Tag Archives: Photographic Series

Alfredo De Stéfano, Carpet Sahara

Alfredo De Stéfano, Carpet Sahara

Alfredo De Stéfano

Carpet Sahara,
Sahara Desert, Morocco , 2012
From the Mis Desiertos series
Website – ADeStefano.com

Alfredo De Stéfano was born in Monclova, Coahuila, a city in the northeastern Mexican desert and has a bachelor´s degree in Communication Sciences by the Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila. He is considered one of México´s most important contemporary photographers. He has a passion for the landscape and especially the desert, an environment to which has has traveled countless times, performing art interventions in it and photographing it. His photographic series include Of places without a future (1992), Remains of paradise (1996), Replenishing emptiness (2002) and Brief chronicle of Light (2005). Since 2008 he is working in his new series Storm of light: All the deserts are my desert, which take place in different deserts from the world. His work has been exhibited internationally and are included in public and private collections in México as well as abroad.

Filter Photo Festival Week: Samantha VanDeman

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

It was a pleasure to see Samantha VanDeman’s terrific series, Forgotten Hotels in person. I’ve seen a number of images in exhibitions and online over the year, but to see the nuance of color and the extent of the series made the work more meaningful.  Samantha received a BFA from Columbia College Chicago and earned a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky.

Samantha already has a long exhibition resume including work seen at  Review Santa Fe, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR; Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Smash Box Studios, Culver City, CA; Denver International Airport, Denver, CO; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco.  In 2012, Samantha was selected as a finalist for Photolucida’s Critical Mass. And most recently, she received first place in The International Photography Awards for architectural interiors. Samantha has been published in Shots Magazine and The International Photography Annual.

Forgotten Hotels 
This photographic series is of abandoned hotels that are on the verge of being demolished. Each hotel has sat vacant for ten -thirty years, with several failed attempts to bring them back to life. With plans of demolition, each structure awaits an uncertain future. In my work, I’m drawn to places that are isolated and have been forgotten about by society. I use my camera to examine these areas that often go unnoticed. Through the use of light, I try to capture the beauty the once existed in these magnificent environments. By photographing these structures, I attempt to provide a visual record of what might be lost forever.

Cindy Sherman

What is there to say about queen bee Cindy Sherman? For 30 years she has starred in all of her photographs and yet they reveal nothing about her. For they are anything but self-portraits. Rather, her collection of pictures toss a molotov cocktail through the stained-glass window of photographic truth.

We recently happened upon this rare interview with Cindy Sherman, produced by Art21. In it she reveals how dressing up in character began as a kind of performance and evolved into her earliest photographic series such as Bus Riders (1976), Untitled Film Stills (1977-80), and the untitled rear screen projections (1980).

Through her myriad of guises, metamorphosing from a busty Marilyn Monroe to a cowgirl to a forlorn clown, she examines issues about gender, identity and power. Often with the simplest of means – a camera, a wig, makeup, location, an outfit – but always freighted with self-reflexive irony, Sherman chosen heroines pursue this with overt anarchy energy presenting ambiguous but memorable characters that suggest complex social and cultural realities lived out beyond the frame. SEO Experts search engine marketing . Having developed an aesthetic and artistic language of their own, they interrogate public images, from kitsch (film stills and centerfolds) to art history (Old Masters and Surrealism) to green-screen technology and the latest advances in digital photography.

But of course that’s not the only advance she has made. Sherman’s Untitled #96 from 1981 – more commonly referred to as ‘Orange Sweater’ – passed all records for photography, and was sold for $3.89 million in Spring this year. According to Art Info, the buyer was New York dealer Philippe Segalot, and the underbidder was Per Skarstedt, also a New York dealer. Christie’s confirmed that this was a record for a photograph at auction, previously held by Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent II Diptychon, which fetched $3.35 million in 2006. Sherman recently had another high profile sale, with her work Untitled #153, from 1985 reaching $2.7 million in late 2010. Needless to say, the price of a photograph should never be the measure of value but nobody can deny her stature and influence on the medium, the esteem with which she is held by critics and curators, and the prestigious collections that contain her work.

Below is another video, this time comprising a panel discussion on the occasion of her retrospective survey at MoMA that finished back in June. It features artists, working in a variety of mediums, as they consider Cindy Sherman’s influence on contemporary art practice. Panelists include George Condo, Kalup Linzy, Elizabeth Peyton, and Collier Schorr. It is moderated by exhibition organiser Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA.

Carrie Mae Weems: A Look Back on Three Decades

The cover image of Carrie Mae Weems’s engaging book finds the artist and photographer wearing a long black dress as she stands at the shoreline with her back to the camera, looking at the ocean. It looks as if she is contemplating the morning. We, the “reader” or “viewer,” wait in anticipation to open the book and look into her world. The cover image is our invitation! The photograph is from Weems’s Roaming series from 2006. She becomes our narrator to history. She states: “This woman can stand in for me and for you; she leads you into history. She’s a witness and a guide.”

