May 2007 Archives
May 30, 2007
Lucian Perkins: A Survivor of the Gulf War, 1991
An interesting new group show opens in New York tonight. Here's info from the press release:
APOCALYPSE: CONTEMPORARY VISIONS
May 30 - July 27, 2007
Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 30th, 6-8
6:30: Introductory Remarks by A.D. Coleman
Nailya Alexander and Candace Dwan Galleries are pleased to present Apocalypse: Contemporary Visions, a sixteen-artist exhibition, that deals with our sense of anxiety, the shared psychological burden that is present as a cumulative effect of all the threatening events occurring in the world.
It is not specific, nor is it political. It is meant to be deeply psychological, more fantasy than reality. We have looked for photographs that suggest something. If they are literal, they may not be obvious, as in Stephen Vaughn's image of an iceberg melting quietly on a beach.
We will include Lucian Perkins' donkey rearing in front of oil field's ablaze, Dodo Jin Ming's fusion of sea and clouds, works by Jonas Bendiksen, Giorgia Fiorio, Lori Grinker, Bogdan Konopka, Clare Langan, David Maisel, Irina Nakhova, Trent Parke, Paolo Pellegrin, David Spear, Dennis Stock, SuZen and Alexey Titarenko.
Noted author and critic A.D. Coleman (Light readings 1979, Critical Focus 1995, The Digital Evolution 1998) will discuss the theme of apocalypse, and photographers Jonas Bendiksen, Lori Grinker, and Lucian Perkins will introduce their work at the opening reception at 6:30 pm.
24 W 57 Street #503, New York, NY 10019
Please contact the gallery for more information at 212-315-2211 or 212-315-0065.
May 25, 2007
Several Lens Culture readers who have responded to our Reader's Survey suggested some changes that would apply only to people who still use Microsoft IE to browse the web. Apparently IE was not able to take full advantage of many of the visual components of Lens Culture. So, our tech team — especially Steve McK and Greg G — devised a solution that makes it easy for IE viewers to navigate through all of Lens Culture in all of its luxurious detail, including all archived articles from the past 3-plus years!
So, dear IE browser-ites, take another look now, and see if the experience is better for you. We hope so. And, BTW, more improvements to come, for everyone!
May 24, 2007
Garry Winogrand, World's Fair, New York, 1964 © Estate of Garry Winogrand
Shoot first, a lot. Edit later. That seemed to be one of the driving attitudes of the world's most compulsive photographer.
Garry Winogrand was a manic photographer of social landscapes in America. He was notorious for walking through crowded public and private spaces while snapping literally hundreds of photos, often without (too obviously) aiming. His genius was to put himself into situations where this approach would bear fruit, and then to review and edit his photographs ruthlessly to pluck out the fortunate gems.
One bit of mythic legend is that when he died in 1984 at age 56, he left behind nearly 300,000 unedited images, as well as more than 2,500 undeveloped rolls of film!
I always thought that "fact" was a gross exageration to help expand the myth about the man. However, I was delighted to discover this footage of Winogrand talking with Bill Moyers in 1982. And now I believe every word of the legend.
Thanks to the folks at the wonderful blog, 2point8.whileseated.org, for sharing this with us.
May 23, 2007
Photograph copyright Boogie, Projects, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Courtesy Alain Le Gaillard
In its 37th year as an international photography fair, Photo-London is upping the ante by refusing to allow anyone to show work made before 1970. This should be a refreshing change from the walls of over-priced vintage works that we've all seen before. And, even better, there should be some great new stuff to discover.
Your comments will be appreciated: about the photographs, as well as which viewing format you prefer.
May 22, 2007
Catherine Ikam and Louis Fléri's Digital Diaries 2006/2007, at the MEP in Paris, is one of the trippiest interactive photo/video installations I've ever experienced. On entering this darkened gallery at the MEP, you put on 3D glasses, and suddenly a gaseous orb of images is spinning right in front of you, as if you can reach out and touch any one of them. As you walk around, the perspective changes, seemingly naturally. A universe of "image memories" is swirling 3D like flotsam and jetsam satellites orbiting in all directions. You can control the roll speed and spin, and also pluck one image memory at a time from the beautiful spinning debris. That piece of "memory" (a still photograph, for instance) comes forward and speaks to you, or interacts with you, or plays back its memory: a bit of recorded music, a sound recording of a voice, a recorded testimony — or it morphs into a snippet of video, an image of a dream remembered — or merely a still photograph that vibrates with personality.
