Afterimages

The French have the whole memory thing down,what with Marcel Proust and his remembrances. Not forgetting that our word memoir is in point of fact their word co-opted by us. Patrick Modiano continues the fine traditions in his super short novella ‘After Images’, the first of 3 novellas collected in the book ‘Suspended Sentences’, which …

Heinrich’s World

Many photographers have attempted to give their work a painterly feel. Perhaps one of the most successful was an early Austro- German photographic pioneer called Heinrich Kuhn. Using an early color photography process known as autochrome, he created dreamily impressionistic images of friends and family that seem to exist in some painless parallel universe.

The Obscure Outdoor

Abelardo Morrell is best known for his work with the camera obscura. In order to find new ways to use the technique he worked with his assistant, C.J. Heyliger, to create a light proof tent. This allowed him to project views of the surrounding landscape via periscope style optics, onto the ground inside the tent. …

Do Not Go Gentle

Seeing interstellar the other day reminded me of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas. Why? Because they use some of the lines from his most famous poem throughout the film Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the …

Future Space

When we think of futuristic buildings we see them as shiny, smooth and untouched by time. Not so in the work of Dionisio Gonzalez. In his latest series the architect and photographer creates structures that seem like they were beamed down from the future sometime ago and are now being slowly eroded by nature. When …

The End Of The World As We Know It.

My brain hurts. I just went to see Interstellar and it’s scientific explanations of horizon lines and singularities have left me with a headache. It’s one of those deals where the future speaks to the present, which soon becomes the past all because of some complex formula involving gravity and relativity that I’m too thick …

Nightcrawler

In the disturbing new film ‘Nightcrawler’ people’s insatiable desire for real life blood and gore leads to the creation of modern monsters, namely the men who will stop at nothing to get footage. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a man whose general sleaziness is only matched by his ruthless ambition. Bloom trawls the nighttime streets …

The Book of Strange New Things

Michel Faber gained fame for his book ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ that was turned into a BBC TV series. Recently his book Under the Skin became a film starring Scarlett Johansson as a female alien who prays on her vulnerable male victims. Now he returns to the science fiction genre with a fascinating …

Jump!

According to Life photographer Philippe Halsman when you asked a person to Jump they revealed more of who they really were. So he set out to do a series of portraits under the title ‘Jump’ The book is long out of print but the images of iconic stars of the fifties from Dean Martin and …

Spectre of Hope

Sebastiao Salgado’s has turned his lens on some of the world’s great tragedies: war, famine, enforced Migrations of peoples, a desperate litany of disasters. His images however offer according to art critic John Berger the ‘Spectre of Hope’. Hope, Berger explains, is very different from an emotion like optimism for it can only exist at …

Police Work

Perhaps encouraged by some recent shootings on my New York street, I’ve been looking at the work of Leonard Freed.He was a Magnum photographer perhaps best known for his pictures of the police going about their daily business in the 1970’s. Gritty and realistic his work reminds me of another photographer obsessed with crime, Weegee.

Opening

‘Opening’ is an album that would probably slip under the radar of most music lovers. Yet this dreamy piece of ambient music is right up there with Harold Budd and Brian Eno. Created by San Francisco based Christopher Willits it meshes both analogue and digital worlds into one by taking guitar lines and harmonies and …

Ed van der Elsken

From his first flush of fame in the mid-fifties when he published his book ‘Love on the Left Bank’, Ed van der Elsken spent his life recording the world that he came into contact with in his everyday travels. Whether he was visiting Tokyo or living in his native Amsterdam he managed to capture the …

Gone Girl

As you’re probably noticed Gone Girl has been something of a hit with the cinema going public of America, yet many feminists have also accused it of sexism. The use of the classic manipulative femme fatale drawn from the usual Biblical sources has caused umbrage. However what also can’t be denied is the popularity of …

You’re Dead

Starting with the simple announcement ‘Ladies and Gentlemen. You’re dead’, Flying Lotus went on to make you feel very much alive with a scintillating show at Terminal 5 in New York Standing behind a screen wearing a luminescent headpiece, white shirt and black tie he become the center of a spectacular light show projected onto …

When Jerry meets Wolfgang.

