Posts by: John Veldhoen

The Street Photography of Garry Winogrand

 By John Veldhoen

Garry Winogrand is the preeminent practitioner of what has become known as the genre of street photography, which he’d probably resent the heck out of my writing. In an interview in 1981, when questioned about the term street photography, Winogrand referred to it as “a stupidity”. Geoff Dyer is a writer, primarily a novelist, though he is a fine critic.

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Reading American Photographs, Another Photographic Reality, and Mexico

 By John Veldhoen

So, a weaving approach to write about a book I have wanted to read for years, Alan Trachtenberg’s “Reading American Photographs”. Time gets in the way, and I have had to put it off. But, I recently ordered a few copies for The Camera Store, and I am now quarter of the way through. I get slowed down when I read history, I get side-tracked with historiography, and get down into the reeds.

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Empire of Illusion

 By John Veldhoen

“I have been walking all day. I started out with a mere idea, to see what I could see. It began without structure, and as I progressed, it gathered some. Along the way today I ran into a street photographer that I admire named Alvin. His working methodology is most closely akin to Garry Winogrand. He photographs with film, with a Leica, a prime lens with a small aperture, looking quickly at the edge of the frame. I love his pictures more than Winogrand’s because Alvin’s pictures are more compassionate to me, with mixtures of the intimacy that Winogrand seemed so tragically to avoid, and the irony of the street. I stand with him as he works on a corner that he normally shoots, in awe of his tenacious path to the ten thousand hour requirement to earn the title of mastery. I skinned my knee badly after a fall last week, and I am happy today that it is warmer, and I can stretch it. 

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Poetry and Photography

 By John Veldhoen

I recently read Yves Bonnefoy’s “Poetry and Photography” and struggled with it. I write that I read it, but the truth is that I finished far short, at the section where Bonnefoy references a work by Stephane Mallarme entitled “Igitur” that I did go on to read, and found deeply disturbing, and so also Bonnefoy’s definition of photography in turn, as it stems from his reading of the same vein of French symbolism.

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Notable Books: 2017

 By John Veldhoen

To effectively split my list into two halves from the start: There are a number of books that I have not reviewed this year, that I am not adding to this bedroll of notable books from 2017. There were some giant books published by Steidl, including the Gordon Parks Collection, and David Freund’s “Gastop”, for instance. Books like these defy reduction; so, I’ve left them off to concentrate on smaller publications. I have also left off some even smaller books, also because of their incomparability and distinction, and maybe because they are closer to the heart: In particular Between Dust and Sky comes to mind, “An Intimate Wilderness”, and “A Good Stress”.

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