Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Latin America Week: Guillermo Srodek-Hart

This week, Argentinean photographer Eleonora Ronconi is taking over as guest curator, featuring work created by Latin American photographers…

Guillermo es el quinto fotógrafo de la semana, y ya sólo queda uno…

Guillermo Srodek-Hart is an Argentinean photographer, who grew up and lives in Buenos Aires. His series Stories is about old stores that are located in rural areas. Nostalgia runs very strongly in the Latin DNA, and I think his series is a perfect example of this. Every time I look at these images, I remember what these places smell like and how people dressed at the time even though they are not present in these photographs. They transport me to a different place and time… 
Guillermo has an MFA from Mass College of Art in Boston, MA. He has been exhibited in many venues around the world, and his work has been published by O Globo, Fotografia Argentina, Boston Globe and Art Matters Magazine and several Argentinean newspapers. He is part of several collections such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Attleboro Museum of Art and Fundación Petrobras. In the United States he is represented by Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami, Schneider Gallery in Chicago and Gallery Kayafas in Boston.

Image from Stories
What
does your Latin heritage bring to your work?

I
discovered my Latin heritage while living in Boston as un undergrad
at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The questions about my
origin and my identity came when I was far from them. But I don’t see
myself Latin in the way I photograph. On the contrary, I feel closer
to FSA photographers. If I were living in some other place I would
probably be drawn to the same subject matter. 

Do
you see a difference between work created in Latin America and work
created in the States?


I
am not sure, because there is so much information coming and going
all the time that the influences cross over constantly. But I do see
that there is less of an academic influence here than in the US.
Here, still, people who want to learn photography have to figure out a way
to make it work for them, as opposed to the huge structure that the
Art Schools offer to a student in the US, where it is a safer environment (while you are enrolled). After graduation, it is a whole
different story. I think there is a lot of regurgitation going on in
the US Art Schools but I also think this is inevitable.  


What
is the state of photography in your country–is it well supported,
are galleries selling, do Photographers have an outlet to show their
work?


There
is a lot of interest in the medium, and there are great venues to
exhibit. There are also excellent teachers and very talented young
and not so young photographers. But I think the market is not very
good here. People will fill up a gallery at the opening, then
throughout the month it will be very visited, but perhaps there are
no sales. And now the dollar is crazy here so I dont know what will
happen. A lot of collectors from abroad come here to buy cheap and
good work.

Images from Stories

 I
drive to the small rural towns in the Argentine countryside to get
away from what I know. For me, being uncomfortable stimulates
creativity. When I enter unknown territory, I stop, get out, and talk
to people. I tell them I am interested in old stores, places that
still function almost in a separate time, those that remain
authentic, running on their own agendas.
 
I
want to find places that remain authentic, that are running on their
own agendas. Sometimes I think I am photographing the last rebel’s
strongholds, or artists’ studios, because these places seem to
operate by a different set of rules.  When I run out of words, I
take my folder out and show prints of previous shots I’ve taken, like
a detective sharing evidence. 
I
am looking for places like these
,
I ask while flipping through the photographs.  My project takes
on a collaborative nature because I rely on these interactions, the
people I meet point me to new locations, and that’s how I build my
itinerary.
 
Many times
I am asked ‘Why aren’t there any people in your photographs?’ 
My answer
is ‘Look closely, they are all over the place.’
 
My
photographs are filled with traces of human presence: objects,
furniture, stuff hanging from the walls, accumulations on display.
They speak to me of the invisible, that which can’t be seen but is
there, stories to be imagined, and, ultimately, the acknowledgement
of our own transience in this world.



The Darkroom: Nostalgia for a Dying Craft

The thought that most photographers working today will no longer, or will never, step foot in a traditional analog darkroom is remarkable for me. So much of the public imagination historically (and cinematically) with “photography” has been tied to the image of a man or woman hunched over trays of liquid watching an image appear on paper while enshrouded by the warm, amber glow of a safelight. Will that collective image ever be replaced with one of someone sliding a cursor along a histogram while bathed in the cool glow of a Macintosh monitor? Adam Bartos’s new book from Steidl Darkroom sheds some white light on the dying craft of analog printmaking and the environments that have produced most of the medium’s greatest images.

©Steidl—Adam Bartos

The cover of Adam Bartos’s new book from Darkroom.

Bartos is a photographer of the generation where working in a darkroom was a natural extension of the artist’s process and although I suspected this book to be a kind of lament to their near extinction, Bartos himself has been making digital prints of his work for over a decade.

