Archives

June 2008

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Jun 30

Cara Phillips’ Ground Glass is one of my favourite blogs, and I was so certain it that I had added it to the blogroll a long time ago that it never occured to me that in fact it was still missing! That’s nuts (and proof that I really am getting old)! So check out Ground Glass if you haven’t done so already!
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Jun 30

Richard Prince has a big show in London, and the critics are not amused (plus this review, the logic of which in part escapes me).
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Jun 30

Chances are you have heard of CERN’s LHC experiment, or maybe not. It probably is the most ambitious science experiment ever done (“One of the LHC’s detectors - Atlas - weighs as much as 100 Boeing 747s. Looking like a cross between some improbably big communications satellite and the largest electric dynamo you can imagine, Atlas is the work of 1,900 scientists drawn from 164 universities in 35 countries.” [source]), and if you want to find out more about its goals etc. this is the place to go. Oh, and it’s not going to blow up the planet. PS: It does say quite a bit about the state of affairs of the US media to see something like this, doesn’t it? No serious, self respecting scientist expects the collider to create a doomsday; just like no serious, self respecting scientist denies that global warming is a reality and a gigantic challenge for humanity.
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Jun 30

I just found - via PDNPulse - that Peter van Agtmael, one of my Photographers of the Year 2007 has become a Magnum nominee (find the conversation I had with him here). And Alec Soth is now a full member (find the conversation I had with him here). Congratulations to both and to the other new nominee Olivia Arthur and full members Jonas Bendiksen and Antoine d’Agata!
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Jun 30

“It is the underlying, the hidden emotions that interest me.” - Flavia Sollner (another fine example of how night-time photography really requires an artistic vision to succeed and to elevate it from being a mere technical exercise)
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Jun 30

It’s time to update the ‘blogroll’ again. The latest two additions are Chas Bowie’s eloquently written that’s a negative and the blog of 1000 words photography magazine, which I mentioned here earlier.
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Jun 27

“Two narratives bound our era and, by degrees but unmistakably, our predicament: the story of consumerism and the story of globalization. In recent years, the two have combined to produce a single and singularly corrosive narrative. Consumerism has meant the transformation of citizens into shoppers, eroding America’s sovereignty from within; globalization has meant the transformation of nation-states into secondary players on the world stage, eroding America’s sovereignty from without. In collaboration, the trends are dealing a ruinous blow to democracy - to our capacity for common judgment, citizenship, and liberty itself.” - Benjamin Barber
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Jun 27

I’m going to play devil’s advocate here, because I think there is something to be learned from looking at a topic from as many angles as possible. Richard Prince recently gained further notoriety when one of the photographs from his Cowboys series sold for 3.4 million US$. These Cowboys, of course, are photographs of other photographs, namely of sections of Marlboro cigarette ads, and that’s where - according to many people - the problem is to be found: Not only is it quite shameless to take a photo of someone else’s work and then pretend it’s one’s own, but it’s even more shameless to sell it for 3.4 million dollars.
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Jun 27

Have a look at Mathew Scott’s portfolio!
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Jun 27

I couldn’t make up my mind which one of the three clips I had in mind to post, so here are the other two…
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Jun 26

There are at least two ways to generate “gigabytes of comments” online, namely by either daring to question anything Flickrites do (which will inevitably result in long “discussions” over there, which for the most part consist of the nonsensical assertion that anyone who criticizes Flickr is an “elitist” [thus mirroring the worst of US politics btw]) or by asking how one can define or decide what good art is. Ed Winkleman is smarter than me and today opted for the latter; those who haven’t seen it might also enjoy reading What makes a great photo?, which I posted here quite some time ago.
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Jun 26

Ethan Levitas’s “Untitled/This is just to say” uses the view from and to subway cars to create portraits of people in the public space.
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Jun 26

“No PR firm would have dreamt up the word ‘brutalism’. The term was derived from Le Corbusier’s “Breton brut” [sic! - should be “Béton brut”] - French for “raw concrete”, the movement’s preferred material - rather than anything to do with brutality, with which it has sadly become better associated. In the popular imagination, brutalism is synonymous with harsh, hostile, ugly architecture (or death metal). […] Maybe, sometime in the near future, we’ll realize that brutalism wasn’t so bad after all. Perhaps it just needs a new name.” (story) Turns out “Higher Education Redux”, the final addition to my project Higher Education, centers on brutalism on US university campuses and its hideous effect on what are supposed to be areas of creativity and learning.
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Jun 25

I spent a lot of time looking through Mark Power’s projects - there’s just so much good photography to be discovered!
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Jun 25

