Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kathalijne Photography on Facebook

I’ve been posting content on different pages for a while now, f.e. on my own website, Instagram, here and on Facebook. You can find me at: Kathalijne Photography or at www.kathalijne.com. Drop me a line some day, I would love to hear from you:)

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And hope to see you there:)

Listening to: Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens

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Eduard Steichen – Beauty Primer

Having blogged about Robert Frank yesterday, I figured that today I could blog about one of the other photographers that was on show at the TEFAF, Eduard Steichen. Seeing how I am still a little bit bored (read: ill). 
 Eduard Steichen was the curator of the most awesome photo exhibitions ever, The Family of Man. Damn, I wish I could have attended that exhibition instead of just owning the book. Although I totally would have bought the book at the exhibition as well. The Family of Man was created by Steichen en Alfred Stieglitz, two men I admire for their photography but also for creating that exhibition, for starting Salon 291 and Camera Works. It must have been so exciting to be at the forefront of photography during time when it was still new and not everybody and their dog was snapping pics (not that I mind dogs with camera’s).
 
Steichen was born in Luxembourg on March 27, 1879. The family moved to the US when he was 3 years old, originally settling in Chicago but they relocated to Milwaukee a couple of years later. He became interested in photography during his 4 year apprenticeship at a lithography studio and soon formed the Milwaukee Art Students League with a bunch of friends, hiring well-known photographers to give lectures. Steichen met Alfred Stieglitz in 1901 and that was the start of a very fruitful relationship. Steichen became the most featured photographer in Stieglitz’s Camera Works and he also created the logo for it as well as a custom typeface. You may well know Stieglitz, btw, from his most famous photograph, The Steerage.
 
Steichen is the creator of what we now know as “fashion photography” after he accepted a dare by the publisher of Jardin des Modes and La Gazette du Bon Ton, Lucien Vogel, to promote fashion as a fine art by the use of photography. Now how awesome is that? Edward (as he was now known) photographed garments by couturier Paul Piret and these images were subsequently published in Art et Décoration. According to Jesse Alexander, this is “now considered to be the first ever modern fashion photography shoot. That is, photographing the garments in such a way as to convey a sense of their physical quality as well as their formal appearance, as opposed to simply illustrating the object.” Cool. Cool. He later became a photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair from 1923-1938. Vogue btw was only founded by Arthur Baldwin Turnure in 1892 but I assume that fashion was shown through illustrations.
 
 I could talk to you about The Family of Man for days but that would be a bit extreme perhaps. In short, it is an exhibition about humanity, in all it’s facets. First shown in 1955 when the world was just slowly getting back on its feet after having witnessed the horrors of WW2. The curators picked 503 photos (out of almost 2 million) by 273 photographers coming from 68 countries which in itself is quite an achievement. They sequenced the photos in such a way that they tell the story of humanity across borders and passed skin tone. It moves from the creation of the world to a young child to falling in love, getting married, family life, children playing together, people working hard or traveling but also depicting bullying, war, depression and death. It ends with a photo of the United Nations. The photos are mixed with quotes from sages, philosophers, or statesmen. I think is quite possibly the best book (exhibition) against crimes against humanity. And Steichen curated this:)
 
As for his own photography… what I love is his sense of light, and there’s a delicate sensuality to his photos as well as a strength and some glamour. To me, there’s also an element of graphic design to his work with strong lines made by the body, light/shadows or his use of the surroundings. And even if the photos are dated by means of the clothing people are wearing, his work is not old-fashioned and still very inspirational.
 
Right now I am listening to the new Aleila Diane & Wild Divine album as well as Raphael Saadiq’s new one, Stone Rollin’. She seems cool to photograph. As you know, I have a long list of people I’d love to photograph. She is one of them as is Cat Power, Mark Lanegan, Jon Spencer, Pierre Bokma, the one hot guy from Andrew James and if she was still alive, Billie Holiday. Ag there are so many.. 
 Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just photograph whoever you want? If you could just write them an email and say “hi there, let’s meet up. I like your work. I think I could take a cool portrait of you. Let’s do it. Let’s have some fun. Cool. Thanks. See you next week” something like that:) No publicists or managers to by-pass.. Sorta like how things happened with Miss Texas 1977. I wrote them on Tuesday, they were in my kitchen on Sunday. That’s how we like it:)
 
Just do whatever you want, then get it into a magazine later. And get paid for it so you actually can do the next portrait session.. 
 
