Archives

August 2011

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Aug 31

“True West calls into question the seeming American fascination with the American West. […] Visually, the photographs in True West are images of images.” - Chris Toalson
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Aug 31

David Bate in his brilliantly concise book Photography- The Key Concepts allows the idea of ‘Postmodernism’ little more than 15 lines of text. Seemingly fed up with the cyclical debate around the troubled movement, Bate sums it up as the application of codes and conventions of commercial photography to current art photography. This combined with an influx of female artists opposing male domination within the arts at the end of the 1970’s seems to be enough for Bate to draw a line under this unending debate. However Bate is just one person, and there are vastly differing views on this dense and convoluted subject1. (more)
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Aug 30

Ignacio Torres’s Stellar uses animated gifs, and I’m really liking it. I’ve often wondered when I’d see animated gifs put to good use. (note the animated gif will not work on the main page of this website, open the post to see it; via)
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Aug 30

This is an image from Mette Frandsen’s Sin City, which pulls no punches.
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Aug 30

The newly launched online photography magazine timemachine is off to a good start with its first issue, “Home.” Check it out!
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Aug 29

Have a peek at Gaddafi’s family album, found by Tyler Hicks (Gaddafi? Kadafi? Qaddafi?).
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Aug 29

Ai Weiwei, earlier this year “detained” by Chinese authorities and then released, has written a piece about Beijing and his experience: “This city is not about other people or buildings or streets but about your mental structure. If we remember what Kafka writes about his Castle, we get a sense of it. Cities really are mental conditions. Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare.”
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Aug 29

For those loving photographs that have old cars in them, here is Mateo Pérez Correa’s version: Terrarium.
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Aug 26

There are different approaches to Roman Bezjak’s Socialist Modernism. One can focus on the truly outrageous (here is an example) and then come to all kinds of conclusions about Socialism. Or one can focus on that which looks not quite so different from what you might find next door (many West German cities did - and still do - in fact look like this, and this building immediately reminded me a little bit of Boston City Hall) and wonder what is to be learned from that. (more)
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Aug 26

This week’s photobook presentations: Hiroshima by Ishiuchi Miyako, Riley and His Story by Monica Haller, Photographs by Fred Herzog, South Central by Mark Steinmetz, and Surfaces, Depths by Thomas Ruff.
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Aug 25

Parents of teenager sue fashion photographer. I don’t want to comment on those photographs in question, and I also don’t want to comment on parents who allow their underage child to be photographed that way. You can come to your own conclusions. But it’s pretty obvious that having a model release is a good idea.
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Aug 25

About 33 Horizons, Damien Sivier writes “soon after arriving in Switzerland, the idea of a country enclosed within Europe, without any direct access to the sea, was intriguing me. I wanted then to build a catalogue of landscapes evoking this feeling of isolation. […] However, it became soon evident that there was a discrepancy between what I actually photographed and what I initially foresaw.”
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Aug 24

Pete Brook is taking his blog/project Prison Photography on the road. For a 12-week road trip, during which he will meet up with photographers and journalists who have covered prisons, he is looking for financial support via Kickstarter. Head right over either to the post over at Prison Photography or to the Kickstarter page to find out more.
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Aug 23

Nils Orth’s Untitled Faces aren’t particularly flattering images, but regardless they’re quite compelling, rubbing against many photographic conventions.
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Aug 23

Blake Andrews just published a post, writing “reinterpretation threatens to overtake generation as the dominant creative act in photography.” Should we be worried? I don’t think so. Looking over the many, many submissions for the Conscientious Portfolio Competition this year, only a miniscule fraction - a handful maybe - involved reinterpretation. The rest - the vast majority: Plain “good old” photography. Of course, that might mean very little. But I think if somehow reinterpretation was about to overtake generation as the dominant mode in photography I would see many more submissions based on albums, old photos, or screen shots of webcams or Google Street View. (more)
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Aug 22

In a couple of recent posts, Pete Brook addresses what I think is the key issue of all Google Street View (GSV) work: Authorship. The first post, Navigating the Puzzle of Google Street View ‘Authorship’ investigates two recent project, which has a curious overlap of imagery. Perhaps not surprisingly, both Jon Rafman and Michael Wolf consider the images in question “completely different images, altered by their own hand.” (more; updated below)
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Aug 22

Chloe Borkett’s East of the River portrays “teenagers growing up in the frozen conflict zone and unrecognised country of Prenostrovie Rupublica Moldova”. (via)
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Aug 19

What is the appeal of the Polaroid photograph? The more you think about it, the more it becomes obvious that its appeal derives from what you could call its aura: We treasure these photographs not for what they are, but for what we make of them. Polaroid photographs are one-of-a-kind (let’s ignore those processes where there is a negative), and they typically are not very good photographs in a strictly technical sense: The colours tend to be off, they’re often slightly hazy, and many of them suffer from the various artifacts that can happen when the image doesn’t develop properly. But all of these properties, which most of us would happily reject for other types of photography (excluding, perhaps, those few artists who work with artifacts), for a Polaroid are taken as genuine strengths. (more)
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Aug 19

