Archives

February 2009

SELECT A MONTH:

Feb 27

Everybody knows the first (and final) part of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, but what about the rest? Well, here we go. This is Jean-Pierre Ponnelle 1975 film version, which, depending on your point of view, is either überkitsch, total trash, or art house (or maybe all at the same time). If you want to hear what this piece was supposed to sound like you can find a great recording here (overseen by the composer himself, and very percussion heavy).
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Feb 27

“I am photographing the tourist towns that accompany the natural beauty of The Great Smoky Mountains. The most notable of the towns are Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in Tennessee and Cherokee in North Carolina. The pure spectacle of the towns brimming with shopping, all-you-can-eat buffets, and pure entertainment, stop some visitors from even seeing the nature up close and unmediated. The attractions fascinate me as they speak to our deepest desires, like being close to wild animals and being transported to new fantastic places for escape. I am also interested in capturing the symbols of the area, like Dolly Parton, bears, and Indians.” - Tammy Mercure about her project Big Rock Candy Mountain
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Feb 26

Yale University’s “Rudolph building, designed and constructed from 1958 to 1963, shares a vertiginous history with another important mid-20th-century landmark, Boston’s City Hall, a competition-winning design by Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles also built in the 1960s. Initially celebrated and subsequently reviled, both buildings are in the same Brutalist style. The name Brutalism — from the French béton brut, the raw concrete used by Le Corbusier and favored by modernists — is more commonly used today as a term of opprobrium by a public that profoundly dislikes the style’s rough textures and powerful forms.” - story
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Feb 26

I have recently started to focus looking at contemporary landscapes, and Andrew Lacon’s Excavations Past contains quite a few that I like a lot.
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Feb 25

Found at Asian Photography Blog: The art work of Hong Hao (“One of Hong Hao’s best known photographic series, “My Things”, opened up a new realm of personal expression for the artist. The photographs are composed of thousands of scanned images of objects from his own life. These commonplace things are arranged by the artist using a computer.”)
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Feb 25

A little while ago, the folks over at DLK Collection posted Comment, Curate and Promote: The Art Blog Triangle, which placed art and photo blogs into a triangle with the corners “Comment”, “Curate”, and “Promote”. A blog dedicated entirely to “Promote”, for example, would thus be placed in that corner; one with 50% “Curate” and 50% “Promote” would find itself right in the center of the line that connects those two corners etc. Reading the triangle takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the basic principle it’s quite instructive. (Here is a description of how this kind of diagram works)
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Feb 25

Jon Edwards’ A Way of Being combines some of my favourite “classic” b/w photography with a contemporary outlook. (Thanks, Juli!)
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Feb 25

I was not going to comment on this article (or this article), but I started to change my mind when a friend called me and told me that Annie Leibovitz pawning of her work to get some millions was a sure sign that photographers were in trouble, given the economy and all. I will not deny that the state of the economy has an effect on photography. However, since most photographers are not involved in, for example, lawsuits claiming “$778,000 for photography-related services” (just as an aside, imagine for a second those $778,000 being handed out to “emerging” photographers instead of being used to create extremely kitschy ads!) I don’t think Annie Leibovitz’s troubles can be easily translated into what her financial problems mean for the rest of us.
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Feb 24

Via Feature Shoot I found Christopher LaMarca’s wonderful Forest Defenders.
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Feb 24

James Luckett on how to get the most out of Blurb
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Feb 24

Here I am, wondering whether Twitter and other online services actually trigger attention deficit disorder, and the very next day, I find this article, in which a British scientist warns that “Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity”.
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Feb 24

“Moldavia is a main source for Eastern European sex slaves. Dana Popa photographed a shelter there for women who had been freed from their ‘handlers’ and returned to their country. Popa wanted to record how these women live in secret with a ‘broken soul’: they cannot tell their mother or husband what happened to them, for fear of being thrown out on the street.” (source) Also see this page and listen to her talk about the work here.
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Feb 23

