Tag Archive: books
David Lynch has been responsible for haunting and intriguing images on screen (including one of the scariest moments in movie history). He was invited by Paris Photo to create a book selected from the 1000 photos shown at Paris Photo 2012. He described the process as intuitive rather than intellectual, and in the video above (which is a little slow at first) talks about how he looks at images and what they mean to him. If you’ve got a few moments, give it a listen.
In 2011 writer Pete Brook took his blog Prison Photography on the road. He used Kickstarter to successfully fund his trip, and produced a number of interviews with photographers, prisoners and activists, gave six lectures and visited three prisons. Last year the project grew in to the exhibition Cruel and Unusual at Nooderlicht in the Netherlands, with a newspaper-style exhibition catalogue and an upcoming Prison Photography on the Road (PPOTR) book.
After he was safely back in Portland last fall, he and I were discussing some of what he had accomplished and what he was thinking about doing next. Fortunately for us, he agreed to an interview so I can share some of his interesting insights and ideas. It has taken a while for us to find the time to put this together, but I’m excited to share some of Pete’s reflections on PPOTR and how he sees his work as a writer and curator evolving. It is especially relevant for other photographers and bloggers as they think about producing work ‘across platforms’ and offline, and what is possible when engaging and collaborating with our community at large.
dvafoto: I heard through the grapevine that you had an interesting experience right as you hit the road?
Pete Brook: I think you’re referring to my arrest. Before the trip began officially, I was in California. I’d been at a wedding, dancing and drinking in the sun all day. When the after-party began to die down, and being a gent, I offered to walk a couple of ladies home as they were across town and not staying at the hotel. Along the way, I took a piss on a palm tree (not so gentlemanly).
Thirty seconds later, two California Highway Patrol squad cars pulled up. I was pulled aside and told that urinating in public was an offense. I didn’t think a discrete piss on parkland at 5 am would land me in jail so I may not have taken the interaction as seriously as the officer expected.
I was on the road, had no permanent address, I was a bit merry, had no ID with me and was generally bemused as to why so much attention had fallen upon me. When asked if I would answer the officer’s questions, I said I didn’t feel compelled to do so. He took my wrist, turned me round, cuffed me and walked me to his patrol car.
The officer said, “We’ll do it your way. You could be in jail for days, weeks, months, even years.” A nonsense statement. He was reacting emotionally to the situation. Not good. He was also proving who had the power. I’m guessing it was late in his shift and he may not have had the patience for an inebriated me. I get that, but his solution, so to speak, was unnecessary and disproportionate.
I was in jail for 9 hours (as quick as they process anyone, I was told). Upon release, I was served with a court date and faced two misdemeanor charges of ‘Disorderly Conduct’ and ‘Willfully Resisting Arrest’. Just ludicrous. The court date was two weeks away, by which time I had scheduled to be in Ohio. I had to juggle my itinerary, bring all my Southern California appointments – that were to be in the last week of PPOTR – forward, and extend my research in the Bay Area.
Two weeks later, at the courthouse, I didn’t even see a judge. Not wanting to waste court time, the District Attorney threw the charges out. Common sense prevailed but not before I’d been inconvenienced.
The arrest nearly jeopardized PPOTR’s main prison visit, to Sing Sing in New York State.
Visitors to prisons must go through a criminal background check and mine flagged the arrest. So, now the New York Dept. of Corrections knew of the interaction, but had no details. I had to explain that no charges were brought and scramble for the paperwork to back up my claim. The workshop I did with the men in Sing Sing was a highlight of the trip and it would have been a sore loss to miss out.
I remain in the system. I am interviewed about the interaction by Customs & Immigration every time I re-enter the U.S. I’ve been told the record cannot be updated to include the info that there was no conviction; I’ll have to go through the same conversation every time I travel from overseas.
The experience was not great, but the irony could not have been greater. If I can get a copy of my mug shot it’ll be my press-photo for life!
Now that you’ve finished the fieldwork for PPOTR, co-curated an international exhibition, and printed a newspaper, do you think that Prison Photography the blog will change at all?
I’d like to say no, but it probably will. Not because of these projects but because more like them are in the pipeline. These emerging projects will take away from my time at the keyboard-helm.
Before I tell you about those new developments, I should say that PPOTR was designed to test the limits of the blog, test my stamina with the issues and test the reception of the public. In some ways, maybe I could or should have had the imagination to take on new formats earlier?
Directly out of PPOTR came the opportunity to co-curate Cruel and Unusual at Noorderlicht and that was a phenomenal privilege. Given how much I enjoyed that there’s no reason to draw back from activities outside the blog.
