Archives

December 2010

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Dec 31

The story of oil (and gas) in Nigeria is long, ugly and relatively well ignored in the West. Just to give you an idea of what’s going on there, look at this article describing the fall-out from the recent Wikileaks release for oil company Shell. And there is more, much more in fact. This is the story told in Tropical Gift: The Business of Oil and Gas in Nigeria by Christian Lutz, a bold and masterful achievement. (more)
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Dec 31

I agree, reviewing my favourite photobook this year on the very last day, two weeks after listing it in the best of 2010 list - that’s somewhat odd. But sometimes, that’s how things go. I bought the book four weeks ago, was too busy to review it, but not busy enough to add it to my list, right on top. And photobooks aren’t like bread. They don’t go stale after a few days. They’re more like wine: They tend to get better with age. In the case of Quatorze Juillet by Johan van der Keuken the book is new, the photography is not. The images in the book were taken on 14 July, 1958, and apart from a single one, they have not been published before. (more)
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Dec 30

“The Southern District of New York issued an order denying AFP’s request to dismiss photographer Daniel Morel’s copyright claims, rejecting AFP’s argument that uploading pictures to Twitter/Twitpic granted third parties (including AFP) a broad license to exploit this content. The result is not surprising from a legal standpoint, but should allow photographers (and others who upload content into Twitter’s ecosystem) to breathe a sigh of relief.” - source (found via)
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Dec 30

There’s a project to build ten thousand year clock, a clock that will literally “run” for such a long period of time. The reason why I’ve been a bit fascinated by this is not so much the technology (a considerable challenge). There is another aspect that I seem to remember I read about somewhere (can’t find the link): The clock will have to obviously be a clock. If you assume that ten thousand years in the future there are still humans around (despite our best efforts to ruin our own living conditions on this planet), those future humans will have to be able to understand that the contraption is a clock. It sounds so simple, but once you notice how hard it often is to understand human artifacts made even “just” 2,000 years ago, you realize there is an actual challenge. This is where things get interesting, photography-wise. (more)
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Dec 30

“The city of Cerro de Pasco in Peru was founded by Spaniards in 1578, originally as a mining camp for the exploitation of minerals such as silver and zinc. For centuries, it was one of the worlds’s most important mining centers and today it has become Pasco Region´s capital with a population of 70,000.” - Marco Garro
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Dec 29

The portfolio of Peruvian photographer Roberto Caceres contains various stories from that country, such as the followers of Ezequiel Ataucusi Gamonal (sample above) or shamanism.
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Dec 28

This photographs is part of Justyna Badach’s Bachelor series. More samples - easier to look through - can be found here.
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Dec 28

If you haven’t visited e-photoreview this might be a good time to do so. It’s easiest to explain by simply pointing at an example of what the site does: Here’s an interview with Katharina Hesse about her photographs of Bangkok sex workers.
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Dec 27

Raising funds for photographic projects using crowdfunding (think Kickstarter) is becoming more and more common, and it will be interesting to see how well it will be able to establish itself. I’ve been looking into crowdfunding for a while now, trying to figure out the various parameters and how to deal with them. Basically, everything seems to come down to what one exactly has to offer - typically, there are tiered contributor levels (“Donate $10 and get a wet handshake, donate $20 and get a wet handshake plus a postcard, …”). On duckrabbit, David White raised some points about a couple recent Kickstarter projects: “In both cases, I am left wanting to know more. About the why’s, the how’s, the intended results and outputs, about how the money breaks down and is spent.” (more; updated below)
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Dec 27

“Following on from Wayne Ford’s list of ‘Photography and Narrative’ books to explore, we contacted some of the worlds most inspirational photographic practitioners, thinkers, authors and publishers and asked them for a book nomination that is notable/ inspiring/ seminal/ provocative.” Find the list here.
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Dec 27

“In the piece Three Moments [shown above] are three highly labored records of moments, each a month apart, each isolated and made into physical objects. The second moment attempts to recapture the first, while the third attempts to recapture them both. The result is meant to feel like a return to a place that may not seem to have changed, yet- since every instance of time and place is singular- it is perpetually and irrevocably being lost.” - Chris Engman (source of quote)
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Dec 24

Wishing everybody Happy Holidays and a truly wonderful and happy New Year 2011!
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Dec 23

There’s probably little new that can be said about photographs of the nude human figure, but thankfully, there still are quite a few photographers who are adding new voices. Here is Laura Stevens’ A Woman’s Realm.
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Dec 22

Given there has been so much talk about the best photobooks, how about exhibitions? Here is DLK’s Top Photography Shows of 2010. I didn’t visit nearly as many shows as DLK, so I can’t make as educated a choice. But my personal notebook has grades ranging from A to F for each show I saw, which makes it easier looking for my personal favourite. This year, it was Simon Johan’s Until the Kingdom Comes at Yossi Milo. Oh, and here is Vince Aletti’s list.
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Dec 22

“My name is Nathan Ward, I am an 18 year old photographer living in West Virginia. I just came across your site Conscientious and I love what you are doing, I would love to be a part if you are interested in my work.” What is there to add for me? At the time of this writing, Nathan’s site is under reconstruction, but there’s always his Flickr site.
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Dec 21

