Daido Moriyama’s Two Cities

When I had first looked at Moriyama’s Okinawa it was to photograph the cover of the book on the ICP copy-stand. The clear, black and white contrast on the cover led me to quickly flip through the book before deeply looking into it. Moriyama’s enticing haziness is what led me to ask my co-worker to look at the book with me, before I abruptly halted the experience to enhance it with some music. It’s very rare that I enjoy a book with music, since I normally feel that music is too distracting, however I felt that the haziness of Moriyama’s photography is what directly led me to looking up a popular shoegaze song to go along with his images. The almost drenched sound of shogaze music seemed to perfectly parallel what Moriyama did with his photographs, and my co-worker and I took a break from our work to appreciate this combination. I looked at his book with awe in a heavy daze of streetlights, rough guitar chords, and a motionless kind of swaying that made me want to visit Okinawa.

Moriyama_Daido_Okinawa002Moriyama_Daido_Okinawa001

I revisited Okinawa to find that I still had a longing to go to there, and for the exact same reasons. I never had any interest to go there before, and I know given the opportunity I still would not go now. However, I became aware of the fact that Moriyama’s book had instilled a sense of longing in me to experience what he had captured in the island he had visited. I tried to see if this same sort of longing would occur to me in Moriyama’s ’71 NY, but I realized it did not. Moriyama’s blurred style was still present in ’71 NY, however because I have already been in New York, I did not feel the same sense of awe as I did for Okinawa. I didn’t imagine the long chords of shoegaze with ’71 N, and instead I imagined myself on the city street that Moriyama photographed, and realized that that was the appeal of the book. I could try to see if I could recognize the images in Moriyama’s blur because I had been there, rather than seeing if I could identify a new place.

Moriyama_Daido_'71NY002Moriyama_Daido_'71NY001

After comparing Moriyama’s two books I realized that the closeness I had felt with one of them was contrasted by the wonder I had for the other. The original appeal of Moriyama’s black and white balanced style led me to enjoy his two books for their balance to me. I was able to romanticize one part of the world with Okinawa, and then appreciate my home with ’71 NY.

-Vidhi Chadha

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Over the past school year, Vidhi has been an ICP Library intern by way of Bergen County Academies’ Senior Experience program. She will be completing her internship this week and preparing for future adventures at New York University. We will miss her so much!

 

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I’m the Station’s night owl tonight, and the Sky is not the limit

I’m the Station night owl tonight, and the Sky is not the limit | that’s because, as a rule and with no exceptions, things always want to flow out in Space

by Emiliano Cavicchi

A view from ISS                                                                                                                                       It is black, but something thicker than black. You could touch it and say it’s almost sliding on your skin, like a fluid. I’m somewhere, fluctuating in one point of the Universe. And in front of me I do see just a total darkness. But then, on my left, a thin line is appearing. God, you can’t understand, long, blue, whitish, slowly increasing towards right as an immense ark, it is designing the gigantic side of a sphere. A ray of light shines, then a kind of silent explosion: the greatness of a Star gives shape to what was just obscurated: the planet Earth, lying down on me, waiting for an interstellar dawn of the Sun.

aDawn001a aDawn002 aDawn003    credits Emiliano Cavicchi via ISS Earth Viewing

Well, I am not with Astronaut Cooper on theEndurance’ spaceship, the main character played by Matthew Mc Conaughey in the recent Cristopher Nolan’s film ‘Interstellar’. And unfortunately I am not even writing from the Space, also if what I described is just what you can see from the International Space Station, the largest artificial satellite with inner microgravity and crews, in low Earth orbit from 1998. But I can turn up my old friend Mac laptop, and just start watching the ‘ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment, a free no-stop live streaming of different cameras mounted on ISS, monitoring Earth. Here at my kitchen table, in Rome, as well as from an internet point in Asia, or somewhere from a pc in the Americas or Africa. Perhaps the Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri, who talked about the Earth photo of 1969 ‘Life‘ cover as the definitive Image’, would be smiling: “Ok. But then, what we can do now with these images, what they do represent ?“.

Towards the Unknown                                                                                                                     Fourty-five years after the Neil Armstrong’s walk on the Moon (1969), and fifty-three after Russian Yuri Gagarin for first orbiting around Earth (1961), on November 12, 2014, European Space Agency’s Rosetta satellite has soft-landed its Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a mission achieved for first time in History. And if Moon landing was in some way introduced by Stanely Kubrick masterpiece 2001 A Space Odissey in 1968, the Rosetta peak was also ‘batpized’ just by Nolan kolossal Interstellar (out just in November 2014).  

A - Unknown copia copia  A - Unknown A - Unknown1  A - Unknown4  A - Unknown5

The 10 year journey of Rosetta began March 2004: European Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from French Guyana, launching then into the Space the ‘comet chaser’. After passed two more asteroids in 2008 and 2011, entered the deep-space hibernation mode in 2011, finally the ‘wake up’ on January 20, 2014, and the delicate ‘Rendezvous with the Comet’.

Animation tracks Rosetta’s journey through the Solar System, using gravity slingshots from Earth and Mars to reach Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Nominal mission’s end is December 2015 – credits: ESA

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It is a new adventurous journey of Exploration to the Unknown. With Survival, our main challenges from the dawn of Humanity. I could follow all the Philae touchdown (even hearing the sound of it) in real-time by Esa websites/social media, along with newspapers and other agencies involved.

c1 5-20-1969 Aerial View of Apollo 11 Saturn V on Transporter  c2 07-16-1969 Spiro Agnew and Lyndon Johnson Watch the Apollo 11 Liftoff   Saturn V on transporter on May 20,1969 (left) Spiro Agnew and Lyndon Johnson watch Apollo 11 liftoff on July 16, 1969 (right) – courtesy Nasa via ‘The Project Apollo Archive’

It was exciting, touching, for the unpredictable situation, for the joy and tension of scientists to see results after years, for the extreme distance of what was happening on a running comet, and just for the question: “what the hell we will see there?”.

c3 - NASA officials and engineers celebrate the Apollo 11 landing as the CBS telecast featuring Walter Cronkite is broadcast on television screens in Mission Control.  c4 Land_on_the_Moon_7_21_1969-repair  c5 08-13-1969  Title New York City Welcomes the Apollo 11 AstronautsCelebrating the Apollo 11 landing at Nasa (left). NYC welcomes Apollo 11 Astronauts on August 1969 (right) – courtesy Nasa via ‘The Project Apollo Archive. ‘My mother holding the Washington Post on Monday, July 21st 1969′ (courtesy Jack Weir, source internet)

Apollo 11 Astronauts swarmed by thousands In Mexico City Parade on September 23,1969 © courtesy Nasa  c6 08-13-1969 The City of Chicago welcomes the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr.      Apollo 11 astronauts swarmed by thousands in Mexico City on September 23, 1969 (left) and welcomed on August 1969 in Chicago (right) – courtesy Nasa via ‘The Project Apollo Archive’

