October 2009 Archives
October 20, 2009
Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
Lens Culture is delighted to partner with Paris Photo again this year. Paris Photo is the largest and perhaps most important international photography art fair in the world. The emphasis in 2009 is on photography from Iran and the Arab world. But, as always, the works on display are rich with diversity — geographically, culturally, stylistically — and offer a unique opportunity to discover a wide range of contemporary and vintage photography never seen before in one location.
So, we're pleased to present here a preview selection of 167 eclectic images to whet your appetite. Salut!
October 19, 2009
Twelve outstanding photographers have been chosen as finalists for this year's Prix Pictet competition. Lens Culture offers a visual review of more than 30 of the shortlisted photos. The annual prize (£60,000, or $97,000), will be awarded to the photographer who has created the strongest work related to the theme of environmental sustainability. Be sure to check out our high-resolution slideshow of the finalists, here in Lens Culture.
Additional note: There are excellent, in-depth reviews with slideshows of each of the Prix Pictet finalists, written by Diederik Meijer in The Black Snapper blog.
October 17, 2009
Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all of the participants and everyone who made this competition such a success!
You can see all of the winning photographs here: Portfolio Winner, Single Image Winners, and Honorable Mention Winners.
October 15, 2009
We're very excited to announce the winners of the first annual Lens Culture International Exposure Awards.
The Portfolio Award goes to Italian photographer Marco Vernaschi, for his powerful project on the consequences of drug trafficking in the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau. His series presents a disturbing, visceral look at a country and people torn apart by the international drug trade, "where our fears meet the truth".
1st prize in the Single Image category went to American photographer Brad Moore for his quirky architectural image of a Korean Methodist church in Fullerton, California. Stella Johnson won 2nd prize for her photograph of several generations of women in the town of Mytilene, Greece. British photographer Laura Pannack took 3rd prize for her compassionate portrait of a teenage male suffering from anorexia.
The international panel of judges also awarded 25 Honorable Mentions, to the following photographers:
Edmund Clark, (Great Britain)
Sylvain Deleu, (Great Britain)
Julie Denesha (US)
Peter DiCampo (US)
Johan Ensing (Netherlands)
Kate Geraghty (Australia)
Leah Giesler (US)
Jan Grarup (Denmark)
Colin Gray (Great Britain)
Jessica Hines (US)
Elin Hoyland (Norway)
Priya Kambli (US)
Mischa Keijser (Netherlands)
Rania Matar (US)
Adam Panczuk (Poland)
Zubin Pastakia (India)
Paolo Patrizi (Japan)
Alexis Pike (US)
Michelle Sank (Great Britain)
Olivier Sarbil (Thailand)
Mahesh Shantaram (India)
Yisook Sohn (Korea)
Daniel Traub (US)
Raina Vlaskovska (Bulgaria)
Danielle Voirin (France)
All of the judges commented on the remarkably high caliber of the photographs entered, and on how difficult it was to pick the winners, especially given the volume of the response — more than 6,000 images from 48 countries.
The four big winners will receive cash prizes from Lens Culture, plus $1,000 toward custom-designed websites from LiveBooks.com, and personal photo books printed by Blurb.com. All winners, including each of the honorable mention winners, will have their work featured in Lens Culture.
Thank you to all who participated, and congratulations to the winners! Now that the judging is completed, we will be preparing the presentations of all the winning photographs here in Lens Culture. Check back soon!
October 9, 2009
Earlier this year, while in Poland for the Krakow Month of Photography, I was completely delighted to discover a book of stunning and enchanting portraits from the 1920s-30s. Their glass plate negatives had only recently been found hidden away behind a plastered wall in the attic of a tenement house in the Polish town of Debica.
With the cooperation of the Polish arts organization, Fundacja Imago Mundi, Lens Culture is pleased to be able to offer exclusive, limited editions of six elegant prints for sale at very reasonable prices. You can purchase them only at our online gallery store: Lens Culture Editions.
Dariusz Czaja, a cultural anthropologist and lecturer at the Jagiellonian University, wrote about these glass plate photographs:
Most of them are bearing portraits of different persons whose names remain unknown. In most cases, one plate carries two portraits — a frequent custom among atelier photographers, resulting from pure economy. Yet when we look at these juxtapositions, doubt is born, whether it was only a coincidence that put these people together. … For what immediately captures our attention is the relationships between the people looking at us from a single plate, and at the same time from two different photographs. Relations of the most different types: sometimes it is a similarity, and sometimes just the opposite – a confrontation of gestures, looks, and stature.