Weems is an art-photographer, performance artist, activist and videographer—well known for her photographic series and multi-screen projections relating to themes focusing on family, beauty and memory. For the last 25 years, she has relied on stories from the ‘kitchen table’ and of life in the low country of South Carolina, antebellum New Orleans, cities in Senegal, Cuba, Ghana and Italy to create a body of work that engages in history. An artist concerned with iconography, she has constructed a series of works questioning black women’s presence in popular and material culture as well as art history. Throughout her 30-odd year career, Weems has re-staged historical moments and created images that re-imagined everyday life from family stories to political history. Weems focused her camera on her own body to create multiple conversations. She interrogates and assembles old stereotypes and disassembles them.

In 1992, she refused to accept the scientific racism that prevailed in the 19th century circulating about black Americans. In re-imagining the photographed experiences of some of the blacks enslaved on a South Carolina plantation photographed by J. T. Zealy, a daguerreotypist commissioned by zoologist Louis Agassiz, Weems used the narrative of slavery and re-purposed the images. The title of her series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried is a text and image installation of large scale framed images printed with a red tint, possibly to signify the life’s blood still flowing through the memory of their enslaved experience.

Born in Portland, Oregon, and now living in Syracuse, N.Y., photo-artist Weems interweaves a narrative of black female subjectivity, black beauty and the gaze in her work on beauty. Weems’s photographs are ‘performing beauty’ through lighting, posing, acting and fashion. Weems confronts historical depictions and restages them with ‘what if…’ questions. In her series, Not Manet’s Type, Weems critiques the white male art “masters,” and how beauty is defined through their paintings. The ironic series of five self-reflexive photographs with text, questions not only Manet but also Picasso, DeKooning and Duchamp.

Weems is the ideal model and she is well informed about the history of art, using her own partially dressed and nude body. The posing reveals her formal training as a photographer, and her choice of props is influenced by her sharp observation as a builder of ideas. The series’ power lies in her narrative voice and her ability to create a scene. At first glance, it looks as if the photographs are all the same because of the square format and the centered art deco-style vanity dresser. The setting is the bedroom, a private but inviting space. We, the viewer, peer through the square mat into the round mirror that frames her body, which lends an effect of peeping at a private moment. Her sensitivity to the historical gaze is quite evident, the time of day, the lace on the brass bed, the large white vase holding dried flowers, and the art work framed on the wall offer a sense of reality, as the bright sun bleaches the lower half of her body and the bed. Weems stands with her back to the viewer; the bold red text reads:

“It was clear, I was not Manet’s type… Picasso—who had a way with women only used me & Duchamp never even considered me.”

The series’ text clearly shows her vulnerability as she attempts to empower her image. The next images states: “Standing on shakey [sic] ground I posed myself for critical study but was no longer certain of the questions to ask.”

Women artists like Weems, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Renee Cox and Carla Williams challenge ideas of beauty and desire, which are both critical components in Weems’s work. All of these artists dare her viewer to rethink their understanding and the positioning of contemporary art practices. Mirrors are often found in Weems’s self-portraits; she’s gazes at her statuesque frame which is reflected in the mirrored image. Gates states, “An artist does not make a work called Not Manet’s Type (1997) without a keen sense of her own authority, a respect—not reverence—for those artists who came before her, and an ability to laugh in the midst of serious thinking.”

Deborah Willis is a photographer, photo historian and professor at New York University. Her recent work includes a book and exhibition of the same title Posing Beauty in African American Culture on exhibit at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa.

Willis’s writing is featured in Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, which will be released by Yale University Press in October.
A retrospective exhibition of the same name is also on view at the Frist Center in Nashville from Sept. 21, 2012 to Jan. 13, 2013.

It will then travel to the following locations:
Portland Art Museum:  Feb. 2–May 19, 2013
Cleveland Museum of Art:  June 30–Sept. 29, 2013
Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University: Oct. 16, 2013–Jan. 5, 2014
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York: Jan. 24–April 23, 2014

Panel Discussion: America’s Competitive Edge and Its Global Standing

MergenEblastImage
Michael Mergen, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Richmond, CA , 2008


Wednesday, September 5, 2012 | 5:30pm | MoCP

The Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are proud to announce a panel discussion with economist Howard Friedman and exhibiting artists Michael Mergen, moderated by MoCP Director Natasha Egan.

Howard Friedman, statistician, health economist, and author of The Measure of a Nation: How to Regain America’s Competitive Edge and Boost Our Global Standing, and artist Michael Megen, whose photographic series 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is on view at MoCP, will discuss their work in connection with the themes explored in the MoCP’s current exhibition Peripheral Views: States of America.

