Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Elisabeth Tonnard makes artist's books

Elisabeth Tonnard is a Dutch artist and poet working in artists’ books, photography and literature. Printed Matter Inc. NYC recent mailing featured her work. Tonnard has published thirty books that are included in international collections and exhibited widely. Much of her work involves responding to existing books, texts and images, reworking them into poetry, and creating photographic visual narratives.
Several of Tonnard’s books appropriate the physical form of the novel. Traditionally printed and bound with unassuming covers, books like THE STORY OF A YOUNG GENTLEMAN, TWO OF US and IN THIS DARK WOOD do not announce themselves as artists’ books, disguising them just as their contents challenge the divide between artists’ book and literature.
THE STORY OF A YOUNG GENTLEMAN includes the entirety of War and Peace, written in miniscule type and couched within a minimalist narrative of Tonnard’s own devising.
TWO OF US constructs a visual narrative from street photographs of pairs of people walking, combining the images with a poem by Baudelaire in a reflection on the concept of the double described by Baudelaire, Benjamin, and Freud.
IN THIS DARK WOOD, similarly novel-like in size and bearing, opens to reveal Tonnard’s haunting meditation on urban alienation in America: 90 unique English translations of the first three lines of Dante’s Inferno are each accompanied by a different photograph of a person walking alone in a city at night, resituating their modern solitude, with Dante’s words, into an ancient narrative of human isolation.

You can see more of Elisabeth Tonnard's work on her website HERE.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

PARIS PHOTO 2014 - participating Publishers and Booksellers


PARIS PHOTO 2014, 13 - 16 November in the Grand Palais. Here is the list of the 23 participating international publishers and booksellers.

ANDRE FRERE, Marseille
DAMIANI, Bologna
HARPER’S, East Hampton
HATJE CANTZ, Ostfildern
LIBRAIRIE 213, Paris
MACK, London
MÖREL, London
RADIUS, Santa Fe
RM, Mexico City
STEIDL, Göttingen
SUPER LABO, Kanagawa
TASCHEN, Paris/London

Hans Ulrich Obrist talks to Walther König

Wolfgang Tillmans, Walther König, 2009

A recent post on the edgy 032c website has the influential curator Hans Ulrich Obrist talking with bookseller and publisher extraordinaire Walther König. It is no exaggeration that the König flagship bookstore in Cologne is probably the worlds best bookshop for art and artist's books. I always head there when in Cologne and in fact, König's shop alone is worth the trip to Cologne.

The legendary business was founded in Cologne in 1969 by WALTHER KÖNIG (b.1939), soon to become one of the world’s pre-eminent addresses for art-related literature and a hotbed of intellectual exchange (apart from the parent location, the bookstore now maintains branches across Germany, in Vienna, and in London). Around the same time, with his brother Kasper, König also started a publishing house. Today, the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König is home to many artists, including Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Hans Peter Feldmann. Obrist, who has known the bookseller and publisher since he was a young student and has collaborated with him on a series of books, speaks of König with wonder-filled enthusiasm. He points out the publisher’s “incredible generosity,” and is fascinated by the “Borgesian infinity” of the original bookshop’s physical space. “Whenever you think you’ve seen it, there is another hidden room. Little by little, one discovers, floor by floor, more and more secret spaces – and I am sure I still have not seen all of them, filled with books upon books. It’s almost paradise. I’ve always thought of the König bookshop as a sort of paradise.” It is amid this inner architectural complexity, in König’s office, that the two men sat down to talk about what Obrist sees as a one unified entity: “It’s him – his bookshop, his building, all the books, his publishing – it’s a beautiful, holistic thing.” 

You can read the complete interview on 032c HERE. And visit the Walther König bookstore website HERE.

In 2006 I made a photograph of Walther König outside his shop in Cologne and he made a photograph of me, this was for my book project I LOOK AT YOU, YOU LOOK AT ME.

