Tag Archives: Sleep

Into the Ether by Fazal Sheikh

The northern Indian city of Varanasi, perched on the banks of the Ganges river, is perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, a site that has drawn pilgrims literally for millennia. Its famed for its burningghatsthe sloped-approaches to the waterfront where for centuries devotees have brought their deceased loved ones for cremation, then floating the ashes into the mighty, holy Ganges. Some Hindus still believe its auspicious to pass away on these steps. In Varanasis morning fogs and along its shrine-lined streets, visitors can feel an ancient, intangible power, a sense of place that is defined more by ritual and time than geography.

Varanasis burning grounds drew critically-acclaimed photographer Fazal Sheikh, whose latest project,Ether, on exhibit at Pace/MacGill gallery in New York City till Oct. 20, is the product of his own nocturnal wanderings in the old town. New York-born Sheikhs two earlier India-based projectsMoksha(2005), of a community of widows, andLadli(2007), portraits of young women in orphanages, hospitals, brothelshad a decidedly engaged, political edge.Etheris less so. Other documentary pieces of mine are much clearer in the pointed nature of what I wanted to say, says Sheikh, who first came to prominence with his work from refugee camps in Kenya. This project is a bit more open and broad. Its an exploration of a mood.

Sheikhs vigil would begin at nightfall and end at dawn. Ether itself is that mysterious, unfathomable fifth element of the universethe others being water, air, fire and earthand is a property Sheikh attempts to articulate in his work. He makes elemental gestures throughout: The embers of a fire glow with an almost cosmic intensity. The stars wink and gleam in a night sky. Four dun-colored city strays curl into the trammeled earth.

Sheikh describes working in Varanasi as a sort of nurturing experience. The whole place was calming; there was a kind of quiet. InEther, there is a dreamy, contemplative quality to the pictures, but it rarely feels overly sentimental. Departing from Sheikhs earlier portraiture, many ofEthers images are of bodiesboth those of sleepers and the deadwho dont directly engage the camera. The inability of a photograph to fully penetrate its subject fascinates Sheikh: There are some things that a person holds for themselves, some things that will remain inaccessible. carrera de fotografia . But if there are visions of a world beyond our world, its traces are in the ether.

Fazal Sheikh is a photographer based in Zurich, New York City and Kenya. His latest project Ether, is on displayon exhibit at Pace/MacGill gallery in New York City till Oct. 20.

Re Runs: Sarah Hadley

I’m stepping away from Lenscratch this week to work on a new personal website and prepare for upcoming photo activities…wanted to reintroduce you to some wonderful photographers featured several years ago, today with a post on Sarah Hadley that ran in 2009. Sarah is now the Director of the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, coming up in October.


Chicago photographer, Sarah Hadley, has packed her suitcases and moved to Los Angeles, and the left coast is lucky to have her. Sarah works both as a fine art and editorial photographer, and manages to have a piled-high plate of awards, grants, and exhibitions. Much of Sarah’s fine art work has a reference to dreams, whether it be imagery of the space where we dream the most in Unconscious Terrain, or dreamy interpretations of places around the world.

I think every photographer talks about the magic of seeing that first image appear in a tray of developer and of being hooked for life. I believe a good photograph asks more questions than it answers, and my photography is a way for me to constantly challenge myself to really look at the world around me.

Images from Unconscious Terrain

There is something intangible about the best photographs, something that reminds us of the moment between wake and sleep, and of the beauty that we see and feel but cannot describe, and of our own mortality. These are the kinds of images I try to make.

Images from Venetian Dreams

Trevor Powers, Untitled

Trevor Powers, Untitled

Trevor Powers

Untitled,
Boston, 2011
From the Sleep the Clock Around series
Website – CargoCollective.com/TrevorPowers

Trevor Powers (b. 1985) is a photographer and curator based in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied photography at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he graduated in 2008. His work is primarily based around travel and the relationships, connections, and routines of everyday life. He is interested in exploring America, collaboration, zines, and creating community and sharing work through events and shows he curates. Most recently, he launched the All Visual Boston Slideshow, a series of one-night only, digitally projected group shows featuring the recent work of local and international artists.   

Movements & the Iceland Trilogy by Christopher Colville

Movements & the Iceland Trilogy by Christopher Colville

Review by Larissa Leclair

Movements and the Iceland Trilogy by Christopher Colville is an exquisite two-book set containing four unique but interconnected bodies of work about ancestry, ritual, and a connection to the landscape. Each is a double-sided accordian-folded photobook with cloth-covered book board attached to the beginning and the end, so as you finish one series and close the book, the back cover becomes the beginning of the next. Cairns becomes Small Tragedies and Movements becomes Sleep. Throughout a 27-day trip in the remote Icelandic landscape, Colville continuously made images – on paper negatives and color 4”x5” film, and as unfixed photograms and ambrotypes – of which 7 days are represented in this artist book. As day faded into night and dark back into light, this immutable cycle and passage of time parallels the continuous reading of this book and speaks to a much broader human connection to history and place and the people who have been there before us and after.

Tom Richardson, The Sleep of the Dog produces the Rooster

Tom Richardson, The Sleep of the Dog produces the Rooster

Tom Richardson

The Sleep of the Dog produces the Rooster,
Cojimar, Cuba, 2004
Website – TomRichardsonArt.com

Tom Richardson was born in Miami, Florida. He studied photography at the University of New Mexico from 2001 to 2004 and has been working on self-directed projects ever since. Richardson currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wonderful wife Michelle Evans and a far too quirky cat named Leopold. He teaches photography and serves as department chair at the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School, a school dedicated to educating the youth about visual media and culture. His photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

Maia Fiore

French photographer Maia Fiore doesn’t want to talk about her work, or for that matter, about herself, but at a time where sorrow and devastation fills the airwaves, it nice to spend some time with images that are quirky, happy, and full of magic.

Images from Big Head Poetry

Images from Sleep Elevations

Images from Maia och Fiore

– Factory workers of Cambodia

John Vink, a Magnum photographer working in Cambodia says:

“There is a multimedia piece about Chom Chao, an area in the suburbs of Phnom Penh where part of the 300000 Cambodian garment factory workers sleep, work, and have nothing much more to do because inflation is eating away their 50$ a month salary. It is called �Chom Chao, les jeunes exil�es du textile� and you can find it on the Ka-set website

This is just a teaser of what I hope will become a bigger story.

The website is in French and in Khmer but the multimedia slideshows are bilingual French and English� Not that it is really important. It�s more about photographs and ambient sound.”

Photographer Pablo Delano commented, “John, this is a powerful, moving story done with love and respect.”

I agree. Beautiful imagery John! Thank you for capturing this, if only it didn’t exist for you to photograph…

See the piece here.

The photo I have placed here is by John Vink, I can only hope he and Magnum will not mind the publicity, otherwise I’m happy to remove it.