martes, 30 de junio de 2015


Vienna Photobook Festival 2015 ( I )

This way, the Vienna Photobook 2015 was steadily an amalgam of quest for photobooks in the 80 booths of different international booksellers located to that goal inside the various areas of the Brotfabrik Wien, exceedingly interesting lectures, conversations with many photographers and artists who attended the event from all over the world, sorties to the Magdas Kantine and the William Klein Lounge to have lunch and drinks, and many other allurements which turned this event into a truly unique cultural meeting point.

A relentless searching activity was prevalent among the thousands of visitors of the Vienna Photobook 2015, walking to and fro beside the booths of the many international booksellers, looking for photobooks of their interest, in a phenomenal atmosphere,

feeling at ease and often browsing every item before choosing, since the comfort and satisfaction of visitors is one of the top priorities of this two day event,

whose amazingly comprehensive offer of photobooks, both in the new and second hand in very good condition domains, is virtually unbeatable.

Regina Anzenberger and Michael Kollmann, Artistic Directors of the Vienna PhotoBook Festival 2015, presenting the LECTURE "PHOTOBOOK STORIES AND MY GERMAN FAMILY ALBUM", by the great British photobook critic Colin Pantall, which opened the series of lectures on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 11:00 h in the morning.

A trove for any lover of black and white photography at the booth of Antiquariat Mag. Michael Bauer (Austria): the Italian edition of Tête  Tête, including the most memorable portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a work which was originally published to accompany the 1998 exhibition with identical title held at the Portrait Gallery in London. The High Priest of the Rangefinder himself supervised the book design and the juxtaposition of images, while the introduction was made by Sir Ernst Gombrich. The series of pictures of which this masterpiece is comprised are tremendously telling and powerful, often challenging the photographer´s photojournalistic work, and managing to draw the most important traits of his subjects´ personality in a fleeting instant.

Architectures of Waiting, an outstanding photobook on sale at the booth of FOTOHOF edition (Austria). It includes pictures of bus stops located throughout Armenia made by Ursula Schulz-Dornburg between 1997 and 2001 and in which the German photographer depicts the stark contrast between the remarkable variety of architectonic shapes and their frequent shabby condition, as well as managing to show them as if they were isolated from any inhabited place and conveying a wealth of metaphoric language enhanced by the highly graphic and enigmatic power of the black and white images, with concrete and steel as main structural constructive materials and the subjects of waiting, depating and endless emptiness as fundamental message and raison d´etre of the photographs.

Ferdinand Schmutzer Photographic Work 1894-1928, another great photobook, launched into market in 2008 and seen here at the booth of Westlicht Bookshop (Austria). Edited by Regina Maria Anzenberger and Uwe Schögl, published by Moser Verlag München and with texts by Anna Hanreich, Uwe Schögl and Regina Maria Anzenberger, it features 228 pages and 100 pictures (a significant percentage of them unknown), reproduced with lavish detail and sharpness, since many of Schmutzer´s portrait and landscapes etchings were made getting firstly large format glass plate negatives (which was proved by the sensational discovery of Schmutzer´s photographic work made by Westlicht Vienna in 2001) with sizes between 9 x 12 cm and 18 x 24 cm (subsequently used as patterns for the etchings) sporting an excellent flatness of surface and stability far superior to acetate LF films, which has enabled to print the photographs included in this wonderful book from a number of those original glass plate negatives managed by the Austrian National Library and the City of Vienna, digitizing them with a state-of-the-art scanner and obtaining an incredible quality of image and unique b & w aesthetics. Particularly interesting are the insightful portraits of famous characters like Albert Einstein, Pablo Casals, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzer and others who turned this photographer of great talent, a technical master in the use of perspective and composition with lights and shadows and exceedingly skillful in capturing the personality of the sitters into one of the pioneers in the creative use of early photography.

