More of my favourite photos of 2012
These are taken from a variety of sources which together total hundreds of photos and are worth spending time with. NB some of the images are very graphic.
The Atlantic – In Focus (3 parts)
The Big Picture (3 parts)
Wall Street Journal
Many of the major news websites have been publishing collections of the best images of 2012 over the past few weeks. As usual they show a mixture of tragedy, suffering, joy, humour, and endeavour. Some focus on major national and international events that impact on us all. Others are personal.
The following are a few of my favourites. A list of sources is at the bottom of part 2 (to follow)
The following are the best books (fiction, poetry and non-fiction) that I read in 2012. As in previous years these are not just books released in 2012; some would have been released in hardback in 2011 and maybe earlier.
1. Donald Ray Pollock – The Devil All The Time
A haunting, relentless, brutal book which follows a cast of characters struggling in rural Virginia and Ohio over 20 years following the end of the Second World War. Pollock grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t release you for 250 pages where you emerge exhausted and in need of cleansing.
2. Alison Moore – The Lighthouse
Should have won the Booker Prize.
3. Andrew Miller – Pure
4. Hari Kunzru – Gods Without Men
5. Teju Cole – Open City
1. Richard Lloyd Parry – People Who Eat Darkness
Featured on many people’s best of 2011 lists. Richard Lloyd Parry recounts the story of the disappearance in Japan of Lucie Blackman, the police investigation, and the family’s fight for justice and a need to understand the motives. In doing so it explores Japanese society. It was described somewhere as the In Cold Blood for our times – there can be no greater praise.
2. Katherine Boo – Behind The Beautiful Forevers
Like the Richard Lloyd Parry book an incredible piece of non-fiction which reads and grips like a novel.
3. Kathleen Jamie – Sightlines
4. John Jeremiah Sullivan – Pulphead: Notes from the Other Side of America
5. Olivia Laing – To The River: A Journey Beneath The Surface
In alphabetical order
Oli Hazard – Between Two Windows
Sarah Jackson – Pelt
Sam Riviere - 81 Austerities
Irie, fashion designer by French photographer Baudouin
These are great times for the photography fan in London with major photography exhibitions at The Barbican, National Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, Victoria and Albert, and the Tate Modern, and many smaller exhibtions in other galleries around town.
The Tate’s latest exhibition pairs US photographer William Klein with Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama who was influenced by Klein’s early photo collections.
The exhibition starts with Klein, and specifically a film he made in 1958 called Broadway Light – images of neon signs in New York accompanied by a jazz soundtrack. Many of the following rooms are given over to Klein’s photos, in the main street scenes (and fashion, but often taken on the streets), sometimes blurry, sometimes at odd angles, but always powerful and vibrant. Viewing the images gives you the rush of being in a major city such as New York. Later rooms explore how he selected the image, turning that selection into works in their own right and combining painting with photography. There are also more of Klein’s films which I found less interesting.
Daido Moriyama adopts similar point and click techniques to Klein but the results are frequently even more blurry, unfocussed and abstract. His city of choice is Tokyo and the scenes are narrower, often with a focus on one element within the city. In later years his work becomes more abstract still.
Taken on its own the Moriyama may have been a good exhibition, but there is little here to convince me that he is one of the great photographers. Running it alongside the excellent Klein makes his work look even less significant. And having it as effectively two exhibitions means that the connections between the two are often not obvious. But congratulations are due to the Tate for delivering on their promise to feature photography more prominently.
UK based photographer Matt Henry combines his background in fashion photography with US pop culture to create wonderful, vibrant, cinematic photographs.