Thursday, 17 June 2010

Sally Mann Interview

I am grateful to the 1000 Words Photography blog, for this video of Sally Mann being interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2003. 'Photography is easier than writing,' she says.

A new exhibition of Sally Mann's work opens at the Photographers' Gallery tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Stanley Kubrick Archive

I visited the Stanley Kubrick Archive yesterday, which was exciting.  The 'Search Room' (above) was designed in the style of the Hilton Space Station in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  This gives it a unique ambience.

The archive - which is now about 80-85% catalogued - is extremely interesting, even if you are not a Kubrick fan, and includes loads of photographs.  These include colour photographs from the set of Lolita, and Weegee's photographs of the pie fight in Dr Strangelove - the only visual record of the scene, as it was not included in the final film.  There are also mountains of material relating to the process of film making - annotated scripts, call sheets, shooting schedules, set design material, costumes, props...etc

The Kubrick Archive is part of the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre, which also has other significant collections - the LCC comic collection, and the Eckersley poster collection.  There are also smaller collections relating to film directors John Schlesinger and Thorold Dickinson. 

According to their information sheet, the centre "seeks to inform, inspire, engage and excite a diverse range of audiences in support of their creativity, learning and research in art, design, fashion, communications and the performing arts," which sounds good to me.

Further information about the collection and about visiting the centre is available on their website.

Further reading
Mahurter, S. (2007).  'The Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of Arts London.'  EVA London Conference,11–13 July 2007.

'The Kubrick Legacy'University of the Arts London Magazine.  Spring/Summer 2006, pp. 8-17

Stanley Kubrick Archive brochure

Related interest
If you are a Kubrick fan, you may be interested to know that St Albans Museum currently has a Kubrick season (he lived in St Albans).

Friday, 11 June 2010

British Film Institute National Library

I visited the British Film Institute National library back in May to learn about using their collections.

The resources available in the Reading Room include: books, periodicals, databases and newspaper cutting files; pressbooks and unpublished scripts; film festival catalogues dating back to the 1930s; and audio material, including interviews with film makers.

It is not free to use (even for BFI members), so take a look at the membership fees before you visit the library, which is just off the Tottenham Court Road.  Also, take a look at their catalogue before you visit and look at some of the special collections – there are over 600.

My advice is that to get the most out of the collection, you should make full use of the staff there.  They are experienced in helping students, researchers, journalists and cineastes of all descriptions.

There are plenty of other BFI resources available online too, and because they can be a little hard to locate online, I have provided some links here:

BFI National Library
     BFI Film and TV Database
     BFI Researchers' Guide
     BFI Resource Guides (16+ Source Guides)
BFI Live (video channel, with interviews and rare footage)
BFI National Archives
     Research Viewing Service
     Screen Online
     BFI YouTube Channel
     BFI InView (British history through the lens)
Sight and Sound Archive

Related posts

Screen online - video clips and full length films

Monday, 7 June 2010

Critics' top five books

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the And/Or Book Awards, two key publications for photography and for cinema have recently asked critics to nominate their top five books.

As you might expect, the choice of photobooks in The British Journal of Photography poll was quite diverse: only four books received more than one nomination.

The BJP have named Masahisha Faukase's 1986 book, Karasu (Ravens) as "the best photobook published in the past quarter century" after it was chosen as the top choice by two critics.  Only five critics were polled! 

In Sight and Sound's poll, fifty one film critics were asked to choose their top five books of all time related to cinema.  The most popular choice was David Thompson's A biographical dictionary of film.  The other key books were: André Bazin’s What is Cinema?, Robert Bresson’s Notes on the Cinematographer, Andrew Sarris’ The American Cinema and François Truffaut’s Hitchcock.

Related posts

And/Or Book Awards - Photography

And/Or Book Awards - Moving Image

Friday, 4 June 2010

Photography Festival - favourite books

As part of the book display at the Photography Festival at Harrow, students and staff were invited to name their favourite photography book of all time and to say a few words about why they liked it. This is a horrible task, but a few people were brave enough to take part.  The nominated books are below:

Sleeping by the Mississippi by Alec Soth

It completely changed my view on how photography and books and photography books work and what they can say.

Evidence. Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan.

It’s an enigmatic, strange, odd selection of images that reveal how elusive photographic meaning is.

William Eggleston’s Guide

The light, the movement, the subtlety – every time I look at it – it gets better.

Sweet fly paper of life.  Roy DeCarava

Beautiful images taken in a documentary / diary style accompanied by diary style writing – gives a great insight into black America in the 50s.

(currently) Gerhard Richter’s Overpainted photographs

It shows how everything can be continuously transformed into a new art work

The teapot opera. Arthur Tress

I had it as a student – it inspired my work. It’s small and perfectly formed. It is stop-frame animation on the page. It is timeless.

Winterreise – Luc Delahaye

The power of the image.

Oliver Sieber, J_Subs

Thin, transparent paper creates the experience of diluted massive amount of portraits of young people, melting into one.

Edward Burtynsky’s Oil

Because of what it photographs – it represents society, politcs, ecology, capitalism…just great.

Ray’s a laugh. Richard Billingham.

Sad, odd, strange – made me look at photographs and the power of photography in a different way.

Keith Arnett - I'm a real photographer

Humourous, different, beautful still lives of rubbish heaps.  And dark meaning.

Ray's a laugh.  Richard Billingham. is a very brave book.  He has turned the camera on a situation, which you would think he would want to flee from.

What is your favourite book?  Leave a comment.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Self publish sites

I recently posted a couple of links to issuu, a self-publishing website, which allows you to publish your own books online.  It looks like an excellent site, with a 'turning the pages' style interface for your books - as in my own effort below:

It is very simple to use - you just upload a pdf of your book. However, you will have to keep your own counsel about any copyright implications.

On a similar theme, there is lulu - which allows you to publish and sell books - either as a PDF or in print.

One book for sale on lulu is mentioned in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th ed (page 336), highlighting its innovative approach to documentary: Frank Cost's, Twenty two seconds in Chennai.

Writing in the Encyclopedia, Owen Butler comments that:

"The book captures a 22-second burst of picture-making that resulted in a 75-page plus soft-cover book available at Each frame in this book is literally only what the camera was capable of seeing and not necessarily what the photographer was capable of seeing at the moment."

Self-published books of a higher order will no doubt be on display (and available for purchase) at the 'Self Publish, Be Happy' event at the Photographers' gallery this weekend.  This is organised by Bruno Ceschel, a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Kassel Photobook Award 2010

There were 20 nominated titles in the Photobook Award at the 3rd International Photobook Festival in Kassel, Germany - with only two titles getting more than one nomination.

The nominated books, along with a statement from the person nominating them, are viewable in the catalogue below.

There is no overall winner. However, only one book got three nominations - Black passport by Stanley Green, published by Aperture. One other title got more than one nomination - Shannon Ebner's The sun as error, published  by Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

I have ordered copies of both of these for the library. Also, we already have some of the titles featured in stock:

Robert Adams. What we bought - the new world : scenes from the Denver metropolitan area, 1970-1974. Yale University Art Gallery

Robert Adams. Summer nights, walking : along the Colorado front range, 1976-1982. Aperture.

Sophie Ristelhueber. Operations. Thames and Hudson.

Gerhard Richter. Overpainted photographs. Hatje Cantz.

Yutaka Takanashi.  Toshie-e (Towards the city).  Errata editions.