Tag Archives: Mishka Henner

Photo News – Shortlist announced for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 and new Hotshoe iPad App out now

© Chris Killip, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

A newsy post today as The Photographers’ Gallery announces the shortlist for the annual Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 with an interesting mix of the old and the new, or rather, the more traditional and the contemporary. It’s great to see Chris Kilip in the mix as he surely represents a different generation of photographers from the remaining three nominees who were all born in the 1970s. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that he’s the only one who would refer to himself as a photographer rather than artist/visual artist using photography, or other such label.

© Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

The shortlist is based on “a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012″. Mmmmm. That’s a tall order as how can one tell whether a body of work “has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012″?

How is this measured and what are the criteria?

And why these cut off dates?

Doesn’t the significance of the publication, or show, need some distance in time to show what its contribution is? What if a show is “ahead of its time” and only gets recognized years later?

I’m happy to see these nominees (two, in particular), however, as I guess happens every year, I can think of one artist/show at the Imperial War Museum in London by Ori Gersht that I would have liked to have seen nominated. I wonder why it wasn’t in the running, or maybe it was?

DEUTSCHE BORSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2013 SHORTLIST
“This year’s jury selected four artists whose work represents four distinct and significant positions within contemporary photography – Chris Killip for his singular and timeless vision reinterpreting the possibilities of documentary practice; Broomberg & Chanarin for their surgical examination of images of conflict using Brecht’s War Primer as their source; Mishka Henner for appropriating the archive of Google Street View photographs to examine the landscape of today’s sex workers and Cristina De Middel’s ‘mockumentary’ on the Zambian space programme which confidently blurs the boundaries of fact and fiction in a highly original way.”
Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery and Chair of the Jury.

The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 are Mishka Henner, Chris Killip, Cristina De Middel and the artist duo Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin.

© Mishka Henner, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

The annual award of £30,000 rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012. The winner will be announced at a special ceremony at The Photographers’ Gallery in May 2013. The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013is presented by The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

© Cristina de Middel, nominee for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013

I was going to post a multimedia video by Cristina de Middel from the recent SlideLuck London show in Brighton, see previous post, so I thought I’d add it here as she’s one of the nominees (though not for this work).

Cristina de Middel – Made in from elciclopemecanico on Vimeo.

For information on each of the nominees, read more…

HOTSHOE NEW iPAD ISSUE OUT NOW


Look out for the new issue of the Hotshoe iPad app which is out with a lead feature by a previous Deutsche Börse nominee Pieter Hugo.

Featuring: David Chancellor’s documentary project, Hunters, exploring Africa through the eyes of the tourist trophy hunter; Photojournalist Christopher Anderson comes in from the cold to create his emotive series, Son; Pieter Hugo’s haunting portraits from There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends; Cyrus Shahrad’s hilarious essay in response to Matthieu Lavanchy’s Mr Schulmann or the Man in the High Castle; Laura Noel’s Withdrawn library books and in the Hot Seat, Prestel Director, Andrew Hansen, talks about keeping the faith.

Plus reviews of Sophie Calle’s book Rachel, Monique…., WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, curated by Anne Tucker, the Canon EOS 5D, as well as A.D. Coleman’s Letter from New York: Return of the Supressed (3), a round up of the latest photo books, exhibition listings, news and more.

Exclusive App Content: Michael Jang’s Summer Weather and Roman Drits Auftakt, with added multimedia content from Andrew Hansen, plus enriched portfolios, clickable exhibition listings and much, much more.

Download the app for free and then subscribe for one year for just £9.99, and get the latest issue of Hotshoe directly to your iPad every other month.

DEUTSCHE BORSE PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE 2013 SHORTLIST Cont…
The four shortlisted artists have been nominated for the following projects:

Adam Broomberg (b. 1970, South Africa) & Oliver Chanarin (b. 1971, UK) are nominated for their publication War Primer 2 (2012, MACK). The limited edition book physically inhabits the pages of Bertolt Brecht’s publication War Primer (1955). In the original, Brecht matched WWII newspaper clippings with short poems that sought to demystify press images, which he referred to as hieroglyphics. In War Primer 2 Broomberg & Chanarin choose to focus on the ‘War on Terror’; sifting through the internet for low resolution screen-grabs and mobile phone images, the artists then combined them to resonate with Brecht’s poems. Through this layering of photographic history, Broomberg & Chanarin offer a critique of photographs of contemporary conflict and their dissemination—a theme that has been at the centre of their practice for fifteen years.

