Tag Archives: Pieter Hugo

Aaron Schuman, Untitled

Aaron Schuman, Untitled

Aaron Schuman

Untitled,
Somerset, England, 2012
From the Summer Set series
Website – AaronSchuman.com

Aaron Schuman is an American photographer, editor, writer and curator based in the United Kingdom. His photographic work is exhibited internationally, and he regularly contributes photography, articles, essays and interviews to a wide-range of publications, including Aperture, Foam Magazine, Photoworks, ArtReview, Modern Painters, Hotshoe International, British Journal of Photography, and more; he has also published writings in a number of recently released books, including Pieter Hugo: This Must Be the Place (Prestel, 2012), Photographs Not Taken (Daylight, 2012), and Hijacked 3 (Big City Press, 2012). In 2010, Schuman curated Whatever Was Splendid: New American Photographs, a principal exhibitions at the 2010 Fotofest Biennial (Houston, USA); in 2011 he curated Other I: Alec Soth, Wassink Lundgren, Viviane Sassen at Hotshoe Gallery (London, UK); and he is in the midst of curating In Appropriation for the Houston Center of Photography, opening in September 2012. Schuman is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Brighton and the Arts University College at Bournemouth. He is also the founder, director and editor of the online photography journal, SeeSaw Magazine.
 

Photographers-Turned-Directors: Susan Bright’s Favorites on MOCAtv

In July 2012, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA) asked me to compile a playlist of videos directed by photographers for their new online series, MOCAtv. Launched last week, MOCAtv bills itself as the “Global Contemporary Art Channel,” providing a wide range of content related to the arts. Looking to see if photographers’ skills translated into music videos was one of the most enjoyable commissions I have ever had.

My personal interest in music videos is mainly autobiographical. I was a teenager in the 1980s—the heyday of the music video. Videos were crucial to bands’ identity; it was really the only way, apart from photography, that an image was disseminated to the world. MTV was the dominant force, but if you grew up in Britain, it was the quaintly titled BBC show Top of the Pops that was one of the only ways to see them.

Looking back at these videos has evoked amazing memories, but at times, I view some videos with a new perspective and appreciate them now because of who made them and how they look. For example, the mesmerizing Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer was always incredible – but now that I know it was directed by the great British fashion and portrait photographer Terence Donovan, all I can see are the similarities to his later photographs of the 1980s with their strong, almost aggressive, female glamour.  It’s interesting to note where the photographer’s hand is so apparent and successful, and elsewhere, when they lose something of their signature flair by having a moving camera instead of a still shot.

Like many, my introduction to music came via my older brother. Always one step ahead of me, he had very sophisticated taste. My first concert was Souxsie and the Banshees when I was 14. Somehow I managed to persuade him (and more miraculously my parents) that I should go along with him and a gang of heavily hair-sprayed goths. It was not the music that I particularly remember, but the amazing beauty of this particular strand of post punk music. From that moment I was addicted to live concerts and the performance of dressing up.

I knew about New Order due to my brothers liking of Joy Division. I saw them perform that summer and their shortened remix of Blue Monday (1988) is like a backing track to those heady months, which were incredibly hot and renamed by many of my contemporaries as ‘the summer of ale.’ I was 18.

When I was asked to put this playlist together I couldn’t believe that I had never seen the video. I was so delighted that it was done by William Wegman. It is full of lovely references for me. Wegman is an artist who manages to have conceptual credibility and respect in the art world and also make calendars with puppies. I can’t think of any one else who manages such success in both commercial and art worlds with such ease and lack of compromise on either side. His ABC video Alphabet Soup featuring Fay, Batty, Chundo and Crooky is my favorite gift to all new parents; my daughter’s go-to bedtime book is Wegmonolgy and my brother has Weineramas. It’s like all good things in my life are condensed into this one video.

