LensWork - July/August

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by roteague, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I just picked up the July/August LensWork (we finally got it on the shelves today).

    I don't buy every issue, but the portfolio by Alan Ross was just too good to pass up - his work is the kind of B&W that interests me. Great tonal range - I wonder what type of film he uses.

    I almost didn't buy it because of that horrible portfolio by Michael Evans. The images are flat, lacking emotion, and just plan blah..... Sad to see that Brooks would publish such a second rate portfolio as this.
     
  2. Sportera

    Sportera Member

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    Have not seen it yet. Lenswork usually has some great inspiring work in there. I'll have to go out and find me a copy tommorrow.
     
  3. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I like Lenswork better when it pushes a little harder. The Ross and Evans portfoios look like they could easily have been made in 1935, not just physically but sensibility-wise as well. For a "newer" art form, photography often seems so static, compared to, say, music or films or painting or sculpture or architecture...

    I was happy to see the writeup on the Seven Days project.
     
  4. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Except the Evens portfolio was shot with a D70.
     
  5. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    ...of facades and details dating from 1905 or earlier. The abscence of human presence in both sets of work is saddening, It does not reveal, does not disturb the status quo -- pictures of (and for) bank walls.
     
  6. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I liked Evans work, but didn't like the seven days in Romania thing at all. Except for family snaps, I don't like any pictures with people in them.

    Ross's work is outstanding, I have one of his prints.

    Different strokes....

    Mike
     
  7. wfe

    wfe Member

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    Interesting that this thread would show up this morning. As I was driving to work I was thinking about the Evans portfolio and that there was something about it that I just didn't like. It seemed a bit artificial to me. Almost manufactured. Normally I like most if not all of what Lenswork publishes but this one I don't care for.

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  8. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I've not received my copy yet so I've not had a chance to view the issue, so

    I'm curious why what kind of camera Evens used/uses is signifigant.

    Maybe if he had used a full frame DSLR they would have been better?
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Perhaps if he used film and learned how to print.
     
  10. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    It think it is unusual to see San Francisco portrayed in such a gloomy manner. Having read the introduction to the section, I wonder if the pictures might be a very good representation of the photographer's state of mind!

    Since Lenswork goes to considerable lengths to reproduce the original, I have to assume that the odd tones were intentional. Some of them are visual equivalents to fingernails on a chalkboard at first look. I will be interested to see how they feel in a couple of months.
     
  11. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I happened to see this issue on the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble this evening and took a quick look at the Michael Evans portfolio.

    If you read the intro notes Evans mentions that for the last 20 years he has been a film based photographer so I'm sure he knows how to print black and white.

    His printing looked fine to me, I accepted it as his interpretation of what he photographed, not as a result or limitation of using the D70 or printing digitally (for that matter I don't know how he printed the work for this portfolio, I assume it is some type of digital output since it began with digital output.)

    I look forward to seeing the Lens Work Extended Edition so I can see more of his work and the rest of the portfolios in this issue.
     
  12. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Got my copy last night

    It was in the mail when I got home from work. Mike Evan's portfolio disturbs me -- I get a feeling of melancholy which, with viewing of more of the images, changes to one of foreboding. The tones of the pictures makes me feel that he's photographing prisons, and mental prisons at that. Dark and menacing edifices to robber barons and imperial bureaucrats; visions of a small child in a drab gray smock holding up a wooden bowl and pleading, "Please, Sir, may I have some more?" to a frowning white-haired old blunderpuss in a black waistcoat. I wonder if that was what he intended?

    I liked the Romanian portfolio and particularly the writing. An obvious labor of love and the photographs were beautiful. Call me immature and shallow but I've noticed that photographs without some aspect of beauty just don't seem to resonate with me.

    I haven't had the time to look much beyond that (and Bill Jay's column, which is always the first thing I turn to, anyway,) but just what I've seen and read so far is very satisfying emotionally.

    mjs
     
  13. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Interesting...nobody has commented on the Jonothan Moller Guatemala portfolio. I found it to be the best 'portfolio' (a series of images that tell a story) and felt they were the strongest images in this issue. If those were North American's or European's digging out mass graves containing their mothers, fathers, brothers, and/or sisters, would the images be more worthy of comment? Maybe people are getting numbed to such things these days...

    Murray
     
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  15. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    Murray,

    I didn't comment, but I ordered Moller's book the day after I received Ienswork and it arrived today. I haven't had a chance to do more than skim through it so far. It of course expands upon the portfolio and in addition to many more strong photographs there is abundant text ranging from historical essays to poetry. It's a good book and I am very happy I bought it.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  16. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Richard,

    It must be a strong book as is hinted at in the LensWork portfolio. Cudo's to Moller...8 years is a long time.