Mishka Henner (b. 1976, UK) is nominated for his exhibition No Man’s Land at Fotografia Festival Internazionale di Roma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy (20 September – 28 October 2012). In No Man’s Land Henner explores the margins of European urban and rural environments with images produced using Google Street View. Identifying geographic locations from online forums where men share information on the whereabouts of sex workers, Henner visits and records these sites using the mechanical gaze of car-mounted cameras. Henner’s work poses complex questions about the blurring of boundaries between voyeurism, online information gathering and privacy rights.

Chris Killip (b. 1946, UK) is nominated for his exhibition What Happened Great Britain 1970 – 1990 at Le Bal, Paris (11 May – 19 August 2012). In this series of stark black and white images Killip chronicles the disintegration of industrial Britain in working class communities in the north of England. Immersing himself in the lives of the people he documented, Killip tells personal stories of men at work set against a backdrop of socio-political upheaval.

Cristina De Middel(b. 1975, Spain) is nominated for her publication The Afronauts (2011, self-published). In 1964, after gaining independence, Zambia started a space programme led by Edward Makuka Nkoloso, sole member of the unheard of National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. The programme, whose aim was to send the first African astronauts to Mars, was soon cancelled, becoming no more than an amusing anecdote in the country’s history. In The Afronauts De Middel creates a subjective version of the story engaging with myths and truths. The book is comprised of a series of constructed colour photographs, sequenced alongside drawings and reproductions of letters, resulting in a fictional portrait of a national dream.

The members of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013 jury are: Joan Fontcuberta, artist; Andrea Holzherr, Exhibition Manager, Magnum; Karol Hordziej, Artistic Director, Krakow Photomonth; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany. Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, is the non-voting Chair.

Works by the shortlisted photographers will be shown in an exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery followed by presentations at the Deutsche Börse headquarters in Frankfurt/Eschborn and at C/O Berlin, Forum for Visual Dialogues.

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Awards & Competitions Tagged: Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Chris Killip, Cristina De Middel, Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013, Hotshoe iPad app, Mishka Henner, Ori Gersht, photo competitions, The Photographers’ Gallery

Street View and Beyond: Google’s Influence on Photography

When Google Street View started as an experiment in 2007, the company sent SUVs equipped with cameras, GPS and lasers to collect its first pictures. The idea of capturing images of the entire world from the perspective of the street was revolutionary, if not a little insane. Now, five years later, Google has recorded 360-degree photographs of streets in more than 3,000 cities in 43 countries around the world. Google Street View cars—along with snowmobiles, giant tricycles and Trekkers–have covered more than five million unique miles of road since the project began, making tens of millions of still images in even the most far off places on the map, such as Antarctica.

The massive and growing archive has spawned a virtual world of images like we’ve never seen before in the history of photography—and its accessibility has inspired a new generation of photographers who are using the tool to document the world while simultaneously redefining the boundaries, quite literally, of contemporary art photography.

While critics bemoan the trend of artists using Google imagery in their works, the artistic appropriation of photos is as old as photography itself, employed by everyone from the Surrealists to the post-modern Pictures Generation of the late 1970s.  Google’s Street View images aren’t a commentary on the world, but are surveillance photos taken for the practical purposes of just showing us places we may not be able to visit. The machines and cameras used to collect them have no discretion, much less artistic influence. Through meticulous research, framing, grabbing and reformatting, photographers themselves are assigning photos artistic value, in much the same way they do when  shooting, toning or retouching a raw file or an analogue negative. “In its raw form, satellite imagery can be quite dull,” says Mishka Henner, an artist who often works with Google’s images. “Cropping, adjusting, and forming a body of work out of them completely transforms these images into something that can be beautiful, terrifying and also insightful. If the internet remains free and open, I’m confident that in ten years photographic work like this will be as prevalent as imagery produced by hand-held cameras.”

