Tag Archives: Retrospective Exhibition

Stephen Strom

Stephen Strom has a retrospective exhibition at the Verve Gallery in Santa Fe, closing January 19th, but he is is not slowing down by any means.  Stephen has a new book, Sand Mirrors that is “a marriage of poetry by Zen teacher Richard Clarke and photographs by Stephen Strom.”

Stephen spent his professional career as an astronomer and began photographing in 1978.  His work, largely interpretations of landscapes, has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and is held in several permanent collections. His photography complements poems and essays in three books published by the University of Arizona Press: Secrets from the Center of the World, a collaboration with Muscogee poet Joy Harjo; Sonoita Plain: Views of a Southwestern Grassland, a collaboration with ecologists Jane and Carl Bock; Tseyi (Deep in the Rock): Reflections on Canyon de Chelly co-authored with Navajo poet Laura Tohe; as well in : Otero Mesa: America’s Wildest Grassland, with Gregory McNamee and Stephen Capra, University of New Mexico Press (2008). A monograph comprising 43 images, Earth Forms, was published in 2009 by Dewi Lewis Publishing.

Sand Mirrors
The images in
Sand Mirrors — which might be called metaphorical photographs — were taken on a
variety of beaches located along 
the Northern
California and Oregon coasts during 2007-2011.
These beaches are
notable for their relative isolation, expanse, 
stark uplifted
and eroded rocks. backdrop of richly foliated coastal 
cliffs, and
variety of sands (basalts; silicates).

This compelling
landscape was born in a cataclysmic collision 
of continental
plates and vigorous vulcanism, and shaped over 
millennia by
continuing tectonic activity, and the erosive power 
of the Pacific
Ocean. Fresh water streams flow through many of 
these beaches,
carrying silt and minerals seaward from the nearby 
coastal range. It
is the merging of ocean sands and finely ground 
minerals at the
interface of fresh water and ocean tides that creates 
patterns that are
at once transient, yet somehow timeless as well.

By recording
these patterns, Stephen Strom aspires to achieve the nearly possible: evoking
the seen and unseen rhythms of an ever-changing landscape, reshaped by wind,
tide, and the pulse of the earth itself.

The images invite
viewers to “quiet wonder at these few inches of sand that proclaim perfection’
and to remind them in the words of Lao Tzu “to the mind that is still, the
whole universe surrenders.”
 not wings of butterfly nor of bird

crafting on the shifting sands
of shadows of
forms to come
among the
wandering lines
of mind that
tries to contain
or explicate
than leave it
as it is
in awe and
quiet wonder
at these few
that proclaim
on this beach
for us to
to stop and

 so neatly pieced together

with bold
as we would
like our life to be —
impervious and impeccable
a joy to
behold and to show to others
but what
really is
this fabric,
this tissue of self?
could it be
that it is
as mutable and
ungraspable and transient
as water and

 we keep seeking out and coming back

with faith —
the proof of things unseen,
that certainty
which, though yet unknown,
draws us on;
the sandy
surface an analog of simple silence
which all
those who directly know the Path
as the place
of opening —
so here it
seems a tear in that surface,
yet what is
revealed beneath
is of one
substance with that which seems torn:
blue feathery hints
that all our
seeking may only hide from us
what only
silencing will give some chance
at revelation
knowing is

 are these building blocks for a nascent future

or shards from
the last great kalpa
our future is
our past and our past our future
or so it has
been said
onto this point without dimension
that is now
we cannot but
and reflect
upon what affinity
what resonance
what aesthetic
compels us to
and not walk

 needle and thread invented before the world needed them

no fabric but
sand and water
but sand and
water accommodates to the thread
like an oxbow
things that
otherwise might seem bizarre together
come out fine
on an Oregon beach
wear one
sandal and no other clothing
play a flute
you can hardly hear above the ocean surf
sand and water
blend it all into the one organism that it is
a real world
bigger than our rules

sea-crafted jewels emerge
from sand’s
soft silky fabric
with no one
and nothing to adorn
into the stark innocence
of a
sufficient world that never asked for them
whose hidden
reaches lie modestly above and beyond
treasures —
begs us to ask
what or who confers value on jewels?
or deems them
and why would
naked beauty
wish further

our lady stands before us
bedecked in
fishes scales
snakeskin and
Irish lace
translucent robe
hangs loose
upon her wondrous body
she rises from
the ocean in tidal time
gives us
demonstrations of skills
of symmetries
we had not even hoped to see
we poor
landlocked creatures
that only
replicate and model
what she can
vision and create

it does seem that we might be viewing the sketchpad
of the
designer of many things
or doodles of
nothing at all
everything in
this world comes from nothing at all
derives from
this generative exploration
a pencil
on a sketchpad
finding forms that appeal
that interact
what we are as
human beings
through all
the time we’ve ever known.
ocean holder
of all origins and memories
lays a record
down in sand
between today and tomorrow
buildings empires of cities
and rooftops
streets and alleys
just this
where or what
sand-thoughts knowing not
what the next
wave might bring

an abstract artist or the imagined god create
Emptiness, the pregnant void
leave their
creations for a brief time in these compliant sands
until the next
cycle —
strong yet
gentle perfect curves
declaring what
mere words can never say —
magnetism holds us
to look and
maybe see
what silence
and the sounds of sand and sea
ceaselessly —
if we but come
with patience
matching in
our timeless being
unhindered Source

in these few inches on the beach
vast river
basins being topographed
and in another
are waving
strands of grasses
fossilized by
in flesh-soft
until another
era washes over
by creator

