Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Profile : Colby Katz

Colby Katz is one of my favorite photographer, she has worked in different photographic project and her Beauty Pageants in America is the one I like most. The project has been exhibited widely and had many important recognitions.
Here a note from the project
Beauty pageants originated as a marketing tool in 1921 by a New Jersey hotel owner who wanted tourists visiting Atlantic City to remain in town longer. They are now one of the fastest growing businesses in America grossing over 5 billion dollars a year. For this project, I decided to focus on girls ages 12 months to 5 years of age. Kids too young to be able to comprehend the event in which their parents are preparing them for. My project is spilt in to two sections. One is about the ritual of getting ready. A behind the scenes look at the girls picking out their clothes, getting dressed, and having their hair and make-up done. It’s at these moments when the girls are at their most natural and act their age. It’s also the moments when they seem detached, sad, old, apathetic, and tired of the ritual. The second half of my project is of the girls posed inside hotel conference rooms. Here, after hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars have been spent having them look and act mature, after all the prodding, they often fail to follow through. Mom’s stand beside their little girls telling them to “show their dimples” and “do their pretty feet”. Their dimples show but the smiles are forced and poses are awkward and usually not what the parent hopes. When they are doing the thing they been prepared to do, which is after all to look and act like a miniature adult, they fail terribly and end up in the end looking like they should, kids.
And a note about Colby Katz:
Colby Katz attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating in 1998 with a B.F.A. in Photography, she began working for The Associated Press and The New York Times Newspaper. In 2001 she returned to her home state of Florida to be able to spend more time working on personal projects about the South. The work from her projects in Florida was received very well. Earning her a spot in the Powerhouse published book, 25 Under 25 Up-and-Coming American Photographers in 2003, the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists in 2004, participation in the 2004 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass, and inclusion in 2005 edition of PDN's 30 Choice of Emerging Photographers

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Exhibition : Entitled Tree by Myoung Ho Lee

Interesting exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, the work "Entitled Tree" by Myoung Ho Lee will be presented. The work from the young photographer from South Korean has a quite remarkable impact using a concept of isolate the tree with a background. I found really interesting
here note from Yossi Milo artist' statement:
Myoung Ho Lee photographs solitary trees framed against white canvas backdrops in the middle of natural landscapes. To install the large canvases, which span approximately 60 by 45 feet, the artist enlists a production crew and heavy cranes. Minor components of the canvas support system, such as ropes or bars, are later removed from the photograph through minimal digital retouching, creating the illusion that the backdrop is floating behind the tree.
The series includes diverse species of trees photographed with a 4x5 camera in a variety of seasons and at different times of day. Mr. Lee allows the tree’s natural surroundings to fill the frame around the canvas, transforming the backdrop into an integral part of the subject. Centered in the graphic compositions, the canvas defines the form of the tree and separates it from the environment. By creating a partial, temporary outdoor studio for each tree, Mr. Lee’s “portraits” of trees play with ideas of scale and perception while referencing traditional painting and the history of photography.
Yossi Milo Gallery 525 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001 - Thursday, March 19, 2009, 6:00–8:00 pm

