Archives

April 2006

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Apr 28

Doug & Mike Starn are twin brothers whose work comprises photographic mixed media if you will. See more samples (and larger ones) here, here, and here.
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Apr 25

Have a look at what happened to Martin Fuchs the other day. It’s interesting to remember that this kind of stuff is not one of those side-effects of 9/11 - which, supposedly, changed everything. Read Robert FrankÂ’s account of his arrest in 1955 over at photopermit.org.
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Apr 25

In principle, nuclear reactors are a pretty good way to generate energy. In reality, they aren’t. Common sense should tell you that if you plan to use a technology that must never ever fail - because of desastrous consequences - then you look for something else. Unfortunately, common sense is not all that common. And then, twenty years ago, the then Soviet nuclear power station in Chernobyl blew up. I remember this event very vividly; back then I was living in what used to be West Germany, and part of the radioactive cloud made it all the way to Germany. Needless to say, it wasn’t nearly as bad as in the immediate vicinity of the reactor, but still… the invisible threat, “in the air, for you and me” (as German electronic act Kraftwerk had described it just ten years before Chernobyl) made you wonder whether we - as humans - were really just too damn stupid to survive. Needless to say, what we got to hear from those people interested in nuclear power, politicians and those making good money from it, was something like “Oh, it can’t happen here”, with a variety of utterly ridiculous reasons added. I never believed that incompetence, neglect, and technological malfuntions adhere to ideologies or are things that only happen to “them”. In any case, watch the Magnum in Motion essay Chernobyl Legacy to see the results of the world’s worst nuclear desaster yet. I have to warn you, though, some of the images are pretty rough.
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Apr 25

This will get your head spinning: “Forging seems to run in the family of the late Konrad Kujau, who gave the world the Hitler diaries and faked hundreds of oil paintings. His great-niece Petra, 47, is now under investigation for writing her famous relative’s signature on hundreds of cheap Asian-made copies of masterpieces and selling them over the Internet, sometimes for thousands of euros apiece. Police in the eastern city of Dresden said they had confiscated more than 200 ‘supposedly original fakes’ of paintings bearing the Konrad Kujau signature in the offices of his great-niece.” (story, my emphasis) So these are fake original fakes then? And also, because this way it works easily, original fake original fakes. So if I were to get a copy of one of those in China I’d have what? A fake original fake original fake and also an original fake original fake original fake.
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Apr 24

Will Steacy lately has been working on documenting the aftermath of “Hurrican Katrina” - don’t miss his series “The Human Stain”. Also see this feature in Seesaw Magazine.
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Apr 24

Wyatt Gallery is another photographer who has been documenting what’s left after “Hurrican Katrina”. Also see this feature in Seesaw Magazine.
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Apr 24

I don’t know whether I’m the only one who is puzzled by this, maybe not. What I noticed is that whenever I see self-portraits of people - and some photographers do a fair amount of those - there’s never a smile. Why don’t people smile when they take their self portrait? Is smiling bad? Would a smile take something away from the portrait? Update: A few people emailed me and told me that the reason why people don’t smile is (at least partly) due to the nature of long exposures or having to wait for the shutter. I am not sure I am willing to accept that fully - after all, many photographers go through all kinds of ordeals for photos that they really want.
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Apr 22

Paolo Ventura’s War Souvenir uses dolls and other props for staged photos of WWII-time Italy.
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Apr 21

Allison V. Smith’s very nice Marfa, TX series is currently being featured in Blueeyes Magazine.
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Apr 21

“Of course, things have gone sour [in Iraq], and now a lot of Americans are jumping on the bandwagon of ‘Hey, we shouldnÂ’t have gone there.’ But, again, at what point in time, I ask these newfound converts to the anti-war movement, did this become a bad war? See, thatÂ’s a key question people have to ask. I say it was a bad war the day we invaded Iraq, because itÂ’s an illegal war. ItÂ’s totally out of keeping with my personal vision of what America stands for […] we stand for a whole bunch of things. But we donÂ’t stand for planning and implementing wars of aggression. I donÂ’t think America represents a nation that embraces war crimes, and a lot of people were willing to sweep all this under the rug had we won, had we been victorious, which tells me that they have a superficial understanding of what the United States represents” - Scott Ritter
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Apr 20

