Posts Tagged ‘street photographer

28
May
13

Exhibition: ‘Garry Winogrand’ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Exhibition dates: 9th March – 2nd June 2013

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Utah (Wyoming)' 1964

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Utah (Wyoming)
1964
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

 

“Every photograph is a battle of form versus content.”

.
Garry Winogrand

 

 

Playing God with his film

Form and content. Form and content

I don’t like the work of Garry Winogrand. Never have, never will. I think his work is overrated and and somewhat trite. That should stir up all the Winophiles who think that he is one of the best street photographers in the history of the medium!

At best his form is average – technical aspects adequate; composition is pretty basic including dull use of tension points within the picture frame; and framing very bland, tilted angles not withstanding. His content is nothing special either, mainly frontal shots of people walking towards him or voyeuristic shots while mingled in crowds, or a mixture of both. As he himself says, “I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph.” By letting the medium describe the world around him. And therein lies part of the problem.

Winogrand just looks – and you can’t fault someone for just looking. It’s just a not very interesting looking.

If I really look at Winogrand’s work I can see that he just states what he saw in shot after shot after shot, indiscriminately. Personally, I find there is a real cynicism in his work. The photographs “describe” his own state of mind – as much as he denies that he (or his state of mind) has anything to do with the act of describing the world through photography. You see, it’s all about how the camera sees the world and not how he sees it. Hence, Winogrand hardly embraces his feelings towards the world and if he does, it is only in a half-hearted manner. For example, he goes a certain way towards the dark (as in the photographs Utah (Wyoming), 1964 above, and Los Angeles, 1964, below) and then stops. The other part of the problem is this: what you can also fault is all the hyperbole that is laid over the top of his work by curators and museums – because on close examination the work really doesn’t justify it. It’s actually not that good.

Winogrand states and summarises but doesn’t solve. He just keeps adding to the list occasionally, under duress, ordering it (photographs of women in the book Women are Beautiful, 1975):

“During his Austin years he was preparing two books, Public Relations and Women are Beautiful. Given his method of printing every image on the contact sheet for the selection process, and given his proclivity for the physical act of shooting, no wonder he wasn’t out on the street as much as he’d like. Yes he had to print, select and publish some prints to survive unless he wanted to teach the rest of his life. I don’t believe he wanted to do that. Had there been a way, I believe he would died a blissful death had he been on the streets clicking away and either letting the exposed film rot or letting someone else process and print them, and arrange the books and shows and collect the money. That’s how much he loved the physical act of shooting.

He felt at home out there, looking for the next image to expose. He was also the boss out there, playing God with his film and deciding where to frame that next battle between form and content, then the next and the next.”1

.
Playing God with his film…

In some ways Winogrand reminds me of both the king and the court jester. King because he could frame the battle between form and content ad infinitum and jester because he was the fool, standing in front of people, laughing, smiling, obsequious, running hither and yon to get every shot, any shot. See the video below to understand what I mean. Unlike the photographs in Robert Frank’s The Americans, his is not a poetic understanding of the world for the difference between Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand is that the former’s photographs are undeniably poetic while the latter’s are prosaic aphorisms about the world. In Winogrand’s “describing” the social landscape he photographed is reduced to lists of things: “the dislocation of urban life, the rise of the suburb with its growing alienation, the skepticism of youth, and the collusion of the press and the powerful,” rarely pursued by any obvious means and certainly not through poetic evocation.

I think that Winogrand struggled with the question – do I add to the list or do I order the list? Obviously he chose the former, for if there is no order in life there can be no order in the archive. Hence we are left with the “Unfinished” Late Work, an archive of 250,000 images that have remained virtually unknown. A boon for researchers and curators wishing to position Winogrand’s legacy “revealing for the first time the full sweep of his career… creating a vivid portrait of the artist.”

Even when the artist could not be bothered (so why should we bother).
Even when the images were never seen or acknowledged.
The artist streetwise in his omnipotent isolation.

.
Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

1. Garza, O. C. Class Time with Garry Winogrand. 2007, p. 19 [Online] Cited 26/05/2013
www.ocgarzaphotography.com/documents/ClassTimewithGarryWinograndfinal2.pdf

 

 

“Great photography is always on the edge of failure.”
.
“I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.”
.
“I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing as it is. A photograph must be responsible to both.”
.
“I don’t have anything to say in any picture. My only interest in photography is to see what something looks like as a photograph. I have no preconceptions.”

