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Film Review: Fill the Frame by Tim Huynh

Fill the Frame (2021)
62min
Documentary
Released 31 January 2021 (USA)
https://www.filltheframefilm.com/

Fill The Frame, directed and produced by Tim Huynh, follows eight contemporary New York City street photographers. The film takes an in-depth look at the work of the photographers and their journey through personal discussions, and features interviews and scenes of them working on the streets of New York City. The photographers featured are Dimitri Mellos, Jonathan Higbee, Julia Gillard, Lauren Welles, Mathias Wasik, Melissa Breyer, Melissa O’Shaughnessy, & Paul Kessel.

The film also features interviews with notable curators, gallerists, and writers to give both historical and current insights on the street photography genre as well.  The vignettes highlighting seminal work by photographers like Levitt, Maier, Eggelston and Winogrand show how they influenced the contemporary scene. These quick history insights provide a foundation for the work of their contemporaries, and leads into the impact social media has made for the meteoric rise in popularity of the street genre.

The pacing of the film feels right for a film about street photography; it starts with a rapid succession of scenes showing photographers working in the streets, along with the work of biggies like Levitt, Maier, Eggelston, and Winogrand peppered in for reference. After the rapid-fire first twenty minutes of the film, Huynh slows the pace and dips into an interview with Lauren Welles, where she gives us insight into her professional and personal backstory. The discussions with Welles, and Higbee, and Kessel really stood out to me – each gave their personal, often humble, origin story with becoming a photographer, and Huynh just lets them talk about the joy of visually experiencing the world around them, enjoying people and the dynamics of capturing the world within a frame. I really enjoyed learning about these photographer’s backstories and understanding the person behind the camera. I have reviewed work by some of these same photographers in the past, and it was interesting and valuable to hear from them directly about their journey and goals as artists.

The experience of watching this film, shot in pre-pandemic New York City, felt good to watch. If the film had been released in early 2020, it would likely feel premature… Too soon. But now that the nation is on the road to recovery from the past year of illness and deaths from the pandemic, accelerated vaccine development, economic pitfalls, joblessness, and political anxiety – it felt good to get a healthy dose of a socially-interactive creative process. Many photographers whose career and livelihoods were impacted by the pandemic so far, are likely straining at the bit to get back to streets teeming with people. Huynh expertly used a number of techniques to set the stage: slow motion sequences of people walking and interacting in the city, drone or aerial shots pan over rooftops and the streets below, and special attention was paid to esthetics when choosing to present footage in black and white for a photographer who chooses to not shoot in color, then transitioning back into color as she walked away at the end of her segment.

I once wrote of the metaphor of theater as applied to street photography. Whichever street corner, subway station, beachfront, or setting the photographer selects as the tableau, it feels like a magnificent theater with a diverse cast of characters performing in an unscripted play on an ever-changing stage. As individuals interact with one another in these tightly-packed public spaces, occasionally extraordinary situations unfold that are unexpected, mysterious, humorous or poignant. A strange or wonderful juxtaposition may materialize and then vanish in a split-second. Such ephemeral events are often overlooked or quickly forgotten in an oftentimes chaotic world. The resulting images are a visual language of their own; an expression that is an equivalent to the captured scene. The sum is greater than its parts. The craft and attention required to capture this genre of photography should prompt us to pause and reflect on how magical these instances truly are.


 

Photographer Jonathan Higbee shooting on the streets of New York – from ‘Fill the Frame’

 

Photographer Lauren Welles interview – production still from ‘Fill the Frame’

 

Photographer Dimitri Mellos – from ‘Fill the Frame’


View the trailer for Fill the Frame at  IMDB or visit the film’s website at: https://www.filltheframefilm.com/

 

 

 


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My St Pauls @ St Pauls Learning Centre


My St Pauls

My St Pauls is a permanent display of 20 photographs taken during workshops by the Real Photography Company who run the community darkrooms at the learning centre. The black and white images taken on film were developed and printed in the darkrooms by individuals from a variety of local groups including: over 50s, refugees and individuals recovering from addiction. The photographs cover the brief ‘My St Pauls’ and include images taken at St Pauls Carnival.