Friday, March 27, 2009

Exhibition : Beijing Sixty-Six by Solange Brand

Interesting exhibition at Beaugeste Photo Gallery in Shanghai, the Gallery curated by Jean Loh will introduce some historical color photos from the Cultural Revolution in Beijing. The Exhibition will open on the 28th of March at 5Pm at Beaugeste Gallery , lane 210 Taikang road.
here the statement from Jean Loh :
Beijing Sixty-Six: Portrait of a Lost Generation
In 2002 the cofounder of the Pingyao International Photography Festival, Alain Jullien, invited an unknown amateur photographer to participate in the annual visual feast that went on to become the landmark of Chinese photography today. Solange Brand, then the Art Director of the newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, mentioned in passing to Alain that she had been in China from 1966 to 1968, and had not set foot on the Mainland since. When Alain asked if she had taken any pictures of China; that innocent question turned out to be a major discovery: Her Kodachrome slides and Agfa prints buried in a shoe box for all those years emerged to become an award-winning book.
That same year in Pingyao I was privileged to be in Solange's hotel room where she first showed her sensational pictures on my laptop screen. Everyone in the room was awestruck. And I was captivated by the freshness of the images as if they were snapshots made just the day before. Later during the al fresco projection, many of the Chinese photographers were moved; all were fascinated by this very rare natural portrait of “Beijing '66,” and in color!
Photography is indeed a time machine where reality travels from yesteryear to yesterday.
The magic about the number “1966” is that this was the year when everything started going upside down, the beginning of an unprecedented upheaval. As if there was a before and an after—following 1966 nothing was the same any more. When Solange raised her camera she was wondering why those great numbers of students, instead of attending classes, were all over town, writing slogans on the walls. She sensed something was happening but did not really understand the scope of the phenomenon. It was the year that the Beatles revolutionized rock music with their albums Rubber Soul and Revolver. It was the year Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander invented new American photography. When Solange eventually left Beijing in 1968 she went home to a France shaken by a nameless revolution dubbed “May 68.” John Lennon said (in “The Beatles Anthology”); “The sixties saw a revolution among youth, not just concentrating in small pockets or classes, but a revolution in a whole way of thinking; the youth got it first and the next generation second. The Beatles were part of the revolution.”
What, with indescribable emotion, did the Chinese photographers see in Solange's Beijing '66? I honestly don't know. What I saw was the original iconography that would serve as the visual aesthetics underlying China's contemporary art today. What the Chinese photographers saw was perhaps a “self-projection” or “self-identification” with the faces of these young men and women, even children, who could have been their grandparents or their parents from a long lost memory.
Here lies the power of photography: What the Chinese viewers experience is like taking a swab of reality—an operation of “cut and paste”—and transposing it to fill in the void in our imaginations, to fill in the empty place in our collective memory, to fill in the absence as in our absentmindedness. We are confronted again by Roland Barthes’ famous “Ça a été—that has been.” Photography's immediacy acts to set up an instantaneous observation of the experience of its author. As a result of the cut and paste, this transposition becomes an affirmation of “I have seen this” or “I have been there.” Hence the excitement we feel in the possibility of scrutinizing each face in the crowd and asking of ourselves: Was that how we (or our progenitors) used to look?
Diane Arbus had the conviction that there are things people would never have noticed had she not photographed them. Thanks to Solange Brand we relish the opportunity to take in every detail of the clothing, of every particle in the air, of every expression on the faces in this Beijing Sixty-Six, and ask ourselves: Where have all these heroic faces gone? The students with their uniforms; those “lake hero” figures (Jianghu Renwu) with their fur coats of another age; those dancers on the train expressing their revolutionary fervor with a martial choreography; and those pilgrims on the road beaten by sandstorms but bravely carrying the icon of the holy idol on their backpacks. Where have all these Red soldiers gone?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Article : Matsushige Yoshito

Yoshito Matsushige was the only person/photographer who took photos of his native Hiroshima soon after the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Here an extract of the story from Japan Focus :
Inscribing Hiroshima: The Photography of Matsushige Yoshito
There are dozens of brilliant war photographers, but there is only one Yoshito Matsushige.
For many years, Matsushige, 92, worked for a major metro daily called Chugoku Shimbun. He may not have been the greatest war photographer ever but he is unique: he took the only photographs in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the day the first atomic bomb was detonated over the city, killing 150,000 people.
Photos of war are very much with us today, with fierce debates over whether we are seeing too much of one kind (Americans getting mutilated or strung up on bridges) and not enough of another (civilians dying in Fallujah and other cities). On Aug. 6, 1945, Matsushige wandered around Hiroshima for 10 hours, carrying one of the few cameras that survived the atomic bombing and two rolls of film with twenty-four possible exposures. This was no ordinary photo opportunity. He lined up one gripping shot after another but he could only push the shutter seven times.
When he was done he returned to his home and developed the pictures in the most primitive way, since every dark room in the city, including his own, had been destroyed. Under a star-filled sky, with the landscape around him littered with collapsed homes and the center of Hiroshima still smoldering in the distance, he washed his film in a radiated creek and hung it out to dry on the burned branch of a tree.
Five of the seven images came out, and they are all the world will ever know of what Hiroshima looked like on that day. Only Matsushige knows what the 17 photos he didn't take would have looked like.

