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robertogreco : henricartier-bresson   4

Jeff Sharlet en Instagram: “Wednesday night I worked on my father’s obituary. Thursday, in class, I pulled up on the projector this photograph, “Hyeres, France, 1932,”…”
"Wednesday night I worked on my father’s obituary. Thursday, in class, I pulled up on the projector this photograph, “Hyeres, France, 1932,” by Henri Cartier-Bresson. We’d read a book called H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald, a memoir of her grief for her late father. He was a photographer. It was he who taught her how to look, to have the patience to see what Cartier-Bresson called a “decisive moment.” “Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you,” wrote Cartier-Bresson, “and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. The moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.” // Because I was tired, because before I knew my father would die I had assigned this book about grieving a father—because for some reason I had assigned, across two courses, three books about lost fathers—I mentioned my own writing assignment of the previous evening. An obituary. I told my students the book we had just read was an obituary. An obituary, I said, should not be a recitation of facts; rather, a remembrance of decisive moments. Click. // He’s 18, in a campus movie theater with his football teammates. On screen: subtitles. The movie is French, Cocteau’s Orpheus. Bob Sharlet has never “read” a movie before. He has never, he thinks, really read at all. Now he’ll never stop reading again. // Christmas, 1991, Cairo, at a vegetable stand, seeing on a little tv at the back of the stand the Soviet flag being lowered, the end of the U.S.S.R., to which he had devoted his scholarly life—his life—and realizing, suddenly, that now he could read about anything. // A month ago Saturday.We’ve told him his prognosis—terminal, soon. He’d said he’d sleep an hour. Now he lifts his sleeping mask. He opens his eyes. “Okay,” he says. // Today, sifting through his boxes of photographs, I found this postcard. Blank. He kept it for the picture. The picture I taught Thursday. // I imagine—as I think my father imagined—Cartier-Bresson descending the stairs, noticing the rail, the steps, the curve. Stopping, stepping back. He thinks he’s waiting for a walker. Then comes the bicycle, circles and triangles and spokes. Click. And then it’s gone, forever."
jeffsharlet  writing  reading  howwewrite  life  living  howweread  2019  bobshartlet  photography  bricolage  moments  death  henricartier-bresson  teaching  howweteach  intution  memory  memories  change  decisivemoments 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Valparaiso • Sergio Larrain • Magnum Photos
"The experimental Chilean photographer's iconic depictions of his homeland in the 1960s offer intimate insights into the artist’s inner life"

[See also: "Sergio Larrain obituary: Experimental Chilean photographer whose short career resulted in a string of inspirational images"
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/feb/24/sergio-larrain

"Although he was photographically active for scarcely more than a decade and was the author of just four books (all of them now collectors' items), the stature and reputation of the Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain, who has died aged 80, continued to grow after he withdrew from the vibrant European world of street photography to live in a meditational retreat.

Born into a professional family in Santiago (his father was an architect), he began by studying music. At the age of 18, he went to the US and studied forestry at the University of California, Berkeley, before transferring to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1954. He also travelled through Europe and the Middle East, taking a camera. When he returned home, he began freelancing for the Brazilian magazine O Cruzeiro with a heart-searing series on street children living on the banks of the Rio Mapuche. The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired two images for its collection in 1956.

In 1958 Larrain obtained a grant from the British Council to undertake an eight-month reportage project on British cities. The book that resulted focused on London, with the swinging 60s just around the corner, capturing the ebb and flow of crowds on the streets and transport system. The work so impressed Henri Cartier-Bresson that he invited Larrain to join the Magnum agency that he had co-founded in 1948, with "Chim" Seymour, George Rodger and Robert Capa.

Larrain joined as an associate in 1959 and was set a mission impossible: to photograph the mafia boss Giuseppe Russo, wanted for multiple murder by Interpol. Larrain took the task seriously and spent months researching and photographing from Rome to Sicily, where he finally located Russo in Caltanissetta. He then spent a fortnight winning the trust of Russo's bodyguards before passing off his 35mm Leica as an artistic tourist's toy. The pictures of Russo were published in Life in the US and Paris Match in France, before being syndicated globally. In 1961 Larrain became a full member of the world's most famous photographic agency.

In 1963 he published El Rectángulo en la Mano (Rectangle in Hand). In 1966 Una Casa en la Arena (A House in the Sand) appeared, about Pablo Neruda's house on Isla Negra, with a text by the poet. Neruda also supplied the text for perhaps Larrain's most famous book, Valparaiso (1991), containing a striking image of two little girls running down a flight of stone steps, their white frocks and rectangular bobbed haircuts a microcosm of the stark geometry of black shadows and noonday sun.

Larrain recalled taking it "in a state of peace and utter serenity, just pursuing what at the time interested me most. Then, as if from nowhere, first one little girl appeared, shortly joined by another. It was more than perfect, it was a magical image." Agnes Sire, for 20 years desk editor of Magnum (Paris), described it as taken in "not so much a decisive moment as in the state of spirit that he called a state of grace".

