Russel Miller: Magnum 50 Years
In my last post I was talking about Eve Arnold being one of the most important members in the history of MAGNUM. I guess this is an opportunity to introduce a book that gives a good overview of the history, background and members of the world’s most famous photo agency.

Russel Miller’s work describes not only the way MAGNUM was founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa and George Roger in the 1950s. He also gives very good insight in the psychology and dynamics of the agency by describing the life and the photography of some of it’s most famous members, including Werner Bischof, Eve Arnold, Inge Morath, David Seymour, Josef Koudelka, Philip Jones Griffiths, and others.

Miller not only talks about the grandeur of the agency and all its achievements. He also describes the struggles, arguments, and crises that MAGNUM went through in its 50 years of history, almost almost being at the brink of collapse and bankruptcy. And it describes the way MAGNUM had to adjust to a world in which the still picture seems to have lost it’s position to the moving picture and TV coverage of world events.
MAGNUM stands for honesty and finding the truth in photo journalism. It was always a creation of it’s time, both catching and at the same time struggling with zeitgeist and the conflict between the freedom of art the commercial need of it’s members. A book definitely worth reading.

This edition can be purchased here!


“Eve Arnold’s People”
eve arnold
Eve Arnold is one of the classics of MAGNUM – photography. She joined the agency in its first decade in the 1950s and has been one of the members that shaped MAGNUM and symbolized the spirit and the style of probably the most famous photo agency in history.
Eve Arnold has always been famous for her portraiture. Especially her images “on set” of Maryllin Monroe or her China images pop up when we think of her legacy. For me her style very much stands for an approach towards the subject that creates emotional depth by building up a relationship with the photographed person before shooting. especially her images taken on Hollywood film sets demonstrate this. Her intimate portraits of Hollywood actors are exceptional.

This volue is a compilation of Eve Arnold’s portrait photography. I had been looking for something like this for a long time. Most of her original books have not been published for a long time and could only be purchased on the art market for very high prices. This book is a good quality volume for an affordable price, always appreciated!

It can be purchased here!


July 20, 2009

Singapore East Coast Beach, 2009:
Luka Beach08
Beach photography didn’t use to be my thing. I guess the reason was that I didn’t really live very close to any and never had the chance to go. I am also a person who was always driven to the mountains. When I was a child, my father took me to the Austrian and Italian Alps where we went mountain hiking. I always loved the breathtaking majestic of the mountains, while the sea seemed to be endlessly flat and boring, without much that could catch my eye or my imagination.

Well I am still not much of a beach fan. Going to the sea mostly means scuba diving which sometimes seems to the like visiting the underwater mountains…
However, since the children love the beach and we live on an island, sometimes there is just no way around it. And when it comes to outdoor people photography, I must admit that there is not much that beats a beach. The light is just amazing, you have a great background with beach, sky, sea, and people are generally in a good mood (especially children). The beach works for color but is also great for black & white. So I always enjoy going there with my family.

The only think that I don’t like is the sand which tries to get into every part of my camera gear…


July 13, 2009

Today is one of these days when I would like to be in Italy… don’t ask me why!


July 8, 2009

Taipei, June 2009:
Taipei Bye Bye
Sometimes we go to a place and it leaves absolutely no impression. This is what happened to me when I went to Taipei/Taiwan in May and in June 2009. On each trip I spent a few days in Taiwan’s capital. Everytime I brought my Leica in order to catch some of the things that would catch my imagination.

It just did not happen. My hotel was in a suburb of Taipei. There wasn’t anything that seemed to be particularly typical Taiwanese. Not even typical Chinese to my eyes. Taipei seemed to be a accumulation of characterless buildings and streets. Nothing that caught my eye, nothing that I found at least a little inspiring. To me Taipei looked like a mixture of Tokyo, Seoul, and Kuala Lumpur, neither here nor there. After two fruitless trips I just took a picture of my taxi driver. That’s it!

I am sure this is not fair and I welcome every Taiwanese to tell me where the interesting spots are, with character and atmosphere, typical Taiwanese. I am sure they are there, I just couldn’t find them… ;-o