“I’ve never thought that spending time in a darkroom makes for a better (or worse) photographer. That’s a matter of choice and process…The difference might be that I make distinctions about prints because I have a feeling for them as objects with history. Those of us who have spent time in darkrooms may be more likely to share that experience, but I hope that photographers who haven’t will be interested in what the possibilities of printmaking are before thoughtlessly accepting the standard product. It’s quite easy to make a digital print that looks alright, but it’s still very difficult to make one that is beautiful and expressive.”

Bartos’s still-lifes describe how darkrooms are part laboratory and part personal spaces – lived in and decorated with talismans; a ball compass hangs from a safelight fixture, old test prints and penciled notations are left pinned to walls, layers of dust coat unused equipment. (I recall reading a story about the American photographer Garry Winogrand and his darkroom enlarger upon which hung several items including an old bow-tie and a string of rosary beads. When asked about these things he simply replied, “They can’t hurt.”)

I have spent most of my life as a printer in such environs so the first few images bring a flood of memories from the last twenty-five years: Printing in Helen Buttfield’s ancient darkroom above the old Irving Klaw Studio where Betty Page was often photographed at 212 East 14th street; Trying to print on GAF photo-paper that had expired in 1968 – the same year I was born; My printing teacher Sid Kaplan pouring his hot coffee into the developer tray because the chemistry was “too cold”; Coming home to find a pigeon sitting on my film drying lines in my improvised darkroom in my 35th street tenement apartment. Discovering my cat Bun-Bun had once again used one of my 16X20 developing trays as a litter box. Having my exhaust fan tumble out of my window and somehow shatter my downstairs neighbor’s window. The shrill beep of my Gra-lab enlarger timer as it counted down: 5, 4, 3, 2…

Adam Bartos’s Darkroom is available from Steidl this now.

Jeffrey Ladd is a photographer, writer, editor and founder of Errata Editions.

Miscelánea (todo se queda en casa)

The most diverse exhibit I’ve seen so far in the Lima Photography Biennial has been the show, Miscelánea (todo se queda en casa). The show was organized by curator and critic Jorge Villacorta. He inviated 30 odd artists to create works that would be shown in a 1940s mansion in the swanky neighborhood of San Isidro that will soon be demolished to make way for an apartment tower. A lot of the works deal in various ways with nostalgia, the past, and the architecture of the site.

Casa Inmobiliari

The show is being sponsored by the real estate developer of the property. The crazy zebra design on the house’s exterior is actually their’s, and not one of the works of art. Presumably they feel this design will make the house (which they are using as a sales office prior to the commencement of construction) more visible but, isn’t the point of zebra stripping meant to be a form of camoflage?

Interior hall

Entering the house you come into a large, light filled hall dominated by a large boat-like structure. While this show is technically part of the photography biennial, many, if not most, of the works are mixed media or have nothing to do with photography (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Bathroom

As you wander through the house, every nook and cranny of the sprawling masnion is filled with art, including the bathrooms and closets. It made visiting feel a bit like a treasure hunt. I combed through each floor, making sure I didn’t miss anything.

Art in the closet

One of the rooms was darkened and had various projectors showing family vacation slides from several decades past. I liked how the vintage photos looked on the vintage (and highly textured) wall paper. That’s my hand shadow there in the picture:

Slide projection

This one room had cyanotypes on the wall.

Cyanotypes

They also had various objects scattered on the floor, also blue:

blue objects on the floor

dyptich by Flavia Gandolfo

I really liked these pictures by Flavia Gandolfo wherein she doodles a small, subtle element in the second of otherwise identical pictures. The picture on the right has a couple of race cars in the oncoming lanes.

I wish I could identify more of the artists in the show. Nothing was labeled. Instead, there was an architectural layout plan that was available at the entrance. I was a bit confused by it and only realized after I left the show that my flyer only had the first floor.

Arts website limagris made a walk-through video the night of the opening. It’s a good way to see the space as well as some more art, including some giant photos of naked women that were pasted on the bottom of the outdoor swimming pool.

Photographer #413: Andrew B. Myers

Andrew B. Myers, 1987, is a young Canadian photographer based in Toronto. He has a very distinct photographic style. His work is aesthetic, using carefully placed objects on simple color backgrounds which creates a large area of negative space. Due to the use of negative space the images gain an awkward flatness. His photographs are well composed, graphic and stylish. The sunlit shadows, washed out colors as well as the objects used refer back to the 1970’s and 1980’s with a modern twist. Andrew’s photographs contain elements of nostalgia and pop culture. The following images come from the portfolio’s 2011 PT.1, 2010 PT.1 and 2009.


