Magazine Contemporary Culture

Photography

Yvonne Venegas: Construction of Appearance

Yvonne Venegas, From the series El Tiempo Que Pasamos, Inédito, 2006 and Maria Elvia de Hank, 2006-2010

Over the years, Yvonne Venegas has a developed a specific visual language through her photographs which thrive on moments of fleeting imperfection. She captures her subjects in flux, scenes that reveal artifice, and various states of becoming.  Venegas balances beauty and composition with ideas of the absurd.  She finds substance beneath layers of  pretense and turns a critical gaze toward the superficial.  It should be noted that Venegas does not focus on the unsavoriness of her subjects rather she unconvers moments of tangible realness and underscores the human condition.

“Growing up with my father was not simply to be the daughter of a social photographer, it also meant to live with somebody who wanted to belong to the particular social class, that took effort for him to accommodate himself within. In that effort I saw the clients come in and out of the studio and I assisted many weddings, not as a guest, but as a child. My participation in people´s events was not something I enjoyed, but it was almost viewing something foreign with an added feeling that it could never be mine. […] In photography I have found a way to make moments, people and situations my own. So if compared, my dad´s and my reason to photograph were very different: his had to do with a need for money and mine had to do with a need to see things my way.”

The images produced by Yvonne Venegas tend to be betrayals: efforts to snap the shutter a split second before or after the subject’s awareness takes control of the image. This untimeliness is on various occasions a fruit of parasitism: capturing one model while being photographed by another, the eruption of the lens standing in an unresolved parallax against a scene constructed by someone else.

There is nothing more rhetorical than a pose, that decided effort to transcend the contingency of one’s face and posture by means of an eidos, a vehicle whereby the corporeal, the instantaneous, the fungible aspire to the condition of an eternal Platonic idea. In spite of the historical impact of different forms of the anti-portrait (the uncontrollable image of Robert Frank or the zoological passion of Diane Arbus for the singularity of the camera), social habits and professional photographic practice continue to adhere to the pictorial expectation of capturing an idealized “I”: the care lavished on the image and its lighting, the precise coordination of eye and shutter finger, and above all the productive self-censoring of the photographic subject. All these forces conspire to constitute a sublimated emissary that conceals and fabricates, in the face of the camera, a controlled appearance, an artifact of subjectivity. One stops and appears before the camera, one pauses,1 greeting it as a servant approaches his master.

1 The etymology of the word could not be more eloquent. Spanish posar, according to Corominas, derives from Late Latin pausare (‘cease, stop’). In this sense, it shares meaning with the idea of the “presentation” of our ontology. See Joan Corominas, Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana (Madrid: Gredos, 1990), p. 470.

If a pose has a symbolic and culturally constructed quality, a gesture, on the other hand, is an almost organic aspect of our appearance in the presence of others: a clue, no less revealing than the silver bromide of a vintage photograph, of an atomic fact in the endless chain of events that make up the world.

“I believe that there are many societies in Latin America where the task of keeping up the appearances of our family, friends, and group falls to women.”

The transition from analog and chemical photography to the illusionism of digital photography has only radicalized the most ordinary photographic custom: whereas the destruction of a photograph used to entail a certain magical disquiet (ultimately, the cutting or tearing of a snapshot suggested a furious slaughter), the ease of eliminating files from digital devices has empowered photographic subjects to exercise police-state control over the beauty and fitness of their faces.

”We elaborate an image of ourselves that coincides with certain norms in compliance with what everyone else finds acceptable” (Pierre Bourdieu)

“In The Most Beautiful Brides of Baja California (2000-2004) we studied this phenomenon among upper middle class women of Tijuana. Using my friendship to gain access, I found myself researching what people believe being photogenic is all about, and how they choose to present themselves before a photographic camera. In time, I became more interested in seeking out their fragile moments, perhaps those occasions when the subjects were not ready for the photo and were, therefore, unaware of their own representation. My study of this facet proposes to find the human side, based on the construction of a shell that exists in order to be contemplated by others”

Venegas stays away from clear narratives and statements by instead presenting her conclusions to more than four years of work as fragments of an experience, each one a subtle document of a space whose telling reflects on identity.

In her portrayal of wealth and celebrity, Venegas counters expectations on the part of subjects and viewers alike.

Text: Press release, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Cuauhtémoc Medina for the book Gestus, published by RM editorial in 2015 and Alfonso Morales ‘A factory of dreams’ for the solo exhibition at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in México City, ‘You will never be younger than this day’, 2012, found on Yvonne Venegas website http://yvonnevenegas.com
Edit by Magazine Contemporary Culture.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Deana Lawson, Ways That Sexuality, Violence, Family, and Social Status May Be Written Upon the Body



Deana Lawson, Shirley, 2006, Hotel Oloffson Storage Room, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2013 and Thai, 2009

Deana Lawson’s photographs are inspired by the materiality and expression of black culture globally. Her work negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension. “My work negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension; the photographs speaking to the ways that sexuality, violence, family, and social status may be written, sometimes literally, upon the body.”  Lawson utilizes a wide range of photographic languages, including staged imagery, appropriated pictures given to her by subjects, and images she discovers in public media.

