Archives

March 2006

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Mar 31

Joel Peter Witkin’s photos are not for the squeamish. See more examples here.
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Mar 31

Fulvio Bortolozzo’s empty nocturnal cityscapes are quite interesting, in particular his series about the Olympic transformation of Torino.
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Mar 31

“American photographer Robert Adams has been awarded the 2006 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for his exhibition Turning Back ツ– A Photographic Journal of Re-exploration, which shows deforestation and environmental destruction in Oregon. […] Adams said he was donating his ï½£30,000 ($52,300) prize to Human Rights Watch, a social justice organization. ‘However concerned I am about the environment, I’m even more concerned at the moment with a collapse in human decency,’ he says.” (story)
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Mar 30

“Gilles Trehin is an autistic 28-year-old. Since the age of 12, he has been designing an imaginary city called Urville, named after the ‘Dumont dÂ’Urville,’ a French scientific base in Antarctica. He has created detailed historical, geographical, cultural, and economic descriptions of the city, as well as an absolutely extraordinary set of drawings. His Guidebook to Urville will be published later this year.” - story (also see this page)
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Mar 30

Over at Gallery Hopper, Todd today asks one of the most important questions for a photographer, especially in these times where photoblogs want to make us believe that editing photos is for cowards: How many [photos] are you satisfied with as your best effort? It might be a bit misleading to put that strong an emphasis on quantity, though.
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Mar 29

Roger Ballen won the Citigroup photography prize in 2002 for his work. With his most recent work, he seems to have moved away from documenting the poorest of the poor - see his latest book Shadow Chamber - towards the outright weird. (updated entry)
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Mar 29

“Public language today resembles an exchange of greeting cards more than a discussion. It makes me think of the punch-out Valentine’s cards I and all my elementary school classmates used to distribute. […] Everyone had to get a valentine, even the bullies who had beaten me up in fourth grade for supporting Kennedy over Nixon. And anyone who actually read the cards and took their sugary wishes for a real statement of my feelings misunderstood the whole exercise. Today’s public life is a series of greeting-card debates. What counts is that the responses sound like responses. Their effectiveness is the same even if they turn out to be meaningless.” - story
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Mar 28

Marcella Müller’s landscape photography are vast and empty. See more examples here and here.
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Mar 28

Lili Almog’s very nice project Perfect Intimacy is about to be released as a book.
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Mar 27

I couldn’t find much information about Erika Ritzel - I really like her nicely composed photos of the mundane.
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Mar 24

It seems the question is not whether the polar caps are melting and whether sea levels will be rising but what the size of the effect will be. The current edition of Science Magazine features some alarming stories about this. The map above shows what’s left of Florida when the sea level rises by 6 meters (or 18 feet for people who still don’t get proper units). The red bits are under water. Similar maps show equally desastrous effects for cities like New York or London. For the tech savy, there’s a podcast. Needless to say, none of this is going to have any effects on the fools that comprise large parts of the Republican Party. And why would it? Given they gave a damn when New Orleans got flooded why would they care about Florida or New York City?
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Mar 24

“Ideas are so clean and easy. The reality of taking the pictures tends to dirty everything. Best to hold on to that purity while I can.” - Alec Soth
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Mar 23

Herman van den Boom’s Arcadia Redesigned manages to capture the sheer absurdity of so many human endeavours perfectly.
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Mar 23

Alix Smith quite masterfully creates interesting environmental portraits, most with interesting ideas or premises.
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Mar 23

Marie Sauvaitre’s most recent work documents trailer (or tent) parks and their surroundings.
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Mar 22

“The Black Maps project is comprised of aerial photographs of environmentally impacted landscapes. […] Looking down on these damaged wastelands, where man’s efforts have eradicated the natural order, the views through my camera are both spectacular and horrifying. […] As otherworldly as the images seem, they depict a shattered reality of our own making.” - David Maisel David’s Oblivion can now also be seen at Polar Inertia. Also don’t miss this article/interview. (Updated entry)
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Mar 21

Koen Hauser’s digital manipulations are often subtle, often not. Where they’re subtle, the photos never get kitschy but often creepy, even with little children as the subjects.
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Mar 21

I have noted an increase in what I call Lord of the Rings photography. This kind of photography is one of the ugly spin-offs of digital photography. It’s fairly easy to spot, because people or landscapes suddenly don’t look like normal people or landscapes any longer but, instead, like characters or scenes from any one of those effect-ridden, yet ultimately utterly forgettable Hollywood movies (like Lord of the Rings). I don’t know what planet you live on, but the one I am sharing with lots of other people is not populated by old people with Grand Canyon-style features or girls who look like they’re out of Carnegie-Mellon University’s robotics lab.
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Mar 18

Katharina Mouratidi’s photography shows a socially very active photographer who is not afraid of tough topics. About her breast cancer series, she writes that “all the photographs were taken in close co-operation with the women portrayed. My intention was to photograph them as they wanted to present themselves in front of the camera and in public. There were no special rules to observe in the studio; the participants only had the responsibility to pose according to their own interpretations and in the way they would like to be represented, as women in our society affected by breast cancer.”
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Mar 17

