Archives

August 2009

SELECT A MONTH:

Aug 31

Just found on Mrs Deane’s blog: “Noorderlicht, for the first time in twenty years, has been forced to remove an essay by a curator, under threat of reprisal by Associated Press, one of the largest photo-agencies in the world. Having always worked on the cutting edge of photojournalism, not fearing to take a stand for the disenfranchised and the oppressed, we have found out the hard way that financial restraints (in view of possible legal action) can even force an organization like ours over the border between the powerful and the disempowered.” - Ton Broekhuis (director of the Noorderlicht Photography Foundation); find the press release with all the relevant information here
Read more »

Aug 31

This is a great little documentary about Curtis Mann, made by Alan Del Rio Ortiz.
Read more »

Aug 31

In Corina Gamma’s work, the sky is turned into a white canvas against which things are seen.
Read more »

Aug 27

More portraiture: Laura Pannack (via)
Read more »

Aug 26

So far, over 200 300 photographers sent me work to be considered for the Conscientious Portfolio Competition, with the deadline (31 August 2009, 11:59pm ET) approaching. Remember, the competition is especially geared towards emerging photographers, and submitting work is free. While there can only be one winner, the entries have already given me ample opportunity to discover photographers to link to in the future. So if you’re undecided about whether or not to submit: All you got to lose are those ten second (or however much time) it takes you to prepare the email.
Read more »

Aug 26

Valerie Schmidt’s focus is on portraiture - a lot of good work, plus some that one could do without. The site is well worth the visit. (via)
Read more »

Aug 25

In the “Places” category of his website, Axel Dupeux has a nice collection of interesting topics.
Read more »

Aug 24

Photographer Simon Roberts has a so-called micro-site for his upcoming book We English, which comes with a blog. The blog is a great example of how photographers can use blogs by creating what one could call “added value”, all the while - directly or indirectly - promoting their work. Today, Simon published the notes for his work; earlier this Summer, he talked about his experiences at the printer (day 1, and then simply look at the following days).
Read more »

Aug 24

Nico Silberfaden’s portfolio almost contains a bit of everything: Cows and farmers, paparazzi, kids on a shopping spree…
Read more »

Aug 24

Via Tomorrow Museum I found this article, written about photographers flocking to Detroit: “After suffering through the nation’s worst and most concentrated examples of racial violence, industrial collapse, serial arson, crack war, and municipal bankruptcy following years of municipal kleptocracy, Detroit is being descended on by a plague of reporters. If you live on a block near one of the city’s tens of thousands of abandoned buildings, you can’t toss a chunk of Fordite without hitting some schmuck with a camera worth more than your house.”
Read more »

Aug 21

As humanity’s technological abilities expanded over the course of the 20th Century, its willingness to slaughter large numbers of its own members remained the same. Developing new means of mass slaughter out of new technologies - where those new technologies were not in fact the sole purpose of such slaughter - has kept legions of scientists busy; and for almost every technology there has been a sinister application. For each and every one of those applications there have been enough people to find ways to justify their use so that what could potentially be used to killed tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in no time actually was employed for that very purpose. Artists have struggled to comprehend what was and still is actually happening - to give a voice to those who perished, to understand why humans have so eagerly embraced the technologies made possible by enlightenment, but so vigorously rejected the “categorical imperative” that was supposed to be part of enlightenment.
Read more »

Aug 20

You have probably seen Matt Mendelsohn’s The Lessons of Lindsay over on Rob’s blog already (where I found it). I’m re-posting it here for a large variety of reasons. First, it’s a story that I think needs to be seen. Second, as Rob writes the photographer “shopped it around to several publishers but they all turned him down. At one big national newspaper the publisher said ‘advertisers wanted happier stories, not ‘depressing’ ones.’” And there is a very important point: Magazines and newspapers are losing a lot of readers because many people are sick and tired of reading irrelevant fluff about celebrities and pseudo-news about how, for example, drinking coffee in the morning is good for your health (I’m making this one up, but I’m sure there is some research that will say this). Photographers like Matt deserve massive credit for working on stories like The Lessons of Lindsay, especially given that pitching those stories to magazines and newspapers - and thus giving a voice to people like Lindsay - has become so hard.
Read more »

