Four viewpoints in contemporary photography
„STRUTH–TILLIM–MORTAGNE–GUINDANI - Four viewpoints in contemporary photography“ is a selection of four projects of the photographers Thomas Struth, Guy Tillim, Fred Mortagne and Stefano Guindani. They all worked with the mirrorless Leica SL.
Thomas Struth is known for his large-format conceptual series of museum interiors, architecture and nature. His most recent project comes as a surprise, as music is the central theme. The photos were taken during a music production in the concert hall of Marienmünster Abbey. Struth’s portrayal of the guitarist Frank Bungarten and sound engineer Werner Dabringhaus impressively communicates the atmosphere of concentrated musicians at work. The project is complemented by photographs of the Baroque interior of the abbey church. Again, Struth not only draws the attention of the viewer to the Baroque objects in the empty church, but also to the atmosphere of silence and concentration. Exploring the room with precision, he discovers the place anew with the details he has chosen to photograph, interpreting it with his photographic imagery. Very subtly, he thus illustrates the contiguity of music and images by thematizing composition, variation and interpretation as common constants.
Guy Tillim has focused intensely on urban landscapes for some time. His main interest is not so much the photographic subject, but the attempt to approach it without bias or prejudice. The resulting images are authentic because they neither depict clichés nor do they desperately try to avoid them. There is no easy way in to Tillim’s work. His pictures provide no clues for interpreting his subjects, the viewers have to find them out for themselves. Presented in diptychs, the work breaks the composition of the individual image, offering a view not of Tillim’s thoughts, but of what he can actually see in front of him – in the middle of Berlin.
Fred Mortagne, better known in the skateboarding scene as “French Fred”, is a unique phenomenon in skateboard photography. While most sports photographers concentrate on athletic performance and the most spectacular tricks, Mortagne creates a totally different perspective just by working in black and white. Mortagne, who began his career as a film maker, has developed the “Frangle” or “Fred Angle” technique for his videos: riding a skateboard himself, he accompanies and circles round his protagonists as if riding on a camera dolly. He looks for the special perspective in his photography, too, capturing flawlessly executed skateboard tricks (the elegance of movement counting more than the level of difficulty) against the background of dramatically composed architectural lines.
Stefano Guindani’s behind-the-scenes view of the world of modeling focuses on the job rather than the fashion. He often shows models with tired eyes, hair curlers, pulling faces or scurrying from the stage to the dressing room. “It’s becoming more and more important to take photographs backstage for several reasons,” says Guindani. “Some are commercial, i.e. to enhance the visibility of the products, and some are journalistic, to present the show. But most of all the aim is to get authentic photos of the models. Without any staging and posing.” His photos reflect his intuitive, seemingly almost involuntary approach. At times, structures blur and models’ heads and bodies dissipate. That lends the photos an aura of the sublime and transcendental.
JH Engström | Wiktoria Wojciechowska
Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2015
In his prize-winning series Tout va bien, Swedish photographer JH Engström portrays impressions in a wide range of styles that reflect his emotions – from scenes of birth to poetic shots of nature, all the way to surreal portraits. Engström spent his early career in Sweden and France. After working as an assistant for Mario Testino and Anders Petersen, and completing a photography degree in Gothenburg, he published several successful books and collected numerous international awards.
Born in Lublin, Poland, Wiktoria Wojciechowska used her Short Flashes series to capture Chinese cyclists in the cities of Beijing and Hangzhou on their way through incessant rain. Her spontaneous shots, which go unnoticed by their subjects, portray a range of authentic moments. Her work has also been displayed at several exhibitions and festivals and published in numerous magazines.
Flash by Lenny Kravitz
With his first photo show Lenny Kravitz makes his mark in a new arena of the creative arts.
