Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lost City

Photographs by Yuji Saiga that appear as if from one of Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities - an abandoned city on the Japanese island of Gukanjima. Originally known as Hashima Island it came to be called Gukanjima (battleship) Island because of the profile it's apartment buildings rising out of the sea. It was developed as a coal mining community and was populated from 1887 to 1974, eventually being abandoned when the coal ran out. In the 1950's it was apparently the was the worlds most densely populated community.


"Beware of saying to them that sometimes different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, born and dying without knowing one another, without communicating among themselves. At times even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voices' accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place. It is pointless to ask whether the new ones are better or worse than the old, since there is no connection between them, just as the old post cards do not depict Maurilia as it was, but a different city which, by chance, was called Maurilia, like this one. (
Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities)

Also worth looking at are the photographs of the sea wall surrounding the island as well as photographs from 1974 when it was still inhabited

the Gallery of Regrettable Food

Food photography has come a long way in the last 50 years (to say nothing of cuisine...) Yep - that's meatballs in pink sauce - with the ever popular 1950's side dish of "chopped-off alien fetus pods".

If you've just had an operation, please don't scroll through The Gallery of Regrettable Food or you may burst your stitches.

But if you are a Baby Boomer you owe it to yourself to look at these and wonder in amazement at the fact we actually survived our childhood

Well worth hunting through the different 50's and 60's recipe books - especially the Knudsens Milk; Meat! Meat! Meat!; Knox cooking with gelatin - 0h and Cooking with Seven-Up - among others. A few of my favourites:

"I don’t know why, but this looks like some sort of control panel for a spacecraft whose occupants use only organic machinery. The egg slices on the left control the engines; the eggs on the right handle navigation.It goes without saying that the pea cluster is wired directly to the weapons array"

It really is Napalm-in-a-can - burns to 1120 degrees F...

"Was that a can in your pocket, or were you just glad to see me? But I’ll tell you this: there’s not a man alive who wouldn’t leap at the chance to deploy some Siz today. I mean, look at that thing. The colors. The shape. The name. No lighter run- off! Napalm with finger-tip control! It clings to each briquette and holds each coal in a clutch of fire. FLAMMABLE WHIPPED CREAM."

"Okay, here we go. It’s “Mashed Potato Surprise.” The recipe calls for a special kind of mushrooms: canned mushrooms. Which you feed to the dog. The trick is get him to throw up right in the middle of the mashed potatoes. "

Above- "Bleached, washed, plucked Scalp of Klingon"

And finally, no, you're not mistaken - that is Carnation hamburger....

And if you really enjoy the site, buy the book - for you Mum...

(all quotes and pictures from the Gallery of Regrettable Food)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tree Roots and Trunk - Vincent van Gogh

"...this amazing painting – one of the very greatest (and least noticed) masterpieces from the founding moment of modernism – is yet another experiment in the independent vitality of painted line and colour, as well as the uncountable force of nature. Almost lost within it – as in Undergrowth With Two Figures – are allusions to and repudiations of, the exhausted traditions of landscape...

...The view is therefore bipolar: simultaneously that of the rabbit and the hawk. Colours – wheat-gold, clay-brown – tease the eye with possibilities of making sense of a field or a hill, but then scramble them into chaos. The usual aesthetic markers – beauty and ugliness – have been made meaningless. In Tree Roots the painted forms rap against the visual panes of our windows, as if trying to crash through the glass. In other paintings from these last weeks in Auvers the interior of the field – green or gold stalks – occupies the entirety of the visual field like a curtain. Without a beginning or an end this infinity of growing matter closes over us. It’s the ultimate compression of heaven and earth, a live burial within the engulfing sea of creation." Simon Scama on Vincent van Gogh's Tree Roots and Trunk"

(Once I've finished the Power of Art, I promise to stop quoting Schama so much...)

Bethicketted #3

The trees lack height and substance. There are no massive oaks or giant redwoods to anchor the forest either physically or visually and this northern forest lacks a dark dense forest floor. Instead the unique northern light, harsh, clear and oblique, angles through and reaches all but its deepest parts giving areas of strong shadow and highlight. The results are immersive landscapes where the viewer may become entangled and intrigued within the depths of the bush - bethicketted
tim atherton

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bee Flowers

Bee Flowers is an extraordinary photographer based in Moscow. He explores topics that range from Dutch suburbia, to Palestine/Israel and the West Bank to Fake Plastic Trees to Megastructure (Russia's urban planning) to Decommissioned Nation (the former Soviet Union) to Dachas and more.

