Tag Archives: Vernacular Photography

El Incidente – 1940s Street Photography in Lima

Another fascinating exhibit right now as part of Lima’s Photography Biennial is a show called El Incidente. In it, the curator shows snapshots taken in Lima from the 1940s to the 1960s by street photographers working for local photo studios.

El Incidente

The game/business worked as follows; a guy working for some photo studio would snap a photo, typically without permission, and then ask the person if they would like to pay for a copy. If the answer was yes, someone from the studio, or the photographer himself would go the next day to the person’s house and deliver the photo.

As a type of vernacular photography I find it fascinating that something like this ever existed. It could only exist in a city that was big enough to be anonymous but not so large as to be dangerous and chaotic, as Lima was soon to become. The photos themselves are don’t break ground aesthetically. There were no Winogrands or Friedlanders lurking in Lima in the 1950s (at least not in this show). Still, the photos offer a fascinating glimpse of  a society and city in transtion.

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

The mounting of the show is fantastic. It’s housed on the ground floor of the gorgeous, restored 19th Century home of Chilean independence leader Bernardo O’Higgins.

El Incidente in Casa O’Higgins

The front room has large blow-ups of some of the photos next to small displays of the original photos themselves. In the back is a giant table with hundreds of photos on display under glass.

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

The curator, Daniel Contreras, collected these photo albums himself at various flea markets over the last several years. It wasn’t clear to me if these photos came from the customers or if the photographers themselves kept their own albums. In any event, the show does a masterful job of bringing this genre to life. A display case at the entrance shows a jumble of decaying albums from which some of the photos in the exhibit came.

El Incidente at Casa O’Higgins

As a type or genre of photography, this is totally new to me and fascinating too. I wonder if other cities in other or in other time periods something like this has existed.

My two favorite shows of the biennial so far, this one and Memorias Visuales, both deal with different expressions of vernacular photography in Peru. Both in their own way, as exhibits, do fantastic jobs of bringing to life an era as well as a genre of photography.

Retratos Pintados – Painted Portraits and the Lima Photography Biennial

I’m very lucky to be in Lima right now because kicking off this week is Lima’s first ever Photography Biennial. As part of the event there are over 30 official shows, about half a dozen of which opened last night. My first stop was at a show of painted photo portraits entitled “Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana” (Visual Memory: the Illuminated Portrait and Daily Life). The exhibit, which is curated by Carlos Sánchez Giraldo and  Sofía Velásquez Núñez contains painted photo portraits from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Installation view of "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

The wall text mentions that the curators were inspired to mount this show because they themselves had grown up with the constant gaze of these portraits (of grandparents, great grandparents) in their houses. Painted portraits were very common across Latin America. The involved painting directly on black and white photos. They have this weird way of bringing the subjects to life (in color) but also sucking the life out by removing the photo-ness of the image.

There seems to be a lot of interest in retratos pintados today. Photo historian Geoffrey Batchen has written about fotoesculturas in Mexico as part of his interest in vernacular photography. Yossi Milo Gallery in New York did a show of Brazilian retratos pintados in 2010. In Argentina, Florencia Blanco did a series of photos placing retratos in different contexts. While I was in Iquitos recently, nearly every house I went into had one of these portraits hanging on the walls.

The curators did a fantastic job of mounting the show, decorating the space with vintage wall paper and furniture, making the gallery into a cozy, domestic space. It allows the visitor to appreciate the domestic function of these portraits and makes visiting the show an experience that cannot be reproduced in a book or website (or blog post!).

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

In viewing some of the portraits I was reminded of the Fayum Portraits from ancient Roman Egypt, some of my favorite works of art. I was particularly fascinated by a few of the portraits where the paint was laid on very lightly in places.

Retrato Pintado

There is an interesting play between the painted surface and monochromatic undersurface. Where the paint is light, it’s like the flesh is dissolving away. This is cheesy, I know, but I was reminded of the end of Terminator, when Arnold’s flesh is gradually stripped away in places, revealing the silvery robot underneath.

The front room of the exhibit has painted images from the last 20 years. The practice of directly painting on black and white photographs has died out and one of the many current vernacular practices of family photography involve making painted versions of pictures, often snapshots.

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

It’s weird to see these pictures all hung together. I haven’t paid much attention to these recent photo-paintings before. They lack the formal stiffness and nostalgic charm of the retratos pintados and sit in this sort of uncanny valley of being too recent to be revered. Still, I appreciated their inclusion for showing the ongoing customs of vernacular photography in Peru.

