Archives

December 2007

SELECT A MONTH:

Dec 31

This article has an interesting - and quite uncomfortable - comparison to make: “If there’s an irony here, it’s that the photographers who lie in wait for the latest celebrity smash-up probably aren’t that different to the young photographers who headed off to Vietnam almost 40 years ago. Whereas once South-east Asia was the Wild West for ambitious thrill-seekers eager to make their names, now it’s the streets of Beverly Hills. But it’s not just the location that’s changed; attitudes have, too. When he saw Kim Phuc running towards him out of a cloud of smoke 35 years ago, Ut’s first instinct - after he’d taken her photograph - was to save her life.”
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Dec 30

Have a look at Markham Johnson’s River Mouths project.
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Dec 30

I’m wishing everyone a happy and successful New Year 2008, and I hope I’ll be able to meet more people who I only know via the blog and/or email in person!
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Dec 29

For a while, Noah Kalina’s time-lapse self portraits were all over the web, and now I found what I’d call the ultimate time lapse, done by photographer Hiromi Tsuchida (found via Heading East). Now that we’ve seen that can we please move on, there wasn’t all that much to see here in the first place.
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Dec 28

Ben Roberts’ website contains quite a few interesting projects. I especially like Higher Lands - Ben is also part of the somewhat oddly named, pan-European Youth in the Countryside project.
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Dec 27

There is an interesting post about art and politics over at Ed Winkleman’s blog - my only concern being that if people/artists are presented with the option of either being “left” or “right” then they clearly will lose out - because the world consists of more than just black and white (even if politicians want to make us believe that’s not true), and art lives exactly where there are many, many shades of gray (good art, that is).
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Dec 27

Angus Boulton’s work comprises both photography and movies.
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Dec 23

I quite like Jon Feinstein’s project Small Signs.
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Dec 21

Hartmut Schwarzbach’s portraits of children living on/near a gigantic garbage dump were awarded third prize in this year’s round of UNICEF Photo of the Year.
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Dec 20

… I was gonna post the Shmenge Brothers’ Christmas special, but it seems it doesn’t exist on YouTube. So instead, I’ll give you SCTV’s Dusty Towne Holiday Special.
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Dec 20

“‘The UNICEF Photo of the Year 2007 raises awareness about a worldwide problem. Millions of girls are married while they are still under age. Most of theses child brides are forever denied a self-determined life’, says UNICEF Patroness Eva Luise Köhler” - story/list of winners. Find large versions of the images here.
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Dec 20

Neil Shirreff’s fine-art work really is quite wonderful.
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Dec 20

Another great provocation from beyond the Atlantic: “The great majority of popular culture in the UK is worthless, moronic, meretricious, self-serving, anti-democratic, sclerotic garbage: it’s the enemy of thought and change: it should be ignored, marginalised, trashed. There I’ve said it.” (source)
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Dec 19

“The MPAA has rejected the one-sheet for Alex Gibney’s documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side,” which traces the pattern of torture practice from Afghanistan’s Bagram prison to Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay. […] The image in question is a news photo of two U.S. soldiers walking away from the camera with a hooded detainee between them.” (story)
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Dec 19

It appears to be popular now to publish a list of “photo books of the year”, so in case anyone is interested, here is mine. Easily the best book published this year is Bert Teunissen’s Domestic Landscapes. Other books I enjoyed are (in no particular order): The Day-toDay Life of Albert Hastings by KayLynn Deveney, Welcome to Pyongyang by Charlie Crane, LS/S by Beate Gütschow, Baxt by Andrew Miksys, Motherland by Simon Roberts, Topography of the Titanic by Kai-Olaf Hesse, and Mother of All Journeys by Dinu Li.
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Dec 19

I went to NYC this past weekend, and I met and ran into several people, incl. - as can be seen above - fellow blogger Mr Jackanory Andrew Hetherington. For me, it’s always fun to meet people who I know from the web and/or via email; there’s that extra thrill of the actual person-to-person interaction, and I can say that a good time was being had. Oh, btw, Andrew has a self-published book out, which I couldn’t recommend more (and, no, I’m not writing this since he bribe me). He told me that he gave Dashwood ten copies to sell, don’t know whether they are already sold out - if not get one!
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Dec 18

It’s that time of the year again, and with “best of” lists (books etc.) already upon us, without further ado, here are my Photographers of the Year 2007, as always in alphabetical order. Simon Roberts - of course for his wonderful book project Motherland. Find a conversation with him here. Bert Teunissen’s long-term project Domestic Landscapes still has me coming back to the various images. It’s particularly interesting to me to see how a photographer would spend years on a single project - in a world where photo projects/books are often treated like CD releases and where many photographers worry about getting work out quickly. For me, Peter van Agtmael’s work from Iraq and Afghanistan (and from the US) is by far the strongest photographic statement (photojournalist or otherwise!) about the so-called war on terror and its consequences. Find a conversation with him here.
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Dec 16

