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Photography As You Don’t Know It

To paraphrase the latest issue of  Aperture Magazine (Issue 213), this installment of our Photography blog features some books (and magazines) that will show you, “photography as you don’t know it”.

syndetics-lcThe current issue features a cover and article about New Zealand artist Len Lye’s Shadowgraphs, subject of one of our earlier posts, an early adopter of alternative photographic techniques, a long time before the birth of digital photography.
The technological developments of the last two decades mean that photography as a medium has evolved in many incredible and fascinating directions that were not possible before. Photography as a way to document reality is everyday challenged further, making amazing tools available to all, allowing anyone with the inclination (and some time) to create a world of make belief. Fiction and reality become more blurred as digital imagery becomes ever present in our daily lives.
However, we still marvel at the power of “documentary” photography to show us the world at its most natural and majestic, as Sebastiao Salgado has again demonstrated in his latest publication, or at its most simple and authentic, as these early and unusually black & white photographs of Martin Parr powerfully illustrate.

Let’s just remember to differentiate the medium from its subject matter and we shall be prepared to embrace all the forms photography can take.

Ultimate Surreal Digital PhotographySurreal Photography – Creating the impossible
“Master the art of imaginative photo-manipulation. Ever since Man Ray imposed the sound holes of a violin onto his models back, photographers have been enthusiastic practitioners of surreal art. With the advent of high-quality digital photo-manipulation the possibilities for creativity have become infinite. This book reveals the latest developments in the field and demystifies the techniques used by modern surreal photographers, whether they favour straight-out-of-the-camera surrealism or sophisticated digital manipulations. Breaking down the shooting and editing process so any reader can follow, this book provides step-by-step instructions for creating extraordinary scenes. With contributions from numerous artists, including Natalie Dybisz, Jon Jacobsen and Patrick Desmet, readers will be able to explore many different styles, from impossible landscapes to unsettling portraits.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lc50 portraits : stories and techniques from a photographer’s photographerGregory Heisler:  : 50 portraits : stories and techniques from a photographer’s photographer
“In this first-ever showcase of his work, Gregory Heisler, one of professional photography’s most respected practitioners, shares 50 iconic portraits of celebrities, athletes, and world leaders, along with fascinating, thoughtful, often humorous stories about how the images were made. From his famously controversial portrait of President George H.W. Bush (which led to the revocation of Heisler’s White House clearance) to his evocative post-9/11 Time magazine cover of Rudolph Giuliani, to stunning portraits of Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Hillary Clinton, Michael Phelps, Muhammad Ali, and many more, Heisler reveals the creative and technical processes that led to each frame. For Heisler’s fans and all lovers of photography, Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits offers not only a gorgeous collection of both black-and-white and color portraits, but an engrossing look at the rarely seen art of a master photographer at work”. (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcSebastiao Salgado – Genesis
“Epic journeys to the ends of the earth: Salgado’s opus on our planet in its natural state. On a very fortuitous day in 1970, 26-year-old Sebastiao Salgado held a camera for the first time. When he looked through the viewfinder, he had an epiphany: suddenly life made sense. From that day onward – though it took years of hard work before he had the experience to earn his living as a photographer – the camera became his tool for interacting with the world. Salgado, who “always preferred the chiaroscuro palette of black-and-white images,” shot very little color in his early career before giving it up completely. Having been raised on a rural farm in Brazil, far from civilization and without television, Salgado possessed a deep love and respect for nature; he was also particularly sensitive to the ways in which human beings are affected by their often devastating socio-economic conditions.  “Genesis” is the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have so far escaped the imprint of modern society – the land and life of a still-pristine planet.” (From amazon.co.uk)

syndetics-lcThe Non-Conformists
The Non-Conformists features Martin Parr’s first major body of work from the mid-1970s, published here for the first time in book form. A wonderful and charming surprise for Parr enthusiasts and fans of traditional reportage, this body of black-and-white imagery predates the cutting colour work that earned him his fame in the 1980s. In 1975, fresh out of art school, Martin Parr found poor footing in the London photography scene, so he moved to the picturesque Yorkshire Pennine mill town of Hebden Bridge. Over a period of five years, he documented the town in photographs, showing in particular the aspects of traditional life that were beginning to decline. Susie Parr, whom he had met in Manchester, joined him in documenting a year in the life of a small Methodist chapel, together with its farming community. In words and pictures, the Parrs vividly and affectionately document cobbled streets, flat-capped mill workers, hardy gamekeepers, henpecked husbands, and jovial shop owners.” (Syndetics)

syndetics-lcAlexander McQueen: Working Process
“In 2008 Alexander McQueen commissioned photographer Nick Waplington to document the creation of his Fall 2009 collection–all the way from inception to runway showing. Unfortunately, it was to be the last Fall/Winter collection that McQueen would stage before his untimely death. This show, which he titled The Horn of Plenty, found McQueen revisiting his 15-year archive of work and recycling it into a new collection. Every step of the creative process is documented in fascinating detail and readers receive a rare insight into the inner workings of McQueen’s creative process. This substantial overview, with more than 120 photographs, is published just as McQueen edited it, commemorating the most personal of his collections.” (Adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverVanity fair, 100 years : from the jazz age to our age
Vanity Fair 100 Years showcases a century of personality and power, art and commerce, crisis and culture–both highbrow and low. From its inception in 1913, through the Jazz Age and the Depression, to its reincarnation in the boom-boom Reagan years, to the image-saturated Information Age, Vanity Fair has presented the modern era as it has unfolded, using wit, imagination, peerless literary narrative, and bold, groundbreaking imagery from the greatest photographers, artists, and illustrators of the day. This sumptuous book takes a decade-by-decade look at the world as seen by the magazine, stopping to describe the incomparable editor Frank Crowninshield and the birth of the Jazz Age Vanity Fair, the magazine’s controversial rebirth in 1983, and the history of the glamorous Vanity Fair Oscar Party.” (Books In Print)