His website itself is a work of art - one of the best websites I've seen full-stop, and certainly one of the best photographers sites. It's worth spending some time exploring. Click on a theme, follow a quick tour or go to the Gallery Index. There are also some great essays on there by Luis Gottardi (here among others) very well worth searching out.

I'd be hard put to pick my favourite work, so extensive are his projects. I've picked a few images from some of my favourites though.

Bee's work has recently been exhibited at the State Museum of Architecture in Moscow - the pictures of the show itself look fascinating - as well as the Yaroslavl Art Museum and the Astrakahn Art Museum.

Rumour has it Flowers is a Dutchman living in Moscow, a Russian who has lived in Holland and even one of the new Russian Oligarch's who does this on the side... (for the record I believe the first is true, but a little mythology is always good for an artists reputation... okay, he's probably going to kick my arse for that) - either way, despite the name, one thing he isn't is a 16 year old girl... (at least we don't think so) - even though I seem to recall someone hitting on him on the Streetphoto list under that assumption... not a pretty sight.

Flowers has also published some hand made artists books of his works. I'm saving up for one, and I've heard from others they are quite stunning.

From the introduction to Megastructures:

Ideal City
The clusters of large apartment blocks in Moscow, which form the central subject of this series by Bee Flowers, are called 'microrayons'. Sharing design & historical DNA with public housing and high-priced, free-market condominiums in many parts of the world, microrayons became a universal form of housing in Russia. Land, being government-owned, available, and plentiful, resulted in these units sprawling radially from the core of the city to its periphery. The architecture and design was not due to costs or other market pressures, but from an idealistic Communist vision of what a city and nation could be.

This Utopian vision of a functional cosmopolitan worker's collective would be facilitated, in part, by design, materials, and layout of the housing. Homogeneity in design was supposed to eliminate competition and individuality, creating a viable alternative to Capitalism. Instead, it resulted in density increasing as one neared the edges of Moscow, left dead industrial areas nearer to the core, caused high transportation/ supply/ maintenance costs and alienation. The early five-story version of these structures were referred to as 'khrushchovkas', derived from Nikita Khrushchev who initiated their construction around 1954, having released thousands of political prisoners from the Stalinist era, creating an instant housing crisis in Moscow.... (Luis Gottardi)

(below: diptych from Decommissioned Nation)

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Trying to summarise Hiroshi Sugimoto's work up in a blog posting is an impossible task - I'll leave you to read the rather large retrospective book of the same name. All I want to do here is pick and chose a few of my favourites from his work.

Sugimoto has worked on a number of what may initially seem unconnected projects. But in a way they all do have an underlying theme - which is time - or more accurately, the passing of time and different kinds of time. The work has ranged from wax portrait and museum work, to the movie theatres, seascapes and architecture, on to mathematical forms and now fossils, among other things (he comments that fossils are really just photographs that take a long time to develop...
"Fossils work almost the same way as a record of history. The accumulation of time and history becomes a negative of the image. And this negative comes off, and the fossil is the positive side. This is the same as the action of photography. So that’s why I am very curious about the artistic stage of imprinting the memories of the time record. A fossil is made over
four-hundred-fifty million years—it takes that much time. But photography, it’s instant. So, to me, photography functions as a fossilization of time."
One thing about Sugimoto's work is it's often close to unique - he finds a very different way of approaching something, works with it and then moves on. He doesn't try and repeat himself, or milk an idea until it's long past dead. But equally, while he manages to find a unique approach, he manages to do so with turning it into a novelty. Those are two dangers plenty of others don't actually manage to avoid

Of his work to date, my favourites would have to be the movie theatres, the seascapes and the architecture - followed by the mathematical forms (though having worked on and off in museums, I also have a fondness for the dioramas).

I once went to see a movie in San Francisco (Evita of all things) in a most beautiful ornate old theatre - but which had a strange sense of familiarity to it. It was only later that I realised it was one which Sugimoto had photographed. As I understand it, he made his photographs by using an extremely long exposure and photographing for the whole length of the movie - which lit the theatre but left a blanked out white screen. He also felt that the nature of the movie led to different results in the way the final photograph looked.

The seascapes are minimal and yet never really repetitive. In fact looking at a sequence of them - from different areas of the world - it's very easy to get drawn right into them. I think some where taken with very short exposures, while others were taken over several hours.

