Posts Tagged ‘photography’
In late September when I visited the Berlin Art Book Fair: MISS READ, I had the pleasure to meet and visit with most of the vendors. In my last posting I shared information about the September Issue, which I picked up at the fair. During my visit I also had the pleasure to be introduced to Erik Steinbrecher by the artist Michalis Pichler. A couple of days later following a tour of the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the curator, Dr. Michael Lailach gave me a copy of “UBER ALLES” that was co-published with the author, Erik Steinbrecher.
“UBER ALLES” was published in 2013. The ISBN is 978-3886-097326, and the current price is 35.00 euros. Erik was gracious enough to provide a short description of this project:
“This artist’s book is a collection of eleven items including booklets, photography,
posters by Erik Steinbrecher. This publication accompanies the artist’s exhibiton
at the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin from 8 November 2012 to 17 February
2013. The show presents books, prints and other artworks from 1995 to 2012.”
The titles of the items included in the bag UBER ALLES are:
1 Paar Schuhe/ pair of shoes
Wie am Schnürli
Free Poster ( Ei/ egg)
Erik Steinbrecher, born in 1963 in Basel, lives and works in Berlin. His work has developed in two main directions: the area of architecture and sculpture and the realm of photography. The artist not only realises more and more projects in public space, but he also takes a passionate interest in images of the mass media.
I am including some images of UBER ALLES in this posting.
What is most impressive is Erik’s publishing record. Since starting to explore the arena of Independent Publishing he has produced many more titles than most artists produce in a lifetime of publishing. I will post a few more examples of his photobooks in a few days.
photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY
1992 Washington, DC
Lauren Poor is making her entire life into a garbagey Gesamtkunstwerk by exhaustively applying her vision to her surroundings. She lives a mystical neon dream where life and art intermix fluidly. Through obsessive appreciation of imperfection and oddity Poor is able to grow her vision organically and allow it to spread like moss over any given subject. Increasingly she works in a way that prevents the viewer from being able to tell where the photograph begins or ends. A studied confusion of foreground and background allows her art to bleed past its borders and into its surroundings. There is a fantastical quality to these works, like windows on a world where you would rather be.
Trash Palace 2013
Poor’s recent series “Trash Palace” takes this mixing of real (photographic) information with fantasy (painted) content to the next level. The series is comprised of photos of the artist’s apartment accompanied by small houselike constructions and still lives. The physical subject of each photograph has been heavily altered by the artist’s hand if not completely fabricated by her hand. Then the photograph is printed, and the print is worked back into by the same hand. Through these repeated interventions of self Poor’s hand combines with the photograph, and they seamlessly become unintelligible.
“I wanted to use my apartment as a test space for experimenting with ideas of visual culture,” said Poor in a recent conversation with MATTE. “I paid attention to why everything in my apartment looks the way it does and how it all might affect my lifestyle and mentality. Everything started off white and boxy as apartments usually do and after studying ways different cultures create their visual worlds and how their choices relate to and affect their beliefs and lifestyles I decided to try to create my own and see what would happen. I began to create my own wallpaper and images that I thought would better reflect my own values and world I want to live in. Some of the images show my value for objects like plastic bottles that American society deems disposable and worthless compared to the values it shows through it’s own images and advertisements. I wanted to make a non oppressive space that people would feel free in and open to possibilities of existing and creating, so I left out ideal human forms and opted for abstract doodles and a wide range of colors. When I felt I’d changed the space enough that it fulfilled some of what I hoped to represent I photographed it and emphasized some of it’s qualities by painting on the prints, then experienced living in it.”
The cohesiveness of Poor’s aesthetic is the only constant in her work, and it is malleable enough to allow for wild experimentation. “I think I have a way of doing things as anyone does. The way I imagine and create is affected by things I’ve seen and experienced and held dear or significant in my life so far. This includes a lot of ideas and visions related to dressing up and playing make believe as a kid, building fairy houses, hopping through suburban backyards, being in an acting group when I was younger and performing Shakespeare plays, being in an organization called City At Peace and many other things.”
