Archives

June 2009

SELECT A MONTH:

Jun 30

This video by Andrew Hetherington is worth watching for Phil Toledano talking at length about his work (once you’re beyond the “this is my studio” bit - and you also get to see the fabled astronaut suit).
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Jun 30

This photo is not particularly representative of Kai-Uwe Schulte-Bunert’s work, but it shows a different side of a German photographer who sometimes seems to get a little bit lost in formalism.
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Jun 29

If you’re thinking about joining Robert Lyons and me for one of the Summer Workshops send us your materials now! The deadline for applications is tomorrow (30 June)!
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Jun 29

A.D. Coleman, the NY Times’ first photo critic and author of, for example, Light Readings: A Photography Critic’s Writings, 1968-1978, now has his own blog.
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Jun 29

Jonas Holthaus’ Heimat-Raum shows Turkish tea rooms and entertainment centers in Germany.
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Jun 27

You have probably seen it already on Ofer’s blog: Two French art students created a fake photoreportage, to win first prize at a competition (more coverage here, and - if you are able to read French - here). Ofer translated some of the students’ motivation from the Figaro article: “Speaking to Le Figaro, Guillaume Chauvin [one of the students] confided that they ‘wanted to enter the contest in order to show the codes used too often in photojournalism and to prove that something real could be translated into something staged.’”
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Jun 26

As I mentioned on this blog before, there is a little bit of soul searching going on in photojournalistic circles. What I find fascinating about the debates and commentaries I’ve seen is the implicit acknowledgment that fine-art photographers not only managed to expand the public’s idea of what photography can look like, but they can also produce work that challenges standard photojournalistic practice. Eirik Johnson’s Sawdust Mountain can be seen as a good example.
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Jun 25

DLK Collection offers some thought provoking commentary on summer group shows: “Like kudzu covering every inch of the roadside, the summer group show is an invasive species, crowding out all other offerings, creating a monoculture of culture. The formula is simple: gather together a handful of artists already represented by the gallery, select 4 or 5 works each, and hang them in groups in the gallery space, covered by a catchy summer related title. Think of it as the pu pu platter of Americanized Chinese food: a thrown together sampler of otherwise unrelated items.”
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Jun 25

Like probably everybody else, I have been following what is going on in Iran, and this cartoon by Steve Bell, which I found here, might well be the most fitting visual commentary I’ve seen so far.
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Jun 25

Marion Belanger’s website contains a fairly large number of projects; make sure to check all of them out.
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Jun 24

“Worth The Trip is a reflection of the cultural landscape; specifically the areas between my former home in Tennessee and my current in Chicago.” - Melissa K Stallard (via)
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Jun 23

I found a very interesting post on Marc Feustel’s eye curious, with links to a recording of a panel discussion about war photography and the crisis of photojournalism (some of which I talked about in my post on the visual language of photojournalism).
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Jun 23

Right here - from the days when “podcasts” were distributed on vinyl. Bonus vinylcast: Henri Cartier-Bresson (thanks, Jonathan!). Update: More Weegee audio (thanks, Joe!)
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Jun 23

Those interested in architectural photography can find a lot of good images on Christoph Morlinghaus’s website.
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Jun 22

There are still spots available for the workshops Robert Lyons and I are offering. The first workshop is called Towards a Personal Vision. This is the workshop we held last year. The second, The Photographic Portrait, is aimed at portrait photographers and focuses exclusively on portraiture. In both workshops, we will cover a lot of topics, incl. how to work on projects, how to edit one’s work, and much more. Please check out the pdf documents for more details, or email me (jmcolberg at gmail.com) if you have further questions!
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Jun 22

Ed Winkleman just published a post about political art, which is worth the read. For once, I do not agree with Ed, even though that doesn’t mean that I feel compelled to embrace each and every bit of art that proclaims and/or pretends to be political. When I think about photography, it’s straightforward to come up with a large number of artists whose work is quite political, while it still is wonderful art. I don’t know whether he would agree, but for me, Brian Ulrich’s work is one of the examples I can think of (there are many others).
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Jun 22

If you love “vernacular photography” check out this post over at Bint Photobooks. If you don’t know what “vernacular photography” is do the same - you’ll find out and see some great work. And if you don’t like “vernacular photography” have a look at the post anyway; it’s well worth the visit.
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Jun 22

