Archives

June 2006

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Jun 29

Today, the US Supreme Court “held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today’s ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons ‘shall in all circumstances be treated humanely,’ and that ‘[t]o this end,’ certain specified acts ‘are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever’ - including ‘cruel treatment and torture,’ and ‘outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.’ This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. […] This almost certainly means that the CIA’s interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).” - story
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Jun 29

“As an artist I have created photomontages to reveal a personal vision about the nature of children, animals, and their interactions. These images illustrate the fleeting moods that can’t be captured by a traditional camera or seen by the naked eye.” - Tom Chambers
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Jun 29

Regular visitors will be aware of Jill Greenberg’s work, in particular her photos of monkeys. But, of course, there are also the photos of cying children a series that, as I just learned, “doubles as a critique of the Bush administration.” (source)
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Jun 28

“Most people, mainly aware of larger day-to-day fluctuations in the weather, barely notice that climate, the average weather, is changing. In the 1980s I started to use colored dice that I hoped would help people understand global warming at an early stage. Of the six sides of the dice only two sides were red, or hot, representing the probability of having an unusually warm season during the years between 1951 and 1980. By the first decade of the twenty-first century, four sides were red. Just such an increase in the frequency of unusually warm seasons, in fact, has occurred. But most people - who have other things on their minds and can use thermostats - have taken little notice.” - story
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Jun 28

A few people emailed me the link to Jacob Aue Sobol’s website and told me the Sabine project was quite nice. I’ll have to disagree with that, but even though I’m not one to follow the flock, mine might be a minority opinion (again), so have a peek and decide yourself.
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Jun 27

One of the many ideas for future projects (the vast majority of which will never get done) was/is to take photos of extremely dedicated hobbyists, something that Jennifer Litterer has done already.
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Jun 26

Something to think about: “Modern nudity carries many messages, all of them united by their lack of sophistication” (story) I don’t think I’d make such a sweeping generalization as far as nude portraits are concerned (even though I definitely agree with the author about the Vanity Fair et al. photography) - over the past months, I’ve linked to some very nice treatments of the nude human form.
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Jun 26

Simen Johan is another example of a fine-art photographer who has been using digital manipulations quite extensively, with quite a bit of commercial success. His Breeding Ground might serve as a counter-point to Loretta Lux’s kitsch paradise (or maybe not). You can find his work at some of the big galleries here, here, or here. (updated entry)
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Jun 26

What have happened if a famous photographer had had access to any one of those ubiquitous photography “critique” forums that are so popular? Well, have a look at this. And if you’ve never been to anyof those forums, yes, this is the kind of stuff you usually find there.
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Jun 23

Peter Liedtke’s portfolio is a treasure trove for people interested in industrial and/or night-time photography, most of them centered on the “Ruhrgebiet” - one of Germany’s largest industrial areas. Some of the projects can also be viewed here (but note, that page is German language only). (updated entry)
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Jun 23

Michael Kerstgens’ portfolio contains a whole set of very nice projects. The one that impressed me the most contains portraits of mentally challenged people.
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Jun 22

1. Buying 500 paper clips does result in weird looks/comments when trying to pay for them. 2. 500 paper clips also is quite the overestimate as far as needed quantities are concered (see 3.). 3. Doing the art work letter-size is way too small (see above) 4. Listening to a rousing Shostakovich symphony while placing needles on top of other needles is not necessarily the best idea (even if it’s a lame and overrated interpretation; it’s good I avoided the probably best version). 5. Using a work surface that is too low results in severe back pain. 6. Being very casual about taking the photos is very stupid. 7. Dismantling the piece at the end is quite satisfying. 8. Significant fun can be had with a collection of paper clips, needles, and thumb tags. (actual photo link posting will of course continue tomorrow…)
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Jun 22

It’s probably inevitable in a society that places money above everything else to find this: “For the last several years, two professors at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Michael Moses and Jiangping Mei, have been compiling data that allows them to track the long-term performance of fine art.” (full story)
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Jun 21

Claudia Thoelen has been covering topics that many people will be somewhat uncomfortable with, such as Alzheimer’s Disease or the interiors of hospitals.
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Jun 20

“It’s naive, obsessive and often done with no skill at all. Why are we so entranced by outsider art?” asks Philip Hensher about an exhibition that left Adrian Searle disturbed: “Meet the misfits”.
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Jun 19

The global economy, this most glorious of all market places, has enriched our lives to extents previously unknown. Unfortunately, it’s just not the kind of riches that I was hoping for.
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Jun 19

Phillip Toledano has expanded his work from his depictions of offices of bankrupt companies, life in cubicles, the faces we make when we play video games, and car salespeople. His “Hope and Fear” series he describes as “the external manifestation of internal desires and paranoia that are adrift in America”. (updated entry)
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Jun 19