Times Square 2013
Poor’s most recent endeavor is applying her magical world to all our lives. Choosing Times Square as her subject, she takes the hyperreal crossroads of the universe one step further. “I’m able to photograph using a machine what I’m seeing and then paint using my body what is in my mind, invisible to everyone else,” Poor writes. The logical progression of this thought takes her vision into the physical world, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Drawing inspiration from large public initiatives such as Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg project in Detroit and Isaiah Zagar’s Philadelphia mosaic works, Poor is building a city. With help from her father and a few friends she is in the very early stages of building a “visionary environment” in her parents’ back yard in Maryland. Over spring break from School of Visual Arts this year Poor began work on this small house, and this is a direction she has been dreaming of for a long time.
The Chicken Coop 2013
“I’m excited to continue building. During this time I was happy to work to create something large and functional and I kept dreaming of building cities and empires and communities and neighborhoods someday. I hope my future will look more like this- building and fueling communities, creating spaces for good.”
Lauren Poor’s generous and unique sprit shines through everything she touches, and for this reason she will surely succeed in making the world a more beautiful place.
-MATTE Magazine for CCNY
photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY
1990 Minneapolis, MN
Bridget Collins feels for you. Her photographs are earnest, generous, and easy to relate to. Above all they are empathetic. Delicately observed notes on the nature of beauty, human relationships and the physical world these pictures hint at the humanity of their author and let you know she understands.
“I feel like all of my work is empathetic, its about connection,” Collins recently told MATTE. “My process is all about giving small things due attention, being present and trying to connect myself with my environment. The photos themselves show lots of contact between disparate things touching or holding each other. I like the middle ground, seeing things from both sides. I think this is apparent even in my choice of palette, my colors aren’t very vibrant, everything sort of blurs into a greenish-grey, lost in a fog of missed connections and deja vu.”
Collins’ latest project, a self-published zine entitled “Excerpts From A Palm Reading” (available here), mines incidental snapshots she has taken in the last year. These photos are combined with edited down text from the 2013 Yahoo.com Gemini Horoscope, creating a collection of extractions from Collins’ past with advice for her future interspersed. The ambiguity of Collins’ eye makes these very personal snapshots universally relatable, creating a sequence of somehow familiar moments to which the viewer can bring personal history and make connections. As Collins puts it, “I like clichés, I like pop songs ya know?”
Bridget Collins cover for Packet Biweekly issue 2/17/2013
Bridget Collins “Soho Forestry Guide” for Packet Biweekly issue 01/21/13, photo courtesy Chris Nosenzo
Bridget Collins cover for Packet Biweekly issue 2/17/2013
Collins is also a regular contributor to the new journal “Packet Biweekly”, a collated and stapled publication founded late in 2012 by artist and graphic designer for Bloomberg Business Week Chris Nosenzo, who is her friend and fellow alumni of Pratt Institute. “Along with many other of our friends at Pratt, Bridget’s work helped define what kind of content Packet should have, as opposed to Packet having a distinct vision that this kind of work just happened to fit into. In other words I saw what Bridget and our friends were creating and felt like it needed a form; so Packet was born for the work that we create,” says Nosenzo. Collins uses Packet as a platform for experimentation, taking advantage of the relatively low overhead afforded by its zine format. “Packet is literally a packet of ideas. It’s cheap and disposable and comes out every two weeks. It’s an awesome thing to work on, filled with tangents, half-finished projects, and late-night bursts of inspiration,” comments Collins.
Through Collins’ eyes the audience is privy to a world of subtlety and wonder. Moments of transcendence are presented as a trail of breadcrumbs left behind as Collins moves through life. These are small offerings, solutions to the daily preoccupations of human existence. In this way they are very hopeful. “When I was young, I was very much an escapist,” says Collins. “I didn’t think anything beautiful existed in real life, only in movies and television. My work now is sort of a protest against that, a way of trying to remain present and come to terms with my surroundings.”
-MATTE Magazine for CCNY
Photo by Matthew Leifheit for CCNY
Born 1986 Tel Aviv, Israel
Nir Arieli’s photographs are beautiful. Picturing male dancers in glowing natural light Arieli steals the physical beauty of his subjects, elegantly transferring it into still images. A frenetic unrest scratches at the surface throughout his series, presenting signs of a struggle beneath the placid picture plane. Tension exists between perfection and imperfection. Tension exists in the very muscles of his sitters. Tension even extends to the viewer in the act of looking at men in this way. Movement is suggested or even depicted explicitly, but the final images are very still. Arieli’s photos preserve moments of balance and grace, leading to the polished contrapposto that gives his pictures gravity.
