Tag Archives: Photography Film

Eric Breitenbach

Today, and leading up to and after November 6th, LENSCRATCH will be featuring work that looks at our election process. 

We start today with work by Eric Breitenbach, who has created a series, Election 2012.

Eric  has been a still photographer for over thirty years and a filmmaker for more than fifteen.

His still photographs have appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Details, Doubletake, Information Week, Labor’s Heritage, Essence, and Orlando magazines. He has exhibited widely. In 2012 he had solo exhibitions of his photography at The Third Eye Gallery in Varanasi, India, and at Florida School of The Arts in Palatka, Florida. Eric Breitenbach is also a Senior Professor at The Southeast Center For Photographic Studies at Daytona State College, teaching courses in photography, film, and video.

ELECTION 2012 
 For as long as I’ve been a photographer I’ve been compelled to make pictures of people. My goal is to discover something universal about a person—something viewers can recognize and even identify with. The trick is to then depict that successfully in a photograph. In early 2011, as events surrounding the 2012 presidential election began to unfold, like many Americans I was astonished at the heat of the political rhetoric. It seemed as if angry extremists were running the show.

Dismayed but still curious, I began to attend and photograph campaign rallies, political conventions, memorial services, group meetings, demonstrations, festivals, and other politically relevant events. There were thousands at the largest of these, sometimes less than a dozen at the smallest.

My goal wasn’t to document or explain anything; that, I think, is best left to the journalists. 

I set out with my usual strategy in mind—to attend, observe and make photographs. The role may be considered to be like that of an explorer, a finder and provider of artifacts that might one day be useful in comprehending, in this case, the cultural, social, and political mindset of 2012 America.

William Klein + Daido Moriyama @Tate Modern, London

Fresh from the media view of the hugely anticipated Klein + Moriyama: New York Tokyo Photography Film exhibition, which opens today at the Tate Modern, Rachel Ridge reports back on her findings and brings us a quick q&a with Daido Moriyama. Also, after the drop, are two of latest of Art.sy/Tate Shots videos.

Klein + Moriyama: New York Tokyo Film Photography is the latest in a recent rupture of thoughtfully curated photography coming out of the Tate Modern. And, following the likes of Diane Arbus, Boris Mikhailov and the 2010 show Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and The Camera, it appears to have a penchant for the candid wanderers of the world.  
So here we have two connoisseurs of the street in what is essentially two retrospectives back to back. It begins with American painter, filmmaker, and photographer William Klein (b.1928), and ends with Daido Moriyama, (b.1938). The story goes that a twenty year old Moriyama stumbled upon Klein’s seminal photo book, Life is Good and Good For You in New York, published in 1956, a daringly stark portrait of New York, which would go on to change the way he photographed from then on.
These are men who see the city as a mysterious world, that births a strange kind of existence filled with stark realities, performance, isolation, desires and nervous energy. Both shooting predominantly New York and Tokyo in black and white with a point and shoot, they seem to subsume street photography into their own brand of photographic impressionism. Quick to capture what grabbed them, their images had little time for technical expertise and appear more like throbs of instinctive impulse, that often dissolve into abstraction.
The show literally opens with a bang, with Klein’s film Broadway Light 1958, towering over you in pulsating neon flashes which cut to close ups of garish street signs, ‘Don’t walk’ and ‘Taste it’. Klein explores the city as cinema, a phantasmagoria, lulling us into a waking dream state. His work appears to be an intense investigation into these wheels of control and seduction.

Elsa Maxwell’s Tory ball, Waldorf Hotel, New York, 1955. © William Klein


An interesting paradox is his heavy involvement in the fashion industry, working as a photographer for Vogue in his early career. We see enlarged pictures of models head to toe in designer clothing parading the gritty streets of New York, and a satire of the fashion industry in the film, Who are you Polly Magoo? which plays in a room looping a retrospective of his films. It’s quite hard to believe how he got away with poking fun at fashion, whilst at the same time, changing the face of it forever. In his most creative fashion endeavour he mixes photographs of models with photograms showing them interacting with moving light.
There is an inherent urgency about Klein’s practice that speaks to some kind of post war hysteria; rooms of abstract paintings, photograms, films then back to photography. A man on a manic quest for his own truth and always trying to break down the façade, he even does this with the photograph itself in huge blown up photo laminates of painted contact sheets unveiling the selection process for all to see. Laying things as bare as he can, the American dream seems to shatter slightly every time Klein clicks. The war may have been over but a new one was being waged.
The mania of Klein’s rooms pave the way for Moriyama to adopt a more sensual approach, where Klein is the rampant explorer, Moriyama, ten years his junior, is the flaneur letting his intuition lead.