I *have* to approach more magazines. That being said, I submitted work to an online magazine yesterday. Not holding my breath which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to be published there because I do. Wouldn’t submit work otherwise but ja, guess you become more realistic after knock-back #57. Which isn’t true ’cause every time I send my work anywhere a part of me becomes nervous and jittery, hoping for that email to pop in saying cool, we’ll take it. Oh well.. April is going to be a good month that’s for sure with lots of work lined up, a friend from Cape Town visiting me and well, hell, spring on its way.
All the images are by Edward Steichen except the 3rd one which is a photo from The Family of Man and was taken by Unosuke Gamou in Japan.  The first one by Steichen is called Beauty Primer and was taken in 1934, the second one is a portrait of Gloria Swanson, the third one is a portrait of Mary Heberden in 1935 and I don’t know what the last two are called. I do know the last one was also taken in 1935.

Sick of Goodbye’s

While I am sitting here in bed feeling sorry for myself because I have a case of tonsilitis, a fever *and* it’s raining outside, I figured this as good a time as any to blog about something. Btw if you like a hilarious read you really should check out groupiemom’s blog from time to time. She blogs about Pofadder:)

We went to the TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) this weekend gone and I saw some amazing art. Naturally, the one big Rembrandt portrait was amazing and a big crowd pleaser. I also got to see Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Käthe Kollwitz, Munch, loads of Miro, Picasso’s and Renoir’s. Then there’s the endless amount of diamonds, asian art, furniture, Russian religious icons, snuff bottles, Karel Appel, Lucebert and more, more, more. I probably only got to see 30% of what was on display. Dazzling.

I was very pleased to see quite a lot of photography yet a little bit bummed that some galleries had the big names but not very interesting work of said big names. Like this portrait of Clinton by Annie Leibovitz that probably worked really well along side an interview in a magazine, but seeing it on a wall was a bore. Anyway, I also got to see an awesome portrait of Chuck Close and color photographs by Ansell Adams (not a fan, sacrilege according to most, I’m sure ) And then I moved upstairs and yay, Dennis Hopper, Steichen, Man Ray and Robert Frank. And man, I love those!

I really like Robert Frank’s earlier documentary style (and Walker Evans inspired) work, he was friends with Kerouac and Ginsberg but I *really* am a huge fan of his later, far more personal work. Robert Frank is a Swiss born photographer who moved to the U.S.A. after WWII. Starting out as a fashion photographer for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, he moved into documentary photography along the way. Frank took his family on a string of road trips over a period of two years and took thousands of photographs which lead to his classic publication ‘The Americans’. Gripped by the contrast of 1950’s optimism vs class differences and racism, Frank took gritty black & white photos that were not favorably accepted by the public at first.

  In fact, Popular Photography Magazine said that Frank’s images were “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness.” Fortunately, the introduction made by Kerouac helped the book to “stay alive” and it is now considered an important body of work for art historians and sociologists alike. Sociologist Howard S. Becker wrote about ‘The Americans’:
“Robert Frank’s (…) enormously influential The Americans is in ways reminiscent both of Tocqueville’s analysis of American institutions and of the analysis of cultural themes by Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict. Frank presents photographs made in scattered places around the country, returning again and again to such themes as the flag, the automobile, race, restaurants—eventually turning those artifacts, by the weight of the associations in which he embeds them, into profound and meaningful symbols of American culture.”

 To me though, it is his later, personal work that I love best. Robert Frank’s son Pablo was diagnosed with schizophrenia and later committed suicide in a mental hospital, a few years after his daughter Andrea had died in a plane crash. When you look at his later work, you feel the photos are his way of lending a voice to these feelings of dark and insurmountable loss. A way of communicating with the world, or perhaps just with himself. Perhaps, he is just trying to create order. Frank mainly shows objects, still lives or landscapes and often as composites of 2, 4 or 6 photos or with writing or scratching on it, but to me they are more personal than when he would given us a portrait.  

“Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy – the tone range isn’t right and things like that – but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention.”  Elliott Erwitt

I remember this massive exhibition of his work at the MACBA in Barcelona and I was moved to tears. The exhibit was set up chronologically which worked well for me as you can really follow the change in his work. I visited the exhibition with my awesome friend Eva who merely “liked” the exhibit and I got a little irritated “like, like what do you mean you just like it?!” I told her a bit about his personal life and then she walked through the entire exhibition again which I thought was very cool, and changed her mind:) I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but to me you do need to know a bit about this photographer’s live to really feel the unspeakable, the intention and the loss. Some may argue that if he was truly great you wouldn’t need the extra information but let’s agree to disagree on that:)

Robert Frank lives in Nova Scotia.

Images: Francis Bacon Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X Painting 1953 | Chuck Close Self Portrait 1967/68 | Women at a Diner by Robert Frank, taken from The Americans | Cover for Frank’s The Americans | The man himself Robert Frank by Marc Trivier | Allen Ginsburg and Robert Frank by I don’t know who

This Charming Man

I just found this interview with Flemish photographer Stephan Vanfleteren on youtube. He is one of my favorite contemporary portrait photographers and thought I’d share. It’s very interesting to hear him talk about how he likes to take his time to do a portrait and that he kind of prefers shooting strangers. I also really like how he according to him, he finds Dutch photographers very direct. They know exactly what they want and go for it while he prefers taking his time and letting things “grow”. What he says makes perfect sense to me…

I suppose it’s a pity the interview is all in Flemish but for those of you who understand it, I’d say it’s a good thing. The accent, the choice of words… I’m telling you, Lieve Vanleeuw, those men from Flanders… ai:)

Oh and isn’t it a gorgeous exhibition space?

Check out some of the Flemish bands as well: The Sore Losers, dEUS, Triggerfinger, Daan, Millionaire and anything with Mauro Pawlowski… like I said, men from Flanders:)

And this is why…

bicycles aren’t enough and I need to go back

The Fire That Never Happened

The last week of February is turning out to be a week of photography, uhm, decisions.  Artists Wanted announced the winners of their Year in Review competition this week. The big prize goes to artist duo Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw. Congratulations to them! They will be announcing about another dozen prizes later this week but I’m not holding my breath. If I remember correctly, Foto Festival Naarden will also be announcing the nominees. I am so keen to learn if I’ve been nominated… Fingers crossed y’all:)

The big thing for me though this week, was being able to show my portfolio to the picture editor of ELLE Magazine. I was very excited about it and quite nervous as well. The fact that the trains weren’t running on time at all didn’t help matters much. There had been a fire alarm earlier that morning for a fire that never happened. It sounds almost romantic, “the fire that never happened”.

Somehow, I managed to make it to Amsterdam 45 minutes early but that was cool. That way I could just walk through the city, get to where I had to be, get a coffee and relax in the winter sun.  After having been seriously and embarrassingly late for my first Swimming Upstream interview with photographer  Neil John Smith last year, I am determined to arrive to the scene early so I can wait for a bit and pitch up on time. And yes, I reported to the reception desk perfectly on time:) I was met by the editor in the hall way and we made our way, coffee in hand, to a little room just next to the staff room where we just chatted about the magazine and my photography. She asked me a bunch of questions, like what do I like to photograph etc.

And naturally, we went through my portfolio. I always feel a little awkward doing that, and probably either talk too much or too little. There was positive and negative criticism but it was always constructive and interesting. The photos of Strato and Hendrik Vermeulen that were taken for Swimming Upstream were clear favorites, together with a portrait of SA writer Catriona Ross and the father/daughter duo on the couch that I took in Muizies two years ago.

Another thing that was very interesting  was going through the new issue while looking at the photography specifically. There is a whole item about Dutch fashion photographers and ai, I need to brush up on my knowledge that’s for sure!