“David Hensel, a sculptor from Sussex, submitted to the Royal Academy summer exhibition a piece that consisted of a large bronze laughing head mounted on a plinth of slate and kept in place by a support shaped like a bone. Pleased to have the piece accepted as item 1201 in the catalogue […] Hensel was dismayed on visiting the show to find that his effort had been decapitated; he was represented in the exhibition by what looked like a dog’s toy on a paving stone. It turned out that the head had become separated from the support during unpacking. […] The sculptor David Mach, a selector for the summer show, was even on record praising the ‘minimalist’ qualities of the bone-on-slab display. And as the faces of traditionalists aped the roaring mouth of Hensel’s missing head they were given even more cause to cackle when it turned out that the bronze bonce had not simply been left behind in a storeroom but had gone before the selectors as a separate art-work and been rejected. Yet another bone thrown to the anti-modernist dogs is the fact that the plinth with the bit on top is now expected to sell for far more than the original price of the whole combination. For the provisional wing of the watercolourists association this will prove that modern Britart combines artistic indiscrimination with financial idiocy.” - story
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Jun 19

The stark images from Valérie Rouyer’s series Still Life led to her inclusion in Aperture’s 50 Photographers of Tomorrow.
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Jun 17

Check out Hubertus Hamm’s website. There are some very nice portraits, and don’t miss the photos from Munich’s new soccer stadium, which you might have seen on TV recently.
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Jun 17

Normally, I wouldn’t bother to link to a site that’s as badly marred by misuse of “Flash” as Stephan Zirwes’, but since I really like his aerial photography, I’ll have to make an exception.
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Jun 16

OK, let me make this official: I hereby declare that I have seen enough vacated houses and/or ruins of houses, and I don’t feel like seeing more would add anything to a subject matter, which actually hardly ever deserves such coverage. Oh, and adding some poor, freezing naked woman to the scene only makes it weird and not better.
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Jun 16

Weronika Łodzińska and Andrzej Kramarz’s website contains a set of very interesting photo projects (accessible through the numbers at the lower right corner of the frame).
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Jun 16

As much as I enjoy Bertram Kober’s photographic work, the fact that clicking on the mini-thumbnails results in barely larger thumbnails is quite regrettable.
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Jun 16

“600 photographs from the People’s Republic of China […] went on show on May 20 at the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt. This is a reproduction of an exhibition that first opened three years ago in Guangzhou before moving on to Shanghai and Beijing. In the original show 250 Chinese photographers showed works covering the past 50 years; the curators had a total of 100,000 photographs to choose from.” - story
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Jun 15

Ambroise Tézenas just won the Leica European Publishers Award for Photography 2006.
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Jun 15

“June Newton’s photographs were never as celebrated as those of her husband, Helmut. Two years after his death, she talks to William Cook about their marriage - and why she was better at capturing people’s souls” (story)
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Jun 14

“My project addresses how new towns like East Kilbride in Scotland were conceived as a one-stop solution for urban rejuvenation in the early 1950s. These centers were driven by modernist concepts in urban development and social planning. Unlike older urban developments, new towns offered defined social spaces where neighbourhoods were gridded to accommodate schools and shopping centres; where industries were clustered on the town’ edge estates; and where local road transportation systems were developed strategically around neighbourhoods to enable safer commuter transit.” - Sylvia Grace Borda. Also see the East Kilbride website.
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Jun 14

“Over the past six weeks a Western security force has effectively taken over the small African nation of Namibia. A beach resort in Langstrand in Western Namibia has been sealed off with security cordons, and armed security personnel have been keeping both local residents and visiting foreigners at bay. A no-fly zone has been enforced over part of the country. The Westerners have also demanded that the Namibian government severely restrict the movement of journalists into and out of Namibia. The government agreed […] This Western security force […] is the security entourage of one Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the celebrity couple better known for living it up in LA than slumming it in Namibia. They reportedly wanted their first child to be born in Namibia because the country is ‘the cradle of human kindÂ’ and it would be a ‘specialÂ’ experience. […] It may sound shocking, but in truth Pitt and JolieÂ’s trip to Namibia is really only a more extreme version of todayÂ’s ‘celebrity colonialismÂ’, where celebs go to Africa (or some other poor part of the world) to make themselves feel ‘specialÂ’. Africa in particular has become a stage for such moralistic poseurs - and their posing can have a detrimental impact on the people who live there.” - source
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Jun 13

“For off peak, I found myself searching for magic and longing for innocence in the Wisconsin Dells: a place I had always dreamed of visiting—as every child growing up in the Midwest does. My first experience with the Dells, however, was only recently (and somewhat unintentionally) on a return trip from Thanksgiving in Chicago with the in-laws. We needed gas and food and found ourselves halfway from home in this sleepy resort town already closed for the season. The surreal quality of the hyperconstructed landscape devoid of people stuck in my head, and soon I was taking the car to fulfill my unrealized, and now altered, dream. At 30, I was less interested in enjoying the self-proclaimed waterpark capital of the world during the height of its summer season. Instead, I imagined myself as explorer of the weirdness and desolation quietly pervading its winter months.” - Kerri Jamison
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Jun 13