Installation from "Memorias Visuales, el retrato iluminado y la historia cotidiana"

The show is up until April 28, 2012. If you are in Lima, do go see it.

1000 WORDS WORKSHOP WITH ERIK KESSELS IN MOROCCO, SEPTEMBER 2011

*17.07.11 THERE ARE STILL TWO PLACES AVAILABLE-APPLY NOW!-DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 14.08.11!*

After two very successful workshops with Antoine d’Agata and Anders Petersen, 1000 Words is very pleased to present its third with Erik Kessels in Fez, Morocco (12-17 September 2011). Though the camera will be the tool, this workshop will appeal to creatives from all visual disciplines, not just photography.

“Nowadays, we consume images without really looking at them. It’s every photographer’s duty to make images that stand out from the daily visual clutter.” Erik Kessels

Please scroll down for more information and how to submit.

ERIK KESSELS:

Erik Kessels’ list of achievements are extensive. He is best described as a curator and publisher who conceptualises vernacular photography and produces unusual artworks. He is a founding partner and Creative Director of the highly successful and innovative advertising agency, KesselsKrammer in Amsterdam (yes, that is the actual website). He has won numerous awards and KesselsKramer comprises of thirty eight people from eight different countries and has been operating since 1996. He has designed, edited and published several books on vernacular photography through KesselsKramer Publishing – including the in almost every picture series, The Instant Men and Wonder. Since 2000, he has been an editor of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography.

Erik is also noted for his particularly original curated exhibitions such as Loving Your Pictures at the Centraal Museum Utrecht, The Netherlands and at Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles. He was one of four curators (alongside Lou Reed, Fred Ritchin and Vince Aletti) of the New York Photo Festival 2010 where he presented the exhibition Use Me Abuse Me.

Aside from all that, Erik is a very nice man with a creative spirit second to none. His conceptual approach and playful attitude will push those who are open to exploring more lateral ways of image-making.

ABOUT US:

The organisation’s flagship is 1000 Words, an online magazine dedicated to contemporary photography in the UK and beyond. It reviews exhibitions and photobooks and publishes interviews, essays and multimedia. We are committed to showing the work of lesser-known but significant artists alongside that of established photographers in the aim of bringing their work to a wider audience. Often incredibly diverse in terms of subjects, concepts, styles and techniques, yet by covering a wide spectrum of genres 1000 Words intends to make us reconsider the contemporary photograph.

Released quarterly, the magazine attracts over 140,000 unique visitors from more than 75 countries every month. In May 2010 the 1000 Words Blog was ranked at number 3 in The Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs as part of a survey carried out by Creative Tourist and was also named as the winner of Arts Media Contacts’ Photography Blog of the Year Award, 2010.

Yet 1000 Words is much more than just an online magazine. It is the first step in our concept. 1000 Words also operates a programme of exhibitions and events including four annual workshops in Fez, Morocco as well as talks, portfolio reviews, prizes and awards. In July 2010, we launched the 1000 Words Collection, in partnership with Troika Editions, offering limited edition photography prints at affordable prices from artists including Simon Roberts, JH Engstrom, Bruno Quinquet, Sarah Small, Trinidad Carrillo, Andrew Bruce, Leigh Ledare, Nuno Cera and Virgilio Ferreira.

1000 Words is governed by its board of directors who play an active role in the direction of the organisation. They are: Camilla Gore, Nicholas Barker, Simon Baker, Aron Morel, Louise Clements, Tim Clark, Michael Grieve and Norman Clark. The 1000 Words Workshops are organised by Tim Clark, founder and editor-in-chief at 1000 Words and Michael Grieve, 1000 Words deputy editor, lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and a photographer represented by Agence Vu.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP:

The 1000 Words Workshop takes place in an authentically restored riad situated in the medieval medina, at the heart of the beautifully evocative city of Fez, Morocco. The workshop will be an intense experience lasting six days between 12-17 September 2011 and will consist of 12 participants. The medina is a vibrant labyrinth that will permeate all the senses. Surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, it offers a visually stunning backdrop for this truly unique workshop.

We are looking for a diverse range of participants who understand the work of Erik Kessels and feel that their own art will benefit from his guidance. As we said before, though the camera will be the tool, this workshop will appeal to creatives from all visual disiplines, not just photography.