The Americans List: A Salute to Robert Frank

Photographers the world over need no introduction to Robert Frank’s seminal 1950s work The Americans, an exploration of the American ideal from his outsider’s perspective as a Swiss émigré. Taken on a series of road trips around the country, the resulting intuitively-sequenced images —produced with funding from a Guggenheim fellowship—reflect both the dark undercurrents and poetic beauty of American culture.

Originally published in Paris in 1958 and the U.S. a year later, the book’s hallowed pages—containing a mere 83 images—have become one of the most referenced and revered photographic works. Many of the individual frames reside firmly in the collective memory of contemporary photographers who consciously and subconsciously reference the images on a daily basis.

Three years ago, an extensive retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art provided a fascinating and exhaustive insight to The Americans. The show, entitled Looking In, also inspired and facilitated photographer Jason Eskenazi’s recently published appreciation, The Americans List.

In 2009, Eskenazi—himself the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship—was working as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Every day for two months, even on Mondays when the exhibition was closed to the public, he stood in close proximity with the work, studying it compulsively, attending special events and asking questions of MET curator Jeff Rosenheim.

While guarding the show, Eskenazi started to ask photographers he knew—famous or not—about their favorite images from the show. Over the next two years, Eskenazi compiled their answers, along with their explanations and thoughts about the work. His compilations eventually evolved into his own book, published this month by Red Hook Editions. In the foreward, Eskenazi writes:

The Americans is probably the one book that connects more photographers than any other, so while guarding the show, I saw many photography colleagues enter. I began asking them what was their knock-out favorite image. Though many said it was too hard to choose and many images were important to them I insisted. I discovered that many of the answers revealed much more about the photographers themselves.”

The Americans List assembles selections by 276 photographers from Joel Meyerowitz (Canal Street – New Orleans. plate #19) and Joseph Koudelka (Covered car – Long Beach, Califonia. plate #34) to Eskenazi’s own personal favorite (Men’s room, railway station – Memphis, Tenn. Plate 52). Eskenazi considers the book a present to the photographic community and a homage to a great living photographer.

Guarding the exhibition also afforded Eskenazi the opportunity to meet the legendary photographer, first at the exhibition opening and then at Frank’s house in New York City, where he asked Frank to confirm the long standing rumor of his own favorite photograph from The Americans (San Francisco. Plate 72).

Eskenazi quit his day job at the end of the Looking In exhibition and has since returned full time to his life as a photographer. “I became very intimate with the work,” Eskenazi says. “It brought me back to life. And Frank was very moved by the book when he was recently given a copy in Nova Scotia.”

Clark Winter

Nova Scotia
September, 2012

Jason Eskenazi is a Istanbul based photographer. See more of his work at JasonEskenazi.com.

The Americans List is published by Red Hook Editions and available through the photo-eye bookstore.

Koudelka’s Gypsies on view @ FORMA, Milan

Gypsies is without a doubt one of the most important works of photography of the 20th century.

Last Thursday, Fondazione FORMA per la fotografia opened the much-anticipated “Gypsies by Josef Koudelka”, a world premier exhibition of the work of Josef Koudelka based on his seminal 20th century monograph, Gypsies, the artist’s 9-year photographic survey of the gypsy communities of Eastern Europe. The exhibition revisits the artist’s original intention for the work, based on the original sequencing and maquette prepared in 1968 by Koudelka and graphic designer Milan Kopriva. Koudelka intended to publish the work in Prague, but was forced to flee Czechoslovakia, landing eventually in Paris and leaving the book long unpublished. In 1975, Robert Delpire, Aperture, and Koudelka collaborated to publish Gitans, la fin du voyage (Gypsies, in the English-language edition), a selection of sixty photographs taken in various Roma settlements around East Slovakia. Robert Delpire is currently the subject of  a multi-venue career retrospective exhibition in New York City.

FORMA‘s exhibition of this work calls upon Aperture’s expanded edition, featuring 109 photographs of Roma society taken between 1962 and 1971. Printed under close supervision of the artist, expressly for Forma, the images on view recount the everyday life of gypsy communities in the sixties in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and occasionally France and Spain.

This exhibit is presented in collaboration with Magnum Photos.

Gypsies by Josef Koudelka
On view through September 16, 2012

Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia
Milan, Italy
39 02.5811.8067


›› Buy Gypsies by Josef Koudelka (Aperture 2011) for 30% off
›› From the 2011 archive, TIME Lightbox reviews Josef Koudelka’s Gypsies, Revisited

I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street

Subway Portraits, 1938-1941 (c) Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Bruce Davidson, Harry Callahan, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Beat Streuli explore the comedy and drama of life in public spaces in I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938-2010 on view in the West Building at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC April 22 – August 5, 2012. Nearly 90 works by masters of the genre, many culled from the gallery’s collection, showcase everyday urban life as subject and source of inspiration.