The reception begins at 5:30pm at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. A cash bar will be available. The discussion begins at 6:30 at Stage Two, 618 S. Michigan Avenue and a book signing will immediately follow.

CCGA Young Professional Members $10; Nonmembers $20; Columbia College Students can register for free by contacting Allison Grant at [email protected]

Reservations are recommended. Learn more and register online at www.thechicagocouncil.org.


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MoCP | 600 S. Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605 | 312.663.5554 | [email protected]

Panel Discussion: America’s Competitive Edge and Its Global Standing

MergenEblastImage
Michael Mergen, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Richmond, CA , 2008


Wednesday, September 5, 2012 | 5:30pm | MoCP

The Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are proud to announce a panel discussion with economist Howard Friedman and exhibiting artists Michael Mergen, moderated by MoCP Director Natasha Egan.

Howard Friedman, statistician, health economist, and author of The Measure of a Nation: How to Regain America’s Competitive Edge and Boost Our Global Standing, and artist Michael Megen, whose photographic series 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is on view at MoCP, will discuss their work in connection with the themes explored in the MoCP’s current exhibition Peripheral Views: States of America.

The reception begins at 5:30pm at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. A cash bar will be available. The discussion begins at 6:30 at Stage Two, 618 S. Michigan Avenue and a book signing will immediately follow.

CCGA Young Professional Members $10; Nonmembers $20; Columbia College Students can register for free by contacting Allison Grant at [email protected]

Reservations are recommended. Learn more and register online at www.thechicagocouncil.org.


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MoCP | 600 S. Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605 | 312.663.5554 | [email protected]

Bill Adams

I met Bill Adams at the recent SPE conference, and was very disappointed to miss his lecture (which I heard was A-mazing).  Bill approaches photography from a unique point of view – with a freedom, creative wackness, and sense of humor this community is so sorely lacking.  I am sharing a few paragraphs from his must-read Wickipedia page:

Bill Adams is an American photographer who claims to be the grandson of legendary landscape photographer Ansel
Adams
. He was lead guitarist for the glam metal band Höt Lixx in the
late 1980s, where he was notorious for
performing in a “squatting” position. Adams was kicked out of the band
in 1991 after it was discovered that he had plagiarized the
heavy metal anthem
Balls to the Wall.

He has made a series of controversial historical claims, such as that Harry Callahan
was the inspiration for the 1971 film Dirty Harry, that drinking
fixer in moderation cures
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),
that Henri Cartier-Bresson was a member of
Opus Dei, and that 19th-century daguerreotypist
Josiah Hawes murdered photographers who had abandoned the
daguerreotype, using a mercury enema.
He is also known for his photographic series “The Master Suite,” celebrating what he calls “The Great Dictators.” 

Adams claims he was inspired to photograph when his grandfather Ansel
whipped him with a cable release (a cord that tripped the shutter of a
traditional film camera).[23]
His first photographs, at the age of five,
were blurry images of carpet, and sometimes his own feet. Several of his
images were completely unexposed, a conceptual approach he has returned
to repeatedly in recent years. 

What I DO know about Bill Adams is that he was born in Walnut Creek, California, in 1964, and grew up in Santa Cruz. He received a BA in Politics from Princeton University, and an MA and MFA in Photography from The University of New Mexico. He was selected a fellow of the American Photography Institute National Graduate Seminar in 1992. His work has been reproduced in Exploring Color Photography (Editions 2-5) as well as Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age. He was recently featured in the journals Exposure and Copper Nickel. He teaches photography at The University of Colorado Denver. Bill lives in Lakewood, Colorado, with his wife, Carol Golemboski, a Center Project Competition winner, and their two children.  I can only imagine their creative household.

I make large, humorous color photographs of elaborately staged scenes in which I play numerous different characters. I typically work on these complex sets for several years, and make successive versions of the same image.

Billboard

Most of the characters are actually photographs mounted on cardboard. In some images, like Pairs Throw Axel, there is one real person surrounded by life-sized photographs.

Pairs Throw Axel

The figures in Dollhouse are about eight inches tall, those in Dead Eye about two feet. The final images are photographed with a 4×5” or 8×10” view camera, enlarged optically, and developed in a chromogenic processor.

Dollhouse

While an initial inspection reveals that all of the characters are the same person, suggesting a digital composite, further examination indicates a straight photograph of a complex staged scene. There are often clues to the illusions, such as reflections of the back of cut-out figures lying around the set. The relationships of the different characters contrast with a single artist enacting a drama for his own pleasure or glorification—or for a self-conscious work of art.

Dead Eye



Many of the scenes depict film sets, premieres, and other spectacles. The shifting identifications and points of view revolve around issues of voyeurism, perspective, and power. Some of these illusory characters are staging their own simulations, which mimic my own. In Dead Eye, the film’s killer’s point-of-view shot mirrors the point of view of the victim through whose “dead” eye we are looking.