.
Garry Winogrand

.
“We quickly learned Winogrand’s technique – he walked slowly or stood in the middle of pedestrian traffic as people went by. He shot prolifically. I watched him walk a short block and shoot an entire roll without breaking stride. As he reloaded, I asked him if he felt bad about missing pictures when he reloaded. “No,” he replied, “there are no pictures when I reload.” He was constantly looking around, and often would see a situation on the other side of a busy intersection. Ignoring traffic, he would run across the street to get the picture.”

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Mason Resnick

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“Form and content are two keys which make a memorable street photograph. Consider “form” as the composition, framing, and technical aspects of a photograph. Consider “content” as what is actually happening in the photograph (whether it be an old couple holding hands, a boy holding two bottles of wine, or a man looking through a peep-hole)… Garry Winogrand shot with a 28mm lens for most of his life [using a Leica M4 35mm and Tri-X film pushed to 1200 ASA], which meant that for the majority of his shots he had to be quite close to his subjects (and in front of them). Therefore Winogrand wasn’t Henri Cartier-Bresson (trying to be invisible) but was actively a part of the action and immersed in the crowds. He would be very obviously taking photographs in the streets and would stick out like a sore thumb.”

.
Eric Kim

 

 

 

 

Garry Winogrand – The Man In The Crowd

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Fort Worth, Texas' 1974

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Fort Worth, Texas
1974
Gelatin silver print
Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Doris and Donald Fisher and Marion E. Greene
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Fort Worth, Texas' 1975

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Fort Worth, Texas
1975
Gelatin silver print
Collection SFMOMA, gift of Dr. Paul Getz
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'John F. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles' 1960

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
John F. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles
1960
Posthumous digital reproduction from original negative
Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles' 1960

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles
1960
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' c. 1960

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
c. 1960
Gelatin silver print
Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Elliot Richardson Press Conference, Austin, Texas' 1973

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Elliot Richardson Press Conference, Austin, Texas
1973
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

 

Elliot Lee Richardson (July 20, 1920 – December 31, 1999) was an American lawyer and politician who was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As U.S. Attorney General, he was a prominent figure in the Watergate Scandal, and resigned rather than obey President Nixon’s order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. (Text from Wikipedia)

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Centennial Ball, Metropolitan Museum, New York' 1969

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Centennial Ball, Metropolitan Museum, New York
1969
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Point Mugu Naval Air-Station, California' 1979

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Point Mugu Naval Air-Station, California
1979
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Untitled-1970-gelatin-silver-print-WEB

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Untitled
1970
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Venice Beach, Los Angeles' 1979

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Venice Beach, Los Angeles
1979
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

 

The first retrospective in 25 years of work by artist Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) – the renowned photographer of New York City and of American life from the 1950s through the early 1980s – will debut at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) from March 9 through June 2, 2013. Jointly organised by SFMOMA and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Garry Winogrand brings together the artist’s most iconic images with newly printed photographs from his largely unexamined archive of late work, offering a rigorous overview of Winogrand’s complete working life and revealing for the first time the full sweep of his career. More than 300 photographs in the exhibition and more than 400 in the accompanying catalogue will create a vivid portrait of the artist – a chronicler of postwar America on a par with such figures as Norman Mailer and Robert Rauschenberg who unflinchingly captured America’s wrenching swings between optimism and upheaval in the decades following World War II.

While Winogrand is widely considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, his overall body of work and influence on the field remains incompletely explored. He was enormously prolific but largely postponed the editing and printing of his work. Dying suddenly at the age of 56, he left behind approximately 6,500 rolls of film (some 250,000 images) that he had never seen, as well as proof sheets from his earlier years that he had marked but never printed. Roughly half of the photographs in the exhibition have never been exhibited or published until now; over 100 have never before been printed.

“There exists in photography no other body of work of comparable size or quality that is so editorially unresolved,” says Rubinfien, who was among the youngest of Winogrand’s circle of friends in the 1970s. “This exhibition represents the first effort to comprehensively examine Winogrand’s unfinished work. It also aims to turn the presentation of his work away from topical editing and toward a freer organisation that is faithful to his art’s essential spirit, thus enabling a new understanding of his oeuvre, even for those who think they know him.”

