Tag Archives: Photo Books

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2012

Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year — an astounding figure. More than ever before, thanks in part to cell phone technology, the world is engaged with photography and communicating through pictures.

Nonetheless, a great photograph will rise above all the others. The ten photographs we present here are the pictures that moved us most in 2012. They all deliver a strong emotional impact — whether they show a child mourning his father who was killed by a sniper in Syria (slide #3); a heartbreaking scene in a Gaza City morgue (slide #1); a haunting landscape of New Jersey coastline after Hurricane Sandy, a rollercoaster submerged under the tide (slide #2); or a rare glimpse of President Obama moments before he goes out on stage during a campaign rally (slide #9). We spoke to each of the photographers about their images, and their words provide the captions here.

Over the past several days, we’ve unveiled TIME’s Best Photojournalism and Best Portraits of the Year galleries on LightBox. And in the next three weeks, we will be rolling out even more end-of-year features: the Most Surprising Pictures of the Year; the Best Photo Books of the Year; the Top 10 Photographic Magazine Covers of the Year and other compelling galleries. We will also recognize TIME’s choice for the Best Wire Photographer of the Year. Senior photo editor Phil Bicker is curating many of these galleries with help from the photo team at TIME. His discerning eye has been responsible for the curation of TIME’s Pictures of the Week throughout the year, galleries that regularly present the best of the week’s images, with surprising and sometimes offbeat takes on the news.  We will round off the year on December 31 with our second-annual “365: Year in Pictures,” a comprehensive look at the strongest picture of every day of 2012.

Kira Pollack, Director of Photography

Exploring “The Pleasures of Good Photographs”

Exploring “The Pleasures of Good Photographs”

The Pleasure of Good Photographs by Gerry Badger. Photo by Tom Griggs

A Flak Photo Discussion with Tom Griggs

Hey Photobook Fans!

Flak Photo is is teaming up with fototazo creator Tom Griggs to host an online community conversation focused on essays from Gerry Badger’s recently published The Pleasures of Good Photographs. For those of you who don't already have a copy, Aperture Foundation offers a 20% discount for online orders via their website.

Order the book from Aperture Foundation »

Badger is a critic, curator, and photographer who — for over 30 years — has contributed essays to periodicals and books that shape our contemporary understanding of photography. Witty, scholarly, and highly readable, the essays touch on subjects from photobooks to Photoshop, using work from dozens of photographers to investigate themes that impact all of us as makers of and thinkers about photography.

This public discussion will provide a structured setting for reading the book and exploring its ideas. It will be a forum for expanding our understanding by reading collectively, a place for asking and answering questions and looking at how the book’s themes can be applied beyond the book itself.

All are welcome to join us in the conversation, which will be hosted in Flak Photo Books, a Facebook group designed to facilitate the collaborative exploration of new ideas in photography. Our first discussion kicks off on Monday, May 7, 2012 with the essay, "Literate, Authoritative, Transcendent: Walker Evans's American Photographs" (page 22).

Confirm your participation on our Facebook event »

Naturally, we'd love for more people to hear about this; please feel free to share this news with friends, students and colleagues who would be interested in contributing to the dialogue. Please, join us!

Robert Adams’ Retrospective Goes West

Retrospective exhibits, while an enviable chance to create a cohesive story from a lifetime’s worth of work, can be a curator’s nightmare: pieces have to be gathered from all over the world, selected at a distance, organized before they even get to the gallery. Not so the new retrospective of the work of Robert Adams, the photographer famous for documenting the people and landscapes of the American West—both natural and manmade—who is approaching his 75th birthday this May. The show, which opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on March 11, was put together at the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) from the master set of thousands of prints donated to the gallery by the photographer in 2004.

“We had time to work with originals and precisely strike a tone that we thought the overall exhibition should have,” says Joshua Chuang of the YUAG, who worked with Adams to curate the images that the show comprises. Adams had preserved the best prints of his work throughout his career and he was instrumental in sculpting the retrospective, which will travel for two years following its time at LACMA. “It’s a very special artist indeed who is the best editor of his own work,” says Chuang. “Adams is really exceptional in that way.”