For his “on air” photographs, Atta Kim “employed extended exposures - sometimes as long as eight hours - to explore fundamental questions of time and perception.” (source) See some of the images here.
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Jun 12

Andy Warhol once said that “all department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores.” I’m not sure that’s really true, but it definitely sounds cool (until you start thinking about it - which is the essence of so many things done/said by Andy Warhol). But then what if you were to look at a department store “whose doors had last admitted patrons nearly 30 years ago […] left in its original condition and regularly maintained and cleaned by its owners”? Well, have a look. For those unable to read German, images samples can be found here, and there’s some info here.
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Jun 10

“if there was any doubt about where the contemporary art market is going, they were dispelled this morning at Christie’s Baghdad, where the US Government paid a record-setting $286 billion - plus $240 for framing - for this portrait of the dead Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.” (“story”)
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Jun 10

Erwin Olaf’s photography certainly is quite interesting, and he has re-designed his website since I first linked to him. There’s a very nice feature about his work at webesteem art (with tons of large samples!).
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Jun 9

Caroline Shepard’s environmental portraits are digitally composed of a whole set of source photos.
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Jun 8

Given its nature, it is relatively hard to get a good overview of contemporary photography. Photography itself has only recently been fully accepted as an art form, and many people still have somewhat warped ideas of what photography as an art form looks like. If it wasn’t for the internet, finding interesting contemporary photography would probably quite a bit harder - especially if you happen to live in places (like yours truly) where people appear to think that a photo of a flower is cutting-edge contemporary photography. However, relying on places like this blog for your daily contemporary photography fix isn’t all that satisfying, a fact that becomes immediately obvious when you get the chance to see actual photos, displayed in a gallery or book. A photo online simply isn’t the same. Regeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow offers an introduction to fifty young photographers “of tomorrow”. I have to admit I find the idea quite silly that emerging photographers have to be young (maybe it’s just me and my own emerging grey hair that makes me say that), but still, the book provides you with short descriptions and lots of very nicely printed, high quality samples of fifty photographers, some of which you have already seen here, some not.
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Jun 8

“Arnold Newman, whose portraits of artists like Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Picasso aimed to capture their souls, not just their faces, died on Tuesday [6 June] at age 88 at a New York hospital” (source)
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Jun 7

Naomi Harris’ website contains a lot of very interesting photography. I have the feeling that most of the photos in the Dirty Pictures section might serve as some sort of antidote for the more glamourized photography done by other fine-art photographers.
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Jun 7

I have been quite successful with my attempts not to gripe about snooty/arrogant gallery owners/attendants, but I guess today’s experiences is going to put an end to that. I have the feeling that gallery owners who might happen to read this will find all kinds of excuses, but I think that if somebody goes into a gallery he or she does deserve to be treated with at least a minimum of respect - regardless of whether that person looks like he or she is going to buy something or not. And this is especially true if the gallery is completely devoid of other visitors, so you can’t even claim you would be “wasting your time” (whatever that means in the context of a gallery).
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Jun 7

Have a look at David LaSpina’s photography.
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Jun 5

Have a look at a new Amnesty International Campaign against torture. And it does happen, and some people are even openly talking about it.
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Jun 5

Christopher Bucklow (bio) is probably most well-known for his Guests series. Find another page with samples and bio here.
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Jun 4

Olivia Gay’s photography has expanded from covering South/Latin American prostitution and strip clubs to nude models or supermarket cashiers in France. And her portraits are also very nice. (updated entry)
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Jun 1

Just in case you’re wondering what search strings people might use to end up on my blog, here are the top 20 such strings for the month May 2006: “conscientious”, “bare breasts”, “dash snow”, “martin schoeller”, “el lissitzky”, “idris khan”, “helmut newton”, “sex machines”, “bare women”, “loretta lux”, “angela strassheim”, “miroslav tichy”, “women nipples”, “hot breasts”, “nick brandt”, “olivo barbieri”, “how does mp3 work”, “leni riefenstahl”, “erotic dolls”, “paolo roversi”.
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Jun 1

“A political and cultural row is brewing in Germany over a decision to award the Heinrich Heine literature prize to Peter Handke, the Austrian author who courted controversy with his eulogy at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic. […] The jury for the Heine prize said that ‘in his work, Peter Handke obstinately follows the path to an open truth. He sets his poetic gaze onto the world regardless of the public opinion and its rituals.’” (source) “By declaring themselves ready to revoke the decision of an independent literary jury, German politicians are embarrassing themselves and damaging the fundaments of democratic culture. […] Whoever gets this award next should think twice before accepting it - unless things are made clear and the prize gets its name changed to ‘Heinrich Heine Prize for Political Correctness.’ Let’s be serious. Who needs literary critics and philosophers - not to mention literature itself - if local politicos will always know better?” (source)
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