Frank Horvat has died

Frank Horvat. Drugstore Entrance New York, 1984

Frank Horvat. Sealed Building, 55th St E New York, 1983.

He was full of years and we need not be too sad. But what an eye he had.

Maybe it’s enough just to remember that he was brilliant, in colour as well, as many people forget. In colour, he was as good as Harry Gruyaert.  As good as Saul Leiter.  Of these, the one that goes into Hodgson’s Choice is the Drugstore Entrance because it’s complicated enough I’d never get bored of it. It’s busy and still, and it makes me think of Sonny Stitt.

And maybe he quite liked yellow. 

All these pictures come from his book SideWalk, published by Hatje Cantz this month (in 2020!  Horvat was born in 1928. )  

Frank Horvat. A Homeless Person in a Yellow Sleeping Bag, Tribeca, New York, 1984.

Frank Horvat. A Yellow Cab in New York, 1985

Frank Horvat. A Little Girl in the Back of a Car, New York, 1985.      Reminds me very much of Helen Levitt’s great Spider Girl, also from New York, but perhaps a few years earlier.  She could do colour, too, come to think of it. 

Bus Riders, by Cindy Sherman


Cindy Sherman, from the Bus Riders, 1976.

[Another in my irregular series Hodgson’s Choice. Do note that this was first published in the Financial Times in 2013, and that references to ‘recent’ events are no longer all that recent, and that sales prices will have changed a lot. Things change – but one of those which has never changed is my affection for this great series and my undying, greedy wish to own it.  Luckily, according my own rules, I do now.] Continue reading

Fish-Eye Business


Hiro Betta Splendens 08048 NYC 1984

Hiro.    Betta Splendens 08048 NYC 1984

These magnificent pictures are of Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta Splendens, photographed by Hiro in the early 1980s. Continue reading

Plague Doctor, 2011, by Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf Plague Doctor

Plague Doctor, 2011, by Erwin Olaf

There is a pleasant game in these days of enforced isolation against the spread of the coronavirus. Lots of people are posting their COVID-19 relevant images – and one day someone should make an attempt to inventory them.  This is mine. Continue reading

Kandinsky, 1937, by Paul Outerbridge, Jr.

Paul Outerbridge - Kandinsky - 1937

Paul Outerbridge, Jr – Kandinsky – 1937.

You’d hardly call Paul Outerbridge a nearly man, yet he really was.  Continue reading

La Luz de la Mente, by Luis González Palma

Gonzalez Palma 1624

Luis González Palma. 1624, from the series La Luz de la Mente, 2005. Película orthocromática y láminas de oro.

Continue reading

Iago, or Study from an Italian – by Julia Margaret Cameron


Julia Margaret Cameron           Iago – or study from an Italian 1867       Science Museum Group collection

What follows is the next instalment of my re-posting of the various pieces that first appeared in the Financial Times in early 2013, in my discontinued series Hodgson’s Choice.  I have had some misgivings about this one, not because of any doubt that the picture is wonderful – it is, and my insistence on having it in my ‘collection’ is unchanged.  But re-posting reminds me of the deficiencies of my own scholarship – and nobody much likes that. Continue reading

The Red Bustle, by Nick Knight

Nick Knight Red Bustle for Yohji Yamamoto 1986

Nick Knight            The Red Bustle, 1986

The colours of a bullfight as the sun finally goes down. It’s not complicated. The elements of this photograph are controlled with a curious mix of indulgent austerity, and it remains seductive long after the clothes it was made to sell have passed into the archive. Continue reading

L’Accordéoniste de la Rue Mouffetard, by Robert Doisneau

The Accordionist Rue Mouffetard

Robert Doisneau                                      L’Accordéoniste de la rue Mouffetard (1951)

I like a bit of French humanist photography as much as the next man, and often for very simple reasons. But they’re not always simple pictures. Brassaï was an intellectual, a writer and a thinker as well as a snapper, whereas Robert Doisneau is thought of as an instinctual, reflex, photographer. He certainly had prodigious reflexes. A picture like this has to be rapidly seized. But that by no means implies that it need be slight. The elegant complexity of what is going on in this charming street scene still takes me by surprise. Never underestimate a great photographer. Continue reading

Submerged Trailer, Salton Sea, 1983 by Richard Misrach

Richard Misrach, Submerged Trailer, Salton Sea 1983

Richard Misrach: Submerged Trailer, Salton Sea, 1983. Richard Misrach is represented by the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, California.

As a co-founder of the Prix Pictet, awarded since 2008 for images on the theme of sustainability, I have thought a lot about environmental photography. I know that Richard Misrach takes his place in a long line of predecessors, from Carleton Watkins through Ansel Adams and the New Topographics. I know that both irony and the sublime had been found in the landscape many times before him. I’m British, and know well that tradition of engaged landscape photography represented by Fay Godwin and before her by Bill Brandt. But somehow, for me, it always goes back to Misrach, who was born in Los Angeles in 1949. Continue reading