Where is Hereford, got to see John Bulmer…

On Wednesday I go via my favorite form of public Transport (the Train) to Hereford. Now other than cows and a late goal by Ronnie Radford in the 1972 FA Cup at Home to Newcastle. I know little of the place. I have missed The Hereford Photographic exhibition over the past few years as I have been at Paris Photo. On seeing that John Bulmer was one of the attractions this year I decided to drag my grumpy soul to see his work in the flesh. I have looked at his body of work in Manchester.

Robert Adams writes in Why people Photograph ” At our best and most Fortunate we make pictures because of what stands in front of the Camera, to honor what is more greater or interesting than we are. We never accomplish this perfectly though in return we are given something perfect- a sense of inclusion. Our subject thus redefines us and is part of the biography by which we want to be known”.

John Bulmer he was around the same time as Don McCullin. He was famed for his colour slide work a pioneer of that time for using the medium of colour. If the newspapers need something document they would either get Bulmer or McCullin. John Bulmer really catches the change in Brittain with many areas still pulling them self from the legacy of the second world war.

Despite the bleakness of this image I still feel it has a positive direction to it. The man in the image we do not where he is going or has been. The mist that shrouds the image. The large empty space the gentleman walks through could be the same route he has taken to a family’s house or work for years. Refusing to use the modern modes of transport. However it touches on a post apocalyptic feel

Changing the image to black and white alters the feel and the impact the photo posses. It seem to flatten the picture with less impact

This maybe the other direction on the same street as the previous image. We feel the pub is the only business that can survive in the area. the Broadway sign on the pub makes draws on the importance of the name of the theatre area in New York. This the Northern Broadway where the pub is the pivot point of society. The Cobbled streets show use detail of the age of the area and a possible clue as to why the homes have been removed due to the old age. The street with the two young boys in leads you in to the mist and the unknown of the what lies ahead. With prospects not being clear for the future of the area.

So much information in this picture. I see it first as being a metaphor of empty space. The old man is detached from the area he is on he is no longer connected to any of the signs in the image. At one time he may have been a jeweller. The number makes you think of age and at 21 the old man may have been involved with sport. The way his foot is raised it make me think that he could have been a footballer. Maybe the football image comes from the fact we only its location on hand as Manchester to deal with.  The way the foot point at the entrance makes you intrigued at to what is going on outside of the composition on the image. the old man being dressed in gray sat on the bin is a negative slant of the image. Although the sign age dated with modern-day standards this was probably a well to do area. although we do depict it as being on the edge of city industrial area.

This image again I see as depicting an empty space that all the young people have to live off and express themselves with in the area is given before us in the image. The blue and white image makes you think you are in area close to the Manchester city ground. The images take on the modern feel of lowery’s work

The similarities of the picture are uncanny.  The people have almost the same stance

John Bulmer use of space to capture economic isolation in his series of images in Manchester is a powerful Body of work. I have found them really empowering to look. It makes me feel that what I’m doing is right. As I commented his use of colour slide film adds a real grit to the work. Almost like these are the real colours off life and it was that grim. Excellent document of a forgotten less complicated period in time.

The Robert Adams quote shows that Bulmer without displaying his local Knowledge has a connection to the area. Maybe as a child the matched identical street where faceless to him. Now he sees it being of interest to the masses

I look forward to seeing his work

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Joel Meyerovitz Talk at Darby Format 2011

I went to Format festival In Darby. This will be the last Space I will visit as it must be full steam ahead with my Exhibition. I went to Format two years ago. The Main Reason was to see a talk by Joel Meyerovitz  the American street  photographer I knew that this would be good to  see but I wasn’t ready for how much of a impact it would have on me. I’m not a fan of modern street photography as I see that most of it has been done in the past by masters like Meyerovitz Arbus and Winogrand. He was said to be on for over 1hr. 2.15mins later he asked did anyone have any questions?

He was like a evangelist giving a sermon. He spoke about his early days in graphics and the guy coming in to take pictures of his work which was Robert frank. He worked a lot with the Maverick Tony Ray Jones. where they both discussed the putting the subject at the side of the image as it was just as important as the traditional Middle. He talked how ” he would sharpen his skills by knowing where in as shot he didn’t have time or show courage”. Meyerovitz said the main lens he would use would be a 35mm on his Lieca as this was closest to the human eye. He kept preaching that you should always carry a camera that is how he got most of his shots. He Said “The world is dissolving in front of you have to take every second”.