Memory of Dog 2, 1982. © Daido Moriyama

Moriyama, born in Osaka but later settling in Tokyo, seems to be trying to make sense of these fragmented places, which the city poses. His democracy of vision renders real-artificial, human-animal, subject-photographer, inanimate object-nature all equal, all up for investigation. His photographs are where pre conceptions go to die. The city is merely a plethora of possibilities and he is open to them all. In the series Platform he captures different groups of people waiting for the train. We see a businessman, a granny and a housewife all coexisting on an equal plane, all having a story we can get lost in.
Moriyama’s influence, Jack Kerouac’s On the road, can be seen in the countless open-ended narratives that pour onto the walls in a stream of consciousness. Like Kerouac did with writing, Moriyama pushes the limits of photography – shooting grainy, disjointed compositions, overlapping images and over exposing. Photographs become his own subconscious imprints. In Farewell photography we see how Moriyama like Klein, uses personal expressions and distortion of light to remind us of the façade of the photograph.
The curator, Simon Baker, explains this is “a show about photographic architecture”. Staying true to Klein and Moriyama’s love affair with the photo book, the exhibition utilises this in a visually exciting way. There are vitrines full of books, issues of Japanese vintage publication Provoke. The photographs adorn the walls in grids resembling something of a free flowing book etched out on the wall. This, coupled with mammoth sized images and large-scale films create a constant flux of shapes and forms. 
Ultimately, this exhibition is an opportunity to witness how pioneering both were in breaking from the confines of the photograph to create a visual language where perception can roam freely, in turn, producing images that seem to spring from the dark recesses of our imaginations and fantasies.
Rachel Ridge 
Rachel Ridge: Do you see the relationship between you and William Klein? 

Daido Moriyama: Rather than feeling there’s any particular connection with the artist, I feel very happy and very fortunate to be able to share the same space with him. When I was in my twenties and saw Klein photographs of New York it really inspired me to become a photographer and change the way I took photographs myself.

RR: I read that sometimes you don’t look into the viewfinder when you’re shooting; you let your body take the photograph. How much do you rely on instinct and intuition?

DM: Yes. Intuition is very important and the instinct there. Sometimes if you’re in the town you might be looking one direction and you’ll just feel that there’s something happening over there and so you’ll just turn the camera and take a photo in the other direction and that is pure instinct. 

RR: Can you elaborate on how Jack Kerouac’s On the road has influenced your work?

DM: It’s not as though in every shot I take there is a bit of Jack Kerouac or a bit of Andy Warhol. When I was young I was very influenced by seeing their work or reading their work and that has somehow sunk into my subconscious and so it probably is present in all that I do but I’m not very conscious of it when I’m taking the pictures. I can emphasise with them in how they see the world, your basis stance to what’s around you.

RR: So like an intuitive remembering…

DM: It’s intuitive sometimes when you’re actually taking the photo. It can be intuitive what kind of photo you take but at the same time this basic stance to the world around you that’s the base on what you’re standing, so not quite the same as intuition. Through the lens it might be an instinctive motion to take a photo but the whole of my life and memories are acting through that one motion at that time.

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.

Photo News – Foam for You launches short film featuring Jessica Backhaus and invites amateur photographers to contribute to Wonder Flickr group

Foam For You has launched the second in its series of short films with Jessica Backhaus giving an insight into her working practice as she explores the theme Wonder for Foam magazine. Backhaus featured in Hotshoe magazine way back in April/may 2006 with her series Jesus and the Cherries.

Jesus and the Cherries, © Jessica Backhaus

“Foam For You is an online resource which features professional photographers providing inspiration and advice for amateurs looking to improve their own work. At the core of Foam For You’s content is a series of extended films about the work of three internationally renowned artists: Michael Wolf (USA), Jessica Backhaus (GER) and Melanie Bonajo (NL).

“They have given Foam exclusive access to their working practice in three fifteen minute documentaries. They explain the thinking behind their work and, in particular, how it relates to themes taken from different issues of Foam Magazine, in which their work appeared.”

What’s more, the best ones will appear in a gallery on the Foam website and you could win a year’s subscription to Foam Magazine.

Filed under: short films, Women Photographers Tagged: audience participation, Flickr, Foam for You, Foam magazine, Jessica Backhaus, photography inspiration, short film, Wonder

Sascha Weidner, Unveiled

Sascha Weidner, Unveiled

Sascha Weidner

Unveiled,
Sydney, 2012
Website – SaschaWeidner.de

Sascha Weidner studied photography, film, and painting as well as communication design at the Braunschweig University of Art. He was a master student of Doerte Eissfeldt. With the support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), he worked in Los Angeles between 2004 and 2006. He has been awarded numerous distinctions, including the 2010 Foerderpreis / Kunstpreis Berlin, the NBank photography advancement award, and the first prize in the Polaroid International Photography Award. In addition to appearing in many publications, his work has been shown in exhibitions at worldwide at venues including Foam in Amsterdam, Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Openeye Gallery in Liverpool, C/O Berlin, International Photography Festival Knokke-Heist, Tapiès in Barcelona, Museum for Photography in Braunschweig, Samstag Museum in Adelaide, and Deichtorhallen in Hamburg. He lives & works in Belm & Berlin, Germany.