Archives

March 2005

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Mar 31

There’s a very interesting post over at The View from the Edge of the Universe about editions of prints in photography. If you’ve ever wondered how that works or how that makes sense, check it out just to see you’re not alone.
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Mar 31

Unfortunately, Gunter Klötzer’s website only contains German text. That means that many people will not be able to understand the explanations for his projects (“Portfolio”), which contain a series of photo portraying his mother fighting cancer (“Diagnose Krebs”) or his wonderful portrait of Slovenija. However, for one of his projects, “Germans in Amercia”, there is a separate website. Says its abstract “‘Germans in America’ introduces people at the intersection of both worlds who look behind the scenes and stereotypes, and inevitably witness cataclysmic political and social shifts.” Given that you (if you’re a regular visitor of this weblog) are somewhat acquainted with at least one German living in the US, why don’t you have a look at some other ones?
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Mar 31

By the beginning of this week, I thought there wasn’t really anything that could turn the sorry spectacle around Terri Schiavo into an even bigger travesty, and then Jesse Jackson “intervened” - of course without changing anything. What would a Jesse-Jackson intervention be without the media circus but with actual results? That would just not be very Jesse-Jackson’ish. In any case, I didn’t think I would be able to find an article about the case that was not bordering on the insane - as did most articles from both camps (this seems to be the new standard in the US; makes you wonder where that thing called the sensible middle ground went - wait, who left the window wide open?) - and then The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg very pleasantly surprised me with his article. If you’ve never read something about the case before, this is really all you need to know (there also are some details in there that you didn’t read anywhere else like that the “persistent vegetative state” was the result of an eating disorder!). And if you’ve read everything else now that the body has finally died, too, you can make this the last article you want to read about it. It just seems to me that the main phrase of Hertzberg’s article (“The body lived; the mind died”) applies equally well to American politics these days.
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Mar 31

Kim Stringfellow has been working on an impressive set of projects, which include environmental issues. The website has links to very detailed separate sites - you can definitely spend quite some time there.
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Mar 30

The photoblog community now has their “Photobloggies” - a well… best of where you can vote for your favourite photoblog. Or not. As it says “Nominations are open to everyone” but “Voting in the finalist phase is open only to the finalists themselves”. I guess they couldn’t possibly make that more self-congratulatory, could they? (Sort of reminds me of the electoral college…) Update (22 March): The finalists have been posted and you can vote for them. Yes, that’s right, they changed the rules. Conscientious endorses orbit1. Update (30 March): For once, Conscientious endorsed the right candidate. orbit1 was voted “Best American Photoblog” and “Best Studio Photography of a Photoblog” and “Best Portrait Photography of a Photoblog”. Conscientious also announces the winner of “Best Awkwardly Named Categories in a Blog Competition”, it’s.. well, what do you know… “Photobloggies”. Congratulations to all!
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Mar 30

Jens Sundheim’s portfolio contains a set of interesting projects, such as Summerlin, a photographic portrait of one of those American neo-Orwellian planned communities of the same name near Las Vegas or Poundbury, a British equivalent of Summerlin. He is also part of the project Der Reisende (The Traveller), where webcams are used to replace standard cameras as tools to document journeys.
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Mar 30

Matthew Mahon definitely takes the cake (or biscuit if you’re British) for the best use of Flash on a photographer’s website. And I mean it; as much as I dislike what most people do with Flash this one I actually like. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the navigation, but the little extra stories are worth it.
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Mar 29

There is a website dedicated to the photography of Horst P Horst, one of my favourite classic photographers. As much as I hate to say this make sure you treat yourself to the Flash presentation - even though it forces you to read all kinds of statements (some of which would not have been a tremendeous loss) before you can see the next image, the selection of photos is well worth the time.
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Mar 26

Joël Tettamanti’s website is old-school - his photos are not!
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Mar 26

Loan Nguyen is a young Swiss photographer whose personal work contains many gems.
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Mar 25

