PHOTOCULTURE Conversations Episode #8: Mary Beth Heffernan

PHOTOCULTURE Conversations Episode #8: Mary Beth Heffernan

Recipient of the first PAC·LA Contemporary Artist Grant, Heffernan worked in residency at the Huntington Library, where she applied her research-based practice to a rare book in the Huntington's collection.   "I hope my consideration of The Huntington's copy of Anatomy will yield insights about this book that is a representation of bodies, and also a body itself.”

News from the World of Photography: March 2018

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A Maverick of Japanese Photography, Bound Tight to Ritual


The New York Times

“The Incomplete Araki” is a knowingly redundant title for an exhibition of Japan’s most prolific, most controversial, and most disobedient photographer. For more than 50 years, Nobuyoshi Araki has pushed the limits of production — he has taken an uncountable number of photographs, gathered into something like 500 books — and pushed the limits, too, of free expression. He was arrested once on obscenity charges, and Japanese and foreign authorities have censored his exhibitions of Tokyo streetscapes, blossoming flowers, and, most notoriously, women trussed up in the baroque rope bondage technique known as kinbaku-bi, or “the beauty of tight binding.”...

These Powerful Photos Capture Life For Black Americans During the 20th Century


Buzzfeed

Gordon Parks is a photographer whose name is synonymous with artistic genius and unwavering perseverance amid an era of bigotry and hate. Parks rose to prominence as one of the nation's preeminent photojournalists, hired to be the first black staff photographer for Life magazine. While his pictures expertly depict a wide range of topics, some of his most iconic photographs show aspects of African-American life that many of his white colleagues simply did not have access to. Because of this, Parks became the voice of a generation, able to capture and contextualize the African-American experience at a time when many sought to silence black voices in the US.

A two-part exhibition of his work titled Gordon Parks: I Am You, on view now at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City, brings together some of his most iconic pictures...

The Train: RFK’s Last Journey


SFMOMA
San Francisco, CA 
17 March - 10 June 2018


On June 8, 1968, three days after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, his body was carried by a funeral train from New York City to Washington, D.C., for burial at Arlington Cemetery. The Train looks at this historical event through three distinct works. The first is a group of color photographs by commissioned photographer Paul Fusco. Taken from the funeral train, the images capture mourners who lined the railway tracks to pay their final respects. Looking from the opposite perspective, the second work features photographs and home movies by the spectators themselves, collected by Dutch artist Rein Jelle Terpstra in his project The People’s View (2014–18). The third, a work by French artist Philippe Parreno, is a 70mm film reenactment of the funeral train’s journey, inspired by Fusco’s original photographs. Bringing historical and contemporary works together in dialogue, this powerful, multidisciplinary exhibition sheds new light on this pivotal moment in American history.

Susan Meiselas: Mediations

Jeu de Paume
Concorde, Paris
6 February - 20 May 2018


The retrospective devoted to the American photographer Susan Meiselas (b. 1948, Baltimore) brings together a selection of works from the 1970s to the present day.

A member of Magnum Photos since 1976, Susan Meiselas questions documentary practice. She became known through her work in conflict zones of Central America in the 1970s and 1980s in particular due to the strength of her 
colour photographs. Covering many subjects and countries, from war to human rights issues and from cultural identity to the sex industry, Meiselas uses photography, film, video and sometimes archive material, as she relentlessly explores and develops narratives integrating the participation of her subjects in her works. The exhibition highlights Susan Meiselas’ unique personal as well as geopolitical approach, showing how she moves through time and conflict and how she constantly questions the photographic process and her role as witness.

In “One, Two, Three, More” Helen Levitt Reminds us that Street Photography Used to be Awkward 


Resource

Helen Levitt (1913-2009) spent sixty years in the streets of New York, photographing what she saw. Associated early in her career with contemporary Walker Evans, Levitt has been called “the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time.” The New York Times, meanwhile, describes her work as catching “fleeting moments of surpassing lyricism, mystery and quiet drama on the streets of her native New York.”...

Why Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, and Brassaï’s Photos are Still So Important


Dazed

“History repeats itself so often that looking at it from a long view is forever important.” Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA) curator, Lanka Tattersall, is reflecting on why it’s important to look at photography from the past. It’s a sentiment that drives MOCA’s upcoming show, Real Worlds: Brassaï, Arbus, Goldin, that uses the three seminal photographers as a means for understanding our world’s current social and political context. Not just because in these photographers’ contexts, the camera is used as a way to illuminate and restore truths for marginalised communities, but because the realities presented in their images are as cyclical as the earth’s rotation, and sadly still present today. “If you really think about it”, says Tattersall “photography is a document of someone standing before the camera and making their presence as an impression of light on a plate or a colour negative. From this transmission, their impression is present forever.”  

Real Worlds features 100 works from three of history’s most critical photobooks, Brassaï’s The Secret Paris of the 30s (1976), Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986) and prints from the posthumous Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph (1972)...


The New York Times

At the last survey of new photography at the Museum of Modern Art two years ago, the atmosphere was so self-referential and hermetic that a visitor panted for oxygen. Often, the photos were images of images, taken off a computer screen or digitally created in the studio. It seemed as if photography, which continued to engage with the world after modernist painting and literature turned inward, had finally crumpled into solipsism.

A lot can change in two years...

