Tag Archives: Photo Festival

Oliver Lang, Daily Life at Surry Hills

Oliver Lang, Daily Life at Surry Hills

Oliver Lang

Daily Life at Surry Hills,
Sydney, 2012
Website – Oggsie.com

Oliver Lang is a photographer who has used a mobile phone camera for several years. In 2011 he was a founding member of the Mobile Photo Group and organised an exhibition of Australian mobile photography as part of the Head On Photo Festival. In 2012 he was invited to teach mobile photography courses at the Australian Centre for Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and also volunteered to teach at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence as part of the Photolines Program. Oliver is interested in the rise of participatory photography and the innovations that the connected culture of mobile photography is driving. He believes that more than ever before, photography is about community and culture, rather than the camera.

Douglas Ljungkvist, Untitled

Douglas Ljungkvist, Untitled

Douglas Ljungkvist

Untitled,
Ocean Beach, New Jersey, 2011
From the Ocean Beach series
Website – DouglasLjungkvist.com

Douglas Ljungkvist is originally from Goteborg Sweden. He is a self-taught photographer whose work examines places and environments, both public and private. After a long career in sales & marketing Douglas started photographing about eight years ago and full time for the past four. His work has been exhibited at the New York Photo Festival, Hereford Festival, London Street Photography Festival, Bridge Art Fair, and more. In 2011 he was awarded the gold prize at the Px3 Fine Art Book proposal category and participated at Review Santa Fe in 2010. His first monograph, Ocean Beach, will be published in the fall of 2013. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Love The One You’re With

image by Aline Smithson

I’ve been on the road since September, visiting photo festivals across the country and I’ve been thinking a lot about the experiences and the photographers I have met and wanted to share some thoughts. I have to say, it’s an amazing community, filled with good will, curiosity, passion, and really, really good people.  I think there is something special about those who use a visual language, who are reinterpreting the world close-up and far away.  I left each event filled up with friendships, with images, with experiences that make this journey a richer one.

I have always told my students that it is equally important to meet fellow photographers at these events, and not to solely focus on meeting with people that they think might change one’s career. Sometimes at photo events, photographers can be a bit myopic and self-focused, trying to tug on the sleeve of important reviewers. They don’t realize that those who don’t make it all about themselves, benefit the most–and often times, it will be a peer that makes something happen in their career. More has come to me, and to my career, from my relationships with other photographers than from anywhere else–the evidence of this statement seems profoundly evident after my recent travels–just looking at this fall, almost every invitation came from a relationship with a photographer.

I truly marvel at how many photographers are changing the photographic landscape by giving their time and energies to promote work that is not their own. Photographer Scott B. Davis created the Medium  Festival of Photography in San Diego this September, photographer Sarah Hadley created the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, I went to the SW Regional SPE conference, all run by photographers.  I attended Fotoweek DC started by Theo Adamstein (a photographer) and was invited to teach at the event by photographer E. Brady Robinson who I had traveled with in China.  Photographers Jennifer Shaw, Millie Fuller, and Lori Waselchuk, privotal players at PhotoNola, not only invited me to teach a workshop and review, but Jen helped me secure a gallery in New Orleans.

As I sat in the portfolio reviewing room at Photo Nola, I looked over at Blue Mitchell, a fellow photographer who started Diffusion Magazine, a publication that features historical and non-traditional ways of approaching photography, then I looked at photographer Gordon Stettinius who has not only become a publisher, but opened Candela Gallery and is working on creating a significant collection of photographs for gallery.  I looked at photographer Bryan Formhals who  champions the online community (especially Flickr) and has celebrated many image makers in his terrific LPV Magazine.

At the Medium Festival photographer Susan Burnstine found work to celebrate in her articles for Black and White Magazine (UK), photographer David Bram reviewed as editor of Fraction Magazine and in Chicago, photographer Kevin Miyazaki looked for new work for his amazing Collect.Give program and photographer Christy Karpinski reviewed for her long time publication, F Stop Magazine. Photographer Russell Joslin also reviewed for his labor of love, SHOTS Magazine which he has edited for years, photographer Bill Schwab shared his sage insights from years behind the lens and as a workshop educator and photographer Kyohei Abe reviewed for the Detroit Center of Photography where he is now the director. And there are more that I am sure I am forgetting.