During his childhood, Kravitz was enthralled by cameras, playing with them like toys instead of taking photographs. In recent years photographer friends taught him the fundamentals of photography by using a Leica. Intrigued by the possibilities, Kravitz began creating his own works, featuring close attention to the nuances and effects created by light. As he himself had been endlessly photographed by photographers, paparazzi, and fans—his perspective on aesthetics was decidedly unique. This thrilling show captures the essence of what it’s like to be a rock star who’s constantly in the public eye. The result: an intense exploration of the photographer and his subject.
“For my work on the S Magazine, I was given the opportunity to pull out all my creative stops. It’s not about normal fashion photography. Every picture aims to take the viewer on a unique journey.”
Enrique Badulescu belongs to the front line of contemporary beauty and fashion photographers. Expressivity and strong contrasts are part of his unique signature. “I love contrasts, not just of light and shadow, dark and light, but above all in colors.” His underwater work is legendary. For over twenty-five years, international labels such as Hermès have have trusted in his ability to create the perfect imagery to convey their brand essence.
For the S Magazine, Badulescu has given new interpretation to the spirit of the labels being presented. With boundless creativity and a broad palette of techniques, he gives unique expression to his perception of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. He creates motifs and series which captivate the viewer with their liveliness. Upon closer inspection, the figures in the images seem to communicate with the viewer. Movement is also a central feature of his work, which is why Badulescu prefers to photograph outdoors, with special emphasis on shore and underwater shots. He appreciates the unpredictability of the elements and their ability to break down any stiffness in the arrangements, and in doing so, bring a softer quality to the images. To ensure diversity in his work for S Magazine, he occasionally dispensed with color. “Black and white is very poetic. Looking at the images, you get the feeling that you’re watching an Antonioni film.”
In addition to being an expert with the S camera, Badulescu shines using analog materials and techniques. He creates collages and adds painted details, giving digital photography the human touch that it can otherwise lack. Improvisation is also key: Badulescu’s forte is to take chance situations, even mishaps, and speedily turn them into central features of his pictures. His playful, light treatment of concepts and materials allows him to continually dream up new visual pathways, new ways to portray a story. The series created exclusively for S Magazine are impressive testimonies of his talent.
Enrique Badulescu was born in Mexico City in 1961. He trained at the Bavarian State Academy of Photography in Munich. His international career began in the London music scene in the late 80s, when he worked for the British magazine The Face, and photographed the Rolling Stones. Shortly afterwards he was commissioned to do various album covers and was booked for his first campaign. His work has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar. Badulescu lives in New York.
“I learned that I can take a picture wherever I can see one. With analogue photography I was often confronted with the limitations of the medium, but with the Monochrom I find I can go a step further.”
For decades, Ralph Gibson – master of shadows and elegant nudes – was convinced that digital photography would never measure up to analogue. The American photographer had been taking pictures with analogue Leicas since 1961. In 2013 he had a visit from Duncan Meeder, owner of the Leica Store Lisse/Henny Hoogeveen near Amsterdam, who made him a special offer: a Ralph Gibson edition of the Leica M Monochrom, as well as prints and a book – all photos taken with the camera. Gibson agreed to the proposal and a short while later was exploring the potential of a digital camera for the first time.
The Mono series taken with the M Monochrom emerged over the following months: the images were taken in ten different countries – a journey around the world in contrasting black and white. At a first glance there is no common thread between them: daily scenes on the street, abstract cut-outs, immaculate bodies. However, though often insignificant moments, the pictures capture an exciting interplay of lines, light and darkness, and come together in a harmonious whole.
Many years ago, the great André Kertesz said to Gibson, “A photographer must learn to photograph everything.” Gibson in turn commented in the foreword to the book, “Well, when one is fortunate enough to have such an advisor, perhaps it’s wise to obey.” The pictures in the series prove the point that it is, in fact, possible to photograph everything.
Ralph Gibson was born in Los Angeles in 1939. He studied photography in the US Navy and at the San Francisco Art Institute, and later worked as an assistant to Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank. In 1969, Gibson established Lustrum Press. Since then over 40 monographs of Gibson’s work have been published.
