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Thursday, 01 September 2011

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vaguely on-topic, here's a link to my second favorite Arnold Newman portrait, of Piet Mondrian. I love the visual pun on PM's style. http://www.britannica.com/bps/media-view/20858/1/0/0

Patrick
(and since you didn't ask, my favorite AN portrait is Igor Stravinsky http://www.pbase.com/image/61501593 )

André Kertész has always been my favorite photographer. His work is timeless.

Remarkable stories, Jim. I did not know the story of Kertesz's death visitor. Thank you for taking time to recount them.

"André Kertész, the man I consider to be the most graceful photographer who ever lived."

Yes. That.

Excellent article, leaves me wanting more. But what leaves me feeling melancholy isn't so much the ending, but rather the fact that there are only a handful of comments, much fewer than the next post on a new digicam on the market.

Collectibles are going through the roof all over the markets. Thirty million dollars for a Ferrari GTO? Yes. When tax rates are low we take our money out of business ventures put that money where it does us more good. Just a note of explanation from the inside.

There is a photograph on the back cover of one of my books* showing Kertész standing in his darkroom in Paris in 1927. What is so striking is how utterly primitive his workspace is. A table and a couple of shelves shoved into a corner next to an old radiator, the roofline of the house cramping his headroom. But it would have been here that Chez Mondrian came to life. That to me is astounding. I confess I scanned and printed the image from the back of the book and keep it hanging in my own workspace as inspiration. I'd love to find the real image.

*André Kertész, part of the In Focus series from the J. Paul Getty Museum

What an absolutely brilliant and beautiful photo...

I'll say something about Chez Mondrian: it somehow just stops you in your tracks. Even without the title, the image invokes the warmth of a simple home and a life of the mind. Technically it is a tonal masterpiece, and compositionally there is almost no way for a reproduction to screw it up.

No surprise that the Kertész darkroom was also simple. Edward Weston's darkroom was a shed with a sink, a bare lightbulb and a gram scale. This generation showed us it's not about the toys....

I think that in composition, Kertész stands towering over all the rest.

Clearly I should know more about Kertész.

It's absolutely true that I know immensely more about photo equipment than about photographers. Research for actual purchases exposes me to information on equipment, whereas I have to go out looking for photographers to find anything. I don't see the old classic Life or Look every month (because they don't exist) or Vanity fair (because I don't care about fashion and celebrities) regularly. Interesting current photographers aren't that heavily used in mainstream media, it doesn't sound like. It's also true that all that info on photo equipment comes largely for free, whereas photo books are expensive and take a lot of storage space.

It's no surprise that Kertész's darkroom was simple in 1927 -- weren't they all?

A similar shot taken today, unfortunately in colour + oversharpened, from a nobody- but still the same great composition - would go nowhere.

I like the calm in this photograph. It is a balance between light and dark without being grey. It is a balance between sharp and radius the round hat, the curved staircase, the round flowers/vase, the pointed doorway, woodwork, rug.

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