Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rinko Kawauchi and Terri Weifenbach - a collaboration

Following a simple exchange of photographs a collaboration grew and from that an exhibition at Tokyo's IMA Gallery and a bookwork - Gift.

Living in Tokyo and Washington D.C. respectively, Rinko Kawauchi and Terri Weifenbach, are two internationally recognized women photographers, maintaining friendship and contact by exchanging photographs. Kawauchi is one of Japan’s best-known photographers. American Weifenbach is well known for her fantastic and beautiful images of natural landscapes.
They each owned books of the other’s works and began exchanging images via email in 2011. Gift is a result of this photographic exchange. The images were sent as responses, one to another, and as gifts to a faraway friend, the pictures constitute a story of their relationship and communicate the seasons as well as various emotions.

The photographs began to create a line of narrative; in response to Weifenbach’s image of a water surface Kawauchi emails an image of a water drop on tip of a leaf, when Weifenbach sends her an image of grass Kawauchi responds with an image showing silky hair of a child. Such exchanges continued, creating intimate conversation between the two women. Like a gift, the photographs encapsulate thoughts for the other. Through the exchange they share a moment in a passing season, or they remember the moon which both of them witnessed on the same night. The narrative woven through their photographic conversation invites the viewer into a lyrical and mysterious world.

Here are some of the correspondances:

Terri Weifenbach

Rinko Kawauchi

Terri Weifenbach

Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi

Terri Weifenbach
The exhibition at IMA Gallery Tokyo continues until June 22. The photobook Gift can be purchased from the galleries online store or from UK's PHOTOBOOKSTORE, where you can see a vimeo presentation of the book.


Friday, May 30, 2014

VESTIGIOS INVISIBLES at Espai d'art contemporani de Castelló, Spain

Xavier Ribas - Una Voce Unica e Inevitabile (2014)

Opening today and running until August 31st, the exhibition Vestigios invisibles (Invisible Traces) presents photographs by Mark Adams, Ana Teresa Ortega, Xavier Ribas, Ann Shelton and Vicente Tirado which record territories that were once the scene of events of which they are no visible traces left to photograph. These images ask us to rethink the representation of landscape and its memory.

For its theoretical framework the exhibition returns to the notion of late photography as expounded by David Campany, who defines it as follows: “These images appear to us as particularly static, often sombre and quite ‘straight’ kinds of pictures. They assume an aesthetic of utility closer to forensic photography than traditional photojournalism.” In Campany’s view, this type of photography is the trace of a trace and “a kind of photograph that foregoes the representation of events in progress and so cedes them to other media,” taking on the role of the “undertaker, summariser or accountant.” Contrary to the notion of the decisive moment introduced by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1952, late photography “turns up late, wanders through the places where things have happened, totting up the effects of the world’s activity.”
It's nice to see a show with fellow New Zealanders Mark Adams and Ann Shelton, showing with my friend Xavier Ribas.

The Espai d'art contemporani de Castelló is a centre for the production and dissemination of contemporary art, under Proyecto Castelló Cultural and the Consorcio de Museos de la Comunidad Valenciana, two public bodies belonging to the Generalitat Valenciana, the Valencian regional government.

Ann Shelton, installation view

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Australia - Photography is Alive and Well

It was a pleasure to spend a few days in Melbourne  and Sydney this last week. I had been invited to give a talk on the photobook at Melbourne's Photography Studies College. This is an amazing organisation with a 40 year history, where the calibre of the teachers, students and facilities blew me away. In Sydney I participated in a panel discussion at Photobook Day at the Museum of Contemporary Art, ably organised by Daniel Boetker-Smith founder of Melbourne's Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive.

In my experience, often at these events I never get to see much photography because inevitably one gets wrapped up in meeting people and talking to photo friends.
However all was not lost, as generously, two Melbourne based photographers gave me copies of their latest bookworks. Both these artists are working at a high level, with passion and an authenticity that shines through in the work.

