Archives

April 2007

SELECT A MONTH:

Apr 30

“Generations of photographers are indebted to [Evelyn] Hofer. For many years, her absolute technical proficiency attracted a constant stream of young photographers wishing to gain experience with her or work as her assistants. As a result, Hofer trained countless young practitioners and is a household name in the world of professional photography. This has made her ‘the most famous unknown photographer in America’, as one professional photo-journal put it in 1987.” (source) See more photos here, here, and here.
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Apr 30

John Humble’s portrait of Los Angeles, assembled over a longer period of time, is quite impressive.
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Apr 28

“What is it about Germans and nudity? The Teutonic attitude to getting naked in enough to make the prudish British and Americans blush […] Now even Germany’s universities have caught this fever for disrobing. Over the past few years a new trend has emerged on campus — the naked college calendar, featuring a seemingly endless supply of brazen young people willing to appear in their birthday suit for a variety of good causes.” - story
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Apr 27

“Prosecutor: While living in Bosnia, the detainee associated with a known al-Qaida operative. Detainee: Give me his name. President of the tribunal: I do not know. Detainee: How can I respond to this? President: Did you know of anybody who was a member of al-Qaida? Detainee: No, no. President: I’m sorry, what was your response? Detainee: No. If you tell me the name, I can respond and defend myself against this accusation. President: We are asking you the questions and we need you to respond to what is on the classified summary.” found in this article
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Apr 27

Lucinda Devlin’s two main series “The Omega Suites” and “Pleasure Ground” portray death penalty tracts and places of recreation, respectively. (Another site, that might load more quickly is this one)
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Apr 26

“Nearly 30 years ago, an electrician called Mac Robertson working at Francis Bacon’s studio in west London noticed the artist dumping rubbish in a skip. Something of a squirrel, and clearly no fool, he persuaded Bacon to let him keep these few discarded paintings, diaries, photos and bits and bobs. He hung on to the stuff, storing it in a friend’s attic in Surrey. Last night, this collection of Bacon’s trash, now accorded the grandiose title of the Robertson collection, was definitively transformed, from its owner’s perspective, into treasure. Conservatively expected to make 500,000 British Pounds, the 45 lots in fact fetched a total of 965,490 British Pounds, not including 17.5% buyers’ premium.” - story
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Apr 26

I haven’t read Jim’s full piece, yet, but the abstract sounds quite interesting: “Vivid presentations may, by turning widespread social-political-economic problems into stories of melodramatic human interest, actually undermine the capacity of individuals and organizations to take remedial or preventive action.”
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Apr 26

I found the following over at Fotostoria. At the end of World War II, Hitler’s Ministry of Public Information and Propaganda order to produce photographic records of art works that couldn’t be moved to secure locations to avoid them being damaged during the war. This lead to photographs being taken of important buildings (churches, castles, …) and their interiors, using Agfa’s colour slide technology. Since the slides started to physically deteriorate, at the end of the 1990s, efforts were made to digitize and preserve them. The digital archive is publicly available.
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Apr 25

If you take photos in a foreign land, they will be different from the photos taken by the people who live there, because what you see is unfamiliar (maybe even strange) for you. In the same fashion, when you view photos of a country, to a large extent your perception of what you see is guided by how much you know already about that country. In that sense, there is no absolute photographic truth of any given place, simply because your preconceptions (or their lack) will determine what you see. I think it is very important to keep this in mind when looking at books like Matthew Monteith’s Czech Eden (there are some sample photos from the book here).
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Apr 25

“The energy relationships to be created at CERN correspond to the state of the entire universe around one ten-trillionth of a second after the big bang (so according to what we know it’s not a simulation of creation - that happened around ten to the power of minus twenty seconds earlier). Whether such an investigation into our material origin can have any significance for us is hard to say.” - story
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Apr 25

I have wanted to link to Walter Niedermayr (see more of his work here and here) ever since I came across his book “Reservate Des Augenblicks” in a second-hand bookstore, which the owner refused to sell to me (the book, not the store) because it was his own copy (and out of print). I then googled Walter Niedermayr unsuccessfully for a few months because I kept misspelling his name (things got quite frustrating because I used to come across the occasional link where someone else had also made the same mistake…). In any case, apart from vast panoramas of snowy landscapes - often diptychs or larger assemblies of images - he has also worked on architectural interiors (see some examples here), and his newest book is a collaboration with a couple of Japanese architects, which I saw at the most recent AIPAD show (where the gallery refused to sell that book to me, pointing out I could probably order it in Germany).
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Apr 24