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was a member of the Bauhaus school (“The Bauhaus School was Germany’s most important and most avant-garde art and design school. In existence from 1919, many of its teachers found a new home in the USA when the Nazis forced the school to close in 1933.”), and there is a huge collection of his photos at the George Eastman House
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Mar 25

“Lotte Jacobi spent portions of her life in Berlin (1925-1935), New York City (1935-1955), and New Hampshire (1955-1990). As a result, she is able to provide us with a wealth of information through her photographs about pre-World-War II Germany, the cultural life in New York City, and the regional artists in New England.” Also see this page.
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Mar 24

Purists might feel like debating whether Karl-Martin Holzhäuser should be considered photography or not. Using photographic paper and light, Karl-Martin Holzhäuser produces what you could call contact prints of materials other than negatives.
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Mar 24

I’m more than tempted to file Rent A German under performance art. But it isn’t intended to be art (maybe it is a joke? I can’t tell - it’s German after all). You can rent a German for various things. The holiday package offers “Our Germans will do their best to give you happy moments. In the nature, at the hotel bar or at night dancing…”, and it’s only 750 Euros or about 1000 US$ (“all prices per day, flight included”). Gushes satisfied customer Leila R., “36 (Rio de Janeiro)”: “I will never forget, when I went to the beach with the German. My friends had a good time, eating chicken with him under the sun of Ipanema beach. Next time, I will buy him a new swimming trouser.” Also not to be missed Carl Hagen’s comment “58 (New York)”: “After dinner, we watched TV together with the entire family. Suddenly the German started to cry. It was such real and pure emotion. IÂ’d never seen this before. The support package cheered him up again and we read German poems together ‘til 3 am. Even Grandma stayed up and enjoyed the exotic sound of words like ‘Rasenmäher, Motorsäge or Solidargemeinschaft’. Rented again, before our new friend left.” OK, I take that back. It must be performance art - the kind usually referred to as “life”.
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Mar 24

Jakob Boeskov is a Danish performance artist. Apart from being behind Danes for Bush - an Ali G-style joke - he is up to all kinds of weird things, including Empire North, a fictitious company, which supposedly produces sniper guns to tag people etc. In the spirit of true performance art, Jakob Boeskov went to the fair “China Police”, a real fair all about… well, that’s easy to guess. Those able to understand German can find the details in an article in Spiegel magazine. For those unable to understand German: He got scared after a day, after having got too many serious offers from all over Asia, Qatar, and South Africa.
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Mar 23

Mitch Epstein has been taking photos for thirty years, and his many projects showcase aspects of American history very well.
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Mar 23

Harlan Erskine’s portfolio features a set of interesting projects, such as “convenience” stores at night.
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Mar 23

After photography had been invented, photography was used like painting. You would get your portrait taken, maybe once in your lifetime. Today, we would have one photo of any such person. Once photographic processes became easier to handle and less expensive, some people managed to appear in more than one photo. After the advent of the origins of mass photography, the number of photos taken of a person also increased. But still, the numbers were fairly small - small enough that you would remember photos. For example, I have a photo of myself that shows me at around age 6 with my pet bid. And the total number of photos that I have of myself up to the age of, say, ten is maybe a couple dozen. Now contrast this with what happens when people get a baby these days. I know some people who shoot a roll of film per day; and I also know people who set up webpages of their kids - portraits galleries - with literally hundreds and hundreds of photos. Most young children today will have their photo taken more often in their first year of life than I in my first 18. If you extrapolate this development, at some stage in the future, for every person, there will be a photo taken every day, then every hour etc. Eventually, at least theoretically, there will be enough photos to create a movie… But what do you really gain from all of this? For example, I know people who take rolls and rolls of film of their grandchildren, only to look at those photos once. What kind of memory do you create when suddenly everything is deemed memorable enough to take a photo of it? What will people remember if nothing stands out? What will people do when, after having asked their parents for childhood photos, they will be given boxes and boxes and boxes of photos (or a big harddrive filled with stuff - digital doesn’t really mean any difference)? Are we drowning our lives in photographic white noise?
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Mar 21

