News from the World of Photography: January 2019

Spotlight: Gabriel Figueroa and the Knotty the Aesthetics of the Female Body


AI-AP

Gabriel Figueroa’s series “Nodum” is a study in landscapes.
The project matches the landscapes of the female body with the desert landscape of Cuatro Ciénegas in the State of Coahuila
northen Mexico — one of the few places in the world, Figueroa notes, “to have gypsum dunes, warm pools in the middle of the desert and a marble quarry.” The work was also inspired and influenced by pre-Raphaelite paintings and the Japanese art of rope binding called shibari, as well as other icons from photography and paintings.

“However, as in all creative processes, this project followed its own evolutionary path and the resulting images are the consequence of an organic and spontaneous creative flow,” notes the photographer.

“In this manner, different implicit lines of work can be identified throughout these images,” he writes in his artist’s statement. “On one side, the fantasy of the nude female body, enveloped by the embrace of intricate knots; that surround it and invigorate the eroticism in an open-air setting. On the other hand, the quiet stillness of the landscape echoes the silent submission implicit in the bindings. Yet there are other elements that can be observed: the vestige, the marks, the ephemeral scar, the kiss of the rope as a symbolic element of the interventions on the human body and on the desertic landscape.”...

Portrait of Humanity: The Anonymous Project is restoring our collective memory, one colour slide at a time


The British Journal of Photography

Founded in 2017, the project has already rescued 700,000 colour slides, which tell the story ‘of all our lives’

When filmmaker Lee Shulman bought a box of vintage slides from
Ebay, he was hoping for some blurry snaps to flick through on a Sunday afternoon, and maybe a picture or two to keep. But when they arrived, ‘I nearly fell off my seat.’  What he saw amazed him: here were hundreds of snapshots of strangers’ lives. The poses were instantly recognisable: children grinning over birthday cakes, couples squinting on the beach – the simple magic of unstaged life, captured in rich Kodachrome colour.

The price of
colour
photography plummeted in the early Fifties, allowing people to snap away with newfound freedom. But the chemicals that produce the slides fade over time. If the photos were to disappear, then with them so would the memories of our collective human experience – and Shulman didn’t want to let that happen...

Untroubled Irving Glenn


MINA Image Centre
Beirut, Lebanon
16 January - 28 April 2019

 
Irving Penn (1917-2009), recognized as one of the masters of photography of the twentieth century, is widely admired for his iconic images of high fashion and for the remarkable portraits of the artists, writers, and celebrities who defined the cultural landscapes of his time. 

Drawing inspiration from Resonance, an exhibition organized by the Pinault Collection in 2014 at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the exhibition Untroubled seeks first and foremost to pay tribute to the photographer’s unique legacy.

The exhibition presents the photographs not in a linear, chronological sequence but arranged in a manner that brings out their subliminal affinities. Commercial projects cohabit with ethnographic studies, discarded refuse with sophisticated models, cultural celebrities with animal skulls. 

As Penn remarked, “It is all one thing”.

New Southern Photography


Ogden Museum of Southern Art
New Orleans, LA
6 October 2018 - 10 March 2019


New Southern Photography highlights the exciting and diverse breadth of photography being practiced in the American South today. The largest photography exhibition at the Ogden Museum to date, this exhibition features the work of twenty-five emerging, mid-career and established photographers. Each photographer is individually showcased with a monographic installation focusing on a single body of work within the context of a group exhibition. All types of lens-formed imagery are included from traditional analog and digital still photography to video installation and new media. New Southern Photography is available for travel to other institutions through 2021.

New Southern Photography explores the role photography plays in formulating the visual iconography of the modern New South. Regional identity in an interconnected and global world is central to the exhibition’s narrative. Themes and ideas addressed in New Southern Photography
include: memory, the experience of place in the American South, cultural mythology and reality, deep familial connections to the land, the tension between the past and present, and the transitory nature of change in the New South.

The goal of New Southern Photography is to create a space for conversation about the region. This exhibition not only highlights recent contributions the American South has made to the world through
photography, but serves as a platform to broaden the understanding and appreciation of this complicated, contested and often misunderstood region. New Southern Photography follows in the rich tradition of Southern literature, where storytelling is paramount.

Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties


The Eye of Photography

 Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties examines the terrifying period in U.S. history when the government scapegoated and imprisoned thousands of people of Japanese ancestry. This multimedia exhibition draws parallels to tactics chillingly resurgent today featuring imagery by noted American photographers Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, alongside works by incarcerated Japanese American artists Toyo Miyatake and Miné Okubo.

