Archives

November 2010

SELECT A MONTH:

Nov 30

I was out of town last week, so I didn’t get to posting about Damon Winter’s iphone Afghanistan photographs. There are various issues one might want to talk about here. Duckrabbit and Tom White both have posts about the photographs, so head right over to read them.
Read more »

Nov 30

Lathrop Homes “is an examination of race, space, and nature amidst the unending and uneven development of urban environments. Through these photographs, I explore the complexities between the utopian aspirations of urban planners and the social realities of public housing.” - Jason Reblando (via)
Read more »

Nov 29

“Over the past years, I’ve been mainly interested in photographing space. Before the strength of rhythm, proportion, form and light, the curiosity of the functionality, what interests me the most in my photographic work is the possibility of an unclear narrative.” - Inês d’Orey (source/via)
Read more »

Nov 25

There is something somewhat deceiving about Youssef Nabil’s exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery, and that’s the fact that somehow, the images make you think that you’ve seen this before. Except that you haven’t. These images are all recent, they are not vintage images unearthed at some flea market or in some photographer’s archives somewhere. They are “hand-colored gelatin silver prints are carefully crafted portraits inspired by Egyptian movie posters and films of the 1940s and 1950s.” (quoted from the press release) (more)
Read more »

Nov 25

Benjamin Rasmussen’s Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor portrays a region of the country that has little interaction with either foreign forces or the Taliban.
Read more »

Nov 24

Oksana Yushko is one of the winners of this year’s Conscientious Portfolio Competition. About her work, juror Susanna Brown wrote: “Oksana Yushko’s project Kenozero Dreams reveals both the beauty and banality of life for the inhabitants of Kenozero in Nothern Russia. We glimpse a place that has remained relatively unchanged for decades and an atmosphere of longing, of waiting. The landscape and portrait images are equally evocative, but for me the most memorable photograph in this series depicts two teenagers in a field, collecting flowers in the twilight haze. Dressed in modern clothes they carry out an ancient pagan rite. The boy’s gaze is transfixed, balancing a delicate wreath of flowers on his baseball cap he stares into the gloaming, and perhaps into his own future.” In this conversation, I talk with Oksana about her work.
Read more »

Nov 24

“These photographs were taken posthumously in Mrs Hughes’s home where she had lived for the last 40 years. We never actually met, but to me the shoes present a poignant and moving reminder of her life.” - Dean Hollowood
Read more »

Nov 23

Debby Huysmans’ Sibir is a portrait of Siberia, using two rivers as guides.
Read more »

Nov 23

For the past few days, I have been trying to come up with a joke that starts with “How many water towers does it take to…” Unfortunately, humour (just like so many things) is (are) clearly not my forte. Not that Bernd and Hilla Becher’s work has anything to do with humour anyway. This is no laughing matter, ladies and gentlemen! In any case, the Bechers’ photography seems to be a good case of ye olde “if you’ve seen one you’ve seen it all,” except what they’re trying to show is the exact opposite. Because, you see, they - the water towers in this case - are all a little bit different (click on the image above and you will see). This, of course, makes for a neat reference: Karl Blossfeld, another German artist obsessed with shapes of things, in his case plants. (more)
Read more »

Nov 22

For her series The time in between, Helena Schätzle visited locations her own grandfather had been to in 1945/46, to photograph the landscape and the older generation living there. (thank you, Lia!)
Read more »

Nov 19

I suppose strictly speaking John Stezaker’s Fumetti is not a photobook. It does contains photos, though. But the artist didn’t take them. It’s a book of collages. But purists might find reason to scoff at that, too, given that many of these collages were made from only two images, and there are some made from, well, one. But before we throw our arms up in despair, trying to find just the right box for the book, we might as well realize how little is to be gained from categorizing - especially since so much is to be gained from looking at the book. (more)
Read more »

Nov 18

In this day and age, finding small, old, family-owned businesses is becoming ever more tricky. But they still exist. Claire Laude’s Berliner Jahrhundertläden shows thirty of them, all in Berlin. (via)
Read more »

Nov 18

A little while ago, Benjamin of duckrabbit fame sent me an email, telling me about Ivor Prickett and his story about Abkhazia. I like Ivor’s work very much, and since there currently is so much talk about how photojournalism is presumably dead (or maybe not) and about the relationship between photojournalism, documentary photography and what we call “fine art” photography (for a lack of a better term), I approached him to talk about his work. Find the piece here.
Read more »

