Tag Archives: Glimpses

Dave Anderson at the Center for Photography at Woodstock

© Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson has photographed in tough places—a surviving Ku Klux Klan bastion in Texas, New Orlean’s post-Katrina Ninth Ward—but his photographs are rarely gritty. His Aperture monograph One Block, which documents the rebuilding efforts of one block of Ninth Ward residents, focuses less on the neighborhood’s despair and more on its hopes for renewal. Anderson knew that to photograph amidst such hardship he would have to tread lightly: “I was super-cognizant of ‘photographers fatigue’–people were sick of photographers showing up night and day and making grand promises,” he mentioned in a Color magazine profile. That Anderson spent time living and forming relationships with the residents he photographed is evident in the work—the subjects appear at ease, comfortable sharing their struggle to rebuild with Anderson and his lens.

Anderson produces videos as well as photographs—he is the man behind Oxford American’s SoLost web series, a video exploration of “the side roads, backrooms, cellars and psyche of the modern South,” which so far features 29 four-to-seven minute mini-documentaries on subjects ranging from a couple constructing a medieval castle in Arkansas, to Alabama menswear designer Billy Reid, to photographer William Eggleston. SoLost is a one-man operation, which accounts for the easy rapport between Anderson’s camera and his subjects, and why these videos feel like privileged glimpses into the richness and diversity of life in the American South.

Anderson will give a lecture about his image-making projects at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, this Friday, July 13 at 8pm. If you’re in the area, it will be worth checking out.

›› Watch a video of Anderson speaking about One Block with Aperture, and head to the Aperture store if you’re interested in purchasing a copy.

 

The Ultimate Prize Fighters: Practicing Peace through Boxing in Israel

In a scorching hot community gym in the northern Israeli city of Acre, groups of young Jewish and Arab boys gathered to fight as equals. Boxing, it seems, serves as an unlikely bridge to peace among adversaries.

Associated Press photographer Oded Balilty is no stranger to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—in fact, his photographic legacy is intertwined in the struggle. After photographing the often violent clashes in Gaza and the West Bank for most of his life, Balilty has begun turning to stories that move beyond the violence—stories that offer glimpses of humanity, cooperation and shared experience.

Balilty’s latest series goes behind-the-scenes of last week’s National Youth Boxing Championship, supported by an organization boasting approximately 2000 active members. Although boxing isn’t a major sport in Israel, it’s favored by many of the roughly 2 million Israeli Arabs in the country, who often face discrimination and other economic hardships.

Within the framework of the sport, Jewish and Arab fighters square off, putting aside the tensions one would expect within a physically brutal sport. The young fighters, clad in helmets and gloves, view each other as equals and are not burdened by the engrained history of conflict outside the ring.

Balilty was drawn to the young age of the children. Many are between 9 and 13, ages where children remain unburdened by the conflicts of their parents. “They are only kids—all they care is to have fun with their friends everyday,” Balilty told TIME, “just like in any other place. It really gives me hope.”

Oded Balilty is a photographer for the Associated Press based in Tel Aviv. LightBox featured his work earlier this year in The Art of Storytelling and The Stone Throwers of Palestine.

Review: Roberto Schena, SP 67

The road trip is one of the primal photographic gestures. It has given rise to some of the most celebrated series of photographs as well as to countless clichéd and forgettable pictures. Thanks to—or maybe even because of—Robert Frank’s ten thousand mile drive across America which led to The Americans, it also feels like a quintessentially American exercise. The term also has an epic quality: it conjures up the idea of a seemingly never-ending journey. With his book SP 67, the Italian photographer Roberto Schena has played with the mythology of the road trip to explore a short (13km) stretch of road running through the mountains in northern Italy.

The books cover sets the mood: the landscape is wintry and barren and the air seems to be heavy with moisture. This is a book that is all about atmosphere. Although its title and endpapers (a reproduction of a map of this mountain road) seem to place importance on the particular location that Schena has chosen for this project, its subtitle, La strada della tramontana scura (The road of the dark north wind), is more revelatory of its nature. The book is structured like a drive from East to West along the SP 67, one almost entirely shrouded in a thick fog which only allows for glimpses of the surrounding landscape.

Most of the images in SP 67 are technically landscape photographs, but they reveal very little… the odd curve in the road… the foliage that surrounds it… always obscured by the incessant fog. This unsettling visual backdrop is punctuated by the odd animal apparition. This is what gives the book its rhythm: a pig running along a ridge on the horizon, a closeup of a horse’s head, a goat or some dogs picked out of the darkness by the car’s headlights. This creates the sense that this world belongs to animals rather than to men. This road seems to run through a parallel universe, a place that we recognise but where space and time are distorted and unfamiliar (another reviewer compared Schena’s world to that of a Murakami novel).