100 photographers – 100 portraits
“Photography is simply who I am. It is a gift I cherish. I will always be grateful to other photographers who have helped show me the way and to the people who permitted me to photograph them and allow me into their world.”
Portraiture is the royal discipline of photography. Since the early days of the medium, people have been fascinated by its capacity to reproduce a person’s features. The dialogue between the photographer and the one being portrayed can become an intimate moment of human communication. To ensure the desired result takes mastery and, above all, sensitivity on both sides of the conversation. Questions of self-expression, of similarity, of interpretation and of creative possibilities are an intricate part of every portrait photograph, and later on there is also the interaction between the viewer and the picture.
It is a known fact that few photographers like being portrayed themselves – they are obviously too used to the protection offered by standing behind the camera. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s reserve in front of other photographers was legendary. He much preferred to go unnoticed to being the centre of attention. He has this in common with many other prominent photographers, who all preferred looking through the viewfinder to posing in front of the camera.
This makes the gallery of pictures Claire Yaffa has put together of her colleagues over many years, all the more exciting. Even Henri Cartier-Bresson made an exception, allowing her to photograph him for her project. In fact, he allowed her to do it a number of times. With passionate interest and a sensitive feeling for the moment, Yaffa’s long-term project has become a veritable “who’s who” of great photography personalities. A look at the gallery quickly reveals the truth of Cornell Capa’s words when he said, “… fear not Yaffa, the photographs are beautiful and your images will remain.”
60 Years Leica M
“Shooting with a Leica is like a long tender kiss, like firing an automatic pistol, like an hour on the analyst’s couch.” Henri Cartier-Bresson
The camera is a key that unlocks the world. The Leica M, in particular, has opened up the door to capturing exceptional events and outstanding people. It adapts just as well to war zone photojournalism as to social reportage, to street photography as to poetic landscapes or tranquil portraits. Without a doubt, the Leica M is not just any camera. It is legendary, and for many it has become a collector’s item or a status symbol. It is so much more than just a dependable, precision instrument, because every photographer develops a unique relationship to his or her own camera. A Leica is both a discrete observer, a lightening speed accomplice and a trustworthy companion. It works perfectly day after day, and can also create a magical connection to the greatest photographers and most famous pictures.
Many of the photographs that have lodged themselves in our collective consciousness were taken with a Leica M: important world events as much as chance encounters of everyday life, portraits of prominent personalities as well as nameless strangers. In Magic Moments, we see Marilyn Monroe, Mother Teresa and The Beatles, but also anonymous travellers, children at play and fleeting passers-by. Each photo has its own imagery, so there are just as many clearly composed pictures to discover as puzzling perspectives. Whether black and white or colour, this jubilee selection of pictures taken over the last six decades, presents unforgettable moments captured in legendary photographs. An exceptional kaleidoscope of diversity and surprises – just like life itself.
Leica M: the unique rangefinder camera system was first introduced in 1954 with the M3, and since then the family tree has continued to grow; but, despite the transformation to digital photography, continuity was always more important than constant change. If a typical photographic style exists for the Leica M, it could be defined as ‘creative images that have emerged from the midst of life’, photographs that are touching, that tell a story, that offer insight into the world and into daily life; quite simply, photographs that renew the Leica M myth every day, with fascinating results, whether taken by important photographers or by others as yet unknown.
10 x 10 exhibition
The 10 x 10 exhibition is a project created to celebrate the centenary of Leica Photography. It presents contemporary photography that looks to the future while also linking closely to the past.
For Leica camera AG, the move to the Leitz Park in Wetzlar is a return to its roots and a step into the future with new headquarters. The Leica Gallery Wetzlar has also made itself a home here, and is inviting visitors to explore the constantly evolving facets of the world of photography. The gallery is inaugurated with the 10 x 10 exhibition, a project created to celebrate the centenary of Leica Photography.