Website: www.andrewbmyers.com

New Limited-Editions from Aperture

Curious about those two gorgeous limited-editions featured in Aperture’s recent newsletter? Here we provide an in-depth look at two of Aperture’s most special offerings this season: Rinko Kawauchi‘s Illuminance Limited-Edition Box Set and Jordan Tate‘s New Work #42.

© Jordan Tate

New Work #42 is a print by Aperture Portfolio Prize finalist Jordan Tate. This photograph is included in Tate’s thought-provoking series, New Work, which investigates the process of image making and the role new technology plays in contemporary photography.

Tate’s work belongs to a growing group of photographers indebted to predecessors Christopher Williams and James Welling. He pushes the conversation beyond nostalgia and squarely into the present, however, by indulging in screen-based images and non-traditional output methods like lenticular screens, animated gifs, and 3-D anaglyphs. His images frequently focus on indicators of an image in the making, such as this photograph of a Polaroid that could easily be an exposure/lighting test for a studio shoot. New Work offers a compelling and quirky exploration of the work involved in new photography.

© Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi‘s Illuminance Limited-Edition Box Set includes a specially bound copy of the artist’s monograph Illuminance (Aperture, 2011) and two beautiful photographs of images found in the book, all presented in a clothbound case. The highly anticipated monograph is the latest volume of Kawauchi’s work and the first to be published outside of Japan. Gorgeously produced as a clothbound volume with Japanese binding, this impressive compilation of mostly previously unpublished images is proof of Kawauchi’s unparalleled, unique sensibility and her ongoing appeal to the lovers of photography.

Kawauchi’s work has frequently been lauded for its nuanced palette and offhand compositional mastery, as well as its ability to incite wonder via careful attention to tiny gestures and the incidental details of her everyday environment. In Illuminance, she continues her exploration of the extraordinary in the mundane, drawn to the fundamental cycles of life and the seemingly inadvertent, fractal-like organization of the natural world into formal patterns, as evidenced by the photographs included in this very special set.

You can also shop online for even more limited-edition books and prints.

Gabriela Herman

A few months ago, I featured a highly personal project by Gail Seely. Gail had been revisiting a difficult childhood, and in a way, reclaiming her childhood by examining artifacts that her mother had packed away decades before. After that post, Gabriela Herman wrote me that she had also created a body of work that was very similar without knowing about Gail’s work. Gabriela’s project, Holding On, captures objects that had meaning and significance from a happy childhood before they were lost to the transitions that come with the sale of the family home.

Gabriela’s series about bloggers, featured on Lenscratch in February, has gone “viral”– showcased and celebrated on blogs and in exhibitions, including 2011 Center Forward at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO and the Win Initiative, NY.

Holding On:In the fall of 2010, when my beloved childhood home abruptly sold, I was given a weekend to clear out the 25+ years of belongings that had remained largely untouched. It was pure chaos. Things were being thrown out the third floor window to the dumpster in the driveway below. No time for tears.

Amidst this insanity, I felt the need to capture some of these artifacts, an act which played out like revisiting my childhood in fast forward, frame by frame. The stuff that we accumulate, however valuable at the time, in fact ends up being just stuff, eventually all garbage bound. I had preserved the memories of the past through these objects, but once documented, their physical presence became unnecessary. It is through these images that the nostalgia remains, and I continue to hold on.

New Videos: Nicole Robson and Daniel Kaufmann from reGeneration2

Nicole Robson and Daniel Kaufmann, artists from reGeneration2, are focusing their work on re-creating domestic scenes. Using different approaches from digital to physical reconstructions, they both reveal the impact of consumer society and the fatalism of modern people today.

In this clip, Australian photographer Nicole Robson explains the process of her work from building a domestic environment from scratch, to selecting her subjects, and playing with the outside light. Robson speaks about how she tries to convey an image of the modern family and domestic environment in a theatrical, superficial way, evoking also a feeling of nostalgia.

In this clip below, photographer Daniel Kaufmann guides us through his work of digital constructions from photographs of real homes. By combining ordinary environments as well as commercial catalogs from retail stores, Kaufmann reveals how advertising photography influences our lifestyles.

reGeneration2: tomorrow’s photographers today exhibition is still on view for another week at Aperture Gallery and stay tuned for more artists’ interviews on the blog!

Click here to purchase the accompanying publication of reGeneration2: tomorrow Photographer’s Today

Click here to view limited-edition prints by artists from reGeneration2