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Showing posts from January, 2014

Carrie Mae Weems

In the mid 90s Carrie Mae Weems (recent MAN interview) "was invited by The J. Paul Getty Museum to comb through their photography collection. She selected from nineteenth and twentieth century photographs of black men and women, from the time they were forced into slavery in the United States to the present, then rephotographed the pictures, enlarged them, and toned them in red. Each photograph is framed under a sheet of glass inscribed with a text written by the artist, evoking the layers of prejudice imposed on the depicted men and women. Weems's work offers a contemporary reading of this historical group of images." (MoMA link)

In this series of appropriated images she aims to 'heighten critical awareness' and give the subjects a dignity and humanity they were denied by their white American photographers.  Unfortunately two of the images she has chosen to include are arguably mis-appropriated, one by Robert Frank (Swiss) and another by Garry Winogrand.

Charles Simonds: Dwellings

MANpodcast and artist website

'There is a deceptively simple analogy at work in the many clay sculptures made by Charles Simonds; that the body, the earth, and architecture are all different forms of dwellings. We inhabit them all; they are all crucial to our wellbeing; and in various ways they are the outward expression of our inward selves.' - John Beardsley

Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky: Woman with Curlers, 2012

Photograph as painting as photograph

In his blog Andrew Smallman writes about the proliferation of smart phone cameras.  I really like the photo he used to illustrate the point (although oddly enough there's only one person actually using a camera in it). It is the sort of scene that 1960-70s US photo-realist painters would emulate so beautifully; It celebrates the snapshot aesthetic, stripped of all painterly antecedents. Full of the inconsequential idioms of what life (sometimes) looks like when photographed, a vision attentive to every fleeting detail; the crumpled clothes, casual gestures, sunglasses, hats and bags, and reflective surfaces - depicted with a Kodak Ektacolor film palette, too. The paintings were a kind of hyper-photography that actual photography rarely lived up to - it was mostly too busy trying to look more like paintings. There is the same quality of richly rendered banality, elevated in those photo-realist paintings, that is by some miracle actually fully present in this photograph.

An empty dress (before)


New build homes obscured by trees

Sweet potatoes

I didn't manage to do anything at work today, not a single thing, I even found blinking impossible; I was totally preoccupied, scrunching my face up into a little, anguished it's so unfair ball at the sight of the oh so lovely light pouring over the world outside all of the windows. It was soaking every south facing surface, dripping off red brick wall offices, limestone railway stations and pointy cathedrals, and touching shining faraway clouds in the summer blue sky.  Funny winter sunshine in January when you expect to be buried under the slush.  Yesterday I was photographing inside a puddle world, ice pulled over the sky.  Today I was re-photographing by pretend, in the sweet potato coloured light.

Moving things around

Site B is outside town and it must be colder there as I was cycling over puddles full of cracked ice as I got near.  The early weak sunlight faded on the way, and by the time I arrived the overcast sky was not dissimilar looking to the muddy ground.  And there was to be no glimpse of the shining face of the moon today.  But I'd made it this far, so clickety-click click click.

Someone at work had mentioned recently seeing a lot of night activity out here (lit by floodlight) while driving by, and yes, since my last visit a month ago a lot had changed. The super-deep hole I'd previously stood on the brink of and then climbed down into had gone, all filled up, but other more holes, enough to fill the Albert Hall, had appeared, along with heaps of rubble and chunks of debris strewn all over.  A tank division's worth of earth moving machines were parked up behind a small mountain of gleaming gravel at the back.

Son, with moon

Some mid afternoon sunshine was too good to miss and had me heading back out with my camera this afternoon.  While I no longer venture out after dark to take building site pics by the light of the moon whenever I find it lit in a daytime sky it is always gratefully accepted.  And, while it might be a small detail in terms of the actual space it occupies, for me it is magnificent with significance.

Julie Blackmon: Garage Sale (2013)

Flak and website

Not the kind of image I'd expect from Julie Blackmon but just as remarkable as her other work nonetheless.

Focal plane

It's a sunny January afternoon. Bedsheets are on the line and my tealight-powered flowerpot heater is on high. Today was supposed to be the day I go shopping for clothes (to try and look a bit more presentable at work) and maybe even buy fresh food but having got a camera a couple of weeks ago the urge to take photographs is far, far stronger. Of the same old thing, but even so.

The camera is a Canon EOS M, the second in as many months. The first one I got had a field curvature issue and although this copy has a particle of debris inside the LCD, which is a bit distracting, at least it takes in-focus photographs all the way across the frame. I really like the compact size (esp. for an APS sized sensor) and with the crisp 22mm lens, it fits in my coat pocket easily. Why that it matters that it should fit in my coat pocket I don't know - and when considering photographers like Timothy O'Sullivan hauling a wagon load of equipment around the United States in the 19th Cent…

Emily Shur: Empty Building, Las Vegas (2013)

Flak & her website

Smiths: You've Got Everything Now

Morrissey's autobiography had been forced into my hands several weeks ago with the warning from its owner that 'it starts slowly'.  Since it took me so long to get around to actually starting to read it then I can't complain, too much.  But having just made it to page 141 it's like I have now reached the thrilling start. The young man from Manchester who would prove to be the greatest lyricist of all time has been advised that a guitarist called Johnny Marr lives close by, at the same time that Marr has been informed of Morrissey's existance.

25 gardens, plane

DLK rates the New York galleries & museums

2013 results here

The top three photography specialist galleries are...

Yossi Milo
Pace MacGill
Yancey Richardson

Yossi Milo is currently showing Londoner Julie Cockburn

Robert Smithson: Mirrors and Shelly Sand (1969-70)

New build homes obscured by trees

Thomas Demand: High Line

Una Merkel ( - 1986)

Ruby Keeler: Shuffle Off To Buffalo (1932)

Richard Ansett: Boy Bitten By Dog, 2011

Blog here