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Harry Gruyaert
Old 05-26-2006   #1
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Harry Gruyaert

In recent days we've talked about the work of Maki Kawakita and also Josef Koudelka.

Over the same time I've been looking at photos by Harry Gruyaert. You'll find him at Magnum and around the web and in print and exhibitions.

I love his use of color, especially when so many of his photos are from Belguim, which is good for chips, mussels and beer; but not famed for light.

Look at this for example.

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Old 05-26-2006   #2
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Wow, Jon. I haven't thought of him for years. I agree, wonderfull use of color. In use of color as well, Alex Webb's images stand out too.
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Old 05-26-2006   #3
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thank you jon for bringing his name to our attention. other than his color, his composition is also very charming.
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Old 05-26-2006   #4
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Belgium is in many respects a very odd place. It feels a bit disheveled, a bit out of sync with them, a bit backwards. But on the other hand it's fashionable, avant garde and modern. For me as a Dutchman, Belgium is always a relief to visit. It's like Holland at first glance but entirely different when you take a second look. Belgium makes my head spin with recognition and unfamiliarity at the same time. Gruyaert captures that very well.
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Old 05-26-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtl
thank you jon for bringing his name to our attention. other than his color, his composition is also very charming.
I agree, there are some elements that always make some interesting connections, which makes the difference, thx for the link Jon.
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Old 05-26-2006   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Claremont
In recent days we've talked about the work of Maki Kawakita and also Josef Koudelka.

Over the same time I've been looking at photos by Harry Gruyaert. You'll find him at Magnum and around the web and in print and exhibitions.

I love his use of color, especially when so many of his photos are from Belguim, which is good for chips, mussels and beer; but not famed for light.

Look at this for example.


Holy cow, this has blown my hair back !! Aamazing portfolio of an amazing photog, very inspiring . He makes exactly the photos I myself would like to make, too dumb tho.
There is nothing better than watching some REALLY good photos, it's like charging the batteries !
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Old 05-26-2006   #7
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There must be something wrong with me. I looked and looked, and this appears to me to be some of the ugliest, worst photography I've ever seen. It's horrible.

I'm not trying to be difficult, really. I just am not seeing what you guys are seeing, I guess.

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Old 05-26-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmattock
There must be something wrong with me. I looked and looked, and this appears to me to be some of the ugliest, worst photography I've ever seen. It's horrible.
I'm not a big fan of the initially linked image but I like the others. In fact, after looking at the whole, coming back the one jon claremont linked to had some renewed charm. Ugly can sometimes be beautiful, boring can sometimes be beautiful.

Just out of curiousity, what didn't you like? Comp, technique, subject or something, perhaps, undefinable? It's so hard for me understand and articulate what's good or bad sometimes.

Y.

Last edited by bobomoon : 05-26-2006 at 07:59.
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Old 05-26-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobomoon
I'm not a big fan of the initially linked image but I like the others. In fact, after looking at the whole, coming back the one copecake_ham linked to had some renewed charm. Ugly can sometimes be beautiful, boring can sometimes be beautiful.

Just out of curiousity, what didn't you like? Comp, technique, subject or something, perhaps, undefinable? It's so hard for me understand and articulate what's good or bad sometimes.

Y.
It could be that because of my lack of normal color vision, I'm not seeing the 'subtle use of color' that I am reading about. However, composition and exposure are all turn-offs for me with his work. I don't even like his subjects.

I was looking at this one:

http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/CD...bE=2S5RYDDW5IK

I don't know what's good about this. I am trying, but I see nothing interesting at all here.

And I do see the comparison with Arbus, except B&W versus color - and perhaps not surprisingly, I detest her work as well. I just never saw what there was to like about it. Well, I take that back. I 'got' the twins photo. But that is about all.

I don't agree that ugly can be beautiful. I feel that ugly can serve a purpose, ugly can signify, ugly can be important. But ugly is ugly. I don't mind looking at ugly photos if they are significant to me. These are not - they're just bad.

