Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Photography | Photographing the Future

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Spettralizzazione dell ‘Io, 1931, Maggiorino Gramaglia
Photomontage. Museo Nazionale del Cinema collection, Turin

Fotografica Futurista / Futurist Photography
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
Curated by Giovanni Lista
Until 1 November 2015

Portrait of Anton Giulio Bragaglia, 1913, Gustavo Bonaventura
Private collection

Already late for a new century that was desperate to put a lid on its predecessor’s old-fashioned ideas about art, Picasso’s celebrated painting Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) is generally accepted as the first cubist work. It signalled the future and was to trigger a revolution. Two years later, sick and tired of Italy’s oppressive culture that was particularly dependent upon its ancient past, Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published his Manifesto of Futurism on the front page of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro, in which he announced, ominously, ‘…we will free Italy from her innumerable museums, which cover her like countless cemeteries.’

Shoe, 1940, Elio Luxardo
Archivio Fotografico Fondazione 3M, Milan

Speed, 1930, Italo Bertoglio
Fondo Italo Bertoglio, Turin

Futurism had significant influence on constructivist, surrealist, dadaist and vorticist painting and sculpture, but whereas these were already established art forms, it would radically alter the course of photography, which had so far been little more than a pastime for those who could afford to play around with it. Taking hold of the illusion of the ‘natural’ that was prevalent in much nineteenth photography, that purported to reflect nature but was actually based on studio constructions and classical composition, it stripped away the artifice, often humorously exposing the old techniques to the viewer. The futurists doubled or split images to capture a sequence, and as a method of freezing movement. They invented ‘fotodinamismo’ or the photography of movement as energy, and explored the possibility of the medium to fix a sudden gesture, or to capture the light trail drawn by a moving body.

Self-portrait with cigarette, 1915, Fortunato Depero
Photo-performance with graphic intervention.
Mart, Archivio del ‘900, Fondo Fortunato Depero

From light to darkness, 1931, Piero Boccardi
Photomontage. Giorgio Grillo collection, Florence

With over one hundred original photographs, representing the work of over thirty photographers, from both private and national collections, Fotografia Futurista at the Carla Sozzani Gallery demonstrates how over a fifty year period the futurists took possession of the photographic language and used it as a medium to capture the pulse of life at the time. In so doing, the futurists transformed photography into the dynamic, potent and multifaceted force it became in both art and commerce in the twentieth century, that continues in the twenty-first century, and will doubtless continue into the future.

All images courtesy Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, Italy

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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Photography | NSPCC Iconic Images Charity Auction

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Photographs including the NSPCC Iconic Images Sale
Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London, UK
17th May, 2012

This week’s blog post is dedicated to leading charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s sale of 10 iconic photographs, donated by photographers and private collectors. The event is being hosted by international auction house, Bonhams, as part of their Photographs sale on 17th May. Funds raised from the 10 prints on offer will go to the NSPCC’s Rebuilding Childhoods Appeal, which provides therapy for children and young people who have suffered abuse.

Lot 74 Above
Nadav Kander (Israeli, born 1961) Florence Welch I, 2011
Archival pigment print, mounted. Signed, titled, dated and numbered ‘2/5’ in ink on a label on reverse of mount. Number 2 in an edition of 5. Framed. Paper 76 x 61.5cm, image 66 x 51.5cm. £1500-2000

Lot 70
Rankin (John Rankin Waddell) (British, born 1966) Untitled, from ‘Snog’, July 2000
C-type print, flush-mounted to board. Signed, dated and numbered ‘1/3’ in ink on the reverse. Number 1 in an edition of 3.122.3 x 122.3cm. £2,000-3,000

Lot 73
David Bailey (British, born 1938) Damien Hirst, 2006
Inkjet print, the reverse signed, dated and annotated in pencil, and with the photographer’s copyright stamp. Framed. Paper 33 x 48.3cm, image 29.4 x 39.2cm. £1,000-1,500

