gaga to Kate Winslet, Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan, and Naomi Campbell. As former stars of the Bravo series Double Exposure and in past lives as a recording artist and top model, respectively, Markus and Indrani have spent most of their lives in front of the cameras, giving them a unique perspective on the realities and fantasies of their celebrated subjects. The result is a collection of powerful, definitive, iconic images of some of the most engaging stars of our time. As cutting edge as ever seventeen years into their career, with Icons Markus and Indrani showcase their work for the first time in book form. The text, based on interviews with the photographers and many of the stars they’ve shot, describes the uniquely fascinating professional partnership of the former lovers, how they work, and tells stories about the famed subjects of their photography–at turns funny, fascinating, and endearing. Filled with more than 250 full-color photographs in crisp detail, Icons is an engrossing showcase of the hottest stars of our day in all their glamorous, glossy, and dynamic perfection. It’s a dream package for legions of celebrity followers and photography enthusiasts.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcShort nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis
“Edward Curtis was dashing, charismatic, a passionate mountaineer, a famous photographer–the Annie Liebowitz of his time. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his great idea: He would try to capture on film the Native American nation before it disappeared. At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, Egan’s book tells the remarkable untold story behind Curtis’s iconic photographs, following him throughout Indian country from desert to rainforest as he struggled to document the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. Even with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan, it took tremendous perseverance–six years alone to convince the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. He would die penniless and unknown in Hollywood just a few years after publishing the last of his twenty volumes. But the charming rogue with the grade-school education had fulfilled his promise–his great adventure succeeded in creating one of America’s most stunning cultural achievements.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcDesert Air
“Hyper Arid is the first comprehensive photographic book on all of the world’s extreme deserts (defined for the purposes of this book as those that receive no more than 4 inches of precipitation per year), the most remote and inhospitable places on earth. It is also a visual adventure story by one of the world’s top expedition photographers who has spent the last 15 years on this epic body of work. The stunning and surreally beautiful photographs are enriched with stories from his adventures in the world’s most difficult places: smuggling his aircraft into Libya, getting arrested for spying in Iran, crashing into a tree in Western China, and into the ocean off the coast of Mexico. The book is a comprehensive exploration of virtually every dune field and patch of barren ground that add up to the last great class of wilderness left on our planet. To visualize these remote places in a unique way, Steinmetz learned how to fly the world’s lightest and slowest aircraft, a motorized paraglider. This experimental foot-launched aircraft consists of a backpack motor and a parachute-style wing that lets him fly low, and slow, to take pictures of places that have never been seen before. Together, these extraordinary places are like a disparate family of co-evolved landscapes, each similar, but uniquely beautiful” (Syndetics)

Blogging for photographers
“The days of fame through word-of mouth are gone. In order to be successful and seen, you need to be online and you need a blog. This book is for photographers—whether enthusiasts or established professionals—who want to show their photography to the world. Jolie O’Dell, blogging guru, teaches all the necessary skills required to set up and maintain a successful blog about photography, from the technical side of things to writing intriguing, appealing posts.” (from amazon.com)

syndetics-lcDirection & quality of light : your key to better portrait photography anywhere
“Learn how to: determine the optimal subject position for natural light portraits; position hard light sources and soft light sources; choose light modifiers to adjust the light quality; adjust the distance and position of the main, fill, hair, and background lights for refined results; combine ambient light and flash for seamless, natural looking results; use on- and off-camera bounce flash to produce big results with small light sources; balance the light levels on the subject and the background for more effective portrait designs; mimic the beauty of window light with flash; get amazing results with video lights; gel your lights for flawless color balance or creative color effects; produce beautifully lit portraits in less-than-ideal situations.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lc Sports Photography: from snapshots to great shots
“Starting with the basics of equipment, camera settings, and exposure, Bill covers the fundamental techniques of sports photography–understanding lighting, handling composition and focus, and timing peak action. He explains how to choose a shooting position on the field of play, identify the defining moments away from the action, and learn the etiquette of covering live sporting events. He then breaks down the shooting processes of specific sports, outlining the challenges and demands of each and showing how to isolate individual athletes in action.” (Book cover)

Photography – mostly, black & white and subdued. Some garish elements allowed.