A year after Blue Monday, New Order released Run and asked Robert Frank to direct it. This video combines many different kinds of video techniques into one film. It has both live footage and a narrative. It also uses still photographs many times. Nothing is really explained but it has that coldness, disconnect and mystery which is so crucial to a Frank photograph. The song is not the strongest, but you are held utterly by the video. The ending is pure Frank: it stops on a still photograph where everyone is looking in different directions and the scene is chaotic but happy. In two takes he goes closer in to the black-and-white photograph with a woman clutching a book titled listen to god. About two seconds of existential anxiety almost lost as the song fades out.

Staying in the 1980s is Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, directed by Herb Ritts. This song, which came out in 1989, was reinserted into popular culture when it was used in a scene of Wild at Heart by David Lynch. The video is trademark Ritts. The female body (Helena Christensen) is Amazonian—sexy, strong and very much associated with the 1980s before the AIDS crisis (although of course the AIDS crisis had very much gripped huge swaths of society by this time). It’s crisp, clean and erotic. He shoots from many angles so the body, although always sensuous, can also become abstracted. This photographic technique, which Ritts has become so famous for, was most eloquently played out in a photograph of five of the most famous supermodels gathered together naked (Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989) their limbs lending graphic strength and dynamism to the composition of the picture.

Die Antwoord, I Fink U Freeky directed by Roger Ballen (2012) practically went viral among photography circles recently. The video starts with “Die Antwoord in Association with Roger Ballen.” This is the first time I have seen musicians and the director on equal footing, especially when the band has a much bigger global presence than the photographer.

Ballen has lived and worked in South Africa for most of his life. His work is a swirling mix of reality, fantasy, documentary and personal investigation. He photographs in the poorest white areas of South Africa, and his work is immediately recognizable for its disturbing almost nihilistic qualities, which are confusing in terms of ethics and morals of representation. This video is like a zooped up, hammy musical journey through his work and is so well suited to the band, who have a trickster element to them. They are the perfect artistic combination.

Another South African photographer, Pieter Hugo, has directed Spoek Mathambo, Control which was originally recorded by Joy Division and has again been introduced to a younger generation through the biopic of Ian Curtis in the film Control by Anton Corbijn (who has also done a large number of music videos). Again this has similar elements to the Ballen video in that reality has been pushed to appear fantastical. Of all the videos selected it is the most ‘photographic,’ and you can really see Hugo’s skill in using backdrops to create scenes. If you were to go through freeze framing it each scene could work beautifully as a photograph. It reminds me of his Nollywood series about the horror film industry in Nigeria. For this he took costumed actors and put them into the street causing a tension between reality, fantasy, horror, staging and theater. This video has all of those elements and similar references to the genre, but was filmed in a township in Cape Town. It’s the best cover of Control I have ever heard, making it absolutely belong here in South Africa and not the North of England.

Music videos act as lightening rods to memories. Headier than photographs they possess the most potent Proustain links to the past. When they are at their very best, like the ones I have mentioned here, they are like stills come to life. Photographers can offer a particular way of looking at the world. When that coincides with a similar musical vision the results can be spectacular.

Susan Bright is a New York-based writer and curator. You can see more of her work here

View more of MOCAtv’s programming on their YouTube channel.

Photo News – John Stezaker wins Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012

John Stezaker (b.1949, UK) has been awarded the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize at a special ceremony in The Photographers’ Gallery on Monday 3 September 2012. The £30,000 award was presented by artist and 2003 winner of the Prize, Juergen Teller. Photos from the award ceremony to come tomorrow as I am working on the fly but wanted to post this asap. I posted on the fly while out and about on Monday evening and it was saved to drafts and not published. So here it is, a little later than planned, but heh – that’s life.

The Prize is awarded to a photographer of any nationality for their significant contribution to the medium of photography either through an exhibition or publication, in Europe between 1 October 2010 and 30 September 2011. John Stezaker won for his exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (29 January – 18 March 2011).