News from the World of Photography: February 2018

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Tate's first photography curator Simon Baker named new director of Maison Européenne de la Photographie


The Art Newspaper

Simon Baker, the Tate’s first photography curator, has been appointed director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), the prestigious photography centre in Paris. Baker will succeed Jean-Luc Monterosso, who has been the MEP's director since it opened in 1996 and whose mandate ends on 31 March.

Baker told The Art Newspaper that he intends to “devise a new and exciting programme of exhibitions that will showcase the best post-war and contemporary practice”.

Opening of the 8th edition of the Circulation(s) Festival


The Eye of Photography

Dedicated to young European photography, Circulation(s) festival offers for the eighth consecutive year a crossed perspective of Europe through photography. Its aim is to help the talents of young European photographers become visible and to allow their contemporary and artistic creations to be discovered. The program is articulated around photographers selected by a jury after an international call for applications, of guest photographers (from an art gallery and an art school) and photographers who participated in the carte blanche of this year’s godmother’s: Susan Bright, a British curator, teacher and author.Around this major exhibition gathering 50 European photographers, there is also; Little Circulation(s), a children’s exhibition, with a program and activities for a young audience; the Tribew Prize, which supports contemporary creation through publishing and distribution of digital books for art and culture; the public prize that rewards the visitors’ favorite among the exposed photographers; screenings, portfolios reviews and even outside exhibitions. Enjoy your visit!

The Earliest Days of American Photography


The New York Times LENS Blog
 

The most forged documents in financial history were the work of ordinary rascals who needed little skill to make money. All they needed was a camera.

Newspaper articles in the late 1850s began warning of the danger of counterfeit bank notes that had been made using photography. Both had appeared in the United States in the 1830s after President Andrew Jackson eliminated the federal banking system, allowing private banks to issue paper currency under guidelines set by each state. At one point, forgeries accounted for 40 percent of the nation’s currency, with photography often to blame.

“For a time, the ease of modification and duplication enabled by negative-positive photography seemed to be a threat rather than a benefit,” said Mazie Harris,  the curator of Paper Promises: Early American Photography, a new exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles which runs through May 27...

Photo Macau


Photo Macau
24 - 26 March 2018 


PHOTO MACAU | Art Fair is Asia’s newest international art fair dedicated to art photography and moving image, which aims to bring world-class fine art photography and video to one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.

Through a carefully curated collection of art and photo galleries from around the world, we aim to bring together the world’s leading photographers, curators, collectors, dealers and art lovers to become the art fair of reference in Asia for photography and moving image.

Ralph Gibson as you’ve never heard him!


The Eye of Photography
 

In a new exhibition at the Thierry Bigaignon Gallery, Ralph Gibson revisits his career… in music! Following the 2016 exhibition showing the recent, digital, large format color works of Ralph Gibson, the gallery offered the American artist to revisit fifteen of his most iconic photographs. Each photograph, shot between 1968 and 1990, comes with a musical piece which was specifically composed, played and recorded by the artist for this exhibit.

Working alongside Ralph Gibson in his New York studio, Thierry Bigaignon understood that music had a huge part in Gibson’s life. “Music is a universal language,” said the photographer. “All art strives to be music. Closing your eyes will turn any photograph 
in
an abstract souvenir. Music is different. It cannot be ignored. The ears don’t have eyelids!” The new exhibition all stems from that idea, the starting point of an unprecedented adventure...


The New York Times LENS Blog

By the time Ralph Gibson paid $4,000 to publish his first photography book, “The Somnambulist,” in 1970, he owed nine months’ rent at the Chelsea Hotel and two of his three Leicas were in pawn. He was 30, and he’d spent the three previous years — in his words — “constantly very, very broke,” reading Jorge Luis Borges, watching French New Wave films and meticulously crafting his surrealist collection of photographs at a time when art photography was not a viable commercial endeavor.

Nonetheless, it was the beginning of a long and successful career...

The Color of Humanity in Sally Mann’s South


The New Yorker
 

We’re in Virginia, where the photographer Sally Mann was born, in 1951, and where she still lives, making work so rooted in place that it is inseparable from history, from lore, and from the effects of slavery. Like Janus, she looks forward as she looks back, at all those bodies that made her and her place in Virginia, and into the landscape, filled with rutted earth, big or low clouds, storybook fantastic vegetation, and the Southern light that reminds so many of photography itself—dark, as Joan Didion wrote, and glowing “with a morbid luminescence.” That entire vision is a part of Mann’s photographs, as she asks in these images of family members, roads, rivers, churches, and the effects of blackness on whiteness and whiteness on itself: Abide with me. And it all does—voices, sounds, the invisible things that Mann’s haunted and haunting photo­graphs allow us to see....


The Guardian

He chased parades, ambushed hairdressers and refused to leave Ground Zero. Over PG Tips and ricotta at his Tuscan barn, Joel Meyerowitz relives his most stunning shots...

The Woman Who Was Robert Capa


Vantage


The year is 1936. On the outskirts of Barcelona, a small plane crash-lands. Miraculously, everyone on board survives, including two photographers, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. They were risking their lives to cover the Spanish Civil War that had broken out months prior. Capa would take one of the most famous war photos in history. Taro would become the first female photographer to die in conflict — and be largely forgotten.