As for his architecture series, it really is one of my favourites. The photographs are taken at what he calls 2x infinity. That is, the lens is extended to 2x its normal focal length resulting in photographs which are out of focus - but in a way which still leaves the subject recognisable. Sugimoto explores Modern architecture all over the globe. The buildings remain identifiable in their essence, but we aren't caught up in the details. Of course they are also quite beautiful (and it's a great argument for not worrying about how razor sharp a lens needs to be).

I should add, these are definitely the sort of works which do really benefit from being printed quite large - they need the space.

With Sugimoto, I'm always waiting to see what he is going to do next, while I don't tire of going back over his work.

The Hirshorn has a very nice web presentation of their recent exhibit of his work

There is also an interview on PBS (links at the bottom of the page) - it also includes a fascinating slideshow of him planning an exhibition.

(For the technically minded, I seem to recall that he still works mainly in 8x10, with Tri-X in D23 to keep the contrast under control. And he likes to photograph @f64 - joking that he's the last of the Group F64)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lego versions of famous photos

Lego versions of famous photos from Atget (above) to Stieglitz to Evans, Robert Frank and Capa (below)

Interestingly, the Chris Jordan post raised a lot of discussion about photo-mosaics and also mosaic software. Out of that came a link to new work by Spanish photographer and artists Joan Fontcuberta including one of the first photo ever taken. So, which do you prefer - the high art or the Lego...:

(On the right, Niepce, 2005, C-print 120 x 160 cm, First photograph in history, taken by Nocéphore Niepce in Gras, France, 1826. The photograph has been refashioned using photomosaic freeware, linked to Google’’ Image Search function. The final result is a composite of 10,000 images available on the Internet that responded to the words"photo" and "foto" as search criteria.)

(Thanks Frank P for the Lego link)

Guess the photographer

Guess the photographer...

The answer is Esther Bubley - one of a number of pretty damn good photographers from the heyday of photojournalism. She certainly had an eye for colour from the little bit that's on her site (or maybe it's just that with Kodachrome II or whatever version it was - give it any tiny bit of red and it just zings + the slides still usually look as good today as they did 60 years ago)

Michael Kenna update...

George LeChat over on Hiding in Plain Sight (another favourite blog btw) has posted his own reflections on Michael Kenna - a slight contrast.

But any post that includes the phrase: "The Pictorialists, many of whom never saw a piece of gauze they didn't like, were the prime adherents of this stance." is worth reading imo...

Anselm Kiefer - Aperiatur Terra

A rip roaring review in the Guardian by Simon Schama of a London exhibition of Anslem Kiefer's most recent work

Kiefer is a contemporary artist I come back to again and again. Here are few gems (even if Schama is perhaps taking the "Lad" thing a bit too far these days...)

Trouble in paradise

"How do you like your contemporary art? A quick hit of juicy mischief, a larky take on mortality, binful of bluebottles, pocketful of glitter, everything you never wanted to know and more about the artist's entrails? Right then, give Anselm Kiefer a very wide berth - because, as the show about to open at White Cube, London, will confirm, he doesn't do droll, he does the big embarrassing stuff, the stuff that matters: the epic slaughters of the world, the incineration of the planet, apocalypse then, apocalypse often; the fragile endurance of the sacred amid the cauterised ruins of the earth...

...Much of Kiefer's art represents a resistance to this inhuman virtualisation of memory; its lazy democracy of significance, its translation into weightless impressions. The opposing pole from that alt/delete disposability is to make history obstinately material, laid down in dense, sedimentary deposits that demand patient, rugged excavation. Kiefer's work burrows away at time, and what it exposes also makes visible the painful toil of the dig, skinned knuckles, barked shins and all....

For visual drama that (I guarantee) will haunt your dreams, there's no one alive to beat Anselm Kiefer. This is because, along with being a philosopher-poet, he also happens to be a craftsman of phenomenal power and versatility.

Dazzling, nostalgically psychedelic shots of colour. Beneath the verse from Isaiah that speaks of heavenly mercy, "Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant" (Drop down ye dew and let the clouds rain upon the just), Kiefer has planted a field of blazing, flamingo-tinted poppies. But the mercy is not unqualified; the flowers are marshalled along perspectival lines all the way to a horizon that is built from raised skeins of greenish-black paint, the corrupted hues of chemical pollution. (Evidently we're not in Monet's picnic country of Les Coquelicots.) Kiefer's poppies with their black faces can be read interchangeably as columns of warriors or the floral memorials of their fiery entombment. And the petals of the middle distance suggest the flares of combat as much as a field of flowers....