There are lots of people who take photos of weird places, but it’s rare to see photos where there is some poetry added. Erica Shires’ photography is such a case.
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Mar 16

There’s a price to be paid for war, and that price is death. Those people who started the Iraq war, now widely accepted as a huge mistake, know why they wanted to keep that price out of the public’s consciousness. Todd Heisler is one of those people who wouldn’t let that happen. Final Salute is a report on those people who do what is called “casualty notification”.
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Mar 16

Asger Carlsen’s photography appears to be having fun with stereotypes.
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Mar 15

If you feel like listening to some truly wonderful music, download your full Belle and Sebastian concert from just a few days ago here.
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Mar 15

“The New York Times Magazine cover is the Charlize Theron of magazine publishing: Famous people become ugly in the name of art. Former Virginia governor and centrist Democratic Presidential hopeful Mark Warner learned the dangers of posing for The Times Magazine this week when he landed on the cover, photographed by Alexei Hay. […] Reached by phone the afternoon of March 14, Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati said he hadnÂ’t heard any complaints about the image. Shortly after, however, Mr. Marzorati called back to say that heÂ’d learned that the colors changed during film processing. According to Times Magazine photo editor Kathy Ryan, Mr. Hay used an infrared chrome film, originally designed for 70-millimeter movie cameras, that changes hues when processed in the darkroom.” - story
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Mar 15

Conspiracy theories, irrational fears of “the government”, and the belief that Earth is constantly being visited by “unidentified flying objects” (UFO’s) from outer space are as American as apple pie. Needless to say, all of these contain just enough actual facts that they’re not outright dismissable - even though it basically just takes about ten seconds of thinking about them to get there anyway.
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Mar 15

“The horrors carried out during the last three months of 2003 by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison are shockingly familiar and, at the same time, oddly remote. […] Beyond the collapse of military discipline and adherence to the basic rules of civilized behavior, Abu Ghraib also symbolized the failure of a democratic society to investigate well-documented abuses by its soldiers. […] Abu Ghraib cannot be allowed to fade away like some half-forgotten domestic political controversy, which may have prompted newsmagazine covers at the time, but now seems as irrelevant as the 2002 elections. Abu Ghraib is not an issue of partisan sound bites or refighting the decision to invade Iraq. Grotesque violations of every value that America proclaims occurred within the walls of that prison. These abuses were carried out by soldiers who wore our flag on their uniforms and apparently believed that Americans here at home would approve of their conduct. […] That is why Salon is willing to publish these troubling photographs, even as we are ashamed to live in a country that somehow came to accept that torture and prisoner abuse were simply business as usual — something that occurs while a sergeant catches up on his paperwork.” - story, with some background and the photos. Update: Salon.com just published 279 photographs and 19 videos ” from the Army’s internal investigation”.
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Mar 14

Amy Elkins is a young photographer whose portraits are very interesting. You can see more of her work - and some ongoing projects - on her blog.
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Mar 14

Tom Fowlks’s “out there” series contains many nice shots.
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Mar 13

Christopher Lane is a British photographer who lives and works in the US. I’m often tempted to think that being an ex-pat, while taking away your home and putting you right in the middle between two places both of which you feel somewhat reluctant to still/already call your home, offers you a somewhat unique look at those two places: Since you know both very well and - at the same time - you feel like a stranger, you get to see things that other people don’t see. So check out Christopher’s Thinking of England and America on Parade.
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Mar 13

Jonathan Gitelson’s photographic work contains a set of pretty cool projects, most of them organized as books. Also don’t miss the car project.
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Mar 13

From the WTF Department: Spanish performance artist Santiago Sierra “is inviting Germans to come and be symbolically gased with car exhaust fumes in a former synagogue. Jewish leaders and media commentators say he is belittling the Holocaust and insulting its victims.” (story)
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Mar 10

David Southwood hails from South Africa. Find some more photos (plus text) here.
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Mar 9

Matthias Koch takes his photos from a height of about 35 meters (about 100 feet). The results are quite interesting, in that the view is not the one we’re used to, but it’s also not quite yet aerial.
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Mar 9

Marina Gadonneix’ work deals with “l’observation du monde quotidien dans sa construction et sa mise en scène, faire du monde familier dans lequel on vit le lieu de l’artifice, avec sa part d’inquiétude, d’étrangeté et de mélancolie” - (loosely translated) the constructed world and the consequences arising from that. You can find more of her photos of television studios here and here.
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Mar 8

My provocation about statements lead to quite interesting results. As it turns out, most of the people who did not agree with me simply didn’t understand what I was saying (whether on purpose or not). Just to make this clear, I did not say that there are no photographers with a preconception about what they want to shoot. In the light of my own photographic projects - all of which are based on very clear a priori ideas - this would be absurd. What I did say was that I believe that there are many photographers who do not have such preconceptions (and I got lots of emails from those); and that lead me to ask why we can’t accept something like “I just wanted to take beautiful photos of rubble piles”.
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Mar 8

