Archive for the ‘Photographers’ Category

Paris 2010 (final)

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

After breakfast on Saturday we went for a walk, first making our way alongside the Metro Aerienne to La Rotonde de la Villette, one of my favourite Paris buildings, and then walking a little beside the canal, first to the north and then turning and going south to where there was a street photography show displayed as single images in each of a number of shop windows in the streets around the Rue de Lancry. It was a nice idea, but not really much of a way to display photographs, though we did enjoy the hunt for them. See more about the exhibition and the wedding here on >Re:PHOTO and more photographs in my diary at  Street Photography in the 10e.

Of course I was taking pictures, and for a short while became an unofficial wedding photographer, though I turned down an opportunity to join the party as we had other things to do.

The largest photographic event taking place in Paris was not the dealer show Paris Photo, nor even the Mois de la Photographie, though that had the most prestigious shows, but the fringe, the Mois de la Photo-Off. This is a well organised event, with a free booklet listing the many events accepted for it (and there is also a fringe of the fringe with many other photography shows), but also a series of organised tours around the shows in different areas of Paris on each Saturday afternoon in November.

Photographer Loïc Trujillo (left) talks with Neil Atherton, Commissaire General of the Mois de la Photo-OFF, who led the tour, in Galerie Impressions

On November 20th we had a choice of two areas, and picked ‘Beabourg’, going to eight shows and meeting the photographer or gallerist at all but one of them. We spent around 15-20 minutes in each gallery before walking the short distance to the next. At times it was rather taxing on my hazily remembered ‘O’ Level French, and I was pleased to have my interpreter with me. You can read more about the shows on the tour in two posts here, Photo-Off – A Guided Tour – 1 and Photo-Off – A Guided Tour – 2, and again there are more pictures in my diary.

We had to hurry away at the end of the tour to change and meet Linda’s brother and his wife for a dinner in one of Paris’s institutions, Chartier. It has become a must for tourists and it’s best to go early to avoid a long queue.

I spent Sunday morning at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and you can read about what I saw there in Sunday Worship at the MEP, though there are no illustrations as photography is forbidden there. Linda chose instead to attend the culte at the Temple de l’Oratoire du Louvre, and we met afterwards for lunch, buying some delicious slices of quiches and cakes on the rue St Antoine and sitting and eating them on a bench out of the light rain in the Place des Vosges.

Afterwards we wandered aroung the Marais, visiting several shows open on a Sunday afternoon, including ten Swedish photographers of the collective Tio Fotgrafer and A Few Shows in the 4e, before making our way across the Seine to the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), to view France 14, the work of 14 younger photographers selected by Raymond Depardon, and then another Metro ride to FIAP Jean Monnet in the 14e, to view a show celebrating 40 years of women’s liberation. And then it was time for dinner and to return to our hotel and rest. There are more photographs from the afternoon in my diary at The Marais and BnF and FIAP.

We had a day before catching our Eurostar back to London on Monday evening for a final walk, rather more relaxed than in the previous days with hardly a visit to a photographic exhibition. You can see the pictures at  Monday Wandering and read a little more about the walk at Monday in Paris.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Paris 2010 (continued)

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

On Friday 19th November I rushed from lunch to make my final visit to Paris Photo, mainly to attend the launch of the book Lab East, showcasing 30 young photographers and to take a few pictures. You can read what I thought about the book and a few of the contributions in Paris Photo – Lab East, probably written in my hotel room late at night, which perhaps excuses the fact that I got the title of the book wrong twice (now corrected.)

I have mixed feelings about Blurb, and the post I wrote perhaps reflects that. Print on demand is I think an important part of photographic publishing, and one that puts control back into the hands of the photographer which I’m very much in favour of, but there are two great problems which I feel Blurb has failed to address. The first is simply cost – and I think better technology (and lower profit margins) could do much to decrease this, and the second is distribution.