This is as good, I think, as art ever gets: mystery and matter delivered in a rush of poetic illumination. That Kiefer's work happens to engage with almost everything that weighs upon us in our tortured age - the fate of the earth, the closeness of calamity, the desperate possibility of regeneration amid the charred and blasted ruins - and that it does so without the hobnailed tread of pedestrian polemics, is just one of the many marvels for which we have to thank, yet again, this most indefatigable of modern magi."

And I'd have to agree with Schama that this is what modern art should be about (btw, I think that last paragraph also actually delineates quite clearly for me the shortcomings of the Burtynsky work).

The Guardian also has a small slideshow up (hard to do justice to the work though)

Chris Jordan update...

I posted about Chris Jordan’s new work and it seems Conscientious picked up on it and the ensuing “Yes but is it photography” discussion on the Large Format list However, I think the comment:

“You should probably look at the ensuing errr... "discussion" yourself (and if you want to comment, do it over there); for me, it was interesting (and sad atthe same time) to see how many people would either write "fantastic" or something like "just predictable liberal dogma". Are there any nuanced opinions left?”
was at best rather premature

A list discussion is an evolving thing – if you follow the thread now, a few days later, you will find many more good nuanced opinions. Simply put, these things need time – and yes, like all discussions, you need to sift the wheat from the (not inconsiderable...) chaff.

Some snippets:

…I agree with everyone who finds work that's purely agitprop to be uninteresting. If the only thing going on in this work was a condemnation of industry, or capitalism, or humans, it would be a big yawn for me. Whether or not i agreed. But I see more going on. For one thing, the work is pretty. The graphic forms, the almost fractal looking repetition, the interplay of detail and textures at different scales, are all mesmerizing. There's a kind of terrible beauty. It's much like the experience of looking at New York City from an airplane or a high window. The scale of it is at the same time breathtaking and horrifying. It stands simultaneously as a monument to dozens of things that are admirable and regretable about our species.It doesn't offer the viewer any obvious explanations or answers. If it was Chris's intention to create simple propaganda, then I think he failed beautifully…

…I think art, if done well, can reach into a deeper and more moving place than the usual arguments can (numbers, statistics, profit margins, doom and gloom reports, etc.). I'm not saying my work has that kind of power by itself, but maybe it might contribute something along with all the other voices that are calling for a paradigm shift. I consider myself as being like an alcoholic in a family of alcoholics, and my photographs are saying "look at the huge pile of bottles in the corner, guys, those are ours." Whatever solution there is to it all, I'm sure not smart enough or educated enough to know what it should be. But I do feel an urge to stand up and at least say "we need to have a talk."…

..The mechanical reproduction in Evans' work magnified into the mega-reproduction in for example Gursky, also in your own pictures of waste, is now rendered so big, you can't see it for what it is as individual units, only as the idea expressed in the image. It's an interesting comment on the relation of an idea to its sublime reality, one which does not let itself be empiricially grasped but for your formation of it into a unified concept. Who, for example, can "see" the national debt in terms of what all those dollar bills look like? Can we see the "tragedy of the commons" in one of us buying a Hummer and how that contributes to an overall picture of waste and environmental catastrophe? These pictures conceptualize that in a very interesting way, and make for a very powerful statement….

…Consumption is a multifaceted problem, which has at its heart the belief in personal right over wider responsability. You are basically asking people to question a belief system. It isn't as if people don't know the problem exists. This interpretation and personal questioning of a personal paradigm is exactly what great art can do - it forces the viewer inwards and outwards at the same time, it can make connections between elements that the viewer has not thought of, it can be 'universal' - in the same way that the Guernica has become a universal image that people STILL are affected by when they see it. By allowing viewers to 'play' with the elements of an image and its meaning, you permit the opportunity for wider connections to be made than you originally thought of - the scope of the work becomes greater with each viewing, if you like….

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why can't I quite bring myself to like... Edward Burtynsky

Number two in a (hopefully) short series. And I must say that I also feel mildly un-Canadian - as well as unfashionable - posting this. We don't have that many photographers on the world stage (Jeff Wall, Geoffrey James, Lynne Cohen, Robert Polidori... okay I've probably missed a few - and Ed Burtynsky). The problem is, I have a hard time really liking Burtynsky's work

Certainly it's all the rage right now, he had the big Manufactured Landscape show and book at the National Gallery of Canada a couple of years ago, his new China book came out last year and another on the Three Gorges, he won the Ted Prize with Bono, there's even Burtynsky the movie.

