Sunday, December 24, 2017

It seems photographers are desperate to learn about photobook editing and sequencing!

My blog has just clicked over 1 million pages views. My first post was in May 2007 and I've made 1,338 posts since then. 

The most read post, was published in March 2012. I wrote about my take on photobook editing and sequencing. With 18,232 page views, I thought it worthwhile to reprise...

Here goes:  Anybody who has ever made a photobook has started out with a system, a methodology of going about it. A way of (hopefully) making it brilliant. Much has been said about this subject and guidelines laid down by people who know more than most.  Think Gerry Badger and John Gossage. Yet still, why is it that so many photobooks I look at just don't cut it?

Right now I'm in the process of editing, sequencing and designing a new bookwork so this post is really written to myself, a reminder of things I must remember not to forget. I've written about this before but the fundamentals can bear repeating over and over again...

You can read the complete piece HERE

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Martin Parr has launched his Foundation in Bristol

Martin Parr is the voice and eyes of British photography. He tends to polarise people, love his work, hate his work. And that's no bad thing. Whatever you think you can't ignore him. I like the fact that Martin calls himself a photographer and not an artist. This reflects his down to earth view of the photographic medium and his focussed support of documentary work. 

Martin and Harvey, Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol

When in Bristol in November I visited The Martin Parr Foundation and Martin gave me a guided tour. We were lured into having a picture made together. You can see that above. It's proof of the fact that the camera does lie, at least the iphone. I appear to be a dwarf besides Martin and that's not the case. At Paris Photo I mentioned this disparity to him. Martin said that, yes he was bigger than me. But he wouldn't go into detail. That brought to mind what my old father used to say - it's not the size that counts it's what you do with it! :-)

The Tate have just made a 7 minute video of The Martin Parr Foundation. It's well worth a look, you can do so HERE. And visit the MPF website HERE.

Below are some stills from the video. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Tim Carpenter - Local Objects

If I was making a list of my top photobooks for 2017 Tim Carpenter's new bookwork Local Objects would certainly be on the list. With 74 medium format back and white images there is more than a hint of Lewis Baltz's Tract Works and John Gossge's The Pond. What Local Objects has in common with the forementioned is a quiet understated certainty. Carpenter's images are a testament to less being more and intelligence killing cleverness. In many of the images there is something going on that is not quite right, these landscapes are not what the surface suggests. The pictures seem to present an alien world, yet it's achingly familiar too. What's more I'm left wondering what might have just happened and what is about to. Strangeness prevails. I wish I had made many of these pictures. 

Publisher The Ice Plant says this: Borrowing its title from the Wallace Stevens poem in which “little existed for him but the few things / for which a fresh name always occurred,” Tim Carpenter’s Local Objects is a solid yet remarkably unassuming body of work: a calm, steady rhythm of 74 medium format photographs made in the semi-rural American Midwest. While each picture meticulously frames the seemingly random non-activity of a typical ‘street view’ image, Carpenter’s contemplative sequencing allows a surprising harmony of natural and geometric motifs to modulate quietly throughout the book — an interplay of minor chords that draw the viewer into this specific physical place(mostly central Illinois, where he grew up) and the subjective, literary space of the work. Detached from the urgency of current affairs, stripped of all excess, Carpenter’s photographs reflect a poetic attempt to see “the thing in itself,” to make meaning with the barest tools possible.
144 pages / 7.5 x 8.5 in. / Clothbound hardcover / 74 duotone / Edition of 750 copies

You can see more on Tim Carpenter's website HERE and The Ice Plant HERE.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sean O'Hagan reports in the guardian - the top 10 photography exhibitions of 2017

1. Ed van der Elsken: Camera in Love - The Stedelijk, Amsterdam

2. Sohrab Hura: The Lost Head and the Bird - The Nines, Peckham 24, London

3. Thomas Ruff: Photographs 1979–2017 - Whitechapel Gallery, London

4. Richard Mosse: Incoming - Barbican Curve Gallery, London

5. Giles Duley: I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See - Old Truman Brewery, London

6. A Handful of Dust - Whitechapel Gallery, London

7. Swaps: Photographs from the David Hurn Collection - 
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff

8. The Deutsche Börse photography prize shortlist - The Photographers’ Gallery, London

9. Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 - Tate Modern, London

10. Natalia LL - Roman Road Gallery at Photo London

You can go to the guardian story HERE.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

photo-eye, best books of 2017

photo-eye has just announced their best book list for 2017. Each of the contributors were asked to select three photobooks that were  significant to them. 
You can check out the list HERE.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Linn Phyllis Seeger - Life On Mars

