Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wild West tour

I am off to tour the west over the holidays, so posting will be in stasis for the next two weeks.

Denver - Garden of the Gods- Buena Vista - Taos - Santa Fe - Flagstaff- Grand Canyon -Monument Valley -Canyon de Chelle-Mesa Verde - Durango - Hotchkiss - Denver

Have a great holiday!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Big Gift for the Met: The Arbus Archives

by By CAROL VOGEL @ New York Times

Two years ago gallerygoers had a chance to discover the personal side of Diane Arbus in a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to the portraits that made her famous — powerfully unsettling photographs of dwarfs, transvestites and everyday people — the Met filled librarylike rooms with her photographic equipment, pages from her diaries, books from her home and studio and family pictures.

Now the photographer’s estate has presented this intimate chronicle of Arbus’s life — her complete archives — to the Met as a gift, along with hundreds of early and unique photographs; negatives and contract prints of 7,500 rolls of film; and hundreds of glassine print sleeves that she personally annotated before her death by suicide in 1971.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Image of the week

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

IPI Awarded Three Grants Totaling Over $1.25 Million for Two Major Image Preservation Research Projects


The DP3 Project: the Digital Print Preservation Portal consists of two lines of research that will examine the preservation of digital prints. One has been funded by a $606,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will make possible an in-depth investigation of the stability of digitally printed materials when they are exposed to light, airborne pollutants, heat, and humidity. The other, supported by a grant of $314,215 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will be a study of the potentially harmful effects of enclosures and physical handling on digital prints, as well as their vulnerability to damage due to flood.

Image Permanence Institute

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Qualifying Photography as Art, or, Is Photography All It Can Be?

By CHRISTOPHER BEDFORD @ Words Without Pictures

With medium specificity a passé historical concern confined chiefly to the pages of art history, it may seem prosaic and anachronistic to question the position and relative validity of a single medium—photography—within the world of contemporary art. In addition, the same question may seem patently irrelevant to those who might justifiably point out that many of the most eminent, critically lauded, and well-collected artists of the twentieth century—Thomas Demand, Jeff Wall, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Cindy Sherman, and Andreas Gursky, to name a few—all use the camera as their primary instrument. Furthermore, the status of photography as art is rarely drawn into question, and the market currency of the medium is beyond dispute. But does it necessarily follow that the fundamental ontology of photography as a practice has been fully interrogated, understood, and integrated into the discourse of contemporary art, assuming its rightful place alongside traditional media like painting, sculpture, and drawing, as well as new media such as installation and video? In other words, does photography exist as photography in art history and criticism today? And if not, why not? Is photography—and by derivation photography criticism—all it can be?


Friday, December 07, 2007

If the Copy Is an Artwork, Then What’s the Original?

By RANDY KENNEDY @ New York Times

Since the late 1970s, when Richard Prince became known as a pioneer of appropriation art — photographing other photographs, usually from magazine ads, then enlarging and exhibiting them in galleries — the question has always hovered just outside the frames: What do the photographers who took the original pictures think of these pictures of their pictures, apotheosized into art but without their names anywhere in sight?

Recently a successful commercial photographer from Chicago named Jim Krantz was in New York and paid a quick visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where Mr. Prince is having a well-regarded 30-year retrospective that continues through Jan. 9. But even before Mr. Krantz entered the museum’s spiral, he was stopped short by an image on a poster outside advertising the show, a rough-hewn close-up of a cowboy’s hat and outstretched arm.


Image of the week

Hollywood, Maryland

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is Photography Dead?

By Peter Plagens | NEWSWEEK

How is that even remotely possible? The medium certainly looks alive, well and, if anything, overpopulated. There are hordes of photographers out there, working with back-to-basics pinhole cameras and pixeled images measured in gigabytes, with street photography taken by cell phones and massive photo "shoots" whose crews, complexity and expense resemble those of movie sets. Step into almost any serious art gallery in Chelsea, Santa Monica or Mayfair and you're likely to be greeted with breathtaking large-format color photographs, such as Andreas Gefeller's overhead views of parking lots digitally montaged from thousands of individual shots or Didier Massard's completely "fabricated photographs" of phantasmagoric landscapes. And the establishment's seal of approval for photography has been renewed in two current museum exhibitions. In "Depth of Field"— the first installation in the new contemporary-photography galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, on display through March 23—the fare includes Thomas Struth's hyperdetailed chromogenic print of the interior of San Zaccaria in Venice and Adam Fuss's exposure of a piece of photo paper floating in water to a simultaneous splash and strobe.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Adobe video tutorials

Adobe has cobbled together a massive library of video tutorials in an elegant web interface. There is no charge to view the videos.