Stezaker’s collages examine our multifaceted relationship to the image. Through his juxtapositions of found photographs, illustrations and stills taken from books, magazines, vintage postcards and classic movies, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to create new and poignant meanings. John Stezaker was chosen by jury members: François Hébel, Director, Les Rencontres d’Arles; Martin Parr, artist; Beatrix Ruf, Director/Curator, Kunsthalle Zürich; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany. The other shortlisted artists for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012, each awarded £3,000, are: Pieter Hugo (b.1976, South Africa) for his publication Permanent Error, published by Prestel (Germany, 2011); Rinko Kawauchi (b.1972, Japan) for her publication Illuminance, published byEditions Xavier Barral (France, 2011); and Christopher Williams (b. 1956, USA) for his exhibition Kapitalistischer Realismus at Dům umění České Budějovice, Budweis, Czech Republic (5 May – 12 June 2011).

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers blogs, Photography Awards & Competitions, Uncategorized Tagged: Deutsche Borse award 2012, John Stezaker, london, Photo award, photo collage, The Photographers’ Gallery

Aaron Schuman, Redwoods (4)

Aaron Schuman, Redwoods (4)

Aaron Schuman

Redwoods (4),
, 2011-12
From the Redwoods series
Website – AaronSchuman.com

Aaron Schuman is an American photographer, editor, writer and curator based in the United Kingdom. His photographic work is exhibited internationally, and he regularly contributes photography, articles, essays and interviews to a wide-range of publications, including Aperture, Foam Magazine, Photoworks, ArtReview, Modern Painters, Hotshoe International, British Journal of Photography, and more; he has also published writings in a number of recently released books, including Pieter Hugo: This Must Be the Place (Prestel, 2012), Photographs Not Taken (Daylight, 2012), and Hijacked 3 (Big City Press, 2012). In 2010, Schuman curated Whatever Was Splendid: New American Photographs, a principal exhibitions at the 2010 Fotofest Biennial (Houston, USA); in 2011 he curated Other I: Alec Soth, Wassink Lundgren, Viviane Sassen at Hotshoe Gallery (London, UK); and he is in the midst of curating In Appropriation for the Houston Center of Photography, opening in September 2012. Schuman is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University of Brighton and the Arts University College at Bournemouth. He is also the founder, director and editor of the online photography journal, SeeSaw Magazine.
 

FOAM Talent Call 2012

The magnificent FOAM are looking for the world’s next photography talent. The winners will get the chance to have their work published in Foam Magazine, a distinctive and highly regarded international photography magazine. Photographers can submit and upload their portfolios simply using this Facebook app on the Foam Magazine Facebook page

The sixth edition of Foam Talent Call opened on 30 January and this year photographers can submit their work for the first time via Facebook. With over 800 submissions last year, they are understandably excited to see how many they receive this year via Facebook. It is not necessary to have a Facebook to enter the call. 

The Foam Talent issue is designed to showcase young photographers from all over the world. It is described as “a career building platform, launching aspiring talents into the international photography industry, giving them international acclaim and recognition”. A few examples of well known photographers who have been showcased in the Foam Talent issue are: Mayumi Hosokura from issue #28, Benjamin Lowy from issue #24, Alexander Gronsky and Anouk Kruithof from issue #20, and Curis Mann and Pieter Hugo from issue #16. 

The call is open to all photographers aged between 18-35 across the globe. The entrance fee is 35 euro and the competition is fierce, but 15 selected talents will receive an eight page portfolio showcasing their series along with an interview by an esteemed writer. The editorial board will choose the portfolios according to the creative vision and concept of the series presented, amongst other criteria. Submission closes on 16 April 2012. More information can be found here.

Foam Magazine #32 / Talent will be out in September 2012


Kick off 2012 and Visit New Exhibitions

New Year, 2010, © Jowhara AlSaud

Kicking off the 2012 art season, check out highlights on view throughout New York! See below for some of our favorite Aperture artists and galleries.

