vrijdag 28 augustus 2009
Coinciding with the exhibition opening at Gagosian Gallery on September 15, Aperture will release Sally Mann’s latest monograph, Proud Flesh this fall. Her latest body of work is focused primarily on her husband and their thirty-nine year relationship, in the fashion of male artists whose female lovers serve as muses. The black-and-white photographs are psychologically intense and emotionally evocative and honest. Jörg Colberg of Concientious features some of Mann’s reflections on her work, click here to read. Aperture previously published At Twelve and Immediate Family, and is proud to present a third title from one of America’s most renowned photographers.
The Family and The Land SALLY MANN 26 September 2009 - 10 January 2010
'Few photographers of any time or place have matched Sally Mann's steadiness of simple eyesight, her serene technical brilliance and the clearly communicated eloquence she derives from her subjects, human and otherwise – subjects observed with an ardor that is all but indistinguishable from love.'
– Reynolds Price in Time Magazine (2001)
Everything about the work of Sally Mann (b. Lexington, VA, US, 1951) breathes atmosphere, whether we are talking about the portraits of her growing children, her photographs of the natural world around her, or the death and transience she depicts in such a unique way. Her use of antique cameras and 19th-century photographic processes gives her work an almost tangible authenticity. Her unique view of the world, and the way she manages to capture it, have made her one of the most important photographers in the United States. This autumn, the Hague Museum of Photography is showing the five best-known series by this highly individual photographer, centred around her two great loves: The Family and The Land.
After graduating from college in 1974, Mann returned to her hometown of Lexington, Virginia, where she concentrated on photography. Her Immediate Family series (1984 / 1994) instantly brought her international fame. For ten years, she had photographed her children as they grew up on her farm in Virginia, following their development from childhood to adolescence, picturing them as they swam and played, and as their bodies changed. Conservative Christians objected to the way she had portrayed her children, but Mann herself saw nothing at all controversial in this series. It simply showed her growing children through the eyes of an inspired photographer and loving mother.
After photographing her children for ten years, Mann turned her lens on nature and the landscape of her home state Virginia for her 1993 / 1994 series Motherland: Virginia. For the series Deep South (1996 / 1998) she travelled to the southern states, where the history of the Civil War is omnipresent. ‘These pictures are about the rivers of blood, of tears, of sweat that Africans poured into the dark soil of their thankless new home,’ she wrote. Mann captured the historic landscape using a 19th-century camera and 19th-century developing techniques, including the wet plate collodion method. The photographs, which are characterised by light-stains and variations in focus, give the landscape an eerie feel that reveals the continued presence of its past.
In the series What Remains (2000 / 2004) Sally Mann shifted her focus from growing children, nature and the ever-present past, to death and transience. After a fugitive committed suicide on her property, she became fascinated by the eternal process whereby nature reclaims everything, returning it to its normal state. She dug up the remains of her pet greyhound to photograph what was left of her after 18 months in the ground. Her fascination with the theme led her to go one step further in recording this unstoppable process. In the garden of a forensic institute she photographed the bodies that had been placed among the trees, plants and bushes until they reached the right stage of decomposition for forensic study. The 2004 series Faces brings Mann full circle, and is the hopeful conclusion to What Remains. It is a series of portraits of her now adult children produced using the collodion method. In this series, again, the value of her antique techniques is clear, enabling her to produce images that are authentic in a way that could never be achieved using a computer. And that authenticity is the first thing one feels when looking at her work.
See also Sally Mann Feminine Personal & Macabre Photography ... & lees verder ...
woensdag 26 augustus 2009
Shot in various locations, from art fairs to horse racing, and in many countries, I have selected situations where people are comfortable showing off their wealth. Designer clothes, champagne and parties are all part of this repertoire.
As well as the more established wealth hot spots in Europe and America there are photographs from the emerging world, such as the Millionaire Fair in Moscow, the Dubai Art Fair and the Motor show in Beijing.
