Tag Archives: Polaroid

Review Santa Fe: Yiorgos Kordakis

Over the next month, I will be sharing the work of photographers who attended Review Santa Fe in June.  Review Santa Fe is the only juried review in the United States and invites 100 photographers to Santa Fe for a long weekend of reviews, insights, and connections.  

Greek photographer, Yiorgos Kordakis, lives and works in Greece and New York. He attended college in Italy and London, which reflects why his work has such a universal appeal and focus. Using 4×5 Instant Polaroid and Fuji film, Yiorgos captures the world with a bleached out, timeless approach that evokes feelings of memory and time passing.  I am featuring two of Yiorgos’ series, 10,000 American Movies, where he rediscovers the US landscape stimulated by memories of American movies, and Global Summer.
Images from 10,000 American Movies
10,000 American Movies: I always find it to be a unique experience
when I touch upon US soil. I call it familiarity. I am acquainted with
everything. I have been here before. Perhaps I even grew up here. In a way, I
think I did. And that’s because of the thousands of American movies I have been
watching since I was a little kid. America feels like I am on set on its own
and I am the action. I’m racing through the endless highways of the State of
Texas, I book myself in cheap motel rooms on the road, I eat pancakes at desert
diners in small desolate Mid West towns, I seek parking lots cramped with old,
faded, street mural advertising all in search for the America that I know. The
country that I saw flickering across the screens of movie theatres and TV back
at home in Greece.
For the past four years, I have been driving
across the country reliving each American 
movie scene I had in my mind. I thought I was
the action, but I learned that I was becoming the direction. I started to
physically explore America.
My images represent thousands of little movie
moments, which are deeply rooted into my memory. I am not looking for a movie
location. I’m looking for the reflection of reality in the mirror of film. In
my eyes and lens, this is a country that seems like an endless movie set.

Images from Global Summer

Photographer #449: Miti Ruangkritya

Miti Ruangkritya, 1981, Thailand, studied Photojournalism at the University of Westminster. His work is mainly documentary based yet he tries not to restrict himself in any way. He is currently working on an ongoing project that consists of a polaroid installation placed on the beach of Nongkhai in Thailand. A dining table displays the polaroids without placeholders, inviting the viewers to pick up the images and be involved. By adding mattresses and swimming rings he wants to create a relaxed atmosphere for the audience to enjoy the work outside of a typical gallery exhibition. In his series On the Edge he took a closer look at Siem Reap, a city he had visited in 1991 when there was only one hotel and one bar. Today the city has massively exploded in size consisting of 5 star hotels, restaurants and bars. Miti viewed the city from a distance “from the vantage point of someone approaching (or perhaps momentarily escaping) the city.” His work has been exhibited in London, Paris and Thailand and his portfolio will be featured in the May 2012 edition of the British Journal of Photography. The following images come from the series Imagining Flood, Northern Route and On the Edge.

Website: www.mi-ti.com

Stephen Chalmers, Baby with tractor at Sunset (vandalized Cerney/Sun Kim sculpture)

Stephen Chalmers, Baby with tractor at Sunset (vandalized Cerney/Sun Kim sculpture)

Stephen Chalmers

Baby with tractor at Sunset (vandalized Cerney/Sun Kim sculpture),
Phoenix, 2009
From the Transience series
Website – StephenChalmers.com

Stephen Chalmers has worked as a Lead Treatment Counselor to severely emotionally disturbed children, worked as an Emergency Medical Technician, and taught gang children photography – informing his projects which deal with issues of loss. He has also been a contributor to five books, and has been in group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. and also in Australia, Ireland, British Columbia, Thailand, England, South Africa, and China. Chalmers earned his MFA in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University, served as the Northwest Regional Chair for the Society for Photographic Education for two terms, was professor in the state of Washington for eight years and is currently a professor of Photography at Youngstown State University in Ohio. His work is in several collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Light Work, Polaroid, and the Getty Research Institute.

Photographer #389: Lin Zhipeng

Lin Zhipeng aka NO.223, 1979, China, is a photographer based in Beijing who works in a very intuitive fashion. His photography shows the Chinese youth of today with sex and chaotic love as recurring themes. The photographs that are made using a very direct and hard flash, showing a youth culture the way he does, are relatively new to come from a country as China. The “snap-shot” images reveal a new Chinese generation, allowing us viewers to see them while they party, shower, hang-out, kiss and smoke. His work has been published in several books as New Photography in China and in numerous magazines as Vice, S Magazine and Dazed and Confused. He has been exhibited mainly in China, but also in Europe and the USA. The following images come from the portfolios Portfolio 09, Portfolio 07 and Polaroid.

Website: www.linzhipeng223.com

Fall Issue Available Now!

