Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Power of the Image - 3 searches in 2 places

We in the West take so much for granted. And still we complain. Check out the comparisons below and feel compassion and be very grateful...

Google search - car Sweden

Google search - car Syria

Google search - house Sweden

Google search - house Syria

Google search - children Sweden

Google search - children Syria

Friday, January 30, 2015

John Gossage - Three Routines at the Art Institute of Chicago

John Gossage - Untitled, 1982/89
Currently showing at Chicago's Art Institute and running until May 3, the show is the first museum survey of American photographer John Gossage’s career ever mounted. This “retrospective in a room” brings together several decades’ worth of work to show three distinct ways, or routines, in which the artist has approached photography.
One routine concentrates on his intensely productive time in Berlin in the 1980s; on display are two dozen images from the nearly 600 that make up his Berlin series, which the Art Institute is fortunate to own in its entirety. The second routine comes from Gossage’s recent year spent traveling the United States on a prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, making portraits of art students and capturing views in smaller towns and cities, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Rochester, Minnesota. The third offers a “medley” of images from across his career, which he began in his teenage years as a student of Lisette Model, Alexey Brodovich, and Bruce Davidson. In addition to highlighting the various photographic methods Gossage has used throughout his career, the exhibition includes a reading table with a selection of the artist’s publications, showcasing his talents as a consummate printer and an ingenious book artist.

Installation pictures above by Jim Iska.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Picture editing and how images speak to each other

The Kuleshov Effect
Much has been written about the business of film production from scripting to editing and inbeween, looking at ways to present a story that will be understood by the audience and has the power to be both surprising and involving.

Screenwriter, playwright and director David Mamet's wonderful little book - On Directing Film - is a good example of an acknowledged expert talking about his craft. Mamet proposes that stories should be told not with words, but through the juxtaposition of uninflected images. The best films, Mamet argues, are composed of simple shots. He says that the great filmmaker understands that the burden of cinematic storytelling lies less in the individual shot than in the collective meaning that shots convey when they are edited together.

The Soviet film editor Lev Kuleshov in the 1920s developed a technique, known now as The Kuleshov Effect. Kuleshov put a film together, showing the expression of an actor, edited together with a plate of soup, a dead woman, and a woman on a recliner. Audiences praised the subtle acting, showing an almost imperceptible expression of hunger, grief, or lust in turn. The reality, of course, is that the same clip of the actor's face was re-used, and the effect is created entirely by its superimposition with other images.
The famous shower scene from Psycho is often used as an example of this trope. After watching it, everyone immediately understands that Janet Leigh's character has been stabbed to death, but if you slow it down, only three frames actually show a knife piercing flesh (this is fast enough to count as subliminal messaging). The audience's understanding of what has taken place comes entirely from the way the images and sound are arranged, not from the actual content.

In photobook terms it is clear to most that a series of photographs create a whole where the sum of the parts has the potential to be greater than the impact of individual images. As far as I know little has been written about photobook editing and sequencing. Many of the photobooks I've looked at present a picture sequence that seems purely arbitrary. For example if one accepts the need to provide "breathing space" in a sequence often the blank page occurs on the right with picture on the left. Seemingly treated in this manner purely on the basis of intuition. Alternatively a photographer like Daido Moriyama rarely, if ever, has white pages in any of his books. In the absence of accepted photobook theory, chance, taste and experiment become the benchmarks.

Perhaps it's time that still photographers look more closely at motion picture editing and montage in terms of what that artform might be able to bring to the photobook.

Hitchcock on The Kuleshov Effect
You can see Hitchcock's Kuleshov Effect comments on YouTube HERE.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

David Cook - Meet Me in the Square


David Cook is a photographer whose work I like and admire. David is a lecturer based at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Most of his projects deal with contested space, community and ecology.

Meet Me In the Square is David Cook's new bookwork which is his response to him hearing the news of the earthquake which struck his hometown of Christchurch on 22 February 2011. David recalls... When I heard the news... I flew back to see my family and to survey the damage. Much of the central city had collapsed, or was damaged beyond repair. Returning to Hamilton I unearthed an archive of around 6000 photographs I'd made in Christchurch during the mid 1980's. Mesmerised by these images I started to rebuild my version of the city.

Meet Me in the Square is a stunningly realised work both in content and design. David Cook's photographs are a lovingly objective gaze at a city he called home. The images present a quietly uninflected view of the city with none of the lame jokey image making that still seems to persist in this sort of photography. Cook's images seem effortless as if the photographs just appeared in front of a locked-off camera. The work is intelligent, thoughtful and rewarding. It deserves a wide audience.

