Posts Tagged ‘gelatin silver contact prints

15
Dec
19

European photographic research tour: Josef Sudek archive at u(p)m The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

Visit: Tuesday 10th September 2019, published December 2019

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Střelecky Ostrov' 1950s-60s

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Střelecky Ostrov, Prague (Střelecky Island with Legion Bridge and Vltava river, Prague)
1950s-60s
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Spirit has no boundaries

On my European photographic research tour I was invited to visit The Museum of Decorative Arts at their collection headquarters outside Prague for a private viewing of vintage prints of the Czech master photographer Josef Sudek. What a privilege.

My very great thankx to Jan Mlčoch, photography collections curator at u(p)m Prague, for his knowledge, humour and generosity of time and spirit in showing me approx. 40 vintage Josef Sudek prints and 6 rare books. Jan couldn’t believe of an interest in Sudek all the way from Australia!

All vintage photographs were donated by the family to the museum.

  1. Firstly, I was shown 6 rare books of Josef Sudek photographs. The most notable was the book “Praha panoramatická”, an edition of 300 published by SNK LHU in 1959. With a cloth cover and a star design on the front, this book featured 284 gravure panoramic plates. The photos start at the centre of Prague and then work out in a spiral in terms of location, to the countryside looking back at the city. Several double pages featured panorama close up of a house or building on the left hand side and a more distant shot of the same building on the right hand side. Close / far. The images, the tonality and the vision of this man was incredible
  2. Secondly, I was shown vintage contact prints from 1950s-60s ranging in size from 4 x 5″ negatives (printed on 8 x 10″ paper) up to at least 12 x 16″
  3. All contact prints centred on single weight, some semi matt others slight gloss papers, with the rest of the sheet EXPOSED TO BLACK. This was Sudek’s preferred method of printing – one negative / exposure per piece of paper, not cutting the sheet ever
  4. NO TRUE BLACK AND NO BRIGHT WHITE. Tones ranged from zone 2 to maximum zone 7.5-8. Most unusual – the grey tonality of the prints that almost blended completely across the zone spectrum from 2-8. No hard delineation. On this viewing all reproductions have way too much contrast (including these iPhone images!)
  5. The highlight was 3 originally mounted pigment photographs by Sudek in 1953 (see two below). Photos sandwiched between 2 panes of glass, mounted on different coloured pieces of paper (pink, another almost tissue paper) with pigment prints. Edges of glass sealed with lead in one example. Reminiscent of Stieglitz’s use of coloured mount board for his framing. The prints were so “inky” – “of such extraordinary depth and warmth”

On many occasions I was close to tears the prints were so moving. As a friend of mine Randall Tosh observed of his prints, “his take on prints is so different from the Weston / Adams mid-century canon. I don’t always think they work, but when they do, they are otherworldly.” From what I observed on this viewing, they worked incredibly well.

This was a sublime experience, one of the photographic highlights of my life. Sudek’s magical work has always struck me as a form of psychotherapy and so it proved… photography as a form of healing after his injuries during the First World War.

Spirit has no boundaries.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Jan Mlčoch for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting and to Alfonso Melendez and the Josef Sudek public Facebook group for their brains trust, for finding out the location and date of some of the images featured here. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“There is no approach, no recipe. Each thing has to be done differently.”

.
Josef Sudek

 

 

Josef Sudek. 'Praha panoramatická' book cover, SNK LHU, 1959

 

Josef Sudek. Praha panoramatická book cover, SNK LHU, 1959

 

 

“Praha Panoramaticka (Prague In Panoramic Photographs)” published by Statni Nakladatelstvi, Prague in 1959. Containing 284 striking black-and-white panoramic photogravures of Prague and the surrounding countryside, Sudek masterfully captures the city that he loved and shows why he earned the nickname, “The Poet of Prague”. In The Photobook: A History, Martin Parr and Gerry Badger provide an excellent critique, “Sudek is a photographer whose body of work suggests that photography was as necessary to him as breathing, Josef Sudek claimed the city of Prague and his surroundings as comprehensively as Eugene Atget claimed Paris. His masterpiece is one of the most singular photobooks ever made, Praha panoramaticka (Prague Panorama). To create this wealth of memorable images, Sudek used an antique 1894 Kodak Panorama camera with a spring-drive lens that produced a negative of approximately 4 by 12 inches. Of all his books, this one sums up his love of Prague. The panoramic camera is a strong unifying element in the imagery, but so is Sudek’s democratic eye, which disregards nothing. His feeling for light, weather, and space in combination has never been surpassed. Praha panoramaticka is a veritable encyclopedia of how to plot, construct and unify a panoramic photograph. And if this were not enough, Sudek even pulls off a near impossible trick at the end of the book: good vertical panoramas”.