Presented by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation in partnership with the National Japanese American Historical Society and J-Sei, the exhibition tells the story of the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese American citizens and legal residents from their homes during World War II without due process or other constitutional protections.

 

‘I Ranged Far and Wide’: Dawoud Bey on Imagining the Paths of Fugitive Slaves

ARTNEWS

When Chicago-based artist Dawoud Bey traveled to the outskirts of Cleveland in late 2017, he found a landscape largely unchanged since thousands of slaves had crossed it 200 years ago, seeking freedom in the north. There were no telephone lines or cell towers, just the scraggly brush that had made the passage so treacherous. “I ranged far and wide out there, since there were expansive rural landscapes that looked as they might have in the 18th and 19th centuries,” Bey said recently in an extensive email interview. “The landscape and history there has not been built over.”

Bey was at work on his series of black-and-white silver gelatin photographs, “Night Coming Tenderly, Black,” commissioned by Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art and now on view at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition caps off an eventful couple of years for Bey that kicked off with his winning a coveted MacArthur “Genius” grant in fall 2017. Last summer, Front premiered “Night Coming Tenderly, Black” in Cleveland’s St. John’s Episcopal Church, once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Then September brought the publication of “Seeing Deeply,” a 400-page monograph from the University of Texas Press, as well as the opening of an exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, of his “Birmingham Project” photographs. (That show is up through March 24) In 2020 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art will give Bey a full retrospective...

Graciela Iturbide’s Photos of Mexico Make ‘Visible What, to Many, Is Invisible’

The New York Times LENS Blog

Graciela Iturbide may be one of the most renowned photographers working today. Five decades into her journey with a camera, her work, most famously in indigenous communities in her native Mexico, has achieved that rare trifecta — admired by critics, revered by fellow photographers and adored by the public. She continues to travel, photograph and exhibit all over the world.

But it is becoming impossible to discuss her work without mentioning the Zapotec woman wearing live iguanas on her head. 

Ms. Iturbide made the photo after happening upon Zobeida Díaz at a farmer’s market while living with the Juchitán of southeastern Oaxaca in 1979. It took several tries — the iguanas kept moving around, falling off, reducing her subject to laughter — but on her contact sheet, Ms. Iturbide found her “Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas),” an image so arresting that 40 years later, its popularity is still growing...


The British Journal of Photography
 

The World Press Photo Foundation has announced the six talents from North and Central America in its ongoing 6×6 Global Talent Program. Aimed at picking out under-recognized visual story-tellers from around the world, the 6×6 programme is now on its fifth region, out of the six identified around the world. This time, the talents picked out were: Dylan Hausthor, USA; Ian Willms, Canada; Mariceu Erthal García, Mexico; Nydia Blas, USA; Tomas Ayuso, Honduras; and Yael Esteban Martínez Velázquez, Mexico...

Over 6,000 Ottoman-Era Photographs Now Available Online


Hyperallergic

The Getty Research Institute has recently digitized over 6,000 19th- and early 20th-century Ottoman-era photographs, collected in the 1980s by French collector Pierre de Gigord during his travels through Turkey. The collection is now available to study and download for free online.

The photos encompass various walks of Ottoman life, depicting “landmark architecture, urban and natural landscapes, archeological sites of millennia-old civilizations, and the bustling life of the diverse people who lived over 100 years ago in the last decades of the waning Ottoman Empire,” according to the Iris, the Getty Research Institute’s blog.

The collection includes a 10-part panorama of Constantinople, which required stitching separate prints together to create a panoramic view of the Istanbul skyline in 1878. The shots can now be viewed in their entirety on a single screen. 82 glass plate negatives were digitized, along with 60 photographic albums documenting scenes of Ottoman life. Each individual image in the albums was photographed and digitized, allowing viewers to see up-close details alongside the calligraphic image captions...

Ansel Adams in Our Time


Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Boston, MA
13 December 2018 – 24 February 2019


Ansel Adams in Our Time traces the iconic visual legacy of Ansel Adams (1902–1984), presenting some of his most celebrated prints, from a symphonic view of snow-dusted peaks in The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942) to an aerial shot of a knotted roadway in Freeway Interchange, Los Angeles (1967). The exhibition looks both backward and forward in time: his black-and-white photographs are displayed alongside prints by several of the 19th-century government survey photographers who greatly influenced Adams, as well as work by contemporary artists whose modern-day concerns centered on the environment, land rights, and the use and misuse of natural resources point directly to Adams’ legacy.

