Photo Independent @ Raleigh Studios April 29-May 1


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Book Review: Changing Circumstances Looking at the Future of the Planet

When leafing through this tome and trying to make up my mind which photos to choose to illustrate my review, I settled for photos by Edward Burtynsky (an oil spill), Robert Harding Pittman (an anonymous row of houses), and Gina Glover (volcanic craters), only to find out that all three were not in the selection FotoFest permitted the publisher to use. I mention this in order to hopefully arouse your curiosity for the work of these photographers.

There is however another photograph by Gina Glover that I’m permitted to show. Here it is:

Gina Glover: The Titan Crane, Hotellneset Cool Harbour. Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Nowrway 2012

Gina Glover: The Titan Crane, Hotellneset Cool Harbour. Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Nowrway 2012

To me, this Titan Crane looks akin to a spaceship ramp and the mountain tops in the background contribute to the impression that something beyond our familiar world is looming somewhere out there. Although it is an apt illustration of the subtitle of this tome: “Looking at the Future of the Planet,” it also seems to suggest that the future is, well, not on this planet.

Needless to say, it is a true challenge to put “changing circumstances“ into pictures. How do you photograph change? By, I would think, juxtaposing the old and the new. This is however not what this book is all about. Take the work of Susan Derges, for instance. “Looking into the natural world feels like looking into one vast, unfolding, creative process that ‘I’ and ‘nature’ are a part of together, rather than a process where nature is something ‘out there’ happening to me ‘in here’.” While I do agree that ‘I’ and ‘nature’ are a part of together, I do not think that we can see that when looking into the natural world. Well, let’s not split hairs for Susan Derges’ objective is “to make the connection between the ‘two’ (or, you could say, the ‘not two’) …” and I do find this a fascinating task. Here’s how she went about it: “So I tried to make a closer, more tactile contact with the photographic activities, such as immersing the photo paper beneath the water’s surface at night or within the stuff of the landscape, and the exposing it to light.“ The pics she took are stunning.

Susan Derges: Star Field – Bracken, 2008

Susan Derges: Star Field – Bracken, 2008

Some of my favourite pics in this tome are by Pedro David. He chose to photograph eucalyptus trees in order to make the viewers aware of “the deforestation of the Cerrado in central Brazil, the Brazilian Savanna, the Atlantic Forrest, and even the Amazon.“ But why show seemingly intact trees to show deforestation? Well, what we get to see is transgenic eucalyptus, planted by international steel companies, “ a fast growing kind of tree whose wood is used to make vegetal coal, an important ingredient in the smelting of iron ore to steel.“

Pedro David: Suffocation #12, 2012-2014

Pedro David: Suffocation #12, 2012-2014

The photographs show – amidst the eucalyptus trees – what is left of a still alive native tree that is disappearing from these landscapes.

There are many more photographers represented in this volume and their approaches vary considerably. From Meridel Rubenstein’s volcano cycle to David Doubilet’s living reef, from Isaac Julien small boats to Vik Muniz’ garbage to Mandy Barker’s plastic debris. And much more.

“Given the significance of personal connection“, writes co-founder and curator Wendy Watriss, “it is important to think about how few people today have anything but the most minimal contact with the natural world.“ Photography might help you change that, as Gina Glover impressively testifies: “Photographing the Icelandic landscape provided me with an emotional connection to nature. Its wild empty places gave me a sense of personal vulnerability, but also made me conscious of the vulnerability of the environment itself.“

Changing Circumstances Cover
Changing Circumstances
Looking at the Future of the Planet
Curated an conceived by Wendy Watriss, Steven Evans and Frederick Baldwin
Essays by Wendy Watriss, Thomas E. Lovejoy and Geof Rayner
FotoFest International, Houston, Texas, USA
Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam, NL

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Axel Heller @ Fotogalerie Friedrichshain

Sch_ferfest_in_Botiza_c_Axel_Heller_Lehmstedt_VerlAxel Heller “Maramureş”
12 May to 24 June 2016