And yet other plates show some mysterious kinship, making us ask whether these might have been two sisters who came together to the studio. And if so – what they needed those photographs for. And thus the proximity that we can only sense becomes the beginnings of a narration. One that most probably will never be told. For only one trace of it has remained: a photograph.
This collection should not be evaluated solely in historical, ethnographical or souvenir categories. Of course, what we are seeing are portraits of citizens of a provincial, post-Galician town in southern Poland from between the two world wars. Yet, what we deal here with is primarily high-class artistic photography, whose value is in a sense independent of time when it originated.
Agnieszka Sabor, a Polish philologist, art historian, author and editor, takes a similar philosophical view:
Looking at Stefania Gurdowa's glass negatives, what I feel is primarily joy. It is a joy that must be the similar to that of an archaeologist who unearths precious shells of pottery from the olden times. And yet these few hundred negatives from between the two world wars, discovered by coincidence in an attic in the town of Debica is the discovery – at least, I see it so – of no lesser measure. For a fragment of life that has been buried is suddenly returned into existence. And it begins, quite unexpectedly, its life after life.
Photographs are nomadic by nature. They continually travel. They move from place to place, they go from hands to hands. They wear and tear, diminish, wane, break, crumble into dust. They are irrevocably lost. This time – blessed be the Coincidence or the miraculous act of Faith (for it can't have been the historical Necessity, can it?) – made this world, hibernated for years, available for us to view.
You can read more about this work, and see more photographs, here in Lens Culture, and at gurdowa.pl. And you can purchase the prints (while they last) here at Lens Culture Editions. Enjoy!
October 4, 2009
Who hasn’t imagined being a fly on the wall alongside their favourite photographer during so many of the “decisive moments” that go into shooting, editing, cropping, and printing iconic photographs? How many of us dream of spending a day or two in a workshop learning from one of the greats, soaking up some pearls of wisdom, and picking up a few tricks of the trade? So it is a delight to discover this fabulous new DVD series that gives us a couple of hours to share the company of some of today’s successful photographers in their homes, studios and darkrooms.
Anthropy Arts’ new DVD collection, “The Photographers Series”, documents the life and work of contemporary photographers from the artist’s point of view, as well as providing additional insight from interviews with curators, writers and critics. The viewer is given an intimate look into each photographer’s world as they welcome us into their studios, their lives, and their creative universes.
My first thought was that I knew I would love these since I am already a fan of the series "Contacts". To be fair though, my next thought was that the running time seemed a little long since each DVD contains a documentary portion, a photo commentary by the photographer, and a bonus feature. After all, this is the age of the blog. However, from the first chapter I was hooked. The documentaries invite you to spend an hour (or two) in a photographer’s company and at the end you will wish it were just a little longer.
The main documentary portion is filled with stories offering us insight, inspiration and personal epiphanies. Along with valuable technique, we are given an intimate look into the artist’s process, their work, and their life philosophy. In the photo commentary section the photographers themselves explain how the images happened, what they were thinking, the techniques they used, and what they think of these images now. We learn what moves them and how they try to achieve that in camera, while shooting, or in the darkroom.
Moving, funny, and often pleasantly surprising, photographers of any age or level will find something to take away with them from these generous films. “The Photographers Series” is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the creative process, the magic of photography, or just looking for a little inspiration. Three titles are currently available for purchase online at www.anthropyarts.com: Debbie Fleming Caffery, Keith Carter, and Dan Estabrook. Scheduled for upcoming release are John Dugdale, Amy Arbus, Alec Soth, Roger Ballen, Henry Horenstein, and Steve Pyke. Highly recommended, especially for serious students of photography.
— Colleen Leonard, fine art photographer, France
October 2, 2009
For more than 15 years now, in between other photography projects, French photographer Klavdij Sluban has worked in juvenile prisons around the world. He conducts photography workshops with the teenagers who are imprisoned in these places, and he photographs "behind the walls" of each prison himself.
In this video interview, Sluban talks about this life-long project, and his hopes and failures with some of his students. The video is complemented by some stunning black-and-white photographs that Sluban has made over the years inside prisons from the former Soviet Union, France, Ireland, Slavador and Guatemala. If you have the bandwidth, view the HD version, full-screen. (Video length:14 min, 38 sec).
This work is intimate, disturbing and amazing, especially given the fact that most prison administrations would prefer that nobody sees what goes on inside their jails.
You can see more of Sluban's photographs, and read an earlier interview with him conducted by Peggy Amison, here in Lens Culture. And, Sluban's own website has lots more information about the full scope of his many projects: sluban.com.
Sluban is the 2009 winner of the European Book Publishers Award, which will result in a great new photo book to be published this Fall. The book is not about the prison work, but is the culmination of another long-time personal project.