Archives

July 2004

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Jul 31

the space in between is a new weblog, created by Stacy Oborn. Stacy has an M.F.A. in photography so (unlike yours truly) she knows what she’s talking about! (found on consumptive.org)
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Jul 31

What can I say? Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974. I still haven’t found out what was wrong with the 1970s. I think I got a good grip on the horribly hideous 1980s. (thanks, Karen!)
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Jul 31

Following up on my Nicholas Nixon entry, Joey Harrison sent me an email and told me that he and his sisters have been doing the same kind of series since 1968. And you know what? I like Joey’s series much better.
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Jul 30

In a normal US presidential election somebody like John Kerry would be the conservative candidate who would probably win over a somewhat more progressive candidate, with the nuances being very subtle. But these aren’t normal times, and future generations will probably shake their heads when they look at this election. They will see that John Kerry is the somewhat more progressive candidate who is running against the equivalent of political Neanderthalism. John Kerry’s opponent is a candidate so far to the right that I can find no serious political equivalent in my fairly conservative home country Germany - unless I want to consider those right-wing fringe parties that sometimes pop up during elections but that usually are getting most of their attention from courts investigating whether they are endangering the constitution. I had people back in Germany ask me to explain to them the main power players in the Bush administration, and I had to tell them that I couldn’t. I never imagined I would someday bemoan a lack of political lunatics in contemporary Germany (just for the purpose of explaining something); and - unlike, say, many progressives - I am unwilling to go back about 70 years in German history, tempting as that may be (for some of the White House people I’ll gladly to make an exception). Anyway, given the choice and the nature of the electoral system in the US many self-proclaimed progressives have subscribed to the Anybody But Bush “philosophy”. If people like Noam Chomsky feel compelled to vote for somebody like John Kerry you know the pro-verbial piece of excrement is quite close to hitting that big fan. Today, I found an interesting article by Naomi Klein, which made it a little bit easier for me to understand what the Anybody But Bush people might be thinking. Excerpt: “The zealots in Bush’s White House are neither insane nor stupid nor particularly shady. Rather, they openly serve the interests of the corporations that put them in office with bloody-minded efficiency. Their boldness stems not from the fact that they are a new breed of zealot but that the old breed finds itself in a newly unconstrained political climate. We know this, yet there is something about George Bush’s combination of ignorance, piety and swagger that triggers a condition in progressives I’ve come to think of as Bush Blindness. […] This madness has to stop, and the fastest way of doing that is to elect John Kerry, not because he will be different but because in most key areas […] he will be just as bad. The main difference will be that as Kerry pursues these brutal policies, he will come off as intelligent, sane and blissfully dull. That’s why I’ve joined the Anybody But Bush camp: only with a bore such as Kerry at the helm will we finally be able to put an end to the presidential pathologising and focus on the issues again.”
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Jul 28

If you live in the US and you want to do yourself a favour order your personal copy of the documentary Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism. It’ll leave you very angry but at least you can’t claim nobody told you. I watched it tonight and I think it’s absolutely brilliant.
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Jul 28

Geoffrey O’Brien has written what may be the ultimate Fahrenheit 9/11 review.
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Jul 27

Nicholas Nixon can look back on a long career during which he has taken the same photo over and over again. But before you boo and hiss and accuse me of being obnoxious check out his Brown Sisters series - taken over the course of 25 years.
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Jul 26

This is what the “free speech zone” looks like at the Democratic convention in Boston. In case you don’t believe this - I agree it’s somewhat hard to believe - check out this photo album and this background article. What does this all tell us about the state of the democracy? PS: And this is what a popular Democratic weblog has to say about it. You know, the kind of weblog that slams Republicans for undermining the Constitution and that praises John Kerry as the guy who’ll save American democracy.
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Jul 26

“‘Hiroshima’ is an on-going project by the Japanese photographer Hiromi Tsuchida.” (thru consumptive.org)
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Jul 23

This entry is somewhat of an exception to what I usually do. I’m sure you have noticed that fashion photography hardly ever shows up here. There is a simple reason for that: I am not interested in fashion photography. It’s not even the utterly commercial aspect of fashion photography that bothers me - obviously, photographers have to make money somehow. It’s simply that in most cases, fashion photography falls into the category “sweet but forgettable”. And looking at too much fashion photography gives you the same feeling that you get when you eat too much candy: You’re on the equivalent of a sugar high that will inevitably leave you with with a feeling of nothingness soon after. Needless to say, that’s just my personal preference, and it doesn’t say anything about the photographers who do fashion/commercial photography. They are doing excellent jobs, and I have often wished more of them would do non-commercial photography. As it turns out, some of them do. Art Department Photography features a large group of commercial photographers with lots and lots of portfolios to look through. There are some photographers whose work struck me as interesting. Richard Phibbs has portraits of “real people” (aka non-celebrities); I do like these better than his regular portraits, which look way too posed to me. Tim Evan Cook has a very nice “ballet” series. Robert Maxwell’s portraits are nice, too, as are Jeremy Murch’s.
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Jul 23