“With Wall Street in self-inflicted ruin it might seem ridiculous to argue that the art market is less ethical than the stock market. Yet that was the position taken last month by art dealers Richard Feigen, Michael Hue-Williams and collector Adam Lindemann in a debate […] They faced artist Chuck Close, critic Jerry Saltz, and auctioneer Amy Cappellazzo, who defended the integrity of the salesroom and the art world in general. This pro-art market team was trounced. […] Here is one losing debater’s perspective on the defeat.” (story)
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Feb 23

Richard Renaldi at Jackson Fine Art from Art Relish on Vimeo (found here)
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Feb 23

Rob linked to this piece written by Jonathan Rosenberg of Google.
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Feb 23

Tierney Gearon has moved away from photographs of her children (which, a while ago, caused a major kerfuffle in Britain). Her new work - which has caused some excitement online (see James’ and Liz’s reactions) - is made doing multiple exposures in camera. (updated entry)
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Feb 23

While some of Christian Houge’s work might be considered to be a bit on the decorative side, Barentsburg is quite noteworthy. (updated entry)
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Feb 22

My friend Robert Lyons sent me the link to this “video” podcast, in which Richard Benson talks about his printing process.
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Feb 22

Melanie McWhorter just published a post in which she mentions a detail of a talk Alec Soth gave in New Mexico: “At one point, he said that one fellow Magnum photographer, who I will not mention here, viewed his work as mean-spirited. He left this description with very little detail in the beginning, but when he reached a particular image, he said this is the one that sparked the comment.”
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Feb 20

I was looking for something entirely different, but then I came across this…
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Feb 20

“The subjects of my personal work are the kind of people that I was raised by and have come to admire. People who expect little, for whom nothing comes easy, and are doing their best to make their way through life. In each person I photograph there exists something that I recognize as a part of myself.” - Mike Peters
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Feb 20

Graphic made by Mike Rosulek (and found here)
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Feb 20

Marc Baruth’s “The Prodigal Son” (“staged landscapes based on the wok of Peter Paul Rubens”) immediately brings Beate Gütschow’s work to mind.
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Feb 19

Somebody shares this blogger’s disdain for soulless concrete architecture: “Le Corbusier will do for me. This vain, mercurial megalith of Modernism wouldn’t have given the average architect a glance. Only a fool would attempt to emulate his work. Thousands have - the public calls it ‘Modern Architecture’, a concrete desert where simple souls bend to an architect’s arrogant will.” - story
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Feb 19

The “Opinion” pages of the Wall Street Journal are well known for its usually extreme tilt to the right, but this article (which I found here) is very noteworthy: “The arts are going to need a better strategy. And in the end it’s going to have to come from art itself, from the benefits art brings, in a world where popular culture — which has gotten smart and serious — also helps bring depth and meaning to our lives.” (my emphasis)
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Feb 19

This German website with photos of soccer stadiums is positioned somewhere between “useful photography”, “typologies”, and, possibly, much more. Some of the photography is surprisingly good, and if you’re into this kind if stuff check it out. Of course, there’s also Hans van der Meer’s ‘The Landscape of Lower League Football’, which you could compare it with.
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Feb 19

Susanne Katzenberg’s portfolio contains a variety of projects, which are all quite different, so picking one image was tricky.
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Feb 18

The New York Times catches up with the blogosphere (see my earlier post). I just love this: “Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, said in a blog post on Monday that the philosophy ‘that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant.’ Despite the complaints, he did not indicate the language would be revised.” So basically he’s saying that people own their information and control who they share it with, except that they don’t, and Facebook won’t change a thing. Nice! If you live in Germany, however, the law is on your side (see this article). Here’s another good post about this mess. (Updated below)
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Feb 18

Lotte Reimann’s website is pretty bare bones, so it’s hard (if not impossible) to tell what they series are about; but the work is quite interesting.
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Feb 18

If you find yourself with too much free time on your hands, instead of spending it with your imaginary Facebook friends why don’t you head over to Galaxy Zoo and participate in some actual scientific research?
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Feb 17

My friend Mark told me about Mark Steinmetz’s South. As much as I wish it was in colour, it’s still outstanding work (as is South Central).
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Feb 17

