Bruce Gilden – Face
Difficult and ambiguous selection this time.
On one hand the book is in color (with a special vivid post-producing) while I am more interested in black and white books; and it represents what you could call “special” faces and on the other hand you have a wonderful work of close-up.
At a first glance you could imagine that due to these particulars faces Gilden is somehow making fun of them, let’s be honest, due to the post production and the choice of characters you could really imagine that it was his intention.
But after reading and mostly watching many video about Gilden; I changed my mind and truly believe that on the contrary he has deliberated chosen these people for 2 reasons: he wants to give voices to the “unseen” people. People you would not even notice or don’t want to notice; and secondly he really love them; and have an interest and fascination for these people with a lot of respect as he puts himself at the same level that them.
I actually ordered the book as it will help me in getting closer to people (even if I already shoot really close to people) and push me beyond my boundaries in selecting people that I like, not necesseraly special faces but faces that have something to tell. I hope it will push me in directing more the people I am shooting with as I usually don’t get the feeling that I want; my portraits are not strong enough in my opinion for the moment as I don’t talk enough with them on how they should behave.
For people like me, who are interested in close-up portraits this book is really a must have; it will challenge you sufficiently enough to move you out of your comfort zone.
Mark Steinmetz – ATL / Terminus
I don’t know where to start. This time it is not a Japanese photographer’s book or about Todd Hido. But this is a real “fall in love” type of feeling with him. First it was my best friend who discovered him and falled in love with him but I have to say to that this book really sound promising.
Usually his books represents projects that took several years. Sometimes even more than ten years (Greater Atlanta for instance took him 15 years!) but this time, it looks like it was done in a much quicker way: on his website only 2018 is mentionned but apparently the pictures were taken from the 90’s up to 2018.
But what a piece of work, he is really a true great Master of photography. The atmosphere of the few pictures available are really amazing; with soft black and white tones, most of the pictures were taken on middle format cameras, 6×7 and 6×9.
Of course this has a direct influence on the quality of the picture; but this is not only thanks to that, everybody can take middle format pictures but not with the sensibility of Mark Steinmetz his work is so soulful, emotional, sensible, fragile, intimate, I don’t have enough words to describe this new effort.
The book will be only available at the last part of the year. I can’t wait for the release of his book. If the full body of work is like the previews we can see on his website, this going to be a major release of the last 10/20 years I guess, a fututre classic.
But I am not sure it will be recognized as such; maybe yes his work will be displayed at MOMA; but from the general public he seems he’s not recognize as much as some other artists. Maybe I have a wrong perception but he seems much more modest and humble that many of his peers.
Please click HERE to see some pictures on his website.
Yukichi Watabe – A criminal investigation & Stakeout Diary
I just discovered this one and it looks really promizing. Pictures are about following some policemen into a sordid crime that happen in the 50’s in Japan. the photographer , Yukichi Watabe, was allowed to follow two policeman during an investigation for 20 days.
The pictures look like getting out from a suspense film from the 50’s (like Tengoku to jigoku, 1963, the film from Akira Kurosawa), I know it may sounds cheesy but actually it looks like it is working very well. We are following the « adventure » of two policemen. That was a premiere in Japan, that came to support the local police on a crime that made the big head news as one could imagine, at these times.
One is facing here really deep black, black and white pictures, which add some suspense and tension to this drama story. We can observe the policemen in different scenary, different atmosphere; inside (the one with the telephone is really nice), outside, trying to interrogate people or probably waiting and looking for somebody to come.
But like in any suspense book or film, what one can observe is the reality of the society at that time. Japan is a devastated country after the war, trying to reconstruct itself based on its original roots but also from the occidental culture, especially the American ones as being the occupation force after the second world war there.
« Stakeout Diary » seems to be the third edition of « a criminal investigation ». So normally you can buy either of those (If I am mistaken, please let me know !). But in any case you should be able to enter a very cinematic piece of work from Japan from the 50’s; with a really nice atmosphere, like in a suspense movie.
Emi Anrakuji – Misho
Obviously if photography is talking about human kind, it is almost obliged that it is talking about sex. Or, at least, sexy things. This time, I decided to wish to see it from another perspective, from the perspective of a woman. But is it only about it or is it transcending it , I mean sex ?
