ken schles

Ken Schles: Invisible City, A Digital Resource

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This really should not have taken as long as it has, and for that my apologies. I often stress that accessibility is of paramount importance to me and The Photobook Club so was well aware that in publishing the Invisible City iBook I was both improving access to content for some but excluding a large audience also.

And so here I hope to rectify that by launching ‘Ken Schles: Invisible City, A Digital Resource’ as an enhanced PDF. Provided you have the latest Adobe Reader software (free and available on all platforms) you can download the resource for free below.

About:
This publication takes on a magazine-style format, inside of which you will find not only the images and text featured in Invisible City, but a variety of personal reflections, commentary on the process of creating Invisible City from Ken Schles and even original notes from a lecture given at New York’s International Center of Photography in 1990.

Download the enhanced PDF here to view on your PC/Mac/Tablet (File size: 90mb)

If you have an iPad, you can download the publication free from the link given below via the iBook store.

The complete forward featured in the publication alongside screenshots is featured below this introductory video.

Forward
I set up the Photobook Club in 2010 as a response to both my own fascination and frustration with photobooks. My fascination was born and nurtured as a student spending thousands of hours in the University library choosing books at random by the colour of their spine, or based on recommendations from my peers and tutors. My frustration was a little harder to pinpoint but essentially stemmed from my wanting to learn more about the classic photobooks, those revered and often rare books that held a sense of mystery between their two covers; everyone agreed they were classics but there was little discussion of why.

At the time there was, and still is, a huge interest in photobooks, but predominantly in the new, the self published and the handmade, and so together with partner-in-crime Wayne Ford, I decided to open out my thoughts and learning to a wider community – just as a traditional book club. As well as promoting and facilitating this shared experience online, I was keen to encourage the generative experience the photobook offers us both in spending time with a beautifully crafted artifact, and in sharing thoughts (as well as books) in person.

I certainly hope that (depending on your knowledge of Invisible City), this publication will either introduce you to, or help create a greater understanding of a hugely influential modern photobook. Inside you will find not only the images and text featured in Invisible City, but a variety of personal reflections, commentary on the process of creating Invisible City from Ken Schles and even original notes from a lecture given at New York’s International Center of Photography in 1990.

Regardless of your previous experience with this book, or whether you are a lecturer, photographer, student, book lover or just curious, I would really appreciate your comments via the email address below.

Finally, thanks must of course go primarily to Ken Schles, not only for allowing all to see his wonderful images but also for kindly lending me a copy of the book to work with, and for his enthusiasm towards this project. My thanks also to the contributors listed on the following page who offered their own, personal reflections on the book.

Matt Johnston


matt@photobookclub.org

 

Download the enhanced PDF here to view on your PC/Mac/Tablet (File size: 90mb)

If you have an iPad, you can download the publication free from the link given below via the iBook store.

 

web_ipad_ken_5b

5 Questions from Martin Brink of ‘The Digitial Photobook’

Swedish photographer and writer Martin Brink recently set up ‘The Digital Photobook’, a place to discuss and review how photographers and photography is exploring new possibilities in digital publishing. As part of this site Martin put 5 questions to me about The Photobook Club, our meetups and the choice to publish ‘Invisible City, A Digital Resource’ digitally.

Hit the image to head on over…

The Photobook Club Presents… Ken Schles: Invisible City

Today I am pleased to announce the launch of a digital publication looking closely at Ken Schles’ photobook Invisible City. This publication is currently available as a direct download for the iPad but will be available on more platforms shortly. This publication takes on a magazine-style format, inside of which you will find not only the images and text featured in Invisible City, but a variety of personal reflections, commentary on the process of creating Invisible City from Ken Schles and even original notes from a lecture given at New York’s International Center of Photography in 1990.

If you have an iPad, you can download the publication free from the link given below via the iBook store.

DOWNLOAD – ‘Ken Schles: Invisible City, A Digital Resource’ straight from the iBook Store

The complete forward featured in the publication alongside screenshots is featured below this introductory video.

Forward
I set up the Photobook Club in 2010 as a response to both my own fascination and frustration with photobooks. My fascination was born and nurtured as a student spending thousands of hours in the University library choosing books at random by the colour of their spine, or based on recommendations from my peers and tutors. My frustration was a little harder to pinpoint but essentially stemmed from my wanting to learn more about the classic photobooks, those revered and often rare books that held a sense of mystery between their two covers; everyone agreed they were classics but there was little discussion of why.

At the time there was, and still is, a huge interest in photobooks, but predominantly in the new, the self published and the handmade, and so together with partner-in-crime Wayne Ford, I decided to open out my thoughts and learning to a wider community – just as a traditional book club. As well as promoting and facilitating this shared experience online, I was keen to encourage the generative experience the photobook offers us both in spending time with a beautifully crafted artifact, and in sharing thoughts (as well as books) in person.

I certainly hope that (depending on your knowledge of Invisible City), this publication will either introduce you to, or help create a greater understanding of a hugely influential modern photobook. Inside you will find not only the images and text featured in Invisible City, but a variety of personal reflections, commentary on the process of creating Invisible City from Ken Schles and even original notes from a lecture given at New York’s International Center of Photography in 1990.

Regardless of your previous experience with this book, or whether you are a lecturer, photographer, student, book lover or just curious, I would really appreciate your comments via the email address below.

Finally, thanks must of course go primarily to Ken Schles, not only for allowing all to see his wonderful images but also for kindly lending me a copy of the book to work with, and for his enthusiasm towards this project. My thanks also to the contributors listed on the following page who offered their own, personal reflections on the book.

