Tag Archives: Arles Festival

The Latin American Photobook, Jonathan Torgovnik’s Intended Consequences Win Les Rencontres d’Arles Awards

The Latin American Photobook, edited by Horacio Fernández and published by Aperture, has been awarded the historical book award at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival. The volume, a blend of bibliography, facsimile, and encyclopedia, offers a critical study of the most important photography books to come out of Latin America, from the 1920s to today. Along with Aperture’s The Dutch Photobook: A Thematic Selection from 1945 Onwards and Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s, The Latin American Photobook is part of a growing body of scholarship on the photobook and its place in photographic history.

Jonathan Torgovnik won the Rencontres d’Arles Discovery prize for Intended Consequences—his portraits of women and their children who were born of rape in the Rwandan genocide—which was published by Aperture in 2009. Watch an excerpt of a panel discussion with Torgovnik, and read an interview with the photographer on FLYP. Intended Consequences and limited-edition prints of Torgovnik’s work are available for up to 35% off as part of Aperture’s summer sale, until midnight EST, August 10, 2012.

Check out The Guardian for more coverage of the Rencontres d’Arles festival prizes.

Photographer #417: Ulrich Lebeuf

Ulrich Lebeuf, 1972, France, is a photojournalist and documentary photographer. He has worked on numerous stories for the French and international press. Next to his photojournalistic work he is interested in themes of popular culture, representation, consumption and the notion of immediate pleasure. The series Antonyme de la pudeur takes a look at the sex industry. It is a glimpse into a world in which Ulrich manages to humanize the actresses, making the viewer reflect on the stereotypes of the business and on our own moral judgments. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines as Le Monde, Libération, Time and National Geographic. His photographs have been shown at several venues as the opening of the Rencontres d’Arles festival in 2006. He is a member of the M.Y.O.P agency. The following images come from the series Antonyme de la pudeur, Tropique du Cancer and Alaska Highway.

Website: www.ulrichlebeuf.fr & www.myop.fr

Five books in a suitcase

While in Europe a couple months ago for the Rencontres d’Arles festival I found quite a few interesting items and as I look over them I see my tastes have drawn me to almost as many non-photobooks as photo-related ones. As I speak to other photobook obsessives I find a common denominator – it is harder and harder to find the “fix.”

The first is the new Enrique Metinides book Series from Kominek Books. Metinides is often referred to as the “Mexican Weegee.” Metinides worked as a newspaper photographer and many of his gritty, often gruesome images were used in the ‘nota roja’ tabloids. This book concentrates less on his individual greatest hits but on series of images he made while photographing crime, accidents and natural disasters in Mexico City and surrounding areas. The work is given an interesting design treatment courtesy of Syb (Sybren Kuiper) one of the leading Dutch designers working today. By far, it is the best presentation of Metinides work to date. Highly recommended.

Gregoire Pujade-Lauraine’s The Significant Savages was another choice which had a strong following at this year’s Rencontres d’Arles festival. Included in the exhibition From Here On which was curated by Martin Parr, Joan Fontcuberta, Joachim Schmid, Erik Kessels and Clement Cheroux, The Significant Savages compiles hundreds of “profile images” from the social networking site Facebook and presents them in an extremely handsome package that comments on how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the larger community. In part it is a critique but it does not lose its empathy with a cooler than thou vibe that is all too common with other archives of kitsch and stock imagery.

The next book, Nicolas Giraud’s All Work and No Play from Boa Books is probably the oddest choice I was completely compelled to bring home. Over several years, Giraud created his own “phantom literature book,” a typescript version of the “manuscript” that Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) was working on in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. Part fiction and part concrete poem, All Work and No Play sits in the obsessive space between an ordered mind and one that is unravelling. It might at first sound like a book that strikes a single note but design and typography freaks will want to take a long look at this deceptively simple work.

Aymeric Fouquez’s Nord from Kodoji Press is another that made the long haul back to NYC. Fouquez photographed WWI memorials built on actual battle sites in the north of France that were designed by the British architect Sir Edmund Luytens. Protected by law until 2018, these memorials sit in landscapes that are slowly developing and where modern real estate interests could threaten their existence. Politics, history, memory and loss all hang in the mist that enshrouds many of these skillfully made images. Each book comes with a small signed “self-portrait” print of Fouquez as a child on one of the many family outings to these gravesites.

The last in this set of books is Ricardo Cases’s Paloma al Aire. This has become one of my favorites, describing a small group of ‘pigeon racing’ men in Spain. Using brilliantly colored paint, these men color their birds with identifying marks on their wings and bellies and set them off to chase a female. Shot with flash, Cases turns these normally everyday creatures into exotic beings that apparently wind up coming to rest in bushes and trees, putting their owners through their own paces in order to retrieve them. Humorous and quirky, I can’t leaf through this spiral bound book without feeling light and giddy over creatures I mostly find repulsive.

More to come…

Five books in a suitcase

While in Europe a couple months ago for the Rencontres d’Arles festival I found quite a few interesting items and as I look over them I see my tastes have drawn me to almost as many non-photobooks as photo-related ones. As I speak to other photobook obsessives I find a common denominator – it is harder and harder to find the “fix.”

The first is the new Enrique Metinides book Series from Kominek Books. Metinides is often referred to as the “Mexican Weegee.” Metinides worked as a newspaper photographer and many of his gritty, often gruesome images were used in the ‘nota roja’ tabloids. This book concentrates less on his individual greatest hits but on series of images he made while photographing crime, accidents and natural disasters in Mexico City and surrounding areas. The work is given an interesting design treatment courtesy of Syb (Sybren Kuiper) one of the leading Dutch designers working today. By far, it is the best presentation of Metinides work to date. Highly recommended.