Lot 65
Alistair Morrison (British, born 1956) Oliver Reed, London, 1985
Silver bromide print, signed in ink in the margin and with the photographer’s blindstamp. Titled, dated and numbered ‘24/25’ on the reverse. Number 24 in an edition of 25. Printed later. Framed. Image 42.5 x 40cm. £2,000-3,000

Lot 72
Patrick Demarchelier (French, born 1943) Christy Turlington, New York, 1986
Digital print, mounted on foam board. Signed on a label on reverse of mount. Also on the mount a copyright label bearing print details and catalogue number 1066, and ‘Exposing Elegance’ exhibition stamp dated December 1997 – March 1998. Framed. Paper 94 x 89cm , image 77 x 76.5cm. £5,000-7,000

Lot 69
Martin Schoeller (German/American, born 1968) Valentino, 2005
C-type print, signed on a label on reverse of mount. Number 4 in an edition of 7. Framed. 109.2 x 88.9cm. £4,000-6,000

Lot 68
Barry Lategan (British, born 1935) Twiggy, 1966
Platinum-palladium print, signed, titled and dated in pencil in the margin and with the photographer’s studio blindstamp. Artist’s proof aside from the edition of 35. Printed later. Framed. Paper 83.2 x 64.1cm, image 60.4 x 50.6cm. £4,000-6,000

Lot 67
Terence Donovan (British, 1936-1996) Celia Hammond, c. 1966
Gelatin silver print, the reverse with the photographer’s copyright stamp and estate stamp signed by Diana Donovan in pencil and bearing print details. Number 6 in an edition of 50. Printed later. Framed. Paper 24 x 20cm , image 18 x 18cm. £1,500-2,000

Lot 66
Terry O’Neill (British, born 1938) Brigitte Bardot and Sean Connery on the set of Shalako, 1968
Gelatin silver print, signed and numbered ‘3/50’ in ink in the margin. Number 3 in an edition of 50. Printed later.
Framed. Image 30.5 x 45.3cm. £2,000-3,000

Lot 71
Miles Aldridge (British, born 1964) Extravagant, Sophisticated Lady #12, 2011
Lambda print, mounted on aluminium. Signed in ink on studio label on reverse of mount, which also bears print details. Reverse of mount also with Hamiltons Gallery label bearing print details. Number 2 in an edition of 6. Framed. Sight area 151 x 113.5cm. £3,000-5,000

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Photography | Caroline’s Flowers

Friday, February 24th, 2012

A year in flowers

Photographed at Spencers, Great Yeldham, Essex, UK

A herd of black and white cows, with the odd brown one mixed in for good measure, grazed happily, trimming the lower branches of the trees to that uniform, hovering level, so familiar in English parkland, against which the white-painted, squarish silhouette of the house in the classic English Georgian style should have jarred but, on the contrary, was perfectly complementary. At Spencers, deep in the Essex countryside, until her husband’s untimely death in March 2010, life had been pretty hunky-dory for Caroline and William Courtauld.

The previous summer, having been granted permission to take photographs in the beautiful walled garden I turned up one fine day to find Caroline, elegant in Chinese straw hat, loose top and wide-legged, linen trousers, leading a group of ladies on a tour – one of the many she took around the garden and gave tea to each summer amongst organising the jazz festival, to-ing and fro-ing between Hong Kong, where William was a banker, and Spencers, and running Château Marcoux – ‘A hill-top medieval stone house and pigeonnier with panoramic views over Southwest France’s idyllic countryside, fully renovated with a swimming pool and extensive gardens’, as it says on the website. She skipped through the colourful flowerbeds to briefly greet me, then returned to her charges. Over tea in the kitchen, my shoot over, the ladies long gone, Caroline told me a little about the history of the garden and how its renovation was an early commission for the now eminent garden designer, Tom Stuart-Smith. Caroline herself, I discovered, was a retired photographer, film-maker and writer, with several published book and films, mostly concerned with the Far East, to her credit. I remarked upon the many vases of flowers one couldn’t help noticing about the house. Neither prissy, nor overly primped – a universe away from the floral creations of the professional florist – and much like the interiors of the house, which appeared to have undergone a gradual coalescence and now embodied the spirit of its inhabitants, made no pretence to having been styled. Filled with family mementoes, a mixed collection of modern paintings, Chinese and Japanese antiques, the Courtauld’s home exuded an informal, relaxed charm. One of the key elements of her brief to Stewart Smith, Caroline explained, had been that any of the flowering plants put into the garden should be suitable for cutting and bringing into the house, so that at all times of the year, she could have it filled with flowers. During the winter months, the greenhouse, reputedly the oldest in Essex, provided exotic, potted orchids.