Exhibition : Yasuhiro Ogawa , Slowly Down the River

I went to see an exhibition which opened yesterday at the Konica gallery in Shinjuku (Tokyo) , a work done by Japanese photographer Yasuhiro Ogawa on the Three Gorge Dam area . A reportage on the municipality of Chongqing done in different times. The exhibition also introduce the book "Slowly down the river".Yasuhiro Ogawa is a photographer of Collective Sha-Do , an interesting project between european and japanese photographers working in Japan. I will talk more about Sha-Do in the future as I am preparing a conversation which will introduce the idea and concept of the collective.
Here a note from the photographer on the Three Gorge Dam Project :
I wandered from place to place, being a passenger on the slow boats which run along the river. During the journeys I saw thousands of faces; faces reflecting the situation of the people, who are in the midst of a strong transitional current in this country." A photo story on modern day China, focusing the construction of the Three Gorges Dam.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Profile : David Burdeny

I was invited to look at the workd of american photographer David Burdeny and I found it amazing, panorama landscapes is something unique and the result of the interpretation is surreal and with a strong impact.I do like in particular the projesct/series on Antarctica/Greenland 
here some words taken from David Burdeny's statement:
I'm fascinated with the quality of light and the spatial immensity the ocean possesses. I have an enormous reverence for feeling so small in the presence of something so vast, where perspective, scale, time and distance momentarily become intangible. My photographs contemplate that condition, and through their reductive nature, suggest a formalized landscape we rarely see. The glory lies not in the act of this removal or reduction, but in the experience of what is left - sublime experience located in ordinary space: a slowly moving sky, the sun moving across a boulders surface or sea foam swirling around a pylon.
Exposed onto large format black and white film under the soft light of dusk and dawn, the shutter is held open for several minutes at a time, recording the ocean and sky as it continuously repositions itself on the negative, a process both dependent and vulnerable to chance. The resultant image is an accretion of past and present. Each moment is layered over the moment immediately preceding it a single image that embodies the weight of cumulative time and unending metamorphosis.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Books : Bright Humility- Photography by Jaakko Heikkilä

Presenting a new book from Jaakko Heikkilä , the finnish photographer exploring the north land of Lappland, I found interesting the portraits mixed with the landscapes.
Note from the publisher
Lars-Levi Laestadius (1800-1861), parson, thinker and a man of strong influence, has left his mark on the mind of all those who come from the northern regions of the Nordic countries. In this work, Heikkilä walks in the northernmost Swedish Lapland, in the birth place of the Laestadian religious movement. With him he carries pictures of the parson himself and his seven preachers dating from the19th century. He finds people who are quiet, strong in their humility and who have experienced the atmosphere of prayer houses from the beginning of last century to the present day. He finds the nothern vernacular; the heavenly poetry and the life supporting full-bodied self-irony. Amazing present day portrait photography interspersed with the old pictures, the latter mounted on transparent paper with fire in the background, interesting technique - beautiful book by one of Finland's foremost art photographers.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photographs : Lee Friedlander - Cherry Blossom in Japan