Syndetics book coverCaught in the act : actors acting / director & photographer, Howard Schatz ; editor & producer, Beverly J. Ornstein ; writer, Owen Edwards.
“Actors fascinate us in part because they live out the truths we cannot, or do not, want to live out ourselves. In his latest book, acclaimed photographer Howard Schatz develops upon his well-received monthly feature for Vanity Fair, In Character. Schatz’ mastery of his craft is demonstrated as he himself acts, taking on the role of a director and giving his subjects detailed situations to explore, which are listed with the resulting image. The actors featured here-including John Malkovich, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Douglas, Colin Firth, Laurence Fishburne, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael C. Hall, Hugh Laurie, Amy Poehler, and Geoffrey Rush, among other illustrious greats-demonstrate their skill for improvisation while Schatz captures the complexity of their emotional and physical range. This inventive collection is a richly entertaining revelation of the fantasy of transformation. Schatz does not simply create characters from these actors-he helps to reveal their humanity.” (Syndetics)

2013-07-25 09.58.08When in Paris in July 2013, I came across an outdoor exhibition on the railings of the Luxembourg garden. A series of 80 large scale photos recounted the history of the Tour de France, to celebrate its 100th edition, paying homage to the riders, but also to the spectators and the landscapes, the other crucial protagonists of the event.
I couldn’t help but take this shot of a cyclist enjoying the exhibition as I passed.

Photography courtesy of Françoise Padellec.

syndetics-lcTour de France 100 – A Photographic History of the World’s Greatest Race
“First staged in 1903, the Tour de France lasts three weeks every July and takes its c.200 competitors through over 3600km of varied terrain, including testing mountain stages. The race is broken into one-day ‘stages’, with the overall leader wearing the fabled yellow jersey.
Tour de France
100 celebrates 110 years of the Tour and publishes in the run up to the 100th race. It captures key visual moments in its history, including heroes of the race, great rivalries, moments of high drama, accidents and scandals, all accompanied by Richard Moore’s authoritative text that illuminates and expands upon the superb imagery.” (From amazon.co.uk)

Pure Glamour: New fashion and beauty books for February

I hope you’re all feeling glamorous!! Because our selection of new fashion and beauty books this month is nothing if not glamorous; we have a whole book dedicated to shoes (swoon), as well as big, beautiful books documenting Christian Dior, Paul Smith and the essence of French style. We also have your guide to gentlemen’s fashion, and an illustrated history of luxury fashion brands. We have Collette Dinnigan’s new book, and also an anthology of rock and roll fashion photographs that aren’t to be missed.

Syndetics book coverFor the love of shoes / edited by Patrice Farameh.
“Women have long realized that cool shoes do not only complement the outfit, they are the whole point. From Cinderella to Carrie, we have all fallen head over heels for the right pair-and to hell with cost or comfort! This book explores the outer realms of avant-garde shoe design. Unfettered by commercialism, these pioneering designers give full rein to their artistic visions. These zany pieces contain an array of extraordinary forms and materials. With influences ranging from Las Vegas pizzazz and arcane tribal relics to contemporary architecture, it may be difficult to distinguish between fun footwear and conceptual sculpture.” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverJohn Varvatos : rock in fashion / John Varvatos with Holly George-Warren.
“In John Varvatos, the legendary designer reveals his perspective on how rock & roll music and style have influenced his own designs and fashion worldwide. Varvatos’s personally curated collection of more than 250 images are some of the most provocative ever shot by top rock photographers from the late 1960s to today, from the Rolling Stones to the Kings of Leon. Also included are select images from Varvatos’s own advertising campaigns. Every chapter also contains numerous quotes from the musicians themselves, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, Jack White, Pete Townshend, Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, and Patti Smith. An extraordinary anthology of some of the finest images in rock & roll and the most influential rock looks in fashion and popular culture.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverDior glamour : photographs from 1952 to 1962 / Mark Shaw ; foreword by Lee Radziwill ; text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni.
“A collection of the lavish and iconic gowns of Christian Dior, from the 1950s and 1960s, captured by the legendary photographer Mark Shaw. Iconic photographer Mark Shaw documented the ultra-exclusive Parisian fashion world, focusing on Paris’s long-standing top couturier Christian Dior. This lavish volume embodies the glamour of that time, from rare moments of Christian Dior during fittings to editorial-style photographs of models, socialites, and actresses posing in Dior’s ballgowns, day suits, and haute couture collections. With an eye for intimacy and opulence, this book features more than 200 color and black-and-white photographs, many never published before, having only recently been found in a secret vault by his estate.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverHello, my name is Paul Smith : fashion and other stories / by Paul Smith, Deyan Sudjic and Donna Loveday ; edited by Alan Aboud.
“This handsome volume celebrates over forty years of the playful and trendsetting English fashion brand and retailer Paul Smith. Always in fashion, Paul Smith perfected a classic style that exudes a sense of English tradition combined with humor, playfulness, and mischief. This marriage of sophistication and the unexpected has given birth to a style and identity that forty years and many collections later remains charming, personable, and effortlessly hip. Using hand-drawn designs, archival photographs, gorgeous original photography, and engaging essays, this colorful catalog weaves together a compelling visual tale of Paul Smith s prestigious projects and creative processes from behind-the-scenes to on the streets that built this multifaceted empire of cool.” (Adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverObsessive creative / Collette Dinnigan.
“In this much-anticipated book, renowned fashion designer and icon Collette Dinnigan provides an intimate insight into her life and work. In this sumptuous volume jam-packed with hundreds of photographs of the clothes on and off the runway, sketches, watercolors, and images from the designers personal albums.” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverLuxury fashion : a global history of heritage brands / Caroline Cox ; foreword by Cameron Silver.
“Luxury brands are not about banal retro styling or taking refuge in past glories; they are brands with a heritage that still chimes with contemporary culture. Luxury Fashion is a unique tribute to the world’s most hallowed fashion brands. Glossy and highly informative, it provides in-depth feature portraits of fifty of the finest luxury fashion brands (renowned heritage labels and hidden gems) as well as an essential directory of a further 150 brands, which includes details of key items and where to find them. Each featured brand is beautifully illustrated, with historical and contemporary images, evoking the story of how artisans from all over the world have created objects of desire that have endured because of their superb quality, superior craftsmanship and timeless design appeal.” (Adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe art of being a woman : my mother, Schiaparelli, and me / Patricia Volk.
“Patricia Volk’s glittering memoir, written with charm, panache and wit, juxtaposes the lives of two women – the iconoclastic fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and the author’s own mother – to tell the story of how young Patricia fashioned herself into a woman. Patricia Volk’s mother Audrey was an upper-middle class New Yorker, a great beauty, a perfectionist, and a polished hostess who believed in women doing things the proper way. The iconoclastic Italian fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, on the other hand, never found a rule she didn’t want to break. For Patricia, who read Schiap’s ‘scandalous’ autobiography, Shocking Life, at a tender age, these two women offered fabulously contrasting lessons in everything from fashion, make-up, lingerie, family and entertaining, to love, sex, superstition and gambling – lessons that would stay with her for the rest of her life.” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverFrench style / Bérénice Vila Baudry.
“French Style Berenice Baudry was born in Argentina and raised in France. She was a fellow of the Ecole Normale Superieure where she studied French and Spanish literature, and received her doctorate from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. After living four years in Spain, she currently resides in New York and teaches at Columbia University.” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverQuintessentially gentleman / head of editorial and writer, Nathalie Bradbury.
“Quintessentially Gentleman is a luxury guidebook for the sartorially savvy man. This edition explores some of the biggest fashion brands as well as the most exclusive bespoke tailors and craftsmen and readers can discover the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of lifestyle etiquette. Be it the finest cut suit, a fashion-forward branded anorak or traditional tweeds for a country weekend, Quintessentially Gentleman will reveal surprising insights into the most respected and admired names in industry.” (Publisher’s website)