But it’s really a story about two identities so intertwined that it’s hard to keep them apart; difficult to know who’s who, who did what, and what it means to be a photographer...

 

Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II 


International Center of Photography (ICP)
New York, NY
26 January - 6 May 2018 

Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II examines a dark episode in US history when, in the name of national security, the government incarcerated 120,000 citizens and legal residents during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections to which they were entitled. Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, set in motion the forced removal and imprisonment of all people of Japanese ancestry (citizens and non-citizens alike) living on or near the West Coast. This exhibition features works by renowned photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others documenting the eviction of Japanese Americans and permanent Japanese residents from their homes as well as their subsequent lives in incarceration camps. Also included are photographs by incarcerated photographer Toyo Miyatake. This timely exhibition reexamines this history and presents new research telling the stories of the individuals whose lives were upended due to racial bigotry.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life


The Morgan Library and Museum
New York, NY
26 January - 20 May 2018

 

The life and art of Peter Hujar (1934–1987) were rooted in downtown New York. Private by nature, combative in manner, well-read, and widely connected, Hujar inhabited a world of avant-garde dance, music, art, and drag performance. His mature career paralleled the public unfolding of gay life between the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

In his loft studio in the East Village, Hujar focused on those who followed their creative instincts and shunned mainstream success. He made, in his words, “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects,” immortalizing moments, individuals, and subcultures passing at the speed of life.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life—on view at the Morgan from January 26 through May 20—presents one hundred and forty photographs by this enormously important and influential artist. Drawn from the extensive holdings of his work at the Morgan and from nine other collections, the show and its catalog follow Hujar from his beginnings in the mid-1950s to his central role in the East Village art scene three decades later.

The Age of Gold and Daguerreotypes


The New York Times LENS Blog


The photographic process may depend on silver, but a new exhibit shows how gold — specifically, its discovery in California 170 years ago this week — was just as important as a subject for daguerreotypes. During the later half of the 19th century, gold fever was as intense — and short lived — as the nascent photographic process.

Gold and Silver: Images and Illusions of the Gold Rush, on view through April 2 at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, with a book co-published by the Canadian Photography Institute and RVB Books, explores the symbolism and materiality of precious metals: as a stabilizing element within the history of photography, and holding the promise of prosperity that shaped America...

Catherine Edelman Talks New Media


The Photography Show presented by AIPAD


"Some of the best work in the history of art comes out of anger and artists reacting to what’s happening. And that gives me hope."...

The Photography Show, held April 5-8 at Pier 94 in New York City, will feature more than 100 galleries from around the world. Two newly released videos show how the event brings together a community that fosters exceptional artists, nurtures the field of photography, and showcases the finest photography in the market. 

Roger Fenton: the First Great War Photographer


The New York Times LENS Blog

Robert Capa, the archetypical modern war photographer, once famously declared, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Good advice, though it didn’t apply to Roger Fenton, the godfather of the genre, who documented the Crimean War in 1855. That’s not just because he had to haul large cameras and unwieldy glass plate negatives (since fast Leica rangefinders had yet to be invented), but also because he shied away from photographing subjects that are now common: As a proper English gentleman, he wouldn’t photograph the corpses of soldiers, because doing so was unseemly.

Relying on long exposures made it impossible for Mr. Fenton to stop action and capture actual battles. But he did give the British public a view of the war by portraying the lives of British enlisted men and officers, as well as showing the armaments, supply routes and the many, many horses that were the critical military transportation technology of the day. He lived among the troops and traveled in a photo truck that doubled as his darkroom while photographing Russia’s defeat by an alliance that included Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire...


British Journal of Photography
 

Vanessa Winship’s biggest UK show to date, the first UK retrospective of Dorothea Lange, and a huge group exhibition including work by photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Dayanita Singh, Alec Soth, Chris Steele-Perkins, Daido Moriyama, Diane Arbus, Pieter Hugo, Bruce Davidson, and Boris Mikhailov – they’re all coming up this year at London’s Barbican Centre, in a season titled The Art of Change.

Running throughout the whole of 2018, The Art of Change season will explore “how artists respond to, reflect and potentially effect change in the social and political landscape”. The photography group show, Another Kind of Life: Photography at the Margins, opens from 28 February – 27 May, and includes 20 photographers selected by Barbican curator Alona Pardo. Bringing together over 300 works from the 1950s to now, including specialist magazines and photobooks as well as prints, the show considers photographers’ ongoing fascination with those on the margins of society and how they have engaged with these groups, and touches on themes such as gender, caste, gang culture, and street life.

Auction Results: Icons and Images: Photographs and Photobooks


Swann Galleries
15 February 2018

 

Joel Meyerowitz’s Career Is a Minihistory of Photography


The New York Times Magazine

1. Now wait a second, is this magic? Or has it all been carefully arranged with actors, lighting and special effects? The truth is more surprising: It’s neither. It’s simply a picture snapped by Joel Meyerowitz on a New York City street one day in 1975. No faces are immediately evident, just figures in camel-colored coats turned away from us, a puff of smoke with two people suspended in it. No, four people, if you count those shadows, six if you count the backs on which the shadows fall. In fact there are seven people, if we count the additional shadow in the foreground, the photographer’s — and further figures emerge as the eye adjusts to the deep background. It is a picture that just won’t sit still...

