Archives

April 2004

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Apr 29

For a fairly large variety of reasons, April Gertler’s work has some sentimental value for myself. First, she’s spending a lot of time in Frankfurt/Main, which is my favourite (not just German) city. Second, in some of the descriptions that go along with the photos she’s talking about her feelings as an expat - and I can very much relate to those. And lastly, while looking at the night-time photos I was reminded again of what I miss the most about Germany. It’s the way cities look at night: They’re using different lamps for the street lights. Whenever I’m in Germany, I have that “Oh, wow, you’re home again” feeling later at night when everything really looks so different.
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Apr 28

Peter Basch was one of the most successful photographers of stars and starlets in the 1950s. Conscientious has been advocating contemporary photography quite consistently. But - and here comes the part that most people don’t want to read - when it comes to this kind of photography it seems like in the 1950s photographers had more style and class. This might be partly due to the use of colour - it’s so much easier to produce a colour photo that will look dated in ten years than a black/white one! Isn’t that amazing?! More on Basch here (an interview in German) and here (German description of a book; if you scroll down to the very bottom there are plenty of cool thumbnails from the book to look at).
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Apr 28

“In his photographs, Teun Hocks poses himself against painted backdrops, playing an innocent Everyman in an always strange and often funny world.”
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Apr 28

“Lensbabies are the hybrid love children of an old-fashioned bellows camera and an up-tight tilt-shift lens. The photographs have the same soft, roughed-up look produced by a Holga, but using a Lensbaby with your SLR gives you tremendous versatility and the ability to take lots of experimental shots. ” There are so many things simultaneously wrong about this that I don’t even know where to start. So let me just say that this thing costs a whooping $96 and then let’s forget about this nonsense.
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Apr 27

This in-depth article is by far the best article I’ve read so far about what went wrong and what could be done about it.
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Apr 26

Contrast this statement: “The fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life.” (made by Bush advisor Karen Hughes who was trying to smear “pro choice” demonstrators) with this description of what happened during the (ongoing) siege of Fallujah.
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Apr 24

“Since 1995 synagogues that were destroyed by the Nazis in 1938 have been reconstructed on the computer in the Department CAD in Architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt. The project stems from a student initiative in 1994, a year in which hostility towards foreigners and anti-Semitic commentaries noticeably increased.”
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Apr 23

James Fee’s photography covers a wide range of subjects. I find his “Photographs of America” most intriguing.
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Apr 23

Ohmygod, the songs from the 1988 Peel Session are online.
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Apr 22

Albrecht Fuchs’ portraits are all quite deadpan, albeit in such a way that the subjects are not intentionally trying to look overly cool and the photographer is not adding anything fancy to make it look cool.
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Apr 21

Billed on the front page of the web exhibition as “the worker’s photographer”, Ernst Thormann shows us a Weimar Republic that’s somewhat different from August Sander’s, or, if you prefer this interpretation, that is just part of August Sander’s œvre: The one dealing with “the worker”. (Danke, John C.!)
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Apr 20

I find it somewhat surprising that you so few people do photographic collages. David Hockney’s collages are probably the only really well-known examples. Here are some more: Noel Myles has done some (more examples here), as have Cal Smith and Simran Singh Gleason.
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Apr 20

Those who have followed what is usually referred to as “the news” have become used to the fact that if you want real, actual information or explanations you have to look elsewhere. Calling the insurgants “enemies of freedom” doesn’t explain anything. It assumes we haven’t evolved from those kindergarten days when we believed in the tooth fairy and in the stork as the source of babies. Here is an article that explains the background of those two large religious groups in Iraq that you might have heard about.
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Apr 19

Hans Neleman “is one of the most successful commercial photographers working today”. Check out his series “Night Chicas” - photos taken in brothels in Guatemala - here or here. PDN/Kodak has a feature on him as part of their “Legends Online” series.
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Apr 19

“It’s fascinating when sex is used to sell something that otherwise has intellectual high standards. Why, however, are the naked people shown in newspapers and magazines never men? This is blatant inequality. If people are equal, why would the sight of a naked man be undesirable - or, worse, obscene?” - full text
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Apr 19

