RAY MORTENSON @ L. Parker Stephenson Photographs

RAY MORTENSON: Rocks: Diptychs, Panels, and Details
May 17 – July 26, 2019

“Mortenson’s mineral views utilize the optical quality of large format film photography to deliver seductive images of abstract and visually complex geological phenomena. Faults and folds of marine shale, veins of quartz striating granite, and other combinations of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic formations are rendered with clear and formal precision. Evocative as well as descriptive, the photographs convey a direct and immediate encounter with the tangible physical environment. ”

L. Parker Stephenson Photographs
764 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10065

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Development @ dnj Gallery

May 18 – July 6, 2019

Opening reception: Saturday, May 18th, 6-8pm

Catherine Asanov, Ellen Cantor,
Corey Grayhorse, and Suda House

dnj Gallery
3015 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica, California 90405

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BILLY&HELLS @ Morren Galleries

BILLY&HELLS / Silent Monkey
June 16 – July 21, 2019

opening Sunday June 16, 2019, 3 pm – 6 pm

“The impeccable surface of the well-known portraits by Billy & Hells is disturbed in Silent Monkey. The distance to the model, which used to be visible to the viewer, is now even more present. Sometimes subtle and sometimes drastic: from minute transparent discolorations to black stripes, lines and surfaces that are scattered over a photograph and partly cover or hide, but sometimes are also connected to it and together with the photographic image of a face or body form a new whole. In addition, there are photographs in which such an alienation – without additional intervention – arises solely from the way in which the bodies are placed in the image: how man becomes a torso through a corner of sight, the image detail or the lighting. A body or a head remains recognizable as such, but it now shows itself from a strange side. Contrary to what the duo of photographers has so far depicted their models, the strategies with which they now irritate the clear gaze make the act of seeing conscious: what do I see and what do I not see? Billy & Hells show what they don’t show. In short: the secret in their work is more profound.”

Morren Galleries
Oudegracht 340
3511 PM Utrecht

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Allen Frame @ Gitterman Gallery

Three Figures on Pier, Positano, Italy, 2018

Allen Frame:Suddenly
June 7 – August 16, 2019

Opening reception with the artist Thursday, June 20, 6–8 pm

“The exhibition consists of new color photographs from Italy: figures in outdoor settings in Rome, Positano, Polignano a Vito, Argentario, and Capalbio, as well as two multi-piece works that juxtapose anonymous found photographs with Frame’s own images, expanding the narrative context while highlighting the individually-framed vernacular pictures.”

Gitterman Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1103
New York, NY 10022

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ONCE. AGAIN. PHOTOGRAPHS IN SERIES @ J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center

July 9 –November 10, 2019

Exhibition features work by LaToya Ruby Frazier, Camilo José Vergara, Donna Ferrato, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and William Christenberry, among others
“Artists have long used cameras to record change, documenting transformations in landscapes or intimate portraits of people at different times in their lives. Once. Again. Photographs in Series, on view July 9-November 10, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, features historical and contemporary artists who have revisited people and places to make extended photographic series, prompting reflection on the impact of the passage of time—on photographers as well as their subjects.”

J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California

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ARA GÜLER @ Polka Galerie

May 25 to June 15, 2019

“The exhibition highlights the “Master of Leica” and his long career, which began in the 1950s Besides his iconic pictures of Istanbul, which constitute the main rooms, the exhibition also includes a selection of photographs of Anatolia and other parts of the world, as well as historical portraits including Jean Renoir, Nazim Hikmet, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Brigitte Bardot.”

Polka Galerie

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image: Ken Rosenthal

May 17 — June 29, 2019

Reception: Thursday, May 16, 6:00–8:00pm

“Both artists are authorities in the art of darkroom printing, making this a wonderful opportunity to witness the connoisseurship of traditional photographs. The show includes some key artworks from Rosenthal’s archive, alongside a selection from Silverman’s expansive ‘Lifeline’ series.

In many respects, the exhibition is a celebration of analog photography’s enduring indexicality, and the importance of light as a key element of the photographic image. Both artists work with light in different ways, converging with an interesting dialogue, whereby the light is not just what we see, but is performative as a metaphor for expanded narratives.”

Klompching Gallery
89 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Stephen Burke@ The Vine Pub/Blast! Photography Festival

Stephen Burke:The Lord’s My Shepherd
24th May – 29th June

Launch event 26th May 3pm – 5pm

The project honours and celebrates the fans of West Bromwich Albion FC, exploring the emotional connection and role the club plays in the identity of West Bromwich and the wider Black Country. Accompanying the portraits is an audio work of interviews with fans, recordings of the crowds at matches and music associated with the club. The work explores themes of identity, family, belonging & fandom.

The Vine Pub, 152 Roebuck St, West Bromwich B70 6RD

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Book Review: Silent Kingdom by Christian Vizl

Scuba divers admiring a big school of jacks forming a wall at the protected marine area of Cabo Pulmo, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico.

