Posts Tagged ‘Kodachrome’

MEMORY CITY: Exposures 12 and 13

April 26, 2012

©Rebecca Norris Webb, "Tatiana's and her Younger Sister's Quinceanera Dresses with their Niece Looking On," Rochester, NY, 2012, from "Memory City," with Alex Webb

The inventors of Kodachrome, Leopold Mannes and Leopold Godowsky, Jr. (whose former residence Alex photographed below using Kodachrome processed as black and white) were accomplished musicians –– Mannes a concert pianist, and Godowsky, first violinist for both the San Francisco and Los Angeles Symphony Orchestras. In the 1930’s Eastman Kodak hired the two men and gave them a lab in Rochester to continue working on the color film process they’d been developing in their off hours as musicians. 

As the story goes while working in darkness in their lab at Eastman Kodak, the two musicians measured film development times by whistling the last movement of Brahms’ C-minor Symphony.––Rebecca Norris Webb

©Alex Webb, "Former Residence of Kodachrome Co-creator Leopold Godowsky," Rochester, NY, 2012, Kodachrome processed as black and white, from "Memory City" with Rebecca Norris Webb

LINKS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

Read more about Magnum’s House of Pictures project in the New Yorker and see Alex’s photo of the day, April 24th.

Alex and Rebecca in Milan May 4-7 for “The Suffering of Light” exhibition and workshop.

Alex’s “The Suffering of Light” exhibition at Forma, Milan, featured in Italian Vogue.

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

MEMORY CITY: Exposure 1

April 20, 2012

Alex Webb, Rochester, 2006, from "Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures"

––1 ––

In Rochester in 2006, I took this photograph using Kodachrome, a film Kodak decided to discontinue three years later.

It’s hard for me to believe that the film I used for more than 30 years can now only be processed as black and white.

Kodachrome ….from rich, vibrant color to deep blacks and white, like a fading memory…––Alex Webb

LINKS & EVENTS

All this month, follow Alex and Rebecca and other from Magnum’s House of Pictures project in Rochester here.

“Together and Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb & Rebecca Norris Webb,” Thursday, April 26th, @ 8pm, Webb Auditorium, RIT, Rochester, NY

MY DAKOTA book launch, book signing, and celebration, ICP, New York, Thursday, May 24th, 6-7:30 pm

MEMORY CITY: Rochester in 36 Exposures

April 18, 2012

Alex and Rebecca's Kodak Express Heading to Rochester's House of Pictures

Until the end of April, Rebecca and I will be working on a joint project in Rochester, NY, which will be part of a larger Magnum project, “House of Pictures,”  a continuation of their “Postcards from America” project.

As two photographers who have long used Kodak film –– for me, Kodachrome; for Rebecca, Portra –– we both like the idea of  exploring Rochester, a city which has long been home of one of the U.S.’s most famous companies, Eastman Kodak, whose future –– and perhaps the future of film ––  is now in question.  We’re tentatively calling the project, “Memory City: Rochester in 36 Exposures,” and we’ll see where our creative journey leads us.

For those of you who’d like to follow our Rochester project on the blog, we’d greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions and support, which you can post in the comments section at the end of this column. We will also post photographs occasionally on the House of Pictures tumblr site, which is also a good place to see some of the work of the other Magnum photographers involved with the project: Martin Parr, Alec Soth, Susan Meiselas, Paolo Pellegrin, Bruce Gilden, Donovan Wylie, Alessandra Sanguinettii, Larry Towell, and Jim Goldberg, with Chien-Chi Chang documenting the project with a video camera.––Alex Webb

UPCOMING EVENTS: APRIL, MAY & JUNE

NEW YORK

––THURSDAY, MAY 24, NEW YORK, NY: My Dakota book launch at ICP, May 24″ href=”http://www.icp.org/events/2012/may/24/book-signing-rebecca-webb-norriss-my-dakota” target=”_blank”>My Dakota book launch, party and book signing at ICP (43d and Sixth Ave), 6-7:30.

ROCHESTER, MILAN AND BOLOGNA

––THURSDAY, APRIL 26TH, ROCHESTER, NY: “Together & Apart: The Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, Webb Auditorium, RIT, 8pm; free and open to the public.