The Christchurch Art Gallery will be exhibiting Meet Me in the Square, opening 31 January, running until 24 May.

And the book: 
Meet Me in the Square: Christchurch 1983-1987 / Published by Christchurch Art Gallery /
Designed by Jonty Valentine / 180 pages / 275mm x 210mm / hardcover and flexicover

You can get a copy from the Christchurch Art Gallery shop HERE.

You can check out more of David Cook's work on his website HERE.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Printed Matter's LA ART BOOK FAIR 2015

Printed Matter presents the third annual LA Art Book Fair, from January 30 - February 1, 2015, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

A preview will be held on the evening of Thursday, January 29, 2015, from 6 to 9 pm, at the Geffen Contemporary, with special musical performances by NO AGE and PRINCE RAMA.

Entry to the Preview will cost $10, and includes a Ticket Edition by artist Edie Fake, while supplies last. Purchase here!

Free and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers. Last year’s LA Art Book Fair saw 25,000 visitors over the course of three and a half days.

Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in New York. In September 2014, over 35,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and enthusiasts attended Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR.

You can check out the full list of exhibitors HERE.

Hours and Location / Preview: Thursday, January 29, 6–9 pm / Friday January 30th, 12–7pm / Saturday January 31st, 11-7pm / Sunday February 1st, 11-6pm

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA / 152 North Central Avenue / Los Angeles, CA 90012

Saturday, January 24, 2015



The inaugural PHOTO BOOK MELBOURNE kicks off in a few weeks and promises to be a full-on offering for anybody who is addicted to the photobook. And plenty for those with just a passing interest as well. With exhibitions, a book fair, workshops, talks and studio visits, there is something for everybody.

Organised by Heidi Romano and Daniel Boetker-Smith, who bring to the festival a dynamic combination of curatorial, educational and artist based skills. 

They describe the festival as: A contemporary photobook festival... a the product of observation, conversation and collaboration.
With a deep passion for photography, typography and the printed book, we have curated a festival to engage, challenge and educate a photographic audience. A festival to exchange views on experimentation, curation and collaboration. Research through process and practice.
Photobook Melbourne is an artist-run, not for profit organization dedicated to creating a platform for experimental and innovative artistic photography and book making practices. A platform for artists, bookmakers and book lovers to discuss, examine and appreciate marvellous imagery and outstanding storytelling.
We will bring together expertise and insight directly from the world’s greatest photographers, graphic designers, curators, publishers & printers. Our aim is to share their knowledge with professional photographers, passionate amateurs and the inquisitive book lover. Initiating conversations about the nature of self publishing, form and function, practice and process.

On Monday February 16 at 6.00pm at the Photography Studies College I will lead a 60 mins discussion on how local photographers can publish a photo book for international distribution. The discussion will touch on different publishing models, what sells and doesn’t, who collects and reviews them, what makes them successful and new opportunities.

Panelists include Stephen Dupont, Ingvar Kenne, Louise Hawson, Dan Rule of Perimeter Books, Angel Luis Gonzalez of Photo Ireland, Paulina de Laveaux of Thames & Hudson.

You can see more including the full programme HERE.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Art Blogs well worth a look - a list from Art F City


Art F City creates and archives critical discourse, and commissions ambitious artist projects. Through a daily mix of blunt criticism, commentary and community-minded journalism, they add an unparalleled dosage of purposeful opinion to the contemporary art community.
Art is without a public purpose if it is not tested and understood. To this end, Art F City provides a moderated public forum across comment threads, artist essays, and roundtable criticism. Their nine-year archives provide an extensive historical record of that discourse.

Art F City have created a blogroll that includes a heap of different sources and resources. More than enough art for everybody. Included are magazine style art blogs, single-author blogs, online art journals and more... here is the single-author list. You call see all by going HERE.

