Tag Archives: Guest Curator

Jacqueline Roberts

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce Jacqueline Roberts as next week’s guest curator and writer.  She will be sharing the work of six contemporary European photographers over the course of the week, exposing us to image makers an ocean away. Today I will be celebrating her wonderful work that beautifully explores children and childhood.

Jacqueline is a Spanish photographer born in Paris and now lives and works in Wincheringen, Germany, with her husband Gareth and their children Madoc, Malen and Emrys–making her a perfect European ambassador of photography. Her work has been shown in France, Spain, Germany and Luxembourg and has won various international awards, including the International Photography Awards in New York and the Prix de la Photographie in Paris. Jacqueline works with different photographic mediums, both digital and analogue, as well as with photographic techniques from the 19th century. She has published two books with editor Galerie Vevais, within the collector’s series Werkdruck and she is currently preparing her third monograph Kindred Spirits, which will be published next year.
 Kindred Spirits is a celebration of childhood and by extension life, tinged with nostalgia; a constructed memory for the future… a family album, simply. At a time in my life where my children are growing up and my parents are ageing… a reminder of the trace of time and fleeting nature of life.
 images from Kindred Spirits

Triptychs is primarily a tribute to my children, all born on the same day, which consists of three triple triptychs. With this series of portraits I wanted to emphasise the connection between them, the fraternal bond, the communion almost, that exists between them. Three distinct individuals yet connected. It was relevant therefore to present the work as triptychs, for the religious connotations it confers to the images but also to embrace the symbolism of the number three in a wider cultural realm. Three represents the triad of family: male, female, and child; the triad of the cycle of life: birth, life, and death; the triad of time: past, present and future; the triad of human nature: mind, body and soul and the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit… like an allusion to the sacred status of the child in our contemporary western societies.

images from Triptychs

Latin America Week: Matías Sauter

This week, Argentinean photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…


Y ahora sí, el último fotógrafo de esta serie Latinoamericana… Espero que la hayan disfrutado tanto como yo!

I knew about Matías Sauter  through a friend of mine. Matías works as a fashion and commercial photographer, so he is used to posing models and constructing scenes, but when I saw his Kids series, I was immediately smitten. These images are very spontaneous, full of color and the light is beautiful… however, there’s a lot of sadness in them, which is not something that we encounter very often in photographs of children.

He was born in San José, Costa Rica and currently divides his time between his native country and Germany. He has been exhibited at several venues in Costa Rica and has assisted in two research projects on Latin America, commissioned by the Museé de Quai Branly in Paris, France.

Image from Kids

What does your Latin heritage bring to your work?


I grew up in Costa Rica, but I’ve always been influenced by German culture as my family of German origin and I went to a German school. This mix of cultures has opened the opportunity to use different angles in the way I see my daily life. I think my Latin side has given my photography the fun aspect, so it makes my images more colorful and contrasty. Living in Costa Rica also has an influence on my photography: I’m surrounded by a beautiful landscape, nature, rain, the smell of coffee in the afternoons and the ocean that bring out a lot of feelings in me… nostalgia and quietness to name a few. There are a lot of images that I carry with me where I go and, I find a way to find similarities in other contexts and people. I am not sure how they are reflected on my work, but it is defined by them a hundred percent. I will never stop thinking about the yellow light that turns on when a tropical storm hits, a very common image that froze time and it still does and I enjoy it immensely… it’s like being trapped in a photograph. 




Do you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work created in the States?


When I see photographs made by Latin American artists I usually smile because I see a lot of surrealism and humor. There is always something magical in them. I actually think they have a lot of magical realism we find in literature, sometimes full of exaggerations and funny situations. On the other hand, I also notice that there is a certain degree of nostalgia in Latin American photography. May be it is because we are always searching for solid roots, and we are such a fusion of cultures and blood that it is difficult to find an identity. 

What is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported, are galleries selling, do photographers have an outlet to show their work?

There are a few contemporary galleries here, such as DesPacio, Jacobo Karpio and Klaus Steinmetz, which are known internationally and they also showcase the wok of well established photographers, like Jaime Tischler or Cinthya Soto. I am not represented by a gallery right now, so I am not very familiarized with the current situation.  



 Images from Kids
Is
it a fact that all children go through a similar phase where they all
smile and laugh constantly? Do photo albums truly reveal the feelings
and behavior that will define the personality of children.
KIDS
is a photo essay that aims at revealing what we would call a
“psychological portrait” of a child, in which we try to show both
the kid’s personality traits as well as the external factors that
condition them. I tried to reflect on the child’s identity and bring
out the consciousness the child possesses, from this very early age,
in relation to others.

