Archives

May 2006

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May 31

Christoph Martin Schmid’s project ‘Trouble in Paradise’ is “a portrait of post modern civilization in the face of greed, ambition and paranoia.” Hmmm, OK. You can also find the photos here.
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May 30

Doug Aitken’s “complex multi media installations address the elaborate inter-relationships between man, media, industry and landscape and the nature and perception of time.” (source) See more samples here, here, and find a review of his work here.
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May 26

For those going to Germany, maybe for the superfluous soccer world cup, there’s the German Survival Bible, written and compiled by foreigners living in Germany, journalists, and the occasional German living abroad (like this one, but I’m not going to tell you which bit I wrote, because they edited it - and not in a good way). Not to be missed: The German Certificate Fetish, Germans’ brutal honesty (really true, the last time my parents came to visit me, the first thing my dad said was “Wow, you look terrible, have you lost weight?”), Optimists are idiots, and Get naked with the Germans.
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May 26

Have a look at Jason Hanasik’s work, mostly portraits. It’s interesting, to me there appears to be a fair amount of ennui in the lives of those portrayed - am I mistaken?
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May 25

“Jenna”, 20, is a student and uses Dell, Gateway, Samsung and HR Block (or actually, the other way around). “Alicia”, 25, loves handbags and is datable (either Christian or non-Christian [hey, girls can’t be picky these days!]), and her actual name is “Megan”; she also does beauty tips, and, in the end, all that dating got her pregnant. And then it turns out her real name is Libby and she’s going to sue all those people who used her photo. (this found at luckypix blog)
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May 25

Taiji Matsue “photographs the surfaces of the earth all over the world in the black and white. His unique ideas and techniques take away the distinctive features from cities and places and make them flat landscapes.” (source) See more of his work here and here.
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May 24

Ken Botto “resorts to staged tableaux of his own making. Using toys, props and other miniature domestic objects, he fabricates and photographs worlds that reveal much of how we view our cultural identity.” More photos here and here.
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May 24

You’d imagine the NSA would be quite busy with all those phones to tap, but apparently they found some time to slip me a message in a fortune cookie.
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May 24

I know mine is a minority opinion, but I’ve always found Loretta Lux’s work a bit too kitschy. Those interested in seeing more (of basically the same) can check out Yossi Milo Gallery (“In her new series, Loretta Lux creates scenarios of isolation and distance that occur in an ambiguous time and space, with a focus on the interaction between characters and the suggestion of narrative.” - hmmm, really?). (updated entry)
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May 23

You gotta leave it to Anthony Lane, one of the wittiest persons to ever review movies, to give “The Da Vinci Code” the treatment it deserves: “There has been much debate over Dan Brownツ痴 novel ever since it was published, in 2003, but no question has been more contentious than this: if a person of sound mind begins reading the book at ten oツ団lock in the morning, at what time will he or she come to the realization that it is unmitigated junk? The answer, in my case, was 10:00.03, shortly after I read the opening sentence: ‘Renowned curator Jacques Sauni鑽e staggered through the vaulted archway of the museumツ痴 Grand Gallery.’ […] The film is directed by Ron Howard and written by Akiva Goldsman, the master wordsmith who brought us ‘Batman & Robin.’ I assumed that such an achievement would result in Goldsmanツ痴 being legally banned from any of the verbal professions, but, no, here he is yet again. As far as I am qualified to judge, the film remains unswervingly loyal to the book, displaying an obedience that Silas could not hope to match. I welcome this fidelity, because it allows us to propose a syllogism. The movie is baloney; the movie is an accurate representation of the book; therefore, the book is also baloney, although it takes even longer to consume. […] The trouble with Howardツ痴 film is that it is far too dense and talkative to function efficiently as a thriller, while also being too credulous and childish to bear more than a secondツ痴 scrutiny as an exploration of religious history or spiritual strife.”
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May 23

Have a look at Steffi Klenz’s photography. There’s some information about Nonsuch over at Photofusion.
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May 23

