Monday, May 04, 2009

B&W ramblings

This past Bank Holiday weekend has been a bit of a catch-up for me.

Firstly, I went to the Atlas gallery on Chiltern street and caught an exhibition of B&W’s by Mario Giacomelli. The photos were from his work in Puglia 1957. I don’t know if everyone is like me or anyone for that matter (and can remember the pivotal image that made them love this medium) but it was one of his images that made me decide that photography was the medium for me. I first saw the image in a Time Life photobook and have scanned a repro of it, see below.

I went to a talk he gave some 7 or 8 years ago at the Italian Consulate and it seems that the negative for this image was destroyed in a fire! Perhaps that’s a bit like photography a very fleeting glance at what was or may have been.

Anyway, it started me on a course I have variously regretted, hated, loved and been inspired by. This image shoved me into B&W for at least 20-30 years which led to artists such as Ralph Gibson, Minor White, Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, Wynn Bullock, Larry Clark Eikoh Hosoe, Duane Michals, George Tice, Jerry Uelsmann, Judy Dater and Emmet Gowan and the list goes on and on.

I got so into B&W that I forgot why I was doing it and the craft side of photography became the end in itself. Then I saw some work by Eggleston and remembered why. I stopped doing B&W and started shooting colour. I still do the occasional B&W as you can see here but not often.

Here is a link to B&W craft manual that is a must read (if you can get it). I still have my well-thumbed copy, original so I’ll never get rid of it. Some things you keep and hope they get passed on and appreciated.

The New Zone System Manual (Paperback)

Darkroom 1&2 Lustrum press

I then went to the Southbank and saw an exhibition by ANNETTE MESSAGER: THE MESSENGERS.... this is for another post though, but in a word Awesome!!

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