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