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Posts Tagged ‘Cartier-Bresson

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”*…

 

banana

Doug Battenhausen spends much of his working hours searching for pictures no one else cares about.

They’re the kind taken by people would never be considered ‘photographers’, the kind that no one has even thought about for years, where any sense of artistry is purely accidental.

Instead they’re pictures of drunk friends at grotty house parties or silly sleepovers, landscapes snapped from car windows on boring drives, and assorted images that Doug can only describe as “strangely mundane”…

drunk

relection

Learn more– and see more abandoned images– at “The internet’s forgotten shit pics are accidentally amazing,” and then visit the motherlode: Battenhausen’s Tumblr, Internet History.

* Henri Cartier-Bresson

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As we smile at serendipity, we might spare a thought for the source of today’s title quote, Henri Cartier-Bresson; he died on this date in 2004.  A master of the candid and pioneer of street photography, he was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.  With other luminaries (Robert CapaDavid Seymour, and others), he founded Magnum Photos. a photographers’ co-op that covered the world for news outlets and other publishers.  His Magnum coverage of of Gandhi’s funeral in India in 1948 and the last stage of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 brought him international acclaim.

View his Magnum portfolio here.

220px-Henri_Cartier-Bresson source

 

Written by LW

August 3, 2018 at 1:01 am

“The camera is first a means of self-discovery and a means of self-growth. The artist has one thing to say—himself”*…

 

In this Age of the Selfie, it’s good to remind oneself that the impulse to photographic self-portraiture has a long history… and that, sometimes, that heritage is shrouded in mystery…

He likely hailed from the Midwest, sometimes sported a fedora and smoked a pipe. He dressed in casual plaids or in a suit. His demeanor ranged from jovial to pensive. His hair evolved from thick black to a thinning white widow’s peak. And sometimes, a “Seasons Greetings” sign hung over his head.

We might know a lot about how this man aged, but what we don’t know is his identity or why he took – and saved – more than 450 images of himself in a photobooth over the course of several decades.

This mystery has come to light with “445 Portraits of a Man,” a collection being shown for the first time as part of “Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture,” an exhibition [that was] on display through [last] July at Rutgers’ Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick.

The 445 images – silver gelatin prints owned by photography historian Donald Lokuta – were taken over the three decades from the Great Depression through the swinging ’60s, when the booths were most popular. “There’s quite an age difference in the photos: You see him as younger man and then with a white, receding hairline and wrinkles,” says Lokuta, who came across a few of these images at a New York City antiques show in 2012.

Upon learning that the antiques dealer had hundreds of these portraits of the same man, Lokuta knew he had to keep them together and purchased them all. “As a historian, I knew this was very rare, but on a deeper level, I wondered, ‘Why would somebody want to take almost 500 photos of himself in a photobooth?’ In appearance, they are unremarkable. They look like mugshots, but that’s what makes them special: The sameness, the repetition.”…

Read more about the “Mystery Photobooth Portraits.”

* Minor White

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As we say “cheese,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1928 that the first issue of VU was published.  France’s first weekly French pictorial magazine, VU pioneered the “photographic essay” form and provided a home to contributors that included Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, and André Kertész.

The cover of the first issue of VU

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Written by LW

March 21, 2015 at 1:01 am

The Design of Everyday Things…

From  “Improbability,” a series from Giuseppe Colarusso that depicts everyday objects transformed into unusual, unlikely, unusable versions of themselves…

See more of Colarusso’s creations here; see all of them on his web site; and read about the series on Laughing Squid.

[Readers may recognize that the title of this post is appropriated from Donald Norman’s wonderful primer on smart design…]

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As we endeavor to emulate the Eames, we might send a birthday snapshot to the father of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson; he was born on this date in 1908.  An early master of the 35mm format, he pioneered “street shooting” and more broadly, a form of candid photography that set the model– and the standard– for generations of photojournalists who’ve followed.  Indeed, after World War II (most of which he spent as a prisoner of war) and his first museum show (at MoMA in 1947), he joined Robert Capa and others in founding the Magnum photo agency, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience through magazines such as Life, while retaining control over their work.

To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.

– from his book The Decisive Moment (1952)

Photography is not like painting.  There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture.  Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.  That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop!  The Moment!  Once you miss it, it is gone forever.

– from an interview in The Washington Post (1957; recounted here)

Hamburg, 1952-3  (The sign reads, “Looking for any kind of work.”)

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Written by LW

August 22, 2013 at 1:01 am

Seizing the instant in its flight…

Hamburg, 1952-3 (The sign reads, “Looking for any kind of work.”)

We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was the father of modern photojournalism.  An early master of the 35mm format, he pioneered “street shooting” and more broadly, a form of candid photography that set the model– and the standard– for generations of photojournalists who’ve followed.  Indeed, after World War II (most of which he spent as a prisoner of war) and his first museum show (at MoMA in 1947), he joined Robert Capa and others in founding the Magnum photo agency, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience through magazines such as Life, while retaining control over their work.

The first major retrospective of Cartier-Bresson’s work in the U.S. in three decades opens later today at MoMA in New York, where it will run until late June, then travel to The Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Readers can whet their appetites by visiting MoMa’s online gallery of Cartier-Bresson’s work.

Of all forms of expression, photography is the only one which seizes the instant in its flight.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson , 1968., The World of Henri Cartier-Bresson

As we reload our Brownies, we might recall that it was on this date in 1876 that a group that had started in 1868 in New York City as “The Jolly Corks” reorganized and renamed itself The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.  After the death of a member of the Corks left his wife and children without income, the club took up additional service roles and rituals– and a new name.  Clear that they wanted to name their organization for “a readily identifiable creature of stature, indigenous to America,” the fifteen members couldn’t reach consensus on which one.  In the end, they voted 8-7 in favor of the elk over the buffalo.

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