Saturday, February 28, 2009

Profile : Peter Beard

I simply love Peter Beard, if I think about all these photoshop photographers of nowadays and see Peter Beard's "hand" collages I feel to admire the value of handcraft on photography... Since i started to take my first photos i remember to look at some copies of Photo Magazine and often the work for Peter Beard appeared, was in between the photography which substitute a diary, the incredible beauty of african women and the sense of Africa blended with the fashion idea of it. Is all there in the fantastic work by Peter Beard...
here some note from his web site's bio:
Born in 1938 in New York City, raised in New York City, Alabama, and Bayberry Point, Islip, Long Island, Peter Beard kept diaries at an early age. He took his first pictures at twelve and photography quickly evolved into an extension of his diaries, as a way to preserve and remember vacations and favorite things. In 1957 he entered Yale University as a pre-medical student, but perceiving humans as the main disease soon switched to art history, studying under Vincent Scully, Joseph Albers, and Richard Lindner.Trips to Africa in 1955 and 1960 piqued his interests and after graduating from Yale, he returned to Kenya via Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) in Rungstedlund, Denmark. She was the author of Out of Africa, Shadows In the Grass, Gothic Tales and Mottos In My Life. Beard met Blixen through his cousin Jerome Hill. In the early 60s he worked at Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, during which time he photographed and documented the demise of over 35,000 elephants and 5000 Black Rhinos and published two The End of the Game books (1965 & 1977). During this same time period, he acquired Hog Ranch, the property adjacent to Karen Blixen’s near the Ngong Hills and made it his home base in East Africa. Beard has written further works on his African experience: Eyelids of the Morning: The Mingeled Destines of Crocodiles and Men(1973), Longing for Darkness (1975), and his most recent books Zara’s Tales: Perilous Escapades in Equatorial Africa (2004) written for his daughter and his latest book Peter Beard, published by Taschen in November 2006.
His first exhibit was at the Blum Helman Gallery In New York in 1975 and was followed in 1977 by the landmark installation of his photographs, elephant carcasses, burned diaries, taxidermy, African artifacts, books and personal memorabilia at the International Center of Photography (his first one man show) in New York City.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Conversation : Philipp Horak

I would like to introduce a photographer and ask some questions, this first time i posted a conversation with Philipp Horak, Austrian photographer affiliated with Anzenberger Agency in Vienna. Philipp Horak work as editorial, corporate and advertising photography and also working in personal projects such as a book on Shaolin and an essay on Black Austria. I have a great respect for Philipp's work and happy to share a friendship with him.
DM : What i admire of your work is how you can combine reportage and portrait with the same intensity and creativity using an hasselblad which is, for my personal experience, not an easy camera to compose, how did it happened to start to work with this camera?
PH: First i start with a mamyia RZ. I used this camera for portraits and for reportages.But i soon switch to Hasselblad due the easier handling of the camera. Since then i always worked with an Hasselblad adapting my work to this great camera.
DM: I was very curious to see how you develop your stories, for example the essay on the paris dakar race, it seems you start
with the idea to follow the race but in the end you start to follow the real life of this part of africa which is often forgotten.Tell me more about it.
PH: I was working for 8 years as a photographer. i worked for newspapers and commercial. everything was fine but suddenly my private live changed and i decided to accept an offer of a director which asked me to be part of the crew of his film on the Paris-Dakar , took me one day to recognize as a great experience for my life, follow the race but also switch my life into 4 months in the desert , was everything new for me. The reportage followed my life... in the beginning i was on track with the race but then i start to follow the daily life of the villages, as well with my life changing with a different curiosity .
DM: Portraits are one of the most important topic of your job, is amazing how you face the subject, expecially politicians which are often seen without their typical institutional mask . In Particular Heinz Fisher president of Austria, a photo of him behind the plant of his office. How did you convince him to set up the portrait like that?

PH: I just told him he should stand there - and he did it- I dont know why he did it.... If i would be a president i wouldnt do it but sometime i am really wondering why people are doing things like this..... not that I think they are silly but I wonder if they know to be front of the media sometimes.... In Austria especially where politicians are quite weird sometimes....
DM: Last question, tell me more about your new project of portraits of Asylum seekers in Austria from which three photos appear at the end of this post
PH: It is always a big shock when you observe what a rich country like Austria is doing with "immigrants". Especially the government is always explaining to us that we need an higher "quality" people in our land. I met doctors from Syria waiting for two years to be recognized for an asylium... I do hope they will understand that the world we live belongs to everybody....