“What you see in her work is the photographer as a cultural anthropologist but also as cultural vivisectionist and forensic curator. Her practice subtly contests the suppression of Black visual epistemologies – as much through absence as presence, withheld information as much cultural saturation bombing. Drawing the spectators eye to how people command space within the frame, how they proclaim ownership of selfhood before the camera is a recurring motif. Her work seems always about the desire to represent social intimacies that defy stereotype and pathology while subtly acknowledging the vitality of lives abandoned by the dominant social order.” – Greg Tate.

Deana Lawson’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, PS1, and Studio Museum in Harlem. Her photographs have been published in The New Yorker and Time Magazine, and Lawson was a feature
presenter for the 2013 National Geographic Magazine’s Photography Seminar in Washington, D.C. Recently Lawson
was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, expanding her locations of work to include Jamaica, Haiti, and West Africa. Deana Lawson is currently a Lecturer in Photography at Princeton University. Deana Lawson holds BFA and MFA in Photography from Pennsylvania State University at University Park and RISD respectively.

As a recipient of numerous residencies including a 2007 Visual Studies Workshop residency, a 2008 Light Work residency, and a 2009 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency, Lawson’s work has been featured in such exhibitions as New Photography 2011 at the Museum of Modern Art (2011), Prolonged Fragments at the Elizabeth Foundation (2011), Greater New York at PS1 (2010), the Studio Museum in Harlem (2005 & 2010), 50 Photographers Photograph the Future at Higher Pictures (2010), all in NYC; the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, Milk Contemporary in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Kit Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany; as well as in Converging Margins curated by Leah Oates at CPW (2008). Lawson is announced as a participant in The Whitney Musuem of American Art Biennial (2017).

Her work has been recognized and supported through many fellowships including the 2006 NYFA Artist Fellowship in Photography, a 2009 Aaron Siskind Fellowship, and the 2010 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship. Her images have been featured in such publications as Contact Sheet (issues 12 & 154) published by Light Work, Time Out New York, the Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2 published by the Humble Art Foundation, the 2010 Greater New York exhibition catalog published by PS1 as well as in issue #98 of CPW’s publication PQ.

Text: The Center for Photography at Woodstock http://www.cpw.org/artist/deana-lawson/ and Artslant, https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/29469-deana-lawson.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Talia Chetrit, I Wanted to Expose the Vulnerability in the Private Moments Between Takes

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Talia Chetrit, Heat, 2015, Parents/Trees, 2014 and Jeans, 2016

Talia Chetrit’s work focuses on the human body—often her own—as a starting point to examine how images are constructed to support different agendas and interpretations of reality. After beginning her practice with an exploration of the manipulative nature of photography, Chetrit is increasingly interested in the relationship the camera has with the subject matter it documents.

“I’m Selecting”, Talia Chetrit’s second exhibition at Sies and Hoke, comprises two discrete bodies of work. One consists of 13 images shot on the streets of New York and Paris. The other, made using a mirror, is a suite of four photographs which depict the artist in her studio, nude from the waist down. Tightly cropped and grainy, semi-anonymized images of businessmen crossing the street and groups of people buying museum tickets typify the impersonal. While, contrastingly, the artist stares back at her viewer in bottomless, startling self-portraits.

The seeming incongruity between these two series is bridged by the amount of control exercised over both. Chetrit’s focus has long been aimed at the ways in which images are constructed and the manner in which they function in society: their contrivances, their agendas, and their fictions. Often the body serves as a site for this exploration of photography’s tenets, and in I’m Selecting, Chetrit uses the bodies of others as well as her own. These images are a reminder of the degree of self-scrutiny we impose on ourselves when we know our pictures are being taken, and the feeling of panic inspired by being photographed without realizing it.

“After reviewing images I had taken of my parents 20 years ago as a teenager, I returned home again to photograph them. As I was shooting, I discovered a dynamic between them that was unknown to me. The presence of the camera and the resulting power shift created an artificial atmosphere that revealed an uneasy interaction between them and a window into their relationship. Curious to find a way to capture this dynamic I began, unbeknownst to them, to videotape our numerous photo sessions over the following year. I wanted to expose the vulnerability in the private moments I had witnessed between takes — moments that the photographs had failed to represent. Parents is a sequence of clips which attempts to capture this staged reality.” Talia Chetrit, 2015

Talia Chetrit was born in Washington, DC in 1982 and lives in New York. Her recent solo exhibitions include Model, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2014); Leslie Fritz, New York (2013); Bodies in Trouble, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf (2012); Ringer, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles (2011); Marking, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2011), Renwick, New York (2011). Recent group shows include, amongst others: MORNING AND EVENING ASYLUM, Tanya Leighton, Berlin & Off Vendome, Düsseldorf (2014); The Black Moon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); A Disagreeable Object, Sculpture Center, New York (2012); Figure and Form in Contemporary Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2012); Second Nature, deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA (2012); The Extension, Vilma Gold, London (2011); and The Reach of Realism, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2009).

Text: Patrick Armstrong, http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/2015/06/talia-chetrit-at-sies-hoke/ and The Aimia AGO Photography Prize https://www.aimiaagophotographyprize.com/artists/talia-chetrit.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Nasan Tur, Political Supporters, 2016

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Nasan Tur,  Political Supporters, 2016

Nasan Tur’s works reflect the political and social conditions of our time. In his works the artist thematises symbols of power and affiliation, which are omnipresent both in the cityscape and the media. He investigates the individual options ranging between acting in public space and doing nothing, between distance and affiliation. Nasan Tur succeeds in articulating his close observation of social phenomena and concrete social conditions both incisively and poetically in installations, photographs, objects and participatory projects. At the Garage and the Galerie of Kunst Haus Wien he presents photographs from his latest series as well a new video for the first time.

