Tag Archives: Fine Art Photography

Louis Porter

Louis Porter is a little like a novelist who looks at the urban landscape for clues to weave together into stories. He has been photographing those clues and categorizing them into an collection titled The Small Conflict Archive.  They are humorous in their simplicity and telling in the small narratives that they create. Louis a British born photographer who currently lives and works in Melbourne.  His work has been exhibited widely throughout Australia and internationally. He has published books with independent publishers in Australia, France and England and been included in the photographic compendiums Hijacked II (Big City Press) and The Collector’s Guide to Emerging Fine Art Photography (Humble Arts). He recently established his own publishing imprint, Twenty Shelves.

The
Small
Conflict
Archive 
The Small Conflict Archive is a collection of fragments, markers and traces of a minor
conflict, which can be easily found on the surface of any modern town or city. These
are not the conflicts that make the evening news: the protracted wars, acts of
terrorism, murders and kidnappings. Instead, The Small Conflict Archive contains
evidence of perforations, in what might be considered a typical day. What constitutes
a perforation is diverse and subjective: it might be a broken key, some discriminatory
graffiti or even a spilt carton of milk. What unifies the objects and photographs in the
archive is their ubiquity; the archive is first and foremost a collection of familiar
things. 
What the Small Conflict Archive proposes, is that the material aspects of urban space,
should not be considered as merely functional, aesthetic or unwanted, but also as
symbolic and potentially empathetic devices. The objects and photographs collected
for the archive, have been sifted from the soil of the everyday and although some of
them standout more than others, they have all sat undisturbed, waiting to be
collected or photographed. It is from the prosaic remnants of daily life that
archeologists build our understanding of the past. But for the Small Conflict Archive, it
is these very remnants that we can also construct our understanding of the present.



Bad Driving

On any given day, countless pieces of street furniture have their utilitarian roles
abruptly brought into question by careless driving, and it is the results of these
minor mishaps that are the subject of Bad Driving. As a foot passenger in life I have
always been acutely aware of the impact of cars on the urban environment.
Sometimes I wonder for whose benefit many cities have been built, its citizens or its
cars. These points of impact, the twisted poles and buckled signs, become selfreferencing
historical markers, that sink into the surface of the city, becoming almost
invisible.

Crap Paint Jobs

The series of photographs depicting Crap Paint Jobs, like the majority of the sections
in the archive, portrays the remnants of an event, the protagonist of which is no
longer present. In its practical manifestation, painting an object, particularly one in a
public space, is by its very nature an act engaged in aesthetic harmony. The object is
painted to either fit in with its environment, or (especially in commercial settings)
stand out.  

Two extremes of environment come to mind, the historic centre of a European city, where the way a thing is painted might be legislated in order to maintain a sense of cultural authenticity and an outer suburban shopping complex, where almost identical prefabricated concrete boxes, are painted wildly different colours, in order to differentiate themselves from one another. In either example, if the paintjob is done rather badly, the overall tone of the surrounding area is called into question. 

Crap things tend to multiply and travel in packs. If the previous painter has done a terrible job, the standard required by the next painter to do a reasonable job lowers. Although the suggestion is not that a poorly painted lamp post can set in motion a chain of events, that lead to the collapse of a civilization, its contribution to a sense of urban decline is a subject of great interest to The Small Conflict Archive.

Signs of a Struggle

Like many of the sets in the Small Conflict Archive, Signs of a Struggle began with a
single visual encounter that set in motion a series of thoughts. Seeing a spilt paint can
at the base of a small hill in suburbia, I wondered what events had led up to the
incident and what had resulted from it. This paint can was, I decided, evidence of a
moment of a minor conflict in life. Perhaps it was the “straw that broke the camels
back”, perhaps later that day the owner decided not to paint the fence after all,
perhaps that was for the best. 

I decided to search out more of these tell tale signs. Signs of a Struggle, therefore searches out and collects the traces of accidents, mishaps, disagreements and other deviations in the smooth running of life. There is naturally a large amount of conjecture in any such exercise, as it is impossible to know the exact circumstances of how a spade was broken or a pot of paint spilt. This series and the archive as a whole, should therefore be considered more a musing on the symbolic nature of objects, than a series of confirmed and catalogued facts.

