Archives

March 2013

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Mar 28

You photograph what is, and when you look at photograph you see what was. There’s a dissonance right there, which can become a symbol for the abyss of time just as much as a reminder of what we humans have done to turn what was into what is. Reading the press release for Rena Effendi’s Liquid Land I failed to realize that the book would be centered on precisely that. In fact, I only figured it out going through the book.
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Mar 27

Erno-Erik Raitanen’s Bacteriograms (Self-Portraits No. 1-9) were created “by cultivating bacteria samples on photographic film.”
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Mar 26

This is a photograph from Callum Ross’ moody and slightly mysterious West.
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Mar 25

For his project Postcards from Ameryka photographer Raoul Ries visited 15 locations called Amerika, Americká or Ameryka in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic
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Mar 22

Our world divides into places that are public and that are private. The former includes a few that are both at the same time - they are public places, yet they’re closed off. These are the forbidden zones, areas the public - who might, on the surface, actually own them - are not allowed to enter. The term “closed city” originated in the Soviet Union (see this page), and it is still in use there, in slightly different form. Closed cities exist all over the world, places that require special permission to enter. Access can be restricted for military and/or security reasons, the latter connected to industrial activities, to the presence of refugees, or simply to the presence of people wealthy enough to be able to afford having a whole area of their own. (more)
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Mar 21

Mention the company name Pirelli in the context of photography, and most people (especially men) will probably think of the calendar right away. (Given this is the early 21st century, every time a new calendar is released I’m wondering what happened to the idea of the sexes being equal.) In 1989, the company hired Chris Killip to photograph, no, not naked “supermodels,” but workers in a factory. The resulting body of work was published as Pirelli Work a few years ago, one of those (many) books that I simply missed. I found it the other day, literally found it - a pile of books at a book shop.
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Mar 20

Another view of the spectacle of classical music: Iveta Vaivode’s Opera.
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Mar 19

Jess T. Dugan writes about Every breath we drew: “By asking others to be vulnerable and intimate with me through the act of being photographed, I am laying claim to my own desires and defining what I find beautiful and powerful while asking larger questions about how identity is formed, desire is expressed, and intimate connection is sought.”
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Mar 19

A couple of my pieces have been published elsewhere. Already a couple of weeks old but still very much relevant: The Problem with Tumblr and Photography, my contribution to Hyperallergic’s first Tumblr Art Symposium. Brand-new: a look at photography as a social gesture, People Take Pictures of Each Other, my first contribution for American Circus.
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Mar 18

For the past couple of weeks, I have come to this photography, Riverfront, by Curran Hatleberg (if you click on the image you’ll see a larger version). I’ve been trying to find out what actually intrigued me about it. Most likely, it’s a combination of factors. For a start, Riverfront is one of those photographs that is very smartly constructed. It’s complex without it being complex for complexity’s sake. It’s smart, without it being self-consciously smart (like, for example, so much of that “new formalism”/”triangle art” photography: I can’t escape the feeling it’s too satisfied with its own cleverness). It’s a contemporary photograph that, at the same time, feels like a classic; or maybe I should say it references the medium’s history without being nostalgic. Find the full piece here.
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Mar 18

“This work in progress is the story of a community struggling to understand its place in a changing world while trying to hang on to a fading American dream.” - Brendan Hoffman about his Stand the Middle Ground
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Mar 15

“In the late eighties, Dutch artist Hans Citroen meets Barbara Starzyńska, a Polish architect, and ends up visiting [her] relatives in Oświęcim, the city where his grandfather survived KZ Auschwitz.” (source) It’s coincidences like this one that often make life feel a little strange. And they certainly did get strange and then stranger when Citroen and Starzyńska started to look into the relationship between Oświęcim and Auschwitz, the latter presumably just the infamous concentration camp outside the city. (more)
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Mar 14