Dead Eye (detail)

Dead Eye (reverse view of Dead Eye set)

Pieces such as Universal Picture and Point and Shoot lay claim to being completely transparent, extending the notion that the lens pictures what the eye sees. Since it can only depict what one eye sees, these perspectives represent a single eye looking through a spyglass or sniper sight.

Universal Picture
Point and Shoot

Some images simultaneously observe a parallel attempt to create a visual model, whose shortcomings undermine the premise of optical realism. In Trompe L’Oeil, the Victorian painter’s own blurry nose is a reminder that what we think we see is very different from what is present in our visual field. The image further suggests that a visual model is a function of an ideological perspective. Conceptions of realism are socially constructed, and inevitably reflect prevailing power relations. The subservient maid, sumptuous decor, and Romantic painting style express upper-class Victorian values, even as the painter attempts to objectively record optical experience.

Trompe L’Oeil

Recent photographs contain apparently digitized areas, which are actually painted floors, walls, tables, and suspended objects. In Bachelor Party, the thousands of squares are painted, while the stripper’s pixelated breast is a small board suspended between the camera and the figure. This simulated computer manipulation suggests that parts of the picture were not only photographed at different times, but perhaps were never present at all.
This digital fig leaf creates a kind of voyeuristic censorship, although what it purports to hide, it in fact supplies—and what it creates might itself be “enhanced.” Yet this elaborate artifice is itself a kind of authentic fraudulence, for it is not digital but a physical object, and it is not an augmented woman but a real man.

Bachelor Party

This digital fig leaf creates a kind of voyeuristic censorship, although
what it purports to hide, it in fact supplies—and what it creates might
itself be “enhanced.” Yet this
elaborate artifice is itself a kind of authentic fraudulence, for it
is not digital but a physical object, and it is not an augmented woman
but a real man.

Gillian Wearing @ The Whitechapel, London

© Gillian Wearing

With a recent string of exhibitions devoted entirely to photography, it seems The Whitechapel Gallery has converted itself into one of London’s primary destinations for fans of the medium. Off the back of highly-acclaimed solo shows of the work Paul Graham, Thomas Struth and John Stezaker, we are now being treated to the first major international survey of Turner Prize-winning British artist Gillian Wearing. 1000 Words Editorial assistant, Sean Stoker, went along to the media preview and was impressed with the results.

For more than twenty years Gillian Wearing’s work has shown a fascination with the performative aspects of everyday life, exploring this through photography that both embraces and breaks away from aspects of a documentary tradition. Split between three galleries, this delectable exhibition shows a range of work, from Wearing’s photographic series Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say, made in the early nineties, to her latest video, Bully from 2010.

Wearing’s portraits and mini-dramas reveal a paradox, given the chance to dress up, put on a mask or act out a role, the liberation of anonymity allows us to be more truly ourselves. The exhibition begins with the artist herself, dancing in a shopping mall, blissfully unaware of her bemused audience. The idea of performance continues with works including Wearing’s 1997 masterpiece, 10–16. Adults lip synch the voices and act out the physical tics of seven children in a captivating film which moves from the breathless excitement of a ten year old to the existential angst of an adolescent.

Bearing witness to such forthright confessions is occasionally uncomfortable, but the stories told are powerful and emotive. Because of this, Wearing’s work treads the line between real life and performance in a way that leaves the viewer unsure which is which. This feeling is heightened by the route navigated through the gallery. From the dark and intimate confessional chambers on the ground floor we must climb a set of stairs to the next gallery, giving us a much needed pause to process all that has been confided in us before the open and light spaces that follow, including Wearing’s iconic 1992 series, Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say, and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say where strangers are offered paper and pen to communicate their message, messages that are still relevant twenty years later. In the upper galleries we enter the world of private subjectivity. An advert – Confess All On Video. Don’t Worry, You Will Be In Disguise. Intrigued? Call Gillian… (1994) attracted a series of disturbing disclosures. Wearing then turns the mask from metaphor to reality to explore her own identity, simultaneously disguising and exposing herself while adopting the guise of family members or artists such as Diane Arbus or Andy Warhol, revealing her own background and influences in the process.

This comprehensive survey, which also premieres new films and sculptures, shows Wearing’s ability to remove the mask from everyday British reservations and lay bare occasionally uncomfortable truths about ourselves. She bypasses the often clichéd stigmata of the dispossessed and traumatised in order to focus on finding the extraordinary in everyone of us. Combining an unflinching honesty with an acute sense of humour, Wearing unveils the best and worst of us, like a joke amongst friends, subtly indulging our innate pessimism and self-deprecating nature in a way that is a joy to behold. The exhibition runs until 17 June 2012.