“Axel Heller’s images honestly portray the full range of nature and community life over a ten year period of time. His work goes well beyond romanticizing the countryside, or idyllically presenting a culture that ‘time has forgotten’. While Heller’s images are often raw and stark, they are never devoid of compassion and understanding. Heller’s work, moreover, not only captures the traditional way of life of the region but, the incipient encroachment of modernity into the fabric of the community. Heller’s project, consequently, is a powerful statement allowing the viewer not only to closely examine a way of life which has existed for centuries but also consider the contradictions, tensions and changes that challenge that community as it grapples with modernity.”

Fotogalerie Friedrichshain
Helsingforser Platz 1
10243 Berlin

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KATHY RYAN @ Howard Greenberg Gallery

May 5 – June 19, 2016

In the words of architect Renzo Piano, his New York Times building was “all about the light, and the vibration of light and shadow.” Working on the 6th floor of the building, Ryan admired how the light of New York City would stream in from the large clear glass windows and cast spectacular architectural shadows from the unusual ceramic rods that encase the building. In the fall of 2012, Kathy Ryan saw a zigzag of light on a staircase and grabbed her iPhone to take a picture. From then on, she was hooked. On a regular basis, she comes in early or stays late or returns on weekends to capture the luminous quality of the light. Among her favorite spots are an eastside corner on the 6th floor in the mornings and the west side of the building on the 15th floor at sunset.

Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, New York.

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Book Review: Mile O’Mud by Malcolm Lightner


At the heart of Mile O’Mud is the thrilling sport of swamp buggy racing. For the uninitiated, swamp buggy racing consists of custom buggies that are part boat and part love-child of NASCAR and high octane drag racing. The buggies and their driver/pilot tear through swampy, muddy terrain that is more like the lake in the center of Daytona International Speedway than the track surrounding it. And much like the famed rowdy crowds who inhabit the infield of NASCAR races, swamp buggy fans do not disappoint.

Fans pile meat in baking pans, cans of Budweiser in boxes, and stack themselves in bleachers, truck beds, and on top of homemade platforms to cheer for the Swamp Buggy Queen and pray for drivers’ quick recoveries when the track proves too treacherous, because the drivers literally risk life and limb.



Malcolm Lightner grew up down the street from the original “Mile O’ Mud” swamp buggy track off of Radio Road in Collier County, Florida. His own family has roots in the beginning of swamp buggy racing. Lightner’s great-uncle R.L. Walker was one of the first swamp-buggy drivers back in the late 1940s and 50s. Lightner, after getting college degrees, including his MFA, moved to New York in 1999, and he returned at least once a year to the Florida Sports Park from 2002 to 2013 to document the races — missing only 2005 due to a hurricane forced cancellation.



Lightner’s images include portraits of the racers, the fans, the vehicles both on and off the track, as well as traditional events of the sport — including the crowning and subsequent dunking of the Swamp Buggy Queen. There is the thrill of speed and danger at the races, and a palpable rush of energy. “On my first visit to the track, I drove into the parking lot, heard the engines of the buggies roar, and witnessed the great plumes of water trailing behind the boat-dragster hybrids,” Lightner says. “I could feel the vibrations from the raw horsepower pound against my chest, and it almost took my breath away. I thought to myself, ‘this is going to be fun!’”


Lightner’s superb images of this sport and frank depiction of its culture make me feel much the same. I was drawn into the world he has photographed, felt like a voyeur at some southern bacchanalia, and ultimately I wanted to start over at the beginning of the book and view it again. And again.

In addition to the excitement and thrills, Lightner also says “I’ve come to understand Swamp Buggy Racing as a metaphor for life’s daily struggles and the innate drive to overcome obstacles against great odds while trying to maintain a sense of humor and grace. The races demonstrated to me the all-American desire to compete to win, as well as the power of family and community.”