I am in Japan these days following an assignment and I am experiencing the beginning of the Sakura which is the beautiful time of the Cherry Blossom, the beginning of spring season in Japan where many photographers have covered this colorful event, I found out this auction where the series from Lee Friedlander , american photographer, has done on this natural event in Japan.
here some words from the Photographer when he did the project:
I first went to Japan in 1977 and found the whole country ablaze with blossom. I went again in 1979, 1981 and 1984, always at cherry blossom time. As far as I knew, Japan was always abloom
and a note from the auction:
Cherry Blossom Time in Japan. The Complete Works. Photographs by Lee Friedlander. Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 2006. Unpaged. Oblong quarto. First edition. Hardbound. No jacket as issued. 73 tritone reproductions by Meridian Printing using the dry-trap process. Bound dos-à-dos (essentially two books bound together, which can be read in two directions: one half features horizontally oriented plates; the other vertical), with list of plates in the center.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Exhibition : Polyarnye Nochi by Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts will exhibit his project on Polynarnye Nochi and will held an "One Day Masterclass" during the Format International Photography Festival in Derby. Roberts is one of the most interesting photographer who has worked for a long project on Russia which ended up with a book "Motherland". Now working on a project on England which gave the name of his blog " We English" and it will be published as a book pretty soon.
here a note from the exhibition
Polyarnye Nochi
Unforgiving and dramatic winters have often been regarded as one of Russia’s most defining characteristics. A Russian winter is redolent both of great hardship but also great beauty and for centuries it has been romanticised in the country’s painting, music and cinema. A continuation of Roberts’ exploration of contemporary Russian society and inspired by Russian cinema, Polyarnye Nochi explores the winter landscapes of Northern Russia during a period known as Polar Nights, when the region is shrouded in darkness nearly 24 hours a day.

Profile : Jacob Aue Sobol

Being in Japan at the moment means also to experience a place  where is quite impossible to give a rest to the eyes...the city of Tokyo as well the country offer many opportunities for a photographer and the list all the great photographers who has worked in topics here is huge. Today I would like to post the work from Danish photographer Jacob Aue Sobol, represented by Magnum , who has lived and worked in a project in Tokyo. His work is very interesting to me , although might seem pure reportage the series on tokyo revealed a strong artistic impact. 
Here his biography from Magnum web site:
After a period studying at the European Film College, Jacob Aue Sobol was admitted to Fatamorgana, the Danish School of Documentary and Art Photography, in 1998. At Fatamorgana he developed the photographic idiom that runs through his pictures from the East Greenland settlement of Tiniteqilaaq, where he went in the autumn of 1999. Over the next three years he mainly lived in this township with his Greenlandic girlfriend Sabine and her family, living the life of a fisherman and hunter. In 2004 the book Sabine was published. In photographs and narratives it depicts his encounter with Sabine and life on the east coast of Greenland. The book was nominated for Deutche Börse Photography Prize 2005.
In the summer of 2005 Jacob Aue Sobol went with a film crew to Guatemala to make a documentary about a young Mayan girls’ first travel to the ocean. The year after he returned to the mountains of Guatemala by himself. He met the indigenous family Gomez-Brito and decided to stay with them for a month to tell about their everyday life. The series won the First Prize Award, Daily Life Stories, World Press Photo 2006.
His photographs are represented in the Royal Library’s National collection of photography and the National Arts Foundation in Denmark.
In 2007 Jacob became a nominee at Magnum Photos. His latest book project about Tokyo won the 2008 Leica European Publishers' Award, and will be published shortly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Books :Paul Outerbridge- Command Performance

