Tag Archives: Princeton University

Matthew Swarts, Beth

Matthew Swarts, Beth

Matthew Swarts

Beth,
Long Beach Island, New Jersey, 2012
From the OPEN WATER series
Website – MatthewSwarts.com

Matthew Swarts’ work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Doubletake Magazine, Contact Sheet, Afterimage, Fotophile, In the Loupe, and other publications. He attended Princeton University and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and has taught photography at Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Ramapo College, The University of Connecticut, The University of Massachusetts, Boston, Middlesex College, and The Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He is the recipient of a J.William Fulbright Scholar Grant and the Ruttenberg Arts Foundation Award for the best new work nationally in photographic portraiture. His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Library of Congress, The deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Princeton University, and Light Work, among others. He lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts.
 

David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 2

David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 2

David Maisel

Terminal Mirage 2,
vicinity of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, 2003
From the Terminal Mirage series
Website – DavidMaisel.com

David Maisel was born in New York City in 1961. He received his BA from Princeton University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts, in addition to study at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Maisel was a Scholar in Residence at the Getty Research Institute in 2007 and an Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in 2008. Maisel’s photographs, multi-media projects, and public installations have been exhibited internationally, and are included in many public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. His work has been the subject of four monographs: The Lake Project (Nazraeli Press, 2004), Oblivion (Nazraeli Press, 2006), Library of Dust (Chronicle Books, 2008), and History's Shadow (Nazraeli Press, 2011). His newest book, Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime, will be available in Fall 2012. He lives and works in the San Francisco area.

Matthew Swarts, Mary and Michael

Matthew Swarts, Mary and Michael

Matthew Swarts

Mary and Michael,
Somerville, Massachusetts, 2007
From the AMSTERDAM series
Website – MatthewSwarts.com

Matthew Swarts’ work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Doubletake Magazine, Contact Sheet, Afterimage, Fotophile, In the Loupe, and other publications. He attended Princeton University and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and has taught photography at Amherst College, Bowdoin College, Ramapo College, The University of Connecticut, The University of Massachusetts, Boston, Middlesex College, and The Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He is the recipient of a J.William Fulbright Scholar Grant and the Ruttenberg Arts Foundation Award for the best new work nationally in photographic portraiture. His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Library of Congress, The deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Princeton University, and Light Work, among others. He lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts.
 

Review Santa Fe: Susannah Ray

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.  

Surf culture is usually associated with the West Coast.  Our visions of the Beach Boys and Gidget inform our imaginations, as do sunny skies and palm trees, but photographer Susannah Ray sees surfing a little differently. Shot on the “right coast”, there is a intensity and unique perspective about surfing in the proximity of New York City, especially in the winter.

 Kui, February Swell, 2005


Susannah studied photography at Princeton University and received her MFA from the
School of Visual Arts. She
teaches at Hofstra University and exhibits widely, recently at Modified Arts (Phoenix, AZ), Bonni Benrubi Gallery (NY, NY), and
The Print Center (Philadelphia, PA). She was a Santa Fe Center Prize nominee in
2011 and a finalist for the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in 2011 and 2009.
Susannah lives in Rockaway Beach, NY with her husband, daughter, and 3 cats.
 Snowman, 2009

Right Coast: In fall of 2004, following my growing obsession with maritime
weather models, cold-water wax, and 7mm neoprene mittens, I began documenting
surfing in New York City. My life as I knew it had succumbed to my constant
urge to surf, and it became clear to me that my photography would suffer from
neglect if I did not begin to document the new passion that occupied most of my
waking thoughts and many of my dreaming ones.
 Red Board (Alex K.), 2008

The project title, Right Coast, is a nickname for the East coast that not only indicates its location on the continental US, but also asserts an underdog’s dreams of superiority. Surfing on the right coast, particularly in New York City, lacks most of the lifestyle and allure of West coast surfing. Yet making up for the dearth of good weather, consistent waves, and beautiful surf spots is a community that has a surfeit of heart, dedication, and soul. Or in a word, aloha.
 50-50 Hansen, 2008

In addition to landscapes that reveal the rigor and drama of winter surfing, I include portraits and still lifes that reveal the intimacy and intensity of the life carved out on New York City’s stretch of Atlantic Ocean. The familiar icons of surfing–heroic men with surfboards, barrel-shaped waves, and bikini-clad women–play against the gray skies, snow covered beaches, and grafittied environs. 
 The NSSS (Not So Secret Spot), 2004

All photographs of Right Coast are 20”x24” type c-prints, editions of 7

 Red Rocket, 2006

 The Flea Bungalow, Winter 2005, 2005

 Lei, 2006
 Kristi Convalescing, 2005

 Sleeping Single Fins at the Big House, 2005

  Session’s End, 2006

  The Last Clark Blank, 2007

 Shadow Surfer 3, 2008
 Mollusk Movie Night, 2009

Twilight, 2006

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.

