Li-Han Lin is a Taiwanese-German photographer who was born and raised in Hilden, Germany before moving to the States where to study photography at the Art Center College of Design. He has worked in Los Angeles , New York City, Shanghai and Taiwan. His work reflects his unique background, exploring themes of identity, friends and family . He has contributed to Monocle Magazine, Vogue Japan, GQ Japan, Nulon Japan. He has also shown work at the S+S Gallery in Taipei and recently was a winner of the Samsung NX project 2012. Currently based in Berlin where he is working on a stop motion animation short film.
Growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Eleonora tried to balance her love for the arts and sciences. She attended medical school for four years, but then had a change of heart and followed her entrepreneurial spirit and fluency in multiple languages to begin a career in conference interpreting. Her business has allowed her to travel extensively, and in 1998 she settled in Northern California and established her own interpreting company. Her photography has been a life long passion. Eleonora’s first solo exhibition was in her native Buenos Aires in 2009 and she has exhibited around the globe. Her work has been published by numerous magazines including Fraction and F-Stop. She is best known for her project, Once Upon a Time, that deals with memory and loss. I am featuring her cell phone project, Fragmentos today.
These photos are part of an ongoing personal project about my childhood.
I have been living in California for 13 years and even though I visit Buenos Aires every year, this was the first time that I photographed there.
I have been going through a difficult transitional time, so I decided, on this visit, to go back to my roots and rebuild myself with a camera in hand.
These images represent my past and symbolize ephemeral moments that developed right before my eyes, just like an old Polaroid photo. From the window of my now empty bedroom in the house where I grew up, to the fish head caught by my departed father, which sits on top of my aunt’s fridge, these photographs document the objects of my past that make up a puzzle I am trying to put together…
I chose to use my iPhone camera because its small size and ease of use helps me stay in the moment with my surroundings. It also affords me spontaneity and the freedom to express my feelings right in that very moment.
color and composition, he creates patterns and abstract images
that may not obviously be architecture or the city’s skylines. The work is refreshing in it’s simplicity and brilliant colorings.
linguistics and phonetics. His interest in sound extended to DJing and
production and eventually a career in Acoustic Branding was forged. Music is a
huge influence on his photography and album covers are a specialty. He’s also busy sharing work through his 10 international galleries and is about to open an exhibition on July 19th at the Carte Blanche Gallery in San Francisco that runs through September 13th.
Matthias also offers up some of his visual sweets for FB timelines and all he asks is a link to his website and a credit. Check it out here.
This week I am featuring artists exhibiting in Verve Gallery’s Do Process exhibition, showcasing eight unique approaches to the photographic process.
German photographer, now living in New Hampshire, Henrieke Strecker, is exhibiting Photogravures on handmade paper as well as the Chine-collé process. Her images are of abstract yet familiar forms. She creates her imagery using plants, trees, and landscapes, as well as animal and human figures; the beauty that is her own backyard. Her hand-pulled original prints do not capture “an isolated moment or paint a realistic picture like a report.” Rather, she gives “an account of small movements and atmospheres”, and shares with us what she has experienced within that time.
Photogravures were invented in 1870s. A copper plate is coated with a light sensitive gelatin. The coated copper plate is then put in contact with a positive photographic transparency and exposed to light. The plate is washed to remove unexposed gelatin leaving a hardened gelatin negative. The hardened gelatin negative that remains on the plate is then inked. The inked etched copper plate is printed in the same way as an etching in a copper plate printing press.
Chine-collé is a special printmaking technique that allows an artist to use very delicate paper or linen that allows finer detail to be pulled off the coated copper plate. The finer detailed paper or linen with the image is then transferred or bonded to another surface, a heavier support not unlike a matte, to which the finer paper or linen is attached. This technique allows the artist to print on a much more delicate surface and also to provide a background color behind the image that is different from the surrounding backing matte.