For
that reason, kids were given the opportunity to actively participate
in the creation of their portrait, so they decided where to be
photographed and which toys or objects they wanted to have.

 My
intention was to explore their understanding of the world and their
personality traits that get them closer to the “conflicts” of
adulthood. Besides expressing those feelings, which adults refuse to
accept about children, and that they reveal how their lives will
shape up in the future, they evidence a “dissociation” with the
idealized and perfect image that many adults have about childhood.


Latin America Week: Guillermo Srodek-Hart

This week, Argentinean photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Guillermo es el quinto fotógrafo de la semana, y ya sólo queda uno…

Guillermo Srodek-Hart is an Argentinean photographer, who grew up and lives in Buenos Aires. His series Stories is about old stores that are located in rural areas. Nostalgia runs very strongly in the Latin DNA, and I think his series is a perfect example of this. Every time I look at these images, I remember what these places smell like and how people dressed at the time even though they are not present in these photographs. They transport me to a different place and time… 
Guillermo has an MFA from Mass College of Art in Boston, MA. He has been exhibited in many venues around the world, and his work has been published by O Globo, Fotografia Argentina, Boston Globe and Art Matters Magazine and several Argentinean newspapers. He is part of several collections such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Attleboro Museum of Art and Fundación Petrobras. In the United States he is represented by Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami, Schneider Gallery in Chicago and Gallery Kayafas in Boston.

Image from Stories
What
does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

I
discovered my Latin heritage while living in Boston as un undergrad
at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The questions about my
origin and my identity came when I was far from them. But I don’t see
myself Latin in the way I photograph. On the contrary, I feel closer
to FSA photographers. If I were living in some other place I would
probably be drawn to the same subject matter. 

Do
you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work
created in the States?


I
am not sure, because there is so much information coming and going
all the time that the influences cross over constantly. But I do see
that there is less of an academic influence here than in the US.
Here, still, people who want to learn photography have to figure out a way
to make it work for them, as opposed to the huge structure that the
Art Schools offer to a student in the US, where it is a safer environment (while you are enrolled). After graduation, it is a whole
different story. I think there is a lot of regurgitation going on in
the US Art Schools but I also think this is inevitable.  


What
is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported,
are galleries selling, do Photographers have an outlet to show their
work?


There
is a lot of interest in the medium, and there are great venues to
exhibit. There are also excellent teachers and very talented young
and not so young photographers. But I think the market is not very
good here. People will fill up a gallery at the opening, then
throughout the month it will be very visited, but perhaps there are
no sales. And now the dollar is crazy here so I dont know what will
happen. A lot of collectors from abroad come here to buy cheap and
good work.

Images from Stories

 I
drive to the small rural towns in the Argentine countryside to get
away from what I know. For me, being uncomfortable stimulates
creativity. When I enter unknown territory, I stop, get out, and talk
to people. I tell them I am interested in old stores, places that
still function almost in a separate time, those that remain
authentic, running on their own agendas.
 
I
want to find places that remain authentic, that are running on their
own agendas. Sometimes I think I am photographing the last rebel’s
strongholds, or artists’ studios, because these places seem to
operate by a different set of rules.  When I run out of words, I
take my folder out and show prints of previous shots I’ve taken, like
a detective sharing evidence. 
I
am looking for places like these
,
I ask while flipping through the photographs.  My project takes
on a collaborative nature because I rely on these interactions, the
people I meet point me to new locations, and that’s how I build my
itinerary.
 
Many times
I am asked ‘Why aren’t there any people in your photographs?’ 
My answer
is ‘Look closely, they are all over the place.’
 
My
photographs are filled with traces of human presence: objects,
furniture, stuff hanging from the walls, accumulations on display.
They speak to me of the invisible, that which can’t be seen but is
there, stories to be imagined, and, ultimately, the acknowledgement
of our own transience in this world.



Latin America Week: Adriana Zehbrauskas

This week, Argentinian photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Esta es la cuarta edición de la semana, y me da mucho placer presentarles a Adriana Zehbrauskas, fotógrafa brasileña que reside en el DF hace varios años.

Adriana is a photojournalist with an amazing eye. Her work caught my attention while I was looking for images on Faith, and these images had everything I had in mind: great compositions, grittiness and a lot of heart.  I am sharing her series Faith in Brazil and Mexico. 

