1985 and now: a brother and sister, or a couple who are still
together? Don't know. Photo by Chris Porsz.
I love projects like this, and (the Design You Trust article's claim notwithstanding) there have been many of them over the years, from The Rephotographic Survey Project on down.
Rephotography is thought to consider only sites, but just as many have been done of people (for example, Young Me / Now Me). The new one from which the photos above were taken was done by a professional paramedic and amateur documentary photographer named Chris Porsz from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. The project is called Reunions. (I don't think Chris has much of a gift for titles—his earlier book, New England, is not about New England, but about newer towns in England. You know what I always say, "editors needed everywhere." But I digress.) Over the course of a decade, Chris tracked down the same people in Peterborough who he originally photographed as much as 40 years ago, and recreated the poses, sometimes in the same places.
Some examples of such comparative rephotography inevitably work better than others, but it's always fascinating to me how photographs themselves change in time, as well as how photographs show change. There's a book of Chris's project, Reunions, that you can buy directly from him, or you can see various examples of his work in this article at Design You Trust or elsewhere.
Britain's turn for the great GX8
Looks like it's Great Britain's turn for the excellent deal on the Panasonic GX8, the Micro 4/3 camera I liked so much and keep yammering on about.
My further rummaging in the wilds of the Internets has suggested that the "shutter shock" problem that the GX8 has been asked to shoulder alone is only relevant with certain lenses...a statement which of course I am in no position to guarantee, which is why I have to be careful when I talk about it. But although I have read many good things about this kit lens, the 12–60mm ƒ/3.5–5.6—lenses generally really are good these days, and this one seems to be a case in point—I haven't heard anything about people detecting any evidence of shutter shock with this camera/lens combination.
I can't guarantee that.
Anyway, you can pre-order the camera and lens in the UK for only £869. It's also available with the 14–42mm lens, with the excellent 12–35mm ƒ/2.8 (which also is allegedly immune to shutter shock), or with the 14–140mm. The body only is already out of stock.
Jane the incomparable
Finally in the UK category is a new book that came out a year ago of the work of Jane Bown. (No, not "Brown"—no "r." It's Bown. I believe it's pronounced not like "bone" but like the bow of a ship with an "n" added on—rhymes with crown.) A modest photojournalist who made unfussy pictures with minimalist equipment, Jane's spare yet eloquent style puts her into the very top rank as far as my opinion is concerned—she's among my own favorites, certainly. I admire her greatly and always find things to love in her work, as well as things to admire and emulate. She died around this season of the year two years ago, after a successful career that saw her receive appropriate appreciation and recognition as the years warped and woofed onward, and at the end. The trajectory of her career was something that went just about right for her, and stands as a model for what every photographer of her talents ought to get.
(A brief insight into her character, quoted from Wikipedia: "She described her childhood as happy, brought up in Dorset by women whom she believed to be her aunts. Bown said she was upset to realise, at the age of twelve, that one of them was her mother and her birth was illegitimate. This discovery precipitated her into delinquent behaviour in her adolescence, and acting coldly towards her mother.")
Like Harry Gruyaert's book was for color photographers—inspirational!
(Thanks to Marcin Wuu)
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Peter Wright (partial comment): "I have A Lifetime of Looking by Bown (and the Gruyaert). I agree, it's inspirational, and should be in your collection if you have any interest in street, portrait, or the UK in the second half of the 20th century. However I was astonished when I read that there is no 'r' in her name. I had to go and check the covers of my books by her—and right enough! All this time I was 'seeing' an 'r' where one didn't exist! (Especially ironic given the title of the book!) So that's my humbling experience for the day...."
Tom Burke: "I haven't seen that particular Brown book, but I have seen other collections of her work. She worked for The Observer, a U.K. Sunday newspaper, and her work didn't necessarily appear every week, so normally you just saw one portrait in isolation, once a week or less. In that context I think it works brilliantly. But I did wonder when I saw a number of her images all at once if perhaps there was some similarity, possibly even a certain sameness, to the collection. Of course, it could also be that portraits aren't my thing. Certainly her work is highly regarded here, and has been for a long time."
Tom Burke: "(D**n spelling auto-correction! I wrote her name correctly....)"