Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Few Good Books and Photographers...

Two come courtesy of Photo-Eye Bookstore, another through Lens of The NY Times and one from Photograph. Jeff Mermelstein should be a familiar name, known for his street photography well before the term degraded into a video meme. The great photographers show us everyday things and occurrences in ways we haven't seen before, and that's exactly what Mermelstein's ARENA does- and at his age (as with Friedlander), it gives one hope to continue to see things anew and not rely on the usual tried and (truly over)done...
Photo: Jeff Marmelstein

Meanwhile, Ute and Werner Mahler provide an intimate and reflective look into small town life in Germany through their combination of portraits and environmental scenarios. This is the depth, power and poetry that B&W photos can impart when documenting a certain time, place, and the people within it.

Photo: Ute and Werner Mahler

Bruce Polin has received a lot of well earned accolades recently as he reminds us of the visual power and emotion that is still, and perhaps only, possible with the quality and technique of the view camera. His simple, direct portraits, devoid of artifice provide what is nowadays an other worldly intimacy made courtesy of photography's now oft neglected large format legacy.

Photo: Bruce Polin

Finally, there's John Lehr's Island Position. So many times, things catch our eye and we don't quite know how to make the best of it, how to frame it most effectively, how to draw the pure essence out and exclude the noise and chaff. So many of us have seen these very exact scenes, some of us have even bothered to take the occasional photo, and upon review- a boring storefront snapshot like a thousand million others, "Why did I even bother?" Well, John Lehr did- only he was able to transform your boring snapshot, my boring snapshot, into the the colorful, geometric dynamos that make up The Island Position. Brilliant! 

Which brings us full circle- showing the mundane in exciting, innovative ways...

Photo: John Lehr

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