But before Philae kid was trying to approach Ms Comet, the Nasa Rover Curiosity on August 6, 2012 was thrown too into the Unknown. And his landing on Gale Crater of Red Planet Mars is a terrific fully in colours movie:

Curiosity descend to Mars on August 6, 2012 – original Nasa video interpolated and enhanced by Bard Canning, courtesy via youtube

Flashes of Lights and Darkness                                                                                                           “..I see flashes of lights and darkness..” says Cooper in Interstellar, rocketing his spacecraft over Time and Matter just inside Black Hole ‘Gargantua’. He still talks on radio, trying to visually describe his descend to Unknown. Astronaut Bowman (actor Keir Dullea) of 2001 A Space Odissey in his jump ‘beyonde the Infinite’ is overhelmed, almost paralized. But his Eye is just wide shut, he can not avoid to see. We need to code what is Unknown firstable by an Image (or when there is no possibility to see/understand it, by description).

d1 - Odissey1 d1 - Odissey2 d1 - Odissey3 Screenshots by ‘2001 A Space Odissey’ by Stanley Kubrick  

All Photography process is just the same: looking and be impressed by something. Pointing on a subject or landscape, letting light enter in a Camera Obscura, or on digital sensor or on the paper, in Darkroom, and then sliding it in the water. Also Rosetta’s satellite camera can not avoid to look. Just like Cooper and Bowman, as of course it is part of her mission:

d1 -Comet_activity_10_September_2014 Credits ESA-Rosetta-MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS-UPD-LAM-IAA-SSO- INTA-UPM-DASP-IDA d2 -Comet_activity_22_November_2014 Credits ESA-Rosetta-MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS-UPD-LAM-IAA-SSO- INTA-UPM-DASP-IDA d3 - ESA_Rosetta_NAVCAM_141126_montage_hi Credits ESA-Rosetta-NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0d5 - Comet_on_26_September_NavCam Copyright ESA-Rosetta-NAVCAM d6-Comet_on_17_November_NavCam Copyright ESA-Rosetta-Philae-ROLIS-DLR d7-Comet_on_10_December_2014_NavCam Copyright ESA-Rosetta-NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0 d9-Comet_on_18_October_NavCam Copyright ESA-Rosetta-NAVCAM     Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by Rosetta OSIRIS camera, September-December 2014 © 1, 2  ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA © 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Esa made a prior similar mission on March 13, 1986, when Giotto robotic spacecraft mission succeed approaching Comet Halley‘s nucleus at a distance of 370,34 miles (596 km). The following video, is based on the 111 images by Giotto spacecraft pioneering digital camera:

Name came by the Early Italian Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337), who had observed Halley’s Comet in 1301 with naked eye, depicting then it as the Star of Bethlehem in Adoration of the Magi fresco (1303-1305) in Padova, Italy. Three centuries later in Venice, the ‘father’ of scientists Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), improving prototypes of German-Dutch optician Jacob Metius, looks through first ‘Cannocchiale’ (Telescope) at the Celestial Corps, closer than any other at his times.

e1  - Giotto+adoracion copia  e2 - sidereus-nuncius-di-galileo-galilei  e3 - Galileo Galilei displaying his telescope to Leonardo Donato. Date 1754 Author H. J. Detouche Giotto di Bondone ‘The Adoration of the Magi’, Cappella Scrovegni, Padova, Italy, 1305 (left), extract from Galileo Galilei‘s ‘Sidereus Nuncius’, 1610, Venezia (center), ‘Galileo displaying his telescope to the Doge of Venice’ H. J. Detouche, 1754 (right)

Today ‘AstroPhotography’ is practiced both by passionates both by professionists: the sharpest and biggest image ever taken, the Andromeda galaxy at 2.5 million light years from Earth, has just been realized by Hubble Space Telescope, launched by Nasa and Esa into Earth orbit in 1990. The image is 1.5 billion of pixels, you need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image.

e4 - Halley's_Comet,_1910c  Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy © Nasa  e6- C_2014-Q2-_Lovejoy__120.000secs_Empty_2x2_25jan2015Halley’s Comet taken June 6, 1910, courtesy The Yerkers Observatory (left). Andromeda Galaxy by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, courtesy NASA/ESA, J. Dalcanton & B. F. Williams & L. C. Johnson (University of Washington, USA), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler (center). Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy -discovered on Aug 2014 by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy- on Jan 25, 2015, by The Virtual Telescope Project, Ceccano (FR), Italy (right)

Endurance & Aurora                                                                                                                                But before the undetermined not-so-far future of Interstellar, there was another ‘Endurance’ ship ready to leave. A Norwegian wood of 348tons gross, chosen by the Anglo-Irish Commander Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874–1922) to embark his 28 men crew for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917).

g1 - Map of Weddell Sea and the route of the Endurance, Shackleton expedition, 1914-1916, 2 copia  g2 - In the pride of her youth [the Endurance breasting the Antarctic ice-packs at the outset of the Shackleton expedition, 1914-1916, 2 copia  g3 - The Endurance in young sea-ice during the Shackleton expedition, 1914-1916] copia The route of the ‘Endurance’ in Weddell Sea and to South Georgia island (left). The ‘Endurance’ breasting the Antarctic ice-packs (center). The ‘Endurance’ in early sea-ice (right) Photographer: Frank Hurley, 1914-1916, courtesy National Library of Australia

After Norwegian Roald Amundsen‘s South Pole conquest (1911), Shackleton purpose was to be the first to cross about 1,800 miles (2,900 km) of Antarctica, from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. To support this challenge, The Ross Sea Party formed by British Captain Aeneas Mackintosh (1879–1916) and his men boarded on Aurora’ ship, would have been preparing supply depots along the South polar route established by earlier Antarctic expeditions, like Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912).

g4 - The returning sun [and the Endurance, Shackleton expedition, 7 August 1915 copia g5 - A midnight sunset and the Endurance in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton expedition, ca 22 February 1915 copia g6 - Entrapped at the head of the Weddell Sea, desperate efforts were made to free the ship, these were of no avail, because the ice froze together as quickly as it could be cut away copiaEndurance in pack ice on 7 August 1915 (left), a midnight sunset and the Endurance in the Weddell Sea (Feb 22, 1915). Looking for a passage in the ice in the Weddell Sea, 1914 c.a (right) Photographer: Frank Hurley, courtesy National Library of Australia

But the Endurance mission not even started. The ship became trapped then swallowed by pack-ice in Weddel Sea border, forcing Shackleton crew to escape by camping on the sea-ice first and then reaching by lifeboats the inhabited island of South Georgia, a stormy journey of 720 miles.

g7 - Two men with an instrument on a tripod under the stern of the snow-covered Endurance trapped in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton expedition, July 1915 copia g8 - A boat was lowered for the shore, ringing cheers greeted its approach, a terrible chapter in our lives was drawing to a close copia g9 - Frank Hurley close to HMS Endurance trapped in Antarctic pack ice Author  Frank Hurley, February 1915 copia Men with an instrument on a tripod under the stern of the snow-covered Endurance, July 1915 (left). The James Caird sets out for Elephant Island (center). Frank Hurley close to Endurance trapped in pack ice (right) Photographer: Frank Hurley, courtesy National Library of Australia

Despite various extreme misfortunes, disputes and ultimately the death of three of its members including Mackintosh, the Ross Sea party instead achieved its mission. But vainly, as they were not aware of the fate of Endurance.