Multiple Medium: Photographs from the Collection


Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati, OH
23 January - 25 March 2018


Photography is very good at making multiples. The capacity to produce many images and many copies of a given picture has raised doubts about photography’s status as a fine art medium throughout its history. Yet photographers of all kinds use series, sequence, combination, repetition and reproduction as potent artistic tools.

Drawn from the Museum’s rich photography collection, Multiple Medium presents rarely-seen treasures and recent acquisitions that illustrate and raise questions about the medium’s relationship with numerousness.

Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys


Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn, NY
1 December 2017 - 8 April 2018


Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys takes visitors through the holiest city in the Islamic world. It presents a compelling portrait of the massive urban redevelopment now under way and its effects on residents and the millions of hajj pilgrims who travel there every year. Saudi artist Ahmed Mater has documented this unprecedented expansion for nearly a decade.

The exhibition is anchored by monumental photographs from his project Desert of Pharan: Unofficial Histories Behind the Mass Expansion of Mecca, alongside large-scale videos and installations. In addition to showing the influx of wealth, photographs detail the lives of workers on construction sites and of migrant groups.

"I need to be here, in the city of Mecca, now, experiencing, absorbing, and recording my place in this moment of transformation, after which things may never be the same again," states Mater. "It has become important for me to identify with this place and to understand how this constellation of change, as well as the forces that are shaping it, will affect the community of which I am a part."

Focusing on Mecca as both a symbolic site of worship and a contemporary urban center grappling with the consequences of unremitting growth, Mecca Journeys presents a portrait of the complex cultural dynamics at work in the city today.

Ellen Carey: Dings, Pulls, and Shadows



Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Fort Worth, TX
17 January - 22 July 2018


Since the 1990s, experimental photographer Ellen Carey has been making photographs that defy photographic conventions of depicting identifiable subjects. Instead, her works depict vibrant fields of color that are meditations on the very nature of photography as an image created by the action of light on a light-sensitive surface. The exhibition Ellen Carey: Dings, Pulls, and Shadows features seven key works that explore the artist’s interest in color, light, and the photographic process as the subject of her practice.

Frida Kahlo: Her Photos


Glenbow
Calgary, Canada
3 February - 21 May 2018


Glenbow is pleased to present the first Canadian showing of Frida Kahlo: Her Photos, an exhibition that has traveled to 12 cities in 7 countries, and has received more than half a million visitors.

For the first time in this country, visitors will be able to see a treasure trove of images previously locked away in the Kahlo estate archives for more than 50 years.

Frida Kahlo’s distinctive, colourful self-portraits and extraordinary life have made her one of the most recognized artists of the twentieth century. Less well known is her special relationship with photography. Throughout her life, Kahlo meticulously collected photographs of herself and her loved ones as well as scenes of Mexican culture, politics, art, history and nature. The exhibition Frida Kahlo: Her Photos gives us the opportunity to better understand the woman behind the artist: her origins, her roots, her friendships and romantic relationships, her constant fight with her fragile health, her political tendencies, and the strong role that photography played in her life and work.


International Center of Photography (ICP)
Caixa Forum Seville

Seville, Spain
7 February - 13 May 2018



This exhibition presents Robert Capa’'s color work for the first time. Capa regularly used color film from the 1940s until his death in 1954. Some of these photographs were published in magazines of the day, but the majority have never been printed, seen, or even studied. Over the years, this aspect of Capa’s career has virtually been forgotten. With over 100 contemporary color prints by the famous photojournalist, Capa in Color presents this work an integral part of his post-war career and fundamental in remaining relevant to magazines...

Capa in Color will explore how he started to see anew with color film and how his work adapted to a new postwar sensibility. The new medium required him to readjust to color compositions, but also to a postwar audience, interested in being entertained and transported to new places.

Capa in Color is drawn entirely from the Robert Capa Archive in ICP’s permanent collection. The Archive contains roughly 4,200 color transparencies - 35mm Kodachrome, 21⁄4 Ektachrome, and some larger Kodachrome sheet film. It also includes thousands of vintage black-and-white prints, negatives, tearsheets, and papers.

World Press Photo 2018 Photo Contest


World Press Photo
 

View the entire collection of images nominated for the 2018 World Press Photo Contest. The winners of the 61st World Press Photo of the Year and first, second and third prizes will be announced on the evening of Thursday 12 April at the World Press Photo Awards Show in Amsterdam.


The Guardian

The Representation of the People Act 1918 added 8.5 million women – those over 30 who owned property or were graduates voting in a university constituency – to the electoral roll. It extended the parliamentary vote to some women and paved the way for universal suffrage 10 years later. It also gave the vote to 5.6 million more men after their voting age was lowered to 21 and the property qualification abolished. The general election in December 1918 consulted an electorate three times the size of the one before it...

Photography: The First 150 Years


Dominic Winter Auctioneers
Gloucestershire, UK
9 March 2018

 

The Lesser-Known Photos of Gordon Parks, from Fashion to Artists’ Portraits


Hyperallergic

A perplexed giraffe peers from behind a woman bundled in a purple printed headscarf. She’s holding an umbrella, whose pattern of brown shapes framed by yellow borders mimics that of the animal. Photographer Gordon Parks captured the giraffe mid side-eyed glance, as if it’s thinking, “who is this woman and why is she stealing my look?” In a nearby image, a woman wearing a tiered wedding cake of a red ball gown, her diamond barrette like frosting, nestles into her date. They’re standing in the middle of busy Park Avenue, but they might as well be the only two people in the world...
 