Photography

This month is rich with many different styles of photographers and photography. From stark black and white to garrish colour, from historical to contemporary, documentary to studio.
New Zealand photography gets a very respectable representation too, from visual accounts of Edmund Hillary’s feats to Marti Friedlander’s autobiography, not forgetting two unique books on animals, with heartwarming stories of dogs who have lived through the Christchurch earthquakes and the fascinating photographic account of the first 37 days of some tui fledglings.
The world of entertainment and glamour is well served with beautiful photography collections from Lee Miller, Terry O’Neill and contemporary prodigy Søren Solkær Starbird.
Finally, if you are looking for inspiration to create gifts that involve photography, look no further, A Beautiful Mess is sure to give you some cool ideas making the most of your cellphone camera. And it is linked to a very cool blog too.

syndetics-lcThe conquest of Everest : original photographs from the legendary first ascent
“On 29 May 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood on the summit of Mount Everest … anniversary book … features a trove of original photographs … and other rare materials from the Lowe collection … contributions from the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Chris Bonington, Kenton Cool, Peter Hillary, Tom Hornbein, Reinhold Messner, Colin Monteath, Jan Morris, Norbu Tenzing Norgay, Doug Scott and Stephen Venables.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lc Lee Miller in fashion
“Lee Miller was a Vogue cover girl, Man Ray’s lover, the first photojournalist at the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald, and one of the most important female photographers of the 20th century. Combining fine art and urban wit, her photographic technique was learned from the great photographers of her day, among them are Edward Steichen, Man Ray and George Hoyningen-Huene. Becky E. Conekin’s Lee Miller in Fashion gives us a wide lens view on Miller’s fashion photography. Set against the fast-changing landscapes of New York, Paris, and London, it reveals a neglected chapter in Miller’s life: how this incredible woman challenged conventions and broke boundaries in her fashion photography for the leading magazines of the day. Using never-before-seen photographs and archival research, Conekin shows how Miller’s fashion photographs were a brilliant combination of sharp wit, high art and modernist edge.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcSelf-portrait / Marti Friedlander with Hugo Manson
“From a childhood in London’s East End to half a century in New Zealand photographing wine-makers, artists, children and kuia, Marti Friedlander has lived a rich life, one defined by the art of looking. In Self-portrait, Marti tells her story for the first time. As forthright and revealing in words as in her photographs, she tells of growing up in London orphanages, being Jewish, working in a Kensington photography studio, marrying a New Zealander and moving across the world to a challenging new country. Here she began to photograph the ordinary and the extraordinary, protests and politicians, balloons and beaches, capturing on film the transformation of New Zealand life over more than fifty years. This book is a rich meditation on one women’s photographic journey through the twentieth century.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcJohn Cato: retrospective
“In his photographic essays, Cato explores the harsh beauty and spiritual force of the outback. His images, fashioned from the extreme light and shade of the southern sun, have an almost sculptural intensity: a termite-ridden fence-post pierced with rusty-wire, the wind-furrowed surface of a water hole, the twisted bark of a gum tree. They are beautiful pictures, realised with great technical control, but Cato is not content to see himself merely as an ‘artist’ or a ‘photographer’. He describes himself – in his beliefs – as an ‘animist’: I believe that rocks have souls just as much as people. I think the word that has been used about my work which pleases me the most, is elemental, and it is that element of life within the landscape that to some is a deep religious experience. It is a vision that he traces back to the mythology of the Ancient Greeks, but it has interesting resonances, too, with the beliefs of the Australian aboriginals and the practice of their art.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcTerry O’Neill
“Terry O’Neill has captured the iconic, candid and unguarded moments of the famous and notorious for six decades. He was the first photographer to observe the tectonic social and cultural shifts occuring across Britain as the nation emerged from post-war fatigue and in particular he chronicled how youth hijacked fashion, the arts and music to herald an era that became universally acclaimed as the Swinging 60s. He pioneered reportage photography of emerging bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Animals, talent-spotted new icons such as Elton John and David Bowie and very quickly became the photographer of choice of many Hollywood stars, from Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn to Raquel Welch and Paul Newman. He remains the only photographer to have photographed every James Bond actor, more htan 25 Bond girls and a staggering 150 Oscar-nominated actors and actresses. Now, for the first time, an exhaustive cataloguing of his archive conducted over the last three years has revisited more than two million negatives and has unearthed many unseen images, from Ava Gardner to Amy Winehouse, and Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela. Every photograph was carefully selected by the artist himself to represent the scale and breadth of an unparalleled career.” (Book cover)

syndetics-lcCloser : Søren Solkær Starbird
“Over the past decade, Søren Starbird has captured breathtaking photographs of the world’s leading musicians. CLOSR collects the work of this talented Danish artist who has risen to astronomical heights in the world of international photography. His portraits, ranging from deep and intimate studies to large format cinematic scenes shot in mind-blowing locations, have been published as features and on the covers of the world’s leading magazines such as Q, GQ, Arena, Rolling Stone and Wallpaper.” (From book jacket)

