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Martin Parr 'The Non-Conformists' on TIME LightBox

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We are pleased to announce that we will be showing selections from 'The Non-Conformists' at Paris Photo this year. We hope you can join us and see this fantastic work in person! Not going to be in Paris? Visit TIME LightBox to view some a slideshow of selected works from this series. To purchase a copy of The Non-Conformists, click here.

“In the 70s, in Britain, if you were going to do serious photography, you were obliged to work in black-and-white,” master photographer Martin Parr tells TIME. “Color was the palette of commercial photography and snapshot photography.”

“It’s only late in the decade that we began to see color photographers being shown in museums — like Eggleston and Stephen Shore,” he adds. “I took note of that and got excited.”

A few years later, in 1982, Parr made the switch from monochrome and never went back. To the many fans who have come to know his work over the last three decades in color, it may come as a surprise encountering Parr’s first major project in black-and-white. The Non-Conformists finally finds closure over 35 years after it was started with the publication this month of his latest monograph from Aperture.

It was 1975, and two years out of art school, Parr moved from the gritty, bustling city of Manchester to a picturesque mill town in the English countryside called Hebden Bridge. There, he found a traditional way of life in decline. Factories were closing, industry was leaving and the town was gentrifying. A new community was emerging made up of  “incomers — youthful artistic refugees… in search of alternative lifestyles and cheap housing,” Parr’s wife Susie writes in her introduction to the book.

With four other artists, he opened up a storefront workshop and darkroom in the middle of town. Equipped with a Leica and a single lens, he took to the streets and began one of his earliest extended photographic studies.

“Places change all the time and the type of people who live there change. I was not so much looking at the new incomers,” of which he was a part, “but at the traditional lifestyle there.”

He would wander around, attend events listed in the local paper, and on Sundays, go to services at the Non-Conformist churches which were all over town. In these chapels, which had historically distanced themselves from the rules of the Church of England, he and his wife, who had been working on an accompanying text for his pictures, found the focus for the body of work.

“There’s a certain independent spirit these Non-Conformists have, which not only gave the chapels their names,” — like the Mount Zion Strict and Particular Baptist Chapel — “but was also very emblematic of the fading attitude of the whole place,” he says.

Parr’s photographs in which he aimed to capture that attitude reveal a greatly skilled young documentary photographer with a keen eye for British quirk, anticipating the tremendously poignant sense of humor for which he has become known. There is great wit in these images, but it’s more subtle and less sardonic than his later saturated color work; it seems above all, affectionate.

“Black-and-white is certainly more nostalgic, by nature,” he says. “My black-and-white work is more of a celebration and the color work became more of a critique of society.”

Parr and his wife, whom he had married in Hebden Bridge, became very active in the community during their documentation, if at first only to gain trust and access. Some church members mistook their interest as one in keeping the chapel life going in the future.  The documentation came to an end, however, and the Parrs moved on. By the late 90s, most of the chapels had closed and the communities disappeared. Hebden Bridge today, “sandblasted and quaint,” his wife writes, “is a lesbian stronghold and a lively commuter town to professionals working in Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.”

“We did this photographic documentation and that’s all that’s left,” Parr says. “Virtually everyone in the photographs is dead now. It was just another era. But that’s the great thing about photographs; they’re there forever.”


Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. The Non-Conformists is available through Aperture from October 2013. The work will also be on view at Media Space in London through March 16, 2014. Read more: http://lightbox.time.com/2013/10/21/the-non-conformists-martin-parrs-early-work-in-black-and-white/#ixzz2iUBJNHSX

Spring 2013 Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program Lecture: Rinko Kawauchi

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steinmetz Rinko Kawauchi Untitled, from the series of Ametsuchi 2012

Lecture by Rinko Kawauchi Tuesday, September 24, 2013 / 7PM Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts 1111 Eighth Street San Francisco, CA 94107

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to announce the Spring 2013 Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Free and open to the public No RSVP - Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis

Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi has gained international recognition for her nuanced, lushly colored images that offer closely observed fragments of everyday life. In 2001, Kawauchi launched her career with the simultaneous publication of three astonishing photobooks –Utatane, Hanabi and Hanako – firmly establishing herself as one of the most innovative newcomers to contemporary photography.

