Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Photographers whose work I like - No 7 / Morten Andersen

I got to know Morten through out mutual friend Antoine d'Agata. Morten's work is strange and evocative. And he makes amazing photobooks. Here are some of his pictures and words he wrote...

"In general my work is about exploring, whether the subject are big cities, nature or myself and my own surrondings it is a curiosity and a concern about this subjects that makes me go out working.
With this as the only motive for taking pictures, and many years of staggering the streets of Oslo and elsewhere with a camera in hand, the pile of photographs was getting high and the need to explain and make something out of this became urgent... With things more quiet I managed to concentrate and edit the pictures and this have so far resulted in 9 books. Books where I make stories based on my personal experiences and meetings with people and places I have photographed. Not stories with a clear narration but more open and inviting. Inviting you to use your own experiences and follow the paths I suggest and make your own reality, or fiction. Since I work in the real world there is also always a documentary side to my work, document of the time and the places I photograph but with my editing and juxtapositions I try to build a tension span between reality and fiction."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Paris - Palais de Tokyo, with the best photo-booth in town!

Apart from always having demanding shows (and great vernissage) the Palais de Tokyo has the funkiest best value photo-booth in town. For a mere 2 Euro you get 4 pictures and in black and white too, with a choice of a black or white background. Here are some pictures I made back in June.

The Palais de Tokyo is a building dedicated to modern and contemporary art, located at 13 avenue du Président-Wilson, near the Trocadéro, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The eastern wing of the building belongs the City of Paris and hosts the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris). The western wing belongs to the French state and hosts since 2002, the Palais de Tokyo / Site de création contemporaine.

Running until September 5 is a show, DYNASTY - 1 exhibition, 2 locations, 40 artists, 80 propositions and is a never before seen collaboration between the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC and the Palais de Tokyo.
The Palais de Tokyo says this of the show: "The artists infuse the totality of the exhibition space and each of them presents, in a fresh stereophonic approach, a work in each of the two venues.
Through its many techniques and stylistic approaches, DYNASTY reveals the drive of a generation and the diversity of its preoccupations, ranging from the most experimental technoscience to the most intimate autofiction. Fragile materials are subject to usages that revalorize them while the development of the computer modeling transforms our grasp of space and objects.
This project continues the work of prospecting carried out previously by the Palais de Tokyo and by ARC at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris."

Auckland - MOTAT part two

I returned to MOTAT yesterday, this time to the transport and technology section, not as strange and interesting as the aviation area - still, made these pictures.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Auckland - photographing at MOTAT

The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) is a museum located in Auckland bordering the lake at Western Springs. The museum has large collections of civilian and military aircraft and other land transport vehicles. Largely managed by volunteers there is an ongoing program to restore and conserve the collections which has always seemed to me to be a battle of energy and enthusiasm over the ravages of time.

MOTAT is a strange place to visit. There is a feeling of impermanence and decay as today becomes history. Here are some pictures I made yesterday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lewis Baltz - WORKS

New from Steidl. Limited to 1,100 copies each signed and numbered by Lewis Baltz, this edition contains ten hardback, linen bound volumes, housed in an embossed slipcase.
WORKS celebrates Lewis Baltz’s indelible influence on the development of contemporary photography and contains reissues of Baltz’s most significant books, many of which are now collectible rarities, as well as four as yet unpublished projects. Each of the books has been crafted in close collaboration with Baltz, who oversaw each stage of production with Gerhard Steidl. From scanning of the vintage prints, to book design, selection of paper and binding materials, pre-press and printing, Baltz has shaped the form and aesthetic of these publications. Printed in luminous quadratone, WORKS is a testament to the importance of the book as a primary medium in Baltz’s practice.
“Baltz’s work exemplifies the ways in which photography, beginning some four decades ago, started to loose the bonds of its isolation within its own segregated history and aesthetics and began to take its place as an equal among other media.” Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art.
Price: UK £400.00 US $600.00 EC €500.00
Expensive, but worth every penny!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Auckland ZineFest

Self publishing is alive and well in Auckland. St Kevins Arcade was packed this last Saturday with an amazing diversity of zine artists and publishers. Even several photography focussed publications. Bad Magazine was one with a teaser edition as a prelude to the real thing due out in October. Here are some pictures. You can find out more by going to this site: www.aucklandzinefest.org

Koji Onaka solo exhibition"Horse& Cactus"

Koji Onaka has a solo show "Horse& Cactus" opening tomorrow at the EMON PHOTO GALLERY in Tokyo.

