Friday, May 30, 2008

Access All Areas

By Christy Lange @ FRIEZE

Taryn Simon’s photographs of restricted locations reveal an unsettling side to the American Dream

‘It’s 3am and something is happening in the world […] There’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing.’ So began the narration of a recent television advertisement for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, unleashing a flurry of discussion about the White House telephone and the candidate best suited to answer it in case of a global emergency. The folklore of the White House ‘red phone’ was, in fact, first exploited during the 1984 presidential campaign, when it represented the tenuous hotline between Washington and Moscow. It’s telling that the Clinton campaign was so eager to revive this anachronistic symbol: though Barack Obama accused Clinton of exploiting ‘the politics of fear’, Clinton had in fact tapped into a deep-seated American fantasy about the backstage operations of the United States government and its national security apparatus, at a time when that backstage is probably more expansive and dimly lit than ever. Americans, apparently, are still intrigued by the ‘red phone’ as a potent symbol of national secrets and the intricate bureaucracy hidden behind them. The country operates not only on freedom and transparency, but also on things that are unseen and unknown to most of us. Perhaps that’s what makes Taryn Simon’s 2007 publication of her photographic series ‘An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar’ so timely and appealing.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"For want of a new territory..."

Philip-Lorca diCorcia "Head #06 2001"

Max Kozloff on Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography @ TATE Etc.

The camera has always been a socialised instrument, well equipped to describe shifting behaviour, environments and manners. Of course we rely on it to give a specifically factual account of them. Inevitably, situations change, but this testimonial function of photography remains constant. Before the advent of Photoshop, whatever the circumstance or event, be it impromptu or staged, there could be little doubt that the camera recorded it through an act of witness. Its observational power would appear to have served as a fixed, credible reference to realities that fluctuate indefinitely. Over the past few decades, however, we’ve come to understand that a scene may be filtered through photographic motives other than, or at odds with, the purpose apparently intended. The facts are delivered, but their content has to be reckoned with freshly, and on uncertain terms.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Cornell Capa 1918-2008

" the founder of the International Fund for Concerned Photography, and the founder of ICP in 1974, Cornell was a singular force in the world of photography, opening our eyes to the power of the photographic image as an agent of change."

May he rest in peace.

ICP tribute

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Billion-pixel panoramas — from your own camera

by Jonathan Richards @ TimesOnline

A device that lets a camera take pictures with 100 times the resolution of the most advanced models on the market is poised to revolutionise amateur photography.

The Gigapan allows people to take pictures which are more than a gigapixel - or 1,000 megapixels - in size, effectively turning a single photograph into a panoramic experience, around which the viewer can navigate on a computer.

Yet the actual camera used is no more specialised than a regular digital model.


Gigapan website

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg

A touchstone for all of us... Rest in Peace..

New York Times article

Robert Frank: melancholy and menace

@ The Telegraph

Catching his subjects off-guard with a camera peeking from his jacket, the photographer Robert Frank 'captured a sad poem right out of America on to film', as his friend Jack Kerouac put it. As Frank's masterpiece, The Americans, is reissued after almost 50 years, Michael Shelden looks at his work

On patrol near the Mississippi river one afternoon in November 1955, Lt RE Brown of the Arkansas State Police spotted a suspicious, 'foreign-looking' man driving down the highway in a battered old Ford and pulled him over.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Life Before Death noch mal leben: portraits of the dying

by Beate Lakotta @ Lens Culture

Few experiences are likely to affect us as profoundly as an encounter with death. Yet most deaths occur almost covertly, at one remove from our everyday lives.

Death and dying are arguably our last taboos – the topics our society finds most difficult. We certainly fear them more than our ancestors did. Opportunities to learn more about them are rare indeed.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Starn Twins @ 20x200

20×200 has been getting all sorts of press lately (NY Times, Houston Chronicle, WIred Magazine just to name a few), and they’ve featured some well known artists. They now have added to their accomplishments an edition by two people in the highest level of art stardom, Mike and Doug Starn. Unfortunately the work went almost immediately.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Conservators face issues in preserving video

By Hugh Hart, Special to The Times

"Video is a fugitive medium," said Getty Research Institute's Glenn R. Phillips, and he should know. As curator for "California Video," running at the Getty through June 8, he enjoyed the luxury of a massive archive produced during the '60s, '70s and '80s. The challenge: Most of the tapes, recorded in obsolete formats, were crusted with oxidized crud that made the work unwatchable and threatened to ruin any playback deck hardy enough to play them.