Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 112
Format : Non Fiction, Photography
Reason for Reading : Course Reading Material

At the moment I am studying colour as part of The Art of Photography and my tutor recommended this collection to me to look through. From some other reading I've been doing, Eggleston was a pioneer as in the 1960s colour photography was mostly used only by advertising and publicity companies. Eggleston began to use it in his work and this collection was shown at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. To quote "Photography A Critical Introduction" edited by Liz Wells "His subjects were mundane, everyday, often trivial, so that the real subject was often seen to be the colour itself." I've included the two pictures that stood out to me the most below.

Huntsville, Alabama - I love the pose of the gentleman, casually stroking the bright orange plane. I wonder if he piloted one when he was younger, was he part of the US Air Force or does he just have an appreciation of planes? It's composed with lost of empty space to his left maybe to emphasise his long past as he is now past his youth. It has a sense of nostalgia.

Memphis - A real Memphis belle. Going back to earlier modules this picture is full of shapes (Eggleston did study Cartier-Bresson I believe). There are lines, diagonals, curves and brian;es plenty. Your eye is drawn also to the contrast between the yellow of the wall and her hair with the dark blue of her dress.

Overall I wasn't a big fan of many of the pictures. I'm not sure if it's because they didn't mean much to me being taken before my time of places I haven't visited although that doesn't seem to cover it. The colours were a little dull for my tastes. If you are going to do colour, then do colour! I understand this was a seminal collection so perhaps going through again in a week or two will unlock some more understanding in me. What I did love was the essay by John Szarkowski. I made a note of a few quotes which I hope to use in my assignments moving forwards and it is worth the price of the book for this alone.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 167
Format : Non Fiction, Photography
Reason for Reading : Course Reading Material

Another collection of photography work by Henri Cartier-Bresson. This time all of the photographs were taken around Paris. Some were in the Europeans collection, but most were new to me. The introduction by Vera Feyder read more like a poem than an introductory text which fitted the pictures nicely. It gives a little bit of background about Cartier-Bresson and mentions his "decisive moment" which I keep hearing about.

What I especially liked is that these are not simple tourist snaps. They are well thought out and beautifully composed. In the introduction it quotes Cartier-Bresson as saying "You see, photography is nothing, it's life that interests me. Life, do you see?" which is definitely what you notice immediately form opening the collection. Not as many pictures jumped out as the Europeans collection, but it was still a beyond excellent collection and I have learnt a lot form looking through these over the last few days. Below are two of my favourite pictures from this collection that weren't in the Europeans edition.

Porte d'Aubervilliers (1932) - The young boy looks straight out of Oliver Twist despite being in Paris. Another of his shots that is full of shapes. Lines on the sheds, diagonals of the roof, triangle of his arms and feet as well as the pavement. The light picks up the top of his hat nicely.

Champes-Elysees (May 1968) - The sun is beautiful shining through the flag which is held out so straight by the girl balancing on then back of the bicycle. The bicycle is placed parallel to the broken lines marking the lane. I really like the white of her legs against the dark bike and male.