Archives

November 2005

SELECT A MONTH:

Nov 30

It seems Germany’s Deutsche Bahn changed the original plans for Berlin’s new main train station a bit too much. This being Germany, it almost goes without saying that there’s a lot of fuss generated about it. No surprise really for a country that contributed words like weltschmerz to the English language.
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Nov 30

German painter Eberhard Havekost does “Photoshoprealism”, as it is called in this article, which disapprovingly concludes that “this kind of art obviously doesn’t want to be asked questions of meaning - it’s just playing with the mask of coolness. But as anyone who has spent an evening in an extremely cool venue wearing extremely cool sunglasses and the super-cool military look knows, coolness and boredom are closely related.” See more examples here.
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Nov 29

Mayumi Terada “builds diminutive domestic sets she calls ‘dollhouses’, then photographs them. Her large monochrome pictures show a world filled with scenes and objects completely familiar to anyone living in our Western culture, yet eerily devoid of human presence.” See more examples here. If you feel a bit intellectual, check out this article about “the East Asian diaspora through the work of Mayumi Terada and DoDo Jin Ming”. Also compare her work with Thomas Demand’s.
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Nov 29

Like many other Chinese photographers who I linked to recently, Chi Peng’s work is more like a mix between photography and performance art. See more examples here and here.
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Nov 27

Unfortunately, Ben Plefka’s website only appears to contain German texts for the different series. They’re all conceptual, dealing with aspects of our modern lives, and Lebensraum, shot in China, won the Epson Art Photo Award 2005.
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Nov 27

Julian Faulhaber just won the 2005 Epson Art Photo Award 2005.
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Nov 27

Martin Kollar is a member of Agence Vu. Lately, he has done a series of very interesting projects, make sure not to miss “New Orleans TV”.
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Nov 25

Alyssa Monks’s artworks are painted photographs. I leave this question for the theorists: What is the relationship between photography and painting?
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Nov 25

Americans have a very unusual relationship with history, which manifests itself in, for example, people posing as beardless Lincolns or aging middle-class men performing “re-enactments” of what they think historical battles looked like. Greta Pratt has taken photos that show some aspects of this.
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Nov 25

What to say about Henry Wessel? More of his work here and here.
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Nov 25

Andrea Borowski has a fine eye for the mundane. Don’t miss “Trainingseinheit”.
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Nov 24

There’s a fairly large number of German photographers who, at some stage during their career, spend/t time in England. The results are often - but not always (especially not when striving for the most trashy look leads to sad results) - quite interesting. Esther Teichmann belongs to the group whose work I find very interesting. You might have seen the feature in Seesaw Magazine.
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Nov 24

I usually try to say at least something about the photographers linked to here, but sometimes, I just want to tell people to go and look. So go and look at Gareth McConnell’s photography.
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Nov 23

Hong Lei’s photography is very conceptual, and Westerners - with their somewhat embarrassingly limited knowledge of China - might be left quite baffled by some of the imagery. Also see this brief overview. This page has a very short introduction of some of the background.
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Nov 22

Isabel Muñoz, member of Agence Vu, has worked on a fairly large set of non-run-of-the-mill subjects, such as portraits done in Africa.
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Nov 22

Richard Mosse has done a lot of work in disaster and war areas. His work definitely has a strong fine-art feel to it, but it’s also likely to make some people feel a large amount of uneasiness, and deservedly so. Compare the controversy about the photo of the dead Taliban by Luc Delahaye (on that page, scroll to the very bottom to see the photo).
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Nov 18

Part of Laura McPhee’s work has been a collaborative effort, which I find quite interesting, because photography doesn’t strike me as an art forms that lends itself easily to collaborations. In any case, see more (and larger) examples from the work Laura McPhee did with Virginia Beahan here. More examples of her “Calcutta” series can be found here.
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Nov 18

“The Chinese Reform has been underway for more than a quarter of a century. This historical social transformation is one in which all of Chinese society is moving toward urbanization. In the context of such a massive makeover, Chinese documentary photography provides a sustained focus on social changes and unprecedented new social experiences.” - full essay (thanks, Tom!)
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Nov 17

Have a look at Nick Brandt’s beautiful photos of African wildlife.
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Nov 17

I personally find Sergio Berlinchón’s photography strongest where he focuses on architecture (exterior or interior), but this is just my personal bias. (updated)
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Nov 17

“Since 9/11, as government documents and news reports have made clear, the CIA’s experimental approach to coercive interrogation has been revived. Last week, as the Washington Post revealed the existence of secret CIA-run prisons—’black sites’—in Eastern Europe, Vice President Dick Cheney continued to campaign to ensure that the agency will not be prevented from using ‘cruel, inhumane, and degrading’ methods to elicit intelligence from detainees. The operatives of the 1940s would approve.” - story
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Nov 16

“If the pragmatic gains [of torture] in terms of information yielded are dubious, the loss to America in terms of public opinion are clear and horrifically large. […] This time, the world’s most magnificent democracy is struggling against vile terrorists who thought nothing of slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians - and yet the administration has somehow contrived to turn America’s own human-rights record into a subject of legitimate debate. Mr Bush would rightly point out that anti-Americanism is to blame for some of the opprobrium heaped on his country. But why encourage it so cavalierly and in such an unAmerican way?” - leader in the magazine for people who think you can eat money
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Nov 14

