Tag Archives: Joachim Schmid

Penelope Umbrico Photography @ FoMu, Antwerp

Photo (c) Penelope Umbrico

The photography of Penelope Umbrico is often described as offering a sort of “radical reinterpretation” of photographic practice, or shedding “a radical new light” on the medium, conceptually, formally, and in several ways between. The artist produces by means of “aesthetic and conceptual chops,” famously appropriating images found using search engines and picture sharing websites, translating the digital realm’s relentless flow of images into conceptual works of photography.

FoMu’s upcoming exhibition of this particularly new course of photographic practice places Umbrico’s work in good company. From Here On, on view June 6 through September 30 2012, features an international roster of artists who create their work with the overload of digital images they find on the internet.

“They recycle, clip and cut pictures from Google Earth, Google Street View, Facebook, Flickr, etc. Does this mean that traditional photography is dead? With this exhibition, FoMu opens the debate on issues such as copyright, authorship, privacy and the future of photography.”

From Here On
June 22 through September 30, 2012
FoMu – Photo Museum
Antwerp, Belgium

From Here On shows the work of artists such as Hans Aarsman (NL, °1951), art collective Leo Gabin (BE), Constant Dullaart (NL, °1979), Mishka Henner (UK, °1976), Thomas Mailaender (FR, °1979), Willem Popelier (NL, °1982), Doug Rickard (US, °1968), Andreas Schmidt (DE, °1967), Pavel MariaSmejkal (CZ, °1957), Penelope Umbrico (US, °1957), Corinne Vionnet (SH, °1969) and HermanZschiegner (DE, °1971).

Curators: Clément Cheroux (FR, curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris), Joan Fontcuberta (ES, explores the conflict between nature, technology, photography and truth), Erik Kessels (NL, Creative Director communications agency KesselsKramer, Amsterdam and London), Martin Parr (UK, Magnum photographer) and Joachim Schmid (DE, has been working with found photography since 1980).
———

›› Refer to our previous Penelope Umbrico-centric stories for more information and media surrounding this artist’s body of digital work.
›› View From Here On curator and Magnum photojournalist Martin Parr in conversation with Rinko Kawauchi.
›› Buy Penelope Umbrico (Photographs) for 20% off.

Five books in a suitcase

While in Europe a couple months ago for the Rencontres d’Arles festival I found quite a few interesting items and as I look over them I see my tastes have drawn me to almost as many non-photobooks as photo-related ones. As I speak to other photobook obsessives I find a common denominator – it is harder and harder to find the “fix.”

The first is the new Enrique Metinides book Series from Kominek Books. Metinides is often referred to as the “Mexican Weegee.” Metinides worked as a newspaper photographer and many of his gritty, often gruesome images were used in the ‘nota roja’ tabloids. This book concentrates less on his individual greatest hits but on series of images he made while photographing crime, accidents and natural disasters in Mexico City and surrounding areas. The work is given an interesting design treatment courtesy of Syb (Sybren Kuiper) one of the leading Dutch designers working today. By far, it is the best presentation of Metinides work to date. Highly recommended.

Gregoire Pujade-Lauraine’s The Significant Savages was another choice which had a strong following at this year’s Rencontres d’Arles festival. Included in the exhibition From Here On which was curated by Martin Parr, Joan Fontcuberta, Joachim Schmid, Erik Kessels and Clement Cheroux, The Significant Savages compiles hundreds of “profile images” from the social networking site Facebook and presents them in an extremely handsome package that comments on how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the larger community. In part it is a critique but it does not lose its empathy with a cooler than thou vibe that is all too common with other archives of kitsch and stock imagery.

The next book, Nicolas Giraud’s All Work and No Play from Boa Books is probably the oddest choice I was completely compelled to bring home. Over several years, Giraud created his own “phantom literature book,” a typescript version of the “manuscript” that Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) was working on in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. Part fiction and part concrete poem, All Work and No Play sits in the obsessive space between an ordered mind and one that is unravelling. It might at first sound like a book that strikes a single note but design and typography freaks will want to take a long look at this deceptively simple work.

Aymeric Fouquez’s Nord from Kodoji Press is another that made the long haul back to NYC. Fouquez photographed WWI memorials built on actual battle sites in the north of France that were designed by the British architect Sir Edmund Luytens. Protected by law until 2018, these memorials sit in landscapes that are slowly developing and where modern real estate interests could threaten their existence. Politics, history, memory and loss all hang in the mist that enshrouds many of these skillfully made images. Each book comes with a small signed “self-portrait” print of Fouquez as a child on one of the many family outings to these gravesites.

