Archives

October 2006

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Oct 31

Here’s a little bit of fun for you. Read this article by Kevin Federline (Britney Spears’ husband). Something makes me think that people like Federline (or Paris Hilton) are today’s dadaists (“Like, I could do the work, but I didn’t want to do the work.” - K.F.).
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Oct 31

Fascinating article on offshore derricks over at bldgblog.
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Oct 31

For fans of b/w photography (which has been a bit underrepresented here lately) there’s Simon Chang’s work. Originally from Taiwan, he is now at Prague’s FAMU.
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Oct 31

There’s quite a large number of interesting projects in Leonie Purchas’ portfolio - for example the story of Christian, the trash collector.
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Oct 30

“My work explores the meanings and connotations attached to consumer goods and culture.” - Olivia Beasley
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Oct 30

There’s an article in LA Weekly that I saw and then decided not to link to, in which the author claims that (fasten your seatbelts) “I couldnÂ’t name a single photographer subsequent to Arbus (and Frank and Winogrand and Friedlander and Eggleston and the other greats of her generation) who ranked on anywhere near the same level, which is to say, who thrilled me near as broadly, deeply or consistently.” I guess I can close shop here and do something else? But then, what might be true for that author is not true for other people (incl., very obviously, for your truly); and haven’t we heard similar complaints (“things today just aren’t as good any longer as they sued to be!”) in the past? In any case, Alec Soth decided to post the piece on his blog, and there’s a bit of a discussion about it over there. Check it out.
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Oct 27

Lee Satkowski’s portrait of Chile contains an interesting mix of styles, all nicely executed.
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Oct 27

You know, when you get a donkey expert (no, I’m not making this up) to comment on the Borat movie you know that the comedic jackpot has been hit: “There was a donkey at the beginning of the film with a very large person on it, but this happens all around the world. In the UK, there’s an eight-stone weight limit for anyone riding a donkey, which I’m sure he exceeded.” (story [scroll down for the donkey expert], there also is a glowing review)
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Oct 26

“Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called ‘water-boarding,’ which creates a sensation of drowning. Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn’t regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it.” (story) So this is how this works: We do not torture, because we don’t consider anything we do to be torture. That’s not going to work, though, because waterboarding is considered to be torture by, for example, human rights organizations (see, for example, here), and whether Mr Cheney considers it not to be torture is irrelevant (unfortunately not for the people subjected to torture).
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Oct 25

Ellen Kooi just got her second solo show in the US. Go and check it out - very nice and creative photography! (updated entry)
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Oct 23

Overheard Starbuck is all about what Christopher Guest is interested in: “I am interested in the notion that people can become so obsessed by their world that they lose sense and awareness of how they appear to other people. They’re so earnest about it.”
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Oct 23

Heli Rekula’s subject matter “is often the female body and women’s different roles, women both collectively and as individuals. Frequent themes include innocence and the loss of innocence, purity and impurity, and the boundaries between. Rekula views people as cultured animals. She questions the impact of culture on natural sexuality and aggression.”
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Oct 23

Finnish photographer Stefan Bremer has produced a pretty large variety of photography, of which I personally like the stark b/w work (“Man and Woman”) best. Also see this Page).
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Oct 22

I can’t hope to seriously compete with Brian Ulrich’s wonderful thrift store work, but I just could not walk past this scene, spotted at a local store.
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Oct 21

I rarely link to work like Bill Durgin’s, so I might as well do it now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it - it’s just that my own interests in photography don’t extend in this direction.
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Oct 21

The man that we didn’t bother to catch when we had the chance is out there to get you! Be very afraid!
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Oct 20

Kerry Skarbakka’s photography contains a fairly large performance aspect. For larger versions of his “The Struggle to Right Oneself” check out this page.
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Oct 20

“With its dramatic angles, Daniel Libeskind’s new art gallery is lighting up Denver. There’s just one problem: you can’t hang much on those walls.” - story
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Oct 20

In my loose series of scientists who decided to do something else, I give you Brian May, famous for playing the guitar for the rock band “Queen” and not quite so famous for almost getting his Ph.D. in astronomy. Well, what do you know. So what do you do when you’re an aging rock star? Turns out Brian May co-wrote a book on astronomy, along with British TV astronomer Patrick Moore (or “Sir” as they say over there; turns out if you do anything in England long enough - provided it’s not utterly menial - they’ll make you a “Sir”).
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Oct 19

I hate to tell you this but this page was the only one I could find that shows some of Frederic Chaubin’s photos of unusual architecture in the former Soviet Union.
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Oct 19

