Category Archives: 1000 Words Photography Magazine Blog

London Art Fair 2 for 1 ticket offer

London Art Fair is one of the UK’s premier destinations for modern British and contemporary art, bringing together 129 leading galleries from the UK and overseas.

Alongside the main fair, two curated sections focus on younger galleries, new work and contemporary photography; Art Projects and Photo50. Photo50 is an exhibition of contemporary photography featuring fifty works, curated this year by Nick Hackworth, Director of the excellent Paradise Row gallery. Entitled, A Cyclical Poem, it will bring together the work of a number of British photojournalists and documentary photographers from the 1970s to the present day including Brian Griffin, Paul Hill, Sirrka-Lisa Kontinen, Dorothy Bohm, Marketa Luscakova and Chris Steele-Perkins. The exhibition is an elliptical meditation on the idea of historical change, instances separated by eras, of congruence and difference; it considers what has changed and what has stayed the same.

The fair keeps its doors open late on Thursday 17 January, providing you with the opportunity to look at the work by over 1,000 artists whilst enjoying complimentary drinks, talks and performances.

1000 Words readers can purchase 2 for 1 advanced tickets for this evening; just enter code LAF467 when booking to activate your discount. Offer valid until midnight 31 December 2012. Book here!

Archive of Modern Conflict @ Paris Photo 2012

A Cyanotype plant study. The world record parachute jump from 1932. Rooftops in St. Petersberg, Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. A West African king. Cumulus humiliis. An abstract composition. A Kominka dancer. An observatory. Another plant study. These are just a handful of the prints that were showcased in ‘Collected Shadows’ – a stunning exhibition from the Archive of Modern Conflict at this year’s Paris Photo.

Deftly assembled by curator Timothy Prus, the show was a gloriously eclectic jamboree that displayed all manner of photography’s styles, periods and ends. Spanning works from 1850 to the present day by both anonymous and name photographers including Gustave Le Gray, Robert Frank, Bertha Jaques, Josef Sudek and Willi Ruge, and arranged in sections according to themes of earth, fire, air, water and ether, ‘Collected Shadows’ was richly satisfying and undoubtedly the most talked about booth at the fair.

Below is a video interview (produced by The Art Newspaper), the first half of which features Prus discussing how the archive has grown and the ideas behind the installation. It’s a revealing, albeit brief, insight into the quirky mind of the collector known for his penchant for photographic oddities of the past. He is clearly as fascinated by the magic of photography as he is by the mysteries of life. After all, the collecting style is freighted with an acute awareness of the tendency for people to crow over the misery of others and the role images play within that.
The jewel in the crown of the exhibition was the new Bruce Gilden portraits, odd-looking sitters shot mostly on Brick Lane in London, that were hung on the outer wall of the booth. Each photograph was ingeniously paired alongside a historical work such as a wax-paper negative from 1858 showing the garden of a private house in Tehran, for example. Both images on their own were extraordinary, but their combination proved an intoxicating mix.

For those wishing to discover more, the Archive of Modern Conflict has an online shop for its books where you can browse titles from the likes of Stephen Gill and Larry Towell as well as their own fabulous journals. The latest, issue 4, comprises photographs from ‘Collected Shadows’. Check out the slideshow of sample images here.

MacdonaldStrand

All images © MacdonaldStrand

Brad Feuerhelm considers the participatory aspects and iconic violence in Most Popular of All Time, a new book by MacdonaldStrand.

