Tag Archives: Hurricane Katrina

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.

 

S. Gayle Stevens

I had the great pleasure of meeting S. Gayle Stevens at Filter Photo Festival in Chicago in October. Her wet plate collodion images are expressive, magical, and individual. Using modified Holgas and cameraless photography, she works to tell stories and create a new visual language. Gayle received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has taught alternative photo processes at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois for ten years. Named one of the Critical Mass Top Fifty Photographers for 2010 and featured in numerous magazines and exhibitions, Gayle was recently accepted into the New Directions Exhibition at Wall Space Gallery (jurored by Debra Klomp Ching), will have a solo show at the Center of Fine Art Photography next fall, and is now represented by the Tilt Gallery in Phoenix.

I am featuring two projects, the first an unusual approach to capturing what is left behind after Hurricane Katrina, Pass, and the second, Calligraphy, with a new way of looking at objects.

pass
pass: (n) opening, road, channel.
pass: (v) to go away, die, to go from one state or form to another.

In this series I recorded the ruins that once were the town of Pass Christian Mississippi, an artist community on the gulf devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

On the morning of August 29, 2005 Pass Christian, a community on the Mississippi gulf coast, lost all but 500 of its 8000 homes when Katrina’s storm surge topped the high water mark at over 30 feet and drove destruction more than half a mile inland. A once thriving artist community lay in ruins. Many residents have chosen not to return but their memories of Pass Christian remain the essence of this place. As time passes, blackberry vines creep over the remaining foundations; nature, like a shroud slowly covers Pass Christian. Over the past two years, I have returned repeatedly to photograph. To me, the loss of community is the most devastating aspect of this natural disaster.

For this project I have chosen to create my images with a medium format pinhole camera using wet plate collodion, a process that dates from the time of the city’s founding. The plates are small size and intimate. Pinhole and wet plate, when used in tandem, create a surreal world of depth and mystery. Wet plate captures the mystery the way dreams reveal what daylight hides.

calligraphy: beautiful writing or drawing

photography: light drawing

taxonomy: the science of the classification of living things

Calligraphy consists of a series of wet plate collodion tintype photogenic drawings of plant and animal specimens I have collected on walks near my home and in my travels. This series is inspired by “cabinets of curiosity”, natural history collections from the 17th century, and the precursor of museums. The original meaning of “cabinet” was a small room; these rooms housed collections of plants, preserved animals and minerals. My collection contains diverse plant and animal remains. I have always been intrigued by what is overlooked in daily life and these objects are cherished for the unique beauty of their sparse remains.

I have rendered my drawings of these specimens in wet plate collodion. The silhouettes of the photogenic drawings are rendered as black shadows and echo the brushstrokes in Chinese calligraphy, sparse yet expressive. Changeable as the original specimens, the silver rich plates are unvarnished and will tarnish with age. The speed and degree of tarnish will depend on their environment and the patina will be that of antique silver.

The calligraphy series is composed of single and multiple five inch square plates displayed in the style of 19th century specimens and housed in black wood shadow box frames. This collection will be displayed as my personal museum of specimens collected on my daily walks. These images are my memento mori; an acknowledgement of lives passed, a rendering of fleeting shadows.

Success Stories: Jennifer Shaw

I’m excited to share the publication of Jennifer Shaw’s first monograph, Hurricane Story, published by Chin Music Press. I’ve been a fan of Jennifer’s work for some time and in particular, this series that takes us through an experience that was life changing in so many ways. Her unique photographic approach to simultaneously experiencing Hurricane Katrina and the birth of her first child, is indeed, a success story!

Milwaukee born, Jennifer studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, and then moved to New Orleans in pursuit of the artist’s life. She teaches the disappearing art of darkroom photography at the Louise S. McGehee School, was a founding officer and board member of the New Orleans Photo Alliance, and directs their annual PhotoNOLA festival. Her own work has been published in numerous magazines, exhibited world wide, and held in many collections. She is a devoted toy camera photographer and was recently featured in Plastic Cameras: Toying With Creativity (Focal Press, 2010), by Michelle Bates.

Chin Music Press is running a great contest right now- if you preorder the book through our online store by July 4, you’ll get free shipping in North America plus be entered for a prize drawing to win one of Jen’s 17″ x 17″ signed, limited edition prints, worth $500!

Congratulations on Hurricane Story being published! Did you ever imagine it as a book when you were creating it?

Thank you, Aline. Yes, from the beginning the project was about marrying words and images in a narrative flow, inspired by comics and graphic novels.