But somehow the photographs just don't excite or intrigue me. And the thing is, they should. I think it's pretty obvious I'm a big Struthsky fan (along with Lynne Cohen, Candida Hoeffer, Chris Jordan etc). I really like the big, colour modern (post-modern?) work. I've looked closely at Burtynsky's books, I've peered at the big selection of prints that the Art Gallery of Alberta has, I've heard him talk and even buttonholed him afterwards, but somehow the juices just don't flow. In fact the feeling I had after spending quite a while in his show and his well illustrated lecture was... disappointment. I just didn't come away from it excited or moved or full of new ideas (which is how I felt after seeing Gursky and Struth at the Tate Modern for example).

Among all the recent praise there was, unusually, a rather scathing review in the NY Times - The reviewer didn't like Burtynsky's work, but mainly for all the wrong reasons. He was put off by the way Burtynsky will abstract something so you aren't quite sure what it is, or how he will use the same approach to different subjects - which are all approaches well utilised by plenty of other photographers. The closest he actually came to defining his unease was in suggesting that Burtynsky is really "just" a National Geographic photographer with a big camera - but I'm not entirely convinced that it's that either (though I think perhaps he had a kernel of something there).

My biggest difficulty with the work is that it is full of excellent ideas, good concepts - but that's where a lot of it stops - it doesn't go the rest of the way and find something more deeply important, something meaningful - beyond the obvious. It's not clinical like Lynne Cohen's work, but perhaps cool (in the chilly sense of the word), intellectual, but not felt - or at least that is what comes across to me. The work is very contemporary in style, but it's almost too flat, not sharp (punctum) or poignant. I guess I could sum it up by saying I found Burtynsky far more interesting to listen to than I found it looking at his work. He had a few early pieces which were actually quite intriguing but it's almost as if he lost the way after this. The message has taken over, the idea has become the thing - but that's only half of it - the work is missing the rest. The message has become the medium.

Yes, there are certain individual pictures of his that draw me more than others - the oilfield pictures for example - and also some that are individually beautiful. There are others that fascinate for a little while - the scale of the Three Gorges photographs. But I'm still trying to figure out why, when I like so much apparently similar work, I can't quite get hooked by his? Maybe I'm the only one that doesn't get it... So any hints - let me know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Gabriele Basilico

It seems to me that when you think about it, there aren't actually that many contemporary black and white photographers at the top of their game out there. That is, photographers who work with black and white images in a contemporary way, rather than anachronistically replicating a style or approach long since past (the sort of period instrument orchestra or Civil War re-enactment style of photography) - certainly in many ways colour seems predominantly the medium of contemporary photography. But of those contemporary photographers who chose black and white, Gabriele Basilico would certainly be one. An architect turned photographer, concerned (you'd almost have to say obsessed) principally with the urban condition.

If you took something of rigour of the Becher typological approach and gave it a more Mediterranean sensibility, you would probably end up with Basilico. Although alongside the rigour and discipline there is also a lyricism to his work and perhaps the lingering influence of Luigi Ghirri or even Carlo Scarpa .

Basilico's projects have ranged from cross sections of the Italian suburban countryside, to the French Channel coast, to Seaports, to the ruins of Arles, to Berlin and Beiruit. I particularly like his work on the "dustcloud" landscape of the expansion of the Italian suburbs into the countryside and also his take on his home town of Milan.

There are numerous books of his work published. Porti di Mare; L'esperienza dei luoghi; Interrupted City; Italy - Cross-Sections of a Country; Gabriele Basilico Cityscapes and there is a very good little Phaidon 55 book (note, the printing in some of the later Thames & Hudson books isn't always the greatest - by comparison, something like L'esperienza dei luoghi is gorgeous)
"The beautiful hills of Tuscany, the marvelous historical treasures of Florence-the stuff of travel dreams. Gabriele Basilico shows us another aspect of Italy-the suburban sprawl and its highways, single-family homes, store houses, shopping malls, office buildings, sheds, and workshops. His crisp, analytical photographs delve into the fragmented, cluttered structures relentlessly expanding across much of his native country. As a whole, they coalesce into a portrait of Italy today and the conflicts that have shaped it: traditional agricultural society clashing with modern industrial culture, the transformation of social and urban structures by ever increasing and accelerating mass transit, the emergence of new ways of living and building amidst the indifference of political and architectural elites. "If we look carefully at the genealogy of constructions that Basilico has captured, the new urban territories of Italy seem to be the end product of thousands of little, confused tremors in space.""-Stefano Boeri

Monday, January 22, 2007

Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino is one of the most intriguing European writers of the late Twentieth Century. Among his many books, Invisible Cities stands out. It is a short book, only 165 pages long, but to read it properly seems to take a long time. It takes the form of a mythical dialogue between the young Marco Polo and the aging Kublai Khan. Polo weaves fantastical tales of all the cities he has visited in his travels for the ailing emperor: cities and desire, cities and memory, cities and signs, hidden cities, cities and eyes - travelling back and forth through history as well as through different cities - though it eventually becomes clear that all the tales are really about one city and every city.