French photographer Eric Aupol takes photos that are very sparse and somewhat unsettling.
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Mar 18

This weblog can be one of the most frustrating things you can encounter if you’re a photographer yourself. There is such a thing as the equivalent of “writer’s block” for photographers, and what would be more ideal to reinforce that block than a collection of links to people who all (or at least most of who) know exactly how to take great photos (or so it seems)? Jim Beecher, a photography teacher, emailed me to tell me about PATH: Ways-of-Working in Photography. If you’re a photographer you might want to have a look. You will find many things that you will agree with and many others that you will not agree with. In any case, it will do something with that photographer’s block that I talked about above. In the end, it might come down to this for a non-professional photographer (I never thought I’d ever post my personal view on this here): Take the photos that you want to take, the photos that you feel happy about. And do whatever it takes to improve them. If other people like them, good for you. If not: Why care?
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Mar 18

Samples of my Carnegie Library Pittsburgh series are now online.
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Mar 17

Volker Schrank’s portfolio contains a bunch of fairly interesting series. My favourites might be his portraits of German newscaster (“Stars der Wahrheit”), each one portrayed in an absurdly heroic pose with gaudy colours (you get the impression they were not too uncomfortable posing that way - why are newscasters always such pretentious, pompous fellows?), and his series from Cuba (“Vorwärts und nicht vergessen”). His dyptich portraits are also very nice.
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Mar 17

“By nominating Paul Wolfowitz to be head of the World Bank, President George Bush appears to be sending a message to the world that he intends to spread into development policy the same neo-conservative philosophy that has led his foreign policy.” (story) So what are they gonna do next? First claim the poor are making up being poor and then bomb them? Oh, excuse me, I meant liberate them? PS: Note this: “Some who know Wolfowitz tell me that he wanted to fill the impending vacancy at the bank. He may be, in this sense, a latter-day Robert McNamara - a war-weary Pentagon master seeking refuge to wring the blood from his hands. McNamara suffered something close to a public breakdown when he moved from secretary of defense to president of the World Bank in 1967, as the Vietnam War spiraled out of control.” (story)
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Mar 16

When viewing Gudrun Kemsa’s photos it is not too surprising to learn she is doing video work, too.
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Mar 16

Angela Strassheim first solo exhibition is just coming up. “Photographs of Strassheim’s born again Christian family are juxtaposed with images of domestic narratives, inspired by childhood and adult life experiences. The result is an unsettling world involving complacency, control, and belief.” (from the press release)
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Mar 15

When being emailed the link to Cyrille Weiner’s work I was a bit torn, but I’ve some to like it since.
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Mar 14

Dirk Brömmel produces very large photos of ships, taken from above the ship.
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Mar 11

If you want to ignore the fact that apparently only dead US GI’s are worth being counted as victims let’s remember all those arguments made 1,500 deaths ago why the US would have to invade Iraq. PS: Somehow, I think all that talk about “freedom” will disappear into thin air along with those non-existing WMDs. Just wait a few months. And this is not because freedom is bad - quite on the contrary - but because when Bush jr. talks about “freedom”, it doesn’t mean he’s talking about actual freedom.
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Mar 11

It’s interesting to see how many aspects of what people often think of as fine art photography can be found in some commercial photographers’ work (and vice versa). For example, look at Jim Naughten’s portfolio.
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Mar 10

Swiss photographer Marianne Engel takes her photos at night. But it’s quite interesting to see how her night-time photos aren’t the run-of-the-mill night scenes that are so ubiquitous. Or would you have thought of taking photos of flowers at night?
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Mar 10

Michael Pfisterer’s website has evolved from having tiny thumbnails to, well, huge images plus scrollbar - that’s an improvement.
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Mar 10

