Tag Archives: Black And White Photography

Review Santa Fe: David Emitt Adams

Over the next month, I will be sharing the work of photographers who attended Review Santa Fe in June.  Review Santa Fe is the only juried review in the United States and invites 100 photographers to Santa Fe for a long weekend of reviews, insights, and connections.  I was fortunate enough to be a pre-juror for this event. 
Arizona photographer, David Emitt Adams has a wonderful project that pulls us back and forth through photographic history.  Exquisitely presented, his project, 36 Exposures, shines a light on what we have lost in the digital world–the tactile presence of objects that surround film, and the creation of work that does not require a battery or outlet.  His work focuses on historical media and uses that media to create an informed contemporary dialogue about photography’s past and present.

David received a BFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and an MFA from Arizona State University.  His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and
abroad. David was selected for the prestigious Lens Culture
International Exposure Award 2011
and most recently, was awarded the Freestyle
Crystal Apple Award
for Outstanding Achievement in Black and White
Photography.  Within the last year,
David was awarded the Nathan Cummings Foundation $5000 travel grant that funded
a trip to France and England.  This
opportunity enabled him to investigate the resurgence of antiquated processes
at its source and their application in contemporary photography. Currently he is working on two new bodies of work as an
Artist-in-Residence at Art Intersection in Gilbert, Arizona. 

Images from 36 Exposures
As an artist who is enthralled with photography, I gain
pleasure from exploring its past and discovering how that past relates to where
the medium is today.  Photography
is in the era of megapixels and I have made the conscious decision to embrace
the processes and elements of display from
photography’s past.  This is
not to say that I have rejected the digital era. 
I, too, own a digital camera, but have chosen to conduct a
constant search to understand everything photography is, and could be.

In the piece 36
Exposures, I have used 35mm film canisters that were discarded by my
“Introduction to Photography” students as a base to hold their portraits.  I employed a labor-intensive, 19th
century, chemical photographic procedure known as the wet plate collodion
process to make the students’ photographs on the very film canisters that
played a crucial role in their initial understanding of photography.  The canisters and the process I used
speak of the evolving nature of photography, representation, and culture.  By mining the history of photography, I
can find the relevance of my work today. 

Inside the World of Turkish Oil Wrestling

The sport ofyal gre, or oil wrestling,is at the heart ofKrkpnar, afestival in the Turkish city of Edirne. Thousands of people will come to see these wrestlersslick with olive oilcompete in the 651stannual games on July 2. Itll be a familiar sight for Turkish photographer Pari Dukovic, who attended the event in 2010 and 2011.

I saw that the sport had an Old World charm to itthe festival, the prayers, the music, the instruments, the outfits, says Pari, who used to watch the festivals coverage as a teenager. I am drawn to subject matter that makes you feel as though you are traveling through time andKrkpnarfascinated me with its history and how it has remained an integral part of Turkish culture.

As the festival begins, drum and horn players parade through the city with the sports grand prizethe Krkpnar Golden Belt. The community then meets in the grand 16thcentury Selimiye Mosque, where the imam gives a sermon in honor of competitors past and present.For the young boys participating in the traditional Turkish coming-of-age ceremony known asSunnet Dugunu, its desirable to celebrate it at the same time asKrkpnar, as the festival represents to many the ultimate in male achievement. The boy in the mosque in slide #10 wears the ornate cape associated with the ritual.

After the sermon, wrestlers pray at the graves of legendary sportsmen and proceed through the streets to the competition field, singing the national anthem. The master of ceremony introduces the wrestlers to the audience, reciting their names, titles and skills in verse. Cheap Digital Cable TV . Very few of the wrestlers, who range widely in age, make a living from the sport. Nevertheless, Pari says hegot the clear sense that being a part of this event is a dream come true for them. They train for a whole year and often travel from villages all over Turkey to participate, so becoming aKrkpnarwrestler is an achievement they take great pride in, he says.The wrestlers, wearing nothing but short leather trousers, get rubbed down with olive oil. This makes the goal of the matchto throw ones opponent on his backall the more difficult. The matches last about 30 minutes each, while the final bout can last up to two exhausting hours.