SW Regional SPE: Carol S. Dass

Sharing photographers that I met at the SW Regional SPE Conference hosted by the Center of Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado….

Carol S. Dass has created a project, Mother, where she looks at the significant female figure in her life with a new perspective–not as the woman who raised her, but as a human being with her own history and dreams. As children (and even as adults) it is difficult to see our parents outside of our familial arena, but then again, it works both ways–as parents, our children will always be our children–people to be watched over and concerned about.

Carol was born in Oakland, California, raised in rural Missouri and she received her BA in Art from Northwest Missouri State University. She has lived in Colorado Springs for 30 years and has been an instructor of photography at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs for the past 12 years. Carol’s work has been shown nationally and is in the collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and numerous private collections.

MOTHER 

Typed out in bold that word seems foreign to me. Partly because I have never been or will ever be a mother. As I move through this life, thinking about aging and one’s place in the world a lot of time has recently been spent with my mother. She has been alone for several years, and I have been seeing her with new eyes while listening to her history. It’s funny how growing up we tend to view our mother’s as just that “Mother”, unable to see beyond that role of the woman who carried me in her womb, raised me the best that she could, and will in many ways continue to view me as a child regardless of my age. 

My mother was forced to work to support us, went back to night school while working and taking care of nearby relatives. She was not at home to greet me with a plate of warm cookies when I came home from school asking after my day. I remember when I was an adult coming into my own finally seeing my mother as a “person”, a unique individual who had many adventures and stories to tell. 

The reasons behind perceived and real dysfunction became easier to understand. These images are a small documentation of “mother”, a reflection of what has occurred and what is ahead. 

SW Regional SPE: Skott Chandler

Sharing photographers that I met at the SW Regional SPE Conference hosted by the Center of Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado….

I think most of us would like to think we lead interesting lives, but Colorado photographer, Skott Chandler provides the evidence that much of what we do is routine or banal. Skott gave a spirited presentation at SPE that spoke to his creative approaches to making images. The photographs featured today from his project, House Watch, are the result of self-created pinhole cameras secured to the ceilings of a whole host of living spaces.  The results reflect how people (and dogs) use space–those who are in focus or semi-focus are more stationary, those who disappear are only moving through the room.

Skott is a  photographic artist in Denver, Colorado where he teaches at the Art Institute of Colorado. He received his degree in Studio Art at Southern Utah University, and during that time he received a UGRASP (Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Program) grant for his surreal Photocubism series.
He then received his MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Skott has exhibited work throughout the United States, as well as internationally in Bordeaux, France, Hong Kong, and Geneva, Switzerland. His work was selected for Klopmpching Gallery’s inaugural FRESH 2011 photography competition and he was recognized by Gallery 263 in Cambridge, MA, as one of the Top 30 Emerging Artist Under 30 for 2011.

 House Watch

Humans have many levels of connection with their personal spaces. Narratives within these domestic spaces differ depending on the inhabitants and their activities that may be mundane, ambiguous, hilarious, absurd, or unsettling. The space within a house affects the inhabitants, and the inhabitants affect the space–an oddly intriguing phenomenon that proves difficult to visualize. 

Creating a photographic representation of such an abstract emotional experience was my motivation. The photographs take the perspective of an omniscient voyeur investigating the dynamics of space within a home. Ceiling mounted pinhole cameras cast an unflinching gaze upon the inhabitants and rooms within the walls; not to judge, but to witness.

SW Regional SPE: Brenda Biondo

Sharing photographers that I met at the SW Regional SPE Conference hosted by the Center of Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado….

When I met Brenda Biondo and spent time with her terrific project, Once Upon a Playground, I realized that it had so much potential–as a teaching tool, as a museum exhibition, and as a book. As a teaching tool, it was a great reflection of how a project forms, from a few photographs and ideas, growing into significant research of a subject adding additional layers of insight and thought. As Brenda states, she discovered that no institution is documenting objects of play, and her project may one day, be an important historical record.  Her museum options range from Children’s Museums, The Museum of Play, the Smithsonian, and a host of other options.  Finally, the book dummy that she shared in Colorado is a thorough and fascinating look at the history of playgrounds. Publishers, where are you?