There were just a few more stalls at Paris Photo to visit, and I did so before leaving. It is a huge show, and I feel sorry for anyone who tries to make just a single visit, as many paying visitors do. Fortunately with a press pass I was able to make a number of shorter visits and still see all I wanted to see. But there was far more happening outside the Paris Photo exhibition halls, and I left and strolled through the Jardin du Carrousel admiring the naked women (only sculpture) and walked beside the Seine to the Pont des Arts and across to the Institut De France to view the impressive landscape show by Thibaut Cuisset, which again I wrote about here, along with a little of my own work in  More Paris – French Landscapes. Leaving this I called in at a number of small galleries in the area, some of which were taking part in the Mois de la Photo or it’s fringe, L’Off, before meeting my wife as arranged in St Germain.

We were on the Left Bank for a reason, as this evening around 30 galleries were keeping open until 7pm, listed in a leaflet Photo Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, and we visited most of them, though we needed a brief rest in a café too. I wrote about some of them here in Parcours Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and there are more pictures from my afternoon and early evening walk in my diary at To Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

We took the Metro back to the north of Paris and after dinner took the funicular in Montmatre for a walk around. It was late and many places were shut and there were relatively few people were around. A bus came along and we jumped on it, getting a tour of the area and fortunately it took us to Place Pigalle, from where we walked along the backstreets and back to our hotel on the edge of the 10e. Pictures at  Montmartre at Night.

…to be continued

Chris Killip (1946-2020)

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

When I heard a few days ago of the death of Chris Killip, my immediate thought was that I should write something about him here. But I was busy with other things and when I had time others had already done so, and in some cases rather better than I could have done. One article that I recommend if you have not already seen it is by John Devos on The Eye of Photography, and as well as the text it has a good representative collection of his photographs and links to several videos.

Killip was not as well known as he should be outside the limited world of photography, and this was something I wrote about in some earlier pieces here and elsewhere. He seemed to have a reluctance to show his work to a wider audience, and particularly on the web which is reflected in his web site, only set up in recent years, which I think contains only a single one of his images, and the comment:

An archive of 1400 Chris Killip images can now be viewed by anyone visiting the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol.

Chris Killip web site

I wrote at some length in 2014 about the lack of publications of his work; after Isle of Man in 1980 and In Flagrante  in 1988 it was over 20 years before more publications, by which time the earlier books had become high-priced collectors items. I’d fortunately bought both when they came out and still have them on my shelves.

And while the obituaries are full of well-deserved praise, we should not forget the slight from the photographic establishment in 2013 when although clearly his work was the most outstanding among the four shortlisted shows for the Deutsche Börse Photography prize, he was passed over, as I predicted he would be in my post Deutsche Börse Anti-Photography prize. The strength of Killip’s work was that he was a documentary photographer, something seldom appreciated by the English photographic establishment. As Adrian Searle commented in his Guardian review of the prize shows at the time (with “but one artist stands head and shoulders above the rest” in the subhead), “He should win because his work is still valuable. Much of the other work here won’t be, in 30 years’ time.” 

The New York School

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

Another exhibition I would like to be able to see opened in Montpellier on 7th October (until 10th Jan 2021), at the Pavillon Populaire, the Espace d’art photographique de la Ville de Montpellier, a venue whose very existence screams a very different regard for photography (and culture in general) in France compared to the UK. I’ve never been to Montpellier, a large city on the Mediterranean coast with a long history and considerable historic remains, but it would certainly seem worth an extended visit in other times.

The show, featured in The Eye of Photography, is The New York School Show. New York School Photographers, 1935-1965, “presenting, for the first time in Europe, a project specifically dedicated to this movement considered to be a true visual revolution” and the ‘Eye’ features an introduction by Howard Greenberg, Exhibition Curator and Director of the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, which you can also read in French on the Pavillon Populaire web site (a section of the municipal web site). From there you can download the exhibition booklet in English (or French) which contains, after an introduction by the Mayor a longer text by Gilles Mora, former artistic director of the the Rencontres d’Arles and since 2010 exhibition curator of the Pavillon Populaire and biographies of the 22 photographers included in the show. It’s an interesting selection including both very well-known figures and just a few previously not known to me – I think I have written at least a little about 18 or 19 of them.

Although Jane Livingston coined the name ‘New York Photographic School’ in her 1992 book (The New York School: Photographs, 1936-1963), when I was writing ten years later about the Photo League it was still not widely known, and I received considerably email from people about the articles, including from a number of photographers who had been involved, some of whom I had as yet failed to mention, but mainly from those previously unaware of the huge body of work from this era. I republished one of 2001 articles on the Photo League in general on this site in 2015.

