Tag Archives: Two Books

Europe Week: Margaret de Lange

Guest editor, Jacqueline Roberts shares the last of her European selections today with Margaret de Lange. A huge thank you to Jacqueline for her insight and efforts. It’s been a wonderful week!

Margaret de Lange lives and works in Norway. She studied photography in Oslo. She has held solo exhibitions among other places in: Tarragona, Brussels, Paris, New York, Stockholm . She was recognized for Best portfolio at the Photo Festival in Arles, France, and with an Honorable mention by the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. She has published two books, Daughters and Surrounded by no one with Trolleybooks (London) .

In her series entitled, Daughters, Margaret presents black and white photographs taken of her two daughters during the summers of their childhood. Though the project began in 1993 and continued through 2002, it wasn’t until both daughters were old enough to grant their permission did de Lange take the step of exhibiting the work.

The images depict the two girls enjoying their summers out of doors, barefoot and often bare-bodied, in a dark and grainy, high-contrast style. In the photographs, the children seem to be a part of the nature around them, with dirt and grass clinging to knees and feet, with hoods of animal skin; they become like the creatures of Scandinavian folklore that, as de Lange explains, “were said to appear at twilight, and were always beautiful, but often evil as well.” And so we view the daughters, captured as they linger in a hazy half-darkness, in that time between day and night and an age between child and adult, exploring, discovering, and experiencing all of those little adventures which amount to growing up. These “creatures” exhibit their initiated ways through various little clues: dead birds hanging from string, bold stares from beneath fury capes. All together, the effect is unabashedly dark and earthy, yet calm and elegantly matter-of-fact.

The images, de Lange points out, are representative of a typical Norwegian childhood during the brief but sweet summer months. However, the way in which the images are rendered, with deeply encroaching shadows and heavy grain, pushes the subject into more of a dream realm that speaks more of the meandering experience of these pre-adolescent girls and a world that is very much their own.

As for the daughters, the photographs represent a precious conservation of memory. “She has preserved random pieces of our childhood, and we treasure those moments” says Jannicke de Lange, speaking for herself and her younger sister, Catherine.

Jacqueline Roberts

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce Jacqueline Roberts as next week’s guest curator and writer.  She will be sharing the work of six contemporary European photographers over the course of the week, exposing us to image makers an ocean away. Today I will be celebrating her wonderful work that beautifully explores children and childhood.

Jacqueline is a Spanish photographer born in Paris and now lives and works in Wincheringen, Germany, with her husband Gareth and their children Madoc, Malen and Emrys–making her a perfect European ambassador of photography. Her work has been shown in France, Spain, Germany and Luxembourg and has won various international awards, including the International Photography Awards in New York and the Prix de la Photographie in Paris. Jacqueline works with different photographic mediums, both digital and analogue, as well as with photographic techniques from the 19th century. She has published two books with editor Galerie Vevais, within the collector’s series Werkdruck and she is currently preparing her third monograph Kindred Spirits, which will be published next year.
 Kindred Spirits is a celebration of childhood and by extension life, tinged with nostalgia; a constructed memory for the future… a family album, simply. At a time in my life where my children are growing up and my parents are ageing… a reminder of the trace of time and fleeting nature of life.
 images from Kindred Spirits

Triptychs is primarily a tribute to my children, all born on the same day, which consists of three triple triptychs. With this series of portraits I wanted to emphasise the connection between them, the fraternal bond, the communion almost, that exists between them. Three distinct individuals yet connected. It was relevant therefore to present the work as triptychs, for the religious connotations it confers to the images but also to embrace the symbolism of the number three in a wider cultural realm. Three represents the triad of family: male, female, and child; the triad of the cycle of life: birth, life, and death; the triad of time: past, present and future; the triad of human nature: mind, body and soul and the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit… like an allusion to the sacred status of the child in our contemporary western societies.

images from Triptychs

‘Home Works’ by Joakim Eskildsen

Joakim Eskildsen’s new body of work, Home Works, explores the poetry of place through the five different homes to which he has moved his family over the past six years. His pictures are painter-like, discovering different moods and seasons, a quiet thoughtfulness, an overwhelming beauty and a love of landscape. His family’s final move to a new home in Germany, just this month, will dictate the last pictures in the project.

The series began in 2005, just before his son Seraphin was born. Two years later, his daughter Rubina was born. “The whole process of having children is such an interesting thing,” he says. “They have been very inspiring to follow, and to discover the world and landscapes together with.” The landscapes are often empty but sometimes dotted with a child. In the early pictures, the children are small elements in the larger frame and as the work moves forward through time, the children take precedence over their surroundings.

One of the most exciting aspects of Eskildsen’s process is the influence that bookmaking has had on his direction. Since the beginning of his career he has integrated the bookmaking form directly into his photography process.