Being able to do extended conversations with photographers has always been one of the best parts of producing Conscientious. Some of these conversations are now coming to a bookshelf near (or even next to) you: The first volume of Conversations With Photographers is now available. The book contains conversations from this site plus exclusive follow-up interviews that are only going to be available in print (a total of five interviews). This first volume contains conversations with Brian Ulrich, Hellen van Meene, and Christopher Anderson. Find all the details and information on how to order the book here.
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Aug 19

This week’s photobook presentations are: 101 Billionaires (2nd ed.) by Rob Hornstra, One Mississippi (One Picture Book) by Alec Soth, The Polaroids by Sibylle Bergemann, Italia (One Picture Book) by Mark Steinmetz, The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings by Kaylynn Deveney.
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Aug 18

Donn Zaretsky reports: “Janine Gordon’s copyright infringement suit against Ryan McGinley has been dismissed on grounds of ‘utter lack of similarity.’” Update (19 August 2011): More
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Aug 18

This is an image from Richard Higginbottom’s Vivarium. I don’t want to give too much away about it, so look at the whole series on Richard’s website.
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Aug 18

A woman silhouetted in black and framed by an inferno of orange leaps from a second story window towards the arms of waiting riot police. As I write, this image adorns the pages of our British press. In print and on screen, this soon to be iconic image -like the scene it depicts- is burning itself into our collective memory. (more)
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Aug 17

Here is a crazy (or maybe not so crazy) thought I had the other day, sitting in a crit, listening to somebody talking about “the other”: As photographers, we love to think of ourselves as being incredibly aware of that problem. We love to think that if there’s one thing we need to avoid it is to picture someone or a group as “the other”. And there are very good reasons for that. The thought I had: We’re still doing it, though. There still is “the other” in photography. Politically correct as we are, the way a group is turned into “the other” has changed, though. Instead of us treating a group as “the other” and thus separating them from our own group it now works the other way around: There are those who for whatever reason decide they don’t want to be part of our group, and it is those groups that we can - and in fact happily will - depict as the other. As someone pointed out to me, the currently most prominent such group might be the (US) Tea Party, whose resentment-based politics makes them a pretty easy and simple target. Unlike in the case of the earlier other - where “the other” had no say in being excluded - exclusion now works to cement the view points of both sides: The Tea Party sees the way it is being treated photographically as confirmation of their ideas, whereas we get photographic confirmation that they’re crazy (see, for example, the kerfuffle around the latest Michelle Bachman cover).
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Aug 17

Benjamin Lowy’s new book Iraq | Perspectives is due to be released later this year. Given photojournalism has been in the news (again) recently, I approached Ben to talk about his book, his work in general, and about photojournalism. Find the full piece here.
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Aug 16

Alnis Stakle’s Ilgas portrays a remote study basis of a Latvian university (via).
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Aug 15

“Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures ‘with no apparent esthetic value’ is within Long Beach Police Department policy.” (full story, via)
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Aug 15

More about the Swiss Alps: Vanessa Püntener’s Alp.
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Aug 15

The deadline for this year’s Conscientious Portfolio Competition is approaching: 21 August 2011. If you haven’t submitted work but are planning to do so now is the time!
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Aug 12

It’s my last week of teaching, next week this blog will resume its regular programming with articles and book reviews. Meanwhile, there are new photobook presentations for you to watch (if you haven’t seen them already), they are: Photobook Award 2011 (the Kassel catalogue), Naked City by Weegee, Good Luck by Christine Otten and Erik Kessels, One to Nothing by Irina Rozovsky, and Nothing Personal by Richard Avedon and James Baldwin. Note these links all go to my Google+ page, but you don’t have to have a Google+ account to watch. If you want to stay away from Google+, everything is also easily accessible via my YouTube channel.
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Aug 11

Ciudad de los Reyes by Carlos Jiménez Cahua portrays the outskirts of Lima, Peru.
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Aug 10

I found Amhad Hosni’s Go Down, Moses, a project about tourism in the South­ern Sinai, via Mrs. Deane. The only thing I’m not so crazy about is the presentation - Issuu really makes for an incredibly unattractive way to look at photography online.
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Aug 9

“In the series Tehran Remixed Amirali Ghasemi shows young urban Iranians socializing, their faces and other areas of exposed skin blanked out to protect their identities. The social activities depicted seem as though they could be happening in any city around the world. Yet the fact that the identities of the participants in these seemingly ordinary acts must be so starkly concealed underscores how specific the situation is to Iran.” (source)
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Aug 8

Anoek Steketee’s Dreamcity portrays amusement/theme parks all over the world (incl. some unexpected locations).
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Aug 5

Since I’m busy teaching this (and next) week, there’ll be no photobook review. However, there are some new photobook presentations to watch (if you haven’t seen them already). They are: Sweet Nothings by Vanessa Winship, Models by Michael Schäfer, and Come Bury Me by Andrej Krementschouk.
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Aug 4

This is an image from Kosuke Oka­hara’s multi-year photography project about self-inflicted injuries by young Japanese women.
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Aug 3

I don’t know whether Liverpool by Eric Meier is most necessarily his most representative work, but it simply interests me the most.
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Aug 2

Bigi Möhrle’s Alp - about a farm, making cheese, in the Alps - is almost a bit too idyllic. Beautiful. (via)
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Aug 1

This is an image from Eva Vermandel’s lovely series Splinter.
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