LECTURE " INGE MORATH: DANUBE REVISITED " by Magnum Photographer Olivia Arthur:

The British photographer elaborated on the Danube Revisited: The Inge Morath Truck Project, a photographic trip accompanied by a travelling exhibition

featuring the work of the famous Magnum photographer Inge Morath, who photographed the people and landscapes around the Danube river before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain,

using for that aim a 7.5 truck converted into a mobile gallery containing pictures made by the well-known Austrian photographer and driving it across ten different countries along the Danube from Germany to the Black Sea,

and with the participation of nine women who have previously been recipient of the Inge Morath Magnum Award: Kathryn Cook, Claudia Guadarrama, Lurdes R. Basolí, Claire Martin, Olivia Arthur, Mimi Chakarova, Jessica Dimmock, Ami Vitale and Emily Schiffer.

All of them got pictures on different spots around the Danube river path across a number of European countries,

fulfilling an unforgettable photographic, visual and cultural experience with this great river, its sceneries and peoples living around it as a core,

as well as using the truck to show Inge Morath oeuvres, collaborating with local inhabitants, carrying out portfolio reviews and receiving submissions from new women artists all along the way, choosing four female photographers to go with them.

Following it, Olivia Arthur spoke about his second photobook:

Stranger, containing pictures made during her 2014 residency in Dubai.

In Stranger, pictures are accompanied by meaningful texts mostly focused about a hypothesis departing from  a 1961 accident in which a ship with 238 passengers from Dubai and making the route between India, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf sank: If anyone of them had survived, how would they feel and what would they do fifty years later,

watching the current city of Dubai with its skyscrapers and the exceedingly deep changes in daily life experienced by its dwellers,

particularly if they were not rich men

in a city which has evolved from a fishing village to a very large city symbol of lavishnesh and massive investments of money?

A classic photobook for any lover of photography and arguably the most influentisal color work made to date: William Eggleston´s Guide by John Szarkowski, edited by the Museum of Modern Art of New York in 2002. It shows forty-eight of the seventy-five William Eggleston´s images capturing the everyday and ordinary from commonplace models turning them into suggestive and powerful and displayed in the first exhibition of colour photography held by the MOMA in 1976, which became a turning point in the history of photography, since until then black and white had been the overwhelmingly common choice for art photography and colour had mostly been for ads and commercial prints.

The Vienna PhotoBook 2015 was also a frequent source of surprises, as this chair with some charming vintage photographic items in very good condition:

100 Jahre Photographie und die Agfa 1839-1939 by Dr. Erich Stenger, a small 55 pages photobook published by Verlag Knorr & Hirth Munchen in 1939 to commemorate the centenary of the German film firm.

- An original vintage advertisement in 18 x 26,3 cm size made by the firm Illustrierte Film-Bühne in 1956 with a black and white photograph of the color movie shot in Technicolor Vom Teuffel Verführt (The Rawhide Years), distributed by Universal Pictures and with Tony Curtis as main character.

- A sample of the Wiener Mitteilungen Photographischen Inhalts, a stunning photographic magazine edited monthly in Vienna by R.Lechner between 1908 and 1913. It featured articles on practical photography, information on technical advancements of the photographic industry and news about the Photographical Society of Vienna. Each number included a beautiful photolithographic art print. This amazing publication oozing class and elegance contained a lot of lavish ads on cameras, lenses and accessories of the most important photographic firms of the time.

Some of the photobooks on sale during the Vienna PhotoBook 2015 were really exotic, as this wonderful old book at the booth of Antiquariat Jürgen Fetzer (Germany) titled Beautiful Nippon, published by the Japanese Culture promoting Society in 1937 and including a beautiful collection of polychrome landscape prints and black and white photographs of the country with text in Japanese and English, along with mounted lithographs and a bound in an elaborate sewn Japanese style binding with nice embroidery.

Gabriel Casas, Photography, Information and Modernity, 1929-1939 at the booth of Ediciones Anómalas (Spain), coedited by the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), La Caixa Social Work and the National Archive of Catalonia, with texts by Juan Naranjo and design by Jordi Ortiz, featuring 224 pages and a 22 x 27 cm format.

This photobook published by Ediciones Anómalas in 2015 contains a wide assortment of the pictures made by Gabriel Casas, one of the first Spanish professional photographers who adopted the language of the New Vision and the international avant-garde trends of twenties and early thirties to make his pictures, being influenced by the works of Alexandr Rodchenko, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and others, as well as featuring a very high standard of quality production using 4 x 5 (9 x 12 cm) large format cameras for portraits and 6 x 9 cm (2 1/4 x 3 1/4 ) medium format cameras for sports photography and a street genre in which he depicts the social and political concerns of his time, besides photographing such celebrities like Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Pau Casals.