Robyn Daly has produced an enviable body of work. She still shoots on film and moves with ease from colour work to black and white. Her bookwork COLLINGWOOD (Volume One) is well worth a look.

Kristian Laemmle-Ruff's new and first photobook, In the Folds of the Hills is set in the secluded valleys of Lima, Victoria. The work in this series presents a seldom seen side of Australian rural life and delves beneath the surface of the lives of the rich characters living and working on the land.

Vanessa Winship at Fundacion Mapfre

Sweet Nothings: Schoolgirls of Eastern Anatolia, 2007

The work of Vanessa Winship (b. 1960, Barton-upon-Humber, UK) focuses on issues such as frontier, identity, vulnerability and the body. Since the 1990s Winship has worked in regions including the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Caucasus, places associated in the collective imagination with the instability and darkness of recent history and with the volatility of borders and identities. Her series offer a reflection on how the course of history moulds the shapes of the landscape and leaves its mark on its inhabitants' bodies, features and gestures. Travel and her encounters with the Other are thus central to her life and photographic output.

Winship's images place most emphasis on the powerful presence of a human landscape which imposes itself on political and social conflicts and emerges from among the ruins of vanishing worlds. The vestiges of a recent past (buildings, commemorative sculpture and means of transport) seem to proceed in the opposite direction to the people moving among them. Winship thus depicts the mythical and legendary component that roots these places in civilisation and history but simultaneously destabilises them. As a result, she forges a link between the archaic and a present that seems to lies abandoned by the wayside as progress passes by. The historical events that have marked these regions are evoked, but Winship places most emphasis on each one's micro-history: leisure activities, interiors of schools, working conditions and different forms of socialising and religious worship.

Using an aesthetic located between elegy and celebration, the photographs that Vanessa Winship produced until 2011 chart a personal map of Europe's edges and their points of contact with Asia. Her particular working method has given rise to series such as Imagined States and Desires. A Balkan Journey; Black Sea. Between Chronicle and Fiction; Sweet Nothings: Schoolgirls of Eastern Anatolia; and Georgia. Seeds Carried by the Wind. All of them involve a movement from public to private space and from the immediacy of a specific event to the construction of a posed portrait.

In 2011 Winship was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Henri Cartier-Bresson Prize for photography. Her winning project was she dances on Jackson. United States, a series that focuses on signs of the decline of the American Dream, visible in both the surface of the land and in human features and body language. In 2014, commissioned by FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE, Winship travelled to Almería (Spain) in order to represent its remarkable geographical diversity, rootlessness and variable fortunes and history. These last two projects reveal a progressive disappearance of human forms and the emergence of a landscape that becomes eloquent through its apparent silence and immobility. The sense of a frontier territory, the vulnerability of the land and the weight of the past suggested in Almería. Where Gold Was Found closely connect this region to the other parts of the world that have been the subject of Vanessa Winship's photographic gaze.

Exhibition opens May 30 until August 31st

Bárbara de Braganza Exhibition Hall / Calle Bárbara de Braganza / Madrid / Spain

Humber, 2010

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Metropolitan Museum NYC provides free access to digital Images from the Museum's renowned collection


The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just announced that more than 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s world-renowned collection may be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use. The images can be used at no charge, without getting permission from the museum. In making this announcement, the Met joined other world-class museums in putting put large troves of digital art online.

To nominate just one example, The Steerage, made in 1907 by Alfred Steiglitz is available, complete with a detailed description of the work.

As proprietor of the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession and publisher of the photographic journals Camera Notes and Camera Work, Alfred Stieglitz was a major force in the promotion and elevation of photography as a fine art in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Steerage is considered Stieglitz's signature work, and was proclaimed by the artist and illustrated in histories of the medium as his first "modernist" photograph. It marks Stieglitz's transition away from painterly prints of Symbolist subjects to a more straightforward depiction of quotidian life.

