Archives

February 2006

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Feb 28

Alec Soth made quite the splash with his magnificent series Sleeping by the Mississippi. His new series Niagara avoids safe terrain - if you will - and deals with “true love, sexuality and the promise of ‘happily ever after’” (source). I don’t think this is what many people would have expected after the Mississippi series, and this is part of what makes it so interesting. The series is now featured at Digital Journalist. Also check out this beautiful feature at slate.com. (updated entry)
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Feb 27

Bill Jacobson’s photography shows a blurry world - proof that depth-of-field (and other technical issues that so often are mistaken for important criteria for good photography) is irrelevant.
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Feb 24

I decided to occasionally post one or the other of my own photos again. Don’t worry, it won’t be all that often - since you don’t come here for my stuff. In any case, this is a new one from my “Higher Education” series.
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Feb 24

“David Goldblatt’s photographs have documented the prosaic details of South African life for over five decades now. Whether photographing the stolid white suburb of Boksburg, or recording the invisible assault of apartheid by taking an early morning bus ride with the transported of KwaNdebele, his photographs have consistently impressed because of their eloquent humanism.”
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Feb 24

If you feel like discovering a good photo/art/life related blog visit Meet Me In Ataxia, Baby. I have no idea what “Ataxia” is, and I’m beyond the age where sober people would contemplate calling me “baby”, but Ms. Ragna’s blog is one of my daily must-read’s. Maybe it’ll be yours, too.
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Feb 24

Lest we forget this other side of China, that we don’t talk about much any longer since there is so much money to be made there: “After 16 years, Tiananmen dissident Yu Dongyue was finally freed from prison yesterday, but with his mental health impaired. […] According to a fellow dissident who visited him later in another prison he was subjected to beatings and torture. He showed scars on his head and other evidence of extensive abuse and appeared to have suffered a complete mental collapse — he did not recognise life-long friends and kept repeating words over and over. Other inmates said he had been tied to a pole and left in the sun for several days before being locked in solitary confinement for another two years. Upon his release, he reportedly could not recognise family members and kept mumbling to himself.” (story)
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Feb 23

It’s probably a futile endeavour to try to define what it is that spearates great photography from not-so-great photography. Often, great photography shows you something that you haven’t seen before. But there’s also great photography that shows you something that you haven’t seen that way before. Andrew Moore’s Russia is a book that does the latter.
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Feb 23

“After the unexpected death of my grandfather, I gathered with my family to grieve and to try and put things in order. We began to sort his belongings, going through each room cleaning and packing. After several trips the house became empty of these things that were his. As this process became complete I was struck by the differing voids left as a result. Here was a place, now absent of its occupant, the belongings and life.” - Adam Holtzman
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Feb 22

The consequences of this ruling are fairly obvious: Porn company “Perfect 10 alleges that the display of the thumbnail is a direct violation of its copyright, and that the display of the larger image, even though it is hosted by a third-party Web site, constitutes a secondary copyright infringement on the part of Google. Judge Matz ruled that Perfect 10 had submitted enough evidence to conclude that it would succeed in a trial on its claim of direct copyright infringement.” If that’s true for porn, it’s true for any kind of photo, and that could open a big can of worms for the world of commercial and art photography.
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Feb 22

“The proliferation of TV blondes will come as news only to the blind and those who have killed their televisions.” (story)
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Feb 22

I’ve filed Eleanor Antin under art because even though she has done a fair amount of photography, her work clearly covers a much wider area (also see this page).
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Feb 22

Florian Maier-Aichen plays with people’s ideas that photography is very purely documenting reality by manipulating his photos just a little bit. You’ll have to look carefully to see what is going on. See more examples here and here.
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Feb 21

“Four years after September 11, several new books now present well-annotated, chronologically organized collections of bin Laden’s words. […] They do not, by and large, make for fascinating reading. As Bruce Lawrence […] notes […] the arch terrorist is, above all, a polemicist. He is a soapbox orator, scoring unsubtle points in an imaginary debate by drawing on a mix of Islamic scripture, faddish political constructs, and gross exaggeration, as well as real historical grievances. […] For all his aura of religious punctiliousness, bin Laden twists Islamic texts to his purposes. He seems happy to engage in factual distortion and, occasionally, the politician’s bald-faced lie. […] So misplaced are many of his citations from Islamic scripture that in all likelihood, one of the best ways to diminish the al-Qaeda leader’s stature would be to publish his words more widely in the Muslim world.” - story
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Feb 21