“The Isenheim Altarpiece was executed for the hospital chapel of Saint Anthony’s Monastery in Isenheim in Alsace […] The work of Grünewald expresses the torment of the early sixteenth century more fully than that of any other artist. […] [It] was painted before Luther nailed his theses to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517, but it is painted by a man who, like Bosch, used his great technical powers to express a simple, unmistakable message of emotional intensity and terrible realism.” (source) - It might appear odd that I’d link to this, but somehow, I recently managed to stumble upon quite a few references to the altarpiece (for example in Michael Kimmelman’s The Accidental Masterpiece), so I thought I’d look it up. And terribly realistic it is.
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Oct 19

Bill Owens got famous for his “Suburbia” series. Make sure to check out his other work, too.
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Oct 18

I mentioned Jen Bekman’s Hey, Hot Shot! competition earlier, and for those who missed the last one, there’s the Fall 2006 one, with a deadline on November 7, 2006 (check the website for details, also see the blog). Jen asked me to be a member of the panel this time, so if you decide to participate I’ll probably look at your work.
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Oct 18

“Dove says an advertising campaign that uses real women instead of pencil-thin models is an effort to widen the stereotype of beauty and boost sales in the process. Critics, however, doubt any beauty models have been broken or recast.” (story, with links; also see two of their movies here and here [thanks, Mark!]) Somehow I think, though, that while the actual topic addressed there is very real and important, a company, which made and still makes considerable amounts of money by exploiting exactly the kind of beauty ideals they now claim to educate women about, might not be the best advocate for all of this - unless, of course, you believe that they really care about the issue.
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Oct 18

Alright, I do realize that this post might tick off quite a few people, but here’s my question anyway: Am I the only one who thinks that HDR photos mostly look like old colour postcards? (sorry for the probably non-ideal link to old postcards - if you know a better site, let me know) You basically get the same effect: The colours look gaudy and artificial, and the scenes look somewhat unreal, the only difference being that HDR photos look crisper. PS: Alright, I do realize I’m being somewhat unfair here. However, in my defense: Most of the HDR photos that people have linked to (and that I thus stumbled upon) look like the ones that I am talking about above.
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Oct 18

Benjamin Donaldson’s portfolio contains a set of very interesting projects.
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Oct 17

I think it might tell us something about the state of our society that this article and this article are talking about the same study. I’m afraid what it tells us is not very flattering.
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Oct 17

Simon Roberts’ series “Motherland” is quite a cool portrait of Russia.
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Oct 17

Antonin Kratochvil (see some samples here and lots of them here) has just published his Homage to Abu Ghraib. I’d probably be the last person who’d want Abu Ghraib to be forgotten, but I’m not sure that creating photos of an event that became known through photos is really such a good idea. After all, the original photos are chilling enough - and it’s hard to see what re-creations add to them. (updated entry)
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Oct 16

“North Korea must be the only nuclear power in the world which is so poor that its top scientists are forced to spend their free time making kitchen utensils. It is not Kim Jong Il’s megalomania nor his obsession with sovereignty which makes this regime so dangerous. Rather, it’s the country’s failures and weaknesses.” - story
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Oct 16

Tiina Itkonen’s portrait of life in arctic Greenland is very nice. For better samples see this page.
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Oct 16

“Imagine that all the people on Earth […] could be spirited away tomorrow, transported to a re-education camp in a far-off galaxy. […] Left once more to its own devices, Nature would begin to reclaim the planet, as fields and pastures reverted to prairies and forest, the air and water cleansed themselves of pollutants, and roads and cities crumbled back to dust. […] All things considered, it will only take a few tens of thousands of years at most before almost every trace of our present dominance has vanished completely. Alien visitors coming to Earth 100,000 years hence will find no obvious signs that an advanced civilisation ever lived here.” - story
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Oct 15

There’s a wonderful article about Weimar Republic painters in the new edition of The New Review of Books, which, alas, is not available online, so you’ll have to buy the magazine. The article discusses in quite a bit of depth several of the painters of that era - plus the background of the Weimer Republic, and it’s of particular interest for anyone who admires August Sander’s work. If you compare the paintings with Sander’s photos, on the surface there are no similarities whatsoever.
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Oct 14

What happens when fine-art photography is subjected to the kind of critique that’s so ubiquitous in photography forums online? Well, have a look at what people had to say about one of Alec Soth’s photos. Unlike the parody that I linked to earlier, this is the real stuff. You just can’t make this sh## up! Enjoy!
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Oct 13

I first linked to Frank Rothe’s work after I saw his Germans guns series. He has since expanded his website. Make sure to check out “Running through the wind”. (updated entry)
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Oct 13

Back to the freak show that is the world chess federation: “He claims that he can communicate with aliens. Once, he says, he was even taken on a tour of one of their UFOs. ‘The extraterrestrials put me in a yellow astronaut suit and showed me their spaceship. I was on the bridge. I felt quite comfortable in their company.’ And who is the lucky space tourist? None other than the president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. […] lyumzhinov has ruled one Russia’s poorest republics, a dusty strip of land bordering the Caspian Sea, home to 290,000 people, since 1993. He assumed the presidency of FIDE two years later.” (story)
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Oct 12

