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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged England:

"Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that."—Chris Steele-Perkins 

Few photographers understand their compatriots as well as British photographer, Chris Steele-Perkins. Born in Burma in 1947 to an English father and Burmese mother, two years later he moved with his family to England where he would grow up and later embark upon a career as a photojournalist. In 1979, at the age of 32, he joined Magnum Photos and his first book, The Teds, was published.

Teddy Boy culture developed in the London of the 1950’s. This new alchemy of teen culture fused Edwardian fashion, rock ‘n’ roll, drinking, dancing and, at times, collective violence into an original youth subculture. And like everything in Britain, social stratification and class played their customary roles. The Teds, for their part, were decidedly working class.

While Chris Steele-Perkins has enjoyed a long, storied career as a social documentary photographer covering a wide variety of issues, “The Teds” is something special. I pulled the book off my shelf yesterday, and as I smiled poring over the stories and images, I was reminded again why, thirty-four years later, “The Teds” remains a classic. —Lane Nevares

"We tremble at the feelings we experience as our sense of wholeness is reorganized by what we see."—Emmet Gowin

The Finnish-born photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen is once again garnering the attention she merits. Experiencing something of a notoriety renaissance for her “Byker” series beginning in the late 60’s (currently on view at L. Parker Stephenson Photographs until May 11th), it’s exciting to see Ms. Konttinen reaching new audiences. 

Konttinen’s images, taken within the communities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, sought to capture the humor and dignity of working-class Geordie culture as they, like other poor neighborhoods in the north of England, saw their homes devastated by developers keen to tear down the “slums” and replace them with architectural and planning fantasies that bore no connection to the people actually living there. Konttinen and friends, as part of the the still extant Amber Collective, lived in Byker from 1969-76 and documented the impact over a ten year period until 1980. These photographs should, therefore, be understood for their political and social undertones.

Aside from their didactic message, Konttinen’s images possess the power of intimacy and connection. The wonderful compositions and tonal ranges add to their beauty; however, it is the emotive energy in the images that sets them apart. I, for one, feel the love. —Lane Nevares

“I believe the power of seeing the world as fresh and strange lies hidden in every human being.”—Bill Brandt (b.1904-d.1983)

Bill Brandt is rightly regarded as one of the most important photographers of the 20th Century. On the 6th, the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened a major exhibit, ”Bill Brandt: Shadow & Light,” as an opportunity for us to reevaluate Brandt’s legacy and to retrace his artistic journey.

More than 150 works are divided into six distinct sections, offering a tight and cohesive survey of Brandt’s artistic development: including his work in WWII London, Northern England, landscapes, portraits and of course his famed nudes. Many of the prints in the exhibition are stunning to behold, the best of their kind, and reveal the work of a superb craftsman. The opportunity to see these prints, first-hand, is a must for anyone who appreciates Brandt’s work.

Along with MoMA’s adjacent (and excellent) exhibit “The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook,” there’s no finer way to spend an afternoon in the city enveloped in a “sense of wonder.” —Lane Nevares

"My work is ultimately about emotion. It is about capturing a moment or a memory."—Deborah Parkin 

The photographer and mother, Deborah Parkin, tell us that "September is the Cruellest Month."  This is also the title of her latest series, forthcoming monograph, and new show opening next week in England at the beautiful “Theatre by the Lake” in Keswick, Cumbria. 

I discovered Parkin’s portfolio recently through Aline Smithson’s excellent photo blog Lenscratch. I immediately sensed the power of the work. Parkin’s portraits are deep, poetic and emotional—and all the more so when you understand that these historically processed, large format images are of her own children.  

Parenting itself is an unbelievable emotional journey.  Along the way, Parkin is documenting her own experience and trying to capture those fleeting moments that always pass too quickly. As the kids go back to school, and the summer slows to an end, maybe Parkin is right: September is the cruelest month.  —Lane Nevares