This book documents the people and the culture Lightner is from, but of course this is more than an immersive documentary project. He has shown us his own clan, and paid homage to his family and community. Many of us yearn to escape the world we grew up in, to prove to ourselves and the world that we are greater than small beginnings. Yet for many people, their roots call them back. ‘Mile O’Mud’ not only called Lightner back, but it brought along a cooler of beer, some good tunes, and the thrill of the sport that helped shape him.

MALCOLM LIGHTNER is a photographer who works and resides in New York. Born in 1969 in Naples, Florida, he is a fourth generation native Floridian. Malcolm has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants and his work has been featured in a range of exhibitions including Art + Commerce Emerging Photographers and NYPH (New York Photo Festival). Malcolm’s photography is included in the permanent photography collections at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida. His work has appeared in Dear Dave, The Oxford American, VICE, Aint-Bad and Life among other publications. Malcolm is a member of the photography faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2002.

All images are from Mile O’ Mud by Malcolm Lightner, published by powerHouse Books., and used by permission.


Mile O’ Mud: The Culture of Swamp Buggy Racing
By Malcolm Lightner, Introduction by Padgett Powell
Hardcover, 12–1/2 x 11–7/8 inches, 144 pages
ISBN: 978–1–57687–794–4

For more information about Malcolm Lightner, please see his website:

To purchase the book, visit powerHouse Books here

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Book Review: Advanced Style: Older and Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen


Advanced Style: Older & Wiser is the follow-up book to ‘Advanced Style’ by Ari Seth Cohen. ‘Advanced Style’ set the standard for glamour, fashion, and beauty among the over-60 set. The project was inspired by Cohen’s grandmother’s unique sense of style and her indomitable spirit. He set out to capture the creativity and wisdom of seniors to show a positive and inspiring image of aging, and igniting (in the words of New York Times Style editor Vanessa Friedman), “A Movement.”

pg146 Roberta Haze Venice Beach, CA

pg146 Roberta Haze Venice Beach, CA

pg162 Valerie and Jean (The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas), Debra Rapoport, Diana Gabriel, and Carol Markel NY, NY

pg162 Valerie and Jean (The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas), Debra Rapoport, Diana Gabriel, and Carol Markel NY, NY

The models in this book appear in vibrant color photos displaying plenty of attitude or enthusiasm. They glare at the camera with pouty lips, aloof glances, or striking poses with both direct and indirect gaze at the camera — displaying a full spectrum of attitudes from panache to demure. The only difference between the models in this book and any other high fashion magazine is age. And age can be measured by a number, but fashion is forever. This is exactly the point that Ari Seth Cohen makes: Fashion and beauty knows no age. And you don’t have to be a fashionista to understand dressing fashionably. As Simon Doonan discusses in his foreword essay, dressing fashionably is done as a consideration for others. Creative dressing is simply good manners, (and a) profoundly artistic endeavor.

p190 Lana Turner 5th Avenue, NY, NY

p190 Lana Turner 5th Avenue, NY, NY

Ari Seth Cohen presents older men and women who feel that dressing fashionably is an invigorating way of living one of the richest chapters in their lives. In Cohen’s new book, he features senior street style and inspiration from around the globe, featuring a dynamic new set of seniors aged 60–97. The book features 22 short essays written by the subjects, imparting the wisdom and lifestyle secrets of the older generation, like sharing their take on life for living without societal restrictions, defying ageism, and how not to be invisible, dismissed and disregarded. These older adults are full of vitality, and are not afraid to display it through their fashion sense and attitude — as expressed by Beatrix Ost in her essay that ends with a Dylan Thomas quote: “Do not go gentle into that good night; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

And what better way for the baby boomer generation to show the world they are not to be ignored? They are bold, beautiful and exquisitely dressed-to-the-nines.