Harvey Benge, Walther König, 2006

Walther König, Harvey Benge, 2006

Newsprint Award 2014

In 2013 bookdummypress an independent bookstore & a publisher in New York and Reminders Photography Stronghold, a gallery in Tokyo, joined forces to launch an international photography publication award to celebrate newsprint’s contribution to the evolving creativity of self-publishing.
Newsprint is not only an economical medium that allow a range of experimentation, but also has the potential of reaching a diverse audience wider and faster. Keeping this award open to photographers / artists without any entry fee, it is intended to stimulate to take a renew approach towards this format and to introduce photographers to a way to self-publish and self-distribute their work.

The 2014 winner, Noi Satirat Damampai (Thailand) with her project The War Within, has portrayed the struggles of the Karen ethnic group, involved in what is considered to be the longest civil war in the world. The project is comprised of perceptive portraits and desolate landscapes that show the intensity of those lives that have been through 60 years of fighting and fear.

You can show your support for Noi Satirat Damampai's publication and for the newsprint medium by contributing to the INDIEGOGO crowd funding campaign HERE.

Friday, July 18, 2014

David Kregenow shoots photographers

I'm pleased to be included in German photographer David Kregenow's line-up of photographers. Kregenow's hard-edge black and white pictures are a superb record of who is out there in the photo-world right now. Here are just a few of the portraits, more on David's website HERE. And his other projects too, which are worth checking out.

Paul Graham

Thomas Demand

Ed Ruscha

Antoine d'Adata

Daido Moriyama

Lewis Baltz

Wim Wenders

Paul Graham at the Winogrand retrospective, The Met, NYC

Garry Winogrand - New York, circa 1962

Writer Nicholas Dawidoff talked to New York resident Paul Graham at The Met's Winogrand show and penned a piece in The NEW YORKER Photo Booth section.

Inside the exhibition, Graham wandered until something snapped him into focus. He paused at a photograph of a muscular young man hoisting a woman aloft and wrestling her toward the surf, from 1952. “The thing about these early ones, they strike me as the work of someone who hasn’t found his voice. They’re of that era of Time-Life photojournalism—someone trying to unshackle himself from popular journalism’s obligatory good cheer, the clanking boxcars of magazine narrative.” A little further on, he admired photographs of elderly people with much seemingly on their minds, none of it optimistic, standing on street corners sometime around 1960. “We’ve charged ahead ten years, and it’s already much richer,” Graham said. “It’s him photographing on his own gambit. He’s gone rogue! It’s haphazard, disorienting.”

You can read the full story HERE

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Photography Workshop - Cologne in November

Harvey Benge - Tokyo Girl No 1, 2007

I will be conducting a workshop in Cologne at galerie Lichtblick over the weekend of November 22 and 23rd. I've called the workshop - So You Want to Make Better Photographs? - knowing that we all want to do that. Among other things I will share my approach to evaluating images. And what makes a photograph work. Of course this will lead to idea generation and how to move a series of photographs forward, ultimately to a show or a photobook. I've had a lot of photobooks published and I'll be telling participants all I know in that area. I'm looking forward to getting back to Cologne and doing this workshop, it's going to be fun.

The Lichtblick School have this to say:
Paris and Auckland based photographer Harvey Benge will return to Lichtblick School this November for an intensive 2 day workshop. Harvey will share his wealth of experience giving special attention to idea generation, how to evaluate photographs, what makes one image work and another not, editing and sequencing plus photobook design, production and an overview of print-on-demand technology. The workshop will include constructive reviews of participants work and suggestions on ways to move work forward.
Known for his evocative and unsettling images, Harvey Benge’s focus is on picture series realised through the photo-book. With over forty titles to date, his work has been published in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and New Zealand. His photographs have also been shown in public and dealer galleries in New Zealand, Britain and throughout Europe including France, Holland, Germany, Poland and Italy.
Harvey has conducted workshops with: photographers Antoine d’Agata, Peter Bialobrzeski, Louis Baltz, Slavica Perkovic, Alec Soth, John Gossage, Rineke Dijkstra, Paul Graham, Todd Hido, Pieter Hugo and curators Quentin Bajac and Sandra Phillips. His bookworks have included collaborations with J H Engstrom, Roe Ethridge, Bertien van Manen, Christian Patterson and Daido Moriyama among others.

