Failed It! by Erik Kessels is an easy read of his encouragement of embracing failure as a means of revealing a better discovery. He intersperses hisFailed It! by Erik Kessels is an easy read of his encouragement of embracing failure as a means of revealing a better discovery. He intersperses his quips with visual inspirations, from both the intentional (by seasoned artists) and the unintentional (by reconsidering the work of some amateurs).
The strength of this short book is demonstrating how play -- and a sense of humour -- can create something unique, breaking away from the mundane.
For example, Kessels writes, “Children learn by trying and failing ... But children also live in a dream world of play, where mistakes have no consequences, nor are they burdened by the terror of self-consciousness.”
“So why shouldn’t adults do the same?” he asks.
Perhaps because as adults, some mistakes do have consequences. And I would argue that overcoming the terror of our environmental conditioning (finish school, get that job, marry that person, have a family) requires more than acting like a child.
Being a failed parent or spouse may enrich your own life, but there’s a difference between the discarding of literal scraps of paper versus human relationships.
So I’ll take Failed It! for what it is -- don’t seek perfection when exploring your own creativity.
But the learning process for emotional intelligence is a harder read....more
Une Visite chez Magritte (or roughly translated, A Visit at Magritte’s Place) is a concise, 64-page hardbound book, about A5 in size, published by SteUne Visite chez Magritte (or roughly translated, A Visit at Magritte’s Place) is a concise, 64-page hardbound book, about A5 in size, published by Steidl.
After a brief, one-page introduction by the author (see translation below), what follows is a beautiful series of images that resonate with the subject’s dreamy disposition.
There are intimate images of Magritte’s house interior, including some of his works on the walls, as well as some cleverly staged images outdoors.
I particularly liked the experimentation with multiple exposures, exemplifying the process of imagination.
While there are others, such as Michel Foucault, who provide a philosopher’s examination of Magritte’s poetic genius, I much prefer this photographer’s demonstration of respect and understanding of this great artist’s world, told through images only.
We know that Magritte approved, because on display is a handwritten letter of gratitude.
In return, Michals leaves an ode; Magritte died less than two years’ after his visit:
Goodbye, René Magritte Subtle maestro of the grand opera of wonder, Your works remain in our memories Like the tune of a song, Even long after the music has ended Through the land of silence, Maybe you can hear the echo of our applause....more
I have not studied photography formally, but take solace that many of the 100 photographers featured in this thorough volume of the urban landscape anI have not studied photography formally, but take solace that many of the 100 photographers featured in this thorough volume of the urban landscape and its people have learned their craft from the harsh realities of the street.
Nevertheless I may be utterly under-qualified to provide a meaningful critique of this very considered book, The World Atlas of Street Photography, published by Thames & Hudson.
Author Jackie Higgins has done a masterful job. The structure of the book is geographical, by world region. Each photographer gets a page or two, with a pertinent selection of his or her work.
As one would expect, most images feature people. Some are candid; others are posed. And some photographers concentrate more on the physical environment -- the human influence without the presence of any inhabitants themselves.
What I like is that there's no need to read the book from cover-to-cover. You can peruse the pages and stop and inspect more of what captures your eye. (Perhaps not unlike the behaviour of a practiced street photographer.) The biographical entries are well written and easy to digest.
Max Kozloff sets the global scene in his foreword. I particularly like his statement of how "photographers have reacted with a discursive strategy of their own", including a response to "post-modernist scepticism towards documentary forms".
Because street photography tells stories, of the photographer and the photographed. Some stories are easier to decipher from the images than others, but story telling is one of man's longest-running habits. Long live the documentary style, updated for the 21st century.
And that is my only mild criticism -- there is no modern signposting of any of the photographers. Perhaps these acclaimed artists are beyond Flickr and Tumblr, but I would have appreciated links to at least portfolio websites. There's also no bibliography or further reading section.
Yet The World Atlas of Street Photography should be on any self-respecting street photographer's bookshelf. Jackie Higgins achieves her objective of showcasing illuminating juxtapositions, as she puts it, providing the reader with ample inspiration and insight of a wide variety of techniques and styles.