Joel Meyerowitz, Madison Avenue, New York City, 1975. Archival Pigment Print. © Joel Meyerowitz 2012. Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC
In a nice curatorial twist, Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour takes one of the master black and white photographer’s most famous adages – “the decisive moment” – and reveals how contemporary colour photographers have made the concept their own…
Opening on November 8 at Somerset House in London, A Question of Colour is the Positive View Foundation‘s inaugural show, and features ten black and white Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs alongside over 75 colour works by 15 international photographers.
Boris Savelev, Dog, Moscow, 2007, 164 x 110 cm. Multi-layered pigment print on gesso-coated aluminium. © Boris Savelev. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery
Cartier-Bresson’s term for the brief “decisive” moment when a photographer decides to capture a particular scene became the title of his 1952 book that featured a portfolio of 126 images. His work is widely regarded as setting the foundations for the development of documentary and street photography.
According to the show’s curator, William E. Ewing, the exhibition “will show how Cartier-Bresson, in spite of his skeptical attitude regarding the artistic value of colour photography, nevertheless exerted a powerful influence over photographers who took up the new medium and who were determined to put a personal stamp on it.”
Cartier-Bresson’s criticisms of colour work in fact spurred on a new generation, says Ewing. “[The exhibition] simultaneously pays homage to a master who felt that black and white photography was the ideal medium, and could not be bettered, and to a group of photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries who chose the path of colour and made, and continue to make, great strides.”
As a preview to the exhibition we have included a couple of Cartier-Bresson images from the show below (the ten photographs in the show have not been exhibited in the UK before) and a small selection of the colour work which will form part of this extensive, and what looks to be exhilarating, photography exhibition.
Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour runs until January 27 2013 at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. Admission is free. More details at somersethouse.org.uk.
Karl Baden, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, 2009. 40.64 x 54.19 cm. Archival Inkjet. © Karl Baden
Jeff Mermelstein, Untitled (Art Gallery Window, New York), 1996. 20 x 16 in. Chromogenic Print. © Jeff Mermelstein. Courtesy Rick Wester Fine Art, New York
Harry Gruyaert, Belgium, Flanders region, Province of Brabant, 1988, 36 x 24 cm. Pigments ink on Canson Baryta Photographique Pure White 310/m2. © Harry Gruyaert
Andy Freeberg, Sean Kelly, Art Basel Miami 2010. Artist: Kehinde Wiley. 63 x 43 cm. Pigment ink print © Andy Freeberg. Courtesy Kopeikin Gallery
Carolyn Drake, Breeze, Zhetisay Kazakhstan, 2009. 30.48 x 20.32 cm. Digital Light Jet print. © Carolyn Drake 2012
Ernst Haas, New York City, USA, 1981. Chromogenic archival print, 28 x 35.5 cm. © Ernst Haas Estate, New York
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harlem, New York, 1947. Gelatin silver print / printed 1970s. Image: 29.1 x 19.6 cm / Paper: 30.4 x 25.4 cm. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, Courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brooklyn, New York, 1947. Gelatin silver print / printed in 2007. Image: 19.8 x 29.8 cm / Paper: 22.9 x 30.4 cm. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos, Courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
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CR In print
In our November issue we look at ad agency Wieden + Kennedy in a major feature as it celebrates its 30th anniversary; examine the practice of and a new monograph on M/M (Paris); investigate GOV.UK, the first major project from the Government Digital Service; explore why Kraftwerk appeals so much to designers; and ponder the future of Instagram. Rick Poynor reviews the Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design; Jeremy Leslie takes in a new exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery dedicated to experimental magazine, Aspen; Mark Sinclair explores Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery show of work by the late graphic designer, Tony Arefin; while Daniel Benneworth-Gray writes about going freelance; and Michael Evamy looks at new telecommunications brand EE’s identity. Plus, subscribers also receive Monograph in which Tim Sumner of tohave-and-tohold.co.uk dips into Preston Polytechnic’s ephemera archive to pick out a selection of printed paper retail bags from the 70s and 80s.
The issue also doubles up as the Photography Annual 2012 – our showcase of the best images in commercial photography produced over the last year. The work selected is as strong as ever, with photographs by the likes of Tim Flach (whose image of a hairless chimp adorns the front cover of the issue, above); Nadav Kander (whose shot of actor Mark Rylance is our Photography Annual cover); Martin Usborne; Peter Lippmann; Giles Revell and more.
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