David Soffa (b. 1987) was awarded a fellowship to Yale University Summer School of Art in 2009. He received a BA in Photography from Bard College in 2010. Primarily a landscape photographer, his images investigate the uncanny in everyday situations. Soffa’s photographs have been exhibited nationally in venues such as the Garrison Art Center and the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. His work can also be found in the 2013 competition issue of The Photo Review and an upcoming installment of Dwell Magazine. He currently lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Join Aperture and ARTBOOK | D.A.P. for a conversation with Marvin Heiferman, leading photography curator and editor of Photography Changes Everything, and special guests Lois Banner, historian and author of numerous biographies, including MM-Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn Monroe and the forthcoming Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox; Leo Braudy, author of many books of cultural history, including The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History, and most recently The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon; and Charlotte Cotton, writer and curator.
The panelists will explore photography’s central role in shaping our lives, both public and private, rational and fantastic.
A reception and book signing will follow. Special thanks to Arcana Books on the Arts for being the evening’s bookseller. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required and will be accepted until venue capacity is reached at [email protected]
Heiferman (editor, Photography Changes Everything, Aperture 2012), has focused on the influence of photographic images on culture and history in projects such as Fame After Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1999) and Image World: Art and Media Culture at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989). A contributing editor to Art in America, he serves on the faculty of both the International Center of Photography/Bard College and the School of Visual Art’s MFA programs in photography. He was creative consultant to the Smithsonian Photography Initiative from 2005 to 2011, during which time he conceptualized and curated click! photography changes everything.
Photography Changes Everything: A Conversation with Marvin Heiferman, with special guests Lois Banner, Leo Braudy, and Charlotte Cotton
Thursday, June 28, 2012, 7:00 pm
FREE, RSVP required ([email protected])
ARTBOOK | Paper Chase showroom
Special thanks to the evening’s bookseller, Arcana Books on the Arts.
Holly Lynton is a photographer, living and working in Leverett, Massachusetts. She received a BA in Psychology from Yale University (1994), and a MFA in Photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College (2000). Her photography has been exhibited nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions in New York City; Amherst, Massachusetts; Berlin, Germany, and Miami, Florida. Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions in cities including New York City, Miami, Boston, Albuquerque, Santa Barbara, and London. Since her move to Massachusetts in 2008, her work has been selected for regional exhibitions including the Cultural Corridor exhibition at the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; a solo exhibition at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Fresh Work exhibition as part of the Flash Forward Photography Festival in Boston.
Last week, I managed to make it to Santa Barbara to see the terrific New Directions show, jurored by Debra Klomp Ching at the Wall Space Gallery. I was delighted to find one of William Miller’s Broken Polariod images that I had featured on Lenscratch. It was much larger than I had expected and really took on a presence of a Mark Rothko painting.
William became preoccupied with photography when he attended high school in Manhattan and it continued on into Bard College where he studied photography with Larry Fink and Stephen Shore. He’s been a photojournalist and documentary photographer ever since then and has worked with Saveur, Harpers, Paris Match, Spin, GQ, Stern, The Globe and Mail, the NY Daily News, as well as organizations such as Doctor’s Without Borders, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Human Rights Watch and he’s been a photographer for the New York Post for close to 10 years.
In keeping with his painterly sensibility, William’s new series, Gowanus Canal, finds beauty in our toxic world.
Gowanus Canal: It wasn’t so long ago that educated people thought the earth was so vast that no human activity could have a significant impact on it. They buried garbage in the ground and dumped waste in the seas and waterways the way war criminals bury their dead and assume the earth will hide their horrible crimes.
Brooklyn’s Gowanus canal is one of America’s most polluted waterways. More than a century of unfettered industrial abuse was followed by decades of bungled attempts to clean it up. It is significantly cleaner than it was 30 years ago but it’s contaminated waters hold the evidence of its history.
To look into the Gowanus canal is to gaze into the eyes of a corpse. It is murky and clouded over but if you look closely you can see life and light reflected in the mercury, feces and coal tar that drift in the canal like malevolent clouds. This uncomfortable cohabitation is the foundation of a photographic study of the strangely beautiful horror that the canal hosts.
