Archives

April 2013

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Apr 30

Curran Hatleberg appears to have an instinct to make the right picture, at the right time, often in places where you wouldn’t expect to find one. See my piece on another one of his photographs.
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Apr 29

Mustafah Abdulaziz’s Memory Loss is filled with images that are almost too good to be true, a laconic portrait of the US and the people living there.
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Apr 26

The release of smaller, purely photo-centric books, has been a part of The Sochi Project for the past years now. The beauty of these smaller books is that they allow for a bit more playfulness in an otherwise often very heavy series of publications. The latest addition, Kiev, is no exception. Rob Hornstra was given a Kiev 6C medium-format SLR camera, a veritable beast of a camera, which, as it happens, I owned once myself. When they work, which often means if they work, these cameras are pretty amazing. You’ll grow a muscle or two (they’re huge and heavy), and you’ll smell Soviet industrial smells you had no idea they even existed. (more)
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Apr 25

Photography is such a peculiar form of art. It’s instantaneous in ways that other art forms are not. You see a photograph, and it’s right there, impressing itself immediately into your brain, into the unconscious parts first and then, after a little delay, into the conscious areas. As a result, it operates in very different ways than, say, music or video, photography’s closest cousin. Photography’s immediacy naturally leads to all kinds of assumptions about its power, many (most?) of which turn out to be wrong.
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Apr 24

Inge Schoutsen’s A Bit of Paradise, but Mostly Utopia is literally that: Photographs from places named Paradise and Utopia.
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Apr 23

In Apres Strand, Bertrand Carriere follows the trails of Paul Strand who in 1929 and 1936 visited the GaspĂ© Peninsula, which resulted in Strand understanding what he called “the essential character of a place.” (more information [in English] here)
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Apr 22

About her series under the surveillance of ancient animals photographer Maria Oliveira wrote me: “I am following the lives of three women, mother, daughter and sister in law, who live together and alone. With this project, I want to explore this relationship between women, the links that unite them despite the difficulty. And there is also this link to Earth, to Nature. Life has a rhythm, the crops cycle, the seasons. Here, there is no hurry, there’s time for the people and for the silence. These three women together turned to Earth as something primordial and eternal.”
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Apr 19

Julia Borissova’s The Farther Shore is a recent addition to the growing number of photobooks looking at traces of the past by using archival materials (photographs and other ephemera) and original photography. As much as this has become a trend, one that I suspect we all will become a bit tired of in not too much time, in this particular case, the result is engaging and very interesting. (more)
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Apr 18

“More film has probably been exposed on naked and semi-naked women than on any other subject in photography’s history.” write Gerry Badger and Martin Parr in The Photobook: A History, Vol. 1 (p. 226). As a matter of fact, there is a whole meta-book dedicated specifically to such photobooks, Alessandro Bertolotti’s Books of Nudes, which offers a very unique and interesting view of not just photography of the nude itself, but also - and especially - the societies it is embedded in (allowing the reader to, for example, connect the mass movements around public nudity prevalent in 1920s Germany with, say, Leni Riefenstahl’s imagery of Olympic athletes - and much more). Nadav Kander’s Bodies: 6 Women, 1 Man probably is not the latest addition to this type of photobook (there must be countless appearing every week), but a very recent one.
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Apr 17

“In this project I refer to the subject of the first wave of Russian emigration in 1920’s. Combining old photos and flower petals I destroy the original images of people in the photos and make them anonymous. I reflect on how with the lapse of time some details are erased from our memory and every time we recall something from the past, we construct another image replacing some parts by new ones.” - Julia Borissova about Running to the Edge
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Apr 16

“Be Good is a work about underage married Roma teenagers in Romania, their traditions and rituals of the wedding (night), the importance of virginity and the burden of proof. It shows portraits of married couples with a focus on appearing as individuals and also some teenagers that grew up in this tradition, along with symbolic and metaphoric still lives of flowers and interiors like their marital bedrooms.” - Maria Sturm
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Apr 15

Jakub Skokan and Martin Tuma’s Zoolandscape “records forms of artificially constructed biotopes and landscape scenes of the environment of European zoological gardens. Zoological landscapes have a specific role. Their purpose is to simulate biotopes of presented animals. The animals’ environment is made artificially out of imitating materials or is reconstructed from original living products of nature. The landscape is simplified, systematized and idealized. It is adjusted to meet the aesthetic demands of a viewer and just like a stage in a theater it aims to present the animal - the performer - in the most ideal way.” (quoted from the project information)
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Apr 12

After almost eleven years and over 5,800 posts the machinery behind this blog appears to have reached its limits. All the existing content consists of static files, so those are all fine and accessible. However, creating new posts has become increasingly problematic, at the time of this writing I cannot update “Extended.” I had plans for a new version of this site for a while, now these plans are being implemented. A lot of work has gone into that this week, and I hope that a new site will be up and running very soon.
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Apr 11

At the time of this writing, a major Harry Callahan retrospective is taking place at Hamburg’s Deichtorhallen. In conjunction with the show, there is a catalog, Harry Callahan. If your birthday is coming up, here is something to hint your friends or family about. Everybody else might want to take note for this year’s Christmas, or just buy the book.
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Apr 10

