Tag Archives: Books

The Americans List: A Salute to Robert Frank

Photographers the world over need no introduction to Robert Frank’s seminal 1950s work The Americans, an exploration of the American ideal from his outsider’s perspective as a Swiss émigré. Taken on a series of road trips around the country, the resulting intuitively-sequenced images —produced with funding from a Guggenheim fellowship—reflect both the dark undercurrents and poetic beauty of American culture.

Originally published in Paris in 1958 and the U.S. a year later, the book’s hallowed pages—containing a mere 83 images—have become one of the most referenced and revered photographic works. Many of the individual frames reside firmly in the collective memory of contemporary photographers who consciously and subconsciously reference the images on a daily basis.

Three years ago, an extensive retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art provided a fascinating and exhaustive insight to The Americans. The show, entitled Looking In, also inspired and facilitated photographer Jason Eskenazi’s recently published appreciation, The Americans List.

In 2009, Eskenazi—himself the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship—was working as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Every day for two months, even on Mondays when the exhibition was closed to the public, he stood in close proximity with the work, studying it compulsively, attending special events and asking questions of MET curator Jeff Rosenheim.

While guarding the show, Eskenazi started to ask photographers he knew—famous or not—about their favorite images from the show. Over the next two years, Eskenazi compiled their answers, along with their explanations and thoughts about the work. His compilations eventually evolved into his own book, published this month by Red Hook Editions. In the foreward, Eskenazi writes:

The Americans is probably the one book that connects more photographers than any other, so while guarding the show, I saw many photography colleagues enter. I began asking them what was their knock-out favorite image. Though many said it was too hard to choose and many images were important to them I insisted. I discovered that many of the answers revealed much more about the photographers themselves.”

The Americans List assembles selections by 276 photographers from Joel Meyerowitz (Canal Street – New Orleans. plate #19) and Joseph Koudelka (Covered car – Long Beach, Califonia. plate #34) to Eskenazi’s own personal favorite (Men’s room, railway station – Memphis, Tenn. Plate 52). Eskenazi considers the book a present to the photographic community and a homage to a great living photographer.

Guarding the exhibition also afforded Eskenazi the opportunity to meet the legendary photographer, first at the exhibition opening and then at Frank’s house in New York City, where he asked Frank to confirm the long standing rumor of his own favorite photograph from The Americans (San Francisco. Plate 72).

Eskenazi quit his day job at the end of the Looking In exhibition and has since returned full time to his life as a photographer. “I became very intimate with the work,” Eskenazi says. “It brought me back to life. And Frank was very moved by the book when he was recently given a copy in Nova Scotia.”

Clark Winter

Nova Scotia
September, 2012

Jason Eskenazi is a Istanbul based photographer. See more of his work at JasonEskenazi.com.

The Americans List is published by Red Hook Editions and available through the photo-eye bookstore.

A Photo Student Update

Shsssssshhhhh aphotostudent.com is sleeping.

But you can find me at The New Yorker’s Photo Booth or hanging out at http://jamespomerantz.tumblr.com

 

 

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Jen Davis featured in Abe’s Penny August 2012 Edition


“…Abe’s Penny is a lit mag paired down to the most essential elements: image and text. Each issue consists of one story divided into four parts and printed on postcards. ‘They are not photographs and they are not texts,’ The New Yorker says of Abe’s Penny‘s unique publishing style, ‘but a combination of both, tangible objects with a heft and significance of their own.’”

Abe’s Penny’s August 2012 edition features images from Jen Davis, whose decade spanning “Self Portraits” series was featured in reGeneration 2: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today, the second book in the esteemed series shining a spotlight on the next generation’s rising stars.

›› Shop Jen Davis’s limited-edition print Untitled No. 32, from the “Self Portraits” series
›› Buy reGeneration 2: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today

 

“Equivalents” Competition Exhibition at Photo Center NW

Scratched Print Skylight Hallway © Mary Ellen Bartley

While working on a series of cloud photographs in 1925, Alfred Stieglitz coined the title ”Equivalents” for his work, with the idea that the photographs could correspond to both the reality in front of the camera’s lens and the internal being of whoever was looking at them. Photographs could be representational and abstract, so even a photograph of a mundane subject could provoke a strong emotional response.

W. M. Hunt, the juror of the 17th Annual Photo Competition at Photo Center NW, chose this idea as the open theme for this year’s contest. So, the winning images are eclectic, but all meet Hunt’s criterion for what makes great photographs: their ability “to evoke a sensation that resonates through my being,” regardless of subject matter or technical process. See if the work resonates through your being too at Photo Center NW’s Seattle gallery, or check them out online. And for more of Hunt’s curatorial vision, check out The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious, 35% off as part of Aperture’s summer sale, which ends this Friday, August 10.

Aperture Anthology Bluelines Arrive!

Aperture Anthology In-A-Bag


The bluelines for our upcoming Aperture Magazine Anthology: The Minor White Years, 19521976 have just been delivered to editorial, expertly packaged and fully portable!

This long-awaited volumepublished on the occasion of Aperture Magazine’s sixtieth anniversarywill provide a selection of the best critical writing from the first twenty-five years of the magazinethe period spanning the tenure of cofounder and editor Minor White.