The exhibition is divided into three parts, each covering a broad variety of subjects found in Winogrand’s art. “Down from the Bronx” presents photographs taken for the most part in New York from his start in 1950 until 1971; “A Student of America” looks at work made in the same period during journeys outside New York; and “Boom and Bust” addresses Winogrand’s late period – from when he moved away from New York in 1971 until his death in 1984 – with photographs from Texas and Southern California, as well as Chicago, Washington, Miami, and other locations. This third section also includes a small number of photographs Winogrand made on trips back to Manhattan, which express a sense of desolation unprecedented in his earlier work.

Winogrand was known as great talker with a flamboyant, forceful personality, and what he said accompanying his slide shows and lectures was often imaginative and very funny. A number of videos edited for presentation in the exhibition will allow visitors to experience the living Winogrand as audiences have rarely been able to do for 30-odd years. A short selection from Winogrand’s experimental 8mm footage taken in the late 1960s will also be on view.

After premiering at SFMOMA in spring 2013 Garry Winogrand will travel to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (March 2 through June 8, 2014); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (June 27 through September 21, 2014); the Jeu de Paume, Paris (October 14, 2014 through January 25, 2015); and the Fundacion MAPFRE, Madrid (March 3 through May 10, 2015).

 

An Epic Chronicler of Postwar America

Born in the Bronx, Winogrand did much of his best-known work in Manhattan during the 1960s, and in both the content of his photographs and his artistic style he became one of the principal voices of that eruptive decade – so much so that influential Museum of Modern Art curator John Szarkowski anointed him “the central photographer of his generation.”

Known primarily as a street photographer, Winogrand, who is often associated with famed contemporaries Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander, photographed with dazzling energy and incessant appetite, exposing some 20,000 rolls of film in his short lifetime. He photographed business moguls, everyday women on the street, famous actors and athletes, hippies, rodeos, politicians, soldiers, animals in zoos, car culture, airports, and antiwar demonstrators and the construction workers who beat them bloody in view of the unmoved police. Daily life in postwar America – rich with new possibility and yet equally anxious, threatening to spin out of control – seemed to unfold for him in a continuous stream.

Yet if Winogrand was one of New York City’s prime photographers, he was also an avid traveller who roamed widely around the United States, bringing exquisite work out of locations that included Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ohio, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Colorado, and the open country of the Southwest. “You could say that I am a student of photography,” he said, “and I am; but really I’m a student of America.” Winogrand’s expansive visual catalogue of the nation’s evolving social scene has led to comparisons to Walt Whitman, who also unspooled the world in endless lists of people, places, and things.

Winogrand’s pictures often bulge with twenty or thirty figures, and are fascinating both for their dramatic foregrounds and the sub-events at their edges. Even when crowded with people or at their most lighthearted – he was fond of visual puns and was drawn to the absurd – his pictures can convey a feeling of human isolation, hinting at something darker beneath the veneer of the American dream. Early on, some critics considered his pictures formally “shapeless” and “random,” but admirers and critics later found a unique poetry in his tilted horizons and his love of the haphazard.

“Winogrand was an artistic descendant of Walker Evans and Robert Frank, but differed sharply from them,” says Rubinfien. “He admired Frank’s The Americans, but felt the work missed the main story of its time, which in his mind was the emergence of suburban prosperity and isolation. The hope and buoyancy of middle-class life in postwar America is half of the emotional heart of Winogrand’s work. The other half is a sense of undoing. The tension between these qualities gives his work its distinct character.”

After serving in the military as a weather forecaster, Winogrand first began working as a photographer while studying painting on the G.I. Bill at Columbia University (1948-51). During that time, he also studied briefly with Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research. While pursuing his personal work, he began supplying commercial photographs to a number of general-interest magazines such as Life, Look, Sports Illustrated, Collier’s, and Pageant, which were then at the height of their power and reach. His career was further shaped by the decline of those magazines and the rise of a new culture of photography centred in the art world.