Visit the website

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This Year’s Models: Searching for Fresh Approaches in Photography

Scott McFarland’s “Orchard View With the Effects of Seasons (Variation #1)


Bright letters announce “New Photography 2007” on a wall outside the Museum of Modern Art’s photography galleries. Just inside is a room of vintage-looking black-and-white photographs. Contemporary photographers are showing a strong interest in early photography, so your first thought is that the curator has unearthed someone recycling the ideas and methods of Eadweard Muybridge, Alfred Stieglitz or Clarence White.

But no. These are pictures by Muybridge, Stieglitz and White. Keep walking; the annual showcase of emerging photographers is in the next room. After that accidental spark of excitement, though, the show itself is something of a letdown.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Naked Light

"The emperor has new clothes. Introducing Naked light. Non-destructive image editing. Node-based compositing. Live filters. High-end tools. And infinite resolution. It's image editing, re-invented."

Hmmmm... looks interesting. A public beta is available for download here, but beware it comes with a pretty hefty warning.

"Had I known people would've been this interested, I would've delayed the beta another week or so—this is still probably much closer to an alpha."

Visit website

Monday, November 12, 2007

Larry Lessig: How creativity is being strangled by the law


Larry Lessig gets TEDsters to their feet, whooping and whistling, following this elegant presentation of "three stories and an argument." The Net's most adored lawyer brings together John Philip Sousa, celestial copyrights, and the "ASCAP cartel" to build a case for creative freedom. He pins down the key shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws, and reveals how bad laws beget bad code. Then, in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you've ever seen.

Comment @ TED

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Levi Hill and the Hillotype

Christian Patterson posts about the certification of the color Dageurreotype.

"Reverand Levi Hill’s claim in 1851 to have produced naturally colored daguerreotypes, or Hillotypes, has been proved true, according to research by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation."


Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Swipe File

Pirate of the Guggenheim! How Richard Prince stole his way into the art world's heart.

by R.C. Baker @ The Village Voice

If you once sent Easyriders magazine a snapshot of your old lady astride your hog (a pre-Internet way to pimp both your rides), don't be surprised to see her on the Guggenheim's curvaceous walls. Richard Prince's rotunda-filling retrospective includes paintings, sculptures, off-kilter gag panels, and his early-'90s series of workaday beauties rephotographed from the motorcycle mag's back issues, the coarse-grained enlargements heightening the down-market spectacle of breasts popping out of leather vests.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Steichen Reconsidered in All His Exposures

By ALAN RIDING @ The New York Times

PARIS, Oct. 16 — When artists constantly reinvent themselves, they may be admired for their virtuosity, but they also risk being tagged as dilettantes. Surely, the argument goes, great artists should aspire to depth, not breadth. If they believe fervently in something one moment, how can they turn away from it the next?

It is a question that continues to haunt Edward Steichen’s reputation long after his death at 93 in 1973. He was recognized in his lifetime as one of the great photographers of the 20th century, yet with his penchant for changing directions and playing multiple roles, he bequeathed too many Steichens for easy classification.

Did he excel in all his photographic ventures — in “pure” art, fashion and advertising, portraiture, nature, combat, even as a powerful director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York — or did he become a brand name, famous for being famous?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Views of Tumult Between Two Wars

By ROBERTA SMITH @ New York Times

For some of us in the art world, the history of photography began expanding suddenly and rapidly in the late ’70s. The big bang was a 1978 book of photographs from the collection of Sam Wagstaff. It was an elegant object: a pale pink, stylishly square cover distinguished by a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph of tulips.

I remember feeling dumbfounded by the 150-odd images inside, most from before World War I. They were beautiful and riveting in their direct access to other times and places. But while familiar to photo-savvy people, names like Henry Fox Talbot, Francis Frith, Gustave Le Gray, August Sander and Édouard-Denis Baldus were at best extremely vague for most of us.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Out of the shoe box

The photographer's shots, rescued from storage, are on display at Rose Gallery in Santa Monica.

