i'm off for a long overdue vacation, so i can tell you in advance that i will definitely not being posting next week. have a safe and happy labor day.
Friday, August 31, 2007
after encouraging mark to look at uta barth's work i decided to take another look at her myself and was reminded how much i really want to purchase her self titled monograph. she has published several books, but this one has a text written by joan didion so it especially interests me. since i love them both.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
my friend mark diehl posted this on his myspace page. this is what i posted below it:
"this reminds me of uta barth. she's more interested in the act of seeing than in the poetic meaning behind her imagery. which is ironic since many people find her images to be very poetic."
leave it to me to lecture my friends about photography via myspace.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
i came across justin james reed's photos quite a while ago, and i've been trying to write something about him for as much time. i visited his website. i read his blog. i went back to the website. but the writer's block persisted.
his most recent body of work is of philadelphia, my home town, which i think is what complicated the situation. i had trouble disentangling my feelings for the city with my feelings for the work. both of which i like very much. the picture above is a quintessential image of philiadelphia to me: trash plastered to a baseball fence on a cloudy fall day amidst a pile of leaves that no one will ever bother to rake up.
the image below on the other hand presented a bigger problem. it reminded me somehow more of a european city than it did philly. the warm, glow-time light clashed with my memories of the place. laundry hanging in the sun? in philly? where?
yet i've seen all manner of photographs of philadelphia. why wouldnt't these images settle? so i spent some time looking at justin's serene images of the midwestern united states. greeted with skillfully rendered gestures and some rather stunning landscapes, i was left to conclude that he carried some quiet and tranquility across the country with him. to philadelphia. a place not especially well known for it's tranquility. you can see the contradiction i was facing.
but finally i found his artist statement on the hey hot shot! website:
i became interested in the relationship between evacuated spaces, and contained lives in the cityscape...through juxtaposition of portraits with the lived environment a more personal vision of this hostile terrain presents itself. by focusing on south philadelphia’s individual aspects, i am documenting the place that i see, and am now proud to call home.
is there anything more philadelphian than a little south philly pride? i think not.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
the website of maría martínez-cañas reads like a retrospective. her many series of work are archived in full and organized chronologically. there is also a comprehensive section of essays that i found very satisfying.
i just wish i had known about this work or read the following excerpt when i was working on my thesis:
photomontage (and its sometimes indistinguishable partner, collage) has proven itself an ideal instrument for radical esthetic thinking, political commentary and protest, advertising design, and even pure formalism. Coincidentally, many of the artists associated with its modern practices were at one time refugees, exiles, or expatriates, among them moholy, man ray, max ernst, herbert bayer, and r. b. kitaj. martínez-cañas has said of her own photomontages that they focus on issues of identity and attempt “to create new memories that have to do with who I am.” The linkage is not hard to grasp. memory is itself a kind of montage, a fragmentary, selective quilt of impressions and experiences from which we fashion a history of ourselves. what photomontage does is assemble diverse images into a larger, integral whole that has its own identity as an image; memory does much the same, creating an integral sense of identity out of the fragments of the past.
-- andy grundberg
i layer my imagery in camera, but the sentiment still fits.
above, hortus x; below, opuestos
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
somehow i managed to get tagged again. mackenzie tagged me last week and i am just now getting around to responding. since i was already tagged so recently, i decided to limit this set of responses to 8 photographers that have changed my life dramatically (as dramatically as any photographer can i guess):
1/ julia margaret cameron was one of the first fine art photographers i was ever exposed to. i find this odd considering she is not exactly mainstream, but her work stuck with me non the less.
2/ in moments of inspirational need, i inevitably turn to emmet gowin's photos of edith. i can't seem to help myself.
3/ not only have i spent endless hours with john szarkowski's idea of louis sullivan, but i have read so many books with his forward or curatorial expertise that i can't imagine my photography education without him.
4/ robert frank and his ingeniously poetic the americans (through which i learned how photography can utilize sequence among many, many other things), allowed me for the first time to identify photography, and more importantly my own work, as a narrative means of expression.
5/ nan goldin and stephen shore, an odd pairing perhaps, both gave me insight into alternative ways to photograph my life as memoir. it took me several attempts to understand the subtle power of nan goldin's images, and now i can't understand what took me so long.
6/ lee friedlander. it wasn't until being forced to look through every image of sticks and stones while huddled over my teacher's shoulder that i ever fully understood how a formal photograph was composed (actually stephen shore could similarly be cited here as well).
7/ ralph eugene meatyard might just be my all time favorite photographer. the image below, cranston ritchie, 1964, is the first photograph of his i ever saw, and it's probably my least favorite. i love meatyard not just for his mysterious and haunting imagery, but because he seems like just the kind of quirky guy i would have gotten a kick out of. for example, i read that one of his favorite pastimes was searching the phone book for individuals with wildly eccentric names.
8/ lastly doug and mike starn. their moth pictures stop my heart a little every time i see them. also, i work for them now, so that's about as a dramatic an effect as any photographer can have.
for the record, this was much harder than i expected it to be. it hurts me to think about the photographers i left out.
(i am going to break precedent and not choose 8 bloggers to tag. mainly because i already tagged the three bloggers i could think of last time, and only one of them participated.)
Monday, August 13, 2007
we embarked on this project about a year ago when we found ourselves surrounded by artwork that seemed to be hopelessly lacking in sincerity, inspiration, and mystery. we felt frustrated that cleverness seemed to hold more weight than substance, and distressed that the shared experience of simply being human had become totally irrelevant. At best, the art world seemed like nothing special. at worst, art appeared to be mired in a swamp of its own making. we felt compelled to remind everyone (including ourselves) that art is for the the people who make it and for the people who choose to experience it--not for an ambiguous elite whose true identity remains to be known.
the artists selected for this show are all people who we feel understand the idea that amazing art is created from a place where intuition works in tandem with ideas, where the final piece expresses something intangible and (at the risk of sounding silly) kind of magical.
i compared this section of the show's statement to what i wrote about the first installment:
these nostalgic, washed out pictures, unexpectedly composed in pinks and blues, draw from a collective visual vocabulary of seascapes, forests, and dreams. the images seem to have been selected with great care, as each series of photographs builds upon the same ideas as the last. as if all the images were cast into a bag, pulled out one by one, and then set carefully into place independently of their owners.
i was trying to talk about fairytale as inspiration without directly saying it, as much of the art references fairytales without exactly showing it. the idea of artwork having a magical quality is probably the singular driving force for me in making art. i like artwork that gives me chills, and for me, nothing does that more piercingly than a photograph. i am instinctually drawn to, and make, the kind of dark mysterious imagery celebrated in this show.
interestingly, all but one of the four photographers featured in this exhibit (which also showcases four other visual artists) is a flickr alumni: bryan schutmaat (aka last leaf), celia perrin sidarous (aka lying with the wolf), and sara a. trembeley (aka sarasme). it was exciting for me having looked at many of these photographers and many of these very images before, to see them recast in a new light because i think the greatest strength of this project is miranda and kamden's nack for manipulating the work they choose into a new harmonious piece of art.
below image by lina scheynius
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
after much anticipation (and a considerable amount of designing and redesigning), alissa and i are ever so happy to announce that bluebird-photography, the official website, is now up and running!
i would like to extend a most gracious thank you to the amazing charlie cottone for designing the site for us. if you are in the market for a web designer, i highly recommend him.
so, without further ado: bluebird-photography