The versatility and mastery of Gabriel Casas in different photographic spheres was so apparent that he was hired as official photographer of the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, and from then on, he published a number of top-notch reportages in the newspapers La Vanguardia, L´Opinió, La Rambla and the amazing photographic magazine Imatges, where Gabriel Casas displays his unique talent to blend images providing headlines content and avant-garde tenets.

Zur Andach by Peer Bach and Ins Holz by Stella Bach, two interesting photobooks at the booth of Edition Zwibuch (Austria) including color and black and white pictures of forests and trees made throughout different seasons of the year and reflecting various moods, loneliness, abandonment, immensity of nature and its relationship with human being, etc, within the frame of inner and outer worlds and their inherent visual semantics.


At 14:30 h of Saturday, June 20, 2015 began

the Lecture " The Face of the City: William Klein and his Influence " by the great Austrian photographer Andreas H. Bitesnich, who displayed not only a tremendous photographic knowledge but a huge love for photography and its history, talking in-depth about the most well-known photobooks including iconic images made by William Klein, a comprehensive assortment of photobooks from XX Century that were influenced by the work of the great American photographer and some pioneer photobooks in the scope of photographing cities.

Projection of a collage encompassing both covers of famous photobooks on cities by William Klein and other ones likewise on big metropolises which were significantly inspired by Klein´s works. It was the beginning of what would be an unforgettable and very well prepared lecture.

Cover of New York by William Klein, edited in France by éditions du Seuil in 1956.

William Klein´s iconic images depicting boys playing with toy guns in New York streets, belonging to his 1956 photobook New York.

Cover back and front of the book Tokyo by William Klein, French edition published by Delpire éditeur in 1964.

Some iconic black and white pictures made by William Klein in Tokyo and appearing in the French edition of his photobook Tokyo.

Cover of William Klein´s first edition of his photobook Moscow, edited by New York Crown Publishers, Inc. in 1964.

Famous picture taken by William Klein during the May Day 1961 in Moscow and included inside his photobook Moskow edited by New York Crown Publishers, Inc. in 1964.

Paris, 80 Photographies by Moï Ver, a very important work in the history of photobooks. It was published in 1931 by Editions Jeanne Walter of Paris in an edition of 1000 numbered copies and prologue by Fernand Léger. Moï Ver´s far-sighted kind of pictures together with his elaborate avant-garde graphic layouts in synergy with dynamic photographic montages and a frequent use of double exposures was highly innovative and exerted a great influence in future photographers, designers and artistic directors.

A double spread of Paris, 80 Photographies by Moï Ver, a pioneering photobook in the field of photographing cities. It was handcraftedly manufactured in 1931 with a very limited print run.

Paris de Nuit. Another groundbreaking and influential photobook in the realm of photography of great cities, edited by Arts et Métiers Graphiques of Paris in 1933, with 74 pages and including 60 monochrome photographs made by Brassai. It is a work far beyond its time in terms of the technical and creative concepts applied in it, with the added bonus of a second to none printing quality and a visionary graphic design.

Two of the pages of Paris de Nuit, a masterpiece photobook in which Brassai´s pictures portray the night milieu of the French capital in early thirties.

Die Sinfonie der GroBstadt (Symphony of a Great City), an extraordinary documentary film directed by Walter Ruttmann in 1927 and shot in the city of Berlin, depicting the daily life of its inhabitants from dawn to night and the transition experienced by the streets from the waking up to the bustling activity: streetcars, shops, buses, men driving private cars, office workers preparing to begin their working day, factory machinery at full throttle, trains, production of glass bulbs, people reading newspapers, telephone operators, children going to school, etc.

This was one of the most intense moments of the lecture, when Andreas H. Bitesnich explained the grandeur of this avant-garde film and the seminal influence it exerted in future movies and photobooks including images of big cities.