“Winogrand worked at a moment when the boundaries between journalistic and artistic photography were less certain than they had ever been, yet it was also a time when the most advanced photographers were consciously abandoning journalistic values,” says Greenough. “The social landscape he photographed – the dislocation of urban life, the rise of the suburb with its growing alienation, the skepticism of youth, and the collusion of the press and the powerful – was of concern to many Americans. Yet Winogrand rarely pursued an obvious means to explicate these ideas, preferring poetic evocation over intelligible journalism.”

Winogrand went on to exhibit widely at prominent museums and achieved renown in his lifetime. Yet despite this recognition, he is perhaps the most inadequately understood of all his contemporaries.

 

“Unfinished” Late Work Thoroughly Investigated for the First Time

The act of taking pictures was far more fulfilling to Winogrand than making prints or editing for books and exhibitions – he often allowed others to perform these tasks for him. Near the end of his life, he spoke of reviewing and reediting all of his photographs, but never had a chance to oversee the shaping of his legacy, or even to review much of the output of his later years. Because of his working methods and his lack of interest in developing his film toward the end of his life, he left behind more than 2,500 rolls of exposed but undeveloped film, an additional 4,100 rolls that he had processed but never seen – an estimated total of 250,000 images that have remained virtually unknown.

Furthermore, Winogrand published just five modest books during his lifetime – The Animals (1969), Women Are Beautiful (1975), Garry Winogrand (1976), Public Relations (1977), and Stock Photographs (1980) – that represent only a fraction of his work and are mainly confined to narrow topical frames that don’t suggest the full scope of his importance.

“One reason that Winogrand is only now receiving the full retrospective treatment already devoted to peers of his era, including Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Robert Frank, is that any truly comprehensive consideration of his life’s work requires contending with the practical and ethical issues surrounding the vast archive he left behind,” says O’Toole. “In the absence of explicit instructions from him regarding how he wanted his work to be handled after he was gone, its posthumous treatment has been the subject of ongoing debate and raises provocative questions about the creative process and its relationship to issues specific to the medium.”

“Some argue that what was left behind should be left alone, and that no one should intrude upon the intentions of an artist,” adds Rubinfien. “But the quantity of Winogrand’s output, the incompleteness with which he reviewed it, and the suddenness of his death create a special case in which the true scope of an eminent photographer’s work cannot be known without the intervention of an editor.”

Now housed at the Center for Creative Photography of the University of Arizona, Tucson, Winogrand’s “unfinished” work was initially organized in the years just after his death by several colleagues and friends in preparation for the artist’s first major museum retrospective, held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) in 1988. Exhibition curator John Szarkowski felt the quality of Winogrand’s work had significantly deteriorated in the last 15 years of his life, and included only a small group of pictures from the mysterious late work in MoMA exhibition.

Nearly 30 years have elapsed since the last attempt to grapple with the complete arc of Winogrand’s career. Benefiting from new curatorial research undertaken for this project, the current exhibition will provide a long-awaited reevaluation of his accomplishments. As one of the first museums to recognise photography as a legitimate art form, SFMOMA has collaborated with the National Gallery of Art – who, like SFMOMA, is known for its photography scholarship – in a multi-year endeavour to spearhead the presentation of this important exhibition and publication.”

Press release from the SFMOMA website

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' 1961

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
1961
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' 1963

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
1963
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'San Marcos, Texas' 1964

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
San Marcos, Texas
1964
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Coney Island, New York' c. 1952

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Coney Island, New York
c. 1952
Gelatin silver print
Collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York, purchase and gift of Barbara Schwartz in memory of Eugene M. Schwartz
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; digital image
© The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Fort Worth, Texas' 1974-77

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Fort Worth, Texas
1974-77
Gelatin silver print
Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York' 1968

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York
1968
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' 1950

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
1950
Gelatin silver print
Collection SFMOMA, fractional and promised gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' c. 1962

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
c. 1962
Gelatin silver print
Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Venice Beach, Los Angeles' 1980-83

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Venice Beach, Los Angeles
1980-83
Gelatin silver print
Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Grand Central Station' 1968

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Grand Central Station
1968
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Los Angeles' 1964

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Los Angeles
1964
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' 1968

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
1968
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

Garry Winogrand. 'New York' c. 1969

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
New York
c. 1969
Silver gelatin photograph
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand

 

 

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20
Jan
13

Review: ‘Ingeborg Tyssen: photographs’ at Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 23rd November 2012 – 3rd February 2013

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from the series 'People' 1977

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Untitled
1977
From the People series
Gelatin silver print
Image size 20.1 x 25.2cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
Donated by Janice Hinderaker through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2003

 

 

“Tysenn clearly felt a deep sense of dislocation from her country of birth, its national identity and cultural conventions. It was apparent in her ongoing explorations of the Australian landscape that on her arrival she had met with more than just an initial linguistic barrier, and there were also barriers to understanding the Australian landscape which was so far and different to European forests and Dutch tales and legends about them that she grew up with.”