“A lot of photographers are looking into ways to make their work public,” says Erik Kessels. “Almost every photographer has their own website. But for a lot of photographers, there is also a strong need to publish a book or have an exhibition. How do you communicate these needs to the outside world? Also, which kind of tools are there to use?”

Erik Kessels will first give a lecture about his own experiences on these subjects. There will then be a workshop where photographers will find their own way to proceed in their future work. Subjects will be: ‘How to edit your own photographs?’ ‘Self publishing’ and ‘How can photographers communicate about their own work?’.

Over the course of several days there will be different short briefs for the attending photographers. These will teach them to be more playful and communicative with their own work.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

The cost of the workshop will be £1250 for 6 days. Once participants have been selected they will be expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of £350 within two weeks. Participants can then pay the rest of the fee according to deadlines (see below). Participants are encouraged to arrive the day before the workshop begins for a welcome dinner. The price includes:

-tuition from Erik Kessels (inluding defining each participant’s project;shooting;editing sessions;creating a coherent body of work;creation of a slide show;projection of the images of the participants.)
-a welcome and farewell dinner
-lunch everyday and snacks during the afternoon
-24 hour help from the 1000 Words team and an assistant/translator with local knowledge.

Participants will be expected to make their own travel arrangements and find accommodation, which in Fez can range from £150 upwards for the week. We can advise on finding the accommodation that best suits you. Remember that most of your time will be spent either at the riad or shooting. For photographers using film we will provide the means for processing and a scanner. Photographers shooting digital will be expected to bring all necessary equipment. Please note that for the purposes and practicalities of a workshop, digital really is advisable. All participants should also bring a laptop if they have one. Every effort will be made to accommodate individual technical needs.

HOW TO SUBMIT:

We require that you send 10 images as low res jpegs and/or a link to your website, as well as a short biography and statement about why you think it will be relevant for you to work with Erik (approx 200 words total). Submissions are to be sent to [email protected] with the following subject header: SUBMISSION FOR 1000 WORDS WORKSHOP WITH ERIK KESSELS.

30 June 2011: Deadline for applications
15 July 2011: Successful candidates contacted
29 July 2011: Deposit due (£350)
31 August 2011: Second instalment due (£900)
11 September 2011: Arrive in Morocco for welcoming dinner
12 September 2011: Workshop begins
17 September 2011: Workshop ends

Succes gewenst!

1000 WORDS WORKSHOP WITH ERIK KESSELS IN MOROCCO, SEPTEMBER 2011

*17.07.11 THERE ARE STILL TWO PLACES AVAILABLE-APPLY NOW!-DEADLINE EXTENDED TO 14.08.11!*

After two very successful workshops with Antoine d’Agata and Anders Petersen, 1000 Words is very pleased to present its third with Erik Kessels in Fez, Morocco (12-17 September 2011). Though the camera will be the tool, this workshop will appeal to creatives from all visual disciplines, not just photography.

“Nowadays, we consume images without really looking at them. It’s every photographer’s duty to make images that stand out from the daily visual clutter.” Erik Kessels

Please scroll down for more information and how to submit.

ERIK KESSELS:

Erik Kessels’ list of achievements are extensive. He is best described as a curator and publisher who conceptualises vernacular photography and produces unusual artworks. He is a founding partner and Creative Director of the highly successful and innovative advertising agency, KesselsKrammer in Amsterdam (yes, that is the actual website). He has won numerous awards and KesselsKramer comprises of thirty eight people from eight different countries and has been operating since 1996. He has designed, edited and published several books on vernacular photography through KesselsKramer Publishing – including the in almost every picture series, The Instant Men and Wonder. Since 2000, he has been an editor of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography.

Erik is also noted for his particularly original curated exhibitions such as Loving Your Pictures at the Centraal Museum Utrecht, The Netherlands and at Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles. He was one of four curators (alongside Lou Reed, Fred Ritchin and Vince Aletti) of the New York Photo Festival 2010 where he presented the exhibition Use Me Abuse Me.

Aside from all that, Erik is a very nice man with a creative spirit second to none. His conceptual approach and playful attitude will push those who are open to exploring more lateral ways of image-making.

ABOUT US:

The organisation’s flagship is 1000 Words, an online magazine dedicated to contemporary photography in the UK and beyond. It reviews exhibitions and photobooks and publishes interviews, essays and multimedia. We are committed to showing the work of lesser-known but significant artists alongside that of established photographers in the aim of bringing their work to a wider audience. Often incredibly diverse in terms of subjects, concepts, styles and techniques, yet by covering a wide spectrum of genres 1000 Words intends to make us reconsider the contemporary photograph.

