Tag Archives: Fascination

John Stezaker Awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

For more than 30 years, artist John Stezaker has used found images as his primary medium. In his compositions, black-and-white studio portraits become surreal two-faced beings; elsewhere, a woman’s face is replaced by the crashing white waves of an illustrated postcard. These collages, which use classic movie stills, vintage postcards and book illustrations, are sliced and re-arranged into entirely new forms—they’re simple constructions, but Stezaker’s eye for the uncanny makes them powerful.

On Sept. 3, Stezaker was awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, which recognizes a significant contribution to the medium of photography through exhibition or publication, for his presentation of photographic collages last year at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

The £30,000 prize (about $48,000) is organized by The Photographers’ Gallery in London. “Stezaker’s work has been influential on a new generation of image-makers,” said Brett Rogers, the Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, in a statement. “Within the vastness of today’s image flow, Stezaker has managed to resurrect the power and uncanny mystery inherent in the still image using traditional photographic strategies, most especially collage.”

Stezaker’s exhibition at Whitechapel showcased work from the 1970s until today.

“I am dedicated to fascination—to image fascination, a fascination for the point at which the image becomes self-enclosed and autonomous. It does so through a series of processes of disjunction,” Stezaker said in a statement from Whitechapel.

John Stezaker is a London-based artist. See more of his work here.

An exhibition of the artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 is on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London until Sept. 9.

Jena Cumbo

Brooklyn photographer, Jena Cumbo, is an engaged observer, whether shooting her fine art, fashion, lifestyle, or commissioned work. Jena received a BFA from the Hartford Art School  and received an MFA in Photography from the State University at Buffalo. After graduation, she began working as an assistant to many established photographers, including Lauren Greenfield, and in 2009, went out on her own.

Her on-going series, Prom Project, is the telling of an age old defining night of high school, between the time of what was and what will be, and Jena was there to capture the anticipation and drama. Her images reflect the excitement of that special dressed-up night, where the ending has yet to unfold, and hope is still palatable.

Prom Project: In 2010, I met a group of girls who were interested in having professional photos taken of them getting ready for the prom. I gladly accepted the job. Since then, my work has moved ever-deeper into the realm of youthful fashion and light-hearted lifestyle photography. 

Rites of passage and young girls coming-of-age are topics that have been photographed seemingly ad infinitum, yet this subject matter seems to be an endless source of fascination in the media and art worlds. 

This 2012 prom season I decided to embark on a journey to find a variety of young women in the NY city area with different backgrounds and identities to photograph as they prepare for and take part in the experience of prom.

I photographed a variety of girls getting ready for prom, two actual proms, and an after prom party. Every girl and experience was truly unique. I was fascinated by how ritualistic the getting ready process had become. Everyone I photographed did not attend school the day of or the day after prom, most started getting ready early in the day for evening dances. 

While the styles and looks differed immensely from girl to girl the bonding experience between the friends was a thread that wove throughout the series. 

Senior prom is a very definitive right of passage for high school students. Fashion can be an incredible outlet of self-expression, prom in such becomes the perfect platform for young people to display and flaunt their personal style and identity. Prom is truly their time to shine and an experience that’s meant to be photographed and remembered

Stephanie de Rouge

Some photographers are natural observers, and some take that curiosity to another level and want to open a few drawers and dig a little deeper.  French photographer, Stephanie de Rouge, is one of those visual investigators, probing into the pysche of how we humans function, especially in big city life.  Stephanie has traversed a number of approaches to looking at our lives–shooting New Yorkers in their bedrooms or on their rooftops, and with the work featured below, In Your Fridge, shooting what her subjects eat, or at least have in their refrigerators.

After 30 years in Paris, Stephanie now makes her home in New York, teaching at the International Center for Photography, works as a contributor for Le Journal de La Photographie and the New York Times, and is a freelance portrait photographer.  Her work has been featured in many publications and she has exhibited widely, with two recent exhibitions in Paris.