For anyone who is interested in how we experience our cities today, especially for photographers concerned with trying to describe the modern city, Invisible Cities stretches the imagination in unexpected directions and does so in a very lyrical way. Two other good reads by Calvino are If on a winter's night a traveller with it's ever rotating cast of characters and plots and also Mr. Palomar, who sees the world in a way that will be familiar to many photographers

Invisible Cities is also a book which I would suggest should be mandatory reading for every City Planner...

"Your gaze scans the streets as if they were written pages: the city says everything you must think, makes you repeat her discourse, and while you believe you're visiting Tamara you are only recording the names with which she defines herself and all her parts. However the city may really be, beneath this thick coating of signs, whatever it may contain or conceal, you leave Tamara without having discovered it. Outside, the land stretches, empty, to the horizon; the sky opens, with speeding clouds."
Cities & Signs 1

"If on arriving at Trude I had not read the city's name written in big letters, I would have thought I was landing at the same airport from which I had taken off. The suburbs they drove me through were no different from the others, with the same little greenish and yellowish houses. Following the same signs we swung around the same flower beds in the same squares. The downtown streets displayed goods, packages, signs that had not changed at all. This was the first time I had come to Trude, but I already knew the hotel where I happened to be lodged; I had already heard and spoken my dialogues with the buyers and sellers of hardware; I had ended other days identically, looking through the same goblets at the same swaying navels. Why come to Trude? I asked myself. And I already wanted to leave. "You can resume your flight whenever you like," they said to me, "but you will arrive at another Trude, absolutely the same, detail by detail. The world is covered by a sole Trude which does not begin and does not end. Only the name of the airport changes.""
Continuous Cities 2

"Memory's images, once they are fixed in words, are erased. "Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it. Or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little" "

(The Utopia of Golf from peripheral vision)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Three books by Lee Friedlander

If there is only one photographic genius of the second half of the Twentieth Century it would have to be Lee Friedlander. His way of seeing is unique. His output is prolific, though it never stays stuck on the same path - and he is always exploring new subjects and new ways of looking at them. He appears to have a deep commitment to his projects, which are often pursued over several years. And while I am really drawn into his urban and street photographs, I'm also especially fond of what you might very loosely call his "landscape" work.

Currently there at least three books by Friedlander out that explore the natural rather than the man made world - Stems, Apples and Olives, and Cherry Blossom Time in Japan all of them fascinating books for anyone who also tries to photograph trees and landscapes.

From the publishers blurb on Stems: "In 1994, suffering from aching knees and painfully concerned about it, Lee Friedlander decided to prepare himself for a sedentary life. He began to pursue the still life as a possibility and maybe a way of photographic life—a dramatic shift for a man who has spent his life photographing on the street, …anywhere but sitting down. He tried a variety of subjects with a few good results, but nothing stood out until he began to look at the fresh flowers that his wife Maria placed around their home in cut–glass vases. But nevermind the flowers. True to Friedlander's style, he very quickly found himself most interested in the stems. During the months of February, May, June and December of 1994, he focused his lens on wild arrays of stems and the optical splendor produced by light refracting through the glass vases that contained them."

BTW, Friedlander is a master if the photo book. I think he see it very much as a primary way of presenting his work. In the past he has worked on small run almost hand made editions. The printing in his books is nearly always gorgeous (Factory Valleys is one of the most incredibly printed photo books I've ever seen - I think Friedlander said the prints in the book look better than the originals). These three books are no exception, the printing and presentation is exceptional - and at times somewhat unique. Photoeye has a book tease available for each one - click on the covers:

Chris Jordan - New Work (Yes, but, is it photography??)

Some interesting new work Running The Numbers from Chris Jordan (the rhetorical question "Yes, but, is it photography??" is from Jordan himself posting on the Large Format list. FWIW, as I tend to take a very broad inclusive view of the medium, my response is - yes it is. Though there is an interesting range of comments on the list).

Chris has certainly come a long way - especially in terms of approach - since I first saw an exhibit of his luscious Northwest Rainforest photographs in Seattle back in about 1997?