Tag Archives: 19th Century

Silhouettes in the News

Prior to the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, the silhouette was considered an effective and inexpensive way to record a persons likeness or capture a scene. Although the practice can be traced back to the early 17th century, the term silhouette derives from the harsh policies of the French finance minister tienne de Silhouette.

The silhouette reduces an object to its most basic form. SEO Experts search engine marketing . Its historical uses in art can be seen in the paper cuts of Hans Christian Andersen and the artwork of Kara Walker.In photographic terms, the silhouette is created in situations where the subject is backlit. It can be used to hide a persons identity or play up their distinctive features, and its graphic form is often used artistically to photograph sport and dance. It heightens drama, adds atmosphere and makes a banal scene into a graphic wonder.

More than 200 years ago, the silhouette was the foremost way to document ones appearance, but its still widely used in photographic frames today.From capturing the world’s protests and politicians to wildfires and war zones, LightBox looks at the use ofsilhouetteson the wires this month.

See the first Silhouettes in the News feature on LightBox here.

Feria de Libros in Lima

The same Feria de Libros that I blogged about last year came to Lima a couple of weeks ago as part of the ongoing Photography Biennial. The feria, which is run by Argentine artist Julieta Escardó, features small, independently published books, mostly from photographers in Argentina, although this edition included several books by Peruvian photographers.

Feria de Libros in Lima

Feria de Libros in Lima

The fair was held at the Centro de la Imagen. Unlike the version in Buenos Aires, here, none of the books were for sale. It was a bit like an Alexandrian library only, instead of copying scrolls of papayrus, I sat there with my digital camera snapping photos of pages from books that I liked.

Here’s a few:

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde was my favorite book. It documents various decaying buildings from the 19th century and before in Lima’s historic core.

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Epitafios by Gladys Alavardo Jourde

Something that I find interesting about both Lima and Buenos Aires is that each, with over a third of their respective countrys’ population, dominate all aspects industry, culture, politics and finance. It’s like each city is New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington all rolled into one. Depending on where you go  you can find elements that resonate with each. In the case of Lima, new development has shunned the historic core and a bounce-back wave of gentrification has yet to occur. In this situation, there’s a huge number of historic buildings which sit in a rather shabby state. Alvarado’s book does an execellent job of documenting both the beauty of these spaces, their inhabitants, and the tragedy of their decay. Also, the book dummy on view was really wonderfully printed. I hope it gets published.

Lucila Heinberg’s (Argentina) book Hacia recounts her journey in through China. Using expired film, the photos show a very personal, intimate view of her experiences in China.

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Lucila Heinberg – Hacia

Galeria Centrico has a small online gallery of this work. I also blogged about Heinberg’s series Dormidos last year.

David Mansell-Moullin’s book Lines in the Sand looks at peripheral settlements in Lima and how they sit on the landscape.

David Mansell-Moullin – Lines in the Sand

David Mansell-Moullin – Lines in the Sand

The subject matter is similar to Musuk Note’s Decierto series which I blogged about recently but is less abstract, more into the nuts and bolts of how these plots of land get developed by their inhabitants. Mansell-Moullin’s website has a nice slideshow of the work and he’s also got a blog detailing a lot of his work process.

Futuramic by Aldo Paparella (great name!) features lucious black and white photographs of retro-futuristic automobiles from the 1950s.

Aldo Paparella – Futuramic

Aldo Paparella – Futuramic

I got really excited to see that Martin Weber’s Ecos del Interior has been published by Ediciones Lariviere. I hope this makes it to the US so I can get a copy.

Martin Weber – Ecos del Interior

Italian photojournalist Myriam Meloni has a book, Fragil, documenting the social decay resulting from paco use in Buenos Aires (paco is their version of crack).

Myriam Meloni – Fragil

Myriam Meloni – Fragil

Myriam Meloni – Fragil

There sems to be a whole sub-genre of photographers documenting their grandparent’s homes. I suppose the combination of nostalgia + access is irrisistible. By my count, there were four books dealing with this theme at the book fair, the nicest of which was Bulnes by Luciana Betesh.

Luciana Betesh – Bulnes

Luciana Betesh – Bulnes

Luciana Betesh – Bulnes

There were a ton more books, of course. It’s a great fair and my only complaint is that it isn’t held more often and in more places.

