Kyle Ford was born in the mountains of the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. He received his Bachelor of Sciences from Skidmore College in 2005 and his Master of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009. Kyle’s work has been featured in publications such as Newsweek Japan, Magenta’s Flash Forward and The Wall Street Journal. He is currently living in upstate New York and teaching classes at Skidmore College.
Young French photographer/activist/artist, JR, (he goes by his initials), has made the urban world his own outdoor photo gallery. He’s posted his billboard-size photographs — usually portraits of people who live in the area where he displays the photos — on the sides of buildings, on rooftops, wrapped around whole train cars, on the houses that cover a ghetto slum hillside, and even on the wall that divides Israel from Palestine. His work is at once compassionate and provocative. stevia . He won the $100,000 TED prize in 2011, and here is his funny yet passionate speech about how he tries to use art to change the world. Inspiring!
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You can also see more of his work, and listen to an early audio interview he made with Lens Culture in 2007: lensculture.com/jr
When I asked Seth Boyd and Richard Renaldi what made a good photobook (as part of my conversation with them), Seth said “Good pictures. Just good pictures. That sounds ludicrously simplistic, but that’s all I want when I look at a book: to see amazing images.” Once you put images on a wall, this becomes even more obvious: A good exhibition features good photographs. Of course, there are OK shows (lots of those) and good shows (fewer, but still a lot), and then there are great shows. Great shows will make you come back (if you can). Great shows are when you think you know what to expect, but once you’re there you know that something is happening that’s hard to describe. It’s almost magical. Great shows are rare. If you want to see a great show right now, see Sze Tsung Leong‘s Cities, on view at Yossi Milo Gallery (until April 2, 2011). (more)
To produce these images, the artist has been traveling all over the globe, pointing his camera at, well, cities. How do you take a photo of a city? You go somewhere higher up, and you make sure you get as much of the city as you can. It’s really as simple as that. If you were to ask what made a great photo, maybe a good first answer would be “a simple idea.” If you were to ask how to produce a great show out of great photos, I suppose there’s a simple answer, too: Get the photos printed properly, making sure they have the right size, get them framed, and hang them on the wall.
Describing it that way might make you wonder why Cities is so special, and that’s where things get a little hard to explain. Everything was done just so perfectly, while looking so effortlessly. It would (must?) have been so tempting to go for effect, to produce billboard-size prints… Well, actually, the artist did go for effect, but it’s done in such a subtle and controlled way that you don’t even realize what’s going on. You just realize that while you are looking at all those cities, you see them through the artist’s eyes, in the most perfect way.
Looking at these images on your computer screen won’t do, of course. You really have to see these images on the wall to be able to appreciate what they do. I could probably blabber on now, getting all those words out of the art critic’s box, talking about the “sublime,” for example, or any of the other stuff that so often gets used to inflate review word counts.
But maybe I’ll just add this: If you still need to get convinced that photography can be art, then go and see Cities. There’ll be photographs on the wall, but you’ll be looking at art, at the tremendously inspiring vision of an artist who happens to be a photographer.
Easily the best show I have seen in many months.
Stephen Shore’s photographic work came to maturity and early recognition in the 1970s, a period when his native America was wearied by war and years of civil unrest. Its wit, elegance, and formal rigour made welcome order out of images that looked casual and arbitrary; echoing the methodology of contemporary photorealist painters, Shore’s approach was a cross between straight documentary and conceptual art. Uncommon Places, probably his best-known and most influential series of photographs, includes – among many others – images of a motel room, a pancake breakfast, a rainbow over a parking lot, and a billboard on a country highway showing a snow-capped mountain. Sometimes described as a sequence of deadpan shots of banal subjects, Uncommon Places is actually deeply rooted in the artist’s subjectivity. Ductless Mini Split . north dakota foundation repair . This is literally and figuratively true: the photographs are diaristic, but more importantly they also bear clear traces of his attitude to the world, which is surprisingly affectionate for one so determined to show no emotion whatsoever in his photographs. Custom Jewelry . Stephen Shore’s work has been shown all around the world in major galleries and museums. This exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery Dublin, the first time Stephen Shore’s work has been shown in Ireland, was selected by the artist; it comprises photographs from various series and from every period in his career.