Arieli only photographs men. Choosing subjects primarily from The Julliard School’s dance program, Arieli slowly sculpts the photograph through communication. “We worked in front of a white wall and he told me certain things he wanted within the composition including muscular tension and contortion with a relaxed focus in the eyes,” says Austin Goodwin, an undergraduate dancer at Julliard and repeated subject of Arieli’s photographs. “He asked me to move extremely slowly through different positions with my upper body. Throughout this he would stop me and we would explore whatever was working best. Occasionally I would try something different to see if it was cohesive with his idea and from there the collaboration continued between me inserting movement suggestions and Nir giving direction as to focal specifics and body angles. It was a very organic process.”
Arieli’s video work is made the way a photographer should make video, the camera at a fixed point, the frame unwavering. The only thing moving in the picture is the subject himself, performing for the viewer. “Dancers are performers, the process of creating a still image gives them a similar satisfaction to the one they get when the lights come up on stage,” says Arieli to MATTE, “The camera functions as the audience. They are eager to actively contribute to the success of the work. I’m often working with them in a very abstract way of directing, and they are able to translate my words into physical states.”
Beginning his career as a military photographer for the Israeli magazine Bamachane, Arieli now focuses with reticence on beauty. “Beauty is an essential part of every body of work I make. I’m in love with it but I also know I can’t be married to it in the most traditional sense,” says Arieli. His new series entitled “Inframen” looks beneath the skin of his subjects. Exposing flaws in the sitter’s physicality through an infrared process, Arieli freezes these artists at what he considers to be a pivotal time in their lives. “I’d like the viewer to disconnect from the glorious immortal dancer’s image they know from the stage, and notice the fragility of these people, the contrast of their gentle souls against their strong bodies. The ridiculous situation in which the dancer’s whole existence is dependent on his body, and that youth is gone in such a young age. In that sense this project is a lullaby for this beautiful stage in a dancer’s life, when they’re at their best physical shape,” says Arieli. “From now on the body will betray them slowly.” -MATTE Magazine for CCNY
1989 Brewster, NY
Bobby Doherty is an oracle of the inane.
Doherty chooses not to work within the bounds of a series. Instead, through a language of gestures that vary in subtlety yet maintain the same indefinable spirit, he creates an interchangeable index of obtuse symbols. The subject matter of these photographs varies widely, but the images are held together by the same undertone- a certain kind of mischievousness tempered with deep sincerity and humor. All of Doherty’s pictures are aesthetically coherent as well, veering toward more graphic compositions over time and increasingly marked by bold use of color.
These photos both contribute to and play on the lineage of stock photography and traditional studio photography. One image goes so far as to make use of a Paul Outerbridge photograph as part of the still life. “I think a lot about stock photography,” said Doherty to MATTE, “It’s funny because you’re not exactly meant to feel anything about a stock photo, yet their prime function is to convey some sort of idea in the most obvious way. If anyone were to go into a supermarket and start complimenting the stock food photographs on the coupons they would seem like a total weirdo. But those photographs were chosen specifically because someone thought people would enjoy them.”
At first glance Doherty’s pictures act nonchalant. And then the viewer begins to notice his intervention in the image, the physical action of the artist making visual decisions, and we consider his intent. Through these gestures some element of the image is made wrong, subverting the sense of normalcy and order it initially seems to present. In the vein of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Doherety is a secret agent, working within an existing aesthetic and subverting it to communicate his own very personal ideas. By working alongside the tradition of studio photography Doherty is able to make his images universally sympathetic. The viewer knows how to look at this kind of image already.
Doherty’s work blurs the line between the studio and real life. This is accomplished by both bringing banal objects from his daily life into the studio and by bringing a studio approach to the real world. “I used to feel like a weird 1960s street photographer in my own life,” says Doherty of his transition toward more staged images, “now I’m just some stressed out creep hovering over a little table in my bedroom.”
At the heart of these photographs is a poetic and coy type of candor which embraces humor unreservedly. Asked how he chooses a subject for a photo, Doherty answers, “If it feels familiar.”
—MATTE Magazine for CCNY
Born 1988, Chicago, IL
Photographer, publisher, designer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. I am honored to be the current guest blogger for CCNY. Hello!
Early in 2011 I began producing a journal called MATTE Magazine, which features one artist per issue. It’s called MATTE because my name is Matthew, and because the paper on which it is printed is not very glossy. I studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, and this project became my thesis. I envision the magazine to be a platform for new ideas made for artists by artists. I make a portrait of the featured photographer for the cover and work closely with them on the content. Some issues include interviews, some contain essays or manifestos, and some are purely visual. I primarily focus on emerging photographers, but the magazine also functions as a repository for the lesser seen or early work of more established practitioners.