Works from Nasan Tur’s series “Political Supporters” (2016) are on view for the first time at the Galerie of Kunst Haus Wien. Ten selected photographs show close-ups of human faces. What all the persons portrayed in the photos have in common is their strong, almost exalted facial expression. The photographs show people who support political ideas or campaigning politicians to an almost extreme extent, people who strongly identify with the leading political figure or ideology.

For his portrait series Nasan Tur used found footage from newspapers and magazines. From pictures published with reports on the outcome of elections the artist extracts single faces and focusses on the individual – larger than life. He shows people who feel to belong to a (political) group, who define themselves through their membership to a specific group and distance themselves from others. In his portraits, however, Nasan Tur eliminates the environment, the context, which are of no importance here. The dynamism of the mass, the collective experience of emotion that is generated and activated in political contexts, presents itself at the same time as a both universal and specific phenomenon.

The focus on situations originally captured for press purposes that Nasan Tur chooses, allows to study facial expressions and the physiognomic state of the portrayed persons. They remind of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s “Character Heads”, although Nasan Tur does not offer any artistic interpretations in this “studies”. The pictures present photographically captured moments of a real event, extracts from narratives, fractals of a collective emotion. They show eyes and mouths wide open as well as closed eyelids and tears, furrowed brows, a face covered by hands. We use our cognitive empathy to understand what the person feels and try to grasp the emotional state, the political passion of someone we do not know via his or her exalted facial expression. The size of the portraits and the close-up view eliminate any distance. The unknown strangers are exposed to our inquisitorial view; we can study the emotions they show in public.

Nasan Tur stages ten such portraits at the Galerie of Kunst Haus Wien. The portrayed persons are given much room – they stand alone, they are isolated and are thrown back upon themselves. The black and white faces are framed in cyan, magenta and yellow (CMYK is the standard colour model for four-colour printing) – the artist uses this as a means of abstraction in order to reduce any geographic or temporal references. All emotions portraits are dramatically lighted, which lends them an aura and demonstrates in an almost pushy and unpleasant way the emotional dimension of politics.

Source: Kunstforum International
Text: Art Daily, http://artdaily.com.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Ivar Kvaal, Dvale


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Ivar Kvaal, Dvale, 2016

The series contained within Dvale (hibernation in Norwegian) was created during the lead-up to the opening of the Norwegian hospital Ahus in 2008. Ivar Kvaal has captured the building in a slumbering state, in the weeks and months before it was brought to life. The images in the book encompass a fragile and fleeting stillness, in sharp contrast to the hectic everyday life of hospitals.

In Dvale whitewashed, unornamented rooms are filled with building equipment, stacks of ceiling panels and loose cables. Medical machines stand untouched, still covered by plastic. The geometry of these temporarily misplaced parts serve to create breaks in otherwise linear compositions, inviting sculptural associations that tend towards abstraction. The absence of bodies is striking – Kvaal’s images emphasize the hospital as a technical construct: a mass of individual parts reliant on medical and scientific knowledge.

The book can be placed within the tradition of documentary photography, but avoids dramatic or narrative devices. The hospital is presented as a scenography under development, a backdrop for future events. Dvale can be conceived of as a contemplative space, where the beauty in functional and technical environments can become apparent.

Ivar Kvaal (b.1983) has garnered critical acclaim for his photography in Norway and elsewhere. Images from the Dvale series have been exhibited at numerous institutions and galleries, including The Aperture Foundation in New York, Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland and The Devos Art Museum in Michigan. The series is also featured in Thames and Hudson’s anthology reGeneration2

Source: Torpedo Bookshop
Text: Teknisk Industri, http://www.tekniskindustri.no/store/p33/Ivar.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Wolfgang Tillmans

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Wolfgang Tillmans, Young Man, Jeddah, A, 2012, Nite Queen, 2013 and Young Man, Jeddah, B, 2012

The German artist Wolfgang Tillmans is the recipient of the 2015 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. On December 1, 2015 an exhibition of Tillmans’ work opened at the Hasselblad Center, Sweden. On the same day, the Hasselblad Foundation hosted a symposium with the award winner, and a new book by Tillmans was released.

Wolfgang Tilmans was born in Remscheid, Germany in 1968, and is a worldrenowned artist who has redefined the popular understanding of photography as a gallery-based medium. He studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in Bournemouth, Great Britain from 1990 to 1992 and mostly lived and worked in London for much of the 1990s until the mid 2000s. He was officially recognized in the year 2000, when he won the prestigious Turner Prize in London, and it is a testament to the groundbreaking nature of his work that to this date he remains the only artist working primarily with photography to have been awarded this accolade. His work is in the collections of museums all over the world, including key institutions in The United States, The United Kingdom, France and Germany. He has exhibited widely and constantly since the late 1990s and has recently had large-scale exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Kunsthalle Zurich, K21, Dusseldorf, Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru, and Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago, Chile. In 2014 installations by Wolfgang Tillmans were shown as part of the 8th Berlin Biennale, Manifesta 10 and in collection displays at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. Recently Wolfgang Tillmans was also acclaimed for his highly original contribution to the Venice Architectural Biennale; a stunning two-channel video installation of his own photographic investigation of urban landscape in the age of globalization, which is presently displayed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Tillmans currently lives and works in Berlin and London.

