Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Street Resurfacing, Cont.

My last post put me in a Winogrand mood, so I figured it'd be fun to share some other old ephemera. The photos below are from an early Garry Winogrand photo essay published in the debut edition of Eros, Spring 1962, which I stumbled upon in a Maine bookshop several years ago. 



I guess Winogrand's Love In The Subway fit the journal's theme. 



As far as I can tell Eros was a soft-porn journal aimed at the intellectual crowd. This was back before the sexual revolution when such subjects were taboo, so Eros had to hint at the subject sideways. It's full of double entendre and poetry and wink-wink/nudge-nudge, plus a few photos. 



The photos seem pretty tepid to me, unremarkable by today's standards. 



They're only noteworthy because of who made them and what he'd do later.


But I guess that's the crux of the issue. 



How did a 34-year old journeyman assignment photographer break through from shooting this mediocre material to his miracle year 1964 just two years later? 



Something in the water? Drugs? Indian Yogis? The sixties? The 10,000 hour rule? 



Your guess is as good as mine. Just grateful it happened.



Friday, January 11, 2019

Street Resurfacing Project

John Sypal recently sent me a photocopy of this old interview with Garry Winogrand, conducted by Charles Hagen. It was originally published in Afterimage in December 1977, just before Winogrand's 50th birthday, and arguably near the peak of his career. Some of the photos included are recognizable from Public Relations which had just been published, and Stock Photographs, which would come out a few years later. Maybe they looked ok in the original magazine, but here they're severely degraded by multiple copy/scans. So it's probably best to ignore them and just enjoy the text, which is chock full of interesting nuggets. To the best of my knowledge this is not online elsewhere. For serious photo nerds only!

1/18 Update: PDF version available here (Thanks, Ben Helton)



Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Yearn Rave You

2018 Favorite Albums

Newish

1. Collected Acknowledgements, Table Sugar
2. Two Distinguished GentlemenRalph White and Steve Marsh
3. Mandoria Awakening IINicole Mitchell (2017)
4. Hippo Lite, Drinks
5. I'm Bad Now, Nap Eyes
6. Babes With BoyfriendsChris Moschetti
7. Dimensional People, Mouse On Mars
8. Hypnic Jerks, Spirit Of The Beehive
9. Semi-PermanentKitten Forever 
10. Your Queen Is A ReptileSons of Kemet

Oldish

1. Shame-Based Man, Bruce McCulloch (1995)
2. Fe, Souled American (1988)
3. Diary Of The Originator: Codeine Fiend, DJ Screw (2004)
4. Harlem Bush Music — Taifa, Gary Bartz NTU Troop (1971)
5. The Human Horn, Shooby Taylor (2001)
6. Vous Et Nous, Brigitte Fontaine and Areski Belkacem (1977)
7. Psychedelic Sanza, Francis Bebey (2014)
8. Circles, William S. Fischer (1970)
9. Big Sun, Chassol (2015)
10. Pass The Dust, I Think I'm Bowie, Black Randy and the Metro Squad (1979)



2018 Favorite Books

Newish

1. Educated, Tara Westover
2. Criminals, Robert Anthony Siegel
3. Underbug, Lisa Margonelli
4. The Brand New CatastropheMike Scalise
5. Mother American NightJohn Perry Barlow
6. Limits Of The Known, David Roberts
7. The Last Black Unicorn, Tiffany Haddish
8. The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine Wamariya
9. The Best We Could Do, Thi Bui
10. The Feather Thief, Kirk W. Johnson

Oldish

1. The Boy Who Invented Skiing, Swain Wolfe (2006)
2. Planet Joe, Joe Cole (2011)
3.  Down City, Leah Carroll (2017)
4. Clothes Clothes Clothes..., Viv Albertine (2014)
5. Muck, Craig Sherborne (2007)
6. A Common PornographyKevin Sampsell (2010)
7. Second WindNathaniel Philbrick (1999)
8. Brain On Fire, Susannah Cahalan (2013)
9. Naked In The Woods, Margaret Gundstein (2015)
10. Dispatches From Pluto, Richard Grant (2015)