Larrain was endlessly experimental. One afternoon in the 1950s, he was taking photographs outside Notre Dame in Paris and captured scenes between a couple which he only noticed when he developed the film. This provided the inspiration for Julio Cortázar's extraordinary 1959 story The Devil's Drool, which in turn was the basis for Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blow-Up.

In 1968 Editions Rencontre published Chile, in which all but two of the pictures are Larrain's. It is the only book to use his work as illustration, rather than art. The rest of the books issued under his name, published throughout the 1990s primarily as exhibition catalogues, are reprises or re-edits of earlier ones. In 1999 the Valencia Institute of Modern Art held a Larrain retrospective which led to a huge resurgence of interest. This was something Larrain loathed, for by then he had chosen to find his state of grace through meditation.

In 1972 he had met the Bolivian mystic Oscar Ichazo and abandoned photography to study oriental religions, calligraphy and painting, and to practise and teach yoga. First at Ovalle, then moving still further and higher into the mountains to Tulahuén, Larrain led an increasingly isolated life – except in one sense. He became a copious letter-writer. John Morris, the former Magnum bureau chief, described his letters as "all ruminations on the sad state of the world and appeals to me to take action to improve it"."]
chile  photography  valparaíso  1950s  sergiolarraín  magnum  giusepperusso  islanegra  pabloneruda  juliocortázar  henricartier-bresson  robertcapa  georgerodger  chimseymour 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Bat, Bean, Beam: The art of looking
"[image]

I think the reason why I find it so unsettling is that my eyes cannot come to a resting place. The ingrained left-to-right pull, reinforced by the lines traced by the bridge, forces me to look to the right. But in the bottom-left there is a body, and I want to look at that too for I am a human being and humanity is what I look for in most pictures. However, once I’ve looked at the body I can’t just stop there. The other reflex kicks back in, pushing me towards the right edge of the photograph again, and so on. However, if I flip the image

[image]

I don’t get that effect at all. Now the human subject is where my eyes come to a rest. The photograph has become more mournful than tragic, more melancholic than unsettling.

The theory also says that there are cultures that read and organise pictures in different ways. According to psychologist Lera Boroditsky, when experimental subjects are asked to arrange a shuffled bundle of photographs of a certain event into the correct temporal sequence
English speakers arrange time from left to right. Hebrew speakers do it from right to left (because Hebrew is written from right to left). […] In Mandarin, the future can be below and the past above. In Aymara, spoken in South America, the future is behind and the past in front.

I don’t know what this tells us – again, I am suspicious of the certainties of people who study the mind across different cultures – but I may have stumbled into my own supporting example, about 15 years after seeing the photograph by Cartier-Bresson. It comes from the Japanese manga Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kōno, which is set in Hiroshima ten years after the bombing. In one scene, two lovers kiss on a bridge, but they are haunted by the memory of the bodies that once floated in the water below.

[image]

It’s a picture that had the identical unsettling effect on me as Cartier-Bresson's: again my eyes cannot come to a resting place, and keep going from the two lovers to the top right corner across the bridge and back again. However, this time I wonder if a native Japanese reader would effectively be looking at a mirror image. This would still be horrific, but devoid of the visual tension and the sense of being pulled concurrently into two directions - a not insignificant difference, in terms of the psychological effect and ultimately the meaning of the artwork.

I wonder, then, if along with a history of seeing we could talk of an art of looking: that is to say, a set of acquired techniques for making sense of the coded images of the culture in which we happen grow up. And, if so, whether we should think more deeply about intersemiotics and visual translation, even if it means nothing more than cultivating a measure of doubt in the universal appeal of images, and in our own capacity to make sense of them all."
henricartier-bresson  giovannitiso  2015  images  imagery  reading  howweread  language  culture  perspective  order  semiotics  intersemiotics  visual  leraboroditsky  psychology  conditioning  fumiyokōno 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Polio and Beach Parties Made David Alan Harvey the Photographer He Is Today | VICE United Kingdom
"The people I liked were those who were able to do something with nothing – painters, writers and photographers. I looked into photography early on and I saw that there were sports photographers who needed an Olympian, fashion photographers who needed a model and war photographers who needed a war. Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank and Riboud and those guys – they didn't need anything; they would just look out the window or go to the garden.

In other words, the everyday life situation became a gold mine for these artists, and I gravitated towards the fact that you could take something right next to you and turn it into art or communication. I liked the integrity of journalism but I was always interested in photographs. Photographs didn't have to communicate a great concept, they could just be."

[via: http://jslr.tumblr.com/post/68662067000/the-people-i-liked-were-those-who-were-able-to-do ]
alanharvey  photography  photographers  roberthfrank  marcroboud  henricartier-bresson  2013  interviews  everyday  communication 
december 2013 by robertogreco

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