Text from the Abebooks website [Online] Cited 09/11/2019

 

Josef Sudek. 'Praha panoramatická' book page, SNK LHU, 1959

Josef Sudek. 'Praha panoramatická' book page, SNK LHU, 1959

Josef Sudek. 'Praha panoramatická' book page, SNK LHU, 1959

 

Josef Sudek. Praha panoramatická book pages, SNK LHU, 1959

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Střelecky Ostrov' 1950s-60s

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Both Střelecky Ostrov, Prague (Střelecky Island, Prague)
1950s-60s
Gelatin silver print

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Střelecky Ostrov' 1950s-60s

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Střelecky Ostrov, Prague (Střelecky Island, Prague)
1950s-60s
Gelatin silver print

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Střelecky Ostrov' 1950s-60s

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Both Střelecky Ostrov, Prague (Střelecky Island, Prague)
1950s-60s
Gelatin silver print

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Střelecky Ostrov' 1950s-60s

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Střelecky Ostrov, Prague (Střelecky Island, Prague)
1950s-60s
Gelatin silver print

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Střelecky Ostrov' 1950s-60s

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Střelecky Ostrov, Prague (Střelecky Island, Prague) with a statue of St John of Nepomuk?
1950s-60s
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Saint John of Nepomuk (or John Nepomucene) (Czech: Jan Nepomucký; German: Johannes Nepomuk; Latin: Ioannes Nepomucenus) (c. 1345 – 20 March 1393) is the saint of Bohemia (Czech Republic) who was drowned in the Vltava river at the behest of Wenceslaus, King of the Romans and King of Bohemia. Later accounts state that he was the confessor of the queen of Bohemia and refused to divulge the secrets of the confessional. On the basis of this account, John of Nepomuk is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, a patron against calumnies and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods and drowning.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'The Window of My Studio, Prague' 1944-1953

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
The Window of My Studio, Prague
1944-1953
Gelatin silver print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'The Window of My Studio, Prague' 1944-1953

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
The Window of My Studio, Prague
1944-1953
Gelatin silver print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Jaro v me zahradce' (Spring in my Garden) 1953

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Jaro v me zahrádce (Spring in my Garden)
1953
Pigment print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Jaro v me zahradce' (Spring in my Garden) 1953

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Jaro v me zahrádce (Spring in my Garden)
1953
Pigment print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Jaro v me zahradce' (Spring in my Garden) 1953 (detail)

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Jaro v me zahrádce (Spring in my Garden) (detail)
1953
Pigment print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Untitled' 1953

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Untitled
1953
Pigment print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Untitled' 1953

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Untitled
1953
Pigment print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Untitled' 1953 (detail)

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Untitled (detail)
1953
Pigment print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Untitled' 1950-54

 

Plate 38 Untitled 1950-54 from the book Joseph Sudek Still Lifes, Torst, 2008

 

 

From the mid-1920s until his death in 1976, Czech photographer Joseph Sudek shot Gothic and Baroque architecture, street scenes and still lifes – usually leaving the frame free of people and capturing a poetic and highly individualistic glimpse of Prague. The still lifes are the best known aspect of his oeuvre; indeed, his graceful depictions of drinking-glasses and eggs are familiar to those who don’t necessarily even know his name. Acceding to his reclusive nature, Sudek began The Window of My Studio series in the 1940s. It allowed him to capture street scenes without going outside and helped him discover a particular fondness for how glass refracts light. The still lifes emerged from the informal arrangements Sudek would make on his windowsill, and occupied him for a number of years. Depicting a range of quotidian objects with a marked artfulness – some were made in homage to favourite painters like Caravaggio – the series deserves a deeper look. This volume is the first in-depth study of Sudek’s still lifes and also explores his creative use of carbon printing – a pigment process on rag paper not often used photographically – which lent so many of his images such extraordinary depth and warmth. (Text from the Amazon website)

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Labyrinth on My Table' 1967

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976)
Labyrinth on My Table
1967
Gelatin silver print
© The Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague

 

Josef Sudek (Czech, 1896-1976) 'Labyrinth on My Table' 1967

 

Plate 22 Labyrinth on My Table 1967 from the book by Daniela Hodrová and Antonín Dufek Joseph Sudek Labyrinths, Torst, 2013

 

 

Like the previous volumes The Window of My Studio and Still Lifes, this new Josef Sudek monograph collects a series of photographs made within the confines of the Czech photographer’s workspace. Sudek’s studio famously verged on installation art, as the poet Jaroslav Seifert recalled: “Breton’s surrealism would have come into its own there. A drawing by Jan Zrzavy lay rolled up by a bottle of nitric acid, which stood on a plate where there was a crust of bread and a piece of smoked meat with a bite taken out of it. And above this hung the wing of a Baroque angel with Sudek’s beret hanging from it… This disorder was so picturesque, so immensely rich, that it almost came close to being a strange but highly subtle work of art.” Gathered here in all their surreal beauty, the Labyrinths series depicts multilayered assemblages of objects in endlessly permutated combinations. (Text from Google Books website)