Check out this cool interview with Lucian Freud, one of my favourite painters.
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Oct 12

I have the feeling that blogging about photography - not to be confused with photoblogs, where people regularly post their photos online - has now reached critical mass. To be honest, I was a bit pessimistic a few years ago, when there was but a small number of blogs like this one, many of them even disappearing with time. But now, with so many high-profile photographers having their own blog, things appear to have changed - I am actually worried about losing track of all the blogs! Now that is a problem I enjoy having!
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Oct 12

Marc Volk’s photography is pretty experimental, exploring (sometimes literally!) the edges of photography. See this page for some information in English.
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Oct 11

Check out Pierre Gonnord’s masterful portraiture.
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Oct 10

Juliana Beasley doesn’t shy away from rough subject matters. Make sure to look at “Rockaways” and “Lapdancer”.
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Oct 10

After all that heavy theory, here’s something lighter. For those interested in celebrities and what it must be like to take their photo, have a look at this story. Quite entertaining.
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Oct 10

As I mentioned before, I am noto all that much into photography criticism or theory. To make an utterly silly comparison, if I was given the choice between two extreme choices, the first being the Wittgensteinian going into a museum/gallery, looking at a single photo, and then leaving, the second being to spend a long time looking at each and every photo and then reading a ten-page in-depth discussion about the photography, I’d opt for the former, and this is not because I’m lazy (have a look at what Wittgenstein actually is trying to say to find out more). Having said this, when I read the following, the rules of gravity suddenly didn’t seem to apply for my eye-brows any longer: “Put most bluntly, for the past century most photography critics havenÂ’t really liked photographs, or the experience of looking at them, at all. They approach photography - not specific photographs, or specific practitioners, or specific genres, but photography itself - with suspicion, mistrust, anger, and fear. Rather than enter into what Kazin called a ‘community of interest’ with their subject, these critics come armed to the teeth against it. For them, photography is a powerful, duplicitous force to be defanged rather than an experience to embrace.” (story) Since I haven’t read many of the texts referred to in that article, I’m not going to disagree too strongly (even though these days not knowing what you’re talking about usually doesn’t prevent people from having a strong opinion about it). As usual, you want to read the article yourself and see whether you agree or not.
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Oct 9

As was entirely predictable, German artist Carsten Höller’s new art installation at the Tate Modern is causing quite the fuss. “Carsten Holler (sic!) has built five enormous, stainless steel slides swooping down into the hall, including one that falls five storeys from the top floor.” (story) See some pictures here. More here, with some “criticism” right at the end. You know I can’t help but applaud Carsten Höller’s work for the simple reason that he’s somewhat of my twin brother (albeit the successful one), what with him being a (former) scientist, “bespectacled and geeky, with a bulging forehead” (source).
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Oct 9

I’m quite impressed with Paul Kranzler’s work. Make sure to check out all of his projects!
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Oct 9

Comenius Röthlisberger’s website is a bit, how can I say it… underabundant with actual information.
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Oct 8

When I saw this collection of vintage Pelican paperbacks, I figured I might as well scan my own collection of vintage paperbacks. I have been collecting old paperbacks for a while now, buying whatever I can find, mostly in thrift stores. I have no strict rule for what to buy, so there are books that I bought for the covers (like this one), books that might be cool to read some day (like this one), or older science books (like this one). If you like stuff like this, keep an eye on the page, I’ll add more scans over the next few weeks (time permitting…).
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Oct 6

The interesting thing about Juliane Eirich’s photography is her frequent use of night-time photography, often combined with a panoramic format. Unlike many other night-time photographers, she doesn’t go for overly gimmicky scenes. See, for example, her “Night in Bavaria”, where she even shot a bunch of trees - with no extra light.
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Oct 5

Michael Reisch’s views of architecture and landscapes show a clear influence of the Düsseldorf school.
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Oct 3

Michael Mackenzie shoots his deserted scenes predominantly under low light - and this only adds to the general feeling of desolation.
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Oct 2

Somewhat following the footsteps of the usual “Typologies” suspects, Jeff Brouws’ work consists of views of the American landscape. (updated entry)
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Oct 1

I just spent a couple of hours going over some old family documents, and I can now trace my family (or at least the bit whose last name I carry) back to 1648, when my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Jacobus Colberg, as an adult to be Senator in the town of Lychen, was born. I’m not too sure what to make of all that, though - I guess I haven’t lived long enough in the US to develop a deep fascination with all things ancestral.
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Oct 1

“When she was asked to be a Turner Prize judge for this year’s competition, Lynn Barber was thrilled. A year later, that has changed. On the eve of the 2006 show she reflects on how months of seeing banal and derivative work have left her depressed about the state of contemporary art in Britain.” - story
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