Slideshow: Eugene Richards talks about The Blue Room

Eugene Richards - from The Blue Room

The more you said, in some ways, the more you took away” -Eugene Richards on the lack of text in The Blue Room

Foto8 has just published a short slideshow and accompanying artist’s lecture featuring Eugene Richards‘ latest book, “The Blue Room” (previously). This is the largest selection from the book that I’ve seen online. There’s sparse information about the talk on the Foto8 website, but I think it’s likely a recording from this event.

update: Here’s foto8’s official page for the slideshow.

Days with My Father

WTJ pointed me toward the beautiful and moving site Days With My Father produced by Phillip Toledano. He documented, with touching pictures and words, the last years of his father’s life. This past week his father Edward passed away at the age of 99.
"Titties"
A lot of people have documented their families, even in end times, and I think it is hard to get that balance of producing something that matters to the family and photographer as well as has worth to the outside world. Some photographers that come to mind are Eugene Richards, who photographed his parents (included in the book The Fat Baby) and his first wife’s passing (in Exploding into Life), Sally Mann on another plane, and Larry Towell’s book The World from My Front Porch documenting his family’s life on their farm in Canada.

These are just projects that have stuck in my mind, I know I’ve seen many others. Some of which are great, others that should just be kept in family photo albums. The ones I linked to are beautiful and important in their own right, but Toledano’s work has jumped out on a different level for me. What about for you all? Are there other projects you have seen, in this vein, that have affected you?

It is comforting to hear that the Toledanos reached this end on their terms: “I feel lucky to have had these last three years. To have left nothing unsaid.” That’s tremendous. I lost my father at the age of 10 to cancer, and we did have a time to say goodbye. I wish we could have known enough about that moment to say more, to know more, about what he meant to me and how he would influence my life. Not being able to share that, and not being able to capture those feelings in pictures – one of my most important ways of understanding the world – is a regret that I can do nothing about. It wasn’t time yet. I don’t think I even took a picture of my dad. Maybe that is why this project hits me so hard; it is a project I wish I could have done in a very real way. So thank you to Phillip for taking these pictures, recording these words and then sharing it so eloquently on this website. It means a lot.

Some things to look at

I’ve had a quiet week here in Belgrade waiting for housing and jobs to come through, will actually hear about both on Tuesday. So I’ve had the chance to spend some quality time looking at imagery on the interweb (as you saw in my last post about Oculi), here is some of what I’ve been looking at.

Firstly, as I discovered while entering my own work, there is a trove of wonderful, unusual and otherwise unknown-to-me projects available on the Oskar Barnack Award website from Leica. Beyond 20 some years of winning projects, they are posting all of the entries from this year in their entirety. Direct links here: Oskar Barnack Award Entries 2009 and the brand new Newcomers Award 2009, which I entered (lookie). You can even search by country or by name. I’m sure to be spending many hours in the coming days combing through .. I’ve already found some great projects from people (and places!) I’ve never heard of. Unfortunately my connection and/or the site is really slow so I can’t easily pull up many examples for you. Just go digging, you’ll enjoy yourself.
An odd outtake from the Serbian side of Mitrovica, Kosovo. Almost all of the sidewalks in town are filled with kiosks, and most of the town shops here. A Serb guy laughs (?) at me taking pictures.
Amy Stein’s blog brought the work of Jen Davis to my attention. Really interesting stuff. Outside my normal purview, but I love it. Really good personal photography, and pretty different than I have seen before.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jason Eskenazi’s Wonderland is an incredible, moving book. And he is a great guy too (helped so much with editing my portfolio six weeks ago). So many congratulations to him for winning POYi’s Best Photography Book award last week. Unfortunately, there still isn’t an ideal place to look at the pictures. Oddly, the best may be this page at NPR which has a terrific little segment from Eskenazi and Gene Richards talking about the project.
(c) Kevin German
And also from POYi, I see that Eugene Richards won special recognition for his project and book A Procession of Them. It is a touching, utterly humanistic body of work about mental illness and its (lack of humane) treatment around the world. A similar project, which I also admire from the depths of my soul, by Kevin German has been updated with a third installment. As I’ve told him before, this is special work. And beyond his contributions with pictures, German recently solicited donations from his blog readers to help support the people at the institution he was photographing. Incredible, hat’s off to you sir.

I don’t know how new this is or how I came across it in the first place, but the indomitable Chien-Chi Chang has a new project with National Geographic about North Korean refugees. Oddly from Chien-Chi, I’m not loving the pictures on a visual level, but the story (and story telling) is great and important.

Lastly, PDN has just announced the honorees of their special PDN 30 under 30 issue for 2009. I haven’t had a chance to look through yet, but there usually is some good stuff in there. I’ve known Dominic Nahr’s work for awhile, so congrats to him (and the others who I’m not familiar with .. this ‘win’ surely will bring some eyes, including mine).

And not to neglect the selfpromo, announcing my new Photoshelter archive. Been loading it up lately with the old and the new. See M. Scott’s too!