Lost Roll of Antarctica                                                                                                                            A century later the stories of all these men, on December 2013, the not-for-profit organisation New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust, responsible for the conservation of five historic sites in the Ross Sea region, discovered a box in expedition photographer Herbert Ponting (1870-1935) darkroom, in Captain Scott last base at Cape Evans, in the west side of Ross Island in Antarctica. A small treasure of twenty-two clumped together cellulose nitrate negatives were hidden in.

NZAHT1 Cellulose nitrate negatives found blocked together copia  NZAHT3 Examining the negatives copiaCellulose nitrate negatives found blocked together (left), then the Silver gelatines negatives examinated (right) © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Removed from Antarctica, the negatives were brought in New Zealand, for a detailed restore treatment. Although if damaged, never seen before Antarctic images were recognized by the Trust: landmarks around McMurdo Sound and portraits of Alexander Stevens, chief scientist and geologist of Ross Sea Party, visible in two images of the Lost Roll, support that they came just from the 1914-1917 Aurora expedition.

NZAHT4 Sea and glacier, McMurdo Sound copia NZAHT5 Flat sea ice, McMurdo Sound copia NZAHT6 Big Razorback Island copia Sea and glacier, McMurdo Sound (left) flat sea ice, McMurdo Sound (center) Big Razorback Island, off the west side of Ross Island (right) © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Also if identity of photographer remains unknown, it is thought to be Ross Sea Party photographer and chaplain, Arnold Spencer-Smith (1883-1916). Chemists, naturalists, physicians, geologists were sent on these missions for studying the new lands and human reaction in the environment, as well as photographers, in charge about the important need of making all these challenges public, with visual documents proving expedition results.

NZAHT7 Iceberg and land, Ross Island copia NZAHT8 Lost Roll002 copia NZAHT9 Looking south along Hut Point Peninsula copiaIceberg and land, Ross Island (left) Alexander Stevens on ‘Aurora’ ship looks south (center) with Hut Point Peninsula of Ross Island in the background (right) © Antarctic Heritage Trust

Then, getting impressive and engaging images of new far-away lands and heroic events could generate profitable incomes too, in a time when a photo was not easily to be made like today. Australian James Francis “Frank” Hurley (1885 – 1962), among to be a filmmaker, official photographer in Endurance mission, various Antarctica expeditions and with Australian forces in wartimes, was also a succesfull producer of postcards, touristic and advertising materials in Australia (sometime also using staged and darkroom manipulation to realize his images).

NZAHT10 Alexander Stevens on the Aurora copia NZAHT2 Lost Roll contacta copia    fa52c4df48e904937c399ed1d0de53a3 Chief scientist and geoligist Alexander Stevens on the Aurora ship (left), Contact sheet with various negatives (center) © Antarctic Heritage Trust. Andrej Tarkovsky’s 1972 ‘Solaris’, Original Soundtrack cover (right)

Anyway, he, as many other fellow photographers, chosen Documentary Photography, ready to go and take images of never seen before, extreme places, surely called by a wish for exploring too. Photography can be a tool, like all arts, to push us facing the Unknown and giving a shape of it. Over the ghostly view of men passed years to last in the worst conditions, cut off, almost forgotten in the polar night, these Lost Roll visions are lunar, not-from-Earth landscapes, fascinating, basically timeless, touching a feeling of ‘Alien-by-Me‘ alongside with a sense of ‘terrible Beauty’, as I personally experience too, in some places photographing during far or close travels. As well as looking at Hurley images, Rosetta photos, or when in Interstellar Cooper lands on the Water World in a remote galaxy, recalling also the ocean living planet of Andrej Tarkovsky’s milestone Solaris (1972).

Nzb -Unknown Antarctic1   NZAHT13 - interstellar-movie    Unknown photographer and subject in supposed Antarctica beginning 1900s expedition (left), source Internet.

New Explorers and the Beauty of Space                                                                                               If Cooper attempt in Interstellar is just going off the Earth more far-away than any others, Astronaut Ryan Stone (actress Sanda Bullock), at her first Space mission just struggles with all herself to be back on Earth, after destruction of her shuttle and even of International Space Station, in the movie of Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity’, out in 2013. A very feminine, almost maternal, feeling fully togehter with the primordial Survival instinct, crosses all the story.

 xBk4dOK  Our_ecosystemESA:NASA Description A view of our planet from the ISS taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during his six-month Blue Dot mission in 2014. Planet Earth ecosystem view by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst during ‘Blue Dot mission’ on ISS in 2014 (right), credits:ESA/NASA.

 Just now another woman is at her first mission in ISS: the Italian Air Force pilot and engineer, Esa Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (born in Milan 1977). Following first Astrounaut from Italy on long term on ISS, Esa Major Luca Parmitano (‘Volare’ mission, 2013), ‘AstroSamantha’ is the third European woman on Space, and first from her country, departing from Earth on November 23, 2014 for a full six-months mission.

o5-Discovery as seen from ISS o6 - New3a Cristoforetti copia o7-Hanging out with our crew Life is busy up here, it’s nice when we get a chance to hang out all together! GreatFriends Credits ESA-NASAo8-Hello Venice from space! I have flown in the area many times, but never quite as high. Credits ESA-NASA  o9-Luca Parmitano  Waiting for a target… (2-2)    Discovery shuttle as seen from ISS, 2011 (left top) credits: Paolo Nespoli, ESA/NASA. ‘Futura mission’ and ‘ISS’ crew (right top), Venice, Italy, from space (left) credits: 2014 Samantha Cristoforetti/ESA/NASA. Luca Parmitano on ISS, June 2013 © ESA/NASA (right)

She is now almost a celebrity not only in her country, with a Twitter/FB account who she updates regularly with amazing photos and stories took just by the ISS, also because her mission ‘Futura’ is just began on the 50ies anniversary of Esa birth (1964).

