maandag 18 maart 2019

Views & Reviews INTERNET GOTHIC in Doug Rickard’s ‘N.A.’ Artists Book Photography

Doing a second book is harder than the first and Doug has done it. Different from “A New American Picture” but related — more obviously edgy yet more lyrical. I am hearing Ornette Coleman moaning in here… Gerry Badger 

N.A Catalog is a dark irresistible hip-hop orgy. Right from the hands and eyes of other people, hijacking their own device to give me very special views and intimate situations. Doug Rickard

Doug Rickard: N.A.
Text by Z. Redman. Poem by Ann Garlid.

For the last three years, photographer Doug Rickard has been immersed in YouTube videos uploaded by Americans from their cellphones. These videos, documenting a dizzying array of activities, from seemingly criminal or semilegal acts to comic antics, allowed Rickard to witness scenarios he otherwise would never have seen-"right from the hands and eyes of other people," he writes, "hijacking their own device to give me very special views and intimate situations." Reveling in this vicariousness, he found that he could be "riding in a car full of teens through Detroit at night with a camera phone hanging out the window … or witnessing, from their own lens, someone who is paying a drug addict to dance for a dollar to later get 'View,' 'Comments' and 'Likes' on YouTube." Rickard then selected and appropriated specific images by pausing the footage and advancing through it second by second. The resulting volume expands on his previous and critically lauded monograph A New American Picture, offering a darker and more dynamic portrait of America's urban underbelly, and engaging with themes of race, politics, technology, surveillance and our cultural shift toward an ever-present camera. Rickard explains the title: "[It] has always been 'N.A.,' coming for 'National Anthem' … it also could be interpreted to mean 'Not Applicable,' a common statistical check box on government forms here in the US, [or] 'North America.'" Visceral and intense, this volume offers an extraordinary inventory of America today.

Doug Rickard (born 1968) studied history and sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the founder of American Suburb X ( and These Americans (, aggregating websites for essays on contemporary photography and historical photographic archives. His previous monograph, A New American Picture (2010, 2012), which offered a view of America through Google Street View, was widely acclaimed, and (in its first edition by White-Press, Helge Schlaghecke, 2010) was voted "best book" of 2010 by Photo-Eye magazine and is reproduced on the last spread of Phaidon's The Photobook Vol. III by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger.


TIME LightboxPhil Bicker
A crash course in found photography in the mobile age, artist Doug Rickard takes still frames from YouTube videos depicting semi-illegal and at times unsettling acts and repurposes them as still images, posing harsh and undeniable questions about private vs. public, photography vs. video and art vs. appropriation.

L'oeil de la PhotographieThe Editors
The resulting volume expands on his previous and critically lauded monograph, A New American Picture, offering a darker and more dynamic portrait of America's urban underbelly, and engaging with themes of race, politics, technology, surveillance and our speedy cultural shift toward an ever-present camera in the hand of everyone. Rickard explains the title: "[It] has always been 'N.A.,' an acronym of 'National Anthem' ... it also could be interpreted to mean 'Not Applicable,' a common statistical check box on government forms here in the US, [or] 'North America.'" Visceral and intense, this volume offers an extraordinary inventory of America today.

wmagazine.comFan Zhong
Like much of modern history, the Eric Garner decision will eventually be boiled down to a few memorable images—or in this case, unforgettable video footage taken by a bystander. The photographer Doug Rickard’s timely new book, N.A. (D.A.P.), is a catalogue of striking stills he took from hours of YouTube videos uploaded by amateurs in America’s urban underbellies. Some of the images seem criminal, some titillating, some ridiculous, some unbearably intimate. Seen together, they are vivid evidence of the nonstop surveillance culture in which we live. You might think that the police would’ve picked up on that by now.

American Suburb XOwen Campbell
Abandoned is the word typically deployed to describe these parts of America, yet the first premise of National Anthem is that the places shown are not, in fact, abandoned; they’re merely populated by people without agency, castaways from the middle and upper-class projects of narrative self-representation. The self-representations of the disenfranchised are scattered across mediums with low-publicity and low-barriers to entry, like YouTube, where they exist with a minimum of cross-reference and dialogue, connected by the whims of the algorithms that create the links between them. Rickard takes stills from YouTube, freezes them and rephotographs them. The result is remarkable, atmospheric street photography for the era where everything has already been photographed and selection rivals original documentation.

