The LA River: A City Runs Through It @ Keystone Art Space

LA River_Kevin McCollister

Kevin McCollister

The LA River: A City Runs Through It
February 20th – March 1st, 2016

Artist’s reception: Saturday, February 20th, 7-10 pm

Things are changing dramatically. The LA River, which began construction in 1938 as a giant storm drain, has been ignored for years. Most Angelenos have had no idea that the 51 mile long waterway even existed. Previously the abode of the homeless and the setting for countless movie shoots, the River has suddenly been discovered and people and organizations are scrambling to beautify the waterway and gentrify the adjacent communities. Seven fine art photographers have gathered together to exhibit their personal visions of the River before it changes forever.

Keystone Art Space, 25558 San Fernando Road, Los Angeles 90065

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Pixy Liao, Juno Calypso, Melanie Willhide, Natasha Caruana@ Flowers Gallery

JUNO CALYPSO,

JUNO CALYPSO,

THE REAL THING
JUNO CALYPSO, NATASHA CARUANA, PIXY LIAO & MELANIE WILLHIDE
January 28 – February 27, 2016

Opening Reception Thursday January 28, 6 – 8pm

An exhibition of the work of four female photographers, who experiment with gender roles, sexuality, and constructed identity, often putting themselves and their relationships with others in the frame.

Flowers Gallery
529 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

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Ralph Ziman @ C.A.V.E Gallery

unnamedRalph Ziman: Bones
February 6 through to March 5, 2016

Opening Reception: February 6th | 6:30 p.m.

In this latest body of work, Ziman seeks to confront the egregious killing of endangered animals for trophy and sport in South Africa. ‘Canned hunts’ – often hosted on South African reserves – involve visitors paying large sums of money to kill some of the world’s most rare and precious animals. A culture of killing exists amongst the locals as well, with numerous species being used for medicine, which is bought and sold at South African Voodoo marketplaces. Having witnessed many of these practices, Ziman’s work actively speaks out against the global value of profit over protection of endangered animals.

C.A.V.E Gallery
1108 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

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Don Getsug @ The Rangefinder Gallery

unnamedDon Getsug
Document: Forty Years After the F.S.A.
February 5 – 27

Reception: February 5, 6 – 9 PM

Inspired by the great documentary photographers of the F.S.A. and his own history in photojournalism, Don Getsug worked with a friend in the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to document emergency food programs in some of the poorest counties in the United States: Appalachia, Rio Grande Valley, and Mississippi and Arkansas Delta.

The Rangefinder Gallery
300 West Superior St.

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Christopher Payne @ Benrubi Gallery

unnamedChristopher Payne: Asylum
​February 11 – March 26, 2016

Opening reception: February 11, 2016 6 – 8pm

Asylum reminds us of the pre-pharmaceutical era of psychiatric treatment, when the mentally ill were shunted out of public view in vast, village-like facilities, complete with movie theaters, hairdressing salons, bowling alleys and vegetable gardens. But although many of the buildings are the worse for wear, they seem less like prisons than mansions, as if architectural rigor could soothe a troubled mind. There is a palpable tension between the orderly spaces and the suffering and confusion of the patients who once lived in them, a melancholy that builds to tragedy as one contemplates images of empty coffins and pre-numbered grave markers and shelf after shelf of unclaimed cremains.

Benrubi Gallery 521 West 26th Street, Floor #2 | New York City | New York | 10001

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Book Review: Robert Herman’s The Phone Book

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Robert’s last book The New Yorkers was a testament to street photography within the limits of NYC. The Phone Book takes that very same principle of street photography and puts it on a global stage. However, all photos were taken with Robert’s cell phone using the Hipstamatic app and yielded amazing results. Robert’s phone photography (hence the clever title) puts photographers to shame. Just flip through the pages of this book and you’ll be shocked at the stunning imagery taken with a simple cell phone camera. It’s inspiring to say the least. Plus, it’s a showcasing of letting photographers know that they don’t need a ton of gear to take a brilliant photo.