Active Single-Author Blogs
About Last Night, Terry Teachout
Art Blog Art Blog, Joshua Abelow
The Art Law Blog, Donn Zaretsky
Art Law Office, Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento
Art Sucks, Coco Art Juggernaut
Blake Gopnik (Content also published on artnet News)
Chris Rusak
Culture Grrl (Began on Blogspot, but quickly moved to Arts Journal)
Dennis Hollingworth
Ed Winkleman
Fette, Sans, Greg Allen
HaberArts, John Haber
I Like This Art, Jordan Tate
In Terms Of, Christopher Howard
Jerry Magoo (Group blog run by artists)
Joanie Gagnon San Chirico
Lorna Mills and Sally McKay
Latent Image, Max Marshall
Let My People Show,Robin Cembalest
The Modern Art Notes Podcast, Tyler Green
Newgrist, Joy Garnett
A New Nothing, Brian Ulrich
Prosthetic Knowledge, Rich Olegsby
Real Clear Arts, Judith Dobrzynski
Tom Moody (plus archives)
Uhutrust, Michaela Eichwald

Art F City provides a great ART fix be sure to check them out...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

FotoBookFestival Kassel - Book Dummy Award now open


The 7th FotoBookFestival Kassel invites all photographers to present their thus-far unpublished photobooks to an international public and to eminent experts. In 2015 the best 50 books will be shortlisted by a pre-jury and will be exhibited at international photo events in Kassel, Dublin, Madrid, Oslo, Paris, Rome and São Paulo. From these 50 titles, 3 winners will be chosen by an international jury of experts at the Fotobookfestival Kassel in June.

The winner of the First Prize will be given the opportunity to realize their dummy as a published  book in cooperation with the festival's production 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 Fotobookfestival in Kassel in 2016. The Second Prize is a book production voucher valued at € 500; the Third Prize is a voucher valued at € 300 given by our partner, k-books.  

You can find out more and enter HERE.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Art-Writing Clichés to avoid this year...

In today's newsletter artnet news lists 30 Art-Writing Clichés to ditch in the New Year. Here are some of my pet hates. You can read the full list at artnet news HERE.

This is a paradoxical term in that the people who know what “deconstruction" actually was will probably roll their eyes. But the air of theoretical sophistication that it brings seems to me the main reason that it is so overused. Saying that Marilyn Minter's book featuring photography of female pubic hair "simultaneously deconstructs and glamorizes her subject" seems rather gratuitous, no?
Specifically as it refers to the artist's intention: “She explores ideas of…." In general, if something is still in the exploration phase, then I would give it some more time before writing about it.
informed by
To me, when a writer says that an artist's work was “informed by" a certain set of ideas, that can be translated to, “What this show was about was unclear to me—but then I read the press release and it said the artist had read something."
an inquiry into
This is similar to 16, above, but more ambitious. Still, saying an art show is “an inquiry into notions of X and Y…" is a good way to make it sound like a B term paper.
This is so common it hurts every time I read it. It makes art sound literally torturous.

The embroidered clichés shown top and bottom are from artist Lisa Bowen. You can see more of her work HERE.

Monday, January 19, 2015

PHOTOBOOKSTORE - Photobook update

UK's PHOTOBOOKSTORE lists a host of new photobook arrivals in their January 16 mailout. Included is Antoine d'Agata's new book Fukushima from Super Labo.

Many Japanese photographers have found themselves moved to photograph the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. French photographer Antoine d’Agata visited the area in 2014, and produced a body of work quite different to other reactions to the disaster.  Through photographing an extensive typology of abandoned houses, a moved d’Agata explored his own reaction to the devastated scene he faced. As he elaborates in the book’s foreword. “The void surrounds me and eats my belly. Through the clear glass of the car window, everything is grey…. Abandoned houses face the sea and the wind in the desert contaminated landscape. Being there, breathing cold air, memories of an outside world slowly dissolved into the crisp reality of boredom.”  Published by Super Labo as a slip-cased hardback edition of 500 copies, each copy of Fukushima comes with a signed and numbered certificate. Our copies of the book are also signed and dated on the book itself by Antoine. Fukushima by Antoine d’Agata is in stock now here.  

There is a video run through of Fukushima which you can see HERE.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Werner Herzog - some thoughts on filmmaking and life


In 1982 Werner Herzog wrote and directed the movie Fitzcarrraldo which starred the eccentric Klaus Kinski. The film tells the story of how a steamship was dragged over a step hill to access rich rubber territory. I've been reading Conquest of the Useless Herzog's account of this adventure - it's a testament to his vision, endurance and courage.

Todays posting from the wonderful Open Culture offers 24 pieces of advice from Werner Herzog about life and filmmaking. Many of Herzog's suggestions apply equally to the business of still photography. Here they are:

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

There are lots of Herzog' links on the Open Culture post and on their home page more art and cultural material than you can ever get your head around.

You can see the Fitzcarraldo trailer on YouTube HERE.