Paul Outerbridge is one of the most influential photographer of the beginning of the 20th century, the Getty Museum has published a new book from his work including the portraits and the color work which i found amazing if we refer to the time they were done....
Note from the publisher
Paul Outerbridge Jr. (American, 1896-1958) burst onto the photographic art scene in the early 1920s with images that were visually fresh, technically adept, and decidedly Modernist. He also applied his talent for composition to the commercial world, introducing an artist's sensibility to advertisements for men's haberdashery, glassware, and JELL-O for magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair . An early master of the technically complex carbro color process, he used it to photograph nudes, often shown with a variety of props-images that skirted the limits of propriety in their day.
This catalogue is produced for the first exhibition of Outerbridge's work since 1981, to be held March 31 through August 9, 2009, at the J. Paul Getty Museum. It brings together one hundred photographs from all periods and styles of the photographer's career, including his Cubistic still-life images, commercial magazine photography, and nudes. The book includes an essay by the curator and a chronology of the artist's life and work.
By Paul Martineau. The Getty Museum, 2009. 164 pp., 59 color and 61 duotone illustrations, 9½x11".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Conversation : Max Sher

I am posting another conversation this time with Russian Photographer Max Sher which is represented by Agency Anzenberger. I have met Max Sher in Vienna during the presentation of book East edited by Regina Anzenberger , the book also featured his work on Kommunalka. Working and be represented by the same agency is an opportunity for me to have a better contact and perhaps also the spirit to ask some questions "acting" like a journalist... but
nevertheless i think is useful to understand a photography through the words of the photographer who decide to be there, see and decide to shoot a photo. The questions are related to the work and to the intent of the work.
I indeed like to write about photographers which are able to focus on their country of origin, something which is (especially for me) quite difficult. When you grow up in a place you start to see incredible things becoming normal and therefore to shoot well is an hard task. Not for Max Sher which has focused most of his work in the country he was born, depicting a certain intimancy and approaching the topics with a good cultural knowledge.
Here the conversation I had with Max Sher:
DM: Your work is mostly done in Russia and in different small new republics, I found the approach very intimate.
Is a way for you to look back at the history of your country or perhaps to report the many social aspect of Russia?

MS: I am actually trying to combine both: reporting on social issues but seeing them through a slightly different perspective. I am interested in how things that happened in the past still affect people living today. I am indeed working mostly in Russia and former Soviet Union as I am more familiar with the history of my country, its social and cultural intricacies and various aspects of its life.

DM: In the book East published by Regina Anzenberger you featured one of my favorite project : Kommunalka, as you describe
is one of the failed experiment of Russia and I can see how involved you were in the project. Tell me more about it.

MS: Yes, this is one of the examples of what I was saying about my socio-historical interest. Kommunalka (an abbreviation of Kommunalnaya Kvartira, literally Communal Apartment) means a single flat shared by more than one family. It is a Soviet phenomenon that is pretty much in place here and that will live on for many years to come. It was forcibly created by the Communists using the confiscated private property to pursue two goals: make the working class - the Soviets' main political base - feel the alleged triumph of the social justice (workers may now live in luxury high class flats!) and, at the same time, create a new man - deprived of the sense of property and putting community interests above self. This experiment was a dramatic failure. Instead of a new lifestyle of mutual help and community spirit the kommunalkas gave way to social alienation, neglect, apathy and eternal neighborhood conflicts. The word kommunalka in Russian has a strong negative connotation and is associated with filth, scandals, cramped space and lack of privacy.

DM: I was curious to know more about the project done in Venice, is a "literature" feature, you visited places describe in the
narrative of Joseph Brodsky, is a poetical journey which connect you to Italy. Tell me more about the motivation to experiment such a thing:

MS: Well, that was not really a "project" in a proper sense but an attempt to convey the moods, thoughts and feelings expressed by the Russian emigré poet and Nobel Laureate in Literature Joseph Brodsky in his English-language essay Watermark set in Venice but treating subjects such as beauty, creativity, humanity, tenderness and human existence. Joseph Brodsky was born into a family of a photographer in St.Petersburg. The latter is often dubbed Venice of the North and many of those who were born or grew up here (including my humble self) want to compare it to the original. For Brodsky, when he lived in the totalitarian Soviet Union persecuted by the authorities and unable to travel abroad, Venice was a sort of a personal vow - once free, he wanted to come there immediately to touch his dream. He later came there every December for 17 years in a row, after which he wrote his essay Watermark. In Russian, its name was replaced with Embankment of the Incurables. The point is that the view from this embankment to the opposite island of Giudecca, according to many, is one of the most reminiscent of St.Petersburg.