Tillmans’ work is characterized by an extremely diverse and restless attitude to his subjects. His work ranges in focus and approach from street photography and urban portraiture (including important considerations of subcultures, queer politics and the AIDS crisis) to travel, landscape, still life, pictures of the sky and pure abstraction. Moreover, as well as producing iconic images, Tillmans is doubly significant in the breadth of his interests and approaches for the way in which he successfully demolishes the borders between apparently contradictory practices. In recent years, he has produced substantial and significant bodies of purely abstract photographic work, experimenting both with chemical and technical means, while maintaining a curiosity for the continued potential of more documentary images. For his most recent body of work Neue Welt (New World) Tillmans traveled throughout the world exploring it in a deviation from his beaten path.

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Artist, Sascha Weidner, Photographer, 1979 – 2015

Sascha Weidner, Diedgalerie_conrads_sascha_weidner_lay_down_close_by_installationsphotos_01_b Sascha-Weidner, photography

Sascha Weidner, Am Wasser Gebaut, 2009,  Lay Down Close By,  2012 and La lutte de J. Avec l´ange, 2006.

Sascha Weidner was a German Photographer and Artist, who lived and worked in Belm and Berlin. The work of Sascha Weidner deals with the creation of a radical subjective pictorial world. His photographs are characterized by perceptions, aspirations and the world of the subconscious. His work has been exhibited and published internationally. Sascha Weidner died suddenly at age 38.

“It’s not about putting pictures on the wall. I use the room to tell my story, to create a theme, a storyline, underlined by a romantic melancholy. It’s totally authentic, like I am. A lot of times, it’s also too much, like I am. Feeling too much and speaking too much.”

In his essay ‘What Is the Contemporary?’ the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argues that contemporaneity is defined not by being attuned to one’s times but, on the contrary, by being disconnected and out of touch. For Agamben, the contemporary is precisely that which contrasts with the present so sharply that the latter’s contours become visible. I was reminded of Agamben’s thesis when visiting Sascha Weidner’s exhibition, ‘The Presence of Absence’. The show presented a wide variety of media and topics, ranging from photographs taken in a forest in Japan to sculptures referencing a family in Germany. There were also light-boxes and collages, pictures of graffiti and cherry blossoms. What connected each of the works, however, as the exhibition’s title made clear, was a concern with developing procedures to envision the invisible and the attempt to find traces of the past in the present.

Central to the exhibition was a series of photographs Weidner shot while hiking in Aokigahara, a forest at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Rumoured to be so dense that no one who enters it ever leaves, it has long been the subject of Japanese mythology, inspiring folk tales, as well as appearing in modern literature, including a novel by Haruki Murakami. It is also a prime spot for suicides. Weidner followed the paths of people who entered before him, documenting traces of the journeys of those whose travels went unnoticed. Many of these photographs were sparsely and unevenly illuminated, reflecting the maze-like density of the forest, as well as alluding to the frail spirit of the wanderers. They included images of the ribbons people attach to branches every few metres in case they change their minds and want to retrace their path (Atropos II, 2013); bits of rope and plastic left to rot (Untitled, 2014); crushed red berries in the snow (Untitled, 2014); and the shadows of trees (Untitled, 2013). The idea was simple (sort of old-school Existentialism, in fact) and the execution expertly straightforward (some Romanticism here, some Pictorialism there). Yet, by showing both what Weidner’s predecessors on these paths might have seen and, at the same time, documenting what remains to be seen of them, the work was incredibly powerful – and, perhaps above all, complex – creating a mythological emotional territory of very real terror. Indeed, the closest parallel I could think of was Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary film about the Indonesian mass executions in the 1960s, The Act of Killing (2012).

The works in the show all articulated the presence of an absence by providing the contours of that absence, the ghosts of a past. In the moving looped video The Presence of Absence II (2014), a Chinese man dances a waltz on his own, his arms wrapped around an invisible woman (whose bag may still be visible in the margins of the screen). And the series of collages titled ‘Ecken’ (2014) features photo corners that no longer secure any photos, now functionless, they inevitably recall their prior use. They call to mind the notes that the elderly Immanuel Kant used to try to drive a particular person from his memory, writing: ‘The name Lampe must be completely forgotten’ – a method that was, of course, entirely self-defeating.

Weidner’s exhibition proved itself contemporary – in a time of simulacra and algorithms, of Post-internet art and Ulrich Beck’s ‘risk society’ – by sincerely reintroducing the ‘real’, retracing it as if it were still out there, an invisible thread to be revealed and unravelled. Of course, the artist understands that, after Jean Baudrillard and the post-structuralists, the ‘real’ is no longer an unproblematic register if, indeed, it ever was. But it can be experienced nevertheless, he seemed to suggest, as an affective performance. Weidner’s photographs and collages, his video of the dancing man: they all perform reality as mourning, an acting-out of the present by way of a script from the past, looking forward while feeling backwards. In this, they are a performance of contemporaneity itself – precisely in the way described by Agamben, connecting to the present by not being of it.

Written by Timotheus Vermeulen, published in Frieze, Issue 169, March 2015.

