Art, Books, Review

Book : Mark Power – DTLFTSOTE

A few weeks back I started to follow Mark Power on Instagram. I already had ‘The Shipping Forecast’ his brilliant 1996 book of black and white photographs. (I was lucky enough to pick this up in Oxfam for a couple of quid). At the time I started following he was posting a series of images which struck accord with me. As it turns out they were from his recent project “Destroying the Laboratory for the Sake of the Experiment.”   A series from a number of road trips the photographer had undertaken with a poet Daniel Cockrill.

Looking  at the stream I felt the images were indeed a reflection of the direction of travel that the country has been on as pointed out on the purchase page on the Mark Power website.

Intrigued by the images and the description I decided to buy the book, which only seems to be available from the bookstore on his website. First impressions are good, it arrives with a wrapper and the style is a bit like a Moleskine type notebook  – befitting the fact the book is a collaboration with a writer. The book also has an embossed cover and a wrapper which when you fold it out and flip it over reveals a Concréte Poem in the style of a map.

So far so good, then. On opening the book the positives continued, I think the poems are on point and reflect the work well. Some of the presentation of those poems is very clever and relates back to the photographic work. I particularly enjoyed the sequence around a couple of smokers outside a bar called Smokie Mo’s where graphic the language of the signboards is employed for the writing, inviting the reader to consider how the words and images have been created together on Power and Cockrill’s trips.

So, I really enjoyed the book and in general the images and the words are both strong and they do have a clear relationship and, of course, those are key to any book of this kind. I am, however a little ambivalent about the design of the book; while it works in the example above, probably because of the clear relationship between the graphics and the images, I’d have preferred a less fold-outs and whatnot. That said I have returned to the book a several of times in the couple of weeks I have had it.

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Architecture, Books

A Simple Pleasure!

I know it’s been too quiet around here lately, life has caught up with me on a number of levels over the last little while and I’ve just not had the energy to dedicate to photography or blogging. Thankfully we managed a really great holiday in France & Spain over the last couple of weeks. More about the trip and some images will follow but not until I’ve been able to get the film processed, as I shot entirely with my Contax 159MM & a few of my Zeiss lenses.

We got back yesterday evening and while Mooching around in Artwords Bookshop on Broadway Market I found myself looking at the familiar to me cover of the book Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, on page 117 of which rests the image below… Taken with a very un-Contax Canon Eos 1Ds and 17mm TS-E with a fair bit of shift on.

Media_Tic

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Books

But Where Can I Get Pizza?

My wife and I live in the Broadway Market area of East London and over the years it has become artified and gentrified. Broadway Market has not one but three bookshops two of which specialise in arty books. There’s also a great and long running photo book stall on the Saturday market here.

Now I love my photo books but even with all of the above it still seemed a bit weird to find fliers for Hoxton Mini Press’s photo books coming through the front door instead of the usual Mini CAB and Pizza delivery fliers and earlier this week!

By the way, Hoxton mini press does make very nice little books and there was a discount code – XMAS14 – on the flier which will give 10% off online orders.

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Architecture, Books, Exhibitions

On Photography and Money

I just had a request, via flickr, for the image that heads up this page to be used in an academic book. It is, of course unpaid usage with a credit. I’m accepting as I like to get my ego stroked as much as the next guy and it’s an image where any number of similar shots can be found, so it might as well be my image as someone else’s.

Mind you, I would love it if – just for once – there was a suggestion of Payment in an image use request. After all, I paid handsomely for the 1Ds and the Canon 17mm TS-E shift lens and travel to make those images. It seems the only way I can bring money in is via print sales, but that’s tricky too as people are kinda resistant to buying photographs. Sure I’ve exhibited and sold my work but for an unknown to put on a full scale exhibition, even in the cheapest gallery space, you maybe cover venue, printing, framing flyer and private view costs…

I guess my problems are small beer compared to those facing guys who make a living from this, with their day rates being constantly undercut. Also Digital has taken the quality of everyone’s snapshots to a different level (I know my images are much better now). It makes sense that so many are moving into videos as it absolutely requires better understanding of lighting, storytelling and camera skills than most people are willing to learn.

I guess I’m lucky to be able to make images for the love of it underpinned by a day job with a good salary.

Media-tic, Barcelona

Media-tic, Barcelona

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Books

14.02.12 & 13 -> New Books

I spent the 12th and 13th housebound and, mostly, in bed due to a cold. This obviously curtailed my photo opportunities but, luckily, I had a couple of new books to keep me occupied and help me recharge my batteries. As well as being a gear head I also love photobooks – I see it as slightly redeeming me a bit as an artist… though it is probably just another expensive shopping habit!

My latest acquisitions are; The recent Pentti Sammallahti retrospective “Here Far Away”, bought from one of the arty bookshops on Broadway Market, and Mitch Epstein.State of The Nation, which is an exhibition catalogue published by Hatje Cantz which came from a charity shop in Clapham for a bargain £6. I also started to read Owen Hatherly’s “Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain” – more of which later, I’m sure.

Sammallahti is a Finnish photographer with a finely honed sense of geometry and a dark and moody printing style. Taken purely on the compositional qualities the photographs are superb and finely balanced, yet the mood is a little dark. A sort of Nordic rendering of Cartier-Bresson with most of the humour removed! That may sound like a put down but it’s not – the emotional content to the images is nuanced and restrained rather than upfront. The book itself seems a bit over inked and a touch too dense at first glance, however having seen the prints at the photographers gallery recently I can see it is a pretty good representation of the photographers own printing. That said I still feel the book blocks up the dark areas a touch too much.

The Epstein book is a big contrast and much lighter on the surface. An enjoyable slice of American colour photography, again a retrospective and spanning back to the 70s. Interestingly the style less consistent. The thought this sparked is that, it seems to me, colour photographers work may vary more visually than B&W photographers as, perhaps, the technology is not as mature and still developing. This applies even now, with digital sensors continually changing.

Books

Books

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Books

29.01.14 -> donLon Books

This is my local bookshop in London, literally 30 seconds from the front door of the building we’re living in at the moment. This is likely to be a Very Bad Thing for me as they have some lovely photo books, and I am a bit partial to them… Worse there’s another arty bookshop only yards away where I’ve already bought a my first nook of the year – ‘Here Far Away’ by Pentti Sammallahti. A book which I was less than convinced about until I’d seen some of the prints at the Photographers Gallery, late last year.

Link: DONLON books

DonLon Bookshop, Broadway Market

DonLon Bookshop, Broadway Market

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