In this month’s picks the contemporary collections seem at times to borrow from the historical in their style and choice of topic. A photographic depiction of la dolce vita brings some colour, lightness and frivolity to an otherwise mostly monochromatic selection. A how-to-do manual also delves into early printmaking processes, showing readers how to create modern-day versions of pre-digital style prints.

syndetics-lcMan Ray – Portraits
“The artist May Ray (1890–1976) initially taught himself photography in order to reproduce his own works of art, but it became one of his preferred mediums. As a contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements in Paris during the 1920s, Man Ray was perfectly placed to make defining images of his avant-garde contemporaries, including Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim, and Gertrude Stein. Man Ray also photographed his friends and lovers, among them Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), Lee Miller, who helped him discover the solarization printing process, and Ady Fidelin. Man Ray continued to take portrait photographs throughout his career, including little-known images from 1940s Hollywood, and of stars such as Ava Gardner and Catherine Deneuve taken during the 1950s and 1960s.
An essential reference on Man Ray’s life and work, this book includes an introduction by Terence Pepper and essay by Marina Warner exploring the artist’s creativity and appetite for innovation and experimentation. Complete with first-hand testimonies from the artist’s sitters and over 200 beautifully reproduced images, this handsome volume provides a survey of the finest portraits from one of the most inventive photographic artists of the 20th century.” (book cover)

syndetics-lcThe Evening Hours
“Ben Cauchi’s photographs seem to arrive from another time and place, yet are thoroughly of the present. His use of the mid-nineteenth-century wet collodion photographic process is a means to question and undermine the certainties that we continue to invest in the photographic image. Cauchi’s is a subtractive practice, dwelling on absence, lulls, the uncertain, the opaque, and the fleeting elements of life. His shadowy images fixed on metal and glass explore the psychological dimensions of viewing and the nature of photography itself by continually moving within and expanding the grey areas between truth and untruth, presence and absence, the empirical and the incorporeal, seeing and believing. The Evening Hours brings together new writing on Cauchi’s practice with reproductions of over eighty of his photographs. The artist has played an active role in this process, returning to his own archive just as he trawls through photographic histories to select, re-present and sequence a decade of work. Ben Cauchi was born in 1974 in Auckland, New Zealand. He became interested in photography in 1997 and has exhibited regularly since 2000. His work is included in every major public collection in New Zealand, as well as in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia. In 2007 he was awarded the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at the University of Otago, Dunedin. Cauchi was an Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award recipient in 2011 and in the following year was awarded the 2012 Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists Residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. This is his first monograph.”  (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcIt’s true that it’s been a long time since I thought about turtles.
Published to document the large-scale retrospective of major works by Roni Horn at the Sammlung Goetz in Munich showing until 31 August 2013, this catalogue does not seek  to prescribe a linear narrative but offers a variety of situations, locations, and positions from which to experience and see the works according to many different viewpoints, moods, and attitudes. The various essays are intended to foster and strengthen what the exhibition itself provokes: taking a stance and seeing the work of Roni Horn from ever changing standpoints as one of the outstanding bodies of work in contemporary art, encompassing sculpture, drawing, photography, language, and installation. (Adapted from publisher)

syndetics-lcSlim Aarons, la dolce vita ” It was in post-war Rome that Slim Aarons realized his professional mission in ilfe: to photograph, in his famous phrase, “attractive people who were doing attractive things in attractive places.” The photographer had survived World War II, witnessing the fall of Tobruk, the Anzio invasion and the liberation of Rome, and had come away from it with a distinct aversion to war, a career as a photojournalist, and a passion for Italy. After leaving the army for a brief stint in Hollywood, he relocated to Rome when Life magazine opened a bureau there. In these luminous 1940s, when Rome and the rest of the world were coming back to life, Slim Aarons discovered his great subject: the cavalcade of high society and aristocracy and celebrity – and the settings where this special class of people displayed themselves to best effect. The beautiful people who flocked to Rome in those years would become Slim Aarons’ principal subjects for the next fifty years. Tracing a journey from the 1940s to the 1990s, this lavish fourth volume paints the cultural geography of fifty years in Italy and distills one photographer’s vision of la dolce vita.” (Adapted from book cover)

syndetics-lcDennis Hopper – The Lost Album
“Lying hidden away in Dennis Hopper’s home until their discovery months after the artist’s death in 2010, this collection of spectacular photographs, exhibited only once in 1969-70 at the Fort Worth Art Center Museum, is a testament to Hopper’s prolific and enormous talent behind the camera. These photographs are spontaneous, intimate, poetic, observant, and decidedly political. While some are portraits of figures within Hopper’s circle of actor, artist, musician, and poet friends – including Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, and Robert Rauschenberg – they also include images from his extensive travels in Los Angeles, New York, London, Mexico, and Peru. Hopper’s abiding support of the Civil Rights movement and social justice is evident in his shots from the march on Selma and Harlem street scenes. In images of beauty and stillness he transfers Abstract Expressionism into the artistic language of photography. Throughout this stunning volume Hopper’s sensitive, keenly observant eye shines through, making it clear that he was a deeply committed chronicler of the events that were unfolding around him.” (From amazon.com)