I think the dedication that goes into what they do is amazing, says Pari. I hope that my photographs stand as visual documents of this tradition and that my respect is captured in these images.

Pari Dukovic is a New York City based documentary photographer. See more of his work here.

Leica bets big on monochrome-only digital camera

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Jacob Aue Sobol, from his series “Arrivals and Departures” made exclusively with the new Leica M Monochrom digital camera

In an age where black-and-white film and traditional photo paper and chemicals are disappearing from the marketplace, Leica Camera has launched a risky bet that high-quality black-and-white photography will continue to be in demand in the 21st century.

Their bet? A brand new digital camera that does not take color photos. The Leica M Monochrom camera is optimized to capture the fullest possible tonal range for smooth, rich, super-high-resolution black-and-white photography. I’m not a technical expert, but apparently by creating a sensor that ignores the typical RGB filters, each pixel of the new 18 megapixel camera records a subtle variation of black, white or grey only a technique that is far superior to converting typical RGB color digital photos to black-and-white.

And indeed, Leica camera enthusiasts from all corners of the globe (including many, many high-profile professional photographers) flew in to Berlin last week and cheered loudly as they got the first look at Leicas latest release the worlds first digital camera exclusively for full-frame, 35 mm black-and-white photography.

Lens Culture was honored to be invited to this special event, and to meet the enthusiastic international crowd at C|O Berlin photography gallery in Berlin. Blog Commenting . Links backlinks blog comments . Award-winning Magnum photographer, Jacob Aue Sobol, was one of the experts who got to test-drive the new camera before its public release. Sixty of his stunning new digital photos were on display during the event. We’re including three of those images here. And be sure to look for a great video interview with Sobol in Lens Culture in our next issue.

For more details on the new camera, check the Leica website.

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Jacob Aue Sobol, from his series “Arrivals and Departures” made exclusively with the new Leica M Monochrom digital camera

Sobol_3_blog.jpg

Jacob Aue Sobol, from his series “Arrivals and Departures” made exclusively with the new Leica M Monochrom digital camera

Leica-preview-blog.jpg

Photographers from all over the world crowd around the new camera unveiled by Leica last week at the C|O Berlin photography gallery

Daido Moriyama And the Cultural Landscape of Post-War Japan

Youth culture, through revolt, unabashedly asks us to question and confront our historical and cultural traditions. In post-war Japan, the explosion of the taiyozoku or sun tribe—a term for the youth sub-culture that emerged in the 1950s—was seen by the older, conservative generations as crude and violent. Flooded with new imagery from the West, there was a break in the connection to the past and thus a rejection of traditional values. Affected by the nouvelle vague Western youth and media, the taiyozoku were pictured as promiscuous and nihilistic, throwing their cares to the wind.

Arriving in Tokyo in 1961, Daido Moriyama began photographing the seedy streets of Shinjuku, a ward ravaged during the war. Although the Shinjuku of today is best known as the economic and commercial center of Tokyo, it still retains a revolutionary spirit that started in its post-war bars and red-light district. Moriyama’s high-contrast, gritty depictions capture the energy native to the neighborhood, creating a visual history of Tokyo’s youth throughout one of its most combustible phases in history. It is this power that shapes Moriyama’s work, creating an unfolding visual testament to the cultural landscape of post-war Japan.

A new exhibition pays tribute to Moriyama’s four decade relationship with Shinjuku, which serves as a photographic act of memory and desire. In Fracture: Daido Moriyama, opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on April 7, these notions are explored through a selection of prints and books, as well as recent color work. Moriyama began his career in Tokyo assisting the photographer Eikoh Hosoe. Hosoe was a member of the influential artist collective VIVO, which served to capture the significant cultural and structural changes within Japanese society. In line with this method of working, Moriyama began to roam the streets of Shinjuku and, since the early 1960s, has been witness to the ever-changing and expanding post-WWII landscape—a fractured, strange world that oscillates between time and space, reality and fiction.