Aug 20

Abkhazia is one of those various break-away regions in the Caucasus that are being used by the larger powers (in this case, Russia) for their various, usually not so well-intended means. James Pomerantz portrays the region in his project “The Balance of War”.
Read more »

Aug 19

On September 15th, 2009, “Proud Flesh”, a series of new photographs by Sally Mann, will open at Gagosian gallery. Coinciding with the show, Aperture is going to release a monograph containing the photography. In the following essay, prepared for this blog, Sally Mann reveals her thoughts behind “Proud Flesh”. The essay and images (which are part of “Proud Flesh”, and which were photographed by Rob McKeever) are © Sally Mann; the images are courtesy Gagosian gallery and Aperture. Click on the images to see larger versions. - Jörg Colberg
Read more »

Aug 19

Previously announced and now on its way to book shops: Hellen van Meene’s new book Tout va disparaitre (note: Amazon has the title and cover wrong). The book contains new photography, taken over the past few years in The Netherlands, Russia, and the US.
Read more »

Aug 19

Ana Cuba’s portfolio is filled with very good work, such as Bed Portraits.
Read more »

Aug 18

“One rainy night eight years ago, in Watertown, Massachusetts, a man was taking his dog for a walk. On the curb, in front of a neighbor’s house, he spotted a pile of trash: old mattresses, cardboard boxes, a few broken lamps. Amidst the garbage he caught sight of a battered suitcase. He bent down, turned the case on its side and popped the clasps. He was surprised to discover that the suitcase was full of black-and-white photographs. He was even more astonished by their subject matter: devastated buildings, twisted girders, broken bridges — snapshots from an annihilated city. He quickly closed the case and made his way back home. At the kitchen table, he looked through the photographs again and confirmed what he had suspected. He was looking at something he had never seen before: the effects of the first use of the Atomic bomb. The man was looking at Hiroshima.” - story
Read more »

Aug 18

For those people craving to see typologies, here are Beatrix Reinhardt’s Coca Cola Houses in India. (via)
Read more »

Aug 17

I’m excited to announce the first Conscientious Portfolio Competition, which hopefully will turn into a regular feature (to be held at the end of each Summer). The winner of the competition will have her or his work featured here on this blog, in the form of an extended conversation/interview (which, of course, also showcases the photography). Details below. (slightly updated>
Read more »

Aug 17

Tyler Green posted some comments on the National Arts Journalism Program’s National Summit on Arts Journalism (as did Ian Aleksander Adams). After Ian’s post I looked at the project, and Tyler’s commentary matches what I thought, in particular: “however well-intentioned, the NAJP project is a lost opportunity. It fails to address significant recent developments and the realities of contemporary journalism, especially as they apply to niche topics such as art journalism. […] NAJP’s decision to focus on profit-generating models is the result of a misreading of the current media environment. Not even the wealthiest, smartest legacy-media companies have figured out how to be profitable in the fast-emerging digital-first environment. […] for the foreseeable future, it is not realistic to expect advertising and traditional, for-profit revenue models (such as those focused on subscribers) to sustain niche journalism.”
Read more »

Aug 17

J. B. Mollitt sent me the link to an article entitled Seeing Is Not Believing (thank you!): “To be sure, photographic alterations have existed about as long as photography itself. But before the digital age, such deceptions required mastery of complex and time-consuming darkroom techniques. Today anyone with a modicum of computer skills can call on powerful and inexpensive software to alter digital images. And as sophisticated forgeries appear with alarming frequency, people’s belief in what they see has been eroded.”
Read more »