Cruel and Unusual travelled to the Melkweg Gallery in Amsterdam last April and then to Photoville in New York in June. This year it will show in Ireland and Australia. There’s some logistics involved in making those exhibits happen, and Noorderlicht and Photoville are greasing the wheels with that.
I initially planned to self-publish the Prison Photography photobook for the PPOTR Kickstarter backers, but Silas Finch a non-profit photobook publisher expressed interest and I decided to make it a bigger production … and print run.
We’ve signed on the dotted line and I’m writing the text for it now. The image edit will come in the summer and we hope to release it later this year. It’s wonderful to have, again, institutional support.
A couple of photographers working on the topic of prisons have expressed interest in collaborating on books and that interests me, but it has to be right for them too. That might sound silly, but how many essays would I need to do before I became the guy who writes introductions for prison photography books? Not many! It’d be good bylines for me, but not necessarily for the photographer. As a reader, I generally enjoy photobook essays that are not about the photography per se but about the larger subject and there’s many activists, advocates and academics who can write better on aspects of the prison system than I. Perhaps one or two essays will get done in time.
Furthermore, I just agreed to curate a photography show on the East Coast in January 2014. It’ll be an entirely new collection of works with a new curatorial statement.
There are two new Tim Hetherington biographies coming out soon.
Longtime friend and collaborator Sebastian Junger created a film documentary called Which Way Is the Front Line From Here: The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington. The film premiered last week at Sundance to favorable reviews. HBO will air the film on April 18 of this year.
“Huffman recounts Hetherington’s career in chapters that expand on the many conflicts the photographer covered: the Liberian civil war; the genocide in Sudan and its spillover into Chad; the American occupation of Afghanistan. His point, though not stated explicitly, seems to be that you can’t understand Hetherington without understanding the violence he was drawn to document. Huffman succeeds in immersing us in Hetherington’s daily reality while in conflict zones, and many excellent interviews with friends and colleagues add a personal dimension to the photographer’s extraordinary life.” -Unfinished business: A new biography of photojournalist Tim Hetherington reflects on a too-short career, Columbia Journalism Review – Jan 2, 2013
Alan Huffman’s print biography of Hetherington, Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer, will be published this March. The book recounts Hetherington’s life through the conflicts he photographed. The Columbia Journalism Review has a review of the book worth reading. The book is available for pre-order at Amazon.
It’s funny how a project can sneak up on you. Theron Humphrey, whom we’ve featured previously, was on a cross-country roadtrip photographing a different person each day for This Wild Idea when he started posing his dog Maddie, a coonhound, on and in a variety of ridiculous places. Maddie poses on anything: a basketball hoop, the Statue of Liberty, under a semi truck, on a bike, or as a ghost. This is just the sort of thing that hits the internet’s collective funny/cute bones and the project blew up on blogs and the news media (Slate, Today Show, SwissMiss), tumblr (hundreds of reblogs/likes for each photo), and instagram (~100,000 followers). Eventually it turned into a book deal, and it’s available for pre-order. The book, published by Chronicle Books and which initially cracked the top 1000 on Amazon, will be out in April.
I had the good fortune to meet up with Emphas.is CEO Karim Ben Khelifa recently; he’s full of ideas for the future of photojournalism and Emphas.is. Emphas.is, a kickstarter-like funding platform for visual journalism, has helped produce many photo essays addressing major international topics over the past couple of years, and they’ve recently branched out into book publishing. Among the first books is Revolutions by Rémi Ochlik, a young photographer who was killed this year while covering the conflict in Syria. The video above gives a preview of the work in the book, photos from the Arab Spring uprisings throughout the Middle East last year and this. Now the book is available for sale through Emphas.is (there is also a collector’s edition available that includes a print along with the book).
Emphas.is has other books and prints available through their online store, including Peter Dench’s England Uncensored, William Daniel’s Faded Tulips (previously on dvafoto), and Rian Dundon’s Changsha.
(via Time Lightbox)
has just published will soon release a new book, Questions Without Answers: The World in Pictures by the Photographers of VII, and it looks like a doozy. Collecting the work of all of the full members of VII (less one James Nachtwey, who recently announced he has left the collective), the book is a compendium of stories from the past 20 years relating to our current political, social, and economic atmosphere. This book follows in the footsteps of previous VII joint publications such as War: USA, Afghanistan, Iraq and other books available in the VII store.
By the way, if you buy the book through Amazon, or anything else, after clicking the links above, dvafoto will get a small percentage of the purchase price that we put toward the cost of running the site. Thanks for the support!
