Tag Archives: Daily Basis

Robert Rutoed: Right Time Right Place

The photographs of Robert Rutoed appeared on my visual radar
several years ago when I was introduced to his project, Less is More. The images made an impression that kept his name and photographs
in the forefront of my mental Rolodex – not an easy feat, as I look at a lot of
images on a daily basis. 
Robert is part of that wonderful European street shooter legacy that is so important in a world where technology keeps our heads down, where cell phones remove us from truly being engaged with each other.  And it’s this heads-down mentality that disassociates our connections with a world rich with small dramas. We need Robert’s photographs to make us realize what we are missing, and allow the levity of his work to not only see ourselves with amusement, but to simply, see ourselves.

What Robert brings to the contemporary photographic dialogue
is that intangible ability to see the world with a skewed lens – a lens that is
compassionate and at the same time, unkind. It is a lens that is the stuff of
operas and nightmares, comedies and slapstick. Robert finds that split second
of humor or truth telling and that instant of social documentation or absurdity
that makes us not only laugh at ourselves, but also laugh and feel embarrassed
all at the same time.  Or should I
say, at The Right Time.
Robert has a new book, Right Time Right Place, that releases this week, and I have the privilege of writing the foreword to this publication.
Robert  was born in Vienna and is a photographer and filmmaker. He created numerous
short feature films with screenings worldwide and his photographic work has been exhibited throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Robert was recently the winner of the
New York Photo Award 2012 in the category Fine Art. His books included: Less Is More
(2009), grayscales, early b&w photographs (2010), Right Time Right
Place
(2012).
Right Time Right Place
Being at the right place at the right time is usually associated with
happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place
at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And
what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right
time!” – Whoever loses his orientation over this thought will get a
feeling for Robert Rutöd’s latest pictures. The Vienna-born photographer
wandered for five years through Europe and has proven to be a keen
observer with an often tragicomic view: The blind man who finds
orientation by putting his stick in a tram track, the helpless swan that
finds itself frozen to the vast stretch of ice, or the amputee operator
of a shooting range set up in a ruined building. It gets macabre with
the portraits of the Pope, Hitler and Mussolini decorating the labels of
wine bottles.


The Americans List: A Salute to Robert Frank

Photographers the world over need no introduction to Robert Frank’s seminal 1950s work The Americans, an exploration of the American ideal from his outsider’s perspective as a Swiss émigré. Taken on a series of road trips around the country, the resulting intuitively-sequenced images —produced with funding from a Guggenheim fellowship—reflect both the dark undercurrents and poetic beauty of American culture.

Originally published in Paris in 1958 and the U.S. a year later, the book’s hallowed pages—containing a mere 83 images—have become one of the most referenced and revered photographic works. Many of the individual frames reside firmly in the collective memory of contemporary photographers who consciously and subconsciously reference the images on a daily basis.

Three years ago, an extensive retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art provided a fascinating and exhaustive insight to The Americans. The show, entitled Looking In, also inspired and facilitated photographer Jason Eskenazi’s recently published appreciation, The Americans List.

In 2009, Eskenazi—himself the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship—was working as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Every day for two months, even on Mondays when the exhibition was closed to the public, he stood in close proximity with the work, studying it compulsively, attending special events and asking questions of MET curator Jeff Rosenheim.

While guarding the show, Eskenazi started to ask photographers he knew—famous or not—about their favorite images from the show. Over the next two years, Eskenazi compiled their answers, along with their explanations and thoughts about the work. His compilations eventually evolved into his own book, published this month by Red Hook Editions. In the foreward, Eskenazi writes:

The Americans is probably the one book that connects more photographers than any other, so while guarding the show, I saw many photography colleagues enter. I began asking them what was their knock-out favorite image. Though many said it was too hard to choose and many images were important to them I insisted. I discovered that many of the answers revealed much more about the photographers themselves.”