The portfolio of Anne Kathrin Greiner contains quite a few interesting projects. Note her excellent use of lighting, especially low light or night-time light, in some of those photos. A German Grundschule (elementary school) never looked this creepy.
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Nov 13

“Butlinツ痴 Holiday Camps are a unique British institution conceived by Billy Butlin for post-war Britain. He dreamt of a holiday centre for the great mass of working-class families, where they could have a good time irrespective of the unreliable British weather.” (source) “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the John Hinde Studio […] produced a series of postcards to be sold at Butlin’s holiday camps […] With innovative use of colour and elaborate staging (the trademarks of a John Hinde postcard), it was the challenging job of two German (Elmar Ludwig and Edmund N臠ele) and one British photographer (David Noble) to execute the photographs to Hinde’s rigorous formula and standards. Each photograph is elaborately stage managed, with often large casts of real holidaymakers acting their allocated roles in these narrative tableaux of the Butlin’s quiet lounges, ballrooms and Beachcomber bars. Shot with large format cameras, and lit like a film set, the production of these photographs were an extraordinary undertaking.” (source) See some of the photos here.
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Nov 12

Now it’s safe to criticize the president. There’s not much - if anything - I’d like to add other than this: This whole affair (aka the Bush jr presidency) reminds me of buying a car from a used-car salesman of the somewhat shoddy side. You enter the showroom, and the salesman offers you a “great deal”. Now, you know that there’s something wrong with the guy, but he’s “likable” - or so you convince yourself (despite obvious signs to the contrary) - and he knows what he’s talking about (ditto), and the car looks great. You don’t look under the hood or check the tires, because why would such a nice person lie to you? So you buy the car, paying a price, which might or might not reflect the actual value (you neglect feelings that there’s a problem). When the car breaks down and turns out to be a complete lemon, you do the act that you prepared yourself for when you first met the guy. You act surprised, you can’t believe somebody would lie to you, you’re outraged, you just had no idea! And you go back to the dealer just to find out the guy really is clueless; he still keep praising the car, which didn’t even make it back to the showroom. But it’s too late, you signed the contract, your money is gone, you’re stuck with the lemon, and you’ll only be able to get a new car in what appears to be three years. And it’s all the salesman’s fault! How could you know?!
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Nov 12

(Almost an entire week without posts here and then this? But it’s not what you think. Keep on reading.) Over the past years, we’ve witnessed the evolution of photography as a “serious” art form (whatever that might mean and entail in detail). Almost simultaneously, there has been a steady trend towards ever larger photographic prints. It is almost like that you are almost not being taken seriously if your photos are small.
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Nov 12

Story - And it’s not even a “real” photo but a “stolen” one! Tough times for purists!
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Nov 12

“Once again, we were defending both ourselves and the safety and survival of civilization itself.” - full text
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Nov 12

Jason Salavon has vastly increased his set of work since I linkd to him first two years ago. A lot of his work involves digitally superimposing and arranges images to create new images. For example, he created Every Playboy Centerfold, the Decades by adding each and every centerfold of a decade to a single, combined centerfold.
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Nov 10

The one thing that I didn’t anticipate before coming to Britain: I’ve never been to a place that is plastered with visual surveillance (aka Closed Circuit TV) to such a sickening extent. It’s not even that you notice all those cameras everywhere (especially in London), but they even have big signs all over the place that you’re on TV.
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Nov 9

Speaking of England, check out Paul Reas’ photography. There’s a lot of good stuff to see.
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Nov 9

“I bring attention to the paradox within our American culture to portray the West as the garden of Eden, when in reality, it is a place where we come to misbehave and thwart the romantic aesthetic perpetuated by commerce.” - Hans Hansen (whose work is finally viewable online)
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Nov 3

If it is the inventor in his (or her) garage, who has caught the imagination of large numbers of people, it might be safe to exclude the one who is spending a lot of time and effort on building a sophisticated contraption for sexual stimulation, aka a sex machine. That’s a pity. Kind of. After all, do we really want to know what drives people to invest money and time to hook up correctly sized and shaped artificial phalli to motors, some of which might or might not be taken from all kinds of other, seemingly more useful, machinery? Yes, I think we do - as Timothy Archibald shows us in his new book Sex Machines. But, before going into more details, let’s get this out of the way: There is very little nudity in this book - even if one is willing to include the phalli. The book is really more about the people who invent these machines and, if put into a larger context, about some of the things that are going on in suburbia or in small towns - those presumed islands of safety and cleanliness, away from the cities’ depravity and sins.
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Nov 2

Seth Thompson’s shots of church, store, and home interiors in Mexico possess a strange beauty.
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Nov 1

Peter Bialobrzeski’s most recent project is called “Heimat” (see images here and here). “Heimat” is one of those almost untranslatable German words, because apart from what it literally means (“home”) it contains a vast set of additional connotations. A translation would then be more like a description, something along the lines of “a place or region that somebody calls his/her home and that holds deep emotional ties and historical myths alike” (and this “translation” probably misses something, too). On the one hand, I see Bialobrzeski’s “Heimat” as one of the many different attempts currently made in Germany, by Germans, to get to a more normal relationship with their own country. On the other hand, the whole concept of “Heimat” is so ultra-conservative, so inflexible, that I am not sure whether a modern Germany needs any kind of “Heimat” revival. In any case, non-Germans will probably be somewhat baffled about the vast “Heimat” landscapes, not to mention the idea that there supposedly is so much behind it. Bialobrzeski’s earlier projects include Megacities and XXXholy.
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