The last in this set of books is Ricardo Cases’s Paloma al Aire. This has become one of my favorites, describing a small group of ‘pigeon racing’ men in Spain. Using brilliantly colored paint, these men color their birds with identifying marks on their wings and bellies and set them off to chase a female. Shot with flash, Cases turns these normally everyday creatures into exotic beings that apparently wind up coming to rest in bushes and trees, putting their owners through their own paces in order to retrieve them. Humorous and quirky, I can’t leaf through this spiral bound book without feeling light and giddy over creatures I mostly find repulsive.

More to come…

Five books in a suitcase

While in Europe a couple months ago for the Rencontres d’Arles festival I found quite a few interesting items and as I look over them I see my tastes have drawn me to almost as many non-photobooks as photo-related ones. As I speak to other photobook obsessives I find a common denominator – it is harder and harder to find the “fix.”

The first is the new Enrique Metinides book Series from Kominek Books. Metinides is often referred to as the “Mexican Weegee.” Metinides worked as a newspaper photographer and many of his gritty, often gruesome images were used in the ‘nota roja’ tabloids. This book concentrates less on his individual greatest hits but on series of images he made while photographing crime, accidents and natural disasters in Mexico City and surrounding areas. The work is given an interesting design treatment courtesy of Syb (Sybren Kuiper) one of the leading Dutch designers working today. By far, it is the best presentation of Metinides work to date. Highly recommended.

Gregoire Pujade-Lauraine’s The Significant Savages was another choice which had a strong following at this year’s Rencontres d’Arles festival. Included in the exhibition From Here On which was curated by Martin Parr, Joan Fontcuberta, Joachim Schmid, Erik Kessels and Clement Cheroux, The Significant Savages compiles hundreds of “profile images” from the social networking site Facebook and presents them in an extremely handsome package that comments on how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the larger community. In part it is a critique but it does not lose its empathy with a cooler than thou vibe that is all too common with other archives of kitsch and stock imagery.

The next book, Nicolas Giraud’s All Work and No Play from Boa Books is probably the oddest choice I was completely compelled to bring home. Over several years, Giraud created his own “phantom literature book,” a typescript version of the “manuscript” that Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) was working on in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. Part fiction and part concrete poem, All Work and No Play sits in the obsessive space between an ordered mind and one that is unravelling. It might at first sound like a book that strikes a single note but design and typography freaks will want to take a long look at this deceptively simple work.

Aymeric Fouquez’s Nord from Kodoji Press is another that made the long haul back to NYC. Fouquez photographed WWI memorials built on actual battle sites in the north of France that were designed by the British architect Sir Edmund Luytens. Protected by law until 2018, these memorials sit in landscapes that are slowly developing and where modern real estate interests could threaten their existence. Politics, history, memory and loss all hang in the mist that enshrouds many of these skillfully made images. Each book comes with a small signed “self-portrait” print of Fouquez as a child on one of the many family outings to these gravesites.

The last in this set of books is Ricardo Cases’s Paloma al Aire. This has become one of my favorites, describing a small group of ‘pigeon racing’ men in Spain. Using brilliantly colored paint, these men color their birds with identifying marks on their wings and bellies and set them off to chase a female. Shot with flash, Cases turns these normally everyday creatures into exotic beings that apparently wind up coming to rest in bushes and trees, putting their owners through their own paces in order to retrieve them. Humorous and quirky, I can’t leaf through this spiral bound book without feeling light and giddy over creatures I mostly find repulsive.

More to come…

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.

Share/Save

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.

Share/Save

Places still available for the Erik Kessels workshop!

There are still two places available for our workshop with Erik Kessels at riad 9 in Fez, Morocco (12-17 September 2011). Though the camera will be the tool, this workshop will appeal to creatives from all visual disciplines, not just photography.

Here is a great video of Erik giving an overview of his work as part of California College of the Arts’ Photography Lecture Series; filmed on 24 February, 2011, in Timken Lecture Hall on the San Francisco campus:

For more information on the workshop or more details on how to submit click here. (Please note, the deadline for applications has been extended to 14 August.)

Finally, below is the manifesto from the groundbreaking exhibition From Here On at this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles which Erik co-curated with Clément Chéroux, Joan Fontcuberta, Martin Parr and Joachim Schmid. The conceptual approach and playful attitude that is outlined will be echoed in the workshop and push those who are open to exploring more lateral ways of image-making.

NOW, WE’RE A SPECIES 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.
AND WHEN WE’RE NOT EDITING, WE’RE MAKING.
WE’RE MAKING MORE THAN EVER,
BECAUSE OUR RESOURCES ARE LIMITLESS AND
THE POSSIBILITIES ENDLESS.