Traditionally the portrayal of poverty has been the domain of the "concerned photographer", but I photograph wealth in the same spirit. When the new emerging middle classes demand and receive the luxury goods that so many of us take for granted, it will put considerable pressure on the world's resources. We are seeing the first manifestations of this: soaring oil prices brought on in part by exceptional demand from China and India; food prices escalating as crops are diverted into biofuels.
When the photographs are exhibited these things are not always stated, but I am happy to share the ultimate political motive behind the new body of work. Luxury by Martin Parr ...
zaterdag 22 augustus 2009
I Wish ...
Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf celebrates being 50 years old with self portraits that show how he currently looks like, how he wishes he looked like, and how he will look like as he gets older.
His new ‘50 Years Old’ set features the three self-explaining images ‘I Am,’ ‘I Wish,’ and ‘I Will Be.’
In addition to being a celebration of one’s age, the set subtly showcases our culture’s obsession with youth and the heavy use of Photoshop in fashion photography.
Erwin Olaf is no stranger to controversial and socially-aware topics. You can check out more of his features below. References: erwinolaf, homotography.blogspot
I Am ...
vrijdag 21 augustus 2009
The Rijksmuseum (State Museum) recently secured a long-term loan of some 80 photos from Suriname and Curaçao, two former Dutch colonies. The photo shown here is apparently the oldest known photo from Suriname, a daguerreotype, portraying a mixed race married couple that was taken in 1846 in Paramaribo, seven years after the advent of photography.
The lot is called ‘De West’ and can be admired as of 19 August. It also includes work from reputed photographers such as Augusta Curiel (1873-1937) and Willem Diepraam (1944).
See also Photography from the Dutch West Indies Suriname ... &
Willem van de Poll Suriname ... &
donderdag 20 augustus 2009
A good place to start is with “Glitz & Grime: Photographs of Times Square” at Yancey Richardson. Twenty-four pictures, dating from 1945 to 2009, chronicle the highs and lows of a place that embodies the spirit of American commercial culture at its most seamy and manically exuberant.
In black-and-white pictures from the 1940s and ’50s by Louis Stettner and Rudy Burckhardt shadowy, walking men in hats and overcoats seem like lost souls in a crepuscular purgatory. That mood is revived in a photograph from as recently as 1997 — well into Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s campaign to clean up the Times Square area — by Philip-Lorca diCorcia in which pedestrians seem like extras in a neo-noir or zombie movie.
A big color picture by Andrew Moore registers the nearly psychedelic impact of the signage that’s there now, and Lynn Saville’s partly blurred image of automobile traffic has a lush, cinematic beauty. But if there is joy to be found in Times Square, you wouldn’t know it from this show.
Considering the once tawdry reputation of this crossroads of the world, and the aggressive eroticism of its contemporary advertising, it is odd that there is hardly any sex in the Richardson show. For that you have to go to “Sexy and the City” at Yossi Milo, in which the main attraction is a single-wall, salon-style hanging of 29 mostly black-and-white pictures.
As at Richardson the feeling here is more noirish than celebratory, and there is little romance in this sex. The show is leavened by Charles H. Traub’s funny picture of an elderly woman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art reading a label at the feet of a giant, marmoreal nude man. But Merry Alpern’s grainy, voyeuristic view of a woman in her underwear from a series called “Dirty Windows” and Alvin Baltrop’s distant shots of anonymous men having sex on the West Side piers in the late ’70s and early ’80s are more typical.
The photographers at Yossi Milo are more like underground journalists or sociologists than interested parties. Ryan Weideman’s erotically costumed people in the back of his taxi cab, Diane Arbus’s awkward young couple on a park bench, Nan Goldin’s drag queen out on the street in a huge, rococo wig with nipples exposed: all these images seem possessed of a world-weary remoteness. Hanging on a wall opposite the 29-picture display, Mitch Epstein’s big color picture of a pretty young woman in a taxi with her head back in an apparent state of exhausted ennui seems to sum it up.
If the jadedness of the Richardson and Milo shows brings you down, there’s a good antidote in a selection of photographs, many never seen in public before, by the great Helen Levitt at Laurence Miller. “First Proofs” presents almost 30 trial prints, ranging from matchbook to playing-card size, that Levitt made between 1939 and 1942. It is a fascinating, heartening exhibition.
