Archives

March 2010

SELECT A MONTH:

Mar 31

I’ve seen various bloggers quote from this article by Paul Graham, and I felt I needed to add my two cents. (more)
Read more »

Mar 31

Jeff Wall’s The Destroyed Room is a well known (staged) photograph, described here as follows: “Wall echoes Delacroix’s composition, with its central sweeping diagonal and sumptuous palette of blood reds, while acknowledging its staged atmosphere by re-composing the scene as a roughly fabricated stage-set, absent of any players.” The people who lived in the rooms depicted by Dalia Khamissy were probably less interested in whether their bombed-out living quarters evoked any of Delacroix’s compositions. (via)
Read more »

Mar 30

Presented this way, John Gerrard’s work looks like rather boring photography, but it is neither boring nor photography. Using still images as a starting point and then applying video-game technology, Gerrard creates… well, I suppose you could call them movies, even though that brings up wrong connotations. On his YouTube page, the final results are called “virtual sculptures.” (via)
Read more »

Mar 29

Regardless of what you think about the whole Shepard Fairey Obama poster kerfuffle, here is an article you want to read (via). I think these two law professors just managed to show parts of the art world how to really approach and think about “fair use” and copyright. Needless to say, as Sergio notes, there are some problems; but the idea of an “altlaw” is - frankly - something I would have imagined coming from some artist’s studio in New York and not from a couple of law professors.
Read more »

Mar 29

“Throughout the twenty years in which Africans have been trying to reach Europe by boat, at least 13,000 migrants have died and another 5,000 have gone missing at sea. I photographed the rooms where young Senegalese men had lived, before they risked their lives trying to reach the Canary Islands in small fishing boats. What do the rooms look like: what is left of personal belongings, what disappeared and what is taken over by family or friends?” - Judith Quax
Read more »

Mar 26

Next week, I’ll be at Fotofest, doing portfolio reviews. Posting here might slow down a tiny little bit.
Read more »

Mar 26

It’s very tempting to see Sarah Pickering’s Explosions, Fires and Public Order as some sort of artistic commentary on our Age of Terror. I personally am not sure, however, whether connecting the work to “global terrorism matched with omnipresent anxiety” (quoted from the press release) is such a good thing to do. It strikes me as maybe a bit too sensationalist, while at the same time vastly reducing possible ways to approach the photographs. So it might be better to turn the volume a bit down. Explosions, Fires and Public Order is about just, well, explosions, fires, and public order. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. (more)
Read more »

Mar 26

First things first. No, this is not the former tennis player Boris Becker. This is the photographer Boris Becker. Of course, you wouldn’t necessarily know that if you used Google, because not only is there almost no way around the tennis player, there also is almost no information to be found about the photographer. In particular, I managed to find a single photo from the one series that, I think, is by far Becker’s best. In fact, the main reason why I got excited when I heard there was going to be a book about his work. (more, updated below)
Read more »

Mar 25

I found a long and very sad article about Joe Dwyer, the soldier in this well-known image, who came home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and who never managed to deal with it. If you only have time to read one article today, this is the one.
Read more »

Mar 25

Last night, I looked through the many conversations that can be found on Conscientious Extended, and certain lines would strike a chord with me. I ended up compiling them, to present them here and link back to the original interviews. Just like I did you might re-discover something, or maybe you haven’t even seen some of the “older” conversations, yet. They’re listed in the order I found them. (more)
Read more »

Mar 25

Katrin Kamrau’s Flämisches Fragment (download the pdf to see the work) is based on Flemish paintings and on the fact that since the time Flemish masterpiece paintings were made, we have lost our ideas of what plants (or fruit) might mean when used in pieces of art.
Read more »

Mar 24

“Adou’s portraits and landscapes do not seek to portray individuals or illustrate specific moments, but collectively represent a visual expression of his culture and, by extension, of the photographer himself.” (source, where you can also find way more images)
Read more »

Mar 23

Massimo Vitali is one of the photographer who had been on top of my list to talk to for a while. I finally approached Massimo, and much to my delight he found the time to have a conversation about his work and his influences. You can find the piece over at Conscientious Extended.
Read more »