    Murray
     
  17. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Wow - we purists sure are an elitist bunch!

    But I agree with you - somehow when I read that this was a D70 and PhotoShop, it lessened my appreciation slightly. I know this shouldn't be the case, but it is.

    But I think it is still a fine group of pics nevertheless.
     
  18. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Murray, I though the portfolio was well photographed and the prints excellent. However, I didn't comment simply because I was disturbed by the content - to me, photography is about showing the beautiful and the good in the world, not the ugly or evil.

    Don, yes I read that, and for FWIW, he should know better, IMO.
     
  19. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I agree with Murray that the Moller portfolio was the best part of the issue. The Evans work was boring to me. I have seen a couple of Ross prints in person and they were quite beautiful, but I think I am burned out on the Adamesque landscape as his work presented in this issue did not really interest me. I think I will leave this issue on the shelf.
     
  20. jimcollum

    jimcollum Member

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    i'd have to agree with Don.. i enjoyed Evan's work... and didn't see anything wrong with the printing. Granted, it was a 'dark' portfolio... but i didn't feel that lessened it any at all. and if anything.. set it apart from what one would ordinarily expect. for me, at least, edgy is good

    jim
     
  21. Jack_Flesher

    Jack_Flesher Member

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    I bought it for the Ross portfolio/interview and was pleasantly surprised by the Moller Guatemala images -- stunningly good series IMO! As far as the Evans work, I agree with Rob in that it didn't do much for me either, but not because it was done digitally, more that I didn't find the images overly interesting.

    If this is a thread on Lenswork, then I would say this issue was enough to get me to finally subscribe.

    If this is a thread about the superiority of film and a portfolio being bad because it wasn't done with film, then we may be in for a lot of discussion :wink:
     
  22. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Jack, welcome aboard APUG :smile:

    Robert,

    I hear what you're saying, in that you prefer to 'walk down the sunny side of the street'...I'm just glad there are people like Moller who can face the ugly side of Humanity, and come back with photographs so such events don't just disappear with time.

    Murray
     
  23. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Yes, I am glad that someone documents these kind of things, so we don't forget. Generally, I look at photographs as a means of remembering what is good and right in the world, but to totally ignore the reality of the world, and its evil, would be like burying your head in the sand. It is truly sad the evil that people are capable of infliciting on each other.
     
  24. lenswork

    lenswork Member

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    Thanks one and all for the comments (and I hope to see more!) in this thread. One of the interesting things about being a publisher is to see how different people react differently to the various portfolios. We (admittedly stragetically) strive to make LensWork an anthology so there is a variety of work in each isse -- we don't publish two landscape portfolios in the same issue, for example. This tends to make each issue a mix of content. And, it goes without saying that there will be some who rave about one portfolio, some who dislike the same portfolio, and others whose reactions are focussed on a different portfolio altogether. I guess this is what makes the world go 'round. It is fascinating, however, to sit in my seat and receive the emails from both ends of the spectrum - "I love it" next to "Why did you publish that" from people who are both passionate about photography.
    Thanks again for all the feedback. (I do read every one -- and have the staff do so, too.)
    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
     
  25. lenswork

    lenswork Member

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    Oh, and I should have added my perspective on Evans' work . . .

    I've always been a sucker for photography that shows me the world in a way that helps me see it from a new point of view, that challenges my world view. Like many, I suppose, I don't want to be challenged too much :smile: but a stretch is good for the soul. Evans' work gave me pause -- I think partly because of the rich, Zone II and Zone III tonalities that were unexpected and a bit moody; partly because of the little twists of time and context -- like when he includes some element that is there but easily overlooked (e.g., the after-market drain pipe on page 25).

    I was also captivated by his simple use of bizarre angles that are, in almost every photograph, anchored on one side. See page 24 where the column on the right is justified to the edge of the frame, but the entire left of the images is wildly tilted. Wonderful! He does this visual trick a lot and I just loved it. Wait until you see the images on the EXTENDED CD version (where there are over 100 images) and how many times and different ways he uses this same visual device. I'm sure he's not the first to do it, but I thought his approach was very interesting and visually fun. Sure, his images aren't as socially meaningful as Moller's, nor as classicly beautiful as Ross', but I thought his portfolio deserved a wider audience and am glad we could include it in this issue of LensWork.

    Brooks Jensen
    Editor, LensWork Publishing
     
  26. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I subscribe (mag and Extended) because it's the thing that it is. I'm glad Brooks does it.

    I'm still stunned (in the "into unconsciousness" way) by rocks and trees though