syndetics-lcPhotography and the american civil war
“Six hundred thousand lives were lost between 1861 and 1865, making the conflict between North and South the nation’s deadliest war. If the “War Between the States” was the test of the young republic’s commitment to its founding precepts, it was also a watershed in photographic history, as the camera recorded the epic, heartbreaking narrative from beginning to end – providing those on the home front, for the first time, with immediate visual access to the horrors of the battlefield.
Photography and the American Civil War features both familiar and rarely seen images that include haunting battlefield landscapes strewn with bodies, studio portraits of armed Confederate and Union soldiers (sometimes in the same family) preparing to meet their destiny, rare multi-panel panoramas of Gettysburg and Richmond, languorous camp scenes showing exhausted troops in repose, diagnostic medical studies of wounded soldiers who survived the war’s last bloody battles, and portraits of both Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg (1863), this beautifully produced book features Civil War photographs by George Barnard, Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, and many others.” (book cover)

syndetics-lcThe New Art of photographing nature
“A new spin on the classic guide to composing stunning images of nature and wildlife
What is the difference between a good picture and a great one? In this fully revised edition of the classic bestseller The Art of Photographing Nature, master photographer Art Wolfe and former Audubon photo editor Martha Hill team up to explain the art of composing images of enduring beauty. Against a backdrop of more than 250 photographs of nature, wildlife, and landscapes, they share insights and advice about what works and what doesn’t, and how small changes can take an image from ordinary to extraordinary. Throughout, all-new tips from digital imaging expert Tim Grey show readers how to make the most of digital technology, whether by choosing the right color space, understanding sensor size, or removing distracting elements in post-processing. The result is an invaluable collection of expert advice updated for the modern age.” (From amazon.com)

syndetics-lcThe Last Layer
“In The Last Layer, the follow-up to Digital Alchemy, her successful book on alternative printmaking techniques, Bonny Lhotka teaches how to make prints that take their inspiration from early printmaking processes. In this book, Lhotka shows readers step-by-step how to create modern-day versions of anthotypes, cyanotypes, tintypes, and daguerreotypes as well as platinum and carbon prints. She also reinvents the photogravure and Polaroid transfer processes and explores and explains groundbreaking techniques for combining digital images with traditional monotype, collograph, and etching press prints. By applying these classic techniques to modern images, readers will be able to recreate the look of historical printmaking techniques and explore the limits of their creative voice. Best of all, the only equipment required is a desktop inkjet printer that uses pigment inks, and a handful of readily available materials and supplies–not the toxic chemicals once required to perform these very same processes.
Leveraging her training as a traditional painter and printmaker, Bonny Lhotka brings new innovations and inventions that combine the best of centuries of printmaking technique with modern technology to create unique works of art and photography. After years of experimentation and development, these new processes allow alternative photographers, traditional printer makers, and 21st century digital artists to express their creative voice in ways never before possible.” (From amazon.com)

Current Photographic Exhibition in Wellington

syndetics-lcBehind Closed Doors
Commissioned to complement the exhibition “Behind closed doors: New Zealand art from private collections in Wellington”  shown at the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi of Victoria University in Wellington in 2011, and currently at the {Suite} Gallery (3-27 October 2012), this book is a portrait of Wellington as a city of art collectors and lovers. The representation of art in the context of homes rather than the institutional walls of museums or galleries offers an interesting point of view. Neil Pardington, already a familiar photographer in the world of collections and museums, discretely uncovers the private spaces inhabited by art collected according to personal agenda and sensibilities. His black and white photographs are accompanied by extensive text by Lara Strongman, setting the context of each collection and its owners. One notable collection is that of Milly Paris, the largest private art collection in New Zealand, recently in the news as it went under the hammer. Listen to a National Radio interview with Milly Paris.

New Photography Books: Beauty, Ugliness, Oddness, Disjunction

This month’s selection of new photography books begins with a reflection on how human hands shape our environment through transformation, cross-pollination and reverse cultural and natural colonisation. Our picks also examine the Antipodean landscape and small town and how they’ve been transformed (with varying results) by successive generations – creating a unique, if not quintessential, aesthetic of ‘place’.

