Brendon Kearns

photoweblog

Month: June 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Found Photography: The Lecturer Collection: Part I

I’ve dubbed this set of negatives I’ve purchased ‘The Lecturer Collection’ as the only information I had on their origin in that they once belonged to a former University of Sydney lecturer.

The photos are primarily of Germany, with a few in the set marked as American. The sum total must be somewhere between 600-800 black and white negatives of various formats. The ones shown here are only 120 or 135 as these were the only two for which I had preset holders for scanning.

Most seem to center around one older couple and what is either their child or grandchild as they vacation through Germany while the rest are an odd assortment of blurred war photos, portraits, family snapshots, occasional scenery and the insides of churches.

I’ll have more up soon as time allows.

London England

Between work meetings and jetlag I didn’t get in as much of the UK as I had on my previous trip over and remained largely in the central London area dropping odd shots here and there.

I’ve started to amass a decent collection of black and white photography books- in just the past two months I received a copy of Koudelka’s Gypsies and Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project as birthday gifts along with purchasing a copy of Tod Papageorge’s Passing Through Eden.

Gypsies was about what I had expected and by far lived up to the legendary status bestowed on it, although I was surprised it didn’t include one of his more popular images that I had assumed was part of the series.

I had only read about W. Eugene Smith’s drawn out Pittsburgh Project in the Geoff Dyer book I finished a few months ago; the actual photos selected in Dream Street covered a large span- everything from urban landscape, kids, the elderly, politicians, workers, artists, to more abstract photos of street signs, city lights, steam and melted steel.

Passing Through Eden I found at a local used book shop and (aside from the great images of Central Park) includes a great ending bit on his evolution as a photographer inspired by his ineptitude at poetry and a run in with Winogrand, excerpt as follows:

“…A simple question that knocked me for a loop: until then, I’d commonly measured the world photographically with a “normal” 50mm lens from about 12-15′ away (often making vertical pictures at the closer distance to fit a figure head-to-toe in the viewfinder); now, with a new 35mm lens on my Leica (my response to Winogrand’s question), to even loosely fill the picture frame I was forced to move physically up on what I photographed with my now always-horizontal camera (using this lens vertically caused unmanageable distortion). Even more, the soft, sculptural quality that the 50mm lens tended to give things was swapped for a front-to-back blanket of sharpness that etched every part of my photographs- people, walls, paving stones- with a dumb, deadpan literalness. In those first months, poetry seemed to me the last things this lens might lead to; I only slow came to understand that, to use it effectively, I was going to have to learn to communicate photographically in a more dispassionate language than I knew how to speak…”

You can read more from Tod Papageorge about the book in his Alec Soth interview from around the time of publication.

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