––SATURDAY, APRIL 28TH, ROCHESTER, NY:  “House of Pictures” slide talk at GEH at 2pm

––FRIDAY, MAY 4, MILAN, ITALY: “Together and Apart: Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb,” at Forma, which will simultaneously have Alex’s The Suffering of Light exhibition in the gallery (Invitation only, but former students, friends, member of the Two Looks online community, and press are welcome.  Space is limited, so please contact Alex and Rebecca to reserve one of the limited seats: webbnorriswebb@gmail.com

––SATURDAY, MAY 5TH, MILAN, ITALY:  Two book launches, featuring the work of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb at the MIA photography festival, 8 pm

––MONDAY, MAY 7, BOLOGNA, ITALY: “Together & Apart: Photographs of Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. 5 pm

RAPID CITY, SD

––FRIDAY, JUNE 1, RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA: “My Dakota” exhibition opening and book party, Dahl Arts Center, 6-8pm.  The exhibition will run until October 13, 2012.

––SATURDAY, JUNE 9,  AT LOOK3 PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL, CHARLOTTESVILLE:

4-6pm Alex Webb in conversation with noted writer and cultural critic Geoff Dyer

6-7pm: Book signing with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb at the Second Street Gallery

On Press: Out of Gamut; A Touch of Black

January 13, 2011

Alex Webb, Matthew Pimm signs off, Hong Kong, 2011

Working with Matthew Pimm, head of production at Aperture, who is on press with us in Hong Kong, is always an education.  He’s made me much more aware of the possibilities — as well as the  limitations — of four color printing.  The limitations come up somewhat regularly with my photographs, which are often taken in extreme or mixed light, sometimes producing colors that are unusual or surprising.  As I understand it, the four color dot system simply can’t reproduce certain hues, certain tones that may exist in a continuous tone photograph.  Now, having worked with Matthew on two books, I smile to myself a bit when he tells me, as we’re looking at a particularly deep Kodachrome red — or a strange, intense blue — that the color is “out of gamut.”      Over the years, I’ve learned to translate this phrase of Matthew’s describing those colors of mine most difficult to reproduce, as  — in my best  Brooklynese — “Fuhgeddaboutit, Alex!”

Most of the time, however, a small adjustment will make the image sing, which is what happened with this image (below) of the child with cotton candy (the cover of the Istanbul book) after we added just a touch of black.–Alex Webb

POSTINGS: April 2010

April 8, 2010

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Torcello, 1953

TWO VIEWS:  Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Cartier-Bresson show that just opened at MOMA is a very different kind of exhibition than the last one that I saw at the museum.  That prior show concentrated on his early work, his surrealist-influenced street photography of the thirties, largely from Europe.   This new exhibition concentrates on his entire work.  Though the early photographs are represented –– and indeed there are a few extremely early images that I am utterly unfamiliar with –– the show largely focuses on the later, more journalistically oriented work from all over the world.  There are examples of many of the magazines that published his work from this era, and there is a set of astonishing maps, representing an incredible amount of research, that track Cartier-Bresson’s wanderings throughout the world.

Though I remain personally most excited by the early, more lyrical work — it was so pure, so visionary, such a special moment in the history of photography ––  it is fascinating to see the broad spectrum of his oeuvre, including many images that I was unaware of.  And there are certainly some gems to discover:  I was particularly taken with this image from Torcello (above). I may well have seen it before but now, thanks to this new exhibition, it is burned into my memory.––Alex Webb

“In a portrait, you are looking for the silence in somebody.”––HCB

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”––HCB

Above, I selected TWO QUOTES by the late great Cartier-Bresson, who I had the pleasure of meeting in Paris a few years before he died.  In addition, I’m also including links  to two interviews with him –- one a TV interview with Charlie Rose of PBS and, the other, a radio interview with Susan Stamberg of NPR.

And, lastly, here are TWO LINKS to reviews of the current MOMA show, one by the New York Times art critic, Holland Cotter and the other by Philip Gefter of The Daily Beast, which includes a slideshow of some of Cartier-Bresson’s most iconic images.–– Rebecca Norris Webb

TWO RARE BIRDS: BARB and HELEN

Rebecca Norris Webb, Barcelona, 2010

Last month at the Barcelona Zoo, I was thinking about a good friend of my parents, Barb, a lover of birds, who had died recently in my hometown in South Dakota. I’ll always remember my last visit in February with Barb and her husband Don, the couple surrounded by a menagerie of assorted birds, dogs, cats and ferrets.  Bird-thin from the cancer, Barb was holding one of her prized cockatiels close to her chest, and –– like always –– her chief concerns were about her many rescued creatures, not about herself.