o10-First spacewalk for an ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter (DE) performed the first spacewalk by an ESA astronaut during the ESA-Russian Euromir 95 mission to the Mir space station (3 September 1995 to 29 February 1996)  spaceinvaders  o12-The latest arrival Soyuz TMA-11M Credit ESA-NASA First spacewalk for an ESA astronaut, Thomas Reiter (DE), during the ESA-Russian ‘Euromir 95′ mission to the Mir Space Station, credits: ESA/NASA (left). ‘Spaceinvaders’, credits: Samantha Cristoforetti/ESA/NASA (center). The latest arrival Soyuz TMA-11M, on Dec 2013, credits: Luca Parmitano/ESA/NASA (right)

o13-Giant-solar-flare-The-Solar-and-Heliospheric-Observatory-(SOHO)-was-monitoring-it-all.-The-ultraviolet-telescope-captured-the-climax-of-activity-on-4-November-2003-Credit-ESA-NASA o14-ISS and the Docked Space Shuttle Endeavour flying at an altitude of approximately 350 km, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking. Credits ESA-NASA o16-Hybrid solar eclipse-credits Eclipse-SWAP composite by Daniel B. Seaton, Royal Observatory of Belgium Eclipse image by Allen Davis and Jay Pasachoff, Williams College Eclipse Expedition SWAP image courtesy PROBA2-Royal Observatory of Belgium-ESA c     Giant solar flare, credits: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, Nov 4, 2003 (left). ISS and the docked Space Shuttle ‘Endeavour’ by astronaut Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 (center) credits: ESA-NASA. Hybrid solar eclipse (right) © credits Eclipse-SWAP composite by Daniel B. Seaton, Royal Observatory of Belgium Eclipse image by Allen Davis and Jay Pasachoff, Williams College Eclipse Expedition SWAP image courtesy PROBA2-Royal Observatory of Belgium-ESA

And we are now entered in 2015, proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, hopefully the begin of a new great Space era too. Also just to recall us that over a Streaming on internet, over a photograph of Space, something is really out there, to be discover. So, may this year be full of flashes, darkness and colours, for all the damned blessed explorers in the World and over, stubbornly looking for their Unknown, whatever that Unknown is for them…Aye!

Emiliano Cavicchi  http://emilianocavicchi.com/

o3-the International Space Station is seen from Space Shuttle Discovery as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation near the end of the STS-119 mission in March 2009 Credit NASA (S119-E-010500)                           ISS seen from Space Shuttle Discovery in March 2009 Credit NASA

o4-The remains of a star gone supernova  Credits ESA-Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement Claude Cornen The remains of a star gone supernova Credits ESA-Hubble & NASA, acknowledgement Claude Cornen

REFERENCES / LINKS                                                                                                                  Essay’s title from Samantha Cristoforetti’s diary aboard International Space Station, during her current ‘Futura’ mission http://outpost42.esa.int/logbook/

United Nations International Year of Light 2015 www.light2015.org/Home.html

Samantha Cristoforetti ESA page: http://samanthacristoforetti.esa.int/

ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment live streaming www.ustream.tv/channel/iss-hdev-payload/theater

International Space Station website www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/

European Space Agency www.esa.int/ESA

Esa Rosetta http://rosetta.esa.int/

Nasa www.nasa.gov/

Nasa Mars Laboratory www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html

(thanks Hourafloyd)

– Photos from on-line Public Archives:  

Apollo Mission Image Archive www.apolloarchive.com/apollo_archive.html                

Esa Images Archive www.flickr.com/photos/europeanspaceagency/

Esa ‘Volare’ mission Image Archive www.flickr.com/photos/volaremission/

– Science & Astrophotography:  

On Galileo Galilei life and his contributions in Science: http://www.space.com/15589-galileo-galilei.html  /  www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/224058/Galileo

The Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano (FR), Italy http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/ 

Hubble SpaceTelescope www.spacetelescope.org/ 

Andromeda Galaxy image with zoom tool  www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1502a/

– About the Antarctica Lost Roll and activity of ‘New Zeland Antarctic Heritage Trust':  The New Zeland Antarctic Heritage Trust website www.nzaht.org/, Facebook Official Page: https://www.facebook.com/Antarctic.Heritage.Trust

– On Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition:

south Shackleton, Ernest (2002). South: The story of Shackleton’s 1914–17 expedition (originally published 1919) Penguin Books  Scott Polar Research Institute – University of Cambridge www.spri.cam.ac.uk/library/pictures/catalogue/itae1914-16/

National Library of Australia | Pictures Collection www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/pictures

9780642276988  Ennis, Helen (2010). Frank Hurley’s Antarctica. Canberra: National Library of Australia

– Films quoted in essay:

2001 A Space Odissey’ by Stanley Kubrick, 1968 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001:_A_Space_Odyssey_%28film%29                                                               

Solaris’ by Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_%281972_film%29

Gravity’ by Alfonso Cuarón, 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_%28film%29 

Interstellar’ by Christopher Nolan, 2014 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_%28film%29

o18-Saturn’s shadows This image was first published on the NASA Cassini website, in 2005.  Credit NASA-JPL-Space Science Instituteo19-Titan, Epimetheus and Saturn's rings The Cassini spacecraft, part of the NASA-ESA-ASI Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn Credit NASA-JPL-Space Science Institute (PIA08391)o20-Practicing offset grapples With Dragon arriving next weekend, we have a busy week ahead of us. Credits ESA-NASAo21-Ringside with Dione The Cassini spacecraft took this view of Saturn’s moon Dione in October 2005. Credit NASA-JPL-Space Science Institute Saturn’s shadows (left1) Titan, Epimetheus and Saturn’s rings (2) Samantha Cristoforetti on ISS, credits: ESA-NASA (3) Ringside with Dione Cassini spacecraft took this view of Saturn’s moon Dione (4) 1, 2, 4 credits: NASA-JPL-Space Science Institute

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ICP Library’s Book Cover Project

Have you heard any buzz yet about ICP’s forthcoming website?

In December the developers asked us to explore the possibility of getting really visual with our library collection, and we jumped at the opportunity.

Web art connoisseurs are already really used to seeing beautiful images of art in cultural organizations. We in ICP Library recognize that these items that delight us with their informational value also are aesthetic objects, and so stay tuned for a new way of seeing the library no matter where you are.

To celebrate, this week we will be launching a weekly trivia game for the photobook cognoscenti…a detail of an important photobook cover will be presented on our Twitter feed @ICPLibrary and those submitting correct answers will qualify for a monthly drawing to receive a thoughtful gift from us. One winner per month.

So, follow us on Twitter, or look for #ICPLphotobookT [ICP Library photo book trivia] and try your skill!

We will post the new clue each Wednesday and reveal the answer the following Friday. Like the New York Times crossword puzzle, we will aim to make them progressively more challenging.

The first mysterious sample is below.

detail2

 

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2014 Lab Experiments in the ICP Library

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As you may know, I am proud that ICP Library is that it is a laboratory for experimentation, production and performance!

