Tag Archives: New York Times

MoMA’s New Photography 2012

Since it was established in 1985, the annual New Photography exhibition at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art has sought to showcase emerging photographers who are experimenting with techniques, subject matter and presentation that challenge the very definition of the medium itself. That goal has only gotten more difficult each year, as advances in technology and social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram have bombarded viewers with a proliferation of images; the New York Times predicts that more than 380 billion photographs were taken in 2011 alone. That saturated environment serves as the backdrop of this year’s show, which opens Oct. 3 and runs through Feb. 4. And while it’s a reoccurring theme among this year’s five featured photographers (Michele Abeles, Shirana Shahbazi, Zoe Crosher, Anne Collier and the collective Birdhead, composed of Shanghai natives Ji Weiyu and Song Tao), the artists’ different approach to image saturation nods to the wide breath of work that New Photography hopes to survey each year.

“We often think about variety and diversity, so that each artistwhatever ideas they’re exploringwill stand apart from one another,” says associate curator Eva Respini. “It’s in the mix of the artists that you can get a sense of the diversity of what’s happening in contemporary photography today.” Among this year’s mix: Abeles (American, b. 1977), whose collage-like work juxtaposes male nudes against common objects like wine bottles; Shahbazi (German, b. Iran 1974), who disseminates her images in various creative ways, such as a photo rug with help from weavers in her native Tehran; Crosher (American, b. 1975), who re-purposes and re-photographs Michelle Dubois’s existing archive of self portraits; Collier (American, b. 1970), who combines found objects in her reflection of mass media and pop culture; and Birdhead, (Ji Weiyu, Chinese, b. 1980, and Song Tao, Chinese, b. directory submission . 1979), whose black-and-white snapshots of daily Shanghai life are installed in grid format, without ever identifying the author of an individual image. “The fact that they don’t really distinguish who takes what pictures speaks to what their work is about,” says Respini. “It’s a reflection of a Facebook generationa generation that’s used to thinking about multiple images and an accumulation of images instead of discrete images that are elevated to a fine art status.” Four of the five artists are women, a trend Respini says would be “great to continue.”

Even the installation of the show itself reflects photography’s changing nature. Visitors will see traditional modes of presentationsuch as framed photographs on a wallbut also more sculptural elements, such as lithographic wallpaper fromShahbazi and a site-specific configuration from Birdhead. This, combined with the diverse output from the photographers themselves, willas MoMa surely hopes, anywayelevate New Photography 2012 from the mass of photography exhibitions.

New Photography opens October 3, and runs through February 4, 2013. Learn more about the show here.

Andrew Spear

With gun control a heated topic in the upcoming election and horrific events in Colorado recently, the idea that someone would want to own a machine gun still is beyond my comprehension. Photographer, Andrew Spear is exploring that phenomenon in his on-going project, Knob Creek.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Andrew works a freelance photographer, in addition to creating documentary and fine art work. Often choosing to pursue personal projects near home, much of his work reflects his surroundings as he attempts to understand both the communities he lives in and the relationships he builds with others.  His work has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography in Houston, Texas, the Annenberg Space for Photography in New York City, and was presented at LOOKBetween in Charlottesville, VA. His clients include Esquire, TIME, Mother Jones, The Washington Post Magazine, Le Monde’s M Magazine, The New York Times, Smithsonian, US News and World Report and The Wall Street Journal amongst many others.

Knob Creek: Twice a year, thousands of gun enthusiasts descend upon the former Naval munitions testing ground outside of West Point, Kentucky to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights at the largest machine gun shoot in America. Used in the early 20th century, the property tested many of the large scale weapons used in World War I and II before being sold in 1963. Now, the Knob Creek Range is one of the last places in the country where privately-owned class III automatic weapons can legally be fired. This is an ongoing body of work.

Review Santa Fe: Marc McAndrews

Over the next month, I will be sharing the work of photographers who attended Review Santa Fe in June.  Review Santa Fe is the only juried review in the United States and invites 100 photographers to Santa Fe for a long weekend of reviews, insights, and connections.  