As an MA student in Finland, he studied with Finnish masters, Pentti Sammallahti and Jyrki Parantainen. Under their mentorship he was amazed to discover the idea that the photographer could be in charge of the whole process of making the book: from layout to typography to binding to offset printing: “The main idea was that the book itself is the art object, and not a catalog for the exhibition prints.“

Over the next four years as an MA student, Eskildsen made his first two books by hand: Nordic Signs and Bluetide. After school he published iChickenMoon with an edition of 1,800. Most recently, The Roma Journeys—his brilliant book about the European ethnic groups known as Gypsies—was published by Steidl in 2007. “The book is a very flexible format. You can work on only one book or you can print it in an edition of 11,000. Both can be equally inspiring,” he says. “There is something in this whole process which is so magical and keeps challenging me.”

Those formative years in Finland inspired a slow and thoughtful approach to his work. “I like to allow myself to work over a span of years to have a kind of relationship with the work,” he says. “I feel almost that if it is too fast, you might not get to know the pictures before it’s over.” In Home Works in particular, Eskildsen is working very closely in tandem between making the pictures and then taking time to work on layouts and juxtapositions, and to re-edit and refine and then to continue shooting. He plans to give himself two more years to capture his newest home. In this process, he says, “the vision becomes clearer”: “One of the main things I learned is that the work is only half done when you have a lot of good pictures,” he says. “One has to spend a lot of time with these images, too, and work a lot with them.”

Eskildsen’s diligence is being recognized. Steidl plans to publish Home Works in 2015, along with American Realities—about poverty in America (a project originally commissioned for this magazine)—and a third edition of Roma Journeys, both planned for 2013, as well as a re-print of Nordic Signs for 2015.

Joakim Eskildsen is a Danish photographer based in Berlin. He is best known for his book The Roma Journeys (Steidl, 2007). More of his work can be seen here.

Summer Songs of the Russian Riviera

In 2004, when photographer Rob Hornstra wanted to publish his first cohesive body of work in a book, he ran into a common problem—he couldn’t find a publisher who was willing to fund it. Hornstra’s solution was less than common: he decided to raise the initial funds himself by selling copies in advance via word of mouth and social networking. It took a month, but he succeeded. Hornstra decided to jump start the publication of his next two books the same way, with each volume of pre-orders selling out more quickly than the last. Hornstra is now on his sixth book (plus newspapers, postcards, prints and posters), and still relies primarily on his own crowdfunding efforts to fund them and their related projects. Crowdfunding and self-publishing are less rare these days, but that is thanks in part to pioneers like Hornstra whose distinctive eye and determination helped blaze the trail to get important work to receptive audiences without the backing of traditional journalistic and publishing outlets.

Hornstra’s latest book is on the restaurant singers of Russia’s favorite Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Any self-respecting restaurant on the coast has a live house singer to belt out sappy Russian chansons—take a vodka-soaked ballad and drop in a techno beat, all at full volume—from behind an electric keyboard or a laptop. Sochi is the center of the world, as far as this type of live entertainment is concerned, and Hornstra saw it as the perfect metaphor to depict the city and the region, traveling to more than 60 restaurants over 100 miles of coastline in 2011 to make the 37 photos for the book. The pictures mercifully strip away the noise of the music and cancel out the dark rooms and sharp flashing lights with Hornstra’s trademark, even lighting, allowing the viewer to patiently examine every telling detail of the interiors, including the faux Greek, French, Roman, Slavic and American décor.

Sochi Singers is in fact only the latest installment of The Sochi Project, Hornstra’s five-year commitment to exploring the region in the years leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics Games, which Sochi will host exactly two years from this month. Partnering with writer and filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen, who wrote the essay in Sochi Singers, his goal is to paint a more complete picture of the area than the public is likely to see during those few short weeks in 2014. They have already traveled to a Soviet-era sanatorium outside of Sochi and the troubled region of Abkhazia and the Republic of Georgia, located only 13 miles along the coast to the southeast. Next month they plan to travel to the Caucasus mountains to the east, and the infamous breakaway republics of Dagestan, North Ossetia and Chechnya.

As Russia cycles into the news again next month when former president Vladimir Putin will likely be voted back into office, it is Hornstra’s commitment to “slow journalism” that allows audiences to put the headlines in context, as well as to see past the propaganda and pomp and circumstance that will inevitably surround the Winter Games. By examining the stark contrasts contained within the small region of the world, and recording both what changes—and what remains the same—Hornstra’s work reflects something deeper and more historic: Russia’s continuing search for a post-Soviet identity.

Rob Hornstra is a Dutch photographer. Learn more about the Sochi project hereThe Sochi Singers series recently won first place for the Arts and Entertainment—Stories category at the World Press Photo awards.