.
Essay “Remembering Ingeborg” by Sandra Byron

 

“Tyssen’s people are not known to her, rather are studies of anonymous people: in action, in the city, at a fairground. The People series – City Light 1977 images reveal a sense of isolation in a crowd. People emerging from the dark shadows of the same station/ mall and march into the sunlight. They are expressionless, uncommunicative, isolated, yet display a keen sense of self and appearance. Mostly minding their own business, doing their own thing, they seem undisturbed by the female photographer standing nearby. She must not have been intrusive or demanding, just there with her camera at the ready.”

.
Fiona McIntosh on the art out there blog 2012

 

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from the series 'People' 1977

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Untitled
1977
From the People series
Gelatin silver print
Image size 20.1 x 25.2cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
Donated by Janice Hinderaker through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2003

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from the series 'People' 1977

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Untitled
1977
From the People series
Gelatin silver print
Image size 20.1 x 25.2cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
Donated by Janice Hinderaker through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2003

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from the series 'People' 1977

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Untitled
1977
From the People series
Gelatin silver print
Image size 20.1 x 25.2cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
Donated by Janice Hinderaker through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2003

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from the series 'People' 1977

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Untitled
1977
From the People series
Gelatin silver print
Image size 20.1 x 25.2cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
Donated by Janice Hinderaker through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2003

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from the series 'People' 1977

 

Ingeborg Tyssen
Untitled
1977
From the People series
Gelatin silver print
Image size 20.1 x 25.2cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
Donated by Janice Hinderaker through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2003

 

Garry Winogrand. 'Untitled' from Women are Beautiful' Nd/1981

 

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
Untitled
Nd (1960s) / published 1981
From the portfolio Women are Beautiful
Silver gelatin print

 

Harry Callahan. 'Chicago' 1961

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Chicago
1961
Gelatin silver print
Overall (image): 40.6 x 27.1cm (16 x 10 11/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Callahan Family
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

 

“Ingeborg Tyssen was one of the great Australian photographers of her generation.” (Press release)

“Ingeborg Tysenn was one of Australia’s most important post war artists.”
(Essay “Remembering Ingeborg” by Sandra Byron)

 

 

This is a very disappointing exhibition of the work of Australian photographer Ingeborg Tyssen at Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne encumbered as it is by the above two statements. On the evidence of the work presented neither statement is true. Whoever is pushing this barrow (and it is a large barrow to push) should really stop and have a damn good look at the work to see whether it is worthy of such claims and what they hope to achieve by promoting such statements. If they really looked objectively they would see that the art just is, and nothing more.

Being a cultural commentator means that you have to form an opinion on the work presented. For me this involves the eye (what the work looks like), the head (undertaking research into the artist) and the heart (how I feel about the work). Then and only then can you make an informed decision on the merits of the work. With Tyssen’s work there were four standout photographs in the exhibition (people in a swimming pool taken in the Modernist style, part of the 1981 Ryde Pool, Sydney series, none of which I can show you in this posting) and the rest of the photographs were serviceable but derivative of other artists.

Tyssen was born in The Netherlands and arrived here when she was 12 years old. Her photographs show a European and Australian sensibility, a dislocation from but also an attraction toward both her native country and her adopted country Australia. Her photographs can be divided into various styles: early documentary street photography (the People series, 1977), Modernist photography (Ryde Pool, Sydney series, 1981 and From the heart of the forest to the edge of the road series, 1982-84), New Topographics photography (Billboards and Trees series, 1981-82) and Romantic photography (The voice of silence series 1991-92). Unfortunately, Tyssen never seems to have developed a voice of her own, a signature style that you could say was unique to her own art practice. So many of these photographs are derivative of other photographers who have already invented and mastered that style that nothing seems to belong to Tyssen herself. She seems to have been enamoured of style after style.