ArtinfoScott Indrisek
Access to the Internet is relentlessly marching across the global population, and (almost) everyone will have a computer in their hand at all times, at some point. The result is a massive volume of content that is then exponentially and endlessly growing. Richard Prince had his magazines and tear sheets to work from — artists now have a billion images, in addition to those magazines. Everything on the net is simply “material.” If you look at Tumblr, Instagram, and most of the social media apps, appropriation is becoming a de facto mode of expression, as people remix visual images over and over. Art is reflecting this, and it should. The challenge for artists is then to find a voice within an ocean of endless appropriation possibilities.

The Design Observer GroupJohn Foster
Not everyone can agree whether shooting images from Google Earth, and now, appropriating images from other people’s YouTube videos, constitutes art. At least one said his Google Earth images were not documentary photography, that it was no more than “an idea.” Call it what you will, Rickard’s work is unique.


Doug Rickard: N.A.

Featured image is reproduced from N.A., photographer Doug Rickard's exceedingly dark—and all too representative—collection of stills from American YouTube smartphone videos. Time magazine's Krystal Grow writes, "Visual imagery uploaded online is transient at best, but for Rickard, they illustrate larger, darker issues of racism, class inequality and hypocrisy. As images continue to fall haphazardly into the ethers of the internet, Rickard is sifting through them, pulling from our collective virtual consciousness the angst, irony and at times outright aggressiveness we exhibit on quasi-public online forums, but prefer to ignore in the real world." continue to blog

zaterdag 16 maart 2019

Amsterdam in Stills New Topographics Avant la Lettre J.M. Arsath Ro'is Photography

An Amsterdam civil service worker took more than 10,000 photos of Amsterdam (all available online), but not in the name of art, see Hans Aarsman about J.M. Arsath Ro'is ...

The Sand Photographer from Amsterdam It must have been in the early sixties that J.M. Arsath Ro'is, a photographer for the Amsterdam Municipal Archives, stepped off his moped. Facing him was a construction site. Of the photographers employed by the Municipal Archives, he was the one who had a penchant for areas of the city that did not yet have sidewalks. The sand photographer, he was called. Arsath Ro'is walked across the construction site until he found the right viewpoint. He took a photograph and got ready to get back on his moped. But the moped was no longer there. It had been stolen. Arsath Ro'is bought a new one and resolved never to leave it unattended. From that day on, almost all of his photographs featured a moped in them somewhere. See also 

Cary Markerink City-stills New Topographics in the 70s Photography

The Indonesian photographer J.M. Arsath Ro'is was an employee of the Germeentearchief Amsterdam. From 1959 to 1981 he documented the expansion and changing infrastructure of the city of Amsterdam. The editors of Ohio selected these eighty black and white photographs from among hundreds in Ro'is' personal archive, each showing a different part of the city and the bicycle he rode to get there.

vrijdag 15 maart 2019

Views & Reviews Santu Mofokeng makes God's Word Move with his Photos South Africa Photography

This year marks the 25th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections, and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as president.

South African photographer Santu Mofokeng (b. 1956) famously documented daily life during and after apartheid. Foam presents a large-scale retrospective, containing a selection of his most important visual essays and featuring many unpublished works from the artist’s private archives.

The exhibition Santu Mofokeng – Stories brings together a number of important photographic essays by Mofokeng made in his native South Africa. Amongst the series on show is his first and most celebrated visual essay Train Church (1986), portraying the spontaneous religious rituals that occurred on the Soweto-Johannesburg commuter train. Other (many yet unknown) images portray life in the townships of Soweto and Dukathole; political protests leading up to the abolition of apartheid, and the historic election of Nelson Mandela as president in 1994. Together, the series narrates how the rapidly changing political climate in South Africa affected daily life across the country. Raised in the township of Soweto, Mofokeng photographed South African communities from the inside, painting a nuanced and dynamic portrait of a complex society in transition.

Laying of hands, Johannesburg Soweto Line, 1986 © Santu Mofokeng

Santu Mofokeng laat met zijn foto’s Gods woord bewegen
Fotografie De Zuid-Afrikaanse fotograaf Santu Mofokeng vond nieuwsfoto’s in de tijd van het apartheidsregime te eenzijdig. Om het echte leven te laten zien, maakte hij fotoverhalen.

