- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (October 8, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1933952474
- ISBN-13: 978-1933952475
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 11.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,112,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Born in Berlin in 1936, Harald Mante studied graphic design and painting at Werkkunstschule Wiesbaden. He taught Photographic Design at Dortmund Polytechnic and at the European Art Academy in Trier, as well as many seminars and workshops. Professor Mante has authored numerous art books and textbooks. His photographic work has been exhibited in museums and private collections world-wide, and his books and calendars have become collector's items.
Top customer reviews
But, knowing Mante's instructional writings fairly well, I was struck by the almost palpable joy Mante must have felt in seeing and taking these images. They are uplifting, fun, at times just plain funny and indicative of an optimistic view of life's possibilities. He is not a street photographer. Most images are of static subjects, but all are primo examples of the most sophisticated ability to see the visual potential in one's surroundings.
I was reminded of Hans Silvester's book, "Kaleideoscope," which was not available in the U.S., and of William Eggleston's work. WE's work is much less optimistic in feeling, sometimes emphasizing the graphic aspects in the most utterly banal to emphasize that banality. HS's book is more purposefully abstract, almost a lesson in nonrepresentational photographic imaging. Mante's new book has a very different, light hearted feel.
If one has studied Mante's instructional books, one can enjoy seeing many familiar illustrations on their own with a short caption stating the location, and many not published before. If this is one's introduction to Mante's photography, it is a delightful look at this master photographer/teacher's work and style.
The one bone I have to pick is that vertical images are not the same size as the more numerous horizontal ones, but two-thirds the linear size. The verticals' height is equal to the height of the horizontals. There being no difference in the quality of the verticals' images, they should have been presented with the same dimensions as the horizontals. There is plenty of page space to do that. If this was a book/visual design decision, I submit that printing the verticals on the same horizontal axis as the horizontal images is the way to go. The verticals seem diminished, or subordinated for some unknown reason to the horizontals in this book's presentation.
The photographs were all taken on Kodachrome slide film over a period of time at many places around the world. They are mainly concerned with color and composition--subjects that the German artist, Professor Harald Mante, has long taught. They include many abstract architectural studies, painted walls and doorways, interesting objects and shadows in front of walls, reflections in windows, forms, shapes, lines, angles, and areas of uniform color.
The book is arranged by themes. The facing photographs on each double-page spread are related so they provide a clever and sometimes amusing visual dialog. An example is the spread on pages 136 and 137. The upper part of the photograph on the left shows a group of five older French women, maybe nuns, taken from behind and from the waist down, who are wearing long black dresses, black stockings, and sturdy black shoes. The upper part of the photograph on the right shows a young Spanish woman, also taken from behind and from the waist down, who is wearing a pink skirt and high heels. The bottom and background of both pictures shows the ground on which the women are standing--a uniform gray gravel for the nuns and a yellow-striped roadway for the senorita.
On the evidence of this book, Professor Mante is indeed a master photographer and teacher. Each photograph in it is nicely seen, nicely framed, nicely focused, and nicely exposed. If you had traveled to the places he visited and returned with these pictures, you'd be very pleased with yourself. I know I would.
But maybe not. The pictures in this book lack much sense of place and time, and they lack a sense of the messiness and complexity, pain and beauty, of human life and society. If you want more from photographs than nice color and composition, this book may disappoint.