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reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow Paperback – 5 Sep 2005

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  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (5 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500285829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500285824
  • Product Dimensions: 26.8 x 23.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 540,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

William A. Ewing is Director of the Musee de l'Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland. His previous publications include The Body, Love & Desire and The Century of the Body, all published by Thames & Hudson.

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paraskevi Emmanouilidoy on 28 May 2010
Format: Paperback
the curator made an excellent selection of state of the art photographers and their work.
it's a really good indication of where photography will go in the future.
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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
An Overview of Student Work 2 May 2006
By Chris Kitze - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is difficult to find any single place with significant collections of exciting new photography and for that reason, the premise of this book attracted me. It consists of "mini portfolios" from 50 "unknown" photographers, selected from art schools around the world. Published by Aperture, the quality of reproduction is high, it is affordably priced and the book does a nice job of presenting the work.

Some of the work is very, very good. In particular, I enjoyed Mauren Brodbeck's urban landscapes, where she digitally manipulates the images to emphasize the space occupied by a building. Another photographer to watch is Idris Khan, who presents composited, appropriated imagery of post cards from the Tate, spherical gas tank photos by the Bechers and from his own travels.

There is clearly more mileage to get from this kind of conceptual approach and the book would have benefited with a focus in this direction. Other people of note were Chih-Chien Wang, who focuses on his first hand experience with immigration through a distinctive style and Eva Lauterlein, who digitally manipulates portraiture to change her subject's identity.

However, other than the trend in digital and conceptual photography, you won't find many new, groundbreaking trends in this book. Part of the trouble is using the art schools as a filter to find new work. Students tend to be strongly influenced by the work of others -- they have not had a chance to develop their own artistic identity. And art schools all tend to teach the same things. For that reason, many of the works have a derivative "I've seen that before" look to them.

Throughout this book, you see the echoes of Cindy Sherman, Alec Soth, Stephen Shore, and many others of that generation whose influence is strong with this generation. Of course, the best way to learn is to imitate others who have gone before and as an artist, you want to have that knowledge in your repertoire of understanding, if only to explore and break those rules later. To me, this book shows just how difficult it is to find your own voice.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great view of student photography ca. 2005 for those who are interested 17 Feb. 2008
By John Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book of pretty pictures, this is not it - the authors say as much. Or if you're looking for a book of pictures at the level of your favorite big name photographers, this book is not that either - again the authors say as much. What it is is a book of work by students and recent graduates (as of 2005) of a range of prominent art programs who have a real chance to be among the great photographers twenty years from now (2025, counting from 2005).

As another commenter has pointed out, what you see in this book is very filtered. This too the authors acknowledge. The fifty photographers whose work appears in the book (four pages each, four full page or more half page or smaller) were chosen as follows:

* The authors decided to seek candidates only from photography programs in art schools and other academic institutions.
* The authors chose sixty programs to extend invitations to.
* The faculty of the programs chose up to ten students and recent grads to offer nominations to.
* The students had to accept the offer.
* The faculty and students together (presumably) chose the specific work to submit.
* The work will have generally been done within the program and have been approved and supervised by the faculty.
* Finally, the authors selected the fifty "winners" from the almost four hundred submissions received (a rate of about one in eight).

Some demographics on the fifty:

* Gender: M 29, F 21
* Average year of birth: 1976 (age as of 2005: 29)
* Average years of attendance in program: 2001-2004
* Countries of birth/nationality: Switzerland 10, US 8, Germany 6, France 4, England 3, Israel, Japan, Netherlands and South Africa 2, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Sweden and Taiwan 1
* Countries of programs: Switzerland and US 10, France 6, England 5, Germany 4, Canada 3, Italy 2, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand and South Africa 1

As a point of interest, both Musee de l'Elysee, the institution that carried out the project, and Jaeger-LeCoultre, the company that funded it, are Swiss.