So, in the Barcelona Zoo last month, I couldn’t help but think of Barb as I photographed this caged cockatiel (above), while outside my frame –– above the bars and the glass and the zoo’s many fences –– the largest nesting colony of gray herons in Spain was flying free.––Rebecca Norris Webb

Helen Levitt, New York City, 1988

When I first moved to New York in the late 1980’s, Helen Levitt was one of my favorite photographers, and continues to be so, today.  Known predominantly for her black-and-white photographs of children in New York City, she also worked some in color.  Above is a rare bird for me personally, a photograph I’d never seen until recently.

When I look at this image, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic for a couple of reasons:  It’s a photograph taken of the once ubiquitous icon of the New York City street –- the phone booth–– this one crammed with mother and children.  And secondly, because it was taken on the now extinct Kodachrome film.––RNW

DARK HORSE: Louis Faurer –– Text and Images

Louis Faurer, Self portrait, New York, 1947

Some photographers seem to fall through the cracks of photographic history.  Such seems to have been the case for a time with Louis Faurer.  When I was a young photographer, no one ever mentioned Faurer’s work.  In the late 70’s, after moving to NY, I began to see some of his images, images that I found intriguing, evocative.  I’ve seen more over the years and have always been excited by the uniqueness of his eye.  But until Rebecca recently returned from Houston Fotofest with a book of his collected photographs –– with a fine introduction by Anne Wilkes Tucker of the MFA, Houston ––I didn’t really have a sense of the scope of his work.

Most of the Faurer work that I had seen over the years reminded me a bit of that of Robert Frank (not necessarily surprising, in that they were apparently close friends):  that sense of immediacy, of being inside a poetic moment, often captured a little off-kilter.   As with Frank’s work, with Faurer’s work there is often a strong sense of freedom to the camera. Situations are seen through glass, through reflections, through car windows.  At times, the seeing seems to look towards the later complexities of Friedlander — though consistently striking a more lyrical note.  And for me, personally, this is the side of Faurer’s work that I am particularly sympathetic to.  However, what surprised me most in looking at this book of his work was its variety.  There seems to be a willingness to experiment, to move in different directions, to try new approaches.  For alongside the more spontaneous off-kilter street pictures are more conventional portraits as well as negative sandwiches.  There are echoes of Lisette Model, Arbus, and even Maholy-Nagy.  Perhaps it was simply a fertile time in American photography, when photographers felt particularly free to explore.––Alex Webb

Louis Faurer, Accident, New York, 1952, Gitterman Gallery

IN HIS OWN WORDS: The Photo Not Taken

The MFA Houston book of Faurer’s work by the insightful and thoughtful Anne Wilkes Tucker, includes a wonderful passage from a letter written by the photographer to the then editor of Camera Magazine, Allan Porter, in December 1974.  Faurer, who was known, among other things, for his sympathetic photographs of people on the fringes of society, reflects on an incident in which he missed a photograph of a destitute man in the New York subway.  Interesting how sometimes the photo not taken gives us a different kind of picture of a particular photographer’s process, body of work, and even, sometimes, as with the passage below, his humanity.—Rebecca Norris Webb

Slowly I walked down the slope leading to the second lower level platform.  Was it because I was not courageous that resulted in a miss?  Because I could not further humiliate him?  Was this cadaver-like man with no direction beyond the need for food, thought, and love?  Again, the thought came to my mind, was I cowardly?  Had I become a counterpart to this man?  Hadn’t I been pacing, darting aimlessly, without direction, like the man?  Later I related the incident to several people.  I said, perhaps I thought I was he, maybe I was afraid of myself, but I wanted to think that he had experienced so much pain and anguish that additional injury to his once felt dignity was not possible and that I could not risk accepting the guilt.  Or maybe from way back I heard Walker Evans once say to me, “You wouldn’t photograph a fat woman, would you?” and he might have added “and hurt them?—Louis Faurer


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