30 PHOTOS FROM THE PRINT SWAP TO BE EXHIBITED AT MOPLA


feature shoot

The Print Swap, a worldwide initiative by Feature Shoot, is heading to the Month of Photography Los Angeles (MOPLA) this April in an exhibition curated by Paul Kopeikin, the director of the internationally renowned Kopeikin Gallery. All images included in The Print Swap are printed and mailed at random to participating photographers around the world, and thirty standout photographs from the last few months are part of this exhibition. Selected artists hail from points around the map, with exhibiting photographers based in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, and Malaysia.

A dreamlike thread runs through Kopeikin’s selections, from Cameron Karsten’s upside-down Puget Sound and Ellen Jantzen’s digitally altered New Mexico to the snow-covered street scenes of Stephen Chong and Navid Baraty, Merethe Wessel-Berg, and Garrod Kirkwood. Reflections of various sorts appear in work by Tori Gagne, Brindha Anantharaman, Andy Grant, Asher Carey, Cristian Ordonez, and Molly McDonough Mahler. Don Hudson takes us back in time with his 1974 photograph from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wherever they roam, these 29 photographers bring with them a magical sense of the surreal.

The definitive Brassaï show, curated by ex-MoMA star Peter Galassi


The British Journal of Photography

It would be an understatement to say that the legacy of Gyula Halász – better known by his pseudonym, Brassaï – has been the object of extensive research and countless curatorial  projects. Yet the Fundación Mapfre, the private institution that has shown the highest devotion to photography in Spain, has entrusted Peter Galassi, the former chief curator of photography at Museum of Modern Art, to conduct what will probably be the definitive exhibition about the Hungarian-French photographer at its Barcelona gallery, the Garriga i Nogués exhibition hall (19 February to 13 May).

The exhibition could be considered to be Galassi’s biggest curatorial endeavour so far since he retired from MoMA, and the catalogue, published by Fundación Mapfre, can attest to the pertinence of this major survey of Brassaï, even after previous approaches carried out by John Szarkowski, Agnès de Gouvion-Saint-Cyr, Peter Pollack, Sylvie Aubenas, Quentin Bajac, Manuel Borja- Villel, Alain Sayag and Catherine Troiano, to name but a few...

 

Auction Result: MOMA: Bill Brandt


Christie's 
Online Auction

16 - 24 January 2018

‘MoMA: Bill Brandt’ is part of the next installment of online-only auctions of photographs from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, being sold to benefit the acquisition fund for the Museum’s Department of Photography. This auction brings together images by influential British photographer Bill Brandt (1904–1983) that span both his important reportages as well as his bold explorations of the female nude. Most of the prints in this grouping were made on the occasion of the landmark exhibition Bill Brandt presented by the Museum in 1969, signaling the first major exhibition in the United States dedicated to the artist’s work. This auction contains 43 photographs ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. 

PHOTOCULTURE: Interview with Ken Gonzales-Day

PHOTOCULTURE: Interview with Ken Gonzales-Day

"On the one hand we'd love to see all such boundaries disappear, and on the other hand, we're also trying to see that the different concerns, interests, and histories of particular communities are somehow reflected in the landscape, and in the museums, institutions, and newspapers that represent this city on some level."

News from the World of Photography: October 2017

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William Eggleston, at 78, in a New Key


The New York Times

William Eggleston is widely considered one of modern photography’s most influential artists. The prolific piano playing that’s been his other lifelong passion, however, has remained more of an insiders’ secret.

“People know my photographs because they’re published in books and shown in galleries and museums and so forth, and yet I don’t perform music in public, ever — only in front of good friends who really want to hear it and who really listen,” Mr. Eggleston, who is 78, said in a recent phone interview from his Memphis apartment...

The Grain of the Present


Pier 24
San Francisco, CA
1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018

The Grain of the Present, Pier 24 Photography’s ninth exhibition, examines the work of ten photographers at the core of the Pilara Foundation collection—Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lee Friedlander, Nicholas Nixon, Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, and Garry Winogrand—whose works share a commitment to looking at everyday life as it is. Each of these figures defined a distinctive visual language that combines formal concerns with a documentary aesthetic, and all of them participated in one of two landmark exhibitions: New Documents (1967) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, or New Topographics (1975) at the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester.

Looking back, inclusion in these exhibitions can be seen as both a marker of success and a foreshadowing of the profound impact this earlier generation would have on those that followed. Although these two exhibitions were significant, most of these photographers considered the photobook as the primary vehicle for their work. At a time when photography exhibitions were few and far between, the broad accessibility of these publications introduced and educated audiences about their work. As a result, many contemporary photographers became intimately familiar with that work, drawing inspiration from it and developing practices that also value the photobook as an important means of presenting their images.

The Grain of the Present features the work of these ten groundbreaking photographers alongside six contemporary practitioners of the medium—Eamonn Doyle, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ed Panar, Alec Soth, Awoiska van der Molen, and Vanessa Winship. This generation embodies Wessel’s notion of being “actively receptive”: rather than searching for particular subjects, they are open to photographing anything around them. Yet the contemporary works seen here do not merely mimic the celebrated visual languages of the past, but instead draw on and extend them, creating new dialects that are uniquely their own.