One of the Directors Ruth Jacobs said,

“We are pleased to mount this exhibition celebrating the creative achievements of the participants of Community Photography Projects taking pace at St Pauls Darkrooms. As a large-scale outdoor photography exhibition it is accessible for all to enjoy, without restriction, even in this time of lockdown. We are working with Bristol Photography Festival to bring more photography outdoors in a series of workshops taking place this summer – look out for details!”

St Paul’s is an area of high unemployment and lack of investment so many of the activities will be offered free of charge, targeting local schools and community groups.

This permanent exhibition, as well as increasing the profile of the centre, enables local people to represent their community through traditional photographic skills.

St Pauls Learning Centre, 94 Grosvenor Road, St Pauls, Bristol.


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TODD WEBB IN AFRICA @ Minneapolis Institute of Art

© 2021 Todd Webb Archive
Todd Webb Untitled (44UN-8002-165) Togoland, (Togo) 1958. Attendant at Texaco station.

TODD WEBB IN AFRICA Outside The Frame
January 28, 2021 – June 13, 2021

“In 1958, photographer Todd Webb, best known for his remarkable images of the everyday life and architecture of New York and Paris, as well as photographs of the American West, was commissioned by the United Nations Office of Public Information to document the progress of industry and technology in what were then eight different African nations, either recently independent or on the cusp of gaining independence in the aftermath of World War II.

Over the course of four months, Webb traveled through Togo, Ghana, Sudan, Somalia, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia (which are now Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Tanganyika and Zanzibar (now merged as Tanzania), and Kenya. Outfitted with three cameras, he amassed approximately 2,000 images in that time, but only 22 of them were published by the U.N., in black & white, in a 7-page brochure. The remainder of the negatives were dispersed in the 1970s and only reunited with the Todd Webb Archive in 2017.”

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Harrison Photography Gallery


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Renato D’Agostin @ NEUTRO


Renato D’Agostin METROPOLIS
28.11.2020 – 28.02.2021

“Metropolis is a journey through the blacks and whites of different cities, a sum of various places, a title that Renato D’Agostin has used to associate his personal vision of urban spaces over time. The exhibition at NEUTRO consists of eleven photographs, a dogged sequence of images portraying either Tokyo or Venice, Washington or Istanbul, a palindrome narration in dialogue with its location, which has no entry or exit. Each showcase contributes to the creation of an archetypal city in the viewer’s mind, but it also stands alone as an independent chapter of Metropolis, made of harmony and interferences in an eternal balance between light and shadow. ”

NEUTRO


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Paola Paredes: Today is Hard @ Hundred+ Heroines (online)

From the series Today is Hard, 2020 © Paola Paredes

Paola Paredes: Today is Hard
Opening 8th March

https://hundredheroines.org/today-is-hard/

Today is Hard displays a Deeply Personal Response to Contracting Covid-19

“Beyond the indelible evidence of its context, the exhibition invites wider conversation regarding the ways we think about illness; juxtaposed tablets treating both COVID-19 and anxiety and depression, which Paredes has struggled with since her teenage years, indicate the often indistinguishable relationship between mental and physical wellbeing. Challenging the stigma surrounding mental health, Today is Hard illustrates the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – ‘Choose To Challenge’. The theme, which encourages acceleration towards gender parity, epitomises Hundred+ Heroines’ charitable vision and also represents new territory. While the previous group collection, Cabinet of Remedies, explored the therapeutic quality of art during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and precipitated a sense of community, Today is Hard is unique in its deeply personal individual retelling of this painful, bewildering time.”