Lens Culture just published a feature on Adam Panczuk’s Actors - great work. Check out his other work on his website, especially Foster Family.
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Jun 19

There is going to be a re-design of this blog coming up, so I won’t be updating the side links until then (the re-design will involve organizing the whole links section away from a simple alphabetical list). Since today is dedicated to photo books, have a look at the blog The PhotoBooK, with lots of reviews.
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Jun 19

Featuring photography by Elmar Haardt (on his website it’s the Nord project) and Bernd Kleinheisterkamp (his Siedlung project), Angesichts der Lage/In View of the Situation is a portrait of the same place, a part of the German city of Essen. Previously one of the most eminent industrial places in Germany, if not Europe (home of the Krupp family), Essen has undergone a lot of changes; and while it still is the home of a lot of corporations, it has also developed into a major arts center.
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Jun 19

“Who ever said that just because the objects on the wall or in the gallery are over-sized that the book needed to be over-sized as well? I don’t see Richard Serra making gigantic books. I’m getting kind of tired of the inflated book size that you can’t even pick up let alone carry around. That Richard Misrach On the Beach book that I got all excited about, it’s been sitting above my wardrobe cabinet in the same cardboard box it arrived in for pretty much the entire time I’ve had it. I now plan to sell my Gursky MoMA catalogue as it’s just taking up too much room on my shelf and I never really liked it that much anyway.” - Ofer Wolberger
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Jun 19

You wouldn’t know this from their covers, but On the Human Being, International Photography, 1900-1950 and On the Human Being, International Photography, 1950-2000 are actually two pretty good books. I had wanted to mention these a while ago already, but I was unable to find them online - until this morning, when I was looking for something entirely different.
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Jun 18

Noguchi Rika’s show The Sun at D’Amelio Terras drew me in because of its presentation. As you can see from my installation photo above, the photographs are the only bright objects in an otherwise almost pitch-black room. While this sounds like a lousy idea for a lot of photography, in this particular case it works very well (especially once you’re beyond the “What the Hell is that?”, arriving at “Hey, this is kinda cool”). The lighting is done quite smartly.
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Jun 18

Tina Schula’s website is filled with images that will appeal to fans of staged photography.
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Jun 17

Hiroh Kikai’s portraiture was my most memorable discovery last year. I remember seeing his images as part of a group show of Japanese photography at ICP, and I went back to that show a second time just to see those portraits (something I rarely do). A large selection of Hiroh Kikai’s portraits is now on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery (until July 2), and, of course, went to see this show several times (the first time for the opening, to meet the artist).
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Jun 17

I had a tough time picking a single representative image out of Désirée Good’s portfolio, because her work is so diverse - so make sure to look at the different projects! (via)
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Jun 16

The full collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography is now available online. You can either search for stuff, or browse the archives alphabetically, and then look at all images by an artist (example: Brian Ulrich). I just wish the images were a little larger…
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Jun 16

In order to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Dutch arrival in what is now known as Manhattan, Dutch Seen, curated by Kathy Ryan, done in conjunction with FOAM, and on view at the Museum of the City of New York (through Sep 13), presents photographs by a group of Dutch photographers, with most of the work created in response to the anniversary.
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Jun 16

Ofer Wolberger’s newly re-designed website now features his new series Life with Maggie. (updated post)
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Jun 15

For years now, Brian Ulrich has been documenting consumption in its various forms. In fact, Brian’s work is probably the most complete survey of the landscape of consumption. His most recent show, still on view at Julie Saul Gallery (until July 3) presents images from its two most recent parts, Thrift and Dark Stores.
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Jun 15

Over at the incoherent light, Darren Campion discusses the work of Miroslav Tichy. It’s a very good read; even though I think that at the end of the day, voyeurism is, well, voyeurism.
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Jun 15

Not that I’m particular fond of circuses, but Meg Elena Escude’s circus images are very nice.
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Jun 12

