Archives

September 2006

SELECT A MONTH:

Sep 29

The work of Gerhard Richter, probably Germany’s most influential contemporary painter and one of my own personal favourite artists for a long time, can now be found on a dedicated website.
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Sep 29

I’m a bit torn about Christiane Zschommler’s work - I can’t seem to make up my mind about it. Have a look for yourself.
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Sep 29

I admit I am not all that much of a photographic theorist. While I do think that it is worthwile to look at what people have been doing in the past, I am a bit torn about studying what, say, Alfred Steiglitz and his group were discussing, at least as far as the theory of photography is concerned. What I do enjoy, though, is reading interviews with photographers or articles that give me an idea of what they were/are thinking about their work. Needless to say, this all is a matter of personal preference, and you might find yourself being bored with interviews but very excited about longish articles in the Benjamin-Barthes-Sontag mold. The Education of a Photographer is a new book that, I think, will be able to make everybody happy.
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Sep 29

The world of professional chess has always been very entertaining because of its mix of genius (as far as chess is concerned that is) and widely spread social ineptitude. World chess championships have been particularly good venues to see the most erratic and absurd behaviour, even though since the fall of the Iron Curtain things have become a bit boring. No more Xraying of chairs, no more yoghurts of predetermined colours at predetermined times - oh, the good old days! But don’t despaire! The current championship gives you - I kid you not! - Toiletgate. See here for the complaint that started it all and here and here for updates.
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Sep 29

For my upcoming travels, I bought a point-and-shoot digital camera (this one if you must know). It came with a whole set of instructions and a yellow warning: Apparently, you can’t sit down on your digital camera, because it will break. Who knew?
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Sep 28

Marc Asnin (whose own website is “under construction”, and whose editorial work can be seen at Redux Pictures) spent twenty years assembling a “visual diary of dramatic intimacy and intensity that chronicles the isolation, dependency, conflict, and death afflicting a mentally ill, impoverished man and his wives, girlfriends and children.” (source) Also don’t miss The Dailiness of Life.
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Sep 28

“A major detainee bill hurtling down the HOV lane in Congress today would determine the extent to which the president can define and authorize torture. […] One hardly needs a law degree to understand that in a controversy over detainee treatment between the executive and legislative branches, the trump will go to the guy who’s holding the unnamed detainees in secret prisons. […] No serious reader of the detainee-compromise bill can dispute that the whole point here is to sideline the courts. This bill immunizes some forms of detainee abuse and ignores others. It strips courts of habeas-corpus jurisdiction and denies so-called unlawful enemy combatants […] the right to assert Geneva Convention claims in courts. Many detainees may never stand trial on the most basic question of whether they have done anything wrong. And courts will apparently now be powerless to do anything about any of this.” (story) “The White House was allowed to blatantly rewrite the pending legislation in regard to habeas corpus and the definition of enemy combatants. This time around, amid the mind-numbing blur of end-of-session legislative maneuvers, these aggressive efforts by the administration to be allowed to hold detainees for years (and even maybe decades) without judicial review has provoked only dutiful resistance from most congressional Democrats and a so-what shrug from the press and the public.” (story)
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Sep 27

“On Tuesday, the Deutsche Oper, one of Berlin’s three opera houses, announced the cancellation of a provocative production of a Mozart opera in hopes of avoiding potential Islamist terrorist attacks. The production would have included a scene depicting the severed head of Muhammad alongside those of other religious figures. But instead of avoiding controversy, the opera house’s decision has fuelled attacks — though from an altogether different source. Over the last 24 hours, Kirsten Harms, the Deutsche Oper’s chief director, has faced a constant barrage of incredulity and scorn from German public officials. The cancellation has been loudly condemned as a betrayal of basic German values and freedom of expression.” (story; also see this article for a particularly elegant discussion of why the Deutsche Opera’s decision was wrong)
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Sep 27

Frank Herfort’s website got updated since I first linked to it - what an improvement!
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Sep 26

Probably nobody will be surprised to learn I like Clint Baclawski’s “Have a Seat in Pennsylvania” the best. The other series are also pretty neat, though.
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Sep 26

