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Thursday, 15 October 2015


Thank you very much Ken, and Mike. Ordered. Via TOP via Book Depository, which has copies in stock compared to amazon for Canadian customers.

Having admired especially Haas and Leiter among the colorists and seen some of Gruyaert's work on the webs I am very much looking forward to see his work printed.

I would appreciate it greatly if Mike or Ken or our fellow posters could name additional colorists worth exploring besides the very well known ones Ken writes about (and a few other well known ones).

Here are two:
Tony Catany (y Jaume)
... for his color still lives and city scapes - perhaps not to everyone's taste but lyrical and deeply felt. For those who would like an introductory book, La Fabrica's pocket size one is beautiful and affordable (photobolsillo collection).

Vari Carames
Not as pronounced a colorist, but his color work is beautiful, certainly deeply felt and just like his b&w communicates so masterfully, seeminly lightly, how he experiences the West coast of Galicia, where he grew up and still lives I believe (A Coruna, Santiago, etc). And quite often he deliberately blurs the entire images or moves the camera, but like no one other photographer I know. The same collection from La Fabrica also has a beautiful and affordable pocket book.

Thanks for the heads up, I knew of his work but not this book. So far your recommendations have been great and, not that I speculate but they do appreciate.

I'd add two more "candid colorists": Fred Herzog and Alex Webb.

I was similarly blown away when I first saw Gruyaert's work last year. A unique grace of movement and repose animated by bold color relations I've only seen before in abstract painting.

Thanks. I had the feeling I was missing a great photographer when I missed a recent Harry Gruyaert show here, in Paris and now, thanks to you, I know I was, unfortunately, right :( Oh well, I'll just make do with the book. It does sound like a masterpiece in and of itself.

Well, thats two books you made me buy this month.

Thank you! Looks beautiful, ordered from Book Depository using the TOP click-through link. :-)

...As I browsed some of the pages I became slightly overwhelmed and had to set the book aside. It would take me nearly three weeks to work through it once. That sometimes happens to me when I see work that’s so sublime and engaging. I time-out to sip it like a fine wine. Nutty, eh?...

Same thing happened when I received my copy of André Kertész Polaroids. Extraordinary photographs. Took me two weeks to get through the whole book.

I love how books can do that.

Mine just arrived! Will wait until tonight to open the wrapping.

I bought the book on the strength of the small image in Mike's first post, which is unusual for me. After receiving the book a couple days ago, I had the same reaction: a quick pass through, then I had to put it down ahead of a slow examination to come when I have more time to do it properly. Really arresting stuff, and it's not always obvious why. The deep, rich color is part of it, as is the composition. But the way people are included is intriguing as well: while they seem to be there to complete the colors and/or pattern that Gruyaert saw, there's always the suggestion that there are hidden reasons for their relations int he photo, or even their mere presence. The monograph at the front disclaims humanism and "story" a little bit, and it there is truth there. But...the work is still engaging, and I at least am compelled to see stories in these photos. I may be overly subject to apophenia, or perhaps it's more universal than that. Regardless, a wonderful book.

I hate to admit it, but I just don't understand the appeal of many of his photographs. Are we to ignore content, and just look at color? He frequently cuts off heads, or leaves faces in shadows. The overall effect is a kind of sparse alienation. The book's cover photo strikes me as a jumbled composition, shows six people but no faces, not really clear to me what the point is, but if it's worthy of the cover, someone must see something in it. Can anyone help me out here?

I bought this book (through your Amazon link) after reading the review and looking at his work on the web. I had never seen any of his work before and find it quite spellbinding. The only other photographer whose color work has hit me like this is Saul Leiter. Thanks for the heads up on this.

I'll put one out there for you, but with a caveat. The title of the book is "Blue Note"; it's a collection of black and white photographs by Francis Wolff, who was one of the founders of Blue Note Records. Jazz and photography have been two of my interests since my early teens (a long time ago)and I think these photos are great. The caveat is that, if you were not/are not familiar with the jazz scene between the late forties and the late sixties, these pictures may not have the same impact that they do for me. The book is published by Flammarion and the reproduction is quite good.

Looks like you picked a good Fall to be in the Finger Lakes. Hope that you are getting out and about, and enjoying it up there (I'm down state).

I don't remember where, but I once read Cartier-Bresson one gave Gruyaert copies of his prints and a set of pencils and asked him to color them for him to see what he would do. He refused!

@ Phil Stiles: Harry's work, at least the work presented in this book, is strongly sensual and impressionistic. Color plays a major role in accomplishing their impressions but even if they were mono they'd still be be primarily designed more for impression tha. description.

Many people carry extremely figurative expectations of photography (and other art forms). That is they want everything in a frame to be unambiguously descriptive and they usually crave symmetry. Anything that fails that first test is off-putting and disturbing. Perhaps that's your barrier?

If so I challenge you to work on breaking through it. Not because you don't like this work (to each...) or because it makes you a lesser person in any way. But because it's a limiting disability to anyone who practices and enjoys a visual art. Let go of your reactions to apparent descriptive flaws when looking at a picture. Stifle asking yourself "What is it?" or craving geometric order. Instead, first ask yourself how the picture makes you feel? How would you feel if you came across, say, the scene on the cover of Harry's book in real life on an Antwerp street one afternoon? You'll likely discover that your remarks - that it seems chaotic and that people aren't identifiable - are exactly the impressions that Harry wanted you to get, but to be delighted by its goofiness rather than frustrated by its fact.

You asked for help. Just my attempt at constructive suggestions, not knowing you personally.

Yeah, I better get this.

Sorry, but what does Kenneth Tanaka mean by -

"Some images seem a bit too crunchy or crushed to me but I don’t fault the printing."

Either reproduced too high or low in contrast? Or ....?

Just came to the porch a few minutes ago. I second and third the wow reaction. Many of the photos have a finely painted look, and some look like Photoshop composites, but aren't. It seems like some kind of lyrical formalism, if that makes sense.

@ John Garrity: Sorry, but what does Kenneth Tanaka mean by - "Some images seem a bit too crunchy or crushed to me but I don’t fault the printing."

Yes, the contrast range seems excessively limited on some images making dark areas muddier than they perhaps should be. Sometimes the inking and paper surface can inadvertently produce such mud. But based on he care devoted to this production I'd bet that some of Harry's slides were just dark. Kodachrome was tricky for darks.

By happy coincidence or not, the pictures of being exhibited until Oct 31st at the Magnum Gallery in London. http://tinyurl.com/p2l9lp2

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