When he started out there was only one small gallery in a  underground basement in the whole of New York that would show Photo images. The only Exhibition he ever saw there Ansell Adams and you could buy a original of his images for $25. It wasn’t until M.O.M.A curetted by John Swarovski. That photographty become recognised. He encouraged The crowd with “ Take a risk, take bad photographs be provocative”. All this was rumbling along at a great space to him using his view cam (10×8) camera. His work totally changed from the street photography that made his name. He had taken a large picture of the space at Versailles in the 1960s which in the mid 1970s become relevant and linked to the large format work he would from there on under take. However in October 2001 he was due to open an exhibition of work called looking south. This was from his studio and it was the changing skies of the world trade centre.

However there was on change in the September that the world could never predict. 9 days after 9/11 Meyerovitz had to do something. so he started to document inside the rubble of the World Trade Centre. He went from 10 stories high to 72 ft bellow sea level. I reckon that s about he size of the Blackpool tower to give a sense of scale. This is the only major document of the event. He had to cross red tape and threats of arrest to go about his job for the people. This will be shown in a book later. However through all the genius and Brilliance of the Talk. The last picture really choked me. A gray work man’s glove and rail track. This was the rail track of the land below the world trade centre that held the underground .9 months after he started photographing he was at the rail track. A Roland Barthes Comments With his Studium and punctum. This was a great example of it. You loved the image on first glance as you had a rough knowledge of the subject mater. It was when he explained that there was grass growing that had been covered for the thirty years that the trade centre had stud on it. He was using this for a Metaphor of how life heals and moves on. This was the closing statement from Joel Meyerovitz. Totally blown away by a master of his trade with a tear in my eye concluded a beautiful Experience.

 

Photo tweet of the day: Katrin Koenning

Katrin Koenning

I think this image contrasts two genres. You have seascape and almost an element of street photography. The relaxing feel of the sea is an image we often view. Its interesting the way the horizon is totally level on the Pacific looking out over St. Kilda Beach, Melbourne, Australia. However its the to people who really catch my eye. Katrin Koening catches  the lady is on the larger side. Adding to some clever lens skill. I would say from a telephoto at distance. the lady blocks out the man almost. It would be fitting to see it among Diane Arbus body of work

 

Was John Szarkowski the most influential person in 20th-century photography?

Was John Szarkowski the most influential person in 20th-century photography?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/jul/20/john-szarkowski-photography-moma

I found this article on the guardian website by Sean o’ Hagen. The comments where very interesting about pre John Szarkowski there was no photography in new york. For me i see it as a personal mecca for imaging. to think that he found the next generation of masters Diane Arbus, William Egglestone, Lee Freelander and Garry Winogrand. These people almost entering the genre of street photography. To think that the museum of Modern art is possibly the pinnacle of getting your work into. I will read the prologues to the books mentioned which i own

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An insightful critic as well as a visionary curator, Szarkowski filled New York’s Museum of Modern Art with the colour photography of William Eggleston, and championed the transgressive work of Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander. Everyone who cares about photography is in his debt

Gary Winogrand photo

Szarkowski championed photographers like Garry Winogrand, whose New York (1969) is currently on show at Tate Modern’s Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera

It’s three years to the month since John Szarkowski died: a good time to reappraise his role as a defining figure in photography, both in establishing it as an art form and in influencing the public’s perception. Szarkowski was a good photographer, a great critic and an extraordinary curator. One could argue that he was the single most important force in American post-war photography.

Like all good critics and curators, Szarkowski was both visionary and catalyst. When he succeeded the esteemed photographer Edward Steichen as director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1962, he was just 36, and must have been acutely aware of the long shadow cast by his predecessor. Steichen had curated the monumental group exhibition, The Family of Man, at Moma in 1955, which he described as ‘the culmination of his career”. Featuring 503 images by 273 photographers, famous and unknown, it had aimed to show the universality of human experience: death, love, childhood. The show had drawn huge crowds to the gallery and then toured the world, attracting an estimated 9 million viewers.

It was, as Steichen had no doubt intended, a hard act to follow. “We were different people”, Szarkowski later said, “with different talents, characters, limitations, histories, problems and axes to grind. We held the same job at very different times, which means that it was not really the same job.”