While Schena has undeniably created a heavily atmospheric world with this work, I found it to be a little too impenetrable. SP 67 is a slippery book that left me with a lingering sense of frustration. Like a dream that you awake from feeling unsettled, but, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot remember.

Roberto Schena, SP 67 (Rome: Punctum, 112 pages, 51 colour plates, 2012).

Rating: Worth a look

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This Must Be the Place: COFFER

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Video by Lost & Found Films

"We look at working in documentaries almost like a passport that allows us to see how different people live, across cultural, class, socioeconomic and racial lines. And what better way to sum up that idea than explore people's spaces: their home, their place of work, their hangout spot — to really examine, both visually and emotionally, the places that people LIVE. So we decided to make that the focus of our series, This Must Be The Place." — Ben Wu

Filmmakers Ben Wu and David Usui's This Must Be the Place is a series of short films that explores the idea of home; what makes them, how they represent us, and why we need them. Their most recent installment, Coffer is a meditative portrayal of tintype photographer John Coffer's rural home and workspace in upstate New York. Living off the grid, in a cabin he built by hand more than two decades years ago, the artists explains the philosophy behind his way of life, and his thoughts on the nature of home, while the camera drifts through his space, capturing glimpses of him at work and at rest.

Jon Horvath

Milwaukee photographer, Jon Horvath, really looks at the world…whether it be by using Google Earth satellite images of various Zion Churches throughout the United States in order to explore shape, mass and architecture, or by using excerpts from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as source material combined with GPS technology to generate line drawings as evidence of Kerouac’s text being written in the landscape. When he has a camera in hand, Jon is observing the physical environment, exploring the complexity and intangible essence of our world. Some of these interests surely must come from his years in academia. He holds a BA in English Literature and a BA in Philosophy from Marquette University, and an MA in Photography and an MFA in Photography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he currently teaches. He also teaches at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

His work has not gone unnoticed. He was selected as a 2011 Magenta Flash Forward US Winner, has exhibited widely, and has work in the Collect.Give Program. I am featuring two series, both about investigating the intangible, more about the experience than the result, and there is a lightness to this approach, a freedom that comes from the “what if”.

WIDE EYED: Wide Eyed departs from a reactionary response to my surroundings, grounded in a sense of wonder and awe. It is approached with the spirit of the wanderer and emphasizes democracy within the project structure. Wide Eyed persists as the undercurrent of my entire photographic process, bridging the gaps between more pointed investigations.

As a result, this project avoids specificity in content and conceptual motivations. Rather, it functions more analogously to an archive, a database, a repository for meditations, glimpses and passing thoughts about my relationship to anything I may encounter. Wide Eyed is intended to be a breathing body of images; a space to bounce and veer and double back while maintaining the sensation of being in a place of familiarity without specificity.

THE PLASTIC BAG SERIES: PROJECT 1: Photographic sequences seeking to achieve a visual representation of the wind, my favorite stand-alone weather phenomenon. In different times and places, I released a plastic grocery bag into a passing current of wind and followed, photographing the spaces to which I was led. The resulting projects indicate how this intangible entity may observe our physical environment.

Jeff Friesen

I first came across Jeff Friesen’s work when he submitted his lovely image, Waterborne, to a Lenscratch exhibition.

Waterborne, from Keeping Lost Time

Jeff has a new body of work, Winterdeep, that feels visually refreshing, sort of like finding that piece of Wintermint gum in the bottom of your purse after a big Italian meal, and that first burst of clean flavor is a relief. Jeff brings a quiet and simplicity to all his work, but also a beauty and spirituality.

He uses this quote by Lucy Maud Montgomery:
“It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, that, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond — only a glimpse — but those glimpses have always made life worth while.”

Statement for WINTERDEEP:
Light reaches our eyes and shows us what we see, but its journey does not end there. In a pulse of electricity the light travels further to our minds, swishing the fabric of our imagination along the way. What we see in front of ourselves is just a starting point. With our minds we can pick up a landscape and envision its every angle: its future, its past, its stories, and its ghosts.

For cultures living close to the land there is always a spiritual landscape within the visible one. Even modern city-dwellers know the feeling. Who has not seen dark omens in a storm cloud, or sensed freedom in a bird’s flight? In my travels to northern places I’ve always felt a strong mythical presence in the land. There is a dilemma for photography, though. The mythical landscape is not recorded by cameras. But it’s a place I am compelled to explore and to share.

To photograph my vision of the north I borrowed a page from novelists and created a world. Winterdeep is made of painted backdrops, sculpted ice, dye, customized toys, and a few other odds and ends. Digital magic circa 1995 provides visible breath and enhances the northern lights. I invite you to make Winterdeep a landscape for your own thoughts.

