Tag Archives: University Of New Mexico

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

primordial
crafting on the shifting sands
of shadows of
forms to come
blue
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
inches
that proclaim
perfection
on this beach
for us to
stop
to stop and
see

 so neatly pieced together

with bold
dynamism
as we would
like our life to be —
smooth,
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
sand?

 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
cultivate
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:
tantalizingly
blue feathery hints
that all our
seeking may only hide from us
what only
silencing will give some chance
at revelation
that
knowing is
intimacy

 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
converging
onto this point without dimension
that is now
we cannot but
look
and reflect
upon what affinity
what resonance
what aesthetic
compels us to
stop
and not walk
by

 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
river
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
intrusions
into the stark innocence
of a
sufficient world that never asked for them
whose hidden
reaches lie modestly above and beyond
unwanted
treasures —
begs us to ask
what or who confers value on jewels?
or deems them
treasure?
and why would
naked beauty
wish further
adornment?

our lady stands before us
bedecked in
fishes scales
snakeskin and
Irish lace
her
translucent robe
hangs loose
upon her wondrous body
she rises from
the ocean in tidal time
gives us
demonstrations of skills
designs
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
yet
everything in
this world comes from nothing at all
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
transient
between today and tomorrow
ideas
buildings empires of cities
and rooftops
streets and alleys
just this
where or what
or
sand-thoughts knowing not
what the next
wave might bring

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

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

Kathleen Robbins, Me on Belle Chase

Kathleen Robbins, Me on Belle Chase

Kathleen Robbins

Me on Belle Chase,
Mississippi Delta, 2008
Website – Kathleen-Robbins.com

Born in Washington DC and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Kathleen Robbins received her BA from Millsaps College and her MFA from the University of New Mexico. Her photographs have been exhibited in venues such as The Light Factory Museum of Contemporary Photography & Film, Rayko Gallery, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. She is represented by Jennifer Schwartz Gallery in Atlanta. In 2011, she was the recipient of the PhotoNOLA Review Prize. She currently resides in Columbia, SC, where she is an associate professor of art, coordinator of the photography program and affiliate faculty of southern studies at the University of South Carolina. 

Christopher Colville, Impact

Christopher Colville, Impact

Christopher Colville

Impact,
Yuma County Arizona, 2010
From the Instar series
Website – ChristopherColville.com

Christopher Colville was born in 1974 in Tucson Arizona. After receiving his BFA in Anthropology and Photography from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and MFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico, he returned home to the Sonoran Desert and is currently living in Phoenix, where he is a visiting Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. Christopher’s work has been included in both national and international publications as well as recent solo and group exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Rayko Photo Center, The center for Photography at Woodstock and the 2012 Noorderlicht Photo festival. Recent awards include the Humble Art Foundations 2009 New Photography Grant, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Project Grant, a Public Art Commission from the Phoenix Commission on the Arts as well as an artist fellowship through the American Scandinavian Foundation.

Christopher Colville, Impact

Christopher Colville, Impact

Christopher Colville

Impact,
Yuma County Arizona, 2010
From the Instar series
Website – ChristopherColville.com

Christopher Colville was born in 1974 in Tucson Arizona. After receiving his BFA in Anthropology and Photography from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and MFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico, he returned home to the Sonoran Desert and is currently living in Phoenix, where he is a visiting Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. Christopher’s work has been included in both national and international publications as well as recent solo and group exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, Rayko Photo Center, The center for Photography at Woodstock and the 2012 Noorderlicht Photo festival. Recent awards include the Humble Art Foundations 2009 New Photography Grant, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Project Grant, a Public Art Commission from the Phoenix Commission on the Arts as well as an artist fellowship through the American Scandinavian Foundation.

Review Santa Fe: Daniel W. Coburn

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.  
When I first started writing about the genre of Photographing Family some years back, there were only a handful of image makers capturing the pathos of domestic interactions in a significant way.  Phillip Toledano, Doug DuBois, and Elizabeth Flemming, to name a few, brought a sensibility to telling stories that were at once personal, yet universal.  Photographer Daniel W. Coburn is following in those footsteps with his beautifully executed project, Next of Kin.  Daniel gives us a sense of place and of people. His proximity allows for an ability to be a participant observer where he is able to capture the intangible essence of family, interpreting those he loves with a lens that honors, explores, and understands.