Aug 17

Common Grave is a series of urban landscape photographs made in Mexico City’s common grave. The work explores mortality, and the coexistence of life and death. Established in 1905, the common grave functions as a mass burial site for corpses of the indigent and unidentified. Centrally located within the metropolis, it is part of the Panteón Civil de Dolores, the city’s largest cemetery.” - Janelle Lynch
Read more »

Aug 14

Collections of portfolios that broadly center on Western Europe/The United States and Eastern Europe (with a bit of China in the mix), West and East, each edited/curated by Regina Maria Anzenberger, present broad views of what “West” and “East” might stand for. While East appears to contain only photographers from the Anzenberger Agency, West includes some non-agency members. I’ve had both books on my pile of books to review for a while, simply because I just did not and do not know what to make of them.
Read more »

Aug 13

I keep hearing and reading people asserting that somehow, colour photography has completely overwhelmed b/w photography and that b/w is “dead” or that it is time for b/w to “come back”. Is b/w really dead? If anything - to paraphrase Frank Zappa - it might smell a bit funny. But joking aside, I simply don’t see any evidence that b/w is dead. Of course, we do see way more colour photography now than, say, thirty or twenty years ago - but what does that prove?
Read more »

Aug 13

There doesn’t seem to be any information about the work on Zhang Xiao’s website, but there are lots of great images. (via)
Read more »

Aug 12

Tyler Green just published a tremendous series of posts about Gerhard Richter’s paintings “Onkel Rudi” and “Tante Marianne” (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), with today’s post connecting the painting to how contemporary artists are reacting to torture committed under George W Bush.
Read more »

Aug 12

Peter Funch’s photographs look like street photography, even though in reality it’s constructed from many different individual images. In some images the effect is pretty obvious, in others less so.
Read more »

Aug 12

Using the headline Pictures that please us, Lucy Danziger, editor-in-chief of the women’s health magazine Self openly admits and defends her magazine’s retouching transformation of singer Kelly Clarkson for their cover. Before you read on look at this page to see images of what Ms Clarkson looks like on the cover and in reality.
Read more »

Aug 11

This article about retouching photographs for magazines contains some pretty revealing stuff, for example Amy Dresser, a retoucher, explaining that “When it comes to notable people […] I feel like embracing the details of that person’s face is what I’m supposed to do. Obviously a person wants to have a nice picture of themselves, and the photographer doesn’t want to look bad, and I don’t want to look like a lazy retoucher, and the magazine wants an appealing image, so you have to find that middle ground.” Someone will have to explain to me how you “embrace the details” of someone’s face by removing many of those details on the computer.
Read more »

Aug 11

“since its beginning, photography hasn’t been able to shed its rivalrous position to painting, and […] contemporary photographers like Bialobrzeski and countless others with him still take painting as a point of orientation or departure. Apparently, this is an issue which we cannot leave behind so easily, however persuasive the pleas of reason are made to sound. Perhaps more may be gained by making the persistence of this rivalry the focus of study rather than trying to raise our awareness of the dividing abyss.” - Mrs Deane
Read more »

Aug 11

Ryan Pfluger’s Edited is, in the photographer’s words, “work in progress photographing contemporary decision-makers in photography from photo editors to gallery owners. The work deals with the mystique that surrounds these people as well as switching roles with them.”
Read more »

Aug 10

A recent series of photographs depicting the Polish city of Krakow by Supanit Riansrivilai, who was born in Thailand and lives in France, caused a bit of a kerfuffle over at The Black Snapper. Much to their credit, the Black Snapper folks made this the topic of a post. This is the old problem with insiders seeing other things than outsiders: If you visit a country, your perception of that country will depend on your own cultural background, which could be very different. If you live in that country you will inevitably notice different things - and seeing a foreigner show things that you might consider to be unflattering only adds to your discomfort. So unlike the Black Snapper folks I don’t see the problem necessarily in how Central Europe is perceived (even though this might play a minor role), and I also don’t see it as a question of photographic style. Instead, the main issue seems to be that there simply is no realistic versus an unrealistic or a true versus a false depiction of Central Europe or any other place. A photographer will see things based on his or her background, and while we can disagree with it and claim that “no, that’s not a good depiction of this place”, it still doesn’t automatically mean that that photographer’s view is less valid than ours (the lack of smiling children or whatever else notwithstanding). And really, if we only wanted flattering views of any given place, we’d be stuck with brochures produced by tourist information offices, wouldn’t we? (updated below - twice)
Read more »

