woensdag 24 april 2019

Views & Reviews FURNISHING THE SACRED Boglárka Éva Zellei Photography

By Aline SmithsonDecember 22, 2018
With Christmas on the horizon, it’s a time to consider Christian rituals or religion in general, especially when shopping for Santa. Boglárka Éva Zellei‘s photographs came to our attention when she garnered 1st Place (along with Mike Whiteley) in our 2018 Seeing is Believing Exhibition, jurored by Drew Nikonowicz. Her series, Furnishing the Sacred, is a fascinating look at religious spaces and the sacred act of baptism. The juxtaposition between this solemn ablution and the quirky containers of purification make for a unique typology.

Boglárka Éva Zellei (1993) is a photographer based in Budapest. She studied Photography at the University of Kaposvár and received her MSc at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest. She was represented in several exhibitions in Budapest, London, Vienna, Ljubljana and Bratislava. Her works were published in several magazines, for example on the cover of HANT Magazine für Fotografie. In 2018 she was a New East Photo Prize finalist, and earned the Pécsi József Photography Grant. In her works she examines the presence of spirituality and religion in contemporary society and her personal life.
Furnishing the Sacred

In this series I’m dealing with the visual language of contemporary Christian communities through the environments used for immersion baptism. Although this ceremony has been a two-thousand-year old form of christening, every place shows a different religious attitude. The intimacy of the event meets excitingly with the profane needs and possibilities, the tradition with the contemporary taste and unique approaches. How can a sacred event happen in a well designed church and in a inflatable pool with the same spiritual intensity? Everyday objects are arranged in new connections and get new meanings. Their intention to feel at home but also being close to the transcendent world appears in these places. The project is focusing on this human scale and shows the side of religion which is continuously formed and built by humans. I constructed the images in a similar way to emphasize the viewer’s own cultural habits and and reflections. As the environment changes around the figures we can observe how it shapes our visual concepts of religion and the sacred.

Het oude leven afspoelen
Marjoleine de Vos
19 april 2019

Dopen, wassen, baden, reinigen – in allerlei religies hoort iets dergelijks erbij. Veel christenen laten hun kinderen dopen als ze nog piepklein zijn, om ze als het ware meteen ‘in Christus’ te brengen, anderen menen dat iemand eerst moet geloven en dán pas gedoopt kan worden.

Daar kun je flink ruzie over maken.

Ook over het dopen zelf verschillen de meningen: zijn een paar druppels water genoeg of dient de gelovige helemaal onder gedompeld te worden om het oude grondig af te spoelen en als nieuw weer boven te komen?

Ook daar wordt over geruzied.

En altijd met de Bijbel in de hand uiteraard. Marcus 1:5: „Alle inwoners van Judea en Jeruzalem stroomden toe en lieten zich door hem [Johannes de Doper] dopen in de rivier de Jordaan, terwijl ze hun zonden beleden.”

De mensen die hier, op de foto’s van de Hongaarse fotografe Boglárka Éva Zellei in allerhande curieuze badjes gedoopt worden, lijken helemaal geen behoefte te hebben aan zulke disputen. Ze zien er vredig uit. Ze laten zich onderdompelen door een plaatsvervanger van Johannes die zelf ook te water is gegaan, soms plechtig gekleed. Er zijn spatmatjes, doeken, kruizen. Er is veel licht. De houding van de mensen is innig, zorgzaam enerzijds, vol overgave anderzijds. Een enkeling lacht.

Het is allemaal erg lelijk, en erg mooi tegelijk.

vrijdag 19 april 2019

Views & Reviews Bilder Barbara Klemm Photojournalism Photography

Barbara Klemm Bilder
S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin. 1986.
First edition, first printing.
First, very early and important photobook by Barbara Klemm.
After many publications still the favourite book by the german photographer.
Beside a lot of other wonderful photos also photos of Joseph Beuys, Wolf Biermann and Andy Warhol.
Paperback (as issued). 250 x 280 mm. 153 pages. Forword: Ellen Auerbach. Text in german.

