David Favrod lives and works in Switzerland. He is a graduate of École cantonale d'art de Lausanne (ECAL) with a master's degree in art direction and a bachelor's degree in photography. Other than winning the Aperture Portfolio Prize, Favrod has also been included in reGeneration2, a book and touring exhibition showcasing emerging photographers. His work has been shown in solo and group shows around the world.
Throughout its 60-year history Aperture has never turned away from its hallmarks: an abiding respect for photography as an artistic medium and a tireless encouragement of the free exchange of ideas. From its founding in 1952 through the present, the foundation has always attracted the leading image-makers of the day, and it is only fitting this anniversary serve as a time to reflect on the past. In the celebratory exhibitionAperture Remix, this instinct towards nostalgia is focused on a reflection of photographic influence.
Curator Lesley Martin invited ten contemporary photographers to look back on past Aperture publications, choose a personally influential example and pay artistic homage through appropriation and modification. Martin went to great lengths to select artists explaining, I was looking at a range of people who could represent the directions that photography is moving in now, the way documentary is shifting, and the way digital is being incorporated into photographic practice.
The diversity is apparent, and artists selected span both space and time. Japanese artist Rinko Kawauchi drew inspiration from American photographer’s Sally MannsImmediate Family,created more than a continent away. Meanwhile,Alec Soth selected Robert AdamsSummer Nights, which he reinterpreted into a video, Summer Nights at the Dollar Tree, 2012. When explaining his reasoning for working with Robert Adams past publication he says, Over time, you begin to understand influences and the nuances of what makes your own work different.The other artists commissioned to create work include Vik Muniz, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Martin Parr, Viviane Sassen, Penelope Umbrico, James Welling and Doug Rickard, who chose to remix Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places.
While the initial assignment could be read as encouraging passive appropriation, Rickards approach to Stephen ShoresUncommon Placesis an example of how remixing encouraged unexpected results. Instead of physically intervening with the publication, Rickard decided to analyze the influences that affected it to create his expansive homage. After reading several interviews and text on Shores work, Rickard honed in on postcards as a source of inspiration forUncommon Placesthrough their unique and plain depictions of America. Reminiscent of the great American road trip, Rickard took a digital road trip on eBay to scavenge hundreds of thousands of postcards for his re-imagining. From this wide edit he narrowed down to a smaller set of candidates he felt had the appropriate ingredients that would yield imagery most reminiscent of the original 8 x 10 photographs in Shores publication.
I spent hundreds of hours doing it because his book is so iconic, and I felt homages or anything that is connected to something iconic is always tricky,” Rickard says. “It was important that I did something that was worthyand fitting of this era toowhich is the digital era.
Although the outcomes are decidedly mixed, the assignment uniformly challenged each artist to wrestle through the issue of influence. In an age of image abundance, it may seem easier to ignore icons for fear of looming too close to previous conceptsbut to process and pay tribute is equally demanding. The moral of the story could be dont try anything ever, but figuring out how strong each contributing artists voice is within all their layers of consideration is what makesAperture Remixsuch an engaging exhibition.
Helen Sear has two new series, never seen in the United States, currently on exhibition through October 26th at the Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn: Sightlines and Pastoral Monuments. The work follows a thread of her earlier projects, Beyond the View and Inside the View, where the artist is considering concept, photographic process, historical reference, and visual seduction. I am sharing two images from her earlier work to understand her visual progression.
identity of the person(s) who hand-painted the bird.
Pastoral Monuments, expands an underlying theme of the real and the re-presentation of it. In this case, Sear references the historical photographs of the botanist and photographer, Mary Dillwyn, whose photographs from the early 1850’s depicted wild flowers arranged in domestic crockery. Sear has sourced more than 80 wild flowers from the same Welsh field and photographed them in jugs and vases from around the world. Through handling the resulting prints and rephotographing them—evidencing this handling—Sear believes that “the flowers and their containers become connected in a material sense, across the surface of the image.” Further, we see in the photographs familiar ideas associated with flowers—youth, beauty and mortality. In some ways, these photographs become monuments to flowers.
