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Tuesday, 25 March 2014


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Thanks for these. Some of them are just beautiful. I've just downloaded a bunch, and I'm looking forward to working out why I like them so much. For now, I'm just enjoying them.

A beautiful set of photo in the slideshow. Thanks, it is a pleasure for the eyes! Tones, composition, connection with the subject: everything works very well.

Liebling's photographs are beautiful! I like how the people in May Day rest before the monumental figures in the background; Liebling's "sympathies" are apparent.

In a NYTimes interview, Ken Burns said that Liebling used to always ask of his students, "where is your work coming from? / Why are you doing it? / What is it you see?" ... a little something to ponder from a master...

Mike and Dave,
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Such wonderful images.

Wow - very nice ! His b/w is fine, but to me, he stands out as a color photographer. It reminds me of (what little I've seen of) Saul Leiter.

"Men's Hat Shop" could be a candidate for your "Quiet Color" book.

Hi Mike,
I like how you unerringly pick the best B&W and colour photos from the slideshow.
The muted colours in "Men's hat shop" complement the grittiness and I'm not sure it would work as well in B&W.
"May Day" reminds me of the statue in St. Pancras station;

best wishes phil

Thanks for this, Mike! I enjoyed browsing through the online gallery, and the transition from B&W to the incredibly painterly, Hopper-esque first color photo was a real treat.

I am struck by the contrast of subjects in the wonderful "May Day" photo. The people in the tableau are decently, handsomely naked and the people sitting are comparatively, over dressed. I think it says a lot about how Society views our natural state of nakedness.

Interesting stuff, never knew of him. Some of his color work is outstanding in it's light 'n subject..I was particularly taken by a few of the color selections

Lot's of meat and potatoes in the body of work shown there.

The one of the people sitting in front of the relief at Union Square Park is a masterpiece.

Thanks for the turn..excellent.

That was really, really good. His work is so inspiring. I don't take enough pictures in public, and when I see something like this slide show, I can see why it's important to do so.

Thanks for this, Mike.

Quiet, poetic images. Quiet, poetic color.

"Jerome Liebling... really understood color."

That's the thing, isn't it? Real understanding of color is not a common thing; even many painters don't seem to understand how they do what they do with color. And documentary photographers have much less freedom.

If we consider the great masters of photography, I think there are relatively very few that we'd consider masters of color. Which shouldn't be surprising. Not only is documentary color difficult to wrangle--from seeing all the way to presentation--photographers simply haven't been at it for that long; I'd say roughly half as long as they've been messing around with artistic monochrome photography. And that simple fact has compounding implications, like lack of information and precedent, cost of access, entrenched custom, outright prejudice...

Accomplished color photography is of course more common in commercial applications, e.g. cinema and advertising (at least once they matured beyond the color-as-spectacle phase), where many people and resources can be brought to realizing a vision or intent.

Commenter JK sounds like someone who understands color.

Jerome Liebling's photograph "May Day" should be the gold standard for B&W documentary/urban photography. Maybe I'm just nostalgic, and I'm sure it dates me, but his work perfectly exemplifies the best period for B&W work in this country.

Liebling was one of the founding professors of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. He founded Hampshire's film and photography program and taught there from 1970 until he retired in 1990. Before that, he taught at the University of Minn. Hampshire's film, video, and photography center is named after him.

I shouldn't mention myself in a thread for such a notable photographer as Jerome Liebling, but I'll take the risk and mention that my photographs are on exhibit at the Jerome Liebling Center at Hampshire College from March 7 until, I believe, April 14. The show has not been publicized or noted in any art listings, but it's there, about 40 large format B & W silver gelatin prints.

Thanks for posting the link to Jerry Liebling's work. Though I took a class from him in the late 60s, I don't recall having seen any of these photos before. It makes me want to scan and print some of the photos I took for that class 45 years ago.

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