By Hugh Hart, Special to The LA Times

ON the wall of his studio darkroom in Mexico City, Manuel Alvarez Bravo posted a scrap of paper on which he'd scrawled "Hay Tiempo." "There is time."

In 2002, time ran out for Alvarez Bravo, who died at age 100. But by then, with photographs recasting everyday Mexican City street life as lyrical dreamscapes, he had created a celebrated body of work rooted in Mexico's post-revolution artistic renaissance that flourished in the 1930s.

At 95, Alvarez Bravo, slowed by ill health, revisited a lifetime's worth of themes, sifting through shoe boxes crammed with neglected proof sheets and negatives that had accumulated in his studio over the last 60 years, work he'd shunted aside in his perpetual push to produce something new.


Friday, October 19, 2007

White Stripes Cameras

The White Stripes and Lomography have released special edition Diana and Holga cameras. If you want one hurry, there were only 3000 made. They are going for $180.00.

The website

Monday, October 15, 2007

Master of the Medium

By Maria Morris Hambourg @ ArtForum

It is rare for a curator to reign with virtual sovereignty over an entire medium, but during his nearly three decades as director of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (from 1962 until his retirement in 1991), John Szarkowski did. His outpouring of exhibitions and catalogues at the pulpit of modern art and photography placed him on a singular pedestal in a recurrent spotlight, but it was less these conditions than his penetrating mind, eloquence, and perspective that made his opinion matter so much. In a field dominated by journalism and almost devoid of serious critical thought, Szarkowski was a flare of intellect, a lone poet among jobbing professionals. One would be hard-pressed to name another instance in which one man’s vision of an unrecognized art simultaneously created and educated its audience.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gallery Vandals Destroy Photos

By CAROL VOGEL @ New York Times

A grainy video of four masked vandals running through an art gallery in Sweden, smashing sexually explicit photographs with crowbars and axes to the strain of thundering death-metal music, was posted on YouTube Friday night.

This was no joke or acting stunt. It was what actually happened on a quiet Friday afternoon in Lund, a small university town in southern Sweden where “The History of Sex,” an exhibition of photographs by the New York artist Andres Serrano, had opened two weeks earlier.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Colour Field Polaroids

I ran across the work of Grant Hamilton and really like the work. In grad school (way back when) I pusued "colour field" painting as well as I could.

Grant's website

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chris Jordan @ Bill Moyers Journal

"For many years, all I was interested in about photography was aesthetic beauty. And so, I would go out looking for that. And actually what I would do is go out driving around the Port of Seattle or I'd go down to Tacoma and drive around the port there. What I was interested in at the time was just color, places where color appears inadvertently or places where there's this color that appears in a very complex and beautiful way, but nobody intended it."

"And one day, I found a pile of garbage that was really beautiful, I thought, and so I photographed it. And I made a big print and hung it on my wall. And people would come over and look at it and they would start talking about consumerism. And they'd walk up and say, "Oh, look, there's an Altoid's can." Or there's a, whatever particularly consumer product that they recognized in the photograph. And then they would start talking about garbage and waste and they would tell me, "Chris, this is a different kind of image that you haven't made before." And they would sort of urge me to follow the thread. And I told them "I'm not interested in all that. Like, don't talk to me about modern art. And don't tell me to come up to date. Just check out my cool cosmic color theory." - CJ

Bill Moyers Journal

Friday, September 28, 2007

Modern Photography in a Brand-New Space

By Karen Rosenberg @ New York Times

Since its 2003 survey of Thomas Struth, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been getting serious about photography. In 2005 it presented a Diane Arbus retrospective and, in a stunning move, acquired more than 8,500 works by absorbing the Gilman Paper Company Collection. Last spring it offered a glimpse of video and new-media works from its holdings. (Who knew the Met even had video, let alone a David Hammons?) Now the museum has designated a gallery exclusively for the exhibition of photographs made after 1960.


Uta Barth (American, born Federal Republic of Germany, 1958)
Untitled (98.2) (detail), 1998
Chromogenic print

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Model Photographer

Successful successor: Larry Fink's Hungarian Debutante Ball, 1978

by R.C. Baker@ Village Voice

Photographer Lisette Model once told her students at the New School, "Photography is the easiest art, which perhaps makes it the hardest." How true—painting and drawing demand specialized training, but everyone takes snapshots, so the Vienna-born Model (1901–1983) instilled in her pupils a search for beauty beyond the surfeit of information that even banal photographs deliver.


