Tag Archives: photographer

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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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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Photograpy: Lauren Greenfield

Fast Forward

Renfrew 12-05  Renfrew 12-05 Fast Forward

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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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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