Archives

April 2012

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Apr 30

My work on this blog has in part been made possible by advertizers. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of this blog! Postera is an online tool and web hosting service. It allows artists, photographers, illustrators, designers, architects and visual people of all types to build and maintain beautiful websites. We feature four customizable templates by Post Tool Design. Creative people can get their site up and running in minutes, or customize their site to their liking. Our tool adapts to the changing landscape of technology so that you don’t have to. Gone are the days of endless software updates, system compatibility issues and lengthy uploading times. It’s time you get your work out there.
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Apr 30

Anna Dasovic’s Vredenhof 1939-1945 focuses on a rather unique World War 2 cemetary on a small Dutch island, working with archival photographs and documents. (via)
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Apr 27

In that ever (and rapidly) expanding industry of books devoted to photobooks, the one I had been really looking forward to was the one about Dutch photobooks. Ever since I discovered the amazing world of Dutch photobook making, I have been trying to make sure that that part of my own collection keeps growing as steadily (or maybe even more so) than the rest. So here it is now: The Dutch Photobook, edited by Frits Gierstberg and Rik Suermondt, with additional contributions by fourteen other authors. Now I don’t have to rummage through my book collection any longer to show people why I’m excited about Dutch photobooks. That’s a most welcome development. (more)
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Apr 26

This is an image from Max Marshall’s Natural Encounters. Those interested in more conceptual work might want to check out Fabulous Views or Disambiguation, a collaboration with Andrea P. Nguyen.
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Apr 25

For those interested in seeing contemporary landscape photography, there is Misha de Ridder’s work. It’s not quite what you might expect. Maybe a better way to think about it would be to say that our idea of “landscape” photographs seems to have expanded quite a bit.
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Apr 24

Tom Farmer’s A Life Between Brackets depicts the life of a Congolese man living in the UK after his asylum application was rejected. (via)
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Apr 23

What do clubs and small concert venues look like when people are gone and you switch on the lights? André-Alexander Giesemann shows us with Vom Bleiben (Staying Behind).
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Apr 22

Over at Fototazo, Tom Griggs wrote a follow-up piece on a couple of articles by Colin Pantall and me about the above photograph, taken by Thomas Hoepker on September 11th, 2001. Griggs’ piece is a great read, and I want to add some more thoughts to the whole debate. (more)
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Apr 20

We want our landscapes to be sublime. We want to be overwhelmed, lacking words. We want to be in awe, getting reminded of our own smallness and mortality. Unfortunately, most landscapes don’t work that way. Most landscapes do not overwhelm the senses. Mind you, there is beauty all around us, but to see that beauty we need to make a bit of a mental effort. Being Swiss, Yann Mingard might have simply aimed his camera at the Swiss Alps. But he chose not to do so. Instead, he aimed it at what places where most people wouldn’t even bother looking twice - the kind of nature that surrounds so many of us. Repaires, the book containing the results of this endeavour, shows what is to be gained from doing that. (more)
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Apr 19

“in late 2009, I started photographing in Norwegian prisons, mostly at a women’s prison that generally holds drug traffickers and drug offenders, who often are drug addicts, and a very famous men’s prison in Norway, which houses murderers, robbers and rapists but is noted as one of the most progressive prisons in the world.” - Britney Anne Majure about Fengsel
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Apr 18

In a soon to be published interview, I asked the question: ‘Is the role of the photographer changing from the maker of images to the person who makes sense of them?’ The question was asked in relation to the ever expanding photographic archive humanity has been contributing too since the mid 19th century. Ruff is one of those artists who, I think, finds this snowballing archive of humanity more affecting than that of his ‘own’ photographs. (more)
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Apr 17

Colin Pantall has a great post up about two somewhat recent news photographs that made a bit of a splash. In both cases, the public reacted aghast at what they saw. Colin writes (my emphasis): “The idea is that one should look a certain way in the face of tragedy, part of the simplistic narrative that is expected of people when they are part of a photograph - a simplistic narrative that does not have an equivalence in writing. Here it is easy to explain the contrast between the glorious sky and the casual dress, the trappings of the picnic and the relaxed poses. These are all allowed to happen, but when it comes to a photograph, God forbid if anybody is caught doing anything that lies outside a very narrow band of expected responses.” (more)
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Apr 16

Aaron Schuman just published a new issue of Seesaw Magazine - as always very much worth the visit!
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Apr 16

Baudouin Mouanda is a Congolese photographer, part of the Generation Elili collective, which is based in Brazzaville. The above image is from a series on S.A.P.E. (“Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes” - “Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People”). To see more work check out this page or look through the Generation Elili collective website (most of these pages are in French, click on “Travaux” and then look for the photographer’s name).
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Apr 12

Luke Norman & Nik Adam are two young photographers who produce their work in a collaboration. They’re part of what I think of as a new wave of artists producing conceptual photography with a heavy art slant (academics might have a name for that already). The photo above is from Peacock.
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Apr 11

Kaliningrad by Stefan Bladh is a very exciting work in progress, mixing landscapes and portraits. (via The Sonic Blog)
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Apr 9