The Steerage began its life as a masterpiece four years after its creation, with Stieglitz's publication of it in a 1911 issue of Camera Work devoted exclusively to his photographs in the "new" style, together with a Cubist drawing by Picasso. Stieglitz loved to recount how the great painter had praised the collagelike dispersal of forms and shifting depths of The Steerage. Canonized retroactively, the photograph allowed Stieglitz to put his chosen medium on par with the experimental European painting and sculpture he imported and exhibited so presciently at his gallery. In 1915, he lavishly reprinted the image in large-scale photogravure on both vellum and japanese paper for inclusion in his last magazine, 291.

The Steerage, 1907, Alfred Stieglitz, (American, Hoboken, New Jersey 1864–1946 New York), printed in or before 1913. Medium: Photogravure. Dimensions: 32.2 x 25.8 cm (12 11/16 x 10 3/16)

Museum Folkwang - (Mis)Understanding Photography

Aneta Grzeszykowska Untitled Film Stills #3, 2006
Running from June 14 through until August 17, (Mis)Understanding Photography – Works and Manifestos, is a large-scale exhibition of key contemporary photo-works, projects, films and installations by a wide range of artists, Tacita Dean, Hans-Peter Feldmann, John Hilliard, Erik Kessels, Sherrie Levine, Ugo Mulas, Barbara Probst, Timm Rautert, Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tillmans, Timm Ulrichs, Gillian Wearing, Christopher Williams and more than thirty others, takes for granted photography's centrality in contemporary art.

Ever since its invention 175 years ago artists have consistently questioned the nature of photography. Today artists acutely aware of the omnipresence of photographic images produce works exploring numerous aspects of photography: its materiality, its popularism, its psychological impact, its claims to objectivity, and its force in mass media. Against a familiar backdrop of the accelerating disappearance of analog photography and the simultaneously triumphal progress of digital photography, these works explore new ways of re-picturing and inhabiting that history.

(Mis)Understanding Photography presents a history of photography wild and ironic, melancholic and resolved at the same time it sets sights on the old longings and obsessions that people still connect with the camera.
Within this exhibition is another exhibition – Manifestos – presenting groundbreaking texts by those who are always the most radical writers on photography: photographers themselves. László Moholy-Nagy, August Sander, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Martha Rosler and Germaine Krull and many others wrote strong declarative texts – in a 20th century context of avantgarde movements deeply wound up with photography announcing their intentions in seminal publications of all sorts and even radio broadcasts exhorting readers and listeners to see the world with new eyes through the new medium. Reflected in an elaborate spatial scenography, the manifestos are displayed alongside photographic incunabula of their authors.

Museum Folkwang, Museumsplatz 1, 45128 Essen 

Kenneth Josephson New York State, 1970

Newsprint Awards 2014 Recipients

The winners of the 2014 Newsprint Award have been announced. The overall winner is:

Noi Satirat Damampai with her project The War Within and runners up, Nobert Goertz with No Mans Land and Miro with I'm Lost in The World.
Noi Satirat Damampai was born in Hadyai, southern Thailand, where she is currently based.  Noi holds a Bachelor degree in Economics from Thammasat University in Bangkok and started a professional career as a journalist and photographer for various English-language publications in Southeast Asia 2005. As one of the judges for the Award I was asked to comment: It was a great pleasure to be involved as a judge in the 2014 Newsprint Award organized by Victor Sira in New York, Shiori Kawasaki in Tokyo and Reminders Photography Stronghold (Yumi Goto and Masaru Goto) Tokyo. Overall I was impressed with the high level of work. The stand-out winner, Thai photographer Noi Satirat Damampai exhibited a superb depth of understanding in the treatment of her project, which she developed with integrity and authenticity. Called THE WAR WITHIN the project deals with the struggles of the Karen ethnic group. The work was sensitively realized in a manner that went beyond the usual presentation of documentary work and what's more the design of the book-work was in perfect harmony with the newsprint medium. Below are some spreads from Noi Satirat Damampai's project The War Within.