With so many people - especially from the right - railing against government funding for artists, here’s another way to think about it. Without the US government giving money to photographers to document life during the Great Depression, this iconic photograph, one of the most important and famous photographs ever to be taken in the United States, would not have come into existence (see details of the photo shoot here), and the same is true for many other, lesser known examples from that era.
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Feb 17

Réjouissante Madone calls French blog Zoum Zoum Katharina Bosse’s work on motherhood (NSFW, btw). Not everybody agrees, though. After seeing the work presented in German photo magazine Photonews, Rolf Nobel, professor of photojournalism, writes a letter to the editor (which is so 20th Century!), declaring the work to be irrelevant and a calculated provocation (my translation of the German words; his position is mentioned in this post). Unfortunately, none of the Photonews kerfuffle is online (it’s Germany, after all), but Nobel’s letter caused a whole string of follow-up ripostes and defenses (letters to the editor again). Regardless of whether you agree with Herr Prof. Nobel or not, it’s a bold move, isn’t it? When is the last time you saw someone willing to call an artist’s work “irrelevant and a calculated provocation” in public (and no, anonymous cranks in comments or online discussions don’t count)?
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Feb 17

I’m sure you’ve seen Hosang Park’s “A Square” at BLDGBLOG. “Square”, of course, is very similar to Andreas Gefeller’s work, with the differences given by the slightly different approaches. In any case, I also like Park’s “Common Place”.
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Feb 16

It’s hard to pick a representative image of Philippe Herbet’s projects, since they each combine so many different styles. (Thanks, Toby!)
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Feb 16

I don’t quite know what to make of The Boom Is Over. Long Live the Art!, which you might have read already. From what I’ve seen and heard so far it looks like the kind of article that provides almost everybody with something, so it’s likely we’ll see many more interpretations. I’ll spare you mine.
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Feb 16

Before I started compiling this blog, I was reading other people’s blogs for a while, and the one blog that inspired me the most was James Luckett’s consumptive. Since then, consumptive changed shape occasionally; and now James has a Blurb book out.
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Feb 16

I first saw Roger Cremers’ Auschwitz tourism photos on Prison Photography, and after he won some World Press Photo (WPP) category Mrs Deane featured this body of work. The series is not all about people taking photographs, but I do see an echo of what I mentioned here in this work.
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Feb 16

I’ve been compiling this blog for more than six years now, and I’ve seen many blogs come and almost as many go. In particular, the one thing I learned is that many blogs are started and then, after a certain period of time (it’s usually around three or four weeks) there are fewer and fewer posts, and eventually the blog falls silent. So I have a very simple rule for when to link to other blogs: I’ll follow new blogs in my rss reader, and if they’re still around after four weeks or so (or if they continue posting beyond the initial few posts) I’ll link to them. It’s as simple as that.
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Feb 14

“An attempt by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to eliminate all arts and museum funding from the [stimulus] bill was defeated. Ironically, Sen. Coburn is the father of the outstanding young soprano Sarah Coburn, who has appeared many times at opera houses supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Last year the younger Coburn went home to Oklahoma to sing in Lakmé at the Tulsa Opera - a production made possible in part by a $15,000 grant from the NEA.” - Alex Ross
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Feb 13

I like Alain Cornu’s photography at the sea and in the forest.
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Feb 13

A casino or other gambling establishment, an aquarium, a zoo, a golf course, a swimming pool, a stadium, a community park, a museum, a theater, an arts center, or a highway-beautification project. Any ideas? Tough one, isn’t it? Not if you’re a politician! Have a look.
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Feb 13

I know nothing about this music… (Updated below)
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Feb 12

Vietnamese artist Binh Danh’s work has centered on the Cambodian genocide, using mostly “alternative” photographic techniques, incl. using plants. I’m a bit torn about the work, but it’s interesting to see this different approach to the subject matter.
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Feb 11

A couple more brand-new photo magazines to mention: Ahorn Magazine by Daniel Augschoell and Anya Jasbar. Plus David Alan Harvey’s Burn Magazine, which also comes with a $10,000 grant (no, that’s no typo). Those who want to stick with good old paper, can now order Lay Flat by Shane Lavalette.
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Feb 11

