JM Colberg - Conversations about Photobooks: Erik Kessels

If you happen to come across a photobook showing you images of chicken filets and images from furniture ads, it’s like you’re looking at one of Erik Kessels’ products. Apart from owning and operating an ad agency (make sure to reload that site several times) and various other activities, Erik runs KesselsKramer Publishing, which is responsible for gems such as the In Almost Every Picture or Useful Photography series. To find out more about the ideas behind the work, I sat down with Erik on a sunny late-November morning in Amsterdam to ask some questions.

DLK - Top Photography Shows of 2010

Top Photography Shows of 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, the time has come to single out those gallery and museum shows of photography that were the best of the year. In many ways, such a choosing and list making has a delicate element of photographic re-evaluation - what looked good then is perhaps less amazing now and vice versa. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we can now see the past year's photography shows not as discrete individual units rated on their own merits in a certain place and time, but as passing moments placed on a larger scale of relative worth, part of the entire continuum of art history. Which of these shows (or artists) will matter in ten or fifty years, and which others will have faded into obscurity before we ring in the New Year? After a total of 153 in-depth photography reviews this year (and countless others visited and tactfully omitted), I certainly have some opinions on these questions.

LUC DELAHAYE: "Michael Fried on Luc Delahaye" (2006)

Biljana Yrhovac wounded by a shell, Bosnia, 1992

By Michael Fried, Artforum, March 1, 2006

The photograph, framed without margins and behind Plexiglas, is just under four and a half feet high by nearly nine and a half feet wide. Its title is A Lunch at the Belvedere, and it depicts an actual event that took place at the Hotel Belvedere in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum of 2004. The lunch was hosted by Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan, whose guest of honor was the famous American financier-philanthropist George Soros.

Imagens da República :: Workshops e Conferências :: Inscrição Gratuita

Interview with Todd Hido || Ahorn Magazine

Interview with: Todd Hido
© Todd Hido, 1951, 1997 from "Houses at Night"
1. Shooting a specific image often means to complete a complex process after a deep investigation. The photographer is supposed to find the subject following too many signs. Those signs are often inside us, many of them come from our past. How is it possible to recognize those signs? Is it possible to explain how every feeling, every memory, can be put together in one single image?
A firstly let me start out by saying that I completely agree that the signs you are looking for, many of them do come from your past. But no, I don't think that's possible to put it all together in one single image. If it were then this would not be a lifelong pursuit?
A body of work does not even do it sometimes.
I have noticed that within my own practice that often adding a genre, or another way of taking pictures, often adds an extra layer that complicates things more deeply. I believe that all those signs from your past and all those feelings and memories certainly come together, often subconsciously, and form some kind of a fragmented narrative. Often you're telling your own story but you may not even know it.
One of my most valuable bits of feedback for me came from an art therapist that I did an independent study with when I was in graduate school. He taught me that I was on the right track with my subject matter and gave me the confidence to pursue it. What a gift that was in retrospect. He looked at the beginning of my houses at night, the beginning of my foreclosed home pictures, and the beginning of my portraits—all back in 1995 when I had just two or three of each, and he told me that I was right in the midst of telling the story of my life and that my photographs clearly represented that.

Lobbing Potatoes: Dan Graham and Rodney Graham (Art in America online)

Lobbing Potatoes: Dan Graham and Rodney Graham

On the occasion of Rodney Graham's exhibition of new work at 303 Gallery, Dan Graham locates the artist's interests in Nineteenth Century panorama painting, stylized mid-century West Coast modernism, and—most surprisingly—the colors of Van Gogh.

DAN GRAHAM: I found your art interesting as a collector and as a teacher for many years. I find that it's growing as you get older. That's not true of many artists, whose work usually falls into a trademark and gets worse. You base your work on the nineteenth century. I love Thomas Eakins enormously. And Jeff Wall doesn't realize that the first panoramas were done by Frederic Church, who's a real hero of mine. But you're also concerned with the real Wild West, right?
RODNEY GRAHAM: Well, there's a piece in the show, Dance!!!!! (2008, pictured left courtesy 303 Gallery), dealing with that trope. It goes back to one of the oldest tropes in Western cinema, even back to the Great Train Robbery, the scene of someone being forced to dance at gunpoint.

DAN: But that's kind of slapstick, Vaudeville, right?