He writes:

Horse and Cactas

I thought I would go to Mexico.
Why,I didn't know.
It was useless to think about that.
I don't know Spanish at all.
But,It would be okay.

I got on a train,took some buses,and then got on a train again.
I went over the sea by ferryboat,and pedaled a bicycle.
I lost my way,and I tried to ride a horse.
I didn't book any hotels and I wandered from town to town.
It was okay.

I was the only one at a local station in the mountains.
I escaped from some dogs that chased me.
I was staying in a town that was flooded by a hirricaine.
I feel nostalgic for those days.

Lot of films in my backpack.
I didn't have any plans.
I was able to go anywhere.
I could shoot somting or nothing at all and it was okay.

I would like to take this wonderful trip again.
I would like to take this wonderful trip again.

Koji Onaka

Opening reseption party at 6pm on August 17th.
Pamphlet:only 500 copies 1000yen on signed
T-shirt:limited a little 2000yen

from August 17th to September 10th
open Tue-Fri11:00-19:00 Sat-18:00 Sun-close

The Mexican Suitcase at ICP New York

The so-called "Mexican suitcase" is in fact three small cardboard boxes containing 4,500 negatives documenting the Spanish Civil War in pictures taken by Robert Capa, Chim (David Seymour), and Gerda Taro. Through this work and its publication in newspapers and magazines at the time, these three photographers were unknowingly laying the foundation for modern war photography.

In 1939, the Germans were advancing on Paris, where Capa had a studio. Aware of the necessity to leave quickly, he left this work in the care of his lab assistant and fled to America. In a series of extraordinary adventures, it appears that the boxes were taken from Paris to a Mexican consul in Marseilles. He presumably took them across the ocean and on to Mexico City for safekeeping. Unheard of for more than half a century, the negatives were discovered among the effects of a Mexican general (who had served under Pancho Villa), which were inherited by a relative. In 2007, after several years of discussions and negotiations, the negatives were returned home to ICP. After careful conservation studies, the negatives were scanned and sequenced and will be presented in a major exhibition and two-volume publication.

The Mexican Suitcase: On View at ICP, September 24, 2010–January 11, 2011

Friday, August 6, 2010

Marks of Honor Part One at The Photographers Gallery, London

Part 1 of the MoH exhibition at the Photographers' Gallery -
Michael Light - Jens Liebchen - Onaka Koji - Harvey Benge

Noorderlicht Photofestival 2010 - Land: Country Life in the Urban Age

Since the beginning of the 21st century, over half the world's population now dwell in cities. That means 3.3 billion people live on only 3% of the earth's surface. What are the consequences of this shift? Can the countryside survive the economic, demographic, cultural and ecological ravages of this abandonment? Is a decent, humane life possible in the modern megalopolis that is bursting at its seams?

These are the questions that Noorderlicht is placing at the heart of its photo festivals for the coming two years.

We like to think of the countryside as idyllic: life in harmony with nature, in self-reliant communities where everyone knows everyone else and family ties are strong. Perhaps the work is hard, but it is truly satisfying. And Sundays there is the rest and regularity of strolling through the village.

That world – far distant from the impersonal roller coaster of the urban 24/7 economy – no longer exists. UN reports sketch a gloomy picture, particularly for rural life in the non-Western world. Poverty is the norm, social mobility is limited to the departure of the young, the countryside is ageing. In the West the decline in rural living standards is not yet that serious, but where would life in the countryside be without agricultural subsidies? Moreover, here we can also see how the level of services is crumbling and that population centres in rural regions are shrinking.