These are the covers of the “Asia”, “Europe”, “Latin America”, and “US” editions of Newsweek magazine. Can you guess which one is which? Visit this page to see the solution.
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Sep 25

There are lots of interesting sets of landscapes in Thomas Wrede’s portfolio. (updated post)
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Sep 25

Paul Raphaelson studies (bleak) urban environments, and after years of working in b/w now uses colour.
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Sep 22

from my new “No Place Like The Cape” series
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Sep 22

Doug Dubois has assembled a very nice group of photos of members of his own family. I like his style of portraiture.
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Sep 22

“For the past five years my work has involved the creation of unique cameraless silver images by application of chemicals to black and white photographic paper. These chemicals effect the paper’s response to light. Varying the concentration, flow, and time of contact of the chemicals with the paper allows me to control the lightness, color tone, and composition of the final image.” - Norman Sarachek
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Sep 22

In my (pretty hopeless) quest to chronicle the absolute worst the so-called entertainment industry has to offer I give you Madonna, who explained her mock crucifixion, which is part of her current tour, as follows: “It is no different than a person wearing a cross or ‘taking up the cross’ as it says in the Bible. […] Rather, it is my plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole.” And she added to that “I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.” (source)
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Sep 22

Isn’t it interesting that many people who have no quarrels with seeing the most gruesome war photography - and who would argue very vehemently that war photography was actually useful - have a completely different attitude with respect to photos that show the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11? For another example - apart from the one seen here just yesterday - see this post. Key quote: “More sophisticated viewers should be on guard against confusing the picture of something or the act of taking it with a definite stance on the part of the photographer toward what the picture shows.”
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Sep 21

You might have seen bits of this already, but since the article offers such a nice brief summary, I might as well post it here. Those who don’t want to pay to read Frank Rich’s article need look no further than here - always helps to know the full story. What I find most interesting in all of this is that this is such a prime example for how photographs (in general?) do not have a meaning by themselves, and often you see what you are able to see or even what you want to see.
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Sep 21

“Across the River is a project of German and Polish photography students who examined the changes, dreams, and realities in the border area between Germany and Poland over a period of one year. The 16 photographers depict the living conditions and circumstances in a region at the periphery of two countries from a very personal point of view. They have experienced an area which is often enough simply passed through hurriedly but whose history is richer and more varied than that of many large cities.”
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Sep 20

You want to take a photo of some location, yet there are always people walking in and out of the scene? No problem - simply use the tourist remover tool. I haven’t tested this, though.
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Sep 20

Apart from the subject matters, Andreas Weinand isn’t your stereotypical German photographer - which only goes to show that the cliché in “German photography” is not the photography, but the thinking about it as a style of photography.
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Sep 20

Thomas Weinberger’s eerie photos were taken with a large-format camera, exposing the film for longer periods twice (once during the day, once at night).
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Sep 19

“He was the Führer’s most favored photographer and cameraman. Walter Frentz was the man Adolf Hitler trusted to put him in the right light. Now a new biography has uncovered pictures of the Nazi leader never seen before.” (story) Unfortunately, Walter Frentz’s website is available in German only; it would be quite instructive for non-German speakers to see how his past is glossed over in a sickeningly nonchalant fashion, with leading Third Reich figures presented as “personalities”. You might not be familiar with the name Walter Frentz, but it’s very likely you have seen a photo of him. In this photo, showing leading Nazi propaganda photographer/filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (center), with Walter Frentz operating the camera.
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Sep 19

Gosbert Gottmann digitally manipulates photos to produce quite interesting imagery.
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Sep 18

This post addresses a topic that I have been thinking about for a while, and I have had the occasional discussion with other photographers about this. The main question might be posed as follows. When do similarities between photographs end, and when does plagiarism begin?
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Sep 7

I’m sure most of you are already aware of these following two blogs. First, there’s Alec Soth’s blog, all new and sparkly. And there’s Christian Patterson’s blog, not quite as new (but newly added to my links here, on the side), but about as sparkly.
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Sep 7