Today, I came across a set of Japanese TV commercials for what looks like a pasta sauce (or maybe a pasta with sauce) that I don’t even want to think about (it appears to include cod roe). Why am I telling you this? Well, the commercials are weird on just so many different levels - be warned: if you watch them, you won’t get that theme tune out of your head for a while (my wife is humming it while I’m typing this). But the thing that really struck me was the imagery used - it reminded me of photography that has been quite popular recently. You watch the commercials, and you’ll see. So here are three of them (and I did warn you about that theme tune): 1, 2, 3.
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Apr 24

I wasn’t going to post anything any longer about George W. Bush but I can’t refrain from this one. In case you’re wondering, no, you’re not drunk, and no, this is also no joke (which comedian would be able to come up with something this absurd?): “Bill and Georgia Thomas reported they were elated Monday when they met in the Oval Office with President George W. Bush to present him with a Purple Heart. […] The couple was able to meet with President Bush for about 20 minutes to present him with one of three Purple Hearts that Bill Thomas received during his service in Vietnam. […] Thomas said he and his wife came up with the unprecedented idea to present the president with the Purple Heart over breakfast one morning a few months ago as they discussed the verbal attacks, both foreign and domestic, the commander in chief has withstood during his time in office.” (story)
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Apr 24

Being a cosmologist, I can’t help but be endlessly amused by this version of creation (and I especially like the creationist alternative at the end).
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Apr 24

Over at i heart photograph, Laurel links to Adriaan van der Ploeg’s series of gamers (“LMIRL”), which, of course, isn’t the only such series. I had earlier linked to Shauna Frischkorn (see a sample above), Todd Deutsch, and Philip Toledano.
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Apr 23

In a new post, Brian Ulrich discusses what makes people take self portraits, especially under unusual circumstances. Check it out!
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Apr 23

John Davies spent a lot of time documenting the British landscape. Many of the results are quite stunning.
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Apr 23

The other day, I came across a series of portraits by Eric Nehr, but unfortunately, they’re almost impossible to find online. Here are some more samples, and there’s some text about them here.
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Apr 23

I don’t know whether the story of the cleaning lady removing and thus destroying a pile of fat set up by Joseph Beuys is an urban myth or not (if it is an urban myth then just like almost any other one it’s one that I just wish was true), but this definitely happened: “London transport workers have painted over an iconic mural by ‘guerrilla artist’ Banksy” (story) Notes a spokesperson of “Transport for London”: “Our graffiti removal teams are staffed by professional cleaners not professional art critics”. Which makes me think that if one was to protect Banksy’s art work, then one could hardly call him (if it’s a he) a “guerilla artist” any longer (it’s bad enough Hollywood celebrities are buying his art, and his book is on prominent display at “Urban Outfitters”). But coming back to that spokesperson, according to him (or her) “Transport for London” graffiti has to be removed because it creates “general atmosphere of neglect and social decay which in turn encourages crime. We have no intention of changing this policy as it makes the transport system safer and more pleasant for passengers.” Wow, that’s channeling the nasty spirit of quite a few unpleasant people, with Rudolph Giuliani being the least unappealing amongst those.
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Apr 20

Bruce Haley has been doing photojournalistic work for quite a while now. If you look at his Disfigured Landscapes, it’s quite interesting to note how one’s perception of those landscapes (shot in b/w) is a bit different from those photographed by, say, Edward Burtynsky (who uses colour film).
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Apr 19

“My pictures describe tenuous moments between people sharing their lives together in their homes and people in deep private moments of internal struggle.” - Ben Gest
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Apr 19

“This country, speaking through its government, does not favor gun control. The massacre at Virginia Tech is a logical consequence of that reality. Are we sorry that 32 people, most of them no older than 22, were killed? Of course. But we aren’t so sorry that we intend to do anything to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. We value the lives of Mary Read, Ryan Clark, Leslie Sherman, and all the rest, but we value more their killer Cho Seung Hui’s untrammeled right to purchase not only a Glock 19 and a Walther P22, but also the ammunition clips that, according to the April 18 Washington Post, would have been impossible to obtain legally had Congress not allowed President Clinton’s assault-weapon ban to expire three years ago. […] There are people in this country today who, one day in the future, will be gunned down by psychopaths like Cho Seung Hui. […] We could spare these lives - some of them, at least - by making it difficult or impossible to acquire a handgun in the United States. But we choose not to. Tough luck, whoever you are.” (story)
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Apr 18