Brenda received B.A. degree in communication arts from James Madison University in Virginia. After working in corporate communications in Manhattan and Washington, DC for a decade, she left the corporate world to focus on freelance writing. As a writer, she had her work published in The Washington Post, The Denver Post, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Weekend magazine and many other publications. In 2004, she decided to discontinue writing in order to concentrate on fine art photography. Her work has appeared in group and solo shows throughout the country, including exhibits at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO; the Hubbard Museum for the American West in Ruidoso Downs, NM; the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, CO; and the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA. A native New Yorker, Brenda now lives in a small Colorado town at the base of Pikes Peak with her husband and two children.

Once Upon A Playground 

This was the first project I started after turning 40 and having my first kid. Even though I had been taking photographs for more than two decades, I had never pursued it seriously until then. As I was thinking about subjects I could shoot with a baby in tow, I began noticing that the local parks I visited with my young daughter hardly ever had the type of equipment I had grown up with. 

For the past nine years, I’ve worked on this project on and off, traveling around the country photographing whatever old playground equipment I can find in schoolyards and public parks. I see this series as a type of cultural archeology, because playgrounds have played such a prominent role in the lives of American children for generations. The classic metal and wood structures were a distinctive element of the American landscape for most of the 20th century and are part of the personal histories of most Americans over the age of 30. 
The towering metal slides, spine-jarring seesaws, colorful spinners and other classic equipment was gone from most playgrounds. As I started focusing on these childhood icons, I realized that the equipment designs often reflected the popular culture of the times, with geometric metal and wood apparatus of the early 1900s supplemented by pieces in the shape of cowboys and Indians, Wizard of Oz and Charlie Brown characters, rocket ships and satellites, motorcycles and geodesic domes during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. 

Unfortunately, it gets harder to find this equipment with each passing year. When schools and towns renovate their playgrounds, the old equipment is almost always hauled away to the scrap yard. As far as I can tell, no institution — hello, Smithsonian — is collecting and preserving this equipment. I can’t remember how I stumbled across the first playground catalog on eBay, but I began buying them whenever one came up for auction, not really sure what I would do with them but knowing they provided historical context for my photographs. 

After several years, I had nearly two dozen catalogs, published from 1920 through 1975, along with a growing pile of historical playground postcards. I’ve recently combined the historical documents with my photographs and created a book on Blurb to show to potential publishers. All the elements of the book are viewable on my website, www.onceuponaplayground.com.

SW Regional SPE: Vivian Keulards

Sharing photographers that I met at the SW Regional SPE Conference hosted by the Center of Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado….

Meeting Vivian Keulards in Colorado was a complete pleasure and her wonderful projects set the tone for a new friendship and fan club. It’s hard not to respond to an image like the one below, simply a portrait of a neighbor, but obviously there was more to the story from her series, 80439, Bloody Mary and Sloppy Joe

And then there was her adoration of redheads, in her series, Elusive Beauty…

Vivian was born and raised in the Netherlands and currently lives in Evergreen, Colorado. In 2009 she received a degree from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam and she gained a Master Degree in Communication Science at the KUN University (Nijmegen, Netherlands). She also participated in inspiring Master classes of Carl de Keyzer, Rob Hornstra and more.

Vivian was a Critical Mass finalist and she was selected for the NEW Dutch Photography Talent book (by the makers of the magazine GUP) this year. Her work is part of several public collections and the work has been exhibitied widely.  Six of her portraits from the series Elusive Beauty are currently on display at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans and her  project 80439, Bloody Mary and Sloppy Joe will open in January 2013 as a solo exhibition at CPAC in Denver.

Elusive Beauty 

They will likely be extinct in the next 100 years: red headed children. Only one percent of the human population carries this unique red head gene. 


 For years now those children take my breath away; the orange/red hair, their pale skin with clusters of freckles and their bright light eyes. At times they even seem to be translucent. When they look into my eyes I’m staggered. Sometimes I even feel intimidated. Their fragile and sensitive appearance is often accompanied by their very powerful and strong willed character. I experienced it myself and this surprising combination makes them even more exclusive to me.