Daniel received his BFA from Washburn University and is currently an instructor and graduate student at the University of New Mexico.  His work his held in public and private collections, and he has published and exhibited widely.
In Next of Kin I use craftsmanship and beauty to engage my viewer in
a dark family narrative.  After a
yearlong hiatus from my hometown, I returned to reexamine my relationship with
immediate family. I use the camera to describe the powerful personalities of my
parents, and the complexities of their relationship. I photograph the children
in my family to revisit my own childhood, which exists only as a set of
fleeting, enigmatic images in my aging memory.

 Next of Kin records the interaction of a working-class family living in Middle America, and the anxiety that occurs within the confines of suburban dystopia. The viewer is encouraged to contemplate the complexities of these relationships in dialogue with their own family experience. How the imagery functions in conversation with the viewers personal family narrative becomes paramount and its value is ultimately determined by its transformative potential.

Scott B. Davis: Success Stories and the Medium Festival of Photography

When you think about busy people, Scott B. Davis is surely at the top of that list.  Scott recently opened an exhibition, Black Sun, at Hous Projects in New York (running through September 1st), works full time at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego as the Director of Exhibitions and Design, has created a brand spanking new photography festival, the Medium Festival of Photography that launches September 6-8th, and just closed on a new home.  And those are just the big things.

Born in Maryland, Scott received his BFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.  The son of a private pilot, Scott developed ideas about landscape at an early age.  He began using a view camera in 1994 and photographing the desert at night in 1997.  These aesthetic approaches to making work allow him to define space in a contemplative way where he is diminishing the traditional landscape in favor of highlighting human presence within the landscape. He believes that no single truth exists about landscape, and the most honest photographs equally consider light, dark, human and natural elements.

In 2002, Scott built a 16×20″ view camera, used it exclusively for 5 years and created large platinum prints. He recently has returned to an 8×10 view camera and continues to work in platinum.  Scott has exhibited internationally, is widely published, and his work is held in many significant collections.

An interview with Scott follows…

Balboa Park, San Diego
2011 Platinum/Palladium Print

INTERVIEW
Congratulations on the exhibition at Hous Projects in New York City.  I love the idea of making imagery that you almost have to squint to understand completely.  What compels you to shoot in the dark?

