March 2007 Archives
March 31, 2007
For almost 40 years, Anders Petersen has been making some of the most compelling personal documentary photography in the world. He energetically pursues subjects that scare him, seduce him, or haunt him. He does this with warmth, humanity and intensity. And the results are very much like truthful self-portraits, or journal entries of personal and intimate encounters around the world.
His intense curiosity of the marginal, the unusual, and outcasts of society, is very much in the same vein as the work of Diane Arbus and Daido Moryama. Yet, of course, he has a unique and singular vision — and his photos feel less exploitive and much more tender. He reveals to us (sometimes in alarmingly intimate detail) the ordinary life of strangers (his "family") from all parts of the world.
He has published more than 20 photobooks in his native country, Sweden. And he is celebrated throughout Europe and Asia. For some reason he seems lesser known in America.
In 1978, he published a seminal body of work taken in the late night hours at a bar in Hamburg, Germany: the regulars, prostitutes, transvestites, drunks, lovers, drug addicts. The book was called, simply, Cafe Lehmitz. It influenced a generation of photographers. The singer/songwriter Tom Waits recognized his own sensibilities in those photos, and chose one for the cover of his breakthrough album, Rain Dogs:
Lilly and Rose, from Cafe Lehmitz, 1968-70, © Anders Petersen
Please do yourself a favor, and settle in for 20 minutes to enjoy the article, the interview, and the new work.
March 30, 2007
Springtime tourists in Paris
cameras arms' length
looking at screens, not at life
March 26, 2007
700 psychiatric patients live chained together in pairs, and are forced to tend more than one million chickens at the largest chicken farm in Taiwan. Portraits of the players in this real yet surreal drama were photographed with kindness, respect and compassion by Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang. 48 of these dual-portraits were beautifully printed by Trolley Books — on one long accordion-folded sheet of paper (like a chain) that unfolds and stretches out to be one incredible piece of art that measures 8 inches x 20 feet long. There is a poignant text included at the end, written by Cheryl Lai.
Read an extended review in the the latest issue of Lens Culture, and see more of the unforgettable portraits.
March 24, 2007
From the series We decided to let them say, "we are convinced," twice, 2002
© The Atlas Group/Courtesy Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London
Walid Raad/The Atlas Group (b. 1967, Lebanon), is the winner of the £30,000 prize for his significant contribution to the medium of photography in Europe. The award was announced at the Photographer's Gallery in London, on 21 March 2007.
Brett Rogers, Chair of the Jury and Director of The Photographers' Gallery, said:
"Raad's work opens up new possibilities for reinterpreting photography's role in the construction of 'history' especially in connection with his main project on the Lebanese Civil Wars. He demonstrates a new form of conceptual practice, one that combines the poetic with the political, and yet remains playfully engaging. Through his work Walid Raad questions the role of authorship and authenticity 'fact as a process' presenting the world and its functions as a complex layer of systems."
You can discover more of the winning photos, as well as work from the other three finalists, in our report in Lens Culture.
March 23, 2007
photographs stop time to think
see layers unfold
March 19, 2007
The latest bible from Martin Parr and Gerry Badger is critically reviewed by Ken Light, documentary photographer, adjunct Professor and curator of the Center for Photography at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. As is often the case with reviews of compilations, in addition to the appreciation, we're directed to the glaring ommissions. In this instance, Sebastio Salgado is slighted, among others, according to the author. Interesting reading.
March 18, 2007
The pleasures of list-making are the new discoveries that can be found. The dangers in list-making are the glaring omissions (by taste or ignorance) that are pounced on by those who are passionate and knowledgeable about a subject. So, without further ado, we introduce the "starter" list of 64 essential Japanese photo books here, compiled by photo historian Ferdinand Brueggemann.
So now, dear readers, your mission is to help fill in the gaps with your favorites (and why they are important). Send in your comments, corrections, and critiques. We will add your input to the "ultimate" list. Enjoy!
March 15, 2007
From the series "Personals" by Katarina Radovic
Identity and public presentation, via sites like Facebook and MySpace, allow people to assume personas that reveal significant personal details (true, fictitious, imagined, subliminal or unintentional) in this "artificial space of collective privacy". The personal photo is perhaps one of the most important elements in these digital CVs designed to lure potential mates.
Serbian photographer Katarina Radovic is as much a philosopher as a photographer. (Is that an obvious statement about photographers in general?). Her text and series of photos, titled "Personals", is a seemingly light-hearted exploration of this phenomenon. Yet, the ideas linger on and pose questions. And the images, although said to be fictitious, invite us to invent stories, histories and fantasies, about total strangers, however campy they may appear, as we try to de-codify the signs and define the real person behind the image.
March 13, 2007
St. Petersburg photographer Alexey Titarenko (b.1962) is best known for his moody interpretations of older urban landscapes temporarily animated by ghost-like inhabitants passing through in daily life. A remarkable series from his hometown just after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s signaled the strength of Titarenko's artisistic and soulful vision, and he quickly became recognized as an important photographer to watch.
From March 21 through April 24, 2007, Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York City will present an all-new series called "Alexey Titarenko: Havana Sketches" made in Cuba during 2003 and 2006.
Titarenko believes that the artist's most important goal is to recreate through his art those aspects of the profoundly personal that form the unique essence of the individual and to impart to it universal forms that are visible both to himself and to others. Working over the course of many years on the theme of his beloved St. Petersburg, he has gradually understood that part of the creative joy he feels in his work comes not only from the city's special character and atmosphere, but also from the memory it preserves of his childhood and youth. The city's distinct presence entered his personality and became a part of his inner world. Thus, entirely independent of his will and consciousness, Titarenko has instinctively tried to find this 'other half' in each new place of travel but only rarely feels inspiration.
This happened during his first trip to Havana in 2003. As he describes: "I was struck by a wave of unexpected joy — of unconscious, all-encompassing joy — that surged from somewhere deep inside me. I felt as if I had flown back in time at least twenty years before: old fashioned models of cars passing by, modestly dressed people, stunning architecture in dilapidated physical condition, pioneers merrily marching across the roadâ€¦" He was mesmerized by the city's atmosphere that evoked vivid memories of his youth in St. Petersburg. He felt its presence from the first moment he perceived it and grasped it with all his senses.
You can see some of Alexey Titarenko's earlier work, and hear him discuss his art, here, in a 2004 audio interview for Lens Culture.
March 9, 2007
Lens Culture (along with acknowledgement of the work of several of our featured photographers) was just highlighted as a Yahoo! Pick of the Week. To humbly quote some of their praise:
"Welcome to Lens Culture, a richly designed online magazine of contemporary photography from around the world. Easily navigable and well-written, this site couldn't be better."
You can see the whole review here:
Thanks! But be assured, we are not resting on our laurels. We're actively working to expand the site, and to introduce you to even more outstanding photography and writing from around the world. Check back often.
March 3, 2007
From Issue magazine and Documentography: A personal long term project on a Muslim village in Eastern Europe, by Anna Kari, 2006.
I just discovered a hip web magazine, Issue, which describes itself as "young photojournalism". The current issue is number 10, and all of the previous issues of Issue are online, as well.
The magazine is published by Documentography, a UK-based collective of photographers dealing with documentary, reportage, journalism and fine art. The group develops personal as well as common projects tackling a wide range of social, political, and cultural issues. The Documentography photographers have won several awards and their work has been published and exhibited internationally. It looks like they have six full-time photographer members, each with unique approaches. They welcome lots of other talented photojournalists to participate in their online magazine, with 27 contributors to date.
Hours of interesting materials to be found here. Cheers!