Dress

The book follows Robert through his travels throughout the world. The idea behind the book is beautiful. Why not travel light and use the item you always have on you – your phone. It helps that Robert is an extremely experienced photographer and knows that moments can be fleeting so you should always be prepared to capture anything at any time. From landing in snow blanketed Winnipeg to and old church in France to Fog in Santa Monica, to scenes from a memory in New York City – Robert captures beautiful fleeting moments that many of us would only dream of seeing. Well traveled street photography is an art in and of itself and Robert’s work in this book is poetic and sublime.
He truly captures the essence of the scenes he encounters and through these photos we can feel what he feels and what his subjects could feel. They aren’t posed photos with elaborate studio setups. These images are seen through Robert’s eyes and he’s gracious enough to share his world view with us. The pictures are all in a square format as well which makes them even more unique. Robert’s gift is that he can make the ordinary seem extraordinary.

Portrait

Not only are the photos in a square format but so is the book. I find the idea of a printed book formatted like a social media app done through a social media app to be a pretty keen one. This is a must for any fan of street photography. You could while away the hours just observing one of these photos.

 

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The Phone Book
by Robert Herman
Schiffer Publishing
For more information and to purchase the book: www.schifferbooks.com/the-phone-book-5852.html

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Book Review: On the Nest by Dona Schwartz

Kristin and Ryan, 18 Days

Kristin and Ryan, 18 Days

Dona Schwartz describes her book as such: “In On the Nest, I use environmental portraiture to examine two moments of change that bookend parents’ lives—the transition to parenthood with a first child’s birth, and the transition to life without day-to-day responsibility for parenting when young adults leave their childhood homes.”

The book is comprised of three parts. The ‘Expecting’ series at the beginning of the book shows couples who are parents-to-be. Schwartz has photographed couples in the space they’ve prepared in anticipation of the baby who will soon arrive. The images are titled by listing their names and the amount of time left before their lives will change forever (due date/adoption date). The nervousness and/or excitement shown in the expressions and body language of the expectant parents is palpable. The clutter of all the recommended items for expectant parents in some of the shots is dizzying. Shelves covered with books for what to expect (but can never fully address), or clothes that won’t be worn for months and months after the baby arrives, and the single package of infant sized diapers… as if to declare: “We are ready”.

The middle of the book contains an essay by William A. Ewing. Ewing is a photography curator, author, and former director of photography for several prestigious centers for photography, including the International Center of Photography, New York from 1977 to 1984. Ewing’s essay, ‘Great Expectations’, is written both from the perspective of a parent who has gone through both stages of Expecting and Empty Nester, and that of an expert on the subject matter of a well-conceived and executed photography project – which On the Nest certainly is. These portraits have the power to draw in the viewer and as Schwartz says, “… invite viewers to reflect on their own experiences of change and the trajectories we trace in the course of a lifetime.”

The latter part of the book is the series of images, ‘Empty Nesters’. Presented in a similar fashion as the expectant parents, these couples are parents who are in the phase of life after their children have left home and their bedrooms/personal spaces.

Christina and Mark, 14 Months

Christina and Mark, 14 Months

The color images Schwarz presents throughout are practically deadpan. Couples are photographed in these spaces in a direct, documentary style. Couples of diverse races, ethnicities, and genders are all presented in the same way. The extreme wide angle lens used to capture these couples in small rooms results in images with the physical space distorted and exaggerated. Tables and chairs are distorted from their normal shape around the frame edge of the shots and the perspective is off – as if stretched by extreme gravity that warps both time and space. One could suppose this is how the Empty Nesters feel… Where did the time go? How did it go by so quickly? What happened to our baby?

Some Empty Nesters are shown in cramped rooms with some of the same types of knick-knacks as the expectant parents, with the substitution of exercise equipment for bouncy seats, and craft tables for changing tables. The only thing missing is the kids.

Gloria and Alan, 5 Years

Gloria and Alan, 5 Years

In fact, the children are never physically present in these portraits; save for photos on shelves or bulletin boards. The details in Schwartz’s photographs, the artifacts, the evidence that time has passed and are the only clues to the real inhabitants of these spaces. These clues are all we have to guess what the children are like – or in the case of the expectant parents: what they hope their children will be like.

Bobby and Kevin, Waiting to Adopt

Bobby and Kevin, Waiting to Adopt

Schwartz captures the broad strokes of the project by stating, “In our lives we experience multiple transitions, and in these moments of change we renegotiate our sense of self. Events like communions, weddings, baby showers, and retirement parties formally mark the new roles and statuses we take on. We cross other thresholds without rituals or celebrations—even though divorce is a momentous life transition, there is no script for marking its passage. I am intrigued by the ways in which we move from one life phase to the next, and I am working programmatically to represent complex processes of changing identity.”


