Sunday, March 30, 2008

James Johnson

I found the work James Johnson via the Philadelphia-based gallery Vox Populi. According to his bio, Johnson's "installation work combines his interests in photography, landscape, architecture, surveillance, voyeurism, computer automation, domestic space, and play." That's quite a few influences to reconcile at once, nevertheless, the work is interesting and worth acquainting yourself with.

All Images © James Johnson

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ben Safdie & Red Bucket Films

Since its inception, photography has been revered for illuminating aspects of daily life that exist outside human perception. The Modernist photography movement based much of its authenticity on this very principle, challenging the conventions of artistic consciousness in favor of new ways of viewing the world. This is reminiscent of how I feel about the photographs of Ben Safdie. They depict objects and places that are familiar yet unseen, commonplace yet imaginative. These juxtapositions are what give Safdie's photographs the deadpan humor and vibrancy they possess. You can see more of Ben's photographs here.

Safdie is also a talented filmmaker who works closely with the film collective Red Bucket Films. Their newest film The Pleasure of Being Robbed just recently premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. I was lucky enough to see a screening of it and was truly overwhelmed by how good it was. Stay tuned to their website for updates on future screenings. In the meantime you can see the trailer here.

From Top To Bottom:

Booth on the Rocks , 2006

A Holiday Window , 2006

A Bleached Curtain , 2006

A Rock Exhibit at the Zoo , 2006

All Images © Ben Safdie

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daylight Podcasts

Daylight Magazine has been posting monthly photographically-minded video podcasts to their website. Although this is a reletively new feature, they have already discussed the work of Danny Wilcox Frazier, Olaf Otto Becker and photojournalist Alexandra Boulat, as well as featuring photo-essays on the 5 year anniversary of the war in Iraq and the recent Guatemalan elections. For anyone with interest in social photography, these podcasts are well worth checking out.

Work In Progress: New Photographs by Anastasia Cazabon

Here are some new images that I took recently of my friend Maura in Texas.

-Anastasia Cazabon

All Images © Anastasia Cazabon

Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Image A Week: Yiftach Belsky

I found the work of Yiftach Belsky (via i heart photograph) the other day. His series Surveillance Cameras is a simple and interesting idea on an aspect of culture that has come to pervade almost every public locale. Although I'm not sure how Belsky gained permission to review surveillance footage, the result is an intriguing postmodern look at the fine line between national security and personal privacy.

Photograph from the series Surveillance Cameras

Image © Yiftach Belsky

Mass Art's All School Show

For anyone in the Boston area, this week marks the commencement of Mass Art's All School Show. Selections from the photography department will be on view in the Arnheim Gallery from Monday the 24th through Thursday the 27th. Fellow Exposure Project member Anastasia Cazabon and I each have a piece included in the exhibit, along with many other talented young photographers.

There will be a reception this Wednesday from 6-8 at the gallery for anyone who's interested in coming.

All School Show (Photography Department)
Arnheim Gallery
621 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA

-Ben Alper

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Austin Pictured

Just recently got back from a visit to Austin, Texas. I've been scanning the photographs all day and these are my favorites so far. I hope enjoy them.

-Ben Alper

All Images © Ben Alper

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sze Tsung Leong: Horizons & The Authority of Beauty

Sze Tsung Leong's project Horizons is meditation on the vast and varied landscapes found in disparate parts of the world. His panoramic images, although often geographically dissimilar, are linked through a continuous horizon line that when viewed as a whole creates visual and thematic relationships between differing images.

For anyone in the New York area, Horizons will be opening at Yossi Milo on April 3rd.

April 3, 2008–May 17, 2008
Artist’s Reception: Thursday, April 3, 2008, 6:00–8:00 pm

Also, for anyone interested in issues surrounding urban renewal or gentrification, Leong's essay The Authority of Beauty is a powerful and articulate examination of China's expansive urbanization. He discusses the erasure of cultural and architectural history that has taken place as a result of this wide-spread campaign of overdevelopment.

Dead Sea II, 2007

Image © Sze Tsung Leong

Photographic Typologies: Frank Breuer

German photographer Frank Breuer, a disciple of the Becher's and propagator of the Düsseldorf aesthetic, captures the sterility of industrial and commercial architecture. Stylistically, his images do not stray far from those of his mentors, choosing to appease rather than challenge the well established German aesthetic. Breuer's intellectually methodical approach is evident in this excerpt from his artist statement, where he asserts:

Helped by photography the tension here between the buildings' imagined and relative size may be constructed: Through the method of their placement in the image space and their necessarily reduced scale, the buildings may be displayed in their topographic environment as alien and displaced objects.

From Top to Bottom:

Untitled 2002

Untitled 1995

Untitled 2001

Untitled 2000

Images © Frank Breuer

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cine Stills: 2046

The films of Wong Kar-Wai are beautiful, melancholic and above all stunningly visual. His longstanding relationship with cinematographer Christopher Doyle has culminated in a recognizable aesthetic that the majority of Kar-Wai's films possess. This collaboration has produced some of the most visually arresting sequences in recent cinema. Doyle's often extreme use of color and texture coupled with his utilization of wide-angle lenses and panning slow motion shots, combine to create whimsical, often surreal imagery.