Exhibition : Sylvie Tillmann "Candyfloss overboard"

A new exhibition at Stage候台BACK Gallery in Shanghai, Opening this coming Saturday:
Sylvie Tillmann whose interests both in the understanding of the body as a projection surface as well as the meaning of the expression of her thoughts using the bodies as the conveyor of the soul.
Both aspects concentrate themselves on the fact, that there is only a frightening little space for our commonly held beliefs of beauty. In her photographs we see humans who do not identify themselves with these paradigms. Unadorned and combined with eccentric accessories, they lead the viewer towards the fact that the boundaries of the aesthetics have room for expansion. Candyfloss overboard is Tillmanns first exhibithion on Mainland China. She lives and works in Cologne / Germany.
Stage候台BACK Gallery, located at Room 301, 3F, Building 11, 696 Weihai Lu near Shaanxi Lu, Shanghai China.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Exhibition : The Northeast Man by Wang Fuchun at Beaugeste Gallery in Shanghai

I went to see a new exhibition at Beaugeste Gallery here in Shanghai, the gallery in Taikang road offer always an interesting look on Chinese and European Photography. The gallery supervised by Jean Loh is small but has a great intent to show good quality photographic work in a city dominated by Digital-photoshop-Photography. The gallery will display until the end of march the work of Wang Fuchun , from him i have seen his earlier famous project on Chinese train which was widely exhibited and which received many recognitions. I have also met by chance Wang Fuchun in Beijing, I was on assignment in Beijing and i was sitting in the metro coming back from the outskirt of the city, suddenly I saw a man taking photos of the people in the metro including me... I went to talk to him with my tragical chinese and he communicate to me with his tragical english... when we exchanged the business card I could read I was sitting close to him, well it was funny....
But more on the exhibition here
Here some note from the statement:
The Northeast Men
Born in the Black Land, Wang Fuchun has two loves: one is the railroad, with its steam locomotives and its “Chinese on the train” he so often encounters; the other his own countrymen of the Northeast. The “Northeast Men” photographs, exhibited here for the first time in Shanghai, might well be a bowl of fresh air thrown in our faces: There is no urban hassle, no pollution, no financial meltdown, no god’s warriors in this “White Land” of Wang Fuchun’s. It is a completely stress-free, pure and innocent world, filled with image d’Épinal, the sort of farmers’ new year paintings, the kind of too-real-to-be-true folk art that reminds us of our original Garden of Eden, where animals, birds and fish are man’s best friends.
Wang Fuchun carried his heavy, large-format 8x10 view camera guiding us to his home country, to share with us the love he has for his countrymen, the hospitality of his brothers and sisters, even the seldom seen ethnic minorities of the Great Northeast.
These greeting cards for the New Year give us a lesson in the rewards of optimism and also impart the vital energy that should prove indispensable for overcoming the many challenges of the New Year ahead.
Large Format Black & White Photography by Wang Fuchun
Publication of a hard cover book:
Wang Fuchun : Northeast Men (2009) – B&W photography duotone 102p, Beaugeste Photo Gallery – from 17th of January till 25th of March 2009 210 Taikang road – building 5 space 519 Shanghai

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Books : China, Portrait of a Country

I thought it might worth to post about this book, hoping to find it in China....

This book brings together a vast selection of images by Chinese photographers since 1949, giving readers a visual journey across the great People's Republic; edited by esteemed photojournalist Liu Heung Shing, longtime Associated Press correspondent and Time magazine contributor.
In post-Mao China, late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping urged his one billion countrymen to 'seek truth from facts.' Taking its cue from Deng's overture, China today is the leading economic story of the 21st century. The process by which China navigated the path from periphery to a central position in world affairs dominates the debate about Asia and China's relationship to the western world. Pulitzer-winning photojournalist Liu Heung Shing charts the visual history of sixty years of the People's Republic (1949 to 2008), and along the way aims to illustrate the humanistic course.
Via work by 88 Chinese photographers, this collection of images shows how the Chinese people have blossomed in spite of enduring previous decades of extraordinary hardship. When China opens the curtain at the summer Olympics in 2008 and the world’s focus falls upon Beijing, these photographs will serve to map out the remarkable road the Chinese have traveled to rejoin the rest of the world. To help place the images in context, also included are a map of China, drafted and prepared by China National Institute of Geography, and a chronology listing all the major political events in China since 1949.
Edited by Lui Heung Shing. Contributions by James Kynge and Karen Smith.
Taschen, Los Angeles, 2008. 424 pp., Numerous illustrations., 8¾x13½".