Aperture Foundation

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Wartime Photographer in Her Own Light

By FELICIA R. LEE @ New York Times

Sometime in the spring of 1936, the lovers and photographers André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle changed their names and, in the process, the history of photography. To distinguish themselves from other Jewish émigrés in Paris at the time, Mr. Friedmann, a Hungarian Jew, took the name Robert Capa; Ms. Pohorylle, also Jewish and born in Poland, became Gerda Taro. Working at times as “Capa,” an imaginary American photographer, they began documenting the Spanish Civil War, capturing the ruined towns and devastated civilians and soldiers on the Republican side.

Mr. Capa went on to become one of the world’s greatest war photographers. But Ms. Taro, seen by many as the first woman known to photograph a battle from the front lines and to die covering a war, survived in the public eye mostly for her romance with Mr. Capa.


International Center for Photography

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Candid Camera

The cult of Leica.

by Anthony Lane @ The New Yorker

Fifty miles north o Frankfurt lies th small German town o Solms. Turn off the mai thoroughfare and yo find yourself drivin down tranquil suburba streets, with detache houses set back from th road, and, on a war morning in late August not a soul in sight Nobody does bourgeoi solidity like th Germans: you ca imagine coming here fo coffee and cakes wit your aunt, but that woul be the limit o excitement. By the tim you reach Oskar-Barnack-Strasse, th town has almost petere out; just before the railway line, however, there is clutch of industrial buildings, with a red dot on the sig outside. As far as fanfare is concerned, that’s about it But here is the place to go, if you want to find the mos beautiful mechanical objects in the world.


Monday, September 17, 2007

A Conversation with Mitch Epstein

The photographer talks about his latest epic series, "American Power," and how he struggles to keep the act of picture-making fresh and meaningful.

By Jörg Colberg @ Pop

hroughout the last three decades Mitch Epstein has made his mark on the photography world with his wry depictions of everyday life tinged with transcendent beauty and irony. His large-scale color photographs tackle a variety of subjects, ranging from a personal look at his family's business and its relationship to the town he grew up in (Family Business) to American habits of energy consumption (American Power). In order to get a better understanding of Epstein and his work, American Photo contributor and blogger Jörg Colberg conducted the following Q&A with the artist.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Adobe Photoshop & the Art of Photography

An Interview with John Paul Capinegro
by Steve Weinrebe

SW: Please talk a bit about your journey into digital photography, especially since you were well aware of the art of traditional photography growing up.

JPC: I grew up in an artistic family. My father is a well known photographer and my mother is a painter, turned graphic designer, and she often oversaw the production of artist’s monographs. The first time I saw digital imaging was in the mid 1970’s when she was overseeing production of Eliot Porter’s Intimate Landscapes book. The printing press had a Scitex machine that she called ‘the million dollar coloring book’. The minute I saw what it could do I asked the question: ‘What would happen if artists got a hold of these, rather than a corporation trying to produce a clever ad?’


Friday, September 07, 2007

Photo Husbandry

by Leslie Camhi @ Village Voice

JoAnn Verburg Voyages Through the Realm of the Domestic

The decay of private life is nothing new, though its accelerating decline has come to seem all but inevitable. It's tempting to blame this state of affairs on technology, on all those devices—iPods, BlackBerries, etc.—that interfere with our ability to focus on the present moment and the person standing before us. But surely the responsibility lies also with a society of unfettered materialism, inclining us to view people through the utilitarian filter of their functions, so that each new encounter becomes another point to be connected on a career trajectory.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sony's A700

"The camera’s new 12.2-megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor conducts analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion and dual noise reduction right on the sensor itself. Noise reduction is applied to analog signals before A/D conversion and the resulting digital signals are then subject to a second round of noise reduction.

According to Lubell, “These digital signals are virtually immune to external noise and interference.”

Clean, noise-free digital signals are then sent to the newly developed BIONZ™ processing engine. Lubell said this engine has been optimized to process data-rich picture information at high speeds, and to reduce picture noise in the RAW data stage before final image compression and encoding. The results are high-resolution, detailed images with rich tonal reproduction."



Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Bizarre Story of Joe O'Donnell

by Marianne Fulton @ The Digital Journalist

It all started with an Aug. 14 New York Times obituary by Douglas Martin for photographer Joe O'Donnell. Martin praised his exceptional work and took special notice of a picture made during President Kennedy's funeral cortege: "And the O'Donnell photograph of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin became the most reproduced version of that memorable scene." Martin goes on to note that, because he was on the government payroll, Mr. O'Donnell got no personal credit for those photos, although he signed and sold copies of them after his retirement from the White House in 1968.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Imaging heavy hitters join Adobe

From John Nack's blog:

A number of rock stars from the world of image science have recently joined Adobe:

That crazy-cool image resizing demo I mentioned last week continues to get all kinds of attention. I was therefore happy to learn that co-creator Shai Avidan joined the Adobe office in Newton, MA (just down the 'pike from MIT) last Monday.

Wojciech Matusik began work at Adobe in May. He's done some really cool work in the emerging fields of multi-aperture photography, 3D TV, and much more. Like Shai, he works from the Newton office.

Sylvain Paris is due to join Adobe in a couple of weeks. He's worked on techniques for matching tones across photos ("Make my image pop like Ansel's"), generating 3D data from 2D captures, and more. His paper on bilateral filtering was written with MIT colleagues Jiawen Chen (who interned this summer at Adobe) and Fredo Durand.


Monday, August 27, 2007

The Treacherous Medium

Why photography critics hate photographs

by Susie Linfield @ Boston Review

In 1846, Charles Baudelaire wrote a little essay called “What is the Good of Criticism?” This is a question that virtually every critic asks herself at some point, and that some have answered with hopelessness, despair, even self-loathing. Baudelaire didn’t think that criticism would save the world, but he didn’t think it was a worthless pursuit, either. For Baudelaire, criticism was the synthesis of thought and feeling: in criticism, Baudelaire wrote, “passion . . . raises reason to new heights.” A few years later, he would explain that through criticism he sought “to transform my pleasure into knowledge”—a pithy, excellent description of critical practice. Baudelaire’s American contemporary Margaret Fuller held a similar view; as she put it, the critic teaches us “to love wisely what we before loved well.”


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

World's Largest Photograph to be exhibited

from The Legacy Photo Project

On September 6, 2007, The Great Picture will be unveiled at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. This is not an exhibition of a series of photographs—only one will be displayed. The title sounds like a grand claim until the particulars are considered: The Great Picture has been declared the world's largest photograph by The Guinness Book of World Records. Measuring three stories high by eleven stories wide, this gelatin silver print cost $65,000 to produce.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thoughts on Large Format Photography

@ WGBH Forum Network

Julian Cox addresses the prevailing taste for large scale images, and considers the choices that photographers make when determining the size of their prints.

Julian Cox is the Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta). Some of his ideas and thoughts I agree with, some I do not, but he presents an good overview of the history of photography and the print. Worth a view

View or listen here
RealPlayer required.

Monday, August 20, 2007

EPSON's Next Generation

by Joseph Holmes

One has to wonder if there will soon be an end to printer development, as the quality of the machines is getting to be so good that further improvements would seem to be impossible. Nevertheless, the printer companies continue to give us more of what we want, at a rapid rate, coming ever closer to perfection with respect to ink and the application thereof to paper.

In a departure from the routine, news about the latest generation of professional, wide format printers from Seiko Epson Corporation is emerging over a period of many weeks, rather than all at once. The worldwide announcement date was apparently July 17th, but Epson America will follow with their own announcement on August 31st. In any case, the news is good.


Friday, August 17, 2007

No Exit

by R.C. Baker @ Village Voice

A high sun paints a receding chevron of blacktop with light; the title of this 1938 silver print, The Road West, by Dorothea Lange, adds resonance to the flat, desolate horizon in the distance. One destination in this collection of photos traversing America is William Eggleston's Store Parking Lot—shot through a car's windshield, a pair of shoppers seems targeted by fluorescent lights that plunge in perspective, the diagonals echoed by reflections in the shiny hood and painted stripes on the macadam. Robert Frank uncovered '50s existentialism in his images of a Brylcreemed cafeteria patron somberly surveying his half-eaten meal, and a cityscape in which massive tail fins poke over the wall of an elevated parking garage—these angular flanks of Detroit steel are mirrored by vertical concrete supports that glow like a Precisionist cathedral. Reversing Eggleston's view, Lee Friedlander got in front of a pickup truck to photograph a man gripping the steering wheel, his grim expression as hollow as a rural serial killer's.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Creative Method: Edward Steichen on Photography

@ WGBH Forum Network

An interesting audio interview with Steichen in the 1950's

Listen here You need RealPlayer installed.

