News from the World of Photography: March 2019


Beautiful and Unclichéd Photographs of Japanese Landscapes


Spanish photographic duo Albarrán Cabrera first travelled to Japan six years ago, and have returned there every year since. Turning their lens to Japan’s landscapes and characters, Anna P Cabrera and Angel Albarrán offer a new perspective on the nation through their images via their choice of subject and innovative method of processing images – the pair incorporate both modern and traditional printing techniques into their practice, with additions such as Japanese paper and gold leaf bringing a distinctive warmth and unique palette to their colour prints...

Debunking the Myths of Robert Capa on D-Day


I want to give you a brief overview of an investigation that began almost five years ago, led by me but involving the efforts of photojournalist J. Ross Baughman, photo historian Rob McElroy, and ex-infantryman and amateur military historian Charles Herrick.

Our project, in a nutshell, dismantles the 74-year-old myth of Robert Capa’s actions on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the subsequent fate of his negatives. If you have even a passing familiarity with the history of photojournalism, or simply an awareness of twentieth-century cultural history on both sides of the Atlantic, you’ve surely heard the story; it’s been repeated hundreds, possibly thousands of times:

Robert Capa landed on Omaha Beach with the first wave of assault troops at 0630 on the morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day), on freelance assignment from LIFE magazine.

He stayed there for 90 minutes, until he either inexplicably ran out of film or his camera jammed...

Rare 19th-century images show China at the dawn of photography

CNN Style
Before the arrival of photography, the Western imagination of China was based on paintings, written travelogues and dispatches from a seemingly far-off land. From the 1850s, however, a band of pioneering Western photographers sought to capture the country's landscapes, cities and people, captivating audiences back home and sparking a homegrown photography movement in the process. Among them were the Italian Felice Beato, who arrived in China in the 1850s to document Anglo-French exploits in the Second Opium War, and Scottish photographer John Thompson, whose journey up the Min River offered people in the West a rare look into the country's remote interior.

These are just some of the figures whose work features in a 15,000-strong photo collection amassed by New York antiquarian and collector Stephan Loewentheil. His 19th-century images span street scenes, tradespeople, rural life and architecture, showing -- in unprecedented detail -- everything from blind beggars to camel caravans on the Silk Road...

Patti Smith’s Talismanic Photos from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s Home and Beyond

The New Yorker

In 2012, Patti Smith traveled to Mexico City to speak and perform at La Casa Azul, the former home of the artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. While visiting the property, which now serves as a museum, Smith took several black-and-white Polaroid photographs of objects she encountered: a pair of crutches that belonged to Kahlo; her worn corset; a white coverlet with crocheted trim, dangling from a wooden bed frame. Those images are part of a new exhibit of Smith’s photographs, titled “Wing,” which is now on display at the Diego Rivera Gallery, at the San Francisco Art Institute, adjacent to Rivera’s 1931 mural “The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City.”...

Busy living everything with everyone, everywhere, all of the time

The British Journal of Photography

 Since he was first named director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, the centre for contemporary arts situated in the heart of Paris’ historic 4th arrondissement, one year ago, Simon Baker – formerly the Tate’s first-ever photography curator – has had to resist the urge to throw open the windows.

“It’s an old hôtel particulier, so it has very grand rooms, but they are essentially domestic spaces,” he says of the exhibition halls perused by the public since 1996. “At the moment I want to leave all the curtains and the windows open. You have this feeling of an opening up of the space.”...


The Electric Intimacy of Alice Springs

The Cut

It’s a joy to contemplate the photography of June Newton, a.k.a. Alice Springs. The Australian-born Springs is the 95-year-old widow of the provocative fashion photographer Helmut Newton, but that’s the least interesting thing about her.

Under Springs’s gaze, world-famous actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, and Audrey Hepburn look like people, not icons — conversational, intent, their eyes telegraphing depths beneath. Springs respects their beauty, but doesn’t accept it as a mask. There are shadows beneath Deneuve’s perfect features; Hepburn looks gorgeous, but her age.

Vivid personalities leap from Springs’s portraits, which depict not just her subjects but her dialogue with them. Early on, Springs decided to forgo studio portraits and photograph people on their own territory, peeling back the protective facades that prominent people — especially the famous and beautiful — often construct...