In the high contrast, small scale People series (1977, above) the animals are particularly unapproachable. While exhibiting a sense of Australian light and an intimation of Australia’s white only policy – there is a specific Australian-ness in the people she has chosen and the atmosphere of Whitlam / post Whitlam remaking of the Australian identity; even the lady with the European aura knows she is in Australia, perhaps she even knows she is in the Australian light – these are hard images to engage with emotionally, unlike the psychological works of Harry Callahan and Garry Winogrand. Problematically, the Billboards and Trees series (both 1981-82, below) are so redolent of American photography (both in physical dis/location and surface remarks) that I felt I had seen it all before and done better. In these series Australia morphs into America and not in a good way; I did not find the artist’s purported wit and humour any help either. In the panoramic series From the heart of the forest to the edge of the road (1982-84, below) Tyssen comes closest to capturing the intensity of the Australian landscape only to be let down by a) the quality of the prints and b) the fact that the title is a coat hanger, allowing the artist to hang disparate images together that really have no relationship to each other – an overall lumping together concept. The prints themselves do nothing to support the work, being sometimes too pale and insignificant to hold the image, too flat. Playing with the print and its tonal range and surface qualities does little to help an overall vision of the work or help the viewer engage with the content.

In my notes I wrote in capital letters: THEY DON’T ENGAGE ME!
In other words, there was nothing that held my attention image after image, time after time.

Tyssen seems to have known her limitations as well. She just wanted to be a photographer and kept persevering at her art. At their best Tyssen’s photographs lie somewhere between Kertesz and Cartier-Bresson without the decisive moment (look at the photograph Taronga Zoo, Sydney, 1974 below and you will understand what I mean). The weakness of her images was really brought home to me when, in a small gallery off to the side of the main space, there in all its glory was one of the iconic images of a generation – Vale Street (1975) by Carol Jerrems. This one image, one image, had more power over me, more feeling, more beauty than all of Tyssen’s images put together. People really do need to stop making grandiose statements about the work of artists and let the viewer just look clearly at the art. That way there is little expectation, the work will be taken on its merits, and everyone may be quietly surprised at the outcome.

Dr Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Many thankx to the Monash Gallery of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. Download the essay by Sandra Byron, “Remembering Ingeborg: A personal appreciation of the life and work of Ingeborg Tyssen” (2.24Mb pdf)

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Perisher Valley, NSW' from the series 'From the heart of the forest to the edge of the road' series 1984

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Perisher Valley, NSW
1984
From the series From the heart of the forest to the edge of the road 1982-84
Silver gelatin print

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Perisher Valley No 6, NSW' 1984

 

Ingeborg Tyssen
Perisher Valley No 6, NSW
1984
From the series From the heart of the forest to the edge of the road 1982-84
Gelatin silver print
14.5 x 35.7cm
Hallmark Cards Australian Photography Collection Fund 1989
© Ingeborg Tyssen, 1984. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen
Courtesy John Williams & Sandra Byron Gallery

 

Ingeborg TYSSEN. '
Royal Easter Show, Sydney' 1982

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)

Royal Easter Show, Sydney
1982
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Untitled' from 'The voice of silence' series 1991-1992

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Untitled
1991-1992
From The voice of silence series 1991-92
Gelatin silver print

 

Ingeborg TYSSEN. 'Taronga Zoo, Sydney' 1974

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
1974
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Royal Easter Show, Sydney' 1979

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Royal Easter Show, Sydney
1979
Silver gelatin print
Collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen

 

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (1945-2002) was one of the great Australian photographers of her generation. Although generally overlooked by critics during her lifetime in favour of many of her male counterparts, Tyssen left us a remarkable body of work. Ingeborg Tyssen: photographs is the first museum retrospective of her work in Victoria, and the first major exhibition since her memorial show was held at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2002.

This exhibition provides a great opportunity for audiences to view the work of this major figure. Spanning 20 years of creative output from 1974-94, Ingeborg Tyssen: photographs shows Tyssen as a highly original observer of modern life. Her candid photographs of pedestrians in city streets, young kids playing in suburban swimming pools, and images of the Australian and American landscape reveal an artist whose concerns were at the forefront of Australian photographic practice.