DM: Where documentative photography is going nowadays?
MS: The classic photojournalism is dying, isn't it? The printed press has less and less space for photojournalists and less and less money. We have to find new ways to tell the stories we consider important, not only in terms of technology but in terms of the means of expression as well. Since quite some time, photojournalism has been evolving towards a more intimate, personal and thoughtful approach with editing becoming ever more important because virtually everyone can now take good pictures, eh? :)

More from Max Sher also in his blog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Profile : Li Wei

I found funny the work for Li Wei , Chinese photographer form Hubei province working and based in Beijing. He is dedicating his photography on "flying" humans...

Exhibition : Far East Asia Slideshow In Beijing

The FCCC (Foreigner Correspondent Club China) has organized a slideshow of photos focusing the Far East Asia with photos of Beijing's foreigner Photojournalists. The event will take place at the Paddy O'Shea's Irish Pub in the Chaoyang District (please see flyer for further details). I wasn't informed about the list of features that will be presented , among the list of photographer the work of Italian Susetta Bozzi and Japanese Shiho Fukada.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Article : Was Caravaggio the first photographer?

Interesting article from by Tom Kington of the Guardian where he is referring to Caravaggio as one of the first "photographer"..... here the article shared from the Guardian:
Revered as the baroque master of lifelike portraits and light and shadow, the 16th-century painter Caravaggio is now being touted as the first master of photographic technique, two centuries before the formal invention of the camera.
The Italian artist has long been suspected of turning his studio into a giant camera obscura, punching a hole in the ceiling to help project images on to his canvas. But new research claims that Caravaggio also used chemicals to turn his canvases into primitive photographic film, "burning" images he then sketched on to for works such as St Matthew and the Angel.
"We were already sure Caravaggio projected images of his sitters, but we have now found mercury salt in his canvases, which is light-sensitive and used in film," said Roberta Lapucci, conservation chief at Florence's SACI institute.
Lapucci said she investigated the use of chemicals after building a camera obscura with artist David Hockney. The technique of using lens and mirrors to project an image was written about by Leonardo da Vinci, and Caravaggio was reputedly inspired to use one by the philosopher Giovanni Battista della Porta.
"You get the image by turning the whole studio into the camera obscura, but you need darkness, and the problem is you cannot paint in darkness," she said. "X-ray fluorescence shows the presence of the mercury salt in his canvases. That is not uncommon because it was used in glue, but we are awaiting proof he was using it on the surface, in his primer."
The image burned into the primer would last about 30 minutes and only be visible in the gloom. "Therefore he used a white lead paint to sketch, mixed with barium s
ulphate which was luminous, and which we have found traces of. That way he could see where he was sketching."

Books : Pecorino-Wisdom of a World, Travelled Dog by Toni Anzenberger

Pecorino is perhaps the most portrayed dog in the world, Austrian Photographer Toni Anzenberger has taken Pecorino all over the world compiling many different reportage-essays on the experience. They travelled in Spain, Italy, Germany, England , France and other european destination, Pecorino always showing the way by posing in front of the camera. I know "personally" Pecorino and is for sure the sweetest dog I have ever met.... Toni Anzenberger will present his new book called Pecorino - Wisdom of a world, Travelled dog during an exhibition in Vienna at the Galerie Haas, introduced by Thomas Schäfer-Ellmayer which explore the photo project.
Here some note from the book:
Recipes for happiness of a remarkable dog. There are still bohemians, at least there is one: Pecorino! This extraordinary dog has seen the whole world and loves the beach of Rimini as much as the bull fighting arena in Andalusia or the giant wheel at the Viennese Prater. In his new book he speaks with a lot of humour about the secrets of a happy life and shows the surprising souvenir photographs of his world travels. Curiosity (to get access - in case of need with snout and paw), the intense use of all senses (sniff and feel what life offers), education (to go to a bookstore from time to time), and in particular: to stay cool! A real dog's life - and a book about exceptional perspectives and surprising insights!
Photographs: Toni Anzenberger 192 pages 112 pictures Publisher: Knesebeck Verlag
Exhibition opening April 1 at 7PM - Galerie Haas, Grünangergasse 8, 1010 Vienna, Austria.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Exhibition : Photo Zero