 

Folders of vintage Josef Sudek prints at the Central Depository UPM Stodůlky

 

Folders of vintage Josef Sudek prints at the Central Depository UPM Stodůlky

 

 

u(p)m The Museum of Decorative Arts
17. listopadu Street No.2
110 00 Prague 1
Phone: +420 778 543 900

u(p)m The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague website

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21
Oct
16

Exhibition: ‘George Tice: Urban Landscapes’ at the Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, California

Exhibition dates: 10th September – 28th October 2016

 

An American iconography

George Tice is a master photographer and an exceptional artist. Using a large format 8 x 10 camera this craftsman has created a “deeply-penetrating” photographic record of the American urban landscape, mainly based around the city of New Jersey where he has lived for most of his life.

Tice’s ongoing epic visual poem is at its strongest in his early period, from 1973-74. While his later 1990s work is qualified by simplified imagery and semiotic statements (for example Dorn’s Photoshop, Red Bank, NJ, 1999 and Lakewood Manor Motel, Lakewood, NJ, 1998, below) it is this early work that produces “attentive and quotidian descriptions of the everyday structures and places that define the American cultural landscape.” There seems to be a greater personal investment in these earlier images. Tice’s recognition of subject matter that mere mortals pass by is translated into beautiful, serene, tonal and dare I say, sensual images, that belie the complexity of their previsualisation. You only have to look at two images, Houses and Water Towers, Moorestown, NJ, 1973 and Hudson’s Fish Market, Atlantic City, NJ, 1973 (below) to understand that these photographs are visually complex, slightly surreal, affectionate images of places he personally knows so well. They possess a totally different feeling from the conceptual photography of the German school of Bernd and Hilla Becher. As Sanford Schwartz in The New York Times, on December 3, 1972 noted: “Tice’s pictures… show a remarkable blend of intimacy, affection and clear-sightedness.”

The almost tragic, objective renditions of a post-industrial landscape evidence a poetic intensity that has deep roots in the history of photography. Vivien Raynor, writing in The New York Times, said, “Finding precedents for Mr. Tice’s photography is easier than defining the personal qualities that make it so special. As others have remarked, his tranquil towns, usually deserted, could sometimes be those of Walker Evans updated; his industrial views are not unrelated to Charles Sheeler’s, and, for good measure, the stillness and silence of his compositions link him to Atget, the first great urban reporter.” Tice builds upon the lineage of other great artists but then, as any good artist should, he forges his own path, not reliant on the signature of others. As he himself observes, “… if you learn to see what photography is through one person’s eyes you become fixed in that one way of seeing.”

When I first started taking photographs in 1990, my heroes were Atget, Strand, Evans and Minor White. Looking at art, and looking at photographers, trained my eye. But as an artist, looking at the world is the most valuable education that you can have, for eventually you have to forge your own style, not copy someone else … and the signature that you create becomes your own. You know it’s a Mapplethorpe, just as you know it’s an Evans, or a Tice. Each piece of handwriting is unique. Nobody can teach that and it only comes with time and experience. As Paul Strand said, it takes 10 years to become an artist, 10 years to learn your craft, 10 years to drop ego away and find your own style. This is what the work of George Tice speaks to. He approaches the world with a clear mind, focused on a objective narrative that flips! exposing us (like his film), to a subjective, visceral charm all of his own making.

Marcus

.
Many thankx to the Joseph Bellows Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“As I progressed further with my project, it became obvious that it was really unimportant where I chose to photograph. The particular place simply provided an excuse to produce work… you can only see what you are ready to see – what mirrors your mind at that particular time.”

“Documenting the place is principally what I do. The bulk of my photographs are of New Jersey. It may have been a subject series, like ice or aquatic plants, that could have been anywhere, but it was done in New Jersey. Most of my pictures are about place. I would say the Urban Landscape work is what is most distinctive about me.”

.
George Tice

 

 

George Tice. 'Jimmy's Bar and Grill and Conmar Zipper Company, Newark, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Jimmy’s Bar and Grill and Conmar Zipper Company, Newark, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Houses and Water Towers, Moorestown, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Houses and Water Towers, Moorestown, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Hudson's Fish Market, Atlantic City, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Hudson’s Fish Market, Atlantic City, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Dorn's Photoshop, Red Bank, NJ, 1999' 1999

 

George Tice
Dorn’s Photoshop, Red Bank, NJ, 1999
1999
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Lexington Avenue, Passaic, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Lexington Avenue, Passaic, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Palace Funhouse, Asbury Park, 1995' 1995

 

George Tice
Palace Funhouse, Asbury Park, 1995
1995
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Railroad Bridge, High Bridge, NJ, 1974' 1974

 

George Tice
Railroad Bridge, High Bridge, NJ, 1974
1974
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Route #440 Overpass, Perth Amboy, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Route #440 Overpass, Perth Amboy, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

 

“Joseph Bellows Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by one of the medium’s master photographers, George Tice. George Tice: Urban Landscapes will open with a book signing and reception with the artist on Saturday September, 10th from 6-8pm. The exhibition will continue through October 28th, 2016.