Adriana was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She received a degree in Journalism and moved to Paris where she studied Linguistics and Phonetics at the Sorbonne Nouvelle. She worked as a staff photographer for  Folha de Sao Paulo for 11 years and is currently based in Mexico City, where she contributes regularly with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro and The Guardian, among others.

The series Faith in Brazil and Mexico was awarded an Art & Worship World Prize by the Niavaran Artistic Creation Foundation and a book is currently under production to be published by Bei Editores in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Image from Faith in Brazil and Mexico
What does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

I
think that in my specific case (not even sure if it is due to my
Latin heritage) it is an obsession with organizing the chaos in my
frame. I was born and raised in São Paulo and have lived the past
eight years in Mexico City, two huge metropolis where the visual
stimulation was always too much, there was always too much going on
at the same time ( São Paulo has now banned all outdoors including
even those hideous gigantic Mac Donald’s Ms). I felt this need to
clean my view, to calculate exactly what I wanted in my frame.

On
another level, Latin America is very religious and that permeates
every level of society in an everyday basis. The reference for the
sacred is constant and really difficult not to notice. I was always
very curious about this subject and I think I always find a way to
portray this angle into my stories.

Do you see a difference between work created in Latin America and
work created in the States?

It
is not a general rule, and I cannot speak for the whole Latin
America, but I see more long-term documentary projects coming out of
the US ( or US photographers) than out of Brazil, for instance.

What is the state of
photography in your country–is it well supported, are galleries
selling, do photographers have an outlet to show their work? 

I
don’t think it’s well supported, either in Brazil or Mexico.
It’s the effort of a handful of people who actually make it
happen. Outlets for showing work are dwindling by the day, newspapers
and magazines have less and less money /space so we have to get
creative now. The internet is a vast space, but we have to still
figure out the best way to use it. It’s just not a matter of
showing the work. Photographers are like any other people in the
world, we have to make money to survive!



Images from Faith in Brazil and Mexico 
 This
project was born from my inquisitiveness and deep curiosity about
religion. Living in Brazil, a country of immense cultural and
socioeconomic diversity and an extreme fertile ground for a plethora
of popular and religious manifestations, it was impossible to grow up
ignoring their intensity and strength.
Have
faith and you will go far”, “faith moves mountains”, and “one
must have faith” are expressions that permeate the day-to-day lives
of people from all social classes and religious beliefs.
With
their millenary experience, the major religions constitute powerful
intellectual structures capable of providing each individual with a
philosophy of life. They attend to the spiritual aspirations of the
human being and to the need to believe in noble values. They provide
answers to the individual’s anxieties when confronted with fear,
suffering and death. They assert that which is true, good and just,
helping each person interpret the world.
The
spiritual search is natural to every human being. It represents the
search for the meaning of life, humanity and coexistence. Religion is
unique to humankind. The cornerstone of any religion is faith. 
This
is a sample of a large photographic essay on  faith in Brazil
and Mexico, focusing on the similarities and differences of that
which is perhaps the only common denominator of all religion.

Latin America Week: Alejandro Medina

This week, Argentinian photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…
Les presento a Alejandro Medina, fotógrafo Guatemalteco, que es mi cuarta selección. 
When I saw Alejandro’s Oceanus for the first time, in this year’s Critical Mass Top 200, I was amazed at how mature it was, considering that he is only 17 years old. I loved its stillness and quiet beauty. Alejandro was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala. His first show was in the summer of 2010, at GuateFoto, making him one of the youngest artists ever to exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Guatemala. His photographs have been curated into Photoville in New York and several shows in his native country. Alejandro has been published in Prensa Libre, El Periódico, Siglo 21 and Le Journal de la Photographie, among others. 
Image from Oceanus
What
does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

I
think that my Latin heritage has had a profound influence on my work.
It is not only visible in the way I perceive the world, which is
directly reflected on my images, but also on what I decide to
photograph.

I
have a tendency to include landscapes of where I live in my photos,
either as the main subject or in a more subtle way. This adds a very
strong cultural feeling to my projects.


Do
you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work
created in the States?

There
are several geographical and cultural differences. But I think that
many of the subjects photographers capture in both regions are
similar. There are certain themes that are popular in photographers
of my generation, which are documented throughout the continent. What
is interesting to me is that even though some projects share the same
subject, the essence and origin of the photographers always come out
in the work made.


What
is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported,
are galleries selling, do you have any venues where to show work?