We have all seen hundreds of images and interpretations of Hurricane Katrina, but yours is the most unique. How did you come to tell your story through miniatures and a toy camera?

Thank you! After Katrina I spent several months shooting more traditional documentary type images in the now infamous Lower 9th Ward. That process led me to the conclusion that the story I most needed to tell was my own.

As for the decision to recreate our adventure using miniatures, I think noticing two king cake babies displayed on our spice rack may have been the light bulb moment. I dusted off a macro-ized Holga and started playing around. Excited by the results, I began sketching out the narrative and collecting toys to serve as stand-ins. It was after painting two very tiny dogs to make them look more like our own that I realized I should probably be shooting in color.

Can you give us some insight into the process of getting a book published?

I got really lucky, and pitched my project to the right publisher at the right time. I had originally self-published through Lulu. My friend G.K. Darby, who owns Garrett County Press here, suggested that I share the project with Chin Music. Though they’d never published a photo book before they were interested, and I think it’s safe to say it’s been a lovely learning experience for all of us.

It took roughly a year from my initial inquiry to holding the finished book in hand. The entire process was quite collaborative and lots of fun. There are so many aspects involved – from the initial contract negotiations to image file preparation, sequence and design decisions, choosing book size, paper type and the all-important cover image, finding contributors for foreword/essays, soliciting “blurbs”, creating a book website, and more. The Chin Music team has been wonderfully supportive and responsive throughout. And I am grateful to numerous other friends and advisors who offered guidance and graciously allowed me to pester them with questions.

I noticed that Chin Music Press publishes books about Japan and New Orleans—that is an unusual focus, can you explain it?

Bruce Rutledge and Yuko Enemoto started the press eight years ago with a focus on Japanese literature and a commitment to beautiful book design. Bruce’s brother Dave lives in New Orleans, and after Katrina – he spent his evacuation with them in Seattle – they decided to publish a New Orleans anthology, which Dave edited, “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?” Thus began their New Orleans imprint, Broken Levee Books.

You work mainly with toy cameras and in black and white (with the exception of using color for Hurricane Story), will you continue this path?

It’s all about finding the right form to express what I need to say with any given series. Plastic cameras just work for me, in all their simplistic glory. And I love the romance of the darkroom. That said, once I begin a project I follow the work where it wants to go. So if I were to suddenly get the urge to shoot in lower light situations I might switch to a more sophisticated camera to get the job done. Or if a future subject is screaming to be rendered in color, I will happily oblige.

Any new projects you are working on?

I am continuing to bliss out on bugs and natural wonders, adding images to my Nature/Nurture series. And for several years now I have been photographing my actual children.

Has motherhood changed the way you see the world and the work you want to create?

Motherhood is much more complex than I ever could have imagined. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’m not sure if it’s changed the work I want to create, but it has certainly kept me working much closer to home, both literally and figuratively.

What advice can you give emerging photographers, especially on presentation, on networking, on consistently producing excellent work?

For presentation, carefully consider your options and make sure that your choices at every step support the intent of the work. Attend portfolio reviews. They are invaluable on so many levels and we photographers are so lucky to have that dialogue available to us. Network with peers – they can provide excellent references. Plus today’s photo friend could be tomorrow’s influential blogger or museum curator. Discipline, professionalism, and perseverance are necessary. Trust your instincts, when a project feels right run with it.

What opportunity took your career to the next level?

In 2003 I attended the Photo Americas portfolio review (now Photolucida) and came in one day early to take Mary Virginia Swanson’s Marketing for Fine Art Photographers workshop. That experience was a game changer for me. I came home inspired on every level and immediately began the process of creating a website, business cards, etc. and following up on leads which resulted in exhibitions and representation.

Has social networking changed how you promote and market your work?

Facebook makes it so easy to share your latest news and invite people to events. It’s made me a little lazy; I can’t think of the last time I sent out an email with photo news. (Though I plan to rectify that before the book launch in July.) I don’t Twitter, I don’t maintain a separate FB page to promote my photography. There’s only so much time in the day…

Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and feel creatively unmotivated?

Self doubt, of course. I think that’s probably a healthy part of the process. But I rarely feel unmotivated. I had a teacher, Gary Metz, who instilled in me the mantra: “Work comes out of work.” This has proven very true for me. I shoot lots of film, and each roll I process makes me want to shoot more. The problem these days is finding the time to print, to refine things and bring work to fruition. But I know that won’t last forever and am trying to be patient about it.

And finally, what would be your perfect day?

Hmm… it would include spending time outdoors, processing a few rolls of film, quiet time with a good book, then a dinner gathering with friends, filled with laughter, red wine and great conversations.

