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  #1  
Old December 11th, 2008, 02:55 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Lenswork Magazine, December 2008 issue features Reichmann

We have a growing interest of photographers in B&W rendering of even digital images taken in full color. There's something fundamental unearthed in the essence of photography viewed in this way. Although we get so many clues from color and our world is beautiful that way, seeing the same in B&W brings us into a new way of seeing.

Seeing is what photography is all about, not so much taking the picture, which the name, writing with light, implies.

Lenswork is recognized and treasured as perhaps the premium proponent and exponent of B&W photography. They highlight famous as well as new and interesting work. Above all, they are about visual excellence in the delivered work. The publishers of Lenswork are known for presenting photography which delivers on a promise of a full-bodied esthetic physicality and presence in the images they select.




In Their Landscape" by Michael Reichmann, Folio is 8x10", Images are approx. 7x9", 6 prints
On Harman Glossy FB AL Warmtone, 4-page text signature, Embossed art paper enclosures


So it's with interest and pleasure that I noticed that Michael Reichman, the publisher of Luminous Landscape, is one of the artists featured in the latest Lenswork Magazine, December 2008. It's sold out already at the newstands but is available still from Lenswork.com.

Lenswork is also publishing 2 of Michael Reichman's series of landscapes in folios of 6 and 15 prints respectively. This is part of an ongoing series of distinguished artists in their "Extended Editions Folio" series. So Reichmann joins this bunch celebrated photographers. This is an opportunity to obtain fine prints at a more than reasonable price.

The first of these two new folios has just 6 pictures, but they are quite special. They show fascinating people in their own milieux as a portrait within a landscape. The second is series of "Landscapes from Around The world", has 25 prints. The title may "say it all" but this folio is a window to Reichmann's extensive photographic work in each far flung location he makes for himself, year after year. I hope to discuss this in more detail later.

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; December 11th, 2008 at 03:55 PM.
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  #2  
Old December 11th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I discovered another treasure on the Lenswork.com site. Imagine all 56 back issues of Lenswork on one DVD for just Holiday Sale Pricing through 12/31/08 for just $125.





Well what's so special? Here's from the web page in LW:
"The LensWork Library is a 12-year set of back issues of LensWork, perpetually available even after the paperback magazines are long sold out. These Acrobat PDF format computer files are exact replications of the actual magazine pages that can be read on-screen or printed to your desktop printer. The disc can be viewed on Mac or Windows based systems. It requires only the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software. There is no other installation, setup or software required.




The LensWork Library is also an archive of the studio-quality audio recordings of the first 300 podcasts on photography and the credative process by Brooks Jensen. These audio commentaries on photography and the creative process are each two to ten minutes in length. They explore an eclectic, wide range of ideas and topics. One of the web's most popular podcasts, now available here in higher quality audio and without the hassles of downloading them all. As MP3 files, they can be copied to your portable player so you can listen to them on the go!

In addition, each of the 300 podcasts has been transcribed and formatted as a single PDF file for printing on standard sized letter paper.

This PDF can also be searched using Acrobat's powerful search tool. A fantastic resource for schools or individuals!"
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  #3  
Old December 11th, 2008, 03:17 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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Good for Michael! I think some of his images will show nicely in LensWork, even though he's very much a color guy.

I've been a subscriber to LensWork (and, more recently, also to LensWork Extended) for some time. Frankly, it can be a little monotonous as the portfolio selections tend to look similar issue to issue, particularly as the magazine is rendered exclusively in that (gorgeous) custom duotone print tonality. Regardless of the subject matter presented (which also gets a bit monotonous) it's as if everyone is forced to wear the same suit, which fits some better than others.

That complaint aside, I've never considered letting my subscription lapse. In fact, I recently renewed for a couple of years. No other magazine presents the kind of genuine enthusiasm for photography that Brooks Jensen's LensWork presents. "Passion" is a word that's become nearly meaningless with excessive, and usually inappropriate self-aggrandizing, usage. But "persistently passionate" is the only accurate description for Brooks Jensen's regard for the act and presentation of photography.

Honestly, if you're genuinely enthusiastic for photography and not a LensWork subscriber (and have never seen LensWork), just sign-up right now. (You can no longer buy it on newsstands, as Jensen decided that the waste of unsold distribution issues was environmentally irresponsible.) You owe it to yourself, at least for a year.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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Addendum: Two years after the note I posted above I've decided let Lenswork lapse. I admire Brooks Jensen's energy and the the creative initiatives he's undertaken to expand the boundaries of the publication beyond paper.

But I'm sitting here with every issue since #56 and for the life of me it's hard to tell them them apart. It became like watching a dial tone. Brooks selects and publishes what Brooks understands and likes. But that's an awfully narrow slice of the pie and ultimately I felt I needed more nourishment to justify just storing each issue.