Released quarterly, the magazine attracts over 140,000 unique visitors from more than 75 countries every month. In May 2010 the 1000 Words Blog was ranked at number 3 in The Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs as part of a survey carried out by Creative Tourist and was also named as the winner of Arts Media Contacts’ Photography Blog of the Year Award, 2010.

Yet 1000 Words is much more than just an online magazine. It is the first step in our concept. 1000 Words also operates a programme of exhibitions and events including four annual workshops in Fez, Morocco as well as talks, portfolio reviews, prizes and awards. In July 2010, we launched the 1000 Words Collection, in partnership with Troika Editions, offering limited edition photography prints at affordable prices from artists including Simon Roberts, JH Engstrom, Bruno Quinquet, Sarah Small, Trinidad Carrillo, Andrew Bruce, Leigh Ledare, Nuno Cera and Virgilio Ferreira.

1000 Words is governed by its board of directors who play an active role in the direction of the organisation. They are: Camilla Gore, Nicholas Barker, Simon Baker, Aron Morel, Louise Clements, Tim Clark, Michael Grieve and Norman Clark. The 1000 Words Workshops are organised by Tim Clark, founder and editor-in-chief at 1000 Words and Michael Grieve, 1000 Words deputy editor, lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and a photographer represented by Agence Vu.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP:

The 1000 Words Workshop takes place in an authentically restored riad situated in the medieval medina, at the heart of the beautifully evocative city of Fez, Morocco. The workshop will be an intense experience lasting six days between 12-17 September 2011 and will consist of 12 participants. The medina is a vibrant labyrinth that will permeate all the senses. Surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, it offers a visually stunning backdrop for this truly unique workshop.

We are looking for a diverse range of participants who understand the work of Erik Kessels and feel that their own art will benefit from his guidance. As we said before, though the camera will be the tool, this workshop will appeal to creatives from all visual disiplines, not just photography.

“A lot of photographers are looking into ways to make their work public,” says Erik Kessels. “Almost every photographer has their own website. But for a lot of photographers, there is also a strong need to publish a book or have an exhibition. How do you communicate these needs to the outside world? Also, which kind of tools are there to use?”

Erik Kessels will first give a lecture about his own experiences on these subjects. There will then be a workshop where photographers will find their own way to proceed in their future work. Subjects will be: ‘How to edit your own photographs?’ ‘Self publishing’ and ‘How can photographers communicate about their own work?’.

Over the course of several days there will be different short briefs for the attending photographers. These will teach them to be more playful and communicative with their own work.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION:

The cost of the workshop will be £1250 for 6 days. Once participants have been selected they will be expected to pay a non-refundable deposit of £350 within two weeks. Participants can then pay the rest of the fee according to deadlines (see below). Participants are encouraged to arrive the day before the workshop begins for a welcome dinner. The price includes:

-tuition from Erik Kessels (inluding defining each participant’s project;shooting;editing sessions;creating a coherent body of work;creation of a slide show;projection of the images of the participants.)
-a welcome and farewell dinner
-lunch everyday and snacks during the afternoon
-24 hour help from the 1000 Words team and an assistant/translator with local knowledge.

Participants will be expected to make their own travel arrangements and find accommodation, which in Fez can range from £150 upwards for the week. We can advise on finding the accommodation that best suits you. Remember that most of your time will be spent either at the riad or shooting. For photographers using film we will provide the means for processing and a scanner. Photographers shooting digital will be expected to bring all necessary equipment. Please note that for the purposes and practicalities of a workshop, digital really is advisable. All participants should also bring a laptop if they have one. Every effort will be made to accommodate individual technical needs.

HOW TO SUBMIT:

We require that you send 10 images as low res jpegs and/or a link to your website, as well as a short biography and statement about why you think it will be relevant for you to work with Erik (approx 200 words total). Submissions are to be sent to [email protected] with the following subject header: SUBMISSION FOR 1000 WORDS WORKSHOP WITH ERIK KESSELS.

30 June 2011: Deadline for applications
15 July 2011: Successful candidates contacted
29 July 2011: Deposit due (£350)
31 August 2011: Second instalment due (£900)
11 September 2011: Arrive in Morocco for welcoming dinner
12 September 2011: Workshop begins
17 September 2011: Workshop ends

Succes gewenst!