The texts and visuals in this anthology were selected by Peter C. Bunnell, Whites protg and an early member of the Aperture staff, who went on to become a major force in photography as an influential writer, curator, and professor. linkwheel creation . Several documents from Apertures founders and individual articles are reproduced in facsimile, and the book is enlivened by other distinctive elements, including a portfolio of each cover, and a selection of epigrams and editorials that appeared at the front of each issue. An extensive index of every contributor to the first twenty-five years of the magazine makes this an indispensible resource. Stay tuned for its Fall 2012 release…

On Press Update | Barney Kulok

Last week the presses were rolling for Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency. This week Aperture’s Production Manager is on press in Verona, Italy with Barney Kulok, whose upcoming monographBuilding:Louis I. Time Warner Cable Deals . Kahn at Roosevelt Island is currently in production. These on-press images just landed in Aperture’s inboxes, sent by Barney himself.

Building:Louis I. Kahn at Roosevelt Island (Photographs by Barney Kulok,Essay by Steven Holl) is coming this Fall!

 

Trevor Paglen and The Last Pictures

© Trevor Paglen

Over the course of photographing for what would become his 2010 monograph Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes, Trevor Paglen spent years tracking the orbit of American military spacecraft and documenting their ghostly trails across the night sky. The resulting images (which also appeared in Aperture # 191) were as much about photography itself—exploring the power and the limits of photographic knowledge—as they were meditations on the relationship between humankind and the infinite. In a fascinating evolution of this work, Paglen is now behind The Last Pictures, a project that will attach a record of human photographic images onto a satellite that will be sent into orbit in September 2012. Paglen spent five years interviewing scientists, artists, anthropologists, and philosophers to decide what images should compose this photo-historical record, and then worked with materials scientists at MIT to inscribe the 100 images he chose onto an “ultra-archival” silicon disc (not unlike the Pioneer Plaques and the Voyager Golden Record) that will be attached to EchoStar XVI. This satellite will function as a regular television satellite for the next fifteen years before powering down, entering a “graveyard orbit,” and remaining for billions of years as a photographic relic of modern human civilization for future civilizations and lifeforms to discover. And perhaps it will even show up in one of Paglen’s future photographs.

Here on earth in the year 2012, you can catch Paglen’s lecture tour (beginning September in New York) featuring philosophers and scientists discussing the project. Later this year, Creative Time will publish a book of the images, accompanied by short texts by those who contributed to the project. For more on Paglen and his work, visit his website.

apertureWEEK: Online Photography Reading Shortlist

Aperture aggregates the best posts from this past week in the photography blogosphere.

›› Vice‘s Motherboard blog released the never-before-told story of the first photograph ever uploaded to the World Wide Web, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next Wednesday.  The image, which has been referred to as “a Photoshop disaster,” has been met with equal parts adoration and horror since its release. The story also appeared on Gallerist NY and ABC News’ Tech This Out, which digs a bit deeper into the naïve roots of the image.

›› PIX, a proposed “photography lifestyle magazine for women,” has drawn commentary from photo editors Stella Kramer and Jasmine DeFoore and Jezebel blogger Katie J.M. Baker for its fluffy content—stories like “Smudge-proof makeup tips for long days behind the camera”—directed towards young female photographers.

›› Two years ago, Scott Blake, the digital artist behind the “Chuck Close Filter” website, was confronted by Close himself for what the painter believed to be unfair use of his copyrighted artwork. Blake recently recounted his dormant dispute with Close in an online essay, raising questions about when art is derivative, when it is plagiaristic, and if it’s possible for it to ever be entirely original. Wired reported, bloggers weighed in.

›› Les Rencontres d’Arles was in full swing last week. As The Guardian reported, Christian Patterson’s Redheaded Peckerwood took home the festival’s author book award, the second year in a row that a Mack-published photobook has won the award—Taryn Simon’s A Living Man Declared Dead…was the 2011 winner. Jonathan Torgovnik won the €25,000 Discovery prize for Intended Consequences, and The Latin American Photobook was awarded the festival’s historical book prize. Additionally, Magnum celebrated its 65th anniversary at the festival, announced nominees Zoe Strauss, Jerome Sessini and Bieke Depoorter, and considered what the future holds for the organization.

›› Yoda reviewed photobooks a couple of weeks ago on Blake Andrews’ blog. We can’t believe we missed it. Work by Vivian Maier, Duane Michals, Rinko KawauchiAlec Soth and John Gossage, and The PhotoBook Review were amongst the titles critiqued by the Jedi Master. On the Gossage/Soth collaboration The Auckland Project: “Tack this poster to their dorm room I’m guessing few collectors shall. In protective cover will it remain. Hmm. Yeesss.”

›› The Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary this week and Magnum has reached into the archives, posting on their Facebook page a vintage Guy Le Querrec image of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards at a show in 1967. Over at The New Yorker, Photo Booth has launched an 11-image slideshow of photos from the band’s early years, including a birds-eye shot of fans mobbing the band’s vehicle after a press conference at the Hilton, NYC in 1965.

›› More in anniversary news…In celebration of  the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s first solo exhibition, at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is planning Regarding Warhol: Fifty Artists, Fifty Years, which opens in September and will also feature works by photographers Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe. Over at NokiaConnects Joel Willians recounts the 5 Strangest Habits of Andy Warhol, asking the age-old question, “Eccentricity and genius go hand in hand, right?”