Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A REVIEW: HOLGA - Photographs by Michael Kenna.


I have long been a fan of Michael Kenna's photography. Many of  b&w photographs, often taken at dusk or dawn, possess dream-like qualities. Sometimes, the rich detail in the shadows invites us to linger over an image, so that we discern even more than we anticipated. With his array of landscapes, the often ethereal quality makes them timeless. His architecture-related images run counter to the notion that architecture photographs must be technically perfect. Instead, we are treated to a luscious world of tonality and keen observation of details.

When I first saw an announcement of Kenna's latest book, HOLGA, with the image of the white dove on the cover, I knew that I had to have it. After some delay, the book finally shipped in early March of 2018. I was not disappointed with the content. I know that Kenna has primarily used Hasselblads for his work, but to find out that he has also been carrying along a Holga on his trips was a surprise. It is not a surprise that his Holga images are wonderful. The very qualities that make a Holga an unpredictable camera - simple lens, limited aperture adjustment, and only two shutter modes - Instant and Bulb, are used masterfully by Kenna. I suspect that many of the images were done in B mode on a tripod. You don't have to be a fan of the Holga to appreciate the images in this book. Kenna wields the Holga as well as he does his 'Blad, and the luscious photographs are his forte. He uses the attributes of the Holga to produce images that  are enchanting, evocative, and soulful. The printing is excellent, and the 7x7 inch images are perfectly sized to view properly.

The old axiom, "It's not the camera, but the photographer that wields it" holds true here. Kenna's use of the Holga is indicative of his vision and his craft, and the book is a must-buy.

HOLGA - Photographs by Michael Kenna.  151 pp. Prestel Verlag, Munich, London, New York. 2017. ISBN 978-3-7913-8377-4  Price: USA $60.

Monday, April 09, 2018

On the Road Again

Tools and shot film, NC trip
I have been traveling a lot the past few months, and as a retiree, it's something that I had been looking forward to.  I was away in North Carolina the past week to check out Charlotte and Asheville, NC.  Aside from seeing the outer banks 24 years ago, I hadn't seen much of NC before, and I have to say Charlotte is a very nice city.  Charlotte has a great light rail system in place, and it really makes access quite easy.  I look forward to going back again. Asheville I like better, because it has a little grunginess, and as a photographer, I like to find interesting things to photograph.   I have turned into a flat-lander, having been in Michigan so long, but I really enjoy the mountains in NC.   I got back last night, so I won't have a chance to develop my film until after I get back from NJ next week. I leave for Fair Lawn, NJ on Wednesday to help out the Film Photography Project.

Hopefully, I'll have some material for some posts later this month, and I look forward to having some time to write and work on my photos.   The so-called spring weather has yet to take hold in Michigan, and I have to say it was a delight to be in a warmer climate last week.  Back at home in Ann Arbor, it is once again snowing (but not sticking), and spring weather would be welcome right now.