Land – Country Life in the Urban Age shows that the city and countryside have developed a symbiotic relationship. The city is the focus of economic and social activity; the country supports it. The consequences are far-reaching. Agriculture is oriented to large-scale production at minimal cost, the growing demand for agricultural products accelerates the destruction of the tropical rain forest, whole regions are allocated new uses as the result of increasing need for water, while the intensification of production with modern agricultural and bio-technologies leaves its own marks. Add to that picture the continuing exploitation of increasingly scarce natural resources, and the economic and demographic consequences of migration to the cities, and it is clear: the countryside faces serious challenges in the 21st century.

On the basis of work by about thirty photographers, in its 2010 Photofestival Noorderlicht sketches a picture of a countryside in crisis. From Nadav Kander's journey along the Yangtze River to Rodrigo Zeferino’s look at the industrialisation of the interior of Brazil, from Ian Teh's almost extraterrestrial panoramic photographs of the Chinese hinterland to Larisa Sitar's series of Romanian villas, built by migrants who want to guard their place on the social ladder in their absence, from the struggling industries in Bangladesh to the strength that emanates from Jackie Nickerson's Zimbabwean farm workers, the question is always the same: what role does the countryside play in our contemporary, urbanised and global economy? And is it possible, against all economic logic, to give rural life a new value?

5 September through 31 October - Fries Museum

In 2011 Groningen will be the location for the second part of this diptych: Metropolis – City Life in the Urban Age.

Image: Nadav Kander

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Todd Hido - A Road Divided

There are thousands out there. American roads and their landscapes can ache with emptiness and whisper with their stories. One could imagine that the stories have somehow soaked into the ground to live there, residing like a memory, distant yet always near the surface. Color perhaps is then like their moods, moods that shift in shape with the elements. Perhaps the elements wear the roads down over time, beating on them and leaving marks, like the forceful experiences in ones own life.

It would follow then that the roads and the landscape, the divisions and the elements and the harshness are some sort of visual equivalent to the divisions that can reside within one's own self. The empty roads then an accidental or symbolic ode to loneliness, to the type of "empty" that can leave some folks in a permanent state of internal isolation.

I suppose that the dark roads and their ruts, the grays and the shadows are like the rough circumstances that start somewhere early on in a life, even as a child. Some are simply born into this roughness, from circumstance. Perhaps it is even circumstance that bores itself in to you in the form of actions and choices that slowly unfold. Either way, the roads carry a story and your internal stories are then your roads.

With A Road Divided, Nazraeli Press (2010), Todd Hido has taken the American road and its landscapes, its stories of isolation and carefully made them conform to his will. The book, beautiful and large feels natural as if these physical places and these moments in time exist to fulfill the urges within Hido, to express his "need" and his "feeling". In the textures, both grotesque and beautiful... in the obscured vision, in the ice, in the lunar like emptiness, in the rain and in the sleet... the aesthetics act as metaphor and story for emptiness itself, for sorrow, for separation... for isolation.

This is the type of work that emanates from personal and sometimes difficult place... it is crafted from the psyche, it is the psyche... perhaps even more fitting, it is the "landscape of the psyche". It is from these places that this work needs to come... from here that the work needs to persist. One can't escape themselves, one cannot escape their circumstances... one cannot and perhaps should not escape their urges, their compulsions... their need to act. You can't really get away from what it is that drives you for it is in you, it is you. It needs to come from this place and in Todd's case, it does.

While this body of work and book is a continuation or extension of his earlier landscape work (published in the monograph, Roaming, Nazraeli Press (2004), in my feeling, it is a an expansion...

A book contains the summary of ten thousand decisions. It is in these decisions that the physical object is made and in these decisions its essence contained. Hido's decisions have shown themselves to be very reliable. If one can rely on their decisions to make the right "choice", exceptional work cannot help but follow.

Doug Rickard

A Road Divided. Photographs by Todd Hido. Nazraeli Press, Portland, 2010. 64 pp., 28 color illustrations, 14x17".

Brighton Photo Biennial 2010: New Documents

Brighton Photo Biennial announces the full programme entitled New Documents curated by Martin Parr for BPB 2010, the fourth edition of the Biennial, 2 October – 14 November.
Brighton Photo Biennial is the largest and one of the most exciting curated photography festivals in the UK, and, with 58,000 visitors in 2008, one of the best attended in the world.

