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Patricia Steur (1948)

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Patricia Steur is practicing photography as a professional since 1980. She followed the life and career of Mink Deville / Willy Deville from up close. She made photographs of my all time favorite artist Willy Deville,for over 3 decades and has published a beautiful book on Willy, which i recently acquired after being on the search for it for many many years. In the book a DVD with some nice, never published Video’s. Here are the ones that are currently available on Youtube . The first i want to share with you is the very intimate Carmelita song he played for his friend Jack Nitzsche, who would die shortly after this recording (2000).

and in my opinion the second is even better: Willy playing “Heaven stood still”

Willy Deville and his acoustic trio live in Berlin 2002.

 

I had to share these because Willy’s music is beautiful , timeless and an almost everyday joy to listen. I hope you enjoy these too.  I know, these are not books , but to return to the books…..i have a very nice book by Patricia Steur available on the many famous peoples she photographed available at www.ftn-books.com and Willy’s music is definitely great art.

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David Redfern (1936-2014)

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David Redfern is best known for his photography of musical performances and musicians.  Here is the biography you can find on his site.

60’s JAZZ

David Redfern’s career began in the twilight jazz clubs of 1960’s London. He risked his one and only camera amongst the jiving teenage crowds. The British Trad boom was under way. His first published photos featured Kenny Ball, Chris Barber, George Melly, and the old Marquee Club.

TV

David began photographing TV Shows like ‘Ready Steady Go’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ which were shot during the day. Here he made many of his now classic shots of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield.

CLUB NIGHTS

Nights were spent at the 100 Club, Ronnie Scott’s or the Marquee, where he captured on film all the jazz greats from Miles Davis to Ella Fitzgerald.

US DAYS

These pictures were to contribute to what is now the most comprehensive jazz collection in Europe. To break into the commercial world by chasing the big American names, David became a regular visitor to the Jazz festivals in Newport, Antibes and Montreux, and the big rock festivals, photographing such greats as Hendrix and Dylan.

FIRST BOOK

By the 1970’s David had firmly established his name as one of the top music photographers in the business. In 1980 Pete Townsend’s Eel Pie Company published David Redfern’s Jazz Album. Lavishly illustrated with many of David’s finest jazz photographs, it was highly acclaimed by critics and public alike. In the same year, at Frank Sinatras request, David stepped into Terry O’Neill’s shoes as official tour photographer.

EXHIBITIONS

In the late ’80s several exhibitions featured the first 25 years:

  • He showed his work along with Lord Lichfield and Lord Snowdon at the Kodak and Royal Photographic Society’s ‘Living Body’ exhibition. Based on the Channel 4 TV series, it was one of the biggest exhibitions ever held by Kodak.
  • In 1990 he was invited to put on an exhibition in Cuba to coincide with the Jazz Festival there.

NOTTING HILL

At the beginning of 1989 David moved his music picture library REDFERNS to new premises in West London, a location now much favoured by the British music industry. The library expanded rapidly. Covering over 26,000 different artists and styles from every musical genre, and representing some 500 photographers and collections, it became the most comprehensive music picture library in the world, with over 205,000 items online.

Redfern is without a doubt a great photographer, artistically he is not the greatest of all his contemporaries, but his photographs are a historical document and must be admired by all who love music. Deavid Redfern books can be found at www.ftn-books.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Klee / Kupka and music

 

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Two totally different painters with a complete different background. Both rose to fame in the Interbellum and booth were very much inspired by music and the rhythm of it.

In a time that exhibitions were developed around a theme. btw. the Spiritual in Art was such an exhibition, one of the most iconic exhibitions of the Eighties was presented in Germany. its name VOM KLANG DER BILDER. An exhibition in which the relation between music , sounds and rhythm and the influence they had on paintings was tried to be explained. It is for certain that music has been of influence to artists and both Klee and Kupka were the artist who made paintings in relation to music . Kupka is perhaps the artist who has been influenced by Music the most, but certainly Paul Klee has become known for his music inspired paintings and drawings.

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Klee perceived a clear visual connection to the structural articulations found in music. Focusing on polyphony and counterpoint, Klee produced his watercolor Fugue in Red in 1921.

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This early attempt to achieve a synthesis between music and art exposes a number of floating forms, either figurative or as abstract derivations. Overlapping shapes float over a two-dimensional surface, with the temporal aspect graphically represented by a gradual shift in color. Moving from the dark background to maximum transparency, the visualized counterpoint combines in a cosmic harmony that reaches towards a new sense of spirituality. Although essentially structural in approach, this painting embodies Klee’s believe in “harmony, autonomy, and universality in humankind.” As a musician and a painter, Klee essentially created a harmonious arrangement that echoes a universal order. www.ftn-books.com has on both artists several publications available.

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David Levinthal (1949) and Henk Tas ( 1948)

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For me David Levinthal is the US equivalent of Henk Tas in the Netherlands. Age difference is only 1 year and both have developed their photography into a form of staged photography where both use little ( plastic) figurines to populate their photographs. Where Levinthal uses baseball , barbie and military figures, Tas uses animals and female figures in a setting strongly influenced by music. http://www.henktas.nl/home.php?kid=1

If you read the text on Wikipedia on Levinthal you realize that these photographs are not made in an easy way. Setting, staging and lightning all need to be perfect for a good photograph.Here is part of what Wikipedia says about Levinthal

His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art,[2] and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He has had solo exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.