Walker Evans’ grainy black and white images from Subway Portraits, 1938-1941, feature prominently in the exhibition and provide a compelling counterpoint to Bruce Davidson’s multitude of rich kodachromes from the monograph Subway (Aperture 2011). [A very different project from Davidson’s current and exciting endeavor documenting the “Nature of Los Angeles.”]

Work by Robert Frank, one of the pioneers of the genre with photos “snapped seemingly mid-stride,” some have said, has also been featured in a similar retrospective exhibition and accompanying photobook, co-published by Aperture and The Bronx Museum of the Arts in 2008, Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950′s to Now.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work is also featured in The New York Times Magazine Photographs, edited by Kathy Ryan (Aperture 2011).

Subway, 1980-1981 (c) Bruce Davidson

I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Streets
Exhibition on view:
April 22 – August 5, 2012

National Gallery of Art
Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
(202) 737-4215


VERVE Gallery of Photography :: photoblog 2011-06-06 18:00:00

VERVE Gallery of Photography Presents

Cy DeCosse
A Retrospective

Opening Reception: Friday, July 8, 5-7pm
Exhibition is on view Friday, June 24 – Saturday, September 3, 2011

Conversation with Cy DeCosse: Saturday, July 9, 2pm
Location: VERVE Gallery of Photography

VERVE Gallery of Photography is pleased to present a retrospective exhibition by gallery artist and acclaimed photographer, Cy DeCosse. The exhibition showcases Cy’s work for the past eighteen years. DeCosse works in alternative processes: platinum palladium, photogravure, and gum dichromate printing. His work will grace the entire gallery for the duration of the summer.

The public reception for this exhibition is on Friday, July 8, 2011 from 5-7pm. There will be a conversation with Cy DeCosse about his work at VERVE Gallery on Saturday, July 9, 2011 from 2-3pm. The exhibition is on view Friday, June 24, 2011 through Saturday, September 3, 2011.

Cy DeCosse’s philosophy about a picture is simple: “A photograph should be interesting to look at. I like to get in close so you see things you’ve never seen before.” He does just that and he does so with extraordinary craftsmanship. His images whisk us away to lush gardens to imagine, to dream, to delight in the sublime beauty of his artistry. His work has a decidedly European flavor, a special touch he learned and explored while on a Fulbright grant in Florence. Cy’s work is unequivocally different. He is truly an alchemist in that his work is produced in alternative photographic mediums that become handcrafted platinum/palladium or three-color dichromate pigment prints. Cy discovers the extraordinary in ordinary objects by his use of light: lateral light, front light, back light, daylight, and moonlight. “Tuscan Lemons”, “Pears”, “Water Lily”, “Three Asian Onions”, “Lotus”, the “King and Queen of the Night” as seen through Cy’s inspired eye, capture what Alexander Pope calls “grace beyond the reach of art”.

DeCosse’s most recent work is a four-volume book set on the classic Greek elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The photos in these books range from intimate studio photography to portraiture and landscapes in locations as distant as Iceland and the Sahara Desert.

Cy DeCosse was born in Valley City, North Dakota in 1929. He won a scholarship to the Minneapolis School of Art and Design where he bought his first camera, an Exa, and turned his coal cellar into a darkroom. After graduation, in 1954, Cy won a Fulbright Scholarship to Florence. While in Italy he studied with the gifted Renzo Maggini at the Instituto d’Arte di Porta Romana. Renzo Maggini provided Cy’s only formal photographic instruction. Cy then went on to a successful career in book publishing producing highly photographic “how-to” books on various topics many of which were translated into 17 languages.

With the sale of his company in 1994, Cy returned to his first love, photography. Cy lives and works in Minnesota. In 2001, with Keith Taylor as printer, the two began the revival of the gum dichromate technique, an alternative process that produces a color print of extraordinary beauty.

DeCosse’s work is in numerous public collections including the England Royal Trust and the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. His work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad. There are four books containing Cy’s work. The first is a limited edition book published by The Journal of Contemporary Photography: Volume IV, entitled: Gardens of DeCosse (2000). The book is devoted exclusively to the work of the artist. The images in the book range from the quiet morning’s light falling on freshly picked vegetables to the riotous energy of flowers in full bloom. The second is a catalog for an exhibition held at the Accademia Delle Arti Del Disegno Firenze, Italy in October, 2001, entitled: Cy DeCosse: Play of the Light (2001). His third book is entitled Flowers and Food (2009) and it contains DeCosse’s botanical photographs in Gum Dichromate & Platinum. Florence by Cy DeCosse (2009) is a book of portraits that Cy dedicates to his muse, the city of Florence and its people.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 612-721-2286

Jennifer Schlesinger, Director
219 E. Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 505-982-5009 Fax: 505-982-9111

Download the full version with images here.