All posts filed under: Book Reviews

Book Review: An Inner Silence.

Book review Title: An Inner Silence: The Portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Authors:  Forward by Agnes Sire. Introduction by Jean-Luc-Nancy. Publisher: Thames and Hudson. 181A High Holborn. London WC1V 7QX. ISBN: 0-500-54317-8. The book draws images from the  permanent holdings of the Collection of the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson. The book generously features 97 tritone reproductions of Cartier-Bresson’s works. “The true portrait, (is) one in which the subject represented is not caught in any action, and does not even show any expression that might detract from the person themselves…” …writes Agnes Sire the curator. That clear phrase captures the essence of Cartier-Bresson’s portraiture. There is a naturalness to the images together with a deceptive ease. The images are not contrived, neither does the sitter fill the frame. No, the subjects are generally in their own apartments, galleries, studios etc, which become part of the image; frames them if you like, and so becomes as much of the portrait as the sitter. I don’t know if the sitters were posed and directed. I suspect not. They may well …

I can’t move the sun, and it’s always in the wrong place

I’m going to start this piece by declaring that, at no time in my life have I ever been a trainspotter or engine enthusiast. No, it’s not that particular obsession which feeds my appreciation of the technical ability and art of O. Winston Link – who? Ogle Winston Link  (1914 – 2001) was an American photographer, originally from Brooklyn, New York City. Introduced to photography as a boy by his father, Link went on to achieve a degree in Civil Engineering. Whilst at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn he served as ‘photo editor’ for the institutes’ newspaper. He later moved into photography proper. Link had a longstanding love of railroads (probably resulting from his training as a Civil Engineer), particularly steam, which became sharply focused by the impending conversion of the railroads to Diesel power in the mid-’50s. Link became heavily involved with the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W) one of the last steam railroads in America. Link’s work was self-financed, though he was encouraged by N&W officials from the President of the railroad downward. …

Book Review: Small Town Inertia

Title: Small Town Inertia. Photographer: J A Mortram. Essays: Lewis Bush. Paul Mason. Poem:  Jamie Thrashivoulou Reference: ISBN 9781908457363 First published:  Hard back 2017 by Blue Coat Press, Liverpool Website: smalltowninertia.co.uk Size:310mm x 215mm x 20mm Jim Mortram, the master of the Long form of photo story, has released his first book. I’ve known Jim Mortram for a few years and all the while he’s been building up to producing this book; closely working with his community in and around his hometown in Norfolk. Jim’s output is reminiscent of others who have chosen to highlight this sector of our community. The disadvantaged and the disabled. He is following on* from others like: Bill Brandt, who in the 1930’s produced hauntingly beautiful images in the East End of London, the North East of England, and Yorkshire. Much of his work was published in the excellent Picture Post in the 1940’s. Nick Hedges photographs of the poor taken for ‘Shelter’ in areas of deprivation around the UK in the 1960’s and 70’s. About his work Hedges said… ‘Although these photographs …

Beuty in decay

Book Review: Beauty in Decay II

Title: Beauty in Decay II. Photographer: RomanyWG. Essays: Polly Chillery. Reference: ISBN 978-1-908211-10-1. First published:  2012 by Carpet Bombing Culture. Web site: www.carpetbombingculture.co.uk. Size:267mm x 267mm x 24mm square format. I admit to having esoteric taste in photography. For example, I have always liked images of old buildings in decay. There is something about faded grandeur, that evanescence, which haunts me. Perhaps it stems from my time spent in inner city Birmingham in the 60’s working to rebuild the city after the war years. Many buildings were demolished: domestic; commercial; and governmental. I was able to wander among them before demolition. In the quiet time, before they died. Or, perhaps it was my time spent as a building surveyor where it was my job to inspect old buildings. I have been inside of many fascinating structures. So, you can see why a book depicting images discovered whilst urban exploring might fascinate me. This book doesn’t disappoint. It has dozens of images, many filling the whole page, taken in many countries. The subject matter ranges from grand domestic to industrial. Unfortunately, …

Book review: On the Night Bus. Nick Turpin

Title: On the Night Bus. Photographer: Nick Turpin Reference: ISBN 978-1-910566-16-9 First published:  2016 by Hoxton Press. Web site: www.hoxtonminipress.com Size:160mm x 228 x 17mm portrait format Comprising: An introduction by Will Self followed by Photographers notes from Nick Turpin and then 49 colour plates I’ve followed Nick on Twitter for a while. During that time there have been glimpses of the ‘Night Bus’ work. So, when I saw it was to be turned into a book and I could pre-order a ‘collectors’ copy and by so doing get a free print… Well, the hook had been baited and I took it. I purchased the collectors edition which is beautifully bound and cased with  a small loose leaf print included. My version is signed, being a pre-ordered edition. The finished book more than lives up to the teasers on Twitter. Forty Nine colour plates of people travelling on night buses in London. The images are haunting with more than a little of Saul Leiter’s work  about them. Elegant use of colour and abstraction  produced with more than …

Book review: Humphrey Spender’s Humanist Landscapes

Title: Humphrey Spender’s Humanist Landscapes Author: Deborah Frizzell ISBN: 0-300-07334-8 Softcover: 70 pages of introduction plus 100 plates Images: 100 Publisher: Yale centre for British art Language: English Product Dimensions: 28 x 1 x 23 cm Landscape format. As a precursor to Spenders images Frizzell, the author, discusses where the images sit in the panoply of images of the time and of the era in which they were made, providing, as she does, social and historic reference for the works.  Some 70 excellent  pages are taken up with this explanation. To set the scene: Spenders images span the decade 1932 – 1942. He came from a a middle class family in fashionable Kensington. His father, Harold was a Journalist and his mother Violet Schuster was a painter and poet. His brother Stephen, later to become Sir Stephen Spender, became a poet and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. Stephen Spender was close friends with many famous literary figures from the time i.e. WH Auden. Clearly the …