Livingston included in her book The photographers included in the publication were Sid Grossman, Alexey Brodovitch, Lisette Model, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Louis Faurer, William Klein, Weegee, Ted Croner, Saul Leiter, Leon Levinstein , David Vestal, Bruce Davidson, Don Donaghy, Diane Arbus, and Richard Avedon, with shows based on her work adding Roy DeCarava and Ed Feingersh; 13 of them appear in the Montpellier show.

Many of them were of course included in the wider show  ‘American Images – Photography 1945 – 1980‘ at the Barbican in 1985, thanks largely to the personal knowledge of New York photography by one of the three curators of that show, John Benton-Harris, born in the Bronx and had became an active part of New York’s photographic culture before coming the the UK after serving in the US Army as a photographer in 1965. Although not dedicated the ‘New York School’ it introduced many of us to some of the main figures in it, and the catalogue, ISBN 9780140079883, available secondhand for under a tenner, remains worth buying.


The Power of Photography: Peter Fetterman

Monday, October 5th, 2020

Another set of ten pictures in the online series on the Peter Fetterman Gallery called The Power of Photography highlighting hope, peace and love in the world is now featured on ‘The Eye of Photography‘, and includes several images I don’t recall having seen before as well as some very familiar ones.

Along with the pictures are comments by Peter Fetterman, often very personal and usually perceptive. Photographers often despise gallery owners as mercenary parasites – and I think there is a great deal of truth in this – but many like Fetterman are knowledgeable about our medium and have a great love of it and the works they sell.

Selling photographs after all isn’t the easiest way to make a living – either as a gallerist or as a photographer. And while I think that the growth of the art market has had some unfortunate consequences for photography (and I think particularly of those huge boring decorative prints for corporate atriums a huge prices from rather untalented photographers – and the whole idea of limited editions) it has also supported many fine photographers. But if you want to buy prints to support photographers then where possible it makes sense to cut out the middlemen and buy direct – and you can do so on many photographers’ web sites – though those with gallery contracts are usually forbidden to do so.

You can see all the images in the series on the Peter Fetterman Gallery web site – when I looked a couple of days ago the latest posted was numbered CLXXII, which I make 172, and is a picture from 1950 by Arthur Leipzig, Chalk Games, New York City, looking down from a building at a group of boys and their varied chalking in the roadway between some parked cars. It’s a fine image from one of the many photographers to have emerged from the New York Photo League, which I’ve often written about.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


Paris, Me and Willy Ronis

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

I’ve long been a fan of Willy Ronis (1910-2009) and in particular his pictures of Paris, particularly of the working-class areas of the north-east of the city, and have on several occasions written about him and the pictures I’ve taken on walks around the same areas as him. When in 2008 I was given a copy of his ‘La Traversée de Belleville’ at Le Bar floréal, published by them for his exhibition there in 1990, I found that I had already walked all of the streets on his route – though that didn’t stop me doing so again.

Peter Marshall 2008

It’s now some years since I last went to Paris, and every time I look at http://peter-marshall.com my pictures of the city which I first visited in 1966 I feel the urge to go again.

Peter Marshall 1984

Like most of a certain age and medical condition I’m still more or less banged up at home, though going out for walks and bike rides avoiding so far as possible any close contact with others apart from my wife. So unfortunately I won’t be going to Paris in the next month and so will miss the exhibition of 100 photos by Ronis at the galerie Argentic from October 3-17 2020 which I read about in The Eye of Photography a couple of days ago.

Peter Marshall 1973

Instead I’ll take the few books of his work I have down from my shelves and browse through them to renew my memory of his work. And perhaps read again some of the posts I’ve made that mention him, including Retour en Lorraine, bar Floréal & Willy Ronis and the shortened version of my essay on him from 2003 that I republished in a post on the occasion of his death in 2009.

Peter Marshall 2006

Here I’ve posted a few of my own pictures of Paris, very different from the work of Ronis which you can see a good selection of at the Peter Fetterman gallery. There is a video of an interesting talk by Matthieu Rivallin about his life at Hong Kong University, as well as many other short videos about him and his work available on line.

Peter Marshall 1984

More of my own pictures of Paris at Paris Photos.