2014 was the fourth year that the ICP/Bard MFA students embedded in the library for a class that is an exuberant exchange of information and inspiration.

What I learned is what the MFA artists want to know and are thinking about; while they got some hints and tricks from librarianship’s bag of tricks, and, particularly, learned to target their research towards the archives, libraries and museums that will best provide for their particular discovery.

The class concluded with them performing a research query for the class and presenting a “book of books,” a snapshot of what they were currently consulting as they moved into their thesis season [now], culminating in a book and a solo exhibition.

The books of books are great windows into the intellectual gestation period of a creative endeavor. I know from experience that some of this will look like a well-ordered path to what I will see in the Long Island City studios of the MFAs starting next Thursday, and some will bear only a glancing resemblance.

The Class of 2015 really showed their intelligence and fearlessness about innovative bookmaking for this assignment. They had a free hand on format and content, and results were playful and provocative. Of course, I knew that they could do this, because they had studied with Victor Sira of Book Dummy Press the previous semester, and had made an impressive showing at their table in the September 2014 New York Art Book Fair.

Anna Ekros printed a broadside of books. You can view it below by clicking the link that says “anna.” This was a perfect response to the assignment, as they had studied books of books in our current window display Photobibliomania and its “catalog” was a broadside.

Tracie Williams presented an ersatz FBI file, with her name stenciled on the outside in humongous letters and all kinds of ephemeral “evidence” within.

Joseph Costa’s book was a spiral-bound notebook, with key bibliographic references and inspirations, and plenty of room for him to inscribe upon it as he works on his thesis [an artist book that is literally a notebook].

Stephanie Colgan, wanting to get out of the studio and make photographs, walked out around her neighborhood with a backpack of her key books and handed them out to neighbors, making portraits of them reading them.

Marisa Sottos made a catalog of the books, photographed romantically in still lives that looked like product photography, and a smaller book that was a screen grab of her music play list.

Kat Shannon, who works in the eminent bookstore, Dashwood Books, selected key works that inspired her a book that was spare and modernist.

Beau Torres and Marie Louise Omm teamed up to make a call-and-response work of inspirations that beautifully documents the way this class of artists communicates…as a stack of leaves on a clipboard.

Esther Boesche’s book was made on an ICP photocopier, on hand-trimmed 11 X 17 paper that she punched out and spiral bound by hand, each text a palimpsest on a single page composed of all of the text of the work [so articles are translucent and books mostly opaque black ink], and the title says it all: “Things I did not read in Grad School.”

Artist scholar Jess Thalman’s book was a beautiful object with poetic side-ling glances at books, tactile as thoughtfully edited as sewn.

Daniel Terna’s was playful: creating a kind of conversation between cell phone sticky notes and notebook jottings…like some of the students who have done this project, ideas and information were the material he was gathering, not actual books.

Kimberly Wade’s work had a lot of emphasis on the detective-like journeys that her MFA has taken her on, some about understanding cultural touchstones, as this one was about music. It was presented as an e-book.

I was pleased to notice how many works alluded the importance of music as a resource and inspiration. I was less surprised that films were cited, and that digital media, community and activism were at the heart of much what I saw. I was delighted how many of the students experimented with analog forms of materials: one book is a clipboard, one a folder, one notebook, etc.

For more about the ICP/Bard MFA students, check out their blog, Eye to Eye.

For more information about the ICP/Bard MFA Program, check our website.

Anna

 

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Parallel Universe: Tokyo Through Western Eyes

A smile crossed my face as I read an article by Amy Chozick in The New York Times travel section about her recent trip to Tokyo. How could she know so well those feelings of familiarity, yet otherworldliness that I experience every time I go to Tokyo – a place I’ve taken to calling a parallel universe? Always upon arrival in Tokyo, I’m temporarily fooled by all the recognizable trappings of western consumer culture: late night convenience stores, coffeehouse chains that serve lattes and cappuccinos, familiar global brand boutiques, and vending machines on every corner. Yet, that sense of the familiar quickly vanishes as it is replaced by the recognizable filtered through the bizarre and then reintroduced as the recognizable. All is familiar, yet all is not. The convenience stores, along with standard junk food offerings, also sell delicious onigiri seaweed and rice snacks; in the coffeehouse chains I ask for my café latte “hotto”; and in the fashion boutiques my western body barely fits into the clothing. And this is just the beginning. Dig deeper and it gets even less familiar. Not just the outward consumer trappings and physical disconnect of always requiring either Google maps or a business card with a map to find a Japanese address, or having to look upward for shops on the 2nd and 3rd floors, but inevitably the social interactions too. As a native New Yorker, I never anticipate polite checkout encounters when I shop. I expect to have my purchases thrown at me and the change dropped on the counter. No surprise, in Japan my purchases are carefully wrapped and handed to me with both hands, as if being offered a gift; same for the return of my credit card or change. Truly, we are a long way from home.

And then add to the mix, my late night meet-ups with Japanese photography and photobook friends where I find myself squeezed into a basement izakaya or 6-seat narrow bar in one of Tokyo’s raucous entertainment districts. Where else – in between shots of whisky or bites of delicious flesh picked from a plate containing a fish head – would I have the pleasure of being told by my slightly inebriated Japanese friends that I must buy a certain photobook by an up-and-coming young photographer? (And yes, I inevitably buy it and yes, they were right.) These are all symptoms of parallel universe syndrome, a slightly off-kilter condition that doesn’t propose to derive from a deep scholarly analysis of Japanese culture and is admittedly rife with clichés – unavoidable when visiting Tokyo.

I am not alone in succumbing to this affliction. Quite a few western photographers have produced books that explore various views of parallel universe syndrome… with many probing beyond superficial observations. Some take what I would like to call a “carnivalesque” approach that catalogues the uncanny disconnects of western standards as filtered through quirky and infantilized interpretations of Japan. If not careful, these images can veer towards a shallow Orientalism that highlights a trite depiction of the exotic. But if done well, a carnivalesque perspective can be used to examine daily life and social interactions. Books such as William Klein’s Tokyo (1964), Paul Graham’s Empty Heaven: Photographs from Japan 1989-1995 (1995), and Pawel Jaszczuk’s Salaryman (2009) take the standard clichés as starting points in explorations that move beyond the clearly observable.

At the other extreme are photobooks by western photographers that undercover the deviant and liberatory behaviors that reflect rips in the Japanese social fabric. Bruce Gilden’s Go (2000) is such a book, with its images of sex-workers, transgender performers, bosozoku motorcycle gangs, yakuza, subversive youths, and homeless street people. Gilden’s images reveal the side of Japanese society that is not in plain view – the marginalized and disenfranchised.