I know I am not the first to share Marc McAndrew’s terrific project, Nevada Rose, (recently featured on the NY Times LENS blog) but it’s the kind of project and quality of work that deserves to be revisited on several occasions. Marc grew up in Reading, PA and received his BFA from the School
of Visual Arts. After returning from living and working in Europe, Marc began traveling the
country, concentrating on photographing and documenting American culture. It
was through these travels that Marc began his book project, Nevada Rose which captures the places and personalities of Nevada’s legal brothels. 

 His work has been seen in the New York Times, Interview,
Time, Stern, D Magazine, The Observer, Inc., Exit, Fortune Small Business, Marie
Claire South Africa and many others. Marc was a recipient of the Magenta Art
Foundation’s 2006 “Flash Forward” award was nominated for the
2009 NY Photo Awards and was an official selection for the 2011 and 2009 Lucie
Awards. Nevada Rose was published by Umbrage Editions in May 2011.  On October 4th, Marc will be presenting an illustrated lecture (and book signing) at the Observatory in Brooklyn, NY.

 Nevada Rose:PScattered throughout the state of Nevada, tiny desert towns like Pahrump, Ely and Scotty’s Junction are home to the country’s only legal brothels. Legalized prostitution is vitally important to the economic survival of the many counties and towns where they reside. It’s because of this interdependence and tolerance that the Nevada brothels are so deeply rooted in the history and settlement of the American West. 

Photographed over the past 5 years, Nevada Rose rolls back the curtain to reveal not just the brothel interiors, but it’s varied cast of characters – the women, the owners, the various workers and even the customers. My goal with the work has been to document the industry as honestly and objectively as I can, neither glorifying nor demonizing the sitters. In the spirit of August Sander and of Bellocq’s images from the Storyville brothels, Nevada Rose is a cultural survey and the only complete photographic document of a slowly fading chapter in American history.

Greg Ruffing

OK, I admit it.  Exploring Greg Ruffing’s project on Yard Sales had me drooling over certain objects featured at some on the sales, and my first thought was: Where are these sales, and how fast can I get there?  I mean, who doesn’t want a set of owl lamps with crushed velvet shades?  My reaction is exactly what Greg is thinking about when he creates his work–our culture of consumption and the desire to have what we don’t need.

Greg Ruffing is a Chicago-based artist working in photography and mixed
media and often explores themes of consumption and the economy. His
works have been exhibited at the Annenberg Space for Photography
in Los Angeles, the New York Photo Festival, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the
Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, and elsewhere. In addition, his photographs
have appeared in publications such as TIME
Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Mother
Jones
, Smithsonian, The Atlantic Monthly, and others. Greg also runs an online
photography project titled Self-Guided Tour, a series of writings
about photography, art, and contemporary issues.

Greg has created a book on his Yard Sale work that has been included in the DIY: Photographers & Books exhibition that is currently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art until the end of 2012. The book is a precursor to a larger publication he hopes to publish in 2013.

My series Yard Sales is focused on the
complexities of consumption: the ubiquity and disposability of consumer goods
and their ever-shifting value and meaning. In a way, these photographs are an
attempt to document the cycle of our pursuits in accumulating “stuff” (and our
relationship to that “stuff”), in a way that reveals fundamental human habits
and behaviors and their link to socioeconomic circumstance.

I was first drawn to yard sales as a sort of grassroots marketplace defined by the seller’s curious efforts of display and advertising to attract shoppers, and the buyer’s hunt for prized items and bargain prices. I was also interested in how the yard sale, as an event, transforms the private domestic space of the seller’s residence into a public commercial space to facilitate purchasing goods.

I’m also intrigued by how yard sales illustrate a specific dyadic complex of consumerism: on the one hand, they speak to our somewhat insatiable compulsion to shop and hoard possessions, and perhaps a certain cognitive blurring of the distinction between needs and wants (related to the process by which consumers assess and impose value and meaning onto material items).

And yet, on the other hand, it seems that yard sales (and other forms of resale) serve as a crucial antidote to much of the disposability and wastefulness inherent in consumerism – sending unwanted objects into secondary cycles of consumption where they may find renewed value or purpose through subsequent buyers.

Furthermore, I’ve undertaken this project in the context of the American economic Recession that began in 2008. In those past four years photographing this project, I’ve met and talked to countless families who, in the aftermath of financial hardship nationwide, have sold off possessions just to help pay their bills. In addition, while photographing yard sales in southwest Florida (which has continually had some of the highest home foreclosure rates in the U.S.), I met people who were selling goods obtained from an underground network of scavengers who take discarded possessions from the littered front yards of foreclosed and evicted homes.