Rob Haggart (aka “A Photo Editor”) just published a great interview with Darius Himes - all about photo books and photo book publishing. And over at The Girl Project (a weblog that deserves to be added to your reader if it isn’t there already), there’s an interview with Cara Phillips about her work and the beauty industry. So now would be a good time for that coffee or glass-of-wine break (depending what time zone you’re in) to read these interviews…
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Jun 24

“Four months ago the architect Daniel Libeskind declared publicly that architects should think long and hard before working in China, adding, ‘I won’t work for totalitarian regimes.’ His remarks raised hackles in his profession, with some architects accusing him of hypocrisy because his own firm had recently broken ground on a project in Hong Kong. Since then, however, Mr. Libeskind’s speech, delivered at a real estate and planning event in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has reanimated a decades-old debate among architects over the ethics of working in countries with repressive leaders or shaky records on human rights. […] Architects face ethical dilemmas in the West too. Some refuse to design prisons; others eschew churches. Robert A. M. Stern, who is also Yale’s architecture dean, drew some criticism last year when he accepted an assignment to design a planned George W. Bush Library in Dallas.” (story)
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Jun 24

“For most people, photographing something that isn’t there might be tough. Not so for Trevor Paglen. His shots of 189 secret spy satellites are the subject of a new exhibit — despite the fact that, officially speaking, the satellites don’t exist. […] Satellites are just the latest in Paglen’s photography of supposedly nonexistent subjects. To date, he’s snapped haunting images of various military sites in the Nevada deserts, torture taxis (private planes that whisk people off to secret prisons without judicial oversight) and uniform patches from various top-secret military programs.” (source)
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Jun 23

“Researchers have found a way to generate the shortest-ever flash of light – 80 attoseconds (billionths of a billionth of a second) long. […] The light pulses are produced by firing longer, but still very short laser pulses into a cloud of neon gas. The laser gives a kick of energy to the neon atoms, which then release this energy in the form of brief pulses of extreme ultraviolet light.” (story)
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Jun 23

I have been thinking about photo collages lately, and Ruth Van Beek’s work is one of the examples I wanted to share.
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Jun 20

It’s time for me to update Natalie Czech’s entry here. She has produced some amazing art work since I first linked to her, with Daily Mirror being my favourite body of work.
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Jun 20

I was wearing a Johnny-Cash t-shirt yesterday, and two of the grad students here, one Chinese, the other one Korean, asked me about it. After talking about it between themselves, they decided Johnny Cash must have been a movie star. So here’s a clip to set the record straight.
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Jun 19

I didn’t find this article to be extremely convincing, but then I’m one of those types who reads books all the time, and I don’t let the internet replace what I’d otherwise read on paper. In any case, the article does pose a series of interesting questions.
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Jun 19

Mrs Deane linked to Gaston Zvi Ickowicz’s work the other day and discussed the imagery and intentions of the photographer a little bit, with the focus being on “neutrality”. This immediately had me wonder whether neutrality is something an artist should strive for? Is art about being “fair and balanced”?
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Jun 19

I like Jennifer Boomer’s photography from Alaska (certainly not an overphotographed place!). For those interested, she made a little zine with those photographs that you can purchase here.
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Jun 18

“Valkyrie. We’ve already delved into the drama surrounding this film, in which Cruise plays would-be Hitler assassin Claus von Stauffenberg. Somewhere along the line, someone mentioned that there had been bad press in Germany. Well, of course there was. Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, Germans don’t care for Scientology, and the subject of Valkyrie is a German hero. But this was different bad press. The rumor that our source had heard was that there was a kerfuffle because some people believed Cruise’s company, United Artists, had tweaked a photo of von Stauffenberg to heighten a postulated resemblance to Cruise.” (story) Tweaked or not (scroll down on that page to see the images)? Update (25 June): Here is an “explanation” for what happened, which, as it turns out, explains nothing. But hey, it sounds good!
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Jun 18

I sometimes get asked what kind of photography I like, and I don’t think there is a simple answer. However, there appears to be an underlying motif, in that I seem to prefer photography that asks questions instead of giving answers, photography that requires a little bit of an investment and that then repays whatever time is invested generously.
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Jun 18

“Leipzig’s Gallery of Contemporary Art (GfZK) is facing strong criticism for hosting a series of exhibitions which gives dealers, collectors and corporate art collections complete freedom to display their works as they wish. Chris Dercon, the director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, describes the initiative, entitled ‘Carte Blanche’, as ‘exactly the kind of thing that we do not need in public galleries’.” (story)
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Jun 18