The Americans List assembles selections by 276 photographers from Joel Meyerowitz (Canal Street – New Orleans. plate #19) and Joseph Koudelka (Covered car – Long Beach, Califonia. plate #34) to Eskenazi’s own personal favorite (Men’s room, railway station – Memphis, Tenn. Plate 52). Eskenazi considers the book a present to the photographic community and a homage to a great living photographer.

Guarding the exhibition also afforded Eskenazi the opportunity to meet the legendary photographer, first at the exhibition opening and then at Frank’s house in New York City, where he asked Frank to confirm the long standing rumor of his own favorite photograph from The Americans (San Francisco. Plate 72).

Eskenazi quit his day job at the end of the Looking In exhibition and has since returned full time to his life as a photographer. “I became very intimate with the work,” Eskenazi says. “It brought me back to life. And Frank was very moved by the book when he was recently given a copy in Nova Scotia.”

Clark Winter

Nova Scotia
September, 2012

Jason Eskenazi is a Istanbul based photographer. See more of his work at JasonEskenazi.com.

The Americans List is published by Red Hook Editions and available through the photo-eye bookstore.

Medium Festival: Marjorie Salvaterra

Featuring photographers seen at the Medium Festival in San Diego….

I admit that I am already a fan and friend of Los Angeles photographer, Marjorie Salvaterra, but I have no hesitancy in sharing the new body of work (still in progress) she brought to the Medium Festival. Marjorie is a diminutive and determined photographer, creating large scale and compelling visual gestures that don’t reflect her stature. Her new project, HER, is influenced by Italian cinema, with a European sensibility and an out- of-the-box approach to image making that reflects the world of women–the land mines of life, motherhood, friendships, relationships that we all navigate through on a daily basis.

Marjorie has exhibited widely including the Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France,  Clark-Oshin Gallery, Los Angeles,  Robert Berman Gallery, Los Angeles, Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco, and The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her work was included in the George Eastman House Museum auction at Sotheby’s, New York and she was runner-up for the 2009 and 2010 Berenice Abbott Prize for Emerging Photographers and a current finalist for Critical Mass 2012.

 HER 
I am a decent woman. 
 A pretty good wife — with a great therapist, otherwise I would’ve screwed this one up way too many times. 
 A mother – I think this one I do best except between the hours of 6:15 and 7:30pm and certain whole days at a time. 
 A daughter – I was a pretty terrible daughter growing up. I’m starting to get the hang of it now that I’m a parent. 
 A good sister. 
 And lastly a friend. To some, the best and to others, impossibly guarded. 

I’m forty three years-old and I’m trying to grow as a person but so is my skin. I’m not that interested in holding onto my youth. My life is far greater now. But letting go isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some days I don’t recognize this person who looks back at me in the mirror. She is older, has responsibilities. She has had to learn that sometimes God has a bigger plan for her life than she does. Not everything goes the way she wants it to go. Things happen. Money comes and goes. So do jobs. As well as friends.

People sometimes get sick and her kids will inevitably get lice and share it with her, which is still preferable to pin worms that their friends get. She will cry over losses and and weep when she sees her child standing in a line of other children. Not because everything is wrong. But because everything is right. On the outside, she strives for peace but inside there is a turbulence of holding on too tightly to all these things that have finally brought that peace and true joy. 

With HER, she turns away from the mirror and turns the camera on her own life — examining the psychology of her age and her gender in black and white, through surreal interpretations and exaggerated gestures, reminiscent of Italian cinema, creating photographs that reflect the universal idea of womanhood and assure HER that she is not on this path alone.

A Syrian Tragedy: One Family’s Horror

War has come to Aleppo on full scale. In the southwestern neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, Sikari and Salaheddine, explosions rock buildings on a daily basis, and on almost every street you look, glass, debris and rubble litter the place. It is a far cry from the Aleppo I visited almost three weeks ago, when nightly demonstrations filled the air with defiance and protesters slipped into the pink, blue and fluorescent lights of these working-class neighborhoods. Now, Salaheddine is emptied of its residents who have fled to schools, mosques and parks around the city. But Bustan al-Qasr is different. Most of its residents stayed, and in a densely populated area frequently hit hard by shells, airstrikes and helicopter attacks, it means a high casualty rate.

