Tag Archives: design

TIME Style and Design: Peter Hapak Photographs Emily Blunt

Photographer Peter Hapak asked Emily Blunt to get into character during the cover shoot for TIME Style and Design, which relaunches this March after a three-year hiatus. It was an easy task for the British actress, who has played myriad roles—from a bossy fashion assistant to a young royal—in her career and currently stars opposite Evan McGregor and Kristin Scott Thomas in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

“I wanted to create something that didn’t feel earthy,” Hapak says. “So I asked her to imagine that she was in outer space, where she was experiencing different noises and light and trying to get along in this new space.” Hapak, who used harsh light to bring out sharp highlights and shadows on Blunt, even likes to say he was working with two different people during the sitting. “The thing about fashion is when people walk in, they look like every other person wearing normal clothes,” he says. “But when we are working on a fashion shoot, we’re creating a stylized person, a character that completely differs from the actual person.”

The cover shoot, which took place in New York City this Februrary, was a reunion of sorts for Hapak. The selection of clothing and pairing of designers such as Prada and Stella McCartney were creatively conceived by Ali Toth and Aniko Virag, stylists whom Hapak first met in Hungary nearly six years ago. In fact, it was Toth and Virag who commissioned Hapak for his first foray into fashion photography. “I was photographing dancers and experimenting with how dancers can interpret fashion in different ways,” Hapak says. “They saw one of my series and called me to collaborate.”

Among the many outfits Blunt exhibited for their latest collaboration, Hapak’s favorite piece was a black Balenciaga hat worn by the actress on the cover. “I just loved that Balenciaga hat,” Hapak says. “And this is exactly what I like about fashion. The right accessory speaks for itself—and the entire picture.”

Read more from TIME Style & Design

A Brief, Photographic History of Republished Books

As we increase our understanding of the history of photography as defined by its great accomplishments in bookmaking, the question of the availability of that printed history becomes central. The coveted first edition of a classic photo book can at times demand a higher price tag than even original photographic prints. The art of “the book,” in some circles, has overshadowed the offerings of the gallery world.

Reprints of older photobooks, commonly known as second editions, have been one way for newer generations of photographers and students of photography to become familiar with and learn from artists who came before them. Books have served me by informing and inspiring me throughout my own photographic practice for more than two decades.

But where multiple printings are common with books of literature or non-fiction, reprints are not as common for many visual books after they are considered out of print. This usually rests on two main factors: First, in the world of art book publishing, there is rarely financial gain for the publisher involved, let alone the artist. The second factor is that artists tend to be resistant to repetition, thinking that reprinting the same exact book, edition after edition, seems to be an unnecessary act.

The result is that the books tend to become rare and increasingly valuable to collectors, leaving them sought-after but difficult to see firsthand. In a medium where the book plays such an important role in its progression, it is an unfortunate fact that so many examples of some of the greatest photobooks have been essentially lost to history. That notion fueled my own publishing project, Errata Editions, which offers studies of rare photobooks that won’t see a traditional reprint because of the aforementioned reasons.

In the Errata series of “books on books,” each volume is dedicated to the study of one photobook that has been recognized as important to the history of the genre. They present images of all of the page spreads contained in the original books, along with contemporary essays about the book. Within three years, we have published twelve volumes that include studies of books by Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Chris Killip, William Klein, Paul Graham, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, David Goldblatt and others.

Artists open to reprinting their books often tinker with their creations by reediting. However, a complete reenvisioning of the book in its entirety was apparent with Josef Koudelka’s book Gypsies. That book represented a kind of revisioning in reverse, as the 2011 edition is actually closer to Koudelka’s original vision for the book, whereas the 1975 edition was a construction of Robert Delpire, the editor and publisher.

For many other artists, what might be seen as the flaws of youthful instinct give way, over time, to a desire to clean up the editing or design in any given book, or to revisit contact sheets and give new life to many images that were left out of the original book. The Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson has republished some of his classic books, such as East 100th Street and his recent new edition of Subway, both of which present newly edited material. Davidson has also taken the advances in printing technology to heart as additional attention has been made to color-correct the images to Davidson’s current slightly colder palette.