It presents contemporary photography that looks to the future while also linking closely to the past: the idea was to pair ten contemporary Leica photographers in a creative dialogue with ten of the great masters of photographic history, resulting in ten pictures each. It was not about modelling the images on the works of the old masters, but rather about the new ideas that might emerge from the interaction with the existing works: an artistic exchange, an impetus, a convergence and a demarcation.
Waiting to move
Ciril Jazbec, winner of the 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award for emerging talents with his photo series “Waiting to move”, focuses on the everyday life and the dying traditions of the Inupiaq Eskimos in Shishmaref.
Situated on an extremely narrow island off the north west coast of Alaska, the village is jeopardized by the climate change and the consequent rise of the sea level. To preserve the community, the inhabitants voted in 2002 in favor of a complete resettlement of the village to the nearby mainland. Ever since then they have been waiting for the American government to appropriate the funds necessary to finance the move. Ciril Jazbec’s emotional images capture the mood of waiting and at the same time record the solidarity of a small community between tradition and modern times.
The winner of the competition is Evgenia Arbugaeva from Siberia with her photo series “Tiksi”. The theme of the series is everyday Arctic life in the photographer’s home town.
Once a strategic military and science hub in the middle of the Siberian tundra, the port has long lost its air of importance. After the fall of USSR, when government stopped financing it's northern projects more then a half of population have left the town in search for a better future. In haunting and poetic images, the photographer evokes the fascinating beauty of the Arctic icescape and the people who live there. Her images are stark and without distracting detail, presenting everyday scenes of life in the harsh environment that show how the inhabitants come to terms with the permanent cold. Despite the harsh conditions, the photographer paints a very affectionate picture of her homeland and the images exude an almost fairy tale-like charm.
Last Days of the Arctic
This exhibition is entitled “Last Days of the Arctic” and features black-and-white photos from the photo book of the same name by the Icelandic photographer Ragnar Axelsson. They have shown fascinating icescapes with gigantic glaciers as well as impressions from the everyday life of the Inuits, who earn their living by hunting seals, whales and polar bears.
The photos were taken near Kangertittivaq, better known as Scoresby Sund, a fjord system on the East coast of Greenland. This is the home of hunter Hjelmer Heimeken. Hunting is iconic to his cultural history, and he feels a deep respect for nature and its creatures. The conditions between ice and snow are hard enough, but made even tougher by the effects of the climate change that cause cracks in the ice and can cost the hunter his life. Hjelmer knows that he is risking his life every time he ventures out on the ice. But for him, this is the natural cycle: if he takes something from nature, he has to give something back in return – even if it’s his own life.
Ragnar Axelsson, known as RAX, lives in Reykjavik and ranks among the most successful photojournalists in Iceland. Born in 1958, he has already traveled the whole world, but his passion is for the people in Nordic regions. His photographs tell stories of their life and survival in breathtaking natural surroundings. The pictures bear witness to the magnificence of the landscapes and the steadfastness of people in a natural environment endangered by climate change. Axelsson has already won many awards for his photo essays, including an “honorable mention” in the prestigious Leica Oscar Barnack Award competition.
Die gezeigten Aufnahmen sind mit der Leica M Monochrom entstanden und können käuflich erworben werden. Preisangaben sind auf Anfrage erhältlich.
On My Side of Town
This exhibition is by the French photographer Bénédicte Lassalle and is entitled “On my side of town”. The photos were taken in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, where the photographer lived for a long time. Fascinated by her environment, she has captured scenes and impressions of her everyday life, giving them an almost mystic character. This is because the views Bénédicte Lassalle presents are not a true-to-detail copy of reality.
Each picture is a photomontage combining an urban panorama with a nature photo. The trees with their labyrinth of branches, buds and leaves seem like a fine veil through which the viewer looks into the soul of Paris. As a result, the urban silhouettes take on a poetic beauty. The French capital looks like something out of a fairy tale – the ordinary exudes a special kind of magic.
