American Places

The road trip is something of an American institution. From Kerouac in the forties to Robert Frank in the fifties and Stephen Shore in the seventies, artists have attempted to get to grips with this sprawling nation through long distance driving. Stephen Shore’s work is of particular interest because it seems to capture the DNA …

Risk: The Lesson of Robert Frank

‘You are free and you risk something by taking a photograph. It’s not taking a snapshot of your sister. You risk because this is maybe not the way people think one should photograph. So you go out on a more different road. There is a risk involved in that. And I think if an artist …

Train Dreams

Train Dreams offers us a view of a vanished and forgotten pioneer America through its protagonist Grainier. He lives through much of the twentieth century but his twentieth century is rather different from that you’ll find in the History Channel. The Great War, The Beatles, Roosevelt, Hiroshima, Martin Luther King and D-Day never happened in …

William Christenberry: Southern Man.

If you’re a fan of William Eggleston, my guess is you’re going to like William Christenberry’s photographs. They feature images of decaying buildings and signs in and around Hale County, Alabama, which was also the place where Walker Evans took his pictures of dirt-poor farming families during the Great depression. Indeed Evans accompanied Christenberry on …

Oh the Agony of Luxury

It was a hard life being middle-class in California in the mid sixties. Your parents buy you an Alfa Romeo Duetto as a graduation present. You have to spend weary afternoons floating around in your pool with your sunglasses on. People are constantly harassing you to go out on dates with beautiful college women. And …

Undefeated

  It’s a very long time since I went to the cinema and found myself welling up. Oscar winning ‘Undefeated’ does that to you. You don’t want to respond to this tale of an inner city football team battling to beat the odds but the characters are so compelling and the story so touching that …

Here come the freaks

  Looking at the work of one great New York photographer, Weegee, has made me read a book about another. ‘Diane Arbus’ by Patricia Bosworth is a fascinating look at one of post war photography’s most influential figures. Born to a wealthy Jewish family that owned a furrier in Manhattan, Arbus spent much of her …

Unforgettable

If I have any regrets when I die apart from the tax evasion, embezzlement, loan sharking and murder, it’s that I had a chance to see Richard Avedon speak about his seminal book ‘In the American West’…and I forgot about it. It just completely slipped what’s left of my mind. Unbelievable. The following year the …

Naked Weegee

Some photographers are very firmly attached to the DNA of certain cities; Fred Herzog to Vancouver, Roger Mayne to London, Brassai and Robert Doisneau to Paris and most definitely Weegee to New York The fact that there are currently two exhibitions in town featuring his work, tells you everything you need to know about his …

Route Brouws

Maybe it’s because I recently completed a cross-country road trip from Seattle to New York but Jeff Brouws photographs speak to me. Whether it’s his ‘Language of the Landscape’ series or his images of abandoned factories, rail tracks and bars that litter the American landscape. There’s something that reminds me of Joel Sternfield, Ed Ruscha …