Bangkok has becoming a meeting point and important base for many photojournalist, in the years the community has grown and more often is possible to see slideshow, exhibitions and discussion about issues covered by photographers.The Raindogs bar organizing a new event which will feature different slideshow of reportage done in the Asia region. There is a good list of photographer showcased such as James Nachtwey with his series on Islam, Patrick Brown with his project "Skin and Bones" (from which I select the cover photo of this post ), David Dare Parker with his "Degree South" and many other.
Here details from the Photo Zero web site:
PhotoZero 2009, March 13-15th at Raindogs, in Bangkok
Raindogs Bar, Bangkok
By photographers for photographers, the second annual meeting of PhotoZero will take place next week in Bangkok. World class photographers will showcase their work, and engage the audience on the important social role played by documentary photography. And everyone is welcome.
We hope you can make the time and join the discussions and be part of this experience.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Profile : Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen's photography has switched from documentary to Abstractism, his "Platteland" controversial book focus on portrait of outcasted "white" people in the South Africa of the Apartheid era and provoked many discussions and criticism. I found his work really strong and admire the process of the evolution of his photography, here some note from wikipedia:
Roger Ballen was born in New York City, New York, USA in 1950. He has lived in Johannesburg South Africa since the 1970's. Beginning by documenting the small dorps or villages of rural South Africa, Ballen’s photography moved on in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to their inhabitants; through the late 1990’s Ballen’s work progressed. By the mid 1990’s his subjects began to act where previously his pictures, however troubling, fell firmly into the category of documentary photography, his work then moved into the realms of fiction. His third book 'Outland' produced by Phaidon Press in 2000 was the result.
In the fall of 2005, Phaidon press produced its second book by the artist, entitled 'Shadow Chamber'. The book focuses on the interactions between the people, animals, and or objects that inhabit Ballen’s unique image space. Ballen’s recent work enters into a new realm of photography — the images are painterly and sculptural in ways not immediately associated with photographs.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Profile : Noah Kalina

Browsing around I found interesting the work of Noah Kalina, American photographer.
I could not get more info on him apart from the blog called everyday where he is shooting to himself in an interesting project

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Profile : Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto is one of the most important photographer in Japan, his photography range from landscape to still life using high technical skills, he works with an 8x10inc camera and he has exhibited in the best galleries.
here a note from wikipedia
Hiroshi Sugimoto was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. In 1970, Sugimoto studied politics and sociology at St. Paul’s University in Tokyo. Later, he retrained as an artist and received his BFA in Fine Arts at the Art Center College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA, two years later in 1972. Afterward, Sugimoto settled in New York City. Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.
Sugimoto is also deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movements as a whole. He has also expressed a great deal of interest in late 20th century modern architecture.
His use of an 8×10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures have garnered Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability. He is equally acclaimed for the conceptual and philosophical aspects of his work.
Sugimoto began his work with "Dioramas" in 1976, a series in which he photographed displays in natural history museums. The cultural assumption that cameras always show us reality tricks many viewers into assuming the animals in the photos are real until they examine the pictures carefully. His series "Portraits", begun in 1999, is based on a similar idea. In that series, Sugimoto photographs wax figures of Henry VIII and his wives. These wax figures are based on portraits from the 1500s and when taking the picture Sugimoto attempts to recreate the lighting that would have been used by the painter.