Outside of Japan, Naoya Hatakeyama’s photography has predominantly been shown in Europe. Find lots of (somewhat badly scanned) examples here. It will be interesting to see how/if the internet will level the divide between American, European, and Japanese photography. There are many artists whose works deserve exposure to a wider audience - especially since American and European photography are still different enough to make this kind of interaction very exciting. On the other side, I’d hate to see any kind of movement towards a more unified culture. Divisions create friction from which springs artistic creativity.
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Apr 18

Richard Ehrlich’s photography is immensely rich in colour and very pleasing to look at. His Namibia Sand Houses are a nice variation of the theme “abandoned houses” - a topic that I usually find to be somewhat over-photographed.
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Apr 18

The panoramic format of and the amount of detail in Ansen Seale’s photos makes them ideal candidates for very large prints - the sample above is just some detail of one of them. To get an idea of how they were done and what’s behind them read his statement.
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Apr 17

Michael Schnabel’s zoo interiors/cage series are/is just one example of his work.
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Apr 15

Polli Marriner emailed me to tell me about chemigrams: “This technique uses photo paper or film, primarily in conjunction with chemistry to create pictures. The silver gelatine is mainly modified not by light but by different chemicals to create an image.” For different examples, look at Mark Roberts’ or Pierre Cordier’s work.
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Apr 15

I have mentioned coincidences before. If you haven’t looked at it go and do it now. There’s a lot of photography to be seen there that you won’t find here. For example, in general I am not very interested in fashion photography. I also cover the purely commercial sector (by “commercial” I mean mainly editorial stuff) sparsely because most of the stuff bores me. coincidences has regular features on that kind of photography. Oh, and Robert is also a much better writer than I am.
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Apr 14

“… is many things. But is it criticism?” asks James Marcus
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Apr 14

A pretty odd sounding name but it’s actually photography: “Bromoil was one the favorite and beloved processes of the pictorialists and salon exhibition photographers during the first half of the twentieth century. No show of the photographic art of the pictorialists was without lovely, soft and painterly bromoil prints.” There are lots of nice examples in the society’s gallery.
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Apr 14

“The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography for 2004 was awarded to Bernd and Hilla Becher, Düsseldorf, Germany.”
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Apr 13

“In the [nineteen]twenties and early thirties František Drtikol reshaped the genre of classical nude photography by synthesizing into a new aesthetic aspects from silent film, avantgarde art, expressive dance and Art Deco design.” More samples here, here, and here. (last link seen on gmtPlus9)
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Apr 12

Manabu Yamanaka’s photos remind of me what would happen if Richard Avedon and Bernd and Hilla Becher decided to morph their personalities into one. But maybe one should resist such categorizations even if for a contemporary photographer it is almost impossible to avoid copying or using elements that some other famous photographer has already used. In any case, Manabu Yamanaka adds his own approach to his series of portraits. His subjects - grouped into the four Buddhist pains ‘birth’, ‘age’, ‘disease’, and ‘death’ - make his work unsuited for viewing at work.
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Apr 12

Mal Ojo is an online photography magazine from Chile (if I’m not mistaken). It takes a while to get used to their navigational elements (Flash really is the Powerpoint of the web!) but there are lots of interesting photos to be found in their galleries.
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Apr 11

The blog to go to to read good reviews of excellent art and/or photography magazines is the invaluable coincidences. However, I felt I needed to point out the new edition of slightly mis-named Modern Painters magazine. MP usually features an excellent mix of architecture, paintings, photography, and whatever else there is that can be called modern art. The current edition (Spring 2004) is almost entirely devoted to photography and, I think, anybody interested in contemporary photography might want to check it out. It easily beats all “real” photography magazines - where else can you find a photo magazine that’s not a glorified catalogue for photo gizmos that nobody needs (yet another slightly modified digital camera with some more useless features) but, instead, focusses on actual photography done by cutting-edge photographers? Update (12 April): coincidences discusses Modern Painters in detail.
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Apr 10