WE HAVE AN INTERNET FULL OF INSPIRATION:
THE PROFOUND, THE BEAUTIFUL, THE DISTURBING,
THE RIDICULOUS, THE TRIVIAL, THE VERNACULAR AND THE INTIMATE.
WE HAVE NEXT-TO-NOTHING CAMERAS THAT RECORD THE LIGHTEST LIGHT, THE DARKEST DARK.
THIS TECHNOLOGICAL POTENTIAL HAS CREATIVE CONSEQUENCES.
IT CHANGES OUR SENSE OF WHAT IT MEANS TO MAKE. IT 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.

WE WANT TO GIVE THIS WORK A NEW STATUS.
THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT
FROM HERE ON…

Places still available for the Erik Kessels workshop!

There are still two places available for our workshop with Erik Kessels at riad 9 in Fez, Morocco (12-17 September 2011). Though the camera will be the tool, this workshop will appeal to creatives from all visual disciplines, not just photography.

Here is a great video of Erik giving an overview of his work as part of California College of the Arts’ Photography Lecture Series; filmed on 24 February, 2011, in Timken Lecture Hall on the San Francisco campus:

For more information on the workshop or more details on how to submit click here. (Please note, the deadline for applications has been extended to 14 August.)

Finally, below is the manifesto from the groundbreaking exhibition From Here On at this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles which Erik co-curated with Clément Chéroux, Joan Fontcuberta, Martin Parr and Joachim Schmid. The conceptual approach and playful attitude that is outlined will be echoed in the workshop and push those who are open to exploring more lateral ways of image-making.

NOW, WE’RE A SPECIES 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.
AND WHEN WE’RE NOT EDITING, WE’RE MAKING.
WE’RE MAKING MORE THAN EVER,
BECAUSE OUR RESOURCES ARE LIMITLESS AND
THE POSSIBILITIES ENDLESS.

WE HAVE AN INTERNET FULL OF INSPIRATION:
THE PROFOUND, THE BEAUTIFUL, THE DISTURBING,
THE RIDICULOUS, THE TRIVIAL, THE VERNACULAR AND THE INTIMATE.
WE HAVE NEXT-TO-NOTHING CAMERAS THAT RECORD THE LIGHTEST LIGHT, THE DARKEST DARK.
THIS TECHNOLOGICAL POTENTIAL HAS CREATIVE CONSEQUENCES.
IT CHANGES OUR SENSE OF WHAT IT MEANS TO MAKE. IT 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.

WE WANT TO GIVE THIS WORK A NEW STATUS.
THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT
FROM HERE ON…

L.A. Women by Joachim Schmid



One of the foundations of Joachim Schmid’s work is the thought that there are way too many photographs in the world already so why not put those that exist to some intelligent use. At least, let us look at them a second time and contemplate their existence, or recontextualize them and introduce further questions of what we look at, what we draw in meaning, and what are the lasting values of the images. His latest book L.A. Women has a darker, real life context which is why I have chosen it as a follow up to Watabe Yukichi’s A Criminal Investigation.

In December 2010, the Los Angeles Police Department released 180 photographs of women found in the home of a known serial murder suspect. The release of the images was a public appeal for help in identifying the women who might be missing and those still alive as the known victims number only a dozen. The photographs do not tell which are which, they provide only a pool of possibility.

Without the context of sensational serial murder attached, the images appear to be innocuous portraits made with poor quality film, digital and video cameras. All are black women but for two whites. Some would look like pictures that people post to Facebook pages or snapped by friends. Many of the women smile, some appear asleep, many sit in the passenger seats of cars. A few of the images reveal small clues that some of the women might be exposing their breasts to the photographer although none of the croppings reveal any nudity.

With the context of being attached to the suspect, we search for grim clues. Many of which appear to have been taken in the back of a van. We notice that the rear windows have been masked with opaque paper or tinfoil. Some might be prostitutes but as Schmid says in his introduction, “We don’t know,” not even if the suspect took the images himself. One is snapped standing outside of the vehicle through the open passenger side window. She smiles as if stopping to chat with a neighbor. Does she know the driver or is the smile an automatic instinctual response to the camera? Is she being enticed into the car? offered a ride? In another, the photographer casts a shadow as he(?) frames a vertical but nothing is revealed that might lead the investigation. We feel the pull of information but are left dangling within the eeriness of the images.

We stare into the faces, some blurred by technical imperfections, and are confused by their calm expressions and smiles. We know the potential of the situation they are frozen within and for a moment we connect on a basic human level for survival – to warn and protect. Or, perhaps like viewing an image of a person before execution, we look to feel fear and master death one image at a time.

L.A. Women is available through Blurb. Joachim Schmid is a part of the ABC (Artists’ Book Cooperative) which is currently the subject of a show at New York’s Printed Matter.