syndetics-lcTui – A nest in the bush
“This book is an intimate and rare look at the beginning of a Tui’ life, presented as a series of photographs showing the 37-day development of a pair of tui from eggs to fledglings.
Meg Lipscombe is a photographer living at Lake Tarawera nesr Rotorua, surrounded by native forest and an abundant variety of bird life. One spring morning in 2011, Meg noticed a tui disappear into a bush with a twig in its mouth, and discovered that its nest, while hidden from below, could be seen from her balcony. By carefully removing some leaves from the bush she was able to get a clear view of the nest, giving her a rare opportunity to visually record the beginning of a tui’s life.
The growth and development of tui chicks has never been photographed in this way before, and this beautiful sequence of photographs will have great appeal to anyone, young and old,  who appreciates this much loved and iconic bird.” (Book jacket)

syndetics-lcQuake dogs
“Strange-but-true Christchurch earthquake dog stories… includes stories of USAR dogs that worked in the central city right after the February earthquake; Guinness, the unofficial mascot of the Student Volunteer Army; Nemo, who has a special gift for predicting earthquakes; dogs who were rescued and dogs who rescued others; and stories showing dogs’ uncanny knowledge when trying to find their owners.” (Book cover)

syndetics-lcA beautiful mess : photo idea book : 95 inspiring ideas for photographing your friends, your world, and yourself
“Sisters Elsie and Emma share their love o photographing their everyday life with95 favorite tips and ideas for documenting your own real life with any camera or smartphone. Packed with the same happy, creative spirit and unique style that has made their blog, A Beautiful Mess one of the most popular DIY style websites in the world, these all-new projects and photo challenges will inspire you to style and snap better photos and then transform them into simple yet stunning projects and gifts.” (Adapted from book jacket)

syndetics-lcColor Rush – American photography from Stieglitz to Sherman
“From this color saturated world we live in nowadays, it is hard to believe that there was a time when color photography was not the norm. This book explores the developments that led to this point, looking at the way color photographs circulated and appeared at the time of their making. From magazine pages to gallery walls, from advertisement to photojournalism, Color Rush charts the history of color photography in the United States from the moment the technology became available. At the start is the unveiling of the autochrome in 1907, the first commercially availaable color process and continues through the 1981 landmark survey show and book, The New Color Photography, which hailed the widespread acceptance of color art photography. This book was published by Aperture to accompany the exhibition of the same name, held by Milwaukee Art Museum earlier this year.” (Adapted from book cover)

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)

A month in Photography

From the race that led to the birth of photography, to today’s amazing photographs of space and earth, captured from spaceships and stations, satellites, space telescopes, probes and planetary rovers, through some master photographers of the 20th century documenting everyday life as well as the glamour of the rich, famous and fashionistas, this month’s wide and fascinating selection reminds us of the giant steps this medium has experienced during its relatively short existence. 

syndetics-lcLeo Fuchs
“Leo Fuchs is a Hollywood veteran who spent over 40 years shooting some of the most moving and memorable images ever made of 50s and 60s film icons. Fuchs’ introduction to moviemaking came as one of the world’s leading “special photographers” on movie sets in Europe and North America. Starting as a freelance magazine photographer, he was one of the rare outsiders invited onto movie sets, where he often befriended actors, actresses, and filmmakers and captured candid shots both during shooting and after hours while socializing with the stars. With the support of his dear friend Cary Grant, Fuchs gave up photography in 1964 and spent the next 20 years as a motion picture producer.
Fuchs’ photographs of Hollywood’s undisputed heyday are collected for the first time in Leo Fuchs: Special Photographer from the Golden Age of Hollywood, along with a rare essay by photography great, Bruce Weber. Film icons Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Sean Connery, Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, and never-before-published photographs of To Kill a Mockingbird’s Harper Lee as well as such legendary directors as Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Fred Zinnemann, and Alfred Hitchcock
all appear unguarded—unlike any other photographs of the era. These images are complemented by pages of insider details taken from the recorded remembrances of Leo Fuchs himself.” (From amazon.com)

syndetics-lcGarry Winogrand
“Widely regarded as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century, Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) did much of his best-known work in Manhattan during the 1960s, becoming an epic chronicler of that tumultuous decade. But Winogrand was also an avid traveler and roamed extensively around the United States, bringing exquisite work out of nearly every region of the country.This landmark retrospective catalogue looks at the full sweep of Winogrand’s exceptional career. Drawing from his enormous output, which at the time of his death included thousands of rolls of undeveloped film and unpublished contact sheets, the book will serve as the most substantial compendium of Winogrand’s work to date. Lavishly illustrated with both iconic images and photographs that have never been seen before now, and featuring essays by leading scholars of American photography, Garry Winogrand presents a vivid portrait of an artist who unflinchingly captured America’s swings between optimism and upheaval in the postwar era”. (From publisher)

syndetics-lcTerence Donovan Fashion
“Terence Donovan was one of the foremost photographers of his generation – among the greatest Britain has ever produced. He came to prominence in London as part of a postwar renaissance in art, fashion, graphic design and photography. His working-class background and outlook helped change the face of British fashion photography and made him a major figure of London’s Swinging Sixties. A star in his own right, he was equally at home with celebrities and royalty as well as the ordinary girl on the street, whose mannerisms informed his photographs. Gifted with an unerring eye for the iconic image, Donovan was also master of his craft, a technical genius who strove to push the limits of what was possible.
Arranged chronologically, from the gritty monochromatic 1960s and 1970s to the vibrant and colourful 1980s and 1990s, the book reveals how constant invention and experimentation set Donovan apart from his contemporaries and influenced generations to come.” (From publisher)

syndetics-lcVogue – The Editor’s Eye
“Vogue: The Editor’s Eye celebrates the pivotal role the fashion editor has played in shaping America’s sense of style since the magazine’s launch 120 years ago. Drawing on Vogue’s exceptional archive, this book focuses on the work of eight of the magazine’s legendary fashion editors (including Polly Mellen, Babs Simpson, and Grace Coddington) who collaborated with photographers, stylists, and designers to create the images that have had an indelible impact on the fashion world and beyond. Featuring the work of world-renowned photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Annie Leibovitz and model/muses, including Marilyn Monroe, Verushka, and Linda Evangelista, The Editor’s Eye is a lavishly illustrated look at the visionary editors whose works continue to reverberate in the culture today”. (From publisher)