Through my travels, I have developed a fascination for big cities and their devastating energy.  Since I live and work in New York, I am more than ever wondering how humans survive those tentacular – always exciting – and often hostile urban spaces.  How they preserve their singularity and intimacy, where they find the soft, he poetic, the soothing, where they hide their secrets.

 Brookkyn, NY, Famille Englund

I started the project by shooting portraits of New Yorkers in their bedrooms (In Your Room) thinking it could be a good place for intimacy.  I was wrong. Or not exactly right.  The building walls don’t talk.  New Yorkers move all the time, share/sublet bedrooms…Not a good setting for a long term relationship with one self.

 Brooklyn, NY, Andrew et Framton

Quickly, my subjects whispered a few words about a place dear to their hearts: rooftops.  An outdoor space for intimacy? Why not…Let’s see…I discovered more than 40 of these urban shelters between earth and sky (On Your Roof), and as fascinated not by the amazing light, not by the phenomenal views, but by the real people I met up there and the very touching stories they shared with me.

 Brooklyn, NY, Fred

Then I got thirsty…Can I grab a juice in the fridge?

 New York, NY, John

Hmmm….what’s with the Barbie doll behind the salad? From Paris to New York, I opened more than 45 fridges and discovered quite amazing worlds.  Much more elaborate and revealing than I had expected in the first place.  But I knew I was at a milestone in my quest of intimacy on big cities when people actually started refusing to show their fridges.  As if something too personal was stacked between the cheddar cheese and the mayonnaise.  So…show me (what you eat) your refrigerator, I’ll tell you who you are? Maybe. Maybe no.

 New York, NY, colocataries

 New York, NY, Charmaine et Marc

 Paris, Aurore

 Paris, Famille Doucet

 Paris, Famille Reytier

 Paris, Famille Rouge

 Paris, Marie

 Paris, Monique

 Paris, Pierre

 Paris, Thierry

 Queens, NY, Famille Hamad

Rye, NY, Famille Fillion

Legacy in Leaves: The Vietnam War Remembered

When Binh Danh was a child he noticed the impression of objects left on a grass lawn over time. This observation, combined with an early fascination with science and a personal legacy of war—Danh immigrated to the States as a child refugee from Vietnam—would later coalesce into the series of images for which he is most widely known. Danh appropriates iconic images of the Vietnam War and prints them on organic material such as leaves and grass, using a unique printing process he calls Chlorophyll printing. The images—ethereal and fragile, endowed with a sense of heart-wrenching loss—speak poetically of memory, impermanence and the remnants and aftermath of war.

April 30th marks the 37th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the official end of the Vietnam War. For Danh, a Vietnamese American, the legacy of that conflict is complex and profoundly personal: photography is his means to connect with the painful shadows of that legacy by empowering a narrative that grounds him in his own identity. “It’s something that my parents I think want to talk about, but it’s difficult for them to communicate because they have such a direct relationship to what happened,” he says.

The artist uses two different processes to create his images. The first resembles traditional black and white printing where a negative is placed on a living patch of grass or leaf. Like the imprint of a hose on a green lawn, light-blocking material removes the green chlorophyll pigment from organic matter. The image transfers when the dark portions of the negative block light, removing the pigment, while the transparent sections keep the underlying portion of the grass or leaf alive. In the second method, grass is cut and layered on a board to form a canvas onto which the artist projects a positive. The clear part of the transparency that lets sunlight through gets washed out, forming an image.

In an ode to the impermanence and fragility of memory, it is impossible to chemically fix the photograph like a silver gelatin print. The artist recommends pressing the material in a book to retain color, and displaying and storing them away from direct sunlight. However, Danh takes this a step further and casts his work in resin, which, for him, becomes a way to preserve the leaf to hold onto that memory. “I feel that when we forget about the memory of war, war can happen again,” he says. “And of course in this country we forget very quickly.”