MGA Gallery Director Shaune Lakin states, “Tyssen’s story is one of the great stories of Australian photography. Her arrival in Australia at the age of 12 as an immigrant from her native Holland and her struggle with displacement and new language and landscape is one that many Australians are familiar with. Being one of Australia’s first street photographers, she made a significant contribution to the history of Australian photography. Her experience of migration gave Tyssen a rare ability to observe people in their environment. Her earliest photographs, taken in the city streets, fun parks, and suburbs of 1970s were acute depictions of the urban isolation she felt in her new homeland. Her experience and pictures certainly remain relevant to contemporary Australia.”

In 1995 the Art Gallery of New South Wales presented a mid-career survey of her work and she continued to exhibit in commercial galleries and museums in Australia and abroad until she died as a result of a motor accident in 2002. In her obituary, critic Robert McFarlane wrote: “With Tyssen’s death, Australia has lost one of the most talented photographers from the postwar generation…The originality and lack of ego in these images will ensure their enduring place in the history of the medium.”

Tyssen studied photography under John Williams, who became her husband. She was a co-founder of the Photographers Gallery in South Yarra in 1975.

Press release from the Monash Gallery of Art website

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Ryde Pool, Sydney' 1981

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)

Untitled
1981
From the series Ryde Pool, Sydney
Ink-jet print
Collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Pyrmont, Sydney' 1982

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Pyrmont, Sydney
1982
From the series Billboards 1981-82
Silver gelatin print

 

Ingeborg Tyssen. 'Annandale, Sydney' 1981

 

Ingeborg Tyssen (Netherlands, Australia 1945-2002)
Annandale, Sydney
1981
From the series Trees 1981-82
Silver gelatin print

 

 

Monash Gallery of Art
860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill
Victoria 3150 Australia
Phone: + 61 3 8544 0500

Opening hours:
Tue – Fri: 10am – 5pm
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 5pm
Mon/public holidays: closed

Monash Gallery of Art website

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22
Jan
12

Exhibition: ‘Vivian Maier: Photographs from the Maloof Collection’ at the Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates:  15th December 2011 – 26th January 2012

 

Vivian Maier. 'Untitled (portrait of a woman)' date unknown

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Untitled (portrait of a woman)
date unknown
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

 

Another photographer who is getting more recognition. Out of the work I have seen the portraits are the strongest. Some of them feel like precursors to the confronting portraits of women made by Diane Arbus while others offer a more reflective, contemplative examination of human presence.

Marcus

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Many thankx to Alicia Colen for her help and to the Howard Greenberg Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.

 

 

Vivian Maier. 'Untitled' c. 1950's

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Untitled
c. 1950’s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Vivian Maier. 'Untitled' c. 1950's

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Untitled
c. 1950’s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Vivian Maier. 'Untitled' c. 1950's

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Untitled
c. 1950’s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

 

Howard Greenberg Gallery is proud to present the recently discovered work of street photographer, Vivian Maier (1926-2009), from the Maloof Collection.

A nanny by trade, Vivian Maier’s street and travel photography was discovered by John Maloof in 2007 at a local auction house in Chicago. Always with a Rolleiflex around her neck, she managed to amass more than 2,000 rolls of films, 3,000 prints and more than 100,000 negative which were shared with virtually no one in her lifetime. Her black and white photographs-mostly from the 50s and 60s-are indelible images of the architecture and street life of Chicago and New York. She rarely took more than one frame of each image and concentrated on children, women, the elderly, and indigent. The breadth of Maier’s work also reveals a series of striking self-portraits as well as prints from her travels to Egypt, Bangkok, Italy, and the American Southwest, among dozens of other international cities.

“My fascination with her story has only grown, as has my involvement with her photographs. It is such an unusual story with no resolution. At first her images are extremely well seen, quality photographs of life on the street, in New York City and Chicago. But as one looks at the body of her work, she reveals her deeper interests. Then one tries to imagine who she was, what motivated her, her personality. It is not everyday that one becomes so involved and even obsessed with a particular photographer,” comments Howard Greenberg.

