July 4, 2009

Tessa's Bookshelf

I love it when a single dusty bookshelf can telegraph so much about a person, even if that person has been gone for years.

These are just a few of the books found found on the shelf of an English woman who led a colorful young life and lived out her last years in the Mallorcan hills:

Claret And the White Whines of Bordeaux - Healy
Hedgerow and Pond - Lodge
A Short History of the English Peoples - Green
Annuals in Color and Cultivation - Mensfield
The KING of the DARK CHAMBER - Tagore
In Search of England - Morton
A History of Classical Scholarship - Sandy's
Poetic Works - Scott
The Twyborn Affair - Wythe
Winnie the Pooh - Milne
I Saw it happen in NORWAY - Hambro
Far Eastern Agent - Moore
The English Kings - Fowler

July 5, 2009

Nadav Kander

I've known for a long time that Nadav Kander was a photographer of broad and varied talents but I don't think understood how broad or how varied until I sat down to go through his website thoroughly tonight. From his always sharp editorial work (Obama's People) to large scale art projects (Yangtze, the Long River), to small personal projects (The Parade) Nadav produces striking picture after striking picture. It is curious that his projects while internally consistent lack a signature style. I don't think I've ever seen a specific image and said, "Oh that must be by Nadav." He reminds me of those filmmakers of the classic era like Howard Hawks who could direct a stylish gangster picture followed by western followed by a sci-fi flick and get them all right. All this is a long winded way of saying, spend some time getting to know Nadav's work because even if you think you know it, there is probably much more you are unaware of.

July 8, 2009

Edgar Martins

There's quite a kerfuffle brewing about Edgar Martins photoshopping some an image for a story in the NYTimes.
Specifically he mirrored an image to create symmetry and then changed a few things in photoshop to cover his tracks.

This is a story because Martins states emphatically that he does not use photoshop (or other "darkroom manipulations") and because he apparently duped the Times (he should have labeled the picture an editorial illustration rather than editorial photojournalism). I find the whole thing amusing because there are many images Martin's portfolio that are obviously photoshopped using exactly the same technique.

This is easily provable on a suspect image simply by taking half the image, flipping it horizontally and layering it over the other side of the image with say 80% opacity... At that point it's obvious which parts of the image are flipped and which parts are photoshopped in.

Here are two more examples of his work that easily debunk his "no photoshop" proclamation:



For the record, I like Martin's work, and I'm not anti-photoshop (and I'm certainly not anti-darkroom work) but I am anti-hypocrisy.

July 8, 2009

In Which I Am a Giant

I've been keeping very long hours lately have been bone tired pretty much all the time.

My 4 year old to me tonight: Dad you look tired.

Me: Yeah.

Raul Andres: I could tell you a story so you could take a nap.

Me: I like that idea.

Raul Andres: Once upon a time there was a daddy who was a giant.

[I close my eyes.]

Raul Andres: You can't sleep yet. I have to get to the best part. The giant was you! Wouldn't it be so much fun to be a giant?

Me: Why would it be so much fun?

Raul Andres: Because if you are a big giant everything is the size of a toy. The whole world. That's the story.

Me: I like that story.

Raul Andres: You can sleep now, but not too long because we have to play hide and go seek. Ok dream you are a giant now.

July 12, 2009

Text on Shirts Worn by People waiting in the Customs Lines At JFK

Lovely & Sweet Thing
Club Night 20
Fashion Plates
Sweet Love Dream
USA Success
Love Bear
New Look Hero
Toil Through
Obama Obama Obama

July 12, 2009

How many more times will you watch the full moon rise?

"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It's that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
— Paul Bowles The Sheltering Sky

July 14, 2009

Greg Girard's Early Work

One of my favorite photography books of the last few years was Greg Girard's Phantom Shanghai. Girard, who is based in Shanghai, has recently updated his site with a set of knockout portfolios he collectively titled "Far East / Far West 73-86".


"Far East / Far West 73-86" features sets of images taken before Girard was a professional photographer. Of the work he writes:

"From 1973-1986 I photographed the familiar and unfamiliar parts the city where I was born, Vancouver, and made my first visits to Asia - when it was still more commonly referred to as the Far East, eventually living in Tokyo and later in Hong Kong. These are the photographs of an amateur, unschooled except by early exposure to Popular Photography magazine and the novels of Graham Green, Peter Handke and Paul Bowles, and inspired by the imagery and stories of films of the 70s. "

What strikes me about these images is not that they are unschooled but that they are all so consistent, the product of someone with a keen cinematic vision... and that the photographs, whether they were made in Vancouver or Tokyo or Las Vegas, each hold something of Shanghai within. So perhaps Shanghai was beckoning Girard all along and these images are a kind of visualized déjà vu, pictures of a place he already knew, but had yet to experience...

July 17, 2009

Guido Castagnoli

There is something pleasantly old fashioned about Guido Castagnoli's photographs of provincial Japan. The image above from his Korea set has the same quality. Find his images online on his portfolio site or, better yet, ask to see his work in person at the Sasha Wolf Gallery.

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