Issue 204 features:

Photographer Tod Papageorge discusses photography, teaching, and his new collection of writings.

A selection from Cyprien Gaillard‘s Polaroid series Geographical Analogies.

Mary Panzer revisits the political and controversial group The Photo League.

Martin Parr presents Rimaldas Viksraitis‘s raw documentation of a rural Lithuanian village.

Lois Conner, featured on our cover, shares new color work from her residency at the Italian home of Sol and Carol LeWitt.

A group of writers and photographers examine the role of images, ten years after the 9/11 attacks.


Click here to subscribe now and get a FREE book!


New Limited-Editions from Aperture

Curious about those two gorgeous limited-editions featured in Aperture’s recent newsletter? Here we provide an in-depth look at two of Aperture’s most special offerings this season: Rinko Kawauchi‘s Illuminance Limited-Edition Box Set and Jordan Tate‘s New Work #42.

© Jordan Tate

New Work #42 is a print by Aperture Portfolio Prize finalist Jordan Tate. This photograph is included in Tate’s thought-provoking series, New Work, which investigates the process of image making and the role new technology plays in contemporary photography.

Tate’s work belongs to a growing group of photographers indebted to predecessors Christopher Williams and James Welling. He pushes the conversation beyond nostalgia and squarely into the present, however, by indulging in screen-based images and non-traditional output methods like lenticular screens, animated gifs, and 3-D anaglyphs. His images frequently focus on indicators of an image in the making, such as this photograph of a Polaroid that could easily be an exposure/lighting test for a studio shoot. New Work offers a compelling and quirky exploration of the work involved in new photography.

© Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi‘s Illuminance Limited-Edition Box Set includes a specially bound copy of the artist’s monograph Illuminance (Aperture, 2011) and two beautiful photographs of images found in the book, all presented in a clothbound case. The highly anticipated monograph is the latest volume of Kawauchi’s work and the first to be published outside of Japan. Gorgeously produced as a clothbound volume with Japanese binding, this impressive compilation of mostly previously unpublished images is proof of Kawauchi’s unparalleled, unique sensibility and her ongoing appeal to the lovers of photography.

Kawauchi’s work has frequently been lauded for its nuanced palette and offhand compositional mastery, as well as its ability to incite wonder via careful attention to tiny gestures and the incidental details of her everyday environment. In Illuminance, she continues her exploration of the extraordinary in the mundane, drawn to the fundamental cycles of life and the seemingly inadvertent, fractal-like organization of the natural world into formal patterns, as evidenced by the photographs included in this very special set.

You can also shop online for even more limited-edition books and prints.

From the Work Scholar’s Desk: A Visit to Andres Serrano’s Studio

By Camille Clech

Camille Clech and Andres Serrano

Picture 1 of 1

Last month, Aperture’s Work Scholars had the profound pleasure of visiting Andres Serrano‘s studio. The space boasts an eclectic atmosphere; a sixteenth-century Madonna sculpture, for example, faces one of Serrano’s cinematic portraits of a Ku Klux Klan member.

We conversed with the artist on a variety of subjects, covering everything from his childhood in Williamsburg to the controversy surrounding his famous Piss Christ. Serrano collects Renaissance art and explained the importance these pieces have in his working environment, and how they affect his work. Preferring to be called an artist rather than a photographer, he also shared his opinions on current culture, the importance of the image, and the immediate nature of modern news. We were captivated by the story of his artistic rise, and his description of how the art world has changed since the beginning of his career. In closing, he answered questions about his influences, his artistic process, and the current state of photography.

After our group visit, I had the opportunity to take part in a photo shoot with Andres Serrano. Currently working on painterly reinterpretations of iconic religious scenes – such as Virgin with Child, or the Last Supper – he invited me to pose for his take on the Madonna. Supported by his wife and his assistant, he set up the background and lighting, and then took some polaroid tests to find the perfect angle and luminosity. Cloaked in the Madonna’s iconic blue veil, I posed for several shots.

I am looking forward to see which image Mr. Serrano will select during his developing and editing processes. It was an incredible experience, and I am so grateful to the Work Scholar Program for giving us all this one-of-a-kind opportunity!

Camille Clech is Aperture’s Website and Video Production Work Scholar. She is a student at the New York Institute of Technology-Old Westbury, and can’t believe she posed for an Andres Serrano portrait!

To learn more about Aperture’s Work Scholar program, click here.

Success Stories: John Chervinsky

Exploring the work of John Chervinsky is intriguing and very inspiring as his photographs are a reflection of a thinker and doer. The more I researched John, the more impressed I became by not only his exquisite work, but the level of professionalism and thought he brings to the production, marketing, and execution of his images. As John opens an exhibition of An Experiment in Perspective at the Wallspace Gallery in Santa Barbara, running from May 31st through July 3, 2011, I would, indeed, call John a Success Story.

