Tag Archives: Photography

New Art Books: “Cherry Blossoms – Sakura Collections From The Library Of Congress”

Cherry Blossoms Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress book February 11 2020“Cherry Blossoms” reflects on the long tradition of flower viewing in Japanese culture with vivid color woodblock prints by ukiyo-e master artists, photographs, color lithographic posters and Kōkichi Tsunoi’s exquisite watercolor drawings from 1921. The book highlights the rich connections between Japan’s centuries-old traditions and contemporary counterparts. The American public’s affection for the blossoms is revealed in vintage and contemporary photographs of the Tidal Basin, collections related to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Cherry Blossom Princess Program, as well as decades’ worth of creatively designed festival posters.

Vibrant springtime traditions of cherry blossom viewing in Japan and Washington, D.C., are explored in the new book “Cherry Blossoms: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress,” published today by Smithsonian Books, in association with the Library of Congress.

Visual art, including prints, drawings and photographs from the Library’s collections, provide a fresh look at the tradition of cherry blossom celebrations that originated more than 1,200 years ago. Japan shared the tradition with the United States when they presented the nation’s capital with 3,020 cherry trees in 1912. Ever since, D.C. residents and visitors have been mesmerized by the trees and have joined in the festivities of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws more than 1.5 million visitors each year.

Fascinating Facts about Cherry Blossom Traditions:

  • It started over 1,200 years ago…with plum blossoms! The Japanese custom of flower viewing, or hanami, is thousands of years old. Beginning in the 9th century, saplings and trees were brought down from the mountains to grace the gardens of the aristocracy. The practice was first associated with plum (ume) blossoms before it became linked almost exclusively with cherry blossoms during the Heian period (794-1185).
  • A feudal warlord threw some of the most lavish parties. Before it became popular with people at all levels of society, cherry blossom viewing in Japan was reserved for the elite. Legendary feudal warlord and samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-98) sponsored some of history’s most lavish cherry blossom-viewing events. His 1594 celebration at Mount Yoshino included a poetry party, a nō play, and a hanami party with 5,000 guests. In 1598, he built hillside teahouses to accommodate guests for his party at Kyoto’s Daigoji temple and transplanted 700 cherry trees to the site.
  • Blossoms Symbolize Fleeting Delights in Life. Cherry blossoms are heralds of spring, but their short blooming period also evokes the ephemeral beauty of life. Edo period (1603-1868) hanami celebrations featured the pleasure of food and drink, poetry and music – tinged with wistful appreciation of the fleeting beauty of both blossoms and earthly delights. This tradition continues. The transitory beauty of life becomes vivid when gusty spring winds end the blooming season with showers of drifting petals, an effect the Japanese call hanafubuki (cherry blossom blizzard).
  • A “Field of Cherries” in Potomac Park? It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers three decades to transform the low-lying area known as Potomac Flats into Potomac Park. A 1914 sightseer map of Washington features the new park and labels the road around the west end of the Tidal Basin as the “Speedway.” U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist David Fairchild and cherry tree advocate Eliza Scidmore promoted the site as an ideal place for a “field of cherries.”
  • Not all cherry blossoms are pink. Cherry blossoms varieties include multiple colors: white, pink, yellow – even green. Twelve different varieties of cherry blossom trees were sent from the city of Tokyo to Washington D.C. in 1912. While most were the white-pink Somei Yoshino, there were also 10 different varieties of double-flowered (or manifold) trees, one variety with green blossoms, called Gyoikō, and some varieties with fragrance. The trees around today’s Tidal Basin are limited primarily to Somei Yoshino and Kwan-Zan.

Authors Mari Nakahara and Katherine Blood, both curators in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, present a comprehensive view of the history of this annual celebration, illustrated by prints, posters, photographs and artifacts from the Library’s rich collections.


New Photography Books: “Neon Road Trip” By John Barnes (March 2020)

John Barnes Neon Road Trip book March 2020The vivid photographs are arranged according to the signs’ imagery, with sections such as Spirit of the West, On the Road, Now That’s Entertainment, and Ladies, Diving Girls & Mermaids. Sixteen of the most iconic landmark signs include brief histories on how that unique sign came to be. A resource section includes a photography index by location and a Neon Museums Visitor’s Guide.

Take to the road to discover the history and artistry of North America’s disappearing neon signs.

Neon Road Trip chronicles the history of the commercial neon sign with a curated collection of photographs capturing the most colorful and iconic neon still surviving today.

John Barnes studied art, graphic design, sculpture and photography, earning a BFA degree in documentary photography from the University of Delaware 1984. He worked as a commercial advertising photographer for over fifteen years both on the east coast and in San Francisco, and has been a fine art photographer for the last 30 years. He recently spent the last two years traveling around the United States and Canada photographing iconic neon signs. John resides in Seattle but spends most of his time traveling taking photographs.