In addition to 2046, Doyle has collaborated with Wong Kar-Wai on Chung King Express, Fallen Angels, Happy Together, In The Mood For Love and Eros. In The Mood For Love is absolutely one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. However, none of Kar-Wai's films are likely to disappoint.

Still from 2046, 2004. (dir. Wong Kar-Wai, cine. Christopher Doyle)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Debra Baxter

Sculptor Debra Baxter visited my Form Study class a few weeks ago to discuss some of her new work. Much of her work addresses self discovery through the exploration of bodily elements such as skin, organs, vocal chords and breath. Baxter almost exclusively uses alabastar for its translucence and rendered similarity to human skin.

Other sculptures explore the tension between weightlessness and mass, which is perfectly exemplified in the piece Untitled (Speed Bag) seen below.

Untitled (speed bag)

© Debra Baxter

Aaron McElroy

Our friend Aaron McElroy recently sent us some new images. The keen attention to light and shadow is prominent throughout all of Aaron's work, however, these new photographs have an even more transformative quality.

All Images © Aaron McElroy

Sunday, March 16, 2008

An Image A Week: Chris Giglio

Artist Chris Giglio made a series of photograms from old television sets in the 90's titled Cathode Rayogram. The work marries the concepts of system and aesthetics beautifully.

Untitled, from the series Cathode Rayogram, 1994.
40 x 30 inches, fujiflex
(type C) color photograph

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rémy Lidereau

I first discovered French photographer Rémy Lidereau's work in the monograph reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow. His series Trompe-l’œil explores urban, suburban and rural landscapes in a seemingly conventional landscape context. However, much like other contemporary photographers working with landscape issues, Lidereau has subtly manipulated his images. These alterations create a tension between the natural reality that he has captured and the virtual reality that he has created.

I would also recommend looking through his series Corse which has a few really nice images.

From Top To Bottom:

Puteaux, France, Avril 2004

Puteaux, France, Novembre 2003

Courbevoie, France, Mai 2004

Puteaux, France, Mars 2004

All photographs from the series Trompe-l’œil

Images © Rémy Lidereau

Monday, March 3, 2008

Photographic Typologies: Sarah Stolfa

Sarah Stolfa's project The Regulars explores the loneliness and isolation of the urban bar dweller. Her portraits compassionately avoid exploitation, rendering her subjects instead with a quiet dignity. Typological studies that focus on human subjects are as deeply rooted in the history of photography as those that examine more utilitarian themes. From photography's inception, photographic survey teams were dispatched to foreign cultures to typological document the physical characteristics of "exotic" civilizations. When viewed along this historical spectrum, Stolfa's images resonate as a contemporary exploration of social rather than ethnic inquiry. The Regulars investigates the psychology of detachment and isolation in a culture growing continually more fragmented.

Thanks to Stan over at Reciprocity Failure for the recommendation.

From Top To Bottom:

Mike Slaughter, 2006

Ed Taylor, 2005

Joanna O'Boyle, 2005

Arpson Bravos, 2005

All Images © Sarah Stolfa

Photo Success

I have started another blog Success that correlates with a new project I've started. I'm hoping the blog will open up a lot of conversation about trajectories of success within contemporary photography. Please check it out and let me know what you think.
Thanks - Eric D Watts

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Moyra Davey at the Fogg

For anyone in the Cambridge area, artist Moyra Davey's first museum retrospective is currently up at the Fogg Art Museum. Davey's quiet and often mundane subjects exist antithetically to the driving trends of contemporary photography, which promote digital manipulation, large scale printing and staged photography. Her deadpan, democratic photographs speak to Davey's philosophy that "accident is the lifeblood of photography.” This casual approach has earned her the title of the "anti Gursky of contemporary photography."

This exhibit coincides with the publishing of Long Life Cool White: Photographs and Essays by Moyra Davey, a book containing retrospective work from Davey's rather obscure career.

Long Life Cool White: Photographs by Moyra Davey
February 28 through June 30, 2008
Fogg Art Museum
32 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA

From Top To Bottom:




All Images © Moyra Davey

Cine Stills: Paris, Texas

As a new feature on this blog, I am going to start posting still frames from cinematographically significant films. The influence that film has had on photography is unquestionably apparent. It is in many ways hard to separate the two; each has historically informed the other through a closely linked visual past. Some of the most interesting contemporary photography has continued to blur these lines even further. Photographers like Philip Lorca-DiCorcia, Jeff Wall, Lisa Kereszi and Alessandra Sanguinetti are just a few of the more obvious people finding inspiration in cinema.

When I was considering which film to start with, I kept coming back to Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas. The imagery in this film is absolutely breathtaking. It presents a unique vision of the American landscape, one in which beauty is found in the vast, and often, desolate vernacular of the west. The film's power is also heightened by the distinctive use of color and lighting. Robby Müller's camerawork relies on these qualities, and as a result, the film is just as much an exploration of the psychology of color and light as it is a meditation on pain and loss.

Still from Paris, Texas, 1984 (dir. Wim Wenders, cine. Robby Müller)