Plossu and Sandberg

In a way it wasn’t a suprise to find Alec Soth, a photographer whose work I greatly admire, and a guy who obviously knows his photography and writes about it well, hadn’t heard of Bernard Plossu. After all, Soth is an American.

In my 8 years at About Photography (currently my material is still on line, but I am replaced by a shadowy grey presence and no longer contributing or updating content) one of my major aims was to show a largely American Internet public that photography existed outside of the USA.

It wasn’t so much a crusade as a mere statement of fact; the great flourishing of photography that had made America (and particularly New York) the centre of photography from the time of the Photo League, past the Family of Man and on through the reign of Szarkowski at MoMA has more or less burnt itself out, but in its magnificence had blinded the public, particularly in the USA, to the existence of photography elsewhere. Many of us – including some leading Usanian* curators – had just begun to discover the riches of Latin America, Africa, Nothern and Central Europe, Arabia, Asia and elsewhere.

Of course I made sure to cover American photography – that is photography from the USA. As well as American (Usanian) photography I also covered wider American photography, including photographers from Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and most of the other countries of the continent. (I worked alphabetically by country for Central and Latin America, making it as far as Peru before my time was up, so here’s an apology to Uruguay and Venezuela.)

Outside of the Americas, I wrote on photography from Australia, India, China, Japan (I had plans for much more on this), a little on Africa, on Arab photography, as well as of course on Europe including Russia. There were of course many gaps still, and editorial pressures had unfortunately forced me to turn my main attention to other things over the last year. But so long as the material is on line you can find out more about photography in Albania or Iran, about my favourite Greek photographer, about at least two great Turkish photographers, and even a little about photography in Java.

So of course I’ve written a little on Bernard Plossu, and most of the links, including the one to documentsdartistes which has the best collection of his work on-line still work. He was one of the 200 or so photographers who featured in the ‘Directory of Notable Photographers‘ that I produced soon after taking the site on (and had more recently been augmenting in the Photographers A-Z), and got occasional mentions thereafter, such as in the feature on Contretype, a leading Francophone gallery in Brussels, for which he produced his ‘En Ville‘(2000), perhaps one of his more interesting works, with over a hundred images of the city.

Soth also has some information and pictures on Tom Sandberg (b 1953), one of the most acknowledged Norwegian photographers today. Sandberg’s own web site is still under development, but you can view some of his work at Galerie Anhava

Peter Marshall

*It’s revealing that despite the evident cultural aggression in the appropriation of the term ‘American’ (first objected to almost 200 years ago,) it remains as normal usage and alternative terms such as ‘Usanian’ have not made the mainstream.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.