syndetics-lcHalim Al Karim
“Halim Al Karim is one of a generation of Arab artists forced by recent global events to live and create unexpected relationships between distant places, geographically and culturally. With dogged determination, he has devised and implemented the codes and means of his own artistic explorations. Without urgency, he has owned to everything, and particularly to all the deserts — those in his soul and the real deserts of his days as a young man buried in a war-torn country. This dereliction has never left him since.
From his current life in the United States, Dubai, and Holland (where he divides his time), from his travels around the world, and from Iraq, of course, where he was born, Halim Al Karim has drawn on and been enriched by diverse experiences, sometimes painful. These have led to an intimate isolation, now connected to forms of art expressed between secrecy and a search for an unspeakable truth.
His work draws meaning from his capacity to resonate with the world and to invent forms, gestures, codes, and symbols that allow him to express his obsessions and problematics in unprecedented ways.
Nadine Descendre, the author of this book, sets out to retrace the footsteps of the artist.” (From publisher)

syndetics-lcCapturing the light
“The story of two lone geniuses and the extraordinary race to invent photography At the heart of Capturing the Light, there lies a small scrap of purple-tinged paper, over 170 years old and about the size of a postage stamp. On it you can just make out a tiny, ghostly image – an image so small and perfect that ‘it might be supposed to be the work of some Lilliputian artist’; the world’s first photographic negative. This captivating book traces the true story of two very different men in the 1830s, both striving to solve one of the world’s oldest problems: how to capture an image, and keep it for ever. On the one hand there is Henry Fox Talbot, a quiet, solitary gentleman-amateur scientist, tinkering away on his estate in the English countryside; on the other, Louis Daguerre: a flamboyant, charismatic French scenery-painter, showman and entrepreneur in search of fame and fortune. Both men invented methods of photography that would enable ordinary people, for the first time in history, to illustrate their own lives and leave something behind of their passing. Photography would transform art, the documentation of both war and peace, and become so natural and widespread that now, each of us carries a camera everywhere with us, and takes this most magical of processes for granted. Only one question remains: which man got there first?” (From amazon.co.uk)

syndetics-lcAstronomy Photographer of the year
“This collection of beautiful images of space taken by photographers from all over the world comprises images from the first four years of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, which is organized by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in association with Sky at Night Magazine, and powered by the photo-sharing website Flickr.
From giant storm systems in Jupiter’s atmosphere to the colourful wispy remnants of a supernova explosion and the dazzling green curtain of the Northern Lights, the competition brings together some of the last four years’ best space imagery of astronomical objects from within our solar system and far into deep space by astrophotographers from around the world.
All winning, runner-up and highly commended entries from all four years of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition are included, as well as all shortlisted images from the 2012 competition.” (From amazon.co.uk)

syndetics-lcSpaceCam, photographing the final frontier
“Photographs of space have always been fascinating and extraordinary and never more so than now that space telescopes such as Hubble are bringing us strange and beautiful images of unimaginably distant regions of the universe, even almost to the beginning of time. Spacecam celebrates the unique perspective of cameras freed from the confines of the earth; looking back at our own colourful planet and the patterns made by coastlines, river deltas and weather patterns, the activity in our own backyard of satellites and space shuttles, exploring the solar system with stunning pictures of our nearest neighbours, and of course the cosmic ballet of deep space. Utilizing amazing photographs from spaceships and stations, satellites, space telescopes, probes and planetary rovers, Spacecam will bring together the beautiful, the pioneering and the scientifically astounding, looking at our own tiny and fragile world, around us at our neighbours, and out into deep space.” (From amazon.co.uk)

PHOTOGRAPHY IS EVERYTHING

Photography has the ability to take many forms and is often mistaken for the subject it depicts. Le Corbusier knew that very well and made the most of what at the beginning of his career was a new medium. Architecture, being such a visually striking field, was destined to have an strong relashionship with the medium. Another such match made in heaven is that of fashion and photography. The latest anthology on fashion photography featured this month is a testament to this marvellous interaction, fashion designers almost creating to court the camera and the camera in turn, revelling in the curves, folds, textures and shapes at play.  We  review works of master photographers such as Helmut Newton and Bill Brandt but also the first monograph dedicated to the young Ryan McGinley, a new comer set to become one of the greats of his generation. Two books revealing some of the prowesses made possible with todays’ technologies completes this month’s “picture”.

 syndetics-lc Le Corbusier and the power of photography
“Le Corbusier’s development was inextricably connected to the rise of the centurys most popular visual medium: photography. Marking the 125th anniversary of the architects birth in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, this remarkable book traces the many ways in which he used photography to define and disseminate his work and ideas around the world. This unique portrait presents the architect and his work in six chapters, each by an expert in a particular facet of Le Corbusiers work: a photographic biography; his secret travel photographs; the ways in which the architect used photography for promotion; an examination of his approach to the printed page; an overview of his use of large-scale imagery in his buildings and exhibitions; and contemporary photographic interpretations of his work. Because Le Corbusiers buildings are usually shown in a documentary manner, the candid, personal, artistic and often unexpected images that appear in this volume offer new insights and ways to appreciate the facets of the man behind his works.” (From Amazon.co.uk)

syndetics-lc New Fashion Photography
“The 21st century has brought about seismic changes in photography, technology, fashion, and art. At the nexus of these exciting movements is a group of fashion photographers who are breaking ground in a variety of ways, including cultural referencing, digital imaging, photo manipulation, and the use of new media. This stunningly illustrated book profiles more than 30 artists from around the world through exclusive interviews, commentary, and beautiful images. From Nick Knight’s paint-soaked portraits of Lady Gaga and Sean+Seng’s dangerous reworkings of Lana de Rey to the body-image subversions of Alice Hawkins’s and neo-surrealist fantasies of Miles Aldridge, new fashion portraiture is challenging conventional ideas of beauty by confronting us with the unexpected. Throughout the book, these artists explore new avenues previously off-limits to fashion photography, opening it up to thrilling possibilities. Including: Ruven Afanador, Miles Aldridge, Aram Bedrossian, Daniele + Iango, Bruno Dayan, Pierre Debusschere, Sean Ellis, Rene Habermacher, Alice Hawkins, Daniel Jackson, Yasunari Kikuma, Nick Knight, Paola Kudacki, LaRoache Brothers, Serge Leblon, Markus + Indrani, Takahiro Ogawa, Paco Peregrín, Rankin, Eugenio Recuenco, Tim Richardson, Kourtney Roy, Sanchez And Mongiello, Daniel Sannwald, Sean And Seng, Wing Shya, Chadwick Tyler, Yelena Yemchuk.” (From Amazon.co.uk)