Do Process at the Verve Gallery

While teaching a Santa Fe Workshop last week, I had the great pleasure of visiting the Verve Gallery in downtown Santa Fe and viewing a terrific exhibition about photographer’s processes. The show features the work of eight image makers, each using a different technique to create their photographs. Accompanying the work are process images that allow the viewer to understand the how each photographer approaches their art. Today, I will feature three of those artists, and each day this week, I will feature another photographer and technique. The exhibition opened on February 24th and will run though April 14th, 2012. Do Process is a celebration of 21st century approaches to 19th and 20th century photographic processes. All the work in the exhibition was produced especially for this show. Feel free to click on the process images to make them larger.

Some of the images in the exhibition are made using contemporary processes, while others use alternative processes. Still others are made using both modern digital tools and old proven techniques. These techniques are characterized as “alternative processes” to distinguish the final print from the more ubiquitous gelatin silver print or contemporary digital print. The work in this exhibition ranges from 19th century print making practices, such as, hand-painted Gelatin Silver prints, Gum Dichromate, Bromoil, Mordançage, Photogravure and Albumen printing to more modern digitally composed and mixed media Photomontage prints. The exhibition showcases the history of some of the photographic techniques used over the last three centuries.

MAGGIE TAYLOR

Since 1997, Maggie Taylor has created surrealistic imagery using computers, flatbed scanners and small digital cameras. She sees the scanner as a type of light-sensitive device, not much different than a digital camera. In both instances the scanner and camera capture a slice of time. In addition to placing small objects directly on the scanner, the artist also scans daguerreotypes and tintypes that she collects in antique shops and purchases online. The subjects in her images become the cast of characters that shape the artist’s pictorial stage. Once Maggie has finished her creations, she prints them in her studio on an inkjet printer. As is the case with all her creative work, Maggie runs through many test prints, image revisions and adjustments before getting the results she wants.

KAMIL VOJNAR

Kamil Vojnar is showing photomontages on paper and canvas from his ongoing series, Flying Blind. Kamil’s work focuses on the contradictory world in which we live, metaphorically focusing on the place where beauty and suffering meet. He mixes elements from dreams in his work and lets intuition and the materials he uses to guide him to his final image. Kamil often revisits his images repeatedly to place them in different contexts, creating variations of one image several times.

Kamilr’s unique approach to his work layers images from many different photographs and textures. Sometimes his work is layered on canvas creating one-of-a-kind pieces, and other times he layers on fine art paper, creating a small edition. In both instances he varnishes with oil and wax, sometimes painting on further with oil paints.

JOY GOLDKIND

Joy Goldkind’s Bromoil prints are from her Adagio series. The images are abstractions of dancers created by a double exposure and slow shutter speed so as to deliberately capture the blur of moving figures. The silver gelatin prints are then converted using Joy’s Bromoil technique. She also has her new work in this exhibition where she uses mirrors so as to create images that distort the human figure. Once again, Joy uses the Bromoil process to alter the traditional photograph and thus create a “unique painterly print.”

As the digital world advances and film options decline, Joy finds it necessary to combine the earlier photographic processes with modern world technologies. She creates her negatives using a digital camera and a computer. She then makes prints using a traditional darkroom to create a typical silver gelatin print that she then converts to a Bromoil print. The Bromoil process was introduced in 1907 by E.J. Wall and eventually replaced the Gum Dichromate process. Once an enlargement is made on silver gelatin bromide paper, it is then bleached in a solution of potassium bichromate to remove the black silver image on the print. Then using special brushes, Joy applies the greasy inks to pigment the gelatin surface of the print.

Eugène Atget’s ‘Documents Pour Artistes’

Outside his studio in 19th-century Paris hung a sign that declared “documents pour artistes”—documents for artists—a statement that captured the modest intent of Eugène Atget. His legacy, the result of a career that spanned more than 30 years and nearly 8,500 photographs, is one of relentless curiosity, devout investigation and masterful craftsmanship. Drawing from its expansive collection of Atget’s work, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will present a selection of more than 100 images from Feb. 3 through April 9, as an exhibition titled with inspiration from the artist himself: Documents Pour Artistes.

