Archive for April, 2008

Mario Giacomelli

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Christies of London are holding their Spring auction of photographic prints on May 15th at King Street. The sale includes 8 prints by one of my favourite photographers, Mario Giacomelli. He really should have been included in the list of favourites that I posted in March and the omission has been corrected.

It is not the individual photo that’s important to me, but the series, the story.

Mario Giacomelli – in his last interview, 2000

Giacomelli’s passion for weaving narrative with his camera is close to my heart. In every image one sees him thinking like a painter, a graphic artist, a story teller and a master photographer.

Here are some samples from the prints for sales at Christies. The first image in the series has been cropped due to a gutter blemish from the catalogue scan.



Giacomelli was so passionate about planning his rural landscapes that he went to the extent of loaning tractors so that he could ‘draw’ his vision in the fields.


You can view the entire catalogue online here, the Giacomelli images start on page 90.

The web page for the sale can be found here.

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George Lois – Inventor of “The Big Idea”

Monday, April 28th, 2008

George Lois was featured in this weekend's NYT. With my long career in advertising and photography, reading about the giants of the industry often brings back memories of stories or incidents. Very often the stories have their origins in that most extraordinary of decades, the sixties. Here is a cover (scanned from the copy in my library) of his book called 'Covering the Sixties'.


My wife Alida was on a visit to New York in 1967 to sell my book 'African Image' to our publishers. While there, she met George Lois, a giant figure in the design and advertising world. Living in Johannesburg at the time, we were exposed to his work mainly through the iconic covers he produced for Esquire Magazine. George told Alida about his love of African Art and the slide show about him in the NYT opens with a portrait of him sitting in front of pieces from his collection. He lamented to her that he still didn't own an African pot because they were mostly fired at low temperatures and all too often arrived in the States broken. Art shipping methods have improved somewhat since the 60s but it is not uncommon to see African pots in collections that have been carefully repaired, like the piece in the image below.


Alida remembered that some of my Tungsten Lights had arrived in boxes that were cleverly designed to protect the contents by suspending one box inside another with strong rubber bands in each corner. So we sent George a pot, almost identical to the one in my photograph below, and it duly reached him in NY, totally undamaged.


George has brought out a new book in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, a visual celebration of American graphic culture called 'Iconic America'.

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The Age Of The Understatement

Monday, April 21st, 2008


Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals have put together a critically acclaimed new album called The Age of the Understatement with their 'side project' group The Last Shadow Puppets.

The cover is one of the shots from my book FIVE GIRlS (1962). Gill was an art student in Johannesburg in the early sixties. Not a professional model, she just walked into the studio one day and was a total natural in front of the camera.

There were stories of Vietnam soldiers taking copies of Five Girls (often gifted to them by their wives or girlfriends) to war, so Gill was also a Vietnam pinup. The fan mail generated by Five Girls in the 60s included letters from both men and women.

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Sunday, April 13th, 2008

Gill, the art student with the ribbons in her hair. Two images from my book “Five Girls”. The model, photographer and in this case the Rolleiflex camera are all comfortably anchored flat on the floor.

For clarity, the individual images from this spread are repeated below.




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