“There was a time when the critic felt obliged to explain why video and photography might be art, what an installation is, to unpack Duchamp’s importance and to remind readers who Joseph Beuys was. This no longer feels so necessary. The incomprehensible and the indefensible can look after themselves. What we really want to know is who went to the opening, how much money the artist got for the show, and which architect did their house for them. But describing what something looks or felt like, running with the thoughts it provokes, asking why it may or may not be worth looking at, still feels worthwhile, and more interesting than telling you that Damien [Hirst] has said he’d like to hit me, that there were years when Tracey [Enim] didn’t speak to me, and that a stuckist wrote in recently, telling me why I’d got art all wrong, that I hang out with the wrong crowd, but that my heart might be in the right place (this last bit is worrying). Art provokes and deserves something more than silence. Only mediocrity deserves the silent treatment, the critical cold shoulder.” - art critic Adrian Searle
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Sep 7

“The series Remains explores the political and social transformation of the former Soviet Union in the aftermath of the collapse of communism. Rather than concentrating on the global changes in the region, my photographs focus on the more intimate details of daily life; the interiors and exteriors that form an essence of a culture.” - Sasha Rudensky
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Sep 6

I keep finding emails in my inbox with links to polls, according to which about 50 percent of the people believe that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 (see this latest one, for example). Somehow, I just can’t muster any kind of shock about this. After all, “about a third of Americans believe in ghosts (34 percent) and an equal number in UFOs (34 percent), and about a quarter accept things like astrology (29 percent), reincarnation (25 percent) and witches (24 percent).” Or, even more bizarre, “belief in the devil has increased slightly over the last few years — from 63 percent in 1997 to 71 percent today.” (these last two quotes from our friends at Fox “News”). You know, with one in four people believing there are witches, and one in three people believing in ghosts, why is anyone surprised that about one in two believes there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11? Oh, and lest you gloat, because you think you’re so smart, get this: “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for nonsmart reasons.” (this from Scientific American, who - if you, for whatever mysterious reason, do not believe Fox’s poll - also give some numbers for UFOs (30 percent), ESP (60 percent), astrology as being scientific (40 percent), or lucky numbers (32 percent)).
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Sep 6

German editorial photographer Sibylle Fendt has covered quite a few interesting subject matters.
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Sep 4

It has lately become quite popular to decry the tampering of photography appearing in magazines or in the news, so here is a collection of such manipulated (and unmanipulated) images. Note the mix of examples that are quite serious and of examples that aren’t even worth a second look.
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Sep 3

“Hundreds of Paris Hilton albums have been tampered with in the latest stunt by ‘guerrilla artist’ Banksy. Banksy has replaced Hilton’s CD with his own remixes and given them titles such as Why am I Famous?, What Have I Done? and What Am I For? He has also doctored pictures of her on the CD sleeve to show the US socialite topless and with a dog’s head. A spokeswoman for Banksy said he had doctored 500 copies of her debut album Paris in 48 record shops across the UK.” - story
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Sep 2

In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones asks “But where are the images of 21st-century conflict?”. It’s certainly an interesting read, but to me, it appears that Jonathan Jones misses a few points. I don’t want to go into too much detail - in part lest you read the article with my eyes.
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Sep 2

“[Idris] Khan creates multi-layered photographs, often of appropriated art and books, in a way that both augments the aura of the original and reveals the idiosyncratic trace of his own hand.” I guess I keep coming back to the issue of copyright? Or maybe not? In any case, this is your chance to see all Becher watertowers in one. As much as I like this, I have to note that Idris Khan’s approach was also used by Jason Salavon - this bit of information for those people who just hate to see something that they have seen before. There is a fine article by Geoff Dyer in The Guardian, which you don’t want to miss - regardless of what you think about Idirs Khan’s work. (updated entry)
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Sep 1

Many of Katlen Hewel’s photos were done using projections onto people’s bodies. The Superheroes might be most convincing - as a whole I think the idea is certainly interesting (and I’m saying that in kind of a Mr Spock way).
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