In Levitt’s images of children at play in Spanish Harlem and the Lower East Side there is not a trace of cynicism. Nor is there anything mean-spirited in her pictures of comically rotund ladies talking on a doorstep or a group of four men who seem clownish archetypes of masculinity, watched over from an apartment window by a little girl with a thoughtful expression. Levitt, who died this year at 95, had a Whitmanesque generosity. Her pictures are loaded with unqualified love, which is something you don’t see a lot of in modern photography.
Thanks to artists like Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, a more prevalent attitude these days is wised-up skepticism: doubt about the truth-telling capabilities of photography itself and suspicion of its engagement with the machinery of mass culture. Three large-scale pictures by Bill Jacobson at Julie Saul Gallery participate in that postmodern trend with depictions of crowded New York streets that are so out of focus it’s almost impossible to make out their scenes. They could be viewed as works of Neo-Pictorialist poetry, but mainly they call attention to the technology and conventions of photography.
Most people still want to see through photographs to the people, place and things they represent, and that is the appeal at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery of “Live From New York ...,” which rounds up pictures of famous musicians performing or hanging out in the city. Here it’s all about the subject: Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Sonny and Cher in hippie-cowboy outfits, Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, Bob Dylan and George Harrison in a duet onstage, the Ramones outside CBGB. Except for Arnold Newman’s starkly formal portrait of Igor Stravinsky, in which the black, uplifted piano top occupies most of the picture, few of the photographs are interesting for formal or stylistic reasons.
One has achieved iconic status: Bob Gruen’s 1974 portrait of John Lennon in a sleeveless New York T-shirt, against a backdrop of New York buildings. Lennon once caused a stir by declaring that the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus; for people of a certain age, anyway, Mr. Gruen’s image, resonating with Lennon’s fate on an Upper West Side street six years later, has an uncanny, Christlike mien.
But no photographic subject symbolizes New York like the Statue of Liberty, which is viewed from near, far, above and below in a small exhibition at Hasted Hunt. In one picture by Lou Stoumen from 1939, a man and a woman gaze worshipfully up at the towering torch bearer. In another, made in 1940 by the same photographer, we look down from above her crown and notice someone sticking an arm out the window, the little human hand comically rhyming with the giantess’s fingers curled around her tablet.
Bruce Davidson’s 1959 photograph of the faraway lady of the harbor, just visible through a forest of rooftop television aerials, is a rueful meditation on humanist values that modernity makes more and more difficult to sustain. Some may view the statue as a colossal piece of kitsch, but who wants to imagine New York without it?
dinsdag 18 augustus 2009
Ferguson argues that it matters more than ever that Capa has now been ‘proven’ to be 30 miles away from the front line of the bloody Spanish Civil War, because the viewer was being sold truth at the time and because in our media saturated times (a phrase I loathe), it’s so easy to fake photographs.
I’d argue that it’s always been easy to fake or alter photographs (see Frank Hurley’s fascinating and sophisticated first world war images) and that Capa’s exact whereabouts matters little, especially now. The photograph is not real life, nor is it a copy of real life.
The problem with my argument is that if it is played out to its logical conclusion, it doesn’t matter if photographs are faked or not (a different argument from whether they are ‘true’, it’s important to note). As I have not become, as far as I am aware, Piers Morgan’s apologist, I don’t exactly subscribe to this view. But it’s complex. The only thing that really outraged me about Morgan’s publication of the fake torture pictures in The Mirror was their blindingly obvious fakeness. The subsequent furore and Morgan’s swift demise only succeeded in shifting attention away from an illegal war and despicable war crimes, which were of course all too true.
The classic photojournalist’s image – shot for immediate publication in a news context – needs to be verifiable. Ideally. As far as I can tell from reading around, the caption and the context changed with the publication of Capa’s image first in Vu and then in Life. It was only in the latter publication that the photograph purported to be the moment of death. That the original caption stays with the photograph is essential to its future travels, the more so when it has or takes on the qualities of an ‘iconic’ image (another gargantuan debate in itself).
