Lydia Panas is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, and has won numerous awards. She was one of nine International Discoveries, Houston Fotofest in 2007. Her work is included in numerous collections, including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Brooklyn Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Lydia has degrees from Boston College, the School of Visual Arts, New York University/International Center of Photography, as well as an Independent Study Fellowship from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Lydia has taught photography at a number of institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, Lafayette, Muhlenberg and Moravian Colleges, Kutztown University, The Maine Media Workshops, The Vermont College MFA program, and the Baum School of Art/Lehigh Carbon Community College.
Frederic Weber lives and works in Nyack, New York. His photographs have been reproduced in publications including Art + Auction, Aperture, Flash Art, The New Yorker, The New York Times and more recently, The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the W.M. Hunt Collection (Aperture, 2011). Weber’s artworks are represented in several museum collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the George Eastman House, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, as well as many private collections such as Manfried Heiting, Bill Hunt and Fred Bidwell.
Brian Finke’s work is included in several permanent collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Akron Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan. He was nominated for the International Center for Photography’s Infinity Award in 2004 and won a prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship the same year.
Some interesting articles and reviews from the past two months.
Observer: : The Month in Photography | The Observer New Review’s monthly guide to the 20 best photographic exhibitions and books
Sara Hussein: Tweeting from the front line (AFP blog)
Freelance photographer Phil Moore has been filing great work for AFP from Kivu region in Democratic Republic of Congo (I’ll share links to some of the work later this week)… Was fascinating to read about his experiences working in DRC on the AFP’s Correspondent blog…
Phil Moore: ‘I love you very much, that is why we are here’ | Phil Moore on working in DRC
Robert King on working in Syria…
Vice: The Man Who Was There | Robert King has been covering the FSA so long they named him ‘Haji Memphis’
Why we need war correspondents.
Terry Anderson: Running Toward Danger | ‘Why the world still needs war correspondents.’
New York Times: Using War as Cover to Target Journalists
WaPo and NYT public editors on ‘controversial’ Gaza photos…
Washington Post: Photo of dead baby in Gaza holds part of the ‘truth’
New York Times: Photo Caption Should Have Been Better. But ‘Orwellian’? No. | NYT’s Public Editor defends Tyler Hicks’s Gaza photo caption.
Not your average war correspondent… crazy story…
PDN: War Correspondence | ‘This month the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) will open an exhibition that promises to change the way photographs of war are seen, understood and written about.’
FT: War and Peace
Lightbox: War/Photography by Geoff Dyer
Lens blog: Coming to Terms With the Legacy of War | The Aftermath Project, Putting Together Its Fifth Book
Kenneth Jarecke: Instagram, the Devil, and You (photographer’s blog)
Kenneth Jarecke: Great Job, You’re Fired (photographer’s blog)
Jon Levy: Foto8 is Leaving Home
Five interesting articles from Guardian’s 80 page supplement ‘Photography Masterclass’ from a week or so ago…
Antonio Olmos: Street Photography (Guardian) ‘Trust your instincts, be brave and alert to every possibility and wear sensible shoes – all that pavement pounding will pay off eventually …’
Martin Argles: Photojournalism (Guardian) Even as technology advances, the role of the photojournalist will remain the same: to expand our awareness of the world
Suki Dhanda: Portrait photography (Guardian) |A powerful portrait must connect the viewer to the subject. Beyond technique and timing, observation and empathy are vita
Eamonn McCabe: Landscape photography (Guardian)| Good landscape photography does not require epic surroundings – beauty can be found on your doorstep if your eyes are open to it
Guardian: Photography: an ever-evolving art form | Our photography critic examines the changing landscape of a thriving medium
Business Insider: Photographers Will Soon Be The Most Valuable People In The News Room
Lens blog: An Inside View on Documentary Stories
David Campbell: Thinking Images v.25: The politics of the individual against the white backdrop (David Campbell’s blog)
Guardian: Magnum Revolution – review | ‘Magnum photographers provide a compelling visual record of violent uprising from Budapest 1956 to the Arab spring’
Evening Standard: Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present
Guardian: Photography: is it art? | | ‘From the earliest days of photography, practitioners took their inspiration from paintings. But as a new exhibition at London’s National Gallery shows, the link went both ways’
Guardian: Light from the Middle East offers a true reflection of a complex region | ‘A new exhibition at London’s V&A offers insights from within cultures that are more often photographed and reported from the outside’
Guardian: Henri Cartier-Bresson: who can beat the master of monochrome? | ‘An exciting new London exhibition pits Henri Cartier-Bresson, famous for eschewing colour in his photography, against some of the best colour photographers of our time’
ADWeek: Time Moves to Responsive Design
Photo Brigade: Holiday Photo Gift Guide 2012
Visual Culture Blog: London Photography Map
Lens blog: An Outsider’s Life in Pictures and Boxes | The Still Unfolding Legend Vivian Maier
Lightbox: The Bechers on Display at Paris Photo
Telegraph: Portraits of a woman | ‘What makes a portrait of a woman unforgettable? We asked eight leading female photographers to identify their favourite.’
