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."


Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Photosynth


"Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo. Curious about that speck in corner? Dive into a freefall and watch as the speck becomes a gargoyle. With an unpleasant grimace. And an ant-sized chip in its lower left molar. "Perhaps the most amazing demo I've seen this year," wrote Ethan Zuckerman, after TED2007. Indeed, Photosynth might utterly transform the way we manipulate and experience digital images."

View demo @ TED

Photosynth Lab

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Think of England

The Burry Man (Homer Sykes, 1974), which is on show at a new photography exhibition at Tate Britain

@ The Guardian

From gardening, carnivals and dog shows to more eccentric pursuits such as bottle kicking or body painting, Blake Morrison reflects on what our photographic heritage reveals about our changing national character

A photograph seeks to capture the present, but by its nature can only contain the past. However alive or "gritty" or imbued with a sense of instantaneity, the photo can't help but be nostalgic, since its subject (whether a face or a landscape) is frozen in the moment the shutter clicked - a remembrance of things past. When Philip Larkin, writing lines on his girlfriend's photo album, said that photography is "as no art is, / Faithful and disappointing", this was the paradox he tried to pin down - that on the one hand photos seem immediate and "empirically true", but on the other they commemorate "just the past":


Major Low-light Digital Photography Breakthrough Inbound from Korea

By Nirav Sanghani @ DailyTECH
Our eyes will possibly get some relief from the blinding flash of cameras in low-light scenarios. South Korea's Electronic Technology Institute announced the development of a new image sensor chip that allows digital cameras to capture vibrant images without a flash in dark spaces.

The digital camera equipped with the chip will be able to take high-resolution photos or video-recordings at 1 lux. The camera will be able to snap pictures in places such as theaters, underground traffic tunnels, or dark-lit bars and clubs. The chip promises clear pictures with light as bright as the lighting from a candle 1 meter away in a dark room and is said to be 2,000 times more light sensitive than other sensor types. The will initially be used for camera phones, CCTV cameras and vehicle rear-view cameras.

Institute officials stated that state-run Korea Electronics Technology Institute has developed the single carrier modulation photo detector (SMPD) chip using nanotechnology.

The institute already spent roughly 11 billion won ($10.5 million USD) on the development of the SMPD chip over the past four years. The expected earnings from the chip exportation is about 2 trillion won ($2.2 billion USD) annually

No news has been released yet about the production details of the chip, nor has there been any pricing estimates on the chip.

Source : DailyTECH

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Passing Mile Markers, Snapping Pictures

Second Street, Ashland, Wisconsin, July 9, 1973 © Stephen Shore
Courtesy Aperture Foundation


In 1973 Stephen Shore set out from New York to photograph the United States for what became a book called “Uncommon Places.” He shot his motel room in Idaho Falls. He shot a pancake breakfast at the Trail’s End Restaurant in Kanab, Utah. He shot a rainbow arching over a rain-soaked parking lot in Lovell, Wyo.

And, out of his rearview mirror, while driving along U.S. 97 in Oregon, south of Klamath Falls, he spotted, against a magnificently clouded sky, a billboard with a painting of a snow-peaked mountain. So he stopped to photograph that too.

He was in his mid-20s and already a star. A dozen years earlier, at 14, he had sold some of his photographs to the Museum of Modern Art. Then he started hanging out in Andy Warhol’s Factory, where he lighted shows for the Velvet Underground and absorbed Warhol’s general deadpan aesthetic, with its embrace of serialism and its fixation on banal, everyday things.


ICP Slideshow

A Splash of Photo History Comes to Light

This century-old Edward Steichen autochrome, probably of Charlotte Spaulding, has been discovered after decades in storage.

By RANDY KENNEDY @ New York Times

At first glance the two pictures seem to be gorgeous anachronisms, full-color blasts from the black-and-white world of 1908, the year Ford introduced the Model T and Theodore Roosevelt was nearing the end of his second term.