The exhibition, which is divided into six sections, examines the various subjects the artist approached during his life. Atget is primarily known for his images of the streets of Paris, romantic landscapes and images of storefronts (which inspired Surrealists such as Man Ray and Tristan Tsara, although Atget denied any ties to the movement)—but, in this show, MoMA includes a refreshing display of his rare photographs of people, which are equal in their formal rigor and topographical, objective approach.

Atget’s approach is paradoxically both intimate and anonymous; despite having photographed seemingly every inch of the streets of Paris, from whole buildings to window displays, Atget never photographed the Eiffel Tower. His sense of dedication to detail, found in his street photographs, extends into his images from the abandoned Parc de Sceaux, from March and June of 1925. During this time, Atget took vast images of the serene landscapes, all while taking dutiful notes of times of day of the photographs, revealing his highly proximate relationship with documentation.

Drawing inspiration from Atget’s vision of objectivity for his photographs, it is perhaps best for viewers to develop a more personal relationship with his work, undistracted by the perceptions of the outside world. The scenes captured in Atget’s images cannot be adequately illustrated with words—luckily for us, he took pictures instead.

Documents Pour Artistes is on display from Feb. 3 through April 9 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Silhouettes in the News

Prior to the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, the silhouette was considered an effective and inexpensive way to record a person’s likeness or capture a scene. Although the practice can be traced back to the early 17th century, the term ‘silhouette’ derives from the harsh policies of the French finance minister Étienne de Silhouette.

The silhouette reduces an object to its most basic form. Its historical uses in art can be seen in the paper cuts of Hans Christian Andersen and the artwork of Kara Walker. In photographic terms, the silhouette is created in situations where the subject is backlit. It can be used to hide a person’s identity or play up their distinctive features, and its graphic form is often used artistically to photograph sport and dance. It heightens drama, adds atmosphere and makes a banal scene into a graphic wonder.

More than 200 years ago, the silhouette was the foremost way to document one’s appearance, but it’s still widely used in photographic frames today. From capturing the Costa Concordia to presidential primaries and pilgrims, LightBox looks at the use of silhouettes on the wires this month.

Deconstructing Constructions: James Casebere’s Works 1975-2010

American artist James Casebere has been photographing dioramic constructions of human civilization since 1975. His tableaus—scenes from places both fictional and real—respond to current events and are the subject of a new book called Works 1975-2010, which chronicles highlights from his 35-year career.

Over the years, Casebere’s images have expanded and redefined to show his exploration of aesthetic technical challenges. “Photography resonates with me because it manipulates our perception of the world around us,” he says. “I am interested in photography as a means of persuasion, of propaganda and constructing histories. I am interested in how photography creates and reconstructs reality.”

Born in Lansing, Michigan in 1953, Casebere grew up during the era of television’s rise to becoming America’s prominent medium for creating images and manifesting visual culture. Referencing the sets of sitcoms of the 1950s and 1960s, Casebere’s early career focused on disseminating and questioning the domestic household and addressing the growing dysfunctions of the ideal American home. Though the scenes that he constructs and then photographs are often similar to the environment of his native Lansing, the images are not anecdotal. This absence of a personal narrative is a strategy Casebere still continues in his work today.

Among Casebere’s most well-known work are his images of the interiors of detainment cells and prisons, such as Prison Cell With Skylight, 1993. “I was thinking a lot about the Enlightenment era and the way that different cultural institutions were created in the late 18th and early 19th century. One of the developments was the prison,” he says. “I wanted to investigate innovations of the whole system…I was trying to critically look at the whole process of incarceration as cultural-historical phenomena.”

Color became more focal and the construction of sets more filled with detail in the work that follows the prison images. Casabere began capturing interior rooms beginning in the mid-90s, with images like Converging Hallways from Left, 1997. ”When I was working on prisons, I was really dealing with a subject that involved deprivation and denial,” he says. “When I moved to the interior spaces, they were less obviously models—they were more convincing. The images are printed quite large, and when viewing them in a gallery, they really become something one can walk into. There was confusion about what is real and what isn’t…There came a moment when I decided to break down the wall, visually— to do things with color, light and texture— literally, to break down the walls, the construction of the models.”