Nov 17

This image is from Christopher Churchill’s American Faith, which has more facets that its title might indicate. Beautiful work.
Read more »

Nov 17

Peter of Sonic Blog fame just published a list of German photographers looking at Germany, what it means to be German, or other aspects of their own country. Have a peek!
Read more »

Nov 16

Birgit Püve’s By The Lake portrays people living at a lake that now divides Estonia and Russia, but it also examines ideas of the past.
Read more »

Nov 16

My work on this blog has in part been made possible by the advertizers. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of this blog! The International Limited-Residency MFA Program at the Hartford Art School offers the possibility to work on an MFA without the need to take a break from life for two or three years. Applications for the next year are now being accepted, with a deadline of mid-January 2011. (full disclosure: I’m a faculty member/thesis adviser in the program) Edition One Books produces top quality books, maintaining “the highest quality standards in the short-run book production industry through precise control of each manufacturing step,” using “a complete in-house production system geared towards the high-end photography and art book market.”
Read more »

Nov 16

In response to my earlier post about variations of Nick Ut’s famous Vietnam War image, duckrabbit ask “When we see more, do we give more of ourselves?” That indeed is the crucial aspect, which is why I wrote “We need to add ourselves back in.” (more)
Read more »

Nov 15

Nicolas Dhervillers’ portfolio is filled with interesting projects, such as Tourists, taken from Google images and transplanted into other photographs, or, shown above, Sunday: “Sunday activities become an ecstatic torment or an absurd choreography that make strong reference to the very notion of living sculpture.”
Read more »

Nov 15

It was to be expected that my post about the lack of German photography about the Nazi regime, the war and the Holocaust after World War II would ruffle some feathers in my native country. Today I came across this post, which tries to prove that I’m wrong (scroll down for an English version). I was delighted to see the post, especially since it gives me a chance to drive home may main point. (more)
Read more »

Nov 13

There are at least two accusations the art world has to deal with on a fairly regular basis: It’s “elitism” and “The Emperor is naked.” Now let’s assume that the group of people called “the art world” is actually as homogeneous as is assumed. Let’s assume that this homogeneous group is following a secret code of conduct, including, but not limited to, a master plan, a secret hand shake, and regular meetings in an undisclosed location that might or might not be a crypt and that - crucially! - might or might not contain at least parts of the skeleton of Mark Twain. Even if we make these assumptions, it should be pretty obvious that both accusations tend to be mostly rhetorical devices, whose overuse has rendered them so blunt that where they actually are appropriate they’re as effective as covering someone with kittens or puppies as a sign of protest (not that I would suggest such a thing; I’m opposed to any kind of animal abuse). (more)
Read more »

Nov 12

I’m just back from visiting the New York Art Book Fair, and I’ve been thinking about what I like about photobooks so much. Individual books might appeal to me for particular reasons, but as a whole, as a species, photobooks have become incredibly dear to me. Why do I spend so much time looking at them, thinking about them, even making them (Meier & Müller’s forthcoming books are currently being conceived)? Find my reflections on the topic here.
Read more »

Nov 12

This being the time of the internet and of quick, dismissive remarks, I should probably write that Sechsundzwanzig Wiener Tankstellen [Twenty Six Viennese Gas Stations] by Sebastian Hackenschmidt and Stefan Oláh is just a shameless rip off of Ed Ruscha’s famous work and be done with it. But I won’t, since such a verdict would not only be simplistic, it would be ill-informed and thus ultimately stupid. Art itself does not exist in a vacuum, and some art might inform and/or spawn some other art. In the case of Sechsundzwanzig Wiener Tankstellen (which I’ll abbreviate as SWT from now on), Ruscha’s famous work - the booklet etc. - served not only just as inspiration. The book is a commentary of sorts, or maybe an extension of the American artist’s body of work: This is what gas stations look like here in Vienna, and here is why this is interesting. (more)
Read more »

Nov 11

… of interviews with photographers and articles about photography: Ahorn Magazine’s new edition.
Read more »

Nov 11

Wired Magazine’s photography blog, Raw File, features profiles of their favourite photobloggers, which you want to check out if you’re curious about the people behind those blogs. I’m honoured to be included in the list, created by Pete Brook of Prison Photography fame, who also blogs for Wired. Thank you, Pete!
Read more »