The link between Seinfield and Mozart may not be immediately apparent but pianist Jeremy Denk helped me see the connection in his fascinating lecture, ‘Comedy and Convention from Mozart to Seinfeld’ Part of the New Yorker Festival, the talk was one of four I saw over the weekend and on reflection probably the best Denk …

Isla

Ernesto Bazan was the man who taught me how to take photographs. You may not have heard of him but this is an oversight on your part for he is one of the best black and white photographers in the world today. He has just released his third book on Cuba,the island where he lived …

Hipsters Naked

Ryan McGinley has a new show ‘Yearbook’ features 500 nude portraits on vinyl, plastered on every available bit of wall space at Team Gallery in the Lower East Side. As is typical with his work the nudes featured are strangely un- titillating. Their bodies are presented in all their beautiful imperfection mainly against colorful backgrounds. …

Close Encounters

Scottish photographer David Yarrow made his name shooting iconic images of footballers like Diego Maradona for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He has consequently become better known for his black and white images of the animals of East Africa. His work has a graphic but intimate feel that allows you to sense the personalities …

Tom Palumbo

A favorite photographer of mine is Tom Palumbo who mainly worked in the 50’s and 60’s. As his name suggests he was born in Molfetta, Italy and came to America as a child. By the late 40’s he was working as a fashion photographer and became staff photographer for Vogue between in 1959 and 1962 …

Just add John

I’m sure many of have looked at some of the classic photographs of the last 100 years and thought if only these fabulous pictures could feature iconic actor John Malkovich how much better they would be. Well it looks like photographer Sandro Miller was reading our minds because he’s actually recreated some of the world’s …

Lost in the Dream

It’s rare to hear a rock album that feels classic without feeling derivative and irrelevant. The woozy, comedown grooves of ‘Lost in the Dream’ by The War on Drugs is just such a beast. It’s an album of long drawn out tracks that swing along without dragging. Like the last album from fellow Philadelphia native …

Schapiro’s Taxi Driver

One of the first films that had a visceral effect on me was Martin Scorcese’s ‘Taxi Driver’. I’m sure for many it’s depiction of the gritty New York streets of the seventies remains the way they see NYC now. In this film it is a dangerous, semi-lawless place where lone psychopaths are just waiting to …

Colorless Tsukuru Tasaki

Haruki Murakami is not everyone’s cup of green tea. His bizarre switches from reality to fantasy can leave more conservative readers both baffled and slightly put out. Talking cats, men being flayed in Mongolian deserts and people inexplicably trapped at the bottom of wells are a few of his more memorable flights of fancy. Yet …

Rome 56

I’ve always been a big fan of William Klein but probably my favorite images are those he took in Italy in the mid 1950’s. They are impressive in their ability to depict a culture to which Klein was a total stranger. His brilliant early work in New York were taken in neighborhoods he knew well …

Detroit 68

Once, long a go, Detroit was an industrial capital. A vibrant, multi-racial urban center that produced the cars that America drove. It’s all recorded in Enrico Natali’s book Detroit 68. First published in 1972 under the title ‘New American People’ the book depicts a city 40 years ago that was at the beginning of a …

Growing Up Black

Dennis Morris is a photographer, designer and musician previously known to me through his photographs of Bob Marley and The Sex Pistols. However he was also a fine documentary photographer as witnessed by his book ‘Growing up Black’ a chronicle of his East London neighborhood during the sixties and seventies. A snapshot of an era …

The World of Yesterday

Hong Kong in the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties is beautifully captured in Fan Ho’s The World of Yesterday. Rather than just attempt to capture candid moments Fan Ho would often find a spot and wait for the perfect light before capturing his images. The result are some dreamy and ethereal pictures that seem to hark …

The Many Splendored Thing

Love is strange, particularly if shot by Alec Soth. Recently I’ve been revisiting his book ‘Niagara’, which deals with honeymooning couples in a motel near the famous falls. What Soth uncovers is something vulnerable, sad and almost desperate. The people in his pictures are young but necessarily in love. It feels more going through the …

Eighties Italy

Charles H Traub, head of the photography department at SVA in New York, spent the eighties documenting Italian street style in Rome, Naples and Florence. It was time well spent to judge by the images in his book ‘La Dolce Vita : Vibrant, Colorful Photos of Italy in the 1980’s’. There’s a wry humor at …

Skins

Mark Asnin gained notoriety in photojournalistic circles for his wonderful book ‘Uncle Charlie’ which shows the gradual harrowing deterioration of a man diagnosed with schizophrenia. I also like his images of American skinheads that graphically capture the raw physicality of this unthinking sub cult.

Excerpts from Silver Meadow.

Todd Hido is famous for his depiction of eerie unpopulated homes and weirdly haunted landscapes. The lanes in his suburban neighborhoods feel like they lead to one of the circles of hell. Nothing good can come of this world. What are strangely absent are people, who make only occasional visits to his photographs. This all …

Life’s a Beach

Beaches have always provided inspiration for the photographer. After all, a beach features humanity off duty, with it’s guard down so to speak making it the perfect place to capture the beautiful, the ghastly and the brazen in all their glory.