Having picked up the latest self-published title from husband and wife team MacdonaldStrand (Clare Strand and Gordon Macdonald), I have come away with a greater sense of what photographic practice can bring about when disseminated through the line of the pencil, darkly. As photography becomes more and more synonymous with that of conceptual art practice, the mantra of the iconic within the medium begins to permeate a greater need for understanding for our own associations with images that take on a totemic value. A photograph with ‘iconic status’ is an instantly recognised yet sometimes little understood visual cadence that explodes across the world in daily consummation of news and media alike. How do we recognise, process, receive, and finally retransmit its symbolic value over time? How do we train our minds to adhere to a group formula for understanding these visual markers of progress and detriment? And finally, how to we reinterpret this material and send it back out into the world to promote its niche capacity for several understandings within the visual language of the time – past, present, and future?
The works contained within the superb Most Popular of All Time invoke such questions. The project results from an online survey conducted by the artist/curator duo, whereby users were asked to name their most iconic images. These photographs have become so ubiquitous that it is hard to see their content and they have become detached from their context.From the information gathered, MacdonaldStrand took the resulting images and reduced them to line drawings with ‘connect-the-dot’ numbered points. Left half-finished, the image is then to be completed by the further drawing on the part of the viewer.
All colour is drained, all traces of photographic grey scale removed. It is a simple yet effective conceit to reduce photography to that of line, but also embedded within the work is the ability to promote the ‘punctum’ of its iconic status with a participatory function – it brings the viewer into a complicit rendering of line and photographic management of iconic status.
Within the works selected for re-purposing are Eddie Adams famous ‘execution’ image and Richard Drew’s Falling Man. These pictures in and of themselves capture very difficult conditions of humanity and the role of observer within. The majority of the images displayed are of a horrific base and coalesce our need to exult difficult imagery into that of lore and legend, that of description and representation which is often fraught with a tension not found in other mediums. In short, they are epic tales of pleasure and pain, ecstasy and absence.
Yet representation is not the exclusive aim within the book nor the works themselves, but rather they evoke a need to understand how we as a collective society enable these icons caught on film (or file) and how we redistribute their meaning and function as the photograph itself. The structures of violence, the poignantly horrific, and the sometimes misunderstood signifiers of our collective photographic imagination delineated by the direct act of hand on paper.
The works are also available for an incredibly economic rate, which is also clever given the material. I have purchased all images within the show for less than £100. But in doing so I understand what exactly it is I am enabling. MacdonaldStrand have chosen a crafty and intelligent way to examine and exclude some of the icons of photography through something as commonplace as a pencil. Time and the flow of chaos have been reduced to the materially manageable. 

Brad Feuerhelm

The future of photography

It’s been at least six months since an institution posed the modest question, what is the future of photography? so here is the latest manifestation of that discourse. During Unseen 2012, the Friday afternoon panel discussion ‘Future of Photography’ examined ‘what’s next’ in the contemporary photography landscape. Panel discussions members included Marc Feustel (Eyecurious blog), Simon Baker (Curator of Photography and International Art, Tate), James Reid (Director of Photography at Wallpaper), Christine Ollier (Artistic Director of Galerie les Filles du Calvaire), Francois Hébel (Director of Les Rencontres d’Arles Festival). The discussion was moderated by Marcel Feil, Artistic Director of FOAM.

In all seriousness, it’s a highly engaging and enjoyable video, particularly the section that flags up work from the new generation of photographic artists who are making waves (think Dru Donovan, Asger Carlsen, Letha Wilson, Akiko Takizawa to name but a few) and serves to highlight the many and various directions in which the medium is headed. If you want to read a summary of the issues that came to the fore before watching click here.

Cindy Sherman

What is there to say about queen bee Cindy Sherman? For 30 years she has starred in all of her photographs and yet they reveal nothing about her. For they are anything but self-portraits. Rather, her collection of pictures toss a molotov cocktail through the stained-glass window of photographic truth.

We recently happened upon this rare interview with Cindy Sherman, produced by Art21. In it she reveals how dressing up in character began as a kind of performance and evolved into her earliest photographic series such as Bus Riders (1976), Untitled Film Stills (1977-80), and the untitled rear screen projections (1980).

Through her myriad of guises, metamorphosing from a busty Marilyn Monroe to a cowgirl to a forlorn clown, she examines issues about gender, identity and power. Often with the simplest of means – a camera, a wig, makeup, location, an outfit – but always freighted with self-reflexive irony, Sherman chosen heroines pursue this with overt anarchy energy presenting ambiguous but memorable characters that suggest complex social and cultural realities lived out beyond the frame. SEO Experts search engine marketing . Having developed an aesthetic and artistic language of their own, they interrogate public images, from kitsch (film stills and centerfolds) to art history (Old Masters and Surrealism) to green-screen technology and the latest advances in digital photography.