RODNEY: That's true. I'm interested in using those moments of cinema as reference points.

DAN: You were just a stiff, but now you've become a dancer. Does that relate to Tracey Emin's first video, Why I Never Became a Dancer (1995), which I remember you referencing in the past? In that work there were cartoons, and you were able to push the screen, and she'd dance.

RODNEY: Maybe, that's true. I just shot another dance piece called Dancing Hermit, in which a hermit is dancing in the backyard behind his hut for two young people who come to visit him, as if he's a wizard or something. He's doing a sun dance, very ecstatic. But rock 'n roll did help me loosen up, get in touch with my inner songwriter, and it opened up possibilities for me to, as you say, loosen up.

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler

At the Limits of Photography Cinematic Elements in the Work of Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler
PHILIPP KAISER Curator Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler's working methods are hardly different to those of a film director and not just since they have been making short films with professional actors. In their photographic mise-en-scenes and even before that in their early sculptural and performative works, this particular mode of production has been leitmotif and red thread in one. Their work operates within a cinematic context that has had a fundamental effect on art production as a whole over the last ten years. The reasons for the present appeal of cinema are many and diverse. In general terms it may be said that certain aspects of the entertainment industry are deployed by artists not least as a response to the ever greater importance of the mass media. Comercial cinema is perceived as the place where illusions and glossy images are produced, since its films by definition tell fictitious narratives. Contemporary art production makes use of these same affirmative strategies and courts the viewer's favor with its own aesthetic of seduction. For a large numbers of artists the cinema is an inexhaustible reservoir whose existing images can be manipulated, restructured and deconstructed. Hubbard / Birchler, on the other hand, have appropriated a 'cinematic grammar', that is to say they have adopted specific film techniques with which they arrive at independent pictorial solutions that go beyond precise, identifiable quotation.

Thomas Struth

João Tabarra

O degelo de João Tabarra

21.05.2010 - José Marmeleira

O Outro
O regresso de uma das figuras mais necessárias da arte contemporânea portuguesa às questões essenciais da condição humana.
Quase 20 anos depois do seu aparecimento, a obra de João Tabarra (Lisboa, 1966) continua uma das mais necessárias da arte contemporânea portuguesa. Não apenas pelas perguntas que coloca, mas pela ficções, as histórias que representa. Estivemos todos nelas como homens comuns, e voltamos a lá estar em "Les Limites du Désert", a exposição individual que amanhã inaugura em Lisboa, na Galeria Graça Brandão, numa co-produção com a BLACKMARIA.
Convém, no entanto, abrir um parêntesis curto, e porventura várias vezes repetido, para lembrar o caminho de João Tabarra. Autodidacta, passou pelo fotojornalismo e cruzou uma parte dos anos 90 ao lado de uma série de artistas que propunham uma crítica do real e dos media. Depois, já neste século, seguiu um percurso solitário e afirmado em diversas exposições individuais e colectivas, em Portugal e no estrangeiro, e na participação em 2002 na XXV Bienal de São Paulo, com o comissariado de Miguel von Hafe Pérez. Hoje, a fotografia e vídeo continuam a ser os instrumentos que tem à mão e com que trabalha, e o contexto político não abandonou as imagens em movimento que compõem a sua obra. Permanecem no que agora apresenta na Graça Brandão: uma projecção única de 13 filmes, três fotografias e mais um filme.


Bahrein II, 2007
Exhibition view
© Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Firenze; Valentina Muscedra
FOTOGRAFIA (Andreas Gursky)
“A minha preferência por estruturas bem definidas resulta do meu desejo – talvez ilusório – de não perder o rasto às coisas e de manter algum controle sobre o mundo”
Andreas Gursky