Linn Seeger travels almost as much as I do - we meet at Photo London and again at Paris Photo. Linn has been chasing photographs in Ireland, Iceland and most recently in Marfa Texas. Below are some images from her series Life on Mars. I like this work! There is a photobook here waiting to get out. Can't wait to see it...

You can see more of Linn's work on her tumblr account HERE. And more on Linn's website HERE. Check these out, well worth a look.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thomas Ruff at Whitechapel Gallery, London

It was a total pleasure to see the Thomas Ruff show at London's Whitechapel Gallery. I'd expected something rather dry and on the dull side, yes, Ruff dispenses the Dusseldorf look which is let's say, cool and restrained. What blew me away was the depth and extent of Ruff's practice. Ruff experiments with so many different ideas, he's a risk taker and he gets away with it. The work examines the many ways of seeing and expression, yet within disunity there is connection and harmony. The works ask questions - what really are we looking at?  Why are things the way they are? Importantly the pictures somehow subvert the nature of photography, simply because the ideas get in the way. Altogether an outstanding show.

Whitechapel has this to say: Cosmology, suburbia, nudity, utopianism, catastrophe – these are some of the subjects that Thomas Ruff (b. 1958, Germany) addresses in his photographic series, which for almost four decades have investigated the status of the image in contemporary culture. This exhibition will draw from the full range of Ruff’s output: from his acclaimed Portraits – passport-style portraits, reproduced on a huge scale and revealing every surface detail of their subjects, to his most recent press photographs, drawing on newspaper archives from the era of the space race and Hollywood starlets. 

Thomas Ruff at Whitechapel Gallery runs until 21 January 2018.

You can see more on the galleries site HERE

Friday, October 27, 2017

London next week, week after Paris...

Harvey Benge - London, May 2017

I'm going to be in London next week and the week after in Paris for Paris Photo. If any of my photo friends feel like a beer, glass of wine (or 2) or a coffee, get in touch.

Harvey Benge - Paris, May 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

PARIS PHOTO - book signings

Book signing - Thursday Nov 9, 6pm

Paris Photo opens in the Grand Palais in just under 2 weeks... from Thursday November 9 through until Sunday November 12 there are book signings by all your, all my, favorite photographers.
Here, in no particular order, are just a few that are on my shortlist: Joel Meyerowitz, Guy Tillim, Rinko Kawauchi, Antoine d’Agata, David Lynch, Jim Goldberg, Sophie Calle, John Gossage, Koji Onaka, Susan Meiselas, Todd Hido, Roger Ballen, JH Engström. So many books, so little time!

And last but not least. I'll be signing my latest book - THE LAMENT - at Dewi Lewis stand on Thursday the 9th at 6pm... if you're around come and say hello!

You can check out the full list of signing on the Paris Photo website HERE.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Photography in Paris in November, the BJP reports

Lars Tunbjörk - Stock Brokerage, New York, 1997

Simon Bainbridge interviews Paris Photo directors Florence Bourgeois and Christoph Wiesner in the latest on-line offering from the British Journal of Photography. The article gives an in-depth look at the 21st edition of the world's premier photography fair which returns to Paris 9-12 November.
But there is more... The second edition of the Biennial of Photographers of the Contemporary Arab World at M.E.P. and seven other venues across the city. Noémie Goudal’s latest series, Telluris, created last spring in the Californian desert, complete with an on-site installation at Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire. Raymond Depardon’s Traverser retrospective at the Fondation Cartier-Bresson, Albert Renger Patzsch at the Jeu de Paume, Malick Sidibé’s Mali Twist at Fondation Cartier…

You can read the full story HERE

Monday, October 23, 2017

Why Artists' Books Are as Relevant as Ever...