I remember the first time I saw a photograph by Simon Norfolk, an image from Bleed of a lake in Petkovici, Bosnia. My gaze was drawn across the crowded Photo London salon by the image; my interest and attention held by the caption, which detailed how hundreds of Bosniac men and boys had been executed nearby, and some of their bodies were believed to have been thrown into the lake. When, not long after, I discovered that his prints are widely collected, I remember wondering if his patrons would display the essential caption, too, and, further, would any museum? Of course not. So naturally its meaning might slip over time. And if it transpired that no bodies were in this lake, but actually in a lake thirty miles away, for example, would this detract from the power of this photograph? Or its truth? Not for me. Great images have long legacies and, to paraphrase Larkin, though their element is time, they are perhaps not suited to the long perspectives open at each instant of their lives.
In many ways the ultimate actor, always in character as a kind of cross between a Hollywood leading man and a war photographer, Endre Friedmann aka Robert Capa was telling a truth of war that wasn’t fake. In the way that Picasso’s Guernica has become a symbol for anti-fascism (despite the fact that the city of Guernica was far from being the most devastated during the war), Capa’s Falling Soldier could perhaps then simply represent the millions of young men who die fighting for a cause they believe in. People say Capa’s man looks heroic. What haunts me is that he is essentially dying alone, another fact that isn’t literally true.
See also El Periodico: Iconic Capa War Photo was staged ...
maandag 17 augustus 2009
New releases in the Books on Books series William Klein Yutaka Takanashi David Goldblatt Koen Wessing Photography
Each volume in the Books on Books series contains; illustrations of every page in the original photobook being featured; a new essay by established writers on photography composed specially for this series; production notes about the creation of the original edition; biography and bibliography information about each artist.
Books on Books #5-8 will be available as a limited edition set in December directly through Errata Editions. See the "shop" page of www.errataeditions.com for more information. The trade editions will hit your local retailer in February 2010. See for more ...
donderdag 13 augustus 2009
By MARTHA SCHWENDENER Published: August 6, 2009 Lees verder ...
The Dutch controlled Manhattan for only a few decades before the British took over in 1664, but their influence has lingered for centuries. After all, the Netherlands in the 17th century was a cultural melting pot, and the Dutch policy of liberalism, in trade as well as religion, has been seen as a fundamental reason for New York’s cosmopolitanism and economic success.
Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam and Robert Mann Gallery
In Hendrik Kerstens’s “Bag,” a portrait of his daughter as a 17th-century Dutch housemaid uses a plastic bag to mimic a lace hood. Multimedia Audio Slide Show ...
“Dutch Seen: New York Rediscovered,” organized by Kathy Ryan, who is director of photography for The New York Times Magazine, takes the old Dutch-New York connection and runs with it. The show, at the Museum of the City of New York (which is presenting it in collaboration with Foam Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam), is part of NY400, a series of exhibitions and events commemorating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage on the Half Moon, financed by the Dutch East India Company. (Never mind that Hudson was being paid to find a shortcut to Asia; the Dutch liked it here well enough to stay a while.)
For the exhibition, Ms. Ryan recruited 13 contemporary Dutch photographers to rediscover New York through the lens of the “classical tradition.” It’s not the classical tradition of photography she’s referring to, however. Instead it’s the golden age of Dutch painting, which coincided with the initial “discovery” of New York — artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. “Let’s just assume the ghosts of those three men sit on all Dutch shoulders,” Ms. Ryan says in the show’s catalog.
The Dutch painting-photography nexus is exploited with sly humor by Hendrik Kerstens, whose staged portraits of his grown daughter mimic canvases by the Dutch triumvirate. In one photograph with a brooding, dark background Mr. Kerstens’s daughter wears a simple white head covering, like a 17th-century housemaid; in another an elaborate, bourgeois-lady affair. The titles give the jokes away: the first is a “Napkin”; the second a plastic grocery “Bag” shaped to look like a lace hood.
