Archives

May 2010

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May 31

Maros Krivy describes his Entropy as him being “interested in the relationship between banality and complexity to be found in these places.”
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May 28

The other day, I went to a new second-hand book store in New York City, and I looked through its impressive photo-book section. Since I had a lot of time at my disposal I had a peek at each book I was unfamiliar with, and I ended up buying a few. Venetia Dearden’s Somerset Stories: Fivepenny Dreams was one of them. I remember when I first saw the book and some of its images, I was blown away. How could I have possibly missed this book? Why had I never heard about it? (more)
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May 28

It is fair to say that digital technologies have changed photography. What is less obvious - and much more interesting to explore - is what exactly these changes are or, even more interesting, which of these changes will have lasting impact and which ones will make us cringe - or maybe smile - in ten or twenty years. Sylvia Wolf’s The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Electronic Age concerns itself with the former: Trying to survey the use of digital technologies in the contemporary fine-art context. (more)
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May 27

The story is simple: There are documentary photography and photojournalism, which aim at showing us the world as it is, and then there’s all the rest, which doesn’t. Especially not when we’re dealing with staged photography. In a nutshell, this is what one could call photographic orthodoxy. Photographic orthodoxy is in no good shape any longer, for a large variety of reasons (the idea that a photograph could ever be an objective depiction of the world is fundamentally flawed is just one problem). So it recently has required an ever increasing amount of support beams (“photo illustrations” vs. photographs etc.). Needless to say, the problems won’t go away. You can whistle as much as you want in the dark, it won’t help. If you’ve followed this blog even just semi-regularly you’re probably aware of the fact that I find this situation rather unfortunate. In this day and age, photography still is less than it could be: Just like in any other area, orthodoxy always stands in the way of potentials being fulfilled. (more)
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May 27

Matt Lutton just published a great interview with Molly Landreth that you don’t want to miss.
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May 27

Mark Nozeman’s website is filled to the brim with photographic treasures, this one being from a project about gold diggers in Surinam.
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May 27

Matthieu Lavanchy is one of the two winners of this year’s Hyères Photography Festival. In this conversation, Matthieu and I talk about the background of his work.
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May 26

It’s hard to represent Matt Austin’s Wake with just a single photo - you’ll have to look at the whole series. A very touching family portrait. (via)
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May 25

“Subtopia is about my first experiences as an immigrant in the United States. I moved to Cary, Illinois five years ago from Estonia, in Eastern Europe, and found myself in an unexpected place. I related to the women in my surroundings, but didn’t know how to react to the dull and repetitive environment. I felt like I had landed on the moon. I am portraying the displacement and loneliness while trying to integrate into a foreign land. Now that I have moved away, it is peculiar to witness how some women seem trapped, and yet others embrace where they are.” - Terttu Uibopuu
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May 25

Updating a post I published recently, the book The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs: Traditional and Digital Color Prints, Color Negatives, Slides, and Motion Pictures (link) by Henry Wilhelm is available online in its entirety, as a pdf (it’s almost 80MB). It’s 700+ pages, and no, I haven’t read it, yet.
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May 24

When you see Julian Faulhaber’s photography you’re tempted to think that if you were to pry off the plexiglass sheet from the photographic paper there’d be no image left, because it’s actually somehow contained in the plastic. Lest we misunderstand us here, that’s a compliment. If there’s any doubt about the merits of “Diasec,” seeing these photographs should put them to rest - here, it works beautifully. Faulhaber’s current show at Hasted Hunt Kraeutler (on view until June 26, 2010) offers a good opportunity to see the work. It is called “Lowdensitypolyethylene II” (of course!), and it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure. (more)
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May 24

“I am interested in life as a form of theater, particularly in ways domestic space has been acted in and acted upon. I am intrigued by the ‘scenes’ that people construct in their homes with all their semiotic referents not just to their individual pleasures but, more importantly, to the ones that are socially prescribed. What fascinates me is the subtle mix between the notions of fantasy and reality; the constructed and the found; as well as performed and lived experience. In the series Home Theater I am photographing domestic spaces in which sadomasochistic sex acts are taking place. The predilections of sex in this work metaphorize the other aspects of our lives that are so highly ritualized.” - Hrvoje Slovenc
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May 24