NY Art Book Fair. Image via

In a post by on today's Artspace editor-in-chief Loney Adams talks with Printed Matter's Philip Aarons on Why Artist's Books are as relevant as ever in today's digital world. The piece is a must read for anybody who has ever made a bookwork or is contemplating doing so.

In the introduction to Artists Who Make Books, a brand-new release by Phaidon, co-editor Claire Lehmann writes, “At a time when an artist can utilize a wide miscellany of ways and means—a paintbrush, a custom software program, a camera, a CNC router, a found object—it seems worth asking: What does the artist’s book allow, in structure, expression, or reach?” Though artists have been making books for ages, it seems that with the ubiquity of digital media in 2017, artists have a range of democratic means of not only expressing themselves, but disseminating their work to a broad and diverse audience, diminishing the need for artists books and zines. And yet, artists who have developed their careers in a variety of mediums continue to turn to the book as a medium of many—a vehicle for ideas and expressions outside the confines of the white cube and the politics of the art market.

Joining Lehmann in editing Artists Who Make Books, along with Andrew Ross, is Philip Aarons, a die-hard collector of artists’ books who for years has served as the board chair of Printed Matter (a store-front operation started in the '70s by Sol LeWitt and Lucy Lippard as a headquarters of sorts for all things printed), and is a member of the Museum of Modern Art’s Library and Archive Trustee Committee. His passion for collecting artists’ books is somewhat ironic, considering the inherent exclusivity involved in collecting scarce objects: what excites Aarons’ about books and multiples is their ability to touch the hands of not only wealthy collectors like himself, but also of those who can’t afford to participate in the fine art market—the artist’s friends and peers, young makers, and fans. Artists' books are democratic, tactile, and accessible.

You can read the full article HERE.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Being: New Photography 2018 at MoMA NYC

Being: New Photography 2018, the latest edition of MoMA’s longstanding and celebrated New Photography series, investigates charged and layered notions of personhood and subjectivity in recent photography and photo-based art, presenting works by 17 artists working in the US and internationally.

The works included in Being respond to diverse lived experiences and circumstances through a range of issues and tactics, including interrogations of traditional modes of photographic portraiture, the use of surrogates or masks as replacements for the body, tensions between privacy and exposure, formations of community or social relations, and the agency of the sitter and of the artist. Some works in the exhibition might be considered straightforward figurative depictions, while others do not include imagery of the human body at all. Since its earliest manifestations, photography has been widely seen as a means by which to capture an exact likeness of a person; the artists featured in Being mine or upset this rich history as they explore photographic representations of personhood today, when rights of representation are contested for many individuals.

Being: New Photography 2018 is constituted primarily of works made since 2016, both by artists who are just starting out in their careers, some showing in New York for the first time, and by others with more established practices who, in some cases, have been supporting the field of photography through teaching or creating other platforms for production. For all the artists, this will be the first exhibition of their work at the Museum.

The artists included are: Sofia Borges (Brazilian, born 1984) Matthew Connors (American, born 1976) Sam Contis (American, born 1982) Shilpa Gupta (Indian, born 1976) Adelita Husni-Bey (Italian, born 1985) Yazan Khalili (Palestinian, born Syria, 1981) Harold Mendez (American, born 1977) Aïda Muluneh (Ethiopian, born 1974) Hương Ngô and Hồng-Ân Trương (American, born Hong Kong, 1979; American, born 1976) B. Ingrid Olson (American, born 1987) Joanna Piotrowska (Polish, born 1985) Em Rooney (American, born 1983) Paul Mpagi Sepuya (American, born 1982) Andrzej Steinbach (German, born Poland, 1983) Stephanie Syjuco (American, born Philippines, 1974) Carmen Winant (American, born 1983) Organized by Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography.