In making their selection, the authors applied at least one criterion that they explicitly state, which is that "there had to be a manifest intelligence behind the work." To verify this they asked the candidates to make a statement as to what they were trying to accomplish with their work and then evaluated the work against the statement. In doing this they clearly favored series (something you would expect from the programs anyway) and were very sympathetic to conceptual and theory-driven art (also to be expected from the programs).

At the same time the authors also insist that, as selective as they were, the work they chose was representative of the submissions as a whole and is characteristic of current work across the range of programs. Some of the specific trends (and anti-trends) they note include:

* Extreme dominance of color over black and white (only two artists in the book show B&W).
* Wide use of digital (i.e. Photoshop) techniques ranging from enhancement to selective removal of objects to compositing to radical transformation.
* Low/non-representation of some historically important genres including street photography and nudes, to which I would add narrative and other "fictional" forms along the lines of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson.
* Self-consciousness and a measure of insecurity about the value and future of the work.

They also mention the dichotomy between engaged and what they call escapist orientations but don't make any statement that I could find about how the work they evaluated and selected falls into the two categories. However the impression that I got from looking through the book is that only about a quarter of the artists are clearly engaged in the conventional sense, whether in terms of social issues or personal ones. The rest are, if not escaping from reality, at least viewing it from a distance.

Over half the artists show no people at all, and some (according to the descriptions) have actively removed people from their pictures through digital means. Of those who do show people a majority do so in a deadpan style, and a number "artificalize" their subjects through techniques ranging from compositing to distortion to shooting clay figures.

So this is what the book is. Is it something you would want to buy? If you are interested in what's going on in the top art schools (or was as of a few years ago), then probably yes. If you just want to see a lot of interesting work, then the answer depends on your tastes. Yours may be different from mine (I have only been actively involved in photography for about a year), but here are some artists in the book that I think are especially worth looking at:

* Raphael Dallaporta (France): exquisitely beautiful pictures of land mines paired with factual descriptions of the devices - chilling
* Idris Khan (England) : compelling extreme multiple exposures - he stands out in the book as showing a highly distinctive and well developed style
* Mieke van den Voort (Netherlands): living spaces left by people who died alone - the ultimate in trace/aftermath photography
* Pablo Zuleta Zahr (Chile, studied in Germany): lots of composite pictures of people dressed alike - a little gimmicky but very well executed
* Marco Bohr (German, studied in Canada): subtly insightful documentary photos of Japanese city life
* Ted Partin (US): real pictures of real people, intimate, black and white - really stands out in the book.

A number of other artists had a picture or two I liked even if I did not go for the whole series. Two of my favorites among these are Bianca Brunner (Switzerland) untitled (p. 53) and Chih-Chien Wang (Taiwan) Newspaper Wrap (p. 209).

I personally loved this book, but I don't think everybody will, so I give it just four stars.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Superb selection of groundbreaking photographers 14 Jun. 2007
By Juan Curto Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The "Regeneration" project is much more than a just a book. It was commissioned to Musée de l'Elysée by the Aperture Foundation as a way to discover the most promising young photographers around the world. It entails a 3-year travelling exhibition across the five continents which guarantees a strong visibility of the selected artists. I totally disagree with other reviewers' opinion that the artists are not "cutting-edge" or "original" in their work. In fact, "fresh fishes" need to be aware of the art history and of the "big contemporary fishes" to be able to produce something worthwhile, something of their own.

We have selected several of these artists in order to represent them. Our favourite works belong to amazing artists such as Bianca Brunner, Leo Fabrizio, Ted Partin, Johann Ryno de Wet and Pétur Thomsen. If you want to know what's on today and what will be in the future, buy this book!
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
a narrow view 21 Jun. 2006
By jack kerr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
this really is, as the other reviewer wrote, a one-sided view. i would browse this book in a store and if it really strikes you then go get jeff wall, philip lorca dicorcia, or gregory crewdson and see some much better work.
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