A self-taught photographer, John brings a host of visual, intellectual, and scientific tools to his work. He is an engineer working in the field of applied physics at Harvard’s Rowland Institute for Science, originally founded by Polaroid’s Edwin H. Land. John spent eighteen years running a particle accelerator at Harvard University and has collaborated with Museums, using accelerator technology in the analysis of art. His work has been celebrated in a number of solo and group shows, and held in significant museum collections across the country.

John has an interesting new body of work, Studio Physics, that is still in production. Examples follow in the interview below.

In 2001, three significant events moved John to retreat to his studio and begin taking his work to another level — his wife became seriously ill, the World Trade Center was attacked, and his friend and fellow photographer Guy Pollard died unexpectedly. This focused time allowed him to find solace in a world that seemed out of control, and create a body of work that is “ an attempt to find metaphors within the laws of nature that can be universally applied to every day life. Conceptually, the work deals with the divide between rational or scientific explanations of existence and man’s need to explain the world around him with various systems of belief. “

His photographic experiment began when he tried to answer the question: “Could one draw a circle in a square corner of a room and still have the circle look round in a photograph?” To create his photographs, John builds vertical and horizontal chalkboard surfaces, then points a view camera at the 90-degree angle formed by their intersection. With chalk he creates markings drawn in projection so it appears, from the viewpoint of the camera, that the markings are floating in space or on the surface of the photograph.

John’s chalk markings—arrows, diagrams, scientific formulae—are juxtaposed with real objects, giving the photographed image an effect that is at once visually unsettling and intellectually provocative.

Lenses and cameras are the tools of the trade for a working photographer, but it is the field of optics, as it relates to human vision, that can carry with it multivalent symbolic possibilities for the artist. It can stand as a testament to our expansion of human knowledge and perception. It can also symbolize aspects of our weaknesses, thus leading to a greater understanding of the human condition. Are we prone to the same limitations as our trusty camera on a tripod, held to the earth, seeing the universe from a fixed and single point?

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming show at Wallspace Gallery. I appreciate that you are challenging our visual and spiritual limitations with this series. Did you have any new revelations while creating it, or are you exploring territory that is already familiar to you?

Thanks Aline! I feel very fortunate to be at Wall Space amongst some very great artists, and I love working with Crista Dix.

When I first dragged chalkboards into my studio, I knew that I wanted to play tricks with perspective, but that’s all I had in mind. It was mostly unfamiliar territory. I exercise so much control in other aspects of my work, that it would make me unhappy if I controlled the direction too forcefully. I like that period in the course of a project, when the work itself is reflecting something back for me to take hold of. When I first started, I didn’t think the images would have objects at all – only abstract chalk markings. I tried that for a while and it looked terrible. Eventually, I became satisfied with the relationship between object and line and realized that I could then play with symbols and communicate something to viewers.

The biggest revelation with the project, was that it seemed that I could present a fairly ambiguous framework of symbols, and a significant subset of viewers responded to it – and not only that, they did a good job of decoding it. I enjoyed hearing from people who were paying attention to the fact that the tic-tac-toe game in one of my images was an unwinable one; or that those with a scientific background understood the connection between water and the planet Mars.

Is there an image from An Experiment in Perspective that is most meaningful to you?

There is one that features two photographs of my mother; one taken in her 20’s and one taken by me in her 80’s. She is inserted into a mechanics diagram with a physics equation. The image that I created is first and foremost, an expression of my worry about my mother. I also had hoped that the image would serve as a commentary involving the ability of humans to bisect our world along emotional lines and rational lines, simultaneously.

I am very impressed with how you packaged this project as a traveling exhibition (see site for more details). I think we can all learn a lesson from not only your exhibition proposal, but also your approach to showing work. How did this come about?

My very first solo exhibition was here in Massachusetts at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2005. I hand framed all 23 pieces in the show. Several months later, I attended my very first portfolio review (Photolucida) and made a connection with Mary Virginia Swanson. It was her idea to market the framed pieces as a traveling show. She pointed me to a traveling exhibition organized by the George Eastman House and I wanted to do something similar. I grew up in a very self-reliant household. My father built the house that I grew up in with his own two hands. It was only natural to me, to build the crate. It was a surprising amount of work to complete, but it has been very worthwhile for me. I have to warn that the approach is not for everyone as there are many considerations: storage issues, the intricacies and cost of shipping artwork via motor freight, insurance, etcetera. Like anything else, do your research.

Your amazing print quality is often remarked upon. Are you approaching print making in a unique way or tips you can pass on?