I don’t have a formal photography or art-school education, and sometimes, it shows. When I look at a piece of art or at photography, there is not intellectual judging involved, at least not in the beginning. I look at a photo, and when it appeals to me, it appeals to me, and when it doesn’t it doesn’t, and that’s it as far as I am concerned. It is typically only after a little while that I start to see technicalities.
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Feb 21

Several people have recommended Tracey Baran’s work to me. I have to admit, though, that I have not been nearly as excited about the photos as the people who told me about them. If you feel like reading some articles about Tracey Baran’s work, go here or here.
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Feb 21

“There is a real need to re-think the understanding of multiculturalism, so as to avoid conceptual disarray about social identity and also to resist the purposeful exploitation of the divisiveness that this conceptual disarray allows and even, to some extent, encourages. What has to be particularly avoided […] is the confusion between a multiculturalism that goes with cultural liberty, on the one side, and plural monoculturalism that goes with faith-based separatism, on the other. A nation can hardly be seen as a collection of sequestered segments, with citizens being assigned places in predetermined segments.” (story; and you’ll need this)
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Feb 20

Scott McFarland’s photography is quite a bit more complex than what a first, casual impression might want to make you believe. See some examples here and more information here and here.
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Feb 19

Ruth Bernhard is mostly known for her photography of the nude, and if you look at those photos you will easily see why. Fortunately, since I first posted an entry about her, the number of websites dedicated to her work has mushroomed. See images here, here, here, here, here, and here. (updated entry)
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Feb 19

“For me real photography does not lie in the end-product, which exists as a mere tool and process. My images have been chosen as a means of metaphorical expression; not a representation of the actual world or a reconstitution of visual beauty, but a basis for fundamental meditation.” - Jungjin Lee (source of quote). See more examples here, here, here, and here.
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Feb 17

“From the despoliation of the Pacific north-west to the brutal murder of Smiths songs, the Deutsche Börse photography prize has something to outrage everyone, says Adrian Searle”
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Feb 17

“A 1904 Edward Steichen photo of a moonlit pond has shattered the record for the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction. The print, ‘The Pond-Moonlight,’ went for $2,928,000 at Sotheby’s in New York last night, more than doubling the previous record.” (story)
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Feb 16

Bernhard Edmaier’s aerial photography shows our planet as fascinating abstractions. If you compare his photos with David Maisel’s you’re in for a bit of a surprise: David Maisel’s polluted landscapes don’t look all that different from Bernhard Edmaier pristine ones.
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Feb 16

Reported earlier: “Philip-Lorca diCorcia is being sued by an Orthodox Jewish man that he photographed in 2001, as part of his Heads series.” - as reported here, here, and here. “A judge has dismissed an Orthodox Jew’s lawsuit, finding that a photograph taken of him on a street and sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars is art - not commerce - and therefore is protected by the First Amendment, even though his religion forbids such images.” (story; also see the ruling)
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Feb 16

You know, this isn’t only very well done, this also captures perfectly the attitude of Dick Cheney. Oh, and the main line is an actual quote, used by the man on the Senate floor towards somebody who just wouldn’t want to agree with him.
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Feb 14

“The House of Representatives passed H.R. 683, the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2005 as an amendment to the 1946 Trademark Act. […] My concern about H.R. 683 is that it seems to open a door for suing a photographer on grounds that amount to defamation of a trademark.” Richard Weisgrau. People working in the movie business will be quite familiar with this problem, so it’s hardly new or something that exclusively photographers have to deal with.
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Feb 13

It’s about time to point out 1mag3, a beautifully designed weblog with lots of links to interesting photography. Reading through it, I realized (yet again!) what a silly name choice “Conscientious” was: People keep misspelling it. I really should have opted for something simpler!
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Feb 13

Judith Joy Ross specializes in portraiture. Have a look at more examples of her work here, here, and here.
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Feb 12

New Orleans photographer Jennifer Shaw has just returned home - luckily finding no flood damage. Some of her work - as well as that of other photographers from New Orleans - will be featured in a group show at The Darkroom.
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Feb 12