Na segunda metade do século XIX, o “Pictorialismo”(2) tornou-se o primeiro movimento ligado à prática da fotografia a manifestar o desejo de alcançar a dignidade e o estatuto de uma artisticidade refinada ou “sallonard”, a que nessa época, de conflito entre a moral e a ciência, só a pintura e a escultura pareciam poder aceder. Determinado pelo elaborado domínio académico e todo-poderoso das chamadas Belas-Artes, essa matriz de espiritualidade culta tornou-se uma espécie de obsessiva tarefa para a nova epistemologia da imagem que ainda hoje designamos por Fotografia. Mas, como manifestação redutora e artificial, o “Pictorialismo” revelar-se-ia uma falsa partida, permanecendo associada a fotografia, pelo menos até meados do século XX, e apesar da reivindicação crescente sobre a sua especificidade artística, a uma certa ideia de menoridade, apressadamente justificada pelo espartilho da pequena escala ou de uma produção na sua esmagadora maioria realizada na exploração cromática do preto e branco, ou dos seus matizes cinzentos, para além de parecer estar muito mais dependente do exercício mecânico, o seu “pecado original”, do que de uma manualidade expressiva e artesanal, limitando assim a manifestação dessa subjectividade essencial, fundadora do mito romântico do artista criador. 

Legendas Andreas Gursky

Cada link do youtube tem as legendas em inglês nos comentários.

Andreas Gursky 1/4

Andreas Gursky 2/4

Andreas Gursky 3/4

Andreas Gursky 4/4

Edward Burtynsky - TED TALK

The Reality of the World and the Realism of Fiction

The Reality of the World and the Realism of Fiction

The question of the very widespread and disturbing phenomenon of manipulation is as evident as it is mysterious. If it is true, as Luhmann says, that the suspicion of manipulation is the “mortal sin” of the media, it is also true that this is the subject that connects the media with reality and investigates the relations between representation and the world, their effectiveness and their consequences. It is, however, also one of the most ambiguous questions in all of the thinking about the media, one that calls into question the very idea of reality its practical effects. This is because talking about manipulation makes sense only on the assumption that there is something to manipulate, a somehow independent reality that the media report in more or less faithful or more or less distorted terms. But does this reality exist and how far is it independent of the way in which the media talk about or represent it? Is non-manipulated representation possible when the medium inevitably affects the reality it represents? When can we talk of distortion and when instead can the observer be regarded as still providing a faithful “presentation” of things? 

Manipulatin Reality

Manipulating Reality 
The Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina 
Realtà Manipolate / Manipulating Reality 

The central theme of the project Realtà Manipolate / Manipulating Reality is critical analysis of the concept of reality in relation to its possibilities of representation. Above all as a result of the “digital revolution” and the upheaval it has caused in lifestyles and perception of the world over the last 20 years, images have become such an all-encompassing means of universal communication as to provide the basis for a new type of society. The mass media, sciences and everyday life make use of a form of non-verbal communication that is now indispensable.
Recent developments in digital technology have given rise in particular to a different relationship between image and beholder at the level both of use and of production. Those who were once the targets have today become the creators of a certain type of visual communication. Never before in fact have such huge quantities of photographic images been produced and put in circulation on a daily basis. Webcams, cell-phone cameras and digital cameras have become omnipresent accessories in everyday life, requiring no great degree of technical expertise and hence readily available for use by vast numbers of people to document moments of private or public life. A key element of dissemination is the Internet, where photographs and videos are uploaded and downloaded, often circulating under no control and at the mercy of whoever might wish to appropriate them for purposes of manipulation or insertion into different contexts. This content is frequently posted on digital platforms such as blogs, social networks and personal websites, which have now become just as important as the traditional channels of information and mass media, especially for the young. We are living in an “image society” where communication no longer takes place primarily through the written word but through images that can be produced and circulated by anyone anywhere anytime.   

Moira Ricci

Moira Ricci (Italia, 1977)

The photographic series 20.12.53 – 10.08.04, which appears to have been born out of the artist’s desire to revisit her personal history, perfectly embodies the views put forward by Roland Barthes in his celebrated Camera Lucida: photography endows the past with a certainty so solid as to be equivalent to the present, thus blurring the boundary between reality (what was) and truth.

Beate Gütschow

Beate Gütschow (Germany, 1970)

Beate Gütschow’s S series (for Stadt, city) consists of black and white photographs of urban landscapes and buildings, places that sometimes show traces of destruction or appear partially unfinished. The alarming, absolute immobility of the scenes, in which no trace of life is visible, arouses a sense of foreboding in the viewer. It is a suspended, rarefied and almost apocalyptic atmosphere that reigns in these images, one that we know from photographs taken in war zones.

