I recently discovered Albin Biblom’s seven and a half inch by ten inch pamphlet photobook released by Biblom Press, which documents of the last dancing bears in Bulgaria and their owners.
The Roma tradition of dancing bears, which been passed down through generations is coming to end as animal rights organizations have built a bear reserve where these dancing bears will live out the rest of their lives outside the town Belitsa, south of Sofia, Bulgaria. Before bear owners were compensated and let their bears go to this reserve, Albin Biblom decided to document their special relationships in the photography series and a documentary film, Mechkar.
The photography book born from this project includes images of dancing bears and their owners, texts by the bear owners and animal rights workers and a historical essay about the tradition of dancing bears. Within it, modern ideas of animal cruelty are complicated by the sadness that comes with the of the end of a rich tradition and the forced dissolve of the individual friendships between each man and his dancing bear.
For more information visit: http://www.albinbiblom.com
Flash + Cube (1965-1975) is the culmination of three years Marget Long’s research surrounding the Sylvania flashcube in book form. The Sylvania Flashcube is a flash photography devise that was in production from 1965 to 1975.
Long’s seven by nine inch, one hundred and sixty page, softcover book tells the story of this space-age device and the culture that produced it, through a selection from her archive of materials, including newspaper and magazine clippings and technical drawings, as well as the artist’s own photographs and photomontages.
The archive, as Long explains in her introduction, is not neutral. Ergo, her archive feels quite personal, not only as a result of the inclusion of the artist’s own work but, also, though her selection and sequencing of found material, used to confess her reverence for this nostalgia devices, while simultaneously creating a dark juxtapositions between American consumer culture in the 1960’s and 70’s and The Vietnam War.
For more information visit: Punctum Books
Rizzoli has published Ryan McGinley: Whistle for the Wind, a brawny eight x nine inch, 240 page, hardcover retrospective of the photographer’s work. Going through the comprehensive collection of McGinley’s work to date, complete with contributions by Chris Kraus, John Kelsey and Gus Van Sant, it was hard not to draw parallel’s between the fantastical quality of the images and the artist’s own origin myth, which, like any origin fairytale, is told ad nauseum.
Ryan McGinley has spent his childhood photographing on the small island of Neverland as the leader of gang of naked hipsters. In 2000, he exhibited this work in an abandoned SOHO gallery. In conjunction with the show, McGinley created handmade photobooks. He sent these books to people he admired, including, Tiger Lily, the proud, beautiful princess of the Piccaninny Tribe, Smee, the boatswain of the Jolly Roger and Sylvia Wolf, a curator of photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In 2003, Wolf mounted an exhibition of his work, making McGinley the youngest artist to ever have a solo show at The Whitney. She recognized the essential quality that draws us all, myself included, to McGinley’s work: youth and beauty can be frozen outside of time and space, we have nothing to fear, we will never grow old and die.
For more information visit: Rizzoli
This week I discovered Michael Schmidt’s newest publication, Lebensmittel, which examines the industrialized food industry in Europe through a series of 174 black & white and color photographic illustrations.
Schmidt style is part Lewis Hine and part Lewis Baltz, rendering socially critical images, from an essential, visually balanced view.
The 12½x11¾”, clothbound, embossed and slipcased book comes together through its flawless production by publisher, Snoeck in Germany.
Visit: Dashwood Books
The Photograph Commands Indifference by Nicholas Muellner
This week I picked up a tiny book with a minimal cover and a title that demanded my attention, The Photograph Commands Indifference by Nicholas Muellner.
The Stanley Milgram Experiment
Upon reading its title, I was oddly reminded the Stanley Milgram Experiment. The experiment was created to address the arguments of many people on trial for war-crimes committed during World War II. The defentants claimed they were merely following orders and could not be held responsible for their actions. Stanley Milgram’s volunteers were instructed to repeatedly shock fellow citizens by official looking men in lab coats and a shocking number of them complied.
With this somewhat random but solidly implanted connection in mind, I was curious to see how this little book would argue that photographs instruct us to remain unsympathetic to the suffering of others.
Robert Smithson’s “Momuments of Passaic”
I found that the six and a half by five and a half inch paper-back, published by A-Jump Books in 2009, actually speaks to the relationship between photography, monuments and meaning. Thirteen chapters approaches the subject from a different angle, from reconsiderations of art-historical works, like Robert Smithson’s “Momuments of Passaic”, to the effect of 1960s snapshots of monuments in the former Soviet Union, argue that photographs like monuments are receptacles for meaning. But my experience with this book reinforces the notion that it is as easy to misassign meaning to text as is it to images.
