Some Things You Should Have Told Me.
Photographs by Harvey Benge.
Dewi Lewis, 2013. 80 pp., 64 color illustrations, 8¼x6¾".
Selected as a Book of the Week by Jörg Colberg
William Eggleston once asked Harvey Benge – What are you doing these days? Photographing the urban social landscape, said Benge. Don’t talk bullshit; what are you doing? Eggleston insisted. Making strange pictures in cities, replied Benge.
However you look at them, Harvey Benge’s photographs are mostly urban and generally strange. His work is mysterious; nothing is solid. The pictures capture contrasts and conflicts which leave you wondering what has just happened and what might happen next. He gives voice to the mundane and overlooked. His open-ended photographic sequences record small moments of everyday life that flash past with tension and ambiguity: an urban dream on the edge of reality where figures retreat, seats are empty, phones don’t work. Any and every interpretation is a valid interpretation. What is going on? You decide.
With photographs made in Paris, London, New York and Rome, this new intensely personal, some might say autobiographical book, is enigmatically entitled Some Things You Should Have Told Me. It is a remorseless meditation on loss and misadventure, pain and impermanence, the inevitability of change. Questions are asked; there are no answers.
New Zealander, Harvey Benge is well known for his many photobooks which have been published in Britain, Germany, France and Japan. Some Things You Should Have Told Me is his fifth book published by Dewi Lewis. Conceptual in substance, Benge’s books deal with the complexity of urban life, and the nature of seeing and understanding. The work has been exhibited at Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf; Antwerp Foto Museum, Belgium; Foam, Amsterdam; The Photographers’ Gallery, London, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. His books have twice been finalists in the Prix du Livre at the Rencontres d’Arles, France. Benge’s photographs have been shown extensively in both public and private galleries in Britain, throughout Europe, and in New Zealand.