I am not diminishing all the amazing curators, editors, and gallerists that make up our photography community, but I wanted to recognize the tremendous support that photographers lend to each other, often without recognition or financial compensation of any sort.

So next time you are at a photo or review event, remember that the person sitting next to you clutching their portfolio box, just might change your life one day.

Honey Lazar: The Year My Sisters Died

I first met Ohio photographer, Honey Lazar when I curated a photograph of her knees into a self portrait exhibition at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont.  She wrote to me and we began a correspondence and a friendship. Honey has a wide body of many wonderful projects, including her book, Loving Aunt Ruth, that celebrates a very wise woman. I had the great pleasure of spending some time with Honey in Chicago at the Filter Photo Festival and felt somewhat helpless as she shared that both of her sisters had passed away this year, creating such a profound sense of loss and devastation that she was struggling just to be in the world.  
As we all know, art is often a form of therapy, and Honey has created a series of images that describe what it feels like to be frozen in grief, not wanting to get out of the sanctuary of bed and finding solace from the television screen and the bedroom window.  These images, all shot from her bed, serve as Honey’s visual diary through loss, transition, and mourning.

The Year My Sisters
Died
I considered myself to be comfortable with the subject of
death and dying. I really “got” the termination thing.  My father died when I was 3, and my
grandparents were gone before I turned 10.  I worked in a hospital HIV unit in the 80’s.  I was seasoned. 
My father, a gifted and prolific photographer/film maker
left behind a legacy of photographs that kept him alive for me.  Photographs equaled immortality.  At 13, I picked up a Brownie Starflash
and snapped pictures of everything I wanted to keep forever.  The Starflash became a Polaroid, and I
used it to photograph everyone who came to my house.  I traded Polaroid for Kodachrome when my first son was born.
My bookshelves of albums are proof that during those years
no one left me.

 My middle sister, Jane, was diagnosed with rheumatoid
arthritis when I was 24, and she was 30. Jane and I were very close.  She lived in CT; I live in OH, but I visited often and called
daily.  I idolized her.  Before disease took her hair, teeth,
and mobility, people mistook her for Kim Novak or Marilyn Monroe.  She had pins put into her toes, so she
could wear shoes, but eventually, her toes curled, she stopped walking, and
shoes were simply decoration on a girl who never lost hope.  She ran her life from her bed
surrounded by windows.  She was an
artist who never stopped creating. 

I have another sister, Phyllis. …had another sister,
Phyllis.  She was 11 years older
than I, and I idolized her as well. 
She was super smart.  She
graduated from Pratt where she was snow queen and designed dresses for 25
years.  She taught me everything I
know about style and composition.

Phyllis moved to New York 5 years ago to live closer to her
daughters and granddaughters.  She
sold her house, packed her car, and faced an unknown housing situation with
gusto. I took a lot of pictures of her house being packed and the moving van
taking her away.  I’d be fine
without her, filling my sad places with her happiness and looking at photo
memories. 

On Phyllis’s 71st birthday she was diagnosed with
pancreatic cancer, 2 years after moving to New York. While Phyllis was being
treated, Jane was hospitalized 5 times with pneumonia, and we barely noticed.
Pneumonia didn’t seem serious in the face of pancreatic
cancer… except to Jane,
who felt exhausted, terrified, and alone.

Phyllis died in October, and in July, Jane was hospitalized
with pneumonia…for the last time.  I
was with both of my sisters when they died. It turns out I am not so good at
termination. 

Illness forced my beautiful
and active sisters into a horizontal life.  They were television watchers and HSN shoppers.  I find comfort and a connection to them
in this position, television on with my window worldview.  A horizontal life is a universal
experience.  Illness, depression,
and disability create lateral living, and I suspect each of us has either known
someone in this position or perhaps has been supine as well.

