Brendon Kearns

photoweblog

Tag: summicron 35

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.

October & November

Quick update with a few shots of my own from the past couple months:

I snapped this first shot of Katie only to realize there was a way more interesting dude behind her

99%’ers camping out in Martin Place

Man who had just proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of Occupy Sydney

Enmore was over ran with teenagers expressing their identity crisis

Newtown’s ‘Reclaim the Lanes’ festival


Glebe Markets

I tried taking the same style shot multiple times, pocketing the subject in the bottom left or right corner while trying to give it as much context as possible

I’ve been working on doing my own film development and I feel like its giving me better results than anything I had got back from a lab in the past year- I’ve coupled this with using a Phaidon discount I get to buy up some photography books.

While reading through Danny Lyon‘s Memories of Myself he transcribes Hugh Edwards telling him how the best photographs imply movement. It seems an obvious statement in hindsight but I had never been able to put my finger on what the ‘poetic quality’ was that made some images stand out while others look stale and I think its that exactly- when it feels like the image is just after something started but before its finished.

After the Newtown Festival a couple weeks ago I was on my to Doughboy for a pizza when I dropped into Gould’s to dig through the mountain of books. I found a copy of Nikos Economopoulos’ In the Balkans which was the first time I had seen any of his work or even heard of him- its was 30 bucks (comparatively high for Gould’s) so I left it. By the time this Friday rolled around I had been thinking about the images so much that I sat through a jammed up CBD for an hour and a half on the M30 after work to go back and see if it was still there.

I consider it now the best photography book I own- in my mind its up there with Koudelka. Since leafing through it and studying the images, I feel like I’m reevaluating every shot I’m about to take. I dont know if its the cuts and crops he’s making after the fact or if he is actually getting that in there to frame while shooting but I’m amazed at each stray arm, foot, branch, bottle or cigarette in his shots.

© 2017 Brendon Kearns

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