Toef Jaeger
22 februari 2019

Uit de serie Train Church, Santu Mofokeng.
Foto Santu Mofokeng Foundation, Courtesy Lunetta Bartz, Maker, Johannesburg en Steidl GmbH. 

Santu Mofokeng – Stories.

Foam, Amsterdam t/m 28 april.



Het is een vroege ochtend in 1986 wanneer forenzen pendelend tussen Johannesburg en Soweto in een trein gospels zingen en naar preken luisteren. De Zuid-Afrikaanse fotograaf Santu Mofokeng is aanwezig bij de ontplooiing van deze „religieuze ecstasy” en hij ziet hoe de volgepakte trein een kerk wordt. Mofokeng pakt zijn toestel en ziet: „Deze kantoorschoonmakers, klerken, fabrieksarbeiders en werklui deden mee aan een kakofonie van lied en gebed, een catharsis van spiritualiteit in een bewegend landschap.”

Luid zingende reizigers, een man die zegeningen door de coupé lijkt te blazen en een vrouw die dichterbij de Heer lijkt te komen terwijl ze een hoofdmassage krijgt: Mofokeng legde de rijdende trein vast in het ‘foto-essay’ Train Church. De bewegingen die op de foto’s te zien zijn, geven Gods woord een extra zetje. De serie is slechts een van de schitterende fotoverhalen die in fotografiemuseum Foam in Amsterdam zijn te zien.

Uit de serie Train Church, Santu Mofokeng.
Foto Santu Mofokeng Foundation, Courtesy Lunetta Bartz, Maker, Johannesburg en Steidl GmbH.

Santu Mofokeng (1956) krijgt als tiener interesse voor fotografie als hij door een straatfotograaf in Soweto wordt geportretteerd. Enkele jaren later kiest hij voor hetzelfde vak. Daarnaast kan je hem inhuren voor bruiloften en partijen. Een vetpot is het echter niet en na enkele jaren gaat Mofokeng aan de slag als assistent in een donkere kamer.

De foto’s die hij van anderen ontwikkelt, bevallen hem niet. „Agenda-journalistiek”, noemt hij ze in verschillende interviews, waarmee hij bedoelt dat de foto’s altijd gericht zijn op protesten en geweld. Hoe het leven echt is onder het apartheidsregime, komt nauwelijks naar voren.

In 1985 sluit hij zich aan bij het agentschap Afrapix – een collectief dat protestbewegingen en ongelijkheid in Zuid-Afrika in beeld brengt – en gaat zelf op pad. Zijn foto’s worden afgedrukt door New Nation, een anti-apartheidweekblad. Maar vaak is hij te laat met de nieuwsfoto’s: geen auto en een gebrek aan ruimte om zijn foto’s te ontwikkelen zijn de voornaamste reden voor het niet halen van deadlines. Bovendien voelt Mofokeng zich niet echt op zijn gemak in deze rol. Hij wil langer op vaste plekken blijven in de hoop dat de mensen die hij fotografeert deelnemen aan zijn foto’s in plaats van dat hij als toeschouwer op het juiste moment op een knop drukt. Mofokeng wordt ‘onderzoeksfotograaf’.

Uit de serie Politics, Santu Mofokeng.
Foto Santu Mofokeng Foundation, Courtesy Lunetta Bartz, Maker, Johannesburg en Steidl GmbH.

Het werkt. Fascinerend is de serie over reclameborden, die hij tussen 1985 en 2011 vastlegt. De borden worden wat gelikter, de omgeving niet. Wrang is het gigantische bord waarop een grote glimmende diamant is afgebeeld met de woorden: ‘Democracy is Forever’ (2004). Tijdens de eerste decennia van Mofokengs leven was democratie niet iets waar ze in Zuid-Afrika mee te koop liepen. Nu glinstert het als reclameleus, terwijl eronder iemand een karretje voortduwt met rotzooi. Of neem de reeks Funeral. Mofokeng woont enige tijd bij de oude pachtboer Kas Maine, wanneer diens schoonzuster Miriam sterft in 1990. De dag dat Miriam wordt begraven, gaan er lange slierten mensen door een landschap waarbij je je afvraagt hoe ver die kist gebracht moet worden. Op een andere foto zit een man hurkend van verdriet tussen allemaal benen. Mofokeng legt van binnenuit de rouwenden vast.