Paul J. Richards—AFP/Getty Images

The Google street view mapping and camera car is seen as it charts the streets of Washington, DC, on June 7, 2011.

At this point, all the Street View images are created by a human-operated Google cars with a spherical camera affixed to the top. The device looks like an all-seeing eye that has nine directional cameras for 360° views at a height of about 2.5 meters. The new high-resolution replica of the world that Google provides is every voyeur’s dream—one can virtually visit an endless variety of places from the comforts of one’s own home.

In the catalogue to the show Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera since 1870, editor and curator Sandra Phillips compared the biblical story about elders spying on Susannah to present day, saying: “Today, however they would use cell phones to grab a picture of a young woman in a compromised position and send it to friends, having located her garden through Google Earth. Human hunger for seeing the forbidden has not changed. The technologies to facilitate it have.”

And she’s right—this technology has been adapted quickly by artists and devoured by the art world. Doug Rickard used Google Street View to see the back roads of the nation in a series called A New American Picture, which was featured at New York City’s MoMA last year and is currently on view at Yossi Milo Gallery. Geoff Dyer wrote extensively in the Guardian about Rickard, saying: “Any doubts as to the artistic – rather than ethical or conceptual – merits of this new way of working were definitively settled by Rickard’s pictures. It was William Eggleston who coined the phrase “photographing democratically” but Rickard has used Google’s indiscriminate omniscience to radically extend this enterprise – technologically, politically and aesthetically.”

Rickard says he probably made 10,000 images of this work before narrowing the selection down to just under 80 images. “The only difference [between this work and traditional street photography] is that the world’s frozen, so you’re limited to that surrounding,” he says. “You’ve got a fixed lens and your distance is determined by the width of the street, not where you walk. But there’s a lot in kinship with traditional photography that was really partly responsible for me being able to embed 1,000 hours into this in four years.”

Jon Rafman’s project 9-Eyes captures uncanny images of reality and provides a case study on the unrelentingly objective aesthetic that comes from Google Street View. ”The potential sentimentality of these photographs is counteracted by the manner in which they were captured,” he says. “There is a tension between the indifferent robotic camera, and the human gaze that sees meaning and interprets narratives in these images. That tension is the essence of the project. People often say that technology is changing our perception of the world, changing our perception of reality, but I think that the inverse is also occurring—a technology becomes successful because it taps into something fundamental about contemporary consciousness, it expresses how we are already experiencing the world.”

Some artists, however, are looking at another aspect unique to the use of Google imagery. Clement Valla, through his project, Postcards from Google Earth, is finding the glitches and bugs unintentionally captured by Google Earth’s lens and documenting them to comment on the mistakes resulting from technology’s limitations. “Because Google Earth is continuously updating, there’s kind of no archive of these particular moments or situations,” he says. “So I thought it would be interesting to take them and print them as postcards.”

The prevalence of Google’s imagery and technology is already permeating the aesthetic of more traditional photography and even artists working in myriad disciplines from sculpture to street art. Manuel Vazquez still begins his process with taking his own pictures but later intergrates the aesthetic of surveillance imagery and Google Street View, as seen is his project Lonely Crowd, which incorporated the pixelated nature of digital works to convey the physical and emotional distances between strangers in a crowd. “The web has changed the way we access and read the city, through technologies that have shortened and broken the boundaries of space and time,” he says. “It is like a walk with no specific destination, affecting time, space and perspective with every click. There is not a linearity of past-present-future. It feels like a continuous flow of information that is updated.”

Fake Google Streetview car urban invention by artist group F.A.T. Lab, February 2010 at Transmediale 2010, Berlin. Image courtesy of Aram Bartholl.

Fake Google Street View car urban invention by artist group F.A.T. Lab, February 2010 at Transmediale 2010, Berlin

Interdisciplinary artist Aram Bartholl, meanwhile, has used Google imagery as the inspiration for some of his work but hardly produces only photography. Bartholl creates sculptural objects that represent virtual objects such as the red map marker icon found on Google Maps. “Services like Google Maps change the way we perceive the city,” he says. “I remember once I had a parcel service on the phone claiming my address didn’t exist because it couldn’t be found on Google Maps.” His works, which have been shown at Rencontres d’Arles, among other festivals, aim to explore how technology imitates reality and vice versa. “The map marker icon is just a 20 pixel interface on the screen, but when you switch to satellite mode and then zoom in more, it looks like it becomes part of the actual picture, casting a shadow on the city,” he says.

