Archives

September 2003

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Sep 30

“For several years now Edith Roux (France) has been photographing the increasing uniformity of the periphery of large cities in the European Union. Everywhere the same business estates, similar office complexes and uniform shopping malls are rising, invariably bordered by the same undeveloped terrain. In order to emphasize the uniformity of her subjects, Roux always selects the same camera angle and with the aid of a computer she colours all the skies in her photographs an identical blue.” (more examples of “Euroland” here; samples of another series called “Underscape” here)
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Sep 29

Did I ever tell you to check out the fabulous weblog fishbucket? I didn’t? Well, then I’m doing it now. Those of you who like music should add swen’s weblog to their lists of bookmarks! PS: Does anybody know what happened to iconomy? PPS: Check out a most curious marmoset…
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Sep 29

Serge Picard “explores in various technical approaches the possibilities and limits of photogaphy, its production, its time, its decomposition, its space, its eternisation of faces. Going from portrait to landscape, from nude to studies of materials, from colour to black and white, from Fresson printing to Polaroid negative, he treats his objects with deepness without ceasing to want to know better what is the photography in itself.”
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Sep 29

“Pesca Milagrosa, is the name given by Colombian guerillas to their suddenly erected blockades on motorways. There they choose which of the people stopped will be kidnapped. Taking this inhumane roulette game as a point of departure, the appropriated and digitally manipulated photographs in this work, question the media representation of the disappeared, missing or kidnapped persons from both South and North America.” - Carlos Motta
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Sep 28

 

Back…

I’m back from Italy - getting out of a country engulfed in a blackout [as if it wasn’t already chaotic enough there]! - so stay tuned for new photo links - and possibly [actually: maybe] some photos from my last trip to Canada - tomorrow. I’m not sure I’m gonna post any of my Italy photos as they’re standard [read: boring] travel stuff and, thus, not really postable.
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Sep 18

Conscientious was down for a while. I don’t know what happened - my provider’s site was also down and nobody answered the phone. I hope this is not going to happen again. So far, they’ve been fairly dependable.
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Sep 17

Matthias Hoch’s work shows urban structures devoid of humans.
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Sep 16

Sometimes, I have to censor my choice of sample photo a little bit because open nudity is not being viewed in equal ways in different parts of the world. In the case of Nelson Garrido, nudity really was just a minor problem - and I’m not saying that because there is none to be found. On the contrary. Garrido created a series of photos in which “he juxtaposes his own Venezuelan, Roman Catholic identity with the American consumer society. In this way Garrido creates a new iconographic language around themes such as violence, religion, sex and trends, through which he poses questions about the socially enforced concepts, feelings and religious experience in Venezuela.” If you’re offended by either nudity or by religion put into a modern context do not look at his photos.
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Sep 15

The essence of photography is probably captured best by little children who are old enough to realize what is going on around them but too young to put it into words - which they yet have to learn: They just point at what they see.
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Sep 15

Senegalese photographer Ousmane Ndiaye Dago “takes the woman as the subject for his photographs. He paints women with coloured earth, mud, carbon powder or orchil. Through this, the women’s skin appears to become stone, and she takes on the appearance of a sculpture. The nude is still a taboo in Senegal. In order not to be recognized, the women in the photographs avert their faces.”
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Sep 14

Aziz and Cucher produce digitally manipulated photography and other art.
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Sep 12

Didier Massard’s landscapes are gorgeous. Too bad they’re all not real.
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Sep 11

Exactly two years ago we were witnessing one of the most spectacular acts of terrorism the world has ever seen. A lot has been said about how grave and terrible those acts were, and rightly so. A bunch of religious fanatics hijacked four commercial airliners and turned them into weapons, killing a few thousand people and destroying one of the US’ symbols of wealth and power.
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Sep 10

Seems like it’ll be another exciting day down in the celebrity section of hell with Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, arriving. Teller sold his soul to a different devil, the one where it’s even harder to argue he has done anything wrong. If this weblog wasn’t concerned mainly with photography I’d write something about physicists and nuclear weapons.
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Sep 9