The
problem with several Latin American countries is that there is a lack
of appreciation for the art. This makes it extremely difficult for
artists to find their place in society, where their work can be
appreciated. I am not saying our people do not value art, because
many do, but the problem is that this enjoyment is something
individuals can acquire on their own, and not as a part of the
general culture. However, in the last few years I have seen a growth
in the art industry here in Guatemala. There is an art presence that
is slowly manifesting itself and expanding, and therefore, accepted
by the people. It used to be impossible for a Latin artist to gain
international exposure, but it has become easier as there are more
platforms where emerging artists can be launched into the world. This
has been facilitated by a new center for contemporary photography, La
Fototeca, which has promoted photography in the area and it has
motivated many artists to continue with their work. There are also
several galleries that are opening their doors, and more importantly,
some well established galleries that have started displaying
contemporary photography. 

Oceanus

Amongst the fondest memories of my childhood, lies the ocean. Every time I was able to experience it, I was enthralled with its beauty. In this project I try to convey this beauty and mysteriousness to the best of my abilities by photographing objects found at the shore. 

Also using these photographs to parallel how I have experienced changes in my life. Like the ocean currents have transformed these objects into what we see them now, experiences in our lives also change us into the individuals that we become. The title of the project, Oceanus, comes from the latin word for “World’s Ocean” which attempts to describe all of the world’s bodies of water as one. In a similar attempt, I try to depict a characteristic shared by all individuals in this project, the fact that everybody is molded by his or her experiences.

Latin America Week: Erika Diettes

This week, Argentinian photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Les presento a mi segunda selección de la semana: Erika Diettes, fotógrafa colombiana.

I found Erika’s work when I was doing some research on Colombian photographers. I was incredibly moved by her portraits of people who had lost family members to the violent wars in her country. Having grown up during a military coup, where thousands of people were kidnapped and killed, these series really struck a cord with me. I am showcasing two series of hers that go hand in hand, Sudarios and Río Abajo.


Erika was born in Cali, Colombia. She has a Masters in Social Anthropology, and BA in Visual Arts and Communications. Her work explores memory, pain, absence and death and it has been exhibited around Latin America, such as at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá, Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires and Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, among others. Her more recent series, Sudarios, was part of the Fotofest Biennal 2012, and it is on display at the Trinity Epicospal Church in Houston. Erika has also been interviewed by several publications, El Tiempo, Revista Ñ, El Colombiano, and El Espectador to name a few.


Image from Río Abajo

What does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

Our cultural context defines us, it gives us a foundation for our conceptual criteria and stetics. It makes us react to a certain symbolic world that, as years go by, each of us molds based on our experiences.

The Latin American universe is created by catholic religion, the indigineous and African cosmogonies and the problems and strengths of the contemporary history of each nation. That is why us, Latin people, express ourselves with more passion and feelings, I think we let people see our internal universe more easily. We are not afraid of emotions, on the contrary, it is through them that we relate to others. Without trying to generalize or stereotype, of course, we characterize by a more dramatic sensitivity, full of visual richness and excesses, both in our existence and also in our representation.

The way I build images, both behind the camera and in my universe without a camera, what happens within the frame to what the audience eventually sees when images are exhibited, is the result of all my vital experience, and that is definitely built within my latin culture, my Colombian nationality, my socio cultural context and many other characteristics that make up who I am. That is clearly manifested in my work.

Do you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work created in the States? 

I think that work created in the United States has a much more technical and academic background. Photography as a college degree in the United States has a longer tradition than in our countries. When I started college 14 years ago, the possibility of getting a career in photography did not exist. Nowadays, more people have access to professional cameras and the internet takes us to an endless number of exhibitions and shows around the world, so, in a way, it makes visual models and techniques more homogeneous and differences are not as big.

Where I think there is a more obvious difference is in some of the subjects. United States, as a nation with a high number of immigrants from various countries, produces many projects about identity, questions about borders, immigration and its policies, among others. As an artist, what makes this work interesting is that despite these subjects being so specific, they have something that can connect to different audiences. This is the challenge, this is what made masters great, that they made a very specific subject become Universal.

What is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported, are galleries selling, do photographers have an outlet to show their work? 

I think that in Colombia, photography has an important place. There are more spaces to exhibit and people are more open to see and buy photography. It is a relatively new market, that will need time to establish itself, but it is clear that we are at a point where it is growing and developing rapidly. There are exhibitions being held all the time, emerging artists, more schools, critics and everything that the medium encompasses. They are very interesting times, in my opinion.

