Tag Archives: Freshness

Yvette Meltzer

I recently had the great honor to juror the Imagination exhibition that opens at the The A Smith Gallery today and runs through April 1st. The first place photograph, Revolutions in Green, was awarded to Yvette Meltzer for an image from her Revolutions series. I selected this work because she captured something ordinary and but able to make it extraordinary. As Yvette states, “Freshly washed laundry stirs in me a sense of hope with its freshness and renewal. Capturing the laundry revolving in the clothes dryer presented even more of a rebirth in its transformed state.”

Revolutions in Green

Currently living in Evanston, Illinois, Yvette has been exploring photography for thirty years. Along with a career as an educator, conflict resolution specialist, mediator and mother, she continues to be inspired by the photographic world. Taking daily photographs for the last five years, Yvette is now exhibiting work that is a convergence of color, light, and form in the abstract.

Revolutions: Whether hanging on clotheslines or over rocks or from windows in Europe, drying laundry has long fascinated me. After taking a multitude of outdoor laundry images over the years, it was while in Chicago in February 2007 that I wondered where I might find laundry drying. My curiosity took me into a variety of Laundromats where I began taking photos.

I was drawn to the twirling colors of the laundry spinning in the dryers but I never imagined what I would ultimately find when I went to the computer to view these digital images of the laundry. Therein I saw faces and forms – both human and animal-like. And I was hooked. Thus was my laundry project born.

What has been most exciting for me is moving from capturing concrete laundry images to the abstract forms that have emerged on this journey. As Picasso said, “There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” I believe that is what this series does. I start with fabric and a dryer, and in collaboration with my camera, we transform the reality.

Most people can’t fathom why I am taking photos of the dryers or clothes in a dryer. When I go into a Laundromat with my camera some are suspicious and some are even fearful. Believing I might be a government agent seeking to identify undocumented residents I have sometimes been asked to leave. Others personalize it and ask why I want to take pictures of their clothes. Why are you taking pictures of my clothes? one indignant woman asked me. Another woman shouted, “Don’t take my laundry!” behaving as if I were actually physically taking her clothes out of the dryer.

After having been told I was not allowed to photograph even my own laundry spinning in some Laundromats, and not even allowed entry with my camera to some other Laundromats, I have begun to carry a small portfolio with me with to show some of my dryer images to the Laundromat attendant and they will usually then grant me their permission to stay.

In the course of focusing on this laundry project, I have had a host of interesting conversations with customers, attendants and/or owners of the Laundromats. I enjoy photography as a vehicle to relationships. It is usually the children who are in the Laundromat with a family member that are the most curious and the most interested. That could be because they still have imagination!

A Sunshine State of Mind for the Florida Primary

Spanish photographer Ricardo Cases is known for his signature bright colors—colors that were on vivid display in his most recent book, Paloma Al Aire, which captures the traditions of pigeon racing. This week, TIME asked Cases to turn his eye to a different kind of sport: politics.

The photographer traveled to Florida to cover Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary, which Mitt Romney easily won. Although Cases had never photographed American politics before, he said he found the atmosphere one that was well suited for his photographic process.

“Florida has everything I need to work: color, color, color, good weather and all the consequences of these four factors in the development of the society,” he said in an email to TIME.

Cases was not very familiar with the topic he was sent to shoot, but he didn’t need to do much preparation to capture these vibrant images of candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the voters he hoped to persuade, as well as events for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. In fact, Cases said he rarely does much preparation for a shoot, preferring to rely on randomness as a catalyst for his pictures. “What stimulates me is the freshness of the first encounter with a new place, with a new people,” he said. “I think that chance is a great tool for a photographer.”

And now that he’s experienced that moment with birds and politicians alike, what’s his take-away for the future?

“It’s easier to work with politicians,” he said, “because they can’t fly.”

Ricardo Cases is a Spanish photographer. See more of his work here.

Interview with Ricardo Cases translated by Javier Sirvent.

Lais Pontes

Brazilian photographer, Lais Pontes, “became a photographer to understand herself better”. Our journeys as photographers really do help us understand ourselves, our influences, and our intentions. Photography helps us understand why we are drawn again and again to certain subjects and allows us to explore new terrain and process it in a meaningful way.