Fracture: Daido Moriyama is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from April 7 through July 31.

The Search for the Best New Black-and-White Photographers

Last December, Gomma publishers—a small imprint in London with a magazine by the same name, or what founder Luca Desienna calls a “bijou” publishing house—set out to find the most exciting new talent working in black and white photography today. To begin the process they assembled an international panel of experts and curators from around the world that included Christian Caujolle, Yasmina Reggad, Peggy Sue Amison, Tom Griggs, Wayne Ford, Jörg Colberg and John Matkowsky to create a new publication called MONO. The fundamental idea for the new publication was to expose emerging talent to a wider audience by publishing them alongside more established artists pushing the boundaries of the medium, such as Roger Ballen, Daido Moryiama, Anders Petersen, Trent Parke and many others.

“Gomma was formed in 2004 by four friends and artists aspiring to create a new publishing space for photographers,” says Desienna. ”Our major inspirations were the influential Japanese magazine Provoke from 1968 and Permanent Food by Maurizio Cattelan. Since the first days of Gomma we’ve been always publishing black and white photography—it is and always will be one of the most extraordinary art forms that enables us to document the world we live in … and also what is beyond it or underneath it.”

This year’s winners of the MONO open call for entries are: Daisuke Yokota, Maki, Tricia Lawless Murray, Francesco Merlini, Jan von Holleben, Jukka-pekka Jalovaara, Sofia Lopez Mañan and Stephane C. Their work will be featured in the first edition of MONO to be released this fall.

Desienna says there has been a renaissance among the image makers working in black and white. “With the advent of digital photography, taking pictures has become sort of more accessible for everyone,” he says. “While black and white photography, which is often associated with analogue photography, has become rarer and rarer. Agfa collapsed, and films and chemicals started disappearing, so as it happens with anything that gets near to extinction, it just becomes more valuable.” At the same time, Desienna says great new digital, black-and-white photography has added to the exquisite and timeless world that monochrome images create. “We don’t see the world in black and white so this is probably why we are so attracted to it,” he says. “In addition I believe that black-and-white photography has the capability to show the inner moods of the photographers better than colors do.”

For more information visit Gomma Books and check out Gomma Magazine online.

Celestial at CCNY

Modern Day Halo #3, 2011, © Brea Souders

Exhibition on view:
January 20–March 3, 2012

The Camera Club of New York
The Arts Building
336 West 37th Street, Suite 206
New York, NY
(212) 260-9927

The Camera Club of New York presents Celestial, an exhibition arranged by guest curator Mark Alice Durant. Five photographic artists extend their views of our universe and the supernatural. The endless splendor of earth and space is researched and resolved through different sentiments and media: black and white photography, collage, charcoal drawings on negatives, film and performance.

The artists embrace imagination to represent the simplest and the most dramatic of celestial events. Intermediary substances are used, sprinkled across photographic paper, mimicking stars and constellations. Photograms and pinhole cameras are also utilized, representative of the capable nature of the photographic process, even through the most rudimentary of means.

Mark Alice Durant is an artist, writer, and curator. Durant’s photography has appeared in Aperture issue 199 and has contributed writing for issues 203, 196, and 195.

Exhibition on view:
January 20–March 3, 2012 

The Camera Club of New York
The Arts Building
336 West 37th Street, Suite 206
New York, NY

(212) 260-9927

California Dreaming In 1964: Arthur Tress’ San Francisco

In the summer of 1964, Arthur Tress, a world traveler at all of 23 years old, took a bus from Mexico to San Francisco to visit his sister Madeleine. Tress’ journey had taken him from Paris to Egypt, where the young photographer shot images of a country evolving under former President Gamal Nasser. “I began thinking of it intellectually as a visual anthropology,” Tress told TIME, “to try and hint at the different layers of culture that were existing simultaneously.”

Tress took this same approach with him to San Francisco, trying to create a collection of images that would reflect the old and new aspects of the city. “I was thinking as a kind of amalgam, all these little bits and pieces, almost as if you’re making a collage—a symphony of the city,” he says.