In between these two perspectives are photobooks by western photographers that mix and match both conceptually and visually upon the carnivalesque and marginalized. Some create the mélange in an emulative visual style, while others juxtapose images of uncanny Japan next to degenerate Japan – leaving the viewer the task of sorting out the clichés and contradictions. Jacob Aue Sobol’s I, Tokyo (2008) and Andre Príncipe and Marco Martins’ Tokyo Diaries (2009) are mix and match crossover photobooks, offering up a smorgasbord of both the carnivalesque and the degenerative underbelly to varying degrees in both content and aesthetic style. The results are a complex and clearly western commentary on Japan that embraces cliché and deep exploration in equal parts.

More recently a few books by westerners have transcended the barriers implicit in a “gaijin” perspective. Sumimasen (2014) by IPG Project (Tamara and Yoshi Kametani) is a good example. As a genuine synthesis of a Japanese aesthetic with Japanese content, this Slovakian (Tamara) and Chinese-Japanese-American (Yoshi) creative team take the avant-garde aesthetic of the deviant underbelly and show how it has merged with the carnivalesque to become mainstream via our current Internet-everywhere culture.

What follows is a book-by-book discussion of the parallel universe themes that are mentioned above:

The Carnivalesque 

I have to agree with David Campany’s 2009 review of William Klein’s Tokyo (1964), which refers to it as one of his favorite Klein city books – a book that he “takes down from the shelf most often.” Less well known than its predecessor New York (1956), Tokyo is a big book that requires a table for viewing. Yet, it is far from a coffee table book. Rich inky gravure images of modernized Japan are on view in Klein’s trademark compositions of full bleeds and gridded sequences. Every imaginable modern meets traditional Japanese cliché is presented: an overcrowded subway car with salarymen, grandmother in kimono with granddaughter in western garb, dense Tokyo streets with a mix of Japanese and English signage, street festivals, baseball players and traditional bathhouses. It is the carnivalesque or uncanny approach of the familiar as it intersects with a western view of quirky Japan. But, in the case of Klein, who has been cited by numerous postwar Japanese photographers as an influence, the depiction of the everyday doesn’t get stuck within the narrow confines of simplistic voyeurism. Through Klein’s aggressive and critical eye, the Japanese woman in a beauty parlor chair getting a western-style 1960’s beehive hairdo is a lesson in social commentary.
ICP call number: TR820.5 .J3 .K54 1964

Paul Graham, Empty Heaven: Photographs from Japan 1989-1995 (1995) is a collection of color images that probe subconscious themes below the surface. Keenly aware of the clichéd images that have populated many travelogue depictions of Japan, Graham photographs the mundane in a quest to reveal shared social disquiet within the Japanese psyche. His photographs of fragmented signage and women holding their hands close to their faces are juxtaposed with everyday objects such as a sugar bowl, car engine or diapers on a nondescript windowsill. As Graham states in the interview text that accompanies the book, “…Japan [is] a society which has a traumatic recent history… yet on the surface seems to reflect a huge collective amnesia.”[1] But, in showing this collective subconscious amnesia, Graham stays far away from the repeated and sanctioned historical refrain of victimization. Instead he shows the daily trappings of a bubble economy (1986-1991) Japan that uses a cheerful kawaii aesthetic to obscure the shadows of a barely hidden collective wound.
ICP call number: TR647 .G73 1995

When I first saw Pawel Jaszczuk’s Salaryman (2009) zine-like book at the New York Art Book Fair several years ago, I was immediately drawn to it… and this worried me. Superficially, it has all the outward signs of a trite Orientalism. Its images of wasted and drunken salarymen fulfill many of the worst clichés about the “soul-sucking” existence of Japanese office culture. But as I looked further, past the hand screen-printed ornate Japanese paper cover with tidy white obi, I found that the black-and-white images within were teasing me with their nod towards Orientalism. Technically, Jaszczuk’s photographic compositions are extremely western – leading lines, rule of thirds and a conscious symmetry. This fueled my initial concern  that the splayed and drooling salarymen in this book could be the work of a bemused tourist sympathetically looking at a parallel universe, where all is familiar and all is not. But, upon closer inspection, I realized that Salaryman is actually a very clever book and that Jaszuczuk is fully aware of the highly charged visual language in use – this is a case of Orientalism employed as an aesthetic device within the carnivalesque.
Unavailable at the ICP Library. Published by Morel Books

The Marginalized

Bruce Gilden takes delight in unearthing the seamier and marginalized side of life. In Go (2000), a completely immersive book bound by sensually embossed red covers devoid of text, Gilden presents full-bleed depictions of the prostitutes, yakuza and societal rejects that populate Tokyo’s underbelly. While these photos are depressing and unnerving, they are also addictively engaging. In one spread, an aging sex worker with breast exposed is shown opposite a photo of a dog’s anus. Another spread juxtaposes a typical middle class couple at leisure with a toothless woman whose skirt is hiked overhead. Raw black-and-white street photography images are mixed with full color and red monochrome pages from Japanese manga (comics). Visually, this is a beautiful book, which seems like a counter-observation given that many pages show bloodied and scarred heads.
ICP call number: TR680 .G55 2000

The Carnivalesque / Marginalized Hybrid

Upon first look, Danish photographer Jacob Aue Sobol’s I, Tokyo (2008) feels very familiar. His black-and-white full-bleed images, taken in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, immediately suggest Daido Moriyama’s daily photographic walks and blurry high-contrast street aesthetic. But, like my initial impression of Jaszczuk’s Salaryman above, I also find in I, Tokyo a more nuanced and layered view beyond an emulative one-liner. Sobel, who lived in Tokyo with his girlfriend for 18 months during 2006-2007, felt quite isolated upon his arrival. Like Moriyama, he took to wandering the streets with his camera, focusing on the liberatory practices and marginalized lifestyle of those working in Shinjuku’s seedy entertainment districts. Visually, the resulting images are a melange: some feel quite western, while others suggest the theatrical composition of a Hosoe nude or the disarmingly close perspective of a Tomatsu portrait. I, Tokyo is a crossover book in the best sense. Sobel mixes an innate Scandinavian detachment with a foreigner’s desire to learn more about his new home – befriending many of his photographic subjects and in the process gaining a brief glimpse beyond a limited tourist perspective of Japan. The result is a complex examination of Japanese culture through images that juxtapose a plate of noodles with exposed pubic hair; and a splayed semi-nude man on a discarded Budweiser banner. Is he drunk? Is he sunbathing? Is this just another example of quirky Japan or a deviant activity at the fringes of the socially acceptable? We are not sure – and that uncertainty is where I, Tokyo succeeds.
Unavailable at the ICP Library. Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing.