ARC Magazine has just published its 5th issue. ARC is a non-profit, independent bi-annual periodical launched in January of 201 by wunderkind Holly Bynoe to offer a platform for photographers and other visual artists and writers engaged in contemporary practices occurring in the Caribbean and throughout its diaspora.
Rob Perrée’s interview with Charl Landvreugd, “Don’t Talk Black, Do Black”, is particularly interesting look at an artist embracing a compound identity. By combining aspects of European and Creole aesthetics, Landvreugd creates a personal style truer to his lived experience. Landvreugd was born in Paramaribo, Suriname and moved to the Netherlands at the age of four then grew up in Rotterdam until moving to Paris at seventeen. He has since lived in Amsterdam, Milan, Istanbul, Cologne and Brussels. His conversation with Perrée centers around the intricacies, multiplicities and ramifications of the Black European aesthetic.
Issue 5 addresses also includes the work of Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Melissa A Calderon, Lawrence Graham-Brown, Vladimir Lucien, Frank Bowling O.B.E, Kervin W. Brisseaux, Nicholaas Porter, Simone Padmore, Robert Charlotte, Malick Sibide, Charlie Phillips and Viviane Sassen under Kenneth Montague and the Wedge Curatorial Projects, Gerardo Chijona, Hew Locke, Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, Sandra Stephens, Oneika Russell, Deighton Abbott, Jehan Jackson, Nicholas Martin, Shediene Fletcher, Taj Francis, Toorel Asher, Marie Helene Cauvin and Maro M Morisson, who together paint a complex picture of the Caribbean and its diaspora and the evolving identities of artists working at home and abroad.
For more information visit: http://arcthemagazine.com
For more information about Charl Landvreugd: http://www.charll.com/
For more information about Rob Perrée visit: http://robperree.com/
Pinky Promise is a visually and emotionally complex publication by South African photographer Pierre Crocquet that explores childhood sexual abuse. The work including the stories of five victims and three abusers told through Crocquets black-and-white portraits, text and reproductions of ephemera including images from family albums, letters, drawings and legal documents that the subjects shared with the photographer. Crocquet also included elements from his own notes and journal entries made while working on the project over a three-year period. The result is a visually and textually layered documentation of a pervasive social problem.
For more information: www.fourthwallbooks.com
Sarah Simons. No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again: Letters to Mount Wilson Observatory 1915-1935. CA: Museum of Jurassic Technology, 1994.
A Letter from Mrs. Alice Williams to the Mount Wilson Observatory
Tuesday July 7th
Dr. Edison Petit Dr. Seth B. Nicholson
Some weeks ago I wrote you a letter. Not yet having heard from you I was wondering if you received my letter I wrote you from Homai. Since, I have shifted from Homai, to Auckland. So I thought I would send you my new address. I want to tell you I am not after money & I am not a fraud. I believe I have some knowledge, which you gentlemen should have. If I die my knowledge may die with me, & no one may ever have the same knowledge again. Because if people hear talking they want stick, they go & do away with their selves. I have gone through frightful things still I go through it & I am beginning to get knowledge. I would write down & tell you what I no. But I would sooner wait till I hear from you. Because you are both strangers to me & my letter may go astray. When one writes one needs peace & quietness.
I have got half a house with another woman some years older. She will not let me sit quite a moment it is terrible she keeps wanting to no the ins & outs of everything. She keeps running up & down the stairs in & out of the doors slamming them about & keeps wanting to talk & keeps wanting me to get ready to go out. It is awful I don’t no whether I am standing on my head or feet & still I am going through that treatment I told you. At times something works my mouth to talk out loud & I have got to be careful of her hearing as she thinks I am mad, & makes all sorts of fun of me to people. So in a few weeks I may have a little house of my own, & in the meantime I may hear news of you people & then I will be able to sit down & write quietly without interference. You no yourself if people interfere with you can’t do your work properly. I do want to tell you something because the entrance into the other world is worked different to what you ever thought & you will get a shock. When I tell you I don’t want no money from you. It won’t do you no harm to have my knowledge. So I will now conclude hoping you gentlemen are living & in the very best of health as I hear that people are dying in America, with the very hot weather they are having.
I Remain Yours Sincerely
Mrs. Alice May Williams
No. 18 Norman Street Rocky Nook off Dominion Rd
P.S. Please excuse writing & mistakes as this lady is worrying me to get ready to go out. Please keep my letters secret till I tell you what I no. Then you can do what you like. A.W.