Back from another vacation

Ah! Glorious Cayuga lake in Upstate New York. I had a very refreshing break. My family has had this cottage for 32 years now.

Stopped off on the way home at Brian's garlic farm in Pennsylvania too!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cut-and-Paste History


More than any other genre or medium, photomontage was the pre-eminent symbol of Modernity in the 1920s and ’30s, according to Matthew S. Witkovsky, the curator of “Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. “It was the ultimate symbol in the play between the singular artist and mass media that defines the times, in terms of photography,” he explained.

Marianne Brandt's 'Untitled"

Using newspapers, magazines, advertising and books, artists in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary and Poland turned to cutting and pasting to forge an art that helped explain the crumbling of Central Europe’s four great empires and the new society that was evolving after the devastation of World War I.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Accounting for Days

Lynne Tillman on Stephen Shore @ artforum

NOT LONG AGO, diaries housed private thoughts and feelings too intimate or shameful to reveal. Virginia Woolf wrote in hers daily, expatiating on yesterday’s parties, ideas, and dinner conversations. Some believe remembering can keep us sane, but Woolf succumbed to madness, and remarked on its approach in her diary.

Blogs are, oxymoronically, public diaries, where bloggers play with exposure, others’ and their own. Some use handles for anonymity, but with fingerprints in cyberspace and with erasure near impossible, nothing’s lost and everyone can be found. Billions of disclosures light up the Internet with electric abandon. While “private” and “public” have for years been theorized as permeable spaces, even illusory divisions, people once lived those separate realities. Now they have actually blurred, and privacy and secrecy are becoming quaint ideas. IDs and personal information are hacked and jacked constantly, and individuals adjust their desires, needs, and aims in sync with technology’s capabilities. In this electronic revolution, as written and filmed self-reportage and confessions choke the virtual highways, voyeurism and exhibitionism are just normal.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The cleanest place on earth - and the dirtiest

@ The Guardian

The air quality at Cape Grim in Tasmania is officially the best on the planet - a world away from the grime and filth of Linfen in China. Photographer Angela Palmer set out to capture the essence of both places

In March, I dreamed that I went to the most polluted place in the world and then to the cleanest. In the dream, I wore identical white outfits, which were then exhibited side by side in a stark white gallery. When I awoke, I resolved to enact my dream. It seemed like madness: I was preparing for my final show at the Royal College of Art in London and was intending to show work based on CT scans of an ancient Egyptian mummy. But the sense of "mission" was overwhelming. I jettisoned my original plans: this was to be it.


Monday, July 09, 2007

John Szarkowski, Curator of Photography, Dies at 81

By PHILIP GEFTER @ New York Times

John Szarkowski, a curator who almost single-handedly elevated photography’s status in the last half-century to that of a fine art, making his case in seminal writings and landmark exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, died in on Saturday in Pittsfield, Mass. He was 81.

The cause of death was complications of a stroke, said Peter MacGill of Pace/MacGill Gallery and a spokesman for the family.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Rendering the Print: the Art of Photography

by Karl Lang

Digital Raw photography—the use of raw sensor data instead of a camera-processed JPEG as a starting point for photographers—is often a topic of controversy. Photographers make statements such as “my prints look good, I don’t see any need for Raw” and “I adjust my images in Photoshop®; it works just fine” or “all those controls are too much work, I just want my software to match the JPEG.” Somewhat complex and widely misunderstood, the Raw workflow was created to return control of the print to the photographer. With traditional film, years and even lifetimes were spent learning the techniques of printing in the darkroom. Modern Raw photography provides even more control with less effort, but some education is still required.
This paper will provide a foundation for the understanding of scene rendering. It will introduce the concepts, history, and tools of printmaking, and express their bearing on modern digital photography. It will demonstrate why you should invest the effort to learn the tools of Raw photography, and most importantly, it will prove there is no single “correct” way to render a print.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