“This part of the Existence project focuses of the significance of time and identity within the latter stages of life and the slow removal of our control over them. It highlights the contemplation that takes place when the realities of our physical demise are upon us. Moments of reflection, the acknowledgement of time, the retreat of our physical identity collaborate in an anxious acceptance to the dawning realization at the end of our own mortality.” Gareth Phillips about his Existence II
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Apr 9

Fabian Rook’s Desktop Evidence combines Google Street View, with the occasional photournalistic material added or locations changed after the fact.
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Apr 9

Unfortunately, my website is currently suffering from some severe technical problems. I don’t know when they will be resolved. Please keep an eye on my Twitter feed for updates. Update (9 April 2013): The situation is unchanged. I’ll try to post new content, but that may or may not work.
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Apr 8

Thomas Ruff, phg.06, 2012. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner Gallery, New York and London. Over the past few years, Thomas Ruff has exploring photography to an extent rarely matched by other artists. His latest area of exploration involves photograms. At the occasion of an exhibition of photograms and ma.r.s. at David Zwirner Gallery, NYC, I spoke with Ruff about his thinking behind these and other bodies of work.
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Apr 5

The makers of FOAM Magazine decided they would dedicate a whole issue to photobook dummies. When you buy it you don’t get a simple bound magazine. Instead, you get a folder filled with reproductions of the actual dummies, plus the magazine itself: What can I say? It’s brilliant. If you’re into photobooks you might want to order yourself a copy.
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Apr 5

At first, it might appear odd for me to claim that this review of Daido Moriyama’s Tales of Tono should be read alongside the one I wrote about Antonio M. Xoubanova’s Casa de Campo. Tales of Tono is vintage Moriyama - heavy black and while, Provoke style - seemingly everything that Casa de Campo is not. But I want to claim that these two bodies of work were made from if not the same then a very, very similar mental spot. If that is not obvious from the work, then it might become quite a bit clearer when the long and incredibly insightful essay is considered that Moriyama wrote for the book.
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Apr 4

It’s easy to forget this, but ours is a world of fairy and folk tales. We are surrounded by mysterious creatures and habits, some dating back thousands of years, others maybe ten or twenty. Christianity itself, for example, has adopted a great many of them. Easter, for example, is celebrated by colouring hard-boiled eggs, there is a bunny involved (does it lay the eggs? I was never able to figure that one out), and the Saviour has risen - not necessarily in that order, but you get the idea. That’s two out of three strange fairy/folk right there.
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Apr 3

“[Garry] Winogrand was famous for never asking people permission before taking their photographs;” writes Caille Millner in a review of the photographer’s current retrospective at SFMoMA, “a whole generation of male photographers idolized him for shooting however he wanted, whenever he wanted.” It’s not hard to imagine what the legions of Winogrand fans will have made of Millner’s review, which continues “No one seems to recognize that Winogrand’s beliefs are shared most seriously by the kinds of men who haunt Reddit subforums like ‘Creepshots.’ On those forums, the chorus is ‘Rape her.’ Thanks to his superior sense of aesthetics, Winogrand’s moments of lechery show up at SFMOMA, where the chorus is that he’s a visionary.” Find the full piece here.
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Apr 2

Vivian Keulards’ 80439, Bloody Mary and Sloppy Joe visually chronicles the Dutch photographer’s life in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
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Apr 2

Those interested in daguerreotypes might want to check out Daguerreobase, a “non-profit research project to collect and generate as much knowledge on daguerreotypes as possible, to the benefit of all those interested: institutions, researchers, conservators, traders and owners, both professional and non-professional.”
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Apr 1

About a year ago, I mentioned a lawsuit by a collector, filed after William Eggleston decided to re-print older photographs, using inkjet printing and a larger size. A judge now ruled that the photographer had the right to do that. On the surface, that’s great news for photographers. It also blows a huge hole into the whole editioning game that galleries have been relying on. (more)
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Apr 1

Those sad about the demise of Polaroid have the option to either pay quite a bit of money for Impossible film (with, often, very mixed results), or there are Fuji’s Instax cameras. I’ve long been using Fuji’s system - it works great, and it’s a lot of fun. Things just got a whole lot better. A little while ago, Fuji got in touch with me, asking me whether I wanted to be one of the ten people world-wide to test their new tintype film (lest you think that’s one of the perks of blogging, it isn’t, at least not for me; this was a first). At first, I thought it was a joke, but it was very much real. Fuji’s only condition was absolute secrecy until the date of the announcement. InstaType - that’s the name of the new film - comes very close to looking like a tintype, and from what I can tell the chemistry behind it must be at least similar to the original process. The film pack is much heavier - each photo sits on a thin metal sheet. As you can imagine, the process is a bit iffy: Once the photo is ejected from the camera, the photo still flexes. The image develops more quickly than the regular Instax ones, and at the end, the photo itself gets rather stiff. Just like in the case of the regular Instax films, there is a thin plastic sheet over the photograph - neatly preventing the emulsion to get scratched. The new film is now on sale, and there’s a discount for readers of this site (code “INSTACON” - limited to two packs per buyer). So if you want the film (trust me, if you have one of these cameras, you really do), head right over to the product page.
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