But they are genuine products of their time, rare ones, among the few surviving masterpieces from the earliest days of color photography, made using a process developed by the Lumière brothers in France and imported to the United States by the photographer Edward Steichen a century ago this year. They were taken by Steichen, probably in Buffalo, and are thought to be portraits of Charlotte Spaulding, a friend and student who became his luminous subject for the portraits, which resemble pointillist miniatures on glass.

Almost as intriguing as the pictures themselves, however, is the story of how they recently made their way from a house in Buffalo, where they apparently sat unseen for decades, to the collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester, one of the world’s leading photography museums, where they will be exhibited for the first time this fall.


Monday, May 21, 2007


Military Installation, 2000, courtesy of In Situ-Fabienne Leclerc, Paris.

Interview by Mona Hakim @ After All Journal

MH: All of your photographic work, dating from the 1970s to today, concentrates on semi-public interior spaces. You began with domestic interiors but since the 1980s the primary subject matter has been observational or institutional rooms. These are strange, disturbing places, sometimes even menacing. Where does your interest in such places come from?1

LC: It's difficult to say, except that I seem drawn to interiors that are strange as well as familiar. I sometimes think they find me rather than the other way around. But what you say is true. Pretty much everything I've photographed has an air of strangeness. This is curious, because the subject matter is quite banal – a living room, a classroom, a spa… The strangeness is partly due to the fact that the ordinary is often more menacing than the blatantly bizarre, which can be easily dismissed as impossible. Perhaps it is also because the places are so familiar that they are a bit too close for comfort. In a 1992 exhibition catalogue essay 'The Scene of the Crime'2, Jean-Pierre Criqui links Freud's notion of the uncanny with my work. The idea is that the familiar, far from being benign, has the potential to be far more unsettling than the unusual. In the same essay, Criqui points to a similar phenomenon in a Kafka story where an inanimate object takes on human qualities in the way that furniture and paraphernalia in the rooms I photograph assume human characteristics.


Friday, May 18, 2007

A Cindy Sherman sells for $2.1 million

Cindy Sherman, Untitled No. 92 , 1981
$2,112,000 @ Christie’s New York
May 16, 2007

The evening sale of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s New York on May 16, 2007, was certainly dramatic, if higher and higher bids coming one after the other almost without end is your idea of drama. The sale totaled $384,654,400, a new record for a contemporary auction, with 74 of the 78 lots finding buyers, or 95 percent. Gee, looks like the bulls still rule the art market.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FOTO : Modernity in Central Europe

Karel Kašpařík
Why?, before 1935
gelatin silver print, 38.5 x 28.9 cm (15 3/16 x 11 3/8)
Moravská galerie, Brno

"This groundbreaking exhibition of some 150 photographs, artists' books, and illustrated magazines examines how photography developed into an immense phenomenon in central Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. It is the first exhibition to pair recognized masters like László Moholy-Nagy or Hannah Höch (active in Germany) with their immediate contemporaries, such as Karel Teige and Jaromír Funke (Czechoslovakia), Kazimierz Podsadecki (Poland), Károly Escher (Hungary), and Trude Fleischmann (Austria), who are less well known today. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores such topics as photomontage and war, gender identity, modern living, and the spread of surrealism. This major loan exhibition, which draws on several dozen American and international collections, is unprecedented in its focus and scope. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition." - National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It’s Boring at the Top

Is Andreas Gursky—the highest-priced photographer alive—running out of ideas?

By Jerry Saltz @ New York Magazine

The German über-photographer Andreas Gursky was the perfect pre-9/11 artist. He excelled at portraying the border-to-border, edgeless hum and busy obliviousness of modern life, what Francis Fukuyama ridiculously declared “the end of history,” George W.S. Trow called “The Context of No Context,” and Rem Koolhaas dubbed “Junkspace.” Not only did Gursky seem to be critical of all this, but his handsome images of trading floors, hotel lobbies, raves, and landscapes were charged with a visual force and intellectual rigor that let you imagine that you were gleaning the grand schemes and invisible rhythms of commerce and consumption. His amazing picture of a convenience store brimming with goods, 99 Cent II, Diptych (2001), which recently became the most expensive photo in history when it was auctioned for over $3.3 million, fizzed like cherry cola but packed the formal power of a Monet.