“Ultimately, photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks.” -Roland Barthes
If I follow the train of thought of Barthes as ascribed by the quote above, Robert Adams would be the American “protest” photographer of my choice. Several of his books—The New West, What We Bought, and Our Lives, Our Children: Photographs Taken Near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant—use the weapon of subtle metaphor to warn against expansion into nature, greed and consumerism, and the endgame of all, nuclear annihilation. The idea of photography taking the task of exposing the wrongs of the world as a kind of subversive “protest” has a long history. I think of the montages John Heartfield in the thirties, or Gilles Peress’ reportage on genocide in Rawanda from the nineties. These are photographs with content that declare a stand in opposition to the status quo. The recent Protest Box, compiled by the British photographer Martin Parr, just published by Steidl, contains five facsimile reprints of some of the most important books of protest produced within the history of the photobook.
The first book by the German photographer Dirk Alvermann has to be, in my opinion, one of the most exciting discoveries in photobooks during the last decade. Algerien/ L’Algerie, published in 1960, takes as its subject the bitter independence struggle of Algerians against French colonialism. Shot in black and white with a distinctly pro-Algerian tenor, Alvermann constructs his narrative through brilliant design techniques that take their cue from the cinematic montage of filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein. With the flow of radically cropped images and image repetition along with page layouts that appear at times almost surreal, Alvermann seemed free to push the boundaries of the material to its most provocative point.
The second book, No Images by Italian photographers Paola Mattioli and Anna Candiani, is the story of the ‘No’ campaign, where conservative forces backed by the vatican were attempting to overturn “The Fortuna Law” passed in 1970 that allowed for divorce in Italy. The first abrogative referendum in the history of the Italian Republic was held on May 12, 1974 resulting in a 90 percent turnout at the polls, where 59.3 percent voted against the repeal of the law. This tiny photobook, about half the size of a postcard, pulls together a string of images where the word ‘no’ appears on walls, banners, posters and fliers. It has almost a conceptual tone that meditates on the word that is the basis of any protest.
The next book, stemming from Japan in 1971, Kazou Katai’s Sanrizuka documents aspects of one of the longest and most highly charged Japanese protest issues: the building of the Narita Airport which threatened the livelihoods of farmers in the surrounding rich agricultural region including the village of Sanrizuka, from which the book takes its name. Shot in grainy black and white and evoking a calmer tenor to the blurry and contrasty ‘Provoke’ style, Katai concentrates not on the violent clashes of the struggle but instead the disruption of the centuries-old way of life for the farmers. His concern is reflected in the book’s afterword as he comments, “This is no longer a place suitable for human life…How to sow the thoughts of these murdered villages and their vengeful spirits into this very earth.”
Two Latin American books, Enrique Bostelmann’s America; A Journey Through Injustice (1970) and Paolo Gasparini’s To See You Better, Latin America (1972), close out The Protest Box set. Both Bostelmann and Gasparini are essentially street photographers who direct their indictments towards the ruling classes, the history of colonization, the injustices faced by the poor and the spread of consumer culture creeping down from the North.
Enrique Bostelmann’s Journey travels not only through Latin America, but history, as the photo sequence goes back in time celebrating older pre-colonial rituals and ways of life. Meanwhile, a repeated motif of a single image of a lone figure trodding down a dirt path seems to say progress for the indigenous is at a complete standstill.
In Paolo Gasparini’s To See You Better, Latin America is also a street level journey but one that contrasts graphic text pieces within the layouts that often mock photographs of fantastical advertising imagery on billboards and building walls. Its complex visual strategy makes an absurdist collage of reality and fantasy all the while asking ‘who’ can bring progress towards a more equitable socialist society.
It is interesting to note that four of the five books were produced within three years of each other. The late 60s early 70s saw much in the way of issues to protest and these six photographers are but a handful from that era that felt the need to document with intent. With this Protest Box, we can take a fresh look at these few voices that have remained muffled within history’s bookshelves.
