Thursday, April 30, 2009

Photography Sell-Out

At Auckland's Gus Fisher Gallery on Tuesday June 9 from 6 to 8pm seventeen photographers will each present an edition of 15, each work to be sold for $15. Part piss-take, part conceptual and creative challenge the event has already raised the hackles of some in the "art business" who feel that the whole affair is indeed a sell-out. I'm sure it will be!
Photographers include Mark Adams, John Lyall, Ian Macdonald, Fiona Partington, Haru Sameshima, Ann Shelton and Ans Westra.
My work is called $15 Scream, After Baldessari (and with thanks to Edvard Munch).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

William Eggleston's Paris

William Eggleston is exhibiting his "Paris" pictures at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain (until June 21). For the last three years, Eggleston has photographed Paris as part of a commission for Fondation Cartier. The "Paris" series marks his second solo show at the Fondation Cartier and follows two other Cartier commissions "Deserts" (2000) and one on "Kyoto (2001). The exhibition also includes a rare look at the photographer's drawings, some of which are juxtaposed with his photographs.
Eggleston's photographs are most closely associated with the American South. His work is characterized by his observation of the banal and ordinary. Not surprisingly Eggleston's Paris series avoids the usual cliches. Many of his pictures look like they could have been taken anywhere. Says Eggleston "I approached it as if it is just anywhere...You're not sure: is this Paris, Mexico City, elsewhere? I didn't change my style for Paris. I just did as always, used the same approach."
"When people ask me what I do," says Eggleston "I say that I am taking pictures of life today." Many of the images exhibited at the Cartier Fondation such as two children playing at a café, motorcycles at a stoplight, anonymous passers-by express Eggleston's concern for the everyday.
The photographer has often said that he attempts to photograph "democratically," which means for Eggleston that everything may potentially be an interesting picture and that every element within the photo should be of equal importance.
Many of Eggleston's pictures have a touch of melancholy. The photographer once described his approach saying "I want an absence of too much prettiness...Not a complete absence of it, but just like coffee, pictures can get too sweet."
Does this exhibition mark the end of photographing Paris for Eggleston? "After three years working at it on and off, I still feel I have just barely begun. It's a big project...I hope it will be my crowning achievement."

"Willam Eggleston Paris" to June 21, 2009, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, 261, Blvd. Raspail, 75014 Paris. Open daily (except Mondays) 11-8pm. Tues eves. to 10pm.

Christie's London Photo Book Sale May 19th

You can view the catalogue for Christie's Photo Book sale on line at The sale is a treasure trove of photo book works and flipping through the catalogue at random you will find these listings:
Stephen Shore's Uncommon Places published in 1982, this is the deluxe issue, one of 100 signed copies with a signed print. Estimate US$8,700 - $13,000.
There is also a copy of Paul Graham's book A1. The Great North Road, 1983. A First edition. And a supporting quote from Parr and Badger, Graham 'has continually pushed the boundaries of documentary practice'. Cf. The Photobook, vol. II, pp.55, 291. Estimate US$580 - $870

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sydney, looking West

Here's a picture I made in Sydney last week..... looking west over the Tasman Sea from the walk from South Head Lighthouse to the Gap. has this to say about the walk...."Perhaps the most magnificent harbourside walk is one that starts at The Gap, a spectacular ocean cliff at Watsons Bay, near South Head. It winds its way down through Vaucluse, meanders through Watsons Bay and takes you all the way up to the lighthouse at South Head. The Gap is famous not so much for its natural scenic beauty, but for more bizarre reasons: a reported 20-30 people suicide each year by leaping from The Gaps on to the rocks below. Dozens slip from the rocks, which makes it a dangerous place to be if you don't keep to the paths and stay behind the barriers.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Attachment. Impermanence. Loss.

I'm working on a new series of pictures dealing with the issues of attachment, impermanence and loss. I have a book work in mind with roughly sixty pictures, here are four so far....

Friday, April 10, 2009

William Carlos Williams - Between Walls

I came across this short, evocative poem by William Carlos Williams facing the essay by Sandra S Phillips in her introduction to Henry Wessel's book published by Steidl.... this prompted me to think of my wanderings a few weekends ago around the abandoned hospital complex at Hanmer Springs. Here is a picture I made at the Hanmer Hopsital, not the back wings but still strange and silent. Things growing but nothing happening.....

Between Walls

the back wings
of the

hopsital where

will grow lie

in which shine
the broken

pieces of a green

William Carlos Williams

The Most Photographed Barn In America

I've always enjoyed this passage from De DeLillo's book White Noise, about the Most Photographed Barn In America. An excuse to post my cliched image of the Red Barn I found at Hanmer Springs a thermal resort town a couple of hours out of Christchurch in NZ's South Island.

An excerpt from White Noise by Don DeLillo:

Several days later Murray asked me about a tourist attraction known as the most photographed barn in America. We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the signs started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides -- pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

"No one sees the barn," he said finally.

A long silence followed.

"Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn."

He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.

We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies."

There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

"Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism."

Another silence ensued.

"They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said.

He did not speak for a while. We listened to the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons, the rustling crank of levers that advanced the film.

"What was the barn like before it was photographed?" he said. "What did it look like, how was it different from the other barns, how was it similar to other barns?"


Clouds in my street this morning, Good Friday 2009 and in Paris, May 2008. I wonder if there is a connection?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Easter!

Auckland - Webbs auction, Contemporary Art and Modern Design, May 12th

My work, Victory of the Trivial, Number 12 is included in Webbs contemporary art auction on May 12. The photograph measures 60 x 48 cm and is number one from an edition of five and is a pigment print on photographic paper.

Auckland - photoforum fundraising auction

Webbs are conducting a fundraising auction for photoforum on Tuesday April 17th at 7pm. I have put a work in the auction, it is from my book A Short History of Photography and is the image Bangkok 2001 (after Tillmans). The work is 36 x 24.8 cm, a pigment print on archival matt paper and is number one from an edition of three.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Paris is HOME

Working on a small edition of about sixty pictures, dealing with HOME and what that means to me.... although home is in reality located in the head and has less to do with location..... Paris is home to me.... here are four pictures and like much of my work they could anywhere.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Auckland - cat story

Following my yesterdays "cat post" and despite being chastised by a photographer friend in Minnesota for stealing his cat material I could not resist making these pictures this morning. One to show if nothing more, that the cat idea is well and truly dead!