Nadia Sablin’s photography from the former Soviet Union is a bit of a mixed bag, but well worth the visit.
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Jun 16

With both For art’s sake and What’s the big deal anyway? Daniëlle Van Ark portrays the contemporary art world, centered on galleries and art fairs.
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Jun 13

Sure, I could post some poetry today or a quote, but instead I’ll hereby declare this Friday (and maybe all coming Fridays should I remember this) to be “Throw Out That Art! Day” (I can’t tell whether this is incredibly highbrow or amazingly lowbrow), starting with a smattering of stories I just found here: Chris Evans, the BBC Radio Two disc jockey, has accidentally thrown out a piece of artwork by Damien Hirst, and not just any piece, but one of his own: “Evans, 42, made the admission on his evening drive- time show, saying the print - worth thousands of pounds - was now lying in a charity shop waiting to be bought for a fraction of its true value. […] However, he did not seem to be worried about the potentially costly mistake, telling the story in fits of laughter.”
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Jun 13

I really don’t care much for soccer (or any other sport), but for those who just can’t get enough of the European Soccer Championship, there is Björn Allemann’s photography of Swiss soccer fields.
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Jun 12

It’s easier than ever to produce a photography book, and for those who want to try to turn their own photo book into $25,000 there’s Photography Book Now (with a 14 July 2008 deadline, and make sure to read the fine print).
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Jun 12

“On patrol near the Mississippi river one afternoon in November 1955, Lt RE Brown of the Arkansas State Police spotted a suspicious, ‘foreign-looking’ man driving down the highway in a battered old Ford and pulled him over. Unshaven and shabbily dressed, the man didn’t have proper ID and his car was full of maps, foreign books, a bottle of ‘foreign whisky’, and - most suspicious - fancy foreign cameras. Thinking he had caught a spy with ‘Communist affiliations’, Lt Brown arrested Robert Frank and threw him into jail for an interrogation that would last until midnight. […] What saved Frank’s skin - not to mention the many rolls of film the police wanted to confiscate - was a rolled-up copy of Fortune magazine, a red, white and blue pro-capitalist publication if ever there were one. Frank pointed to a feature story, explaining that the pictures on the page were his.” - story
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Jun 12

Yearly budget of the National Endowment for the Arts if latest budget increase makes it through Congress: US$160,000,000 Daily cost of the Iraq war (source): US$341,400,000
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Jun 12

Being an architect and a photographer, Chen Jiagang portrays a changing China - see his book “Forbidden City” here.
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Jun 11

Check out Anthony Blasko’s work!
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Jun 10

I’m a bit torn about Natasha Kaser’s Customs Of The Country, but I quite like Antiquities.
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Jun 10

Darius Himes just posted an extended conversation with Stephen Shore that is well worth the read.
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Jun 9

Signs is Peter Granser’s third book about a part of the US (after Sun City and Coney Island), this time focusing on Texas. According to the publisher’s description, Signs “draws a telling picture of life today in America. For it, Granser traveled 12,000 miles through the ‘republic’ of Texas. With keen and objective precision, he focuses in his color photographs on the plethora of relics and signs that proliferate across the landscape and provide us with insights into the strange and contradictory state of contemporary American identity.”
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Jun 9

“I used to think that more people making images would necessarily lead to more conscious image reception, but I’m less sure of that now. It seems that it’s possible to make images as unconsciously as one consumes them, bypassing the critical sense entirely. One of the main culprits here is time pollution, or “the pollution of temporal distance” that Paul Virilio writes about. To regain our liberty (and our distance), we must slow the images down.” - David Levi Strauss
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Jun 9

Peter Marshall makes a compelling case for backups of data files - a must-read especially for people who either think that backups are for cowards or who are too lazy to create a backup.
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Jun 9

Steffanie Halley’s portraiture focuses on young women. There are some unexpected gems in her portfolio, so make sure to look through all the photos.
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Jun 8

“When Barack Obama achieved his historic victory on Tuesday night, the battle was joined between two Americas. Not John Edwards’s two Americas, divided between rich and poor. Not the Americas split by race, gender, party or ideology. What looms instead is an epic showdown between two wildly different visions of the country, from the ground up. On one side stands Mr. Obama’s resolutely cheerful embrace of the future. His vision is inseparable from his identity, both as a rookie with a slim Washington résumé and as a black American whose triumph was regarded as improbable by voters of all races only months ago. On the other is John McCain’s promise of a wise warrior’s vigilant conservation of the past. His vision, too, is inseparable from his identity — as a government lifer who has spent his entire career in service, whether in the Navy or Washington.” - Frank Rich
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Jun 6