I can easily tell you all about Robert Capa and Robert Frank or about Stieglitz, Steichen, Avedon and Weston. Or about Anton Corbijn, Niels van Iperen, Stephan van Fleteren, Charles Peterson, Roger Ballen or Liam Lynch and Deborah Rossouw for that matter.  I can go on and on about what it is that  those photographers do that I admire and how they inspire me. Yet, I can hardly tell you anything about Dutch fashion photography. Sure, we’re good with light. And yes, naturally, there’s world-renowned and iconic photographer’s duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin… I know about  Wendelien Daan, Viviane Sassen and Paul Bellaart but that’s about it. I’m sure I can come up with some more if I think about it, but ja,  I sure need to catch up on my knowledge of Dutch fashion photography. Fast.

The meeting ended after about 40 minutes or so and will be continued, I’ve been told:)

Oh and I like the video for new Dutch band Happy Camper. Happy Camper is more of a project than a band, I think. Musician Job Roggeveen asked 11 Dutch singers to come into the studio and sing his songs. The video they made for Born With A Bothered Mind is quite cute I thought.

Stylish Blog Thing

Woop:-) I have been tagged by the lovely Miss Mermaid and been awarded my first ever blog award. Very cool and thank you:-)
According to her ‘Swimming Upstream’ is an “arty blog by an awesome Dutch photographer – read it for learning about music you’ve never heard of before.”
That’s quite cool eh!

The deal is that:
a) you have to link back to the person who awarded you the award
b) share 7 things about yourself and
c) Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
d)  Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Ahhh 7 things about myself? OK. Here we go
1. Coffee. I love it. The taste. The smell. The idea of having coffee with someone, spending time with friends, catching up. More coffee should be had.
2. I love Robert Capa. Handsome. Dangerous. Adventurer. Photographer extraordinaire.
3. Magazines. Started buying them when I was 10 years old and have never stopped. Music, art or fashion magazines… From Oor (their Anton Corbijn pages in the 90’s made me want to be a photographer) to Vogue to ID or Dazed and Confused. I’ll read them all.
4. I am claustrophobic.
5. Like most girls, I have a thing for shoes… sneakers, stilettos, wedges, green, black, blue, red, all of them but they have to be pretty. As we say in Holland: shoes maketh the man.. well, they maketh the woman too:-)* I like make up and bags too. Yup, I’m a girl:)
6. I make road movies in my head.
7. I would like to publish a book one day full of travel stories, portraits and great graphic design.

I’m not sure I can make to it 15 but here are some of my favorite bloggers. I’ll come back later and add some more.
The Green Hair Mermaid Blogs – A personal and often moving blog in which the wonderful mermaid tries to find her way through life with musings about family, love, religion, art and anything that is on her mind.
 Groupiemom – Cool and fun, wannabe assassin and groupie.
My life: FTW! – I don’t know anyone who matches her gusto for life. She is for the win!
Agony Bette – Seriously, someone needs to pay that chick a fortune, the absolute best for bad advice. She’ll have you in stitches in no time. And did I tell you she is an awesome person as well? Well, she is.
Lost Is A Place Too – Lauren Fowler’s blog, all round awesome and very talented illustrator, cool person and hot chick.
One Small Change –  Blog by the super talented photographer Deborah Rossouw.
Beatnik Bazaar –  Pretty things, pretty photos, über stylish. ‘nuff said:)
Lena_ski – The personal side of the Overtone blog. She loves, no *lives* music.
Being Brazen – She has bucket lists by guest bloggers! And fashion. And 10 things I learned this weekend.
Miss Moss – Endless gorgeous images to browse through. Fashion, design, photography, art. Beautiful.
 The Pessimiss – This is what happens when you love fashion:) Inspiring and funny.  And she ran an amazing Valentine competitions for all you Capetonians out there.
 Symphony of Whales –  Music blog by Cape Town musician Nathan Maingard. He likes Sharon van Etten, we share the same birthday, he has all sorts of cool music suggestions, he likes to travel. In short, a cool blog.

*we don’t but it sounds good:)