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Friday, 15 June 2007


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New Yorker magazine called him "Coolest of the Cool".

He's definitely a photographer's photographer; and the book, while a handsome piece of work, still does not do justice to his impeccable prints (among the most finely printed 35mm prints I have ever seen)- the reproductions are strangely lacking the deeper tonal values and therefore have a strangely "transparent" feel to them.

Oh yes,
sometimes to wide for me, but always breathtaking pictures.

On the other side it's amazing how a man can literally and figuratively "create" various perspectives -- from narrow to wide -- using one, non-standard lens (28mm).

Mike I think some one has beaten you to it.

I was not familiar with Henry Wessel's work before seeing this post. Thank you for the alert, Mike.

Having since looked at as much as I could find online my first cut at Wessel's work is that it's very much the 1970's style of artsy-ness, rather like Shore (whose work I generally don't admire). Wessel's work tops Shore's in terms of reflexes, composition, staging, and just plain talent. I see some images that pique my emotional response and curiosity. But many still seem modeled in the "1970's School of Pretentious Poinlessism".

Still, I'll take a look at the book and, on Stan's high recommendation above, I'll plan to take a look at Wessel's prints at the Art Institute of Chicago's photo department.

There was a big Wessel exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) earlier this year -- fantastic work. Fans of Winogrand, Eggleston, Shore, and Frank, don't miss it. Wessel has taught photography in the Bay Area for a long time. Quite a few of the images are shot in Richmond, CA, which is near where I live. Even though I agree with Stan about the prints vs. the book, the book is still definitely worth a look.

- JR

Is it true that Wessel only used a 28mm lens? I would have never guessed.

Maybe such a resource already exists, but it would be interesting to see a list of famous photographers and what cameras, lenses and film they frequently use(d).

Nice little video profile of Wessel here...


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