I caught the Live Stream from Fraenkel Gallery for the opening of Lee Friedlander’s “Signs” Exhibition which is now showing until August 17th. Without a doubt one of the better Live Stream video’s I have seen lately. Whomever was filming it did a great job showing the entire exhibition as well as details of the prints. Almost felt like being there and walking through the gallery. Good to see Lee was there signing too. Probably will ad this book to my library as well, hopefully I can get up north to see the show before it comes down, looks fantastic. Below is the link to Fraenkel Gallery about the exhibition.
I recently stumbled across Lee Friedlander’s new book “The Mind and the Hand” completely by accident. I did a search on Amazon looking for new Garry Winogrand material and this book came up. The book looked interesting so I took a shot and ordered; $90 isn’t cheap but I always enjoy seeing Friedlander’s work. “The Mind and the Hand” definitely exceeded my expectations
The book is actually six 60 page softbound books in a slip case. Each book has between 25 and 34 of Friedlander’s photographs and documents a photography icon: William Eggleston, John Szarkowski, Richard Benson, William Christenberry, Walker Evans, and Garry Winogrand. Each book also has a brief lecture excerpt by the featured photographer which adds the right amount of information to deepen the viewers understanding of the individual.
I was familiar with a few of the photographs but not most. I would also say most of the images are snapshots. But these are wonderful snapshots and, in this context, they form a fantastic document of each featured photographer. These people were Friedlander’s friends and peers and many of the moments he photographed were very personal like Winogrand’s wedding. I love the images of these photographers out photographing. As a photographer I am always interested in how other photographers approach the medium and Friedlander’s photographs give a wonderful insight to six icons of photography.
The book was released in April by Eakins Press Foundation and was printed by Meridian Printing in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The print quality is beautiful and I really like the intimate size of the book of 8.8” square. I think Katey Homans did a perfect job with the design and I am assuming that Lee Friedlander’s Archivist, Stephanie Prussin, edited the images. I am very happy with this purchase and would suggest it to anyone interested in documentary photography.
· Paperback: 240 pages
· Publisher: Eakins Press Foundation (April 23, 2019)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0871300796
· ISBN-13: 978-0871300799
· Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
Printer: Meridian Printing – East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Lee Friedlander Archivist: Stephanie Prussin
Design & Typography: Katey Homans
I got lucky and saw Fraenkel Gallery’s Instagram post about the PBS American Masters documentary on Garry Winogrand which aired last Thursday night.
Winogrand is my favorite photographer, I saw his 1988 retrospective at MoMA curated by Szarkowski, I saw SFMoMA’s 2015 retrospective, I saw the exhibition at Pier 24 gallery where they displayed prints of every image from his Women are Beautiful book on one massive wall, and I even attended Geoff Dyers's lecture last year at Getty for the release of his book on Winogrand.
I have seen several videos of interviews of Winogrand, have numerous books on his work, but I always want to learn more about him and his process. This PBS documentary is amazing. It has old interviews of Gary, lecture audio from Szarkowski speaking about Winogrand’s work, video shot by Winogrand, interviews of scholars, as well as interviews of his family and friends. Great insight in to the man. If you like Winogrand’s work, documentary photography, or just great images, you will enjoy this film.
Also, as a documentary photographer who photographs on the street, I particularly loved these following three quotes from the film about Street Photography :
“If we applied standard definitions of propriety and niceness to photographers working in the street we’d be left without a lot of the great pictures in the history of photography.”
Jeffrey Fraenkel – Gallerist
“I find it kind of intriguing because we allow the State to photograph us so relentlessly and yet people don’t seem as bothered by that as they do by someone who is clearly an artist.”
Michael Ernest Sweet – Photographer
“It’s an artistic process, you live within this process. So the questions of surveillance, political correctness, all of that stuff, it’s just totally irrelevant. Now perhaps that makes the few of us who even understand what I’m talking about right now are dinosaurs or insensitive ghouls or whatever…but who cares about that?”
Tod Papageorge – Photographer
I received notification recently that the six image I had submitted for the 12th Pollux Awards had received Honorable Mention in the Documentary and Reportage Series category. All images were from my Pasadena Police Department Series, the juror was Philip Brookman, consulting curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..
The images are displayed on line now at: https://www.thegalaawards.com/pollux-non-pro-2
I will also be participating in the Pollux Awards Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain in May of 2019. The exhibition will either be held at Gallery Valid Foto or Space Nau Bostik during the first two weeks of the month.
In 1991 I published my first book, Santa Anita. I stumbled on to photographing at the racetrack while searching for a place to photograph here in California with images like I found on the streets of New York and Chicago. You can find Street Photography in California, even Los Angeles now, but it is different because California is so spread out and everyone drives everywhere. The track has it all, people from all walks of life, right there in one place, and easy to move about them photographing, just like being in New York. I continue to photograph at Santa Anita, probably more as a personal retreat than actually working on a new project but that is fine, the process is what matters when photographing. Plus I have been able to photograph two Triple Crown winning horses the last few years by continuing to go out. Anyways in case you are wondering why I am writing a post about a project from 27 years ago today, its because I just was doing a Google Search on myself and came across a couple old reviews of the book which I don’t think I have shared before. Pretty accurate in my mind so I wanted to put do a post on them and thought it best to provide an introduction why I was.