Mar 23

Friederike Brandenburg’s photography centers on landscape photography, and even though there doesn’t appear to be any text you can easily figure out what is going on in the different bodies of work on her site. Beautiful work!
Read more »

Mar 22

“I want to disturb people’s oblivion; like I’ve pointed out before, I want to make people feel something. It’s easier to turn to the sport channels when news about the war comes up. It’s easy to talk about how depressed we are as a rich nation, and we do this even though 1.4 billion people live at the poverty line or below. Many of us in the West live in a bubble, but I still believe we can shake people up from their daily routines.” - Izabella Demavlys in a conversation with Paul Schmelzer
Read more »

Mar 22

Rauf Mamedov’s restaging of mostly religious paintings, using Down Syndrome actors, is sure to ruffle some feathers. Find some more information here.
Read more »

Mar 22

I came across a whole set of great morning reads; so here they are as a good start into a new week: Colin Pantall compares the fashion industry with the Catholic Church, writing “the real reason I despise the fashion industry is because of the way they inflict their distorted, degraded insecurities on us, the way they try to devalue our minds, our bodies and our values in a way we can’t escape.” Over at No Caption Needed, Robert Hariman uses a satirical (fake) magazine cover to debate some conventions of photojournalism: “Communication depends on conventions of representation, but it can become trapped in them. As much as humanitarians rightly insist on the value of the individual person, there may nonetheless be times when we don’t need to see another face. Given the scale of the humanitarian disasters now and to come, more thought might be given to how even things can speak.” And lastly, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento asks Are We Really Headed Toward Permission-Based Art Making? Not so, he argues: “This fear would be true only if artists continue to give up on the challenges posed by creativity and gave in to facile and lazy intellectual hyperbole.”
Read more »

Mar 21

I’m still learning how to work with the newly designed site. The work flow has change a little bit, and there are lots of additional options: It’s a bit like driving a fancy car after taking the bus for a long time.
Read more »

Mar 19

August Sander is one of the usual suspects. A discussion of portraiture will inevitably have the author mention Sander and his work. If you have ever seen any of his portraits, it will be obvious why: Many of them are in a league of their own, catching glimpses of people living in a world that was either disintegrating or at least massively changing - as Germany changed from a monarchy to a military dictatorship (a pro forma monarchy) to an increasingly unstable democracy to a fascist dictatorship, against the background of various economic crises, plus the Great Depression, plus at some stage hyperinflation, and against the background of scientific revolutions, which resulted in massive improvements of living conditions as well as industrialized mass slaughter. And as if this wasn’t crazy enough, when Sander was ready to have his massive body of portraits shown, the Nazis prevented him from doing it, because his portraits did not adhere to their idea of what Aryans were supposed to look like (never mind that apart from the foreign minister the whole Nazi elite did not even remotely look like such Aryans). (more)
Read more »

Mar 19

Some time ago, I spent a week looking for African photography. I asked a friend of mine, who had spent years photographing in Africa and who is friends with many artists from the continent, and he sent me a list with names. The majority of those artists I never managed to find online. Needless to say, this doesn’t mean that there’s no other way to find them. But as someone who is relying on the internet as the medium to disseminate photography, it was an incredibly frustrating experience. (more)
Read more »

Mar 19

It’s Photo Book Friday, but I first wanted to briefly mention three books about art that I read recently. In each case, the books have been out for a while, so I’m sure you have heard about them before. (more)
Read more »

Mar 18

When being asked about Dutch portraiture, most people will probably think of photographers like Rineke Dijkstra or Hellen van Meene. Less well known are artists like, for example, Anouk Kruithof (see her Becoming Blue) or Melanie Bonajo, who combine portraiture with a heavily conceptual approach. If you look at Viviane Sassen’s portraiture, you’ll find such a conceptual approach (or at least training), with fashion thrown into the mix. Her work is now on view at Danziger Projects (until April 10, 2010; click on the image above to see a larger version). (more)
Read more »

