September 2007 Archives
Strictly No Photography is a photo-sharing site for photographs taken where you are not allowed to take them. From the inside of the Kremlin to Kensington palace, from art galleries to war zones. Here you can see everything you've ever wanted to see that you're not supposed to. There are pictures that range from the ordinary to the profound. Whatever the content or the quality though we think that each one stands as a little piece of art in itself, as a little expression of personal liberty.
Just what history will make of Ms. Taro's newly robust story is too early to tell, said Naomi Rosenblum, an art historian and the author of "A History of Women Photographers."
"She died so young and her career was so short, her significance wasn't so much in photography -- though it was significant -- but can be attributed to the fact that a woman did go and involve herself in battlefield photographs," Ms. Rosenblum said. "Taro and Capa represent a sort of romantic vision of the stateless person involving themselves in terrible battles: the social battles, the political battles of the time."
The second is Peter about Yossi Milo's exhibition of Kohei Yoshiyuki's infrared photos of the night denizens of a Japanese park from the 1970s where couples would meet to have clandestine hook-ups and lonely men would gather to secretly watch them. Interestingly, the review opens with what only now strikes me as an obvious reading of the work, that is our own voyeurism in looking at people looking at people having sex in the park. Not sure why that hadn't jumped out at me before. I suppose I was too busy pointing my finger at the Japanese and writing this off as typical pervish behavior from a culture that's notoriously repressed. I should have been looking at the log in my own eye. Then there is the issue of surveillance, which we face more and more each day.
The raw graininess in Mr. Yoshiyuki's pictures is similar to the look of surveillance images, but there is an immediacy suggesting something more personal: that here is a person making choices, not a stationary camera recording what passes before it.
Interestingly, when the photos was first displayed in Japan in the 80s, they were blown up to lifesize, the gallery lights were turned off and attendees were given flashlights to find the work.
Have had no DSL for a few days and going through a huge backlog of posts to read. Alec posted something the other day that really struck me. This quote is from Gerhard Steidl. He publishes photography books:
After printing for several years, I looked at what I’d done and was never really satisfied with myself. I thought I wasn’t talented enough and didn’t want to end up as a third rate artist in some Hicksville town and only ever look up to others better than me. I thought it would be much more exciting to work with and for those great artists…
I'm feeling this way lately. I don't take enough time to make good work and when I do shoot something that's personal, I usually end up just being incredibly angry with my output. (Though after a few days in the hard drive, things start looking better as my preconceived notion of what it should have looked like starts fading out.) But it frequently brings up Steidl's decision to just give it up.
"Here Is New York" was a communal photographic reaction to the September 11th attacks. The photographs that make up the project are being shown once again at the New York Historical Society. Edward Rothstein's review in the NY Times compares this collection of professional and amateur photos with our underlying inability to create a suitable memorial recognizing that day's events.
In describing 9/11 the word tragedy has been used again and again. But tragedy implies a drama in which flawed beings are slowly drawn into their awful fate, the consequence of their all-too-human failings. Many apparently still see 9/11 in that light.
But an attack is something else, as later events and accumulated evidence have shown. And a reluctance to see it this way, along with the continuing problems of how Islamist terror is to be countered, is one reason why six years later we are left with many memories but no real commemoration.
Here Is New York: Remembering 9/11
Through Dec 31 at the New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West, at 77th St
The 20X200 project has been live for a couple of weeks, apparently in soft launch. Whatever reservations I have about the value of 20X200 to the participating artists and photographers, from an purely materialistic impulse, it's hard to pass up a 16"x20" Tema Stauffer print for $200.
It'll be interesting to track the sales of various editions (each item shows the count remaining in the edition at the time of purchase.)
It is difficult to explain why Sugimoto's work is different than most photographers. I think the difference is that he leaves more space for the viewer. One of the things that I struck me when I was walking through the show at the De Young was that when I look at Sugimoto's wide range of work, he is somehow always reaching for the eternal in an inherently temporal medium.
Not sure if I've posted about Square America before, but a link on del.icio.us brought this vernacular photography site to my attention again. The images that triggered this post relate to a trove of photographs the site's owner bought that cataloged the life of a woman over the course of many years. Many are straight up portraits, some even from photobooths, but the first undated photo in the list is a particularly good street shot. And there's evidence that the typical early 21st century activity of shooting self-portraits in the bathroom mirror was trail blazed in the 1950s.
On a related note, last week Joerg kicked off some interesting commentary on his site about why this old-timey stuff gets so much attention while Flickr is looked down upon as a source of naive masterpieces. Alec Soth's posts (here and here and here) on the same subject are more exhaustive and I think that meme is probably gasping its last for a while.