I got a hold of Henri Cartier-Bresson's À Propos de Paris a couple of months ago. I first saw this copy at my local library and I was very impressed at the images that I saw. So the next day, I ordered a copy online so that I can keep and get to study more of Henri Cartier-Bresson's work.
Geometry, sensitivity and capturing the "Decisive Moment" is in every picture as I flip through its pages. Armed and equipped with his black painted Leica and a 50mm Summicron Collapsible lens, Henri Cartier-Bresson walks the streets of Paris to capture moments of daily life. Paris might as well be Henri Cartier-Bresson's muse when it comes to his amazing images.
First of all, the pictures are framed to were you see them uncropped. It was a big rule for Henri Cartier-Bresson's pictures to be uncropped. The pictures all have a black background around the picture as if it was fresh out of the darkroom from a full frame negative carrier. This means you can almost see the sprocket holes and the black borders on sides of the picture. There is no zooming in and cutting out parts of the picture. All you just see is how the picture was made when the camera's shutter clicked.
Another thing to note about his photographs is the use of composition. I want you to first look at the book on your own without analysing the pictures. Just see for yourself as you flip through the pages. After that, look into every picture as you look for certain things. For example, how the subjects are placed in the rule of thirds, how subjects are connected into a triangle, how subjects are placed in layers creating a foreground, middle and background, how he captures gestures and emotions that makes the photograph and how he fits his subject into a frame at the right moment. There are plenty more examples that you can see when looking through Henri Cartier-Bresson's photographs and it is really such a delight to see something new every time I look through his photographs again and again.
I really recommend this book to anyone who wants to see what great pictures are like. I could spend hours talking about this book but I highly suggest that you get a copy so that you can appreciate how each photograph was either effortlessly or painstakingly made (that part I am still wondering). I could just not put the book down after looking, reading and studying the compositions of this wonderful book. Time and time again I am left to wonder the question "How did he do it?"
Here is a video of the book:
I finally get to review Yasumasa Yonehara’s Tokyo Amour published by Clear Edition. After looking around, I got a hold of a first edition that is limited to five thousand copies. There is also a Tokyo Amour Special Limited edition that comes with an original Cheki picture of the photoshoot but unfortunately I already bought a copy of the first edition.
The first thing you notice on Yasumasa Yonehara’s Tokyo Amour is the beautiful model, Lena Fujii, on the cover. As you look inside, some of the photographs of the models are collages, informal, provocative, intimate, erotic, and up close. Some of the poses are the same but there is different charm in every model that is featured. The models published in the book ranges from Lena Fujii to Maria Ozawa . What I love about Yasumasa Yonehara’s work is that there is that vibe of nonchalantly caring for the technical aspects of photography. The style is the opposite of what we know in the photographic community which is congruent to the counter culture movement in Japan that Yasumasa Yonehara is in. The photographs were taken with a Fujifilm Cheki camera which is Fujifilm’s version of a Polaroid. The framing of the pictures gives you as sense of being there in a first person point of view. With the use of the same camera, the volume of work gives it consistency and a distinctive style. I also feel that the connection of the model and the photographer is genuine because of the intimate gesture and nostalgic vibe that instant photographs give out.
I highly recommend this photo book to anyone who is looking for a fresh concept when it comes to their photography. My take away from the book is that great photographs come from the genuine interaction between the photographer and the subject blurring the role of the camera.
I want it to seem that there are no cameras at all, and I am capturing the real essence of the person
Links of Yasumasa Yonehara's work:
One of the readers just contacted me asking where to find this book:
I looked at the first two links that directs to purchasing the book but it seems that either they are having techical difficulties or the book is out of print. I can't even find a copy on Amazon or eBay at the current moment. Maybe if you are interested on buying the book that you contact - www.japanexposures.com or search for it @ www.jauce.com
Here is a transcript of a translation of Yasumasa Yonehara's Tokyo Amour Exhibition. Enjoy!
I'm Yonehara. Right now here at Greyone,
I am holding my show called Tokyo Amour. I actually held the same show back in Chelsea, New York, at the Barry Friedman gallery on October 23rd last year.
In New York, I had 46 pieces in total, the bigger pieces I have on display in this gallery right now contains 64 shots, but the really big piece in New York contained 96 shots.
I chose the best ones from the New York exhibition, and there are 16 pieces in this show.
<There is a sentence that appears in pink letters here, but it is in Chinese>
I think many of you guys have seen my work in shows and magazines, but it's not that I want people to see them and compare my photos. Photography is just one side of me. I have other sides too, and one of them is contemporary art, and actually I have had shows in other countries.