Kawauchi sees her work as a vast archive of images with never-ending potential. She photographs her everyday life, however it is through her selection and composition that she creates a magical feeling from her environment. Pictures of a baby being born, portraits of wounded or sick people, instantaneous and magical moments like fireworks, are all components of her visual poetry.

In her most recent body of work, Ametsuchi, Kawauchi unites images of distant constellations, tiny figures lost within landscapes, with photographs of a traditional controlled burn farming method (yakihata), in which the cycles of cultivation and recovery span decades and generations. Punctuating the series are images of Buddhist rituals and other religious ceremonies – a suggestion of other means by which humankind has traditionally attempted to transcend time and memory. Selected works from Ametsuchi are currently on view in the exhibition, A Sense of Place, at Pier 24 Photography.

Kawauchi is recognized for masterful editing and sequencing of her images to generate a rich body of photobooks. Her monographs include Aila (2004), The Eyes, the Ear (2005) and Semear (2007). In 2010, Aperture publishedIlluminance, the first book of the artist’s work published outside of Japan; she was short-listed for the 2012 Deutsche Börse Prize for this publication.

Rinko Kawauchi 'Ametsuchi' on ASX

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Review: Rinko Kawauchi Ametsuchi (2013)

By Sören Schuhmacher for ASX, September 2013

Rinko Kawauchi’s new book Ametsuchi (Heaven and Earth) published by Aperture, reads like a Haruki Murakami novel. Kawauchi merges reality with the spiritual world and reveals an invisible but tangent point of connection between apparently unrelated events. Even the concept of Ametsuchioriginates from a dream, Rinko Kawauchi had years ago.

“I was drinking my coffee on a Sunday morning, idly watching TV with my head still half-asleep, I was surprised to suddenly see the image from that dream reappear. It was a scene of many people and horses together in a green meadow before a large mountain – a place called Aso.”

Rinko Kawauchi entered a new territory with Ametsuchi. This time she worked with a 4×5 large format camera instead her Rolleiflex, which led her to break out from the self-imposed pattern of the square format. Also the typical soft tones in her images disappear. They became darker and reveal an almost mystical atmosphere.

Aso, where most of the photographs were taken, is a region famous for it’s 1,300-year-old farming ritual, in which fields are burned on an annual basis in advance of planting new crops. The agricultural burning and the cyclical nature of life, functions as the central theme in the book.

Kawauchi is known for her exceptional editing of her books and the manner to tell a story on a page by juxtaposition of two images. Although her previous books were always pursuing a certain concept, they could be considered more like a collection of short stories than a novel without an ongoing storyline. Ametsuchi on the other side, is sequenced with single images on a double page, which invites the viewer to follow the story through the entire book, from beginning to end.

The book starts with a smoke darkened sky, caused by the flames of the agriculture burning, that turn the dry fields into an apocalyptic landscape. In the further course, burning fields, green meadows and in snow covered landscapes alternate to illustrate a recurring cycle and and the elapse of time.

At about the middle of the book, images of a theatrical Shinto dance ceremony, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and the starry sky in a planetarium were interspersed. Different from the agricultural burnings, the images of the Wailing Wall and the Shinto dance ceremony are blurred and overexposed. The sudden appearing and disappearing of these interspersed images, are like zapping through TV channels, where different events, at different locations, take place at the same time.

At first glance this events seem unrelated, but under a closer look, they all representing a certain resistance in a time that rapidly changes. Rituals – Spiritual remains of the beginning of mankind, formed a circle by passing on from generation to generation. Ametsuchi is a veneration of the invisible world that has continued since the distant past. Rinko Kawauchi uses these rituals as a juncture between past and present, spiritual world and reality, heaven and earth.

