Tag Archives: Novelists

Jeff Friesen

I first came across Jeff Friesen’s work when he submitted his lovely image, Waterborne, to a Lenscratch exhibition.

Waterborne, from Keeping Lost Time

Jeff has a new body of work, Winterdeep, that feels visually refreshing, sort of like finding that piece of Wintermint gum in the bottom of your purse after a big Italian meal, and that first burst of clean flavor is a relief. Jeff brings a quiet and simplicity to all his work, but also a beauty and spirituality.

He uses this quote by Lucy Maud Montgomery:
“It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, that, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond — only a glimpse — but those glimpses have always made life worth while.”

Statement for WINTERDEEP:
Light reaches our eyes and shows us what we see, but its journey does not end there. In a pulse of electricity the light travels further to our minds, swishing the fabric of our imagination along the way. What we see in front of ourselves is just a starting point. With our minds we can pick up a landscape and envision its every angle: its future, its past, its stories, and its ghosts.

For cultures living close to the land there is always a spiritual landscape within the visible one. Even modern city-dwellers know the feeling. Who has not seen dark omens in a storm cloud, or sensed freedom in a bird’s flight? In my travels to northern places I’ve always felt a strong mythical presence in the land. There is a dilemma for photography, though. The mythical landscape is not recorded by cameras. But it’s a place I am compelled to explore and to share.

To photograph my vision of the north I borrowed a page from novelists and created a world. Winterdeep is made of painted backdrops, sculpted ice, dye, customized toys, and a few other odds and ends. Digital magic circa 1995 provides visible breath and enhances the northern lights. I invite you to make Winterdeep a landscape for your own thoughts.

Gabriel Diaz – Formas de Vida

There’s a really interesting show by photographer Gabriel Diaz called Formas de Vida [or Forms of Life] at the Fotogaleria at Teatro San Martin. The series takes a dry look at social and economic inequality in Buenos Aires as manifested through the built environment.

© Gabriel Diaz

© Gabriel Diaz

© Gabriel Diaz

© Gabriel Diaz

The series functions as a inventory of living arrangements sorted by social class; homeless encampments, shanty-towns, working class suburbs, housing projects, middle class suburbs, heavily-guarded mansions, and a five-star hotel. One exception missing from the series are photos of gated communities [barrios cerrados], which dot the suburbs of Buenos Aires [and which I wrote a little about in my post Slums and Gated Communities].

The images above were taken from the website of Revista Crisis, which is currently featuring a number of photos from this same body of work. The issue is titled malas raices and is all about problems with real estate development and urbanism. The term for real estate in Spanish is bienes raices, or literally, good roots. The title of the magazine is a pun; malas raices, bad roots. Here’s a picture of the cover with another of Diaz’s photographs:

Cover of the current issue of Crisis

This is the sixth issue of the 2nd incarnation of Crisis magazine. The first appeared for three brief years in the 1970s between military dictatorships and featured writing by some of the most important novelists and intellectuals of the era. It was shut down shortly after the coup in 1976 and it was considered dangerous even owning a copy [more info].

Back to the exhibit, here’s a few photos of the installation at Fotogaleria San Martin, which is located on Avenida Corrientes 1530. The show is up until October 2, 2011.

Fotogaleria at Teatro San Martin

Fotogaleria at Teatro San Martin

The prints look great, although the space itself is a little depressing; dark and stuck in a far corner of the ground floor. It used to be a shortcut to an adjacent street, which at least guaranteed a little foot traffic, but it’s been closed off for years now. Nevertheless, the Fotogaleria is the oldest space in Buenos Aires dedicated to showing photography, having started up shortly after the return to democracy in 1983, and one of the most important. It’s run by Juan Travnik, a grosso of Argentine photography, and the director of an ongoing workshop through which a number of the photographers I’ve featured on this blog have passed.

As for Gabriel Diaz, he doesn’t appear to have a website. It doesn’t help that his name isn’t very Google-friendly. In fact, there are three photographers and one illustrator who all share his name [and have websites]. The website La Pulseada features an interview with Diaz [in Spanish] where he talks about this and another work of pictures of street children. Diaz is also the director of the Coleccíon de Fotógrafos Argentinos, a series of individual monographs by Argentine photographers. I’ve previously written about one, Geovanny No Quiere Ser Rambo by Alfredo Srur.