Images from Kids

Images from Nature/Nuture

The new issue of 1000 Words

..The new issue of 1000 Words “Aporia” has now hit the digital shelves. To view it please go to: www.1000wordsmag.com

APORIA: [uh-pawr-ee-uh, uh-pohr-] The expression of a simulated or real doubt, as about where to begin or what to do or say.

[from Greek, literally: a state of being at a loss]

This issue brings together a number of exciting artists in an attempt to tackle the idea of a shared reality and the possibility – or impossibility – of its representation through photography. “Photography is a fiction,” said John Gossage “not the fiction that implies a lie, but the kind of fiction that describes the experience you are getting as fleeting and transitory yet at the same time permanent. It’s not reality in the normal way we navigate it.”

With this in mind, Photography critic and Picture editor at The Telegraph, Lucy Davies considers the fascinating portraits of Robert Bergman; Aaron Schuman speaks to Craig Mammano about his work on survival and isolation in the Treme neighbourhood of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; Curator Susan Bright takes a look at Taryn Simon’s new book Contraband; Artistic director at QUAD and Co-founder of FORMAT International Photography Festival Louise Clements takes a look at the portfolio of young Russian photographer,Nikita Pirogov; Natasha Christia profiles Czech-born, Tereza Zelenková, another promising young talent who graduated from The University of Westminster in 2010; and finally 1000 Words Deputy editor Michael Grieve brings us a rare and rewarding interview with the highly-respected and controversial Magnum photographer,Antoine d’Agata.

In the books section, we turn our attention to From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America by Alec Soth, Boris Mikhailov’s The Wedding and the stunning Thirty Two Inch Ruler/Map of Babylon by John Gossage.

As always, there is no shortage of people to thank, but we would like to show our appreciation to Santiago Taccetti from CCCH Creative Studio, Barcelona for his stellar design work, Carla Rigau for her expert translation services and new staff member, Robson Yee for his hard work and assistance with all matters editorial production. 1000 Words would also like to warmly welcome the recently appointed Board of directors and looks forward to working with them on the next stage of the organisation’s development. They are: Camilla GoreNicholas BarkerSimon BakerLouise ClementsAron MorelTim ClarkMichael Grieve and Norman Clark.

by 1000 Words

1000 Words Photography Magazine #10

It gives us great pleasure to let you know that the new issue of 1000 Words “Aporia” has now hit the digital shelves. To view it please go to: www.1000wordsmag.com

APORIA: [uh-pawr-ee-uh, uh-pohr-] The expression of a simulated or real doubt, as about where to begin or what to do or say.

[from Greek, literally: a state of being at a loss]

This issue brings together a number of exciting artists in an attempt to tackle the idea of a shared reality and the possibility – or impossibility – of its representation through photography. LED TVs . “Photography is a fiction,” said John Gossage “not the fiction that implies a lie, but the kind of fiction that describes the experience you are getting as fleeting and transitory yet at the same time permanent. It’s not reality in the normal way we navigate it.”

With this in mind, Photography critic and Picture editor at The Telegraph, Lucy Davies considers the fascinating portraits of Robert Bergman; Aaron Schuman speaks to Craig Mammano about his work on survival and isolation in the Treme neighbourhood of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; Curator Susan Bright takes a look at Taryn Simon’s new book Contraband; Artistic director at QUAD and Co-founder of FORMAT International Photography Festival Louise Clements takes a look at the portfolio of young Russian photographer, Nikita Pirogov; Natasha Christia profiles Czech-born, Tereza Zelenková, another promising young talent who graduated from The University of Westminster in 2010; and finally 1000 Words Deputy editor Michael Grieve brings us a rare and rewarding interview with the highly-respected and controversial Magnum photographer, Antoine d’Agata.

In the books section, we turn our attention to From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America by Alec Soth, Boris Mikhailov’s The Wedding and the stunning Thirty Two Inch Ruler/Map of Babylon by John Gossage.

As always, there is no shortage of people to thank, but we would like to show our appreciation to Santiago Taccetti from CCCH Creative Studio, Barcelona for his stellar design work, Carla Rigau for her expert translation services and new staff member, Robson Yee for his hard work and assistance with all matters editorial production. 1000 Words would also like to warmly welcome the recently appointed Board of directors and looks forward to working with them on the next stage of the organisation’s development. They are: Camilla Gore, Nicholas Barker, Simon Baker, Louise Clements, Aron Morel, Tim Clark, Michael Grieve and Norman Clark.