It happens quite often that I got to somebody’s website, and I see a bunch of thumbnails, and I think “Oh, those must be nice when viewed larger”, and it turns out they’re not thumbnails, they’re the actual samples of the photographer’s work. If you have one of those websites let me ask you this following question: Why do you even bother with a website if you don’t want people to see your stuff? Assuming, of course, that you don’t happen to be a stamp collector who thinks that all good things must be small. But seriously, the internet poses quite serious limitations for photographers already, and offering people, who might be interested in your work, thumbnail-size samples does not further your cause all that much. Oh, and here is my response to potential emails where people warn me about other people “stealing” their photos: Puh-leeeeze!
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May 22

Those interested in photography books can now go to Photo Book Guide and get their regular dose of reviews of… well, photography books.
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May 19

Mauren Brodbeck’s digitally modified images are quite interesting.
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May 19

Luis Gispert’s work (also see this page) is somewhat hard to find online. A very good page, which gives explanations and nice examples and which I missed in the original version of this entry, can be found here. (updated entry)
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May 18

“Dude, it’s time. Girls, you too. Time to pack up the whole in-your-face, raw, hyper-sexualized, porno, skater, white trash, open wounds, self-effacing, Jackass, loose ethics, 80’s bar mitzvah disco, and party-till-you vomit movement, aesthetic and attitude. Go on, scram. Beat it. We don’t want you hanging around anymore. For those of us that saw this Larry Clark inspired tsunami coming, we all thought Terry Richardson was on to something fun (in 2000) and we all laughed our asses off at Vice’s fashion do’s and don’ts.” (source)
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May 18

Henning Rogge is a young German photographer whose work deals with what we do in our private lives to amuse ourselves, especially when looking at landscapes. Unfortunately, his website doesn’t appear to have any English text. (updated entry)
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May 17

Mara Bodis-Wollner has done an interesting photo study of the relationships between women, called The All Girls School.
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May 16

“These photographs of New Orleans and the surrounding area were taken three months after Hurricane Katrina and are part of a larger project to photograph landscapes around the world that are exhibiting dramatic transformation due to global warming. (See the Canary Project: www.canary-project.org).”
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May 16

Muir Vidler’s project list contains a set of very interesting shots, with lots of unusual subjects. Make sure to look at all of them, it’s worth it.
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May 15

Matmos (their record company’s page can be found here) must be one of the most creative group of musicians around. Or maybe they are the most cerebral (or both?). At first, there doesn’t appear to be anything unusual when you listen to their music, except that some of the sounds might or might not be a bit unusual. The thing with Matmos is that if it sounds like a fart, it actually is a real fart. And some sounds are enjoyed better if you do not know what they are, like those on the album A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure - music largely assembled by sampling sounds produced during plastic surgeries. Those who insist on reading the booklets will of course find out about the gory details; the new album Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast includes, if I remember correctly, the aforementioned fart, sperm sounds (yeah, don’t ask - I didn’t), sounds produced while handling a dead cow’s uterus and vagina, plus, and this has got to be my favourite, the sounds produced by having a bunch of snails intercept some laser signals used to trigger a theremin (or so). And more. Now, all that sounds pretty weird, and if you want to give it a listen you can download the a sample from The Civil War here; and there’s a neat sample from Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast here.
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May 15

Brian Ulrich shows us aspects of our daily (Western) lives that we probably don’t even notice any longer. If you look at all those displays from shops and malls you realize how utterly ridiculous that all is. Brian also covers the opposite end of the spectrum (if you will), thrift stores. Add to that the great “threeseven” portraits, and you got an amazing portfolio. There are fairly regular photo updates and links to other interesting photographers on his own weblog. In addition, some of his work will be published as part of MP3, a set of three books. (updated entry)
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May 11