The award-winning Dutch designer, Hans Gremmen, translated the concept of Ametsuchi into the book design, and managed even to enlarge Kawauchi’s work by pushing the photobook to the next level. Questioning the medium of the book, and how people tend to use them, Ametsuchi is bound in a variation of a Japanese binding. The upper sides of the pages are closed and the bottoms open, which generates a space between the actual pages that can only be seen by lifting the pages bottom corners up. In this almost hidden space, the images are the inverted color version from the outer surface, visualizing a parallel world, where darkness turns into light, fire into water and vice versa. As a nice extra the dust jacket of the book is also a double-sided poster with a inverted image of the cover on the back. Nothing was left to chance and is perfectly integrated into the main concept, from the beginning to the end.

This leads to the last image in the book, which shows the actual scene of people and horses together in a green meadow before a large mountain. The scene, Rinko Kawauchi dreamt about and which later reappeared on television – a recurring cycle.

“On the ground of one of the stars among the immense universe, I think of the beginning, The Earth is a mirror to project heaven. Photography captures the mirror. It connects the Earth and heaven. When the darkness reaches at the bottom, the light will arrive.”

- Rinko Kawauchi

ASX CHANNEL: RINKO KAWAUCHI

(All rights reserved. Text @ Sören Schuhmacher and ASX, Images @ Rinko Kawauchi)

Martin Parr's 'The Non-Conformists' set for October release

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"The Non-Conformists features Martin Parr’s first major body of work from the mid-1970s, published here for the first time in book form. A wonderful and charming surprise for Parr enthusiasts and fans of traditional reportage, this body of black-and-white imagery predates the cutting color work that earned him his fame in the 1980s. In 1975, fresh out of art school, Martin Parr found poor footing in the London photography scene, so he moved to the picturesque Yorkshire Pennine mill town of Hebden Bridge. Over a period of five years, he documented the town in photographs, showing in particular the aspects of traditional life that were beginning to decline. Susie Parr, whom he had met in Manchester, joined him in documenting a year in the life of a small Methodist chapel, together with its farming community.

In words and pictures, the Parrs vividly and affectionately document cobbled streets, flat-capped mill workers, hardy gamekeepers, henpecked husbands, and jovial shop owners. The best Parr photographs are interleaved with Susie Parr’s detailed background descriptions of the society they observed."

Click here to read more about the book and to pre-order your copy of The Non-Conformists.

Paris Photo VIP Trip

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Aperture Foundation Paris Photo Patron Trip*

Wednesday, November 14–Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book your reservation now! Join us for an exclusive insiders’ tour of the world’s leading photography fair

Clockwise from top left: Grand Palais exterior © Marc Domage; Lise Sarfati, Vinny-Ann, Hollywood Boulevard, 2010, from the series On Hollywood, © Lise Sarfati, courtesy Rose Gallery, Los Angeles, and Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; Raphaël Dallaporta, Yellow Bile, 2007, Cibachrome edition of 3, © Raphaël Dallaporta, courtesy L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York; Manuel Álvarez Bravo, La hija de los danzantes, Cholula, Puebla, 1933, © Manuel Álvarez Bravo; Raphaël Dallaporta, Saint-Sulpice, Paris VI, 2009, Cibachrome print, edition of 6, © Raphaël Dallaporta, courtesy L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York
Our guests will gain exceptional access to Paris Photo at the Grand Palais and all VIP activities organized by the fair exclusively for our group:

  • Private tour of the exhibition Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Un photographe aux aguets (1902–2002) at the Jeu de Paume with museum director Marta Gili
  • Exclusive viewings of private collections and visits with internationally renowned photographers, including Lise Sarfati and Raphaël Dallaporta
  • The announcement of the first Paris Photo–Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards
  • Cocktail receptions; a celebratory dinner at Hotel Le Meurice; and much more!

Reservations available until Friday, October 12, 2012. Book now to receive Aperture’s special group rate for luxurious accommodations at Hotel Le Meurice.

*These activities are exclusively offered to Aperture Trustees and Patrons, with a supplemental incidentals charge of $350 per person. Airfare and accommodations not included.

For more information and to join our Patron Program, visit www.aperture.org, contact us at (212) 946-7108, or e-mail development@aperture.org.