What I really like about photojournalist Simon Norfolk’s work is that he manages to keep the human component alive. (updated entry)
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Apr 20

Philip Deslippe’s photography covers all kinds of things that do not sound too weird but that then look pretty weird, in particular Catholic shrines and Christian monuments.
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Apr 19

Some people clearly have too much time on their hands, but sometimes, a true gem emerges.
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Apr 19

Julie Moos has been working on portraits of two people, where there is some sort of relationship between them. For example, one series is called “Friends and Enemies” (also see this page), another one “Mosanto Series”. It’s definitely an interesting idea, even though I am not sure I find all series equally convincing.
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Apr 18

Those interested in flashy advertizing or editorial photography might want to check out the set of photographers on the Art Department photography page.
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Apr 18

It is quite possible that I would have never started this blog if Susan Bright’s Art Photography Now had been available a few years back. With the exception of Charlotte Cotton’s The Photograph as Contemporary Art Art Photography Now is maybe the only comprehensive book that will offer you an excellent introduction to contemporary photography.
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Apr 17

Boogie is a photographer based in Brooklyn, whose “Gangs” project was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography. Says Boogie: ” My inspiration came from living in Brooklyn and seeing the deterioration of neighborhoods I was walking through. Over the years I gained intimate access into lives of a number of individuals and groups who became the subjects of my study, but also personal friends. This work is devoted to them.”
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Apr 17

One of the big successes of the Republican Party has been to convert artificial outrage into the basis of their political platform. This is done in such a way that people who are hurt the most by what the Republican Party is doing are most happy to vote for them. The babies! Jesus! They like to call this “values”, but it really has about as much to do with actual values as the Easter Bunny with Jesus or GW Bush with competence, namely nothing. In any case, there’s an article in the Washington Post about a left-wing political blogger, which made me realize that the big success of those blogs is very similar to the success of, for example, Bill O’Reilly. You just need to replace the outrage about the babies with the outrage about GW Bush, say. It’s interesting to see the photo they picked for the article. Not only is it most unflattering to shoot somebody from below (even I would have a double chin if you did that), they also waited for a moment where the subject of the article almost looks unhinged. And note the glass of red wine on the table. I have no way to prove this, but it looks to me as if somebody was trying to send a pretty clear message there at the Washington Post.
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Apr 14

“Vanity Fair decided against printing its ‘green’ May issue, which is dedicated to environmental matters, on recycled paper - but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing recycled in it. A spokeswoman for the magazine acknowledged Wednesday that the cover photo, […] shot by Annie Leibovitz, was ‘inspired’ by ‘Ballet Society’, a 1948 portrait by Irving Penn of George Balanchine and three collaborators. Although there’s no mention anywhere in the magazine of the connection, the composition of the two photos is virtually identical, down to the leafy garland on Roberts’ head. […] Of course, there’s nothing unusual in a photographer offering a visual tip of the hat to a fellow artist. But Leibovitz […] has not always been open to having her own work referenced: In 1994, she filed suit against Paramount Pictures, claiming an ad for ‘Naked Gun: 33 1/3’ was an unlawful reproduction of her 1991 Vanity Fair cover featuring a pregnant Demi Moore.” - story
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Apr 14

“Apollonia Morrill creates color site studies of places of transition and historic sites in flux. Morrill uses photography to explore the tension between representation and abstraction, creating intimate portraits of place that the artist likens to visual geography.” (source)
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Apr 13

As much as I find it disappointing to see somebody else has done a project that I have been thinking about, Bart Michiels’ The Course of History is nothing but amazing. See more samples here.
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Apr 13

Turns out somebody put the recordings of The Fall’s 25th BBC session online. It can’t get any better than that.
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Apr 12

Sheila Pree-Bright is the recipient of this year’s Santa Fe Prize for Photography.
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Apr 12