I could spend hours in this room. It's like being inside someone else's mind, hearing (and seeing) their memories, without the mediation of their own voice or language or words. It is very direct, yet discontinuous. You have no idea how any of these memories is connected with the others, unless perhaps, if you study it thoroughly, and try to decipher it all as you would with a William Faulkner novel. But I suspect, if you take the time (pleasantly), a richer story will unfold and enter your own consciousness.
There are lots of other magical installations in other galleries here as well. Video androids interact with you, following your movements around a room, mimicking your facial gestures. And in another room, you find pieces of your own face floating scattered in the darkness like some instant multi-perspective video cubism. But for me, Digital Diaries is the A ticket.
Here's some of the background info from the exhibition notes:
'Reality is what refuses to disappear when you stop believing in it'
Philip K. Dick, "Valis"
Since the 1980s Catherine Ikam has been using the prism of technology to revisit the archetypes of our society. Her Fragments d'un archétype and Identité III were two seminal video art pieces. Since 1990 she has been working with Louis Fléri on virtual interactive figures such as Elle and Oscar. Akin to the world of American sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, Catherine Ikam and Louis Fléri are interested in the ambiguous relationships between reality and appearance, the living and the artificial, the human and the model.
This exhibition presents video sculptures, virtual installations, computer-generated portraits, a new video tribute to Nam June Paik, Piano Pieces, and an interactive digital installation in relief entitled Digital Diaries made in 2006-2007. In Identité III the viewer is filmed from different angles using cameras fitted with lenses of varying focal lengths. Each visitor is then faced with his or her own fragmented image displayed live on 9 screens.
You can experience it in person at the MEP 14 March - 3 June 2007
May 21, 2007
Will YOU please help decide some future directions for Lens Culture?
Please complete our brief online survey here, right now:
And if you like, you can enter to win a great new photobook by Anders Petersen.
We appreciate your comments and advice. Thank you!
May 11, 2007
Slightly out of phase, the waves
of light hit my lens:
new chord, then, with time, a fugue
this is for my friend Will Clark
May 10, 2007
Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko seems to have stepped back in time to capture the decay, deterioration and resignation of modern-day Havana and its inhabitants in these 15 new images from his series "Havana Sketches". In some ways these photos have a similar moodiness to his earlier masterwork from his home town of Saint Petersburg. With his long-exposure technique, the buildings and ruins are rich in detail. Yet people in the streets appear like anonymous phantoms, passing through, outside of time. Titarenko's mastery creates images that seem timeless, yet in the details, we can find clues that indeed these photographs were made in the 21st century and are very much locked in the present.
This new work originally appeared at the Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York City in Spring 2007, and it is now traveling to an exhibition in Moscow which will open on June 6.
Another solo exhibition of Titarenko's earlier work is on display now through May 27, at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. That exhibition includes black and white photographs drawn from three bodies of work by Titarenko: "City of Shadows" (1992 â€“ 1994) made during the collapse of the Soviet Union, "Black And White Magic of St. Petersburg" (1995 â€“ 1997) influenced by Dostoevsky's early stories, specifically White Nights, and "Time Standing Still" (1998 â€“ 2000) which documents Russia's economic collapse during that period and the human tragedies and struggles for survival that occurred during that time.
May 7, 2007
The Photobloggies is an annual award ceremony celebrating photoblogging around the world. More than 200 winners and runners-up were announced on May 1, 2007. The lists represent photoblogs from all corners of the globe (great!), but also includes some weird niche blogs, such as Best Animal Photo Blog, etc. It looks like it will take weeks to visit them all.
Check out the link above for a comprehensive snapshot of what the judges think are the best photoblogs on the planet, today. And then feel free to add links and comments here, to tell us about other photoblogs that you like (and why you like them).
May 5, 2007
"We know that under the image which is revealed, there is another one, more faithful to reality, and under this other one, there is yet another, and on it goes. Right up to the image of absolute reality, mysterious, that no one will ever see."
— Michelangelo Antonioni
There is a fascinating exposition currently showing at the Cinémathèque FranÃ§aise in Paris. Ten Magnum photographers each agreed to identify a specific film, or film-maker, or period-style of cinema that had a recognizable influence on their own still-photography work. It is surprisingly generous in its direct acknowledgement of inspiration, and as a joyful, grateful homage to the movies and the people who make them.