Kyungwoo Chun “puts portraiture in a new position. The core of Chun’s intriguing method portraiture lies in the prolonged exposure time. Often the exposition time lasts the subject’s age in minutes, but it can also go up to several hours. The effect of this method is that the subjects being photographed become blurred figures, nonetheless with a certain expressiveness.” (source). Find more samples and/or texts here, here, and here.
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Feb 10

Robert Knoth (bio) has extensively covered the aftermaths of nuclear desasters in Russia. His amazing photography from Mayak can be found here and here.
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Feb 10

“Alien Skin SoftwareÂ’s Exposure software can take your new digital files and make them look old again.” (product pitch “review”) How sad is this? 200 bucks? Last time I wanted the look of Kodachrome I took a roll from my fridge and used it. That didn’t have any “immediacy”, but it sure was a lot of fun.
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Feb 10

“From seemingly out of nowhere, a new photography foundation has appeared and awarded two photographers with grants for $25,000. […] Looking for information about how to apply for the grants? Don’t bother. The secret nominations come from a group of 20 anonymous photo experts that changes each year.” (source)
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Feb 9

“A physicist who is broadly experienced in using computers to identify consistent patterns in the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock has determined that half a dozen small paintings recently discovered and claimed by their owner to be original Pollocks do not exhibit the same patterns.” (story)
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Feb 8

In Not naked but nude, Jonathan Jones argues that those people on the cover of Vanity Fair, who happen to wear no clothes (what a coincidence it’s the women), are not naked but nude. That’s the Clinton school of art discussion. I highly recommend No nudes is good nudes. Make sure not to miss some of the hilarious comments. I especially liked the comparison of the two actresses (I actually didn’t recognize either of them…) with “grotty dead fish”. It gets somewhat silly at the bottom (no pun intended here btw), though.
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Feb 8

Nicholas Prior offers “up a view of childhood as serious business, an impenetrably private, somber condition not easily breached by adults. Though all of the pictures are undoubtedly staged in some way, the least elaborate (and the most successful) of them do not seem artificial.” (source)
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Feb 7

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography is fascinating. Links: brief article (recommended read for those interested in techniques!), interview, gallery (1), gallery (2), article/photos about/of his portrait series.
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Feb 7

Unfortunately, Sylvia Ballhause’s website contains only German text. If you don’t speak German, you might want to look at it anyway. For example, Kinos in Deutschland shows German movie theaters; the variety is quite interesting. For the cinemas, also see this page. (updated entry)
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Feb 6

If you’re looking for photography magazines that are more than mere glorified advertizements for cameras, your set of choices is slim. Daylight Magazine is one of those very few magazines that you might want to check out. Their latest edition is now available, and it’s limited to 3,000 copies. Unfortunately, the website is a bit non-descriptive.
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Feb 6

Massimo Vitali creates large tableaus of human life. Find many samples here; and check out this feature.
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Feb 3

In “New Tales For An Accelerated Culture”, Patrick Strattner re-visits the Generation-X idea. Also see this sleek presentation.
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Feb 3

It’s somewhat interesting that US newspapers haven’t reported much about a row between European newspapers and what appears to be the larger Islamic world, concerning a set of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. I’m not an expert on world religions, but as far as I know the prophet is not to be depicted, so the outrage is quite understandable. For the latest news update about this see this page. This whole affair is quite interesting to watch, especially since there has been a lot of cheap, simplistic posturing going on about “freedom of speech” (hence my surprise US newspapers didn’t chime right in). The Guardian has just published an excellent Leader about this.
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Feb 2

“Sarah Pickering’s photographs of controlled explosion practice runs play a fresh riff on the long-standing photographic motif of truth versus verisimilitude. Her unmanipulated images preserve actions whose causality and construction seems to be part of an alternate, but no lesser, reality.” (source)
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Feb 2

I guess I missed the big wave around Ryan McGinley (who “really is an extremely talented photographer with good-looking friends who look like they’d be really funny and smart”) by a couple of years or so. Read an article and interview here, and see more samples here.
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Feb 1

“Since the beginning of the year, the German state of Baden-Württemberg has been testing would-be citizens on their attitudes to the constitution. The only problem? The quiz itself might be unconstitutional.” (story) So are you worthy?
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Feb 1

“Converging Territories is a series of large-format color portraits of women and children taken in a large, unoccupied, family-owned house in Morocco, the same house that as a young woman Lalla Essaydi was confined to for a month at a time whenever she transgressed her permissible roles.” (source)
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