Rudolf Koppitz “extraordinary mastery of pictorial processes - pigment, carbon, gum, and bromoil transfer printing - gained the respect of his colleagues throughout the world and garnered mention in the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1929.” (more samples here) The days are gone when mastering what we call today “alternative” photographic processes could land you an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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Apr 9

Along with Aleksandr Rodchenko, El Lissitzky was the Soviet-Union’s most important constructivist.
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Apr 9

Aleksandr Rodchenko’s “attention to so many forms of design - from architectural design to the design of furniture, stage, clothing, exhibitions, posters, film captions and books - reflects the fundamental nature of Constructivist theory which effectively transcended these distinctions into broad creative principles.” (find another very nice exhibition of his work here)
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Apr 8

Modernism in US architecture wouldn’t have been as successful and influential if Julius Shulman had not been around to do the showcasing (more samples here). Find an in-depth interview with Julius Shulman here.
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Apr 8

Check out f-stop - a photography magazine.
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Apr 7

“Architect Pierre Koenig, a leader in the Modernist movement that became emblematic of progressive postwar America, has died.” - story (links thru thingsmagazine.net)
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Apr 6

“Yasumasa Morimura’s work consists of computer-processed photographic self-portraits reconstructing masterpieces of the history of arts […] or impersonating Hollywood movie stars.”
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Apr 6

Mika Ninagawa’s photography is almost overabundantly saturated with colour.
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Apr 5

What do you do to people that you want to outsource but whose jobs you can’t export to China? Check out what the New York Times is doing with its freelance photographers. And find some photographers’ response here.
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Apr 3

“The Omniscope is a pinhole camera that produces anamorph images. An anamorph image is produced when the axis of the lens or pinhole is not perpendicular to the film plane. The axis of the Omniscope’s pinhole is parallel to its film plane.” (I’m so totally biting my lip here about the pinhole being “parallel to its film plane” part…)
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Apr 2

“These pictures and the individuals will haunt me forever. I cannot imagine what it must be like for the victims.” - Nick Danziger
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Apr 2

Get your daily dose of war porn: Photos from the war in Iraq. I’m sure people will email me and tell me they need to see war photos because such photos make war more unlikely. That’s like argueing that sexual pornography will make it more unlikely that women are being degraded. (seen at thingsmagazine.net)
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Apr 1

Philippe Halsman was yesterday’s celebrities’ favourite photographer. When you look at the photos it’s easy to see why. Check out more samples here. consumptive.org linked to this show that has many production stills from a photo session for/with Salvador Dali. And this page has a nice article about the “Dali Atomicus” (see above). When I saw that photo for the first time I thought it was a collage. Actually, they really kept throwing that water and those cats until they got the shot: “He suspended an easel, two paintings by Dali (one of which was ‘Leda Atomica’), and a stepping stool; had his wife, Yvonne, hold a chair in the air; on the count of three, his assistants threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air; and on the count of four, Dali jumped and Halsman snapped the picture. While his assistants mopped the floor and consoled the cats, Halsman went to the darkroom, developed the film, and reemerged to do it again. ‘Six hours and twenty-eight throws later, the result satisfied my striving for perfection,’ wrote Halsman in his book ‘Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas’. ‘My assistants and I were wet, dirty, and near complete exhaustion?only the cats still looked like new.’” Brilliant! I don’t think my cats would be as happy if I kept throwing them, though. Well, maybe they’d do it for Dali.
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Apr 1

I’m very impressed by Richard Devine’s new album “asect:dsect” (why does non-mainstream electronic music almost always come with über-nerdy titles for songs and albums?). Those interested in more details about how he does his music and about his background might want to check out this interview or this article.
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Apr 1

I look at a lot of photography sites every day. Often, professional who do mostly editorials, advertizing, or whatever else there is have this funny section “Fine Art” in their portfolios. When you look at it it usually turns out that that’s the corner where they put their nice (or often not even that nice) photos that don’t fit into any other category. I don’t want to start a discussion about art here but I think there’s a bit more to “Fine Art” than just everything that doesn’t fit anywhere else. I wish people would just call those “Fine Art” sections “Hodgepodge” - what they usually really are.
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Apr 1

Hungarian photographer Dezső Szabó’s work is as close to modern art as you can get.
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