syndetics-lcWhistle for the Wind
“In 2002, two years after Ryan McGinley, then a student, staged his first exhibition of photographs in a SoHo gallery, he created inexpensive handmade books of a sampling of his work titled The Kids Are Alright. Those books eventually found their way to Sylvia Wolf, then curator of photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, who gave him a solo show a year later, making him the youngest artist to have a one-person exhibition at the museum.
What critics, curators, and collectors would quickly discover was an artist who understood and chronicled his own generation as no other had. Compared early on to masters of photography and film, such as Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, McGinley’s early work documents the lives of his friends—the hedonistic exploits of youth culture but without the dark undertone of earlier artists who mined similar themes. As he evolved, he began to create scenarios where he could explore different ideas (aesthetic and otherwise), and this led to his infamous summer-long road trips, which he conducted for five years, capturing a myriad of twentysomethings enjoying each other and their surroundings. In addition to these seminal works, McGinley is known for his chronicling of the singer Morrissey’s sold-out tours around the world. This is the first major volume on this important and prolific artist, featuring the most comprehensive selection of his work.”(From publisher)

syndetics-lcHelmut Newton – World without men
“Taken between the mid 1960s and early 1980s, this selection of Newton fashion editorials—one of the first books he ever published—is accompanied by journal entry-style texts by Newton providing anecdotes and describing the circumstances of each shoot. On every page is evidence of Newton‘s groundbreaking vision that transformed fashion photography—an influence that can still be seen today in the pages of the greatest fashion magazines.” (From publisher)

syndetics-lcBrandt Nudes
“Few photographers have spanned the genres from photojournalism to true artistic endeavor as completely as Bill Brandt. Yet Brandt’s journalism was never strictly reportage; all his work reflected a clear artistic purpose. His qualities as an artist were never better expressed than in his series of nudes, photographed in the studio and on location over a period of thirty-five years. He published that work in two justly famous books: Perspective of Nudes (1961) and Bill Brandt Nudes (1980). Now the oeuvre has been brought together in a single volume in Brandt Nudes: A New Perspective, previously published only in a limited edition. This book reflects Brandt’s original selection and organization of the images. Each of the sections is introduced with a succinct and revealing essay on the work by Mark Haworth-Booth.”(From publisher)

syndetics-lc Adobe Master Class Photoshop
“This beautiful art showcase book from Adobe Press features 30 established and emerging Photoshop artists, their masterful work, and tutorials demonstrating their techniques for using Adobe Photoshop. Curated by renowned photographer and educator Ibarionex Perello, this book features an inspiring collection of innovative Photoshop artists and their amazing artwork. The images represent a mix of techniques and styles and are field-defining works that demonstrate technical excellence and awe-inspiring aesthetics. Readers will also appreciate the artists’ commentary about their inspiration and philosophy about their art. In addition to the art showcase, this book includes several tutorial projects that teach techniques for working in Photoshop. The how-to content, comprising 25 to 30 percent of the book, is based on general Photoshop features, so this book can be useful for users of recent and future versions of the Photoshop software.” (From amazon.com)

syndetics-lc Digital Infrared Photography
“This compact guide to infrared photography shows the beauty of infrared imagery, but also teaches how to capture these images with your digital camera. The book provides the basic theoretical background, information on cameras, filters and equipment, and lots of guidance on how to do infrared photography.” “This beautifully designed and illustrated book is the perfect companion for the aspiring photographer wanting to explore new photographic territories.” Book jacket.

HISTORY TOLD THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

This month is particularly biased on history, from personal histories of less known observers’ world views, to histories of some of the political royalties of last century. This review wraps up with two self-proclaimed time-saving guides that will keep you au-fait with the latest technologies available to today’s amateur photographer.

syndetics-lcVivian Maier out of the shadows 
After spending her life in the shadows of anonymity, her body of work reaching over one hundred thousand pictures, remaining in locked cabinets, garages and basements, Vivian was luckily discovered after her death and finally her photographs were brought to the light they deserve. As one of her former employers remembers, although she was marvellous with the children, “she wasn’t interested in being a nanny at all. She really wanted to be out on the street. She wanted to be taking pictures”. She worked to support her art. This book combines a powerful selection of her work, in a compact square format that reflects her choice of medium format cameras, mainly a Rolleiflex, with compelling stories from those who met her, acting as a posthumous memoir of this discreet human being.  
Mary Ellen Mark, herself revered for the humanity of her documentary photography says of Vivian Maier ”She was a humanist in the best tradition. She showed real life. And that’s so difficult to do.” A resounding accolade no less.

indexCADLIFPSFrom Prague to Auckland
“Published on the occasion of the exhibition From Prague to Auckland: the photography of Frank Hofmann (1916-1989) curated by Leonard Bell at the Gus Fisher Gallery, The University of Auckland, New Zealand, 26 August – 29 October 2011″–Colophon.(courtesy of Syndetics)