Nicholas Nixon: Exhibition in Madrid. Fundación MAPFRE Bárbara de Braganza Exhibition Hall


Fundación MAPFRE
Madrid, Spain
14 September 2017 - 7 January 2018

Concentrating particularly on portraiture, Nicholas Nixon occupies a distinguished and unique place in the history of photography over recent decades. His work exposes the constant tension between the content and the emotions that underlie his images. His photos reveal to us the realities of his daily life through a very refined technique and careful composition. We are presented with themes and aspects of life that, through their familiarity and humanity, induce the viewer to feel part of and identify with the images. 

Over his career spanning nearly fifty years, Nixon has always worked using series. Some of them such as The Brown Sisters or his family portraits extend throughout his entire career. His method of working requires a great deal of time: as much due to the intimacy and confidence he demands from his subjects as for the technique he employs (large format camera). The relationship he needs to establish with his subjects and the themes on which he concentrates once again demand a lot of time in order for him to achieve his objective: the elderly, the sick, the intimacy between couples and the family. 

After showing in Madrid, in 2018 and 2019 the exhibition will move to the Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía, C/O Berlin and Fondation A in Brussels.

Catharsis: Amak Mahmoodian, Sara Davidmann, Mariela Sancari
 

Belfast Exposed
Belfast, Ireland
27 October - 23 December 2017


Belfast Exposed is pleased to present Catharsis - a new group exhibition which brings together three projects by contemporary photographers who use portraiture in innovative ways to explore and come to terms with complex family or personal histories.  Employing different strategies, each artist uses photography as a means to unravel or respond to a repressed narrative around personal identity.  Through the process of creative investigation they open a broader dialogue around the constraints that societal norms can impose upon the freedom of individual expression.  

Bruce Davidson: American Photographer


Nederlands Fotomuseum
Rotterdam, Netherlands
16 September 2017 - 7 January 2018


This autumn the Nederlands Fotomuseum will be presenting the first retrospective in the Netherlands of the work of American photographer Bruce Davidson (b. 1933). Since the 1950s, Davidson has devoted his time and energy to photographing those for whom the ‘American Dream’ has turned out to be unattainable and who have attempted to hold their own in society.

Davidson depicts major themes as civil rights, violence, poverty, racism and immigration, all from a personal perspective. For many years, for instance, he tagged along with a street gang in Brooklyn and travelled with civil rights activities to the South to take part in The Selma March. This approach has given him first-hand experience with the subjects of his work and enabled him to poignantly show what the ‘American Dream’ has meant for them. The exhibition features almost 200 photographs, including work from his famous series The Dwarf, East 100th Street and Subway.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Fundación MAPFRE. The exhibition and international tour have been made possible thanks to the support of the TERRA Foundation for American Art.

A Green and Pleasant Land: British Landscape and the Imagination, 1970s to Now


Towner Art Gallery
Eastbourne, UK
30 September 2017 - 21 January 2018

This major survey exhibition focuses on artists who have shaped our understanding of the British landscape and its relationship to identity, place and time. Exploring how artists interpret urban and rural landscape through the lens of their own cultural, political or spiritual ideologies, the exhibition reveals the inherent tensions between landscape represented as a transcendental or spiritual place, and one rooted in social and political histories.

Though primarily photography, A Green and Pleasant Land includes film, painting and sculpture by over 50 artists, illustrating the various concerns and approaches to landscape pursued by artists from the 1970s to now.

Artists included in the exhibition: Keith Arnatt, Gerry Badger, Craig Barker, John Blakemore, Henry Bond and Liam Gillick, Paul Caponigro, Thomas Joshua Cooper, John Davies, Susan Derges, Mark Edwards, Anna Fox, Melanie Friend, Hamish Fulton, Fay Godwin, Andy Goldsworthy, Paul Graham, Mishka Henner, Paul Hill, Robert Judges, Angela Kelly, Chris Killip, John Kippin, Karen Knorr, Ian Macdonald, Ron McCormick, Mary McIntyre, Peter Mitchell, Raymond Moore, John Myers, Martin Parr, Mike Perry, Ingrid Pollard, Mark Power, Paul Reas, Emily Richardson, Ben Rivers, Simon Roberts, Paul Seawright, Andy Sewell, Theo Simpson, Graham Smith, Jem Southam, Jo Spence, John Stezaker, Paddy Summerfield, The Caravan Gallery, Chris Wainwright, Patrick Ward, Clare Woods and Donovan Wylie.


The British Journal of Photography

“There are two important things about this show,” says Clément Chéroux, senior curator of photography at SFMOMA. “First, the quantity of work – more than 300 photographs, quite a large selection, because we were able to get support from most of the big institutions – MOMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Canada, the Musée du Quai Branly and so on, and private collections from around the world.

“Second, is the fact that it is arranged thematically rather than chronologically. Usually when you look at important retrospectives they are chronological, but we organised by theme because we wanted to organise it around Evans’ passion for the vernacular. He was fascinated with vernacular culture.”