Bad, how? I dunno. A series of snapshops of my tennis shoes would be bad. Like that. No interest, unimportant, meaningless, and ugly for no sake I can follow.

Sorry to say it - seems to be a thread-killer. But I can't pretend I like Harry's work now that I see it. I'm no arbiter of public taste, and the world will decide how it likes his work without my input. Fair enough. I actually do wish I could see what ya'll are seeing.

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Old 05-26-2006   #10
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It is especially impressive when he can make a compelling image without the use of human beings.
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Old 05-26-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobomoon
...coming back the one copecake_ham linked to had some renewed charm...
This board is breaking down on me. I can't see that post or link. Would somebody be so kind as to re-post it please.
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Old 05-26-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Claremont
This board is breaking down on me. I can't see that post or link. Would somebody be so kind as to re-post it please.

bobo meant you, not copake_ham. His post is edited now.
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Old 05-26-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Claremont
This board is breaking down on me. I can't see that post or link. Would somebody be so kind as to re-post it please.
Jon--Sorry I meant you and not copecake_ham. I apologize for my misfire.

Bill--I hope you don't think I was being antagonistic or anything. It's just that lately I've been hopelessly confused/intruiged about how one can or cannot describe an image in words.
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Old 05-26-2006   #14
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Thank you Bobomoon. Understood. I like the boredom in that picture. It sums up Belguim or northern France perfectly.

On your second point I think many people in around 1870 (?) had problems when artists were painting railway stations and not pretty pretty daisies.
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Old 05-26-2006   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Claremont
I like the boredom in that picture. It sums up Belguim or northern France perfectly.
You sir must be a true connoisseur.
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Old 05-26-2006   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobomoon
Jon--Sorry I meant you and not copecake_ham. I apologize for my misfire.

Bill--I hope you don't think I was being antagonistic or anything. It's just that lately I've been hopelessly confused/intruiged about how one can or cannot describe an image in words.
No, I didn't take anything you said amiss. I wish I could explain better why I find so many of the 'famous' photographers' work to be so bloody awful. Even more, sometimes I wish I could see what it is that others seem to see. I could say it is just down to personal taste, but in general, I tend to intensely dislike so much of what is 'famous' that I just feel like either I'm way off kilter or the world is. It can be frustrating.

I am not that way about everything. I mean, people like cheeseburgers, I like cheeseburgers. People like rock-n-roll, I like rock-n-roll. People say Jimi Hendrix was amazing, I agree. Then they show me a Diane Arbus photo and tell me it's great and I'm thinking - no, it's not only not great, it's bad. If it were a happy snap taken on vacation it would be bad. And I rack my brain and cannot figure out what I'm missing here.

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Old 05-26-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Claremont
On your second point I think many people in around 1870 (?) had problems when artists were painting railway stations and not pretty pretty daisies.
I don't mind ugly - but not for the sake of ugly. If it does not have significance, I have no interest in it. If I cannot find the significance that the artist intended - same thing.

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Old 05-26-2006   #18
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"Belgium, man, Belgium!" - Zaphod Beeblebrox, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I like a good deal (but not all) of Gruyaert's work, and how he makes the most of a, ahem, challenging subject, and in color at that. I think he misfires here and there, but the work as a whole is compelling. Not everyone's cup o' tea, of course, but that's what makes all this interesting (and we can cheerfully agree to disagree). Thanks for pointing his work out, Jon.


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Old 05-26-2006   #19
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bmattock: What are some of your favorite photos by famous photographers? Can I see some?
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Old 05-26-2006   #20
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Does Gruyeart use a RF camera? His photographs appear to be very tightly composed and look like they were made with a normal or slightly wide lens. What kinds of film does he favor? John Henry
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Old 05-26-2006   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywenz
bmattock: What are some of your favorite photos by famous photographers? Can I see some?
I knew someone would ask that eventually. Let me say this - I have eclectic tastes, but my tastes are also evolving and changing, now more than ever. For the moment, there are not many 'famous' photographers whose work I truly appreciate, let alone like.