“War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath,” is a huge, tough-minded and very moving new show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It lays out the ways cameras have been put to use during 165 years of world wars, undeclared hostilities and barely organized fang baring. Cameras turn out to be the transformer tools of warfare, adaptable as battlefield aids for reconnaissance and surveillance, as peerless instruments of propaganda and, above all, as a means to witness the atrocious facts of war. You may not be able to end war with a camera, but you can do a lot of useful things with one — even tell the truth.
Instead of being organized chronologically, the Houston show suggests that war is better considered as an eternally recurring narrative. It divides its story into chapters, from prewar buildup through postwar remembrances, with wars from all periods combined in each. The weaponry evolves from sabers to torpedoes to rocket-propelled grenades. (For the record, sharpened steel is forever.) The photo equipment changes from 19th century box cameras to cell phones and satellites. But the fundamentals of war — brutality and suffering, grief and self-sacrifice — don’t change much. They haven’t since the first time a caveman figured out how to use a rock.
The main problem for war photography today is image overload. The tidal wave of pictures all around us, with every cell phone adding to the deluge every day, threatens to make even atrocity photos into just more pictures, as morally weightless as the movie stills they so often resemble. For all that, the scores of unforgettable pictures in “War/Photography” make clear that even in a world that contains too many pictures, pictures of war, the best ones, still have the power to stir your emotions. They may not be able to compel any particular judgment about the wars they represent, but they can insist that attention must be paid. After that, if photos by themselves can’t stop war — and they can’t — then the fault is not in our pictures but in ourselves.
WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston until Feb. 3 and will then move to Los Angeles, Washington and Brooklyn.
Richard Lacayo is an art critic and editor-at-large at TIME.
Sean Kelly, Art Basel Miami, Artist: Kehinde Wiley,
From the Art Fare series
Website – AndyFreeberg.com
Andy Freeberg was born in New York City where he learned at an early age to be a critical observer of the world and the people in it. He studied at the University of Michigan, began his career as a photojournalist and now concentrates primarily on fine art projects. Freeberg has recently emerged on the contemporary art scene as a wry commentator on the art industry itself. Long fascinated with the gallery and museum worlds, he often turns his camera on the dealers, gallery patrons, artists, museum guards, and their interplay with the works of art on view. His project Guardians, about the women that guard the art in Russian museums, won Photolucida’s Critical Mass book award and was published in 2010. The Guardians will be on view at the Cantor Museum at Stanford University through January 2013. His series, Art Fare, documenting another side of the art world, will open at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles in September 2012. Freeberg’s work is in many public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Portland Art Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, unveiled their survey of war photography, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, on Armistice Day yesterday. The FT Weekend magazine featured some of the work from the exhibition in their latest issue. You can view the FT article and slideshow here. You can also read about the show over at Photo District News, which interviewed the exhibition’s curators.
Below war in Iraq photograph from 2003 by Yuri Kozyrev, which FT Weekend ran as a double truck.
Yuri Kozyrev (Russian, b. 1963) is a member of Noor Images and a contract photographer with Time magazine.
War/Photography, on view from Nov. 11 to Feb. 3, is a magnificent, wide-ranging exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. As chief curator Anne Wilkes Tucker explains in the sumptuous catalogue, that slash in the title is important: this is not a show simply of photographs of war. It’s a demonstration and examination of the relationship between the two and how that relationship has changed over time. There are plenty of images of combat, but the catchment area extends way beyond the battlefield–both in space and in time–to include preparations for war, refugees fleeing its consequences, damage to property and the physical and psychological aftermath of conflict. Taken by some of the most famous photographers—more than 280 are showcased—in the history of the medium, by aerial reconnaissance units and unknown combatants and civilians, the pictures are drawn from the archives of photo agencies such as Magnum, military archives and personal family albums. It’s a stunning show, full of well-known pictures, surprising new ones and—if one consults the catalogue—surprises about well-known pictures.
More than a few of the featured pictures have been either faked or staged. That is to put it too simply, for the slipperiness of the distinction between “real” and “arranged”, or “genuine” and “fake”, turns out to be one of the themes of the show. The problem crops up right from the get-go, with Roger Fenton’s famous pair of pictures of the Valley of Death (1856) from the Crimean war—one of which shows cannonballs strewn more abundantly than the other. (slide #1) The scholarly war over which picture was taken first continues to rage. I thought this question had been definitively settled by Errol Morris in his book Believing is Seeing but John Stauffer argues in the catalogue for precisely the opposite conclusion. The “Dead Rebel Sharp Shooter” in Alexander Gardner’s famous image from the Civil War (slide #2) was dragged to the place where he is seen to have died and arranged in such a way that the rifle — not his own but a prop carried by the photographer — added extra pathos.
