News from the World of Photography: March 2018


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


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

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 


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


“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...

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 
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...