leo photophile

Through a glass darkly

Arets Bilder

When I was much younger than I am now I came across a book of black and white photographs, I don’t remember where, possibly in a secondhand bookshop or stall, or maybe someone was throwing it out. Anyway, it was a Swedish publication: Ur STF’s bildskord 1955/6 Swedish Pictures of the Year 1955, published by The Swedish Touring Club. The title, which I have by heart, was Årets Bilder (pronounced oreets – with the little circle above the Å). I haven’t seen the book in years.

Coming across this unlikely publication in the fifties was one of those chance occurrences that feels just right. Thematically the photographs would now seem dated – mountain landscapes, healthy walkers in national dress, elderly worshippers – yet they had a quality which fascinated me then and I suspect still would. It was the particular balance of dark and light these photographs possessed that drew me, together with an elusive focus which must have been characteristic of the lenses of the time. It is the type of picture I find myself going after today.

 Three doves Three doves bild, Dubrovnic 1966

 St Anthony's bilder St Anthony-in-Roseland bild, August 2006

  Piano top Piano top bild, 1997

This is a bronze by the late Clifford Benjamin Cundy, 1925 – 1992. Here is his obituary in The Independent, 16 Apr 1992.

Sculptor in bronze, painter in oils. Exhibited at the Royal Academy, London and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and commercial galleries worldwide. Member of the Sketch Club. Member of the National Society of Painters. Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford to study engineering but spent more of his time studying art at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford and did not graduate. Friend of the Scottish sculptor, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, CBE, RA. He returned to England from Iran with the intention of becoming a monk, perhaps influenced by C.S. Lewis who was a don at Magdalen at the time, but instead met his lifelong muse, Hazel, who was to become his wife, so he gave up his intention. Clifford made all his own tools and equipment and did most of his own casting and finishing at Richmond, Surrey, England where he lived. His ancestor was Andreas Kunde, from Pommern, Prussia, born before 1762, who married Anna Clara Klatten auf dem Kutzenhufken also from Pommern, Prussia. Otto von Bismarck, the ‘iron chancellor’, had an estate in the same place.

My picture is in the remembered spirit of Arets Bilder.

Perhaps there are different influences at work here, however.

Carlisle Lane SE1 Carlisle Lane, SE1, August 2006

September 16, 2006 Posted by | black and white photography | Leave a comment