Sunday, July 21, 2013

William Eggleston - At War With The Obvious, at The Met, NYC

William Eggleston - Untitled, Sumner, Mississippi, 1971
Running currently at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, and finishing July 28 is a retrospective of William Eggleston's classic 70's color work, all dye-transfer prints. The title of the show - At War With The Obvious - was taken from a comment Eggleston made in a conversation he had with one Mark Holborn over breakfast in Greenwoood Mississippi, February 1988. The text of the conversation was published in Eggleston's 1989 bookwork The Democratic Forest.

William Eggleston (American, born 1939) emerged in the early 1960s as a pioneer of modern color photography. Now, fifty years later, he is its most prolific and influential exemplar. Through a profound appreciation of the American vernacular (especially near his home in the Mississippi Delta) and confidence in the dye transfer printmaking process to reveal the region's characteristic qualities of light and saturated chromatics, Eggleston almost single-handedly validated color photography as a legitimate artistic medium. This exhibition celebrates the artist's iconic photographs of commonplace subjects that have become touchstones for generations of artists, musicians, and filmmakers from Nan Goldin to David Byrne, the Coen Brothers, and David Lynch.

Willim Eggleston - Untitled, 1974

William Eggleston - Untitled, 1974
William Eggleston - Untitled, 1974

Friday, July 19, 2013

What makes a good photograph?

Google search: What makes a good photograph?
The UK Brighton based photoworks recently commissioned Guardian and the Observer writer Sean O'Hagan to consider the question what makes a good photograph. And against what criteria critical judgments can be made.

Here are a few quotes that resonated with me.You can read the full piece on photoworks blog HERE.

What I can say is that it certainly looks to me like photography, (the taking of a photograph) is currently being superseded by the conceptually photographic (the ways in which photographs can be used: manipulated, re-appropriated, made into fictions, made to interrogate photography.) This is happening at a time when, as one cursory look at Flickr, Facebook ,Tumblr or Instagram will tell you, everyone is taking – and sharing – photographs all the time to a degree where the sheer weight of the numbers has long since become meaningless. 

Whatever, I would like to think that, even as we are living in a moment of fiercely accelerating culture, a great photograph remains just that. It alerts us to something about ourselves, our lives, our world, our way of thinking.

Photography reinvents and reinvigorates itself continuously and in often surprising ways. It asks of us that we stay alert and ask new questions of it as a form. The big question – what makes a good photograph? – is always predicated on a number of smaller questions about what it is that we want from a photograph. And, what we want photography to do and say in a world overwhelmed by photographic images.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

JH Engström and Paris

I've just come across a short film by Linus Höök / Studio Tintin which was commissioned by the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg for JH Engström's exhibition Haunts in 2005. Engström talks about about intuition, risk and freedom, mixing images, exploration and extremes and the importance of not explaining. If you admire Engström's work as I do, the film is well worth a look HERE.

And interestingly, JH Engström's new book Sketch of Paris published by Aperture will be available end of October and I assume launched at Paris Photo in November. You can pre-order it at amazon HERE.

For more than 20 years, Swedish photographer JH Engström (born 1969) has spent time living and working in Paris, a city that, like New York, has a long photographic pedigree; countless photographers have been inspired by its iconic architecture and busy streets. Sketch of Paris, however, is hardly a catalog of classic Parisian scenes, offering instead a raw yet lyrical portrayal of the artist's misadventures, loves and random encounters in its streets, bars and artist lofts--an entirely personal Paris. Drawing more from Nan Goldin and Anders Peterson than Atget or Henri Cartier-Bresson, Engström brings us on a gritty, no-holds-barred guided tour of life in his adopted city. The book brings together more than 250 color and black-and-white photographs--self-portraits, nudes, portraits of lovers, friends, strangers and the occasional street scene--all shot between 1991 and 2012, tracing a critical time during the development of the artist's own voice and vision.

JH is also part of the LOST HOME project initiated by Japanese SUPER LABO publisher Yasunori Hoki. Ten photographers - Harvey Benge, JH Engström, Roe Ethridge, Takashi Homma, Ron Jude, Daido Moriyama, Christian Patterson, Slavica Perkovic, Bertien van Manen and Terri Weifenbach - will respond to the idea of lost home, and the series, slip case packaged, will launch with a book signing at this years Paris Photo. I've had preview of JH's LOST HOME book, it's not surprisingly, quite wonderful. Not to mention edgy and tough.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Duane Michals - The Painted Photograph

Duane Michals - Guermantes Way, 2012
Duane Michals - Fred, 2012
At age 81 Duane Michals continues to make work with profundity, insight, humor and magic in a manner that eludes most artists a fraction of his age. His recent show - The Painted Photograph - at the DC Moore Gallery in New York was no exception. 

DC Moore writes: Using 19th-century collodion prints on brown or black lacquered iron as his surface, Michals enriches the original images with oil paint, altering but not entirely obscuring the sitters’ features. Drawing on the principals of early photography and modern painting, especially Surrealism, Michals unites the two disciplines and explores the uncharted territory he identifies between photography and painting. Each 19th-century image is playfully rejuvenated by the addition of vibrant color and the artist’s witty allusions to visionaries such as Picasso and Picabia. In this way, Michals draws our attention to the discrepancy between a popular medium that required little skill—the tintype—and the work of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

A renowned innovator, Michals pushes the limits of photography. In past bodies of work, he has achieved this first by presenting his images in series, at times narrated with text scrawled directly on the print, and then further by embracing each imperfection. In this new work, Michals modifies the images of amateur journeymen, emphasizing the “found object” quality of these portraits of the working class by floating each tintype in spare frames to expose their irregular edges. Michals questions what he describes as “the museum photograph,” or large-format photography, with his small-scale and intimate images. Combining antique, personal objects with hand-painted abstract elements, Michals examines his favorite themes: memory, mortality, love, and loss. The results are curious, humorous, affectionate, and provocative.

There is also a piece on BOMBLOG, Sabine Mirlesse interviews Michals. It's a good read, HERE.
And more, from the New York Social Diary, Jill Krementz takes the reader inside Duane Michals' New York townhouse on East 19th Street, HERE.

Friday, July 5, 2013

florence loewy - Paris, presents their editions, 1991 - 2013

Robert BARRY. Sans Titre. Paris, 1991

Opening this Saturday July 6th at 6pm and running until July 20th, Florence Loewy - books by artists, presents an exhibition of their books made from 1991 to 2013.

Artists include: Jean-Michel Alberola, Robert Barry, Harvey Benge, Florian Bezu, Dominique Blais, Jean-Charles Blanc, Barbara Bloom, Christophe Boutin, Claude Closky, General Idea, Jérémie Gindre, Jean Le Gac, Roberto Martinez, Tim Maul, Annette Messager, Jonathan Monk, Antoni Muntadas, Olivier Nottellet, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Eric Tabuchi, Didier Rittener, Yann Sérandour.

florence loewy... by artists / 9 rue de thorigny fr-75003 paris
t: 01 44 78 98 45 f: 01 44 78 98 46 /
ouvert du mardi au samedi de 14h00 à 19h00