City on Fire: A Look Inside Changsha in China

Rather than see the city of Changsha fall into Japanese hands during World War II, Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek decided to burn the entire city to the ground in 1938. Out of the destruction, Changsha, now a metropolis of six million, has risen from the ashes.

Photographer Rian Dundon spent the last six years creating a gritty black-and-white exploration of people living and making their way in Changsha, as well as Hunan, in a geometrically evolving civilization. A dizzying place, where “bit-players in the unfolding epic of China’s development” deal with forces beyond their control, he says.

Dundon describes Changsha as “Blade Runner meets Brooklyn: a sprawling warren of ad-hoc concrete, grand boulevards and neon dreams laced with an energy that made me dizzy.” After six years living and working in China, the photographer has begun composing a book dummy and is selling advance copies via emphas.is to help fund its publication.

The photographer originally moved to China thinking it was only a yearlong commitment, tagging along with his then-girlfriend who had landed a position teaching English for Princeton University. Living in China subverted Dundon’s imagination, and he found himself surprised by the disparity between what he had envisioned and what he actually found. “I had expected something more exotic, more foreign,” he says. “My notions of China were of a place removed from the rest of the world.”

Dundon began to learn Mandarin in the city’s pool halls, counting balls in Chinese, and practicing his language skills with local billiards sharks and spectators. He befriended a liquor salesman and a bar owner who introduced him to a grittier side of the city’s nightlife. By day, he explored Changsha, soaking in the rhythm and the texture of the place. “I did my best to absorb everything, every bit of local language or news or culinary offering. And I photographed, always photographed. Only now I wasn’t just a visitor or a journalist,” he says. “Without a story to cover or a deadline to meet, I consigned myself to the sensuality of living, engaging with the people I met and staying open to different modes of experience,” Dundon wrote in his project outline.

“After one year I knew I had only scratched the surface. There were so many layers to dig through. And there’s no way to rush this kind of thing,” Dundon says. Despite the fact that his girlfriend left after a year, Dundon ended up staying in China for six.

Rather than take a traditional journalistic approach, Dundon photographed in a more experiential way. In his work, Dundon found himself “trying to maintain a continuous sense of personal narrative in my work—a unifying perspective. In China I was more interested in atmosphere and attitude than a strictly defined subject or story,” Dundon says. “And I had to accept the fact that I knew nothing. That only by staying open to different tracks of experience would I be able to produce something honest. I needed to give up control. Allow myself to be led.”

In Changsha, Dundon befriended a crew of funeral planners, cemetery consultants and speculators. “The death business is booming in China. Most of them were young kids fresh out of college who kept a canny sense of humor despite the somber surroundings,” he says. Despite the growth opportunities in the industry, these ambitious youths were stuck in an odd interstitial area, between the cultures of both ancient and modern China. The power and presence of sprits and ghosts is still respected by many Chinese, and for this group, that meant keeping their work secret—save for a small cadre of family members and friends. “Most people don’t want to get close to someone who spends their days with the dead. And that shared experience of exclusion was the glue that bound their tightly knit group together.”

Dundon took a trip home to rural Liling County with one of his Changsha confederates. “He told me that nobody in his village could know what he really did for a living.” Dundon says. Despite his success in the city, “he was still forced to lie about his job when he went home for holidays. After tasting city life he said he could never move home again.”

Rian Dundon is an American photographer. See more of his work here.

Photographer #347: Fazal Sheikh

Fazal Sheikh, 1965, USA, is a documentray photographer who mainly works in Black and White. In 1987 he graduated with a B.A. from Princeton University. His work focuses on individuals of displaced communities. He has traveled extensively to countries as Somalia, India, Brazil and Afghanistan. His latest book Portraits is one of the many books he released over the last 15 years. In 2005 he published Moksha, a project that portrayed widows from India in the holy city of Vrindavan. Over the course of three years he got accepted by the widows who told to him about their lives, often filled with physical violence, sexual abuse and neglect. Fazal received numerous awards for his photographic work. In 2001 he established a series of projects and books about international human rights issues that were published and distributed free of charge. The following images come from the series Beloved Daughters, Simpatia and Moksha.


Website: www.fazalsheikh.org