New Books: “London Life – The Magazine Of The Swinging Sixties” (2020)

London Life The Magazine of the Swinging Sixties Edited by Simon Wells March 2020With imagery from the likes of David Bailey, Duffy and Terence Donovan, designs from Peter Blake, David Hockney, Gerald Scarfe and fledgling artist Ian Dury plus words and opinions from those riding high on the city`s cutting-edge, London Life remains the coolest document from the capital’s most exciting period.

While many books, films and documentaries claim to have captured the phenomenon that was Swinging London, just one magazine was present in the capital during the 1960s to illustrate this extraordinary moment as it unravelled. London Life emerged in October 1965 and, over the next fifteen months, would document the capital s action at its absolute zenith.

Collected for the first time, including forewords from Peter Blake and David Puttnam and a scene-setting introduction from Simon Wells, London Life offers a remarkable and candid view on a period when London was the creative hub of the world.

Top Photography Books: “At Glacier’s End” In Iceland By Chris Burkard

At Glacier's End by Chris Burkard December 2019 Release“Iceland’s glacial rivers are nature’s abstract paintings. It seems obvious that rivers this wild and stunning are protected, yet the harsh reality is that many have been dammed, mainly to provide power for aluminum plants.

A massive conservation movement is underway to preserve these rivers, but will it succeed? At Glacier’s End gives a voice to Iceland’s glacial rivers – providing both a cultural and environmental perspective – on the journey from glacier to sea.”

At Glacier's End by Chris Burkard December 2019 Release

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Arts: “2019 International Landscape Photographer Of The Year” Awards


2019 International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards

From website: Congratulations to Oleg Ershov, Russian Federation, the International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2019!

And to all the other winners and, most importantly, all the Top 101 photographers! It was a huge year and one of the toughest yet – the quality continues to get better and better!

The prize winners are:

  • Oleg Ershov, Russian Federation, the International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2019
  • 光 杨 (Yang Guang), China, The International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2019 – Second Place
  • Blake Randall, Canada, The International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2019 – Third Place

2019 International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2nd Place Awards

2019 International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards Book
See Photos in Book


Photographers: 60-Year Old Hélène Binet’s “Architectural Pathos”

“Hélène Binet has emerged as one of the leading architectural photographers in the world. Every time Hélène Binet takes a photograph, she exposes architecture’s achievements, strength, pathos and fragility.” 

Hélène Binet Swiss-French Photographer 1959 - Present

Hélène Binet was born in 1959 in Sorengo and is of both Swiss and French background. She currently lives in London with her husband Raoul Bunschoten and their two children, Izaak and Saskia. She studied photography at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Rome, where she grew up, and soon developed an interest in architetural photography.

Hélène Binet Swiss-French Photographer 1959 - Present
Hélène Binet

Over a period of twenty-five years Hélène Binet has photographed both contemporary and historical architecture. Her list of clients include architects Raoul Bunschoten, Caruso St John, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Studio Mumbai, Peter Zumthor and many others. While following the work of contemporary architects – often from construction through completion – Hélène Binet has also photographed the works of past architects as Alvar Aalto, Geoffrey Bawa, Le Corbusier, Sverre Fehn, John Hejduk, Sigurd Lewerentz, Andrea Palladio and Dimitris Pikionis. More recently, Hélène Binet has started to direct her attention to landscape photography, wherein she transposes key concerns of her architectural photography. Hélène Binet’s work has been published in a wide range of books, and is shown in both national and international exhibitions.

Hélène Binet is an advocate of analogue photography and therefore she exclusively works with film.


Upcoming Travel Books: “Always Italy” By Frances Mayes (March 2020)

Frances Mayes Always Italy Book March 2020From the colorful coastline of Cinque Terre and the quiet ports of the Aeolian Islands to the Renaissance architecture of Florence and the best pizza in Rome, every section features insider secrets and off-the-beaten-path recommendations (for example, a little restaurant in Piedmont known for its tajarin, a pasta that is the perfect bed for the region’s celebrated truffles).

This lush guide, featuring more than 350 glorious photographs from National Geographic, showcases the best Italy has to offer from the perspective of two women who have spent their lives reveling in its unique joys. In these illuminating pages, Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun and many other bestsellers, and New York Times travel writer Ondine Cohane reveal an Italy that only the locals know, filled with top destinations and unforgettable travel experiences in every region.

Here are the best places to stay, eat, and tour, paired with the rich history of each city, hillside town, and unique terrain. Along the way, you’ll make stops at the country’s hidden gems–art galleries, local restaurants, little-known hiking trails, spas, and premier spots for R&R. Inspiring and utterly unique, this vivid treasury is a must-have for anyone who wants to experience the best of Italy.

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