New Documents will reflect the immediacy and vibrancy of contemporary photographic practice, the eclectic passions found in collections of historic and vernacular photography and new commissions informed and inspired by the diverse communities and contexts of Brighton & Hove.
Martin Parr, the internationally renowned photographer, editor and curator, will curate five exhibitions presenting an exciting programme of commissioned works from internationally celebrated photographers, vernacular images from historic collections and archives produced by commercial and non-professional photographers, and recent work by a new generation of practitioners including a Johannesburg club bouncer, a Senegalese village portraitist, and a Mexican taxi driver.

Artists and photographers include: Wout Berger (NLD), Mohamed Bourouissa (DZA), Alejandro Chaskielberg (ARG), Josef Heinrich Darchinger (DEU), Esteban Pastorino Diaz (ARG), Ju Duoqi (CHN), Stephen Gill (UK), Oscar Fernando Gomez (MEX), Rinko Kawauchi (JPN), Molly Landreth (USA), Oumar Ly (SEN), Dhruv Malhotra (IND), Billy Monk (ZAF), Suzanne Opton (USA), Viviane Sassen (NLD), Alec Soth (USA) and Zoe Strauss (USA).

All the photographs exhibited as part of BPB 2010 will be produced through the Biennial Print Studio established through the support of HP.

The BPB 2010 education programme responds to Parr's curatorial vision. Multi-platform, artist led projects will present projected, texted, installed, moving, mobile and online photographic images during the Biennial period created by young people from Brighton & Hove and across the South East.

Martin Parr, Guest Curator, commented: "I want to make this festival fresh, distinctive and focused on Brighton & Hove. This city is the ideal venue for a Photo Biennial. It has a natural cultural constituency of its own, and its proximity to London promises a potentially huge audience. By presenting the very best new work in an exciting and imaginative way, Brighton Photo Biennial 2010 will continue to put photography in Brighton & Hove on the national and international map."

"As well as presenting the keynote exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, we shall use existing partner venues: Fabrica, Lighthouse, University of Brighton Gallery, and partners, Photoworks, plus premiere new and recent work by international photographer's in an unusual, alternative exhibition space in a central city location. This will be a Biennial that can be viewed by people on foot. BPB 2010 will be the first frame-free photography festival in the world. The images will be pinned onto walls. We are working with a range of commercial partners, including HP, manufacturers of state-of-the-art digital printers, who will make all the prints, Blurb, the creative publishing and marketing platform and in association with The Sunday Times Magazine."

"The Biennial Opening Weekend is a must-attend event for anyone seriously interested in photography. There will be an information and publishers hub at the University of Brighton, with talks by invited photographer's including Alec Soth and Esteban Pastorino Diaz, and panel discussions exploring the impact of the digital on the photographic book, practice and the print. "

BPB 2010 opens 2 October until 14 November 2010. Over 85,000 visitors are expected to attend the curated programme and events across Brighton & Hove and the related programme.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hans-Peter Feldmann at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

After more than 20 years, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is again presenting a comprehensive show of the works of Hans-Peter Feldmann in his home town. The exhibition curated by Gregor Jansen and Elodie Evers shows a broad cross-section of works from the past four decades and new works produced especially for this exhibition.

Since the 1960s, Feldmann (* 1941) has been collecting, archiving, and arranging everyday objects and photographs he has taken himself or found in photo albums, newspapers, and magazines. Seemingly banal, whimsical motifs compose his colourful repertoire. He takes pictures of shoes, sunsets, women's knees, and portraits out of their original context, reassembling them in accordance with preset criteria. Presented in series, the pictures point to a world behind what they portray and construct stories that catalyse both collective and personal memories. They hence offer the viewer opportunities for individual identification. Owing to the omnipresence of reproductions, Feldmann's authorship is not to the fore; he neither signs not limits editions of his works. Feldmann's own version of appropriation art is thus logical for a democratic attitude towards visual art, which knows no distinction between amateur and professional, private and public, other and own. In the view of the artist, pictures belong to everyone.