 

Dona Schwartz is an American photographer living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She earned her PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication and is professionally engaged with photography as an artist, scholar, and educator. Amongst her many academic publications are two photographic ethnographies, Waucoma Twilight: Generations of the Farm (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992) and Contesting the Super Bowl (Routledge, 1997). Her photographic monograph, In the Kitchen, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2009.

Her work has been internationally published and exhibited at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, London, Blue Sky Gallery, the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Stephen Bulger Gallery, the Pingyao International Photography Festival, and in numerous juried exhibitions in the United States. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, George Eastman House, the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, the Harry Ransom Center, the Portland Art Museum, and the Kinsey Institute. She is currently on the faculty of the Department of Art at the University of Calgary.


 

nestcovers

On the Nest – Dona Schwartz (with essay by William A. Ewing)
Published by Kehrer Verlag – November 2015

For more information on On the Nest, and other books by Dona Schwartz, visit her website.

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Interview with photographer Ekaterina Vasilyeva

EkaterinaVasilyeva17

F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?

Ekaterina Vasilyeva: A serious interest in photography arose in 2009 during my two years of residence in the United States, in Alabama. Simple, amateur pictures of nature became unsatisfying to me. I often remember one random picture I made at the beach of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. A couple walking along the beach among a lot of birds and the man suddenly raised his hands up and waved them like wings. At that time, I also realized that I wanted to change something in my life. Maybe even my profession. This time also changed my way of life essentially; I had more time to be alone with myself. Living in a foreign country, being quite closed off, helped me to find, I can confidently say now, my matter of life.

Photography gives you a chance to meet again with the world around you. The main arm of the photographer is his curiosity. Curiosity creates a collision and hence the desired contact. By the analysis of my own and others pictures I am more and more convinced how important is the closeness to your shooting objects, how important is the inner monologue with nature or a dialogue with the person portrayed by you. So that it could touch the unprepared viewer.

I use photography to surprise myself.
I enjoy working at the intersection of art and documentary photography. Telling the story of a real place, city or country I like to add to the basis a myth or legend, and perhaps something that happened only in my imagination. I think that the photographer has to have something from a magician.

EkaterinaVasilyeva10

F-Stop: The “Wonder-Full” issue of F-Stop Magazine includes images from your project “After the Firebird”, can you tell us about this project? What led to this project?

EV: I started the project in 2010 and it is ongoing. After the Firebird is about Andrushino, a small village in the Russian region of Pskov where only very few people live permanently. Statistics show that almost 25,000 rural villages disappeared over the last two decades, and sociologists say about the same number is on the verge of extinction.

My grandparents lived in one of these villages for  most of their lives. My grandfather, in particular, used to be called a gypsy because he could predict the approaching of someone’s death. For himself, he predicted he would survive two wars uninjured; and that my grandmother would outlive him by exactly ten years. And so it happened.

Over the last five years I have been photographing the people of Andrushino, subconsciously looking for plain or covert manifestations of people’s magic.

F-Stop: Can you discuss your process for making these images or your creative process more generally?

EV: By profession I am a librarian-bibliographer. Maybe that is why before and during taking pictures I used to collect information on the location of my research, make the necessary notes, read some books and watch movies. Also I’m looking for words – nouns which will help me to focus and see things I needed. These remarks being edited later are becoming my accompanying text to the story – a kind of additional bridge between the viewer and myself.

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F-Stop: What was the research you did for After the Firebird, were their particular books or movies or other things that helped you prepare for this particular project?

EV: For creating my story I was inspired by:
– Russian fairy tales and folklore, literature on Slavs mythology
– paintings by famous Russian artists such as: Viktor Vasnetsov and Ivan Bilibin
– Palekh miniature (Russian folk handicraft of a miniature painting)
– movies based on the books of Russian writer Valentin Ivanov (”Russ at First” and ”Russ Great”)

F-Stop: How do you choose what or who to photograph, what are you looking to capture?

EV: I want to see something beyond everyday life, filled with encrypted symbols. Or maybe just something that brings back memories and the atmosphere of a unique place. More generally, I’m always looking around for magic.

F-Stop: What do you hope people see or feel or perhaps learn when they look at your photographs?

