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August Sander (1876-1964)

August Sander

Sander developed an interest in photography through work in photographic firms in Berlin, Magdeburg, Halle and Dresden, Germany, 1898-1899. In 1901, went to Linz, Germany, where he first worked in Greif Studio, which he ran from 1902 to 1904 with his partner Franz Stukenberg as the Studio Sander & Stukenberg. Founded the Studio August Sander für Kunstphotographie und Malerei, 1904. Sold the studio in 1909 and returned to Cologne, Germany, where he ran the Studio Blumberg & Hermann. Founded his own studio in Lindenthal, Germany, 1910. In 1910 started his major project, “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts”, with which he was involved until the 1950s with an interruption between 1933 and 1939. “Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts” was published in Munich in 1980. Worked mainly on the themes of the Rhine countryside and the city of Cologne, 1933-1939. These photographs were published in book form in 1975. After the demolition of his studio by bombing in 1944, retired to Kuchhausen in Westerwald, Germany, where he carried on his work. Honorary member, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie, 1961. http://www.ftn-books.com has the Phillips publication from 2004 on the Geman Landscape series available.

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Viktor & Rolf….a very special publication

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The Australian exhibition from 2016 was the fundament of the exhibition held at the Kunsthal to celebrate 25 years of fashion by Viktor & Rolf. Even the layout from this exhibition publication was used, but…….extended!

Beautiful and spectacular additions by the worlds best photographers and designers. Contributions by Anton Corbijn,, Cindy Sherman, Herb Ritts, Inez & Vinoodh, showing pieces worn by Madonna, Tilda Swinton and many others. I have seen many books on Fashion , but this is without a doubt one of the most spectecular ones and now available at www.ftn-books.com

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John Szarkowski (1925-2007)

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Perhaps Szarkowski was more know for being curator at MOMA then for being one of the greatest photographers from last century.  Here is part of the text the Guardian place shortly after he had passed away.

Szarkowski was a good photographer, a great critic and an extraordinary curator. One could argue that he was the single most important force in American post-war photography.

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Like all good critics and curators, Szarkowski was both visionary and catalyst. When he succeeded the esteemed photographer Edward Steichen as director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1962, he was just 36, and must have been acutely aware of the long shadow cast by his predecessor. Steichen had curated the monumental group exhibition, The Family of Man, at Moma in 1955, which he described as ‘the culmination of his career”. Featuring 503 images by 273 photographers, famous and unknown, it had aimed to show the universality of human experience: death, love, childhood. The show had drawn huge crowds to the gallery and then toured the world, attracting an estimated 9 million viewers.

It was, as Steichen had no doubt intended, a hard act to follow. “We were different people”, Szarkowski later said, “with different talents, characters, limitations, histories, problems and axes to grind. We held the same job at very different times, which means that it was not really the same job.”

More revealingly, Szarkowski also said that Steichen and his predecessor, Beaumont Newhall, “consciously or otherwise, felt more compelled than I to be advocates for photography, whereas I – largely because of their work – could assume a more analytic, less apostolic attitude.” That difference in approach would prove to be a crucial one, and it underpinned a new photographic aesthetic that continues to shape our view of the world to this day.

When Szarkowski took over at Moma, there was not a single commercial gallery exhibiting photography in New York and, despite Steichen and Newhall’s pioneering work, the form had still not been accepted by most curators or critics. Szarkowski changed all that. He was the right person in the right place at the right time: a forward thinker who was given control of a major art institution at a moment when his democratic vision chimed with the rapidly changing cultural tastes of the time.

Szarkowski insisted on the democracy of the image, whether it be a formally composed Ansel Adams landscape, a snatched shot that caught the frenetic cut-and-thrust of a modern city or a vernacular subject like a road sign or a parking lot. “A skillful photographer can photograph anything well,” he once insisted.

In his still-challenging book, The Photographer’s Eye (1964), Szarkowski included snapshots alongside images by great photographers, and argued – brilliantly – that photography differed from any other art form because its history had been “less a journey than a growth”. “Its movement has not been linear and consecutive but centrifugal,” he suggested. “Photography, and our understanding of it, has spread from a centre; it has, by infusion, penetrated our consciousness. Like an organism, photography was born whole. It is in our progressive discovery of it that its history lies.”