Plus, we explore the world of until recently undiscovered genius of colour photography, Saul Leiter; discover a contrasting black and white photography instalment on London; and finish with the latest in practical photography manuals.

syndetics-lcSmalltown
In this rich and austere collaboration, photographer Martin Mischkulnig has joined writer Tim Winton to produce a meditation on the peculiar collision of beauty and ugliness that characterises our far-flung towns.
Without pulling any punches, this is an affectionate, exasperated take on ‘fugliness and the smalltown shambolic’ where both photographer and writer crate a stark beauty, despite the sad conviction that ‘there is nothing so bleak and forbidding in country Australia as the places humans have built there’.
By showing us the bizarre and funny and sometimes stubborn hope of people who live in desolate circumstances, they invite us to wonder about what we build and how it affects our communities.  What does it say about us that we build places ‘just’ to live or work in?  Is beauty a luxury we don’t believe we can afford?  Is hardiness enough to sustain people, or does it finally limit the imagination? (Publisher)

syndetics-lcOld New World
In this series of 62 photographs, Mary Macpherson explores the complex visual fabric of small town New Zealand, reflecting on its characteristics, identity and symbolism in the national psyche. In an interview by Gregory O’Brien that features as an introduction, Macpherson states: “I think that all countries have qualities- whether of their light, colour palette, spatial relationships, structures, etc – that show through in image-making. After seven years of travelling and looking at New Zealand my adjectives for it are “litlle, quick and vivid”.  Whether the viewer shares those adjectives is for each of us to ponder.

syndetics-lcBehind Closed Doors
Commissioned to complement the exhibition “Behind closed doors: New Zealand art from private collections in Wellington”  shown at the Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi of Victoria University in Wellington in 2011, and currently at the {Suite} Gallery (3-27 October 2012), this book is a portrait of Wellington as a city of art collectors and lovers. The representation of art in the context of homes rather than the institutional walls of museums or galleries offers an interesting point of view. Neil Pardington, already a familiar photographer in the world of collections and museums, discretely uncovers the private spaces inhabited by art collected according to personal agenda. His black and white photographs are accompanied by extensive text by Lara Strongman, setting the context of each collection and its owners. One notable collection is that of Milly Paris, the largest private art collection in New Zealand, recently in the news as it went under the hammer. Listen to a National Radio interview with Milly Paris.

syndetics-lcTorbay tī kōuka: a New Zealand tree in the English Riviera
Wayne Barrar is no stranger to the exploration of the intersection between culture and nature, having dedicated most of his photographic career to this complex and sensitive subject.
In this new books, he looks at the strange phenomenon he observed while spending time in England of the reversal of the “normal direction of ecological colonialism” in the case of the pervasive presence of the iconic New Zealand cabbage tree (tī kōuka) that has come to represent the English Riviera to such an extent that it has been renamed the Torbay Palms. Paris-Berlin-Bretagne-Singapore_278Paradoxically, the very characteristics of the cabbage tree as a hardy, exotic looking plant has made it particular popular as an ornemental tree as far as Britain (or France for that matter, as witnessed in the photograph on the right taken on a trip to Britanny where I made the same observation and felt a need to document it) when its status in its native environment is eroding fast.  Two essays accompany the photographs, offering an artistic view on the one hand and a conservation view on the other. Barrar’s restrained, balanced and subtle image-making style respects the subject matter and lets the oddity of the situation speak for itself. This books  is a very interesting  reflection on the significance of a natural and cultural symbol.

syndetics-lcManly affections : the photographs of Robert Gant, 1885-1915
“Robert Gant was an English immigrant, an amateur photographer and a lover of men. Manly Affections takes us into Gant’s lost world of small town New Zealand. What happened when an artistic ‘new chum’ and his camera met the rugby and cricket playing locals? Manly Affections explores men’s intimate lives in 230 images. A visual history of place, gender and sexuality, this book poses new questions about settler masculinity. As sitters for the camera in the small towns of Masterton and Greytown, Gant’s companions crossed the lines between friendship, emotion, pleasure and eroticism”–Publisher statement.