Born in Provence in 1975, Bénédicte Lassalle now lives and works in the USA. She is a member of the French photographers’ agency Agence Revelateur (www.agencerevelateur.fr). Photography is her vocation. Her ambition is to create photo documentation that reflects artistic quality and the vision of the author. She finds inspiration for her photographic projects in objects of everyday life. Her work has won several awards and featured in many publications. The exhibition “On my side of town” (French title: Par chez moi) will also be shown in the Galerie Imagineo in Paris from September 5th to 28th.
The exhibited photos were taken with a Leica M7 and a Leica Summilux-M f/1.4 /50mm ASPH. lens. They are available for sale (prices on request).
James Whitlow Delano
Selling Spring - Sex Workers Series
The theme of the “Selling Spring: Sex Workers Series” exhibition is prostitution. The American photographer James Whitlow Delano took the photos in various countries, including Japan, China and Mexico. Fascinated by this sub-culture, he adopts an extremely discreet approach. After all, his reportage is a risky undertaking. He is under constant observation – by pimps, clients, the police and the prostitutes themselves. This means he has to work quickly and inconspicuously, so the black-and-white series is exclusively composed of snapshots – the viewer will not find any arranged portraits here.
Delano’s photos give us a backstage view of the sex industry. He is interested in the personal stories of the young men and women who do this job, as these stories are as varied as the motives that drive them to prostitution. Whether poverty, violence or hopelessness, every one of them has their own particular tragedy and deserves respect. The photographer shows the human beings behind the sex façade in an attempt to give them back part of the dignity they lost long ago.
Born in 1960, James Whitlow Delano is currently living in Tokyo. He has already worked in Asia for many years, mainly on long-term projects focusing on human rights, the environment and culture. His photographs, most of which are black and white, have been featured in magazines all over the world, such as the New York Times Magazine, Geo, Mare and Time Asia. He has already won many awards, for instance the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, an honorable mention in the 2006 Leica Oskar Barnack Award and the Picture of the Year International Award.
The photos in the exhibition were taken with Leica M2 and M6 analog rangefinder cameras.
The “Elevated Perspectives” project comprises ten large-format aerial photos taken by photographer Nick Rains from a Cessna 172. In the year 2011, Rains spent roughly 12 months touring the South West of Australia to document the region from the ground. When he was given the opportunity to take photos from the air he was immediately delighted with the result.
Aerial photography may not be a new genre, but these photos never cease to lose their fascination due to the different perspective they offer. The viewer is given the chance to see the world with different eyes and discover it anew. Looking with a bird’s-eye view, the familiar environment becomes an adventure waiting to be explored.
Nick Rains’ career as a photographer began about 30 years ago, starting in Europe in the eighties and continuing in his home country Australia from 1990 onwards. His work has already been published all over the world in books, newspapers, calendars and magazines.
The exhibited photographs were taken with the Leica S medium-format system and 70 mm and 120 mm lenses, and are available for sale (prices on request).
Yan Kang Yang
The photo series “Tibetan Land” of the Chinese photographer Yan Kang Yang gives insights into the life of Tibetans, who have one of the most mysterious cultures in China. A key theme of the project is the strong power of faith. The way the Tibetan Chinese live out their faith and pray to Buddha even under the harshest conditions – sometimes at altitudes of 4000 meters – exerts a great fascination, which the award-winning photographer has captured in impressive images. The most striking feature of the black-and-white photos is the peace they emanate. The viewer clearly senses the deep-rooted affinity of the people with their religion, philosophy and culture.
Born in 1954, Yang began his career as a photographer for a small local newspaper. He exhibited his work for the first time in 1988. His first exhibition in Germany in 1992 led to a large number of international projects. In 2005, Yang’s photo report “Der lange Marsch zum lieben Gott” in GEO magazine earned him a Henri Nannen prize, an award honoring outstanding journalistic work, in the “Best Photo Reportage” category.