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www.ftn-books.com has the Szarkowski /Josef Albers Museum available

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A Willem Sandberg Xmas card

I found this picture at the Herb Lubalin center who has this in its collection. A very nice and typical Willem Sandberg card to wish you a Merry Christmas in 1958.

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an old wish, but a new one from me….. a Merry Christmas 2021

 

Many Sandberg and Lubalin items are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Nicholas Nixon (1947)

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I specially went to Bottrop to see the Nixon series on the Brown sisters in 2004 and i was not disappointed ( poster available at www.ftn-books.com).

Nicholas Nixon takes intimate, black-and-white photographs of children, the elderly and infirm, and his own family (as well as cityscapes). Best known for his series “The Brown Sisters”, Nixon began taking portraits of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters in 1975, and has continued to photograph them annually since.

 

left  the Brown Sisters in 1980 , right the Sisters in 2019

Influenced by the photography of Walker Evans, Edward Weston, and Alfred Stieglitz, among others, Nixon works with a large-format camera; “For me the print is what matters most. Generally the biggest possible negative has the most clarity, presence, and believability,” he has said. Nixon’s images, which include close-up self-portraits of the artist’s bearded face, manifest the humanistic potential of photography, offering moments of tenderness between individuals, and meticulously capturing the minute details of his subjects.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Carol Huebner-Venezia (1947)

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Carol Heubner-Venezia is represented by  Galerie Heike Curtze, one of the leading galeries in the world, they recognized the qualities of this photographer from the early Nineties until now. Her series of BOXER photographs has become iconic and her works can now be found in all important public photography collections.

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Roughly speaking, Carol Hübner-Venezia shows in her works the fast passing moments of everyday life. For example, since the early 90s Carol Huebner-Venezia has been photographing in Gleason’s Gym (New York). In the oldest and most famous boxing stable in the world, heavyweights such as Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Jake la Motta and Mike Tyson once trained. But Carol Huebner-Venezia shows neither prominent boxing stars nor spectacular wrestling matches. 
Instead, her large-format works reflect the atmosphere of the milieu, they provide insight into training situations and tell of the athletes’ self-image.

In her beach series, for example, her photos show various beaches. In this series, the works depict everyday life on the beach in New Jersey. In front of us, infinite sand expanses open up, interwoven with traces and giving us a sense of loneliness.

http://www.ftn-books.com has the Carol Heubner-Venezia poster for her Josef Albers Museum exhibition available.

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Joachim Brohm (1955)

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I never had seen his photographs. The first time was when i encountered work by Brohm at the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop ( poster available at www,ftn-books.com). I was impressed mand saw similarities with dutch 17th century painter Hendrik Avercamp.

Joachim Brohm was one of the first photographers in Germany to take pictures exclusively in color starting in the late 1970s. “Color lent my pictures credibility in the documentary sense,” he explains, defining at the same time his artistic credo. His approach went against the trend at the time in that it did not exhaust all of the possibilities of color photography: Joachim Brohm challenged omnipresent advertising aesthetics with his photographic naturalism, staged productions with documentation, picture effects with austerity, vibrant, high-contrast colors with his muted tones. As a student, he met with incomprehension from his professors, but photographic role models such as Stephen Shore and Lewis Baltz, who would go on to enjoy world fame, encouraged him to continue on his chosen path. “The Americans presented seemingly trivial scenes, content and context appeared to be missing – many people were unable to make any sense of it.”

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Joachim Brohm brought this approach to a higher level: He combined mostly deserted landscape scenes with his interest in social interaction, turning his photographs into small-scale studies of society. They show how people change the landscape – and how the landscape changes people. He took his photographs of the Ruhr region at a time when theme parks and artificial lakes were being built to help cast off the image of a desolate mining region. Joachim Brohm shows this transition from work to leisure which accompanies the transformation from rural to urban from the perspective of a neutral observer. He sends the viewer on a mystery tour: “I wanted to show people in an environment undergoing change: What do they look like, what are they doing, what activities stand out?”