 I am in mourning with my camera right here next to me on the
bed.

Alyssa Miserendino: Our World Insideout

This week, I am sharing a few of photographers that I met at the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago….

I am of the belief that some of our most profound work comes from things we know. This is certainly the case with Chicago photographer, Alyssa Miserendino.  Alyssa is working on a multi-layered, global project that started with circumstances in her own life–the abandonment of her father, and eventually the collapse and loss of the family home.  Her project, Our World Insideout, begins with familiar territory and moves to Brazil, New Orleans, and Chicago.  Alyssa is about to open an exhibition of this work on December 6th at the Bette Cerf Hill Gallery in Chicago (funding provided by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation).  The work will continue on to the Elmhurst Art Museum for an exhibition that runs from January 18th – mid April.
From a fellowship award from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, to an investigative journalism grant from the Driehaus Foundation, Alyssa continues to pursue personal bodies of work that assemble the ideas of home, memory & our relationships to one another emotionally. This work, in addition to her commercial work, has been widely exhibited and well published.

Our World Insideout
Our World Insideout was born from my young home life that was raw, violent & steeped in displacement and abandonment. The catalyst of this life-long project started with documenting my own abandoned home in 2004, from the inside. Then in 2009, during the economic crash, I found a relation to the familiar emotion of loss & I started documenting other’s homes. I created the imagery with the hope that this project will incite a visual, global dialog concerning the used & unused resources; thus inspiring change. It touches on the many levels of humanity & one of the most sacred places for us : home. Insideout is one word – there is no delineation between what happens behind closed doors & what is communicated to the outside world.

Images from the family home

Our World Insideout: Brazil (2010) 

I’ve been to properties with notices posted since 1998, walked though gates with layers
of cobwebs, & entered abandoned homes experiencing what is left behind – the day a
family & children were evicted, the day the owners ran out of funds to complete
construction, the day the owner died & the family neglected to clear the home of the
deceased’s belongings. I’ve captured images of a home 15 years forgotten & now
surrounded by mansions; held my breath in a house that is a historical site, splattered with
feces; & opened a never-ending sea of unlocked doors. However, I have also witnessed
what others have built with their own hands, resourced from other people’s garbage. I’ve
met people & listened to their stories about how they ended up taking over an abandoned
home; picked up a nomad with her fishing pole to visit her train station house & met a
woman who built her home around the base of a tree, from found objects. 

Our World Insideout: New Orleans

Our World Insideout: Chicago before & after (2012)

What you see here is Chicago from 2009 and Chicago from 2012.  Each Diptych has their own story, like each one of us.  Here is where another nature is being formed, and hopefully a dialogue for acknowledgements and change – a chance to grow in this world.


Insideout is one word–There is no delineation between what happens being closed doors, and what is communicated to the outside world.

David Weinberg

When I was in Chicago this fall for the Filter Photo Festival, I attended the opening of the festival’s juried show, Light, that was held at the David Weinberg Gallery. Jurored by Matthew Avignone and David Weinberg, it was a terrific exhibition of contemporary image makers and it was a treat to meet many of the artists.  During the course of the evening, I found myself in David’s office and asked him about the exquisite images hanging on the walls.  He told me that they were his photographs, and that he was not only a gallery owner, but a photographer himself.

image from Mr. Wild’s Garden

Chicago photographer, David Weinberg, didn’t start off the way most photographers do. David was a business man for 35 years working for Fel-Pro, Inc., the Skokie, Illinois-based
gasket manufacturing company his family ran for generations. The company was famous
for its generous benefits and even-handed treatment of employees and was even
recognized as one of the top ten companies to work for in the United States. David
worked his way up to co-Chair of Fel-Pro, taught his personnel methods to graduate
students at the University of Illinois, and lectured at numerous universities and
government agencies. Today the same methods inform his collaborative approach to
working with his subjects.

Although David only made the switch to photography 10 years ago, art has always been a
part of his life with a mother as a successful commercial potter and a father who maintained a private art collection and ran a California-based sculpture center and
art gallery. David
actively exhibits his work and has shown in numerous galleries and museums and won
national photography awards over the last decade.  I am sharing two of his series, Mr. Wild’s Garden and Spent.