Civilians have tried to go about their daily business as Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters patrol the streets and head out for missions in nearby neighborhoods. Some afternoons are quiet in Bustan al-Qasr, but shells land consistently in the distance and then suddenly, the explosions visit this area. At about 2:30 p.m. today, aMiG-29 screamed overhead, flying extremely low, with the distinct sound of an impact a few seconds later. Out on the streets, civilians ran in all directions fleeing the scene. An apartment block had been hit, and the injured were being carried out. Two girls with paled, shocked faces came running out, unable to make sense of what had just happened. And then a man, covered in dust, dressed only in an undershirt and trousers, stumbled out after them, his face in disbelief. He was screaming over the telephone in the middle of the street, and on the shop shutter behind him graffiti was scrawled: “Zero hour has come, God, Syria, Freedom.”

The MiG returned, screamed overhead again, sending the man and the crowd nearby scrambling for cover. FSA fighters raised their AK-47s and tried to shoot at the plane in a futile attempt to do something. article writing submission . The second bomb droppedjust half a block away, and the street instantly became filled with dust and debris, falling like confetti. FSA fighters joined the fray, and instantly more men, women and children were running. One man held a green telephone, clutching it in one hand and holding a girl in the other as they ran. Chaos. Men, armed and unarmed, ran toward the other damaged building to search for injured and then a third bomb dropped on a building across the street, sending more debris raining down. People came pouring out of the apartments screaming, their hands on their heads, all unable to understand. They looked at the cars on the street, flattened by falling concrete, turned their heads toward the sky and ran back inside as they heard the plane again. This time, there was no explosion.

On a bloodied mattress, the lifeless body of Abdul Latif Qureya was being hurried by five men toward a pickup truck that would take him to the secret field hospital. And then another mattress, this time with a man who miraculously survived, was carried out. More women and children came out, carrying few possessions and the clothes on their backs as they fled.

At the secret field hospital, the bodies began arriving. Qureya’s was already there, then his children and extended family began coming in. Lying near him was Bara’a, 8. Then came Hatem, 15, who was barely alive as he was plucked from the rubble of his apartment. But he didn’t make it, and he was dead on arrival. Qureya’s wife Wahiba was cut in half, and her body remained missing. Somewhere in the apartment was his other son Mahmoud. And then Qureya’s niece Takreet, 7, came in, her purple T-shirt and her face covered in dust. She too was lifeless, her mouth slightly ajar, probably as she took her last breath. A few minutes later, a man ran through the door holding a small blanketed body, Youssef, 1, Qureya’s nephew. He was limp in his underwear and undershirt.

In total, seven of the Qureya family were killed. Five of them were children under 15 years old. Two more bodies, of men, were brought in. One was Samer Bassar, 37, dressed in a beige djellaba and holding prayer beads, covered in blood. Another man was unidentified.

Horror visits Aleppo in many forms. Today, it was by way of a warplane.

Nicole Tung is a freelance photographer who previously documented the uprisings in Libya and Egypt. See more of her work here.

The Wrestlers of Chechnya: Photographs by Yuri Kozyrev

In 1994, when Russia invaded the breakaway region of Chechnya, Yuri Kozyrev, then a freelance photographer, captured some of the most iconic images of the ensuing war. It was too dangerous at the time to live in the Chechen capital of Grozny, which faced heavy Russian bombardment. So he and a group of other reporters (including Marie Colvin, who was killed this year while covering the siege of the Syrian city of Homs) took up residence at a kindergarten called Solnyshka (Sunshine), in the nearby town of Khasavyurt. Lying on the border between Chechnya and the neighboring Russian republic of Dagestan, this town of 130,000 suffered relatively little damage during the war, so journalists, as well as some of the Chechen rebels, used it as a place to rest and resupply before heading back into the war zone.