Río Abajo
 Río
Abajo is a series where I focus on the clothes which the families of the
disappeared guard as a relic of their loved ones, I make a representation of
one of the most common forms of committing this atrocious crime and that is
stripping the bodies which are thrown into the rivers.

Also,
in many cases, after the endless tortures to which they are subjected while
still alive, these victims are quartered and disfigured post mortem in such a
way that even if their corpses appear it is practically impossible to identify
them. 

We
thus turn ourselves into a country full of unburied corpses and an
infinite number of mourners afflicted by the horror of not being able
to bury their dead.
 

Image from Río Abajo exhibition

Images from Sudarios

Sudarios (Shrouds) is the
result of multiple theoretical concerns, an infinity of technical
quests and an observation of the world from a certain context. 
The intention of the this series is to enable the spectator to enter into and walk through
these impenetrable and apparently alien worlds, when he observes that
moment in which these women close their eyes because they find no
other way to communicate the true dimension of the horror which they
witnessed and the intensity of the sorrow they were subjected to.
This work tells the stories of
twenty women – victims, grief-stricken human beings who, as part of
their torture, were forced to SEE the violence perpetrated against
their loved ones and were left alive so that they would be witnesses
to such horrors. The stories are
diverse but I am convinced that this series speaks of something which
is timeless, universal and infinite. 
These are portraits of the victims who bare themselves before our eyes, showing the evil which some people are capable of and that wish to transcend that earthly realm in the hope of something better. These women want to relay the moment in which they were condemned to remember, given that the possibility of forgetting even the smallest detail does not exist. And I want to record that moment in order to construct this work, because I have the firm conviction that art not only provides an essential space for the building of a country’s memory but also furnishes a means to ease the suffering of people. \

They are the reflection of my experience of sorrow and the result of my interpretation of the effects of violence. And I also think that they are the mirror, in which you, the spectators of the work, can see the reflection of yourselves as your own sorrow becomes that of others. 

Images from Sudarios exhibition

 I always intended to print these portraits on silk because I wanted to transmit, as they themselves told me more than once, that they are beings who no longer belong to the world, that violence had left them dead in life. That is why my intention was always to attain light, diaphanous, phantasmal images that would capture that sensation and that profound wish for transcendence. The same reason explains the overwhelming sense I have that these images should be kept in sacred places and spaces of reflection, where, regardless of our religion, the journey of the work through the space would help us to be not only spectators but turn us, in one way or another, into pilgrims who will enter into communion with these images on the basis of our beliefs, so that, as Susan Sontag says, we may be able to keep this reality in mind from now onwards.

I invite you to look at the Sudarios by keeping in mind that the history of a country cannot be written in silence and its memory should not be constructed in the dark. For that reason, I believe that to tell, record, display and try to understand our history from all possible points of view is not only a need but an obligation.

Eleonora Ronconi

I’m excited to introduce photographer, Eleonora Ronconi,  as next week’s guest curator and writer.  My busy travel schedule this fall opened an opportunity to ask a few guest editors to share work from different parts of the world, giving Lenscratch readers a fresh perspective on photography outside of the United States.  Next week Eleonora will be presenting photographers from Latin America, and in upcoming weeks, German photographer, Jacqueline Roberts, will be sharing work from European Photographers.  I can’t wait to see who they feature and learn more about global photography starting on Monday.  Thank you in advance to Eleonora and Jacqueline for all their efforts.

Eleonora Ronconi by Aline Smithson

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.

image from Once Upon a Time
FRAGMENTOS 

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.

Elliott Wilcox, Volume 014

Elliott Wilcox, Volume 014

Elliott Wilcox

Volume 014,
, 2011
From the Walls series
Website – ElliottWilcox.co.uk

Elliott Wilcox is a London based, British photographer who recently graduated from the University of Westminster, MA Photographic Studies program. He has been the recipient of several awards including a Judges Award at the Nikon Discovery Awards, a New York Photo Award and a Lucie Award for the Discovery of the Year at the International Photography Awards. He has exhibited internationally and in the UK, his first major series Courts was part of the show PRUNE – Abstracting Reality at FOAM Gallery Amsterdam with guest curator Kathy Ryan, editor of the New York Times Magazine. Wilcox was also part of the BBC’s documentary series School of Saatchi. Wilcox's second major series Walls was shown at the Bau-Xi Photo Gallery Toronto, Canada earlier this year. Elliott hopes to continue developing his photographic practice and pushing the boundaries of his medium. He is currently working on his next major series.