It is, as Chéroux says, a huge show – the first to take up the SFMOMA’s entire Pritzker Center for Photography, which, at over 1000 square meters, is America’s largest photography gallery. But though a retrospective of this size is entirely appropriate for one of the 20th century’s key photographers, what’s emphasized isn’t his monumental importance or his ongoing influence. Instead, it hones in on his love for the more humble and every day...

At FotoFocus, the Radical Notion That Women Are People


Aperture
 

    Two weeks before the Women’s March on January 21, 2017, Sara Vance Waddell posted a message on Facebook asking marchers to save their protest signs. Vance, a philanthropist who primarily collects art made by female-identified artists, wanted to make an exhibition of artwork from the march at the gallery in her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. When the signs that protesters sent began piling up, Waddell realized she had a bigger project on her hands. Like many Americans, prior to the 2016 presidential election, Waddell hadn’t thought of herself as an activist. But suddenly it was clear, as one participant wrote in thick black ink on a cardboard placard, that “The Future is Nasty.”

Are we living in a moment of emergency feminism? Among the gathering of artists, critics, scholars, and cultural workers at the FotoFocus symposium “Second Century: Photography, Feminism, Politics,” presented in Cincinnati in October, there was a mood of enlivened solidarity, a sense that if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. The symposium opened with a panel discussion by FemFour, the group that Waddell assembled to turn her Women’s March project into a traveling exhibition, but the subsequent panel discussions and keynote addresses often took on the energy of a teach-in. Although the FemFour’s project is not concerned specifically with photography, their discussion seemed an appropriate way to open FotoFocus. For curator Maria Seda-Reeder, who worked with Waddell to assemble the collection, the Women’s March project had an emotional dimension. In working with FemFour, she had connected to other women who were also “mad as hell.”...

Illuminating India: Photography 1857-2017


Science Museum
London, UK
4 October 2017 - 31 March 2018


Shortly after its invention in Britain in 1839, photography arrived in India. It was used by the British as a tool to document and exert power over the people, architecture, and landscapes of the subcontinent but it also became a medium for Indians themselves to express their unique experiences of the country.

This exhibition brings to light the previously overlooked Indian photographers who worked in parallel with their foreign counterparts from the 1850s onwards.

Pivoting around two key dates—1857, the year of the Mutiny and 1947, the year of Independence and Partition—it is an ambitious survey of the technological and artistic development of photography in India that examines the role the medium has played in charting the country’s modern history.

Among the images are works by Samuel Bourne, art photography pioneer Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, Henri Cartier-Bresson and award-winning contemporary photographer Vasantha Yogananthan.

Hilla Becher on making art and a life with Bernd


British Journal of Photography 


An exclusive interview with Hilla Becher, revisited as Hauser & Wirth Zurich stages a large new exhibition of Bernd & Hilla Becher's seminal work, curated by their son Max. First posted on 25 March 2015

One of the dominant influences in contemporary European photography is wheeled into the restaurant at the NRW Forum, a grand art gallery a stone’s throw from the Rhine.

It’s the height of the Düsseldorf Photo Weekend, and people of all ages are passing through the galleries on either side of us. Many of them won’t realize it, but most of the photography here is deeply indebted to this slight and unassuming woman, born in East Germany before the war, and now happily talking over pasta and wine in the café.

She has now been without Bernd, her husband, for more than seven years, after he died from complications during heart surgery. That straight bob of blonde hair is greying. She is now 81, and sits slightly stooped in her wheelchair. You have to strain to hear what she says, yet she recounts her life with a remarkable wit and poise. Some people start to switch off at this age; Hilla Becher, it seems, could not be more connected to her surroundings...

Passport Photos and Online Porn: The Dizzying World of Thomas Ruff


The New York Times 

Thomas Ruff was explaining how pleased he was about his forthcoming retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery here when we were interrupted by an unearthly shrieking. A fire alarm had gone off; we and the technicians installing the show would have to be evacuated. Dumped politely but unceremoniously on the street, we continued the conversation on the sidewalk, with Mr. Ruff broadcasting his thoughts to pedestrians and passing traffic.

The incident was unplanned (a false alarm), but had a twinge of poetic justice. Revered in his native Germany and among the photographic cognoscenti, Mr. Ruff, 59, has often seemed a little outside the art-world mainstream. While contemporaries including Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth — both of whom trained, like Mr. Ruff, with the pioneering conceptual photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher — have become stars of the market and familiar names in museum collections worldwide, Mr. Ruff’s work, though far from unknown, is not seen nearly as often as it should be. The Whitechapel exhibition is the biggest Ruff retrospective the English-speaking world has yet seen...

The Photographer Who Saw America’s Monuments Hiding in Plain Sight


The New York Times Magazine
 

Almost inevitably for an artistic career stretching over more than five decades, the quality of the work is uneven. Unlike Winogrand, Friedlander hasn’t given up on editing, but he is more interested in taking pictures and getting them out than in scrupulously curating his own oeuvre. “It’s a generous medium, photography,” he is quoted as saying in the epigraph to the MoMA catalog. He was thinking particularly of a picture of his uncle, which also included a bunch of other, unintended information. “The American Monument” came about in similar fashion, when he noticed that memorials and statues of all kinds cropped up in multiple contact sheets, some of which were primarily concerned with other matters. After that, he began seeking out such monuments in the course of his travels throughout the States.