“Coming from five generations of Ku Klux Klan members, 58-year-old ‘Ms. Ruth’ sews hoods and robes for Klan members seven days a week, blessing each one when it’s done. A red satin outfit for an Exalted Cyclops, the head of a local chapter, costs about $140. She uses the earnings to help care for her 40-year-old quadriplegic daughter, ‘Lilbit,’ who was injured in a car accident 10 years ago.” - story
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Jun 6

“Bill Henson is free to continue his internationally renowned photographic career without risk of jail but yesterday’s decision by NSW police to abandon its case against the Melbourne artist has done nothing to bridge the bitter divide between those who support his work and others who believe it is child pornography. […] NSW Law Society president Hugh Macken said the Henson photographs did not offend the Crimes Act because they did not show children in a sexual context. ‘There was never any prospect that these photos would fit the definition of child pornography and the decision of the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] vindicates that position,’ Mr Macken said. ‘Nudity is not obscenity.’” - story (my emphasis)
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Jun 6

More portraiture, this time by Claudio Rasano.
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Jun 5

Gilda Davidian’s portfolio contains a whole bunch of very nice portraiture.
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Jun 5

“The German newspaper Die Tageszeitung has a reputation for leftist social sensitivity. All the more bizarre then was its choice of a cover to mark Obama’s victory in the race for the Democratic Party nomination: a photo of the White House under the headline ‘Uncle Barack’s Cabin.’” (story) What the fuck? Liebe taz-Redakteure, was ist denn das für eine Scheisse? Seid Ihr jetzt völlig durchgeknallt?
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Jun 4

I just came across the blog Verve Photo (“The New Breed of Documentary Photography”) - it features a lot of work that you might not necessarily find here, and it’s well worth the visit.
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Jun 4

Yet another new web magazine: 1000 Words Photography, which features a very nice variety of work in its first edition.
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Jun 4

Jake Rowland emailed me to tell me about his project Texas, New York City, which features photography and poetry. Well worth the visit!
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Jun 4

“Since 9/11, there has been an increasing war on photography. Photographers have been harrassed, questioned, detained, arrested or worse, and declared to be unwelcome. […] Clearly any terrorist is going to first photograph his target, so vigilance is required. Except that it’s nonsense. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. […] Given that real terrorists, and even wannabe terrorists, don’t seem to photograph anything, why is it such pervasive conventional wisdom that terrorists photograph their targets? Why are our fears so great that we have no choice but to be suspicious of any photographer?” - story
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Jun 4

I just came across Ben Handzo, and I really like his Youth Protection.
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Jun 3

What with the scandal around Bill Henson’s work in Australia, here is some news about something that is similar, except there’s more than one twist - and it might serve as a yardstick to measure what is art and what not: “Germany’s largest-circulation newspaper [note the word “newspaper” does not really mean newspaper in this context - JMC], the tabloid Bild, which routinely places nude photos of women on its front page, has admitted that it published a topless photo of a 13-year-old girl. On August 8, 2003, as part of a reader contest seeking the ‘hottest girl of summer,’ the newpaper [sic!] ran a topless photo of ‘Melanie from Leipzig.’ […] the paper ran the photograph next to a short text that read: ‘Hot Bitsy, this summer is becoming a catwalk for naked children. The sun is stroking our beautiful women in their birthday suits more beautifully than ever before. Melanie from Leipzig, too, just can’t keep her clothes on in this heat. Do your clothes slip off in this desert heat, too? BILD is seeking the hottest summer girl. Send us your beat the heat photos.’” (story)
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Jun 3

The new website Women in Photography launched today with its first post. Amy and Cara told me they’re still looking for more photographers to add, so there really is no excuse not send send them an email! Update (4 June): There’s a very nice interview with the co-creators of WiP here.
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Jun 3

Caroll Taveras’s portfolio contains some very nice projects, such as Monaco Circus, Colombia or Teenage Dancers.
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Jun 3

“I got an email the other day from a very angry and very disappointed individual […] asking, among other things: Why don’t you post any street photography? The short answer is…I don’t like most street photography. I’m sorry, I just don’t. This is not to say that I think street photography is bad, it’s simply my opinion that so much of this type of photography seems to only provide answers instead of questions” (source; my emphasis, because that’s exactly how I feel about “street photography”)
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Jun 2

One can’t help but notice some similarities between Janne Lehtinen’s work and that of Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison. Not sure what to make of all of this - the photography and the similarities…
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