As with the Civil War, so in the First World War: it was impossible to take pictures of actual combat. One of the reasons why the famous footage of soldiers going over the top at the Battle of the Somme is faked is because it is on film. Filmed at a training ground, it shows a soldier who is shot, falls down, looks at the camera — and folds his arm before dying. Among the most spectacular images of the war, James Frank Hurley’s “An Episode after the Battle of Zonnebeke” (c.1918) (slide #3) seems like a composite expression of our idea of the Western Front — because, it turns out, it is a composite print made from multiple negatives. As Siegfried Sassoon wrote in his poem “Cinema Hero”: “It’s the truth/That somehow never happened.”
The complexity of Hurley’s image is in stark contrast to Wesley David Archer’s photograph of a pilot who has bailed out of his burning plane (c.1933) (slide #4). It is a picture full of suspense because we don’t know whether the parachute is going to open. What we do now know, courtesy of his widow, is that it was done with a model airplane. Armed with this knowledge you go back to the original and… it still looks amazing! You don’t feel cheated so much as admiring of someone who could create such a truth after (or independent of ) the fact.
Everyone is familiar with the doubts that continue to swirl around Robert Capa’s picture of the “Death of a Loyalist Militiaman” (1936) (slide #5) in the Spanish Civil War. No one can agree on exactly the circumstances in which it was made. And so, ironically, while photography is generally assumed to be strong as evidence but weak in meaning, Capa’s photograph has come to resemble painting, of which the contrary is held to be true. Joe Rosenthal’s image of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima in 1945 is an especially complicated case in that it was widely assumed to have been staged, faked, rigged or something like that, even if we can’t remember exactly what is supposed to have gone on because it’s all a bit muddled up with memories of the Clint Eastwood film about what happened.
The full story, as narrated in the catalogue, is that the flag was raised twice — not for Rosenthal’s benefit but, in the words of the Lieutenant Colonel who ordered it to be done, “so that every son-of-a-bitch on this whole cruddy island (could) see it.” (slide #6) How do we know this is accurate? Because there are photographs – i.e. photographs of the sequence of events that led to Rosenthal taking his photograph – to prove it. (see below) In any case, the success of Rosenthal’s image was due to the way that it not only recorded a moment and event but, in doing so, expressed a truth of enduring – even mythic – proportions about the Marine Corps. The same could be said of Len Chetwyn’s iconic picture from the North Africa (1942) campaign: a photograph which proves, at the most basic level, that this was indeed a battle waged by men in shorts! (not shown). The fact that a detail from it is used on the cover of a beautiful Australian edition of Alan Moorhead’s African Trilogy highlights the way that documentary veracity and imaginative truth are mutually supporting. The surprising thing – which turns out not to be so surprising if we consider how perfectly the picture is composed and lit — is that it’s the photograph that provides the imaginative half of that equation. Smoke grenades had indeed been deployed, but for pictorial effect rather than combat effectiveness.
So there is a delicious irony, in a show that is so scrupulous and judicious in its investigation of the relationship between real and doctored pictures that the catalogue seems, in one instance, to have fallen victim to a booby-trap in its midst. John Filo’s photograph of the killings at Kent State in 1970 shows a distraught woman kneeling over the body of a dead student. Unfortunately it so happened that a pole in the background looked like it was coming out of her head. Since this pole was aesthetically unpleasing, it was removed from the picture as published in Life magazine and elsewhere. Amazingly this clumsily doctored version – you can see quite clearly how the pole has been erased – is the one printed in the War/Photography catalogue! (slide #7)
As we move into the contemporary the distinction between art and documentary becomes increasingly hard to sustain—or to put it the other way around, the No-Man’s Land between the two grows ever larger—as shown in works by color photographer Luc Delahaye (slide #8) and photojournalist Damon Winter’s Gurskey-esque view of a plane-load of troops “Flying Military Class” (slide #9). In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag argued that Jeff Wall’s “fictional” image “Dead Troops Talk (a vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan)” was among the most successful war photographs of recent times. (note: Wall’s image is not part of the War/Photography exhibition) So perhaps Peter van Agtmael’s well-known shot of a line of U.S. troops sheltering from the downdraft of a helicopter in a rocky grey landscape in Nuristan, Afghanistan, in 2007, works on us powerfully for two reasons. (note: van Agtmael’s image is not part of the War/Photography exhibition) First because a compositional similarity to W. Eugene Smith’s shot of Marines sheltering from an explosion on Iwo Jima in 1945 (slide #10) establishes its place in the heroic and noble tradition of documentary photography. Second, because an uncanny resemblance to Wall’s image tacitly acknowledges that the fictive now sets a standard of authenticity to which the real is obliged to aspire.
The relationship between Wall’s large works and the scale and ambition of history paintings has often been remarked on. But Gary Knight’s picture from Dyala Bridge, Iraq, 2003 (slide #11) achieves an even more remarkable relationship with the art of the past. A photograph taken in the immediate aftermath of fighting, it combines the documentary immediacy and evidential power of the best photojournalism with the epic grandeur of history painting.
Geoff Dyer is an award-winning writer and journalist. See more of his work here.
WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will open at the Museum of Fine Art Houston on Nov. 11, 2012. The exhibit will then travel to Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and Brooklyn Museum through February 2014.