Keine Experimente, a photobook by Dirk Alvermann, published by Eulenspiegel Verlag Berlin in 1961 and containing pictures made between 1956 and 1961 in West Germany,

and dealing with the country´s society and culture and the stance of its population regarding the ongoing consumerism during the decades following the Second World War, making use of pictures showing large department stores enticing into purchase, parties and carnivals, parades of uniformed soldiers, children playing in the streets, workers,

 crowds behind gates, etc,  within the frequent frame of image juxtaposition and cropping of images to experiment with the visual language.

GroBstadt by Abisag Tuellmann, published by Societäts-Verlag in 1963 and featuring 132 pages and 294 pictures, is a work depicting the bustling activity and liveliness of the city of Frankfurt am Main (Germany), through images showing plenty of different sides of its daily life,

its then crammed roads, and people in various locations as main characters, along with a deep interest by the photographer in observing the political and social developments of her time

At the end of his lecture, Andreas H. Bitesnich articulated about his experiences during the making of the four photobooks on cities belonging to his 24 x 32 cm format series Deeper Shades he has published till now:

New York (limited edition of 960 numbered copies, 96 pages, 120 black and white photographs and text in English, published in 2011 by Room5Books), Tokyo (limited edition of 960 copies, 96 pages, 87 black and white photographs and text in English, published in 2012 by Room5Books), Paris (limited edition of 960 copies, 96 pages, 82 black and white photographs and text in English, published in 2013 by RoomBooks),

and the most recent one: Vienna (limited edition of 960 numbered copies, featuring 96 pages, 80 black and white photographs, text in English and published in 2015 by RoomBooks).

The very well devised Vienna Photobook Festival 2015 has enabled a flawless display of photobooks galore in the booths of the 80 international booksellers from a number of different countries present at the event in the Austrian capital, a remarkable success, to such an extent that there has been an attendance of many thousands of people not only from Europe but also from other continents, all of them thrilled at the chance of living the very special experience of finding a myriad of photobooks of every genre and subject and in all kind of formats, sizes, qualities and sorts of papers, colours, binding methods, etc, and the advantage of being permanently advised by highly experienced professional dealers, whose top priority is not the generation of blockbuster sales at any means, but rather the establishment of a sincere trust relationship with the customers, who very often become friends, and most times save a lot of time and effort searching for the photobook they hanker after thanks to the help of professional booksellers, who also strive for offering the most affordable prices and best possible condition of the photobooks.

A very old photobook in excellent condition and on sale at the booth of Antiquariat Mag. Michael Bauer (Austria): The volume 10 of Friedrich Kantak´s Naturaufnahmen, published in 1931 by Photokino-Verlag GmbH Berlin with a format of 12 x 17 cm and belonging to the series Photofreund Bücherei.

Three years before, Friedrich Kantakt had been one of the pioneers in the use of photobooks for scientific applications, when his lavishly illustrated work Anleitung zur Herstellung von Natururkunden was published in Berlin in 1928 by G. Hackebeil.

Urban Fiction photobooks by Sonja Bachmayer were displayed at the exhibition of the 2014/2015 graduates of the Anzenberger Masterclass during the Vienna PhotoBook Festival 2015.

She is a professional Austrian photographer based in Vienna who has been one of the Sony World Photography Award winners in 2013 with an impressive picture of the demolition of the headquarters of the Austrian Airlines in November 2012 that was displayed at the London Somerset House Gallery.

She´s also been one of the master teachers of photography of the Anzerberger Masterclass ten month intensive programs devoted to offer comprehensive learning to promising photographers through the developing of a long-term photo project with the overall aim of helping them to start and implement their skills and abilities and to enhance and present their individual photographic projects in the best possible way.

Another amazing landmark photobook on sale during the Vienna PhotoBook Festival 2015 and a coveted piece for collectors and enthusiasts of photography history: an original copy of the first edition of Kodachrome by Luigi Ghirri, published by Punto e Virgola Modena in 1978, including 93 colour photographs made by Luigi Ghirri and preface by Piero Berengo Gardin.

After the demise of Luigi Ghirri in 1992, the book became out of print and very difficult to find at a reasonable price, until the publisher MACK Books had the brillian idea of creating a facsimile edition in November 2012 at an affordable price.

