When I hear what we call music, it seems to me that someone is talking, talking about his feelings or his ideas of relationships. But when I hear the sound of traffic outside my house, I don’t really have the feeling that anyone is talking. I love the activity of sound. I don’t need sound to talk to me. I love sounds just as they are.
– John Cage
Whether one is at home or traveling, there is constant visual input. An image-maker is asked to make distinctions and decisions on what to extract. Having been involved in this practice for over 30 years, I try and free myself of expectations, even of my own. I’ve looked at graffiti all over the world. I appreciate its noise. I didn’t look for anything in particular; I didn’t look for skill. I just accepted graffitti’s visual noise. For the last three years I’ve captured what had previously passed in front of my eyes as something that was just there, just the everyday. The noise was like sound to me.
…extracts from the constant visual noise we witness, if our eyes are open. I long to make this book endless. …something that just keeps on going: a book-loop.
– Ari Marcopoulos
The Ari Marcopoulos Purple Book
A special edition for Purple Fashion Magazine #12
co-published with Studio Zero
Water Tower, Dieulourd, Lorraine, France 1972
Water Towers, 1965-82
Winding Tower, Fosse Noeux, no.13, Nord, France 1972
Grain Elevator, Beaumetz, Amiens, France 2000
Blast Furnace, Youngstown, Ohio 1983
Coal Bunker, Repelen Niederrhein, Germany 1973
Interior View, Georgsmarienhütte, Osnabrück, Germany 1987
Bernd and Hilla Becher are two of the most influential visual artists of our time. Since the beginning of the 1960s, they have documented industrial buildings whose architecture is totally dictated by their function. The Becher’s passion for these industrial structures has resulted in photographs that are a priceless treasure of cultural and technological history from a vanishing industrial era. These images render the unglamorous edifices with the same monumentality and timelessness as used for historically important ancient architecture or new designs. Their subjects evince an unexpected and controlled beauty, while even the most minute detail is reproduced with precision.
Bernd and Hilla Becher belong to a rare brand of artists who have felt such a passion for their subjects that they have constantly followed their own path and kept firmly to it, often going against the current trends in photography. They first attracted attention during the 1960s and early 1970s at joint exhibitions in Europe and the USA with artists working with minimalism and conceptual art. It was only later on that they were recognised as photographers.
The Becher’s photographs are immediately recognisable by their distinctive style. Symmetrically and with scientific precision they have reduced the individual structures, revealing them in an unforgettable manner. The buildings have been isolated from their surroundings, put centre stage, and reproduced without distortion. All that is superfluous and narrative has been stripped away. The light is diffuse, with no shadows and not a cloud in the sky. People are rarely present in the images, and if there are any it is by accident. The photographs show a fragmented world in which the subject fills the picture surface.
Bernd and Hilla Becher’s view of industrial buildings is historically rooted. At the same time, their voluminous documentation bears witness to a unique artistic rigour. Their way of photographing accentuates the structural similarities and differences in the various built structures. This is reinforced by their distinctive mode of presentation, used since the mid-1960s, with groups of photographs arranged in a grid pattern into typologies. The objects thus become more distinct in character and do not just tempt us into an analysis of the individual structures, but also open our eyes to see and discover these constructions in reality. The Becher’s artistry can be excellently summed up in the words of artist Paul Klee: “Art does not reproduce the visible, it renders visible.”
Paris Opera Project, 1990/91
From a series of 50 type C photographs.
Bill Henson’s work is a compelling blend of romantic fulfillment and melancholic uncertainty. The images he composes resonates with a profound sense of truth and finitude but the stories are never fully told and we are inevitably left in suspense as if something, it seems, is always about to happen. His mysterious roads are which lead not to a horizon but to a seductive infinity are fraught with dubious premise.
Henson’s compelling images invoke the descriptive powers of two words of contradictory allusion and sentiment: baroque and brooding. The former, with connotations of grandeur and opulence, the latter evoking moods of silence, introspection and certain subversion, capture the beguiling yet unsettling invitations that echo through Henson’s work. One of the problems with photography is that we tend to assume the photograph to be reality, to be tangible proof of the real thus have an authority that transcends the options of the interpretive. Bill Henson’s worlds are real, just as they are disturbingly beautiful, but they are also beyond the usual realms of commonplace. Of course Bill Henson deals with images but in his handling of body, light, shadow and texture he is far more a creator than mere recorder of images and experiences. His works are paintings in all but technique. Perhaps that is why, for all our recognition of both content and intent, we remain essentially as observers, or more truthfully voyeurs, of his dramas. They invite us to enjoin but we are unable to properly step into the frame.
