July 2008 Archives
July 27, 2008
Digital publishing-on-demand services are completely changing the way photography books can be envisioned, created, distributed and sold.
New online services for self-publishing photo books have finally attained the level of quality printing that rivals traditional book publishing — and they are turning the economics of publishing on its head.
The new books look great, they're amazingly affordable, and the technology makes it easy for photographers to get creative and experiment with different sequences, designs, and formats.
In short, we are beginning to see some remarkable photo books that never would have seen the light of day five years ago, simply because it was neither technically nor economically feasible to create them until now.
To celebrate this newfound freedom, Lens Culture (www.lensculture.com) has teamed up with the Rhubarb-Rhubarb Photography Review in Birmingham, UK, and Blurb.com to create an all-new international photo book award. All photographers who have registered to present their portfolios at this year's event (August 1, 2, and 3) will be eligible to win the prize, which will include publishing their own monograph, and getting international publicity and promotion to help sell the book.
Creating a great photo book can be a daunting challenge. In addition to outstanding photographs, it requires ruthless editing, a compelling design, and a visionary sequence that flows and builds meaning as the reader turns the pages.
Constructing a single mock-up for a photo book used to take weeks or months of painstaking work. And publishing a book was an expensive proposition, which meant that a lot of "cool ideas" never made it beyond the hand-made mock-up because traditional publishers could not afford to print them, or they weren't willing to take on the risk of an unknown artist.
But now it's possible for a photographer to design a book from cover-to-cover in a day or two. They can print only one copy — or a thousand. The finished books can even be sold through a professional online bookstore at no extra cost to the photographer.
This new award will allow photographers to experiment with their own photos and ideas to create totally unique photo books. These books can then be used as important self-promotion tools to introduce a photographer's work to new galleries, important curators and art collectors. The self-published books can also be a great introduction to traditional publishers who have the ability to re-publish a cool book, backed up with their ability to market and distribute books worldwide through traditional channels.
So, stay tuned to Lens Culture to discover some great new work.
Best of luck to all participants this year!
July 18, 2008
The 2008 Prix Pictet Award in Photography is a major new global prize in photography that "focuses on perhaps the greatest single issue of the twenty-first century: sustainability." The theme for 2008 is water. The award is sponsored by Pictet & Cie, in association with the Financial Times.
From a field of over 200 nominated photographers from 43 countries, the judges have shortlisted 18 photographers "who have produced works that are of outstanding artistic merit and communicate messages of urgent global significance."
Each of the shortlisted photographers will exhibit their work in Paris, at the Palais de Tokyo, at the end of October. The winner of the first Prix Pictet will be announced on October 30th, and will receive CHF100,000 (approximately $100,000 USD).
I am delighted to learn that 3 of the finalists are photographers whose work has already been shown in Lens Culture. Each of the 3 has also contributed in-depth audio interviews:
The other shortlisted artists are:
Jesus Abad Colorado
Thomas Joshua Cooper
Carl De Keyzer
Here are two images by Benoit Aquin that were chosen to be finalists:
Women flee the main street as dust fills the air.
Daily life during the dusty weather season (January to May).
July 17, 2008
Courtesy of the artist and FOIL GALLERY, Tokyo
Waves like poetry
photos, furious and still
one dual nature
See seven photo diptychs of waves made by Japanese buddhist monk Syoin Kajii, and read a short, insightful interview with the photographer.
July 16, 2008
Wow, I don't know which I like better, the song by Radiohead, or this trippy new video that is so fluid and just right for the song. Apparently no cameras were used for "House of Cards". Instead, 3D plotting technologies collected information about the shapes and relative distances of objects. The video was created entirely with visualizations of that data:
Geometric Informatics scanning systems produce structured light to capture 3D images at close proximity, while a Velodyne Lidar system that uses multiple lasers is used to capture large environments such as landscapes. In this video, 64 lasers rotating and shooting in a 360 degree radius 900 times per minute produced all the exterior scenes.