Architecture forms one of the pillars of history, or at least of memory. Where there is no architecture, where there are no buildings, a sense of history is much harder - if not often impossible - to discern. History, of course, is not something (metaphorically) set in stone, whereas architecture usually is (remember, wooden buildings usually don’t last across the time scales history deals with). So when we change history - or maybe one would want to “write when we change the way we interpret and view the facts that form the foundation of history” - or when history itself changes, we often have to change our thinking about architecture as well. There are few places where this is more obvious than Berlin.
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Jun 11

Here’s a very interesting interview with an on-demand book publisher. Make no mistake, I’ve heard and read a lot of hype before, but unlike in many other cases, Edition One Studios seem to be very aware of some of the issues that make on-demand publishing such a mess for professionals: “Many of the online options make excellent consumer products, and we often send clients looking for one-off family photo books, or travel books etc. to Blurb, Apple or Lulu. We think all of these companies are perfect for that. The mistake made by these vendors is that they market to professionals whose demands are greater than the average consumer and in the end more than they can handle.” I especially like this bit: “We look at everything that comes off the press. If a job is 10% too magenta, we stop it and contact the client to sort things out.” Of course, someone needs to put this all to a test…
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Jun 11

Sanaz Mazinani’s Iran Revisited shows images from a country that is having presidential elections this week.
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Jun 10

“So the other day, I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Slate’s editors were, ‘ironically, unable to get permission’ to reproduce Richard Prince’s Untitled (Cowboy), 2003 for Sarah Boxer’s slideshow review of ‘Into The Sunset,’ MoMA’s exhibition of photography’s role in creating the concept of the American West. [The irony, of course, is that Prince’s work is actually a rephotograph of a Marlboro Man ad, which was probably photographed originally by Jim Krantz.] And so I blithely grabbed an image of Untitled (Cowboy) online, resized and retitled it, and republished it as my own work, 300 x 404, After Untitled (Cowboy) 2003 by Richard Prince, and offered to let Slate show it instead. Though I’ve written for Slate before, they have not, as yet, taken me up on my offer.” - greg.org; also see the follow-up post.
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Jun 10

I’m sure I’ll be missing people, but since I just found Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko’s work (image on the left), I thought I’d do a little post about what one could call “street fashion”. Other practitioners: Albrecht Tübke (center image) and, of course, “The Sartorialist” (image on the right). I’m not entirely sure what to make of this genre, though.
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Jun 10

“I have progressed. Axel Hutte, Thomas Struth or Candida Hofer, for example, still all work on specific subjects for certain periods. But in my case I don’t distinguish between one area and the next - for me it’s much more of a slow process. But I also think that if you compare me to Thomas Ruff, you can see that he has moved on as well because what he is doing is maybe more like the work of a scientist who is trying to find out what the essence of photography is.” - Andreas Gursky
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Jun 10

“In 1975, eight young Americans — and one German couple — were featured in an exhibition that pretty much flew in the face of Ansel Adams. Curated by William Jenkins at the George Eastman House, the exhibit was called “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” and, according to some historians, it marked a paradigm shift in the world of photography, although that shift was imperceptible at the time.” - story
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Jun 10

Maureen Drennan’s Meet Me in the Green Glen portrays an isolated marijuana grower in Northern California.
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Jun 9

A post by Rob Haggart pointed me to an issue of the jury of this years’s PDN Photography Annual being all white (find another take on this here, plus there is the original post that raised the issue here). With a jury of 24 people a complete lack of diversity does indeed look suspicious. I did not want to write something without having spoken with the party in question, PDN, so I emailed them yesterday. PDN told me this morning that they have looked at the comments and discussions following Rob’s post; should they decide to comment, they will do so on their PDNPulse blog. (Updated below)
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Jun 9

“insig.ht is both quick take and deep dive into the means of making photographs. It’s personal vision, from the inside out; a new, collective way of seeing that’s immediate, original and global.”
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Jun 9

There’s a lot of very nice portraiture in Carlos Alvarez Montero’s portfolio.
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Jun 9