FotoBookFestival - Dummy Award 2014

The FotoBookFestival Kassel have announced the 48 shortlisted works for the Photobook Dummy Award 2014. The Festival invited photographers to present their so-far unpublished photobooks to an international public and to eminent experts. The best 48 books were selected by a pre-jury and will be exhibited at international photo events in Athens, Cologne, Dublin, Madrid, Milano, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Paraty and Sao Paulo. From these 48 titles, 3 winners will be chosen by an international jury of experts at the PhotoBookMuseum Cologne on Saturday, 23. August. The winner of the First Prize will be given the opportunity to realize the dummy as a real book in cooperation with production their partner, k-books, Germany, and will be reported on in the magazine European Photography. The First Prize also includes, apart from the book production, the presentation of the photobook-work during the next Fotobookfestival in Kassel in 2015. The Second Prize is a book production voucher valued at € 500; the Third Prize is a voucher valued at € 300 given by k-books.

The shortlisted photobooks were chosen by Tamara Berghmans (Fotomuseum Antwerpen), Angel Luis Gonzales Fernandez (PhotoIreland Dublin), Sebastian Hau (Le Bal Books Paris), Jeffrey Ladd (Photographer Cologne), Dieter Neubert (Fotobookfestival Kassel), Markus Schaden (ThePhotoBookMuseum Cologne) and Stephanie von Spreter (Fotogalleriet Oslo).

You can see the list of finalists HERE.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The PHOTOBOOK at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, this coming Sunday, May 25, will host PHOTOBOOK DAY curated by the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive.

Australia’s photobook community is under one roof for one day only, alongside the MCA’s 2014 Zine Fair. The Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive has brought together the nation’s leading photobook publishers and editors, alongside the leading indie and street photobook producers and makers to sell, show and discuss their works. This event will feature book signings, launches and a free seminar on contemporary photobooks in Australia. You will also be able to browse the incredible collection of DIY, limited edition, POD, and handmade books from the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive.
Exhibitors include M.33, Perimeter Books, Mack, Bloom, The Photography Room, Heavy Collective, Pearce Press, Blurb, Momento Pro and many more.

Between 3 and 4.30pm on Sunday MCA will host in the Veolia Lecture Theatre a panel discussion and Q&A session featuring well known Australian and International photobook and magazine distributors, publishers, editors and producers. The theme of the conversation will be around the current rise of the photobook internationally as a new creative mode and avenue for the dissemination of photographic work that brings with it great opportunities as well as significant challenges.
Panellists include Ying Ang, Helen Frajman (M.33), Dan Rule (Perimeter Books), Harvey Benge, Benjamin Chadbond (Try Hard Magazine) and Daniel Boetker-Smith (APPA). Chair: Prof Christoper Stewart (UTS).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Photographs - some thoughts on evaluating images

On Friday I gave a presentation at the Auckland Writers Festival (What's a photographer doing at a writers festival?) talking about my approach to evaluating photographs and the system I've developed to separate images into what I call the WTF ones, that is, those that work and the SW ones, those that don't. In others words, photographs that surprise and are layered with meaning and others that are dead in the water, boring with nothing to say.

I made a check list of fifteen things to consider. I thought the list would be worth repeating. Here goes:

1. The content, have an idea and think about what the pictures say.

2. The form, think about what the pictures look like.

3. Consider the context of the pictures, enough or too much.

4. Consider the sweet spot or punctum.

5. Consider the value of signifiers.

6. Avoid making decoration.

7. Don't make boring pictures.

8. Don't make a picture that somebody else has made already.

9. Don't make obvious photographs.

10. Avoid making cliches.

11. Don't make silly juxstapositions.

12. Avoid the one trick pony type of photograph.

13. Make pictures that are intelligent not clever.

14. Avoid fashion for fashions sake.

15. Make the work for yourself, if a few other people like the work, that's a bonus not a given.

I'm sure this list is just the start and there are many other things to think about as well. And finally to paraphrase what Duane Michals says, rules, what are they, break em.