Matt Johnston


matt@photobookclub.org

 

DOWNLOAD – ‘Ken Schles: Invisible City, A Digital Resource’ straight from the iBook Store

Photo Book Club New York #2 on Sat 21st April

After the success of the inaugural PBCNY meeting in Febrauary, Helka Aleksdóttir has arranged meetup #2 which will take place on the 21st April at the InDi-go-CuBe, Long Island City.

I am especially  envious of this meetup as Ken Schles will be joining the group to talk about his fantastic new book ‘Oculus‘. More information can be found via the invitation shown below. RSVP to photo.olia@gmail.com

Photo Book Club New York, Meetup #2

– Matt

Stephen Shore’s ‘Uncommon Places’ and Memory

I have been thinking a little about memory lately (I can partly blame Ken Schles’ talk here) and have enjoyed seeing posts regarding the Google ‘Visually Similar Images‘ search. I was also casting an eye over the Galata Bridge experiment over on LPV Magazine this past weekend and thought I would try a one-man band version, only with images solely from ‘Uncommon Places’, and no sequence in mind, and no commentary, so really nothing like it!

And so what follows below are Shore’s images that triggered a memory of another image, perhaps they are a little on the nose, and certainly informed by the latest books I have been looking at, but I find them interesting nonetheless. If you have your own memory-pairs in mind, send me a link and I will upload them.

– Matt

Dorothea Lange and Stephen Shore

Dorothea Lange
‘Towards Los Angeles, California 1973’

Larry Sultan and Stephen Shore

Larry Sultan
‘Dad on Bed, 1985’

Edward Hopper and Stephen Shore

Edward Hopper
‘Office in a Small City, 1953’

Simon Roberts and Stephen Shore

Simon Roberts
‘River Wharfe, Skipton, North Yorkshire, 27 July 2008’

Edmund Clark and Larry Sultan and Stephen Shore

Edmund Clark
‘Camp One, Exercise Cage’ (From series ‘Guantanamo, If the Light Goes Out’)

Larry Sultan
‘Batting Cage 2007’

Walker Evans and Stephen Shore

Walker Evans
‘Kitchen Corner, Tenant Farmhouse, Hale County, Alabama, 1936’

Jeff Brouws and Stephen Shore

Jeff Brouws
‘Farm Forms’

Wim Wenders and Stephen Shore

Wim Wenders
‘Safeway, Corpus Christi, Texas’

Havn’t seen ‘Uncommon Places’ yet? Have a look…

Ken Schles: Four Books

A few months ago Ken Schles spoke at the SPE Northeast Conference in Syracuse, if ever there was a dream-team conference, this was it for me! Ken’s talk was posted online yesterday and I recommend anyone with even a passing interest in photobooks must take the time to view it.

Ken takes us through all four of his monographs, looking both at content and theme as well as the publication challenges and triumphs he experienced. What most interested me is just how much Ken’s books seem ultimately to form chapters in a much larger body of work, his interests and more importantly questions are never repeated, but we are reminded of them constantly.

Ken is proof that Tod Papageorge knew what he was talking about:

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t reading enough” – Tod Papageorge

This talk is best enjoyed with a chilled beverage and note taking device

– Matt

Invisible City: A Summary

As I have mentioned often in this process we are truly thankful that Ken has taken the time to illuminate us through a book that the majority of readers had never seen in it’s entirety. And one that only gains from Ken’s insightful and open posts. I would like to think that this book has become more accessible in some form to its new audience, it absolutely deserves to be seen.

Below is a list of all posts and reflections that have been shared this past month, which forms the most comprehensive archive we have created yet.

– Matt

Posts

Invisible City: Synopsis
Invisible City: The Book and the Images (VIDEO)
Invisible City: The Text
Invisible City: Lecture notes from 1990
Invisible City: Nightwalk, Fragments and Alternates

Other Books by Ken Schles

Ken Schles On: The Photo Book Club Process
Ken Schles On: How Invisible City came to be
Ken Schles on: The rare and unique life of Invisible City (Addendum)
Ken Schles On: Invisible City and Photobook Lists
Ken Schles Appearing In: (Talks, exhibitions and signings)

Personal Reflections

Stan Banos
Jeff Brouws
Jn-Ulrick Desert
Ludwig Haskins
Matt Johnston
Steve Pyke
Nina Seigenfeld Velazquez

 

Matt Johnston on ‘Invisible City’, a personal reflection

The first thing I said upon seeing the ‘Invisible City’ in it’s entirety was simply, “wow”, unfortunately at the time I was across the table from Ken Schles himself who had kindly agreed to lend the Photo Book Club a copy. It was a ‘Frasier-like’ moment when I really wished I had something more intelligent to say.

I also wished that I had a memory of this time and place depicted in such dark tones within Ken’s images, I wanted to layer my own history onto Ken’s page and relive a particular time through different eyes. But I have no memory of Ken’s subject and so Invisible City was new for me, allowing me to search without reference and without the worry of reality or history. It was like reading a book as a kid, each character would come to life and create a movie in my mind. There are books in which the authorial presence is constant and reassuring, in Invisible City I felt I was left alone to wander and explore Alphabet city, a fascinating, daunting, exciting and entirely unfamiliar place to be.

To me, Invisible City is not just a poem to the night (As Jeff Brouws commented) but a poem to the book, a reminder of how powerful the book as a medium can be. Single images are erased from my mind as I follow the darkest black tones from page to page, much like a shadow stretching across the entire spread of images. A photobook is a selection of images, and a good photobook is a fantastically sequenced and edited selection of images. Invisible City is just one, single, poetic image.

– Matt Johnston

©KEN SCHLES