syndetics-lcSaul Leiter – Retrospektive
Produced as the catalog of the exhibition “Saul Leiter–Retrospective” at the Haus der Photographie Deichtorhallen Hamburg earlier this year, this book unveils the work of this until recently little known American photographer and painter. “Saul is the missing link in the history of color photography, a covert operator, an artist painting in secrecy for decades, an artist almost lost to us.” states Margit Erb. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Pittsburg in the 20’s, his penchant for art found little support at home and he soon left for New York to explore painting initially and then photography, which he discovered to be well suited to his personality and artistic pursuits. His photographic style has much to borrow from abstract painting, incorporating multiple layers of complex planes of diffuse, sometimes lyrical, sometimes cubistic juxtapositions. His colour palette is bold, graphic and adventurous, using colour at a time when it was still considered a trivial relation to noble black and white photography.  The result was a long career in Harper’s Bazaar, spanning the 40’s to the 70’s until the magazine folded. For all the years he spent photographing fashion, Leiter admitted to having mixed feelings about a world that he found shallow and empty. His element was the street. Even his fashion shots were mostly created on the streets of New York. His portrayal of New York is unique, colourful, graphical, showing a taste for radical compositions often masking the majority of the frame with an out of focus foreground or one vibrantly coloured element. Thanks to some persistent supporters, he  was finally brought to fame in  the 90’s with a solo exhibition Saul Leiter: In Color which attracted a lot of interest and produced good sales, but more dramatically, by a book published in 2005 after a decade spent hunting for a willing publisher, following an exhibition noticed by Gerard Steidl. Early Color’s publication saw Leiter’s fame shoot to the stars almost overnight where he truly belongs. This current publication incorporates photography and painting, illustrating the dialogue between the two medium in Leiter’s artistic practice.

syndetics-lcAnother London : international photographers capture city life 1930-1980
In the years between 1930 and 1980, some of the best-known photographers from around the world came to London and made its streets, buildings and communities their subject. For some, the British capital was to become home; for others it remained a foreign city, as enigmatic perhaps as any they had visited. Each brought their own distinctive perspective, subverting or perpetuating national stereotypes, seeking out the typical or the exotic, attempting to penetrate the fabled British reserve with their lens. Together their work creates a portrait of a great world city, changing and mutating, a restless and fascinating muse. This book demonstrates the breadth and variety of the responses London provoked from visiting photographers during the period, from portraits to reportage, from social realism to whimsy and humour, the changes in their technique and attitude demonstrating developments in photography itself.

syndetics-lcTeach yourself visually Photoshop Elements 10
“If you want practical coverage of the most important features of Photoshop Elements 10, this book is for you. Packed with step-by-step instructions illustrated with full-color screen shots, this book clearly shows you how to do tasks, rather than using lengthy explanations. Even better, the book includes an associated website with all the images in the book available for download, so you can get hands-on practice as you go. It’s an efficient, easy-to-follow way to get up to speed on the latest and best that Photoshop Elements 10 has to offer.”–Publisher description.

And finally, our first photographic eBook!

Cover image for Digital Photography FAQsDigital photography FAQs an eBook
Straightforward, clear answers to the most commonly asked digital photography questions. What’s the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom? Do more megapixels equate to better photo quality? Why is there a delay after I push the shutter release button before I can take another picture? If you’ve ever asked a question concerning digital photography and wished you had a helpful resource to provide you with clear, reliable answers, then look no further.With nearly four decades of photo experience under his belt, author Jeff Wignall responds to 365 of the most common digital photography questions with informative, practical replies.

“The Earth at night is a masterpiece of light and motion” : new photography books

There are some amazing new photography books this month – so many its hard to do justice to them all here. It’s been really hard to choose just a few, but here are our picks. Included are books on Francesca Woodman, Len Lye, early New Zealand photography, and the resurgence of lo-fi photography. Our absolute picks for the month though, are Magnum Contact Sheets, and Lights of Mankind : The Earth at night as seen from space. Enjoy!

syndetics-lcEarly New Zealand photography
“We are all participants in an increasingly visual culture, yet we rarely give thought to the ways that photographs shape our experience and understanding of the world and historical past. This book looks at a range of New Zealand photographs up to 1918 and analyses them as photo-objects, considering how they were made, who made them, what they show and how our understanding of them can vary or change over time. The writers include photographers, museum curators, academics and other researchers. Their essays are not intended as definitive readings but rather offer a variety of ways in which to read the images they have chosen. In the course of the book, they explore a host of issues related to the development of photography in New Zealand. World War I is the end point, as it coincided with profound cultural shifts with the expansion of the mass illustrated press and the rise of consumer photography, as well as a change in New Zealand’s place in the world.” (Publisher’s description)

syndetics-lcShadowgraphs : photographic portraits by Len Lye
Len Lye’s Shadowgraphs were the subject of a recent exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery on the Victoria University Wellington campus. This catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition and provides a valuable insight into this aspect of Lye’s work. Fascinated by cameraless photography as were some of his contemporaries such as, notably, Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy, Lye experimented with this process while in New York in 1947, producing portraits of his entourage. Introduced by Professor Geoffrey Batchen, the resulting images are the subject of essays by Art History students. An interesting side to one of New Zealand’s iconic and visionary artists. For further information on his work and life, don’t miss our other fascinating titles dedicated to this master of movement. And then, why not visit the Len Lye Foundation at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth and the soon to be opened Len Lye Centre.