The Protest Box by Martin Parr is published by Steidl.
The themes that have defined the more than 30-year career of Thomas Ruff were born while the influential German photographer was studying under famed photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1977 to 1985. Known for their typology work of water towers in which they photographed with a straightforward point of view, the Bechers believed that images which were photographed objectively were more truthful. Bernd Becher criticized Ruff’s student work, faulting his photographs for not being his own. They were simply clichés, Becher argued, mimicking fictionalized images in magazines. Ruff turned the criticism on its head—he began to make images that questioned the very methodology of image making.
“Most of the photos we come across today are not really authentic anymore,” Ruff once said. “They have the authenticity of a manipulated and prearranged reality. You have to know the conditions of a particular photograph in order to understand it properly.”
It’s easy to see these ideas in Ruff’s space work, the topic of a new exhibition and book called Stellar Landscapes, which premiered at the Frankfurt Book Fair last weekend. In his book, Ruff includes appropriated imagery of space that he has collected over the last 20 years. In some of the photographs, Ruff used images made from NASA satellites, which he downloaded for free online. Ruff often took images that seemed to be abstract renderings of the surface of a planet and used color to abstract them further. Other times, the photographer hand colored the NASA photographs to make abstract scenes more realistic. Ruff has always had a fascination with the dialogue between photography and context of a photograph. It seems only natural, then, that Ruff translated this idea into reworking existing NASA images of to present another—and equally important—view of space.
Stellar Landscapes is on view at the Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster through January 8. The book is available now through Kerher Verlag.
Jorg Bruggemann is a German photographer who has several projects shot in South America. I was particularly interested in his work, Mas Austral, which shows working class youth and landscapes in Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina’s [and the World’s] southernmost city.
As Bruggemann notes in his text accompanying the series:
A free trade zone was established which led to fast urban development. Whereas in 1975 there were 7000 people living in Ushuaia, today it hosts nearly 60 000. Most of them were young families coming North of Argentina looking for work with their children. They are also the reason why I went to the world’s most Southern city. I wanted to know what it was like being young while living at the end of the world.
What I find interesting about the series is that, take away the pine trees and sloped landscape and this could be any working class suburb of Buenos Aires. Indeed, while Northern Argentina has distinct regional cultures dating back to the colonial era, most of Patagonia has been settled fairly recently and, culturally, is something of an annex to Buenos Aires province. Rather than being some exotic, uttermost place as imagined by Bruce Chatwin, Ushuaia is really just like a bunch of pibes from Lanús.
Bruggemann also has a great series, The Same but Different, documenting backpacker culture around the world. At some point I’ll write a post about the idea of gringos in contemporary photography, for which this series will be key.
Thanks to Nancy Allison who brought my attention to this show on until the end of April:
Ten years ago, German photographer Jens Uwe Parkitny took his first photograph of a dying traditon. It was his third trip to Myanmar, and he was touring a small village in Chin state, taking it easy before the next day’s planned climb of the 3100-meter Mt. Victoria. He never got there.
Instead, a Chin woman came over to sell him a trinket, and the sight of her face changed his life. “On that day it became clear to me that I had found my photographic theme and I put myself on a mission: to photograph the last Chin women with facial tattoos in Myanmar,” said Parkitny recently.
Parkitny has traveled back to Myanmar many times since then, seeking out remote villages and the women who are becoming scarcer as the years go by. While tattooing in our culture is mainly the province of the young, the women in Parkitny’s photographs are mostly over 50. As western notions of beauty creep in, the practice is dying out, although Parkitny believes that in very remote areas it might still be prevalent. It’s something he’s dedicated his life to finding out.
In March, 2011, 25 of Parkitny’s portraits appeared at the Yangon Photo Festival, on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. In Munich’s Museum of Ethnology, 15 images from the series will be on display until the end of April 2011. Parkitny has also written a book, available through his website, on the Chin women and the tradition of face tattooing.