André Príncipe and Marco Martins’ Tokyo Diaries (2009) reads as part travelogue, and part documentary narrative on postwar Japanese photography. As the documentary images associated with Traces of a Diary, a film by Príncipe and Martins that explores the diaristic practices of seminal Japanese photographers such as Araki, Takuma Nakahira, Kohei Yoshiyuki, Hiromix and Daido Moriyama, Tokyo Diaries is a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at the Tokyo photo world and the process of filmmaking itself. Visually, this book forms a strong connection with the are-bure-boke Provoke aesthetic being documented. Photographs of parallel universe tourist experiences – sleeping salarymen on crowded Tokyo subway cars, ubiquitous vending machines, and small back alley noodle shops – are interspersed with images of Moriyama, Araki and Nakahira going about their photography routines. First impressions of this book as a simple travelogue are deceptive. As one digs deeper into the photos of Príncipe and Martins engaging in various Tokyo meet-ups, the initial documentary narrative gives ways to a more layered reading of both the filmmakers and their subjects. Through third-person encounters the book expands and offers up a wider view of Japanese society as seen via the filmmakers’ dialogue with well-known Japanese photographers. Príncipe and Martins are photographing the Japanese, but the Japanese are photographing them, too. The book begs the question, “Who really is under scrutiny here?”
Unavailable at the ICP Library. Published by Pierre von Kleist Editions.

Gaijin Transcendence

Sumimasen (2014) by IPG Project (Tamara and Yoshi Kametani) is a wonderfully sly book with unassuming pink covers that uses a Hello Kitty kawaii aesthetic to transcend a standard-fare gaijin perspective. Addressing issues of privacy, Sumimasen is a collection of snapshots of Mayura, a webcam pornstar whose entire life is on view 24/7 for her subscribers via 4 home cameras that stream her every movement. Superficially reminiscent of mid-1990s “girl photographer” (onna no ko shashinka) self-portrait nudes that were regularly criticized for their narcissistic bent, IPG’s photos of Mayura succeed by going beyond a clichéd reading. In Sumimasen, they use a nuanced and conceptually grounded aesthetic to explore marginality and its blurred existence within a newly defined public and private space. In the past, porn clubs were easily identifiable and always quietly out of view. Now porn is everywhere, no longer relegated to a sex club. Through the Internet, the marginalized is mainstream – deviancy mixes with the commercial everyday. And Mayura is a prime example. We see her nondescript girlish apartment with its stuffed animals, Hello Kitty paraphernalia and excess cardboard packing boxes. We see her going about her daily routines: shopping for food and eating instant noodles. But we never see her face. Instead she always wears a Hello Kitty mask to obscure her identity and bring forth questions of privacy and identity. The mask acts as a metaphor for tatemae (public behavior) and honai (true feelings). In the digital space, Mayura is in control and through the subjective-ness of photography her identity fluidly conforms to her subscribers’ desires.

Sumimasen is a détournement of the western perspective fully transformed into a Japanese visual and conceptual space – the boundaries between the everyday carnivalesque and the marginalized are no longer. Parallel universe syndrome has been transcended.
ICP Library recent acquisition. Published by Éditions du LIC.

[1] “An Interview with Paul Graham by Uta Grosenick,” Paul Graham Empty Heaven: Photographs from Japan 1989-1995 (Germany: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 1995) unpaginated.

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Evolution of Ibidem: Book, Meet your Dummy

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Among the very first visitors to the newly constructed ICP Library in 2001 was a new student named Giovanni del Brenna, who spoke most of the languages of his classmates [Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French], and offered to help out in the library as a work-study student while earning his certificate in Photojournalism and Documentary Studies. He was the library’s very first Work-Study student.

The library was, at that time, 100% un-cataloged, shelved alphabetically by photographer, and the books looked as if they had passed through many hands and many classes…because they had.

Giovanni, an ardent bibliophile, advised his peers as to the proper tender care and handling for the photobooks, as if they were incunabula in a great research institution, a perspective that demanded a bit of a suspension of disbelief, and a lot of idealism…two qualities I now know define Giovanni as a photographer, father and friend.

In 2011, I reached out to that inaugural class in this ICP School, asking for submissions of book dummies that I could display in the window of the library in concert with a show of their work, and Giovanni sent one from France, where he was then living.

It was called Place No Place, with Fred Ritchin as Consulting Editor and texts by Carole Naggar and Marc Augé. It went into the library window, and afterwards I squirreled it away in the treasury of the library office for safe keeping. If you know me, you know that I am a fanatic for book dummies!

This year its companion arrived, a book…not a book dummy…called Ibidem. It looks very different from the dummy, but starts the same way, declaring, “Nowadays you can find anything anywhere.”

If you can judge anything about a book by its cover, this book’s cover recalls the cover of the great Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, which promises much.

While not Giovanni’s first book,* it is a work that looks so much like his world-view, with witty design elements and cinematic glimpses of places all over the world that are all strung together like some universal borderless cosmopolis, and includes multiple languages of the text. It is also very beautifully designed and printed, which I would expect from someone who is as in love with books as Giovanni.

Mostly, though, it has his voice in it. I can hear him, filled with wonder and irony and snapping away.

* His first book, l’Aria di Firenze, was commissioned by Hermes in 2006. I surmise that they embraced his distinctive eye for cities, and so asked him to turn his lens on Firenze/Florence in Italy.

Here is a video of the book

 

As noted on @ICPLibrary on Twitter, Ibidem by Giovanni Del Brenna was cited by Remi Coignet as notable photobooks of 2014.

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ten photobooks from 2014

It is that time of year again. Here are ten photobooks that I have in some way found to be interesting, unusual and inspirational. There are many other great photobooks that are not included here. There are even some photobooks from 2014 that I have not even seen yet. But these are ten photobooks I like and I share them with you.

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Tranquility – Heikki Kaski
[Lecturis. Amsterdam, 2014]
Heikki Kaski (Finland) discovers the locals (800 inhabitants) and also the extreme heat in the small American town of Tranquility. What is Tranquility? Where is Tranquility? Why? How? Tranquility is located in the San Joaquin Valley, California and is essentially in the middle of nowhere. Heikki explores the empty-lots, the run-down buildings, the gnarled trees, the wide landscapes with birds flying overhead and to a lesser extent the shy and retiring natives. This is a great book designed by Heikki Kaski and Hans Gremmen. It is a profound exploration of a small quiet American town by a ‘stranger’ with a large-format camera.

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Prolifération – Geert Goiris
[Roma Publications n° 225. Amsterdam, 2014]
Geert Goiris at the Mauvoisin Dam (Valais, Switzerland) puts together this sublime series of 30 powerful and primal images exploring the multiple narratives between the human being and landscape. With an essay by Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser this is another wonderfully designed book by Roger Willems. [btw – I have always loved the numbering system and the brilliant website of Roma publications]. This is book no.225. The photography in this book really shines out [the book also includes an exquisite signed print], the design is simple and effective and there is an oddness and serenity about the imagery here. Contemplative figures in semi-uncomfortable landscapes and strange rock formations. This book is a very appealing item.