I’m sure you have seen some of Platon’s portraits before. Some of them borrow quite heavily from Richard Avedon.
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Jul 22

Bruce Davidson has been documenting life in New York City over the past decades.
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Jul 22

Brian Rose is an architecturial photographer. His project The Lost Border shows sights that I remember very well from growing up. Every summer, my parents, my brother and I went on family vacation, and for a long time we went to a region that was very close to what East Germany used to call its “anti-fascist security fence”. When, at the age of 7 or 8, I saw the thing for the first time I had the feeling I had finally got a glimpse of utter darkness for the very first time. I remember that I was amazed that people could build something like that and even justify its existence following their own convoluted logic. I never thought I’d see another wall being built (note how even though it’s called a “fence” it’s actually a wall) and, this time, we are supposed to endorse it.
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Jul 20

Check out eye-imagine.co.uk.
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Jul 20

Thomas Demand takes photos of scenes that he builds from cardboard, coloured paper, and glue (article). Also see the page for his big MOMA show.
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Jul 19

Check out The Complete Guide to Isometric Pixel Art and learn how to create little computer people. (thru things magazine)
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Jul 16

If you look at the HTML title of this webpage - displayed as the name of the tab at the very top of this part of the screenshot - you’ll see that the person who built the page disagreed with the people who compile the news whether or not this is newsworthy. The programmer has a point here.
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Jul 16

Matt Balara’s PolaroiDiary is the ultimate “fotolog”: The photos are all taken with a Polaroid camera.
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Jul 14

Don Brice explains how the toycamera.com book was made.
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Jul 13

Russell Phillips’ movie theater interiors are exquisitely beautiful.
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Jul 13

If you’re into stereotype (who isn’t?), Einstürzende Neubauten offers all that you could hope for from a German band - and more. The name consists of two fairly long words that are both entirely unpronouncable, one even having an umlaut. The singer has a horrific German accent, and it seems like he has no sense of humour whatsoever. And large parts of the music are people banging on all kinds of metal like those teutonic knights that, we’re all sure, still lurk in every good German’s cupboard. Thing is, though, that lately (where lately means something like over the past decade or so), Einstürzende Neubauten have been working on something entirely different. I personally find those early industrial noise orgies a bit straining and tiring; but there’s very little of that left now. Instead, despite of their continued use of all things metalic everything is very restrained, very atmosheric, and quite fascinating.
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Jul 8

“Sometimes, there is an amazingly simply explanation for the dreaded ‘traffic jam out of nowhere’.” One of my favourite German cartoonists, Bernd Pfarr, died yesterday.
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Jul 7

There’s a fairly active community of people doing wet-plate collodion photography. See, for example, Robert Szabo’s website for lots of examples of this photographic process. What I personally find somewhat disappointing is that so many photographers try to re-produce or re-create photos taken about one hundred years ago - why anyone would want to re-create photos from the grisly US Civil War completely escapes me. And don’t even get me started on those people who dress up to re-stage it (do people learn anything from historical disasters?). I think it would be way more interesting to take photos of contemporary subject matters using these techniques. (thanks, Mark!) Update (7 July 2004): Quinn Jacobson emailed me to tell me about his own collodion photography. Make sure to check these photos out!
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Jul 7

Another emerging German talent: Alexandra Pfitzner. Not to be missed is her “Diploma” series (done to graduate from the Munich School for Photo Design) that shows border posts/crossings in Germany (yes, Germany has that many neighbours).
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Jul 4

“When I first outlined the direction of this photographic series I decided not to record the vast polished spaces of showy civic buildings or monuments of high culture. For me, those kinds of interiors embody an entirely different brand of public mythology than these more familiar places, and, in any event, they are already well documented. I wanted to investigate spaces which are more generic and would perhaps be seen as archetypal of the way most of us live.” - Christine Welch about her series Commonplace
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Jul 2

Jens Knigge’s platinum-palladium prints are quite nice. I’m sure they must be impressive when you see them hanging on the wall
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