Black Country DADA

Friday, October 2nd, 2020

Please take a look at Brian Griffin’s Kickstarter project to produce a hardback volume of his autobiography from 1969-1990. Here is the first paragraph:

“I have written my autobiography ……yes I have written it myself! A hardback book of over 200 pages, with an insightful introduction by W. m. Hunt. It tells truthfully what it was like to survive and make ones way as a photographer in Britain back then. I tell the story through my personal experience of those tough times.”

Black Country Dada by Brian Griffin

Brian writes more on the project page, and of course there are some of his best-known images to illustrate the book, as well as some that I’ve not seen before. The book is expected to have 216 pages, professionally designed and edited by Cafeteria, a design agency based in Sheffield and roughly 10×8 inches in size, very appropriate for a photographic book.

If you’ve had the pleasure of attending one of his talks over the years – or rather I should call them performances – you will know that he is a great story-teller in words as well as images, and that he has some fabulous stories to tell, as well as an interesting taste in clothes.

I’ve written about Griffin’s work on several occasions, including about his show at the National Portrait Gallery of his London Olympic commission and the Paris opening of ‘The Black Country’.

The project needs £30,000 to be pledged by October 29th to go ahead, a daunting goal. As usual there are various levels of pledge, with perhaps the most popular likely to be £35, for which you will get a copy of the book, probably in February 2021, though shipping is extra, depending on your country – and seems a little expensive at £10 for the UK.

Higher amounts pledged qualify for extra rewards, including a signed poster, signed prints of various sizes, and at the top end, a special portfolio of 22 prints and a day-long portrait session with the photographer.

Black Country DADA on Kickstarter.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Election Eve

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Most Days at the moment I get four or five messages asking me to support Joe Biden, even though as a British citizen I have no vote in the forthcoming election. Trump’s team take no interest in me, perhaps because of the nature of some of my online posts. But it isn’t that election I’m writing about.

The Eye of Photography has reminded me of William Eggleston’s ‘Election Eve‘, originally published in 1977 as two leather-bound volumes containing 100 original prints in a box by Caldecot Chubb, a man best known as a film producer, in New York. It was a very limited edition of only five copies and the price was presumably astronomical, which was perhaps why I didn’t buy a copy.

There is a different reason which will stop me buying the second edition, printed more economically in offset litho. Though I have a great admiration for Eggleston, I already have somewhere on my shelves ‘William Eggleston’s Guide‘ and the first edition of his ‘The Democratic Forest‘, as well as the 1992 Barbican exhibition catalogue ‘Ancient And Modern’, as well as a number of portfolios in other publications. And frankly, although there are some images of interest, I think that from what I’ve seen so far ‘Election Eve‘ is a relatively minor work of Eggleston.

The price of the new edition, at € 85.00 (around £77) is perhaps not excessive, and doubtless it will be well printed and presented by Steidl. In 1989 ‘The Democratic Forest‘ cost £30.00, almost exactly the same allowing for inflation, though I think I may have got it as a review copy. But unless you are a completist collector, ‘Forest’ seems to me an unnecessary purchase.

There are relatively few photographers who I think it is worth owning more than a couple of books by, and rather more where just one is sufficient. The exceptions for me are those whose work has changed greatly over the course of their lives and also some where the subject matter is itself of great interest as well as the photography. Eggleston’s approach and subject matter seems to me remarkably consistent over the years (with a few minor aberrations.)

There have been so many interesting photographers over the years, and I’m well aware that many of the books on my groaning overloaded shelves are seldom opened but sit there gathering dust. For me they are a resource, a library I consult when writing about photographers, as well as occasionally sitting down to enjoy a volume.

But while books are important, the main way I and I think most others now experience photographs is on the web, and it would be good to see the Eggleston Art Foundation showing more of his work on the web. Although there are relatively few of his pictures available you can watch ‘page-throughs’ of several of his books on YouTube, including one of a more recent selection of work from ‘The Democratic Forest‘ as well as some others, often best with the soundtrack muted.



Silloth 2010

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Ten years ago today – 22nd August 2010– I was standing on the Cumbrian coast at Silloth, my first visit to an area that I had previously known from the photographs of Raymond Moore (1920 – 1987) who had moved there in 1978 and spent the last years of his life there.

