Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The fiery stimulator

He was the most inventive and engaging of all the Bauhaus artists, galvanising the movement to ever-greater heights. What a shame Britain never embraced László Moholy-Nagy when he fled the Nazis in the 1930s.

by Fiona MacCarthy @ The Guardian

László Moholy-Nagy, one of the leading figures in the Bauhaus, arrived to work in England in 1935, two years after that experimental school of art and design was closed down by the Nazis. His English was not fluent. Taken to a party in London by John Betjeman, he said smilingly to his hostess: "Thank you for your hostilities."

The remark was not entirely inappropriate: Moholy-Nagy's reception in this country was not an open-armed one. Even so-called modernists found him baffling, the boiler-suited technocrat with the magnificent grin. His sheer versatility was suspect in a country where they liked you to be one thing or another. Painter, sculptor, photographer, film-maker, industrial designer, typographer: what was Moholy-Nagy not? The Bauhaus itself, which placed great emphasis on programmes and production, seemed alien to a nation still steeped in the gentler traditions of the arts and crafts. London Transport's design impresario Frank Pick expressed a widely held artistic xenophobia in dismissing Moholy-Nagy as "a gentleman with a modernistic tendency who produces pastiches of photographs of a surrealistic type, and I am not at all clear why we should fall for this. It is international, or at least continental. Let us leave the continent to pursue their own tricks."

When he arrived in London, however, László Moholy-Nagy was at the height of his extraordinary powers.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Hiroshi Sugimoto

I have always had an affinity for that place where the sky/water touches land in a photograph. Like a minimalist color field painting there is an electric energy, a resonance, a tension as the space vibrates between infinity and the surface of the print. I spent all of graduate school exploring this point of contact, I painted large areas of vibrant color butted against each other and I photographed the volumous Nebraska sky as it touched the land. The Hirshhorn opened a major exhibit of the work of Hiroshi Sugimoto and his seascapes are as tranquilizing as a Rothko painting.

Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hirshhorn

Christopher Saah : Thesis Exhibition

I had the pleasure of having Chris as an undergraduate student and have really enjoyed seeing him grow and develop as an artist. Chris will be recieving his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art next month.

Congratulations Chris!

April 7 - April 16, 2006
Meyerhoff Gallery (Fox Building)
1300 Mount Royal Ave.
Baltimore, Maryland

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John Ficara's "Black Farmers in America"

by J.B. Colson @ The Digital Journalist

Those of us concerned with the welfare of meaningful photography take some heart whenever a worthy project gets exhibited and published. John Francis Ficara's elegant take on black farmers in America documents a vanishing way of life and points to failures of social justice that sadly contribute to its passing. The book and exhibitions from his project are a significant contribution to the photographic ethnography of what has been one of our country's most important institutions, the independent family farm.

Ficara's photography echoes the well-known FSA documentation of 1930s America. His book's jacket cover and some of its photographs could be from 70 years ago. More importantly, he treats his subjects with the same straightforward dignity that FSA photographers like Russell Lee used in their approach to those who, as Lee would say, "are having hard times." Mutual respect, photographer for subject and subject for photographer, not only aids their interaction, it provides us, the viewers, with more direct and telling insights.


Monday, March 20, 2006


By PHILIP GEFTER @ New York Times

In 1999 Philip-Lorca diCorcia set up his camera on a tripod in Times Square, attached strobe lights to scaffolding across the street and, in the time-honored tradition of street photography, took a random series of pictures of strangers passing under his lights. The project continued for two years, culminating in an exhibition of photographs called "Heads" at Pace/MacGill Gallery in Chelsea. "Mr. diCorcia's pictures remind us, among other things, that we are each our own little universe of secrets, and vulnerable," Michael Kimmelman wrote, reviewing the show in The New York Times. "Good art makes you see the world differently, at least for a while, and after seeing Mr. diCorcia's new 'Heads,' for the next few hours you won't pass another person on the street in the same absent way." But not everyone was impressed.

When Erno Nussenzweig, an Orthodox Jew and retired diamond merchant from Union City, N.J., saw his picture last year in the exhibition catalog, he called his lawyer. And then he sued Mr. diCorcia and Pace for exhibiting and publishing the portrait without permission and profiting from it financially. The suit sought an injunction to halt sales and publication of the photograph, as well as $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Deutsche Börse photography prize 2006

Photo by Robert Adams

The Deutsche Börse photography prize, which aims to showcase new talent and highlight the best in international photography practice, has announced its shortlist for 2006.
Now in its 10th year, the prize has grown to be one of the world's most prestigious awards for the art form. Past winners include Juergen Teller (2003), Rineke Dijkstra (1999) and Andreas Gursky (1998).

Works by the shortlisted artists can be seen at the Photographers' Gallery in London between February 17 and April 23. Read Adrian Searle's review of the prize exhibition. The winner will be announced on May 11.