Merce Cunningham: 65 Years, a dynamic multimedia app celebrating the unique legacy of the late choreographer, dancer, and artist, launches today. Based on the book Merce Cunningham: 50 Years (Aperture, 1997) by David Vaughan, which is often referred to as “the Cunningham bible,” this expanded digital edition for the iPad includes new essays, journal entires by the choreographer, video excerpts, photographs and interviews. Read more about Merce Cunningham and the app in the New York Times.
The app is available for purchase in the iTunes App Store.
While working on a series of cloud photographs in 1925, Alfred Stieglitz coined the title ”Equivalents” for his work, with the idea that the photographs could correspond to both the reality in front of the camera’s lens and the internal being of whoever was looking at them. Photographs could be representational and abstract, so even a photograph of a mundane subject could provoke a strong emotional response.
W. M. Hunt, the juror of the 17th Annual Photo Competition at Photo Center NW, chose this idea as the open theme for this year’s contest. So, the winning images are eclectic, but all meet Hunt’s criterion for what makes great photographs: their ability “to evoke a sensation that resonates through my being,” regardless of subject matter or technical process. See if the work resonates through your being too at Photo Center NW’s Seattle gallery, or check them out online. And for more of Hunt’s curatorial vision, check out The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious, 35% off as part of Aperture’s summer sale, which ends this Friday, August 10.
Last week the presses were rolling for Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency. This week Aperture’s Production Manager is on press in Verona, Italy with Barney Kulok, whose upcoming monographBuilding:Louis I. Time Warner Cable Deals . Kahn at Roosevelt Island is currently in production. These on-press images just landed in Aperture’s inboxes, sent by Barney himself.
Building:Louis I. Kahn at Roosevelt Island (Photographs by Barney Kulok,Essay by Steven Holl) is coming this Fall!
Dave Anderson has photographed in tough places—a surviving Ku Klux Klan bastion in Texas, New Orlean’s post-Katrina Ninth Ward—but his photographs are rarely gritty. His Aperture monograph One Block, which documents the rebuilding efforts of one block of Ninth Ward residents, focuses less on the neighborhood’s despair and more on its hopes for renewal. Anderson knew that to photograph amidst such hardship he would have to tread lightly: “I was super-cognizant of ‘photographers fatigue’–people were sick of photographers showing up night and day and making grand promises,” he mentioned in a Color magazine profile. That Anderson spent time living and forming relationships with the residents he photographed is evident in the work—the subjects appear at ease, comfortable sharing their struggle to rebuild with Anderson and his lens.
Anderson produces videos as well as photographs—he is the man behind Oxford American’s SoLost web series, a video exploration of “the side roads, backrooms, cellars and psyche of the modern South,” which so far features 29 four-to-seven minute mini-documentaries on subjects ranging from a couple constructing a medieval castle in Arkansas, to Alabama menswear designer Billy Reid, to photographer William Eggleston. SoLost is a one-man operation, which accounts for the easy rapport between Anderson’s camera and his subjects, and why these videos feel like privileged glimpses into the richness and diversity of life in the American South.
Anderson will give a lecture about his image-making projects at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, this Friday, July 13 at 8pm. If you’re in the area, it will be worth checking out.
The Latin American Photobook, edited by Horacio Fernández and published by Aperture, has been awarded the historical book award at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival. The volume, a blend of bibliography, facsimile, and encyclopedia, offers a critical study of the most important photography books to come out of Latin America, from the 1920s to today. Along with Aperture’s The Dutch Photobook: A Thematic Selection from 1945 Onwards and Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s, The Latin American Photobook is part of a growing body of scholarship on the photobook and its place in photographic history.
Jonathan Torgovnik won the Rencontres d’Arles Discovery prize for Intended Consequences—his portraits of women and their children who were born of rape in the Rwandan genocide—which was published by Aperture in 2009. Watch an excerpt of a panel discussion with Torgovnik, and read an interview with the photographer on FLYP. Intended Consequences and limited-edition prints of Torgovnik’s work are available for up to 35% off as part of Aperture’s summer sale, until midnight EST, August 10, 2012.
Check out The Guardian for more coverage of the Rencontres d’Arles festival prizes.