With a continuous tide of newcomers to shutter-bugging I'm sure that Lenswork will not miss me at all. It's appeal is squarely in the center of populist amateur photography, so new subscribers are almost assured.
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  #5  
Old February 15th, 2011, 08:43 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
But I'm sitting here with every issue since #56 and for the life of me it's hard to tell them apart. It became like watching a dial tone.
I do not know about this specific magazine, but I noticed the same with all the ones I tried, galleries, web sites, etc... After a short while, I realize that all the pictures are similar.

These magazines/galleries/etc... are built upon a certain visual identity. It is a necessity for them. After some time, when the unsaid rules upon which this identity is built become apparent, I lose interest.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:08 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I do not know about this specific magazine, but I noticed the same with all the ones I tried, galleries, web sites, etc... After a short while, I realize that all the pictures are similar.

These magazines/galleries/etc... are built upon a certain visual identity. It is a necessity for them. After some time, when the unsaid rules upon which this identity is built become apparent, I lose interest.
Ken And Jerome,

I too am impressed with the steadfast devotion behind lenswork. I think there's a lot to learn and lenswork provides a body of work that does hang together in a kind of family. In a way it reminds me somewhat of the art of the great academies of France to the end of the 19th Century, where training and acceptance followed a strict protocol of learning and copying until one had the skill and sensibilities of recognized classicists. So there tends to be a normalization of the output. It can have a high technical and even esthetic value, but there is the danger of sameness.

Lenswork is so readable. It does not have to be a knew one. You can pick up a 5 year old copy or latest and have the same consistently good experience. The printing quality is very high. I can recommend a subscription as a worthwhile investment for seeing a good variety of quality images.

However this is one slither of what is available. What it does deliver is consistent satisfying imagery.

This can be an inspiration or not depending on where one is at.

Asher
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  #7  
Old February 16th, 2011, 04:22 AM
Georg R. Baumann Georg R. Baumann is offline
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I have this very affordable lenswork collection myself since a few years now, his podcasts on my iPod and I enjoyed listening to them on my walks, nice to have the full editions available as PDF on top.

To me personally it is a pleasant small talk about photography, entertaining, sometimes a little thought provoking, but certainly no heavy hitter.

I did not subscribe to it. Then again, I subscribe to nothing.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 09:15 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Let me add for clarity that Lenswork is not to provide a "standard" for all our work. Rather it's a particularly pleasant walk one can take in a personally chosen gallery lit consistently and printed so well. So each picture might represent the individuality of a family of trees lining the road either side of a man-made forrest. For that it's superb! As for bias, I do have some perhaps. I paid for one series, as far as I remember, and the following copies came to me free as publisher of OPF. The bias is there from the beginning. Not one copy is thrown away.

Asher
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  #9  
Old February 16th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Jim Galli Jim Galli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
Addendum: Two years after the note I posted above I've decided let Lenswork lapse. I admire Brooks Jensen's energy and the the creative initiatives he's undertaken to expand the boundaries of the publication beyond paper.

But I'm sitting here with every issue since #56 and for the life of me it's hard to tell them them apart. It became like watching a dial tone. Brooks selects and publishes what Brooks understands and likes. But that's an awfully narrow slice of the pie and ultimately I felt I needed more nourishment to justify just storing each issue.

With a continuous tide of newcomers to shutter-bugging I'm sure that Lenswork will not miss me at all. It's appeal is squarely in the center of populist amateur photography, so new subscribers are almost assured.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
I do not know about this specific magazine, but I noticed the same with all the ones I tried, galleries, web sites, etc... After a short while, I realize that all the pictures are similar.

These magazines/galleries/etc... are built upon a certain visual identity. It is a necessity for them. After some time, when the unsaid rules upon which this identity is built become apparent, I lose interest.
Interesting.

Lenswork is a visual comparison to the consistency of Kodak over most of the years of the 20th century. For that I applaud. When you saw the yellow box you never questioned the quality inside. When you see the Lenswork cover, you know the same thing.

My question is this then;

Are some looking for something in photography that it ultimately cannot provide. Is it just a long and winding, if interesting, dead end road?
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  #10  
Old February 16th, 2011, 07:28 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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I let my subscription to lenswork lapse like Ken did. Before it did lapse, I was receiving the magazine and not even looking through the issues, or looking very quickly and superficially. For me it's a case of too much of the same. Nothing wrong with any of it, but then nothing to get excited about either. I did like Michael Reichmann's Folio.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 08:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain Briot View Post
I let my subscription to lenswork lapse like Ken did. Before it did lapse, I was receiving the magazine and not even looking through the issues, or looking very quickly and superficially. For me it's a case of too much of the same. Nothing wrong with any of it, but then nothing to get excited about either. I did like Michael Reichmann's Folio.
Alain,

What also is helpful in Michael's case, that we know him and his travels and work in color. I have quite a few of his excellent prints. So his photography in B&W is richer even than what's on the page.