Prix Pictet Award announcement, London, May 21st

The award ceremony for the Prix Pictet Consumption will take place at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on 21 May 2014. The exhibition of work by the artists shortlisted
will open to the public on Thursday May 22. The artists:

Adam Bartos, Motoyuki Daifu, Rineke Dijkstra, Hong Hao,
Mishka Henner, Juan Fernando Herrán, Boris Mikhailov,
Abraham Oghobase, Michael Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Laurie Simmons

Founded by the Pictet Group in 2008, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. The award aims to uncover outstanding photography applied to confront the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today.
The Prix Pictet has two elements: the prize of CHF 100,000 awarded to the photographer who, in the opinion of the independent jury, has produced a series of work that speaks most powerfully to the theme of the award; and the Commission, awarded by the Partners of the Pictet Group, in which a nominated photographer is invited to undertake a field trip to a region where Pictet is supporting a sustainability project.

Rineke Dijkstra - Almerisa

Saturday, May 17, 2014

LEWIS BALTZ - Common Objects at LE BAL, Paris


From May 23 to August 24, 2014, LE BAL Paris, presents a major exhibition devoted to the work of American photographer and Paris resident Lewis Baltz .
Designed by Dominique Païni, David Campany and Diane Dufour and in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition will return to Baltz's most remarkable series The Prototype Works (1967-1976) to Nightwatch (1992-1995) and to consider the first time the influence of cinema on the formation of the work .
This is the first exhibition in France dedicated to the artist since the retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris in 1993. Exposure at LE BAL follows exhibitions that that have recently showcased the work of Baltz - in the United States at Art Institute of Chicago, 2010; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2011; and Europe Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, 2012 and Albertina, Vienna, 2013.
The various series - The Prototype Works (1967-1976), Tract Houses (1969 -1971), Nevada (1977), Continuous Fire Polar Circle (1986), Candlestick Point (1987-1989), Sites of Technology (1989-1991) and Nightwatch (1992-1995) will be exhibited next to a number of film clips from directors Alfred Hitchcock,  Michelangelo Antonioni and Jean-Luc Godard.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book co-published by Steidl and LE BAL, designed by artist Pierre Hourquet. 

Harvey Benge - artist talk Photography Studies College Melbourne

I'm going to be in Melbourne next Thursday, May 22 and will be talking at the Photography Studies College on Southbank. This is what the school says:

Photographer, prolific photobook maker and publisher Harvey Benge will be visiting Melbourne for one night to discuss his photographic practice, and the photobook.
Harvey Benge is a New Zealand-based photographer who since the early 1990s has been working between Auckland and Paris.

Harvey has released numerous photobook works with publishers in Britain, France and Germany. He is also particularly interested in print-on-demand possibilities and has self-published a number of limited edition photobooks under his own imprint FAQEDITIONS.

Harvey has also conducted workshops alongside Sandra Phillips, Lewis Baltz, John Gossage, Alec Soth, Rineke Dijkstra, Todd Hido, Paul Graham, Pieter Hugo, Quentin Bajac, Antoine d'Agata and many others.

He has new books coming out soon with Dewi Lewis (UK) and with Superlabo (Japan).

The talk will take place at Photography Studies College, 6pm in the studio, Ground Floor, City Rd, Southbank, Melbourne.

Looking forward to being back in Melbourne and meeting some Australian photographers.

Douglas Ljungkvist category winner PDN Photo Awards 2014


It was a pleasure to discover that the Ocean Beach monograph by New York photographer Douglas Ljungkvist,  with text by both Steve Bisson and me is a 2014 PDN Photo Annual Winner, in the photo-book category! Nice work Douglas.