p48 Bill and Eva Kobus Webb, New York

p48 Bill and Eva Kobus Webb, New York

After looking through this book and reading the essays, I immediately thought of my own parents. I am in my mid-forties, and my parents are in their early 70s. When I was a child, my mother organized fashion style shows through her women’s group. The runway-style fashion show was hosted at a department store, and the show included a section dedicated to iconic styles leading all the way back to the suffrage movement. She has always had an independent spirit, had a career as an art teacher, and along with my father, restored the Victorian home I grew up in. My artist-mother creates Louise Nevelson inspired assemblages and collages of pattern and color from recycled materials, wears vintage finds from rummage sales, or pop art inspired outfits to festive costume parties. The men and women in Cohen’s book could just as easily be guests at those parties. Both my parents embody the spirit of Americans 60+ who live life on their terms — very much like the individuals photographed in ‘Advanced Style: Older & Wiser’.

Advanced Style: Older & Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen, with introduction by Simon Doonan

Published April 26, 2016 by powerHouse Books
Trim Size: 7 x 9.5
Page Count: 272
ISBN: 9781576877975

All photographs by Ari Seth Cohen, from Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, published by powerHouse Books, and used with permission.

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Mary Ellen Mark @ Howard Greenberg Gallery

Tiny blowing a bubble, Seattle, 1983

Tiny blowing a bubble, Seattle, 1983

Portraits by Mary Ellen Mark, 1964–2015
May 5 – June 19, 2016

Mary Ellen Mark, who passed away last year, is known for her photojournalism, documentary photography, and notably, her portraiture. Attitude: Portraits by Mary Ellen Mark, 1964–2015 is curated by Melissa Harris, editor-at-large, Aperture Foundation, who notes, “In choosing the images from among many of her key series, I was defining attitude in terms of a sense of self, a kind of awareness and confidence, self-possession.”

The exhibition surveys highlights from many of her series including Indian Circus, humorous and bizarre shots of performers and contortionists and their animals from India’s liveliest circuses; and Falkland Road, gritty images of prostitutes and their patrons on a notorious street in Bombay. Selections from Twins and Prom explore – in large format Polaroids – siblings at the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, and prom-goers across the U.S. Images from Mark’s work for LIFE magazine about the Damms, a homeless family in California, express the grim reality of survival on spare change and welfare checks.

Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, New York

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Jefferson Hayman @ Robin Rice Gallery

unnamedJefferson Hayman: Limerance
May 18 – June 19, 2016

OPENING RECEPTION Wednesday, May 18, 5:30-8:30pm

Infatuation, as Jefferson Hayman describes it, is a central concept of his latest exhibition. The show title “Limerance” refers to a state of intrigue that does not need to be reciprocated, thus implying that each photograph details a unique object or state that offers its own subtle beauty to Hayman. Each of his photographs contains a hair of mystery, in that its narrative is not necessarily explicit. In this, Hayman allows viewers to write their own story. This constructs a powerful dynamic between the viewer and the artist; whereas Hayman leads us to discover the same beauty that he himself sees.

Robin Rice Gallery

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17 June to 4 September 2016

The name Helmut Newton immediately conjures up images for many a photography enthusiast, namely those of long-legged, high-heeled – and usually scantily clad – women, who radiate an unbridled sense of eroticism. It’s certainly true that women play a central, erotic role in Newton’s work. But this is also the reason why his work is often all too quickly and simply pigeon-holed, and why there’s insufficient appreciation of the intrinsic complexity and multi-layered nature of his oeuvre.

Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam

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Interview with photographer Bailey Dale


Cary Benbow (CB): What compels you to make the images you create, and why are you drawn to your subjects?

Bailey Dale (BD): At a young age I was drawn to photography and the many possibilities that came from the medium, however it wasn’t until I was exposed to the realm of photography as art that I began to understand how to use the camera as an investigative tool. For my 7 Shades of Yellow series, I use photography to reconnect myself with a location that I have grown apart from, yet am increasingly drawn to. I honestly can’t imagine using another medium that would capture the stillness of my hometown as well as the view camera, and photography has been my greatest resource for understanding the world around me.

CB: What is the idea behind your series ‘7 Shades of Yellow’?