I think taking portraits is probably the most difficult kind of photography you can do. You would imagine there is only so much you can do when you take a portrait, but the possibilities are endless - as are the difficulties. In any case, when I found Bettina von Zwehl’s work for the first time, I was quite impressed.
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Mar 10

Over the course of the past couple of years, every once in a while somebody recommended Polar Inertia Journal to me. I’m not nearly as excited about it as any of the people who recommended it, but maybe you will be able to appreciate it.
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Mar 9

Patrizia Di Fiore’s travel photography is not the kind of glossy stuff that you see in travel magazines (pretty much like the places shown in those magazines never look like what in reality). Passages probably is my favourite of the series.
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Mar 8

German photographer Andreas Meichsner has done a series of interesting projects. My favourite is probably his Dutch dream houses.
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Mar 7

Camille Solyagua’s photography possess a soothing tranquility not commonly found in photography.
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Mar 7

“Sources at Kyocera have confirmed that the company is to cease production of film and digital cameras, putting a huge question mark over the future of one of the oldest brands in photography, Contax.” (story) It’s a shame to see how the so-called free market, the true God the Western world is currently praying to, is destroying so many companies. It teaches you a simple lesson - which Europeans will understand much more easily than Americans - namely that if you measure everything by whether it’s profitable or not you’re making a big mistake. PS: It especially irks me to see that Kyocera will now be “concentrating on its mobile phone and semiconductor business.” As if cell phones added any value to human society! PPS (7 March): Mark Tucker brought my attention to this somewhat more precise article according to which “the 645 range would continue in production for the foreseeable future.” That’s excellent news - even though I don’t have one of those. Any step away from the on-going uniformity in photography is good news.
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Mar 4

I’m impressed by Bob O’Connor’s photography. It also brings back pleasant memories of living in Boston.
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Mar 4

This manifesto contains a lot of interesting stuff. And I admit that reading about the feuilletons made me long for living back in Europe. It’s true, you can get this stuff in the US (for example, if you subscribe to The New York Review of Books) but I’d rather get a newspaper that comes with a real feuilleton. It’s just different. You get your Saturday paper, and then you spend a good part of your Saturday breakfast reading the feuilleton.
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Mar 3

George Hurrell was one of the most important Hollywood photographers of all times. Don’t miss this site which has tons of samples. Also slate.com just had a tiny feature (with a very very sad portrait of the dumbest Austrian export since 1945). You know, when I look at photos like this one or this one and compare it with what current Hollywood photographers produce… I am sure yesterday’s celebrities were as shallow and vain as today’s; but will we look at photos of today’s celebrities in fifty years and be amazed about classic beauty? I doubt it. (Thanks, Mark!)
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Mar 3

If you take any class on basic photography, they’ll tell you not to do what Scott Peterman does. Which only shows what photo rules are good for - if you know what you’re doing.
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Mar 2

Candida Höfer, who studied photography with Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, represented Germany at the 2004 biennale in Venice. Find more samples (and some text) here, here and here (this one is in German). (this is an updated re-post)
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Mar 2

They say that patience pays - which probably explains why I’m always short of cash. If you got a lot of patience and if you don’t mind to be exposed to a lot of Flash animations check out Spanish webmagazine FotoCultura.com’s galleries. As far as I can tell (my Spanish is non-existing and I fell asleep while waiting for yet another unnecessary Flash intro) there are some interesting portfolios (plus some fairly standard stuff) on that site. (thanks, Andre!)
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Mar 2

Kevin Cooley’s portfolio contains some very nice nocturnal photography. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
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Mar 2

You know, on the one hand I think it is nice that areas not commonly known to be hot spots of photography (quick! name a photographer from Idaho!) get some exposure. On the other hand, PDN’s feature 50 States 50 Photographers is a little bit like the US Senate: Completely skewed. Anyway, have a look to learn what problems wedding photographers in Arkansas stuggle with or to learn that there are no good labs in Montana.
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Mar 1

Philippe Gronon has moved from abstract b/w photos to a wider range of photography.
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