Hundred+ Heroines


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Paul Anthony Smith: Tradewinds @ Jack Shainman Gallery

Paul Anthony Smith, Untitled (Dead Yard), 2020, unique picotage on inkjet print with spray paint, mounted on museum board and sintra, 95 7/8 x 71 7/8 inches. © Paul Anthony Smith. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Paul Anthony Smith: Tradewinds
February 25 – April 3

“On view at the gallery’s 20th Street location, Tradewinds explores the artist’s Caribbean lineage and familiar histories, along with the global impact of the past year’s pandemic and racial justice uprisings, through Smith’s singular ‘picotage’ process of picking away at the surface of photographic prints with a ceramic tool.”

Jack Shainman Gallery
New York


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JINDRICH STREIT: VILLAGE PEOPLE 1965-1990 @ AnzenbergerGallery

Jindrich Streit, Arnoltice, 1990, vintage gelatin silver print, printed by the artist, 28 x 37,7 (31,1 x 40,6) cm

JINDRICH STREIT: VILLAGE PEOPLE 1965-1990
March 1o to May 21, 2021

Opening: Long Friday, March 5, 2021 from 12 – 7 pm

“Jindřich Štreit has long been one of the most important figures in Czech photography. He has had more than 1,400 solo exhibitions and his works are in the collections of leading institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Though he has made many visually powerful series with photographs from various parts of the world, his fundamental works remain the unique set of photographs of the Czechoslovak countryside in the 1970s and 1980s. In them he has made an unembellished, unlyricized, unsentimental picture of life in villages of the poor area of Bruntál in the years of the re-established Communist régime, called ‘normalization’. No other Czech photographer has developed the rural theme so multifacetedly, broadly, and authentically. Even amongst the most ravaged of environments and their inhabitants, Štreit has often been able to discover something beautiful, even if only the desire for beauty and joy,friendship and love, timeless values.”

AnzenbergerGallery
Absberggasse 27
1100 Vienna, Austria.


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David Goldblatt @ Yancey Richardson Gallery

New York

David Goldblatt: Strange Instrument
Feb 26 – Mar 27, 2021

“Strange Instrument brings together 45 photographs documenting South Africa—where David Goldblatt was born in 1930 and lived until his death in 2018—at the height of apartheid, between the early 1960s and the end of the 1980s.”

Yancey Richardson Gallery
540 West 25th Street


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Mentors @ School of Visual Arts (online)

image: ChrisFacey

Mentors
March 8 – 28, 2021

“Mentors,” an exhibition of work by BFA Photography & Video students inspired by their working relationships with world-renowned artists, curators, editors, and directors from our global arts community. Curated by department chair Joseph Maida, the exhibition “Mentors” will be on view online from Monday, March 8, through Sunday, March 28, at galleries.sva.edu.

This year’s mentors include Nadia Vellam, Photo and Video Director, T: The New York Times Style Magazine; Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions, The Studio Museum in Harlem; Drew Sawyer, Curator, Photography, Brooklyn Museum; Michael Famighetti, Editor, Aperture Magazine; Christopher Lew, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum; Jennifer Pastore, Executive Photo Director, WSJ. The Wall Street Journal Magazine; Mariette Pathy Allen, Photographer and many others.

The Mentors program at SVA is designed to cultivate relationships between established and emerging artists and to introduce new talent to the broader community. Established in 1992, this program pairs select fourth-year students with key figures in the arts community, giving them professional insight into their work during a culminating point in their education.

School of Visual Arts


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Ed Eckstein @ Albumen Gallery


Ed Eckstein: Divided We Stand
26.2. – 16.4

“Pennsylvania based photographer Ed Eckstein didn’t have to go far to capture dramatic moments of the 2020 US Presidential election campaign. His home state was one of the battle states that were pivotal in the fight for the White House. In ‘Divided we Stand’ Ed Eckstein’s camera documents election rallies at various locations in Pennsylvania during October.”

‘A presidential campaign grounded in the politics of division over a toxic mix of passions and polarization. Hopes for a healing process seems right at this moment very unlikely. Sadly Americans cannot agree on a shared reality, many are in echo chambers consuming information tailored to existing biases. Partisan warfare impels people to deny the legitimacy, even the humanity of those with different viewpoints.’ Ed Eckstein January 2021

Albumen Gallery
London


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