A book containing a selection of my street photography, a gift for all my followers and supporters. The book contains a foreword by Michael Ernest Sweet. If your street photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not living the street enough. I really hope this book will be an inspiration to get out and take pictures in the street Alex Coghe, 2014
Photography, art in general, is close to freedom only when we manage to bring it to our innermost being. The more I photograph the more I know myself. Photography is not a matter of form for me, I am interested in it's content. The content should not necessarily be revelation - or even worse, didacticism. I’m not a photographer from Yosemite Park…I don’t fucking care about the technical celebration. Photography for me is not a matter of tonal range. For me it is instinct, the ability to capture fragments, or being able to move through the images with my own state of mind. Didactic photography is terribly boring. My photography doesn’t want to be reassuring. I live in a Mexican barrio, why should I photograph sunsets and flowers? I do photograph flowers, but even these are through a dark eye…so that I find les fleurs du mal.My photography is not supposed to look beautiful. I’m not even interested in the composition…I feel indeed that I must improve on this … I want to be dirtier. The image is the thing that matters. The process is not important, but the idea - that is crucial. I smile mockingly when someone talks about originality. What is originality? Yet another portrait is original? A new shot in the street? Everything is reinterpretation. Everything is reproduction in photography. Decoding is the key. Or, if you prefer, the filter. The photographer through his experience and his cultural heritage is that filter. Sure…I am not talking about technique. That’s a concept that I leave to monkeys with a camera, or the ghost of Ansel Adams. I think Charles Bukowski is more important for me than Henri Cartier-Bresson. There are no rules for the visual inspiration. Even if someone is always trying to create them. There is no reality in photography. There may be realism, but not reality. I can only try to collect portions, fragments of reality. It is through this consciousness that I create images. The image of an image is another image. Rewritten, regenerated, renewed. A new image. A new fragment of reality. Alex Coghe 2013
FOREWORD BY MICHAEL ERNEST SWEET Immediately, when we look at photographs by Alex Coghe we think of Daido Moriyama, and Shomei Tomatsu before him. Clearly, Coghe has studied this school of Japanese photography and has acquired the aesthetic. Like Moriyama and Tomatsu, Coghe is on a quest to discover the reality around him; to untangle our world and then blur it all out again. When we study these photographs we see both reality and the unreal all at once. The very first image in this book is of a man entering an elevated subway - a few pages later, another man leaving one - what could be more real, more familiar? At the same time, when we look at these images our mind wants to wander from that reality. We know what we are looking at, and yet, we are looking at something unusual, something abstract also. This is the very appeal that is found in the photographs throughout Nasty. But we don't only see the Japanese photographers at work in Coghe's photographs, we are also reminded of the banality of Eggleston's work and of the fragments of Mark Cohen's photography. At first glimpse, some people may accuse Coghe of merely copying, but of course that is not what is at play. Coghe does not copy, he engages, he participates in a conversation between the generations of photographers, he adds to that conversation and does so in a way so as not to be forgotten. This, of course, is the purest form of photographic innovation - informed but unique, familiar but fresh. Some of the images in this book are so fragmented and full of grit and grain that only the wildest of imaginations might construct definite meaning from their abstractions. This is not a negative. Photography has every right to be engaged in the abstract, it is part and parcel to the very art of constructing an image. Coghe employs this masterfully throughout this volume taking us on a wild roller coaster of detachment and even daydreaming before snapping us harshly back to reality over and over again. It's thrilling. It's exhilarating. It's Nasty. As an avid collector of the likes of Moriyama and Cohen, as well as a photographer from this very school myself, I welcome Coghe's work into the contemporary photographic world with open arms. The photographs between these covers deserve not only to be indeed between these very covers, but also among the finest collections of contemporary books of photography. Alex Coghe's work will endure. It is dark, but honest. It is blurred, but real. It is fragmented, but complete.
Nasty is a clear departure from the sameness that plagues contemporary photography. I am tired of all the perfect photographs. Technical perfection is greatly overrated and nothing more than merely a product of the abundance of technology now at our disposal as photographers. But what of the subject matter or the larger narrative? These fundamentals are lost on too many of the emerging photographers at work today. We see an endless stream of "perfect photographs", but they lack story, they lack fresh subject matter, and they lack true innovation - they are void of voice. This is not so with Nasty. This volume of photography not only speaks, it adds something new. And something new, when it comes to art, is the ultimate achievement. Michael Ernest Sweet New York, New York
If your street photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not living the street enough.
I really hope this book will be an inspiration to get out and take pictures in the street
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To my family and friends who support me. Thanks to you this dream continue .