The resulting show is not intended to be merely a collection of over 300 pictures that happen to be the work of one artist, but rather a single, epic piece of work. It includes each of his major projects, dating back to 1964, and dozens of photo books that he has produced. LACMA’s installation also includes a multimedia reading room and a variety of related programs, from a botany-themed tour to talks with local artists who have been inspired by Adams’ work.

Chuang says that, taken together, the pictures in the show demonstrate how, even though many people think that a camera captures a literal version of the world, the art of photography is one of fiction. “The way that fiction functions is very tricky because it’s using facts to tell a fiction, and it has the appearance of fact,” he says. Robert Adams’ particular devotion to those facts, especially when it comes to capturing the precise look of light that may be flat or boring or dim, was so extreme that the photographer, viewing prints of a photograph taken decades before, was able to describe to curators the exact feeling of standing in a particular spot thirty years ago, and how that feeling ought to come across in the image. Chuang says that such fastidiousness about light means that Robert Adams’ work probably captures the West more accurately than that of the other chronicler of that region, Ansel Adams. But that faithfulness doesn’t mean a lack of artistry. Robert Adams’ skill at capturing nondescript light conjures up an experience—whether it’s in a Target store or the desert—with unexpected intricacy.

“He makes smog in California look ethereal and beautiful,” says Chuang.

And because of his relationship with that state, the photographer’s series of Los Angeles photographs will be highlighted in the show’s LACMA incarnation, in order to allow visitors to compare the environment of their daily lives with the one captured on film, says Edward Robinson, LACMA curator.

“It will be great for people to see this extraordinary photographer’s understanding and exploration of the area, to see how changes in the built environment have been reflected in the landscape,” says Robinson, “and what even the trees can suggest about the use of the land over time.”

Robert Adams: The Place We Live will be on view at LACMA from March 11 through June 3. Find out more about the exhibit here, or visit the YUAG companion site here.

J.H. Engström Awarded World’s Best Book Award

Three untitled prints from Trying to Dance portfolio © J.H. Engström/Aperture

Last month, renowned Swedish photographer J.H. Engström was awarded the Goldene Letter first prize in the Stiftung Buchkunst Best Book Design From All Over the World competition, the Frankfurt-based art foundation’s annual review.  His book La résidence was selected by an independent international jury from a pool of 540 photo books from 31 countries. They call it “a fascinating, eye-opening book – interaction without anything having to be plugged in.”

La résidence is comprised of 29 snapshot-like triptych gatefolds interspersed with his typically restrained pictorials on borderless double-page spreads and brief bursts of diary comments. The selection committee writes:

Nothing dramatic takes place, no lessons are being taught – but as each sequence elicits greater curiosity, for the spectator, browsing and folding his or her way through the pages, a personal individual story emerges, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Engström has been featured in an interview with Anders Petersen in Aperture issue 198. Aperture Foundation also presents a limited edition print and portfolio.

“CDG/JHE #41, 2006″ from the series CDG/JHE © J.H. Engström/Aperture

The haunting, painterly print “CDG/ JHE #41, 2006,” originally featured in Aperture magazine issue 190, shows his efforts at capturing the atmosphere and ambiance of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, where much of his childhood was spent, and which he calls a “fantasy landscape”. The series from which it comes, CDG/JHE, “provides an almost abstract definition of the existential homelessness and displacement that is at the heart of J.H. Engström’s work—the source of its tenderness and beauty, as well as its power to unsettle,” writes Martin Jaeggi in his commentary for Aperture.

Three other untitled prints are available as part of the Trying to Dance Portfolio, a selection from the series which comprises a photojournalistic ‘diary’ of his life: landscapes, still-lives, self-portraits, and snapshots of friends produce a loose narrative, recording not only the artist’s individual experiences, but a sensitive and provocative engagement with the world at large.