Mar 18

You’ve probably seen this video by now, but if you haven’t check it out. For those with attention spans shorter than one minute and five seconds, you’ve got to watch it for longer than that to see the actual idea.
Read more »

Mar 18

Given my general lack of interest in fashion photography, I might not be the best person to write about the following. That said, since that lack to a pretty large extent is based on exactly what has been gaining quite a bit of exposure across the internet over the past few days I don’t think I should remain silent. See Rob’s take on it here. (more)
Read more »

Mar 18

For some reason that’s not clear to me I prefer Gerald Slota’s b/w work over the colour one. It’s maybe a somewhat different approach to walking into that dark alley that Roger Ballen has been investigating, coming from another end. Also see this page (for some more colour work).
Read more »

Mar 17

I just got an email from someone complaining how the images on this blog got so small. In fact, the images on the individual pages are now actually larger - but to see/read them you need to click on the individual posts on the front page. The images are only smaller on the front page, which serves as the portal to all the contents.
Read more »

Mar 17

Images are in the news - not just literally, but also as a topic themselves. In a day and age where image manipulation has become very simple to do, hardly a day goes by without yet another “scandal” about some manipulated image somewhere. As I indicated on this site before, I think without a proper understanding how images work this situation will not change. Introducing very unspecific - if not unrealistic - rules about the amount of manipulation that is acceptable totally misses the source of the problem. When Michael Schäfer sent me the link to his new work, I thought talking with him about his images and what they mean might be a good idea. Of course, here we have an artist, not a news photographer; but I see a lot of his work as a good way to start investigating how images work and how they are being used. Find the conversation over at Conscientious Extended.
Read more »

Mar 17

Shawn Records talks to Richard Renaldi about book publishing.
Read more »

Mar 17

When linking to Hanna Witte’s Nacht.Leben [“Night Life”], Peter Feldhaus noted that the work looked “very clean.” And he’s right, things are a bit too slick, a bit too commercial looking for my taste, but the series is nice nevertheless.
Read more »

Mar 16

I mentioned earlier that the re-design of this website would have been impossible without Tim Gasperak, so I want to use this opportunity to introduce you to Tim and his work. (more)
Read more »

Mar 16

My friend Mark sent me the link to an article called Driveby culture and the endless search for wow. I think I want to say a few things about this, because, in part, it is related to what I often hear about photography online. (more)
Read more »

Mar 16

The Spring 2010 edition of Nieman Reports focuses on “Visual Journalism: Fresh Approaches and New Business Strategies for the Multimedia Age” - photojournalism in the age of the internet. As a contributor I’m in very illustrious company. The articles are all online, have a peek!
Read more »

Mar 16

Gayle Chong Kwan is another artist to have re-done Caspar David Friedrich’ The Sea of Ice (also see Hiroyuki Masuyama). Yes, this is cheese. (thanks, Sara!)
Read more »

Mar 15

The Houston Center for Photography (HCP) is currently showing RE: groups - American Photographs Before 1950, selected from W.M. Hunt´s Collection Blind Pirate. HCP approached me about doing an interview with Bill for the current edition of SPOT Magazine, and of course I was thrilled about the idea. The outline was to produce “a 1,000 word dialogue on the subject,” and at the end of the day, we only overshot the target by 500%. The current edition of SPOT Magazine contains an abridged version of the conversation, you can find the full piece on Conscientious Extended.
Read more »

Mar 15

Andrea Engelke’s Ohrenbetäubende Stille [deafening silence] portrays people suffering from chronic pain.
Read more »

Mar 14

Unless you’re reading this blog through its RSS feed, you probably noticed that the website looks very different now. I want to talk about what is different and why, so that you can get the most out of this blog. The first thing to note is that while shorter posts are displayed in their entirety on the main page, longer posts aren’t. You access longer posts by clicking on their titles. From now on, I’ll indicate that there is more to read by using (more)
Read more »