In a closet size room called The Misch/Webster Gallery in a strange and wonderful place called The Museum of Jurassic Technology there are 33 letters presented as part of an exhibition entitled “No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again: Letters to the Mount Wilson Observatory”. The entire collection of letters allegedly sent to the Observatory between 1915 and 1935 are available through the Museum, compiled into a book, also titled No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again.
This publication was the first I purchased from the Museum after I became interested in it and its curator, David Wilson. Even after having read everything published by and on the Museum of Jurassic Technology, I am still defiantly unsure what to believe and hopeful that turn of the century astronomy enthusiasts truly wrote these letters. I return to them again and again to reexperience that sense of wonder. They exist outside the law of diminishing returns.
For more information visit: www.mjtgiftshop.org/collections/museum-publications
Boo-Hooray has produced a complete facsimile of The Situationist Times, Jacqueline De Jong’s self published periodical, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its inaugural issue. The six original issues are reprinted in an edition of 900, bound individually and enclosed in a silk-screened slipcase. And the set also includes the never before released seventh issue and ephemera and interviews.
The Six Published Issues of The Situationist Times
The Situationist Times ran between May 1962 and December 1964 in Hengelo, Copenhagen and Paris, in editions of about 1,000. Contributors to the heavily graphics-oriented publication included Noel Arnaud, Théo Wolvecamp, and Max Bucaille.
Jacqueline De Jong
Dutch artist, Jacqueline De Jong, joined the Situationist movement, rooted in Marxism and artistic avant-gardism, in 1960. She was interested in creating “a completely free magazine, based on the most creative of the Situationist ideas,” and in 1962 she began The Situationist Times. The highly stylized nature of the publication demonstrated the theoretical divide between the 2nd Situationist International of de Jong and the Situationist International of Guy Debord.
Spread From Issue 6 of The Situationist Times
The Situationist Times was initially printed offset on thick colored paper, eventually shifting to full color lithography. There were six issues printed before the student uprisings of May ‘68, leaving a 7th issue compiled but until now, un-published.
For more information visit: boo-hooray.com
Original printings of The Situationist Times may be viewed at NYPL: catalog.nypl.org
Last night the International Center of Photography Bookstore was packed with folks eager to meet Daidō Moriyama and have their special edition of COLOR signed.
COLOR was published to commemorate Moriyama’s receipt of ICP’s 2012 Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement this week. It measuring 10 x 7”, has 312 pages filled with Moriyama’s recent color images (a departure from his high contrast, grainy, black and white photographs) and has no text whatsoever.
COLOR’s cover is metallic silver with die cuts for one of twenty small c-print. Last night, the purchaser’s got to pick their print and the book’s title, COLOR, was stamped by hand on each publication before being passed to Moriyama for his signature.
Any unsold copies are available through the ICP store.
For more information visit: www.icp.org/store
Images by David Bivins: www.davidbivins.com
The 80*81 Book Collection is an 11-volume guide to the period between 1980-1981 told through a barrage of interviews, documents and photos. The second volume, California über Alles / October Surprise, by Christopher Roth and Georg Diez, is made up of two companion books bound together, like John Gossage’s The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler / Map of Babylon, so that neither book clearly comes first and there is no hierarchy.
California über Alles, named for the Dead Kennedys’ single, surveys the power and influence of Hollywood through a mislay of ephemera, such as snippets of articles, interviews with Giorgio Moroder and Paul Schrader, film stills from movies such as American Gigolo, Little Darlings and The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man and images of a mismatch of icons including Farrah Fawcett, Tatum O’Neal, Blondie, Matt Dillion and of course, Ronald Reagan: the man that brings California über Alles / October Surprise together.
California über Alles becomes October Surprise, or vice versa, midway through book block, wherein the orientation of the publication reverses top to bottom. October Surprise surveys the crisis surrounding American hostages in Iran and the election of Ronald Reagan through a disarrangement of clippings from Gary Sick’s October Surprise, interviews with Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr and images of Farah Diba and the Shah waterskiing, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waving to supports, the 1980 Presidential Debates and Ronald Reagan riding a horse.
“If all the world follows Hollywood, Hollywood might as well rule the world.”
Diez, Georg, Christopher Roth, Sadr A. H. Bani, Paul Schrader, and Giorgio Moroder. The 80*81 Book Collection: Volume Two. Zurich: Ed. P. Frey
For more information visit: http://www.8081.biz
This week I reread Erica Baum’s rereading, Dod Ear.
Dog Ear, Erica Baum, New York : Ugly Duckling Press
When you saves their place in a book by folding back the corner of a single page, that book becomes dog-eared; A dog-ear creates a square at the top right corner of a book, the page folded down with text running vertically and the newly visible page behind it with text running horizontally. The juxtaposition between the text of these two pages is the subject of New York photographer Erica Baum’s book Dog Ear.