Profile : Leo Balanev

Leo Balanev is a young russian photographer which travel across Asia and shooting as much as he can, he has done some interesting work with a polaraid

Friday, February 20, 2009

Profile : Shadi Ghadirian

Shadi Ghadirian is an Iranian photographer working in topics which involved the fragile and exploited female conditions in her country. The photos are also ironical and showcased in different styles focusing on portraits of woman and still life done inside rooms where is possible to feel the intimancy of the female world. I admire her work as a great contribution from a beautiful and undisclosed country such as Iran. She has worked in three different project which are Qajar, Like Every Day and Nil . I do like the three project although done in different style in particular Like Every Day has an interesting concept. For the cover of this post i choose one photo from the Qajar series.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Exhibition : Liu Xun , Specimen at Kunst.Licht Gallery in Shanghai

I went to visit the new exhibition at Kunst.Licht gallery in Shanghai, another interesting work from another Chinese Photographer Liu Xun, here note from the work
108 portraits displayed in water basins, placed there together with torn pages from the Chinese classical novel Water Margin (also known as Outlaws of the Marsh or All Men Are Brothers) form the main body of this installation/exhibition.
Each of these 108 “specimen”, a predominantly female representation of Chinese urban youth, bears the name of one of the 108 predominantly male outlaws of the original novel, as well as the label "MADE IN CHINA".
“Chinese traditional culture has gradually degenerated into a superficial label forced upon the younger generation, and from their bodies it has already become difficult to make out the cultural differences between Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.” Just as the photographs and pages of the novel slowly steep in the water, the visitor is invited to immerse himself in Liu Xun’s uniquely convergent atmosphere and approach these portraits of Chinese youth from a fresh perspective. In the artist’s words, “this manner of presentation both undermines and transcends the conventions of photography: to look at a photo, it is not necessary to hang it on the wall. A different point of view is absolutely possible.”

Profile : Martina Bacigalupo

I have seen photos from Martina Bacigalupo on display in the web site of the Reflexions Masterclass conducted and coordinated by Giorgia Fiorio. I was instantly impressed with the intensity of the portraits and the black and white. Nowadays Martina has worked on Twins Project in Burundi for the Joop Swart Masterclass (world press photos) where she was nominated in 2008.
From her work i do like the projects Hito (the double) and Pianissimo from where i choose the photo for the cover of this post.
here some beautiful words from Pianissimo:
The perception of the self and of things around them is for blind people very physical. In the process of recognition sight doesn't participate and the other sense re-born. Hands are eyes. Surfaces, odours, sounds, are colors. In a time where perception of the human being is merely esthetical I go backwards, to the places where the self evolves and grows in its inside and in the tactile experience of the other>

Publication : Private, International review of Photographs and Text

Private is one of the best magazine for reportage, is a quarterly International review of black and white photographs and texts.
An independent and itinerant publication that offer its photographic journey since 1992. The current issue is about India.

Profile : Daniel Traub

Daniel Traub has worked long time in China and now divide his time between Philadelphia and Shanghai, he has worked in different projects , involved in the fast changing of Urban Landscape. He is now engaged in an interesting photo essay in his home town Philadelphia , the project is called "Inner City" which i suggest you to view
Here some note from his biography
Daniel Traub is an American photographer who divides his time between New York CIty and Shanghai, China. Since 1999, he has been engaged with long term projects in China including Simplified Characters which explores the transformation of China’s cities through street portraits and urban scenes and City’s Edge which looks at the border region where urban and rural China meet. His images have appeared in publications including The New York Times Magazine, London Telegraph Magazine and Wallpaper. His work has been exhibited in Asia, the UK and the United States and is in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibition : Shen Wei in Shanghai

By the time i am writing this post the exhibition has finished, nevertheless I admire Shen Wei Photography, he exhibited in the new Kunst.Licht gallery in Shanghai. For my opinion one of the best photographic exhibition in Shanghai in 2008.
The project presented : Almost Naked
here the artist Statement:
Growing up in Mainland China, I was brought up strictly and conservatively, any untraditional and unconventional ideas of life-style can sometimes lead to misconceptions. I was numbed about the ideas of intimacy, sexuality, and love. Since I moved to the United States, my needs for self-expression has grown. However, my curiosity about how others deal with their identity in what is a fairly open society like America has increased. As a result I started to photograph people and life in America.
The goal of my projects are to raise the question about human nature, about emotions, feelings, desire, instinct and identity, to reveal things that you can feel it, that are unexplainable but yet still solid. I am fascinated with exploring the complexity of emotional nakedness and psychological connection/disconnection, as it is often expressed not specifically but explicitly. Certainly my photography is my perspectives and how I look at people and life in America. But most importantly, I want viewers of my work to make their own discoveries and judgments of my photographs.

