Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Auckland - Have You Seen This Cat?

Since Alec Soth was here in January and started to photography Lost Cat posters, they seem to be cropping up everywhere. The posters not the cats! Here is one I photographed this morning on my coffee mission. Go figure....

New York - photography sale season

It's spring photography sale time in New York. Sotheby's have just posted the results of their sale this last Monday. The sale realised US$2,384,690. There were several Eggleston photographs in the sale. This picture, Peaches! Near Greenville, Mississippi, has always grabbed me. I first saw it in Eggleston's book Ancient and Modern, 1992. The image is a dye-transfer print, 30.8 x 47.6 cm, signed by Eggleston in pencil and with a numerical stamp on the reverse, matted, framed, 1971, printed no later than 1980 and it came from the collection of the Bank of America. Pre-sale estimate was 50,000 - 70,000 USD. Sold for 80,000 USD, including buyer's premium. Not bad going!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Paris Photo 2009 - Spotlight on Arab and Iranian photography

From November 19 to 22, 2009, Paris Photo will present a panoramic overview of worldwide photographic expression, spanning the 19th century to the present day while also unveiling an emerging international scene.
For its 13th edition, Paris Photo turns the spotlight on photographic work from the Arab countries and Iran in what is an unprecedented exploration of the practice in this part of the world.
Curated by Catherine David who was responsible for Documenta X in Kassel in 1997 as well as numerous exhibitions and publications on Middle Eastern artistic expression, this year's project will be based on three components.
The Central Exhibition will unveil a selection of rare studio photographs from the archives of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut; the Statement section will present a number of emerging talents from the region - from Tehran to Damascus, Beirut to Cairo, Tangiers to Dubai... The Project Room will offer a series of video works, testimony to the growing interest for the dynamics of this medium among the artists of the region.

Dates: Thursday, 19 November - Sunday, 22 November, 2009
Opening by invitation only: Wednesday, 18 November, 7:00 pm -10:00 pm
Venue: Carrousel du Louvre, 99 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Information: http://www.parisphoto.fr

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Auckland - Ponsonby Road, 9am Saturday March 28

On the way for my morning coffee hit..... it's amazing what you see when you really start to look.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

W.A.G.E. - Working Artists and the Greater Economy



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

China Stories - Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, UK

Harvey Benge - Auckland, New Zealand
Oyvind Hjelmen - Stord, Norway
Ferit Kuyas - Zürich, Switzerland
Pok Chi Lau - Kansas City, USA
Elaine Ling - Toronto, Canada
Christopher Rauschenberg - Portland, USA
Gerard Saitner - Paris, France
Wolfgang Zurborn - Cologne, Germany

April 3rd - April 18th, 2009
Opening: April 2nd, 2009

Ruskin Gallery - Cambridge School of Art (CSA)
at Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Cambridge Campus
East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT
Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Harvey Benge - These are a series of images I made in 2006 and 2007 when I was a guest at the Pingyao Festival in Shanxi Province China. Subsequently published in 2008 by FAQEDITIONS the pictures explore the everyday and overlooked in the Chinese landscape. Image from CHINA STORY, FAQEDITIONS, 2008

Øyvind Hjelmen - Journey Elsewhere When I travelled through China In December 2007.I tried to note my impressions of little bits of grace and surprise that I discover day by day. One may ask, is such a journey really a journey elsewhere, or is it just a journey going deeper within oneself? To be honest, I think both ideas are true…

Ferit Kuyas - City of Ambition This is a visit to one of the largest cities in the world, Chongqing, populated by roughly 32 million people. I am mainly interested in the outskirts of Chongqing, where the city can’t be really seen but sensed, like a tiger moving through the jungle – invisible, yet there.

Pok Chi Lau – China 1979 -1982 - Post Chairman Mao Period When Lau was 19 and living in Hong Kong, his parents borrowed enough money to pay for two cameras, a plane ticket and college tuition. He studied at the Brooks Institute of Photography and the California Institute of the Arts. Beginning in the late 1970s, Lau traveled from one Chinatown to the next documenting the lives of Chinese immigrants working at mines, railroads, laundries and restaurants and often living in cramped conditions.

Wolfgang Zurborn - China! Which China? In June 2006 I visited Beijing and Shanghai. The challenge of the encounter with the unfamiliar world was to transform the personal experience of the highly complex and interlaced parallel worlds of these "Megacities" into an individual picture language which should not keep the unknown in the realm of the exotic but which discovers the nearness in the strange.

Elaine Ling – China Stones is a journey (1995) down the Spirit Road, a long avenue flanked on either side by pairs of stone sculptures of animals and figures, This road leads up to an earth tumulus beneath which lies the underground palace in which the emperor's body rested surrounded by treasures and other objects placed for use in the afterlife.