Joachim Brohm reveals structures in the landscape that would otherwise remain hidden. The camera’s elevated position, which is characteristic of many of his photographs, reinforces the impression of photographic surveillance which he himself describes as “all over”. The absence of a clear focus, and a depth of field that covers the entire image, mean that the individual scenes merge to form a situational snapshot. “The whole picture is the motif – the viewer can choose his or her focal point.” In this way, Joachim Brohm draws our attention to the big picture – with an excellent eye for detail.

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Who is Who ….in Modern Art, version 1995

For those who want a crash course in Modern Art it is sufficient to study the english/ Japanese catalogue RIPPLE ACROSS THE WATER . A  publication  with over 350 pages, published on the occasion of the exhibition with the same name  in 1995. Some names: Francis Bacon, Jan Fabre, Marlene Dumas, de Cordier, Nauman, Pistoletto etc……..

Not only very worth collecting, but also published as an artist book. This makes the publication an absolute ” must have ” for those that take an interest in Modern Art of the last 50 years.

 

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Paul Blanca (1958-2021)

Paul Blanca

Last Saturday dutch photographer Paul Blaca died. His body was worn out after years of drug and alcohol abuse. Without Blanca dutch photography would have been half as interesting as it is now. He was self taught and discovered and explored portrait photography in a very special and own way, transforming it and perfecting it into his preferred form of photography.

the following text comes from the Paul Blanca site:

Paul Blanca (1958) is a Dutch self-taught photographer who started with a Canon F1 and later switched to a 6×6 cm Haselblad camera. In the 80s he created a series of violent self-portraits inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe (1946 – 1989) and Andres Serrano. Mapplethorpe introduced Blanca into the art world to artists like Grace Jones and Keith Haring stating “Paul Blanca is my only competitor”. Mapplethorpe’s favourite was Blanca’s self-portrait ‘Mother and Son’.

Hans van Maanen and Erwin Olaf call Paul Blanca the photographer of emotion. That ties in with his work. His self-portraits run like a thread through his overall work. For some things you can’t ask a model. For example, to hit a nail through someone’s hand. And like the self-portrait Mickey Mouse. In which a smiling Mickey Mouse is carved into his back with a thumb up.

For his series ‘Par la Pluie des Femmes’ women were captured in tears by thinking of their most traumatic experience. When he lived in Spain for 2 years, he stood with his camera at the front of the Spanish bullfighting arena. This resulted in the portfolio Sangre de Toro (Blood of the Bull): silk-screen prints with Bull’s blood.

In the beginning of the 90s he photographed the facial expression of speedball hookers for the series ‘Wit en Bruin’. Speedball is a very dangerous mixture of cocaine with heroin or morphine and has a substantial risk of overdose.

In the series ‘Deformation’ he was inspired by Rob Leer‘s SM scene. Models mutulated by fishline and hanging in the air, supported by the same fishline. This series was made for Amsterdam International Fashion Week (AIFW), in collaboration with fashion designer Hester Slaman, and exposed in Apart Gallery Amsterdam.

With the series ‘Kristal’ and ‘Mi Matties’ he had a double exhibition at Witzenhausen Gallery in 2008. Kristal is a series about the sweet and the bitter in relation with women. Presented in Witzenhausen Gallery Amsterdam in 2008. Mi Matties (my friends) is a series made in one of the neighborhoods of old Amsterdam. The portraits show young men who are presenting themselves as a group, sort of a gang.

In 2014 he created a self-portrait ‘Mother and Son’, 32 years after the first self-portrait, where he carries his mother, just like he carried her to bed for 4 years because she couldn‘t walk.

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Vincenc Kramar (1877-1960)

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Vincenc Kramar (1877–1960) was one of the first collectors worldwide to recognise the importance of Picasso and Braque’s Cubism. Without a doubt, his collection, a substantial portion of which is now held in the National Gallery of Prague, had a profound influence on the development of several decades of Czech Modern art, but most of all the importance of the collection is that Kramar was one of the first to focus on Modern Art , this way buildinh a collection of unprecedented quality. Since his death there were several occasion where his scollection was shown to the public. One of the occsions was at the Museum Boymans van Beuningen in 1968, where the Kramar collection was shown, The beautiful ( typical Sixties ) catalogue is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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