Sonja Braas

“We actually only encounter exotic landscapes at the zoo or at botanical gardens,” says Sonja Braas, who has been interested in plants since her youth. In the course of time her curiosity heightened; she wanted to get to know the distant countries where the plants that she was preoccupied with grew. At the age of 19 she started to travel, first to Costa Rica and Guatemala. And she took with her a clear notion of what virgin nature should look like. When she had reached her destination, it was only to find out that the real jungle looked quite different. Her second trip took Sonja Braas to Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador; where she had to modify her expectations. For against the backdrop of the real landscape the images she had in her head started to pale. Sonja Braas then traveled to Australia, where she found the topic she was to make her own: the photographically conveyed insight that there is no nature independent of subjective perception.
In her series “You are here” she places authentic landscapes alongside constructed natural scenarios that she photographed in zoological gardens and museums of natural history. The images emphasize the romantic utopia of nature as, to all intents and purposes, “the Other”, which fills us humans, impaired by civilization, with astonishment and yearning. In her series “Forces”, Sonja Braas continues her investigation of conditioned images of nature. Here, too, she uses real and constructed landscapes, yet – unlike the sweet images of nature in “You are here” – now it is heroic, threatening and fear-inspiring elements that predominate.
The question what exactly conditions human perception is one Sonja Braas does not answer in her landscape photographs. Yet she makes us realize that we already bear a glut of images in our minds before we cast our eyes on the real world. A first, innocent glance and completely new experiences belong to childhood – impressions like these are no longer possible later on.

Eggleston & Shore

Paul Graham

Paul Graham from Karsten Wiesel on Vimeo.
Paul Graham’s work belongs to the tradition of social documentary photography. He developed an innovate artistic work whose view is directed uncompromisingly at social reality. For he speaks about one single serie called PITTSBURGH which is exibited in a big show of Grahams work:

The House of Photography, Hamburg, Germany
24 SEPTEMBER 2010 – 9 JANUARY 2011

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Speak, Memory - Can digital storage remember for you?

Speak, Memory
Can digital storage remember for you?
Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age
Viktor Mayer-Schonberger Princeton University Press, $24.95 (cloth) Evgeny Morozov
In 2006 Stacy Snyder, a 25-year-old student at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, was denied a teaching degree just days before graduation. University officials had discovered a photo of her, captioned “Drunken Pirate,” on MySpace. The photo showed Snyder wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup, and the university accused her of promoting underage drinking. As Viktor Mayer-Schönberger tells the story in his new book Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Snyder lost control over the photo when it was indexed by Google and other search engines: “the Internet remembered what Stacy wanted to have forgotten.”
Snyder’s story, and others like it, motivate Delete’s plea for “digital forgetting” (though it turned out that the university had other reasons to deny Snyder her certificate, including poor performance). According to Mayer-Schönberger, we have committed too much information to “external memory,” thus abandoning control over our personal records to “unknown others.” Thanks to this reckless abandonment, these others gain new ways to dictate our behavior. Moreover, as we store more of what we say for posterity, we are likely to become more conservative, to censor ourselves and err on the side of saying nothing.
For people like Snyder, Mayer-Schönberger proposes a creative remedy: enable users to set auto-expiry dates on information. Thus, Snyder’s “drunken pirate” photo could disappear from the Internet in time for her to receive the teaching certificate. Even if a third-party discovered the photo, Snyder could adjust its expiration date and destroy all digital copies— including those cached by search engines—with a few clicks. Were she to appear in someone else’s photo, Snyder would be able to negotiate the proper expiration date for this photo with the photographer.

Michael Fried on Jeff Wall

Being there: Michael Fried on two pictures by Jeff Wall
Michael Fried
THINKING ABOUT Jeff Wall's most recent exhibition in New York, a show of light-box pictures at Marian Goodman Gallery last spring, has led me to reflect on the more philosophical or, say, ontological turn his work has taken during the past four or five years. The central image in the show was Fieldwork. Excavation of the floor of a dwelling in a former Sto:Io nation village, Greenwood Island, Hope, University of California at Los Angeles, working with Riley Lewis of the Sto:Io band, 2003. For all the information the title provides, it doesn't quite say everything. The picture offers us a largely downward view into and across a clearing in a forest where two men are at work. One of the men is seated cross-legged on the ground (actually, he sits on a wooden "mat") before a squarish hole, perhaps a foot and a half deep, which even without the title is recognizable as the product of meticulous excavation. A second man, Lewis, stands about fifteen feet away, looking on as Graesch concentrates on his task (taking soil samples, apparently). 