Emi Anrakuji’s pictures are really erotic, or at least what we can find on the web or on her webiste. Misho seems to be an extract or the book version of her project called 1800 Millimètre (in french in the text). The model if I understood well is her. She confined herself in a room, like when she was in hospital in her 20’s. And most of the photography are reflecting her, naked or almost naked.
But I think this book in the end is not talking about sex, yes you see her naked in various position but that’s not the point of the book. As mentioned above, it is about the confinement in this room like in a hospital. For having stayed for (only) 2 weeks in a hospital, I can share her feeling.
All is about waiting but you wait and you are thinking, about what to do to pass time, about life and death, about so many things and state of mind. This is well transcripted with sone disturbing pictures, for exemple, where she is having a scissor in her hands.
Furthermore the boringness of being alone in one room seems to be well described as well. Especially when you discover that this is actually her in the room. Some picture reflect some peace but some are reflecting more craziness like you have have when you are by your own on a hospital bed.
And the fact that this black and white make it even more disturbing. Most of the time you can see her black hair (the one on the head and the one down there…) and her white body skin.
Finally, I am wandering if I should really buy this book, the pictures I could see are really interesting. But some of them are really disturbing if you understand the concept. It is really a piece of art but maybe too much for me for the moment, I don’t know.
But definitely something you cannot stay without emotion; yes primal at first, especially if you are a male but the second layer of reading is really something worth to see.
Keisuke Nagoshi – Smokey Mountain
This time, I will talk about one book, which was shot by a Japanese photographer. but Manila, Philippines is the location of the shooting. On this smokey mountain of garbage; whereas thousands of people are living there.
They were very few pictures of it found on the web, I have to admit. But that’s not really important as for me the only picture, almost, that striked me was the photo cover. It is so hypnothyzing. I mean everytime I look at it, I am fascinated and wandering what more (and if more) is in this book.
Yes the picture is fascinating to me, like a voodoo ritual. The composition of it is directly attracting me. A roaster (I think) with its rounded feather tail, a little boy, naked and dirty; with his arm pointing at the animal. Then a little girl behind him, looking at what the other naked little boy is doing now, and an arm; just an arm in the frame.
Above the children maybe trying to take the animal or just trying to take the little child hand, not to be armed by the animal; I don’t know. But the composition of this picture is really putting a spell on me. I cannot describe more the picture and I don’t know how my feelings are; but I have an irresistible wish to own this book just because of third haunting front picture.
Of course the book is in black and white; and there are many other pages that are describing the daily life of these poor people. Another picture is about a new born baby, very touching but at the same time very sad. Is this kid will have to live his entire life on the garbage mountain?
Because if you imagine that there is a new born baby; one could easily imagine there are parents, grand parents, people dying also there; probably people that have never lived elsewhere than this horrible place. So the book is trying to describe the routine of the lives of those thousands of people surviving on this smokey mountain.
Masaki Yamamoto – Guts
This is my first article in this new page on my website.
First, it was about the book itself, I like beautiful things and this book looks beautiful. Look at the photo above, you have a red monochrome picture; which is quiet unusual in the black and white, monochrome world.
a red thread IS stitching together the book’s pages. Additionnally, there is a black and white obi; which makes it very nice as making some contrast with the red cover. The book by itself is really a beautiful object to own.
But after, the pictures talk by themselves. he power that is coming out from them has completely blew me away. The story of the book is about taking pictures about the author`s own family. First it could sounds boring but it is not.
You can feel the tied-up (like the book itself) links of the family members. It is really amazing to succeed in such a thing. There are only few images available; but they are really powerful enough to make me wish I could own it.
They seems to live in a small and tiny appartment; like the ones you could imagine for a modest average family in Japan. Thus the picture are taken closely to the subjects, which emphasis the strong links between each family members.
The rooms are messy, a lot of things are accumulated. So few space is remaining for the persons living in there . It looks like the space that could be unfilled between the people are filled by those things. No space to live in; but strong links to live by (sorry if the grammar is not correct). You can feel the intimacy of the people of this unconventional family.