Despite the growing number of photographers who use Google in their works, it remains unclear how this technology will influence our perspective in photography—and perceptions of spatial reality—outside the virtual world.

In the meantime, we’d love to continue the conversation and hear your thoughts about how other artists are using Google Street View and Google Earth in the comments section below.

Paul Moakley is the Deputy Photo Editor at TIME. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulmoakley.

Reporting and interviews by Zara Katz, TIME photo intern and graduate student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. You can follow her on on Twitter @zarakatz.

Retouching a Classic: ‘Less Américains’

In the digital age, touching the work of established photographic masters can be sensitive business. Recently a Swedish artist named Sanna Dullaway applied her colorizing skills to several historical photographs that included Dorthea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” and Eddie Adams’ harrowing image of an on-the-spot execution of a Vietcong on the streets of Saigon. The debate surrounding these modified versions was whether the interpretation was an improvement that could somehow be more powerful emotionally—due to addition of a color palette and the ability to reach newer generations who disconnect when they see black and white images—or simple vandalism.

The artist Pavel Maria Smejkal in his Fatescapes series took his appropriation of historical images one step further by digitally removing the people from images such as Nick Ut’s photograph of a young Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack and the aforementioned Adams image. By leaving only the landscapes or streetscapes to play on our subconscious memory of historical places and events, he questions the limitations of a photograph’s accuracy at the representation of history.

Perhaps the most provocative example in terms of potential copyright infringement is when the artist Sherrie Levine re-photographed some of Walker Evans’ famous images from the 1930s Farm Security Administration project and presented them unaltered and with her name (the series was called After Walker Evans). Many viewers were outraged. Her act called into question many issues regarding a photograph’s author, copyright (Legally the FSA photographs are owned by the American public, which financed the project so there is no copyright infringement case that could be brought against Levine) and the portrayal of the poor. To some it was Art, but to others, it amounted to Blasphemy.

After Evans, Robert Frank may well be the most influential photographer the medium has seen. Frank’s book The Americans, published in the United States by Grove Press in 1959, was equally celebrated and reviled for its view of the U.S. and its citizenry. Today there is hardly a contemporary photographer who does not acknowledge that Frank accomplished greatness while photographing America for two years on a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The Americans hasn’t escaped its own touches with appropriation. In his newest bookwork Less Américains, London-based artist Mishka Henner takes his humorous title from the French Edition of Frank’s book Les Américains, published in 1958 by Robert Delpire in Paris. By scanning and applying Photoshop to Frank’s images, Henner has proceeded to remove most of the vital subject matter from all 83 photographs—leaving only small details hovering around the frame like background props on an empty theater stage.

Of course, as the title suggests, Less Américains does away with the “Americans” in Frank’s photographs so all that remains, for example, of the Hoboken City Fathers are a line of hats and some political bunting hanging on a two-by-four. And what has been spared in the most famous of all New Orleans street car picture which so perfectly expressed the implied race hierarchy of Jim Crow in the United States? A few vague, unidentifiable shapes that sit within the frame like mismatched puzzle pieces. To quote Jack Kerouac, who wrote an introduction to the American edition of Frank’s book, “The humour, the sadness, the EVERYTHING-ness and American-ness of these pictures (!)” linger like a ghost in these secondary elements.

Less Américains includes an introduction by the artist Elisabeth Tonnard that takes the form of a concrete poetry version of Kerouac’s prose. Tonnard’s approach was to systematically white-out the individual letters A.M.E.R.I.C.A.I.N.S. from Kerouac’s text, leaving an incomprehensible soup of vowels and consonants. His “…basketa pittykats…” becomes the even more cryptic “…B k t p tty-k t …”

Well, what can we make of Henner’s reworking of this masterpiece? I think Kerouac said it best: “What poem this is, what poems can be written about this book of pictures some day by some young new writer high by candlelight bending over them describing every grey mysterious detail.”

Less Américains was published earlier this year.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions. Visit his blog here.