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Political Culture: Eugenio Grosso, The Long March

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Eugenio Grosso, The Long March, 2015.

Refugees walk. Their aim is to reach the destination as soon as possible and when there are no public transportation (or they are not allowed to use any) walking is the only choice. In an endless journey that takes months, or even years, moving is the main need and the only thing that matters. They never stop and when they are forced to, it brings distress and desperation.

Same as in the Bible these people are forced to leave their houses and wander in the desert until they will reach a place where to settle down and start a new life.
They travel the old way, a step after another, in the manner of the ancient human beings.

Their footprints on the ground are traces of a mass migration on invisible routes passing next to our cities and houses. Refugees are often ignored and always moving, they are like traces in the sand that are easily cancelled.

Sicilian born Eugenio Grosso moved to Milan at 18 to study BA Scenography at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, graduating in 2007 with honours. He has first worked as a part-time commercial photographer since 2007 and then as full-time photojournalist since 2009.

Grosso is a regular contributor to Italian publications such as Corriere della Sera, la Repubblica and la Stampa. His work has been featured on international publications like the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Financial Times, the BBC and the Washington Post. He lives and works in London.

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Photography: John Divola

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John Divola, Theodore Street, 2012, San Fernando Valley, 1973 and Zuma Beach (1978/2006), 1978

“Abandoned houses are one of the few places where you can go and paint anything you want and nobody is going to yell at you” says John Divola.

Los Angeles–based photographer John Divola is perhaps best known for this series of photographs documenting the gradual destruction of an abandoned and oft-vandalized beachfront property at Zuma Beach in Malibu. Without a studio of his own in the 1970s, the artist roamed Los Angeles in search of vacant properties that he could photograph. Using them as his canvas, he sometimes spray-painted his own designs onto their interiors, photographing them before the buildings were destroyed. Reflecting his painterly manipulation of the physical site, Divola’s Zuma photographs skillfully frame spectacular sunset views within these dilapidated structures, making his visually compelling, color-saturated photographs more than just pure documentation.

Divola has taken his camera into a variety of environments over the past four decades. However, it’s the vacant, dilapidated home that have been a constant throughout his career. He has found the structures in the San Fernando Valley and in the shadow of Los Angeles International Airport, along the coast at Zuma and deep into the Inland Empire. The modern ruins provided a studio when Divola couldn’t afford one. Divola could add to a scene that already existed, perhaps with a few strokes of a paintbrush, and then photograph it. They remain a part of his work, even now that he has his own space amidst the business parks and storage units of Riverside. Ultimately, these venues held an intrigue that went beyond practicality.

“It wasn’t a blank canvas,” says Divola. “It was something that already had a sense of place and presence and prior activity.”

It’s the activity that captures Divola’s eye. “If someone kicks a hole in the wall,” he says, “I’m really interested.”

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Photograpy: Lauren Greenfield

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Lauren Greenfield, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, 1997, Girl Culture, 2002 and Thin, 2006

Acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is considered a preeminent chronicler of youth culture, gender, fashion, media, wealth, beauty, and consumer culture as a result of her groundbreaking photographic projects (Girl Culture, Fast Forward, and THIN) and her documentary films (THIN, kids + money, Beauty CULTure, and The Queen of Versailles).

Her photographs have been widely published and exhibited, and are in many museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Harvard University Archive, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Clinton Library, and the French Ministry of Culture.

In 2012, she received one of the highest honors in documentary film, the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary film, “The Queen of Versailles”. In 2003, American PHOTO Magazine named her one of the “The 25 Most Important Photographers Now.” In 2005, she shared the number three spot of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” (American Photo Magazine). She is the recipient of numerous photography awards and grants, including the ICP Infinity Award for Young Photographer (1996), the Art Directors Club Gold Cube for Photography (2011), a National Geographic Grant, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant, the People’s Choice Award at the Moscow Biennial, and the NPPA Community Awareness Award.

In 2009, Greenfield was one of eight photographers featured in the inaugural exhibit (L8S ANG3L3S) at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. In 2010, Greenfield’s work was also featured in a major historical exhibition at the Getty Museum entitled Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties (2010). Her THIN and Girl Culture traveling exhibitions, curated by Trudy Wilner Stack, have been seen by half a million people in over thirty venues around the world.

Greenfield’s first feature-length documentary film, THIN, aired on HBO, and is accompanied by a photography book of the same name (Chronicle Books, 2006). In this unflinching and incisive study, Greenfield embarks on an emotional journey through the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, a residential facility dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders. The feature-length documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Direction in 2007. It won the Grierson Award for best documentary at the London Film Festival, and Grand Jury Prizes at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Newport International Film Festival, and the Jackson Hole Film Festival. The project was featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, and CNN and was excerpted in People Magazine. Greenfield’s followed-up documentary short film, entitled kids + money, was selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2008, won the Audience Award at the AFI Film Festival, the Hugo Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Television Awards, the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary, the Cinema Eye Honor for Nonfiction Filmmaking, and broadcast on HBO in 2008. The film is a conversation with young people from diverse Los Angeles communities about the role of money in their lives. Her third documentary short, Beauty CULTure, was commissioned by The Annenberg Space for Photography in 2011, and became the central installation for a record-setting exhibition in Los Angeles (also entitled Beauty CULTure). Shot in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, this film is a critical examination of “…beauty in popular culture, the narrowing definition of beauty in contemporary society, and the influence of media messages on the female body image”. The short was selected to premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Shorts Program in 2012.