Now, for some unintentional poetry…

syndetics-lcLights of Mankind The Earth at night as seen from space
A compelling collection of images never before published in one volume, selected from 130,000 photographs downlinked by astronauts from the Cupola observation module of the International Space Station creates a magnificent, multifaceted and comprehensive portrait of our planet, accompanied by beautiful and informative text, including words by astronauts who share what they saw and how they felt as they witnessed those incredible scenes. Astronaut Douglas Wheelock sets the tone when he says: “The Earth at night is a masterpiece of light and motion. Aurora australis dancing on a moonlit night… a new dawn just beyond the horizon… Tonight we set sail for the blue planet. It has been nearly six months, and we are being called home. I hope to one day return to this place. Seems I’ve lived a hundred life-times… yet I blinked, and the time has slipped away. What will that first breath be like when the hatch opens on Earth?… I can only imagine.” We can only imagine what it must have felt like to be up there, discovering the amazing patterns humanity imprints on the surface of our world, intentionally or not, with consequences not always so fortunate but an awesome testament to our lives nonetheless.

syndetics-lcMagnum Contact Sheets
If I were to choose one book for the month, this would be it. It is is worth the muscle power (weighs a few kilos) and you’ll need the time to appreciate it fully. It presents an amazing selection of 139 contact sheets from 69 Magnum photographers over the lifespan of the influential agency, revealing the processes behind some of the most famous shots in documentary photography — from capture to editing and final selection. The accompanying text is also enlightening and tells the stories behind those icons of contemporary history. As Peter Conrad puts it for the Guardian newspaper, we may view “these contact sheets, souvenirs of a technology that is now obsolete” as “the elegy for a lost art”. A book that commands respect, attention and detailed scrutiny. Fascinating!

syndetics-lcLo-fi photo fun! Creative projects for Polaroid, Plastic and Pinhole Camera
So, did someone mention the death of analog photography? Not so fast. Have you ever heard of Lomography, a young and vibrant community committed to analog photography? Or the Impossible Project, which claims to have saved analog instant photography from extinction by releasing brand new and unique instant films replacing the defunct Polaroid instant films? Regardless of this self-professed achievement, it is undeniable that there is a renewed interest for what had been regarded as an obsolete technology and this book is proof of the ever increasing following “toy-cameras” have been enjoying lately. Divided into short, simple and attractively illustrated sections, this book is designed to kick-start creative projects and inspire.

syndetics-lcFrancesca Woodman
“Artists who arrive fully formed at a young age always dazzle, and Francesca Woodman was one of the most gifted and dazzling artist prodigies in recent history. In 1972, the 13-year-old Woodman made a black-and-white photograph of herself sitting at the far end of a sofa in her home in Boulder, Colorado. Her face is obscured by her hair, light radiates from an unseen source behind her out at the viewer through her right hand. This photograph typifies much of what would characterize Woodman’s work to come: a semi-obscured female form merging with or flailing against a somewhat bare and often dilapidated interior. In an oeuvre of around 800 photographs made in just nine years, Woodman performed her own body against the textures of wallpaper, door frame, baths and couches, radically extending the Surrealist photography of Man Ray, Hans Bellmer and Claude Cahun and creating a mood and language all her own. In the 30 years since her untimely death, Woodman has gained a following among successive generations of artists and photographers, a testament to her work’s undeniable immediacy and enduring appeal. Amid a renewed intensification of interest in Francesca Woodman, this volume is published for a major touring exhibition of her photographs and films at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Containing many previously unpublished photographs, it is the definitive Francesca Woodman monograph.” (Publisher’s description)

syndetics-lcPhotoshop Compositing Secrets
From analog to digital, the world of photography is all encompassing. What would we do without Photoshop these days? Compositing may not be for everyone but everyone can take something from the skills featured in this useful how-to book. If you want to master the tools that will allow your creativity to blossom, this book is sure to help.