Tag Archives: Vancouver

Stan Douglas Named the Recipient of ICP’s Infinity Award for Art

Stan Douglas has been named the recipient of the prestigious Infinity Award for Art by the International Center of Photography. Tonight, he will be presented the award at a ceremony in New York City. Douglas works in various media including video, installation and photography. Here, Lightbox visits highlights of three projects from the artist’s prolific photographic endeavors.

What is real? What is unreal? In a world where reality and history can be recreated and manipulated to appear authentic in a photograph, it is imperative that we ask these questions. We, as a society inundated with visual culture, are trained to ponder the truth and meaning behind what we see—but what if a photograph was created to question reality? To question history? Stan Douglas creates images that catalyze critical analysis and force their viewers to revisit the scenes they depict. Douglas, in creating new images of scenes in history, ponders the truth within the medium of photography and the sociological issues that lie in the passages and stories illustrated in his photographs.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Douglas approaches each image with epic, Hollywood-level production—tapping into his history as a maker of films and video. Demanding the most active viewer who questions, challenges and investigates all that he or she sees, each image is created to excruciating detail.

Linda Chinfen; Courtesy the artist

A production photograph depicting the lighting and building of the set of Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971, 2008.

Courtesy the artist

A 3-dimentional rendering Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971, 2008.

In producing Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971, 2008 (slide #4), Douglas built a set to recreate a scene of the actual intersection in Vancouver. The placement of the actors in the image was pre-envisioned in three-dimensional renderings to anticipate the actual photograph. Not one detail was left unnoticed—down to the products in the dressings of the windows and the scraps of paper that lie on the streets. The mural-sized image, which was composited from 50 different images from the same shoot, is one of four in his series Crowds & Riots. All the images in the series are large scale tableaux depicting vignettes from Vancouver’s history—reflecting on matters of the police, class and social order.

Gjon Mili / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

Multiple exposure stroboscopic shot of actress and dancer Betty Bruce doing a routine for Broadway show High Kickers

In his series, Midcentury Studio, Douglas took on the identity of a photojournalist working between 1945 to 1951 (a selection of this work is represented by slides #6 – #9 in the gallery above). Inspired by imagery from this time, Douglas created images that discuss the decisive moment in photography—as Henri Cartier-Bresson explained, the exact moment that the photographer makes the photograph by firing the shutter of the camera—that very moment which is creative. Unfolding on Cartier-Bresson’s expression, Douglas constructed and carefully created these scenes to capture this experience and illustrate the scrupulous amount of information and action that lies in each frame of a photograph. In Dancer II, 1950, 2010, Douglas created an image similar to one from our own archive shot by famed photographer Gjon Mili for LIFE Magazine.

In Douglas’s most recent series, Disco Angola, most recently shown at David Zwirner Gallery in New York City in April, he once again approaches the identity of a photojournalist. This time, he is one who travels between New York City and Angola in the 1970s. Each image in the series utilizes the nature of body language as insight into the historical moment—from the pensive waiting of the Portugese colonialist awaiting evcuation (Exodus, 1975, 2012), to the interracial-intercultural array of dancing people (Club Versailles, 1974, 2012), to the group of rebel fighters performing capoeira, the Brazilian martial art that originated in Angola (Capoeira, 1974, 2012). Disco, a source of escapism for New Yorkers from the nearly bankrupt city at the time, traces its roots to Africa. Connecting these two seemingly disparate places, separated by thousands of miles of ocean and cultural-political borders, Douglas traces subtle parallels between New York’s struggles and the emerging Angolan liberation fight for independence from Portugal—one which would ultimately lead to a decades-long civil war.

Douglas’s series Midcentury Studio is currently on view at Victoria Miro Gallery in London through May 26, 2012. More information about the Infinity Awards can be found here.

Vancouver Vanguard: Fred Herzog’s Early Color Street Photographs

In 1953, decades before William Eggleston and Stephen Shore established color photography as a serious medium for art photography, Fred Herzog shot his first roll of color film.

His wonderful and remarkable street pictures are the subject of a new monograph called Fred Herzog Photographs, published this month by Douglas and McIntyre. The book offers deep insight into the photographer’s color work, which was made during a time when serious, documentary and fine art photography was still being shot in black-and-white. The tools were there, as Herzog says, “to make unposed photographs in color that have historical value.”

© Fred Herzog—Courtesy of Equinox Gallery, Vancouver

CPR Pier & Marine Building, 1953.

A photograph taken from Herzog’s first roll of color film

Fred Herzog was 20 years old—a late comer to photography—when he brought his first camera in 1950 and began shooting black-and-white pictures in his native Germany. Two years later, in search of work, Herzog traveled to Canada, eventually settling in Vancouver, where he still lives and works today. In 1953 on leave from his job in the shipyards, Herzog made the first of some 120,000 color photographs, on the city’s streets. The photographer treated the pictures “as a form of journalism,” using Kodachrome ISO10, a film that severely limited him technically in terms of what he could do. But Herzog was not afraid to take chances, shooting handheld even at night.

Herzog, does not claim to be the first color street photographer—for that honor, he cites his contemporary, the more lyrical New York street photographer Saul Leiter—but he was certainly among the first to produce a large volume of color images of this type. Herzog expanded street photography to encompass billboards, store windows and cars. The greater body of his images focus on the grittier aspects of Vancouver and they were a response to the culture he found in Canada. “In Germany you did not buy something secondhand—it is a social necessity to look successful,” he says. “For me it is not. Canada offered an interesting contrast. It had secondhand shops in the American idiom. I saw in the secondhand store windows the icons of Americanism in a picturesque jumble.” Herzog incorporated some of that Americanism into his work. “I showed the American dream on posters. I showed old cars, new cars, worn cars, people in cars and the decay of the car— more as a phenomenon than a social criticism,” he says, though adding that his intention was always “for his work to be ideologically neutral.”

© Fred Herzog—Courtesy of Equinox Gallery, Vancouver

Self-Portrait, 1961

For several decades thereafter, Herzog continued shooting the streets as a pastime—while working as a medical photographer by day—and enjoyed moderate success with his work. But it wasn’t until 2007 that his first major show went on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery. When this opportunity came, Herzog—who was by then in his late seventies—used new technologies to recover and present images that would otherwise have been forever lost. Many photos were able to be rescued through scanning and ink jet printing that restored the intended color palette. With the show, Herzog’s photographs found a wider audience and several books were published of the work. And luckily, for photography fans, the latest is the most comprehensive yet and features written essays by Douglas Coupland and fellow Vancouver-based photographer and artist Jeff Wall. “They have been very generous,” Herzong says of the Vancouver vanguard, including Wall whom Herzog now counts amongst his close friends. “I didn’t step on anyone’s toes by coming late and having success.”

Fred Herzog Photographs, was published this month by Douglas and McIntyre.

STEPHEN WADDELL, HUNT AND GATHER

mini storage . Painter-turned-photographer Stephen Waddell could teach the Sartorialist and his ilk a thing or two about candid clicks. gratis winrar . color wheel paint . The Vancouver natives most recent collection, Hunt and Gather (Steidl), puts an Internets worth of street style shots to shame through its charming, contemplative documenting of city life.