Books

Journal 20160502 Sticks and Stones - (c) Lee Friedlander1

I came back to this book in Yangon after not seeing it since the start of the year (only so much you can push into a suitcase and I was close to bursting in January)… a little convo at my new work digs in Oz a few days back brought up the lunatic who made the pictures and it piqued it all for looky time.

And oh oh oh how it has, once again, knocked me on my cushioned butt. Mr Lee is an important point of reference for me… an unhealthy fascination and a looming shadow over much of what I engage with… but he’s just so so prolific… and the pictures are so so so vital and crushingly direct and full of humour and joy and love.

Journal 20160502 Sticks and Stones - (c) Lee Friedlander2

Sticks and Stones is a magnificent thing and doesn’t get old. Every reading leads to wholly new discoveries, down the rabbit hole on a different path each time. It is confronting to engage with such densely structured pictures; heaving with etched lines and blocks of tone that shove each other front to back/back to front. A maze of the familiar.

Thank goodness for such simple things; for a book that can come down from the shelf at any moment and just rock the foundations for a few minutes and then spit you out the other side. Magic.

Journal 20160502 Sticks and Stones - (c) Lee Friedlander3

I grabbed the Koudelka book a while back… But it’s great that the Brooklyn Museum put these little to-camera pieces together for some light-online-engagement.

check it.

(c) Justyna Mielnikiewicz

Sara Terry sent around the email this week announcing the winner and finalists of the 2015 Aftermath Project Grant.

So a huge congratulations goes to Justyna Mielnikiewicz for her win – fantastic – hope it brings more pictures, more time, more effort!

The Aftermath Project is one I watch each year… it’s always interesting to see what goes through.

The website won’t be updated till early in 2015 (I don’t know why they do that…)… so you can roll over there for the archive or check out Mielnikiewicz’s pictures on her own www.

http://theaftermathproject.org

http://www.justmiel.com

 

… it’s better to watch something without subtitles… to simply listen to the native language (it’s pitch, pace and urgency…)… and look at the pictures.

More than enough in there to keep you busy for some time.

(yes yesy yes… you can find subtitled versions and use some simple solutions to drop them in on this file… but…)…

papersafe issue3

The Wobbles has some pictures in the latest issue of Papersafe.

Looks like a pretty sweet little publication… and very limited so if you want one then get in quick!!!

Check it here

More of The Wobbles here

 

(c) Nicholas Nixon

The two or three clowns who read this pokey blog will know that I’m a bit of a fanboy of Nicholas Nixon. His ‘porch pictures’ rock my world… and of course the cities from up high… the sisters… family… it goes on and on.

One of his prints hanging in the MoMA knocked me over years ago when I skipped through the galleries.

So it is exciting that the entire ‘Brown Sisters’ series is up on the NYT website to enjoy. To look at a project that has been running for forty (40!) years. Something that is ‘live’… that continues… that is shown as it evolves (to see the thing hung now as opposed to fifteen years ago is an entirely different proposition).

Check it here: Nixon in the New York Times

 

Ming hanging his grad show

It’s with a lot of sadness that I admit to Jerome Ming’s departure from Yangon. He and Sumie are off towards Europe today and I’ll be down once he’s gone… but… in reality… better off for having had the time with him here as I settled into a wholly new place. Jerome really cleared up a few things for me and sharpened my focus on a number of fronts. Big time. If I was in Yangon I’d be over at the airport helping to carry a suitcase and wave as the flying machine lifted off.

He’s made it through a big slab of study and I’m lucky to hold a beautiful little copy of his recent book… not many of them floating around the place… I’m still digging through it and trying to wrap my head around a lot of it.

So this little entry just wishes the man the best of luck: I hope new exciting adventures await you mate… and that sometime, somewhere, I will cross paths with you again. Coffee, sunshine and some stories to share.

stap isi.