In January 2012, Lauren Greenfield received the Sundance Film Festival’s Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary feature film, The Queen of Versailles, which was released theatrically in 2012 (Magnolia Pictures), and will broadcast on Bravo in 2013. The film went on to become on of the top-grossing documentary films in 2012, received numerous awards, nominations, and “Best of 2012” accolades, including the Grand Jury Prize from the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFFDOCS), a Best Director Award from the RiverRun Film Festival, a Special Jury Documentary Feature prize from the deadCenter Film Festival, and a prestigious nomination for Best Documentary Film, 2012 by the International Documentary Association (IDA). In 2013, Greenfield was one on only five directors nominated by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries for the year 2012. According to PBS/POV, The Queen of Versailles was ranked #2 of the Top 10 Documentaries of 2012, based on awards, nominations, peer recommendations, and other ranking criteria.

Greenfield graduated from Harvard in 1987 and started her career as an intern for the National Geographic Magazine. She lectures on her photography, youth culture, popular culture, and body image at museums and universities around the world.

http://www.laurengreenfield.com

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Photography: Chris Steele-Perkins

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STC1999014Z00046-05AAFGHANISTAN. Combattenti talebani che si muovono contro le forze di Masood. 1996.

AFGHANISTAN. 1994. Kabul. Trying out artificial limbs at ICRC clinic in Kabul.

Chris Steele-Perkins, Virtual reality display by Subaru, Japan, 1999, Street Children in Luanda, Angola, 1999, Taliban fighters move against Masood’s forces, Afghanistan, 1996 and Trying out artificial limbs at ICRC clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1994

Christopher Horace Steele-Perkins (born 28 July 1947) is a British photographer and member of Magnum Photos, best known for his depiction of Africa, Afghanistan, England, and Japan.

Steele-Perkins photographed wars and disasters in the third world, leaving Viva in 1979 to join Magnum Photos as a nominee (on encouragement by Josef Koudelka), and becoming an associate member in 1981 and a full member in 1983. He continued to work in Britain, taking photographs published as The Pleasure Principle, an examination (in colour) of life in Britain but also a reflection of himself. With Philip Marlow, he successfully pushed for the opening of a London office for Magnum; the proposal was approved in 1986. Steele-Perkins served as the President of Magnum from 1995 to 1998.

Steele-Perkins made four trips to Afghanistan in the 1990s, sometimes staying with the Taliban, the majority of whom “were just ordinary guys” who treated him courteously. Together with James Nachtwey and others, he was also fired on, prompting him to reconsider his priorities: in addition to the danger of the front line:

“you never get good pictures out of it. I’ve yet to see a decent front-line war picture. All the strong stuff is a bit further back, where the emotions are.”

A book of his black and white images, Afghanistan, was published first in French, and later in English and in Japanese. The review by Philip Hensher in the Spectator read in part:

“These astonishingly beautiful photographs are more moving than can be described; they hardly ever dwell on physical brutalities, but on the bleak rubble and desert of the country, punctuated by inexplicable moments of formal beauty, even pastoral bliss… the grandeur of the images comes from Steele-Perkins never neglecting the human, the individual face in the great crowd of history.”

Work in South Korea included a contribution to a Hayward Gallery touring exhibition of photographs of contemporary slavery, “Documenting Disposable People”, in which Steele-Perkins interviewed and made black-and-white photographs of Korean “comfort women”. “Their eyes were really important to me: I wanted them to look at you, and for you to look at them”, he wrote. “They’re not going to be around that much longer, and it was important to give this show a history.” The photographs were published within Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery.

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Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee

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Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee, 3 February 2015 – 12 April 2015
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

The content of the exhibition focuses predominantly on a body of work that Sassen made in Pikin Slee, Suriname in 2013. Pikin Slee is the second-largest village on the Upper Suriname River, deep within the Surinamese rainforest. The exhibition consists of black and white and colour works shot on an analogue camera.

In her first visit to Pikin Slee in the summer of 2012, Sassen was intrigued by the village and its inhabitants. Her eye was caught by the overwhelming natural beauty and the Saramacca’s very traditional way of living, combined with the more mundane objects which seemed to seep through daily life. The Saramacca community are isolated from the outside world, living without running water, electricity, roads or the internet. The only way to access the village is by canoe, a journey of about three hours up-river. They grow their food on small agricultural plots, producing cassava bread, pressed maripa palm oil and dried coconut.

Shot mainly in black and white and of contained format, Sassen’s series of abstract compositions and elusive subjects are an exploration of the beauty of the everyday, an investigation of the sculptural qualities of the ordinary.

“My memories of Africa have always played a major role in my life and in my work. I guess that’s because they filled my very first consciousness. It’s in my spine, my blue-print so to speak… When I returned back from Kenya, all I knew was my life there, so Holland seemed very strange and new to me… Now that I’ve travelled so much in Africa over the past 12 years, my ideas about the continent and about myself in relation to it, have changed of course. But it’s a continuous journey, both in the inside world and the outside world. My work is a reflection of that journey.”