(For daily coverage of the 2012 Games, visit TIME’s Olympics blog)

In June, Kozyrev returned to Khasavyurt to photograph how the town—and its conflict—have evolved. Although heavy fighting ended with the Russian conquest of Chechnya in 2000, the war left behind an Islamist insurgency that Russia still struggles to quell. On an almost daily basis, rebels inspired by a radical sect of Sunni Islam called Salafism continue to clash with security forces in the region, costing hundreds of lives every year. In Khasavyurt, the Russian effort to counter their influence still scars the unpaved streets. In most neighborhoods, gutted homes mark the sites of “special operations,”the commando raids that use heavy artillery to flush out suspected insurgents. But the town has also been shaped by the central element of Russian soft power in the region: the development of wrestling schools. Much like soccer in the favelas of Sao Paolo and basketball in Harlem, wrestling in Khasavyurt is meant to serve as an inoculation against violence, or at least a distraction from it, by offering the local boys an outlet for their frustrations that does not involve ”going to the woods,” the Russian slang for joining the insurgency.

Every year, Moscow pumps roughly a million dollars into Khasavyurt’s five wrestling academies, which have produced an impressive crop of champions. In the past four Olympic cycles, freestyle wrestlers from Khasavyurt have brought home a total of eight gold medals, along with at least 12 world championship titles and countless trophies in national and European tournaments. At the Olympic Games in London, at least two wrestlers from Khasavyurt will compete to affirm the town’s nickname—The Foundry of Champions—which is scrawled on green signs near the central bazaar, showing the legendary Buvaysar Saytiev in the middle of a grapple.

During his visit in June, Kozyrev’s photography focused on Saytiev and his younger brother Adam, who have won four Olympic gold medals in freestyle wrestling between them. For more than a decade, the Saytiev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens, have served as somewhat reluctant poster boys for the notion of pacification through sport. Their wrestling schools have inspired thousands of young men from Khasavyurt to channel their strength into wrestling rather than rebellion, and Kozyrev spent much of his time photographing them train for the London Olympics. But away from the gyms, members of the Khasavyurt wrestling community revealed that the idea of sport as an antidote to extremism is not quite working out as planned. Some of the town’s leading athletes have started “going to the woods” in recent years, and an alarming number of them have been killed as insurgents during shootouts with police. No longer a haven from conflict, the wrestling schools of Khasavyurt, whose students are often as young as 8, have become recruiting ground for Islamists. As Kozyrev concluded after his visit: “This is a town that remains at war.”

Read more about the Chechen wrestlers of Khasavyurt on TIME.com

Simon Shuster is TIME’s Moscow reporter.

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

Gregory Jones

When Gregory Jones shared his new project, Los Angeles, I experienced a bit of deja vu.  His photographs were transversing many of the same streets I travel on a daily basis and what may be a road trip for him, was unfortunately a reality for me.  These are images created with a disposable camera in preparation for a long term project.

After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Fine Art Photography, Gregory received an artist residency in Bejing, China, currently he is working as the co-editor of the terrific Urbanautica Magazine  and working on his fine art photography.


Images from Los Angeles

Los Angeles, 2011In the Fall of 2011 I drove from
Rochester, NY to Los Angeles. where I spent three weeks working on the
first part of a long-term project. This isn’t the project.

When I left for my trip, I brought along about two dozen cheap disposable cameras. My intent with these was to make pictures that went against my normal formal style, and to make pictures that could most resemble pure documentation.

These pictures were made on the streets and highways of Los Angeles, as I drove around looking for places to make pictures.

