Opening and Dedication Thursday, October 25, from 18h to 21h
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
36 Falgui Street era
75015 Paris – France
What first and foremost attracted me to this tome is the fact that since I visited Rajastan some years ago I’m carrying pictures in my head that deeply affect me. The places in India that I have been to (Delhi, Gurgaon, Agra, Jaipur) left me stunned – the masses of people, the traffic and noise, the colours and, especially, the women who I thought the most beautiful and dignified I’ve ever laid eyes on. What also made a mark on me was the observation by U.R. Ananthamurthy “that the Indian writer is luckier than his Western counterpart, for he lives simultaneously in the 12th and 21st centuries, and in every century in between” for it describes perfectly what I experienced when looking through my car window while my driver was busily navigating through traffic. “No rules,” he commented. “Do cars in other countries go all in one direction?” he wanted to know. “Generally speaking yes,” I answered, “they usually do not come from from left or right or towards you.”
David Zurick is an educator and a self-taught photographer who does in this cleverly done book (quite some pondering must have gone into arranging the photographs so felicitously) what I wish more photographers would do – he describes how, and into what mood, he was approaching what he came to photograph. The chapter “The Desert” starts like this: “The Bikaner Express left the Delhi railway station before dawn and arrived four hours later at Churu Junction. I barely had time to collect my luggage and hop off the carriage before the locomotive sped away again on its journey across Rajasthan …” In addition, he gives an account of the landscape (he’s an academically trained geographer, after all) – information that help one to imagine aspects that photographs alone cannot convey.
A Fantastic State of Ruin does not elaborate on what made David visit The Painted Towns of Rajasthan yet one might assume that he wanted to document what “might not be around for much longer.” Needless to say, the beautiful havelis (mansions), frescoes, and wall murals are reason enough although I keep on wondering how (India is a very vast country) he became aware of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Anyway, I’m glad he did and that the people at Goff Books decided to publish this superb book.
A Fantastic State of Ruin is divided into four sections (The Desert, The Towns, The Inhabitants, The Painted Walls), a well-thought out structure that lays out the stages of the photographer’s approach. Each section is introduced by a short text that complements the photographs. Apart from being highly informative, these texts make also clear why, occasionally, words do not stand in the way of seeing but make for richer seeing. “Traveling from one town to another on the tiny tarmac roads or along the rutted sandy tracks once favored by the camel caravans, I always remained in the vicinity of a water feature, ever mindful of the fact that without them there would have been no trade or human settlement in the Great Indian Desert – and no painted towns.”
What I like most about A Fantastic State of Ruin is the meditative calm it radiates. That has most probably also to do with the fact that quite some photographs were taken on misty winter mornings. Another contributing factor is the seeming unpretentiousness of the people portrayed – on pages 100/101, one sees a mural of a woman in a sari on the one page and a photograph of a somewhat similarly looking woman on the other page. I’m reading this as a document of timelessness – and that, to me, is meditation.
A Fantastic State of Ruin is at the same time a convincing document of the unique painted towns of Shekhawati and an invitation to visualise timelessness.
A Fantastic State of Ruin: The Painted Towns of Rajasthan
By David Zurick
Introduction by Abha Narain Lambah
Goff Books, San Francisco, CA
opening reception will be held on November 14 from 6-8 p.m.
“The color work of street photographer Vivian Maier will be the subject of a new exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery from November 14, 2018 through January 5, 2019. Many of the photographs are on view for the first time, deepening the understanding of Maier’s oeuvre and her keenness to record and present her interpretation of the world around her. Dating from the 1950s to the 1980s, Vivian Maier: The Color Work captures the street life of Chicago and New York, and includes a number of her enigmatic self-portraits. ”
Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, New York
“In this solo show, artist-photographer Mark Neville documents the everyday life of Bethlem Royal Hospital, the oldest residential psychiatric treatment facility in the UK, during this 70th anniversary year of the NHS. Bethlem Museum of the Mind commissioned this project to explore the complex nature of mental illness, treatment and recovery.”
Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Royal Hospital,
Monks Orchard Road,
Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
Opening Reception & Talks: Saturday 22nd September, 3pm
“An exhibition of new work by Josée Pedneault, Bertrand Carrière, Mat Hay and Melanie Letoré, made in exchange residencies between Street Level and VU Photography Centre in Québec City. Working around themes of heritage and migration, the two artists from Québec and their counterparts in Scotland have developed new work in response to their stay in each respective city and the dialogue that emerged both during and after their residencies.”
Street Level Photoworks
Glasgow, G1 5HD
“The title of the exhibition refers to the process of registering information through the means of photography, in the context of Clay Ketter’s (b. 1961) work this suggests the notion of ‘scanning’ surfaces.
Indeed the artist’s practice invites the viewer to enter a world where ‘reality appears to imitate art’1. The relationship between the depiction of the real and artifice is rarely closer than the in the Gulf Coast Slabs (2007) and Valencia (2003, 2005) series, both portraying reality and the structures of human habitation.
This exhibition will include more recent works from the Madre Veduta (2011) and Tract (2010, 2012) series, that question our perception of environments, in this instance through the use of digital image manipulation.”
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, September 28 ( 6 – 8PM)
“The term composition means ‘putting together’ or the act of combining parts or elements to form a whole – often adhering to compositional principles that make a work of photographic art more appealing or intriguing to viewers. These principles include the development of rhythm, movement, contrast, balance, unity, proximity and continuity to create expressive and compelling compositions – while emphasizing different visual, social, or political concepts…. Praxis Gallery seeks the submission of works of art that explore composition as a fundamental aspect of the photographic aesthetic.”