Mr. Wild’s Garden

When I was a child, my family lived next door to a mysterious, 90-something year-old man named Mr. Wild. Although I was only 6 years old at the time, I still vividly remember our neighbor’s dilapidated house and yard of towering, treehigh weeds. I remember wondering what an adventure it would be to play in Mr. Wild’s weeds and whether he’d try to “get me” if I did.

A bit later in life, upon reflection, I realized that Mr. Wild was entirely isolated from the community and that no one had ever seen him speak with another person. And looking back now, at the age of 66, despite the persistent memory of this man, I still know next to nothing about him.

It is my enduring memory of this man, coupled with my curiosity, that inspired my photographic series, Mr. Wild’s Garden. In the series I explore who he may have been by looking at the world through his eyes. My attempt to see the world through his eyes only adds more questions, while widening the possibilities and deepening the mystery of just who Mr. Wild was.

Spent

Energy and strength have a capacity, an upper
limit. When we reach our maximum effort at the end of our struggle, we are
spent. Weary in action and conjecture, we physically endure and prevail thru
the stress of life. For years I have observed these contorted expressions
surface while lifting weights in front of a mirror. Our faces, the organs of
expression reveal themselves like a whistling teapot under pressure. Kinetic
energy builds to a climax through the body to form the grimace of strain. I am
fascinated with these expressive moments because they are both telling and
mysterious.

 The series Spent is about the tipping point where
we tangibly exhaust ourselves through enormous effort and the daily grind
forward toward complete depletion. I am interested in the differences exhibited
by different people. These portraits demonstrate a variety of uniquely
evocative individuals. From the youth who disguise their vulnerability, to the
manual workers exhausted by continual labor and life in general, the expression
is the betrayer of the inner struggle.

Filter Photo Festival: Jessica Tampas

This week, I am sharing a few of photographers that I met at the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago….


Born in Vermont, Jessica Tampas creates engaging work, mined from time with family and with possessions that define play. I met her last year, at the Filter Festival Portfolio walk and this year was so glad to discover her new work and get to revisit the older projects. I am featuring two series, Dolls and Michigan. Jessica earned a BFA from Simmons College in Boston and an MFA in Photography at the Massachusetts College of Art. After teaching photography in Holland for Emerson College, she relocated to Chicago where she works as a family, candid, and fine art photographer.

Dolls 

People often want to know
the history behind these dolls. Who were their previous owners? How did they
come to look the way they do? Do I collect them, alter them? My approach to
creating this series is far more subjective. I never set out to become a
collector, per se (though by now I’ve amassed more than 100 early- and
mid-century dolls), and I don’t alter them in any way. Frankly, I’m not so concerned
with these dolls’ history, even if I play an important role in it, giving them
a longevity they probably never expected to have. For me these little beings
are simply heartbreaking creatures, typologies of survival and loss, and, I
suppose, ultimately, psychological portraits of something inside myself that I
might not otherwise be able to express as an adult. We have all weathered
emotional traumas in the transition from childhood to now. By not altering the
dolls, I let their faces tell their own story — one that I feel is ultimately
about what it means to be both fragile and a survivor, and…human. 
A year ago when I began this project, I purchased a number of dolls made between 1902 and 1950, mass-produced, life size (20″ long), made of ‘composite,’ a material that pre-dates plastic. Some had human hair, others synthetic; some had detailed features like painted on eyelashes, teeth, tongues — others not. Many had limbs missing and stained clothing; one was even repaired with slathered cement. Living, as we do, in a Society saturated with images of perfect youth, these babies seemed to want to offer me an object lesson in honest aging. 

Michigan 
I have
been taking photographs since I was 14 years old.  My favorite subjects were my immediate family.  I went on to get an MFA in 1987 and
then spent the next 20 years as a portrait and wedding photographer.  The birth of my son in 2006 was a major
turning point in my life and my career. 
Instead of documenting other people’s lives, I began to focus on my son
and his world, inspired by the work of both Diane Arbus and Sally Mann.  I am grateful that, once again, I can
create images that are meaningful and personal, yet hopefully universal. 