Images @ Matthew Marks Gallery

Monday, May 14, 2007 acquires

From BusinessWire "Leading online retailer (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced it has acquired, the web’s most comprehensive site for digital camera information and reviews. Founded in 1998 by Phil Askey, provides unbiased reviews and original content regarding the latest in digital cameras, and offers a host of features and forums designed to make it easy for consumers to find the camera that’s right for them. With its unique voice and in-depth technical reviews, draws millions of unique visitors each month."

Let's hope dpreview will remain unbiased and comprehensive!


Friday, May 11, 2007

We Are Here

Viktor Kolár Palace Bonaventure at 5pm, Montreal, Canada 1972


Since Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the first photograph of his neighbour's building in 1826, this mechanical art has transformed the way we look at the world. To coincide with Tate Britain's first ever photographic survey of the nation's social history, Tate Etc.asked a selection of writers, curators and photographers to reflect on some memorable images

David Campany
Nigel Shafran
Homer Sykes
Martin Parr
Anna Pavord
Viktor Kolár
Kathryn Hughes
Brett Rogers
Tessa Codrington
Jesse Landberg


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Stranger a Day

"Stranger a Day" is back after a two year hiatus.

Essentially Roark Johnson photographs a stranger everyday for a year. He started this project in 2004 for a year and you can also see those images at the blog.

Stranger a Day

Monday, May 07, 2007

Photoshop Re-Creates Aging Impressionists' Eye on the World

by Randy Dotinga @ WIRED

For decades, art historians have wondered what made Claude Monet and Edgar Degas evolve from landmark impressionist painters to what some consider to be shadows of their former selves. Now, a Stanford University ophthalmologist has used the Gaussian filter and other Photoshop wonders to replicate how the artists saw the world later in life.
The verdict: The painters couldn't paint the same way anymore because they couldn't see the same way.
"It's no secret that both Degas and Monet had failing vision. What's never been clear is what did that mean for them," said Dr. Michael Marmor, who studies how the brain processes sight. With the help of Photoshop, "we realize how this limitation may have influenced their style."


We all helped to speed the demise of professional photographers

by Andrew Brown @ The Guardian

Half a dozen lurid and splodgy pictures in the local paper brought home to me the death of an honourable profession this week. I took them. I am in my small way responsible for impoverishing an old friend, because he, not me, is a professional photographer, and his living has been more or less abolished by the changing world. Just as film has been replaced by digital, professionals are being replaced by amateurs. The changes are partly technological and partly economic, but the final blow to his profession has come from Flickr and similar Web 2.0 sites.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What to do with Invidious Distinctions?

Sebastião Salgado, “Meeting for the Land’s Occupation”, 1996
Courtesy of Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas images

By Jim Johnson @ Art Signal

Critical discussion of contemporary photography is shaped by a largely unchallenged distinction between “documentary” and “art”. We expect photographers practicing the former to concentrate on the realism, veracity, and accuracy of the images they produce, while those engaged in the latter are freed from such preoccupations, and so given license to experiment stylistically and substantively. We define the poles of this distinction relative to one another. Thus, while introducing a recent issue of PRIVATE (No. 33. Summer 06), critic and curator Roberta Valtorta announces that “the strongest and truest photojournalism today is that which outlives itself without straining to be ‘beautiful’. It stays truthful to its ‘primitiveness,’ its leanness, and far from aesthetics.” Her comment perversely echos photographer Luc Delahaye who, having spent considerable energy over the course of several years justifying his distinctly not ‘primitive’ or ‘lean’ depictions of war-torn Afghanistan, felt compelled to “officially” declare himself an artist.