Archives

January 2005

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Jan 30

Pekka Turunen’s portraits show people from his home country, Finland. These might be some of the best environmental portraits that I’ve seen in a while.
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Jan 30

When I saw Miklos Gaál’s photos for the first time I thought it was quite impressive that he had built these elaborate model sets. It took me a while to realize that the photos don’t show sets but actual places. Quite fascinating!
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Jan 27

As the world marks the liberation of Auschwitz, many people, incl. Germans, still are not aware of the fact how ubiquitous concentration camps were in Germany. The most notorious camps, of course, were in Poland. This page offers a visual impression of many concentration camps incl. places like Dachau, just outside of Munich, which the Nazis called the “Capitol of the Movement”. Also read Visiting Auschwitz, the Factory of Death and, in particular, an interview with Auschwitz survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch
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Jan 27

Today, there was another attack on the Flick Collection (story [in German only]). Read an older article on the controversy. A large group of German artists and intellectuals also just published a full-page ad in one of Germany’s most respected newspapers, blasting the show. In a sense, the controversy about the Flick Collection gives an almost quintessential example of how Germany is still struggling with its past. I personally side with the protestors. Flick’s behaviour is nothing but disgraceful and disgusting - I guess that runs in the family.
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Jan 26

… if it’s done by the US on foreigners, and then it’s not torture, of course. Don’t believe it? Have a look yourself: “Alberto Gonzales has asserted to the Senate committee weighing his nomination to be attorney general that there’s a legal rationale for harsh treatment of foreign prisoners by U.S. forces. […] Gonzales told senators that laws and treaties prohibit torture by any U.S. agent without exception. But he said the Convention Against Torture treaty, as ratified by the Senate, doesn’t prohibit the use of ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading’ tactics on non-U.S. citizens who are captured abroad, in Iraq or elsewhere.” - story. I don’t know what’s worse: That the president seriously wants to make a Schreibtischtäter Attorney General or that spineless yes-men (aka Republican Senators) will vote for that. Update: Republicans love torture, too. It’ll be interesting to see how John McCain, who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam, will explain his vote for Alberto G.
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Jan 24

(very recent, new work, as part of the ongoing “Pittsburgh” series)
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Jan 24

Simon Høgsberg has updated his website, which now prominently features “The Thought Project”. I really like his willingness to venture beyond standard photography and to incoporate his subjects.
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Jan 24

Niko Luoma’s work is very minimalist and utterly fascinating.
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Jan 24

Ola Kolehmainen’s work concerns itself with very rigid architectural structures.
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Jan 21

“Hannah Starkey’s photographs are informed by her own experiences of a woman living and working in a cosmopolitan city. […] To create the images, Starkey uses professional actresses whom she chooses to play the specific roles required in each photograph. Starkey conceives each image as a mise en scene, a narrative fiction of everyday living.” (source; more samples here and here).
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Jan 21

Beth Yarnelle Edwards’ suburban dreams is one of those photo projects where an idea is being executed so perfectly that it leaves one speechless.
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Jan 20

When the Nazis came to power, most contemporary art was banned and removed from museums and private collections (and sold abroad for the financial benefit of the Reich). What the Nazis really wanted to see they put into their House of German Art. BTW, the building survived World War II and still serves as an art museum. However, now they have actual art there (and good one, too). In any case, if you ever happen to be in Munich look around a little bit. Munich is one of the feew places where you can still see Nazi architecture (but don’t ask the locals - they’ll deny it).
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Jan 20

“Shards of America is a personal view of America, a poetic statement full of irony and pathos. It is an extended sequence constructed from fragmentary messages that encapsulate what I, as a Canadian, see and feel about America. The messages I have found and collected are those left behind by an exuberant, somewhat troubled, rushing humanity as it makes its way through the streets of a tumultuous America at the turn of the century.” - Phil Bergerson. Also note the interview with him in MakingRoom Magazine.
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Jan 20

Ilkka Halso (also see this page) is a Finnish artist whose work - as far as I understand it - stages Nature, for example by creating photos (on the computer) that show pieces of Nature in a museum. (thanks, Tobias!)
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Jan 20

For those who have the unfortunate problem of not knowing what to do with that extra cash there’s always the option to collect photography books. This neat article explains what to look for. (thanks, Tobias!)
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Jan 20

Let me try to understand this. On the day when a president is inaugurated who, for example, is a) a former alcoholic who probably had a cocaine problem (never properly addressed or resolved), b) a habitual liar, c) a war monger who, however, evaded service when his country called him (never properly addressed or resolved), the American right is concerned about a comic character?
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Jan 19

A friend of mine commented that Nanna Hänninen photos “have to be the most boring photos ever or ultra cool”. I definitely think it’s the latter, but I am sure the majority of people will tend to the former.
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Jan 18

Over the last few weeks it seemed to me that I got some more traffic. But it didn’t really seem to come from other blogs or webpages. And indeed, it’s the Evil Empire’s search engine. And as if that wasn’t annoying enough (if you want a good search engine use Google!), check out what keywords are being used: Hey, you can even make almost a real sentence out of those last keywords there - and, as it turns out, that’s pretty close to what some people look for, to then end on my weblog. Very classy! I don’t think those people find what they are looking for here. Needless to say, I also get visitors who look for the kind of photography I link to, and I’m glad for every such visitor who stumbles upon this little weblog.
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Jan 18

“How did a fantasy president from a world of make believe come to govern a country whose power was built on hard-headed materialism? […] The role of the media corporations in the US is similar to that of repressive state regimes elsewhere: they decide what the public will and won’t be allowed to hear […]. The journalists they employ do what almost all journalists working under repressive regimes do: they internalise the demands of the censor, and understand, before anyone has told them, what is permissible and what is not. So, when they are faced with a choice between a fable which helps the Republicans, and a reality which hurts them, they choose the fable. As their fantasies accumulate, the story they tell about the world veers further and further from reality. Anyone who tries to bring the people back down to earth is denounced as a traitor and a fantasist.” - George Monbiot
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Jan 18

I wasn’t aware of the full extent of the controversy about David Hockney’s theories. Fortunately, Luke Strosnider emailed me to fill me in. The other day, I had posted the entry “Computer analysis of a 17th century painting shows that the artist did not, as has been claimed, use optical devices to project a perfect image of the scene onto his canvas. The researcher behind the analysis believes his findings undermine many aspects of a theory recently put forward by the painter David Hockney.” - story You can find more background about this on a page of resources in Believer Magazine. The current edition of the magazine also features (or more accurately: reproduces) a six-page hand-written fax that Hockney sent to the New York Times (which, following the shoddy journalistic behaviour they have been showing lately, they didn’t publish). As Luke writes “in the fax, hockney very eloquently refutes the idea that his theory is in need of being proven/discredited. instead, he seems to think the emphasis is more on getting people to relate to the history of image-making as a history of optics. he also brings up many other fascinating points - it’s riveting.” (thanks, Luke!)
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Jan 15

The probably best place to have a look at the new images of Saturn’s moon Titan is the official project website of the European Space Agency.
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Jan 14

There’s hardly any need to comment on this. It’s maybe only worth pointing out the following: Argueing that a recent Human Rights Watch report reflected a “foreign perception” is pretty much what the Communist Party in the Soviet Union did when it tried to discredit dissidents by calling them tools of the West.
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Jan 13

I’m usually not that interested in the photos of malnourished people in overpriced clothes (aka fashion photography) but Billy & Hells’ work is different and interesting enough to feature it here (find more samples on this website where you have to skip the intro etc.). (thanks, Lauren!)
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Jan 12

John Perkinson has just added an excellent tutorial on how to do night photography to his photoblog (part 1, part 2). Note that he seems to be happy to answer questions in the “comments” area. (Not that anybody would think this but John doesn’t pay me to pitch his weblog…)
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Jan 12

There’s an article about photoblogs in Shutterbug. I haven’t been talking too much about the kinds of photoblogs mentioned in the article so if you’re curious go and read the article. I think I’ve said this before (but I’ll say it again): I find that most photoblogs - apart from a tiny number of exceptions (for example John Perkinson’s orbit) - are really not very interesting in terms of the photography. Photoblogs actually discourage what is most important in photography, namely editing one’s work, and that shows in most photoblogs.
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Jan 11

“On November 8, the American army launched its biggest ever assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja, considered a stronghold for rebel fighters. The US said the raid had been a huge success, killing 1,200 insurgents. Most of the city’s 300,000 residents, meanwhile, had fled for their lives. What really happened in the siege of Falluja?” - story
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Jan 11

With more and more photographers aiming for (digital) perfection, doing the complete opposite often results in fascinating results. Guillaume Dimanche’s composites are odd and aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
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Jan 10

Check out this nice selection of photos by French photographer Laure Bertin.
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Jan 10

“Recent tests found no evidence of X-ray scanner damage to digital camera media cards or to the images they hold. […] These findings mean that digital cameras and their image storage media can travel safely in either checked or carry-on bags, which will be reassuring to holiday travelers.” - full story
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Jan 7

If you live in the US, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Power of Pride bumper stickers. I find those slightly odd given that a) pride is one of the seven deadly sins (see this page for a background) and b) christian religion supposedly plays such an important role in people’s lifes here. Just for completeness, the seven deadly sins are pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth.
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Jan 7

There’s a German word less well known than Schadenfreude, but pretty much equally powerful. It’s Schreibtischtäter and it means somebody who is involved in something but instead of doing it actively he’s “just” doing administrative work or, if he’s in that kind of position, he’s advocating the cause. As a German I know lots of Schreibtischtäter (if I may use the German plural which, in this case, is the same as the singular). They’re easy to spot and I’m looking at one right now. The US Senate also looked at one yesterday, but they couldn’t really spot the problem. PS: Schreibtischtäter is (roughly) pronounced sh-ripe-tish-tater with “ripe” like in “ripe”, “tish” like “dish” with a “t’” instead of a “d”, and “tater” like “later” with a “t” instead of an “l”. PPS: This is a slightly modified and updated version of this entry.
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Jan 6

There is no lack of colour or humour in Olivier Laude’s portraits.
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Jan 6

“Our own inquiry into medical involvement in military intelligence gathering in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay has revealed a more troublesome picture. Recently released documents and interviews with military sources point to a pattern of such involvement, including participation in interrogation procedures that violate the laws of war. Not only did caregivers pass health information to military intelligence personnel; physicians assisted in the design of interrogation strategies, including sleep deprivation and other coercive methods tailored to detainees’ medical conditions. Medical personnel also coached interrogators on questioning technique.” - full story from The New England Journal of Medicine And while you’re at it, this article is also quite sobering: “Alberto Gonzales, the lawyer who sponsored a regime of torture for his President, will soon become the nation’s attorney general. Perhaps it’s fitting. Then the Justice Department can enter the same world of twisted names as Camp Justice, saved from the tsunami’s surprise impact by a special Pentagon warning.”
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Jan 5

I don’t know what exactly it is that makes this so particularly weird. Is it the fact that you would normally expect to find something like this in Japan? Or is it the fact that even though it looks like a joke it’s real? Or is it the fact that that’s what’s left of one of the biggest business scams in living German memory (They got millions from investors to build what they called “cargolifters” - gigantic Zeppelins to transport containers, and when they went under all that was left was this huge dome)? Or is it that when you look at the photos you ask yourself “where are those guests they’re talking about”?
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Jan 5

A fine photo blog with tons of nice photos: Dave Jackson’s Losing December. I especially like the first set of the ‘December 04’ photos. (thanks, Tobias!)
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Jan 5

German news magazine Der Spiegel features a series of before and after satellite photos that show the impact of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.
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Jan 4

W. Eugene Smith is one of the true giants of American photojournalism, and I’ve always thought that his work deserved much more praise than that of others who became more well known. Fortunately, there is no shortage of information about Smith online. More overviews of his life and assessments of his work can be found here, here, and here. This page discusses Smith’s monumental Pittsburgh project. And you can find more samples of his work here, here, and here. Unfortunately, Smith’s Country Doctor series isn’t easily reachable any longer. However, if you start on this page and click forward you can still see most of it (Pssst! Don’t tell Life!)
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Jan 3

French photographer Patrick Tournebœuf has shot a series of interesting projects, such as deserted vacation spots in Winter and Omaha Beach in 2004 (please note that the website might be a bit sluggish).
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Jan 3

“The ‘Person of the Year’ issue has always been a symphonic tribute to the heroic possibilities of pompous sycophancy, but the pomposity of this year’s issue bests by a factor of at least two or three the pomposity of any previous issue. From the Rushmorean cover portrait of Bush (which over the headline ‘An American Revolutionary’ was such a brazen and transparent effort to recall George Washington that it was embarrassing) to the ‘Why We Fight’ black-and-white portraiture of the aggrieved president sitting somberly at the bedside of the war-wounded, this issue is positively hysterical in its iconolatry. One even senses that this avalanche of overwrought power worship is inspired by the very fact of George Bush’s being such an obviously unworthy receptacle for such attentions. From beginning to end, the magazine behaves like a man who knocks himself out making an extravagant six-course candlelit dinner for a blow-up doll, in an effort to convince himself he’s really in love.” - full story
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