Tag Archives: Annenberg

Greg Ruffing

OK, I admit it.  Exploring Greg Ruffing’s project on Yard Sales had me drooling over certain objects featured at some on the sales, and my first thought was: Where are these sales, and how fast can I get there?  I mean, who doesn’t want a set of owl lamps with crushed velvet shades?  My reaction is exactly what Greg is thinking about when he creates his work–our culture of consumption and the desire to have what we don’t need.

Greg Ruffing is a Chicago-based artist working in photography and mixed
media and often explores themes of consumption and the economy. His
works have been exhibited at the Annenberg Space for Photography
in Los Angeles, the New York Photo Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the
Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, and elsewhere. In addition, his photographs
have appeared in publications such as TIME
Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Mother
, Smithsonian, The Atlantic Monthly, and others. Greg also runs an online
photography project titled Self-Guided Tour, a series of writings
about photography, art, and contemporary issues.

Greg has created a book on his Yard Sale work that has been included in the DIY: Photographers & Books exhibition that is currently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art until the end of 2012. The book is a precursor to a larger publication he hopes to publish in 2013.

My series Yard Sales is focused on the
complexities of consumption: the ubiquity and disposability of consumer goods
and their ever-shifting value and meaning. In a way, these photographs are an
attempt to document the cycle of our pursuits in accumulating “stuff” (and our
relationship to that “stuff”), in a way that reveals fundamental human habits
and behaviors and their link to socioeconomic circumstance.

I was first drawn to yard sales as a sort of grassroots marketplace defined by the seller’s curious efforts of display and advertising to attract shoppers, and the buyer’s hunt for prized items and bargain prices. I was also interested in how the yard sale, as an event, transforms the private domestic space of the seller’s residence into a public commercial space to facilitate purchasing goods.

I’m also intrigued by how yard sales illustrate a specific dyadic complex of consumerism: on the one hand, they speak to our somewhat insatiable compulsion to shop and hoard possessions, and perhaps a certain cognitive blurring of the distinction between needs and wants (related to the process by which consumers assess and impose value and meaning onto material items).

And yet, on the other hand, it seems that yard sales (and other forms of resale) serve as a crucial antidote to much of the disposability and wastefulness inherent in consumerism – sending unwanted objects into secondary cycles of consumption where they may find renewed value or purpose through subsequent buyers.

Furthermore, I’ve undertaken this project in the context of the American economic Recession that began in 2008. In those past four years photographing this project, I’ve met and talked to countless families who, in the aftermath of financial hardship nationwide, have sold off possessions just to help pay their bills. In addition, while photographing yard sales in southwest Florida (which has continually had some of the highest home foreclosure rates in the U.S.), I met people who were selling goods obtained from an underground network of scavengers who take discarded possessions from the littered front yards of foreclosed and evicted homes.

It would seem that the Recession has brought decades of unbridled consumer spending (especially its emphasis as an economic engine) into question. Some navel-gazers have even wondered if we actually shopped ourselves into the Recession by living beyond our means through cheap credit, and many have spoken of pursuing a more austere lifestyle. Its in this framework that I hope my Yard Sales project can contribute to a sincere dialogue on and modest reformulation of our relationship to the items we choose to buy.

Clay Lipsky

When we were children, major news worthy events were filtered through dinner table conversations or the black box in the living room. And often we were left to interpret those events through our imaginations.  Some of the most stunning images of the 20th Century were that of the atomic bomb, sending us to bed with the fear of our fragility.  Los Angeles photographer, Clay Lipsky, was affected by those powerful photographs as a child and now explores our current world where looking horrific events have become a form of entertainment with his series, Atomic Overlook.

Clay works as fine art photographer and graphic in Los Angeles.
His photos have been exhibited in group shows across the country, including the Annenberg Space for Photography, MOPLA, Pink Art Fair Seoul,
PhotoPlace and Impossible Project NYC. He has been featured  internationally in print and online in publications such as Fraction, Square,
Diffusion, F-Stop, PH
and Shots Magazines. Recently, he was a featured  “Ten” through Jennifer Schwartz Gallery, and North Light Press
will be publishing an edition of his Cuba photos through their 11+1
series. He is also an avid self-publisher with several titles that
exhibit as part of the Indie Photobook Library.

Atomic Overlook:

I was raised during the height of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear war loomed between two superpowers. The dramatized depictions in TV and film of such an apocalyptic demise both intrigued and scared me as a child. Yet the actual historical record of the atomic age was full of antiquated, black and white images that seemed dated and a world away. 

This series re-contextualizes a legacy of atomic tests in order to keep the reality of our post-atomic era fresh and omnipresent. It also speaks to the current state of the world and the voyeuristic culture we live in. Imagine if the advent of the atomic era occurred during today’s information age. Tourists would gather to view bomb tests, at the “safe” distances used in the 1950’s, and share the resulting cell phone photos online. Broadcast media would regurgitate such visual fodder ad nauseum, bringing new levels of desensitization.