Some unsolicited comments from past workshop participants:
Thanks for a very pleasant and eye-opening workshop, I’m glad I attended - Michael Irmscher. Thanks for your workshop, it was great and brought me a huge step forward - Charly Artmann. Thank you for a great workshop, it was good fun and helped me very much - Torsten Schumann.

You can find out more at the Lichblick School website HERE. Or if you wish you could email me direct at,

Israel Ariño - Le nom qui efface la couleur


Israel Ariño is a Barcelona based photographer who makes pictures that are spare yet loaded and have a profound beauty. Once in a while I see work that I wish I had made, here is such an occasion. 
Ariño's new bookwork - Le nom qui efface la couleur - revolves around what is possible, around the possibility of being one thing or another, of falling or flying, of remaining or vanishing, and in general, around man’s intrinsic freedom, which places him in a world full of options, forcing him to choose between one or another.
The work borders on abstraction, a state of mind in which to explore the limits of photography, a threshold from which to witness a new type of place coming into being, more indistinct and ambiguous but at the same time more involved in a territory rich in sentiment, metaphor and language.
The series was produced while Ariño was artist-in-residence in Nature Humaine, in the Centre region of France.

The book itself is a beautiful object. Published by Ediciones Anomalas the book feels good in the hands and the production values are superb. Printed on a luscious satin paper with intense blacks and subtle highlights. What's more, Israel Ariño not only knows how to make stunning photographs his edit and sequencing is masterful. 

Le nom qui efface la couleur, 24x20cm. 104 pages. Hardcover. A bargain at 25€
You can purchase HERE


Monday, July 14, 2014

Arles 2014 - A Disaster?

The Paris based L'Oeil de la Photographie pulled no punches in its take on Arles 2014.

The name of this year’s festival was “Parade.” The fatal mistake is right there in the title. A parade is festive, friendly, flamboyant. But this parade was a motley commemoration of a few nostalgic veterans celebrating a soldier whose name isn’t even unknown: François Hébel.
And, really, we’ve had enough of these veterans: enough Martin Parr, enough Raymond Depardon, enough Christian Lacroix, enough Erik Kessels. They’re all great, but their ubiquity has become unbearable. At this rate, if Hébel and the festival weren’t parting ways, then next year’s edition would have featured Martin Parr’s cookbook, Raymond Depardon’s garden gnomes and Christian Lacroix’s children’s toys.

You can read the full story HERE.

And a last word from Sean O'Hagan writing in The Observer. You can read his complete review HERE.

Again, though, it is photography's former functions that are at the heart of this exhibition. The archival shot, the found photograph and the vernacular image continue to exert a hold on our imagination at a time when, as the Discovery award selection shows, much contemporary photography has become obsessed with the conceptual process. François Hébel departs for new ground at an interesting time for the discipline of curation as well as photography. I wish him luck, and hope the festival that he did so much to reinvent and revitalise continues to flourish.

Finally, the British Journal of Photography has their say - the highs and lows - HERE.

François Hébel's last stand

Saturday, July 12, 2014

GOST Books - Maidan - Portraits from the Black Square

If you are in London on Thursday July 24th don't miss the launch of GOST books new title, Maidan - Portraits from the Black Square by Anastasia Taylor-Lind.
The bookwork is a remarkable series of portraits of anti-government protestors and mourners made in a makeshift photographic studio at the barricades in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), Kiev during February 2014.

The launch event will take place at London's Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ in the 2nd floor function room.

GOST Books is a photography and visual arts publishers founded by Gordon MacDonald and Stuart Smith, and based in London. You can see more of their titles on their website HERE.  

GOST Books current titles

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Les Rencontre d'Arles - its 45th edition

The 45th edition of Les Rencontre d'Arles is in in full swing as I write. What I wouldn't give to be in the Place du Forum with a beer and amongst friends. Instead here in Auckland with rain and gale force winds. Yuk. You can go to the festivals program HERE.

Auckland - Viaduct Harbour this a.m. via webcam

Arles - Place du Forum