After working in her family’s business at age 17, Lais decided to persue photography full time at Universidade de Fortaleza. In 2010, she moved to NYC to study at the International Center of Photography, and is now beginning her applications for an MFA program. “I use performance and photography to search for my own voice and create a work full of freshness and sensitivity. How I feel, all the confusion in my mind and how I relate to the world are my inspiration at the moment.”

Lais explores perception and judgement in her new series, Born Nowhere.

Born Nowhere: Does the perception of the world around us change as we look at an alternative image of ourselves? Does the world see us in a different way when presented with this different image?

According to some theories of Personality (Carl Rogers, Skinner, Maslow), each individual is the result of the interplay of 3 factors: what the person is, what he or she wants to be and what others believe this person is. This project seeks to understand how a change of a person’s facial features, expression or physiognomy, can affect the observer’s interpretation of what is being observed.

By using digital techniques, the photographer transforms facial characteristics giving herself a new personality. With no further information provided, the images are posted on Facebook and viewers are asked to provide their interpretation thereby creating a unique persona with its own name and characteristics. The description of this new person/persona is influenced by what psychoanalysts call “projection”, that is, the viewer’s background, reality and fantasies.

What one sees is what one wants to see.

Camila Angel
Sells clothes to live, party to survive, sometimes replace the guy from the gallery next door, divorced parents, her boyfriend is a Dj, lives in Brazil – Vila Mariana, born nowhere, In and out of rehab, not sure about her sexuality yet.

Courtney
Always laughs too loud, happy and sure of herself, is very sexy and drives the boys crazy when she moves her hips, uses men for her own benefit at her convenience, her dream is to become a super star and have her own house, lived in Bahia for many years, now lives in New Orleans with her teenager son and sings in a small jazz club, born nowhere.

Debra
30 years old, born nowhere, ex-model, hostess, single, wanna be on the top, determined but often sad, drinks straight scotch whisky, very sensual, would die for a great love.

Rachel
18 years old, mixed-race (Russian and Japanese), had double eyelid surgery, was very quiet and after the surgery she became the kind of popular girl, every boy wants her, born nowhere, spoiled teenager and selfish, is going to study social politics at a renowned university and have a great career.

Anna
23 years old, mixed race, rock and roll, white trash, Hells Angels’ biker chick, loud and a lot of trouble, tattoo artist, born nowhere, on and off relationship with Mike a very successful guy, entrepreneur, free-spirited like her, loves the
outdoors, sporty kind, plays the acoustic guitar a bit, she will marry him because he is fun, they both like to party and can be quite provocative and flirty, she can stand her ground, but also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.

Julia
27 years old, single, actress, born nowhere, lives in London, free spirit, lonely sometimes, loves to travel, cosmopolitan, mysterious and strong, lipstick lesbian.

Lucia
5th grade teacher, married to her high school sweetheart who runs an organic farm in Alabama, he doesn’t look at her since 1998 but she is fine, born nowhere, has a big heart, however gets easily upset, her dream is to move to a big city and to start her own business, has a secret lover (20 years older than her).

Mary Alice
Child artist, cheerleader and beauty queen in the past, housewife by day, swinger by night, mother of four, loves to make cookies for the Club Book and apple pie for charity events, born nowhere.

Neide (D.Neidinha)
Always dreamed of diamonds and pearls, but can only afford fake jewelry as she is raising 4 kids by herself, despite still being very young, dresses like that since she married an old man, was never loved so she felt happy when her husband died, was selling Avon and tapioca on weekends to survive, now has a public position at the government bureau, still selling Avon, is middle class but strongly believes that she is from the high-society, or pretends to be, just bought her new compact car and drives with her seat all the way to the front, loves fake plants and thinks that the the latest trend is to draw little nail-polish flowers on her nails.

Sarah
50 years old, an upper east side lady, comes from a traditional and influential Jewish family, is married to a diplomat, has 2 sons, and she is now looking for a good Jewish girl that could marry Jacob (her 29-year-old oldest son), she is the head of her family, a leader who is very persuasive, has a very strong personality, controlling, practical, thinks that can buy everyone, born nowhere, loves botox and to shop at Bergdorf, dyes her hair every 2 weeks and her eyebrows are tattoos, knows that a friend of her husband has a secret love for her but she will never do anything, she has elegance.