Profile : Qiu Zhen

I am working on the "Single Industry" here in China, is amazing to see how many young people are involved in finding the soul mate , to get married using the matchmaking and following popular Tv Show, most of the time is for the respect of their own family "pressure", therefore the project from Qiu Zhen is quite funny . It is an art project of photos of a perfect husband and a fake wife all over the city....

Books : Aftermath, World Trade Center Archive by Joel Meyerowitz

I was thinking about the 9/11, what happened was an historical moment in American History, the reflections started from the fact that something similar happened in Beijing when of the new building of the CCTV tower complex burned due a Chinese New Year's fireworks, the building burned almost all night but it did not melt down as the twin tower.... is perhaps the explosive theory visible in the documentary Loose Change was really true?
Nevertheless New York photographer Joel Meyerowitz worked a lot on the aftermath and produce a book on it. here some note from the publisher:
After September 11th, 2001, the Ground Zero site in New York City was classified as a crime scene and only those directly involved in the recovery efforts were allowed inside. The press was also prohibited from the site, but with the help of the Museum of the City of New York and sympathetic city officials, award-winning photographer Joel Meyerowitz managed to obtain unlimited access. By ingenuity and sheer determination, he was the only photographer granted unimpeded right of entry into Ground Zero.
For 9 months, during the day and night, Meyerowitz photographed "the pile," as the World Trade Center came to be known, and the over 800 people a day that were working in it. Influenced by Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange's work for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression, he knew that if he didn't make a photographic record of the unprecedented recovery efforts, "there would be no history."
Published by Phaidon Press. Hardcover edition, 2006

Profile : JeongMee Yoon

Following the older post I do often feel sad to visit a zoo, to see animal trapped into cages or into a diverse environment. Many photographer follow project on zoo such as the famous Central's park photos from Garry Winograd, one project which fascinated me most is from Korean Photographer JeongMee Yoon , here the note or presentation of the project :
JeongMee Yoon's black and white photos have our gazes wandering somewhere in-between animals and their habitats which is zoo. The state of wandering is generally perceived as a psychological reaction to a certain kind of deficiency or absence. Different from ordinary zoos with extravaganzas of curious people in festive mood and cute tricks of animals, the zoo in Yoon's photos suggests such dreadful scenes as an empty cage shown through the iron bars, a cement floor soaked with animal blood, and some animals barely resting on the corner, which evokes dreary yet hollow sentiment.
The space called zoo suddenly struck as a representation of wearisome and eeriness. At the same time, the zoo as a tangible space to store animals begins to draw more attention than the animals themselves. Animals in the photos provoke a feeling of sadness and isolation rather than that of affection or intimacy; the photos of an elephant with one ivory broken, an one-eyed owl, a gorilla leaning head on the window, and stuffed animals with kitsch paintings on the background. The images in Yoon's photos have certain remoteness from what we generally believe about zoo and animals. You may find your naive belief become fractured and finally break down in pieces.

Books : The Hyena & Other Men by Pieter Hugo

I like Pieter Hugo , the project "The Hyena & Other Men" was awarded from the world press photo and later exposed in a book.
here note from the publisher:
Many myths surround the 'Hyena Men' who haunt the peripheries of Nigeria's cities. Accompanied by hyenas, rock pythons and baboons, these men earn a living by performing before crowds and selling traditional medicines. Pieter Hugo's extraordinary portraits of their liminal existence reveal an uncanny world of complex, codependent relationships, where familiar distinctions between dominance and submission, wildness and domesticity, tradition and modernity are constantly subverted. Nigerian journalist Adetokunbo Abiola introduces readers to the 'Hyena Men,' explaining the traditions and mystique behind their practices. Presented in thirty-five full-color plates, these intense portraits reveal why Hugo is one of the most exciting young photographers at work today.