The summer of 1964, it turned out, was a fascinating time in San Francisco. The beatniks had left; it would be three years before the Summer of Love would come to the City by the Bay. The country was still reeling from the Kennedy assassination, and Tress arrived just in time for the 1964 Republican Convention, where Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater was transforming the conservative movement. In August, The Beatles returned to the U.S. for their second American tour, and San Francisco saw its first Civil Rights marches, challenging the status quo. “I didn’t photograph the demonstrations so much as the people watching the demonstrations,” Tress says. “They were kind of frozen in this very beautiful Northern California, light. Almost like a stage set. I was focused on different kinds of people—more liberal; more conservative; different classes of people in one photograph.”

The images Tress made that summer went on display in California and Mexico, but were then largely forgotten. He went on to garner acclaim for his staged surrealism, showing collections at museums such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of Art, as well as the Center for Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. When Madeleine died in 2009, Tress found the cache of prints from his youthful summer among her possessions. The collection, Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964, will be shown at the Fisher Family Gallery of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from March 3 to June 3, 2012, and James A. Ganz, curator of the Meuseums’ Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts has published a book of Tress’ prints along with an interview with the photographer.

The photographer says that the viewer can see a youthful Tress, “trying to go beyond mere photojournalism and make a larger statement about changing American values and culture” in the images. He certainly succeeded, capturing history as it moved across fault lines during one summer in San Francisco.

Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 is on view at the Fisher Family Gallery of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from March 3 to June 3, 2012.

Nate Rawlings is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @naterawlings.

Dreamscapes: Matt Wisniewski’s Digital Collages

Some people create images to make a statement. Others, like Matt Wisniewski, do it because it looks pretty. “It’s mostly just aesthetic,” explains the 21-year-old computer science student of his spectral photo collages. “Whatever looks nice, really.”

Art for art’s sake is no new conceit. But Wisniewski has created a particularly successful iteration by overlaying portraits with organic patterns—from flowers to jagged peaks to a Rorschach blot. He came to the combination through experimentation. “It just sort of clicked,” he says. “Natural elements tend to be a little simpler and fit together a bit more obviously with the portraits than urban elements.”

The process begins with images from Tumblr and other online portfolios. A few experimental overlays later, Wisniewski lights on something that catches his eye. “I decide that I want to go further on it and then clean that up.”

For his image of a bearded man in a diaphanous red coat, Wisniewski found an overlay photo that “fit well and had a similar shape to his body.” Although many of his portraits eschew color, the red hue of the overlay image appealed to him. “I just thought it looked interesting.”

Matt Wisniewski

Untitled from “Cold Embrace,” 2011

Whether he works on the face or body is also guided by aesthetic fancy. “Usually if I do something with their body it’s because it’s simple enough that I can just work over it,” he says. “Sometimes I see that covering up their face looks a little nicer than not.”

Wisniewski, who studies at New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology, prefers Photoshop to a paintbrush. Yet despite his technical knowledge—he works as a web-developer in his spare time—he’s self-effacing about his tools. “[Photoshop] is a lot more forgiving,” than traditional media, he says. “I can easily fix mistakes or experiment with an idea and complete erase those changes if I feel they don’t fit.”

That isn’t to say he hasn’t tried drawing, painting and photography. Growing up in Philadelphia, Wisniewski applied his tinkering instincts to whatever was at hand. “I’ve created things for as long as I can remember, really. The collage is just sort of something that happened as a result of that.”

On the cusp of graduating and moving to Brooklyn, Wisniewski hopes to maintain his autotelic creed. “I honestly don’t think of anything I do as a hobby or not,” he says, emphasizing that he wants to keep up his web design alongside making collages. “I’m obviously going to continue doing this as long as I enjoy it. Hopefully that will be a long time.”

Matt Wisniewski is a student at New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology. More of his work can be seen here.

Sonia van Gilder Cooke is a reporter in TIME’s London Bureau. Follow her on Twitter at @svangildercooke.