An interesting case in point is William Klein’s masterwork Life is Good & Good for You in New York, first published in 1956. When Klein revisited those same photographs in the mid-1990s, he completely redesigned and reedited the work—removing much of the original’s energetic and experimental design—until there was little, if any, similarity to the original book. “The first book was about graphic design. The second was about the photography,” he says of the two editions. Whether you agree or not, that resistance to repeat is apparent.

Over the years a resurgence of reprints has hit bookstores, and a few have come from the German publisher Steidl. Last December saw a set of facsimile reprints of several important, if somewhat obscure, political photobooks with The Protest Box, edited by the British photographer and photobook historian Martin Parr. Elsewhere, Dewi Lewis has released another printing of the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken’s exquisite 1954 Love on the Left Bank, which is faithful to the original. And a new edition of one of the top-selling photobooks of all time, the 1972 Diane Arbus monograph from Aperture, is now available.

While not all photobooks considered great or groundbreaking will see a reprint, one can hope that enough will exist to maintain a full sense of photobook history.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.

Review: Valerio Spada, Gomorrah Girl

Valerio Spada, Gomorrah Girl

Valerio Spada, Gomorrah Girl

I caught up with Valerio Spada after missing the book launch of Gomorrah Girl at Le Bal in Paris in early March. The tallest Italian I have ever met, his enthusiasm and heart-on-his-sleeve sincerity are infectious and endearing (check out his Tumblr for a nice example of this). Spada explained how Gomorrah Girl had initially come about as a shoot on adolescence in Naples, during which he had discovered the story of Annalisa Durante, a 14 year-old girl who was killed, shot in the head by a stray bullet in an assassination attempt, as she was talking to a young Camorra mobster. It was when Spada heard Annalisa’s story from her father Giovanni Durante, that he realised that he had found the heart of his project. After the excellent film, Gomorrah by Matteo Garrone (based on the Roberto Saviano novel), Spada’s book also focuses on adolescence but more specifically on the plight of the teenage girls living in this fiercely masculine world.

Hearing Spada talk about this book it is clear that after discovering the story of Annalisa, she became a constant presence that accompanied him in the background to every one of his shoots in the city. What I found ingenious in Gomorrah Girl is that it succeeds in translating this duality into the form of the book. It is essentially two intertwined books, the first simply presenting straight photographs of the police report on Annalisa’s shooting and the second containing Spada’s photographs of different aspects of the city’s adolescent life. By interweaving these two books page by page, Annalisa’s story, as embodied by the police report on her accidental murder, becomes a constant backdrop to the portraits of the young girls that make up the second book. This structure gives the book a certain ominous feeling, as if Annalisa’s fate is hanging over each of the girls pictured in the book and could become theirs at any moment. The design by Sybren Kuiper (what is it with the Dutch photobook mafia?!?!) is intelligent and turns this otherwise straightforward documentary project, into something more interesting and multi-layered.

In a way, what I enjoyed most about the book is the way the object is so important in telling the story. Another example of the intelligence of the design is that, in addition to the two-book structure, the paper used for the police report section of the book is very flimsy, and, if you spend enough time with Gomorrah Girl, it’s likely that its pages will resemble those of the police report that it depicts. Although Spada’s portraits of Neapolitan adolescents are quite strong, I found myself wanting a more in-depth into their world rather than just a glimpse of each of their individual stories. I found that the book fell a little short of presenting a more complex and developed picture of the world in which these adolescents live. There are some fascinating threads to follow however, such as the neomelodico girls, which would be worthy of a book project in itself. In one caption Spada explains that the neomelodico “can make up to 200,000 euros per year for singing at weddings and other various ceremonies … Through some of these songs and ceremonies the Camorra families send messages to each other.” In a portrait of one of these young singers, tears roll down the girl’s face but her expression betrays no emotion… if anything her face shows how hard she has had to become to live in the world that surrounds her.

Valerio Spada. Gomorrah Girl. Cross Editions (self-pub., soft cover, 40 + 40 pages, colour plates, 2011). Limited edition of 500 copies.

Rating: Recommended

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