Being: New Photography 2018, March 18 - August 19, 2018 The Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Paris Photo - Aperture Foundation 2017 PhotoBook Awards Shortlist

Photography Catalogue of the Year

Brassaï: Graffiti, Le Langage du Mur
Karolina Ziebinska-Lewandowska
Éditions Xavier Barral

CLAP! 10x10 Contemporary Latin American Photobooks: 2000–2016
Olga Yatskevich, Russet Lederman, and Matthew Carson
10x10 Photobooks

Diary of a Leap Year
Rabith Mroué
Kunsthalle Mainz and Kapth Books

Hans Eijkelboom: Photo Concepts 1970
Gabriele Conrath-Scholl, Wim van Sinderen, Gerrit Willems and Dieter Roelstraete
Snoeck Verlagsgesellschaft mbH

New Realities: Photography in the 19th Century
Mattie Boom, Hans Rooseboom

First PhotoBook

Mathieu Asselin
Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation
Verlag Kettler

Zackary Canepari
Contrasto Books

Teju Cole
Blind Spot
Penguin Random House

Sam Contis
Deep Springs

Debi Cornwall
Welcome to Camp America, Inside Guantánamo Bay
Radius Books

Albert Elm
What Sort of Life Is This
The Ice Plant

Mary Frey
Reading Raymond Carver
Peperoni Books

Jenia Fridlyand
Entrance to Our Valley

Darren Harvey-Regan
The Erratics
RVB Books

Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen
Eyes As Big As Plates
Forlaget Press

Dawn Kim

Laura Larson
Hidden Mother
Saint Lucy Books

Feng Li
White Night
Jiazazhi Press

Cecil McDonald Jr.
In the Company of Black
Candor Arts

Virginie Rebetez
Out of the Blue

Claudius Schulze
State of Nature
Hartmann Books

Nadya Sheremetova, ed.
With Alexey Bogolepov, Margo Ovcharenko, Irina Ivannikova, Anastasia Tsayder, Igor Samolet, Yury Gudkov, Olya Ivanova, Irina Zadorozhnaia, Anastasia Tailakova, and Irina Yulieva.
Amplitude No.1

Senta Simond
Rayon Vert

Alnis Stakle
Melancholic Road

Mayumi Suzuki
The Restoration Will

PhotoBook of the Year

Anne Golaz

Jim Goldberg
The Last Son

Nicholas Muellner
In Most Tides an Island
SPBH Editions

Mark Neville
Fancy Pictures

Alison Rossiter
Expired Paper
Radius Books and Yossi Milo Gallery

Paul Scheik, ed.
Mike Mandel, Susan Meiselas, Bill Burke, and Lee Friedlander
Subscription Series No. 5

Dayanita Singh
Museum Bhavan

Carlos Spottorno and Guillermo Abril
La Grieta (The Crack)
Astiberri Ediciones

Erik van der Weijde
This Is Not My Book
Spector Books

Henk Wildschut
Ville de Calais

The shortlisted books will be profiled in issue 013 of The PhotoBook Review, Aperture’s biannual publication dedicated to the consideration of the photobook, to be released in November 2017 at Paris Photo. Copies will also be available at Aperture Gallery and Bookstore, as well as distributed with Aperture magazine and through other distribution partners.

The shortlist is also available at Aperture Foundation’s website and Paris Photo’s website.

A final jury in Paris will select the winners for all three prizes, which will be revealed at Paris Photo on Friday, November 10, 2017.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Lament - now available from photobookstore UK, comes with exclusive signed and numbered print


Photobookstore UK now have copies of my most recent book-work, The Lament, from Dewi Lewis Publishing. This 96 page hardback book comes with an exclusive signed 6"x4" print, see image below.

The Lament is partly fiction and partly autobiographical. The pictures mine the unusual and the perverse. They make strange connections and exploit the unexpected. Nothing is as it seems, though we nevertheless sense that there is a truth in everything. Mystery prevails and it is up to the viewer to bring his or her own life experience to the reading of the work.
The Lament deals with loss, change and the inevitability of impermanence. All thoughts, emotions and circumstances that each and every one us have experienced and have dealt with in our lives. There is sexual misadventure too. Yet despite the apparent angst, Benge isn’t about to slit his wrists anytime soon: a wry sense of humour runs through the work and if you look hard enough you might even spot a sense of optimism.

Photobookstore also have the last few copies of my self published limited edition work, The Month Before Trump. This also comes with a signed 6"x4" print.

You can go to the photobookstore site HERE.