“Art magazines and art blogs are the journalistic equivalent of studio art, while an art review in a newspaper is like public art. Anyone from any background might happen upon it. Where I write now does not exist in a generalized public sphere. A street sweeper on coffee break will not happen upon a leftover copy of this blog and be drawn into a review. A woman getting her heels buffed won’t find it on the empty seat beside her and be motivated to see an exhibit of which she might otherwise not have heard. For an art critic, the death of newspapers is the death of potential connection to wider worlds. Everyone who reads this blog has a preexisting condition, otherwise known as an interest in art. On the other hand, there are notable benefits. Where I’m writing now, nobody tells me what to do and nobody derides my blog just because it’s a blog.” - Regina Hackett
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Jun 8

This article about Sara Ziff and her documentary about the modelling industry (‘Picture Me’) is currently making the rounds, and it’s a must-read (I found this via Colin’s blog).
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Jun 8

Nick Johnson’s nudes remind me of Lucian Freud’s (compare, for example, this photo with Freud’s portrait of Kate Moss - not quite the same, but you can see what I’m after).
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Jun 5

The Higley portrayed by Andrew Phelps in his book Higley is everywhere. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. There are different ways of dealing with this change (unfortunately, the idea of “change” has recently been turned into a political cliché, where it can mean anything and nothing). It is tempting to use photography as a way to refuse to participate in change or, at least, to protest against it: You take some photographs, and then you hold them up and say “Here, look at this, this is all gone now!” Or you can simply document, neither looking back or forward, and you then let the images speak and the viewers decide. This latter approach is Phelps’: “it’s not my place to judge.”
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Jun 5

Yishay Garbasz’s mother was born in Berlin, Germany, four years before her family fled from the Nazis to Holland. During the war, she was deported first to Westerbork, then on to Theresienstadt, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, to Christianstadt, and finally - via a death march - to Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated by British forces in 1945. “It has been over sixty years since these events happened to my mother,” writes Garbasz, “yet their emotional legacy has shaped our family in many painful ways.” And: “Her complex behaviors made it very difficult for me to love her, and I had to dig very deep in order to uncover my true feelings and the underlying reasons for her behavior.”
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Jun 4

As far as I can tell, for many commercial/editorial photographers finding an agent/a rep is the equivalent of finding a gallerist for a fine-art photographer: It’s kind of like the da Vinci code, except that unlike in the case of the da Vinci code, it’s a real problem, and there doesn’t seem to be any secret societies involved. Rob has now published an interview with an agent, which, I think, will answer many questions, and which might also be of interest for some fine-art photographers.
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Jun 4

“Ever notice how top 100 in the world’ lists are heavily slanted to their country of origin? This is understandable, I suppose, but it does make me wish for one that convinced me of its objectivity.” - Ed Winkleman
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Jun 4

Olga Chagutdinova’s website contains a lot of very interesting photography taken in Russia.
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Jun 3

“In his most recent series of works entitled ‘Icy Prospects’, Jorma Puranen […] painted a piece of wooden board himself with black, glossy alkyd paint, took it outdoors in winter and photographed the fragmentary reflection of nature on the surface of the board. The result was a series of extremely painterly, painting-like, works, in which the brushstrokes and the uneven features of the board are mixed with the reflected subject.”
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Jun 2

“Stephen Shore talks to Jean Wainwright about Uncommon Places […]. Shore explains why he prefers smaller format prints, bucking the current trend of huge photographs, and gives a rare insight into the thought process that goes into his photography.” - video here
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Jun 1

“The photograph is among the most striking I have ever seen. I came across it first in the Auschwitz museum on a day when snow was falling across the empty camp. […] For days after viewing the photographs, I could not shake the girl?s expression from my mind. She is around 16 years of age and looking directly into the camera. The girl has only recently arrived at the camp. On her lower lip there is a cut. Her eyes stare directly into the lens and the fear transmits itself across the decades.” (source) “Wilhelm Brasse was put through daily torture photographing the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp but the young Pole pulled a fast one over his Nazi captors to make sure the terrible events were not forgotten. Brasse, now 91, had to take pictures of women whose genitals were butchered by Nazi ‘Angel of Death’ Josef Mengele, of Jewish prisoners arriving at the camp to go to the gas chamber and even of the camp brothel where women were turned into sex slaves. Somehow, Brasse survived the war.” (source) Find a short video interview with Wilhelm Brasse here; and there are two other noteworthy articles here and here.
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Jun 1

Yishay Garbasz’s latest project retraces her mother’s life during World War II - from exile in Holland to Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen.
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