Chris Rauschenberg was travelling in China in 1985. He is looking at the urban spaces in China in a very fragmentary view. Objects of everyday life are developing an absurd own life. His panoramic photographs are forcing the very subjective construction of space.

Monday, March 23, 2009

BIG WORK small works

The work I made for the BIG WALL at Dunedin Public Art Gallery back in 2002 will at last be seen in Auckland at Bath Street Gallery, on their big wall, opening June 2. The work consists of 240, A3 images butted together to make one work 1.8m x 18m.
I'm also making some small works for the show. Here is an installation picture from Dunedin.

MoH08 - at foam photography museum Amsterdam

Marks of Honour 08 (MoH) - at foam Amsterdam opens May 28.
From the foam website, "Thirteen international photographers were invited to choose a photo book that was influential in forming their work, and to pay it artistic homage. All the participating works show a wide spectrum of enthusiasm for photo books and the variety of inspiration sources drawn on by international photo artists. Limited to three copies, each work contains the original photo book and its complementary homage. In sum Marks of Honour 08 constitutes a singular library and a system of reference on the most enduring influences as well as the freshest in contemporary photography.
The photographers and their homage: Harvey Benge honours William Eggleston, Chris Coekin honours Hendrick Duncker & Yrjo Tuunanen, Peter Granser honours Robert Frank, Pieter Hugo honours Roland Barthes, Tiina Itkonen honours Pentti Sammallahti, Onaka Koji honours Daido Moriyama, Jens Liebchen honours Anthony Hernandez, Michael Light honours Ansel Adams, Mark Power honours Stephen Shore, Matthew Sleeth honours Lars Tunbjörk, Alec Soth honours Andrea Modica, Jules Spinatsch honours Block 2008, Raimond Wouda honours Paul Shambroom. To make it accessible to a broad public, accompanied by a catalogue, Marks of Honour 08 will be shown in various international galleries and museums."

Auckland - Paris - Home

Working currently on the idea of Home, what it means to me and more interestingly looking at the cumulative effect of the small interventions that I see everywhere in the urban landscape. There will be two book works, Volume 1, Auckland and Volume 2, Paris. Fifty pictures each. Here are four recent images made in Auckland, but they could be anywhere.....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Context and authenticity in the portrait

Still thinking about the portrait and in particular the issue of signification. What message is conveyed and how. And the question of context and the role that plays in the photo portrait. Two of the pictures in my previous post are shot against neutral backgrounds and rely only on the figure to provide the reading. This not for the first time and I immediately think of Richard Avedon's American West pictures shot against a white background. What more would have been conveyed if my subjects had been shot in a more loaded setting?
Came across an interesting piece in a blog written by photographer Chase Jarvis. Here authenticity is discussed and a case made for many photographic portrait's merely presenting a stilted, contrived view of the subject, who is intent on showing their best "self". Pictures less rooted in honesty and more in...fantasy.
Here are some portraits I made in Pingyao in 2007, people I met in the street. Curious about me and me of them. They seem uncontrived and have an innocent freshness.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The photographic portrait

I've never really considered myself as a maker of portraits. But do none-the-less. Here are three pictures that I thought were worth a second look. The first made in Paris in 2001 is of Clemence, daughter of my friend Simon, the second a couple I photographed in Poland (Lodz) in 2008 and last made in Australia in February this year.
Here is what Wikepedia has to say on the subject of photographic portraiture:
Portrait photography (also known as portraiture) is the capture by means of photography of the likeness of a person or a small group of people, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The objective is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is the person's face, although the entire body and the background may be included. A portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the camera.
Unlike many other styles of photography, the subjects of portrait photography are non-professional models. Many family portraits and photographs that commemorate special occasions, such as graduations or weddings, are professionally produced and hang in private homes. Most portraits are not intended for public exhibition.
Portrait photography has been around since the invention and popularization of the camera. It is a cheaper and often more accessible method than portrait painting, which has been used by distinguished figures before the popularity of the camera.
The relatively low cost of the daguerreotype in the middle of the 19th century lead to its popularity for portraiture. Studios sprang up in cities around the world, some cranking out more than 500 plates a day. The style of these early works reflected the technical challenges associated with 30-second exposure times and the painterly aesthetic of the time. Subjects were generally seated against plain backgrounds and lit with the soft light of an overhead window and whatever else could be reflected with mirrors. As the equipment became more advanced, the ability to capture images with short exposure times gave photographer more creative freedom and thus created new styles of portrait photography.
As photographic techniques developed, photographers took their talents out of the studio and onto battlefields, across oceans and into remote wilderness. William Shew's Daguerreotype Saloon, Roger Fenton's Photographic Van and Mathew Brady's What-is-it? wagon set the standards for making portraits and other photographs in the field.