Mar 14

There is going to be a redesigned, new version of this blog website coming online, with the switch coming up this weekend (Saturday/Sunday). Of course, you’ll see what’s new and changed once it’s up. But if you visit this site on Saturday and/or Sunday, service might be disrupted. Hopefully, it won’t be, but if it is, just come back later. I’ll introduce all the various changes, plus the mastermind behind the new design, once the new site is up. Well, you’re seeing this, so this is it: The redesigned Conscientious. More details, incl. an introduction of the design mastermind, over the next few days.
Read more »

Mar 11

Some of Johan Bergström’s work is quite conceptual, but there should be something for everybody on his site. The Spectators is work in progress, I am curious to see more.
Read more »

Mar 11

A lot of Sarah Charlesworth is based on photography, and quite a bit of it is looking at how photography is used. Her series Modern History shows the front pages of newspaper, with everything but (usually) the photos and the newspaper’s name removed. There’s a nice overview of her work here, and an interview with the artist here.
Read more »

Mar 10

For all your questions about copyright there now is The Copyright Corner (via).
Read more »

Mar 10

Shawn Records talks to Jason Fulford and Alec Soth about book publishing.
Read more »

Mar 10

A few days after the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated in early April 1945, German civilians from the nearby town of Weimar were made to tour the camp, to see with their own eyes what had happened just a few miles from their homes. On one of these days, photographer Margaret Burke-White was present, to record such a visit (see this link; in the above image, that’s MBW taking a reading with her light meter). Up until the Allies’ armies found the many concentration camps, photographers had covered the war in the usual ways, with the usual imagery. But at the camps, the liberators were staring into an abyss of utter horror, and much to their credit the photographers did not hesitate to record it so that everybody could see. The people of Weimar were made to see. Everybody else, who was not there, was made to see, too - newspapers and magazines all over the world reprinted the photographs taken by Margaret Burke-White and her colleagues.
Read more »

Mar 10

Just like Thomas Ruff’s well-known portraits, Hein-kuhn Oh’s Cosmetic Girls asks the viewer to try to look beyond make-up, poses, and photographic conventions. Also, don’t miss the older, b/w, work!
Read more »

Mar 9

Regular readers of this blog I’m sure will be familiar with Lydia Panas’ work (if not, find my conversation with Lydia here). The Mark of Abel work is now on view at Foley Gallery (until April 20, 2010; click on the image above for a larger view).
Read more »

Mar 9

No, this is not a painting, or actually the painting. It’s a digital recreation, using 700 individual photos, assembled by Hiroyuki Masuyama. For more on the artist and his process check out this page and this one.
Read more »

Mar 9

Gabriele Basilico is an Armory Show discovery for me. I found two of his images from Beirut, which, I think, is by far his very best work. See more images, plus some text, here.
Read more »

Mar 8

I’m sure you have seen this already, but just in case you haven’t… (via) Update (9 March 2010): Also see this link.
Read more »

Mar 8

I had been looking for Roger Ballen’s Outland for a while, being under the impression that the first edition was actually sold out (I think someone had actually told me it was sold out). This past weekend, I found a copy, a 2009 reissue, in New York. However, having done a little research online, it looks like the original 2001 edition never sold out? And I also couldn’t find anything about a 2009 reissue. So regardless, if you’re looking for Outland you can simply order it.
Read more »

Mar 8

The Armory Art Show takes the idea that art isn’t a commodity to be sold like the machines and tools on display at the Hannover industrial trade show (that I used to visit as a teenager) and dispenses with it neatly. If any of the Show’s objects at some stage were in the presence of an artist toiling over their meaning and worth (I’m not talking about money here), you wouldn’t know that once you encountered them at the Piers in New York City. Make no mistake, I had no illusions about the Armory Show before I went. So I did not undergo the kind of shock treatment that someone with romantic ideas about the commercial art world would experience if she or he was exposed to such an abomination of the human spirit for the first time. That said, the Armory Show still was a soul crushing experience, where your soul is not only crushed, it’s actually slowly and steadily ground into a fine powder.
Read more »

Mar 8

Those who can’t get enough of typologies will enjoy Eric Tabuchi’s website (via).
Read more »