The exhibition will present a remarkable selection of forty exceptionally rare vintage 8 x 10 inch gelatin silver contact prints from the early period (1973-74), of Tice’s ongoing epic visual poem of his native state of New Jersey. These unique vintage prints will be punctuated with larger photographs of some of artist’s most revered and significant images, as well as selections of more recent work from his extended New Jersey portrait.

Renowned for their attentive and quotidian descriptions of the everyday structures and places that define the American cultural landscape, Tice’s exquisitely printed photographs catalog a rich and layered journey that is both personal and universal. In the photographs that comprise Urban Landscapes, Tice defines a sense of America within a tradition rooted in the work of other American masters, namely Edward Hopper and Walker Evans. Tice’s photographs of New Jersey in the early to mid 1970’s describe a particular time and place; however, as the artist states, “It takes the passage of time before an image of a commonplace subject can be assessed. The great difficulty of what I attempt is seeing beyond the moment; the everydayness of life gets in the way of the eternal.” Now, with decades past, Tice’s observations have become even more poignant depictions, everlasting a specific era and landscape, as the artist intended.

As well as being one of the 20th Century’s most prominent photographers, Tice is revered as a master printer, having printed limited-edition portfolios of some of his favorite photographers, among them Edward Steichen, Edward Weston and Frederick H. Evans, as well as other important photographers including Francis Bruguiere, Ralph Steiner and Lewis Hine.”

Press release from the Joseph Bellows Gallery

 

George Tice. 'Tenement Rooftops, Hoboken, NJ, 1974' 1974

 

George Tice
Tenement Rooftops, Hoboken, NJ, 1974
1974
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Steve's Diner, Route 130, North Brunswick, 1974' 1974

 

George Tice
Steve’s Diner, Route 130, North Brunswick, 1974
1974
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Ideal Diner, Perth Amboy, NJ, 1980' 1980

 

George Tice
Ideal Diner, Perth Amboy, NJ, 1980
1980
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'White Castle, Route #1, Rahway, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
White Castle, Route #1, Rahway, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Strand Theater, Keyport, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Strand Theater, Keyport, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Industrial Landscape, Kearny, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Industrial Landscape, Kearny, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

 

George Tice in conversation with Paul Caponigro

JPC You had said, “After a time you don’t want to have any photographic influences. It’s okay to be influenced by writers, poets, people in other fields but not okay by other photographers.”

GT You don’t want to be like anyone else. Like all those people who were influenced by Ansel Adams. I don’t think any of them will do better than he did.

JPC Not until they find their own voice. It’s impossible to successfully imitate someone else’s voice.

GT Right. And the natural landscape of the west, that’s not going to be better in the future, as the population increases and much of the wilderness gets erased. Timothy O’Sullivan probably had a better chance at it than Ansel Adams did. But you don’t want anyone to be too great an influence, like an apprenticeship. If I was to begin photography, study it, I wouldn’t want one teacher. I think one teacher is too great an influence. I’d rather have an education based on workshops. You draw some knowledge through every one of them. But if you learn to see what photography is through one person’s eyes you become fixed in that one way of seeing.

George Tice Conversations on the John Paul Caponigro “Illuminating Creativity” web page 07/01/1997 [Online] Cited 09/10/2016

 

George Tice. 'Jahos Brothers Clothing Store, Trenton, NJ, 1973' 1973

 

George Tice
Jahos Brothers Clothing Store, Trenton, NJ, 1973
1973
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Minnie's Go-Go, Route 130, Merchantville, 1975' 1975

 

George Tice
Minnie’s Go-Go, Route 130, Merchantville, 1975
1975
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Lakewood Manor Motel, Lakewood, NJ, 1998' 1998

 

George Tice
Lakewood Manor Motel, Lakewood, NJ, 1998
1998
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Esso Station and Tenement House, Hoboken, NJ, 1972' 1972

 

George Tice
Esso Station and Tenement House, Hoboken, NJ, 1972
1972
Silver gelatin print

 

George Tice. 'Telephone Booth, 3 am, Railway, NJ, 1974' 1974

 

George Tice
Telephone Booth, 3 am, Railway, NJ, 1974
1974
Silver gelatin print

 

 

Joseph Bellows Gallery
7661 Girrard Avenue
La Jolla, California
Phone: 858 456 5620

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5pm, and Saturday by appointment

Joseph Bellows Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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