black and white

Photography

Dreary Town (Photography)

Dreary Town

By Enrico Doria

Enrico Doria’s series Dreary Town was inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities: “Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.” Doria photographed his series with a Holga camera, capturing the towns of Sicily (Trapani and Palermo), Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Sarajevo, Milano, Johannesburg, and Tallin.

Thanks to Doria’s distinctive look (high-contrast, slightly shaken, and deliberately imperfect), his photographs feel at times like glimpses. The glimpse of a man or woman going to work, or to the train station; a wanderer glancing upward. Yet there is a deliberate sameness to these glimpses, which extends from Johannesburg to Paris. The sameness of modern life, of the memories created by an identical commute. Here the well-traveled city is a receptacle of memories (psychically recorded by workers and travelers), which are all alike. Doria writes that he wanted to portray the “impersonality of the city, showing the cold regularity of some urban architecture and the small places in which many of us are living, sometimes in contrast with the spaces all around.” 


Enrico Doria was born in Palermo in 1978 and received his PhD in Genetics and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Pavia. He currently works in Pavia. His photographs have been published widely in several national and international magazines, including LensCulture and Lomography. He has exhibited his photography, which he often shoots on medium format film, in various Italian and foreign cities, including at the Spaziofarini6 Gallery in Milan. Follow his work on his website here.

Doria recently prepared a book dummy for his photography series Esprits, which you can – and should! – check out here.

Photography

Gasworks (Photography)

Gasworks

By Nikos Markou

Nikos Markou’s aesthetic – black-and-white film, shot with available light, stark yet intimate – is the perfect complement to the space of the Gasworks and those who work there. Unlike the Bechers, he goes past the building’s façade to catch glimpses of capitalism’s inner workings: men showering, relaxing, laboring in this plant that looks like it came out of a 1940s prison movie. In fact, Markou took these photographs in 1982–1984 at the Athens Gasworks, right before it ceased its operations, and years before it became the museum it is today. His photographs show the plant in its last iconic gasp.

Markou writes about this series, “What urged me to start working on this project was originally the look of the factory itself which, back then, had a dry unique character. I was interested in getting to know the workers so I started visiting them regularly, watching them work and depicting their lives any way I could. What I experienced throughout this process was definitely much more powerful than what is depicted in the photos, yet I hope that these manage to express, to a certain extent, the hardships that these people had to endure trying to make a living.”


Nikos Markou was born in Athens in 1959. He studied mathematics in Athens. He first entered the photographic scene with the publication of Perama in 1980 while also commencing his professional career in advertising and teaching photography (1985–1998). His interest focuses on the Greek landscape and people, and he has published two photographic monographs (Geometries, 1999, and Cosmos, 2003). He works with magazines, publishing houses, and large-scale export companies, while at the same time his works belong to private and public collections. He lives and works in Athens. Learn more about his work here.

You might also like…
Nikos Markou’s Perama
John Brian King’s LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84

Photography

Punk Daze (photography)

Punk Daze

by John Brian King

In the early 1980s, John Brian King was photographing the stranded travelers and unfrequented places that would later appear in his unique, wonderful book LAX: Photographs of Los Angles 1980–84. At the same time, he was going to punk shows, desecrating L.A. industrial lofts, meeting John Lydon (!), and hanging out with some spectacularly dressed friends. He brought his camera along to capture the odder moments of his youth. His color photographs are vibrant and unaffected; his black-and-white shots are stark and impulsive, reminiscent of his work at the airport. “Punk Daze” is a casual, personal look into the photographer’s life, revealing, little by little, the anarchic ideas behind his artistic accomplishments.


John Brian King is a Los Angeles native who graduated with a degree in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. His photography books LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84 and Nude Reagan are now available from Spurl Editions. He designed the film titles for over thirty films, including Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love and The Ring. Additionally, he wrote and directed the feature film Redlands, an examination of creativity and horror in relation to photography. Visit his website here, and follow him on Instagram.

Photography, Publishing

An Interview with John Brian King, a Playlist, and More

The photographer chatted with Impose Magazine writer Matt Draper about his book LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84The article features other photographs taken by John Brian King in the 1980s (including photographs of Disneyland and the band Public Image Ltd/PiL), as well as a playlist of what the photographer was listening to at that time.

That, and a few choice quotes, like…

“Los Angeles in 1980 was the year Dorothy Stratten was murdered and Kim Kardashian was born – and I know which celebrity I prefer.”

Available now. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Publishing, Photography

“LAX” Featured in Slate (with an interview!)

Slate writer Jordan G. Teicher interviewed John Brian King via e-mail about his photography book LAX. The resultant article, which appeared in Behold: Photo Blog on Slate on November 30, is a fascinating look into King's aesthetic and photographic process.

John Brian King was 18 when he first started making photos at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). It was 1980, and only a year earlier he’d purchased his first photography book by Weegee, who is famous for his flash-heavy, black-and-white photos of urban life. The influence is clear in King’s series, “LAX,” which appears, along with another series, “LA,” in LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84, published by Spurl this month.  
“I think the photographs in my book stand out as documents of a disappeared time—for me and my subjects—and a visual commentary of how I perceived humanity in my youth,” King said via email.
“I loved photographing these travelers arriving at the airport, brutally assaulted by this sea of ugliness, attempting to cope. I wanted to show, through the stark art of black-and-white photography, the dry vulnerability and humor of these people.”

Available now. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Photography, Publishing

The Weary And Harried Travelers Of LAX In The Early 1980s

Photographer John Brian King spoke to Danny Jensen of LAist about what drew him to LAX and what has changed since he took these photos. The interview is accompanied by a slideshow of images from the book. Plus, in even more awesome news, LAX is now available at Skylight Books in Los Feliz.