The exhibition commissioned by the Paris Opera was a fuller development for Henson in both his use of colour and in the way he presents human faces in interplay through the convention , the framing device, of the face intent on music: whether in apprehension or indifference, or with inscrutable self possession. Watching faces, lit from below, sit in a half light that suggests that the only illumination comes from the stage and what these faces suggest is always a revelation of some inwardness before the event: the musical drama unfolding in-front of our eyes. The drama of portraiture in repose is itself intensely dramatic and Henson has done wonders to make his camera suggest the gradations and modulations of a painterly apprehension. It is a drama full of shadows and chiaroscuro, of Rembrandtian depths of brown and gold and the blackest green.
Brooklyn Bridge, 1903.
Gloria Swanson, New York, 1924.
Drizzle On Fortieth Street, New York, 1925.
Edward Steichen (1879-1973) is unquestionably one of the most prolific, versatile, influential, and indeed controversial names in the history of photography. He was admired by many for his achievements as a fine art photographer, while impressing countless others with the force of his purely commercial accomplishments. Portraiture, the nude, fashion, landscape, cityscape, dance, theatre, war, advertising, still life and flower photography – no genre of photography, it seems, went unexplored by this innovative image maker, and thanks to his characteristic zeal for experimentation, few of these genres went unchanged. Graphic design, typography, and art direction – these areas too, proved fertile grounds for Steichen’s creativity. Although his photographic production alone was enough to earn him a full chapter in the history of photography, Steichen added to his laurels via flamboyantly curatorial efforts, most notable his widely acclaimed exhibition The Family Man, which began touring internationally in 1955 and attracted well over nine million visitors worldwide.
Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California, 1944.
Sequoia Gigantea Roots, Yosemite National Park, California, 1950.
Redwoods, Bull Creek Flat, Northern California, 1960.
Monolith, The Face Of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, 1927.
Frozen Lake & Cliffs, The Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, California, 1932.
Ansel Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West and primarily Yosemite National Park.
For his images, he developed the zone system, a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs. Although his large-format view cameras were difficult to use because of their size, weight, setup time, and film cost, their high resolution ensured sharpness in his images.
Untitled (girlfriend) 1993
Untitled (girlfriend) 1993
Untitled (girlfriend) 1999
The images derive from a popular rubric in certain American biker magazines, such as Easy Riders and Iron Horse, which cater to men who, even if they serve as dentists or accountants for forty hours each week, spend the balance of their time riding or hanging around Harley Davidsons (all other brands, necessarily foreign, are anathema) and generally try to pass themselves off as members of outlaw gangs. The magazines invite their readers to submit photographs of their possessions, their girlfriends are invariably pictured as an accessory – not on the level of the bike itself, of course, but perhaps comparable to its custom spokes or its fitted cowhide saddle. The women are standing; often they are shown reclining along the length of the machine, or draped over it like an animal skin. They are usually semi-nude, and such parts as are clothed are encased in skintight leather or denim. The poses are always stiffer than the photograph appears to realise. Their expressions tend to be fixed. Professional models can stimulate delight or arousal, but these women can only turn in feeble imitations, reproducing such emotions at one or two removes.
Chatham Islands Series, Euan Sarginson, 2000.
A friend & a guide.
Te Tuhirangi Contour, Richard Serra, 1999/2001
Kaipara, North Island, New Zealand.
Weatherproof steel, 6m x 257m x 5cm.
The site of “Te Tuhirangi Contour” is on the Kaipara harbour, 45km north of Auckland. The site is a vast open grass pasture with rolling elevations. The elevational fall of the land establishes curvilinear contours. The sculpture is located on one continuos contour, at a length of 257m. The particular contour was chosen for its location, differentiation, contraction and expansion in relation to the volume of the landscape. The elevation of the sculpture is perpendicular to the fall of the land which generates its lean of 11 degrees. The work was mocked-up full scale in wood to determine height and length. All images by German photographer Dirk Reinartz.
SOME/THINGS project encompasses a bi-annual book/magazine publication and publishing house producing limited edition artist books/objects as well as a art/design consulting agency. Their aim is to create something that goes beyond a basic product- something more involved, engaging and personal- something with a story.
SOME/THINGS Magazine content is based on active collaboration with some of the most visionary artists, designers and personalities of our time. It comprises an extensive selection of images, in depth conversations and interviews as well as previously never published material. A conscious decision has been made for there to be no advertising of any form and no news section. SOME/THINGS Magazine shuns a fast approach preferring to take time to discover and re-discover works that transcend boundaries of their medium and that engage with reality.
Issue one is a 304 page hand bound edition with fully opening spine.