Sassen was born in 1972 in Amsterdam, where she now lives. She first studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Ateliers Arnhem. Her work was first published in avant-garde fashion magazines and is regularly commissioned by prominent designers. Sassen was included in the main exhibition of the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, in 2013. A retrospective of 17 years of her fashion work, In and Out of Fashion, opened at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, in 2012, accompanied by a book published by Prestel (Munich); the exhibition travelled to the Rencontres d’Arles festival and then the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. The book won the Kees Scherer prize for best Dutch photography book of 2011/2.

She was awarded the Dutch art prize, the Prix de Rome, in 2007, and in 2011 won the International Center of Photography in New York’s Infinity Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography. She was one of six artists selected for the 2011 New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Solo exhibitions have taken place at FORMA in Milan (2009) and FOAM in Amsterdam (2008), among other venues.

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Capricious Magazine

Capricious magazineCapricious magazine

Capricious magazine

Images from Capricious Magazine, Vol 2, Issue no. 11, Issue no. 13 and Issue no. 14

Swedish photographer Sophie Mörner founded Capricious Magazine in 2004. It is a biannual publication dedicated to showcasing emerging fine art photography. Its contributors and subject matter span the globe and is comprised almost entirely of images. Since Capricious collaborates with guest editors and chooses a new theme for each edition, the material is never lackluster. And while constant change is a primary Capricious trait, there are also definite common visual threads running throughout its history. Capricious has an affinity for things like animals, androgyny, opposition, reclaimed life, lust, natural as well as urban life, intimacy, revolution and nostalgia. Hanna Liden, Ryan McGinley, Esther Teichmann, Nick Haymes, Olaf Breuning, Melanie Bonajo and Skye Parrott are just a few of the dozens of photographers whose early work has been promoted by presence in Capricious. As a leading fine art photography journal, Capricious Magazine occupies a rare and whimsical space between commercial and fashion photography; it operates as both a tool for discovering new talent and as an artists’ oasis.

Capricious Magazine was the first-born and led to several other art and culture-related publications. Capricious Publishing has since produced GLU (Girls Like Us), LTTR V, Famous and Screen Capricious (a DVD compilation of short films). Capricious Books is the group’s latest endeavor. The first was “The Known World,” a photographic collaboration by Anne Hall and Sophie Mörner, released in November 2008, and the second is a monograph, also of photographic work, by Dutch artist Melanie Bonajo, “I Have a Room With Everything.” In 2009, Emmeline de Mooij created “Muddy” and in 2010, with AK Burns, Capricious published the first issue of RANDY magazine (a brand new lesbian culture zine). This year Capricious will work together with K8 Hardy to publish her first artist monograph.

Capricious Presents: is a roving curatorial project. Founded in June 2008 as an offshoot of fine art photography publication Capricious Magazine, our exhibitions serve as a physical venues for work of the same “capricious” aesthetic. Our mission is to provide sanctuary away from the city’s clamor and strife. Capricious works with emerging artists and to transform spaces according to their own visions and dreams, thus bringing the Capricious generation together.

https://becapricious.com/volumes

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Photography: Marcelo Krasilcic, 1990s, 2013

Marcelo Krasilcic, 1990s, 2013

Marcelo Krasilcic, 1990s, 2013

Marcelo Krasilcic, Devra and Elaine, New York, 1996 and Untitled, From the book, 1990s, 2013

Part of a generation of photographers that includes Juergen Teller and Terry Richardson, Marcel Krasilcic (born 1969) moved to New York in 1990. He quickly became known for his spare but erotic photographs of liberated youth, artists, designers and musicians, such as Maurizio Cattelan, Chloë Sevigny and Everything but the Girl–photographs that captured the spirit of the 1990s in situ. Krasilcic went on to forge an international career as a fashion photographer, portraitist and director of art, music and fashion videos.

His work has appeared in several fashion publications such as Dazed & Confused, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Elle and Vogue Hommes International. He created campaigns for Nike, Moêt & Chandon and Bergdorf Goodman among many others; and photographed actors and musicians such as Willem Dafoe, Joaquin Phoenix, M.I.A., Caetano Veloso and Drake.

Krasilcic is exhibiting his work at the Colette in Paris, where he will also be presenting his new book, an over sized, cloth bound two-volume publication which chronicles the photographer’s iconic and intimate aesthetic that continues to inform today’s lifestyle and fashion photography.

http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/gallery/15652/0/marcelo-krasilcic

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Photography: Ahmed Kamel

Ahmed Kamel, From the Series, Dreamy Day, 2004 – 2008

Ahmed Kamel is interested in domestic and urban life. He uses photography, video and drawing to address social issues. He was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1981, where he studied painting and received his BFA in 2003.

Kamel is the recipient of a number of residencies including “Mediamatic” Amsterdam, Netherlands, “Prohelvetia”, Bern, Switzerland, “Land NRW”, Dusseldorf, Germany and “Amongst Neighbours”, Istanbul, Turkey. He has participated in various solo and group exhibitions in the middle east and Europe.
His work is mainly concerned with how society constructs and idealizes its identity through means of visual representation that can act as markers of peopleʼs social and cultural background.

http://www.ahmed-kamel.com/selectedWork01.html

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Anders Petersen Photography

Anders Petersen

Peter Jensen Photography

Anders Petersen, Paris, 2006 and To Belong, 2012

Anders Petersen Photography, 1944, is a Swedish photographer, who lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Petersen is noted for his intimate and personal documentary-style black-and-white photographs. In 1967, he started to photograph the late-night regulars (prostitutes, transvestites, drunks, lovers, drug addicts) in a bar in Hamburg, named Café Lehmitz, and continued that project for three years. His photobook of the same name was published eight years later  in 1978. Café Lehmitz has since become regarded as a seminal book in the history of European photography.