View the short list @ The Guardian

Monday, March 13, 2006

High Dynamic Range Images

The acronym HDR stands for High Dynamic Range (32 bit editing)

photograph by Micheal Riechmann
In Adobe's implementation within Photoshop CS2 this is accomplished by using a series of photographs which one takes in the same manner as with previous blending techniques, and then using floating point 32 bit (per channel) math, merging these files automatically into one huge high dynamic range image. Reading Michael Riechmann"s tutorial"Merge to HDR in Photoshop CS2" intrigued me, so I began investigating further. Industrial Light and Magic developed the OpenEXR format in response to the demand for higher color fidelity in the visual effects industry. Roger Clark has done some thorough investigation comparing the dynamic range of digital, transparency, and print films and Norman Koren has also done some exhaustive testing with RAW format conversion and tonality.It's all very intriguing, if only we had printers that were capable of better than 8 bit printing!

Addendum: Photomatrix is an independent software for merging multiple exposures in the same way (or better?) than Photoshop CS2 for high dynamic range images.

Also it has been pointed out to me that the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF5000 can print 16 bit, however the Product Specifications is a little loosely phrased "The Plug-in facilitates the printing of 16-bit images by processing the data outside the conventional driver and sending the data directly from Photoshop to the printer, dramatically increasing gradations and as a result, overall image quality". Does this mean it prints 16 bit or downsizes to 8 bit before going to the printer?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

National Geographic "Your Shot"

National Geographic magazine is inviting people to submit digital photos for the newly launched "Your Shot" contest. The contest will run monthly with editors choosing one of the first 5,000 digital photographs received. This will be the first time that National Geographic has published consumer photos in National Geographic magazine.
Visit the website for "Your Shot"
Here are contest rules, guidelines and submission forms
June's theme is, "Where I Live." New themes will be announced monthly in National Geographic magazine and on our website.

Alex Nicholson
National Geographic Society

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Digital View Camera

By Michael Reichmann @ Luminous Landscape

In Search of Ultimate Image Quality

This is a description of what some might regard as a fool's task – to put together the highest quality digital image capture system that today's technology provides. The process required making decisions about several major components, including the camera platform, digital back, and the lenses to be used.

Though by no means inexpensive – the total system put together here costs about the same as a high-end new car – pros at least can lease as well as write off or depreciate their investment. Whether this particular photographic system would be one that suits anyone's needs other than mine is not for me to say. Each of us has to decide for ourselves what our particular needs and uses may be.

READ ON @ Luminous Landscape

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blinding sarcasm

John Heartfield found the pencil "too slow" to ridicule Hitler, so he made his point with photo montages, as illustrated in a Getty show.

By Leah Ollman, Special to The Los Angeles Times

POOR, poor propaganda. Such a misunderstood practice. So derided, so suspect. By definition, the term is a benign relative of the verb "to propagate" (reproduce, disseminate), applied to information or doctrine. The danger comes when it's used for destructive purposes, and used well. What propaganda has incited people to do (or not do) in the name of religious or political ideology has caused the deaths of millions.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Altered States

By Richard B. Woodward @ ARTnews

As the end of black-and-white printing signals a transformation in the practice of photography, the medium itself is more popular than ever
The year 2005 may be remembered as a watershed in the history of photography, a crucial date when one generation of artists lifted off into blue sky while another was brought down to earth, left once again to ponder its slave-master relationship to technology.

photograph by Alec Soth "Falls #26, 2005"


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Epson's New Film Flatbed Scanners

Epson introduced two versions of a new state-of-the-art scanner, the V700 Photo and the V750 Pro. They each resolve up to 6,400 DPI, optical! These are dedicated film scanners with unique fluid mount capabilities for photo studio applications. Optimize each scan with the exclusive Dual Lens™ System from Epson™

Cost? $800

Epson Site

The Hasselblad 503CWD

"Our founder, Victor Hasselblad, was a man of many talents. He was a passionate and dedicated photographer. He was an entrepreneur and businessman. He was an inventor and innovator, and a man who saw the uses of new technology far before most around him. Naturally, Victor didn’t have access to today’s digital technology – no more than Mozart had electric guitars or Leonardo da Vinci had electricity and combustion engines. And just as naturally, we can’t help but ask ourselves what type of camera Victor would have created if he had been around today."

Hasselblad Site
Product Spec Sheet (PDF)

The Genius of Color

Victor Moscoso,Gabriel Orozco and Robert Mangold for Tate, Etc.

I studied with Josef Albers at Yale. No one would ever call him Joe; it was always Mr Albers. He was a nice guy, but you couldn't share a beer with him. He could be very dogmatic and get angry. What was clear was that he was the master and you were the student. I remember one day a student in the class asked him: "Mr Albers, I am confused. Last week you said X, this week you said Y, and they seem to contradict each other," to which Albers immediately replied: "Young lady, in that case you have a choice."


PMA 2006

Lots of videos and information on the show at the Imaging Resource

Imaging Resource