Round three of the ping-pong chats with Daylight Magazine’s Michael Itkoff centers on what comes - or might come - out of the impact of technology, the web and the Great Recession on photography. (image courtesy Douglas Ljungkvist)
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May 22

“All colour photographs fade, but some are fading more quickly than others. At a recent seminar for new photography collectors at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, audience members were warned of the risks of purchasing c-prints dating from the early 1990s by artists such as Andreas Gursky because of the works’ inherent instability.” - story (via)
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May 21

Whatever it is that can happen between a photographer and another person whose portrait is being taken might be undefinable (though one can try), but when it’s there you can see it in the picture: It is as if somehow the viewer is becoming an accomplice of sorts, someone who is entering a very intimate space to which access usually is denied. And you can’t pull back the curtain - so to speak - to reveal how it’s done, because the levers and smoke and noise are not the essential parts needed to get that good portrait (even though pretending you need all that bits makes for a colourful narrative). Marco van Duyvendijk’s Eastward Bound (which you can order via the artist’s website), a retrospective of ten years of his work, beginning in 1999, offers a few cases in point. (more)
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May 20

Trine Søndergaard’s portraiture never gets boring or predictable. If you know the Monochrome Portraits, you’re sure to get surprised by Strude, on view at Bruce Silverstein gallery (until June 26, 2010). When I walked into the gallery, I thought the photographer had engaged in some sort of conceptual art, wrapping people in scarves and putting hats on them. In fact, only today did I realize that what I thought was conceptual art in reality is the “the mask-like garment that was worn by women on the Danish island of Fanø to cover their faces from the wind, sun and sand.” (quoted from the press release). Well, there’s something for art critics to ponder (who might put off reading the often insufferable Chelsea press releases until the last minute) - and for those who think that if it looks weird - or at least unusual - it has got to be modern art. (more)
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May 20

Yann Gross is one of the two winners of this year’s Hyères Photography Festival. In this conversation, Yann and I talk about the background of his work.
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May 20

I don’t speak Spanish so I have no idea what Marcos Goymil’s Urbanidades is about - but I like the images.
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May 19

Koo Sung Soo’s Magical Reality shows the Las Vegas principle applied to places in Korea: Reproductions of, for example, the Statue of Liberty or the Mona Lisa, as adornments for a paradise of utter kitsch. (via)
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May 18

Ed Winkleman is on a roll. After staging #class (pronounced “hashtag class”, my own interpretation was funnier, yet turned out to be incorrect), there now is American ReConstruction, “an exhibition of new photography,” organized by Michael Hoeh. In a day and age where everybody supposedly is a curator, Michael Hoeh, of Modern Art Obsession fame, organized the show. Can we have a moment of silence now, so that this will sink in? (btw, if you click on the image above you can see a much larger version, and yes this wraps around a bit further than it should) (more)
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May 18

After I linked to Dalia Khamissy’s work earlier this year, she emailed me, and we ended up talking about her work. Its background intrigued me, and I asked her whether I could interest her in doing an interview for the blog. Find the whole piece here.
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May 18

About his series Homeland Serkan Taycan writes “With the passage of time I have, of course, changed a lot. But my homeland of Anatolia, which I left behind, has also changed. During my recent travels in Anatolia, I have encountered many images, situations, and people that aroused both feelings of intimate familiarity and great distance in me. These contradictory feelings have forced me to dwell on the issue of ‘belonging’. From this, new questions about ‘Homeland’ have emerged.” (source)
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May 17

They didn’t have any bowl hair cuts, and they also weren’t sporting matching suits and goofy grins, but boy, the combination of DutchDoc!Space (no, really, this is how this was spelled) and Erik Kessels’ magnificent Use Me, Abuse Me at this year’s otherwise sadly forgettable New York Photo Festival showed that photography is more alive (and maybe even more fun) than ever. It also proved that if you bring a can-do attitude and combine it with playful creativity then, well, you will make things happen. (more)
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May 17

Broken down civilization at the edges of new settlements - Jose Guerrero’s Ephemerals.
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May 14

“Beginning in 1997 and continuing for twelve years, Mike and I, American and Turk, husband and wife, traveled to my home country in search of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, whose omnipresent image signals Turkey’s move toward Europe and the West that continues to this day. […] Mike is overwhelmed by his relentless presence in every public space. I easily recognize the stock iconic images - military hero, father of the country, visionary, and teacher.” These words by Chantal Zakari set the stage for The State of Ata, the book produced with her husband, Mike Mandel. (more)
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May 13

