Just go and read after the jump this Review: David Stubbs, ‘Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen’
Undertaking a personal project – it could be an article for a magazine, a book, a website, an exhibition or a commission – offers photographers an opportunity to focus their energies and ideas and broaden their horizons at the same time as developing their art and craft. This book, which aims to be both practical and inspirational, will take them through the thought processes and planning that must be undertaken before work commences and stressing the self-discipline that must be maintained if the final objective is to be successfully achieved. It also offers a wealth of first-hand advice based upon the experience of the author and more than 20 featured photographers. The book is heavily illustrated with relevant examples from project-based practice, captioned with quotations from the photographer about the genesis of the project, its objectives and realisation. The featured photographers are a mix of commercial, fine-art, documentary and funded photographers from the UK, USA and mainland Europe. Illustrations are in both colour and monochrome and selected to be relevant to the topic and tone of the section they appear in.
‘Photo Projects. Plan & Publish Your Photography’. Text by Chris Dickie.
Argentum, London, 2006. 128 pp., back-and-white and color illustrations, 9½x10¼”.
Well, if you are bored to death and have nothing better to do, scan ALL your books, CDs, movies and games with your webcam, and have them digitally referenced in the well designed Delicious Library. You can enjoy a new visual way to track who did you lend your belongins too, and when.
The program can read the bar code of your items (Beep!) and search for info in Amazon’s massive database -but items may not be found if they are rare! Still, next time your buddy comes asking for your precious King Crimson CD, add him to your list of you-owe-mes, and discover he didnt return yet your copy of Five Obstructions, a film you thought it was lost.
Now, you can open your trully Professional Lending Library.
You could also be using Post-its, but that is so passé composé!
Matthew Monteith: Czech Eden
by Michael Famighetti
After the Velvet Revolution marked the end of Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime tourists from across Western Europe, and the world, arrived by the busload in Prague to marvel at this spire-marked capital that had effectively been off limits, for a half century, to those outside the Soviet empire’s reach. Naturally, many of these visitors took photographs, proof that they had visited this fairytale-like place where time had seemingly stood still. Digital photography was not yet the norm, so a friend of mine, who worked in a photo lab near the center of Prague processed, day after day, photographs of the Charles Bridge, the Castle, and the famed astronomical clock, bemoaning that for all their good intentions, the photographs hit the same flat notes again and again. They were fine images to show to their friends back home but they ultimately revealed very little, beyond what Susan Sontag called “the indisputable evidence that the trip was made.”
Amateur photographs, however, can be resonant, revealing, and accomplished in their own right. Though Matthew Monteith is a prodigiously skilled, highly technical photographer, he understands this well. During his first visits to the Czech Republic in the 1990s, he developed an appreciation for Czech vernacular photography and postcards from the 1920s and ‘30s. In them he found scenes of day-to-day life that were that were at times sentimental, romantic, humorous, and mysterious, but almost always anonymous. Although these authorless photographs had functioned primarily as aide-memoire for someone unknown to Monteith, he was equally stuck by both their senses of idealism and uncanny. He then set out to create a body of work inspired by the fragmented stories to which these images had alluded.
“Czech Eden” is named after an officially protected park in the Czech Republic, a place known for its vertiginous sandstone formations and remarkable natural beauty. However, few of Monteith’s photographs depict this preserve. Instead, most were taken in or around Prague, in his friends’ homes, on the streets, or in small towns where it is as likely to find a centuries-old castle as an ominous nuclear cooling tower looming large. Although it is important to know where these photographs were taken, ultimately their meanings are not contingent upon place. “Czech Eden” should not be viewed as a documentary project. It is not a literal description of life in the Czech Republic but instead an open-ended allegory, one that references old images but articulates a vision of contemporary life that is at times disquieting and humorous. In one image a boy plays amidst the ruins of a brightly colored building; in another a man sitting in a vertigo-inducing patterned chair contemplates a hammer at his side. Elsewhere, an elderly couple, their clothing tattered, take a break from cutting wood, to pose for a picture.
They seem happy, or at least willing to oblige the photographer, but standing far apart the viewer can be forgiven for assuming that they don’t seem entirely happy with one another. Whether a landscape or a portrait, each image, however visually seductive it may be, is underscored by a revealing, albeit often disquieting, tension. The great Czech writer Ivan Klima identifies this quality in his essay in Matthew Monteith’s forthcoming monograph, suggesting that these photographs are “like a tour of the world as perceived” by Kafka, a Czech writer (though he wrote in German) known for his portrayals of alienation in the modern world. Monteith’s “Czech Eden” does not picture anything resembling paradise but instead a place that conjures a feeling of loneliness that is a basic, if unsettling, part of experience today—a mood of alienation that would be as familiar to my friend processing those pictures as to the people who took them in earnest.
Mark Schaden from Schaden books, will head the discussion next Thursday 3rd of May on “Trends in Contemporary Photography Publishing” at the Gallery of Photography (Meeting House Square, Dublin). The panel includes Mark Curran (photographer), David Farrell (artist) and Martin McCabe (lecturer in the DIT School of Media and curator).
Admission is free if you contact the gallery to book your space at 01-6714654 or contacting them through the site.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1940. After two unsuccessful attempts, he managed to escape in 1943. During this time, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, assuming that the photographer had died in the war, started preparing what they thought was a posthumous exhibition of his work.
When he reappeared, Cartier-Bresson was delighted to learn of the exhibition, and decided to review his entire work and curate it himself. In 1946 he travelled to New York with about 300 prints in his suitcase, bought a scrapbook, glued each one in, and brought that album to MoMA’s curators. His first exhibition, a celebration of his survival, opened on 4 February 1947.
In the 1990s, Cartier-Bresson once again returned to this scrapbook. Following his death in 2004, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, the present owner of the prints, finished restoring them, making it possible to bring a large body of extraordinary, hitherto unpublished work to the public, images that have finally become a memorial collection after all.
Photographs by Henri-Cartier Bresson. Introduction by Agnès Sire. Essay by Michel Frizot. Foreword by Martine Franck
Thames & Hudson, London, 2007. 262 pp., Tritone illustrations throughout, 12×10″.