What little is known about Maier’s life is the result of John Maloof’s extensive research. He discovered her obituary on line in 2009 which was just the beginning of his investigative work. An American of French and Austro-Hungarian extraction, Maier split her time between Europe and the US, returning to NY in 1951. In 1956, she ultimately settled in Chicago where she worked as nanny for more than forty years. For a brief period in the 1970s she worked as a nanny to journalist, Phil Donahue’s children. Towards the end of her life, Maier was supported by the children she had cared for in the early 50s. Unbeknownst to them, one of Maier’s storage lockers (containing her massive group of negatives) was auctioned off due to delinquent payments.

After purchasing the first collection of Maier photographs in 2007, Maloof acquired more from another buyer at the same auction. He has since established the Maloof Collection to promote the work of Vivian Maier and to safeguard the archive for future generations. The archive consists of approximately 100,000 to 150,000 negatives; over 3,000 prints; hundreds of rolls of film; home movies; audio tape interviews, and other items representing roughly 90% of Maier’s work. Through Maloof’s efforts, Vivian Maier’s photographs have been exhibited internationally and have received significant critical attention. In November, Powerhouse Books will publish Vivian Maier: Street Photographer, edited by Maloof with a foreword by Geoff Dyer. John Maloof is also co-producing a documentary about Vivian Maier.

Press release from the Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Vivian Maier. 'Untitled' c. 1950's

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Untitled
c. 1950’s
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Vivian Maier. 'Uptown West, New York, NY, January 26, 1955' 1955

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Uptown West, New York, NY, January 26, 1955
1955
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Vivian Maier. 'Untitled, Chicago, May 16, 1957' 1957

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
Untitled, Chicago, May 16, 1957
1957
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Vivian Maier. 'New York City, Self-Portrait, September 10th, 1955' 1955

 

Vivian Maier (American, 1926-2009)
New York City, Self-Portrait, September 10th, 1955
1955
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

 

Howard Greenberg Gallery
The Fuller Building
41 East 57 Street
Suite 1406
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212.334.0010

Gallery hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 6.00pm

Howard Greenberg Gallery website

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02
Jan
09

Exhibition: ‘The Photographs of Homer Page: The Guggenheim Year, New York, 1949-50’ at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Exhibition dates: 14th February – 7th June 2009

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985). New York, August 11, 1949 (girl and coal chute) Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York, August 11, 1949 (girl and coal chute)
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

 

“A brilliant but under appreciated American photographer, Homer Page used a Guggenheim fellowship in 1949-50 to photograph New York City. Included in the 2006 Hallmark Photographic Collection gift to the Nelson-Atkins were some 100 of his vintage black-and-white prints. The Museum is thus in a unique position to celebrate his remarkable artistic achievement: his vision, at once gritty and lyrical, of the face of metropolitan America at mid-century. In recording the city so intently, Page had a larger goal in mind: to suggest nothing less than the emotional tenor of life at that time and place.

From an artistic standpoint, Page’s work represents a “missing link” between the warm, humanistic, and socially motivated documentary photographs of the 1930s and early 1940s in the works of Dorothea Lange, and the tougher, grittier and more existential work of the later 1950s as seen in the images of Robert Frank.”

Text from The Nelson-Aitkens Museum of Art website

.
Many thankx to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985) 'The El at 86th, New York' 1949-50

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
The El at 86th, New York
1949-50
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York (boys and manikin)' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York (boys and manikin)
1949
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.,

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985) 'New York, June 19, 1949' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York, June 19, 1949
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

 

“”Page captured both the facts and the feeling of life in post-war New York: commuters in transit to and from their offices, the signs of commercial and consumer culture, leisure pursuits and night life, psychological vignettes of the lonely and dispossessed. His work provides a rich and original vision of 1949 America.

Page was devoted to the visible facts of his world, but his real goal was something much deeper: the emotional tenor of life at that time and that place. This is a body of work of great passion, intelligence, and artistic integrity – one that is all the more important for having remained essentially unknown to the present day,” Davis (former Hallmark Fine Art Programs Director) said.”

Text from the ArtDaily.org website

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page, American (1918-1985) 'New York City' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York City
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985) 'New York, June 16, 1949' 1949

 

Homer Page (American, 1918-1985)
New York, June 16, 1949
1949
Gelatin silver print

 

 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone: 816-751-1278

Opening hours:
Wed: 10am-5pm
Thur: 10am-9pm
Fri: 10am-9pm
Sat: 10am-5pm
Sun: 10am-5pm
Mon-Tues: CLOSED

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 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.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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