I was going to wait with linking to Kyle Cassidy’s Armed America until its actual publication date. However, given the most recent events, the website might provide some valuable insights.
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Apr 18

“Photography has always had the potential to democratise images, but it has seldom worked out that way in practice. Digital imaging has made image-making devices ubiquitous. Many more people now possess the means to make images more of the time. At the same time, images are primarily used, in the public image environment, to influence public opinion and encourage the consumption of products and services. What is the relation between these two phenomena: near universal private image-making capability and widespread manipulation through public images?” - story
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Apr 18

Jehad Nga is a photojournalist, some of whose photojournalistic work you can see here. I discovered his immensely beautiful fine-art work at the 2007 Armoury show.
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Apr 18

The organization of Olaf Unverzart’s website is a bit unusual, but there’s some good stuff to be found (not sure I managed to look at everything, though, it’s easy to miss some of the folders).
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Apr 18

Imagine the following situation. Your apartment is filled with toddlers, and there’s a large number of extremely sharp and shiny knives lying on the floor somewhere, which the toddlers can access easily. What do you do? Kind of obvious, isn’t it?
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Apr 17

Thinking about it, photography really is like candy, isn’t it? You got the intensely sweet stuff that you tend to overindulge in and that’s really not good for you (think cotton candy), the classic stuff that many people tend to forget about (think Necco Wafers) or the simple classic stuff that will never go out of fashion (think Peeps), you got hard candy and soft candy, etc. etc. etc. But that kind of photography would be what candy? Maybe, just to get the (a) ball rolling, a lot of the Düsseldorf school stuff would be salty licorice, quite the acquired taste, yet ultimately really good for you. Anyone?
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Apr 17

I’m just back from an intense photo weekend in New York City, where I went to the Armoury show and all over Chelsea to see some amazing photography (I’ll post about various works that I saw over the next few days). I was also very fortunate to meet or run into (in alphabetical order, and hopefully not forgetting anyone) Jen Bekman, Ferdinand Brüggemann, Seth Boyd, James Danziger, Jen Davis, Katina Houvouras, Leslie Martin, Rachel Papo, Richard Renaldi, Sasha Rudensky, Kevin Sisemore, Amy Stein, and Edward Winkleman. There’s just so much photography going on in New York, and I felt a bit like a kid in a gigantic candy store. Coming back to a place like Pittsburgh is then quite sobering. If I had to pick highlights/my favourite candy, I’d probably go for Kunihiko Katsumata’s “Skyline” series (seen at the Armoury show) and Elger Esser’s show at Sonnabend Gallery.
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Apr 17

I saw images from Kunihiko Katsumata’s series “Skyline” at the 2007 AIPAD photo show, and was most impressed - the small samples online are hardly able to convey the actual beauty of the prints.
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Apr 17

The April 2007 issue of Modern Painters magazine is a must-buy for everyone interested in contemporary photography. It features an article about Andreas Gursky (and many of his new photos), which you might or might not find interesting (at least it’s a thought provoking), and an interview with one of my favourite Chinese photographers, Wang Qingsong.
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Apr 11

Two very interesting interviews, the first one with Stephen Shore, the other one with Wolfgang Tillmans.
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Apr 11

Lars Bober’s series Verödete Landschaften [deserted landscapes] shows Germany’s Mezzogiorno, the East German states, which to a large extent are frozen in disrepair, with large parts literally deserted by its former inhabitants who went West to look for work.
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Apr 11

Through Shane Lavalette’s blog I found Laurel Nakadate (also see Shane’s original post, which contains quite a few links), a video artist.
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Apr 11

You know, given all the fuss people are making about how easily digital photos can be manipulated and how important it is to get the actual photo (see a recent case here, with some background here), I wonder how we should now treat cases like the alteration of the iconic Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange (that page gives you both versions, and note that it’s pre-digital and quite hard to see). Most people will probably not change their mind about Migrant Mother, and there are good reasons why. Maybe that can teach us something about how to treat contemporary cases?
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Apr 10