The exhibition is delightfully varied. In some pairings, we see short film clips juxtaposed with contemporary prints. Others are presented as slide shows, revealing uncanny comparisons. There are also personal scrapbooks on display: While he was still living in the USSR, Gueorgui Pinkhassov met Andrei Tarkovsky, who invited him to come and watch the shooting of Stalker, so here we see the young photographer's documents of the director in action, and stills of the wild movie sets.
Each pairing is unique, so there is no formula, no repetition. It re-affirms how wide-reaching influence can be and how many different forms it can take.
Curators Diane Dufour and Serge Toubiana wrote this as an introduction to the exhibition:
The "image to come" is an expression coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson to define filmmaking as opposed to photography. For the photographer, the cinema is always what comes next: not the image that is being viewed or projected onto the screen, but the next one, taken as a progression. The still versus the moving picture.
Could the opposite also hold true, that cinema acts as an "image that came before", inspiring the photographer while he captures reality? How does cinema infiltrate the photographer's imagination? To what extent does the photographer project his dreams, fantasies, and obsessions onto the world?
In celebration of Magnum's 60th anniversary in 2007, we questioned ten of its photographers, from different generations, representing various trends in documentary photography today. They revealed to us how a director, film, or scene left an imprint in the labyrinth of their psyche and how this imprint in turn affected or influenced their work. Many photographers have acknowledged the patent influence of another art on their practice. Deeply buried, mobile images superimpose themselves on the film of life: a way of framing what happens, "under influence".
Transition, infiltration, and superimposition narrow down the complicity between the two media. Cinema creates the illusion of the real so that the spectator cannot doubt its verisimilitude; photography draws on the imagination to re-establish the truth of lived experience. Standing at the frontier between the true and the false, the certain and the uncertain, the just and the unjust. The ultimate possibility for recounting a reality that is mobile, evasive, on which we cannot get a re-take."
Here are just a few examples from the show:
Téhéran. 11 Février 1979. Des révolutionnaires arrÃªtent un membre présumé de la SAVAK, la police politique du Chah. © Abbas / Magnum Photos
Film still from PaisÃ by Roberto Rossellini (1946) © Films sans frontières
As an adolescent, Abbas saw Roberto Rossellini's feature film in a film club in Algeria, which at the time was being ravaged by the war of independence. It immediately became one of his favorite films. In the exhibition, he juxtaposes extracts from PaisÃ (shot in Italy during the last weeks of the Second World War) with his photographic record of the Iranian revolution, as seen from the inside, turning from widespread jubilation in the beginning to doubt as this popular movement was appropriated by the mullahs.
New York, 1989 © Bruce Gilden / Magnum Photos
Film poster from Pickup on South Street, by Samuel Fuller (1953) © Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.
Bruce Gilden juxtaposes extracts from American film noir movies with his urban portraits taken in New York, which are in keeping with the tradition of street photography. He uses an artifice that distorts perception â€“ the close up â€“ to capture a disquieting world.
"As you see, we're flying over an island. This city. A particular city. And this is a story of a number of people. And a story also of the city itself. It was not photographed in a studio. Quite the contrary, Barry Fitzgerald, our star, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor, Ted de Corsia and the other actors, played out their roles on the streets, in the apartment houses, in the skyscrapers of New York itself. And along with them, a great many thousand New Yorkers played out their roles also. This is the city as it is. Hot summer pavements, the children at play, the buildings in their naked stone, the people without makeup."
Voice-over from another film noir classic, Naked City, by Jules Dassin (1948)
Taichung, Taiwan, 1987 © Patrick Zachmann / Magnum Photos
Film still from La Divine by Wu Yonggang (1934) © DR
Patrick Zachmann has been working for eight years on the Chinese diaspora across the globe. He juxtaposes some of these images with extracts from films made in Shanghai during the 1930s that have subliminally shaped his visual universe. Zachmann discovered these films during a festival in Turin in Italy, but it was only later, when he saw these melodramas for a second time, that he became aware of the influence that they had exerted on his way of seeing and photographing Chinese slums and dives.
We cannot show the pairing that seemed the "popular favorite" of visitors. (On opening night, the screening room was packed continuously with standing-room-only viewers) It is a not-so-short film by Antoine d'Agata that can only be described as intellectual/philosophical/hard-core porn. It is an homage to Oshima's Empire of the Senses. Steamy! There was a video camera crew on hand to capture reactions of people stumbling out of that screening.
The exhibition is open until 30 July 2007.