Thanks for that. I don’t know whether my approach is unique but I’m happy to share all. I did come to digital printing with extensive darkroom experience, so it was helpful to know in advance what a good print looks like. I did think that a major weakness of digital printing on matt paper (my choice, for printing images of blackboards) was that the blacks were kind of anemic – and so I spent some time finding an ink and paper combination that produced the deepest blacks that I could get. I found an inexpensive X-rite densitometer on eBay, so that I could make actual measurements. I then figured out a process to have precise calibration for any ink/paper/printer combination. Beyond that, it’s just taking care of basics: starting off with a properly exposed negative, scanning at the highest bit depth possible, avoid having blocked shadows and blown out highlights. For post-process editing, I do rely heavily on the history brush, to finesse my dodging and burning.

You have a fascinating new body of work, Studio Physics. Can you tell us how the new work came about and more about it?

I spent some time thinking about Chris McCaw’s photographs and how he not only created very compelling and beautiful images, pushed his materials to the burning point, actually – but he works at timescales involving hours. It is a time interval that is used in photography, but it is sort of unusual. There are others who work in timescales over years and decades, either studies of people (Nicholas Nixon’s The Brown Sisters, for example) or many who take “then and now” approaches of city shots. I started thinking about a time interval that no one seemed to care about and started thinking about creative ways to exploit that in a still life.

I was already interested in perspective issues with chalk drawing, when I ran into a photographer at Fotofest named Rick Ashley. He used Chinese artists to make straight reproductions of a few of his photographs. There are many commercial painting studios in China that will paint a reproduction of an image that one can send in an email. They can paint a picture of your husband or wife, or they can forge a Van Gogh – you simply have to pay them to do it. It was then, that the idea hit me to use oil painting for my specific purposes.

The idea is to extend the image capture interval from the standard click of the shutter to a period lasting weeks: I shoot a straight still-life, crop the resultant image. I then email a jpeg of the cropped section to China and have them make it into a painting. Meanwhile, my studio setup sits there, but change to it is occurring, the apples begin to rot, the flowers die and the mold advances. Eventually they send the completed painting back to me in the mail. I insert it into the still life, and re-photograph.

Then I just starting having fun! Is the light changing over time? Does the painting fit back into the still life perfectly or can I change its position in space for creative purposes? Does the pull of gravity change an object’s position? I’m hoping to capitalize on, in a very straightforward way, the preoccupation of the physicist: time light space and gravity, and look at them with photography.

How has creating work that takes “not seconds, but weeks” changed your perceptions about making photographs?

Well, only a small subset of objects change noticeably, over weeks – mostly living things, or recently living things. I don’t want the work to be just about decay, however. As in real life, we have growth and decay.

This is a collaborative project–will you ever let your collaborators in on the final product?

Yes, but I’m not in a hurry to tell them. If they find me, so be it. Meanwhile, I’m actually enjoying the challenges of communicating with them. It’s all been very formal, but with broken English and peppered with plenty of exclamation points:

“Thanks for your letter! We are appreciated about your business chance!”

I’ve been trying to get conversational with them to try to find out how many people work at a given facility, what their lives are like, the weather – but those inquiries mostly get ignored. There have been technical challenges associated with the collaboration too – sometimes they’ll change the size of a painting or reorganize the placement of objects, not always in favorable ways. In fact, rarely so.

What advice can you give emerging photographers, especially on presentation, on networking, on consistently producing excellent work?

Well, unless you pay attention to all three aspects, you will only exist at the hobbyist level. At some point in our lives, we have to consider what might happen to our work after we’re gone. You are not Henry Darger. You will not have someone find your work in a shack only to share it with the world. This is not a bleak assessment: more, it is a call to be good not just at one thing, but several.

What opportunity took your career to the next level?

It was not one thing, there are no big breaks, or they are very rare.

Has social networking changed how you promote and market your work?

Yes, and it has made marketing even more perplexing. There are those of my contemporaries that choose to ignore social media entirely, but I believe it is to their own peril. It’s basically too big to ignore: adapt or die. There is power in numbers, however – and if you can crack the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm, you might be able to organize a meaningful strategy.

Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and feel creatively unmotivated?

Yes, but I use that time for technical hacks that might lead somewhere interesting. Recently I learned how to take x-rays in one of our labs. I spent quite a bit of time learning and reading about technique, but I have not yet been able to create a body of work that was compelling enough to share with others. I think it’s important to keep busy and during dry spells. You never know when a simmering pot may boil over.

And finally, what would be your perfect day?

It would involve swimming across Walden Pond with my wife, playing Frisbee with my dog, running up the spiral staircases at the Rowland Institute, shooting “a keeper” in my studio, listening to good music, listening to bad music, fish on the grill, a pint of fine ale, another pint of fine ale. I have lots of perfect days – my needs are simple.