“The people at the Café Lehmitz had a presence and a sincerity that I myself lacked. It was okay to be desperate, to be tender, to sit all alone or share the company of others. There was a great warmth and tolerance in this destitute setting.”

Petersen has photographed for extensive periods of time in prisons, mental asylums, and homes for old people. He has published more than 20 books, mostly in Sweden, and has had solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe and Asia.

“City Diary”, Volume 1-3, 2011, Steidl

https://steidl.de/Books/City-Diary-0911123337.html

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Photography: Mårten Lange

Mårten Lange

Mårten Langemårten lange photography

Mårten Lange, From the Book, Another Language, 2012

“A physical delineation of nature terminates at the point where the sphere of intellect begins, and a new world of mind is opened to our view. It marks the limit, but does not pass it.”
Alexander von Humboldt (1845)

The aesthetics of science, nature and the materiality of things are recurring themes in Mårten Lange’s work and in Another Language, his first major publication, Lange delves even deeper with this fascination for the natural world.

Combining images of flora, fauna and natural phenomena in an intimate and beautifully crafted book, Lange teases out a subtle narrative – a meteor crashes, a landmass is visible and a distant planet occupies the final page – but the book is more akin to the workings of a scientist collecting specimens. Together the photographs create a cryptic and heterogeneous index of nature, with recurring shapes, patterns and texture, where the clarity and simplicity of the individual photographs contrasts with the enigmatic whole.

Shot in his signature black and white style, his subjects are isolated from their environments, taking on sculptural qualities. Ranging from the sublime (lightning, mountains, a star) to the commonplace (ducks, rocks, a fish), these phenomena all attain equal importance through the democracy of Lange’s photographic treatment.

Mårten Lange was born in 1984 in Mölndal, Sweden. He studied photography at University of Gothenburg in Sweden and the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, United Kingdom. He has previously self-published four books, including Machina (2007) and Anomalies (2009).

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Fashion Photography: Alexei Hay

George Condo by Alexei Hay, 2012

Alexei Hay spent his early years in Miami, Tehran and New York. After graduating from Brown University for literature, he moved back in with his mother and assisted a range of photographers.

Drawing upon the catholic range of lighting techniques that he encountered as an apprentice, Alexei began to develop his own approach to portrait photography. Known for playing light and fast with different genres and applications of the camera, Hay cast his net far and wide over the commercial arena.

He feels that photography is one way of living up to his rabbi’s maxim- “keep your eyes on your teachers.” He lives with his wife Batsheva and daughter Ruth Freydel on the Upper West Side.

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Samuel Aranda, Yemen 15 October 2011

Samuel Aranda, Yemen 15 October 2011

The international jury of the 55th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected a picture by Samuel Aranda from Spain as the World Press Photo of the Year 2011. The picture shows a woman holding her wounded son in her arms, inside a mosque used as a field hospital by demonstrators against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, during clashes in Sanaa, Yemen on 15 October 2011. Samuel Aranda was working in Yemen on assignment for The New York Times

Comments on the winning photo by the jury;
Koyo Kouoh: ‘It is a photo that speaks for the entire region. It stands for Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, for all that happened in the Arab Spring. But it shows a private, intimate side of what went on. And it shows the role that women played, not only as care-givers, but as active people in the movement.’

Nina Berman: ‘In the Western media, we seldom see veiled women in this way, at such an intimate moment. It is as if all of the events of the Arab Spring resulted in this single moment, in moments like this.’

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Exhibition: Juergen Teller

jurgen teller

Juergen Teller, Lehmann Maupin, New York
10 February -17 March 2012 201 Chrystie Street

This exhibition highlighted three recent series, demonstrating Teller’s dynamic and diverse oeuvre. Featuring the controversial photographs of Kristen McMenamy, shot in the home of Carlo Mollino and seductive portraits of Vivienne Westwood, juxtaposed with intimate portraits of his family and close friends, this exhibition displays an amalgam of subjects and personalities. Drawing inspiration from the eccentric architect, Teller recalls Mollino’s fascination with the erotic, capturing McMenamy in provocative poses. Although the series garnered controversy for its alleged “pornographic” nature, it demonstrates Teller’s skilled storytelling and fearless approach to his medium. Composed of recent photographs taken in and around his home in Suffolk, photographs from the series, “Keys to the House,” includes deserted landscape shots and intimate portraits of Teller’s family and closest friends. The third series, “Men and Women,” includes portraits of Vivienne Westwood and photographer William Eggleston, as well as Teller’s son, Ed. As a whole, the series has been read as a representation of masculinity at two stages, coming of age and loss of virility, contrasted with a strong feminine power.

Born in Erlangen, Germany in 1964, Juergen Teller studied at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Photographie in Munich, Germany before moving to London in 1986. His work in influential international publications such as W Magazine, I-D and Purple nurtured his own photographic sensibility, which is marked by his refusal to separate the commercial fashion pictures and his most autobiographical un-commissioned work.

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