Asher
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  #12  
Old February 16th, 2011, 09:35 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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Slightly Off-Topic:
Speaking of Michael Reichmann, I've been very impressed by how his snowbird migration to Mexico has so impacted his photography. The images he's been posting from San Miguel de Allende have been very interesting and engaging. It's a good example of the impact that a long-term change of venue can have on they eye.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 01:51 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain Briot View Post
I let my subscription to lenswork lapse like Ken did. Before it did lapse, I was receiving the magazine and not even looking through the issues, or looking very quickly and superficially. For me it's a case of too much of the same. Nothing wrong with any of it, but then nothing to get excited about either. I did like Michael Reichmann's Folio.
Alain,

I feel guilty, really I do, if I don't try to see what is published. After all, guys are waiting for their selected work to be published! It's a major mountain of work Brooke goes through to produce the magazine, portfolios and now with Lenswork-extended, (using DVD's to increase the portfolio volume) and even podcasts, this is a real commitment in time. This is real devotion!

Still, the folk being published are not part of a community I necessarily know. When I recognize the name, it does help. While it's always interesting to find a photographer with a new approach, a lot of the pictures seem so well disciplined that it has a "family" of kind feel.

Asher
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Old February 17th, 2011, 11:02 AM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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It has occurred to me that Jensen is actually pursuing a kind of pictorialist promotion (i.e. "Photo Seccession") not completely dissimilar to that of Alfred Steiglitz's short-lived "Camera Work" of a century ago. I suspect that Lens Work's similarity in title may not be entirely coincidental.

Also re-reading the Lens Work's "mission statement", printed in each issue, suggests a much wider-angled view of "creative photography" than Jensen actually presents.

For anyone interested in seeing a publication that presents such a wider view of photographic art I recommend the fine British quarterly SilverShotz. It manages to dance the intricate steps through the interests of photographic collectors, photographic artists, and fetishistic hobbyists by presenting something for everyone in each issue. Pick up a copy if you get a chance.

Of course there's also Aperture's magazine but that's probably too heavily weighted toward the art world for anyone reading this post. Still, it's worth a look for anyone seeking to expand their horizons regarding what a camera can be used to accomplish.
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Last edited by Ken Tanaka; February 17th, 2011 at 03:50 PM.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 01:46 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Ken and Asher,

You are absolutely correct that Jensen's Lenswork is inspired by Stieglitz's Camera Work. In fact, Jensen talks about it in his podcast and writings, explaining that the similarity between the two names is intentional (Jensen replaced 'Camera' with 'Lens' in the title of his publication, LensWork).

I also agree that Michael Reichmann's work was energized by living in Mexico. It's understandable. I live in a warm climate myself, with no snow year round, and with a deep Spanish/Mexican influence. While not being Mexico, there's a lot of similar influences and characteristics. The Spanish/Mexican culture also values the arts and follows an emotional approach and response to life, rather than a rational one.

I love landscaping, and I often say that 'everything I know about landscaping, I learned from a Mexican day laborer.' While not exactly true, it is, in gest, accurate. I am not talking about learning what the latin name of each plant is, when they bloom, where they come from, and other factual details. I am talking about the intuitive knowledge of other to arrange plants, rocks and other landscaping elements in a pleasing composition, without making plans or drawings. It's an intuitively artistic approach that is found in most Mexican art.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 06:34 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
It has occurred to me that Jensen is actually pursuing a kind of pictorialist promotion (i.e. "Photo Seccession") not completely dissimilar to that of Alfred Steiglitz's short-lived "Camera Work" of a century ago. I suspect that Lens Work's similarity in title may not be entirely coincidental.

Also re-reading the Lens Work's "mission statement", printed in each issue, suggests a much wider-angled view of "creative photography" than Jensen actually presents.

For anyone interested in seeing a publication that presents such a wider view of photographic art I recommend the fine British quarterly SilverShotz. It manages to dance the intricate steps through the interests of photographic collectors, photographic artists, and fetishistic hobbyists by presenting something for everyone in each issue. Pick up a copy if you get a chance.

Of course there's also Aperture's magazine but that's probably too heavily weighted toward the art world for anyone reading this post. Still, it's worth a look for anyone seeking to expand their horizons regarding what a camera can be used to accomplish.

Ken,

I appreciate the reference to Slivershotz. Thanks also for expanding on your ideas about the serious and committed honest role that Brooke Jensen has taken for himself in his arduous enterprise of publishing a reliable, never-ending flow of works that he has selected. I still believe that the editions are valuable as a reference to pickup when one might want another reliable "point of view". For most of us here, what is presented will still widen horizons, despite any longterm limitations in scope.

I'm just in awe of his steadfast day in, day out energy.

Asher
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