Award : And the winner is ?

Every year the most prestigious award for Photojournalism is announced, the award is becoming also a showcase of interpretation of events rather than the usual stereotype of photojournalism which is dying with the advent of a better technology which allow to many to be able to shoot a photo enough good for editorial needs......
I found interesting some photographers and some features, among the third place in portraits stories given to Chinese Li Jiejun of New Express Daily. Is a series of photographs of miniature models (similar to the idea of Paolo Ventura photograhy) which depict famous scenes from the war. I choose for this post the reproduction of a photo from Cornell Capa (which was proved to be fake)... so what is better than re-shoot a fake photo?

Multimedia : Andrei Liankevich Pagan Holidays

Andrei Liankevich is a young talented photojournalist from Belarus, he has edited a multimedia presentation to show his latest story on Belarus Pagan Rituals, here the link

Profile : August Sander

I was always fascinated with the photography of August Sander, the photo portraits a particular moment for Germany History, the passage between the two wars, portrait of a country in an era which took it to a dark period.
here some note from Getty Museum:
During military service, August Sander was an assistant in a photographic studio in Trier; he then spent the following two years working in various studios elsewhere. By 1904 he had opened his own studio in Linz, Austria, where he met with success. He moved to a suburb of Cologne in 1909 and soon began to photograph the rural farmers nearby. Around three years later Sander abandoned his urban studio in favor of photographing in the field, finding subjects along the roads he traveled by bicycle.
"Man of the Twentieth Century" was Sander's monumental, lifelong photographic project to document the people of his native Westerwald, near Cologne. Stating that "[w]e know that people are formed by the light and air, by their inherited traits, and their actions. We can tell from appearance the work someone does or does not do; we can read in his face whether he is happy or troubled," Sander photographed subjects from all walks of life and created a typological catalogue of more than six hundred photographs of the German people. Although the Nazis banned the portraits in the 1930s because the subjects did not adhere to the ideal Aryan type, Sander continued to make photographs. After 1934 his work turned increasingly to nature and architectural studies.

Books : Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency

Nan Goldin has photographed her life, herself and the people who have surrounded her, living between fragility and emotions, tragedy and perversion.
One of the best book from her, some note from publisher:
Nan Goldin's Ballad is a document of the bohemian lifestyle in the East Village of New York. Her color photographs are an intensely personal experience of bars, parties, drugs, male predators, and battered women. Included are pictures of transvestites, drag queens, homosexuals, and heterosexuals relating--and not relating--to each other and to her. J. Hoberman of The Village Voice calls it "a sexual taxonomy for the '80s."
Aperture, New York, 1986. 140 pp., 130 color 130 color illustrations,, 10x9".

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Profile : William Eggleston

William Eggleston was a pioneer of Color Photography
here a note from Getty Museum:
William Eggleston assumes a neutral gaze and creates his art from commonplace subjects: a farmer's muddy Ford truck, a red ceiling in a friend's house, the contents of his own refrigerator. In his work, Eggleston photographs "democratically"--literally photographing the world around him. His large-format prints monumentalize everyday subjects, everything is equally important; every detail deserves attention.
A native Southerner raised on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, Eggleston has created a singular portrait of his native South since the late 1960s. After discovering photography in the early 1960s, he abandoned a traditional education and instead learned from photographically illustrated books by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Frank. Although he began his career making black-and-white images, he soon abandoned them to experiment with color technology to record experiences in more sensual and accurate terms at a time when color photography was largely confined to commercial advertising.

My Blog - About Photography

I am starting to put a project I am working on now, is about "Youth Subcultures " , is a project which will involved different aspect and influences among young generation of this complex and interesting country i am living.
I came to China for the first time in 1990, i arrived by train crossing all over Siberia, at the time i was too young and naive to think that I would end up to live here.The 1990 was the year after the Tian An men protest, the people were acting , dressing, thinking is such a different way from now . Nowadays internet and a stronger influence from west and from Japan creating new subcultures which make me interested in working on.
My project started with the phenomenon of Cozplay (cosplayer), a Japanese type of performance art whose participants outfit themselves, with often-elaborate costumes and accessories, as a specific character. Characters are usually sourced in various Japanese and East Asian media, including manga, anime, tokusatsu, comic books, graphic novels, video games, and fantasy movies. The performance movement is taking over in China and more and more young people are following this fashion of being different from the reality.