I know by saying this all out loud, a lot of them feel offended. They don’t want to be examined as special, different or exotic. And they don’t want to be generalized, stereo-typed or even fetishized. They are a group with a history of bullying, discrimination and abuse, all because of their looks. So I understand their skepticism towards me.

In my photos I create scenery where their strong looks come to life and capture the moment where you can feel their power. I desperately want to show that red hair is admirable and desirable, instead of a reason to be treated differently.

80439, Bloody Mary and Sloppy Joe

In 2010, I moved from The Netherlands to Evergreen, Colorado, for three years. My new home environment is very different, confusing, and intriguing at the same time. Of course I grew up with watching American movies, shows, and videoclips. And of course, in real life up here, I sometimes recognize similar places and people from those fiction scenes. In truth it feels like I’m living in a constructed reality show – the fiction and the reality confuse me. More important, I fear my new life will fade like a dream when I go back home…that all this will be forgotten. 

Filter Photo Festival Week: Samantha VanDeman

This week, I am sharing a few of photographers that I met at the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago….

It was a pleasure to see Samantha VanDeman’s terrific series, Forgotten Hotels in person. I’ve seen a number of images in exhibitions and online over the year, but to see the nuance of color and the extent of the series made the work more meaningful.  Samantha received a BFA from Columbia College Chicago and earned a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky.

Samantha already has a long exhibition resume including work seen at  Review Santa Fe, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR; Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Smash Box Studios, Culver City, CA; Denver International Airport, Denver, CO; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco.  In 2012, Samantha was selected as a finalist for Photolucida’s Critical Mass. And most recently, she received first place in The International Photography Awards for architectural interiors. Samantha has been published in Shots Magazine and The International Photography Annual.

Forgotten Hotels 
This photographic series is of abandoned hotels that are on the verge of being demolished. Each hotel has sat vacant for ten -thirty years, with several failed attempts to bring them back to life. With plans of demolition, each structure awaits an uncertain future. In my work, I’m drawn to places that are isolated and have been forgotten about by society. I use my camera to examine these areas that often go unnoticed. Through the use of light, I try to capture the beauty the once existed in these magnificent environments. By photographing these structures, I attempt to provide a visual record of what might be lost forever.

Clarissa Bonet

I was recently in Chicago for the Filter Photo Festival and was happy to attend the opening of the Light Exhibition at the David Weinberg Gallery, jurored by Matthew Avignone and David Weinberg.  The walls were filled with compellingl images and in the center of all that goodness, were the images of Clarissa Bonet.  Her stark and cinematic look at uban spaces were beautifully executed and I wanted to see more.

Clarissa received her M.F.A. in photography from Columbia College Chicago and her B.S. in Photography from the University of Central Florida. She is currently an adjunct photography teacher at Harrington College of Design. Her work has been exhibited national and internationally. She was the recipient of the Albert P. Weisman grant for two consecutive years. Her work is in the collection of the South East Museum of Photography and Calumet Photographic. She has most recently won PDN’s the Curator; search for undiscovered fine art photography.

 City Space 

The urban space is striking. Its tall and mysterious buildings, crowds of anonymous people, an endless sea of concrete constantly intrigue me. City Space is a ongoing photographic exploration of the urban environment and my perception of it. I am interested in the physical space of the city and its emotional and psychological impact on the body. 

These photographs reconstruct mundane events in the city that I have personally experienced or witnessed in public. Stark light, deep shadow and muted color are visual strategies I explore to describe the city. I use the city as a stage and transform the physical space into a psychological one. The images I create do not represent a commonality of experience but instead provide a personal interpretation of the urban landscape.