"House of Cards" by Radiohead
Directed by James Frost
From the album IN RAINBOWS
More info here, along with this cool "Making of the House of Cards" video:
July 5, 2008
When I first saw Denis Darzacq's photos of people floating in urban spaces, or falling from buildings (just about to hit the pavement), I was unnerved. They looked too real, I thought, but they couldn't be real, they must be the result of digital manipulation, putting two photos together as one...
But then, I saw a short documentary video which offered a behind-the-scenes view of how Darzacq captures his magic moments, working with talented young dancers in the streets of suburbs surrounding Paris. It's a little like a magician revealing how he performs a trick. But it's better than that, because we realize that the "trick" requires creative genius and choreography to pull it off successfully.
To my delight, Denis Darzacq and Agence VU' in Paris, have given me a copy of the short 7-minute documentary film to share with the readers of Lens Culture.
Regarding the project shown in this video, Virginie Chardin writes:
"In 2006, Denis Darzacq asked dancers and athletes to perform jumps against backgrounds that he had found and prepared. Wearing ordinary clothes chosen in agreement with the photographer, the performers executed their leaps in these precisely defined settings.
"Everything had been prepared in advance. Everything was ready. The models launched themselves into space. There is nothing false in these scenes . These moments really occurred. There is no fiction, no retouching or special effects. Photographed in the courtyards of buildings or in streets in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, in Nanterre and in Biarritz, these young people were just being themselves, simply performing jumps in a modern urban setting. And the photographer shot the images, intervening only to give a few guidelines as to their movements. However, at the moment of the leap, chance and gravity also intervened."
Take the time to discover more of The Fall (and lots of other cool work) at the Agence VU' website. You can see Darzacq's photographs from a more recent project — Hyper — right here in Lens Culture, and even more at Denis Darzacq's personal site.
July 3, 2008
The latest issue of Foam magazine, the international photography magazine based in Amsterdam, features a 16-page portfolio of photographs by Myoung Ho Lee, whose work first appeared in Lens Culture in July 2007.
From the biography in Foam:
Myoung Ho Lee is a student, lecturer and photographer based in Seoul, Korea. He attracted international acclaim when his series “Tree” was first published online by Lens Culture (www.lensculture.com) in July 2007. Within days, more than 200 other websites and blogs had reproduced his images and pointed to the original article and images in Lens Culture. The “buzz” continues today, with reproductions of his photographs gracing the covers and inner pages of many high-profile national and international print magazines (of all genres, including art, ecology, entertainment, home decorating, news, and men’s fashion), and more than 500 websites referring to his work. His photographs are in the collections of institutions and individual collectors in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.
Myoung’s “Tree” series has drawn references to diverse traditions in the history of photography, including landscape photography, anthropological field studies, studio portraiture, fashion, staged photography, cinematic projections, surrealism, and billboard advertising.
Lens Culture is thrilled with the success that Myoung Ho Lee is achieving with his young career. Congratulations!
We are also very happy to be able to offer three of his images for sale as signed, limited edition photographs. These fine art prints are "ridiculously" affordable at $500 each (about 315 euros!), especially in light of the fact that all of the larger sizes in the editions of Tree #1, #2 and #3 have been sold out. A limited edition of Tree #5 will become available later this month here at Lens Culture. Stay tuned for more incredible offers from internationally acclaimed photographers and other great emerging artists, as well.
July 2, 2008
These timeless portraits were all made in 2007 by the British photographer Vanessa Winship while she travelled and photographed in Turkey. They will be featured as one of the highlights this year at the Rencontres festival in Arles, France. A book of photographs by Vanessa Winship will be released in conjunction with the exhibition.
One enduring image that had always struck me wherever I travelled was the schoolgirls in their little blue dresses, the same in every town, city or village.
These dresses with their lace collars and sweet messages embroidered on the bodices, were the symbol of the Turkish state, but the girls who wore them were simply little girls.
In the borderlands of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Armenia the dresses were still the same...
See more of this remarkable series here in Lens Culture, accompanied with text by the photographer.
July 1, 2008
This is the photo book that redefined what a photo book could be — personal, poetic, real. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, Robert Frank’s masterpiece still holds up — the selection of photos, and their sequence and pacing is fresh, rich, generous, and stunning.