En dat is wat misschien nog wel het opvallendst aan zijn foto’s: ze zijn door een insider gemaakt. Het Zuid-Afrika dat we kennen dankzij foto’s van witte fotografen als Pieter Hugo, Roger Ballen en David Goldblatt, krijgt in de schitterende fotoverhalen van Mofokeng een extra laag.

woensdag 13 maart 2019

Views & Reviews STAMMHEIM FOR POSTERITY RAF Andreas Magdanz Photography

Andreas Magdanz: Stammheim. 2012
Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern. 2012. First edition, first printing. Great book about the famous german prison by the maker of "Dienststelle Marienthal", "BND", "Auschwitz-Birkenau". Hardcover (as issued). 308 x 258 mm. 230 pages. 98 black and white photos. Editor: Andreas Magdanz, Ulrike Groos. Text: Andreas Magdanz and others. Layout: Andreas Magdanz. Text: german, english.

See also 40 years after 'the German Autumn': who were the RAF terror group?

Stammheim prison acquired a depressing notoriety in the nineteen seventies as the place where leaders of the terrorist group Red Army Faction (RAF) were imprisoned. During the course of a two-year project, photographer Andreas Magdanz has addressed this sensitive subject and recorded Stammheim, whose maximum-security wing is to be replaced by a new building in 2015, for posterity.

Andreas Magdanz, Building I, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

Apart from the prisoners themselves and the prison staff, it is unlikely that anyone has ever got quite as close to Stammheim in the north of Stuttgart as Aachen photographic artist Andreas Magdanz.

A specialist in documenting important German post-war sites, Magdanz spent five months living in one of the neighbouring apartments provided for prison staff, which allowed him to photograph every facet of the legendary prison each day after 6 pm.

It was only after the 600 murderers, thieves and other criminals currently in custody at the prison were securely locked away in their cells that Magdanz could be given access to the prison – and thereby granted a unique insight into life inside this once so notorious jail. A small selection of his large-format digital photographs is now on display at Stuttgart’s art museum. These are the oppressive images of a place where the terror wreaked by the RAF – known as the “German Autumn” – came to an end.

Andreas Magdanz, Visitor's room, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

According to an article in the Stuttgarter Zeitung, Karl Schwaderer, who was the director of construction at the time, is supposed to have made the following sarcastic remark when the new ten-storey prison building was opened in 1963: “It is unique for prisoners to be offered such a wonderful view of freedom”.

Twelve years later, the prison was upgraded again – no more storeys were added, but security was tightened: for 16 million deutschmarks, the prison was equipped with a multi-purpose building that went down in history as the place where the leading RAF terrorists went on trial.

Andreas Magdanz, View on building I, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

Fearing airborne attempts to free the prisoners, the multi-purpose building – and indeed the courtyard walkway – were covered with steel mesh in the run-up to the trial. The courtroom itself had eight-metre-high concrete walls, and featured only small skylights. It came to symbolize functional and deterrent West German post-war architecture.

Andreas Magdanz’s images paint a sobering picture of just how bleak this period in the nineteen seventies really was. Because no people are depicted and the black-and-white motifs often blur into a dirty grey, the impression given by the cold, sterile environment is all the more threatening. Magdanz’s photographs portray long, neon-lit corridors and empty cells with bullet-proof windows. In his photographs, Magdanz records the drab misery of this place right down to the tiniest detail.

Andreas Magdanz, View on the atrium, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

Methodically, Magdanz worked his way up from the bottom of two buildings, from the basement, kitchen, laundry, administration offices, visitor rooms and sick bay right up to the seventh floor, home to the leaders of the RAF – Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof and Jan Carl Rapse – who enjoyed many privileges such as record players, televisions and even specialist literature about guerrilla warfare and modern explosives.

Cell 719 in particular is regarded by Magdanz as an “historically-charged, soulful place”. This is where Ulrike Meinhoff hanged herself on the window crossbar in 1976, two years after she was sentenced to life in Andreas Magdanz,

Andreas Magdanz, View on cell 719, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

prison. It is also where Andreas Baader shot himself on 18 October 1977 in what has come to be known as the “Stammheim night of death”, at the same time as – according to the general consensus today – Jan-Carl Raspe and Gudrun Ensslin took their own lives in the cells next door and opposite.

At the same time, Hanns Martin Schleyer, the president of the German Employers‘ Association who had been kidnapped by the RAF, was murdered; his body was found the following day in the boot of a car in France’s Alsace region.