When I go to look at art at a gallery, one of the things that I watch a little is the interaction of the gallery staff/owner with its visitors. Sometimes, I try a little interaction myself, usually when I’m interested in a book/catalogue. Yesterday, I went to see a few shows in Chelsea (NYC), and one such interaction struck me as quite memorable, and not in a good way.
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Dec 14

Go to this website, click your way forward to the fourth image (the lady in the bathing suit), and then click on the before-after switch multiple times. No comment. There’s another example a little bit later…
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Dec 13

Norbert Wiesneth’s “OCTROB-INSEL” series might be of interest for anyone eager to see a somewhat “less clean” aesthetic.
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Dec 12

“For much of history, water-boarding has been to torturers what cream is to apple pie. They go hand-in-hand. So, it seems odd that the United States is in the middle of a lively debate about whether water-boarding is an ‘enhanced interrogation technique’, as the CIA insists on calling it, or torture. Of course it is the latter, any hooded member of the Spanish Inquisition or executioner at Tuol Sleng could have told you that. […] if the debate [in the US] is to be honest it should be about whether torture is allowed in certain circumstances. […] The trouble is, we never know if it is a special case until we have finished the torturing and even then we cannot be sure. Torture becomes like an addiction, with uncertain results, that defiles the torturer as much as it haunts the tortured. The cost-benefit ratio is out of kilter. Which is why the administration has already supplied the answer to a question that America should not even be asking. We do not torture. Time to practice what you preach.” (story)
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Dec 12

In his most recent projects, Mexican photographer Alejandro Cartagena looks at urban sprawl and its ecological consequences in his country.
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Dec 11

“How would the national debate over torture have changed if we’d known about the CIA tapes all along? How would our big terror trials and Supreme Court cases have played out? Yes, this is also a speculative enterprise, but it’s critical to understanding the extent of the CIA’s wrongdoing here. And we have a benchmark. When the photos from Abu Ghraib were leaked in 2004, a national uproar ensued. Video of hours of repetitive torture could have had a similarly significant impact- the truism about the power of images holds. If we are right about that - and we think we are - this evidence that has been destroyed would have fundamentally changed the legal and policy backdrop for the war on terror in ways we’ve only begun to figure out.” (story)
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Dec 11

While the title of Errol Morris’ response to some of the questions about his Roger Fenton pieces (which, as was pointed out elsewhere, if taken together with the comments has a larger word count than the novel “Moby Dick”) reminds me of both incredibly obscure German existentialist philosophy and avant-garde comedy, his article left me wondering what he’d tell a flight attendant when being ask “Chicken or pasta?”
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Dec 11

Daniel Shea’s website features prominently his photography of coal mining in Appalachia.
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Dec 11

“Our need to feel as though we know ourselves is so strong that unexpected success can leave us feeling anxious and undermine our future performance.” (story) I have no way to prove this, but I am pretty sure that this also applies to photography: When you are working on finding your style or on sharpening your skills, getting new results can cause the same problems as those reported in the article.
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Dec 10

I like Kathleen Robbins’s “The Art of Arranging Things” projects.
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Dec 10

I came across a couple of interesting interviews: Hippolyte Bayard (actually two Italian photographers) has an interview with Fulvio Bartolozzo (scroll down for the English version!). And 2point8 published a long interview with Joel Meyerowitz: part 1, part 2.
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Dec 7

“Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most influential composers of the 20th century, has died at the age of 79, it was announced today.” - story, obituary
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Dec 7

Marc McAndrews’ portraits cover various projects, of which I probably prefer Motels.
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Dec 7

Noel Jabbour is a photographer of Palestinian descent who lives and works in Berlin, and whose projects are diverse and very interesting. I only wish the sample images were a tad bigger! (found via The Sonic Blog)
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Dec 7

I recently came across Keira Knightley’s portrait on the cover of “Interview” magazine (find an interview and some photos, incl. the cover, here), and I was amazed that someone would put such a horrible photo on the cover of a magazine. What were they thinking? My wife loves the site Go Fug Yourself, and over there, they had a fairly accurate description of that look: “a moderately depressed topless mime-clown”.
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Dec 6

I’ve long been impressed by Dinu Li’s work, and it’s about time that I actually link to it.
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Dec 5

Last night, a fully loaded tanker truck exploded a few blocks away from where my parents-in-law live (story - my in laws are fine, btw, as is everybody else). Needless to say, I have spent a significant amount of time online today, looking for updates. Just out of curiosity, I looked at the Submit your photos section at boston.com, and I found this following fine print: “By submitting your photo(s) to Boston.com, you agree that such photo(s) and the accompanying information will become the property of Boston.com and you grant Boston.com, The Boston Globe, Boston Metro and their sublicensees permission to publicly display, reproduce and use the photographs in any form or media for any and (all editorial and related promotional purposes) purposes.” (my emphasis) There’s a lot of talk of citizen journalism - but who in his right mind would sign away all rights to his or her photos? So as a citizen journalist you get to work for free?
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Dec 5