“How often do we meet people who are otherwise cultured and educated, who have no awareness whatever of even the very existence of serious music? […] The first and most common abuse hurled at the likes of me is that an education towards an understanding of, and working with, serious Western classical music is ‘elitist’. Michael Billington, discussing this year’s Edinburgh Festival in the Guardian, wrote: ‘there is a strange reversal of values, particularly in the media. A concert or opera attended by 1,000 people or more is seen as ‘elitist’; a small-scale event attracting a dedicated handful is regarded as ‘popular” - ie, inverted snobbery at its most pungently destructive.” - story
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Apr 10

Sebastian van den Akker’s photography is mostly staged. I can’t make my mind up as far as “Dished up” is concerned, I think the basic idea is quite good, but I’m not sure about the final result. The other series are more compelling.
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Apr 10

Reem Al Faisal hails from Saudi Arabia (she is a grand-daughter of the Saudi king Feisal) and is active as a photographer and writer. Many of her photo projects are centered on her faith, such as the series Hajj.
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Apr 9

For me, this is a bit too much on the side of things that made the book “The Da Vinci Code” a bestseller, but it’s quite entertaining anyway: “itÂ’s a compelling thought: that this magnificent temple, built 1400 years before Copernicus ever saw it, designed by a pagan, Sun-worshipping Roman emperor, and later transformed into a church, may have had secretly encoded within it the idea that the Sun was the center of the universe; and that this ancient, wordless wisdom helped to revolutionize our view of the cosmos.” (interview)
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Apr 9

Through Mrs Deane comes Tim Meier, who has devoted a whole blog to photos of parking garages/lots.
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Apr 8

“These photos are from a small book called ‘Bauten der Arbeit und des Verkehrs’ (buildings of work and transport) 1925, one of ‘Die Blauen Bücher’ (the blue books), a series of thin paperback books on art and architecture. Apart from depicting interesting expressionist or mordernist architecture, the pictures also seem to have a great ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’ appeal.” - link
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Apr 5

“After 54 performances, many remain unsure what to make of Beecroft’s work. Some see the fashion element as superficial, some see the naked Helmut Newton-esque images of these women as little more than ‘hooters for intellectuals’ (as one review famously dubbed her work). Some say she’s demeaning women, parading them like hunks of meat, in the process creating a male wet dream, while others say she’s reclaiming sexualised images of women from the pages of Penthouse and recontextualising them as symbols of feminist empowerment.” (source)
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Apr 5

Andreas Kohler specializes in portraiture, and especially “Alabasterkörper” contains quite a few excellent portraits.
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Apr 4

“Discussed: Thomas BernhardÂ’s Suzuki Samurai, Memento Mori Woodcuts, Strong Style, World War III, Shoe Tics, Fear of Guns, The Goldberg Variations, Prince, So-Called Novels, So-Called Memoirs, So-Called Houses, The Art of Exaggeration, Samuel Beckett, Distinctly Austrian Words” - story
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Apr 4

Job Piston most recent work “delves gracefully into themes of burgeoning sexuality, voyeurism, and intimacy in public spaces.” (source)
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Apr 3

It’s too bad Markus Neis’ website doesn’t provide English descriptions of the projects. “Folgelandschaften” is quite an interesting project, whose four sets show landscapes altered by humans, namely the former battlefields of Verdun, the area of the Allied invasion in Northern France, rubble heaps in Germany, and the former inter-German border. The basic question then is how does this knowledge change our perception of the landscape?
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Apr 3

I know what I’ll be doing whenever I got a free minute today: I’ll be looking at (and editing) the Uncyclopedia, which is kind of like the Wikipedia, except the former admits it’s all just for the laughs.
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Apr 2

The new (Spring 2007) issue of SeeSaw Magazine is out, and it features my conversation with David Maisel.
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Apr 2

With her photography, Alice Wells explores her own identity.
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Apr 2

As far as portraiture goes, for me Sally Mann’s photos are as good as it can possibly get, and it’s nice to see a couple of web movies, courtesy of Newsweek magazine (so there are no follow-up questions that go a bit deeper), where she and one of her daughters talk about the photography and their relationship.
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Apr 1

No April Fool’s Day Joke: “The Big Brother nightmare of George Orwell’s 1984 has become a reality - in the shadow of the author’s former London home. […] According to the latest studies, Britain has a staggering 4.2million CCTV cameras - one for every 14 people in the country - and 20 per cent of cameras globally. It has been calculated that each person is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily. […] On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move.” - story
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