Why You Are The Future of Photography (The Guardian)

Why You Are The Future of Photography

by Sean O’Hagan for The Guardian

note: photos added by me

A new show suggests that webcams, Google Street View and a cat named Nancy Bean are set to change the world of photography as we know it.

Their manifesto begins: “Now, we’re a series of editors. We all recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload. We can make images do anything. All we need is an eye, a brain, a camera, a phone, a laptop, a scanner, a point of view.”

From Here On is the title of this manifesto-cum-group show unveiled at last week’s Arles photography festival. It is, the curators insist, a glimpse of the future of photography. Or to be more precise, several glimpses of several possible photographic futures based on the premise that photography as we know it – whether reportage or documentary – is no longer the most viable way to make sense of a digitalised and increasingly atomised global culture.

The manifesto was created by five people: Clément Chéroux, a historian of photography and a curator at the Pompidou Centre; Martin Parr, photographer, collector and all round dynamo; Eric Kessels, founder of the KesselsKramer communications agency; Joan Fontcuberta, an art photographer; and Joachim Schmid, an artist who works with found photographs.

The internet and the cheap digital camera, they say, are radically altering how we see the world, and what we do with what we see. No arguing with that. The fast-forward momentum of digital technology “changes our sense of what it means to make” and “results in work that feels like play, work that turns old into new, elevates the banal. Work that has a past but feels absolutely present.”

The elevation of the banal is one thing that the internet specialises in – from dancing pets to live webcasts from the living rooms of ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Sure enough, the show includes a cat photographer – that’s a cat who takes photographs rather than a person who photographs cats. Nancy Bean is a three-legged ginger tabby from Devon who has been fitted with a camera timed to snap an image every minute. The results are variable, as one might expect: lots of views from under cars and out of windows. It is street photography, but not as we know it. Elsewhere, there are real live chickens in cages courtesy of prankster Thomas Mailaender, whose installation, Chicken Museum, is like an edition of Vice Magazine made flesh.

Chicken Museum. Thomas Mailaender

There are also a couple of series based on Google Street View images –Jon Rafman‘s blown-up, grainy evocations of the everyday, and a series of images of ordinary people pulling faces for the cameras of showroom computers. There are photographs that have been tampered with, added to, edited and manipulated. All the tropes of the digital culture writ large, then. Most of it, perhaps unsurprisingly, already feels all too familiar.

Jon Rafman

Among the slapdash, the crudely innovative and the downright nihilist, there are some interesting artists. Surveillance and appropriation are two of the key themes. Jens Sundheim‘s images, often photographs of himself taken on webcams, are painterly in a spectral way, which hints at something darker about a digitalised world of connection and disconnection. Corinne Vionnet finds snaps of well-known tourist sites – the leaning tower of Pisa, Mao’s mausoleum – on photo-sharing sites on the web, then layers one on top of another until she reaches an impressionistic photo-painting.

Corinne Vionnet

The results are both real and ethereal – just like the mass tourist experience. Pavel Maria Smejkal’s FATESCAPES take found historical images of war and devastation and strip them of all human figures. Here, photography is sampling its own past in much the same way that hip-hop did in the early 1980s, but without its heated debate about ownership and royalties.

1989 Beijing, China. Pavel Maria Smejkal

Monica Haller’s book project, Riley and his story, is an unapologetically serious work of political testimony. A collaboration with her college friend, Riley Sharbonno, who served as a nurse in Abu Ghraib prison, it is a brilliant diary-cum–memoir of war, trauma and loss.

Monica Haller

These artists stand out amid a welter of the throwaway, the juvenile and the nihilistic that reflects the From Here On manifesto. “We’re making more than ever, because our resources are limitless and the possibilities endless … We want to give this work a new status,” the manifesto concludes. “Things will be different from here on …”

My immediate thought was: well, not that different if it takes a bunch of established curators and photographers to curate – and canonise – the work. Surely this is exactly the kind of cultural commodification that digital culture was meant to undermine, not encourage.

As I wandered, a little dazed, through From Here On, I found myself longing for more curatorial selectivity, more quality control. I was reminded of some words of warning from the internet-historian, Andrew Keen, in an intriguing forthcoming film on digital culture called PressPausePlay. Keen speaks passionately about the downside of digital democratisation: “When you leave everything to the crowd, where everything is democratised, when everything is determined by the number of clicks, you are by definition undermining the seriousness of the artistic endeavour,” he says. “There is no evidence that we are on the verge of a great new glittering cultural age, there is evidence that we may well be on the verge of a new dark age in cultural terms … where the creative world is destroyed and where all we have is cacophony and self opinion, where we have a crisis of democratised culture.” There was a glimpse of that possible future in From Here On. It was not a pretty sight.

Found HERE.