Award : Moving Walls 14 , Dana Popa

Dana Popa, young Rumanian Photographer has been awarded by an important acknowledgment in order to be part of the prestigious Moving Walls, a Documentary Photography Project founded by Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation).
The feature on "Survivovors of Sex Trafficking in Moldova " also appeared in the book East published by Regina Anzenberger and indeed already recognized from different many awards.
More on the project on this note"
Dana Popa's photographs and interviews explore the situation of women from Moldova who survived sex trafficking—or forced prostitution—and were able to return home. Her work examines how they managed to live with the traumas they had experienced in a world that knows nothing about their suffering, and how they lived in fear that a mother or husband might find out and throw them out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Books: Stairway to Heaven. From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers

Another Interesting book on contemporary chinese art , among some photography, here a note from the publisher:
Stairway to Heaven.,From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers
Publisher's Description
Stairway to Heaven explores contemporary urban space through over fifty photographs and a video installation that analyze, within the context of cultural transformation, the changing streets of China, responses to traditional monuments, and the unparalleled growth in skyscrapers. Because China will be the focus of international attention during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Stairway to Heaven offers a unique opportunity and context within which to present the great resurgence of art and culture in China to a larger audience. Today, Chinese culture bridges a range of emotions and conditions that are both complementary and contradictory, providing new generations with obstacles and opportunities involving wealth, poverty, alienation, competition, and confusion. Unlike the clarity of propaganda surrounding the Olympics, these artists provide a less-structured environment that invites challenging questions and provocative insights. The book presents multiple artistic voices, strategies, and techniques as well as a subtext that explores an art world in which artists are digesting and processing an overload of cultural, philosophical, and technological changes. In their accompanying essays, professors Gan Xu and Gu Zheng, both born during the Maoist period, mine the conflict, tragedy, and hypocrisy of mourning and celebrating, which seem to be the common themes among the artists. Mark H. C. Bessire and Raechell Smith frame the project with expert observations about the role of Chinese art and artists, suggesting that the art of this period in China will be recognized for its immense creative output following an incredibly controlled and fallow era of art making under Mao. Who would have thought that after so much isolation Chinese artists would emerge with the energy and creativity to place Chinese art at the forefront of a global art world in less than a generation. The accompanying essays will appear in both English and Chinese.
Photographs by various Chinese photographers including Ai Weiwei, Chen Shaoxiong, Gu Zheng, Hong Lei & Liang Weiping; Mark H. C. Bessire, ed.
University Press of New England, Hanover, 2008. 96 pp., 60 color and black & white illustrations., 9x10".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Award : Picture of Year, category Natural History , Rafal MIlach

I am happy to hear that Rafal Milach , a young talented Polish photographer also represented by Anzenberger Agency has won the second price of the POY (picture of the year) in the category Natural History. I will write more about Rafal in the next future but I like to post this note as I do like the essay on Ukraine by the Black Sea .
More from Rafal Milach in his web site
here a note from the essay :
The Black Sea coast has been constantly transformed. Omnipresent concrete, industrial zones or the iron waste by the sea don’t remind harmonic idyll between nature and man. People often change the landscape in a very brutal way and the sea fights back for its natural shape and territory. I went to the Ukrainian Black Sea coast to explore this mutual influence and relation between the man and sea. Ukraine is the country in transition and for the last few years looks for its new identity. So does the Black Sea coast.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Profile : Ferit Kuyas

Many photographer were fascinated with the Chinese Metropole of Chongqing , I am also still working on a project in the perhaps biggest city in the world. Turkish Photographer Ferit Kuyas did a great work focusing on the atmosphere of the urban landscape which is , often, foggy. I liked the work.
Some note about him:
Ferit Kuyas (1955) was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He studied architecture and law in Zurich, Switzerland and graduated 1982 in jurisprudence from the University of Zurich.In 1986 he started his career in photography and is working mainly on personal projects since.