Stammheim is not Andreas Magdanz’s first work that addresses contemporary history. He has previously documented mining in Garzweiler (1995-1997), the former emergency government bunker known as the Marienthal Office (1998-2000), Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (2002/2003), the former NSDAP cadre training facility at the former military training ground “Camp Vogelsang” (2004) and, last but not least, the headquarters of the German intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) in Pullach (2005/2006).

The current series now joins the multitude of theatre plays, books and films by well-known directors such as Margarethe von Trotta, Reinhard Hauff and Heinrich Breloer that show how the dark Stammheim chapter in German post-war history, with all its inconsistencies and puzzles, has still to be fully illuminated even after years of critical examination and analysis.


Andreas Magdanz, Floor with view on cell 719, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

At the same time, Magdanz attempts with photographic means to make the subject vivid and comprehensible. Part of his idea was to tell the Stammheim story as completely as possible in pictures, thus providing a psychological profile of German sensitivities in the nineteen seventies. “Ultimately, I not only photographed or scanned Stammheim, I dissected it”, explains the 49-year-old photographer in the book accompanying the exhibition. More Stammheim is impossible.

The RAF myth has now even been visually documented for posterity with images from the cherry-picker and helicopter perspective. This achieves Magdanz’s goal of once again provoking a discussion of this important chapter in West German history and of opening the eyes of future generations to what happened. For him, this is the level on which Germany’s story gets told right to the end.

As Ulrich Schneider points out in the book accompanying the exhibition, Magdanz did what he had to do. Gerhard Richter, he explains, attempted something similar, the only difference being that his cycle of paintings entitled 18 October, featuring portraits of Meinhof, Ensslin and other RAF prisoners, is virtually inaccessible to the German public because it has been on display since 1995 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the artist having met with little approval in his home country on account of his alleged glorification of terror.

“We can only hope”, Schneider concludes, “that Magdanz’s images, bereft of people as they are, preserve memories of a part of Germany from a distance”.

Andreas Magdanz, Cabin, 2010/2011; | © Andreas Magdanz

Andreas Magdanz. Stuttgart Stammheim
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, 17 November 2012 until 24 March 2013.

The accompanying book Stammheim with texts by Michael Sontheimer, Ulrich Schneider, Stefan Skowron, Christoph Schaden and Andreas Magdanz, was published in 2013 by Hatje Cantz Verlag

„Kunst als terrein van reflectie“: Andreas Magdanz, donderdag 25.04.2013, 19u.
Op donderdagavond 25 april 2013 om 19 uur is Andreas Magdanz te gast bij de „Kunst als terrein van reflectie“ in het Museum Kurhaus Kleef, de nieuwe lezingenreeks met museumdirecteur prof. Harald Kunde. Andreas Magdanz zal daarbij in een lezing „Stammheim“ voorstellen, zijn nieuwste fotokunstproject, dat 2012 als publicatie bij Hatje Cantz is verschenen.

De gevangenis Stuttgart-Stammheim werd internationaal bekend doordat de kopstukken van de Rote Armee Fraktion in de jaren ’70 van de vorige eeuw hier gevangen zaten. Speciaal voor het proces tegen de RAF-leden werd in 1975 een extra beveiligd gebouw neergezet.

Uitgangspunt voor het fotokunstproject „Stuttgart Stammheim“ van Andreas Magdanz is het feit, dat met de geplande sloop van de staatsgevangenis de plek vernietigd wordt, die onlosmakelijk met de historisch belangrijke gebeurtenissen van 1977 verbonden is. Dit vormde voor de fotokunstenaar de aanleiding om de historisch geladen plek van de RAF- mythe met behulp van grootformaatfoto’s als medium uitvoerig te documenteren. Tegelijkertijd laat hij met de nadrukkelijk nuchter-zakelijke opnames een genuanceerd en werkelijkheidsgetrouw beeld van de inrichting anno 2010/2011 zien.

Na een verblijf van vijf maanden en een omvangrijk onderzoek is het werk vanaf eind 2012 in de vorm van diverse tentoonstellingen en publicaties te zien. De entree aan de avondkassa voor „Kunst als terrein van reflectie“ bedraagt 5,- €, het gereduceerde tarief voor leden van de Vereniging van Vrienden bedraagt 3,- €.