Thomas Ruff - On Jpegs

Alex Prager - Despair

Câmara Clara - Outra pequena história da fotografia, Geoffrey Batchen

Câmara Clara
Outra pequena história da fotografia

Geoffrey Batchen

Aqueles de nós interessados em oferecer um quadro histórico apropriado para a fotografia enfrentam uma verdadeira montanha de problemas metodológicos. As peculiaridades da fotografia – a sua replicação fiel daquilo que vê, a sua articulação simultânea com passado, presente e fututo, a sua capacidade de infinita reprodução e alteração de forma, o número infinito dos seus produtos – representam um desafio historiográfico aparentemente insolúvel. Implodindo realidade e representação, tempo e espaço, a fotografia foi descrita por alguém como Roland Barthes como “uma revolução antropológica na história do Homem”, um “tipo de consciência verdadeiramente sem precedentes”.1 E, no entanto, a variedade da fotografia e a sua reticente ubiquidade fizeram dela uma entidade histórica difícil de descrever, desafiando as tradicionais estruturas interpretativas ou narrativas.

Pixels, by Patrick Jean

Carregado por onemoreprod. - videos de Arte e de animação

Paul Graham - The unreasonable apple

The Unreasonable Apple

Presentation at first MoMA Photography Forum, February 2010

This month I read a review in a leading US Art Magazine of a Jeff Wall survey book, praising how he had distinguished himself from previous art photography by:
 “Carefully constructing his pictures as provocative often open ended vignettes, instead of just snapping his surroundings
Anyone who cares about photography‘s  unique and astonishing qualities as a medium should be insulted by such remarks, especially here, now, in 2010, in this country, in this city, which has embraced photography like no other.
Now this is maybe just an unthinking review, but what it does illustrate is how there remains a sizeable part of the art world that simply does not get photography. They get artists who use photography to illustrate their ideas, installations, performances and concepts, who deploy the medium as one of a range of artistic strategies to complete their work.  But photography for and of itself -photographs taken from the world as it is– are misunderstood as a collection of random observations and lucky moments, or muddled up with photojournalism, or tarred with a semi-derogatory ‘documentary’ tag.  

Jeff Wall - Cinema studies

Cinema Studies
By Arthur C. Danto

This article appeared in the June 4, 2007 edition of The Nation.
May 17, 2007

While there is little question that photography is the central medium in Jeff Wall's arresting works, one would hardly consider him a photographer. For one thing, he makes use of certain strategies that derive from cinema, so that he describes his typical works explicitly as cinematographic, rather than documentary, photographs. For another, though the characters, as we may call the men and women he photographs, clearly belong to the same world his viewers do, their formal relationships to one another seem based on conventions of painting, especially nineteenth-century French painting. It is as if twenty-first-century men and women, wearing jeans and T-shirts and living in twenty-first-century rooms, are enacting, in tableaux vivants, scenes as they might have been composed by Degas or Manet. Wall, whose traveling retrospective was recently on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is an art historian as well as an artist, who has been a painter, a photographer and a filmmaker. He is also steeped in contemporary theory, though it is not necessary either to know his history or to interpret his works in light of the theories that underpin them. Still, one cannot penetrate very deeply into an exhibition of his work without realizing that some more complex aesthetics are involved than apply to the separate media he brings together in constructing his images. In this respect, his art is very much of the present moment, not only in subject but in mode of representation.

Alec Soth & Martin Parr in conversation

I don't like photography

Modern fine art is a democratic milieu, offering a space and a semi-mystical aura
to  any  loosely-defined  perception  presented  by  anyone  anywhere  who  is
interested  in  that place and  that aura. And what medium  to better occupy  that
space  than photography,  the most democratic and ubiquitous visual medium  in
the world, perhaps ever?  Indeed, photographic prints, matted and  framed, are
quickly becoming a dominant sector of the art market, in both volume and gross
sales, while  on  the  Internet,  every  photographer  has  a  direct  and  immediate
international platform to display his or her creations. And yet why is it that such
an egalitarian medium, and such an open discourse and market for fine art, have
come  together  in such a way  that  fine art photography  is so  frequently dull and
distasteful, so paralyzed by moribund subjects and forms?