BD: The images serve as a documentation of my hometown in Amarillo, TX. Amarillo has such a stagnant feeling to it, and although it’s one of the largest towns in the Texas Panhandle, it feels small in the way that it never seems to change much over the years. After I moved away for college, I really became aware of how distinct the towns across the Panhandle are in comparison to the rest of the state. Amarillo is right in the heart of the “Bible Belt” and this played a huge role in how I was raised. As I’ve evolved as person, especially now that I no longer live there, I’ve began to notice certain ideologies of the area that often contradict each other, something that I was never aware of as a young child. Photographing Amarillo has helped me see the town from an outsider’s perspective, and has allowed me to recreate my entire understanding of a town that I called home for nineteen years.  


CB: Is this series different from other projects you’ve done?

BD: These images are fairly different from my previous projects. I never had a tendency to photograph still lives or locations until I started this series, so beforehand I was primarily photographing portraits. When I started ‘7 Shades’, I knew I wanted to steer clear of using any people in my images because I wanted each scene to feel somewhat abandoned or uninhabited; as I no longer live there. It’s been an interesting leap from what I was accustomed to shooting, however I think this project has helped me work through the tendency to only stick to what I’m comfortable with.

CB: In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?

BD:  I’m most drawn to photographs that are subtle, or modest even, in their makeup yet the content behind them is strong. If an image is visually pleasing but lacks any real meaning or purpose in why it was made, I can’t really spend too much time on it. It’s really important to me to strive for work that is both well made and purposeful, because I think you really need both factors in order to have the drive to continue a project and allow it to expand. The photographs that stick around in my mind after I see them are always the ones that challenge me to see something from a new perspective.

ssoy_0116_webCB: Where do you get the inspirations for your personal photography?

BD: Most of the inspirations for my photography, specifically with this series, comes from the town itself. Each time I visit home I spend hours driving around and pay a lot of attention to how the people there interact; and I try to forget anything that is too familiar to me from my childhood. However, I also spend time looking at other photographers who have worked on similar documentary projects, as well as those who have focused on religion as their subject.

CB: What/who are your photography inspirations – and why?

BD: My two greatest inspirations for this series have been Christian Patterson and Stephen Shore. Stephen Shore is a given as he photographed Amarillo as well for his series Uncommon Places and for his Amarillo Postcards, so I feel incredibly lucky to have such a great resource for inspiration. I’m really drawn to Shore’s Uncommon Places because he seemed to find so many perfectly subtle nuances of each town that a native would recognize, yet more than likely ignore if they weren’t frozen in a photograph. This idea has been a huge driving point for me in how I wanted to capture Amarillo. Christian Patterson’s series Bottom of the Lake, which is also a documentation of his hometown, really opened up my eyes to the different ways of how memories of an area can be expressed. His incorporation of still-lifes were so exciting to me when I first saw them. I think his telephone installation is so brilliant. I was so interested in how much I connected with Patterson’s photographs, even though I had no personal connection to his hometown.

CB: How would you describe your work to someone viewing it for the first time?

BD:  I would describe my work as a documentary approach to rediscovering an old location. The images are meant to feel quiet while also conveying a feeling that there’s much more happening beyond the surface.

CB: How is the work in your portfolio significantly different (or similar) to any editorial or commercial photo work you do?

BD: All of the editorial and commercial work I do, minus a few portraits here and there, is all done digitally and feels much more contemporary than 7 Shades of Yellow. I always enjoy taking part in the fast-paced environment of the editorial world; however it’s really refreshing how much working with film requires you to stop and take your time while shooting. The end result is so much more rewarding when you’ve spent months just trying to get one shot perfectly captured.

CB: What does the label “emerging artist” mean to you?

BD: To me, an emerging artist fits well with the transition that happening in my life right now. As my career as a student comes to an end, I’m focusing more time on my personal work by completing projects and finally getting them out into the world.

To see more work by Bailey Dale, visit her website –

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