The threat of atomic weapons is as great as ever, but it is a hidden specter. Nuclear proliferation has gained even more obscurity through the “rogue” factions that can now possess them. Meanwhile America’s stockpile of weapons continues to be modernized and will probably never cease to exist. I can only hope that mankind will never again suffer the wrath of such a destructive force, but it is clear that the world would not hesitate to watch.

Also sharing some images from Clay’s Beachdaze series…

The Digital Darkroom at The Annenberg Space for Photography

If you are planning to visit Los Angeles in the next few months, The Annenberg Space for Photography has just opened a terrific new exhibition, Digital Darkroom, featuing the work of 17 artists from around the world that explore the intersection of art and technology. The exhibit features the work of: Josef Astor, Pierre Beteille, Joel Grimes, Ted Grudowski, Claudia Kunin, Chris Levine, Bonny Pierce Lhotka, Khuong Nguyen, Mike Pucher, Jean-François Rauzier, Martine Roch, Christopher Schneberger, Brooke Shaden, Stanley Smith, Maggie Taylor, Jerry Uelsmann and Jean-Marie Vives.

Each artist is a master of different types of digital techniques: compositing highly layered imagery, working in 3D and lenticular imaging, meticulously stitching together images, using lighting in highly inventive ways, and so on.

The show will present an interesting juxtaposition of young artists immersed in digital work against Uelsmann, a master of darkroom compositing techniques. The artists come from a range of backgrounds, each specializing in fine art, commercial art, portraiture, still life, fashion, architectural, or other types of photographic and illustrative expression. However, many of the artists cross genres and combine multiple techniques to create their unique work.

Digital Darkroom is comprised of an 80-image print show with 2-6 images contributed by each of the featured photographers. Hundreds of additional images from Digital Darkroom’s photographers will also be showcased in vivid detail on the two 14′ by 7′ high-resolution screens in the Photography Space’s Digital Gallery.

Image by Jean-Marie Vives

Serving as curatorial advisor is Russell Brown, a Senior Creative Director at Adobe Systems Incorporated and an Emmy Award-winning instructor. Brown was instrumental in the introduction of Adobe Photoshop, which transformed the techniques used to manipulate images. Renowned for his entertaining style as a Photoshop teacher, he has helped the world’s leading photographers, publishers, art directors and artists to master techniques that enable their digital creations.

Image by Martine Roch

The exhibition includes a 3D film shot in 5K resolution using RED EPIC cameras, presented in a specially created screening room. This film includes interviews with 3D experts and historians Ray Zone and David Kuntz, 3D artists Ted Grudowski and Christopher Schneberger, and explores how 3D artists Claudia Kunin and Mike Pucher photograph their subjects and alter them digitally to create 3D results. Key elements of the history of stereoscopic photography are also in the film.

Digital Darkroom will run from December 17, 2011 through May 28, 2012.

3D Image by Claudia Kunin

Image by Stanley Smith

Image by Chris Levine

In addition to the exhibition, there are many lectures and events planned around this theme:


December 17, 2011, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM (Special Saturday lecture)
Public Lecture: Jean-François Rauzier, “Hyperphotography”

On the evening of the exhibit opening, Jean-François Rauzier, creator of the concept of “hyperphoto,” will speak on the process of assembling thousands of high-definition close-ups into gigantic works with extreme precision. Rauzier is the recipient of numerous honors including Arcimboldo and Eurazeo awards, and his work is featured in Digital Darkroom.

January 5, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Brooke Shaden, “Shocking Your Mind in the Digital Age”

Specializing in the art of self-portraits, 24-year-old photographer Brooke Shaden will discuss some of the many tools that the digital world has given us not only to create the worlds we want to live in, but the worlds that live inside every one of us. Her work is displayed in the Digital Darkroom exhibit.

January 12, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Greg Downing and Eric Hanson, “Post-Digital: Expanding the Boundaries of Photography”

A pioneer in ultra high-resolution gigapixel photography, xRez Studio applies emerging imaging technologies in disparate areas such as feature film visual effects, natural history, scientific visualization and cultural heritage documentation. Visual effects artists Greg Downing and Eric Hanson of xRez Studio will illustrate the erosion and expansion of boundaries that digital technology affords the contemporary photographer.

January 19, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Joel Grimes, “The Creative Revolution”

Joel Grimes has been working as a commercial advertising photographer for nearly 30 years. His assignments have taken him to every state across the United States and to over fifty countries around the globe, producing work for clients such as AARP, AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard, Pfizer, Hyatt, Red Bull, Sony, Visa and Volvo. His work is featured in Digital Darkroom.