Jean Laughton

I love all photographs about the west.  My father was a cowboy and though I never lived in Arizona, my heart is on the range.  There are lots of photographers making work about cowboy culture and the American West, but none are as authentic as Jean Laughton who lives it on a daily basis.  In fact, it took Jean awhile to send me images as she was busy with calving season.  Her commitment to her work is evidenced in this image:
Riding Drag on the Brunsch Ranch
Jean grew up in rural Iowa and spent a lot of time on her grandmother’s farm. She moved to New York City and began taking photographs.  In 1997, she had an overwhelming urge to venture across the country in search of disappearing Americana.  She met cowboys and country western legends and fell in love with all things western.  
After several more trips over the years, Jean eventually bought property, cattle, and a whole new way of life in South Dakota. She has since learned to cowboy from scratch and has been
ranching on Lyle O’Bryan’s Quarter Circle XL Ranch near Belvidere, South Dakota
while documenting her My Ranching Life series from horseback. Jean now manages
the ranch – riding and working alongside old time cowboy and mentor, Lyle O’Bryan
(age 78) while continuing to document the intersection of her life with the
past.
The two consistent things in her life have been her love of photography and the glorious West. Jean write a blog about her adventures on the range, My Ranching Life.
I am featuring work from two series, Go West and My Ranching Life.
 Go West

I grew up in rural Iowa near the South Dakota border, on
the edge of the West. When I began this series I was living in New York City. I
was longing to GO WEST, back home and beyond, to photograph the people of a
region that so captivated me – to escape back to reality and wide-open spaces –
and travel across the vastness of the West on a journey that became not only a
photographic one but also one of personal discovery – finding links between
photo subjects and past family members, making friends with old bronc riders
from my great grandmother’s days – mingling with the past while documenting the
present as I looked to the future and the reinvention of my life.


I didn’t watch many Westerns but the fabricated reality of a scene from
John Ford’s ‘’My Darling Clementine” and so many from silent movies lit a
spark. I wanted to head West and document real people in their western
‘costumes’ of sort. Pull them out of their current reality into a constructed
one. So I left my then home of New York City, starting in 1995, for several
summers and meandered about the West in my Bronco loaded with backdrops and my
beat up $75 4×5 camera – stopping at selected rodeos and events. To me, this
was like walking onto a movie studio back lot with characters straight out of
Central Casting – but with the twist of naturally occurring authenticity. This
was the beginning of several years of experiences that would eventually lead me
to my current ten-year ranching adventure. What started as photographing the
myth with this series lead to me actually inhabiting it with my current series
MY RANCHING LIFE – stepping into a real life version of the backdrop scene and
going beyond the role of spectator.

The
GO WEST summers alone on the road were some of the best times – driving
throughout the cinematic landscape of the West as an outsider with no ties,
with a feeling of awe – watching a continuous ever changing ‘drive-in movie’ of
the West through my windshield. They were such days of discovery for me. And
the first time I actually stopped someone to ask to take their portrait.
Watching me set up my backdrop in the wind behind the scenes of rodeos and go
through the process of photographing each person with the 4×5 while talking at
top speed was probably just as entertaining as the rodeo itself and I liken it
to some sort of Buster Keaton silent movie scene from The Cameraman.  I mostly did one shot of the people I met in
Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Montana.

When I asked each person to step in front of my backdrop, it transformed into a miniature movie set and they became the leading actor from the countless legends of the true and imagined West of the past. Their look, stance or clothing evoked many a character from many a movie scene and made me aware of movie characters based on real life and real life based on movie characters and the blur between the two. I shot most of the B&W images from this series with the beloved Type 55 Polaroid film – which allowed for a endless array of accidental blemishes and ‘instant’ timelessness.

What started my thousands of miles driving throughout the West was a
personal photography project that eventually morphed into me searching for
something. As with many from the past, I headed West to transform my life –
moving to the tiny Last Picture Show back
lot of a movie set Badlands town of Interior, South Dakota and stepping into my
current cowboying role.

I have GONE WEST.