Apart from the cover and masthead every issue of the magazine is different, the result of a unique collaboration with the featured artist, the design and format tailored to best showcase their photographs. MATTE is printed in full color, saddle-stitched, and contains no advertisements. I have released ten issues to date, and they are available in these collections. Issues 11-20 are currently in production, and will be released over the coming months.
Selected spreads from MATTE Magazine:
MATTE Magazine is not for profit, and is sold at the cost of printing exclusively at Printed Matter in NYC.
I will use my time as guest blogger for CCNY as an extension of my magazine. I will lead each post with a portrait of the featured artist, and follow it with a portfolio of their work accompanied by my words. It is my intention to use this stint guest blogger to create a consistent online space to view exciting new photography and to shed some light on the motivations of each featured artist.
The Camera Club of New York presents: MATTE Magazine
Titles by Sonya Dissin for MATTE
Portrait of Fryd Frydendahl by Galina Fecher
We dedicate this interview to our dear friend Galina Fecher, who inspired us with her creative depth, zany wit, compassion and generosity. We will remember you always, with love and great affection.
- Allen Frame & Fryd Frydendahl
Photography Exercise #2
It’s terribly easy to fall into habits with our photography. We begin to develop our own styles very quickly as photographers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except that we may become blind to other possibilities. One very simple exercise I have found useful is this: Spend an hour or two walking around with your camera and find a scene you would normally photograph. Frame your shot until you feel like the composition is yours, but then don’t take the shot (this may take some serious will power). Turn around and photograph what’s behind you. This forces you to step out of your photographic comfort zone in a very easy way. It’s not an exercise that will force you to put yourself in any sort of awkward social situation or face any sort of fears, per se, but just to help show that there is always something to photograph, even if sometimes you have to work harder to make it yours. Often without even realizing it, we develop limitations for ourselves that can be creatively stifling and our work can become stagnant and repetitive. This exercise helps us to become aware of these self-imposed limitations and reminds us that we should constantly open ourselves up to new possibilities and directions in our work.
Photography Exercise #3
Photograph five scenes that you find extremely ordinary, but nonetheless visually attractive for whatever reason. It could be a painted brick wall or a busy street corner. Photograph it however you like, but keep it simple and loose. Remember that what we are always initially visually attracted to is light reflecting off surfaces – nothing more. Don’t over think it. Once you’ve photographed the five different “ordinary” scenes, print the images out and study them. Why are they not ordinary? Is it because of some aspect of your framing? Is it an aspect of the scene that you didn’t recognize as interesting at the time? Do you notice that what caught your eye may have a larger personal significance than you recognized at the time you released the shutter? What do these images say about your personal vision and awareness of your surroundings? You don’t need to attach meaning to any of the images. Just let them exist. They may tell you way more about yourself than the scene you photographed.
A few weeks ago the Andreas Gursky print, Rhine II, was auctioned for $4.3 million, breaking the record previously held by Cindy Sherman. Guardian Article: The world’s most expensive photographs – in pictures. I always admired Rhine II. I think it was one of the first prints by Gursky I encountered. Its striking formalism speaks of a manufactured landscape, but also of pattern, color and texture. I’m not sure it if is stronger then his 99 cent store image which previously held the record of the most expensive photograph. I encountered this image earlier in my photographic education so I appreciate it differently, I suppose.
This got me thinking about the economics of the art photography market. Normally we don’t really know how popular an art photographer’s work is. Sure, we see their prices at a gallery and the editions they are claiming they will print, but it’s hard to determine the final sale prices and whether their show actually sold out. For the big names, auctions are the best way to see what’s going on.
Recently, I went to the Camera Club’s benefit auction for the first time. It got me thinking about economics, as well. This event is a strikingly open way of seeing the popularity of an art object for the established and emerging artists who participated. It’s not as exacting as a Christies auction, but it folds back the art curtain a bit.
I’m down in Miami this week for Art Basel Miami Beach. The economics of art are all around me. Here they are secretive and deceptive. Please post your comments below if you have any questions for the art fairs and galleries here.
If you’re in New York, Gursky has a show currently up at Gagosian Gallery—coincidentally timed for this new auction record. I’ll be sure to check it out when I get back. Here it the info: