Archives

February 2005

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Feb 26

Founder of Amnesty dies aged 83
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Feb 25

“LOST LABOR: Images of Vanished American Workers 1900-1980 is a selection of 155 photographs excerpted from a collection of more than 1100 company histories, pamphlets, and technical brochures documenting America’s business and corporate industrial history.” (seen at wood s lot)
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Feb 25

It’s easy to see where Robert Voit polished his skills - he’s a Ruff student. (this is an updated post)
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Feb 25

Corinne Vionnet’s portfolio contains landscapes and interiors many of which feel somewhat unsettling.
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Feb 24

Marla Sweeney’s “Chance Encounters” are exactly that.
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Feb 22

William Greiner belongs to the William Eggleston school.
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Feb 21

John Zoller’s photographic work doesn’t have much to do with regular photography, but the results are quite appealing anyway. (thanks, John!)
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Feb 21

Gábor Ösz isn’t so much a standard photographer as a visual artist. His projects are well documented and explained even though they’re probably way more impressive in an art museum.
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Feb 20

lens culture is a web-based magazine, which features photographers and projects. The portraits of photographers typically contain a set of images and an interview - something I like very much (and which I have been toying with myself). Recommended!
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Feb 19

I hate talking about photography as if it was basically just another one of those art forms where people are always looking for new trends, and stuff that’s a little bit older is supposed to be “out”. Having said that, I am somewhat tired of the Nangoldinelinorcaruccietc school of photography with its copious amounts of self portraits and photos of the most relevant others. Maybe this is because I was never that excited about that kind of stuff in the first place. Helena Kvarnström does a lot of that stuff, but she also shoots grim looking land- and cityscapes. I’m quite impressed by those.
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Feb 19

“America is fast becoming a nation of faith not fact. A nation where the unpleasant aspects of human existence are simply airbrushed away.” - story
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Feb 18

Norman Beierle + Hester Keijser are a European couple of artists who have been doing all kinds of projects, including photography. Their latest series from the museums of modern art in Arnhem and Eindhoven (both in Holland) are particularly nice.
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Feb 17

James Dale Guckert owned and advertised his services as a gay escort on more than half a dozen websites. “Not that there’s anything wrong with it.” (J. Seinfeld) Under the (obviously fake) name of Jeff Gannon he became accredited as a White House correspondent (!), evading the usual FBI security check (!!), and being planted by the Republican party (no exclamation marks here, coz there really isn’t anything surprising or notable about this bit) - the party of homophobia. “Jeff Gannon” asked the president questions such as “How are you going to work - you said you’re going to reach out to these people - how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?” Faux News anyone? (Needless to say, the propagandists at Faux News just loved the guy!) The other day, his cover was finally blown. Now this all sounds like a clip from a comedy show, but it’s real. Read commentaries/summaries by Frank Rich (probably the best), Sidney Blumenthal, and Joe Conason. Also quite comedic was the mock outrage, displayed by some tool from the New Republic, the other day on PBS, outrage directed not at a party, which was trying to introuce Soviet-style pseudo-journalism, but at the “left-wing” people - lots of bloggers - who had dared to blow the guy’s covers. You gotta admire the guts of those people! In a sense, this whole episode summarizes perfectly the presidency of George W. Bush, the first perfect faker in the White House. There is nothing real about this guy, not the touted compassion, not the claimed leadership, not the credentials as a soldier in the National Guard, and definitely not the faith.
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Feb 17

Christy Karpinski style is very lyrical.
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Feb 16

Check out Justin Schmitz’s “Mosh”!
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Feb 16

Jason Lazarus teaches “expressive photography” and “self portraiture”.
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Feb 16

Judith Miller, known to some as journalist with the New York Times and to many as one of the main cheerleaders of Bush jr’s Iraq war, is supposed to testify in the Plame case. The Plame case boils down to finding the person who told another reporter that Valerie Plame - wife of Joe Wilson, who unmasked one of the many lies used to promote the Iraq war - was a CIA operative. That’s a federal offense (aka crime - for those who prefer simple words). Mrs Miller now refuses to testify. Which is interesting. For example, if it turns out that someone from inside the Bush White House leaked the information about Mrs Plame, we’d have the Bushies’ Watergate. You’d imagine that a reporter with the New York Times had an interest in either making sure that doesn’t happen - as, I’m assuming, Mrs Miller, the former cheerleader, would be happy to do - or in making sure that the truth comes out. Not Mrs Miller. Now she’s casting herself basically as a defender of democracy who has the right to keep her secret. Quote: “For all the mistakes that we journalists make at times, try running a functioning democracy without us.” (source) Wow, imagine that - if you have the time while trying to run a functioning democracy with journalists. As we have just seen during the presidential elections, that is not the easiest thing to do if those journalists aren’t really that interested in doing their job properly. Maybe Mrs Miller simply isn’t the kind of journalist who I would associate with a functioning democracy. But, I’m sure, if worst comes to worst she could always emigrate and move to places where they can make good use of her. I heard Russia is moving back towards some sort of pseudo-democratic autocracy. I bet they could use some cheerful journalists… PS: I happened to read the US constitution the other day, and it didn’t say anything about journalists in there.
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Feb 15

I am saddened to learn that Nick Kilroy, the photographer behind Zabriskie Point, has died. Zabriskie Point was one of the most creative and imaginative photoblogs out there, reflecting Nick’s unique vision and outlook. He will be missed.
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Feb 15

Diana Kingsley’s photography possesses a very minimalist beauty.
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Feb 14

View from the edge of the Universe offers a summary of how contemporary photography sold in the latest set of auctions. Seems like the Düsseldorf School is quite popular these days.
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Feb 12

Youssef Nabil’s beautifully hand-coloured b/w photos evoke a different era. Excellent!
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Feb 11

There are a few interesting points in this article (and discussion) about the role of blogs. I have never wasted a moment of my life on thinking about what the role of this blog is, whether it is competition for photo magazines… well, OK, that was a lie - unlike most American photo magazines this weblog is not a glorified catalogue for the latest photo gizmos that throws in a few photos to keep some facade up; and I’m actually proud of that - even though it also means I’m not seeing any money for my efforts. Money obviously - what glorious times we live in! - is one of the big criteria used for the arguments, even though I am very tempted to think that at least for a photographer there is more to the art than making money (easy to say if you don’t make one!). Which brings us to some sort of divide: There are blogs like this one, run by hapless amateurs, and blogs run by people who make every effort to tell their readers over and over again that they’re journalists. I guess the discussion mentioned above is more about the latter blogs. However, I’d be more than willing to argue that many of us amateurs can easily compete with what the self-proclaimed pros have to offer. But in the end, the final decision rests with the reader; and boring the reader with long rants about the role of weblogs might not really be the best thing to do.
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Feb 11

The photography of Bastien Pons deviates a bit from the contemporary look that I have been featuring here quite often. No teaser, just browse around a little, and see whether you like it. In any case, his photography is quite creative.
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Feb 10

“Our study reveals that orthodox assumptions about the function of copyright in creatorsÂ’ lives are largely invalid. Copyright neither appears to support the creative basis of society, nor does it make cultural materials available in a legal form that legitimises creative digital re–use. Future copyright policy must be based on a much clearer empirical picture of the role of copyright in creative production.” - full story Also see Reflecting on the digit(al)isation of music, a follow-up/response to the article mentioned above.
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Feb 9

This software application is quite interesting. It allows you to pick images from Flickr based on their colour (thanks, Dominic!). It’s not quite obvious what this is good for, though. Apart from stock photo agencies who would want to look for images based on colour? It’s one of these cool ideas that, when realized, turn out to be quite useless - useless in the sense that life without it is about as good (or maybe even better). Another obvious example for this category would be a cell phone with a little camera inside.
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Feb 8

Apart from being a photographer, Aaron Ruell is a director, writer, and actor. You probably have seen him as “Kip” in Napoleon Dynamite.
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Feb 7

Mooncruise Magazine taps into the vast pool of talented, underappreciated photographers what can be found online and some of which you even saw here already. (thanks, Tobias!)
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Feb 7

Only 14 percent of the seats in the U.S. Congress are held by women (January 2003 - the percentages for racial minorities are even worse - with the Republican party being more or less all white). In an article somewhat too optimistically named Changing the Face of Power, Digital Journalist shows the small group of female Senators. It’s too bad they didn’t choose the following quote from the photographer’s video clip: “A wall of men in black suits”.
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Feb 7

After a hiatus of about a year, Elena Karo’s pretty serendipities is back.
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Feb 7

You spend 12m US dollars on a piece of art only to find that it is literally decaying. What to do? This might not be the kind of problem that most of us have on a daily (or anyother sort of) basis. However, for some people this problem exists.
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Feb 6

For quite a while, I was toying with the idea of buying an mp3 player. As it turned out, if you want to make an educated decision about which one to buy, you’re in trouble. To make a long story short, here is what I learned from talking to people in electronics stores and from reading online “reviews”: 1. “the harddrives in those players break within a few months anyway” (actual quote from an employee at a store); 2. mp3 players break when being dropped from heights (you wouldn’t believe the number of people who seriously complain about this in their reviews); 3. There are two vast communities of people out there whose sole reason for living seems to be to promote/trash Apple’s iPod - with about ninety percent of the discussions centered on whether iPods look “cool” or not (I personally am not too thrilled about their design, but what do I know about visual stuff?). To summarize, if you want to waste hours and hours of your time, try the internet. For extra amusement, then go to an electronics store and try to get any reasonable information out of one of the people working there. PS: I ended up buying an mp3 player. No, it’s not an iPod.
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Feb 6

I can’t tell what exactly it is that I find immensely sad about this story. Is it the paranoia of some people that has lead to this? Is it the fact that this story, with just a few little changes (use “saboteur” instead of “terrorist” and “commissar” instead of “investigator”), could have been written in the Soviet Union? Or is it the fact that the writer, despite noticing the utter absurdity of all this (“Obviously it’s a waste of time to have counter terrorism resources being devoted to investigating photography students or professionals doing what they do. In all likelihood, a real terrorist would be more likely to behave more like a tourist and be less likely to arouse suspicion.”) then proceeds to write “Beyond these limited steps, the Investigator agreed that there was little a photographer could do to avoid coming under suspicion in these troubled times.” (thanks, Felix!)
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Feb 4

What they call the DNA of Literature - “over 50 years of literary wisdom rolled up in 300+ Writers-at-Work interviews, now available online - free. […] Now, for the first time, you can read, search, and download any or all of these in-depth interviews with poets, novelists, playwrights, essayists, critics, musicians, and more, whose work set the compass of twentieth-century writing, and continue to do so into the twenty-first.” - link (see at things magazine)
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Feb 3

“Human Rights Watch opposes the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to serve as Attorney General of the United States. Mr. Gonzales played a key role in providing legal justification for policies that led to torture and abuse of detainees in U.S. custody.” (my emphasis, full story) Despite all this, the US Senate just confirmed Alberto Gonzalez. What this means is fairly obvious. You can’t seriously claim you don’t support torture but ask for “rough treatment” of foreigners. Torture is torture - regardless of what you call it. And for one person this is a particularly sad day, namely for Senator John McCain, the supposed “maverick”. Senator McCain was tortured himself while being in captivity in Vietnam, but this experience didn’t prevent him from voting for Mr. Gonzalez. This is John McCain’s personal day of infamy.
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Feb 3

As I mentioned a few times already, Germany is still slowly coming to terms with the bombing of its cities during World War II. As is easy to understand, things aren’t very easy to deal with, and the flames of discussion are being actively fanned from all sides, including the extreme right and British historians.
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Feb 3

“Never before in history was photography such an integral part of the military machine as it was during World War II. Many of the photos in SPIEGEL’s new photo book ‘Images of World War II,’ were only possible because German soldiers hid them from their Nazi censors.” - full story (incl. links to multimedia presentations of colour photos from WWII)
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Feb 2

(In the spirit of the foul mood I have been in these past two days:) Andy Warhol is probably the prime example of a bullshit artist. A while back, there was a show entitled I Shot Andy Warhol (Was that when the movie came out? I can’t remember) at Fahey/Klein Gallery, featuring photos of Warhol and the types he was hanging out with.
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Feb 2

People sometimes ask me why I compile this weblog, and usually I have no answer other than saying that it’s for fun. Sometimes, that’s a good answer, sometimes, it’s not. It’s not always obvious whose fun it really is - but from all the emails I received when I had my little meltdown a couple days back it seems there are people out there who enjoy the weblog. What do you know. As mentioned before, certain things have become quite irritating. First, traffic increased by 20 percent or so through the Evil Empire’s search engine. As you can see from the little sample above, it is not very valuable traffic (and this is just a random selection!). Plus, I don’t get my hosting for free, and I’m now getting into the regime where I might have to consider to get new hosting. To make matters quite a bit worse, after I had to disable comments because of the scum who thinks they have to besmirch each and every possible internet forum by leaving their disgusting spam, that very same scum had started to spam my trackbacks. I spent an entire morning deleting and disabling trackback. It was a tremendeous waste of my time. If anybody misses either comments and/or trackbacks thank those spamming scumbags out there. Sad how so many aspects of modern life are totally dominated by people who are willing to ruin everybody else’s fun for their own greed. Apparently, you can bar search engines from crawling over your site. (thanks for the info, St駱hane). It remains to be seen whether this will still do anything, given I’m dealing with Microsoft, the sheer embodiment of everything that is wrong with the internet and computers. I also sent them email and told them to remove my site from their search engine. No reaction so far - since when do they care about users? Thanks to everybody who has sent me emails of encouragement. That has meant a lot to me. There’ll be new stuff tomorrow. In the meantime, those who aren’t sick of my own photographic efforts might enjoy a few shots done recently at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall - the concert hall of the local symphony.
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