On receipt of a lifetime achievement award from the International Center of Photography in 2006, the 71-year-old Friedlander responded that the honor, while welcome, was premature. At the glamorous reception and dinner, he spent the evening photographing, snapping guests and the other honorees like a cub photographer eager to make the most of what might prove to be his big break. That break actually came in 1967 at MoMA when he, Garry Winogrand (who died in 1984) and Diane Arbus (who died in 1971) were chosen to represent a shift in documentary photography from social concerns toward more personal ends. It’s possible that his reputation, as it has risen in the decades since, has also suffered, in the way that Dizzy Gillespie’s did in comparison with that of his doomed fellow bebop pioneer Charlie Parker.

Lee Friedlander’s “The American Monument” was first published in 1976. That’s “monument” singular, though one of the many singular things about Friedlander is that he’s nothing if not a pluralist. Whitman-like, he is great, contains multitudes. In an essay appended to the sumptuous new edition of this landmark work, Peter Galassi (who curated the 2005 Friedlander retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art) deems it “pointless” to try to count precisely how many books the photographer has published since 1976 before settling on roughly one a year. The retrospective was huge, and, inevitably, the accompanying catalog was almost too hefty to lug home comfortably. It was sort of monumental, though monuments tend to be erected to the dead.
Eventually he had enough pictures for a book — which, in Friedlander-ese, means more than enough. The original edition boiled thousands of potential candidates down to 213, the bulk of them taken between 1971 and 1975, supplemented by a brilliant afterword by Leslie George Katz. That essay still feels remarkably fresh in the reprint, even though Katz’s observations occasionally gleam with a faith in the assumption of the continued worth of monuments that may turn out to be “discredited,” “outmoded” or ironically apposite, as when he says of their power, “Something like racial memory is at work.”...



The Eye of Photography

On October 22nd 2017 The Griffin Museum of Photography, near Boston, gave Elizabeth Avedon a  Lifetime Achievement award,  for promoting new and emerging photographers, and “whose ongoing commitment to photography has created far-reaching impact”. Elizabeth Avedon, a book designer for decades, for years a frenetic writer on young photographers and their work on her blog, the daughter-in-law of the famous photographer, is also a contributor to The Eye of Photography since its debut. Today’s edition is entirely dedicated to her.

In the past years, she has been profiling notable leaders in the world of photography such as Joel-Peter Witkin, W.M. Hunt, Anne Wilkes Tucker, among many others. She has received awards and recognition for her photography exhibition, design and publishing projects, including the retrospective exhibition and book, Avedon: Photographs 1949-1979 for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, and Atlanta’s High Museum; and Richard Avedon: In the American West for the Amon Carter Museum. Elizabeth Avedon recreated the original 1974 Museum of Modern Art exhibit, Jacob Israel Avedon: Portraits of the Photographers Father with Photographs by Richard Avedon, for the opening of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona.

In conjunction with Random House, she co-published the series Elizabeth Avedon Editions/Vintage Contemporary Artists, pairing distinguished art critics such as Donald Kuspit, Peter Schjeldahl, and Barbara Rose with contemporary artists Francesco Clemente, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, Eric Fischl among others. Former Director of Photo-Eye Gallery, Santa Fe; Creative Director for The Gere Foundation; Art Director for Polo Ralph Lauren national ads; Elizabeth Avedon mentions one of her favorite projects was with the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography on a juried black and white photo publication, fossils of light + time, reflecting the spirit of a seductive quote by Daido Moriyama: "If you were to ask me to define a photograph in a few words, I would say it is “a fossil of light and time.”

“The Twitter feed of master photo book designer, curator and author Elizabeth Avedon is a one-stop shop for the best and latest in photography,” wrote Mia Tramz in TIME Magazine. “As a hub of the photographic world, Avedon’s feed surfaces must-see photography exhibits, the most interesting photo events and content from her equally excellent blog where she frequently interviews the industry’s most legendary figures.”

Elizabeth Avedon’s award has been presented by Sean Perry, an architecture photographer based in Austin, Texas and New York City.

Biennial of Photography on Industry and Work


Foto/Industria
Bologna, Italy
12 October - 19 November 2017

For this third edition, presenting fourteen exhibitions by some of the world’s most important photographers, the MAST Foundation is multiplying its commitment by creating a temporary, living and participatory community that is renewed every two years with the same urge to exchange ideas triggered by the narrative force of the images.


Swann Auction Galleries 

Robert Delpire, Champion of Photography as Art, Dies at 91


The New York Times

Robert Delpire, a French publisher and editor whose championing of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Josef Koudelka helped elevate photography as an art, died on Sept. 26 in Paris. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by Michael Hoppen, whose gallery has exhibited the photographs of Sarah Moon, Mr. Delpire’s wife.

Mr. Delpire (pronounced del-PEER) created his own photographic universe in Paris — publishing books, curating exhibitions and directing the Centre de National de la Photographie for more than a decade after it opened in 1982. It is now part of the Paris arts center Jeu de Paume.

“He was an uncompromising lion,” Peter MacGill, of the Pace/MacGill Gallery in Manhattan, said in a telephone interview. “He would
not,
if he felt something was to be done a certain way, let other realities encroach on the making of a book or exhibition. He didn’t care...