However, there are plenty of photographers whose work I enjoy - famous or not.

Ralph Eugene Meatyard:

http://images.google.com/images?svnu...rd&btnG=Search

Jaromir Funke:

http://images.google.com/images?svnu...+Funke&spell=1

Jindrich Styrsky:

http://images.google.com/images?svnu...ky&btnG=Search

Frantisek Drtikol:

http://images.google.com/images?svnu...ol&btnG=Search

Jaroslav Rössler:

http://images.google.com/images?svnu...ossler&spell=1

Man Ray:

http://images.google.com/images?svnu...ay&btnG=Search

And whatever I find in the pages of Juxtapoz magazine and Shots:
http://www.juxtapoz.com/mambo/
http://www.shotsmag.com/

These are just some of the photographers whose work I admire, and more in one vein than another. I also find William Christenberry intriguing, as well as William Mortensen.

Hope this helps.

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Old 05-26-2006   #22
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seems like your taste is more on the abstract side.

My favorite type of photography is the photo journalisim style - making something out of ordinary scenes.
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Old 05-26-2006   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ywenz
seems like your taste is more on the abstract side.

My favorite type of photography is the photo journalisim style - making something out of ordinary scenes.
I prefer to shoot 'street photography' style, but strive to see the absurd, dark, or ironic. Call it 'street abstract'.

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Old 05-26-2006   #24
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Thank you Bill. Yes, I like seeing those in your face street photos too, but I don't think I could do them myself.
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Old 05-26-2006   #25
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At least now I know you you get peeved at endless discussions of what color wriststrap would go best with a Leica IIIf.

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Old 05-27-2006   #26
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bmattock, ihaven't browzed all his photos, and the one u've linked is ugly...I agree.

Edit: but not all, the 1st 10 images i liked, what i liked was certain elements within the composition and the neatness of the colors...

you feel that soemhow this photograph is telling you a story...Not beautifull literally
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Old 05-27-2006   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Henry
Does Gruyeart use a RF camera? His photographs appear to be very tightly composed and look like they were made with a normal or slightly wide lens. What kinds of film does he favor? John Henry
As far as I know, Harry uses SLRs: in an interview I read a couple of years ago on french magazine Réponses Photo he declared he works with Canon EOS3 cameras with zooms but always carries a Leica M as it has the best possible viewfinder for 35 and 50mm lenses. He works in Kodachrome (25/200).
From what I gather from the Magnum web site, I have the feeling he switched to digital in his last pictures from China.
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Old 05-27-2006   #28
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Actually it is his understanding and handlig of light, and how he makes it beeing a central part of the concept, which is additionally supported by a well thought colour concept.
No 2, 11 , 21, and 41 demonstrate that perfectly. Without the light there would not have been a picture at these places.

A lesson for all those who are ( like me) too much fixated on items, figures , shapes and patterns and forget that with light one can create a new world, or better, make the second reality of a place visible , if there is any.
Ugly ? No, tho Belgium isn't Disneyland of course.

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Old 07-25-2019   #29
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Resurrected as Gruyaert is probably one of my favourite photographers.
Anyone seen the film ? Doesn't look as though it's available to legitimately stream/download, just available for dvd sales on the website ?

http://www.harrygruyaert-film.com/
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Old 07-25-2019   #30
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It looks like you can watch it for free here if you sign up

http://big201.com/movie/554229/harry...._photographer

I probably shouldn't mention this because it's sort of under the radar, but I've had excellent luck googling "watch (name of film here) online free", and if that doesn't work, add "putlocker" to the end of that. Just finished watching Ken Russel's film The Devils, Bowie's-The Man Who Fell To Earth, Wise Blood, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, and on and on, all for free.

I highly recommend The Hunger, which may be the best modern vampire film ever made. Sensual, unique, and Bowie steals the show, which is pretty difficult considering that he co stars with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. Fassbinder's World On a Wire and Dustin Hoffman in Straight Time were outstanding films.
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