Humor also informs Jaap Scheeren’s portraits of Hudson and Peter Stuyvesant, the director general of New Netherland. Hudson, who was cast adrift in a lifeboat in the Canadian Arctic in 1611 after his crew mutinied, is shown as a hapless gray-haired gentleman wrapped in a plain brown blanket. Stuyvesant’s stand-in is photographed below the waist in printed Bermuda shorts, highlighting his famous peg leg. In a photograph that alludes to the colonial fur trade, Mr. Scheeren bought a stuffed beaver on eBay and photographed it on an East Village roof.
Landscape, another important Dutch genre, is covered by Misha de Ridder, who photographed wetlands, beaches and forests that would have supported the 17th-century Dutch poet Jacob Steendam’s claims for New Amsterdam as an Eden with pure air and abundant resources. Mr. de Ridder’s moody photographs of wooded thickets and crashing surf seem more like 19th-century Romantic takes on landscape, however, than the placid Dutch variety. (For a 17th-century touchstone, check out Ruisdael’s “View of the Town of Alkmaar” in the companion exhibition, “Amsterdam/New Amsterdam,” down the hall.)
One of the most satisfying series produced for the show is Wijnanda Deroo’s photographs of New York restaurant interiors. Ms. Deroo upholds the great tradition of Dutch interiors, but in her own way. She is a vivid colorist whose images of Tavern on the Green in Central Park, Milon Indian restaurant in the East Village and Papaya Dog in Midtown showcase their wild, garish décor and remind you of Dutch industrial designers who favor similar retina-burning hues.
Other series are not so satisfying. Morad Bouchakour and Arno Nollen both contributed street photographs — that is, images of people, presumably New Yorkers, taken on the streets of the city. Mr. Nollen started the project looking for evidence of “Dutchness” in passers-by, but quickly gave up. His resulting grid of uniformly photographed, close-up faces is unremarkable.
Mr. Bouchakour’s photographs, installed in a casual salon style, include lots of types and characters: the wizened Italian-American, the proud Irishman, an industrious Orthodox Jew, a young man with an upside-down cross tattooed inexplicably on his cheek. But when you’re trawling the same territory as Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand, it’s a tough sell.
Hellen van Meene works in the shadow of a contemporary midcareer master: her countrywoman Rineke Dijkstra. Ms. van Meene’s portraits of young girls have always felt like a subset of Ms. Dijkstra’s oeuvre, and her focus exclusively on white New York young adolescents feels especially dubious here. Ms. Dijkstra, who found a niche photographing adolescents and young adults at vulnerable and transitional moments in their lives — after childbirth or during military training, for instance — is represented by her benchmark series from 1993, in which she shot teenagers on beaches in various locales. Coney Island happened to be one, so three of those images are here.
Charlotte Dumas’s portraits of dogs in New York shelters are mildly affecting, but a lightweight commentary compared with, say, Daido Moriyama’s world-weary “Stray Dog” from 1971. Similarly, Danielle van Ark’s photographs taken at art openings feel like a missed opportunity to document a motley subculture in its habitat. Ms. van Ark’s works look, at first glance, as if they were taken at the same opening (several are from a recent Cindy Sherman show at Metro Pictures) rather than the hundred-plus she reportedly attended.
Ms. Ryan’s focus on classical photographers turns out to be as much an asset as a liability for this show. The parallels between large-scale color photography and painting are easy to establish, as are the links with classic art photography. But aside from Ms. Deroo, and perhaps Mr. Scheeren, you won’t discover much here about New York — or photography — that you didn’t know beforehand.
Martha Schwendener is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn.
“Dutch Seen: New York Rediscovered” is on view through Sept. 13 at the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, at 103rd Street; (212) 534-1672, email@example.com. See for an other review ...
woensdag 12 augustus 2009
- Bas Jan Ader
Suspended Between Laughter and Tears is an exhibition of video, photography, installations and archived materials from the estate of the late Dutch-born and California-based conceptual artist Bas Jan Ader, who is assumed to have perished at sea in 1975. The exhibition’s title refers to the artist’s exploration of the tenuous point between comedy and tragedy in his work. It is the first museum survey focusing on the breadth of his artistic practice mounted in the United States in over 10 years.