The Extended Moment: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada

The Morgan Library and Museum
New York, NY
Through 26 May 2019

The Extended Moment brings forth around seventy works that reveal the historical, technological, and aesthetic breadth of the collection, which is little known in this country. In the exhibition’s presentation at the Morgan, works of far-flung origins are placed side-by-side to highlight recurring trends and tensions in the history of the medium. Artists include Edward Burtynsky, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lynne Cohen, John Herschel, Richard Learoyd, Lisette Model, Gordon Parks, Edward Steichen, and Josef Sudek.

The New Yorker

In 2007, Guy retrieved her pictures from Struth’s storage facility. The occasion was a show at White Columns, the venerable downtown nonprofit space, spotlighting the work of six art dealers who started as artists (one surprising inclusion was the power player Jeffrey Deitch). But it wasn’t until a 2015 solo outing at Cleopatra’s, the side project of a group of enterprising young women with day jobs in New York galleries, that interest in Guy’s work began to intensify. Last year, Hunters Point Press published Guy’s first eponymous monograph, a beautiful, slender book. Until March 9th, you can see Guy’s early work on view at the Upper East Side gallery Higher Pictures...

Polly Penrose Self-Portrait as an Accessory

The Eye of Photography

“My body is a prop.” _ Polly Penrose

Polly Penrose, an English photographer, makes her normal woman’s body (that’s how she defines herself) an accessory in response to a place, usually a home emptied of her residents.

The London photographer began by practicing self-portraits on the sly in houses waiting for new buyers. The procedure was and is still the same.

First, find out about and ask for permission from real estate agencies, painstakingly explaining the purpose of the process, judged in many cases, strange or even disturbing.

Then go on the spot, to impregnate the disused home while being attentive to the residual traces, to the geometry of the banality of the suburban houses.

Finally, perform self-timer snapshots in a handful of seconds, rush, pose hiding her face and, in most cases, achieve a disastrous or unwanted effect, accompanied by hematomas or small accidental injuries...

Mona Kuhn’s Abstraction of Being

The British Journal of Photography

"I wanted to stop time with photography. That's another reason I got into nudes, for the timeless aspect,” says Mona Kuhn, who has just published her sixth book with Steidl

“I got into photography because I’m a little restless, and I liked that it was fast,” says Brazilian photographer Mona Kuhn, who has just published her sixth book with Steidl, She Disappeared Into Complete Silence. Even so, the speed of photography haunted her, as Kuhn feared that her photographs would be consumed then discarded – like so many of the magazines she read and tossed away. “I wanted to stop time with photography,” she says. “That’s another reason I got into nudes, for the timeless aspect.”...

JOEL MEYEROWITZ: Selections from the Series “Aftermath”

The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College
Collegeville, PA
Until 11 May 2019

The people of New York City have always been an inspiration to Bronx-born photographer Joel Meyerowitz. Heavily influenced by the street photography of Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Meyerowitz captured his subjects with a compact 35mm camera. In the 1960s, when he began his investigation into street photography, he was unaware that he would become one of the first advocates of color photography. Now, his vibrantly colored and vividly patterned photographs of New Yorkers are some of his best-known artworks.

Discovering Contemporary Mexico Beyond the Daily Headlines: The Images of Graciela Iturbide

The Washington Post

What are the images that define contemporary Mexico? In the foreign eye, they are pictures of migrant caravans, escaped drug traffickers, beaches conjured by the American imagination.

Joan Didion once wrote of the Mexican state of Durango, “The very name hallucinates.” And so it seems with the country as a whole, a nation distorted in the public imagination for decades, reduced to a convenient caricature. It’s hard not to see the ellipses between that iconography and an American president whose politics hinge on the idea of a lawless Mexico, unpierced by nuance.

Which is why 2019 is the appropriate year for the world to discover Graciela Iturbide, who now has extensive exhibitions in Boston and Mexico City. For a half-century, Iturbide has traveled across her own country with a camera loaded with black-and-white film. She has taken pictures that are often described as dreamlike, surreal or painterly, but those words fall short...

An Unflinching View of Venezuela in Crisis

The New Yorker

Alejandro Cegarra’s photo series “State of Decay” is an unflinching portrait of Venezuela’s collapse. How this country went from being one of Latin America’s richest societies to one of its poorest is a disaster of bewildering proportions, one that defies easy explanation.

Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, but since the 2014 crash in world oil prices, on which Venezuela depended for more than ninety percent of its export revenues, its economy has contracted continuously, unleashing an economic crisis worse than that experienced by Americans during the Great Depression.

In the past five years, three million of Venezuela’s thirty-two million people have fled the country. More than half of all Venezuelans lack enough food to meet their daily needs. The country’s hospital system has all but failed; countless Venezuelans have died owing to a lack of medical attention and the scarcity of medicines for treatable illnesses. Hyperinflation is expected to reach ten million percent this year. On top of everything else, Venezuela’s murder rate is among the world’s highest, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world to live in...

Daido Moriyama: Hasselblad Award Winner 2019

The Hasselblad Foundation

The Hasselblad Foundation is pleased to announce that Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama is the recipient of the 2019 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography for the sum of SEK 1,000,000 (approx. USD 110,000). The award ceremony will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden on October 13, 2019. A symposium will be held on October 14, followed by the opening of an exhibition of Moriyama’s work at the Hasselblad Center, and the release of a new book about the artist, published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.

A Year of Quiet Contemplation Led to the Rebirth of Alec Soth’s Photography

The New York Times LENS Blog

After meditating during a flight to Helsinki, Alec Soth took a walk, sat down by a lake, and had an experience that could only be described as transcendental.

“It’s goofy talking about such a thing, but there were tears running down my face, the whole package,” he said. “Afterwards, walking back to my hotel, every time I saw someone I was like, ‘I love that person.’ It was probably not unlike what people experience on LSD.”

The experience in 2016, he said, changed the way he saw the world and, by extension, how he viewed his creative life. Mr. Soth had been a successful photographer for more than a decade. He had first drawn wide acclaim after his 2004 book, “Sleeping by the Mississippi,” and built a reputation as a skilled chronicler of American life in the tradition of photographers like Walker Evans and Robert Frank. He was, as the New York Times critic Hilarie M. Sheets once noted, especially adept at “finding chemistry with strangers,” particularly “loners and dreamers” he met in his travels...

Through a New Lens

What Will You Remember?

Whether or not you are fighting winter doldrums, here is a little show with big heart that’s sure to lift your spirits. It highlights a transformative slice of photographic history, the period following WWII. Feeling both relief and elation at having survived the war, unfettered European photographers invented an exuberant new genre that celebrated daily life. “Postwar Visions: European Photography, 1945-60” sheds light on this enduring burst of innovation at the MFA, Boston through June 23rd, 2019.

The horrors of war saw a robust backlash of humanism in the arts. For photography, the movement started in Germany with Otto Steinert, a former physician who created the collective known as “Subjektive Fotografie” (Subjective Photography). The group sought to elevate the ordinary and bring a sense of awe to the banal. This brought photography into the realm of abstraction, directly building upon tenets developed before the war at the Bauhaus, Germany’s legendary school of art, architecture and design founded by Walter Gropius a century ago in 1919 and shuttered by the Nazi regime just fourteen years later in 1933...

Beyond Truth: Photography After the Shutter

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, OH
Through 26 May 2019

Just how truthful is photography? Despite the ability to manipulate selfies on our cell phones, many of us cling to the illusion that the medium has an inherent connection to truth. Even if a camera produces an accurate recording of a scene in front of the lens, many changes can be wrought during the transition from captured light to printed image. Beyond Truth explores figurative scenes and portraits in which artists have altered the “truth” through postproduction techniques ranging from composite printing, multiple exposures, and handwork on negatives and prints to digital capture and manipulation.

The exhibition, which includes photographs from the Akron Art Museum and the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Collection, is drawn largely from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s holdings. The show marks the debut of 13 works owned by the museum, 7 of which are recent acquisitions. Among those are a 1936 retelling of the Narcissus myth by French photographer Laure Albin Guillot and a “portrait” by Trevor Paglen that was produced in 2017 not with a camera but by an Artificial Intelligence.

Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Stages for Being

Bates College Museum of Art
Lewiston, ME
25 October 2019 – 28 March 2020

Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925–1972) moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1950 and developed a passion for photography along with a career as an optician. Over the next two decades, he created the enigmatic images that would secure his place in the history of the medium by consciously challenging the concept of the camera as a mere recorder of the world. Meatyard’s photographs are seldom seen in Maine. Stages for Being celebrates his legacy with over eighty vintage prints chosen to explore his innovative practice of staging photographs.