Laura Rose of Equine Images Magazine wrote: "In his book Santa Anita, photographer William Karl Valentine captures the pulse of this California racetrack with his camera, The images, chosen from four years' worth of photographs, include everything your eye may pick up during a day at the track - from a classic stretch drive to a refreshing horse bath, from a grandstand littered with people and paper to a lost child in the safe grip of a track security officer." "But the photographs of the people of the track tell just as much of the story, and Valentine has captured them not as snapshot figures, but as friends...it's evident that not only does Valentine know the track, it knows him."
Mark Ratzky of the Daily Racing Form wrote: ""Santa Anita" is a must-see for any fan of this racetrack. The book contains 80 black and white pictures of just about every aspect of an afternoon at the foot of the beautiful San Gabriels, and really manages to capture a day at the races."
A review of the Sony RX100 VI camera by Photographer William Karl ValentineRead More
A review of Wayne Thiebaud’s 2018 exhibition at theJan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis.Read More
A quick review of Ave Pildas’s short run book “Street / People”Read More
William Karl Valentine’s review of Geoff Dyer’s book “The Street Photography of Garry Winogrand” and his March 23, 2018 lecture at the Getty celebrating the books release.Read More
Photographer William Karl Valentine examines the influences of how he developed his photographic vision or photographer’s eye.Read More
Review of the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s Unexpected Families exhibitionsRead More
Actor and Photographer Jason Lee at Arcana for the release of his book A PLAIN VIEWRead More
My thoughts about the process of seeing and photographing.Read More
I was in New York last month to show my work and to photograph. I also took some time to hit a few galleries in Chelsea, here is what I found:
Laurence Miller Gallery 521 West 26th Street, Fifth Floor, NYC
I loved the vintage work they had up (new exhibitions up now), some amazing images I had never seen before from the masters. W. Eugene Smith's image from the 1941 World Series at Yankee Stadium really got my attention. I have photographed a lot of baseball so I am always interested in how other photographers, especially a master, choose to document the sport. I also thought it was interesting this image was taken just before the start of WWII. Robert Frank's prints were another favorite. I am very familiar with the work but the style of printing for these prints was interesting, gave me more insight of him as a photographer. I also appreciated the photographic technique and craftsmanship of Erica Deeman’s prints. Her work has received a lot of attention recently. The gallery staff knows the medium well, I enjoyed talking with them.
Robert Mann Gallery 525 West 26th Street, NYC
What a cool space and I loved Julie Blackmon’s photographs. Her large prints are amazing, best way to experience her images, they allow you to see all the details. I especially like her new work, "Trapped" & "Holiday", and I really appreciate her humor. I also picked up a copy of Julie's book, great addition to the library. Gallery staff at Mann has energy and you can tell they love what they do. Can't wait to visit again.
Friedman Benda Gallery 525 West 26th Street, 1st Floor, NYC
I went to the opening of Misha Kahn's Midden Heap by accident while looking for Kasher Gallery's opening and am thankful I did. Friedman Benda describes Kahn's exhibition this way:
By allowing the illogical and the irreverent to take over his creative process, Kahn transforms a white-walled gallery space into a delightfully inventive alternate reality. “Each piece is part of a landscape I imagine as the earth gets swallowed by the sea,” he says. “No single object has any specific meaning. It’s all part of a feeling.”
I have no idea what it was but it was so cool, and describing it as a "feeling" is accurate, especially during the action of a New York opening. This exhibition runs through December 16, 2017, if you're in NYC it is worth experiencing.
Steven Kasher Gallery 525 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, NYC
I enjoyed Jill Freedman’s work. The prints were obviously vintage based on their condition and the craftsmanship; I always like opportunities to see vintage prints because I can learn so much more about the photographer. Debi Cornwall's work definitely had merit too.
521 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, NYC
I thought Matthew Pillsbury’s images were very interesting, unique, and well crafted. Definitely best to view prints because the images really work at that scale. I don't know if this will make sense, but for me, when I looked at these images for a few moments, their layers showed themselves and a deeper meaning came through. I see how it would be possible to move through the gallery quickly and think you saw these images but you really wouldn't have.
Strand Books 828 Broadway, NYC
Okay not a Gallery, and in a different part of the city, but this book store is amazing and worth talking about. I picked up a copy of Meryl Meisler’s book ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick’. It's not the tightest edit or greatest printing of a book I have ever seen but I just liked a lot of her images, found it to be an interesting documentation of the New York during that era. Could have filled my suitcase with everything I found on their racks.
William Karl Valentine's review, and images, of Pier 24 Gallery's exhibition "The Grain of the Present"Read More
The Sebastião Salgado "Genesis" exhibition at MoPA in San Diego is wrapping up this weekend, luckily I was able to get to see it earlier this month. I am a huge fan of MoPA, and a member. Its a great space, always worth the trek south, and this was another solid exhibition.