I love ghost stories and anything that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, so I was immediately drawn to the work of Corinne May Botz . The first image on her website gives you a clue into her work:
Corinne is “an artist who investigates the perception of space and our emotional connections to architecture and objects”. She also is a story teller, exploring terrain that is uncomfortable and invisible. For her project, Haunted Houses, the use of suggestive imagery and digital recordings of shared ghost stories combine to stir our imaginations into other realms. Her work is currently on exhibition as part of the Crime Unseen show at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Illinois that will run through January 15, 2012. The exhibition also features the work of Richard Barnes, Christopher Dawson, Deborah Luster, Christian Patterson, Taryn Simon, Angela Strassheim and Krista Wortendyke. On December 1st, Corinne will lecture at The Glessner House Museum in Chicago.
Corinne received her BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art and her MFA from The Milton-Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Her photographs have been internationally exhibited including shows at Wurttembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany; Bellwether Gallery in New York City; Hemphill Fine Arts in Washington D.C.; The Center for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland and The Kennedy Museum in Athens, Ohio. She is the author of Haunted Houses (The Monacelli Press, 2010) and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (The Monacelli Press, 2004). Her work has been reviewed by publications including The New York Times, Village Voice, BookForum, and Modern Painters. She is the recipient of residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Atlantic Center for the Arts; Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship in Stuttgart; Germany, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Haunted Houses is a long-term project in which I photographed and collected oral ghosts stories in over eighty haunted sites throughout the United States. The series was inspired by turn of the century spirit photographs and Victorian ghost stories written by women as a means of articulating domestic discontents. In being the medium through which the spirit of these houses was recorded, I continued the tradition of female sensitivity to the supernatural. When I photographed in haunted houses, I tried to open myself to the invisible nuances of a space. I photographed using a large format camera, with exposures often ranging from a few seconds to a few hours. Though the medium of the visible, photography makes the invisible apparent. By collecting extensive evidence of the surface, one becomes aware of what is missing, and a space is provided for the viewer to imagine the invisible.
Haunted Houses provides a unique way of understanding our relationship to the spaces we inhabit, and reflects romantic and dystopian notions of the domestic realm. The notion of hauntedness activates and highlights the home, revealing the hidden narratives and possibilities of everyday life.
Haunted Houses includes an archive of first-hand ghost stories. The stories were collected on location and over the phone. They range in length from a few minutes to an hour. The voice is captured much like the space. Both image and text are haunted by absence, history, memory, and the possibility of never being seen or heard. Unlike the majority of horror films where the ghosts arrive as a result of an inopportune death, or to right a wrong, the inhabitants of these houses are often at a loss for why the ghosts are there, and in some cases the ghost is considered a source of comfort.
Daniel Gordon, 1980, USA, is a conceptual photographer who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received a BA at Bard College in 2003 and an MFA at Yale University in 2006. He works in a sculptural way. He searches on the internet for images that he can use. The images he finds are printed and cut in order to make large three dimensional collages. These collages are life-size, using his own body as a reference. Once the collages are finished he photographs them with a large format camera. After the photograph has been made he disassembles the sculptures in order to use several body parts for new works. In his series Thin Skin II he depicts the human body in extreme situations as giving birth, accidents and operations. Both of his parents were doctors and he feels that seeing the images of operations when he was young have influenced him in his work today. His photographs have been exhibited extensively in the US and several times in Switzerland and France. The following works come from the series Still Lifes, Portraits & Parts, Portrait Studio and Thin Skin II.
Bill Miller became preoccupied with photography when he attended high school in Manhattan, but I think he was studying painting with Clyfford Still in another lifetime. Bill’s stunning Broken Polaroids images don’t necessarily reflect his rich photographic roots; He graduated from Bard College where he studied photography with Larry Fink and Stephen Shore. He’s been a photojournalist and documentary photographer ever since then and has worked with Saveur, Harpers, Paris Match, Spin, GQ, Stern, The Globe and Mail, the NY Daily News, as well as organizations such as Doctor’s Without Borders, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Human Rights Watch and he’s been a photographer for the New York Post for close to 10 years.