Upcoming Activities

Lots of teaching, reviewing, and traveling coming up and I hope to meet you somewhere along the way…here’s what’s up next:



Presenting the Fine Art Portfolio: Taking Your Work to the Next Level at the Center for Fine Art Photography


Date: Sunday, November 4th, 2012 9-12pm
Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO
as part of the SPE Southwest Regional Conference
This workshop will help photographers understand what it takes to produce a professional fine art photography portfolio. Participants will explore the elements that go into creating a strong body of work including: the importance of editing, sequencing, the artist’s statement, and producing a portfolio that can be used for reviews, gallery presentations, and more.
This intimate hands-on workshop will be limited to twelve students. Participants should bring portfolios to the workshop. The class will review work collectively and Aline will offer individual feedback and advice tailored to each person’s project
Enrollment Limit: 12
Workshop fee: $75
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The Broad View: Fine Art
Portfolios from Context, to Creation, to Completion at FotoWeekDC
Dates: Sunday, November
11th, 2012 10a-2p
at
Goethe Insitut

The most important tool that a photographer can bring to their work
is knowledge and insight.  Many photographers spend much of their
education on learning the bells and whistles of cameras and changing
technology, and don’t consider what is equally as important: Creating a
voice, having ideas, producing stellar prints, and knowing where the
work they create fits into the contemporary art market.  Ultimately,
what is most rewarding and most important is The Work.

This three-hour workshop is geared to beginning and emerging
photographers.  During the session, we will explore how to develop ideas
for projects by examining the fine art market and by exploring the
context of award winning or meaningful portfolios.  Portfolios will be
presented to also help explain contemporary genres of photography,
touching on categories that are often offered in competitions or
magazines, and we will look at what kinds of work fits into what kind of
market.
In the workshop, we will also not only discuss how to create a
portfolio but in addition, how to present a body of work to the fine art
market, focusing on your ability to articulate your work and produce
quality photographs.  The details that surround the work you make are
important to establishing yourself as a professional.
Workshop fee: $165 (includes PDN’s 30: Strategies for Young Working Photographers – Moderated by Holly Stuart Hughes, PDN Editor in the afternoon)
To enroll register here.
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Creating the Fine Art Portfolio: Taking Your Work to the Next Level 
Dates: Thursday, November 29, 2012
9am-Noon
International House Hotel
Creating the Fine Art Portfolio will help photographers understand what it takes to produce a professional fine art photography portfolio. Participants will explore the elements that go into creating a strong body of work including: the importance of editing, sequencing, the artist’s statement, and producing a portfolio that can be used for reviews, gallery presentations, and more.
This intimate hands-on workshop will be limited to twelve students. Participants should bring portfolios to the workshop. The class will review work collectively and Aline will offer individual feedback and advice tailored to each person’s project.
Enrollment limit: 12 students
Workshop fee: $75
To enroll register here.
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Refining Your Portfolio Workshop at the Southwest Photo Summit
Dates: Thursday, Dec 6 – Friday, Dec 7, 2012
The most essential qualities a photographer can bring to their work are commitment and self-knowledge. Building a photographic portfolio can be a long journey: from developing a consistent visual voice to articulating a point of view and perspective about the work; and then knowing where best that work fits into the marketplace. Presenting and preparing a portfolio for the public eye is a final important step that is key to success. Your photographic portfolio needs to be as clear and dynamic as possible, as without a powerful, refined portfolio presentation your work will not reach the desired audience.
Aline Smithson shares her knowledge of how to create and/or refine a personal portfolio and offers her insights into the contemporary photographic marketplace as it relates to opportunities for all photographers – fine art, documentary, commercial, and editorial. As photographer and a reviewer herself, she brings the perspective of someone who sits on both sides of the reviewing table.
This two-day workshop starts with an in-depth look at the key elements of a powerful portfolio, with Aline showing examples of successful ones. Aline then works with each participant, in a group setting, to refine their personal portfolio through editing and sequencing as she makes suggestions where the work fits into the broader marketplace. Additional topics covered over the course of the workshop include professional portfolio presentation, the written photographic statement, leave-behinds, creative presentation and exhibition ideas, and how to customize your portfolio for a target audience.
Whether you are preparing for a portfolio review, getting ready to send your images to a new client, showing your prints to a gallery, or simply wanting to get some feedback and expert advice on your personal portfolio—this workshop can make a huge difference in your pursuit of connecting to an audience.
Enrollment limit: 15 students
Workshop fee: $475
To enroll please contact the Santa Fe Photo Workshops at 505-983-1400 or register here.