Looking back on the photos, what has changed about LAX and Los Angeles in general over the years in your opinion?

LAX back then was always in a constant state of controlled anarchy; now it is just controlled, fixed and rigid. Having been to many other airports since I photographed “LAX,” I now try to avoid flying through LAX at all costs; I currently live in Palm Springs, which has a genius open-air airport designed by the noted mid-century modern architect Donald Wexler (who also is the architect of my house).

To me, Los Angeles has become banal, corporate, dysfunctional, and aesthetically inert. When I took the photographs, it was the era of punk rock shows at the Whiskey, “Repo Man” being filmed in my neighborhood, and performance art by Mike Kelley at LACE—an atmosphere that I thrived in.

Available now. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Photography, Publishing

L.A. By Night – Interview with John Brian King

LAX was featured in Amadeus, an arts and culture magazine based in LA, with text by Taylor Wojick. The article includes an interview with photographer John Brian King. Here's a little excerpt.

Observational documentation and archival footage is what allows my generation to gain a better understanding of the past, through an unbiased visual narrative. What sort of impact do you think these photographs will have in 60 or even 100 years?
John Brian King: To my mind, there is no such thing as an “unbiased visual narrative.” Even cameras that are technically “unmanned” – bank surveillance cameras, police dash cams, Google Maps cameras – create their own biased narratives by the very nature of the people who control them.
A hundred years from now, I hope my photographs will be viewed as another tiny blip of aesthetic evidence of humanity’s absurdity and possible decline. I would be haunting someone from my grave if my photographs were curated by a nostalgic academic who was only interested in recontextualizing them into a horrible miasma akin to “Humans of New York” or “The Family of Man.”

Available now. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Photography, Publishing

Flashback: Los Angeles Airport in the 1980s

LAX was featured in the fabulous AnOther Magazine, with text by Maisie Skidmore and – if we may be so bold – a terrific slideshow of images.

"I don’t want to be nasty," Karl Lagerfeld told Susannah Frankel shortly before the beginning of Chanel’s S/S16 airport extravaganza at Paris Fashion Week, “but of course in an airport, with the bus tours, it’s not the same as an airport as it was in the past, with first class, when travelling was something people dressed for.” It’s an incisive observation, as it is Lagerfeld’s wont to make, but of course he has a point. “We live in another world,” he summarises, and it's this world, in which airports are no longer the domain of the rich and famous, which is the subject of a new book of photographs by John Brian King, entitled LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980-84.

Releasing November 2, 2015. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Photography, Publishing

From Airport to City: Moody Photos of 1980s Los Angeles at Night

LAX was featured in Flavorwire over the weekend, with a terrific write-up by Alison Nastasi and a slideshow of John Brian King’s photographs.

You’re probably already familiar with the work of photographer John Brian King. He’s designed the film titles for dozens of movies, including Boogie NightsThe RingMagnoliaPunch-Drunk Love, and Lilo & Stitch. King also directed a movie called Redlands, set in the California city. But it was over 30 years ago that King first had his eye on the Golden State. 
His photographs, focused on the harried travelers bustling in and out of the Los Angeles International Airport and the gritty streets of Los Angeles at night, haven’t seen the light of day since the ‘80s. Those black-and-white negatives have finally reemerged in a new book published by Spurl Editions, LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84, available on November 2. 
The photographer’s monograph tells a parallel story that ushers us from airport to city — the chaos of the LAX lobby to the Sunset Strip, revealing images of a metropolis that has since vanished.

Releasing November 2, 2015. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Photography, Publishing

“LAX” Featured in KCET’s Artbound

KCET’s Artbound features photographs from John Brian King’s LAX, as well as the photographer's afterword. 

Releasing November 2, 2015. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Photography, Publishing

“LAX” Featured in We Heart

“John Brian King's confrontational style ignites the tension at early '80s LAX…” writes Rob Wilkes of We Heart, a journal that combines in-depth stories with design-led news from all areas of contemporary culture. He goes on:

There’s a palpable sensation of restless tension that seems to permeate the atmosphere at airports, and the bigger and busier the terminal, the more that tension is felt. There’s simply too many people all trying to do the same thing in too little space. The stop-start queueing, the frantic dashes for a far-flung gate, or just as often the long, boring wait to be called. Lost baggage, cancelled flights, forgotten passports, screaming kids, travellers both nervous and the exhausted, bursts of joyous excitement — emotion at every step.
Even in the days before the stringent anti-terror security measures, airports were a pretty fraught experience. Back in the early ’80s, brash young photographer John Brian King threw himself into the potential powder keg that was Los Angeles International Airport with flash blazing — deliberately intrusive and often unwelcome — to see what might combust. Aside from the human drama, King was also drawn to the fabric of the building itself, and the detritus and damage left behind by the transit of so many people. Born and raised near LAX, King was fascinated by flight from a young age; his childhood home was on a street called Flight, he went to a school named after Orville Wright, and his father was an engineer on both the B-52 bomber and the space programme. He shot his airport images while a teenager before leaving for art school, later returning to take up a night-time survey of Los Angeles’ streets for a second series.
The negatives remained in a box for 30 years as King abandoned photography for writing and filmmaking, but the two series are now seeing the light of day together in this photobook. LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980-84 by John Brian King is published by Spurl Editions, and due for release in November.

Releasing November 2, 2015. 24 cm x 22 cm softcover, shrink-wrapped, 132 pages (117 black & white photos), limited edition of 750 copies, afterword by the photographer in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.