The displayed images were photographed with a Leica MP camera and Leica Summilux-M 1.4/35 mm lens and are available for sale (prices on request).
In his photo project “Culinary South Tyrol”, photographer Udo Bernhart takes the viewer on a culinary trip round Italy’s northernmost province. This is a region where nearly everything grows, a place where the easy-going Mediterranean lifestyle meets Alpine down-to-earthness.
And the cuisine, boasting a long list of award-winning chefs, combines the best of both worlds. Sometimes, however, it’s the plain delights that make the difference: bread from home-grown grain, wine from steep little vineyards or home-made fruit spreads. These products are made by people who live for their ideas. Only the best ingredients are good enough for them. The photographer has captured the culinary highlights in colorful pictures – a real treat for fans of German-Italian food – and shows the pride of all those responsible for their production. The Book “Südtirol kulinarisch” (Culinary South Tyriol) by Monika Kellermann, photographed by Udo Bernhart, was published by “Collection Rolf Heyne”.
Udo Bernhart has worked as a free-lance photographer and photojournalist for more than 35 years. Born and bred in the Vinschgau region and deeply rooted in the South Tyrolean landscape, his assignments have already taken him all over the world, for instance to Terra del Fuego, China, Alaska and Camchatka. His work has been featured in German and international magazines. As well as many photo reports, he has published over 60 photo books.
The photos in the exhibition were taken with a Leica M9. They are available for sale (prices on request).
Frank Hallam Day & Piotr Zbierski
Gewinner des Oscar Barnack Preises 2012
First prize highly prestigious photography competition, the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2012’, goes to US photographer Frank Hallam Day for his portfolio entitled ‘Alumascapes’.
Throughout his career as a photographer, Frank Hallam Day has concerned himself with many different aspects of the medium. Following numerous projects with a focus on political issues, his work has now increasingly turned towards exploring the relationships between man and the environment. For this, he shoots predominantly at night to reveal a suggestive and ambiguous side of the world. The latest example of this is illustrated by his winning portfolio ‘Alumascapes’. This photographic project shows the results of a month-long journey through Florida. In his images, Frank Hallam Day depicts the phenomenon of man and his environment in a unique manner and makes recreational vehicles (RV’s) – ultra-modern, high-tech and luxury homes on wheels – the brightly lit and dazzling stars of his pictures. They seem to be inextricably entwined in the jungle landscapes of Florida at night and appear as essential islands of security in a dark and hostile environment. They protect their owners with a feeling of safety and comfort in the lap of luxury. Of course, this form of escape no longer has much to do with the love of nature, relinquishing everyday luxuries or winding down. Frank Hallam Day’s images reveal that the relationship between man and the environment is more ambiguous than ever before.
Piotr Zbierski is the winner of the ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award 2012’ with his portfolio ‘Pass by Me’.
‘Pass by me’, the winning portfolio, represents the culmination of a project on which Polish photographer Piotr Zbierski has been working for five years. In his long-term project entitled ‘White Elephant’, the photographer explores the expression of emotions and the question of to what extent they can alter reality. In this, he is particularly fascinated by chance encounters. His view of people in the role of an impartial observer, fleeting encounters with strangers – without prior knowledge of his subjects – enables him to see what is pure and essential: people and their entire world of emotions. In the words of Piotr Zbierski, ‘I chose photography because it lets me get very close to people. It is the only medium with a directness that lets me show the existence of the imagination in the real world.’ In his images, he concentrates on faces, gestures, the expression of feelings and relationships. His images have no pretension of being original, but instead are authentic. They depict scenes from the heart of life itself, captured at a wide variety of locations. The majority were shot on journeys through Eastern Europe and India. Although the portfolio appears to have a random structure at first sight, an underlying order and relationship exists between the images. Together they build an entirety and relate a story of happiness, memories and encounters characterised by the photographer’s own particular style.