I am a longtime enthusiast of Erica Baum, who has created simple, sharp images from sections of text found on blackboards, labels, library catalogs, book indexes and archives. Many of Baum’s photographs read like concrete poetry, while others break pieces of words into shapes, physicalizing loaded language to the edge of meaninglessness.
Her word play is at once, both deeply contemporary and achingly nostalgic, a mourning for a more physical relationship to knowledge.
For more information visit: http://www.uglyducklingpresse.org/
On assignment, Simon Roberts met Priscilla Dzengwe, a rape victim and AIDs patient dying in a clinic in Zimbabwe. During their talk, a group of her friends arrived and began singing. “The girls, including Priscilla, began to cry as they sang. For the first time in my career”, writes Roberts, “I felt physically unable to take a photograph.”
Photographs Not Taken is an unillustrated collection of essays by photographers about the pictures they were unable to take. Each image-maker was asked to describe the circumstances surrounding “moments that never became pictures.” Their responses include stories of technical difficulties, missed opportunities and ethical dilemmas.
While the book is centered on the idea of the lost moment, it contains accounts, like Simon Roberts’s, wherein the choice to photograph would have meant loosing the moment.
Photographs Not Taken was conceived and edited by Will Steacy, and published by Daylight, March, 2012. The 5 ½ x 8 inch, 232 page, paperback features contributions by sixty two photographers: Dave Anderfson, Timothy Archibald, Roger Ballen, Thomas Bangsted, Juliana Beasley, Nina Berman, Elinor Carucci, Kelli Connell, Paul D’Amato, Tim Davis, KayLynn Deveney, Doug Dubois, Rian Dundon, Amy Elkins, Jim Goldberg, Emmet Gowin, Gregory Halpern, Tim Hetherington, Todd Hido, Rob Hornstra, Eirik Johnson, Chris Jordan, Nadav Kander, Ed Kashi, Misty Keasler, Lisa Kereszi, Erika Larsen, Shane Lavalette, Deana Lawson, Joshua Lutz, David Maisel, Mary Ellen Mark, Laura McPhee, Michael Meads, Andrew Moore, Richard Mosse, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Laurel Nakadate, Ed Panar, Christian Patterson, Andrew Phelps, Sylvia Plachy, Mark Power, Peter Riesett, Simon Roberts, Joseph Rodriguez, Stefan Ruiz, Matt Salacuse, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Aaron Schuman, Jamel Shabazz, Alec Soth, Amy Stein, Mark Steinmetz, Joni Sternbach, Hank Willis Thomas, Brian Ulrich, Peter Van Agtmael, Massimo Vitali, Hiroshi Watanabe, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb
For more information visit: http://www.daylightmagazine.org/store/photographs-not-taken
Last Friday, Padraig Timoney’s book, the tenth and final issue in the project, Decathlon Books, was released at Printed Matter. It and all of the previous issues are available individually and in a limited-edition box set. Each box set also includes a stamped and numbered certificate, a mimeograph print by Padraig Timoney, and a poster by Misha Hollenbach.
Decathlon Books is an independent publishing project founded in 2009 by Duncan Hamilton and Peter Sutherland in order to present a group of artists “they find interesting and you should too.” The books, letter sized with a two-color cover and offset printed interior on newsprint, feature Mark Gonzales, Todd Jordan, Misaki Kawai, Estelle Hanania, Til Gerhard, Jack Greer and Maggie Lee, Tomoo Gokita, Misha Hollenbach, Tony Cox and Padraig Timoney. Each carries the lovely truism, “Books Make Friends”.
Find Out More At: http://www.printedmatter.org/
In House of Coates, writer Brad Zellar provides insight into writer, artist and yeti, Lester B. Morrison, by exploring a single episode in Morrison life.
Lester B. Morrison, is best know for his publications through Little Brown Mushroom such as Broken Manual, an underground instruction manual for men looking to escape their lives. Morrison is credited with creating Broken Manual in collaboration with Alec Soth (who may or may not merely be Morrison’s hipper, better-adjusted alter ego) over the four-year period between 2006 and 2010.
Brad Zellar reconstructed the story in House of Coates from the results of Morrison’s MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) test, the administrating psychiatrist’s notes and a shoebox containing photographs from the period in question.
Together Zellar’s writing and Morrison’s images tell the story of Morrison’s brief foray into romance, wherein Morrison came very close to beginning a new life that might have looked something like a Raymond Carver character’s.
For more information visit: http://littlebrownmushroom.com/index.html