More revealing, Szarkowski also said that Steichen and his predecessor, Beaumont Newhall, “consciously or otherwise, felt more compelled than I to be advocates for photography, whereas I – largely because of their work – could assume a more analytic, less apostolic attitude.” That difference in approach would prove to be a crucial one, and it underpinned a new photographic aesthetic that continues to shape our view of the world to this day.

When Szarkowski took over at museum of modern art, new york there was not a single commercial gallery exhibiting photography in New York and, despite Steichen and Newhall’s pioneering work, the form had still not been accepted by most curators or critics. Szarkowski changed all that. He was the right person in the right place at the right time: a forward thinker who was given control of a major art institution at a moment when his democratic vision chimed with the rapidly changing cultural tastes of the time.

John SzarkowskiJohn Szarkowski, curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Photograph: Eamonn Mccabe

Szarkowski insisted on the democracy of the image, whether it be a formally composed Ansel Adams landscape, a snatched shot that caught the frenetic cut-and-thrust of a modern city or a vernacular subject like a road sign or a parking lot. “A skillful photographer can photograph anything well,” he once insisted.

In his still-challenging book, The Photographer’s Eye (1964), Szarkowski included snapshots alongside images by great photographers, and argued – brilliantly – that photography differed from any other art form because its history had been “less a journey than a growth”. “Its movement has not been linear and consecutive but centrifugal,” he suggested. “Photography, and our understanding of it, has spread from a centre; it has, by infusion, penetrated our consciousness. Like an organism, photography was born whole. It is in our progressive discovery of it that its history lies.”

As a writer, Szarkowski was innovative; as a curator, he was revolutionary. In 1967, during the so-called Summer of Love, he curated a show called New Documents at Moma. It featured the work of three relatively unknown photographers: Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand, and was, in its visceral way, as out of step with the times as the urban, edgy, atonal music of the Velvet Underground. It caused a stir. Arbus’s images were transgressive in both their form and content: harsh black and white shots of so-called freaks, outsiders and misfits. Friedlander and Winogrand, in their different ways, shot on the streets of New York, producing snatched images of the city’s everyday momentum that often appeared to be casual, even random – documentary photography, but not as it was then known or understood.

In his introduction to New Documents, Szarkowski deftly defined the shift in emphasis that the work represented and the attitude that unified the three photographers. “In the past decade,” he wrote, “a new generation of photographers has directed the documentary approach toward more personal ends. Their aim has been not to reform life, but to know it.”

At Moma, Szarkowski also hosted challenging shows by pioneering European photographers like Lartigue, Brassai and Cartier-Bresson, and, in 1969, purchased most of Eugene Atget’s archive for the museum. The Lartigue show, which consisted of photographs he had taken as a child, was controversial and critically lambasted. The controversy was low-key, though, compared to the tidal wave of outrage that greeted Szarkowski’s showing of the work of a then-unknown photographer from Tennessee called William Eggelston, in 1976.

Entitled William Eggleston‘s Guide, it was the first show of colour photography at Moma, a decision that incensed the critics almost as much as the supposedly banal and vulgar subject matter. When I once asked Eggleston about the reaction to the show, he said, It didn’t surprise or offend me. Didn’t impinge on me at all”. The loudest critical voice belonged to Hilton Kramer of the New York Times, who famously wrote: “Mr. Szarkowski throws all caution to the winds and speaks of Mr. Eggleston’s pictures as ‘perfect’. Perfect? Perfectly banal, perhaps. Perfectly boring, certainly.”

As time has shown, Kramer was wrong and Szarkowski – not for the first time – was right. His introduction to the book of the exhibition remains one of the great pieces of writing on modern photography. In retrospect, though, Szarkowski’s greatest gift was not his brilliant critical mind, nor his ability to help define what is now accepted as a canon of great photography, but his willingness to take risks with his own reputation. By the time he died, on 7 July 2007, aged 81, Szarkowski had returned to his first love, the taking of photographs. He was described by an obituary writer as “the man who taught America how to look at photographs.” It still does not seem too extravagant a claim.

 

Giacomo Brunelli, Photofusion , Brixton march 2010

 

 

 

 

This was only a small exhibition at photofusion in Brixton of about 15 prints of Giacomo Brunelli but it was such Excellent  quality. What he had created was a variation of street photography. The work reminded me of William Klien. It had a real surreal twist to it. The objects in the picture where animals but the shots where not staged. It was a real gem well worth the visit.

 

eye of newt
eye of newt (Photo credit: Seán Venn)