Posts Tagged ‘The Eye of Photography’

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


Reporters Associés

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

The Eye of Photography has just published a series of articles by Louis Le Roux (in English translation) about the Paris photo agency Reporters Associés, founded in 1953. Le Roux joined them as a lab worker a few months later and eventually became the head of the agency, one of first generation which pioneered the “French photojournalism” of the second part of the 20th century, serving the rise of magazines such as Paris Match, Stern, Jours de France…

In part one of the five part series he brings to life some of the problems of working at the time, starting with a primitive darkroom around the same size as my own boxroom darkroom at home, and with the same lack of facilities, without running water or sink, though in a much grander house on Avenue Frochot.  

The second part looks in detail at Lova de Vaysse, real name was Vladimir-Lev Rychkoff-Taroussky (1921- 1983), the boss of the agency.

Part 3, The Fifties of the Rolleiflex, looks at the change from the press cameras using glass plates to film-based photography and some of the reportages carried out by the agency as well as giving some details about materials and storage of negatives and prints.

The fourth part of the series looks at the Agency’s peak in the 1960s when it covered all major events and a rapid change to 35mm took place, at first with Leicas and then Pentax, Canon and Nikon SLRs. While the square format of the Rollei meant that virtually all images were cropped in the darkroom, Le Roux comments “There will be less and less need to crop photos. The framing will be done directly by the photographers thanks to the change of lens. Besides, photographers don’t really like having their shots cropped.” And finally the agency got a proper modern darkroom and had to begin to cope with the move to colour.

In the final part Le Roux talks about some of the photographers who worked with the agency in the 1960s, and about the loss of their contract with Stern. Many of the best photographers were leaving to join newer agencies such as Gamma, and Le Roux, seeing the agency had no future he resigned. Two months later it was bankrupt.

It’s a well illustrated insider’s story into a period of great change in photojournalism, and well worth reading.


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


Shahidul Alam: The Tide Will Turn

Friday, January 31st, 2020

I’ve written on several occasions about Shahidul Alam, a Bangladeshi photographer, activist, teacher and entrepreneur and his gallery, news agency Drik and photojournalism school Pathshala, in Dhaka dedicated to allowing the majority world to tell its own story, something he has done so well through his own photography.

Among the stories I’ve mentioned here is the saga of his arrest and imprisonment in August 2018, when as he writes “I did not know if I was going to live or die. ” Though badly beaten by police, he survived and after 101 days in jail was released.

A new book, Shahidul Alam: The Tide Will Turn, is now published by Steidl:

“Combining Alam’s photos and texts with those of collaborators, including artwork by Sofia Karim and fellow inmates, The Tide Will Turn documents his experiences, the global support for his release and the ongoing fight for democracy in Bangladesh. The book comprises a record of Alam’s time in jail; a chapter each on art and politics; and an exchange of letters between Alam and writer Arundhati Roy. “

https://www.artbook.com/9783958296930.html

The book accompanies an exhibition of his work in New York which I read about on ‘The Eye of Photography‘, Shahidul Alam : Power to Truth.


Paris Pictures

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Sometime in July 2017 I stopped getting my daily e-mail from l’oeil de la photographie – The Eye of Photography and though I missed it, soon forget to rejoin their free mailing list, which I’ve now done as I write this.

A post on Facebook linking to the site today, reminded me of what I have been missing, as well as to the end of the oldest photo agency in Paris, Roger-Viollet. Founded in 1938 by two “passionate photographers”, Hélène Roger-Viollet and her husband Jean-Victor Fischer it remained at its premises at 6, rue de Seine until now. After the founders deaths in 1985 they left the business and its huge collections to the City of Paris, and in 2005 it became a part of the local public company the Parisienne de Photographie, distributing works from the unique Roger-Viollet collection of nearly 4 million negatives and 2 million prints as well as those from the huge collections of many Parisian museums as well as some foreign historical collections in France and several independent photographers.

You can get an idea of the range of their work from their web site, though it may not remain on the web long. It truly is a remarkable collection, particularly of photographs of Paris from the 19th and 20th century. I particularly enjoyed looking at the pictures from the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris.

As ‘l’oeil‘ says, the city council of Paris voted to close the Parisienne de Photographie on November 15th because of its large losses, incurred in part by the costs of digitising the huge image collection. Surprisingly the collection has been handed to a private company which does not publish its accounts, NLDR, rather than a public company or state institution.

The article also states that ‘the museums and libraries of the City of Paris will soon adopt the “open content”, that is to say the free availability of images‘ though I can’t understand why this should make NLDR a more appropriate choice. It now has been given an already digitised collection with an annual turnover of over a million euros and a public grant of 482 000 € to exploit.

What worried me rather when I ‘Googled’ “Roger-Viollet” was that “roger viollet getty images” came up several suggestions above the actual agency. Getty gets everywhere, and has had a disastrous effect on lowering image prices, not just for agencies but also for photographers. It is the basic reason that so many other agencies have already disappeared – and for the pathetically low reproduction fees now paid by most publications.

The Eye of Photography is a bilingual site, and one where I always find much of interest whenever I visit – and today was no exception (and it delayed writing this post considerably.) I look forward to receiving their daily e-mails.