2018 Favorite Photobooks

Newish

1. KochetovVictor and Sergey Kochetov
2. White Night, Feng Li (2nd Ed)
3. Warn'd In Vain, Charalampos Kydonakis
4. Deana Lawson (Self Titled)
5. Landfall, Mimi Plumb
6. Per StradaGuido Guidi 
7.  The Moth, Jem Southam
8. American Winter, Gerry Johansson
9. Masahisa Fukase (Self Titled)
10. The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand, Geoff Dyer

Oldish

1. Analog Days, John Harding (2012)
2. Vanitas, Christobal Hara (1998)
3. A Few Memories, Nomura Shohhei (2017)
4. Harms Way. Lust and Madness. Murder and Mayhem, Joel Peter-Witkin (1994)
5. Year One, Tobias Faldt (2011)
6. India, Carl De Keyzer (2001)
7. John Stezaker (Self Titled) (2011)
8. Plants and Animals, Sverre Strandberg (2016)
9. Life As a Night Porter, Chris Shaw (2005)
10. Switzerland On The RocksNicolas Faure (1995)


2018 Favorite Films

Newish

1. Brad's Status, Mike White
2. Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig (2017)
3. Ingrid Goes West, Matt Spicer (2017)
4. The Florida Project, Sean Baker (2017)
5. The Square, Ruben Ostland (2017)
6. Dina, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles (2017)
7. Hereditary, Ari Aster
8. Sorry To Bother You, Boots Riley
9. Beatriz At Dinner, Miguel Arteta (2017)
10. Free Solo, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vesarhelyi

Oldish

1. The Windmill Movie, Alexander Olch (2008)
2. Into The Abyss, Werner Herzog (2011)
3. Paterson, Jim Jarmusch (2016)
4. Ran, Akira Kurosawa (1985)
5. While We're Young, Noah Baumbach (2014)
6. Tangerine, Sean Baker (2015)
7. Shaun Of The Dead, Edgar Wright (2004)
8. Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson (1970)
9. Come and See, Elem Klimov (1985)
10. Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky (1973)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Q & A with Charalampos Kydonakis

Charalampos Kydonakis (aka Dirty Harrry) is a photographer based in Crete, Greece. His recent self-published photo book is Warn'd In Vain, "An Argonautica inspired NYC story". 


What brought you to New York City? How did you decide where to shoot and explore?

I first went to NYC to visit a friend in 2014 and finally spent about 7 months between 2014-2017. It took me some time to move away from the busy avenues, where I got bored of people looking at their cellphones. Manhattan is the main Metropolis landmark, but Queens, Brooklyn, and Bronx have their own character too. My book's final cut is a mosaic with images from all the above places.


What is your general photomaking process? You walk down the street with your camera...Then what?...

One thing that matters to me is how much time I can devote; nothing has ever come to me in the first 5 minutes somewhere. Maybe after months or years a body of work can be revealed. Or it may not. All I knew when I got to NYC was that my time was limited, so my everyday goal was to stay outside as much as I could. Searching for images seems a bit like an archeological survey; there might be nothing around; there might also be signs or evidence that could lead somewhere. These signs depend on what one is attracted to. 

A main difference this time compared to other places I've been was alcohol; I often make beer breaks when I'm shooting, but NYC is expensive. I had no money for bars, etc. The Warn'd in vain book has been injected with alcohol grades only during the editing period, not before. Who knows, if the Big Apple was cheaper the book could be more interesting!


Did you have the book and Argonautica theme in mind when you made the photos?  

In the beginning I had nothing in my mind but a question; what can be seen inside the world's most photographed city? 

What is the connection in your mind between ancient Greek myth and contemporary New York?