It is rare, at least in my experience, that so many (five plus the photographer) contribute texts to a book on photography and so I first go to the book jacket’s inner sleeve to see who they are. Unsurprisingly – we are living in narcissistic times – all of them (with one exception) are described in superlatives, in the case of Silvia Earle even that she was called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and “Hero of the Planet” by Time magazine (obviously, somebody must have taken this seriously!). Such a display of ego-celebration, I must admit, diminishes my generally positive attitude towards this beautifully done book that is not only convincing in regards to the stunning photographs but also in terms of paper, binding, the arrangement of the pictures on the pages and the book cover that shows an impressive fish swarm.

By the way of fish swarms: Like bird swarms, they make me question our strange belief in competitiveness for to me it looks like they fly and swim respectively and get along together by paying attention to one another and not by following a leader or by competing – a model that I clearly prefer to the fighting model we call competition or even game (football, for instance, ist not a game but a fight, it is rarely characterised by playfulness but by the desire to win at all costs).

A sea turtle and a school of fish swimming above the remains of a shipwreck, Cabo Pulmo, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico.

“Though the ocean covers more than 70 percent of Planet Earth, over 80 percent of that vast wilderness remains unexplored”, I learn. Photographer Christian Vizl, born in Mexico City, writes in his preface: “Peaceful, still, calm, and excited – this is how I feel when I’m in the ocean, surrounded by its immensity and mysteries. I am in awe of it and grateful for its infinite beauty and abundance of life. The ocean is a world that has so many things to say, so many stories to tell, so many lessons to teach, but its voice can only be heard by our hearts. The images in this book are a reflection of what I hear beneath the waves.”

The black and white images, taken from up-close and from a distance, come thankfully with brief, informative captions, and are truly extraordinary – I often felt like looking at compositions. And, quite some are highly illustrative such as, for example, a free diver champion swimming alongside a shark for it makes clear how huge the shark and how small the swimmer is. The most intriguing pictures I thought to be the various fish swarms – they made me think of bird swarms.

Portrait of an American crocodile resident of the island, Chinchorro, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

In his essay “The Art of Underwater Photography”, Michael Aw points out that underwater photographers are “often taking risks in pursuit of their passion. Working underwater to create masterful images of sharks, coral reefs, dolphins, and whales is not as easy as it might seem. Most cameras are not designed for use in water; expensive housings are required to make them usable. For the underwater photographer, working time is also restricted by nitrogen, which is absorbed into the system when using compressed air under water. When photographers pass the tolerance threshold, they risk decompression sickness, which can be lethal if not treated properly.”

We all know that the underwater world is famously rich with colour, so how come Christian Vizl presents us with a tome in black and white? Sylvia Earle explains that, in this volume, “Vizl insists that we focus on form, texture and rhythm so we can see details lost in the sea’s usual riot of color. His insistence is revealed here in Silent Kingdom through the many subtle shades of silvery grays, stark whites, and sharply defined blacks. As magnificent as colors are, and as skilled as Vizl is at portraying the ocean’s dazzling palette of life, here a rare intimacy is evoked in a misty, dreamlike atmosphere.”

Close-up of a sea turtle swimming ten miles offshore, Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico

Reading the texts in this tome was a learning experience for me. I, for instance, had no idea “that the most significant animal migrations do not happen on the land but in the sea as, each night, millions of small fish, plankton, and other animals move up in the water column before descending as the sun rises. This mixes and moves nutrition between deep ocean layers. Still, though, the ocean below one hundred meters is the least explored part of the world, yet covers most of it”, as Sylvia Earle explains.

As much as one might be tempted to think that this is simply another of these exquisite coffee table books, it is (like many other coffee table books, too) much more than that. It is also an attempt at creating awareness for the pollution of the oceans, the decline of marine life and for the fact that biodiversity is a finite resource. “The fact is, we still have enough time the destruction of our planet”, writes Christian Vitzl. Given human nature, however, time is just one the factors and I’m not optimistic. Needless to say, I would of course like to be proven wrong.


Silent Kingdom: A World Beneath The Waves
Photography by Christian Vizl
Introduction by Dr. Silvia A. Earle
Essays by Michael Aw, Ernie Brooks, David Doubilet, Nora Torres
Earth Aware Editions, San Rafael, CA 94912

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The Magic of Metzner @ The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography

© Sheila Metzner. Joko. Passion. 1985

The Magic of Metzner
June 6 – September 1

“While photography was only beginning to be perceived as art, and the artistic value of color photography was being questioned, Metzner was one of the first photographers to work in color. After a successful start, Sheila began working with fashion houses Valentino, Fendi, Ralph Lauren, Chloé and signed a contract with Vogue, becoming the first female photographer to work with Vogue on an ongoing basis.”

The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography

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