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Tag: Review (page 1 of 2)

Wolf Suschitzky – Seven Decades of Photography

Some books grow on you. this is one of them.

I don’t recall where or how I first came across Wolf Suschitzky, but I do like those photographers who have documented life in the UK over the decades and Suschitzky is one such with a career stretching from the 1030’s into the 21st century. This book, Seven Decades of Photography, published in 2014 when Suschitzky was already 102 years old, collects a selection of images from his long career.

Quite apart from his photography the man himself is fascinating. Born in Vienna in 1912 to a Jewish atheist father who ran a bookshop and later a socialist publishing house. Originally wanting to study zoology, Suschitzky ended up studying photography influenced by his sister Edith, herself a photographer. Observing political developments in Austria in the 1930’s he concluded that Vienna was not a good place for a Jewish socialist and moved to London.

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Niall McDiarmid – Town to Town

I don’t read or watch the news any more. Somewhere along the way the news media lost their integrity and reduced the world to an endless cycle of win-lose conflicts between extremists. When I was a kid newspapers printed one edition a day and there were four news bulletins – morning, lunchtime, early evening and late evening. Time and space were limited, valuable, so editors had to think carefully about which stories to cover. Journalists had to make phone calls, talk to people, write up stories – they had to do journalism.

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Fujinon XF 55–200

I think of it as my panda lens. Out of the 171 images I shot with this lens while I owned it no fewer than 72 of them are of pandas, specifically Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Bao Bao at the National Zoo in Washington DC.

171 images many not sound like a lot and since I had the lens for a couple of years that’s a reasonable conclusion, but I’m not really a telephoto user. That said, it’s nice to have a little bit of extra reach from time to time when the occasion calls for it, an occasion, for example, like a visit to Washington DC to see the pandas.

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The Minolta 24mm…

…or, to give it its full designation, the Minolta MD W.Rokkor-X 24mm 1:2.8.

This is an SR mount lens. The SR mount was introduced with Minolta’s first SLR, the SR-2, in 1958. (There was an SR-1, but it was released after the SR-2). All manual focus Minolta SLRs used the SR mount, but when Minolta switched to autofocus cameras the company developed a new mount. This mount, known as the Alpha mount, is still in use on Sony’s DSLRs. The MD designation identifies this as a lens specifically designed to work with the Minolta XD camera, introduced in 1977.

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Martin Parr – The Non-Conformists

Think of Martin Parr and what comes to mind are vibrant and richly saturated colour images. But it was not always so. Early in his career Parr shot in black and white and this book, The Non-Conformists, presents some of that early work. Just out of art school in the mid 1970’s Parr moved to the mill town of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire and began documenting the everyday lives of the people of the area together with his friend, and later wife, Susie Mitchell, he with camera, she with notebook and pen.

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On Safari

My left hand doesn’t work as well as it should, which is unfortunate as I’m left handed. It’s a long story involving a metal gate, a torn ligament, hundreds of hours of physiotherapy, more injections than I can recall and two surgeries, which I won’t go into. Suffice it to say that my hand is ‘good enough’ though subject to aches and pains. About a year ago I started working full time after a gap of almost fifteen years (another long story). Since the job involved a lot of writing, and therefore typing, and since I’m old school and prefer to do a lot of actual pen and paper writing, I was concerned about how my hand would hold up.

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Nikkor AI-S 105 f2.5

I recently picked up the Nikon AI-S 105mm f2.5 lens. I attached it to my FM2n and over the last couple of weeks I have been out and about around Sofia shooting with it. I got the developed film – Kodak Ektar – back yesterday and scanned the negatives last night. So here are some thoughts on the lens and some sample shots.

First, the lens itself. Having already bought a 24, 35 and 50 for my Nikon I was looking for something a little longer for occasional use. The obvious option was one of the various AI or AI-S 85mm lens but for some reason these do tend to be expensive even by Nikon standards. I was aware of the 105/2.5 having read many good things about it but considered that focal length to be a little more that I wanted.

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Mark Power – Good Morning America

I’m not really sure what to make of this book. Perhaps my mistake was to start at the back where Power has a short essay.

‘For as long as I can remember’, he writes, ‘I’ve wanted to explore America, an ambition fuelled by a legion of TV shows that crossed the Atlantic in the 1960s. As a young and impressionable child I devoured The Man From UNCLE and The Fugitive but it was the westerns evoking a landscape altogether removed from the congested English suburbs surrounding me that I loved the most: Bonanza, The High Chaparral, The Virginian and in particular Casey Jones, the adventures of a middle-aged railroad driver putting the world to rights.’

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Daido Moriyama – Record

A prolific photographer, Daido Moriyama is also a prolific publisher of photobooks. As well as dozens of monographs Moriyama also publishes a regular journal, RECORD, containing a selection of images and a brief commentary. Originally started way back in 1972, Moriyama got as far as issue 5 in 1973 before stopping publication. Revived more than thirty years later in 2006 RECORD has been published regularly ever since with issue 42 appearing recently. While many of the older issues can still be found second hand, some of them are much rarer and correspondingly expensive when they do show up. A reprint of issues 1 – 5 appeared around ten years ago, but that book is now out of print and sells for $200-300 on the used market. Thanks to Thames & Hudson, though, the earlier issues of RECORD are now available in a more affordable package. Daido Moriyama: Record contains a selection of images and Moriyama’s brief commentaries from issue 1 to issue 30 taking us up to February 2016. The publisher decided to make the book the same size as the journal so the images are reproduced at the same size as the originals.

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Val Williams – Martin Parr

In 2014 Phaidon published an updated edition of their Martin Parr retrospective called, imaginatively enough, Martin Parr. In numbers: 464 pages, more than 600 photographs, and a list price of £60 / $100.

I’ve always liked Parr’s work so when a new copy showed up on AbeBooks for less than $40, I snapped it up. The book covers Parr’s photographic work from his earliest days up to 2011 and has broad selections from many of his projects and publication. The images are accompanied by an extensive text from Val Williams, detailing Parr’s career and discussing his work.

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