Shena
Former stripper, rough childhood, married to Ken Smith (an old rich man who buys her diamonds, expensive purses and dresses), living in LA and weekends in Vegas, drives silver Mercedes SLS, born nowhere, has a tattoo of a snake around her ankle, drinks a martini at noon every day, meets three times a week with Frederick, a former LAPD and now her personal trainer and lover, waiting for her husband to die and finally become an actress.

Stacy
23 years old, very good daughter and used to be a good student, born nowhere, just came back from a 3 year long journey in South East Asia, trying to get back into the norm of the occidental life in California but fitting in is now a bit tough, thinking about move to Búzios and open a little surf or tattoo shop with her boyfriend.

Lais Pontes

Brazilian photographer, Lais Pontes, “became a photographer to understand herself better”. Our journeys as photographers really do help us understand ourselves, our influences, and our intentions. Photography helps us understand why we are drawn again and again to certain subjects and allows us to explore new terrain and process it in a meaningful way.

After working in her family’s business at age 17, Lais decided to persue photography full time at Universidade de Fortaleza. In 2010, she moved to NYC to study at the International Center of Photography, and is now beginning her applications for an MFA program. “I use performance and photography to search for my own voice and create a work full of freshness and sensitivity. How I feel, all the confusion in my mind and how I relate to the world are my inspiration at the moment.”

Lais explores perception and judgement in her new series, Born Nowhere.

Born Nowhere: Does the perception of the world around us change as we look at an alternative image of ourselves? Does the world see us in a different way when presented with this different image?

According to some theories of Personality (Carl Rogers, Skinner, Maslow), each individual is the result of the interplay of 3 factors: what the person is, what he or she wants to be and what others believe this person is. This project seeks to understand how a change of a person’s facial features, expression or physiognomy, can affect the observer’s interpretation of what is being observed.

By using digital techniques, the photographer transforms facial characteristics giving herself a new personality. With no further information provided, the images are posted on Facebook and viewers are asked to provide their interpretation thereby creating a unique persona with its own name and characteristics. The description of this new person/persona is influenced by what psychoanalysts call “projection”, that is, the viewer’s background, reality and fantasies.

What one sees is what one wants to see.

Camila Angel
Sells clothes to live, party to survive, sometimes replace the guy from the gallery next door, divorced parents, her boyfriend is a Dj, lives in Brazil – Vila Mariana, born nowhere, In and out of rehab, not sure about her sexuality yet.

Courtney
Always laughs too loud, happy and sure of herself, is very sexy and drives the boys crazy when she moves her hips, uses men for her own benefit at her convenience, her dream is to become a super star and have her own house, lived in Bahia for many years, now lives in New Orleans with her teenager son and sings in a small jazz club, born nowhere.

Debra
30 years old, born nowhere, ex-model, hostess, single, wanna be on the top, determined but often sad, drinks straight scotch whisky, very sensual, would die for a great love.

Rachel
18 years old, mixed-race (Russian and Japanese), had double eyelid surgery, was very quiet and after the surgery she became the kind of popular girl, every boy wants her, born nowhere, spoiled teenager and selfish, is going to study social politics at a renowned university and have a great career.

Anna
23 years old, mixed race, rock and roll, white trash, Hells Angels’ biker chick, loud and a lot of trouble, tattoo artist, born nowhere, on and off relationship with Mike a very successful guy, entrepreneur, free-spirited like her, loves the
outdoors, sporty kind, plays the acoustic guitar a bit, she will marry him because he is fun, they both like to party and can be quite provocative and flirty, she can stand her ground, but also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.

Julia
27 years old, single, actress, born nowhere, lives in London, free spirit, lonely sometimes, loves to travel, cosmopolitan, mysterious and strong, lipstick lesbian.

Lucia
5th grade teacher, married to her high school sweetheart who runs an organic farm in Alabama, he doesn’t look at her since 1998 but she is fine, born nowhere, has a big heart, however gets easily upset, her dream is to move to a big city and to start her own business, has a secret lover (20 years older than her).

