Photography

New York Arts in Paris

Doisneau: Paris Les Halles à l’Hôtel de Ville (version française)

Devant l’Hôtel de Ville l’énorme file d'attente pour cette exposition magnifique des photos de Doisneau atteste qu’il reste toujours un trou des Halles béant dans le coeur parisien. Probablement aucune autre lieu parisien soustrait autant de fascination que la mémoire des Halles, “le ventre de Paris.” Peut-être la différence entre la fermeture des Halles en 1969 et les autres blessures urbaines de cet époque, parmi eux la voie express rive gauche (1967) et la tour Montparnasse (1973), est sa qualité autant psychique que physique. Cette perte avait quelque chose d’intime, une véritable tape au ventre par les fonctionnaires anonymes contre le besoin humain de la nourriture.
Photography

Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More: Photographs and Traveller, a film by Alen MacWeeney (UPDATED, including audio: Traveller Liam Weldon sings “The Blue Tar Road”)

In his important collection of anthropological photography, Robert Gardner made clear the connection between the ethnographer's record of life in western Papua or Ethiopia and the photojournalist's observation of downtown Barcelona or Dallas. Alen MacWeeney's Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More is one further document in this fluid branch of study. The travellers were and still are a constant presence in Ireland, where MacWeeney was born and raised, although, at least in the 1960's when these photographs were made, a largely unseen one—this is, on purpose. A professional need, it seems, sucked Alen MacWeeney into their society, and he remained, to observe and experience it in depth. Now, after some forty years, this experience has been made public.
New York Arts in Italy

Leonard Freed e L’Italia: L’elemento del tempo

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.” (1) Nel rileggere un’intervista rilasciata da Leonard Freed a Nathalie Herschdorfer (2), la mia attenzione si sofferma sulla considerazione che Freed fa rispetto alla connessione tra le sue fotografie ed il tempo: “The thing is I am trying to get into my photographs the element of time” (3). Parole che generano in me una serie di osservazioni in relazione al progetto di immagini italiane al quale proverò a introdurvi nelle pagine seguenti. Dalle interviste e dalle opere di Leonard Freed, emerge come dato di fatto che fu un uomo di poche parole. (4) Sfogliando poi, alcuni dei diari che scrisse durante i numerosi viaggi che lo portarono in Italia tra il 1999 e il 2005 si accredita definitivamente questa teoria. Le considerazioni di Leonard Freed sono sempre coincise, dirette, ironiche e denotano tutta la finezza di osservazione che il suo sguardo ha saputo racchiudere nelle immagini da lui realizzate. Oltre che nei suoi diari di viaggio, che spesso sono delle note, atte a ricordare nomi, incontri, date e conversazioni, il tempo, Leonard Freed, lo ha racchiuso nelle sue fotografie. Interessante, al riguardo, prendere in considerazione alcuni dei bozzetti che disegnò di suo pugno per l’impaginazione del libro su Roma, progetto che per molti anni ha sognato di portare a termine. Mettendo questi in relazione con i provini a contatto stampati e archiviati in ordine cronologico, emerge immediatamente un fattore di rilievo: il progetto editoriale che Leonard Freed aveva intenzione di realizzare aveva come idea di base quella di impostare le immagini secondo la sequenza temporale in cui erano state scattate. Ecco allora che la fotografia diviene diario, narrazione del tempo, scheletro e corpo dei numerosi viaggi e rende al lettore una cronologia appartenuta intimamente all’autore.
New York Arts in Italy

Leonard Freed and Italy: The Element of Time

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.”1 While reading an interview between Leonard Freed and Nathalie Herschdorfer,2 my attention was caught by a comment Freed made on the connection between his photos and time: “The thing I am trying to get into my photographs is the element of time.”3 These words sparked in me a succession of observations on the Italian Images Project, which I will present in the following paragraphs.
A London Summer with Huntley Dent

Diane Arbus at the Tate Modern

Camera obscura. Despite its conversion into the hippest museum in London, the Tate Modern's massive ugly building, unmistakably an old power station, could otherwise be one of Blake's dark Satanic mills. In that guise it's the perfect setting for three rooms lined with photographs by Diane Arbus. There would seem to be nothing new to say, or think, about Arbus's scalding vision. She roamed the ordinary New York of commuters and shoppers, and yet somehow simply to have her eye settle on strangers transformed them.
New York Arts in Australia

Photography and Place at the Art Gallery of NSW

The Australian landscape seems to require photography. The question of who, how, where, how often and why thankfully remains open, at least among the eighteen photographers included in Photography and Place at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Australia, so conflicted about cities, is one of the most urbanized societies on earth, a situation which makes the looming question of the landscape all the more urgent. Wilderness will aways dominate the continent, never allowing settlements to be interspersed as they are in the United States or Europe. The land provokes sentimentality, poetry and bitterness. In the heart of the cities which cling to the coastal fringe, it can seem another universe until a dust storm, fire, flood or the daily violence of the sunlight reminds us of nature’s nonnegotiable and indifferent presence.

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