Archive for Leica Store D.C.

Very Pleased To Have My Photography Represented By The Stephen Bartels Gallery In London

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 11, 2013 by johnbuckley100

The Stephen Bartels Gallery in London has emerged as the premier showcase for photographers around the world who are dedicated to taking pictures using Leica equipment.  I am very pleased to announce that, as of this morning, my photography will be represented by Stephen.

The page dedicated to our work links to three photographs that longtime readers of Tulip Frenzy will recognize, including one of the images chosen by the jury for the Leica Store in Washington’s “D.C. As I See It” exhibition this past spring.

The Stephen Bartels Gallery has a joint exhibition with the Leica Store in Mayfair, which will run through the weekend.

Check out the gallery online, or go visit it when you are in London.  We’re very pleased to join some fantastic photographers, all of whose work you should check out.  And very pleased to be represented by Stephen.

Craig Semetko At The Leica Store During Fotoweek D.C.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Craig Semetko Photography

Craig Semetko is an American street photographer whose book Unposed, published in 2010, announced a sensibility that was one part oxygenated fresh air, one part laughing gas.  In the best tradition of Elliott Erwitt, who wrote its forward, or even Joel Sternfeld, Semetko is blessed with a great eye, a wonderful sense of humor, and enormous luck.  For only luck can explain how a photographer with his point of view could have found, on a Parisian street, a man walking toward him, as he described it in a wonderful talk at the Leica Store in DC this afternoon, “with what looked like a tampon coming out of his nose.”

As for the great eye, Semetko’s mantra can be remembered as D.I.E., with the first letter standing for design.  Like his hero Cartier-Bresson, Semetko understands that the action that takes place in front of him will rise to the level of art if it is captured inside well-ordered dimensions and lines.  The second letter stands for information — what the image is telling you.  And the third stands for emotion, which often as not in his work, is humor.

It makes sense that humor suffuses so many of his images, because — like another wonderful contemporary Leica photographer, William Palank, who picked up a Leica and embarked, mid-life, on a second career — Semetko came to photography late.  You see, he had established himself as a comic, mostly working corporate events.  His prior career trained him to stand before a crowd and entertain them, as he did today at the Leica Store.  But it gave him something more: an ability to capture visual puns, like his image from Unposed that shows a boy selling balloons as a woman with quite large breasts walks into the frame.

Today Craig showed work from his new project, “E Pluribus Unum, which has sent him on the American road, like a modern Robert Frank, capturing all the grit, glory, and absurdity of America today. Photographically, his new work, mostly in color, shows enormous growth and greater depth than Unposed.  He’s partly exchanged his signature humor for something deeper, and more meaningful.  The project is far from complete, and you can support it, like those of us at Tulip Frenzy have, by going to his Kickstarter page and chipping in.  If you do, consider yourself a patron of the arts, for art it is that Semetko’s serving, even as he makes you laugh.

Final note: The Leica Store is hosting Semetko tonight as part of its support for Fotoweek D.C. Fotoweek D.C. is a Washington institution that stretches over a week each November.  The Leica Store D.C. has, in just a few short months, insinuated itself into the cultural life of D.C. not simply as a purveyor of high-end photography gear, but as a genuine community center for anyone interested in photography.  Today’s talk by Craig Semetko is just one of many such free events they’ve hosted since they opened in May, and we are grateful for it, and for them.

The Leica Store In D.C. Officially Opens

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 3, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux

The first store in the United States fully owned and operated by Leica Camera officially opened last night with a cocktail party followed by a quite wonderful talk by famed photojournalist Peter Turnley.  Turnley exhibited keen intelligence and great empathy, reminding a full complement of Leicaphiles that photography is about heart, and sharing what you see in the world, not merely gizmolust.  But of course,  it also is partly about gizmolust, which is why we post the above image.

The National Gallery’s “I Spy” Exhibit Takes Street Photography To Extremes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by johnbuckley100

It is kismet, or something even more magical, that accounts for The National Gallery of Art opening an exhibit on street photography just as the new Leica Store in Washington opens a few short blocks away.   As an exhibition, “I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938 – 2010” is a visual tour de force, even as its curators have taken a curious approach to defining street photography.  Showcasing work by Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, Harry Callahan, and Beat Strulli, the curatorial emphasis is not on capturing the momentary slice of life that photography of real people, in real situations on the street, on the subway, or other public theaters, provides.  It is on the artifice involved in the technique by which they’re captured — the hidden cameras, the telephoto lenses, the shots of people taken from a bus.  And unfortunately this gives an opening to a critic who doesn’t really understand what street photography is all about.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux, Luxembourg Gardens, March 23rd, 2012

Philip Kennicott’s parched and somewhat misleading review in The Washington Post, focus on the techniques invoked to fool people — the “I Spy” emphasis of the curators — rather than the images themselves.  “The assumption driving these (photographic) experiments,” Kennicott writes,  “is simple but problematic: By masking the presence of the photographer, one can get a deeper, more unguarded truth about people. As Evans put it, he wanted to capture people “in naked repose,” with their guard down and “the mask” off. Whether it’s Freudian slips of tongue, unwanted conversations caught on a hot mike or leaked videotape from cameras no one knew were on, we tend to believe the spontaneous self is the honest self. But it’s a quirk of modernity to believe that the social mask is false and that there is some kind of genuine authenticity underneath it.”

But this misses the point. And unfortunately the equating of street photography with spying using deceptive techniques allows him to get away with it.

There is a simple reason why street photography matters, why it is interesting as a documentary artform.  People are always the most interesting subject for a photographer.  Landscape photography is aesthetically pleasing.  But photographs of real people engaged in living are fundamentally more interesting than images of mountains and rivers, no matter how lovely.  We love Ansel Adams’ work, but Henri Cartier-Bresson’s put down — that Adams and others were taking pictures of rocks while the world of the mid-20th century was coming apart — rings true.

Spontaneously capturing people going about their business doesn’t need the subterfuge involved in “I Spy.”  You just lift your camera to your eye and capture what’s coming your way.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux, Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, March 30th, 2012

“I Spy” focuses on street photographers using the most extreme mechanisms for capturing their slice of life.  In reality, street photographers are more likely to use wide-angled lenses, freely shown, than telephoto lenses from the equivalent of a duck blind.  The images taken by artifice in “I Spy” — Harry Callahan’s capturing of women on the streets of Chicago from a fixed position with a telephoto lens, Walker Evans’ use of a camera hidden in his shirt — really could as easily have been captured via a more straightforward manner.  And in fact, there are dozens of street photographers that could have been included in this exhibit that use less extreme techniques.

Leica M9, 35mm Summilux, Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, March 30th, 2012

The best single subset of the exhibition are Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson’s images taken in the New York City Subway system in 1980.  It captures all the grit, all the reality of what life was like in New York in that year of the subway strike, of The Clash playing at Bonds, of chaos and disorder.  Today New York is closer to antiseptic Singapore than it is to its old 1970s sexy self.  Davidson captures this long-ago slice of life, not by artifice, but in search of straightforward truth: he carried his camera onto the subway openly, taking his camera, and his life, in his own hands.

Cartier-Bresson said, “Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth that can bring them back again.”  Davidson captured a vanished world, with realism and truth.  He didn’t need to spy to capture the truth.  He just need to get out there in search of the most interesting topic that art can ever serve up: people in the act of living their lives.

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