Tag Archives: Blind Spot

A Record of China’s Changing Coastlines

In recent years many contemporary photographers have focused their work on the rapid industrialization taking place in China. We’ve seen mega cities rise and industry boom along with the population. But, in a move away from the trend, Chinese photographer Zhang Xiao turned his attention to changes to China’s coastal areas. The work, currently on view at Hong Kong’s Blind Spot Gallery, records subtle and surreal moments of life by the sea. “These scenes are true reality, though they seem to be beyond our imagination,” Xiao says.

The photographer began the series in 2009 after quitting his job as at the Chongqing Morning Post in Chongqing city, China. He was drawn to the ocean, driven to snap his shutter when confronted with scenes of change. “The coastline is the frontier of China’s reform,” he says, “but also the first area of impact from external culture and the rapid economic development.”

Xiao’s attachment to the sea was not new: he was born in the coastal city of Yantai, which boasts about 25 miles of coastline. “It’s a pity that I seldom went to the seashore during my whole childhood,” he says, “but there’s always a strong affection towards the sea that remains in the bottom of my heart.”

He plans to continue working on the project until the end of this year, following his instinctual approach to picture making: wandering the beaches, looking for scenes of daily life to reveal something about modern life in China, capturing the people who are frolicking in the surf and looking for some kind of peace, lost in the beauty of the sea.

The series Coastline is on display at Hong Kong’s Blind Spot Gallery through March 10, 2012.

Zhang Xiao is a freelance photographer based in Shandong Province, China. He is represented by Troika Editions and you can see more of his work here.

The 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Fire Revisited

One week after a deadly wildfire killed 25 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes in Oakland and Berkeley, California in 1991, photographer Richard Misrach photographed the aftermath. “There were no police barricades, and people hadn’t really returned,” he says. “It was just completely devastated, very much like a post-apocalyptic movie.”

Misrach decided early on not to show the work, but on the 20th anniversary of the fire, the photographer is finally unveiling his images in a new book published by Blind Spot, which coincides with twin exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and Oakland Museum of California Art, on view through Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, respectively.

“There was so much coverage, it was almost like a media spectacle,” Misrach says of his decision not to publish the pictures right away. “It seemed like the work might get lost, and I wasn’t interested in the news component. I was much more interested in the history.” Misrach mocked up a few photographs into a book maquette shortly after the fire, but he hadn’t really looked at the series as whole until preparing them for his exhibitions. Citing Civil War photographs as a precedent, Misrach says he wanted to allow his images to serve as historical documents, shifting in meaning with time. “The pictures are not of flames. They’re not of not of people fleeing,” he says. “They’re more quiet, meditative and reflective of our relationship with landscape.”

Richard Misrach’s work is in the collections of over fifty major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is represented by Fraenkel Gallery.

1991–The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath is published by Blind Spot. The accompanying exhibitions are on view at the Berkeley Museum of Art through Feb. 5 and at the Oakland Museum of California from Oct. 15-Feb. 12.

Feifei Sun is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @Feifei_Sun or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

The 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Fire Revisited

One week after a deadly wildfire killed 25 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes in Oakland and Berkeley, California in 1991, photographer Richard Misrach photographed the aftermath. “There were no police barricades, and people hadn’t really returned,” he says. “It was just completely devastated, very much like a post-apocalyptic movie.”

Misrach decided early on not to show the work, but on the 20th anniversary of the fire, the photographer is finally unveiling his images in a new book published by Blind Spot, which coincides with twin exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum and Oakland Museum of California Art, on view through Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, respectively.

“There was so much coverage, it was almost like a media spectacle,” Misrach says of his decision not to publish the pictures right away. “It seemed like the work might get lost, and I wasn’t interested in the news component. I was much more interested in the history.” Misrach mocked up a few photographs into a book maquette shortly after the fire, but he hadn’t really looked at the series as whole until preparing them for his exhibitions. Citing Civil War photographs as a precedent, Misrach says he wanted to allow his images to serve as historical documents, shifting in meaning with time. “The pictures are not of flames. They’re not of not of people fleeing,” he says. “They’re more quiet, meditative and reflective of our relationship with landscape.”

Richard Misrach’s work is in the collections of over fifty major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is represented by Fraenkel Gallery.

1991–The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath is published by Blind Spot. The accompanying exhibitions are on view at the Berkeley Museum of Art through Feb. 5 and at the Oakland Museum of California from Oct. 15-Feb. 12.

Feifei Sun is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @Feifei_Sun or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.