Abigail Simon is not so impressed by MoMA’s New Photography show: “A visit to the current edition of the annual New Photography series at the Museum of Modern Art leaves one with a peculiar sensation, as if one has spent lunch period sitting with the mean girls. The show is pleasant enough, and could not be clearer in its intentions (unless of course a photograph of the word REPRESENTATION spelled out in neon lights had been torn up and strewn around the floor). There are pretty colors and pretty girls, sky-high production values, and ‘insider’ jokes broad as any sitcom. What was not evident was any sense of newness, much less freshness”. (more)
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Dec 21

“The history of industrial New York is deeply etched along the banks of this waterway [Newtown Creek] separating the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Today it is among the most polluted creeks in the nation owing to a legacy of industry dating long before the environmental movement.” - Noah Devereaux
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Dec 20

This past year really has been the year of the photobook for me. I cannot remember another year where I looked at so many photobooks, bought so many of them, got so many in the mail; and what truly amazes me is how all of this resulted from me actually being not so happy about the boring conservative format that so many books employ. In the end, I decided not to leave it at that, but instead to look for what else there was to get, and to put my money where my mouth is. In parallel to all of that, I ended up going to less and less gallery shows, something I realized just a couple of weeks ago. (more)
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Dec 20

If you happen to come across a photobook showing you images of chicken filets and images from furniture ads, it’s like you’re looking at one of Erik Kessels’ products. Apart from owning and operating an ad agency (make sure to reload that site several times) and various other activities, Erik runs KesselsKramer Publishing, which is responsible for gems such as the In Almost Every Picture or Useful Photography series. To find out more about the ideas behind the work, I sat down with Erik on a sunny late-November morning in Amsterdam to ask some questions. Find the piece here.
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Dec 17

Earlier this year, Photo-Eye asked me for my favourite ten photobooks this year. Compiling such lists at the end of a year is always fun and dreadful at the same time. There was a deadline, long expired at the time of this writing, and I sent in a selection. Needless to say, the year has twelve months, and I ended up finding more books, some of which I added to my list. Plus, I picked my favourite photobooks this year. At some stage, you just have commit to something. Find the list and all the details below. (more)
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Dec 16

“The photographs in this series [Belco Pride] express the idea that belonging, connection and identity is deeply rooted in the specifics of one’s inhabited landscape. The landscape depicted here being the 25 northernmost suburbs of Canberra known as Belconnen, or to us locals, as ‘Belco’.” - Lee Grant (via)
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Dec 15

Simon Burch’s Under a Grey Sky is a beautiful portrait of Ireland.
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Dec 14

Chiara Tocci’s Life After Zog And Other Stories portrays Albanians that left their home country in the early 1990s, looking for a better life abroad. (via)
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Dec 13

Mirko Martin’s L.A. Crash slyly mixes factual and fictional elements to create a view of L.A. that is as fake as the city’s image itself.
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Dec 10

What do we know about Iran? Not much probably, apart from those stories about the current president and the country’s quest for nuclear weapons. How many people know that the country’s history dates back thousands of years? How many people know what the country really looks like? I’ll be honest, I know a little bit about the history, but I know more or less nothing else. Thankfully, there now is Recollection by Walter Niedermayr. (more)
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Dec 9

“João Silva, 44, a South African photographer on contract with The New York Times, stepped on a mine while accompanying American soldiers patrolling an area near the town of Arghandab in southern Afghanistan on October 23rd, 2010. Despite immediate help from medics, both his legs were lost below the knees.” Friends of his set up a website (which is the source of the quote) where you can either donate money or buy one of his prints, to support Silva’s recovery efforts.
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Dec 9

If you are curious about the photography in Phyllis Galembo’s book Maske, the website offers tons of examples.
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Dec 8

Camila Rodrigo is a young photographer from Peru with a very interesting portfolio.
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Dec 7

I’m starting a new series of conversations, focusing on photobooks and their makers. In the first one, I’m talking with photographers Richard Renaldi and Seth Boyd of Charles Lane Press about what photobooks mean to them and about their experiences with their publishing company.
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Dec 7

Breno Rotatori’s Bloco de notas is, in the words of the photographer, “a search of what is ‘unphotographable’.”
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Dec 6

Danny Ghitis’ Land of Os portrays Oswiecim, the small Polish town right next to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
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Dec 3

You’re probably aware of the fact that if you skip the essay(s) in most photobooks, you’re not missing much (if anything). In the case of Empty land, Promised land, Forbidden land by photographer Rob Hornstra and writer Arnold van Bruggen (see their joint site The Sochi Project), you would miss at least half of what makes this book what it is. This points to the fact that while you could treat Empty land as a photobook, in reality it’s something different. In a nutshell, it’s a documentary, transformed into book form. (more)
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Dec 2

It is one of those coincidences that around the time I published my posts about German photography right after the war (part 1, part 2), I came across the work of Helena Schätzle, The time in between. Of course, I was curious to learn more about it, so I approached Helena and asked her whether she would be willing to talk about the work. Find the conversation here.
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Dec 2

Eugen Litwinow’s Obratno shows images the photographer took when re-uniting with parts of his family in Russia. (via)
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Dec 1

The other day, I went to see an exhibition called The Tireless Epic at The Hague Museum of Photography. The show features the work of Miroslav Tichý, Gerard Petrus Fieret, and Anton Heyboer. You’re probably familiar with the first artist, but the other two might be a bit more obscure (there certainly isn’t much to be found online - not that that means anything). I had never heard of them. So I was curious to find out more. I found three creepy old men. Actually, that’s not quite correct, but that’s certainly how it was presented. (more)
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Dec 1

This is an image from Pablo Hare’s Monumentos del Peru. Any debate about public art might want to consider the pieces shown in this body of work.
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