It is no secret that a very large fraction of what we buy every day is produced elsewhere. For example, you will have a pretty hard time to find anything made in the US if you go to the store that I only call Hellmart. Somewhere, I read that 10% of all Chinese exports go directly to Hellmart - so that they can sell stuff cheap. And cheap it has to be as smaller businesses are being driven out of business, wages move towards minimal wage, and whole towns are converted into modern-day shanty towns. Michael Wolf captured one aspect of this whole business by going to a Chinese toy factory and taking photos there and by then constructing a gigantic installation out of discarded toys, bought at flea markets and the Salvation Army. You can see the work here. Update (14 Jan 2005): In another, stunning series, currently on view at Robert Koch Gallery, Michael Wolf is showing what he calls “architecture of density” in Hong Kong. Utterly fascinating. Update (11 May 2006): Michael’s latest addition to his portrayal of life in Hong Kong is what he calls 100 x 100 - “photographs of residents in their flats in hong kong’s oldest public housing estate”.
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May 10

Raffael Waldner “aims to depict the ambiguity of everyday live. Whether in his series on industrial landscapes or his series on cars […] he observes everyday locations […] and everyday objects […] that have lost their original function.”
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May 10

Just for the sake of completeness, and it’s also quite amusing: The Fall tour descends into chaos. Or not quite as much.
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May 8

Something provocative: Photography “as an art form is on the wane. […] he reason for photography’s eclipse as an art form has not just to do with the astonishing superabundance of photographs; it has to do with dramatic recent changes to the medium. Thanks to the digital revolution, there is virtually nothing that can’t be done to a photograph to alter its once unique relationship to reality. There is much to amaze in what is suddenly possible but the amazement is largely technical. In terms of art, something profound has been lost.” (source) I’d actually argue that this kind of criticism should first be applied to Hollywood movies, where imagination has been replaced by digital gimmicks so that most “blockbuster” movies are only watchable if you’re a young teenager who thinks that gratuitous violence and hollow digital effects with no actual plot whatsoever are “cool”. But despite the fact that I disagree with the conclusion drawn as far as contemporary photography is concerned, the author does raise some important points. (updated version - I forgot to link to the article…)
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May 8

“Released just one month after the Sago disaster, Coal Hollow - a new book of photographic portraits and oral histories collected by Ken and Melanie Light - takes readers where the network news cameras left off, deep into the hills of southern West Virginia. […] Whether industry barons, retired miners, snake handlers, preachers or state Supreme Court justices, each of the men and women in the Lights’ chronicle have lived their lives in the shadow of the free-market coal economy and watched it shape not only the topography of the hills around them, but also their families, their jobs and their towns.” (source) Also don’t miss the new feature at Digital Journalist. (Updated entry)
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May 7

How do you convince all the UFO nutcases that there are no UFO’s? Easy enough, you let the government do a secret study, which comes to that result. Needless to say, this isn’t going to convince the hardcore crowd, who is probably already preparing a refutation stating that it’s all a big government conspiracy.
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May 4

“Freelance photographer Kelly Fajack claims in a lawsuit that one of his photos was reproduced without his permission on a currency note circulating in the central African nation of Burundi.” - story
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May 4

Dave Jordano now has a site that only showcases his personal work. Make sure to look through all the projects - there is a lot to see. (updated entry)
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May 4

There are many ways to tell history. I’m not a historian, and I don’t want to get involved in any arguments about how to do it. I am quite interested in history, though, and by that I mean past events. What happened? How did it happen? And what did it do to the people who lived through those times?
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May 3

Tata Rankholz was a first-generation Becher student, and it is quite hard to find links. There are a few pages with text, all in German; I’ll spare you those. So enjoy the Trinkhallen, and also check out this page. (updated entry)
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May 2

Jay Parkinson’s work consists of very nice portraits. I really like his series of aspiring Baltimore models.
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May 1

If you’re here because you found the link in the May/June 2006 edition of American Photo, welcome! If you’re unfamiliar with blogs, check out the archives for the bulk of the content here.
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May 1

What would this blog be without the occasional eye candy? Check out commercial photographer Chip Simons’ work.
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May 1

Sacha Maric’s portfolio contains quite a few pretty nice images.
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