Magnum Contact Sheets is a forthcoming October 2011 release by Thames & Hudson, the publisher responsible for a number of other classic Magnum books like Magnum Magnum and Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, The Image & The World (both of which are on my shelf). This book, four years in the making, features film contact sheets from Magnum photographers and “each photographer (or representative of an estate) has written a commentary on the assignment, how the photographs were taken, what happened at the time and what followed.”
Thames & Hudson have been running a feature on their blog called Life Cycle of a Book: Magnum Contact Sheets about the process of commissioning, editing, designing and publishing (more posts are promised) such a large important photography book. It offers a nice and detailed behind-the-scenes look into the huge process, time and number of steps required to put together such a juicy project. Design Director Johanna Neurath wrote about how the “dream project” came to be:
We all (the designers that is) got very excited when we saw the gorgeously graphic smudgey brightly coloured marks of the chinagraph pencils on the sheets. And the orderly little round stickers on some of the sheets, stuck just so, and those beautifully expressive felt-tip pen scribbles and stars and exclamation marks… All these things gave away clues to the personality of each photographer. We knew that somehow we wanted to make the most of this. (from the post Magnum Contact Sheets: Design #1)
I’m very excited to see the final book, though I am a bit wary of the marketing description on Thames & Hudson’s page for Magnum Contact Sheets: “Contact sheets tell the truth behind a photograph. They unveil its process, and provide its back story. Was it the outcome of what a photographer had in mind from the outset? Did it emerge from a diligently worked sequence, or was the right shot down to pure serendipity – a matter of being in the right place at the right time?”
Maybe not exactly true, but the sentiment it is pretty close to why most of us love looking at each others’ contact sheets. Who doesn’t want to see the roll (look above!) that produced Trent Parke’s cover photograph for his book Dream/Life?
For more behind-the-scenes bookmaking awesomeness check out our recent interview with Donald Weber about his new book Interrogations.
Joerg Colberg’s Conscientious is a never-ending font of thoughtful writing about photography. The interview series there is required reading. Now,
three extended interviews (updated) five interviews, three not available online, are available in a new book, Conversations With Photographers, Vol. 1: Brian Ulrich, Hellen van Meene, Christopher Anderson. Here are the original conversations with Brian Ulrich and Christopher Anderson.
At $10 delivered in the US, the book’s a steal, and it’s a great way to support writing about photography. I’ve already got my copy. But there are only 300 in the first edition, so get ‘em while they’re hot!
And while you’re at it, make sure to check out the recent conversation at Conscientious with Benjamin Lowy, and get your work ready for the deadline this weekend for the 2011 Conscientious Portfolio Competition.
UPDATE: Joerg just wrote in to say that there are 5 interviews in the book. It was a bargain before, but now you get twice the deal!
I love the emergence of photo books on the iPad. Perhaps what these apps do best is make difficult to find material (Capitolio, for instance, just officially sold out in North America, I learned on Facebook) easily available in an affordable way. Sure, it’s nothing like an actual book in one’s hands, but viewing photos on an iPad does wonders for photography that one might only ever see on a computer screen. These apps offer a hand-crafted and distraction-free way to view the work that a laptop screen just can’t match. Now, like Christopher Anderson’s Capitolio and World Press Photo’s 2011 photo annual before, two more Magnum photographers have released iPad collections of their work.
First is Carl De Keyzer‘s breathtaking Zona: Siberian Prison Camps (also available in print; and there’s a 77-image edit on De Keyzer’s website). I’ve long been a fan of the work, but have never gotten a chance to see the book in person.
And secondly, Elliott Erwitt has a retrospective collection of his work now available on the iPad. The book/app has 343 photos from his 60-year career and also features commentary from the man himself and some behind the scenes video.
By the way, if you click through our link to buy the apps, we get a (very) small cut of the sale. It’s a way for us to keep the lights on here at dvafoto. Thanks to those of you who have clicked through us in the past!
I just learned about the work of Ljalja Kuznetsova (Ляля Кузнецова) and it’s beautiful. Photographer.ru has presentations of two of her bodies of work on gypsies and Asia. Kuznetzova spent her early career as an aeronautical engineer, but took up a camera in the late 70s, eventually working for the Kazan State Art Museum and the newspaper Evening Kazan and freelancing. Her work has been exhibited in Europe and the US. Aperture published the gypsy work in 1998 with an introduction by Inge Morath, Shaking the Dust of Ages – Gypsies and Wanderers of the Central Asian Steppe, and it’s available on Amazon.
(via the Facebook group A New History of Photography)