Filter Photo Festival Week: Beth Gilbert

This week, I am sharing a few of photographers that I met at the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago….

Beth A. Gilbert presented a body of work in Chicago, Scarred Land, that looks at civilization’s impact on the environment, especially after the affects of war. The project focuses on Israel and the scarred landscape that reflects the trauma of conflict.  Beth lives and works in Boston and earned a BA in art with a concentration in photography from Simmons College, Boston. She worked for a professional, full-service photo lab, Color Services in Needham, MA as Assistant Digital Technician for 5 years. Beth now works for herself providing digital photographic post-production services. In the fall of 2013, Beth will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree photography. Her work has been exhibited at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, the Danforth Museum of Art, and the Hadassah Gallery in Jerusalem. In addition, she has played a key role in the production of numerous photographic exhibitions for both nationally and internationally recognized artists.


 Restaurant Interior, Dead Sea, Israel 2010




My photographs are primarily landscape based, dealing with the environment, the ways in which human beings affect it and leave their mark upon it. One major influence reflected in the subject matter of my photographs is my interest and background in political science/middle eastern studies. My images have also been inspired by the work of Jem Southam, whose photographs capture a balance of the natural landscape and the intervention of man within it, following the cycles of decay and renewal, documenting the changes over days, months and years. Since the focus of my imagery relies heavily on society and civilization’s impact upon the environment, I am sensitive to my process being as non-invasive as possible- staying true to the unaltered landscape. I have a desire for my photographs to be ‘pure’, as in true to the original medium. My employment of a traditional tool of landscape photography, the 4×5 camera, and using minimal alterations to compliment my ideology fits in well with my artistic expression and vision. In 2010, I decided to take my ventures in photography further, and extended my vision to Israel.

 A Different Viewpoint, Gilbon, Israel 2010 

The photographs in this series entitled Scarred Land, which were all produced in Israel, deal with war, the damage it inflicts upon the terrain, and the natural recovery over time. The battle sites and military training zones depicted have not been memorialized or preserved in any way, and are now naturally recovering from the inflicted trauma as well as being reclaimed by the earth. The focus of the imagery on war zones is to portray to the viewer that this is how we, as human beings, treat each other and the world we live in.

 Charred Landscape, Gamla, Israel 2010 

We are a unique species defined by our intelligence: the ability of abstract thought, understanding, selfawareness, communication, reasoning, learning, having emotional knowledge, retaining, planning, and problem solving. This intelligence enables us to create/invent ever growing technologies through which to better our lives. Unfortunately, some of these technologies are also implemented for the purpose to assault one another and to defend ourselves, which in turn damages the Earth. In my opinion the rationale for going to war with another nation, state or people: whether it be over resources, religious ideology, cultural differences, or power is completely absurd. If everyone took the time to look at the larger picture, the traumas inflicted during war and in its aftermath have detrimental repercussions for not only us and future generations, but for the planet we inhabit and all of its living beings. Therefore, the ramifications are not advantageous to anyone or thing and we could eventually be the means to our own demise.

 Fire-Ravaged Ruins, Gamla, Israel 2010 
Barbed wire bush, Dead Sea, Israel 2010 

Abandoned Outpost, Dead Sea, Israel 2010 
(Un)Occupied Territory #1, Dead Sea, Israel 2010 
(Un)Occupied Territory #2, Dead Sea, Israel 2010 
Trenches from the ’48 and ’67 Wars, Jerusalem, Israel 2010 
Imbedded Plastic from Explosion, Golan Heights, Israel 2010 
Debris, IDF Firing Zone, Gamla, Israel 2010 
IDF Training Grounds, Golan Heights, Israel 2010 
Trench Entrance, Jerusalem, Israel 2010 
Syrian Sentry Post, Golan Heights, Israel 2010 
Fire-Scorched Valley, Gamla, Israel 2010