The mythical Kodachrome, launched into market in 1935 and whose first tests as a cinematographic 16 mm film began in 1922 has been the best colour emulsion ever made and reigned supreme between 1935 and 2009 (year in which Steve McCurry shot the last 35 mm roll of it) in different formats both in the photography and movie scopes, with such wonderful emulsions like Kodachrome 16, Kodachrome 40 in Super 8 mm, Kodachrome 25, 64 and 200 in 35 mm, Kodachrome 4 x 5 in large format and others.

Many fabulous portraits were historically made with Kodachrome film like Jack Whinery and his wife Edith in Pie Town, New Mexico, by Russell Lee in 1937 (4 x 5 LF Kodachrome film), Elizabeth Taylor by Philippe Halsmann in 1948 for Life magazine (4 x 5 LF Kodachrome), Sophia Loren by David Seymour "Chim" in 1955 (35 mm), Cassius Clay after knocking out Sony Liston by Neil Leifer in 1964 (35 mm), the Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry in 1984 (35 mm) , and many others, along with great photojournalistic long term projects like the 644 Kodachrome documentary still photographs made by the U.S Farm Security Administration between 1936 and 1943, the Library of Congress American War Effort Kodachrome 4 x 5 collection of pictures, etc.

LECTURE " 60 YEARS OF PHOTOBOOK COLLECTING "  by the famous collector and world class expert in the History of Photography Michel Auer:

At 15:30 h of Saturday, June 20, 2015 began this also fantastic and unforgettable lecture by Michael Auer, who delved on the most interesting and valuable photobooks of his impressive collection (gathered throughout nothing less than 60 years of infatuation with photographic images, photobooks, cameras, lenses and accessories). He started with the famous photobook Images à la Sauvette (The Decisive Moment), edited by Éditions Verve Paris in 1952, featuring 158 pages and 126 photographs made by the great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of Magnum Agency. Auer´s first edition copy is one of the few existing in the world with original dust jacket and original boards, along with booklet of captions laid-in, a truly unique collector´s item of this key work in the History of Photojournalism.

FABRIK Ein Bildepos der Technik by von Jak Tuggener. Edited by Rotapfel Verlag. Erlenbach-Zurich in 1943.

24 Photos by Werner Bischof. Published by Verlag L.M.Kohler, Bern. 1946

The Family of Man. Edited by the Museum of Modern Art of New York in 1955

Observations, Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, edited by Simon & Schuster New York in 1959.

Three famous must have photobooks for any enthusiast of photographic cameras, lenses and accessories written and illustrated by Michel Auer:

- Histoire Illustrée des Appareils Photographique, Edita-Denoël, Lausanne-Paris, 1975.

- Kameras Gestern und Heute, Edita-Heering, Launanne-Munchen, 1975.

- The Illustrated History of the Camera, edited by the New York Graphic Society of Boston in 1975.

Historique et Description des Prócedés du Daguerréotype et du Diorama, featuring 88 pages and edited by Lerebour & Susse Frères Paris in 1839.

Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae by Athanasius Kircher. First illustration of the camera obscura and projecting lantern.

The Canadian Handbook and Tourist Guide by William Notman, published by Lonmoore & Co, Montreal, 1867, featuring 126 pages and 8 illustrations.

The Moon Photographs of the Lick Observatory (USA), published by Sampson Low, Son and Marston, London in 1869, featuring 78 pages and 20 illustrations

Guide-recueil de Paris-Brulé.  Evenements de Mai 1871 by Pierre Petit, published by E. Dentu, Libraire-Editeur; Paris in 1871, featuring 140 pages and 18 illustrations.

The Yellowstone National Park in Photogravure by  F. Hay Haynes, published by Fargo Publishing Co, Dakota, 1887, with 200 pages and 27 illustrations.

Old Chinatown by Arnold Genthe, published by Moffat, Yard and Co. New York in 1909, with 58 pages and 56 illustrations.

Michel Auer showing a picture of the Auer Photo Foundation for Photography, created by him and his wife Michelle Auer in 2009 to preserve the existing collection, promote it, acquire new objects and photographic works, to organize exhibitions and to diffuse and daily update the International Encyclopedia of Photographers.

Text and Photos: José Manuel Serrano Esparza

Vienna PhotoBook Festival 2015 ( I I I)