syndetics-lcHer Majesty
“The extraordinary public and private life of the world’s most famous monarch -
In honor of theQueen’s Diamond Jubilee—60 years on the throne—TASCHEN celebrates the extraordinary private and public life of Her Majesty. Born in 1926, married in 1947, crowned as Queen in 1953,for over six decades she has steadfastly and loyally carried out her duty on behalf of her country, never speaking out of turn or putting a foot wrong. The book tells her remarkable royal story through hundreds of stunning photographs, many previously unseen and sourced from multiple archives in the United Kingdom (including the Royal Collection), Continental Europe, and the United States.These images have it all: history, politics, glamour, fashion, culture, travel, and, of course, hats.
As the Queen, she has endlessly traveled the globe, been introduced to every leading icon of the 20th century, including the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, and JFK, attended thousands of receptions and state functions; while concurrently being a mother to four children under the constant glare of public scrutiny.These photographs cover every aspect of her reign: the early years, coming of age during World War II, becoming a wife, Queen and mother, the Royal Tours, the palaces, the crowds, the weddings, the Royal Family, the Silver Jubilee in 1977, and the later years. God save her indeed!
Photographers included:Cecil Beaton, Studio Lisa, Dorothy Wilding, Karsh, Lord Snowdon, Patrick Lichfield, as well as more contemporary work from the likes ofWolfgang Tillmans, Rankin, Annie Leibovitz,and many others.” (Syndetics summary)

syndetics-lcTwilight of the Romanovs – A Photographic Odyssey Across Imperial Russia
“Twilight of the Romanovs opens a door into the world of pre-revolutionary Russia using original photographs taken during the last decades of Romanov rule. They include remarkable colour images created using an early three-colour-plate technique that brings the remote past to life. Our companions on this journey include the Scottish photographer William Carrick, Americans George Kennan and Murray Howe, the German-Russian Carl Bulla, Sergey Produkin-Gorsky, and the writers Leonid Andreyev and Anton Chekhov, together with many anonymous others.
These photographs are snapshots of a vanished world, yet they reveal a surprising continuity: despite the subsequent revolution, faces, buildings, and landscapes still resonate with those who see them a century and more later.” (From publisher)

syndetics-lc The Kennedys
“This publication is the definitive collection of Mark Shaw’s renowned photographs of the Kennedys. Photographys includ Kennedy’s favourite ever shot of himself, walking alone on the dunes at Hyannis Port, plus images on the campaign trail, relaxing at home with friends, entertaining at the White House, and the sombre days immediately following JFK’s assassination.” (Syndetics summary)
A personal favourite in this collection is the photograph of John and Jackie shot in November 1963, shortly before the fateful day. It struck a chord with Jackie herself whose letter to Shaw thanking him for the artful accompanies the print. “John looks like a Caravaggio — and, the one of John, reflected in the table, like some wonderful, strange, poetic Matisse.”

syndetics-lcThe Photoshop Elements 11
“This book (for Windows and Mac) breaks new ground by doing something for digital photographers that’s never been done before–it cuts through the bull and shows exactly “how to do it.” It’s not a bunch of theory; it doesn’t challenge readers to come up with their own settings or figure things out on their own. Instead, it tells readers flat-out which settings to use, when to use them, and why. This book gives the inside tips and tricks of the trade for organizing, correcting, editing, sharpening, retouching, and presenting photos like a pro. Readers will be absolutely amazed at how easy and effective these techniques are–once they know the secrets. “(From publisher)

syndetics-lcThe Quick Expert’s Guide to Mobile Phone Photography
“This series offers a shortcut to instant expertise! Quick Expert’s Guides are aimed at teens and ‘tweens who are keen to know more about a popular topic but who may be put off the idea of having to read wordy or technical guides. Each title includes features that break down technical/scientific/complex aspects of the subject, inspirational case studies, activities and a final project to test the reader’s new skills. Chapter round-ups also offer tips on key words and phrases as well as boosting self esteem and confidence, in order to walk the walk and talk the talk of a true expert.” (from Amazon.com)

Eclectic mix

Find out about our latest photography books below!

syndetics-lcPhotocraft
“Digital Photography and Mixed Media–a creative match made in heaven! Love photography? Want to make yours better? Want to use your photography as a springboard for fabulous and diverse mixed media and digital projects?
Photo Craft will help you elevate the average into the extraordinary! Using Adobe Photoshop Elements and following thorough, easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn to make basic adjustments to your photographs that will yield stunning and artistic results. You’ll also learn to use those photographs — along with some everyday mixed-media supplies — to create unique and personal art.
Inside You’ll Find:

  • 13 stepped out mixed media techniques and projects
  • 16 stepped out digital techniques
  • 9 stellar techniques and projects from contributing artists including Michele Beschen and Claudine Hellmuth
  • Dozens of great examples of and tips for iPhoneography
  • Countless inspirational suggestions for photo field trips and photo shoots
  • An author curated list of recommended apps to take your photos to the next level
  • Access to exclusive online materials including new techniques and projects and downloadable materials for your personal use

So get to it! Take new pictures today (and every day!), look through those boxes of old and long-forgotten photos, and free those lonely images from your hard drive. Make them better, make them new and make them art. Soon you’ll be seeing things in a whole new way!” (from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverHarbour / photographs by Alastair Grant.
“For the past three years Alastair Grant has travelled the great inland harbours of the west coast of the North Island creating a photographic record of these fascinating and under-appreciated regions, trying to capture their atmosphere and a feel for the people who live and work around them. The harbours are drowned river valleys. They differ greatly in size, but share a similar climate with prevailing westerly winds. They are all tidal. They were settled by Maori following the great migration in the 13th and 14th centuries and have played significant roles in Maori history. To this day, marae dot their shores. The large number of shipwrecks around the entrances and within the harbours bears witness to their importance as centres of commerce and trade in earlier times, particularly following the arrival of Europeans in the early to mid-19th century. The Manukau and Porirua harbours support large urban populations and commercial activities on their shores, while the others are less populated and more remote, popular for holidays or little known by outsiders”–Publisher information.

syndetics-lcAll About Bond
“The release of the latest 007 movie, Skyfall, was the 24th movie starring the fictional secret service agent and All About Bond is a unique memoir that will delight, amuse and inform Bond fans the world over.
All About Bond is packed with surprises, insights and candid memories, both personal and photographic from legendary names who cut their teeth and carved out careers in some of the most memorable scenes in movie history.
The humor, the drama and the camaraderie, on set and off, is captured through the immortal lens of one of the world’s most legendary photographers. Bond girls from Honor Blackman and Shirley Eaton to Britt Ekland and Joanna Lumley recall their thrills and spills filming cinema’s most enduring and alluring sex symbols; and the man – and men – who made Bond, share the facts and the fictions behind the creation of cinema’s foremost superhero.” (from Amazon.com)

syndetics-lcThe Essential Cecil Beaton
“Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) was a man of many facets and extraordinary skill. He was a successful theatre designer, a writer, a fashion and society photographer, as well as a gardener. As a photographer, he was world-famous. The secret of his success was probably his ability to capture with his photographs a whole era, as a kind of master of ceremonies to the British Empire. Always self-assured and stylish, he depicts with his customary elegance and panache the high and low of the century: The British Royal family, the nobility, the London bohemian scene, and the New York underground. Since the Nineteen-Twenties, his work has been unique in depicting the international “Zeitgeist.” Without doubt, Cecil Beaton’s photographic work is one of the most important contributions to the history of art and photography of the 20th century. This marvelous volume offers a comprehensive and complete presentation of Beaton’s work and life.” (from Amazon.com)