Mary Alice
Child artist, cheerleader and beauty queen in the past, housewife by day, swinger by night, mother of four, loves to make cookies for the Club Book and apple pie for charity events, born nowhere.

Neide (D.Neidinha)
Always dreamed of diamonds and pearls, but can only afford fake jewelry as she is raising 4 kids by herself, despite still being very young, dresses like that since she married an old man, was never loved so she felt happy when her husband died, was selling Avon and tapioca on weekends to survive, now has a public position at the government bureau, still selling Avon, is middle class but strongly believes that she is from the high-society, or pretends to be, just bought her new compact car and drives with her seat all the way to the front, loves fake plants and thinks that the the latest trend is to draw little nail-polish flowers on her nails.

Sarah
50 years old, an upper east side lady, comes from a traditional and influential Jewish family, is married to a diplomat, has 2 sons, and she is now looking for a good Jewish girl that could marry Jacob (her 29-year-old oldest son), she is the head of her family, a leader who is very persuasive, has a very strong personality, controlling, practical, thinks that can buy everyone, born nowhere, loves botox and to shop at Bergdorf, dyes her hair every 2 weeks and her eyebrows are tattoos, knows that a friend of her husband has a secret love for her but she will never do anything, she has elegance.

Shena
Former stripper, rough childhood, married to Ken Smith (an old rich man who buys her diamonds, expensive purses and dresses), living in LA and weekends in Vegas, drives silver Mercedes SLS, born nowhere, has a tattoo of a snake around her ankle, drinks a martini at noon every day, meets three times a week with Frederick, a former LAPD and now her personal trainer and lover, waiting for her husband to die and finally become an actress.

Stacy
23 years old, very good daughter and used to be a good student, born nowhere, just came back from a 3 year long journey in South East Asia, trying to get back into the norm of the occidental life in California but fitting in is now a bit tough, thinking about move to Búzios and open a little surf or tattoo shop with her boyfriend.

Photographic Clichés – Martin Parr

Photographic Clichs
Martin Parr

The Fine Art and Documentary photographers take great pride in thinking themselves superior to the other main genres of photography, such as the family snap shooter or the amateur photographer, as personified by camera club imagery. However, after 30/40 years of viewing our work, I have come to the conclusion that we too are fairly predictable in what we photograph.

I include myself in this, and have been very careful to try and think of new territories to explore, but recognise that very often I also indulge in the list outlined below. I am aware of the basic rules, which dominate our work, and want to now attempt to group some of the more dominant strands of contemporary practice.

This core subject matter and approach is also constantly shifting and changing as new photographers arrive and have an impact on our accumulative photographic culture and language. I have a rapacious desire to look at new work and do this through books, magazines, and of course exhibitions. Most of the work I see is generic; in so far I can read the influences. It is when the inspiration and lineage is not clear that my attention is alerted. I used this as a guiding principal for the recent curating of the Brighton Photo Biennial, and made freshness of approach to the subject matter a major criteria for selection.

Let me try and outline the basic genres that can be found.

1. The above ground landscape with people.

This is a relatively recent development with the major influence of Gursky, being the starting point. You take a high vantage and place people within the frame setting them in a larger urban or even rural landscape.

2. The bent lamppost.

You see this a lot in the USA, where they are blessed with many bent lampposts. The scene is urban and generally quite run down. This can be traced back to Stephen Shore amongst others.

3. The personal diary.

Nan Goldin gave this genre a major boost with the famous Ballad of Sexual Dependency project, but there are predecessors with the likes Larry Clarke and Ed van der Elsken.

4. The Nostalgic gaze.

Photographers love to shoot a factory, a shop, a club or some institution that is about to close. We, of course, welcome and praise the sense of community that is threatened.

5. riverside self storage . The quirky and visually strong setting.

In terms of documentary we are much more likely to see a project done on a circus than say, a petrol station. The simple reason is that photographers love shooting situations where there is an inherent visual quirk. So we see plenty of this type of subject such as mental hospitals and animal clinics.

Read the rest on Martin’s blogHERE

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