I wasn’t to return to begin the project I later formulated and suggested to her until February, 2010. My simple idea was to photograph one of Caroline’s vases of flowers per month, in situe, over the course of a year. However, when I returned in March, she mentioned that William, who I had not met, had become seriously ill and must return from Hong Kong. Within the space of a few weeks he tragically died. Stoic in the face of her grief and despite my protestations, explaining to me that the sale and disposal of the estate was likely to be a protracted affair, Caroline generously insisted on my continuing: allowing me free rein to take pictures of any of the flowers, wherever I found them in the house.

That summer’s jazz festival was cancelled. The property, broken up and being sold off, William and Caroline’s two daughters and their families who lived in cottages on the fringes of the estate, moved out later in the year. After a few false starts, the sale of the main house was eventually agreed in spring 2011. Having returned, on successive visits – keeping a low profile while estate agents and valuers, clip boards in hand, photographers in tow, pawed over the house – I was able to see the project through to completion.

Inevitably, that summer Caroline left, too. She was able to retain the property in France and has bought a house for herself in central London. It has a terrace but no garden. I hope she was able to hold on to some of her precious vases and that they are forever filled with the freshest flowers.

From top
February, 2010
June, 2010
August, 2010
November, 2010

Photographs © Pedro Silmon, 2012

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Exhibition | Jean-Paul Goude Retrospective

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Goudemalion, A Retrospective of the life and work of Jean-Paul Goude

Les Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France. 11th November, 2011 – 18th March 2012

I had been a great admirer of Jean-Paul Goude’s work long before he agreed to produce a cover for me in 1989 for one of the two Sunday Times Magazine issues we devoted to the bicentenary of the French Revolution. I had immediately bought his book Jungle Fever in 1982 when it was first published in the UK; it remains one of my most treasured possessions and is filled with so many original visual ideas that it makes my head spin, even now, to flick through its slick, chic-idea-packed pages. Another treasure, perhaps more precious, is a drawing similar to the sketch above though less accomplished and less detailed that Jean-Paul very kindly gave me as a memento of our collaboration. I was a fan of Grace Jones, too – still am – of her phenomenal presence and talent and the amazing and incredibly sexy music she produced in the 80s. I regret that although I was briefly introduced to her a few years ago by her great friend the milliner, Philip Treacy – I shook her Warm Leatherette hand while she scowled at me – I never saw her perform live in any of the fantastical, postmodernist-meets-expressionist sets created and master-minded for her by Goude.

The colleague who edited the bicentenary issue and myself were surprised and greatly honoured to receive invitations from Jean-Paul to attend the bicentenary celebrations in Paris – possibly the most spectacular pageant the world has ever seen – a taster of it and of the rest of this polymath’s formidable portfolio of painting, sculpture, photography, choreography, stage direction and advertising genius, appears as part of the (somewhat blurred) retrospective film on YouTube, which I’d rather you see for yourself than try to describe.

‘I like to amaze’, wrote Goude in his introductory text to Jungle Fever, ‘ It is an impulse I have that is uncontrollable.’ Long has he amazed us and long may he continue to do so.