It would seem that the Recession has brought decades of unbridled consumer spending (especially its emphasis as an economic engine) into question. Some navel-gazers have even wondered if we actually shopped ourselves into the Recession by living beyond our means through cheap credit, and many have spoken of pursuing a more austere lifestyle. Its in this framework that I hope my Yard Sales project can contribute to a sincere dialogue on and modest reformulation of our relationship to the items we choose to buy.

Camille Seaman, On The Run

Camille Seaman, On The Run

Camille Seaman

On The Run,
Nebraska, 2008
Website – CamilleSeaman.com

Camille Seaman was born in 1969 to a Native American (Shinnecock tribe) father and African American mother. She graduated in 1992 from the State University of New York at Purchase, where she studied photography with Jan Groover and has since taken master workshops with Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado, and Paul Fusco. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic Magazine, Italian Geo, German GEO, TIME, The New York Times Sunday magazine, Newsweek, Outside, Zeit Wissen, Men's Journal, Seed, Camera Arts, Issues, PDN, and American Photo among many others, She frequently leads photographic and self-publishing workshops. Her photographs have received many awards including: a National Geographic Award, 2006; and the Critical Mass Top Monograph Award, 2007. In 2008 she was honored with a one-person exhibition, The Last Iceberg at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC. Seaman lives in Emeryville, California, and takes photographs all over the world using digital and film cameras in multiple formats. She works in a documentary/fine art tradition and since 2003 has concentrated on the fragile environment of the Polar Regions.

Summer Re-Runs: Arlene Gottfried

Summer Re-Runs…this post first ran in October 2009…

After photographing the denizens of New York for the last 40 years, Arlene Gottfried must feel like she’s seen everything NYC has to offer. She travels from Harlem to Coney Island, not just as an observer, but as a participant and champion. For her series and book, The Eternal Light, Arlene discovered the Eternal Light Community Singers in an abandoned gas Station on the Lower East side. Eventually, she joined the choir and became an intregal part of the Jerriese Johnson East Village Choir. For her series, Midnight, Arlene documented a nightclub dancer through his journey of schizophenia, and remained his friend and confidant for 20 years. The most recent book, Sometimes Overwhelming, was published in 2007, with images from the 70’s and 80’s, and showcases New York at it’s most outrageous, during the disco era–from the beaches of Coney Island to the West Village on Halloween.

Born in Brooklyn, Arlene graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and then began freelancing as a photographer for The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Life, and The Independent in London. Eventually her personal work found it’s way into a myriad of museum collections and exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Berenice Abbott International Competition of Women’s Documentary Photography.

Images by ©Arlene Gottfriend

Eric Breitenbach

Eric Breitenbach has had many years behind a lens; he’s been a still photographer for over thirty years and a filmmaker for more than
fifteen.  In that time he has accrued a roster of exhibitions around the world and films and videos that have appeared on National Geographic Explorer, The Sundance Channel, The Sci-Fi Channel, Lifetime Real Women, America’s Health Network, PBS, and Florida Public Television. His still photographs
have been published in The
New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Details, Doubletake, Information Week,
Labor’s Heritage, Essence,
and
Orlando
magazines. In addition, his photographs are held in many public and corporate collections. Eric is a Senior Professor at The Southeast Center For Photographic Studies at Daytona State College, teaching courses in photography, film, and video.

So what does this remarkable resume reflect?  It reflects a person that sees the world in a profound way, with photographic projects that range from the Election of 2012 to the Cows of India, to films that explore cultures and communities (be sure to take a look at Little Monks on his site).  His work reminds us of our humanity and our connectedness.  I am featuring two of Eric’s series, Portraits and the Rural South.


Portraits
For as long as I’ve been a photographer I’ve been compelled to make portraits. My
goal is to discover something universal about a person—something someone can
recognize and even identify with. The trick is to then depict that successfully
in a photograph.

Every photograph is a test–of both intellect and
aesthetics.

Rural South 
Observing the landscape and architecture of the rural south, I learned that beauty
can be found not just in things that are shiny and bright, but also in things
that are dark and decomposing.

A black basketball goal in a landscape of winter
weeds and bare trees—now that’s beautiful.

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.