Aug 10

J. Bennett Fitts has added a lot of new work to his website since I first linked to his website five years ago. Time to revisit the site! (updated post)
Read more »

Aug 10

Carl Wooley is one of the four photographers in NY Perspectives, the counterpart of Dutch Seen. The above image is from an unrelated series called Get in the car.
Read more »

Aug 6

“Over the last four months I have been living in my home in Minnesota. During that time I’ve been working as a contractor, fixing up forclosed [sic!] homes.” - T.J. Proechel
Read more »

Aug 6

Today, Eyecurious is featureing a post about Japanese photographers dealing with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ended up killing over 200,000 civilians, many of them women and children.
Read more »

Aug 6

Matthieu Raffard spent some time in the Ukraine and took series of photographs there (“Ukraine”, “Sanatorium”, “Teenage”) - the above photo is from “Sanatorium”, probably my favourite of those three.
Read more »

Aug 5

Yola Monakhov now has her own website - a good opportunity to see more of her work. Noteworthy: “Once Out of Nature” (which, I think, I originally saw when I posted about her), and “For Beasts and Birds”. (updated entry)
Read more »

Aug 5

Sarah Moore’s Expanse documents her home in South Dakota.
Read more »

Aug 4

“The ‘Serbian War and Liberation Monument Installation’ is a recent work in which I chose to isolate war memorials from their surrounding and de-historicise them by placing them on to a neutral background. The Monuments that where built between 1919- 2000 represent many wars that where fought in that time and their different ideologies.” - Benjamin Beker (compare Jan Kempenaers’s work; thanks, Stuart!)
Read more »

Aug 3

It is probably fair to say that blogs have become an established way to talk about photography. There are blogs published by photographers, writers, curators, critics, book publishers, newspapers, and photography agencies. The most notable omission appear to be photography museums and galleries. I’ve always thought that a blog would be an ideal tool for a museum/gallery to not only generate interest in their shows, but to keep the buzz going while the shows are up. (Updated below)
Read more »

Aug 3

“Each day The Black Snapper presents a different photographer selected by one of the many guest curators, who switch places on a weekly basis. Visitors of the online magazine can expect to see a new series of some eight to twenty photos each day. The Black Snapper aims to create an online community that will inspire professionals and photography lovers worldwide and expose new talent. In addition, the online magazine emphatically supports the emancipation and promotion of photographers from Asia, Africa and South America.”
Read more »

Aug 3

While David Trautrimas’s buildings are not real, Jan Kempenaers’ are: “In the context of his ‘Spomenik: The End of History’ project, Kempenaers has photographed monuments erected by the communist regime of former Yugoslavia.” (source)
Read more »

Aug 3

“David Trautrimas, a 30-year-old Canadian artist, takes apart old kitchen mixers, hole punchers, waffle irons, staplers, vacuum cleaners, coffee machines and other household objects; photographs the pieces; and then ‘reassembles’ them digitally, into what he calls ‘Habitat Machines.’” (via)
Read more »

Aug 3

I stand by my decision to allow Edgar Martins to explain his thinking behind his work on my blog. I do believe that it is important to see what he has to say - regardless of whether or not I agree with it. In the meantime, the NY Times’ Lens blog linked to the piece on Martins’ website and provided images plus annotations. People noted that Martins’ writing is quite different from what you are used to seeing on this blog. There is a reason why I prefer writing plain and simple language, even when talking about what seems like complicated concepts or ideas. I spoke with a number of my friends (some of whom with MFAs from places like Yale), and they all told me that they couldn’t understand Martins long text and that it spoke for itself (and really, that’s not a compliment).
Read more »