A World of Scissors and Paper That’s Captured in Photographs

By ROBERTA SMITH @ New York Times

Daniel Gordon’s large color photographs, the subject of a solo exhibition at Zach Feuer Gallery in Chelsea, have several things going for them. They operate in the gap between collage and set-up photography, which is a lively place to be at the moment. They benefit from an impressive if not entirely original way with scissors that involves creating figurative tableaus from cut paper and cut-out images that Mr. Gordon then photographs.In addition, he seems motivated by a deeply felt obsession with the human body and the discomforts of having one. Not for nothing is this show titled “Thin Skin II.” He likes to depict the body in extreme situations: a woman giving birth, for example, or a man cowering under a table in a work titled “Quake.” A certain interest in crime scenes is indicated, as in the pile of little girls, seemingly dead, in “Rock Garden” and the body twisted in the corner of a suburban house in “Headless Man.”


Friday, June 29, 2007

Seen on the Street: Photographers’ ‘Everyday Epiphanies’

Alex Webb


When artists talk about “training the eye,” they generally don’t mean doing exercises to maintain 20/20 vision. They mean honing a set of instincts, learning to see relationships among colors or objects or spaces. The title of this small but potent collection of contemporary photographs from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection describes this kind of vision another way: seeing what is “Hidden in Plain Sight.” The show focuses mostly on versions of street, rather than studio, photography.

The artists here discovered “found still lifes,” as the wall text puts it, which resulted in “everyday epiphanies.” These are prefaced by an epigraph from Henry David Thoreau, written in his diary in August 1851: “The question is not what you look at but what you see.” Thoreau may have been speaking of nature or writing, but his dictum works well enough for photography. (It’s still an odd choice for a show focusing on 20th- and 21st-century photography, but never mind.)


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Photos show everyday life amid catastrophe

Karin Apollonia Müller,

Art reviews: Karin Apollonia Müller, Hirsch Perlman, Jimmy Baker, Bill Komoski

By Christopher Knight @ LA Times

For at least a decade, Karin Apollonia Müller has been making savvy photographs that consider the disquieting contradictions of ordinary experience, a project for which Southern California has been her muse. Müller divides her time between Los Angeles and Germany, where she was born (in Heidelberg) in 1963. Perhaps it takes an outsider to see a place with fresh eyes, because she understands the perplexing city in ways that deeply resonate.

Her seven recent large-scale photographs at the Karyn Lovegrove Gallery are as fine as any she's made. One reason is that she begins with an array of events — wildfires, mudslides, freeway catastrophes and such —that are L.A. clichés and that also make the city the nation's reigning symbol of imminent apocalypse. (Had there been a recent earthquake, it no doubt would have figured in her pictures.) But the resulting work is less journalistic or documentary than cinematic, even though she doesn't stage the scenes.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Wolfgang Tillmans, Paying Attention

By Michael O'Sullivan @ Washington Post

The last thing you're likely to see on your way out of "Wolfgang Tillmans," a touring retrospective on the 38-year-old German contemporary photographer at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, is a photograph called "You're Not Paying Attention." Lifted from the slogan on an American flag decal shot by the artist, it could be taken as the show's rallying cry.

It's a message that could therefore more properly have been delivered at the beginning of the show, rather than at the end. If a viewer can make it all the way through the show -- idiosyncratically installed by the artist throughout 10 galleries on the museum's second floor -- without having changed the way he or she looks at these photographs, maybe even photography in general, there's little hope that Tillmans's parting shot is going to get through. Through the course of the show itself, on the other hand, the artist does his damnedest to subvert (or at least question) the very way we pay attention to pictures.


Wish Hue Were Here

by Daniel Kunitz @ The Village Voice

For decades, people saw color photography in black and white: It was for amateurs or crass commercialism; it was emphatically not for art. Kodacolor, considered the first true color negative film, was introduced in 1942. As late as 1997, the Oxford History of Art volume on the photograph still claimed, "Color photographs remain problematic. They are central to the snapshot, but are still invariably rejected by the professional and art photographer . . ." By then this assertion was already moldy, yet it gives a sense of how reluctant people were to embrace color. In fact, by 1997, color had become utterly central to photography, in large part because of a renewed appreciation for several American photographers who came to prominence in the '70s. Two current shows presenting work from that decade suggest why our reception of color has been so blurry.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Life for Bruce Davidson's Classics

By Miki Johnson @

In the early '90s, Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson suggested a project on Central Park to the National Geographic editors he'd been working with in recent years. They hadn't done a piece on the park in decades, so they agreed, but insisted Davidson shoot in color, a thorn in the predominantly black-and-white photographer's side.