 

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Topographies –Monica Ursina Jager
[Kodoji Press. Switzerland 2014]
This is a lovely book. A book that combines such beautiful collaged images with formidable design is a real force. Kodoji have been making such amazing books for years – one might not ever know that as the website hasn’t been updated years (come on Winfried folks need to know about your books!). This book is really very special. From the moment I first saw this 1144 cm* long laporello book I knew I was experiencing a true and unusual beauty. This is architectural photocollage and near perfect graphic design at its very best. Sculptural work in a book sculpture medium.
*37.5 ft long for those who prefer Imperial measurements.

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Syria Al-Assad – Oliver Hartung
[Spector Books. Leipzig, 2014]
Oliver Hartung traveled to Syria [2007-2009] taking photographs of signs and monuments constructed in honor of the Assad family regime over the last 40 years. Syria al-Assad is a document of these objects of regime propaganda that dominate Syria’s every day visual culture. Each page has a perforated top so that it may be ripped out and although the owner of this book has the authority to rearrange the sequence of these images in any manner they say fit, nobody is actually going to do this are they? The paper used in this book has the comfortable and cheap feel of newsprint paper [conservation issues aside I have always enjoyed newsprint and its inherent democratic qualities]. The binding of this book is simply glued. The printing quality is nothing special. The end result is something extremely successful.

 

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Linger (Teikai) – Daisuke Yokota
Teikai (Wandering at Midnight) – Daisuke Yokota
[Akina Books. London, 2014]
Linger (Teikai) and Teikai (Wandering at Midnight) are the first two parts of an intriguing trilogy. They are two marvelous books from a very exciting collaboration between a Japanese performance photographer – Daisuke Yokota – and one of the best young independent publishers in the world – Akina books. This is a mysterious and ambiguous work that investigates the processes of photography and photobook making. The word Teikai has many meanings in Kanji one is to ‘linger’ another is to ‘wander a midnight’. Daisuke Yokota creates a strange world for us. High contrast black and white dream scape visions where there is a magical merging of individuals and their environments.

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Photographs for Documents –Vytautas V. Stanionis
[Kaunas Photography Gallery. Lithuania, 2014]
This is an archive of photographs passed down from Vytautas Stanionis the father to Vytautas Stanionis the son. These are the people of Seirijai (Lithuania) photographed in 1946 for the purpose of creating their new Soviet documents. Gathered here are ‘neutral’ passport images of an unknown people from post-war Lithuania which have been reanimated in this book and now resonate with so much revelation and meaning for us the modern viewer. This book is designed to be a ‘folder’ complete with the metal clips and so it carries the authenticity of the raw materials. The book contains only gatefold pages with each page folding out to reveal another second portrait. In 1946 to save money Vytautas Stanionis photographed two people at once side-by-side which would then be sliced apart producing two passport images for use by two separate people. This book is a great investigation into these strange and hidden identities and their relationship to us and to each other.

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Esto ha sido (This Has Been) –Luis Weinstein
[Self-published, Chile 2014.]
In May of this year the ICP library was fortunate enough to be visited by the Chilean photographer Luis Weinstein where he presented the work from his book: This Has Been – Esto ha sido. This is how a master old school analogue photographer – who entered the ICP library that day with multiple Leica’s dangling from his neck – self publishes a photobook. A thoughtful small edition (500 copies) printed on newsprint paper Esto ha Sido is a narrative of the days of hope following the overthrow of President Salvador Allende. Of course it is a story that is also aware of the looming evil of General Pinochet’s dictatorship. This is sensitive storytelling at it’s best with a very tight edit and a concise simplicity that allows the form of the book itself to become part of the story.

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The Night Climbers of Cambridge – Thomas Mailaender
[Archive of Modern Conflict. London 2014.]
The climbing of gothic buildings at night in 1930s Cambridge [England] brought to you by the Archive of Modern Conflict. A tall book in a black velvet cover examining the Cambridge climbers’ collection of images that was acquired by contemporary artist Thomas Mailaender. I have a great fear of heights and cannot help but to be amazed by these climbers working without ropes or a safety net. The book has truly great design that brings to life this terrifying archival and vernacular collection. Working with archives has been an increasingly popular and hip pastime for many photobook publishers over the last few years but to be honest with you not everybody can actually do this well. This book is how to do it well. The Archive of Modern Conflict are the real masters of publishing and reinvigorating archival materials and collections. This is such a romantic and dramatic tale, a story that goes back over 100 years or more, of a secret climbing society who are photographed dancing at night on dreaming spires. This is the original parkour for your total disbelief and sheer amazement.

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Ponte City –Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse
[Steidl. Göttingen,2014].
I was fortunate enough to see and be totally impressed by this work at the ICP Triennial – A Different Kind Of Order (2013). This book from Steidl is a wonderful execution of that work in a book sculpture form. The book comes in a well-designed box along with 17 booklets. Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse spent six exhausting years researching, investigating, photographing and documenting to create this encyclopedic project. It is a project which is both staggeringly extensive and minutely detailed. They photographed every resident, every door, the view from every window and the image on every television screen at Ponte City, the iconic 54 storey Johannesburg apartment building which is the tallest residential skyscraper in Africa. This project is extraordinary and this book is awesome in the truest sense of the word.

 

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Periscope – Jose Diniz.
[Editora Madalena. Sao Paulo, 2014].
Jose Diniz toured the coastline of Brazil to the south of Maranhao – extending to Uruguay – for more than eight years photographing people, buildings, the horizon, the sky and the sea, with a very particular perspective – a deep fear of water. This is a powerfully strong first book from a long-time photographer from Brazil – Jose Diniz. It is always good for the international photobook community to ‘discover’ a virtually never seen before master of the photographic craft. Such hauntingly beautiful images in a grainy black and white style . . .

 

1. Tranquility – Heikki Kaski
[Lecturis. Amsterdam, 2014]

2. Prolifération – Geert Goiris
[Roma Publications n° 225. Amsterdam, 2014]

3. Topographies –Monica Ursina Jager
[Kodoji Press. Switzerland 2014]

4. Syria Al-Assad – Oliver Hartung
[Spector Books. Leipzig, 2014]

5. Linger (Teikai) – Daisuke Yokota
Teikai (Wandering at Midnight) – Daisuke Yokota
[Akina Books. London, 2014]

6. Photographs for Documents –Vytautas V. Stanionis
[Kaunas Photography Gallery. Lithuania, 2014]

7. Esto ha sido (This Has Been) –Luis Weinstein
[Self-published, Chile 2014.]

8. The Night Climbers of Cambridge – Thomas Mailaender
[Archive of Modern Conflict. London 2014.]

9. Ponte city –Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse
[Steidl. Göttingen,2014].

10. Periscope – Jose Diniz.
[Editora Madalena. Sao Paulo, 2014].

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