A little while ago, I asked Richard Renaldi and Seth Boyd of Charles Lane Press what it was that made some photobooks more precious than others. “Good pictures.” Boyd replied, “Just good pictures. That sounds ludicrously simplistic, but that’s all I want when I look at a book: to see amazing images.” To which Renaldi added “I also think that restraint can make a book very good as well. If someone uses restraint when editing and sequencing, I think that makes a better book.” It’s very worthwhile to keep these very important points in mind when looking at photobooks. I had to think of them while looking at Nelli Palomäki’s Breathing the Same Air.
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Mar 13

This photographs looks like an image made using the wet-plate process, but it’s merely a simulation if you will. I took this picture with my minipad, using the Hipstamatic Tintype package. It’s fairly safe to assume that tor a sizable part of photoland, a digital image that looks like a wet-plate image cannot be judged the same way as a an actual wet-plate one. In the following, I will try to explain why that is a pretty severe mistake. Find the full piece here.
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Mar 13

“My mother was always dreaming of an ideal man. When we were watching movies of 60-70?s with french and italian actors (Belmondo, Delon, Mastroianni, Marais), she was always excited and often said to me ‘I always liked that kind of man’. She met my father in Sochi, it was a ‘resort’ roman, which soon ended up with a marriage. She did not know much of him, only that he was a captain and worked somewhere at North Russia. They never lived together. He usually came for a few weeks and then dissapeared. At some point my mother found out that he has another wife and a child. She could never forgive him and soon they divorced. In her albums there was almost no photo left of my father — not only she divorced with him, but also destroyed all the photos of him including those from the wedding day.” - Natalya Reznik about her project Looking for my Father
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Mar 12

Everglades by Lisa Elmaleh is a bit of a mixed bag, but the good photographs are really very good.
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Mar 11

Microstories by Matteo Tranchesi does not pretend to be a “representation of reality.” Instead, the photographer offer his “point of view” - possibly the best one can hope for (and probably the only feasible approach to photography).
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Mar 8

If you’re a conceptual photographer, chances are you’ll be either ignored or misunderstood (or both) by large segments of photoland. Take Dutch photography duo WassinkLundren (Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren). It’s probably fair to say that some reactions to their piece Empty Bottles were, well, a bit unhinged, especially given the book won an award. If you’re curious about how the work was discussed this blog post provides a good, honest starting point. If you want to see some of the less productive reactions, you’ll have to Google them yourself. (more)
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Mar 7

When I first heard of Tony Fouhse photographing drug addicts in the street, I thought of all the other photographers who had done that before. I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with that kind of work. It’s an old discussion, which I’m very unlikely to resolve in any which way, but I’ll have a go at it anyway.
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Mar 6

“In this piece, I investigate several realms of existence of fifty-five very large rocks, which I’ve labeled as cairns, found in yards around Cedar City, Utah.” - Jeremias Paul about his Constellation
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Mar 5

With The Secret World of Fraternities, Lene Münch portrays German (student) organizations whose mindset never made it out of the 19th century.
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Mar 4

Juror Michel Millard picked Karen Miranda Rivadeneira’s Other Stories/Historias Bravas as a winner of the Conscientious Portfolio Competition 2012, writing The images which have touched me and attracted me the most are Karen Miranda Rivadeneira’s. I found this series of images very interesting as they are a touching mix of reportage meets fiction meets mise en scene. They are very human as they deal with big general themes such as life, childhood, adolescence, motherhood, death, and at the same time with details and particularities. They are exotic and very personal. I like that the photographic approach is not overstated, it is precise but very simple. Every frame is filled with humanity. I’d like to see many more of them. In a conversation that can be found here I spoke with the photographer about her work.
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Mar 1

Newspapers, the actual objects, are strange things: Just like fashion, they can be tremendously important today. And just like fashion, today’s news will be discarded tomorrow, to be replaced with something new. Something newer. Unlike fashion, however, the news actually matter, so the comparison ends right there. (more)
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