Nov 11

“The new Totems series by Alain Delorme plunges us into the core of contemporary China and its complexity. Under the blue sky of a highly colored Shanghai, men carry throughout the city unbelievable piles. These precarious columns made of cardboard or chairs appear as new totems of a society in complete transformation, both a factory for the world and a new El Dorado of the market economy.” - Raphaële Bertho (quoted from the Totems essay)
Read more »

Nov 10

Colin Pantall published an interview with Donald Weber about the photographer’s images of Russian police interrogations. I’m not sure I buy the photographer’s final answer, but that’s for another day maybe. (updated below)
Read more »

Nov 10

This seemingly enigmatic image is part of Stuart Whipps’ The Scenery is Very Wonderful. The Weather is good., which combines photography with text, graphics, and postcards.
Read more »

Nov 9

Alec Soth writes an open letter to The New York Times Book Review, asking why they review children’s book, but not art books.
Read more »

Nov 9

Nelli Palomäki’s Elsa and Viola contains stunningly beautiful portrait of children. (via)
Read more »

Nov 8

“A Roman Holiday’, 2010, shows videostills from the numerous top models shows. Young women competing in these shows try to realize their dreams of becoming a top model. Often, these efforts end in a carefully directed ‘elimination’ where one of the girls is sent home. This almost always happens with a lot of tears and sadness. By using screenshots that are partially out of context, these, often narcissistic emotions, can be translated into a wider range outside of a television show and lines can be drawn with, for instance, the Columbine highschool massacre or any other human drama that was heavily covered by the media.” - Adriaan van der Ploeg
Read more »

Nov 5

“How has the Ruhr district changed over the years? How do artists see the Ruhr Metropolis now?” asks the introductory page of the Ruhr Views exhibitions. First of all, why is this interesting? As it turns out, the Ruhr District has undergone massive changes over the past decades. The largest urban center in Germany - composed of various cities, which, in effect, form a mega-city inhabited by 12 million people - the Ruhr District formerly was the home of large parts of the country’s heavy industry: Coal, steel. Essen, one of the main cities, housed the infamous Krupp empire. Most of this came down, the steel mills are gone, the region changed massively - just like its counterparts in, for example, the US or Britain. How did the Germans deal with this transformation? (more)
Read more »

Nov 4

Picking up what I mentioned earlier, it goes without saying that the story of German photography and its curious omission to deal with the German past and/or history is more complex. Let me elaborate. (more)
Read more »

Nov 4

I’m always a little bit surprised how few German photographers explore what being German might mean. This is especially surprising in the light of both German history and what’s going on in the country (there’s a very large pool of immigrants, for example). In fact, there are probably more German photographers who went to the US taking photos of cowboys than artists turning their lenses towards their own country. And when the lens is turned that way, there are no people (one could argue that the Düsseldorf School is basically completely apolitical). So I was glad to find Marita Bullmann’s Es gibt immer was zu tun [There’s always something to do] (here) today. I’d like to see more like that.
Read more »

Nov 3

Great post by Blake Andrews about colour images on the web. Head right over and have a peek!
Read more »

Nov 3

The other day, Michael David Murphy had a post with an image and two variations (modification), and that had me thinking. The first, original image is Nick Ut’s well-known photo of soldiers and Vietnamese napalm victims. In a nutshell, it also stands for photojournalism, circa around the time it was taken. (more; updated)
Read more »

Nov 3

Kate Nolan’s Neither examines the situation of young women in Kaliningrad, Russia. There are a lot of amazing photos, and it was a bit tough to decide which one to use as a sample. In the end, I chose this one, because beyond the project itself it’s saying something about the times - and mess - we live in in general, and how we got there.
Read more »

Nov 2

Unfortunately, Malik Nejmi’s website is in French only. But you want to go and look at it anyway, for a variety of reasons. In particular, have a look at how the photographer presents his work in the three El Maghreb sections, mixing colour and b/w, and even photography with seemingly different styles. It works amazingly well.
Read more »

Nov 1

This looks like it was done with Photoshop, but in fact it wasn’t. Lola Dupré uses scissors, paper, and glue for her collages. Here’s a conversation with the artist. (via)
Read more »

Nov 1

This image is from Frank Gaudlitz’s Casa Mare, which features interiors and portraits taken in southern and central Eastern Europe. Beautiful work.
Read more »