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Why You Are The Future of Photography (The Guardian)

Why You Are The Future of Photography

by Sean O’Hagan for The Guardian

note: photos added by me

A new show suggests that webcams, Google Street View and a cat named Nancy Bean are set to change the world of photography as we know it.

Their manifesto begins: “Now, we’re a series of editors. We all recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload. We can make images do anything. All we need is an eye, a brain, a camera, a phone, a laptop, a scanner, a point of view.”

From Here On is the title of this manifesto-cum-group show unveiled at last week’s Arles photography festival. It is, the curators insist, a glimpse of the future of photography. Or to be more precise, several glimpses of several possible photographic futures based on the premise that photography as we know it – whether reportage or documentary – is no longer the most viable way to make sense of a digitalised and increasingly atomised global culture.

The manifesto was created by five people: Clément Chéroux, a historian of photography and a curator at the Pompidou Centre; Martin Parr, photographer, collector and all round dynamo; Eric Kessels, founder of the KesselsKramer communications agency; Joan Fontcuberta, an art photographer; and Joachim Schmid, an artist who works with found photographs.

The internet and the cheap digital camera, they say, are radically altering how we see the world, and what we do with what we see. No arguing with that. The fast-forward momentum of digital technology “changes our sense of what it means to make” and “results in work that feels like play, work that turns old into new, elevates the banal. Work that has a past but feels absolutely present.”

The elevation of the banal is one thing that the internet specialises in – from dancing pets to live webcasts from the living rooms of ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Sure enough, the show includes a cat photographer – that’s a cat who takes photographs rather than a person who photographs cats. Nancy Bean is a three-legged ginger tabby from Devon who has been fitted with a camera timed to snap an image every minute. The results are variable, as one might expect: lots of views from under cars and out of windows. It is street photography, but not as we know it. Elsewhere, there are real live chickens in cages courtesy of prankster Thomas Mailaender, whose installation, Chicken Museum, is like an edition of Vice Magazine made flesh.

Chicken Museum. Thomas Mailaender

There are also a couple of series based on Google Street View images –Jon Rafman‘s blown-up, grainy evocations of the everyday, and a series of images of ordinary people pulling faces for the cameras of showroom computers. There are photographs that have been tampered with, added to, edited and manipulated. All the tropes of the digital culture writ large, then. Most of it, perhaps unsurprisingly, already feels all too familiar.

Jon Rafman

Among the slapdash, the crudely innovative and the downright nihilist, there are some interesting artists. Surveillance and appropriation are two of the key themes. Jens Sundheim‘s images, often photographs of himself taken on webcams, are painterly in a spectral way, which hints at something darker about a digitalised world of connection and disconnection. Corinne Vionnet finds snaps of well-known tourist sites – the leaning tower of Pisa, Mao’s mausoleum – on photo-sharing sites on the web, then layers one on top of another until she reaches an impressionistic photo-painting.

Corinne Vionnet

The results are both real and ethereal – just like the mass tourist experience. Pavel Maria Smejkal’s FATESCAPES take found historical images of war and devastation and strip them of all human figures. Here, photography is sampling its own past in much the same way that hip-hop did in the early 1980s, but without its heated debate about ownership and royalties.

1989 Beijing, China. Pavel Maria Smejkal

Monica Haller’s book project, Riley and his story, is an unapologetically serious work of political testimony. A collaboration with her college friend, Riley Sharbonno, who served as a nurse in Abu Ghraib prison, it is a brilliant diary-cum–memoir of war, trauma and loss.

Monica Haller

These artists stand out amid a welter of the throwaway, the juvenile and the nihilistic that reflects the From Here On manifesto. “We’re making more than ever, because our resources are limitless and the possibilities endless … We want to give this work a new status,” the manifesto concludes. “Things will be different from here on …”

My immediate thought was: well, not that different if it takes a bunch of established curators and photographers to curate – and canonise – the work. Surely this is exactly the kind of cultural commodification that digital culture was meant to undermine, not encourage.

As I wandered, a little dazed, through From Here On, I found myself longing for more curatorial selectivity, more quality control. I was reminded of some words of warning from the internet-historian, Andrew Keen, in an intriguing forthcoming film on digital culture called PressPausePlay. Keen speaks passionately about the downside of digital democratisation: “When you leave everything to the crowd, where everything is democratised, when everything is determined by the number of clicks, you are by definition undermining the seriousness of the artistic endeavour,” he says. “There is no evidence that we are on the verge of a great new glittering cultural age, there is evidence that we may well be on the verge of a new dark age in cultural terms … where the creative world is destroyed and where all we have is cacophony and self opinion, where we have a crisis of democratised culture.” There was a glimpse of that possible future in From Here On. It was not a pretty sight.

Found HERE.

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