Barbara Klemm is one of the most prominent German photojournalists. Through her camera’s lens, she has captured many years of turbulent historical happenings and current affairs. Last year, against the backdrop of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, she put together a comprehensive retrospective of her work at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. IC Collector Werner Driller is a great admirer and collector of Klemm’s works. Next to sharing pieces from his collection, he also shares his thoughts on her photographs:

‘Since the 1970s I am interested in photojournalism. I guess it all started with the images of the assassination at the Olympic Games in Munich (I could actually buy an original print later on the Internet). In the 1980s and 90s my attention was drawn to images taken by Barbara Klemm that were published in the German newspaper FAZ. I have always been deeply impressed by her work because the people and motives she captured always looked somewhat staged. In 2003, I acquired my first print by Klemm and two years later I met her personally. Since then, I often meet her and we had long conversations about photography. The stories she told me about the creation of her images were as exciting as the works themselves. Such a free and unrestrained photojournalism will probably never exist again. That’s what makes the works of Barbara Klemm so precious to me.’

Dramatics of the Moment
How does the past become lodged in our memories? In the form of stories and pictures. Since time memorial, writers have tried to stop us forgetting. Be it Homer praising the bravery of the Greeks besieging Troy or Shakespeare admiring the beauty of his lover: The written word expresses permanence. The visual memory of the applied arts, namely sculpture and painting, renders the past visible. Auguste Rodin turns the stooped gait of the “Citizens of Calais” into oppressive reality, Max Slevogt intimates to us the triumphant gesture of Francisco d’Andrade in his famed role as Don Giovanni. Yet without doubt no visual medium is more suited to preserve an occurrence captured for a moment than is photography.

Barbara Klemm is one the most prominent chroniclers of recent German history. Since the 1960s she has been covering politics and society in both Germanies as a staff photographer attached to the main editorial desk of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. Entitled “Our Years – Pictures from Germany 1968-1998” these works went on show first in the Berlin Museum of History in 1999 and then, a year later, among others in the Schirn gallery in Frankfurt.

Were Barbara Klemm only to preserve the moment from transience, she could be regarded as one of many good photographers. The status and unmistakable character of her pictures (and they are often shot in a matter of moments) stems from the fact that they obey the specific dramatics of that one moment, never to be repeated. Be they portraits of politicians in the various constellations of power or somewhat more unspectacular snapshots of everyday life on both sides of what used to be the border separating the two Germanies: Barbara Klemm’s photographs show us intensive life, the meaning of which flares up for a moment and then by dint of the photographs continues to be visible.

woensdag 17 april 2019

Views & Reviews Manhattan: People and their Space Photobook Belge Roberte Mestdagh Photography

Manhattan: People and their space
Roberte Mestdagh
ISBN 10: 0500272476  ISBN 13: 9780500272473
Publisher: Thames and Hudson, 1981
People and their space. With 55 illustrations and map . 4to pp. 144 Brossura (wrappers) In interviews with 18 New Yorkers and by remarkable photographs and graphic design, this imaginative publication by a European artist who spent 3 years in New York, evokes the interaction between Manhattan and its people, between physical and mental space.

From an international photo historical point of view the Belgian lands – the Dutch speaking Flanders, the French speaking Wallonia and the German speaking East Cantons – are relatively insignificant. A small country – divided by three languages and overshadowed by Brussels – its capital (and now also seat of the EU government . . . ) – it seems quite a cultural nightmare.

The “Photobook Belge 1854 – now” will change all that.

Under the stewardship of Tamara Berghmans and based on years of extensive research by the FOMU-Fotomuseum in Antwerp and the renown contributors Pool Andries, Jan Baetens, Sandrine Colard, Emmanuel d’Autreppe, Johan De Vos, Steven F. Joseph, Johan Pas and Stefan Vanthuyne – a selection of nearly 250 important works are documented and illustrated in this historical record – spanning the years 1854 until today. An amazing, breathtaking – and very significant compilation.

This publication does not present books as a market-driven “Best of . . . “ – but it will be one of the most important teaching tools on Belgian photographic history – and the many fields of social and civic documentation, art, science, propaganda, fashion, advertising – as well as a specific Belgian aspect – that of colonial rule. It will also – and certainly – change the appreciation of many of the photographer’s work included here – and their contributions to our field.

I am very pleased to have been able to see a first proof of this most comprehended publication on Belgian’s published photographic history – and have to admit: I had no idea how well the photographic work represented in the nearly 250 publications presented in Photobook Belge – are equally pared with those publications of other European countries – that I have researched and published during the last 15 years.

Manfred Heiting

(Designer, curator, and expert on and collector of photographs and photobooks, USA)