January 26, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Michael B. Platt, “Transitions”

Michael B. Platt’s images typically represent life’s survivors and reference history, in particular, the African diaspora. A past recipient of a prestigious Franz and Virginia Bader Fund grant, his work is held in the permanent collections of many institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Library of Congress and Howard University’s Founders Library.

February 2, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Claudia Kunin, “Ghosts, Memories and Mirrors”

The recipient of two awards in the 2010 Prix de la Photographie, Paris, for her fine art, Claudia Kunin’s work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Photographic Arts. In her lecture, Kunin will discuss addressing visual concepts of ghosts and memory, and present images from her four bodies of work as well as some of her recent animations. Her work is displayed in the Digital Darkroom exhibit.

February 9, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Jodi Cobb, “Inside Closed Worlds”

Jodi Cobb was the first woman to be named the White House News Photographers Association’s “Photographer of the Year.” In this presentation, Cobb retraces her groundbreaking career, including the project The Enigma of Beauty, an exploration through ten countries on six continents to investigate cultural notions of beauty and the science behind sexual attraction.

Note: This lecture was originally scheduled to run during the BEAUTY CULTURE exhibit but was rescheduled due to technical difficulties.

February 16, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Ted Grudowski, Mike Pucher and Christopher Schneberger

Ted Grudowski, Mike Pucher and Christopher Schneberger will speak about 3D photography and the role that digital technology plays in their imagery, including the technical aspects and the use of 3D photography as a way to explore composition and influence the viewer’s experience. Images will be shown in both 2D and 3D, including multimedia 3D slide shows. Their work is featured in Digital Darkroom.

February 23, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM / Public Lecture: Stanley Smith, “Art and Artifice: Constructing Photographs”

These days, Photoshop has become a verb, and every photograph can be suspected of stretching the truth. Stanley Smith of the J. Paul Getty Museum will discuss this notion within the context of traditional photography, but also in the context of his own transformation from taking photographs to making photographs. His work is displayed in the Digital Darkroom exhibit.

March 1, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Andrea Galluzzo

Photographer Andrea Galluzzo will share images from the series Know Myself In All My Parts, and detail the technical process used to create the images, learned from her experiences working with medium and large format cameras and the chemical printing process.

March 8, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Douglas Prince

Beginning as a traditional photographer with medium format film cameras, Douglas Prince soon began to explore alternative visions: combining images in the darkroom and making photo-sculptures with images on film. In the late 1990s his photo explorations led him into digital image-making. Prince has been passionately engaged in creative photography and has taught for the last fifty years.

March 22, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Connie Imboden

Connie Imboden has spent more than 30 years using photography to examine, distort and redefine the human body. Imboden’s photographs, seen through the camera and free from darkroom or computer enhancement, display the strangeness of reality in an age of digital manipulation. She will discuss the technical issues involved in relying on her vision to transform the subject matter and how an intuitive creative process has kept her fascinated in the same body of work throughout the years.

April 12, 2012, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon’s work underscores the chaos inherent in motherhood with a style that acts as both documentation and caricature. Named American Photo’s “Emerging Photographer of 2008” and one of PDN’s “30 New and Emerging Photographers” in 2007, Blackmon will discuss her start as a photographer, her process, her influences and what inspires her.

April 26, 2012
Public Lecture: Angela Bacon Kidwell

May 3, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Slideshow Night. Artists to be announced.

May 10, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Josef Astor, “On Assignment: Agenda vs Serendipity”

Josef Astor, winner of an Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, will recount successes as well as failures in navigating the precarious conditions that surround an assignment; always with the goal of yielding an inspiring image that will satisfy the agenda of the client without stifling the serendipity of the moment. His work is featured in Digital Darkroom.

May 17, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Lauren Marsolier, “Transition to a Digital World”

Paris-born photographer Lauren Marsolier’s latest project addresses the psychological experience of transition and our conflicting relationship to a world that is becoming increasingly fast-paced and dematerialized. In this lecture she will talk about her work and explain how the digital medium has been an essential component of her art practice.

May 24, 2012, 6:30 PM — 8:00 PM
Public Lecture: Ann George

Ann George is a visual artist who melds pixels, paper and paint to create compelling photographic fusions that celebrate her native Louisiana as well as the people, places and stories that move her. She attempts to portray the role of inspirational storyteller through imagery and looks for ways to satisfy her vintage eye in the camera, in the computer, in the printing and in the paint.

Mona Kuhn

I had the great pleasure of attending Mona Kuhn’s lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles last month. I am a longtime fan of her person and her work. Mona recently let me know about a fashion campaign that she used her fine art skills to create and am sharing the links here:


To view the Bottega Veneta video, go here.

To view the interview at New York Magazine,