EV: After the Firebird talks about the mystery and magic of the hidden world and the amazing discoveries that can occur in front of everybody. You need only to look around carefully. With the documentary style of my work, I strive to endow each photograph with a sufficient degree of strangeness and mystery. I think this is the most truthful reflection of my inner world and attitude towards the life. Despite the quite rational mind, the analysis of things and actions, in my soul I also feel the presence of a child whose mother often told and read her tales.

No. 21

No. 21


F-Stop: Do you have a favorite image in this series? If so, which one and why is it the image that speaks to you most?

EV: My favorite image is  № 21. In this picture the man and the woman are both 75 years old. They have been married for 40 years. This picture for me is a visual embodiment of the words: “We shall be together while the death separates us”. For the series it is very symbolic in my opinion. When I look at the picture, I think not only about my grandparents, whose picture I can not take anymore, but mostly about the great importance of marriage in the ancient Slavs.

F-Stop: Are you working on any other projects currently?

EV: In March 2015 I started a long-term project devoted to Petergof road (St. Petersburg, Russia), more precisely to its current state, identification specifically of the Finnish Gulf southern shore cultural landscape and the presence of some peculiar Russian tragicomedy landscape (see image below for an example). I want to see my native city’s nature through the example of a small, but important area, and through the eyes of a citizen of the 21-st century. I want to look at the changes that have happened to it during the time I have lived here, and finally to understand for myself whether I agree with these changes.

Petergof Road was founded in 1710 as a path connecting St. Petersburg with Country Imperial Residences: Strelna, Petergof and Oranienbaum. It primarily was created as an integrated system of the landscape and the architectural seaside of the imperial residences, private mansions, gardens and parks which is perhaps unique in the world. By order of Peter the Great the plots, uniformly sliced along the road on both sides, were distributed among the nobility for their estates, and the resulting huge architectural ensemble according to Peter’s original idea had to ”overshadow” the famous road from Paris to Versailles. At that time it was a new look at the relationship between man and nature. Nowadays where once integrated, the landscape-urban metropolitan area system has collapsed; the onslaught of the city brings harm to the aesthetics of the landscape. The most valuable Manor ensembles, which were once a symbol of the harmonious coexistence of a man and the nature has disappeared.

To my regret, I cannot do only one project at a time. I have in mind a few more parallel projects and do a few at the same time. It’s my nature and there’s nothing to be done about it. The second of my long-term new projects are the ‘’Neva. River for people. People for river’’. The pictures explore the themes of the relationship between the people and the Neva River (near St. Petersburg, Russia). On the one hand the attitude of people to the Neva River with each year becomes more and more aggressive and consuming. On the other hand there is no doubt in the words that the people living in the Neva River valley love their river and instinctively want to see in the surrounding landscape not only natural resources necessary for their physical existence, but also a source of aesthetic pleasure.

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An example of Russian tragicomedy landscape

F-Stop: What photographers or other artists inspire you?

EV: Alex Soth, Lucas Foglia, Aaron Vincent Elkaim

 

For more of Ekaterina Vasilyeva’s work: www.ekaterinavasilyeva.ru

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Jacques Henri Lartigue @ Foam

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Jacques Henri Lartigue – Life in Colour
22 January until 3 April 2016

Foam is pleased to present the work of famed French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894 – 1986). Born into a prosperous middle-class family in Paris, Lartigue focused his camera on the carefree existence in and around his own family circle. Lartigue is above all famous for his spectacular photos of car races, aeroplanes and people and animals in motion. But his breath-taking colour photography is less well known. Lartigue, Life in Colour reveals this seldom-seen aspect of his oeuvre.

Foam
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam

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Pauliana Valente Pimentel @ Salgadeiras Gallery

unnamedPauliana Valente Pimentel: The Behaviour of Being
23 January to 4 March

The Behaviour of Being portrays the search for a new kind of artistic environment and the processes that take place within this environment once it have been attained.”This project was a way to confront myself with nature and art. A group of young artists in Lagoa Velha, an idilic place in Castro Marim, Algarve, inspired me. It was interesting to see how that place affected practice, and practice affected that place as well as our state of being. All the prime-matter was there, it was just a matter of looking, feeling and conceptualising it,” says Pauliana Valente Pimentel.

Salgadeiras Gallery
Lisbon

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