Engström’s tendency to utilize small moments in the construction of wide-reaching narratives is recurring in much of his work.



Photographer Hal

I first saw work by the Tokyo photographic artist, Photographer Hal, when I explored the winning images for the New Directions exhibition at Wallspace Gallery, jurored by Debra Klomp Ching. Because the image was small, I thought that he had photographed some kind of candy, but when I saw the large photograph hanging on the gallery wall, I realized that my brain could not make the connection that what I was looking at were people.

The images below are from a series, Flesh Love, where couples are vacuumed sealed in futon cases. Needless to say this is disarming work, but at the same time, it’s work that changes our perceptions. He has a book of this work available for ipads.

I go to kabukicho in shinjuku, underground bars in shibuya and many other places which are full of activity like luscious night time bee-hives. When i see a couple of interest I will begin to negotiate. I’m sure that many people initially think of my proposal as unusual or even look through me like I am completely invisible, but I always push forward with my challenge to them. The models appear from all walks of life and individually have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, restaurant and bar managers, photographers, businessmen and women, unsettled and unemployed, et al.

In my early explorations I used to capture the models in a small room or enclosed space, these images can be seen in the photo books called Pinky & Killer, and Pinky & Killer DX.

During the photo session I often prompt the couple to pose as if they’re in a sticker photo booth, an extension of the regular passport type which cause friends to pose in many alternative and fun ways. The focal point of the concept was then extended for the publication Couple Jam to include the use of the models bathtub, usually in their own home. I think of the bathroom as being one of the most private and intimate place in anyone’s home, this provoked a shyness in the models, and created a unique excitement and inspiration in the scene. In my most recent project I have applied the use of the vacuum sealed package, used to store futon covers in everyday life, I found that the couple can be sealed in, with the appearance of being freshly wrapped I have called this event Fresh Love.

New — Lens Culture Curated Online Photobook Shop

We love photobooks, and whenever we can, we browse and buy at our local bookshops. We also shop online for those titles that are hard to find. Now there is a simple way for you to help support Lens Culture while shopping for those hard-to-find photobooks.


If you shop on Amazon for photo books, camera equipment, gifts, or anything else at all, please consider using this link to Amazon. Lens Culture will earn a small commission on everything you purchase, and that will help us a lot.


You can find more than 100 photobook reviews on Lens Culture, and we’ve just created an easy way for you to browse and shop right here for a lot of the books we like. We’ll be adding new reviews and new titles as often as we can. Cheers!

photo L.A. 2012

Image by Ashly Stohl

Los Angeles just finished a five day celebration of all things photography at Photo LA: The 21st Annual International Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica. It’s an event that brings together galleries, private dealers and publishers, photographic artists, collectors, and anyone interested in photographic images. In addition to the many in booth exhibitions, Photo LA offered lectures, panels, book signings, and special installations. Stephen Shore, Eileen Cowin, Catherine Opie, and Ken Gonzales-Day offered lectures, along with many other well know names in photography.

© Anthony Friedkin, Woman by the Pool, Beverly Hills Hotel, 1975

This year there was a big emphasis on photo books, with many booths featuring artists books. Raymond Meeks/dumsaint editions shared his journals and books for a second year, and Liz Steketee’s work was featured in a number of booths, including Material Press & Steketee Books. LA Artist Book Arts showcased artist books by Ching Ching Cheng, Meg Madison, Charlene Matthews, and Susan Sironi.

Liz Steketee at Material Press

Liz Steketee at the Stephen Cohen Gallery

There were two names that were very much in evidence: Moby and Vivian Maier. Both artists had small exhibitions in the lobby of the show, and Moby also had work and a book in the DAP booth. I attended his lecture on Saturday and was very much impressed by his intelligence and philosophy about image making.