Image Le bicentenaire, Paris, 1988. Courtesy of Jean-Paul Goude

Link Opening Night Images

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Photography & Art | Munch in Heaven or Hell

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Munch\’s photography as continuous film
< Click to view

Edvard Munch, L’oeil Moderne
Centre Pompidou, Paris. September 21st, 2011 – January 9th, 2012

The exhibition which was first shown at Tate Modern in the spring opens today at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and will move on to the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, in early 2012.
I am grateful to the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Munch Museum in Oslo for their help in providing this astonishingly well-put-together film of Edvard Munch’s photographic work.

Tell us what you think of it
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Garden | The Other Garden at Giverny

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

The garden at the Musée des Impressionnismes
Giverny, France. Planted by Mark Rudkin

Whenever I visit a gallery, unless it’s on an opening night when one is there to see and socialise rather than to look very closely at the work, I take care to go when it’s unlikely to be busy. The same is true of the gardens I go to see and to photograph – see examples of my work at Pedro Silmon Garden Photography As a garden photographer, I often have the pleasure of seeing gardens without people, which is a great priviledge.

Having made no special arrangement beforehand and going as an ordinary visitor to Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny, I found it difficult to form any real – if you’ll excuse the pun – impression of it. Mostly, the roses weren’t in bloom and the clematis were over so perhaps it wasn’t the best time to go. The numbers of visitors that had been allowed in, to file along the narrow pathways between the crowded beds and to queue to be photographed on the Japanese bridge over a section of the lily pond, in my opinion, was too many. Robbed of its tranquility – the garden, established by Monet, who created it for himself as inspiration and for his family and occasional guests to enjoy – it was reduced to just another tourist attraction. For fear of being poked from behind by a Japanese parasol or knocking the lens hood of someone else’s oversized camera, had the roses been in flower, there would have been precious little opportunity to stop and smell them.

There is, however, another garden, just along the street, in Giverny at the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny. Far more open in plan than its neighbour, conceived in 1991 by architects Reichen and Robert and planted by the landscape artist Mark Rudkin, who redeveloped the Palais-Royale Gardens in Paris, this contemporary garden, opened in 2009, is made up of a series of colour-themed rooms in blue, white, yellow, purple and pink, laid out on an elongated grid. Each room is informally planted, each separated from the next by tall beech or emerald thuja (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’) hedges, and linked together by a single, wide, straight path. Nodding to Monet’s garden – like my images above, in which I try to capture the mood, rather than the individual plants – the garden has wistaria-covered pergolas and to the rear of the discreet, limestone-clad, single-storey museum building – the galleries are below ground level – a wildflower meadow.

Have you visited the gardens at Giverny?

How do you think the two gardens compare?

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Site Under Construction

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Building work

We knew there would be a lot of mess and dust. This week the builders are in, taking out two sections of stud wall that partially divide our main, open-plan living area from the kitchen, which we are replacing and expanding. Before they arrived, we pushed all of our furniture to one end of the space and took the precaution of installing a polythene curtain across its width. Suffice to say, the shot above, which I took in the calm early morning just prior to the builders’ long-awaited arrival, belies the truth and is a gross misrepresentation of what was to follow.

The UK-based architecture and design photography agency, Arcaid, are now taking the interiors pictures which, as an extension of the garden photography I’m known for, I’ve begun to produce.

Do you have any builder stories you’d like to share?

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Hotel Gio Ponti

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Parco dei Principi
Sorrento, Italy

A few years ago, on a writing and photographic assignment for The Condé Nast Traveller, the magazine had booked me into the Parco dei Principi in Sorrento on the Bay of Naples. I had never stayed in any other hotel where each of the plants and exotic collection of trees in the garden were labelled in Latin. The hotel had more surprises – the biggest being that it was/is a 1962 design classic by legendary Italian creative genius, Gio Ponti. Like a latter-day Philippe Starck, while Ponti was the architect, he was also responsible for the design of every item of furniture, the ceramic floor tiles in the many rooms – each has a different variation on the same blue and white theme – the shell and pebble murals and the white, angular, animalesque diving platform that juts out over the angular, blue swimming pool.