Mar 8

Ray Dowd has some very smart comments on the recent Korean War Veteran’s Memorial fair-use case.
Read more »

Mar 8

Those interested in on-demand book publishing might want to look at this page: Eighteen different companies rated (according to criteria not listed, so things are frustratingly vague if you want to get an idea what the scores really mean; link via). Also note the post seems to have been written from the perspective of a commercial photo editor, so fine-art people might want to take that into account when reading the text around the scores.
Read more »

Mar 4

You’re taking a great photo of some explosion because you happen to be there, and then you decide to give it to the New York Times, with exclusive rights. Sounds like a great idea? Well, check out this post by Rob.
Read more »

Mar 4

In Without A Face, Isabella Demavlys portrays the victims of acid attacks in Pakistan. In places like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and now also Afghanistan, acid attacks have become a common form of violence against women.
Read more »

Mar 3

I’m sure you’re familiar with Charles Lane Press, the independent book publishing house started by Richard Renaldi and Seth Boyd (full disclosure: Richard, Seth and I are friends). If you’ve ever thought about or actually produced a self-published book, you know that getting books printed is very, very expensive. In order to raise more funds for Charles Lane Press, Richard and Seth have now started Schoolhouse Editions, where you can buy prints and support the press and its future releases. There are three prints to be had, from photographers in different stages of their careers: “Old School”, “Middle School”, and “Kindergarten” “New School”. Have a look!
Read more »

Mar 3

Via the Smithsonian’s blog I found this very interesting article about “compressed sensing.” I’ve long been interested in the mathematics that underlies image processing (incl. compression), and given the many applications for this it’s just incredibly fascinating. Update (3 March 2010): Nuit Blanche has much more about it, for example here. (thank you, Tatsu!)
Read more »

Mar 3

“If Andre LeNotre, the architect of the gardens of Vaux le Vicomte and Versailles would present a design for a garden today, he would most certainly do this with form.z or any other 3-D graphic software. Detailed studies of the various elements might look like these pictures.” - Jürgen Bergbauer (via)
Read more »

Mar 2

When I started posting about similar images (see this post plus the links inside it) I had a simple set of goals: To mention all the various aspects, while not having it take over this blog. Turns out you can’t have the former, without forgetting about the latter for a while. There is yet another area where recreating work done by an artist seems to be very common: Advertizing. Here are just two recent examples (there are countless more): Corey Presha just blogged about Thomas Allen getting copied by an ad agency (make sure to follow the link to Allen’s original blog post). And a reader (thank you!) sent me Denis Darzacq’s La Chute getting copied by this Cat Earthmovers Campaign.
Read more »

Mar 2

I have a pretty good idea how many people read this blog, but it’s hard for me to tell who those readers are. From the emails I receive, I know of many photographers following the blog, and I have some ideas about/from gallerists, photo editors, or museum curators. The group I literally I know next to nothing about are photo collectors. Do they follow this - or other - blog(s)? I don’t know. For me, this is a bit unfortunate, since I often talk to people to get different perspectives of issues that come up. Getting the input from photographers, gallerists, and/or other bloggers usually means that I get to see different sides of the same story; and I think there is a lot to be gained from seeing more than one side.
Read more »

Mar 2

Daniel Schumann’s Elisabeth und Wilhelm is a portrait of his grandparents. His grandmother died while he was away, and his grandfather is now suffering from dementia. The combination of portraiture and photography found in family albums creates a compelling project.
Read more »

Mar 1

If you read this blog regularly, I’m sure you familiar with Foam, which is easily one of the best - if not the best - magazine dedicated to contemporary photography. Every year, Foam dedicated one issue to their Talent issue; if you want to be one of those people check out this page.
Read more »

Mar 1

I found the link to Pétur Thomsen’s Imported Landscape over at 1/125. I personally like Thomsen’s Umhverfing even better.
Read more »

Mar 1

“Being in the right place just isn’t enough for me as a photographer. I want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, the boring time maybe, and still somehow say something.” - Ian Aleksander Adams
Read more »