The Sonic Blog today featured the work of Mona Simon whose intensely beautiful “Transylvania” is not to be missed.
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Feb 11

… of what’s going on as far as Sheperd Fairey and his Obama poster are concerned. It has become a true Frankenstory as James Danziger called it, with a counter law suit and people scrambling to fire up Photoshop again. However, you do not want to miss this interview with Milton Glaser (which I found here).
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Feb 10

Satomi Shirai’s photography deals with the expatriate’s experience, with two vastly different, clashing worlds, Tokyo and New York City.
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Feb 9

“I’m always somewhat surprised that there are not more artists reacting to environmental conditions. Perhaps it’s from spending so much time among students, perhaps it’s the latent and fizzling art market that plucked hipsters from bars and placed them on art fair stages, but it still seems so many young artists are still concerned primarily in their work with the self […] Yesterday I received an email from a magazine editor looking for images that addresses the current foreclosure and economic problems, specifically boarded up homes, streets full of for sale signs, etc… […] I couldn’t help but wonder where are all the great photographers who are addressing this subject? […] Since last spring I’ve been photographing much of the retail end of the economy downtown for a new project […] In doing so much research I’ve come across a few others who share some of the same subject and concern, and certainly many Flickr examples. But the few I’ve come across pale in comparison to the number of ‘drunken party pictures’, ‘ambiguous ambiguity’ or the ‘pretty portraits of pretty people’ projects. […] I simply can’t help but wonder when a topic so large looms in front of young artists why not the desire to address it through their work? Is the self still so important? Will it really be how we remember the beginning of the 21st century?” - Brian Ulrich
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Feb 9

There’s an interview with Seba Kurtis over at Zoum Zoum, which contains a lot of background of the work.
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Feb 9

“For the last three summers I have been documenting small towns and communities in the hinterland regions of Western Canada.” - Thomas Gardiner
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Feb 9

“I think the market will become more consolidated, more serious, and the people who remain will do so because they truly love and want to support art. Collectors are defying the conventional wisdom that you shouldn’t buy art in difficult times. For them, this is exactly the time to buy. It’s a commitment test. If you’re in it now, you’re not in it for the money.” - Marc Spiegler
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Feb 9

“All the money I had squirreled away to pay my future taxes and something for Mr and Mrs Norfolk’s old age has disappeared in a bizarre Icelandic banking collapse. So my prognosis about the economy over the next 5-10 years is not very optimistic, I’m afraid. […] So my predictions for the future? […] Soon we’ll all be amateur photographers with real money-making jobs on the side that we don’t tell our colleagues about. We need to get over the snobbery attached to that.” - Simon Norfolk
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Feb 8

“Through a family friend, I was introduced to a network of people in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia who have responded to environmental concerns and predictions of societal collapse by moving to the wilderness. Most of my subjects live off-the-grid, build their homes from local materials, obtain their water from nearby streams and hunt, gather or grow their own food. I am intrigued by their desire for self-sufficiency and by the complexity of their relationship with the natural world.” - Lucas Foglia
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Feb 6

This is probably the shortest review I have ever written (and will ever write), so here we go: Reading Dalton Conley’s Elsewhere, U.S.A.: How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety is a bit like going to a concert to experience Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and then hearing the finale (that’s a shockingly good interpretation btw) replaced by a rendering of Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead! It’s a great book, but do yourself a favour and don’t read the “Conclusions”.
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Feb 6

The number of photography books published every year has witnessed a steady growth. Books themselves (at least some of them) have become collectible items. Since most photography books are published in rather small editions - a couple thousand or so - many photography books are sold out and are only available second hand, often for staggering sums of money. While this is good news for people interested in assembling a valuable collection, it’s bad news for people whose sole focus in on the photography and not so much on the value of a book. For example, I have been looking to get this book, but I clearly can’t afford to spend that kind of money.
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Feb 6

This is public art we can believe in: A gigantic, moving spider - The Big Picture has plenty of images; find some more here.
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Feb 6

I came across Rena Effendi’s work via Richard Renaldi’s blog. I am extremely impressed with her work covering the 2008 war in Georgia, which easily surpasses all the other photography from that conflict I’ve seen.
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Feb 6