Praxis Gallery & Photographic Art Center
2600 East 26th Street
Opening Reception: 18th September (Tuesday), 7pm
“Two billion cups of coffee are drank daily around the world, and it has become a part of our daily life, culture and expression. A cup of coffee facilitates communication, allows us to share moments with friends, colleagues and even strangers. For many of us, coffee is our morning partner, the one that gives us the much needed strength to start the day, or even go the extra mile at night when we strive to stay sharp and focused. However, very few of us have really ever seen where the coffee journey begins.”
The Empty Quarter, Gate Village, Bldg 02,
DIFC, Dubai, UAE,
“The works on view demonstrate what Burtynsky calls the “indelible human signature” on the planet, caused by incursions into the landscape on an industrial scale. Chronicling the major themes of terraforming and extraction, urbanisation and deforestation, Burtynsky conveys the unsettling reality of sweeping resource depletion and extinction.”
Flowers Gallery, 21 Cork Street, London W1S 3LZ
In the early 1990s in a small disadvantaged community in rural Mississippi, Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer were wrongfully convicted in separate trials of capital murder. Brooks, despite an alibi, was sentenced to life and was imprisoned for 18 years. A few years later Brewer was convicted and sentenced to death. He was incarcerated for 15. In 2008 the Innocence Project in New York exonerated both men. Vanessa Potkin, longtime attorney at the Innocence Project, along with co-founder of the Innocence Project, Peter Neufeld, spent years investigating the two cases, and discovered a link between them that subsequent DNA testing substantiated. The results of that testing led authorities to the real perpetrator who was responsible for both murders and then to the exonerations of Brooks and Brewer. Without the work of the Innocence Project, Potkin, Neufeld, and a host of others, these photographs–of lives lost, forgotten, and then regained–would not have been possible. The photographs’ poignance is made all the more powerful as one contemplates their stark, deeply felt beauty against the haunting realization that they were almost never able to be made or seen at all.
The evidence against Brooks and Brewer consisted primarily of bite mark matching evidence. A prosecution expert testified that in both cases multiple bite marks covered the victims’ bodies and matched the defendants’ teeth impressions. A group of experts retained by the Innocence Project later determined that the marks were not bite marks at all. As a forensic discipline, bite mark matching has come under serious criticism in recent years and led to the exoneration of multiple other prisoners. This same prosecution expert testified not only in Brooks’s and Brewer’s cases, but a host of others in Mississippi and the region. The extent of the damage is still unknown.
In 2012, photographer Isabelle Armand came across an article about these two cases. Such a scenario seemed unbelievable. How, why, and where could this happen? How does one cope with wrongful conviction? For the next five years, she spent several weeks each year documenting Brooks, Brewer, their families and their environment. This intimate photographic essay, akin to looking in a mirror, puts faces on the victims of wrongful convictions. It seeks to raise consciousness, challenge popular perceptions about poverty and inequality in our criminal justice system, and demands that we confront these critical issues.
Levon Brooks died in January of 2018. He lived a life that may people could envy in terms of being supported and loved by those who knew him. Radley Balko, a writer who has worked with contributor Tucker Carington, wrote about Levon in The Washington Post after he died, saying, “Brooks was a joyous man and incredibly charismatic. He had a way of drawing you in, of quickly making you feel like an old friend. Within minutes of my meeting him, he was already making plans for he and I to go hunting. The last time I saw him, he told me that he was happy — that for the first time since getting out of prison, he felt as happy as he’d been before he went in. It was an odd thing to hear, because just a few minutes earlier, he had shown me the chemo pump attached to his abdomen. Levon Brooks’s life was unfair — incredibly, cruelly, unspeakably unfair. Somehow, against all odds, he still found joy in it.”
This book is presented to give an introduction to the wrongful imprisonment of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer; two men who were wrongfully convicted of murder through a miscarriage of justice. We see the environment and social landscape of the place they called home, the rural area surrounding Macon, Mississippi. We also see the people who were important to them; family, friends, fiancées and wives. The book is presented in such a way to show the lives and hometown of Levon and Kennedy so the reader can better understand who they are and where they came from. Armond’s images help the reader sympathize and/or empathize with them, and see them as people we might know and understand; not as prisoners or convicts who are reduced to a number for the U.S. prison system.
The sadness of Levon Brooks’ death and the injustice of their cases is undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg for cases of wrongfully convinced people worldwide. ‘Levon and Kennedy’ is an uplifting, albeit melancholy, tale of exonerated men who tried to be strong in the face of their fates, and not give up despite the staggering odds.
Isabelle Armand worked with fashion photographers in her native Paris and in New York City, where she has lived and worked since the 1980s. Eventually Armand’s predilection for art drew her away from the fashion industry. She assumed the position of U.S. editor for the French magazine Connaissance des Arts, in whose pages her photographic portraits of contemporary artists appeared. After a productive stint as editor, Armand devoted herself to a full-time career in freelance photography. Concentrating on black-and-white film portraiture and documentaries, primarily in a 6 x 7 medium format, Armand’s highly original works can be found not only in private collections, but also in museum collections. In addition, they have been featured both in national and international publications.
Professor Tucker Carrington is the founding director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project (formerly the Mississippi Innocence Project) and Clinic at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The clinic’s mission is to identify, investigate, and litigate actual claims of innocence by Mississippi prisoners, as well as advocate for systemic criminal justice reform. Prior to coming to Ole Miss, Professor Carrington was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown Law Center, a trial and supervising attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and a visiting clinical professor at Georgetown.
Professor Carrington writes frequently about criminal justice issues, including wrongful convictions and legal ethics. His work has appeared in The Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, and the Mississippi Law Journal.
Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project by Isabelle Armand
Trim Size: 11 x 9-2/3
Page Count: 112
To find out more about this book, or to purchase a copy, please visit the website for powerHouse Books: http://www.powerhousebooks.com/books/levon-and-kennedy-mississippi-innocence-project/