"But I was a good boy and I exposed about 500 rolls of Kodachrome," Davidson says. "And they hated it." Upon hearing that National Geographic had decided to give the Central Park story to another photographer, Davidson says he "went right back into the park and worked in black and white for three more years."


I'm back

Just returned from a week in Colorado, hope you missed me. Posting will resume now!



Friday, June 08, 2007


Duke Ellington, Paris, 1958

@ Jackson Fine Art (Atlanta)

Press Release : Great music inspires listeners to feel. We emotionally react when we hear the hook or melody of an exceptional song. Rarely, however, are listeners given the opportunity to witness the experience of the musician as great music is being made. Distinguished photographer Herman Leonard has captured these moments in his photographs of the some of the most imaginative and expressive musicians that have ever lived. Jackson Fine Art is thrilled to exhibit Jazz Giants, a selection of Leonard's photographs of jazz's biggest legends, including Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. Leonard's personal love of jazz music drew him to the New York nightclubs in the 1940s and 50s, but his camera was his ticket inside. He wanted "to make people see the way music sounded." The result was a simultaneous unleashing of creative power released through sound, song, and the click of Leonard's camera. His creative use of lighting, profiles, and camera angles were surely inspired by jazz's own experimental nature. Leonard's personal admiration for his subjects is evident in the photographs taken in between moments on stage. His visual record of jazz music is, in concert, the personification of a musical epoch as well as a profound body of art. The Smithsonian Institution owns the entire Images of Jazz series in its permanent collection. Devastatingly, Leonard lost over six thousand photographs as well as his New Orleans studio during Hurricane Katrina. His efforts to salvage his life's work and the story of jazz are documented in the film Saving Jazz. Leonard claims "to be present when the artist actually creates his work is a profound privilege." It can be assumed that the jazz legends in Leonard's photographs feel the same way about him.

Jackson Fine Art

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

James Nachtwey: TED Prize wish: Share a vital story with the world


"Accepting his 2007 TED Prize, photojournalist James Nachtwey talks about his decades as a war photographer. A slideshow of his photos, beginning in 1981 in Northern Ireland, reveal two parallel themes in his work. First, as he says: "The frontlines of contemporary wars are right where people live." Street violence, famine, disease: he has photographed all these modern WMDs. Second, when a photo catches the world's attention, it can truly drive action and change. In his TED wish, he asks for help gaining access to a story that needs to be told, and developing a new, digital way to show these photos to the world. Help grant James Nachtwey's wish "


The Online Photographer

The Online Photographer has moved! Apparently Mike had some issues with Blogger and has moved TOP to a new home. There are still some bugs to work out, but Mike is dilligently setting up the new space and things will get back to normal.

The NEW Online Photographer

Friday, June 01, 2007

Garry Winogrand with Bill Moyers, 1982

@ 2point8

"When I’m photographing, I see life. That’s what I deal with. I don’t have pictures in my head. I frame in terms of what I want to include, and naturally, when I want to snap the shutter. And I don’t worry about how the picture’s gonna look - I let that take care of itself. We know too much about how pictures look and should look, and how do you get around making those pictures again and again. It’s one modus operandi. To frame in terms of what you want to have in the picture, not about how - making a nice picture. That, anybody can do."


Thursday, May 31, 2007

They Needed to Talk

And family friend William Eggleston, his camera at his side, felt compelled to shoot

By Emily Yellin @ Smithsonian Magazine

The details are a bit sketchy now, but everyone agrees the picture was taken in Memphis, Tennessee, on a late summer night in 1973. Karen Chatham, the young woman in blue, recalls that she had been out drinking when she met up with Lesa Aldridge, the woman in red. Lesa didn't drink at the time, but both were 18, the legal age then. As the bars closed at 3 a.m., the two followed some other revelers to a friend's house nearby. In the mix was a 30-something man who had been taking pictures all night. "I always thought of Bill as just like us," Karen says today, "until years later, when I realized that he was famous."