From the early, small-format booklets with simple, black and white, everyday motifs to the 2002 installation "Shadowplay," Hans-Peter Feldmann presents photographs, sculptures, and installations at the Kunsthalle. They include the portrait series "100 Years." The artist photographed 101 people from among his family and friends. He has created two new works especially for this exhibition: a gigantic paper plane lying on the cinema floor and an old bicycle leaning against the wall. Whether crashed or parked, Feldmann's interventions repeatedly call into question the dividing line between inside and outside, art and life in typical childlike naivete. It is only logical that Feldmann has set up a special space for children in the Kunsthalle where they can paint faces and make their very own "picture books.." He is convinced they produce better works than any artist.

Kunsthalle Düsseldorf
Hans-Peter Feldmann
19 June – 22 August 2010

One of the most engaging shows this northern summer, Dreamlands, curated by Quentin Bajac, is currently showing at Beaubourg (Pompidou Centre) in Paris. The show considers, for the first time, the question of how World’s Fairs, international exhibitions and theme parks have influenced ideas and notions of the city. Duplicating and reduplicating reality through the creation of replicas, embracing an aesthetic of accumulation and collage that is often close to kitsch, these self-enclosed parallel worlds have frequently afforded inspiration to the artistic, architectural and urbanistic practices of the 20th century, and may even be said to have served as models for certain contemporary constructions.
This multidisciplinary exhibition brings together more than 300 works: modern and contemporary art, architecture, films and documents drawn from numerous public and private collections. Designed as an experience both playful and educational, it will offer the first comprehensive exploration of its theme, inviting visitors to think about how the city is imagined and how this imagination finds expression in concrete projects.

World’s Fairs, contemporary theme parks, the Las Vegas of the 1950s and 1960s, 21st century Dubai: all these have helped bring about a profound transformation in our relation to the world, our conceptions of geography, time and history, our ideas about the original and the reproduction, about art and non-art.
The dreamlands of the leisure society have shaped the imagination, nourishing both utopian dreams and artistic productions. But they have also become realities: the pastiche, the copy, the artificial and the fictive have become facts of the environment in which real life is led, and they serve as models for understanding and planning the urban fabric and its social life, blurring the boundaries between imagination and reality.

From Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus pavilion for the New York World’s Fair of 1939 to such manifestoes as Venturi and Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas and Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York (which reads Manhattan through Coney Island’s Dreamland), the 16 sections of the exhibition will trace the history of a complex and problematic relationship.

Dreamlands continues until 9 August. www.centrepompidou.fr

It's a pleasure to continue to receive invitations to exhibition vernissage from Beaubourg even though when I'm in Auckland it's impossible for me to attend. This is more than can be said of some public art institutions closer to home!

La Nouvelle Vague - photography by Raymond Cauchetier

La Nouvelle Vague is an exhibition of iconic photographs of French New Wave Cinema by legendary photographer Raymond Cauchetier currently showing at the James Hyman Gallery in London.
In 1959, Raymond Cauchetier was hired as the on-set photographer for Jean Luc Godard's first feature, A Bout de Souffle. He photographed not only the famous moments, such as Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo walking down the Champs Elysées, Seberg in her New York Herald Tribune t-shirt, but also behind-the-scenes glimpses which document the filmmaking process. Unlike other on-set photographers whose aim was simply to create stills which could be used for publicity purposes, Cauchetier approached the set as a photojournalist, bearing witness to a defining moment in cinematic history. The resulting images offer an incredible insight into the genius of Godard and document his highly unorthodox methods.
Along with A Bout de Souffle, the exhibition includes images from Godard's Une Femme est Une Femme (1960), Jacques Rozier's Adieu Philippine (1960), Jacques Demy's Lola (1960), starring Anouk Aimée, and Francois Truffaut's Jules et Jim (1962) starring Jean Moreau, La Peau Douce (1963) and Baisers Volés (1968). 

The exhibition continues until 28th August 2010.

À bout de souffle (Champs-Élysées), Raymond Cauchetier (1959) - who doesn't know this classic movie and amazing image.