  
My Ranching Life
I have always used my photography as a tool for attempting
time travel. And working on the Quarter Circle XL Ranch is a bit like stepping
back in time onto a Western movie backlot. The ranch was once home to Earl
Thode – first world champion bronc rider of 1929 and his family. It is quite a
thrill riding across the same land and the same White River as the cowboys from
the past. I feel as if I have stepped ‘inside the photograph’ – riding my Pony
around and photographing in a diorama of the West somewhere between the past and present – between reality and fantasy.

The area of ranches south of Belvidere, South Dakota is rich
with western heritage – with all cattle work done on horseback. Creating quite
the historical visual against the backdrop of the land and cyclorama sky. I
photograph these scenes from horseback, while cowboying, with a Noblex 120
swing lens panoramic camera I carry in my saddlebags. The Noblex gives me a
medium format negative suitable for large-scale printing. The panoramic format
lends a cinematic quality while also conveying the vastness of the landscape.
And the black & white film helps reverse time. My horse’s ears
intentionally appear in some of the photographs – announcing my presence as
part of the crew.

These photographs are a visual diary of what appear to be
‘film stills’ of some of the many scenarios I have been a part of while
learning to cowboy and eventually taking over managing the Quarter Circle XL
Ranch. I have had the pleasure of working alongside a crew of rugged
hardworking cowboys on the ten area ranches we ‘neighbor’ with. This allows me
to learn a lot, cover many miles of pasture on horseback and document within a
variety of landscapes. Offering an insider’s perspective of the beauty and
timelessness of present day family ranching. With photographs that, at first glance,
could have been taken during another era – depicting a profession that has
changed little over the past century. The land, as backdrop, has a permanence
all its own but the cast of characters are bound to change. I am proud to be a
part of it all.

I continue to ranch and photograph and am ever grateful to
Lyle O’Bryan for being my cowboy mentor. These are the years of my life I will
never forget. It has been quite the adventure so far.

Pirating, Appropriating, and Stealing

TO PIRATE: One who makes use of or reproduces the work of another without authorization.

TO APPROPRIATE: Take (something) for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission.

TO STEAL: To take surreptitiously or without permission

This week has been full of bad news about the Internet.  Living in a culture where we hold All-Access-Passes to events on-line means we have to deal with the good and the bad aspects of the world wide web. And the bad has to do with what some human beings choose to do with that access.  I was disgusted when someone hacked into my e-mail last year, and sent everyone in my address book pleas for money, and I am now disgusted by what some very sick individuals are doing for their own gain.

So here is this week’s list of grievances:
I was first contacted by one of my students that a photographer in Italy had taken one of her images, placed it on his website, and was submitting it to competitions…and getting IN!  It was a shocking realization what lengths people will go to for recognition.

The second incident was that a friend discovered a Lenscratch blog post that I had written about her work appearing on a Polish blog,”compiled” by Pawel Filas.  After further investigation, I discovered hundreds of appropriated posts, used without my permission, still continuing on a daily basis. And I am not the only blogger whose content he is appropriating. For my posts, there is a link to “Aline”, so it appears that I am writing for his site.  I am working with other bloggers to get him to cease and desist, though he is not acknowledging our communications.  He has friended a number of photographers on Facebook, and all I can say is buyer beware.
I am wondering if today’s post will appear on Mind_Mag too:

His post:

My post:

Just when I was reeling from the sting of appropriation, a friend alerted me this copy-cat site by someone named Tony Hai who has lifted my entire blog:

I have discussed some of this on Facebook, and through that process, heard many additional tales of appropriated writing and imagery. I am sharing this post so that you will keep an eye on your photographs and writing.  We create our work with the best intensions and put so much labor into what we produce.  Those who appropriate our work are truly criminal.  As a community,hopefully we can work together to create better systems for protection and exposure.  And we need to share our stories and expose those who do us harm.

This is a VERY timely article by Joshua Dunlop on “The Daily Mail Stole My Photographs And I Got Paid“.  Well worth a read as it contains some excellent suggestions.