I had seen silver prints from Sebastião Salgado's Workers series before and was impressed. I am pretty sure this is the first time I have seen prints from the Genesis series. All the prints at MoPA were digital prints either from original digital files or scanned negatives. The massive scale is impressive and appropriate for the subject matter. The quality of most of the prints were very good. I think MoPA did an outstanding job getting so much work up without it feeling crowded.
The The International Center of Photography was the first venue in the United States to host this exhibition in 2014 which was curated by Lélia Wanick Salgado. The ICP described the exhibition this way: "Genesis is the third long-term series on global issues by world-renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado (born Brazil, 1944), following Workers(1993) and Migrations (2000). The result of an eight-year worldwide survey, the exhibition draws together more than 200 spectacular black and white photographs of wildlife, landscapes, seascapes, and indigenous peoples—raising public awareness about the pressing issues of environment and climate change." A powerful body of work, relevant to today, and well worth the view.
In December 2016 I had an image included in a very unique exhibition here in Los Angeles, The Billboard Creative. The exhibition takes unsold billboard spaces and features one artist, and one of their works, on each billboard for a month in December. My billboard was on Wilshire Boulevard and Dunsmuir Avenue just east of LACMA.
I am always happy to have my work seen, but I especially happy that Mona Kuhn included this image in the group of 45 selected artworks for the 2016 Billboard Creative. I love the concept of putting artwork on billboards in a place like Los Angeles which is such a car centered society. I also felt this was the perfect image for the venue and I get excited to think of the thousands of people who had a chance to see one of my most important photographs.
This past year the Autry Museum in Los Angeles and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana both had exhibitions of some amazing photographs by the masters. Bowers had its final exhibition in a series on Edward Weston's work and the Autry highlighted Group f/64 and Richard Misrach's photographs from the Bank of America collection. I believe it so important to see prints by the masters of our craft for a photographer to really have the understanding of what a good print looks like. I remember early in my career getting to see, and hold, a Weston pepper print and learning so much from that experience. Another important exhibition I saw was SFMOMA commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ansel Adams where they exhibited 100 of his prints curated by John Szarkowski. What I enjoyed most in that exhibition was seeing prints of the same image that were printed at different times in Ansel's career. It really highlighted how he honed his craft as a master printer.
My only criticism of these two exhibitions was the lighting in the galleries at both venues. At the Autry it was too dim and you couldn't see print detail. I especially remember two split toned images by Misrach which looked they were beautiful but there wasn't enough light on them to show the green and purple tones. The lighting at Bowers was inconsistent, one image would be lit perfectly then the next would have fall off that prevented the viewer from seeing the full beauty of the image.
As a side note, here are some favorite works I saw at the Autry on my last visit (I am Maynard Dixon) :
© 2017 WILLIAM KARL VALENTINE "Untitled" CHI-DSC 58974-20-17
I follow Street Photography International on Instagram, I follow numerous photography related accounts. Today they posted a posed portrait, I think it was a self portrait, of a woman's reflection in a rain drop covered window. It was a fine image, it got tons of "Likes" and emoji's, but it was not "Street Photography". I commented on the image, questioning if it was "Street Photography" and the photographer replied that it was because there was a street in the reflection... I chose not to continue my point there because I did not want a reply war on Instagram, opting to share my opinions here on my blog instead.
Doing a quick on line search this is one of the first definitions of Street Photography that I found: Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings. The basic concepts are the images are candid ( usually not posed ) and they document something. Yes I know every photograph documents something by the nature of the medium , but in this case I think good "Street Photography" documents the moment and has layers with deeper meaning created by the interaction of the different elements within the image. I am a Documentary Photographer, some of my images are "Street Photography" other images are just documentary in nature. Image quality is more important than a label.
I have seen a fair number of other images lately that people try to label as "Street Photography" and the images just are not, they are not candid nor documentary, and often they are not good. I think some people like the concept of Street Photography and adopt the label without knowing what is and what isn't Street Photography.
Above is one of my images from Chicago a couple weeks ago. I think this is a decent example of "Street Photography". I made the photograph while actually walking down the street, it's candid, it documents how these people looked on this date, plus the way the little girl is looking at the man begging while her mother is looking away adds that deeper layer of value for the viewer.
For those wanting a better understanding of Street Photography look for "Streetwise" published by Modernbook in 2010 which accompanied a MOPA exhibition on Street Photography curated by Deborah Klochko, its is a good definition of Street Photography. Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, Danny Lyon, Bruce Davidson, and Lee Friedlander are Street Photography legends, look up their images. I do think is worth noting though, that I have seen a video interview of Winogrand where he ripped the term "Street Photography" and wanted nothing to do with it. That's why I will stick with the label "Documentary Photographer" and leave it at that.
I got a request this past week from Artsy.net asking me to share a link to the their website, specifically their feature page on Robert Frank. I wasn't too familiar with Artsy so I looked in to them first, they are basically a clearing house for art on the internet, collecting information from all over and having it in one place. They are definitely worth checking out and I even added their mobile app to my phone. Below is the link to their Robert Frank page and I have their main page in my Links page now as well.