Broken Polaroids: These pictures are taken with a camera that is, by most definitions, broken. I found an old Polaroid SX-70 camera under a pile of junk at a yard sale last summer. I’ve always loved this camera for its weird, mysterious, and enchanting qualities. It is an ingeniously conceived, complicated bundle of gears and switches with hundreds of moving parts packed in tight like a chrome and leather pistol. As digital cameras become smaller and quieter with no moving parts, the Polaroid with its noisy engine, gears, and rubber bellows seems increasingly charming and archaic to me. What was a cutting edge technology in 1972 is now teetering on the edge of extinction.
With its first use I realized the camera wasn’t functioning properly. It sometimes spills out 2 pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways. This is common with Polaroids. I’ve been shooting this SX-70 film my whole life and from my experience at least 5% of the time the images fail for one reason or another. Over time you stop noticing. The failed Polaroids are discarded with the packaging, a statistical casualty of such a complicated mechanism. It was only when my statistical casualties jumped to nearly 100% that I realized that even against my will, this camera was making, totally by chance, some interesting, and occasionally beautiful pictures. It’s this kind of unpredictability that makes old cameras and processes appealing and it wasn’t until I noticed what was happening that I started saving them. I must have thrown out scores of ruined Polaroids over the years. Millions of happy accidents have probably been discarded, unappreciated over the last few decades around the world.
As my SX-70 became more eccentric the film showed less and less of what was in front of the lens. Yet out of habit or instinct or lack of common sense I kept pointing it at things. “It’s a camera, after all. Isn’t it?” I thought, even though it appeared to be totally indifferent to the objects I focused on. Maybe it’s a camera that was dropped on its head, got amnesia and became a photographic painting machine.
Either way, I was impressed with the old technology’s resilience and before long I was participating in its process, collaborating with it. Over time I’ve figured out how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws but the images themselves are always a surprise. Each one is determined by the idiosyncrasies of the film and the camera.
I found that when I was looking at the prints I couldn’t get close enough, not with my eye, not with a lupe. So I started scanning them at high resolutions so I could see what wasn’t readily viewable. What I found was a rich variety of color texture made from crumpled and stressed emulsion inside the Polaroids, reminiscent of topographical landscapes. I used huge files (600mb) to make 30×36 in prints where these details could be seen. I kept the classic Polaroid white border to give a sense of its scale.
Changing where you live can sometimes change how you see the world and open up whole new avenues for seeing and learning. This is the case for photographer Holly Lynton, who moved from New York to Massachusetts farm country, and was inspired to create work about the people and traditions that are part of her new world. “I left New York for in part to live the locavore life, defined mainly as eating locally, sustainably, and organically. What I hadn’t anticipated is how it is more often than not an extension of people’s spiritual lives.”
Holly received a BA from Yale University in 1994 and a MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2000. She has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1997. Holly has been an artist mentor for students at the New School in New York, and a visiting instructor at the Aegean Center in Paros, Greece.
Holly is having a solo exhibition of her project, Bare Handed, at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery in Miami, Florida this fall and is fundraising to raise monies to scan and print the work. We all understand the costs involved mounting exhibitions and Holly is being proactive to make her exhibition happen.
Statement for Bare Handed: Recently, I left New York for Massachusetts farm country where I’m working on a series entitled “Bare Handed.” This series began with images of individuals who confront dangers in nature, while allowing themselves to be vulnerable. Examples of these are bee keepers who wear no protective clothing and catfish noodlers who fish for seventy pound catfish with their bare hands.
While photographing them, I watched them enter a transformative and meditative state that I see also exists in certain farm activities. I observed a reverence for nature rather than the absence of fear. Much of the current literature and film presents the negative sides of industrial farming without enough celebration of the positive aspects of small scale, sustainable, local, organic farms.
I am interested in photographing people who work with animals on these farms and in the wild to expose the spiritual conviction they have for this way of life, as a gesture to my commitment and belief in its importance as well.