At times, Casebere’s work seems to be indicative of future events. Images that Casebere created from 2006 through 2007, seemed to almost foreshadow this year’s Arab Spring, addressing issues that were boiling in the Middle East for a long time. The images depict the Middle East from a place of brewing conflict, but also a place where people lead normal lives. “I was really trying to create a different impression entirely. Tripoli, 2007, the image that I photographed is actually a recreation of Tripoli in Lebanon,” he says. “Shortly after I made that image, there was a battle at a refugee camp, where the Lebanese army surrounded the village and drove them out.”

Casebere’s latest series of images, each work titled a numerical variation of Landscape with Houses (Dutchess County, NY), reveals his return to focusing on the domestic, a move influenced in part by the advent of the mortgage crisis. But this time around, the artist brought color and dramatic lighting into the work. “I was really working with the lights, recreating morning light, afternoon light, evening light, twilight, moonlight, all kinds of light to exhaust the possibilities and color,” he says. The latest image in the series, however, depicts the idyllic suburban houses with a catastrophic, albeit humorously cartoonish, fire burning in the background. “The fire is metaphoric of the sense of crisis of living in the home, the loss of the American dream,” Casebere says. “I emphasize and criticize [the fact] that we’re caught in a cyclical lifestyle that is destructive and self-destructive.”

Works 1975 – 2010, was published this month by Damiani and distributed by D.A.P.

Emiliano Granado – Go Big or Go Home

I first started following Emiliano Granado’s work in 2008 when he was named part of the PDN 30 for that year. As I do each year, I looked at everyone’s website and for those who had blogs, added them to my RSS reader [lamentably, a technology that’s never taken off]. Since I was living in Argentina at the time, I was obviously very interested in his take on the place.

© Emiliano Granado from the series 'On the Coast'

About a year later I was doing an unpaid internship for a free English language newspaper in Buenos Aires. We were doing a story on Cumbia Villera and I emailed Emiliano asking for permission to use one of his photos.

© Emiliano Granado from the series 'Cumbia Villera.' That's Pablo Lescano

He said no, as I would have, because we had no budget and we were trolling for free content. Nevertheless, we struck up a correspondence and another year later, in the winter of 2010, we were both in Los Angeles at the same time and we met up for coffee. Afterwards, sitting in his rental car, he took out a box of these precious little 4×5″ polaroids from his “secret” project.

© Emiliano Granado – Time for Picture

I felt like an effete Englishman in the 19th century, on a grand tour of the Middle East, being shown a book of “naughty” postcards by some sly merchant. I wanted to look, to really stare, but felt guilty in his presence.

I remember asking him how many photos he took in a single session. The response floored me, accustomed as I was to the modest endeavors of cash-strapped photographers in Argentina. Sensing my surprise he said, simply, “go big or go home.” Perhaps it’s not the most original advice, but it’s something I’ve taken to heart in all my subsequent projects. Though I’m sad to miss tonight’s opening of his project Time for Print, I can’t wait to see it in person and stare to my heart’s content.

Christophe Maout’s city of light


Christophe Maout, HomeLux

Christophe Maout, HomeLux

Paris earned the nickname of ‘ville lumière‘ (City of Light) from having been an ideological home to the age of enlightenment and for it’s famous street lights. Like these lights, the 19th century Haussmanian architecture of the city has come to typify the French capital in most outsiders’ imagining of the city. So Christophe Maout‘s vision of Paris in HomeLux might come as a bit of a shock. HomeLux is shot on the city’s periphery, specifically off the boulevard périphérique, the main ring road surrounding the city. The périphérique ferries traffic around the city and is one of the few areas of Paris where towerblocks appear regularly. Many of these blocks bear the name of major brands in the form of brightly-coloured neon crowns, an advertising practice that is forbidden within the center of the city. The series struck me as a kind of allegory, a preserved city, suspended in time, surrounded by an army of advancing towerblocks shouting their commercial messages at the constant flow of cars circumnavigating the city. The rooftop perspectives in these night exposures give the buildings a different quality, their neon halos seeming to give each building its distinct personality. I met Maout at a dinner last December and, as he gave us a lift home, we drove past many of these buildings lighting up that freezing winter night. A very different view of the city of light.

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