After some time I tried to search for connecting lines between my presence in NYC and what I came across there. Greek mythology gave me some ideas to sequence my thoughts in this place across the ocean; a contemporary Colchis, the city that was considered the end of the ancient world. Gradually I started searching for metaphors that could form something after my time in the city expired. 


For someone unfamiliar with the Argonautica storyline, can you briefly summarize it?  

Argonautica is an epic poem of Apollonius Rhodius about the glorious and tragic story of Jason. It's a myth of a big adventure about struggle for power, love, betrayal & revenge. There are a few related movies. My favorite ones are Medea by Paolo Pasolini (1969) and Medea by Lars von Trier (1988). 


Was New York what you expected? 

I don't know if I discovered where the Golden Fleece was hanging. In other words I don't know what I expected from New York. A good thing is that for the first time I had much free time to search and focus on something. I walked in places I had no idea where I was each time; there were times that some reactions were a bit cliché and expected :
  • "You took my picture, asshole?"  (Girl , Midtown Manhattan)
  • "Get out of Harlem, fuckin' cop"  (Dude, Harlem)
or more original and unexpected :
  • "We don't appreciate someone who is taking pictures"  (Rabbi, Williamsburg)
  • "I would fuck you but I'm busy"  (Dude, Jackson Heights)
I once got hit for 3-4 minutes by five guys inside a weird neighbourhood near Delancey street... There's no need for someone to risk a lot, but weird places are more interesting than normal ones, aren't they?


How did your experience making photos in New York change your impressions of the city?

Now that I am back in Crete, I think of New York and I miss some great people I met, people I feel are friends now no matter the distance. I think this is finally the most precious thing out of this journey.

How did you go about making the book?

After returning to Crete I had to start working again, so I edited the book in the evenings. Some average stats below:
  • Shooting : 7 months * about 8 hours per day = 7*30*8 = 1680 hours
  • Edit and design : 1.5 year =  18 months * about 3 hours per day = 18*30*3 = 1620 hours
I wasted a lot of time with decisions that someone with more experience probably would make instantly; I went to sleep every night almost sure that I had finished and the next day I saw what I had done and didn't like it at all, so I changed the book on and on till the last day. Now there are still things I would change, but at some moment I had to move on, otherwise I could recycle the same dilemmas forever. 

My Ayse and some friends helped me a lot, especially Gus Powell, Pavlos Fysakis, Elena Mamoulaki, Adonis Volanakis, Yorgos Yatromanolakis, Engin Güneysu, Giorgis Kapelonis, Natalie Matutschovsky and others. Gölnur Cengiz & Fotoğrafevi in Istanbul encouraged and guided me with the printing process, a field that I had no idea about. The book was funded through a crowd-source campaign and then I printed it in Istanbul with the support of some lovely people (Okan Ulusan , Ilknur Mutlu & 'Kanuni' Suleyman Gördebil) in Bilnet company where some books by Bruno Barbey, Nikos Economopoulos, Ara Guler and others have been printed. In conclusion I wouldn't be able to make this book without the help of my friends.


What are the graphical elements inserted into the chapter breaks?

They 're Greek alphabet fonts I designed and they refer to each chapter of the book. 'WARN'D IN VAIN' has 12 chapters from A - M , a Minotaur inspired future twin book from Crete, named 'BACK TO NOWHERE' will have the N - Ω chapters.


Did the book turn out as expected, or were there surprises along the way?

I had made about 10 photocopy dummies while editing, none of them was exactly as the book turned out in the end. Since it was my first attempt, I think everything along the way was a bit surprising.



What are some of your favorite New York City books by other photographers?

Weegee, Naked City



Ken Schles, Nightwalk and Invisible City



Meryl Meisler, A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick and Sassy '70s



Diane Arbus, Revelations



Keizo Kitajima, New York



Gus Powell, The Company Of Strangers



Bruce Davidson, Subway



Jeff Mermelstein, Sidewalk



Andrew Savulich, The City


(All photos above by Charalampos Kydonakis, except book images which were selected by him)