December 7, 2012
Michael Hoppen on collecting photography

Emil Otto Hoppé, Speaker’s Corner, London, 1934. © Estate of Emil Otto Hoppé

"There are no shortcuts," says London gallery owner Michael Hoppen in this interview with The Guardian’s Sean O’Hagan. Finders Keepers is an exhibition of his personal collection, put together over many years of obsessive trawling through the most unlikely places. This commitment, he says, is of paramount importance to building a worthwhile collection (though he also maintains that he collects photographs he likes, not merely those that are likely to rocket in price.)

Denise Grünstein, Tied, 2009. © Denise Grünstein. Courtesy of Charlotte Lund Gallery

I particularly loved this quote from Hoppen:

"If you think you can go to a fair once a year and find a bargain, forget it. I spend so much time going to places where I don’t find anything of worth. That’s the downside, but, like most collectors, I perversely enjoy that as well."

Unknown Photographer, Tornado, USA, 1950s. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

I chose three from the 130-image show here. Let me know if you have a chance to visit the exhibition. (Another instance of my slightly wishing I still lived in London.)

June 21, 2012

Fascinating and thought-provoking look at all that goes into creating food advertising imagery, in this case photographing a McDonald’s cheeseburger. As Anomaly’s Johnny Vulkan asked: “Brave? Honest? Stupid? Risky? Smart? Genuine? Informative? Exposing? Tick those which may apply.”

April 5, 2012
"I really kind of wonder about Frank Gehry. I just don’t understand how you can get so many tin cans and make architecture out of it."

Simply lovely Q&A with Pedro Guerrero in Architect magazine. The 95 year old was the longtime photographer of the work and life of both Frank Lloyd Wright and Alexander Calder, and his stories are tender, wry and insightful. If you’re in Los Angeles, please go along to the retrospective, Photographs of a Modern Life, showing at the Woodbury University Hollywood Space until April 25th — and let me know how his pictures are in real life!

February 24, 2012
"The ‘Eye of America’ is 12 feet tall, 35 feet long and eight feet wide; resulting in negatives that measure six feet tall and capture incredible visual detail."

Love this story, about a project by photographer Dennis Manarchy to lug a ridiculously vast camera around the United States in order to photograph “the faces and history of vanishing U.S. cultures in their natural environments.” As detailed in The VERY Big Picture: Supersize Camera That Captures Every Single Pore For The Most Intimate Of Portraits, hello snappy headline writers, Manarchy explains: ”The huge negatives allow for 24 feet tall prints with such pristine detail that you can see the fleck of an iris, a single eyelash on a child’s face or the individual pores on our skin.” Seems strangely old-school, but the pictures are stunning (do look at the shots on that link) and hey, what’s wrong with old school, anyway?

[Story via Peter Giorgio.]

July 28, 2011
Photographer Joao Silva is so inspirational, already back in action after losing his legs in Afghanistan. This line: “Although Mr. Silva can walk, he still needs a cane, which he holds in his right hand. When he wants to shoot, he must transfer the cane to his left arm so he can pick up the camera” made me stop. Can’t a designer create a cane (or alternative support system) that Silva can use and yet retain the ability to photograph on the fly?
Silva took this picture of a Marsh Arab poling his canoe in the Kirmashiya Marsh in southern Iraq in 2004. This and other prints are available to buy, with proceeds contributing to Silva’s ongoing healthcare costs.

Photographer Joao Silva is so inspirational, already back in action after losing his legs in Afghanistan. This line: “Although Mr. Silva can walk, he still needs a cane, which he holds in his right hand. When he wants to shoot, he must transfer the cane to his left arm so he can pick up the camera” made me stop. Can’t a designer create a cane (or alternative support system) that Silva can use and yet retain the ability to photograph on the fly?

Silva took this picture of a Marsh Arab poling his canoe in the Kirmashiya Marsh in southern Iraq in 2004. This and other prints are available to buy, with proceeds contributing to Silva’s ongoing healthcare costs.

April 14, 2011

Projects that involve photographers taking a picture every day aren’t new, but Today is a good, refreshingly narcissism-free example of the genre. Digital designer and online storyteller Jonathan Harris shot and uploaded a new photograph of his surroundings every day for a year. Dubbing it “an assisted living center for memory,” the project is captured in this film, shot by Scott Thrift, which shows all the images and includes Harris’ thoughtful musings on life, work and the search for meaning in both. As he sweetly concludes, the film’s subtitle could have been, “Boy Meets World. Boy Still Baffled.”