Leni Riefenstahl, shown above directing her infamous movie “Triumph of the Will”, is dead. Much can be said and was said about her and by her. Of her most infamous works she said “I was only interested in how I could make a film that was not stupid like a crude propagandist newsreel, but more interesting. It reflects the truth as it was then, in 1934. It is a documentary, not propaganda.” The films certainly were more interesting but Frau Liefenstahl was either too naive or not willing to not miss the point, even though she explicitely expresses it: “the truth as it was then” - that, and nothing else, is the essence of what propaganda is about. Propaganda is not about the truth; it is about the truth as it is, and that means as it is intended to be. Frau Riefenstahl was a Nazi propagandist, maybe not of the absolutely worst kind, but a very talented and remarkable one nevertheless. Her unwillingness to face that and post-war Germany’s willingness to except that to a certain extent exposes maybe the only unsolved problems with Germany’s past. Contrary to what the media want to make you believe there is nothing to be discovered any longer about the war and the genocide of Jews, Homosexuals, mentally handicapped persons, Socialists, and Communists. But Germany has never dealt with those people who supported the Nazi regime in a different way, not by building bombs or by ordering genocide or by fighting wars. There still is a lot to be discovered about how you create a regime like that. The lessons that we could learn extend to our everyday lives - especially when countries go to war selling that very same war on the basis of what very obviously is the truth only insofar as it supports the war, a truth disconnected from facts, a truth that is connected to spinmeisters and liars who dress up as statesmen. Germany has never really dealt with Nazi Germany’s artists - the ones which were only too willing to put their artistry into the service of a regime that knew about the power of images and sounds even though then mass media were almost exclusively non-visual. Artists like Ernst Jünger, the writer, Arno Breker, the sculptor, Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelms Furtwängler, the conductors, and Leni Riefenstahl, the film maker and photographer, helped create Nazi Germany’s face to an extent that never got acknowledged. They never paid a price for that - and how could they? As an artist, you can always claim you were only working on art and nothing else. It’s amazing how Frau Riefenstahl got away with it so easily. Granted, her career was more or less over after the war. But did she go to jail like people like Albert Speer? You could maybe (note the maybe here) how people like Karajan got away with it. Conducting Beethoven’s Fifth in itself is not an act of Nazism - even though getting a thoroughly brown nose is. But making movies which are as explicit about Nazi ideals as any movie can be? It’s like making explicit pornographic movies with the idea of making a movie about sex and then claiming you were never interested in arousing people. Like Ernst Jünger, another very talented proto-fascist, she was left off the hook, and like Herr Jünger she lived until she was 100 years old - reminding the second German democracy of the legacy it never wanted to deal with. So Frau Riefenstahl finally is dead. She was a talented photographer and film maker. But she sold her sold to the devil. Maybe now she can have another toast with Hitler - the person she admired so much. May she rot in hell.
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Sep 7

Making glue collages has become a rare art form - which makes Feike Kloostra’s Glue Books all the more interesting. (thru ashleyb.org)
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Sep 7

Dmitri Baltermants must be the Russian war photographer even though his other work is equally amazing (more photos).
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Sep 7

Without Grass - Images From the Urban Landscape directly appealed to me. Urban textures - in colour and b/w. (thru Dominic Ciancibelli)
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Sep 7

What is street photography? I had a look at the “about” section of in-public.com: “Street Photography is about seeing and reacting, almost by-passing thought altogether. For many Street Photographers the process does not need ‘unpacking’, It is, for them, a simple ‘Zen’ like experience, they know what it feels like to take a great shot in the same way that the archer knows he has hit the bullseye before the arrow has fully left the bow. As an archer and Street Photographer myself, I can testify that, in either discipline, if I think about the shot too hard, it is gone.” (this one recommended by fiatvera’s Albert Song)
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Sep 7

For various reasons, I have neglected the photolog scene here and I think it’s time to look for the gems. I can’t really tell you what those gems look like - I got a pretty good idea what they do not look like - so this is going to be anything but easy. Let’s start with Albert Song’s fiatvera. Albert also lives in Pittsburgh but, you know, that’s hard to tell from the photos - especially since like in any other US city they’re very busy building strip malls and condo complexes which basically look like any other strip mall and condo complex in the country. Strip malls, condo complexes and The-Gap clothes really are the Mao uniforms of US capitalism. Of course, something like this is a complete shame for a city like Pittsburgh with such an amazingly rich architectural heritage. Oh well, I’m digressing…
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Sep 6

I’m just back from Canada where I read Curtis White’s The Middle Mind. It’s quite amusing to see the readers’ reviews they got up on Amazon. It’s like the Middle Mind’s reaction to being criticized heavily (note how one reviewers comes up with the infamous “liberal bias” sticky note - in itself already a sign of how little that particular reader has understood what White’s point really is). If you want to read something that goes beyond the usual left-wing (The Nation) or right-wing (Wall Street Journal) rants get a copy of the book. You might find it hard to stomach to see either various NPR shows or Cultural Criticism or your favourite right-wing ideologue writer (think Dinesh D’Souza) criticized in a totally devastating fashion but that’s exactly White’s point: Neither left- or right-wing rants nor what in Germany is called the “consensus soup” - which I’d term the Suburban Starbucks-Borders-The-Gap School of Inconsequential Emptiness - lead anywhere. White’s book is about the total lack of imagination and what (maybe) can be done to fix that.
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Sep 1

I will be out of town until 6 September and I don’t know whether I’ll be able to update Conscientious until then. Have a look at the archives or have a look at the other weblogs I’m linking to while Conscientious is in sleep mode.
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Sep 1

“In 1907 Japan enacted the Leprosy Prevention Law. Under this new segregation policy, and despite the fact that a cure had been developed, Japanese authorities forced thousands of patients to be confined in sanatoriums. Japan’s lepers remained quarantined until the law was repealed in 1996. […] Since the law was revoked […] very few have left the sanatoriums, most have no place to go and no families awaiting their return. These islands are still home to the majority of Japan’s lepers.” (story and photos by Luc Novovitch)
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