The people that I feature in these Friday Inspiration posts are artists whose work I enjoy looking at and so it’s natural that I follow what they doing. I particularly enjoy Thomas Joshua Cooper’s seascapes and was quite pleased to find a longer video of him talking about his atlantic basin project. Check it out below:
While I was looking for videos of Cooper talking about his work I found another video, a conversation facilitated by Roger Wilson between Chris Wainwright & Thomas Joshua Cooper about their work, the journeys that they take and what it is to be an artist. Well worth a look.
Sebastião Salgado’s new book Genesis was waiting for me when I got home from vacation. It’s an amazing book, that represents the culmination of an almost 10 year project to photograph mountains, deserts, oceans, people and animals that have so far escaped change the onslaught of modern society. The book, it’s 517 pages !, is organized geographically into five chapters : Planet South, Sanctuaries, Africa, Northern Spaces, Amazonia and Pantanal. As you might expect if you know Salgado’s work the photographs are lush black and white.
Any guesses where this photograph by German photographer Peter Schlör was taken? Any of my British friends recognize a popular summer holiday destination?
I recently came across Peter Schlör’s book ‘Black and Wide‘, a collection of very moody black and white photographs that if you’d told me were of the Pacific Northwest I would have believed you. But no, they were taken on the Canary Islands. I couldn’t believe it. When I think of the Canary Islands I think of it as a summer destination, the ocean, blue skies & bright colors. What you’ll find in these pages are images with very dark shadows, trees, fog and low clouds. It’s an amazing transformation. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Peter’s work.
I was pleased to find the video below of Peter and the team getting ready for an exhibit of the Black and Wide images but very disappointed to find out that it was all in German. Anyone able to help out with a translation?
In any case, it was interesting to see how the images were prepared for exhibition. This is one of the things that you miss out on when looking at images in a book, the scale of the final prints. It was interesting to see what an eclectic mix of sizes and presentation styles that were used and it makes me wonder why he made the choices he made. Worth a look even if you don’t speak German!
In looking to see how other people have documented the Pacific Northwest I came across the book ‘Beneath Cold Seas‘ by photographer David Hall. While this is not the kind of photography I usually gravitate towards the photographs are undeniably compelling. I particularly like the juxtaposition of what’s going on below and above the surface as in the photograph of sockeye salmon above. Photographer Hall completed this body of work over a period of 16 trips to British Columbia between 1995 and 2010. I can only imagine how technically challenging this type of photography must be, managing both scuba gear and bulky camera equipment that’s made even bulkier by the underwater housings that you need to protect them. Then of course the water’s cold.
What is striking to me is how colorful much of the marine life is. Something I thought that you had to go to the tropics to see. To see more of David’s work visit his website – www.seaphotos.com and watch the gallery of his images below.
I’m continue to enjoy watching the 1983 BBC tv series ‘Masters of Photography’. This week I’ve been watching the interview with Andreas Feininger. Not surprisingly I was blissfully unaware of Feininger’s experimental photography, much of which we take for granted now. He is perhaps best know for his photographs of New York taken with a telephoto lens. Telephoto lens, what’s the big deal with that you say – I certainly did.
He started working with a telephoto lens in Stockholm. There, in order to get the images of the waterfront that he wanted he shot from over 3 miles away using a telephoto lens. At that time, around 1938, telephoto lenses were hard to come by and expensive, so he made his own camera. In New York working for Life magazine he used a 40-inch Dallmeyer telephoto lens, equivalent of ~1000mm,the compression of perspective that he got with this was quite remarkable. The image above is a good example of it.
In addition to his work outside with the telephoto lens, he took the idea inside to photographed close ups of nature, things that he found on walks on the beach. These are quite interesting in that they are not just records of what is in front of the camera, but he goes to some effort to stage the object in an effort to record what he feels about the object.
Take a look at the interview with Andreas Feininger in the video below:
My intersection with Bill Brandt came by way of Michael Kenna. In a number of places I’d read that Michael Kenna was deeply influenced by Bill Brandt and yet when I looked up his work, much of what I found was nudes. Being very English and uncomfortable with all that nakedness, I left it at that. More recently I steeled myself for another look and found, in addition to the nudes, an eclectic collection of photographs from portraits to a look at society life to miners of the North of England to landscapes. It seems to me that Brandt’s later photographs became darker and more extreme in contrast, something that I assume he pushed in the darkroom. A good example of this is shown below:
For fun click here to see Michael Kenna’s rendition of this image.
Many of Brandt’s images can be found on his website under the licensing section. Well worth a look. Also worth a look if you’re in or around New York is the exhibition of Brandt’s work at the MOMA ‘Shadow and Light’ that runs until August 12.
To hear Brandt talk about his work check out this 1983 BBC interview:
Arno Rafael Minkkinen is a Finnish photographer who has lived in the US since 1951 and currently is a Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I first came across Arno Rafael Minkkinen’s work through a documentary on PBS. I can’t find this program online but it is worth checking out to watch Arno in action. His photography has a sense of whimsy to it and is often slightly surreal, reminding me a little of Jerry Uelsmann’s work. His photographs are largely self-portraits: A naked Arno (or at least the part you can see is) integrated into the landscape. What is quite interesting to me is that all of his images are captured in camera on a single frame of film. No digital hanky panky here! In looking at his work I find myself trying to work out the ‘trick’ to how he pulled it off. His camera has a cable release and a 9 second timer, which allows him to get in position before tripping the shutter and throwing the cable release out of the frame. Even so, some still leave me wondering.
Check out the video at this link to hear Arno talking about his work.