I am glad that I've had the opportunity to have an exhibition like this, here at the Greyone, and getting the chance to show people my other side. I also heard that I was able to share my world with those people. This exhibition will continue for 2 more weeks, so if more people can come, that would be great. Thank you!
I talked to my bestfriend about this book when I showed this book to her and she had a couple of comments:
-She did not like some of the pictures since it looked like it was pictures of women being conquered
-Some pictures are really good ie. models with clothes, a background, and a theme were good but the pictures she did not like she said looked like an objectification of women.
I am open to her ideas and I empathize on how she feels about Mr. Yonehara's work. I think having a dialogue about a body of work or a picture is a healthy way to analyze and see different perspective on seeing photographs.
I finally got a hold of Ume Kayo's book Ume-me Today's Happening. This small book consists for 120 pages filled with a few art work and most of all her wonderful pictures. This particular photo book was published in 2006 and has broke through 110,000 sales. This book also has won Ihei Kumura Photography Award, which is one of the most authoritative new face award for photography in Japan, in 2006.
It was a lot of fun looking at Ume Kayo's images since most of them have humorous images of the mundane and ordinary. It was like I was looking through her eyes and being shown what I might have missed if I was not paying attention in the streets of Japan.
I know that Japan might be known as really formal and business like but her pictures really breaks through that formality and shows you another world filled with color, interesting moments and witty humor. There are no models posing, lighting setup, Ume Kayo just uses what she sees in the moment to connect to her viewers. She photographs with her Canon EOS 5 and you can sometimes see the date of when the picture was taken in the photo book giving it a personal touch into her world.
I really recommend this book to anyone because of the humor it brings and also the fresh concept of not taking photography too seriously.
Well, when I was in college, I was deciding a theme for my photo series, and I’d always thought the neighborhood elementary school boys were so cool, I still think so now. The boys were so outrageous because I couldn’t understand what they were saying. And how they moved around! And they were really stupid, so stupid that I thought they were invincible. You know, I admire invincible people and I thought those kids were really invincible, and I wished I could be like them. That’s why I had chosen them for my subject.”
- Ume Kayo
Photo Credit: Ume Kayo
Here is also an interview from Time Out Tokyo:
Link: Ume Kayo Interview
Photo Credit: Zhang Jingna
Last year I picked up Zhang Jingna's book Something Beautiful. I happen to have a hardcover copy of this wonderful book. She will only make 999 numbered and signed copies and I think that she has already reached its limit since the book is currently unavailable.
What I love about this book is that she gets her inspiration from her dreams. Her vision is surreal as you flip through its pages. The book is really inspirational since the pictures has a romantic sense and a painterly style feel to it. Her work is original and really worth taking a look and studying. For me, the book is a clash of fashion, portraiture, photography and her own unique dream like vision. The pictures can make a story on its own or it can make a technical study of fashion and art. What I love seeing is how the light falls in the subject and mostly how the shadows are made to set the vibe and feel of the picture. I do not know how to use lighting yet but it makes me wonder if she used natural light, strobes or a beauty dish to get her desired effect.
What is surprising is that she only started photographing 2 years ago and has picked up a fan base on the internet with over 7 million views of her work in the internet. She originally was in the Singapore air rifle team for 5 years and decided to take a course in fashion design at the Lasalle College of the Arts at 19 to pursue photography professionally. She did make some sacrifices to be where she is right now since she left the national air rifle team and never looked back. She is an avid Starcraft II player and dreams to be a Gundam Wing Pilot. Right down below is an interview of Zhang Jingna also known as Zemotion.
Video Credit: Twit Photo
Up for review is Brian Adams' book American Women. What I love about this book is all of pictures are black and white portraitures. These are portraits of women who are successful in their own respected industry like actors, journalists, musicians, artists, businesswomen, athletes and philanthropist. The idea started when Brian Adams lost someone close to him to breast cancer and decided to raise money to combat the disease.
Some of the pictures are hit and miss to me when it comes to inspiration. Some of the pictures are a full spread while others are solely focused on the face. I really wished that he would focus on what the women were wearing since it is a Calvin Klein shoot afterall. What I love about the pictures that inspires me is how the shadows are made in the portraiture. I love how the shadows create the vibe and feel of the picture. I also love how the grain looks whether it is fine or has that grainy look. The pictures are worth studying to see what you like and not like about them. But most of all worth the time just appreciating the pictures.