Behind the Cover: Animal Friendships

To shoot this week’s TIME cover story about animal friendships — which you can read here — photographer Catherine Ledner called on years of experience of hanging out with cute critters, including her work on two books of animal photography, Animal House and Glamour Dogs. But this shoot offered something new, even for the animal pro. Most of Ledner’s work involves pictures of singular animals, while TIME’s portfolio features animal pairs. “I had to make sure that the dogs that were coming were actually friends,” she says.

With that criterion in place, Ledner found that shooting pairs of animals was no more difficult than shooting them one at a time. Like human models, the animals brought their own personalities to the set and Ledner was able to capture the interplay of those forces. Also like human models, the animals brought entourages (a.k.a. trainers) who kept the stars focused on the task at hand—and who conveniently stepped aside when Ledner wanted to let her subjects off the leash, so to speak.

But unlike human models, the animal managed to make the group shots look effortless. “If you’re shooting a group of people, you have an agenda of who you want looking in the lens and who you don’t,” Ledner says. “To get everyone to look good at one time is harder than it is, I think, when you have a bunch of animals.”

Which is not to say that the photographer’s sessions with her animal models were all fun and games. Ledner—who owns three dogs, two cats and four rabbits, but does not frequently photograph her own pets—says that animal photography requires putting cuddliness aside. While people may get relaxed and happy with background music and a festive mood, quiet is important to help a dog (or a bird or a rabbit, as the case may be) maintain his concentration. Luckily, almost all of the animals that participated in TIME’s cover shoot were seasoned professionals. One dog named Billy had sat for Ledner twice in the past. The only non-professional at the session was the rabbit, who was, in fact, a real friend of Billy’s. “The rabbit was so docile. It would let the dog put its head smack dab on top of it. There was just total trust between these animals,” says Ledner. And the photographer was hardly upset about shooting an amateur model: “The bunny’s only six weeks old—and how can you be a pro bunny?”

Catherine Ledner is an American photographer based in California and author of two books: Animal House and Glamour Dogs. See more here.

Read more in the magazine: The Science of Animal Friendships.

Corey Arnold, The North Sea

Corey Arnold, The North Sea

Corey Arnold

The North Sea,
Netherlands, 2010
From the Wolf Tide series
Website – coreyfishes.com

Corey Arnold (b.1976) resides in Portland, Oregon and has spent over 15 seasons working seasonally as a commercial fisherman in Alaska. He frequently travels abroad chronicling the lifestyle of commercial fishermen, a project entitled Fish-Work. Arnold received a BFA in photography at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. His work has been exhibited worldwide and he has published two books with Nazraeli Press, including Fish-Work: The Bering Sea (2011) and Fishing with My Dad 1978-1995 (2011). Arnold was chosen for the 2010 Portland Biennial, nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography and named one of Photo District News’ top 30 emerging photographers in 2009. His work is represented by Charles A. Hartman Fine Art (Portland, OR) and Richard Heller Gallery (Santa Monica, CA).

Meaninglessness of the Muse: Artist talk by Gueorgui Pinkhassov

JAPAN. Tokyo. 1996. The new metro. © Gueorgui Pinkhassov / Magnum

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm

A conversation with Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Russia’s only Magnum photographer. He photographs color and light to translate his impressions of reality in a poetic way which creates for the viewer the experience of a daydream. At Aperture, he will discuss his inspirations, current projects and new ideas, and answer questions from the audience.

Born in Moscow, Pinkhassov studied cinematography and later worked as a set photographer at the Mosfilm Studio. His work was noticed by the prominent Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, who invited Pinkhassov to the set to make a reportage about his film Stalker.

Pinkhassov moved permanently to Paris in 1985 and joined Magnum Photos in 1988. He works regularly for the international press, particularly for Geo, Actuel, and the New York Times Magazine and has two books of his photographs published. His work is also included in the new book, The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture, 2011), edited by Kathy Ryan, the award-winning photo editor of the magazine.

Presented by Snob Project at Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, New York

(212) 505-5555

FREE

Sylvia Plachy Exhibition in Germany

Lulu, Budapest, 1972. © Sylvia Plachy

 

solo show: Sylvia Plachy

Exhibition on view:
June 28–August 26, 2011

Flo Peters Gallery:
Chilehaus C
Pumpen 8
20095 Hamburg, Germany
+49-40-30374686

Sylvia Plachy’s photographs are on exhibit now until late August at the Flo Peters Gallery in Hamburg, Germany. Born in Budapest and currently living in New York, Plachy is a contributing photographer at the New Yorker. Aperture has published two books by Plachy, Self Portrait with Cows Going Home and Goings On About Town: Photographs for The New Yorker. Aperture also offers one of her quintessential images as a limited-edition print, After the Dance, Jacob’s Pillow.