Image by Hannah Kozak
Moby at his lecture and book signing

Moby in the lobby

Moby in the DAP Booth

Vivian Maier in the lobby

Vivian Maier in the lobby

Whenever I attend a large art or photo fair, I take the time to see what’s new, what’s selling, how things are framed, what sizes are artists exhibiting, and what are the trends. This year was somewhat conservative–only a few massive large scale color images, plenty of black and white and sizes that were easily collectable. A few artists were printing on plexiglass, but much of the work was traditionally framed.

A few of photos of the opening night

Two exhibitions on display

Soho Cameraworks / Cameravision 1975-1983

Emerging Focus Finalists

Saturday morning, before the event opened, Weston Naef conducted a Docent Tour. Weston Naef is the Curator Emeritus, Dept. of Photographs, The J. Paul Getty Museum and has recently written a book Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs (J. Paul Getty Museum 2011). He started the tour in the Northern Light Gallery (Denmark).

Jay Mark Johnson at Gallerie Deschler (German)

Michael Krebs and Cynthia Greig at the DNJ Gallery (Los Angeles)

Dan Miller of the Duncan Miller Gallery (Los Angeles)

Claudia Kunin’s 3D images at Focus (New York)

Louis Klaitman Gallery (Berkley)

Light Work Gallery (New York)

Los Angeles Art Association | Gallery 825 (Los Angeles)

Nancy Baron at the Los Angeles Art Association | Gallery 825 (Los Angeles)

Bob Poe at the Los Angeles Art Association | Gallery 825 (Los Angeles)

PX Photography (New York)

Photo News – Call for entries to International Street Photography Award 2012 and American Society of Media Photographers portfolio reviews in New York

After a photo-filled week, today a catch up on a call for entries to an international street photography competition and an evening event dedicated to commercial portfolio reviews for members.

The International Street Photography Award, organised by the London Street Photography Festival, is calling for “exceptional international photographers that display a unique style and depth of work in the genre of street photography”. There will be an overall winner, a runner up, and 10 finalists.

The genre crosses over into portraiture, documentary and art photography. See the 2011 winners for an idea of the type of work and follow this link for a guide What is street photography? According to the organisation, street photography is: “Candid photography which captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationships between individuals and their surroundings.”

The international winner will receive £2,000 cash PLUS a solo exhibition in London PLUS an all-expenses paid trip to the exhibition launch and awards ceremony in London in June 2012 – total value £10,000.

Selected finalists will be exhibited in the same gallery and one image from each entrant will be showcased in a digital display.

The first 500 applicants will be automatically entered into a draw to win some fabulous prizes including: a signed print from one of the 2011 exhibitions, an Olympus PEN camera, £100 Blurb voucher, a Crumpler Muffin Top camera bag, photo-books by Magnum and Thames & Hudson.

All entrants receive a £28.95 voucher to print their own book with Blurb, which expires on 31 March 2012.

£30.00 to enter five to eight images. Participants from certain countries receive a 50% discount on the entrance fee.

05 January 2012

Go online to the LSPF website.

For an additional £15, LSPF can provide written feedback by an award judge on your submissions.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) New York is holding its annual commercial portfolio review for all its members during the evening of 11 October with over 30 reviewers from the photography industry. The event is free but you need to register. If you’re not a member and wish to attend can join ASMP NY as a member and then register for the event.

“ASMPNY will host approximately 100 photographers at the review. Each photographer will have an allotted time to show one body of work to each reviewer and receive feedback about the work, the presentation, style, what’s working and what to improve. Photographers can see multiple reviewers in one evening, while also making contacts for potential work. Photographers can show their portfolios in print or video format.”

This year’s reviewers include: Magnum Photos, The New York Times, Wonderful Machine, Mercury Lab, Billboard Magazine and Esquire.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Awards & Competitions, Photography Festivals, Portfolio reviews, street photography Tagged: American Society of Media Photographers, ASMPNY, International Street Photography Award, International Street Photography Award 2012, London Street Photography Festival, New York, photo competition, portfolio review, Street photography