Eye to Eye (TCR 3.29), a co-production with The Capilano Review, features close to fifty writers responding to exactly thirty-five photographs curated from the collection of Andrew Gruft and Claudia Beck. Presented as part of PHG’s recent exhibition Eye to Eye, the photographs, books, and media art by historical and contemporary artists range from iconic vintage prints and photography books to recent photographic and moving picture works. With contributors invited to “play the part of the dramaturge, the essayist, the poet, the historian, the critic, or the jester,” what we offer here is a (very) special issue decidedly stranger and differently illuminating from your standard exhibition catalogue.
With photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Learoyd, Daido Moriyama, Helen Levitt, Richard Maynard, Miroslav Tichý, Aaron Siskind, Robert Capa, Omar Victor Diop, Garry Winogrand, Xavier Miserachs, Otto Steinert, Hiroshi Watanabe, Lynne Cohen, August Sander, Robert Frank, Mike Grill, Scott McFarland, Eikoh Hosoe and Yukio Mishima, Michael Morris, Eugène Atget, Agustí Centelles, Katy Grannan, Stephen Waddell, Raymonde April, Peter Hujar, Bruce Davidson, Al McWilliams, Christos Dikeakos, Kevin Madill, and Anne Collier.
Softcover, 118 pages, 45 b/w and color reproductions.
Yes Yes, We Are Magicians is a compilation of anonymous, vintage black-and-white photographs mostly found on eBay from the personal collection of the Canadian artist, collector and writer Jonah Samson. Titled after a line from Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, the dominant mood of the book recalls Beckett’s take on human existence as tragicomic. Samson, too, reflects on the absurdity of life through slapstick and dark humor, and a warmhearted affection for the mysteries of human gestures. Involved in all aspects of making the book, Samson has created a carefully orchestrated narrative flow between various kinds of vernacular photographs. Whether a blurry snapshot or a formal portrait, the images draw out the uncanny and magical qualities of photographs. Free of any description, the compelling pictures are allowed to speak for themselves. They are often imperfect, with figures disappearing into misty and watery surfaces, and the details of time and place becoming obscured. Establishing the mood at the beginning with a mysterious color photograph of an erupting volcano, the book interweaves forgotten moments from the past where incidents of the celebratory, melancholic, surreal and bizarre are put into dialogue. As an artist who often reworks found photographs, Jonah Samson brings a distinctive sensibility to this book and treats the form as an artwork in itself.
Hard-cover, 104 pages, Published by Figure One and Presentation House Gallery