The Banality of the Belgians

There aren’t that many famous Belgians in the world but by rights Harry Gruyaert should be one of them. He’s produced some of my favorite color work outside of William Eggleston yet remains relatively unknown. He is perhaps most recognized for his work in Morocco and a series he began in 1973 to capture the …

A Most Missed Man

Often great acting performances are great at the detriment of the film they’re in. Not so with ‘A Most Wanted Man’, which features a devastating lead performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing the seedy, slightly down-at -heel intelligence officer Gunther. The storyline is simple: Issa Karpov, a Muslim suspected of terrorist activity in …

Jeff Koons at the Whitney

The contemporary art world owes a lot to Jeff Koons. He’s one of the few artists post Warhol who can get people into galleries en masse. My recent visit to his retrospective at the Whitney was packed out with lines round the block to see his iconic work, displayed on three floors of the museum. …

The Magic of Musardo

Following in the footsteps of KyleThompson and the Benetels, 19-year-old Giulio Musardo is the latest photographer to breathe new life into the self-portrait with his surreal, fantastical digitally manipulated images that are going down well on flickr. He describes each picture as ‘representing a parallel world where time stands still’. Personally, I think of them …

Fred Stein

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Robert Doisneau and Fred Stein. Not heard of the last one? That’s a shame because like his more famous counterparts, has taken some charming images of the eternal city, Paris that deserve to be better known. Born in Dresden  in 1909 he was one of the early pioneers of the hand-held …

Fashion Forward Feurer.

Hans Feurer may not be a name on the tip of every fashion photographers tongue but perhaps he should be. Responsible for some of the more graphic and memorable images of the 80’s Swiss born Feurer is enjoying something of a resurgence of late. So much so there is now a book of his most …

Mosh

Teenagers, you’ve got to admire their energy. Where as their older brothers and sisters would be content to nod their heads empathetically to their favorite bands these intrepid youngsters choose to unleash themselves on a mosh pit. Emily Stein was there to capture the sweat, angst and acne in all it’s glory.

Shanks for the Memory

Growing up on Merseyside in the seventies and eighties it was impossible to ignore the presence of Liverpool Football club. In an area with high unemployment and decaying infrastructure they were one of the few things to swell the city with pride. Yet only a few years before they had been a second tier team …

Ground from Above

A football pitch is not merely a place to kick a ball. For many living in the poorest parts of the world it’s a virtual oasis, a patch of ground where you can escape the reality of your life. Brazilian photographer Renato Stockler pays tribute to the humble playing area with his series of aerial …

Before they Pass Away

The Huli, the Asaro, the Chukchi, the Dropka, the Himba and the Arbore. These are just some of the beautifully named tribes of the world that have been photographed by Jimmy Nelson. The intrepid Brit set out to shoot some of the world’s most obscure peoples in his collection ‘Before they Pass Away’ Hopefully the book …

Sun and Shadow

The Beautiful Game is even more beautiful when Eduardo Galeano is writing about it. Better known for his political works, Galeano endears himself to me through his fabulous football book ‘Soccer in Sun and Shadow’. It’s perfect subway reading with each piece rarely longer than two pages and covering some of the most magical and …

Gooooooaaaaalllllll!

He shoots.. he scores! Yes, Brazilian artist and graphic designer Cristiano Siqueira has created a series of fabulous team posters for ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup. Vibrant and colorful they capture all the pride and fun of the tournament and give you something to remember your side by ( even if they played as badly …

Blue Sky Days

Tomas Van Houtryve’s ‘Blue Sky Days’ sounds like it might be a lovely series of images about happy people on their summer holidays. It sounds like it but it most definitely isn’t. In fact, hearing stories of drone attacks in Afghanistan inspired it. One 13 year old boy, injured by shrapnel in a strike, said …

Naked in the Abstract

Photographers from Andre Kertesz to Bill Brandt have got mileage out of the idea of the abstract nude. Former Architect Eric Marrian is the latest to visit the subject and has created some clean and imaginative images in his series ‘Carre Blanc’, which remind me a little of Robert Mapplethorpe.    

Surf’s Up

Ed Freeman’s black and white images of surfers on the north coast of Oahu are unapologetically digitally enhanced, for his aim is not to reproduce the way surfing looks in real life but instead to show how it feels. From the look of these images I think he succeeded.

Those Feet: A Sensual History of English Football

Having watched yet another highly depressing England world cup defeat at the hands of silky skilled Continentals, I am tempted to throw my hands to the heavens and scream ‘Why, oh Lord, why can we never play with style and grace? But I don’t because I’ve just finished David Winner’s excellent book ‘Those Feet: A …

Camera Phone Photo

I remember the days when an iPhone was what you used to make calls on. These days it’s more likely to be used for capturing and sharing beautiful imagery. So much so that I now discover there is something called the ‘iPhone Photography Awards’ that features the very best shots taken with an iPhone camera. …

Union Reunion

Ad agencies are run by generous, warm-hearted, caring people who want their employees to feel appreciated. So when Union won agency of the year in Canada, it showed them they were the most important part of the company. After revenue….

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