Binh Danh is an artist presented by Haines Gallery in San Francisco and Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz. See more of his work here.

Caleb Cole

Sometimes you see work that you fall in love with, and then you meet the person who created the work and you fall in love with the work a little more, because that person is so great. Such is the case of Caleb Cole and his wonderful series, Other People’s Clothes. I have been a fan of this work since it first knocked me out in the 2009 when juroring the Critical Mass offerings and I featured some of it on LENSCRATCH. Caleb has been hard at work completing the series, and is getting ready to create a book. But I’ll let him tell you about it.

If you would like to help Caleb bring this project into book form, you can donate here.

OTHER PEOPLE’S CLOTHES: At the heart of my work is a fascination with ambiguities and inconsistencies, an interest in how I go about negotiating areas of grey and how others manage to do the same. When I am in public, I watch people going about their daily routines alone; I wonder about the lives they lead, wonder how they experience the world around them and how they make meaning of it. I spend time inventing stories for them: narratives of isolation, of questioning and searching, of desire, and of confusion. The images in Other People’s Clothes are a product of my exploration of private moments of expectation, a visual expression of my experiences stepping into the shoes of the types of people I see on a daily basis. Each photograph in the series is a constructed scene that begins with an outfit or piece of clothing (either bought, found, or borrowed), then a person that I imagine to fill those clothes, and finally a location where that person can play out a silent moment alone. This moment is the time right before something changes, the holding in of a breath and waiting, the preparing of oneself for what is to come. Though I am the physical subject of these images, they are not traditional self-portraits. They are portraits of people I have never met but with whom I feel familiar, as well as documents of the process wherein I try on the transitional moments of others’ lives in order to better understand my own.

Early Master of Color Photography: Ernst Haas


Route 66 1969 Ernst Haas

Bored with obvious reality, I find my fascination in transforming it into a subjective point of view. Links backlinks blog comments . Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pure concentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken. linkwheel . Without a descriptive caption to justify its existence, it will speak for itself less descriptive, more creative; less informative, more suggestive; less prose, more poetry.

Ernst Haas from About Color Photography, in DU, 1961

Read more about this ground-breaking photographer, and see more examples of his work, here in Lens Culture.

Adrian Samson, The Setup

Adrian Samson, The Setup

Adrian Samson

The Setup,
, 2012
Website – AdrianSamson.com

Adrian Samson spent 4 years on the Caribbean, in the U.S. and a year in Canada before making the U.K. his home in 2004. Born in 1974 in Slovakia to Hungarian parents, he was introduced to photography by his father when he was only 8. His diverse body of work is infused with an instinctive use of light, which has an often apparent cinematic feel and reveals his fascination for film. Preferring to make the most out of the possibilities offered by his camera before processing the images, he often uses the reality of an urban scenario or a modified studio to render his vision. This vision has brought him not only gold and other merits in creative competitions, but also trust in his creative expertise from names such as Motorola, Ford, Microsoft, Sky, Piagio and agencies including BBDO, Ogilvy, TBWA and Lowe. He is currently based in London and is represented worldwide.

Larry Wiese

Larry Wiese has been engaged in photography for half a century, and his curiosity and desire to explore new ideas and technologies is a strong as ever. Besides being a photographer, he is an educator, and has almost two decades as a gallerist under his belt. He has exhibited widely and his work is held in many public collections. Larry recently sent me his new project, Terrain, Imagining Reality where he reimagined landscapes take on new realities.

Terrain – Imagining Reality : The real and the imagined. I best deal with reality by creating my own. There has long been a fascination with urban decay, the old, the unremarkable and the abandoned. I attempt to glimpse what resides beyond the horizon. The project, Terrain, is an ongoing narrative about my response when in these situations.

Most recently, Terrain began to evolve into “what should, could or would be……” Elements from here took on new meaning over there, and became more “real” than reality…..things imagined, but understood. For now, my “interior terrain” seems far more interesting than the real world…..