“Young artists may dream of being Richard Prince, but the 58-year-old former Time Inc. staffer spent years in obscurity before his ‘joke’ paintings, re-photographed Marlboro Man ads, and muscle-car sculptures began to fetch record-breaking prices.” - story Update (6 Dec): And then there is this article about the photographer who took the original cigarette ad photos.
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Dec 5

Via Exposure Compensation I found the work of Aubrey Hays.
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Dec 4

I sometimes think that as we get to see everything our imagination shrivels away: Is there any need to imagine something when you can literally see it somewhere? But then I also realize that imagination is tied to more than just the visual. Take the most recent Beowulf movie, which shows lots of “exciting” images (a digital Angelina Jolie, emerging golden and “naked” from some lake), but which does away with everything that makes the story exciting in the first place - to replace them with visual gimmicks (a digital Angelina Jolie, emerging golden and “naked” from some lake). So there is a bit more to imagination than just images (which, I think, makes photography so interesting - is the photography that truly moves us really just a set of images?). Maybe this is why I find this movie (taken by the Messenger satellite, which is bound for Mercury, the tiny planet closest to the Sun) so exciting: It’s a real movie, it shows our planet, rotating why the camera moves away - nothing left to the imagination… except, of course, that seeing what we might have imagined opens up a whole new way to look at - and thus to imagine - things.
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Dec 4

I had a bit of a deja-vu feeling with some of Pablo Lopez’s photos (more of them here), but for me, that didn’t make me like his work less. (Thanks for the tip, Kelly!)
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Dec 3

“Computer servers are at least as great a threat to the climate as SUVs or the global aviation industry.” (story, via the incomparable bldgblog) That’s bad (and, if you think about it, unsurprising) news. But then there’s a way for you to do something useful with your computer: “Climateprediction.net is the largest experiment to try and produce a forecast of the climate in the 21st century. To do this, we need people around the world to give us time on their computers - time when they have their computers switched on, but are not using them to their full capacity.” If you look around on that site, not only do you find a plethora of information on the science side, you also get to see the results - it’s serious science, the first results were published in Nature. And after you have installed the program you don’t even have to do anything.
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Dec 3

For their series “13 Months in the Year of the Dog”, Liyu + Liubo reenact scenes taken from local newspaper stories, such as the one above: “Thirteen-year-old Xiao Qian (a pseudonym), made a copy of the key to her classmate Lin Yu’s (pseudonym) house. Xiao Qian stole money from Lin’s house many times. On April 1, Xiao Qian went into Lin’s apartment again, but could not find any money. Xiao Qian was upset and set fire to the Lin’s master bedroom. Yesterday, the two families reached an agreement, according to which Xiao Qian’s family would pay Lin Yu’s family RMB 30,000 in compensation.” Notes Liyu: “How can one decide whether these stories have truly happened or not, simply relying on written words? Maybe it’s not important, at least they have truly existed in the papers.”
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Dec 3

I always love a good discussion about art (in part because it’s ultimately so pointless), so here’s a provocation to have fun with: “The truth is very few people really like art. This is the dirty secret that makes a living for artists such as Caroline Shotton. […] The hilarious gimmick of this Central St Martin’s-educated painter is to put cows in the classics.” (story) Moo or boo?
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Dec 2

The photography book market has been steadily expanding, and people know it. As far as I know, most photo books were always printed in small editions (a few thousand maybe), simply because the demand for them was so small. But interest in photo books appears to be increasing, just like interest in fine-art photography. And then there are the collectors, whose number also must have gone up: We now have books about photo books, with the photo books discussed in those now being even more desirable; and we also have, say, a book by photographers who get a book published under fake names, marketed heavily as limited edition (and strictly divided by the two big markets Europe and America), and everybody makes sure people know who the photographers are - as if we weren’t able to tell from the photos.
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Dec 1

“John was a long time contributor to the news of the weird, coconspirator and eventually primary blogger behind spitting-image.net, and the author of the original and brilliant overheard starbuck. Readers of this blog and anyone who had the pleasure of receiving John’s e-mail knew him as a generous sharer of information, a keen observer of American culture, and a wise and honest friend. John was proud of the accumulation of this site, which shall remain, a spark of light among the constellations.” (source)
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Dec 1

This review addresses an interesting point: “One can find a subject, but how do you make it more interesting than what was photographed.” I haven’t seen the book (or the show - yet), but I occasionally had similar thoughts about other books or shows.
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