Ray was one of the first real photographers who looked seriously at my work – at a workshop at Paul Hill’s the Photographers’ Place in Bradbourne, Derbyshire, where I went to a series of three weekend workshops with him, and Paul Hill in 1977-8. He very much set me working in a far more disciplined way, investigating the areas which really interested and involved me rather than simply making pictures.

And of course I was highly impressed by his work and attitudes toward it. So much that there are a few pictures that I took in those years and a little after that are perhaps too clearly me trying to make a ‘Ray Moore’, though never really successfully. But over time I think I managed to integrate a little of his influence more successfully into my own work. I met him a few times in later years – and was able to send him some of my published work – but was shocked at his early death, and regret greatly that I never took up his invitation to visit him in Cumbria.

I wrote a piece about my experiences in those workshops for William Bishop’s Inscape magazine around 2000, under the title ‘Darbis Murmury‘ and ten years later put the text online with rather more pictures from them.


Raymond Moore was one of the first UK photographers to achieve wider cultural acclaim, with a major retrospective at London’s Hayward Gallery in 1981 – I think then the only photographer to be honoured in this way since Bill Brandt in 1970 (though that came there from MoMA in New York.) Since his death his work has largely disappeared from view (in part for legal reasons) and he had been forgotten. There are no dealers with his prints to push and maintain interest in his work. I gave a presentation on his work (and that of Tony Ray Jones) at Bielsko-Biala in 2005, but had to use the reproductions of his pictures without permission. My text there – which you can still download – ended:

The British photographic establishment seemed by the time of his death to regard him as an unfortunate and rather embarrassing episode that was best brushed under the carpet. Many photographers who knew him or have come across his work in the few slim volumes, myself included, still regard as a major figure in photography.

http://buildingsoflondon.co.uk/poland.zip

Ten years ago I was on holiday with friends, and the pictures that I took that day are more an illustration of that day out than a serious attempt at photography.


You simply can’t keep a good photograph down

Friday, August 21st, 2020

Although the Magnum web site contains 34 pictures from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s book ‘The Europeans‘, one of his best-known and best-loved images is missing from there and apparently not available from Magnum. I learnt this, and the reason why from a post ‘Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson : Pearls from the Archives’ on ‘The Eye of Photography’ which features it, Rue Moufettard, 1952, along with a short text about this picture of a excessively and cheekily proud young boy on a street corner with two large bottles (appropriately magnums) of wine, one cradled in each arm.

The text that accompanies it begins with the sentence “Henri Cartier-Bresson is 44 years old.” Which he was when he took the picture, having been born in 1908, but it goes on to write about the 1970s when this picture, along with others became popular among collectors in the newly growing art market for photography, particularly in America. While a few years after he took in he included it in his 1955 book Les Européens (The Europeans), by the 1970s he “didn’t completely recognise himself in this image and refused all reproduction. It is no longer offered by Magnum Photos nor printed for collectors.

It is perhaps rather more straightforward a picture relying on the body language and expression of that boy, a rather more ‘human’ image than the rather cooler complexity he favoured. As the text says, because of its “bonhomie and construction” it was often mistakenly attributed to “his friend Robert Doisneau.” While most of us would be very happy to have our work mistaken for Doisneau’s, apparently Cartier-Bresson was not amused.

It isn’t one of my real personal favourites among his pictures, though certainly I think one of his more memorable works, and one that no overall assessment of his photography should omit.

The text continues to look at why the price of Cartier-Bresson’s “prints took a while to take off” in the art market; (it actually uses the term “value” which for me has no relation to art market prices.)

I’m delighted to find that he refused to limit the number of prints of the same image when the art market forced many photographers into producing limited editions in the 1990s; I imagine he, like me, thought this was to go against the essential nature of the photographic medium. Less delighted to find that because of “the impossibility of controlling his works’ quality and interpretation” he forbade “post-mortem prints” of his work. Though given the incredibly wide circulation of high quality reproduction of his works through books, prints are largely an irrelevance.

You can of course still buy a copy of this print which currently goes at auctions for around $20,000 – or you can see it in museums or view it on line at numerous locations including galleries and auction houses and in many books. You simply can’t keep a good photograph down.