Christian Patterson’s Redheaded Peckerwood (also see the publisher’s website and my review) made it onto so many “best of 2011” lists that it was by far the most popular book last year. A body of amazing depth and sophistication, it is a shining example of what the contemporary photobook can do. There now is a second edition, and I used the occasion to talk with Christian about the book. Find the full piece here.
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Apr 9

“‘Auftakt’ is the upward stroke made by conductor, a gesture, that comes in the moment when music does not begin to sound yet. It’s a gesture made in silence, but combining full information about time of performance, tempo and semantic fullness of music, it’s stroke and character of the sound.” - Roman Drits (via - where you can also find an interview with the photographer)
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Apr 7

“Trade divided over production of large prints of some of the photographer’s best known works, but buyers love them” is an apt description for what just happened: Reprints of some of William Eggleston’s most well-known images raked in the jumbo juice, almost $6m, while there were rumblings about whether or not this was such a good idea. These rumblings then erupted when a collector, Jonathan Sobel, filed a lawsuit against Eggleston. In an opinion piece, Felix Salmon tried to explain what was really going on, and there are many valuable details in his argument. I’m not sure I buy (pardon the pun) Salmon’s dismissal of the lawsuit as merely some bruised ego, though. That seems to be a tad simplistic, especially if you read this interview with Mr Sobel. In part, it centers on limited editions and on the fact that when Mr Sobel bought his prints, there was no word of a possible larger edition. You definitely want to read the interview, since I have the feeling that some of the points raised in it we will hear a lot more about in the future.
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Apr 6

It’s road-trip time yet again, this time involving photographer Rafal Milach and writer Huldar Breiðfjörð. Using Route 1, they traveled around Iceland in ten days. A photographer and a writer, a local and a guest - maybe the ideal mix for such a trip? In the Car With R, published a little while ago, contains the results of the trip. (more)
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Apr 6

You’ve probably noticed that the production of photobook presentations has slowed down a little bit. This is due to me being busy teaching. There’ll be more time to produce presentations once this semester is over (first week of May). My most recent videos: In This Dark Wood by Elisabeth Tonnard, Nox by Anne Carson, Cindy Sherman (Flammarion, 2006), The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey by Yaakov Israel, and The Altogether by Chris Coekin.
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Apr 6

The Sochi Project - makers of Sochi Singers, Safety First, and Empty land, Promised land, Forbidden land - just released statistics of their first three years of crowdfunding. The findings might surprise some people - they did surprise me to some extent. (more)
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Apr 5

Michael Vahrenwald’s Forest Floor contains images “taken throughout New York City from industrial to residential areas. They depict various weeds and plant life flourishing in the cracks of sidewalks, out of the sides of buildings and underneath infrastructure. The scenes are colored by the trash strewn about by passers by.” Which only proves that you just have to look to find all kinds of good things to photograph in New York City.
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Apr 4

Featuring landscapes and portraits, Thabiso Sekgala’s Homeland investigates the notion of home in an area in South Africa that was used by the apartheid government to confine, define and disempower people.
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Apr 2

Now here’s a picture for our times: A photograph taken by Alexander Gardner in 1865, a portrait of Lewis Payne, one of the men involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. If there ever was defiance, here we’d have it, and we love that kind of attitude, even (especially?) if it is on display by a soon-to-be-convicted (and hanged) criminal. It’s a handsome face, too, oddly out of time: You wouldn’t be surprised to meet someone looking, even dressing like this, in a local coffee shop. But Payne also looks like the hero in every movie - the dashing main figure who will escape into the night even if all his accomplices get caught or killed, the ruthless killer or violent lunatic that we still root for (think “Doug MacRay” in The Town). Find the rest of the piece here.
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Apr 2

David Severn’s Thanks Maggie focuses on ex colliery sites in and around the former coal mining stronghold of Mansfield in the north of England. Writes David “Moved by the stories of ex miners and inspired by the work of young people in Newstead, how bitter sweet it is to tread the exhausted ground, revived.”
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Apr 2

Read this story to get an idea of the factors that now determine which news photographs you might get to see. (via)
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Apr 1

I didn’t see this one coming: A press person of World Press Photo emailed me to inform me that the organization is going to rename itself: “We had a look at the list of photos of the year, and we realized that 40 out of 54 winning photos were taken by American or European photographers. Clearly, our name should reflect this reality. So we decided to invite the public to suggest a new name for our organization.” Head right over to suggest a new name by using this link.
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Apr 1

Here’s a great story I found in the local paper (!): A photo student at Hampshire College, Helena Morrison, bought a copy of House of Coates and showed it to her grandfather, whose name is, you guessed it, Lester B. Morrison (in case you’re curious, the B stands for Bernard). Mr Morrison is 77 years old and lives in Agawam, MA (just a few miles south from here). Apparently, he was not very pleased with what he saw: “First of all, those are not my pictures. I take better pictures than that. And I’m not a broken man. I don’t even know what that means. I’m a very happy man. I have a lovely wife, two daughters, and four grandchildren. I don’t understand any of this. This is art?” Find the full story from the Daily Hampshire Gazette here.
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