Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ed Panar's Johnstown

Ed Panar's project Johnstown presents an intimate portrait of an industrial, working-class Pennsylvania town. For anyone who grew up in the eastern part of the US, these images speak with universal clarity to the loneliness and often weathered aesthetic of the once thriving mill town. Having grown up in Massachusetts, I see the ghosts of cities like Worcester, Lowell and Pittfield in these images. On a side note, J & L Books has just published Panar's new monograph, Golden Palms, which I also highly recommend seeking.

Images From the Series Johnstown

All Images © Ed Panar

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Image A Week: Jason Fulford

The work of Jason Fulford on first inspection is deceptively simple. His witty observations of everyday minutia breath life and awe into the smallest wonders of our complex world. Maybe this is what I find so appealing about his work. He has simplified a visually chaotic world, rendering it with simplistic beauty. If any contemporary photographer's work puts a smile on my face, it would be the work of Jason Fulford. His photographs may be many things, but first and foremost, they are enchanting.

I recommend viewing Fulford's work in book form. His sequencing is always thought-provoking, often pairing images that speak to the disparate connection between objects, textures and environments. J&L Books (co-founded by Fulford and partner Leanne Shapton) have published 2 of his monographs, Sunbird & Crushed, while The Ice Plant published Raising Frogs For $$$ in 2006.

Image © Jason Fulford

Lisa Kereszi


Photographer Lisa Kereszi's work is quite fascinating, raising interesting questions about how we view and erect our environment. Her often ambiguous observations of cultural spaces lends itself theatrically to the imagination. The context and identity of the spaces and people she photographs often remain fragmented and anonymous, leaving the viewer with the task of extracting their own significance from the work. It is this fusion of documentary observation with a palpable narrative bent that gives Kereszi's work the strong resonance it possesses. As her former teacher Stephen Shore has put it:

"The other aspect, and perhaps more significant, is the way the structure of Lisa's images communicates the taste of the culture she's observing. I don't see her work as a commentary on the culture she's photographing, but rather as an observation. The intention of her work is more fragmentary and poetic than it is documentarian. She uses cultural observations as a resonant force in her visual poetry."

From Top to Bottom:

Bus Stop with sea spray, Governors Island, 2003

Fourth of July at the Racetrack, Near Salisbury, CT, 1999

"X" onstage, New Orleans, LA, 2000

Lucia with Liz Taylor, East Village, NYC, 2000

All Images © Lisa Kereszi

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Annihilation of Time and Space

Recently in Eirik Johnson's Digital Photography seminar, he assigned the class a reading from Rebecca Solnit's book River of Shadows. The introductory chapter, entitled The Annihilation of Time and Space, discusses how the technological advancements of the mid 19th century, and specifically the advent of photography changed the way the world was perceived. Solnit goes on to elaborate that it was Eadweard Muybridge's invention of the rapid-firing shutter that truly paved the way for further photographic progress. The impact that being able to freeze time had on the population was profound, enabling the capture and preservation of important people, events and places in the lives of the masses. Memories could now be possessed as tangible objects and revisited whenever desired, rather than as fading images deceived by the mind.

For anyone who is interested in reading this book, you can find more information about it here.

The Horse In Motion
Image © Eadweard Muybridge

Saturday, September 15, 2007

An Image A Week: Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson's work is conceptually multifarious. She has addressed such issues as gender, identity, memory, longing and race in her large scale photographs. She also incorporates the use of multi-media into many of her works, using text and sound as integral parts of a much larger form of expression. Okwui Enwezor writes this about Simpson's work in an essay accompanying a recent exhibition catalogue:

"Language is employed like a lever to pry open the lid of the unconscious...The text panels confront the viewer with a fundamental contradiction between the sense of vision and voice as separate forms of knowing."

Corridor (Phone)
Image © Lorna Simpson

Friday, September 14, 2007

An Image A Week: Mark Wyse

In the absence of last week's posting, this blog shall feature two installments of 'An Image A Week'. Fellow Exposure Project member Eric Watts brought the work of Mark Wyse to my attention the other day. His large scale, color photographs depict natural and man made landscapes, rendered in hyper-realistic beauty. Many of Wyse's photographs incorporate human figures into their compositions, seemingly alluding to man's imprint on, and subsequent relationship to the land. The photographs that do not include physical human presence, represent it in the form of quiet, residential studies where architecture is contrasted with lush natural surroundings.
In a description of Wyse's monograph, published by Nazraeli Press, these observations are made:

"In Wyse's hands, the drama of the view is never found in the landscape it describes, nor the light it exploits, but in the very act of perception itself."

Untitled, From the series 18 Landscapes
Image © Mark Wyse

Sorry For The Silence

Sorry for the silence on this blog lately. 3/4 of the Exposure Project are now back in school full time, so posting will unfortunately not be as frequent as it was over the summer. Nevertheless, we will try to pull together to keep this blog interesting and somewhat updated.

Just to give everyone in the Boston area some advanced notice, the Exposure Project will be having an exhibition at the Arlington Center for Arts sometime in November. We will post updates with new information as it arrives.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Marco Bohr's Observatories

I recently rediscovered the work of Marco Bohr, whose images I had originally seen in the book reGeneration: 50 photographers of tomorrow. His series Observatories depicts people interacting with their surroundings, focusing just as much on the reactions of the observers as the landscapes being observed. Bohr explains:

"Despite all its connotations within our cultural and social identity, the photographs in Observatories are more than anything a reflection of ourselves. Time and again, images make us understand our surroundings and our condition, maybe even our foundation. Observatories is an exploration of these themes that inevitably leaves it up to the viewer to make his own conclusions. The undefined scenery and washed out highlights are as much an invitation to imagine the view of a landscape, as it is an invitation to define our self. Thus as Kevin Robins writes in Into the Image: "We now articulate our identity through coming to terms with the image rather than the reality."

From Top To Bottom:

Mori Tower

Osanbashi Pier

Shibuya Station II

Haneda Airport

Near Haneda Airport

All Images © Marco Bohr

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Thomas Struth: Strangers And Friends

The other day while perusing the stacks of used photography books at the Raven bookstore in Harvard Square, I came across a rare, out-of-print copy of Thomas Struth's Strangers And Friends . This monograph, originally published in 1994 by MIT Press, collects 3 different bodies of work from the late 70's through the early 90's. From Stuth's highly meticulous explorations of the modern metropolis, to his often frenzied museum photographs and finally his intimate series of family portraits; Strangers amasses an impressive breadth of work from one of contemporary photography's most diverse artists.

Whether photographing deserted city streets, or people's interactions with art in formal Museum settings, Struth's strength as an image maker lies in his restrained photographic manner. His work speaks to the conscious, and often subconscious ways in which we perceive our surroundings. Ultimately these perceptions make us evaluate our own relationships, not only to the people and objects that encompass us, but to society as a whole.

If anyone comes across this monograph I would highly recommend picking it up. There is a great deal to absorb but it is well worth the time invested.

All Images © Thomas Struth