You’re not supposed to say this, but I think the value of the internet as a tool to gather meaningful information is vastly overrated. This is particularly true if you want to find a good review of a book or a CD or something else. You might be surprised to read this, so let me explain.
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Apr 12

“A city deemed so culturally significant that US military planners during World War II decided not to bomb it for fear of an international outcry. American bombers, however, could never have been as effective as Japan’s ‘concrete state’ - an alliance of construction companies, developers, gangsters and corrupt politicians that have continued to relentlessly smother Japan in cement.” Stuart Isett about Kyotoland, now also available Democratic Books. (updated entry)
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Apr 11

I had an extremely hard time finding samples of Yoshihiko Ueda’s work online. This page has some more of his flowers.
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Apr 11

F&D Cartier produce photograms - something not done by many people.
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Apr 9

Joan Fontcuberta’s art work explores the relationship between image and meaning on a very conceptual level. For example, in his most recent work Googlegrams “uses the popular internet search engine Google to create large, colorful photo-mosaics that construct an elegant metaphor for the internet-era’s liaisons between mass media and our collective consciousness.” (source)
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Apr 8

It is always refreshing to find an article about “globalization” that does not parrot the naive pair of views that globalization either will lead to paradise on Earth or is mere exploitation of poor countries by the rich.
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Apr 7

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at when I saw Gil Blank’s work - but it’s all actual photography, digitally assembled and modified.
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Apr 7

Jesper Ulvelius is a young Swedish photographer with a tremendous amount of potential.
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Apr 5

Check out Joel Wellington Fisher’s photography.
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Apr 5

In Irene Andessner’s work, the self-portrait (or the staging of the self in all kinds of different contexts) plays an important role.
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Apr 4

This is too good to ignore: “An Indian movie director said he hopes to persuade Paris Hilton to play the role of Nobel laureate and prospective Catholic Saint, Mother Teresa, in an upcoming film. ‘Her features resemble Mother Teresa,’ director T. Rajeevnath told AFP from the southwestern coastal state of Kerala.” I wonder what features he is referring to? Maybe the droopy eye? Or the vacant look in Ms Hilton’s face, which indicates no sign of brain activity whatsoever? But then with her impressive resume (“Hilton’s prior movie experience includes appearing in a home-made sex video made by a former boyfriend that appeared on the Internet, and parts in several Hollywood B-films.”) it really looks like Ms Hilton is a perfect match.
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Apr 4

There is a considerable amount of digital manipulation in Jan Wandrag’s images, and the results are very interesting.
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Apr 3

“Henry Darger died in 1973 in a Catholic mission operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor. He was buried in a paupers’ cemetery. He had no family or friends. The neighbors in his north Chicago apartment building remembered him as an odd, unkempt man who scavenged through garbage cans and talked to himself in numerous voices. […] Unknown to his neighbors and to everyone, Darger had been creating and compiling a massive literary and graphic body of work since 1909. […] Central to Darger’s work is his 15,000 page, 12 volume, single-spaced, typewritten epic entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, as caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.” - Realm of the Unreal: A Page About Henry Darger Inevitably - these days, apparently even the life of a hermit artist needs to be spiced up for the amusement of the masses - the book about his art and life (find a review here) contains some speculation about the murder of a young girl. Update (14 Jan 2005): There’s an entry on metafilter with lots of additional links, which appeared just a few days after this one. Conscientious well ahead of the crowd? Or maybe Conscientious visitors not quite as conscientious? Update (3 April 2006): I had the chance to see some of Henry Darger’s art works yesterday, and it was an interesting experience. I didn’t quite expect the pieces to be so big. And the details are amazing and, partly, very weird. Also, plenty of his sketches contain drawings of strangled little girls.
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Apr 2

Window Seat by Julieanne Kost might appear to be a curious choice of a book for me to review. I think everybody, who has visited this site regularly, knows that I am no big fan of the immense hype generated about digital photography. So a book written by somebody who “serves as the Senior Digital Imaging Evangelist at Adobe”1 might cause quite a bit of eye-rolling at the end of the internet, where this is being written, and indeed I do have sore eye muscles now. However, I think Window Seat might be of interest for some regular visitors to this blog.
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