The other day, on my way home, I saw a couple walking towards me. As they were very close, the man separated from his companion and approached me. His whole posture and especially his face changed as he asked me for some change. When I turned him down, he immediately morphed back into his other self and continued his walk, chatting normally with the companion, who had watched the brief exchange of words, saying no word herself. Later that day, at a bar where we had drinks a friend of mine had her photo taken - one must assume one of those many casual digital snapshots that will only be remembered as that tiny increase in entropy -, and I was able to witness a very similar transformation again: Her face changed so completely to what must be her official portrait face that I was literally quite stunned to discover a different person(a). If I was to take a portrait of either the man who asked me for change or of my friend what face would I want to take a photo of, what face would I have to take a photo of?
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Mar 8

Eric Beaudelaire’s personal projects both contain lots of great photos. You can see a slideshow of Manifest Destiny here.
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Mar 7

Thies Rätzke’s portfolio contains a bunch of very impressive documentary series, some of which are downloadable as pdf files.
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Mar 6

If you go here, right at the top you’ll find some of the best music ever recorded.
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Mar 6

Kelli Connell’s photomontages show her dating her digital self, the idea being that “the importance of these images lies in the representation of interior dilemmas portrayed as an external object - a photograph. […] I am interested in not only what the subject matter says about myself, but also what the viewers response to these images says about their own identities and social constructs.” (quoted from her statement)
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Mar 6

Barry Frydlender’s photography consists of digital composites of many individual shots. Find some excited reviews here and here.
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Mar 6

“To align yourself with the powerful and then take aim at the powerless takes not one ounce of valour. To prop up prevailing hierarchies and orthodoxies rather than challenge them demands not a scintilla of bravery. True, like Summers, you may run into trouble. But just look who’s covering your back. With the prevailing winds of war, prejudice or the state on your side, the odds are with you. Since the privileges you are defending are inherent in the commentariat […] your worldview is constantly being reinforced. It may still be the right thing to do - the weak should not be protected from criticism nor the strong denied praise solely on the grounds of their relative material strength. But those who choose Goliath’s corner cannot then claim underdog status once David gets out his slingshot. Take the Danish cartoons. They were first printed in a country that supports the war in Iraq, where the far-right Danish People’s party receives 13% of the vote and where, according to the Danish Institute for Human Rights, racially motivated crimes doubled between 2004 and 2005. […] These cartoons did not appear in a vacuum. In publishing them the editor of Jyllands-Posten had illustrated not just an insensitive Islamophobic jibe but a racist mindset that has consequences for Muslims worldwide. He had a right to print them. But to do so in this context was an act of bigotry, not bravery. Underpinning this peculiar notion of courage is the feeble-minded obsession with political correctness - the ultimate refuge of the baseless argument and the clueless commentator.” - story
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Mar 6

The current issue of Artnews discusses photography prominently, and despite its flaws (especially its almost autistic focus on technology) the editorial is worth a read.
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Mar 6

Vincenzo Castella produces large-scale views of cityscapes. Find more samples here, here, and here.
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Mar 3

“We support and cherish democracy - not because we reject the sovereignty of the Almighty over people, but because we believe that this sovereignty is manifested in the general will of people in a democratic and pluralistic society. We do not accept theocratic rule-not because we do not wish to obey Allah, but because theocratic rule inevitably becomes rule by fallible (and sometimes corrupt and misguided) humans in the name of the infallible God. […] We believe that women have the same inalienable rights as men. We strongly denounce laws and attitudes in some Islamic societies that exclude women from society by denying them the rights of education, political participation and the individual pursuit of happiness. Like men, women should have the right to decide how they will live, dress, travel, marry and divorce; if they do not enjoy these rights, they are clearly second-class citizens.” - A Muslim Manifesto
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Mar 3

Josef Hoflehner’s photography follows what you could call the Michael Kenna School. Pleasant to look at, though.
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Mar 2

“The eccentric photographer known as Disfarmer (1884-1959) seemed to be a man determined to shroud himself in mystery. Born Mike Meyers, the sixth of seven children in a German immigrant family, Disfarmer rejected the Arkansas farming world and the family in which he was raised. […] Disfarmer built a studio on Main Street and became a full-time photographer. Using commercially available glass plates, Disfarmer photographed his subjects in direct north light creating a unique and compelling intimacy. He was so obsessed with obtaining the correct lighting that his lighting adjustments for a sitting were said to take sometimes more than an hour.”
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Mar 2

Yang Yankang’s photography follows classic b/w photojournalism traditions.
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Mar 1

“The compelling pictures of coal miners […] are by Song Chao, a 24-year-old amateur photographer from China, but you’d be right to make a connection with the celebrated American photographer Richard Avedon. […] Until two years ago, Song had been unfamiliar with Avedon’s photographs, indeed much of Western photographic history. But, as Alain Julienne, curator of Song’s show at the annual International Photography Encounter at Arles, where these portraits were shown for the first time, points out, Song already possessed a plate camera and had initiated his series before discovering Avedon’s oeuvre.” (source)
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