making photographs
at night came out of a desire to discover new landscapes and engage
fully in the act of looking. i frequently travel in remote parts of the
desert, and revel in the simply joy of seeing new spaces. but like most
of us, i spend the majority of my hours at home. it’s in this realm that
i keep my eyes engaged by shooting what i know, and what we all live
with day in and day out. shooting in the dark is a kind of compulsion…
something that boils down to a simple desire to discover new
landscapes.
Intersection, San Diego
2010 Platinum/Palladium Print
I understand that you built a 16×20 view camera in 2002–is that what you use exclusively to make work?
i
used the 16×20 camera exclusively from 2002 until about 2007. as film
prices started to climb and i wanted to keep exploring new visual
territory it made sense to retire the beast and move back to smaller
film. beginning in 2007 i’ve used my 8×10 for everything i shoot. i’ve
enjoyed the liberty of exposing more film, and now scanning those
negatives to make large platinum prints.
Canyon, Los Angeles
2009 Platinum/Palladium Print
Talk about the slowed down nature of making work through this process and, in particular, at night.
making
work at night is a meditation, as is platinum printing. in terms of
making night photographs, it is an act of paying attention to spaces we
pass every day, and looking for beauty where others see nothing. i begin
to see more as i look for those magic spaces ‘in between’, and in
return the landscape beings to teach me. i discover places i would have
never thought important, compelling, or beautiful, and i learn more
about the neighborhoods and places that are equally a part of the urban
spaces we call home. our eyes are subjective consumers, and in the daily
ritual of looking we tend to see everything as a photograph. or a
potential photograph. but as photographers we know most of these don’t
work out. it’s our intentions and “vision” that makes an image worth
printing, or even shooting in the first place. when i’m actively
photographing at night i do everything from consider the exposure to
thinking about how i want to show detail in the final print, or how i
might need to compensate for detail in development and printing. it’s
all very ansel adams! [laughs] from there i’ll set up the camera and
tripod, then begin the nuts and bolts of picture making. exposures are
the quickest part, ranging from a minute to maybe an hour depending on
where i am and what i’m trying to achieve. printing is an entirely
separate process, but an equally important one, best left to itself.
VW Bus, San Diego
2010 Platinum/Palladium Print
You are well ensconced in the San Diego photographic community, and your day job is at the Museum of Photographic Arts as the Director of Exhibitions and Design.  What is a typical day at the museum, and how does being surrounded by so much great photography influence your own work?
my typical day at mopa
is a diverse range of management, design, and long range planning. that
can take the form of anything from meeting project deliverables to
branding and laying out individual exhibitions. i spend a lot of time on
the minutia of exhibition planning, which is to say the administrative
tasks nobody (viewers) should be thinking about when looking at a
finished exhibition. i believe that if my work appears invisible then
i’ve done my job well. it’s a nice metaphor for my own work outside the
museum too. but one of the great rewards at mopa is working with a team
of talented people and being exposed to art on a daily basis, be it
historic work by known photographers, unknown photographs that are
simply wonderful, or contemporary artists who are pushing new
boundaries. it is enriching, and i’m certainly very lucky.
Palm Tree, near Washington and Venice, Los Angeles
2012 Platinum/Palladium Print
I am so excited about the new Medium Festival of Photography that is coming up in San Diego in September.  How did it come about and can you share a little about the festival?
medium
came about as a way to engage with photographers on a deeper level.
being a working artist myself i meet more talented photographers than
anyone has wall space to exhibit. wanting to give a platform to this
abundant creativity was where it began, and finding a way to share that
with a larger audience is where it started to gel. the festival is a
celebration of creative photography spread over three days. it kicks off
with a keynote lecture by alec soth and is followed by a diverse range
of speakers covering topics from wet plate to a live sunburn
demonstration by chris mccaw, and much more! we have a portfolio review
event on saturday that offers photographers the chance to engage with
curators, editors, and gallery owners. it’s going to be a fantastic
addition to the photo community in southern california!
Covered Sedan, San Diego
2011 Platinum/Palladium Print
You wear so many hats in the photo world — successful photographer, Museum Director, Festival Director, friend and supporter of all things photography — how do you balance it all?
managing
a busy schedule is a lot of work, though i find the act of it both
encourages and defines each new step. i believe we should all live our
purpose—what the hindu religion calls dharma—but this is
something we’re largely disenfranchised from in the west. inspiring
others through photography is my life path, and from the outside it
appears to be a lot of work. and it is. but loving what you do and
“working” are two separate ideas to me. i strive to insure my actions
provide an enriching return, not just to me, but to others.  this is the
secret to maintaining a balance. work and give back to others. it comes
full cycle.
Silver Lake, Los Angeles
2010 Platinum/Palladium Print
When you were emerging as a photographer, what took your work to the next level, and what suggestions do you have for photographers trying to establish themselves?
my work evolved
through the passionate study of good photographs, which meant reading a
lot of books and attending as many lectures as i could. the greatest
influences on me were workshops offered by master photographers. these
short, 3 to 5 day experiences taught me more than anything i learned in
formal study at a prestigious university. they helped define my dharma.
Ben’s Auto, Los Angeles
2009 Platinum/Palladium Print
An finally, what would be your perfect day?

my perfect day would involve opening someone’s eyes to photography. this
could mean sharing the magic of a camera with someone or teaching them
something new about the medium. it could also mean my learning something
new, which is a borderline addiction. i recently discovered a book of
desert writings that i hadn’t picked up in several years. the process of
sitting down with this book and re-reading it page by page has turned
into a series of perfect days, one after the other. the writing has
little to do with photography but has given me a half dozen new ideas to
think about… a half dozen new reasons to follow my camera into new
territory. the perfect day is about eye opening experiences, plain and
simple. who’s eyes those are is less important than the act of
inspiration itself.
Tract Home, La Jolla
2011 Platinum/Palladium Print

Sedan, Rice California
2009 Platinum/Palladium Print


Josephine Dvorken, Untitled

Josephine Dvorken, Untitled

Josephine Dvorken

Untitled,
Haworth, New Jersey, 2010
From the A. Blessing series
Website – JosephineDvorken.com

Josephine Dvorken received her B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Professional Studies degree from the School of Visual Arts in 2011. Her book projects A. Blessing and Familiar Strangers were recognized in the international Photography Book Now competition. She lives in New Jersey.

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.