Adams’ stunning images were last on view at the MFA in a major exhibition in 2005; this new, even larger presentation places his work in the context of the 21st century, with all that implies about the role photography has played—and continues to play—in our changing perceptions of the land. The Adams photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the Lane Collection, one of the largest and most significant gifts in MFA history.

Telfair Museums Receives Donation of Works by American Photographer Bruce Davidson


Telfair Museums
Savannah, GA

Telfair Museums announced the acquisition of 347 photographs by photographer Bruce Davidson (American, B. 1933). This anonymous gift is a transformational addition to the museum’s permanent collection by a world-renowned photographer whose work is in significant museum collections across the world, including at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, and MoMA, among others.

The collection spans Davidson’s career from 1956 to 2008 and includes images from his most well-known series including Circus (1958), Brooklyn Gang (1959), Time of Change (1961-1965), East 100th Street (1970), a study of poverty and discrimination in Harlem, and Subway (1980), an essay on a particular American subculture.

Davidson is a prolific photographer recognized for his humanistic portrayals of all walks of life. Erin Dunn, Assistant Curator at Telfair Museums has curated Telfair’s photography collection since 2014 and says, “History and human nature are deftly revealed through the empathetic eye of Bruce Davidson. This momentous gift not only allows us to revel in the individual photographs of Davidson, but to appreciate his entire career’s worth of noteworthy subjects and imagery. The photographs stand on their own, but will also complement themes and subject matters already evident in Telfair Museums’ permanent collection.”

Photography plays a prominent role in Telfair’s robust schedule of annual exhibitions, and in recent years the museum has also traveled photography exhibitions drawn from its permanent collection to museums in New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin. “It is difficult to overstate the impact that this gift will have on Telfair’s photography collection,” says Courtney McNeil, Chief Curator & Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at Telfair Museums. “The foundation of the museum’s photography collection is one of the country’s largest collections of work by New York street photographer Helen Levitt, and Davidson’s work has many rich thematic parallels to that body of work.”

A Hundred Heroines: female photographers in the spotlight


The Guardian

Following a campaign by the Royal Photographic Society to highlight modern female photographers in a male-dominated profession, a list of a Hundred Heroines was announced on 14 December, 100 years since British women first voted in a general election...

The First Photograph


Harry Ransom Center
The University of Texas at Austin

After developing heliography and the First Photograph, Niépce traveled to England where he showed his invention to botanical illustrator Francis Bauer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Bauer recognized the importance of Niépce's work and encouraged him to write about his invention for a presentation to the Royal Society. Although his proposal was rejected, Niépce left his handwritten memoir and his heliograph specimens (including the First Photograph) with Bauer, who dutifully inscribed the gifts, labeled them 1827 (the year of their presentation to him), and set them aside.

During the nineteenth century, the First Photograph passed from Bauer's estate through a variety of hands. After its last public exhibition in 1905, it slipped into obscurity. In 1952, photo-historians Helmut and Alison Gernsheim were able to locate the First Photograph when they were contacted by the widow of Gibbon Pritchard, who had found the Niépce heliograph in her husband's estate after his death. The Gernsheims verified the photograph's authenticity, and obtained it for their collection.

Unearthing Photography’s Time Capsule


The New York Times

In March of 1985, the photographer Robert Frank arrived with a paper sack at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to use Polaroid’s 20-by-24-inch camera. It was a hulking beast of an apparatus, worlds away from the diminutive 35-millimeter Leica that had freed him to roam the country while shooting “The Americans,” the 1959 book of photos that crowned him a king of counterculture and the most imitated photographer alive today.

He emptied the bag of salvaged miscellany he’d brought to shoot, jotted a few cryptic words on bits of paper, and then pinned them together with old photos and other ephemera onto timeworn corkboards. In the resulting six-paneled work — “Boston, March 20, 1985” we see the corkboards arranged in grids like signs at an old grocer’s. Few clues reveal Frank’s intentions, but we know that his fellow trailblazing photographers, Robert Heinecken, Dave Heath and John Wood, were somehow involved: The images show scrawled dedications to them.

The four renowned artists were brought together by two photographic historians, Susan E. Cohen and William S. Johnson, who pulled off a curatorial feat that would be unimaginable today. They persuaded Mr. Frank, Mr. Heinecken, Mr. Heath and Mr. Wood to collaborate with them on a project whose contours were hazy at best. And then they persuaded the Polaroid Corporation to finance it...