Levinthal has produced a diverse oeuvre, utilizing primarily large-format Polaroid photography. His works touch upon many aspects of American culture, from Barbie to baseball to X-rated dolls. He uses small toys and props with dramatic lighting to construct mini environments of subject matters varying from war scenes to voyeurism to racial and political references to American pop culture.

He creates miniature scenarios using shoeboxes, cardboard, and foam core to make miniature offices, hotel rooms, pool halls, foyers and narrow corridors. These shadowy and dark scenes expose the secrecy and intimacy of small spaces. Levinthal is particularly interested in exploring the different emotions that each scene produces, such as reactions to an office corridor in contrast to those to a hospital or a private bedroom. Indeed, there is an inherently voyeuristic aspect to these early works.

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I love both artists and can offer a nice original by Henk Tas in a private sale. For the books on these artists visit www.ftn-books.com where there is the best book on Tas available and the highly collectable Smithsonian catalogue on Levinthal’s photographs.

 

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Annie Leibovitz (1949)

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Annie Leibovitz rose to fame when she published her first photographs in Rolling Stone Magazine. It was there that she met many of the artists who later asked and commissioned her to photograph the covers and inner sleeves for their albums. John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Joan Armatrading, the Rolling Stones and Whoopi Goldberg, all of them asked her to make their photographs and many of these became world famous. Later on in her career she made some unfortunate financial choices and was left with a substantial debt of over 15 million.

In February 2009, Leibovitz borrowed US$15.5 million, after having experienced financial challenges, putting up several houses as well as the rights to all of her photographs as collateral. The New York Times noted that “one of the world’s most successful photographers essentially pawned every snap of the shutter she had made or will make until the loans are paid off,”[and that, despite a US$50 million archive, Leibovitz had a “long history of less than careful financial dealings” and “a recent series of personal issues” including the loss of her parents and the 2004 death of Sontag, as well as the addition of two children to her family, and controversial renovation of three Greenwich Village properties.

This overshadowed her carreer,in the last decade,  but since 2010, her financial situation bettered with the help of Colony Capital. Leibovitz can now breath again freely and do what she is great in doing….making iconic photographs like the ones above. www.ftn-books.com has some publications on Leibovitz available at this moment.

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Anton Corbijn (1955)

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Rightfully world famous now. An excellent photographer and film maker. I am less enthusiastic about his abilities as a designer, but stil his photographs deserve some extra attention by  this blog on art. Because these are not only great photographs, but they also reflect music and their performers through the last 4 decades. Bowie, Jagger, Cobain, Davis and of course U2, name them all and all of them have been before the lens of Anton Corbijn.

 ( all photographs by Anton Corbijn )

Black and white being his favorite way to portray these great artists. As of late he made some movies during the last decade ( the American and A Most wanted man) However, he made his feature film debut with Control, a film about the life of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. It premiered to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival on 17 May 2007. Curtis was a personal friend and it shows in the respectful way he portrayed the singer of Joy Divisison. Because his acquired celebrity status as a photographer, Corbijn has had retrospective exhibitions all over the world and 2 years ago there was a large retrospective on Corbijn in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Since a few years Corbijn took up the art of design. Personally i do not think he is a strong designer, but this is my personal opinion on his designs. There is a new logo by the Municipality of DEN HAAG which was designed by Corbijn and judge for your self.

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Better focus on his photographs….they are very personal, intriguing portraits and they are great!

for some Corbijn titles visit www.ftn-books.com ( stripping girls is made  together with Marlene Dumas)

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Henk Tas and his staged photography

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A dutch master in the art of staged photography is Henk Tas. Inspired by many great classic ( Pop & Rock) songs, he places objects from (his) childhood around him in a special setting and instantly it is recognizable as “HENK TAS”. Definitely a personal signature.

The photograph is taken and then , compared with the original setting, enlarged to enormous proportions. It makes you feel like an intruder in the staged scene, participating in it and encountering the figurines which populate it.

In 2001 the Henk Tas publication “Why me Lord” is chosen for the competition ” BEST VERZORGDE BOEKEN 2001″ and is one of the contenders for Best.

The book called ” WHY me LORD ” is still available at www.ftn-books.com.

This is what the jury said about the book and his staged photography:

Best Dutch Book Design 2001

Henk Tas, photographer and grabber at life’s banquet, belongs to that select band of cultural indefatigables. His work has never been completely in vogue, for reasons difficult to fathom, but never completely out of it either. It was relevant during the days of both staged photography and postmodernism, and went down well in New Age circles too.
The theme of Henk Tas’s work is pop music, with the occasional foray into rock’n’roll and blues. Henk Tas is the Rotterdam cowboy. He is second to none in taking plastic figures, artificial flowers and other generally unsightly accessories and infusing them with life. He is, besides, a great colourist. The staged photographs are exuberant in their hues, their synthetic extras embodying the passion of the professional artiste along with the fame and the impermanence immutably bound up with that passion. A great many photographs by Henk Tas and a text apiece by Els Barents, Roel Bentz van den Berg, Ute Eskildsen and Greil Marcus have been brought together by the book’s designer, Rick Vermeulen.

www address: www.henktas.nl