Between treks off to photograph gardens on Capri, Ischia and at Ravello above the Amalfi coast, I took a few snapshots around the hotel. The opening piece in the Traveller’s current, April issue, Where to stay section, is illustrated by one of my Parco dei Principe images. A print was made for them, while the others above are a selection of unretouched, scanned contact prints.

Visited the hotel?
Anything interesting to say about Gio Ponti?
Any impressions of the many gardens in this area?

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Swiss goes pop in Düsseldorf

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Zeitgeist & Glamour: The decades of the jet set

February 5th – May 15th, 2011, NRW Forum Düsseldorf, Germany

Diane Arbus, Eve Arnold, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Harry Benson, Guy Bourdin, Raymond Depardon, Terence Donovan, Elliott Erwitt, Ron Galella, Dennis Hopper, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Billy Name, Terry O’Neill, Bob Richardson, Jeanloup Sieff, Francesco Scavullo, David Bailey, Lord Snowdon, Bert Stern (Bert Stern’s Twiggy, VOGUE, 1967. © Bert Stern. See above)… just some of of the photographers, whose work is represented in this exhibition, many of whom were or became, alongside the glamorous subjects they followed from the Côte d’Azur, St. Moritz, Paris, London, Rome, and New York– among them, Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Mick Jagger, Karl Lagerfeld – jet-setters themselves.

On show are 400 photographs, never exhibited before in public, from the Swiss collector Nicola Erni that collectively capture the unique zeitgeist of the 2oth century’s Swinging 60s and early 70s – Warhol’s Factory, Studio 54, Swinging London, Blow up, Pop Art, sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll – as seen through the lens of famous portrait and fashion photographers. Individually, each of these was creating new styles of photography, developing new techniques and forms of presentation that shaped the visual culture of the era. The paparazzi (See picture above – which may well have been the product of a prior arrangement between and in the interests of both subject and photographer(s) – by Giacomo Alexis: Un gelato in faccia di Rino Barillari da Sonia Romanoff in Via Veneto, Roma, 1970. © Giacomo Alexis) are represented, too; a new breed of photographer, who took pictures of famous personalities in their private lives and sold them to whichever newspaper and magazine bid the highest.

Were you around in the 60s & 70s? What do/did you think about all this stuff?
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Friday, January 28th, 2011

Filip Dujardin

Despite a friend’s reassurances, I remained dubious when I received the link he sent me to the I Love Belgium blog. Forming part of the site’s logo, the black ink-blot thing, which I think is supposed to represent the very unmemorable shape of the country and is yet another reference to Milton Glaser’s iconic INY, seemed to me to say it all. However, the post of 27th June 2010 that my friend had suggested I look at, called Filip Dujardin – Fictions, is really great. His surname sounds fictitious but Dujardin is a talented architecture photographer who creates compelling, bizarre but somehow totally believable photomontaged images – the original photography and the subsequent retouching are beautifully done –  of contemporary buildings, domestic and commercial.

Filip, I discovered, also likes to shoot sheds. These images, on his own site, remind me somewhat of the austere work of the German, heavyweight photographer/artists Bernd and Hilda Becher, who produce deadpan ‘portraits’ in the form of extensive series of among other seemingly banal subjects: workers’ houses, gasometers and water towers, almost exclusively in black and white. They and Dujardin would appear to share the same sort of bleak, mainland North European tradition. The latter’s images are in colour but deadpan, too, however, whereas the Bechers are deadly serious, his are more artful than fine art; one knows instinctively that Dujardin walks around with his tongue stuck very firmly in his cheek.

What do you think of Fiilp Dujardin’s work? Please post a comment

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