New Photographers at Dazinger Gallery, January 12–February 25, introducing five emerging photographers unlinked to one another through content but brought together for their first time exhibiting in New York City. Featured photographer Tereza Vlčkovà from Aperture’s groundbreaking book, reGeneration 2: tomorrow’s photographers today.

Silverstein Annual at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, January 14–February 25, offers exposure to ten up-and-coming photographers who have been chosen by ten prominent curators, including Nelli Palomaki, reGeneration 2 artist. View her limited edition prints available through Aperture.

Penetration at Foley Gallery, January 12–March 3, recreates the photographic image with five artists who interrupt the common photographic process. Portfolio Prize 2008 Runner-Up Jowhara AlSaud’s portraits of faceless figures, inspired by censorship, are personal photographs made into drawings etched on the surface of a negative, view her limited edition prints here. Pushing the capabilities of photographic paper itself, Marco Breuer scratches and scrapes the light-sensitive paper making conceptual, abstract imagery. See Breuer’s limited edition book by Aperture Early Recordings and Untitled 2007 and the highly acclaimed compilation The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, he was also featured in Aperture magazine issue 172.

Joel Sternfeld: First Pictures at Luhring Augustine, January 6–February 4, displays a selection of Joel Sternfeld’s earliest photographs, taken between 1971 and 1980, documenting his travels across America through vibrant colors twined with wit and satire.

Visions: Tim Hetherington at Bronx Documentary Center, through January 22, is the inaugural exhibit featuring photography and multimedia work produced by photojournalist Tim Hetherington who was killed in April of 2011 as he covered Libya’s revolution.

First Look at Yossi Milo Gallery, January 26–February 18, is the inaugural exhibition at the new gallery space located at 245 Tenth Avenue. The photographers included all had their first solo New York City exhibition presented by the Yossi Milo Gallery. These artists include Robert Bergman, Mohamed Bourouissa, Pieter Hugo, Simen Johan, Sze Tsung Leong, Loretta Lux, Yuki Onodera, Muzi Quawson, Mark Ruwedel, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Lise Sarfati, Alec Soth, Kohei Yoshiyuki and Liu Zheng. A celebration will be held in honor of these photographers on February 16 from 6:00–8:00 pm.

TIME’s Best of 2011: The Photobooks We Loved

This year we continued to see the rise of tablet computers and digital publishing, and we even wrote about a few digital books on Lightbox like Stephen Shames’ Bronx Boys.  But elsewhere in photography, artists were working on photobooks for those viewers who may have wanted something a bit more lasting, a bit more tangible.

Here LightBox spotlights some of the best photobooks of the year as chosen by a group of photographers and photography experts from around around the world…. and of course a few from the photo editors of TIME.  From the selection one can see the art of the photobook continues to flourish in all genres from reportage to fine art photography, fashion and everything in between. This year’s books range from luxurious tomes like Catherine Opie and Alec Soth’s collaboration for Rodarte to smaller precious books like Fred Hunning’s Drei. Overall the selection shows that even as masses of information come at us from all our digital devices, people still enjoy a singular vision and the process of sitting down with a good book—especially one that pushes the boundaries of the format. Herewith, the photobooks we loved the most in 2011.

Re Runs: Pieter Hugo

This post first ran in 2009…

Pieter Hugo is a photographer that consistently offers imagery that is startling, mezmerizing, and other worldly. His new series, Nollywood, is no exception. Hugo takes a look at the third largest film industry in the world, but it’s very different than world of movie-making we are familiar with. Movies are produced and marketed in a week, using low cost equipment, basic scripts, actors cast the day of the shooting, and improvised locations, with no permits necessary.

Pieter brought together a group of actors and crew of assistants to recreate Nollywood myths and symbols. Shot as if taken on the actual movie sets, the photographs reflect a fictional world where reality is suspended. These surrealistic images are uncomfortabley real, yet unreal, and like a good horror movie, keeps the viewer in suspense.