 

by Michael Schmidt

I got a few short days with Michael Schmidt’s Natur recently… and had to give that particular copy back… something to rectify at some point soon…

It’s a beautiful little book, sits comfortably in the hand and reproduces the pictures as jewels. The lovely cloth cover with a type title bumped into it is a gorgeous, simple way to house the work. The picture above stopped me in my tracks when the book fell open to it as I handled the little darling for the first time. Those tiny little black ‘ticks’ out below, and to the right, of the foliage occupying the top-left corner… they make me grin… truly grin like an idiot! Such magic.

It was a big loss when he died a few months ago… still quite young… probably with plenty more to do. Still, his body of work that remains is stunning and something to really delve into.

(c) John Gossage

The other day I handed a copy of The Pond (Gossage) over to a friend as a little present… and it really flicked a switch for me to return and dig and explore.

I’m of a generation who has only ever had this book as a behemoth of influence; as a recognised monster, a reference from which to move out, a pivot and anchor. It is absurd that this was his ‘first’. And given Gossage’s ongoing commitment and fascination with the book form the influence and conversation has legs that have run miles.

Joy can be found in the more recent print edition that makes it very easy to lay your hands on a copy with the Badger essay in the back…

Of course the photographer Robert Adams wrote an extensive piece on the book many years ago… and old ASX has the bit reproduced for us all to easily access when we need it.

One is grateful for The Pond because we are in trouble, and because irony which focuses on the ugliness of man-made juxtapositions does not at this point, by itself, help. Americans are the audience (and the protagonists) late in a tragedy; we are not wholly ignorant of our crimes anymore, but we have not yet fully paid for them, and we carry a burden of pity for other and fear for ourselves. And though these emotions are appropriate to the events, they threaten an inappropriate exhaustion. If, as may be the case, we are not to experience the coherence of the end of Act Five in our lifetimes, our effort must be to live with the tragedy unresolved – unjustified, and not fully explained. And for this endurance we need to do something more than rehearse the crimes of the early acts.

Tragedy in its classical literary form is no longer written; authors are unable to find believable resolutions of the plot that can replace our pity and fear with a new understanding, with calm. In a world of unresolved tragedy we thus cast about, and it is the visual arts, it seems to me, that best offer a place of quiet as they remind us of a mystery in the Creation, one that implies coherence but that does not make its way plain. Much of the best work in photography is like the answer from the Whirlwind to Job – a description of natural beauty that implies a higher order.

This is not to suggest that art should only mirror beautiful subjects. Poetry from Whirlwind commands our attention because the story of Job includes, before the consolation of the poetry, an outline for disaster, and it is by that we first recognize our world. It is the incorporation of darkness into art that initially confirms to us, in our discomfort, the importance of art, and assures us that the hope of the art offers has not been cheaply won.

One of the deficiencies, oddly, with some forms of irony is that it implies an insupportably generous interpretation of the facts. If irony is incongruity unanticipated by those who create it, then the creators are innocent; if they do not know what they are doing, they cannot be responsible. It is a judgement that seems, however, especially when applied to those who now mangle the landscape, dubious. Though one grants innocence to everyone at certain stages in their lives, the sense one gets from the kind and placement of the trash around Gossage’s pond is that it wasn’t necessary to put it there, and the effect of doing so could not have been completely unanticipated; a few of the culprits may have been only willfully ignorant, but most were surely worse – those of us (I think we all do it, with varying degrees of indirection) who disfigure the landscape as a way of striking at life in general. It can be argued, justly, that society has helped people – particularly the poor – hate life, but the fact is that there is one extreme that is impermissible, not matter what the provocation, and that is a hate so unfocused that it takes in everything – the kind of wholesale detestation that is implied, for example, in the breaking of a tree for the pleasure of seeing it broken.

Gotta love a good Job reference… even Jung was fascinated with his trials…

Find the Adams essay here

Try Hard Magazine

Try Hard Magazine has just launched issue #5… full of piccies and jewels to see. With Parke’s ‘god’ pictures on the cover it’s very enticing to peek inside.

Tip of the hat for staying the course… as KP has commented before… it must be a challenging and frustrating effort at times.

A kickstarter campain has also been launched… so if you’re into those programs then there are some wonderful things to be acquired through donation! Books, prints… and a pretty little tote bag…

Ready.set.go!

www.tryhardmagazine.com