Gregoire Pujade-Lauraine’s The Significant Savages was another choice which had a strong following at this year’s Rencontres d’Arles festival. Included in the exhibition From Here On which was curated by Martin Parr, Joan Fontcuberta, Joachim Schmid, Erik Kessels and Clement Cheroux, The Significant Savages compiles hundreds of “profile images” from the social networking site Facebook and presents them in an extremely handsome package that comments on how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the larger community. In part it is a critique but it does not lose its empathy with a cooler than thou vibe that is all too common with other archives of kitsch and stock imagery.

The next book, Nicolas Giraud’s All Work and No Play from Boa Books is probably the oddest choice I was completely compelled to bring home. Over several years, Giraud created his own “phantom literature book,” a typescript version of the “manuscript” that Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) was working on in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. Part fiction and part concrete poem, All Work and No Play sits in the obsessive space between an ordered mind and one that is unravelling. It might at first sound like a book that strikes a single note but design and typography freaks will want to take a long look at this deceptively simple work.

Aymeric Fouquez’s Nord from Kodoji Press is another that made the long haul back to NYC. Fouquez photographed WWI memorials built on actual battle sites in the north of France that were designed by the British architect Sir Edmund Luytens. Protected by law until 2018, these memorials sit in landscapes that are slowly developing and where modern real estate interests could threaten their existence. Politics, history, memory and loss all hang in the mist that enshrouds many of these skillfully made images. Each book comes with a small signed “self-portrait” print of Fouquez as a child on one of the many family outings to these gravesites.

The last in this set of books is Ricardo Cases’s Paloma al Aire. This has become one of my favorites, describing a small group of ‘pigeon racing’ men in Spain. Using brilliantly colored paint, these men color their birds with identifying marks on their wings and bellies and set them off to chase a female. Shot with flash, Cases turns these normally everyday creatures into exotic beings that apparently wind up coming to rest in bushes and trees, putting their owners through their own paces in order to retrieve them. Humorous and quirky, I can’t leaf through this spiral bound book without feeling light and giddy over creatures I mostly find repulsive.

More to come…

How Terry Likes His Coffee by Florian van Roekel

I am not dead and neither is 5B4. I have just been swamped with two months of preparing the next four Errata Editions books to be press-ready for November. Those of you that have published your own books understand how much time and effort goes into their production – try doing four at once. I will announce what they are this coming week.

There is a small stack of books here that I have been wanting to write and now that life is getting more manageable I can get to them. The first is Florian van Roekel’s How Terry Likes His Coffee which I discovered a few months back during the Arles festival.

The book is subtitled: A Photo Odyssey into Office Life. I have never had a desk job, worked 40 hours a week for a paycheck, nor wanted to and I have a strong sense that I wouldn’t be a good fit in such an environment. I believe in the adage Do something you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life, so it is my hope that there are millions of people out there who love sitting in conference rooms, talking on phones, and passing the hours reading excel documents, otherwise this can get too depressing.

How Terry Likes His Coffee opens with a few pages of white, lined paper upon which people have doodled, perhaps somewhat unconsciously while on the phone or performing some other task that can’t quite take full control of their mind. These pages prepare you for the expected – the staleness of office drudgery. They are hopeful but ultimately fleeting reminders of an alternate dreamlife and the need for an active mind to be stimulated. Coffee might be the other need. The first photograph, as hopeful as the drawings but as sad, describes flaccid balloons and party decorations hanging from a drop ceiling. One balloon is marked with the number 50 and one might suspect these are the remnants of an improvised birthday celebration that will be taken down and thrown away by the office cleaning crew.

That photograph is followed by a few somewhat predictable still lifes of file boxes and water coolers. Things get more interesting for me a couple pages later as Roekel describes suit jackets draped over the backs of chairs. They seem to sway to some unexpected breeze – a flurry of movement disrupting stale air.

The monotony of work, especially in front of computer or while on the phone has been a common theme in photography. One might think of Friedlander’s brilliant repetition of people staring into computer screens which were published as multiplying grids in the catalog Three on Technology from the mid-80s. Roekel engages a similar strategy through repetition, photographing the backs of people’s heads as they go about their assigned tasks, the crispness of his lighting highlights hair-styles as a subtle marker of personality in each person.

The fourth “chapter” for me becomes the most interesting section as Roekel creates facing page diptychs of the workers on the phone. Often nearly identical pictures with only slight difference in the shift of the eyes or hand gestures. The workers are not speaking but listening. Their eyes seem to make clear that they are in the midst of digesting what is being said yet we might read deeper realizations are taking place.

The office space as absurdist comedy has been effectively done before by the likes of Tunbjork and there is a sparseness to this work I like throughout the book. Roekel boils down the images to simple close-ups. There are almost no photos that establish what this business is, nor the layout of the larger space. They keep you focusing on small details for their meaning. They are claustrophobic and the way his artificial light falls off quickly to darkness brings an ominous tone which can be stifling.

The last chapter is a suite of pictures outside of the building where a managed landscape of trees transitions the corporate from the natural. Again Roekel keeps his camera close and doesn’t offer much by way of escape. He photographs the trees much in the same way he photographed the suit jackets – slowly swaying in the silent breeze that has blown through his exposure.

How Terry Like His Coffee was published in an edition of 500 hand-numbered copies.