December 2006 Archives
December 22, 2006
Digital photocollage by Kazuhiko Kawahara - called Palla - an artist from Osaka
I am not typically enamored of photoshop trickery, but when someone uses the tool successfully it can produce some memorable images rich with layers of light and meaning and speculation.
PingMag, a Tokyo-based online magazine about "Design and Making Things", features an interesting interview with Kazuhiko Kawahara (the artist known as Palla), a former architect who now uses photography and photoshop to realize his multilayered urban visions. In the interview, conducted by Uleshka, the artist talks about his process, and reveals the step-by-step construction of some of his images. There are also links to his visual blog, www.pallalink.net, which includes archives dating back to 2002. There are also online examples of photobooks he created that demonstrate the progression from a single image into mind-bending imaginary urban landscapes.
Kazuhiko Kawahara was one of the featured artists in the Canon New Cosmos of Photography Exhibition 2006 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, where he projected these dizzying images on a curved screen that wrapped around the walls and ceiling of the installation space.
Thanks to Sean Smith for the pointer.
December 20, 2006
From the photo series House That Was Home, by Oyvind Hjelmen
I first encountered the photography of Oyvind Hjelmen when we met this past summer at the Rhubarb-Rhubarb photography festival in Birmingham UK. His square format black-and-white imagery — and his quiet yet articulate manner — immediately impressed me. We met again in Paris during the Month of Photography in November, when he presented a new body of work-in-progress, which was even more impressive.
His web site, www.oyvindhjelmen.com, sets a standard for how well a photographer's work can be presented online. The site is clean, spare, simple to navigate. It reflects the quiet nature of the photographer himself and lets the photographs speak for themselves. He presents only four portfolios, each concise, lyrical and captivating. Enjoy!
December 17, 2006
The holidays affect people in strange ways. Just got this cryptic poetic note and flickr set from lens culture correspondent sean smith:
"men and women who like to dress up as their one-time idol and booze the day away, culture jam efforts, community."
Digging deeper into the Santacon outbreak worldwide, here are some "facts":
Sean's local group's self-description:
"The Portland Cacophony Society is a randomly gathered network of free-spirits seeking new adventures beyond the pale of mainstream society. The Cacophony Society is just a bunch of good-for-nothing psychic cowboys. Half of them are truckdrivers for christ, the other half righteous dot-commers. Spit in their eye and they'll shake your hand! What is "art" but "tra" spelled backwards? They skate the edge of sensibility with elan and flair not normally found in a pre-historic slavonic waltz. Ask your dog for details."
Happy holidays to all.
December 10, 2006
You can hear Christenberry himself talk about a few of his iconic images in this 17 minute audio recording from his presentation at San Francisco's PhotoAlliance on December 1, 2006. He's a funny story-teller in the best of Southern American traditions. There are some images to see along with the audio, as well as a review of his new book published by Aperture.
Thom Sempere, Executive Director of PhotoAlliance, made the introductory remarks for Christenberry's presentation. Here they are:
It was 30 years ago when I was trying to put together pieces to help me with my newest challenge — that of being a creative photographer. So I looked for inspiration wherever it was available. One of those sources was a magazine that had its roots here in this town, and this school, one that has been publishing in fits and starts since 1952 â€“ "Aperture Magazine". Returning the other night to issue #81, printed in 1978, I still remember the impact that a small portfolio of pictures published in it had on me.
A collection of William Christenberry images taken down in Hale County Alabama. The pictures were decidedly simple and direct. Photos that just stood there and looked you right in the eye, patiently waiting for you to say something. They were polite images, not too fancy and certainly not too arty— but they also had something that was virtually unseen in print then — they were in color. And that extra boost of real set these images apart, and elevated them from their silence to things that you wanted to read.
There is much that can be said and has been written of his work—he started as a painter and has never abandoned that medium—photography got picked up along the way as a more than handy method for holding fast the stuff that was slipping away, and of interest as subject matter for the easel.
And when what he had gotten on film couldn't quite do the job, Mr. Christenberry constructed things and created spaces—making installations before it was an art form and artful pictures before the culture had a name for them.
Measuring time, and marking meaning through its memory — these are qualities that surround his work and are qualities which resonate outside the picture frames as well. The linkages we have with each other, with our sense of home and history, with those we have never met, but whose intangible influences keep us connected though the buildings we inhabit and pass by each dayâ€¦.
There is a good story in issue #81, written by Benjamin Forgey who is now a Staff Writer for the Washington Post. He told of how Mr. Christenberry came across a copy of James Agee's Now Let Us Praise Famous Men with the suite of images by Walker Evans — images of Hale County Alabama in the late 30's. And how a young artist was startled to find not only an affinity for the spare and evocative descriptions of a place, but that the photographs were both figuratively and literally of people he knew when he was growing up in that same county.
And if I may borrow some of Agee's words, from 30 years then, now its 60 years later — he wrote
"If I could do it, I'd do no writing at all here. It would be photographs; the rest would be fragments of cloth, bits of cotton, lumps of earth, records of speech, pieces of wood and iron, phials of odors, plates of food and excrement. Booksellers would consider it quite a novelty; critics would murmur, yes, but is it art."
Thankfully Agee had Evans, and thankfully tonight, we have William Christenberry.
By the way, Christenberry generously donated an edition of 25 prints to PhotoAlliance, which are available in exchange for a $750 doantion via their web site: www.photoalliance.org:
William Christenberry, Green Warehouse, Newbern, Alabama,1997
11 x 14" on 16 x 20" sheet
Archival Digital Print on Hahnemuhle Paper
Edition of 25
December 7, 2006
After talking last night with three Silicon Valley internet superstars about ways to improve www.lensculture.com, we came to the realization that what we at lens culture really want (more than money, which would be nice, too) is to create a forum for dialogue about photography and its impact on our daily lives, our cultures, and how we perceive reality, art, propaganda and more. Call it an international community of people with shared interests.
I truly enjoy the give-and-take conversations I have with smart, talented, passionate photographers, as well as others who are equally informed and passionate (like curators, gallery owners, publishers, critics, educators). I am inspired by work that reveals new points-of-view on our ever-changing world. And I love to discover photography (new or old) that pushes and plays with the limits of the medium and what it can show us. I find that photographers and photography lovers are often some of the most articulate people I have met.
It is also a delight to discover more and more blogs that talk about photography (rather than blogs that merely show photographs). As I've mentioned before, Magnum photographer Alec Soth has been publishing his thoughts and insights in a wonderfully prolific way on his personal blog. And Joerg Colberg, a long-time respected blogger, has just published an interview with Alec Soth about blogging, and why he does it.
One reason Soth has become so enthusiastic about blogging: "I discovered that I had a real hunger for the exchange of ideas. I'm extremely lucky to make my living as an artist, but the lifestyle isn't very romantic. I spend the bulk of my time dealing with office work (printing, shipping, billing, pricing, etc). Since I have a family, I'm not hanging out in smoky lofts debating aesthetics. The blog has become my virtual smoky loft."
A CALL TO ACTION:
So, we are now reaching out to you (anyone who is reading this) to ask for advice on ways to make the lens culture community more active and interactive and engaged — with voices and informed opinions and images and ideas from all over the world. Who are you, and what are your interests? We are eager to hear from you. Please comment or email.