Found via C-Monster.net, which linked to this blog post: “Most well known for his “Obey Giant” street posters, Shepard Fairey has carefully nurtured a reputation as a heroic guerilla street artist waging a one man campaign against the corporate powers-that-be. Infantile posturing aside, Fairey’s art is problematic for another, more troubling reason - that of plagiarism.” (story; emphasis in the original). The plagiarism claim is hardly new (and Fairey is not the only such case), but unlike many other articles, Obey Plagiarist Shepard Fairey (can you tell how giddy the author must have been after finding that caption?) provides many examples. Of course, in the end you can still disagree with the claim that Shepard Fairey is plagiarizing, but at least you got something to chew on. (Updated - twice - below)
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Feb 6

I don’t think I ever mentioned Purpose, the web-based magazine from France, on this blog. So it’s about time I did. They have just published their latest issue - check it out!
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Feb 5

Concerning the discussion about Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster (did he or did he not plagiarize earlier work and/or did he violate somebody else’s copyright): The chickens are clearly coming home to roost. After all, we are still missing meaningful discussions about how new art can relate to earlier art (and by that I do not mean rants about somebody “ripping off” somebody else or rants about how artists can do anything they want), we are still missing meaningful discussions about art and money (if an “underground” artist suddenly can make some money is that so bad - is s/he “selling out”?), and we have allowed people to pretty much reduce the issue of copyright to purely commercial aspects (with corporations, most famously Disney, at the forefront of how copyright should be defined).
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Feb 5

This post continues my lose thread of posts on portfolio reviews. Just like in the first part, I got input from a variety of people. If there are further contributions, I’ll add them here. I’m also going to have an (upcoming) post with input from the photographers’ side (for that post, I need “data” - so send me something, sticking to the format used below and in the first post!).
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Feb 5

Via The Sonic Blog I found Rafal Milach’s spectacular project “Young Russia”.
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Feb 4

I have always been under the impression that while there is a shortage of critical discussions of photography in the blogosphere, which is too bad, since the blog is an ideal medium/format for discussions of photography. So I was extremely happy to find Dissing Disfarmer on Evan Mirapaul’s blog - something to agree or disagree with.
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Feb 4

I’ve been wanting to link to Stefan Ruiz’s website for a while now, but it was down or rather “under reconstruction” (or whatever it said). But now it’s back up. So have a look at his work.
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Feb 3

“Here are a few things that we are thinking and planning: 1.) There will be less great material at auction this year and prices will be meaningfully softer across the board. […] 2.) There will be two primary strategies that will be favored by most collectors: flight to quality and focus on emerging artists. […] 3.) We’re going to buy more photo books. […] 4.) Gallery owners and artists/estates will be in need of our support.” - full post
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Feb 3

“At the Gagosian Gallery on West 21st Street, Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto’s exhibition, which opened on Nov. 6, 2008, has been extended through March 7. The prices of some of his meditative seascapes have been reduced from $450,000 to $360,000, with plenty still available, the gallery said.” (story)
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Feb 3

There is a lot of interesting photography in Helga Härenstam’s portfolio.
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Feb 3

I have the feeling that for some people, Lee Gainer’s work might be a bit too conceptual, but I think the site is well worth the visit, especially the projects at the top of the list. Make sure to read the statements.
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Feb 2

Richard Nicholson is neither the first nor the only photographer to document darkrooms, but I like how he decided to show them (thanks, Mark!).
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Feb 2

Cute Overload might be the most popular site that exists because people send in their own photographs so that they can appear on the site. How many people have had a look at the “terms and conditions”, though?
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Feb 2

I don’t know what Kim Boske’s In Progress is about, but I find the layering of the images (a visual “remix”?) intriguing.
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Feb 2

New York City certainly knows about its priorities: With the city plastered with advertizements - they even project ads onto the walls of the subway tunnels so you can watch an ad while you’re trying not to look at the ads inside the trains - somebody who physically cuts up ad posters to turn them into something else certainly is not welcome: “Last night before a benefit he was scheduled to participate in at a loft in Soho, the street artist known as Poster Boy was arrested by an undercover cop.” (story)
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