But of course that’s not the only advance she has made. Sherman’s Untitled #96 from 1981 – more commonly referred to as ‘Orange Sweater’ – passed all records for photography, and was sold for $3.89 million in Spring this year. According to Art Info, the buyer was New York dealer Philippe Segalot, and the underbidder was Per Skarstedt, also a New York dealer. Christie’s confirmed that this was a record for a photograph at auction, previously held by Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent II Diptychon, which fetched $3.35 million in 2006. Sherman recently had another high profile sale, with her work Untitled #153, from 1985 reaching $2.7 million in late 2010. Needless to say, the price of a photograph should never be the measure of value but nobody can deny her stature and influence on the medium, the esteem with which she is held by critics and curators, and the prestigious collections that contain her work.

Below is another video, this time comprising a panel discussion on the occasion of her retrospective survey at MoMA that finished back in June. It features artists, working in a variety of mediums, as they consider Cindy Sherman’s influence on contemporary art practice. Panelists include George Condo, Kalup Linzy, Elizabeth Peyton, and Collier Schorr. It is moderated by exhibition organiser Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA.

Daido Moriyama printing show @Tate Modern, London

Our Associate editor, Brad Feuerhelm on the rare opportunity to create his own limited-edition, photo book with legendary Japanese photographer, Daido Moriyama.

I was lucky enough to get to the Tate Modern last week to take part in making a book with Daido Moriyama along with a bevy of other photography aficionados. The idea of the printing show has been successfully resurrected by curator, writer and Goliga Press head Ivan Vartanian for the Tate’s current show Klein + Moriyama, which in itself is a great behemoth of a dual retrospective.

Mr. Vartanian has taken his cue from the original printing show that Moriyama did in New York City in 1974 wherein he notoriously and, in perfect participatory harmony, assembled a small workshop in the commercial gallery and invited interested parties to become part of the performance of book arts selection. Members were allowed to pick an amount of Moriyama’s images to collate into their own book. A highly probable gesture to the unique and collaboration bereft of the pressures of commerce normally associated with a commercial gallery endeavour. This seemed to be a kind of citizen artist project with a nod to the happenings of the 60’s. Collaborative. Inspirational. Effective. 

On the sixth floor of the Tate Modern with its expansive views over a lovely sunny London, participants were asked to repeat the process whereby they are allowed to pick through a pre-selected amount of Moriyama’s works to collate and produce their own book on the spot with other members allotted the same time. It was a hubbub of friendly, weekend activity with museum curators milling about with the public and of the photographic enthusiasts on the same level, the level of artist. The sort of open experience is one of the many reasons the London photographic community has been greatly enabled by the Tate’s push towards photography under the tutelage of Simon Baker, chief in staff of bringing photography howling down on London, the beast tamed and now sharply in the spotlight.

Before entering the sanctity of the Tate, I had already decided to reduce my knowledge of Daido Moriyama into one image and to repeat it over and over, making a repetitive, yet completely unique object barring any other paraphoto nerds had not beat me to it in 1974 at the original staging or at the recent Tokyo happening. At $40,000 for an original copy of the 1974 book, I think I will decline to pursue its possibility. In selecting an image of lips, I felt that I selected an iconic summation of the desire in Moriyama’s work. My ultimate choice would have been the ‘stray dog’ image, which I can still envision as a single image book.

Moriyama, ever the provocateur, was clever to exclude ‘stray dog’ and the famous tights image for his pre-selection of works available in the book making process. I remember chuckling on the way in when I realised it was not there, knowing he had got the best of me under his controlled and fairly so, tyrannical application of what we could choose. The images on display were gorgeous and the second-guessing about making it a more straightforward book still swayed to repetition and the single idea/image.

After selecting your images on a card (all cleverly organised), you give the selection to a printing assistant who then goes through the process of stapling the images to a pre-made screen printed cover of which there are two choices to pick from. I went blue. The title… Menu

I waited while my book was assembled to have my number called out to retrieve it from Simon Baker. My Menu served, a deserved light chuckle from him at its insistence to be different and I was sent off to wonder in the big smoke for the rest of my Sunday, feeling that the experience was well worth the obscenely cheap £20 ticket. Whether I felt I collaborated or parasitically stole myself into a vain collaboration with Mr. Moriyama is another matter entirely!

Brad Feuerhelm