Salva Lopez’s website contains a beautiful project entitled Roig 26. (via)
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May 12

Sofie Knijff’s Translations portrays young children in Mali, India, and South Africa, dressed up as the profession they dream of having in the future.
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May 12

A little while ago, I asked an assorted group of photographers and gallerists What Makes A Great Portrait? It’s one of those questions where it’s fairly straightforward to point to a portrait and say “Now this is a great portrait!” - but explaining what it actually is that makes the portrait great is quite a different story. I am infinitely fascinated by portraiture, and I decided to continue my little quest, trying to find out what made some portraits great, so I asked a different group of people the same question: “What makes a good portrait? Could you provide us with an example of a portrait that you really like - either from your or someone else’s work - and say why the portrait works so well for you?” Here is what I got back. (image above taken by Paul Stuart)
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May 11

There’s a large variety of work in Mathieu Pernot’s portfolio, most of it well worth the look (oh, and it’s a good chance to practice your French, since there’s no English text).
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May 10

Yann Gross, one of the winners of this year’s International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères, told me about the background of his project Kitintale while we were looking through his portfolio. I invited him to share the story on Conscientious Extended. Read all about the skateboarders in Uganda here.
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May 10

Alia Malley’s Southland is one of those photo projects where you know that the computer screen doesn’t do it much justice. (via)
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May 7

If you don’t know anything about Allison Davies, Outerland is not going to help you much. There is no text apart from the colophon, and even that you might miss. On page one… (well, is it one?, there are no page numbers), there is a photo of a young woman, in a stylish dress. The website informs us that “for more than a decade Allison Davies has been quietly making landscape photographs and ambiguous self-portraits of haunting beauty.” So the lone figure in the white overall in some of the photographs - the likes of which you’d expect in laboratories handling hazardous materials, that would be the artist. (more)
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May 6

We have recently witnessed a steep increase in the number of cases of (presumed) plagiarism. I don’t think the issue will go away; but I also do think that we need to think about plagiarism itself - what it means and how we can approach it. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the subject matter, and I just summarized my current thinking in a longer article entitled Photography, Copyright, Plagiarism, and the Internet. While I’m sure that I overlooked some aspects, I’m hoping to advance the debate a bit by suggesting a set of four criteria that all have to be met in a case of plagiarism.
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May 6

Matthieu Lavanchy’s Mr Schuhlmann - a commentary on our state of terror-related paranoia - combines installation and performance art with photography, with the images being the relevant component.
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May 5

“A cultivation of a narrative imagination is essential for moving past documenting pathos and helplessness, to see past victims and dependents, and see the humanity and individual autonomy of even the most seemingly desperate of peoples. This for me is the next great adventure in photojournalism. A sustained, humane voice that brings ‘the other’ into our lives as an equal to ourselves, with ideas and aspirations, and solutions and agency, inviting us to collaborate, and not begging us to save.” - Asim Rafiqui
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May 5

I received a somewhat late response to the post about my experience with the Fotofest portfolio reviews. This response mirrors reactions/sentiments people have told me in person many times. (more)
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May 5

I had the opportunity to attend this year’s Hyères Festival of Fashion and Photography, and yet again I came back thoroughly impressed. (more)
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May 5

James Reeve presented Lightscapes at the Hyeres Festival this year, the images of which unfortunately look much, much better as large prints than as smallish images on a computer screen. The above image is from Banned, a survey of all the activities that were banned under Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
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May 4

I’m literally just back from the International Fashion and Photography Festival in Hyères. As I mentioned before (and I will again, in another post hopefully tomorrow), if you’re one of the ten invited photographers you are already a winner (please don’t take this as some shallow statement; more on this later, too). But, of course, everybody wants to hear about the person - or in this case persons - picked by the jury. Here they are. (more)
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May 4

“Although most of us have never experienced war, we are surrounded by its imagery. This project is an exploration of the way that imagery and information from movies, videogames, the newspaper, and the Internet come together to form our perception of what war is.” - Krista Wortendyke (there’s a website, which at the time of this writing says “coming soon”)
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May 3

The jpeg compression artifacts are probably not part of Philippe Jusforgues’ Cabinet, but I actually think they work nicely with those weird collages. Regardless, great collage work. (via)
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