Out of space odysseys, the world of make-believe and fairytales

From this month title, one could wonder whether this post is really about photography, or whether I am taking a cynical view of the role of photography. The truth is, photography as this month’s post will demonstrate, allows us to delve in the wonders of the universe around us, thanks to the technological feats of space travel. It also gives the most creative amongst us, the license to create a world of fantasy and extravagance, by arranging, composing, altering, juxtaposing, hiding and revealing, collaging and using any other clever means to create the desired image. The issue of photography and truth has long been debated. Even the “straightest” photograph is in some way a manipulation of reality. So once we are at peace with this fact, we can explore the world of possibilities at our disposal as some of this month’s books illustrate brilliantly.  

Planetfall 
“Thanks to the photographic output of a small squadron of interplanetary spacecraft, we have awakened to the beauty and splendor of the solar system. Since Michael Benson’s masterful book Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes, new, more powerful cameras in probes with greatly improved maneuverability have traversed the wheeling satellites of Jupiter; roamed the boulder-strewn red deserts of Mars; studied Saturn’s immaculate rings; and shown us our own ravishing Earth, a blue-white orb with a disturbingly thin atmosphere, as it plunges deeper into ecological crisis. Benson takes raw data from NASA and European Space Agency archives and processes it, creating large-format landscapes. He edits, composites, then frequently mosaics, and then finally optimizes these images, producing seamless digital C prints of landscapes beyond direct human experience. These new images are the subject of Benson’s Planetfall, a truly revelatory book that uses its large page size to reproduce the greatest achievements in contemporary planetary photography as never before”. (Adapted from publisher)

For a comprehensive review of the book, you may want to read Rebecca J. Rosen’s article in The Atlantic, complete with photographs and a link to Michael Benson’s current exhibition at the Hasted Kraeutler gallery in New York.

And on the subject, if you have missed the beautiful moonrise over Wellington on 29 January, here is an amazing video of the celestial display. 

Faking it – Manipulated Photography before Photoshop
“It is a long-held truism that ‘the camera does not lie’. Yet, as Mia Fineman argues in this illuminating volume, that statement contains its own share of untruth. While modern technological innovations, such as Adobe’s Photoshop software, have accustomed viewers to more obvious levels of image manipulation, the practice of “doctoring” photographs has in fact existed since the medium was invented. In “Faking It”, Fineman demonstrates that today’s digitally manipulated images are part of a continuum that begins with the earliest years of photography, encompassing methods as diverse as overpainting, multiple exposure, negative retouching, combination printing, and photomontage. Among the book’s revelations are previously unknown and never before published images that document the acts of manipulation behind two canonical works of modern photography: one blatantly fantastical (Yves Klein’s “Leap into the Void” of 1960); the other a purportedly unadulterated record of a real place in time (Paul Strand’s “City Hall Park” of 1915). Featuring 160 captivating pictures created between the 1840s and 1990s in the service of art, politics, news, entertainment, and commerce, “Faking It” provides an essential counterhistory of photography as an inspired blend of fabricated truths and artful falsehoods.”–Publisher’s website.

syndetics-lcJonathan Becker – 30 years at Vanity Fair
“Over three decades with Vanity Fair, Jonathan Becker has photographed some of the most fascinating characters from the rarefied worlds of art, literature, politics, pop culture, and society, capturing the personality and individuality of the subjects he celebrates. Assignments for the magazine have dispatched Becker far and wide—from the Amazonian jungle to Buckingham Palace”. (from amazon.com)

For a sneek peek of the photographs collected in this mammoth of a book, visit the Vanity Fair’s slideshow dedicated to this new publication.

syndetics-lcTim Walker, Story Teller
“Famed fashion photographer Walker shares a new collection assembled from the world’s most famous magazines (including Vogue, Vanity Fair, W, the New Yorker, a follow-up to 2008′s Pictures, which you can also find in our collection timed to coincide with a major exhibition at Somerset House in London, that will be held until end of January 2014 (for those who might be heading that way in the coming 12 months). Aided by an introduction by Robin Muir, foreword by Kate Bush, and Walker’s own afterword, these extravagantly choreographed, fantastical images never fail to deliver a jolt. They are usually disconcerting, and often have a downright wonderful sense of humor and play, as in a human windup doll. A holdout for shooting on film, Walker has an uncanny gift for stretching a moment and playing with time. This strength perhaps explains the cheeky dignity he lends his elderly subjects, whose portraits temper Walker’s usual archness with a welcome humanity. His images are stunningly vivid, sometimes over-bright in the manner of Avedon, whom Walker assisted. Many of his models wear facial expressions so flat and affect-free as to appear proxies for mannequins, suspended between worlds and struck hollow in the process. Like Avedon, Walker knows how to strip the human face of warmth to electrifying effect, and that tension between these macabre, morose faces and the comic elements in Walker’s visions gives the work its dynamism. This unresolved tension, always at the heart of Walker’s work, makes it perpetually thrilling. 170 color illus. (Adapted from Publishers weekly).

Syndetics book coverPhotographers / Michael Pritchard and Tony Nourmand.
“Photographers celebrates some of the men and women behind the camera. They range from press photographers and photojournalists from Life and Picture Post magazines to studio and fashion photographers such as Avedon and Bailey. Some of the greatest names from twentieth century photography are shown with their Leica, Nikon, Rolleiflex and Speed Graphic cameras taking pictures of film stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and John Wayne and pop stars such as the Beatles – as well as self-portraits and pictures of their contemporaries”–Cover.(Syndetics summary)


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