“With surrealism, sharp humour and a deeply radical approach, Guy Bourdin changed the scene of photography. His work, whether in editorial or advertising broke aesthetic conventions, always characterized by a dramatic intensity and relentless perfectionism. Campredon Art Centre is proud to present the exhibition, Image within an Image, a unique insight into the work of the legendary photographer and painter, Guy Bourdin.”
Campredon centre d’art // L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
20, rue du Docteur Tallet 84800 L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
“Gyula Halász, Brassaï’s original name, was born in 1899 in Brassó, Transylvania (then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, nowadays Brasov, Romania). He studied at the University of Arts in Berlin before finally settling in Paris in 1924, a city that was to become the main subject of his work. He started as a painter but soon discovered that his strongest and most original talent lay in photography. To keep his real name for his paintings, he signed journalistic work, charicatures and photographs with ‘Brassaï’ (‘from Brassó). His photos would make this pseudonym more famous than his real name. Brassaï’s work of the 1930s would become a cornerstone of a new tradition as photography was discovered as a medium with aesthetic potential. A generation earlier photographers had merely emulated the established arts. Now photography became an art in itself and the perfect medium to capture modern life. ”
1017 DS Amsterdam
Hilary Duffy is a New York City-based photographer whose “ongoing practice is rooted in visual storytelling through collaboration.” I understand this to mean that her pictures are staged – and quite some obviously are. Probably not all of them because collaboration can also mean that the persons photographed agreed to being photographed or that they wished to be photographed in a way that they wanted.
I’m very much in favour of such an approach not least because collaboration is a concept I warm to. I clearly prefer it to competition that unavoidably results in winners and losers. Moreover, some photography is by definition a collaboration – think of portrait photography, for instance.
“These visual chronicles and collaborations span the period from 1999 to 2017,” I read. So they were taken shortly after I got married in Havana (in 1998) and, needless to say, my mind automatically travels back to the time that I had spent in Cuba. Do I see it reflected in the pictures in this tome? Absolutely! And, not only in the things/persons photographed, but also in the colours.
The book is divided into two parts. The first shows typical Cuban street scenes. This is how Jon Lee Anderson in his essay “Survival in a State of Flux” describes such a scene: “… a man prepares to dissect a pig he has slaughtered and laid out on a table on a city street – his cook pot already on a wood fire and his neighbors observing from nearby perches – a reminder of how, in Cuba, the frontier between the public and the private is often intangible.” The second part is entitled “Esperanzas” (Hopes) and portrays a variety of Cubans, young and old, male and female. The pictures are accompanied by personal statements (in English and Spanish) of hope. An old woman by the name of Balbina: “My dream has always been to have fun.” A young boy called Flowar: “I dream of being a baseball star.” The middle-aged Pilar: “I want to be cured of Cancer.” Armando, a man (probably) in his fifties, with Lenin looking over his shoulder: “My dream is difficult but not impossible. The dream is to live in a world where everyone is equal. I am sure I won’t see this, but someday others will.”
The photos in this tome, it seems to me, were taken with sympathy and affection. Spending time with them (especially the one that shows a young woman at a table with chopped meat on display – she reminded me of my ex-wife) made me feel Cuba and the Cubans again, also with sympathy and affection.
“The Cuban community has long coped with challenges through improvisation and ingenuity. The result is a rich and creative culture that has flourished in spite of material scarcity,” Hilary Duffy writes. As much as I agree, I also wonder whether this remarkably creative culture would also have been possible in times of material affluence.
I’ve always thought it particularly fascinating what photos can do to you, namely that they are often triggering a lot of other images in your head – scenes, emotions, thoughts, the whole lot the brain produces without pause. While letting these immensely appealing photographs sink in, a conversation I once had with a young Cuban woman on a flight from Havana to Cancún came to mind. She lived in Miami and had been visiting relatives on the island. What was the biggest difference between living in Havana and Miami?, I asked. “In Miami”, she said, “when somebody is knocking on your door, you don’t open it – for fear it could be a robber. In Havana, however, you know it’s a neighbour who needs help and so you open it. Out of necessity, for you might need his help one day too.”
It goes without saying that my intention is not to romanticise a repressive regime but to point out what Mark Vonnegut, a psychiatrist, once penned in a letter to his father, the writer Kurt Vonnegut: “We are here to help each other getting through this thing, whatever it is.” This is what Hilary Duffy’s touching photographs do to me.
Hopes & Dreams from Cuba
Esperanzas y Sueños de Cuba
Photographs by Hilary Duffy
Essay by Jon Lee Anderson
SCARLETT HOOFT GRAAFLAND
82 Kingsland Road London E2 8DP
Opening Reception: June 28th, 7 – 9pm
“Reconfiguring mid-century paper dials that calculate “proper” exposure, lighting, and depth of field, Mattern transforms the very tools of conventional photo-making into wholly unconventional images. In his assembled typography of “Exposure Computers” (as they were dubbed by the manufacturers), he ceremoniously removes the tips and tricks on offer via Photoshop, eliminating all text and imagery that once gave users their bearings. What remains are the graphic elements of the dials’ design, bold diagonals and the hallmark circle at center where once an instructional wheel guided meticulous photo-takers to just the right settings.”
Elizabeth Houston Gallery
190 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, June 20, 2019 (7-10 pm)
Los Angeles Center of Photography (LACP)
1515 Wilcox Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
TRACE is the first of a triptych series published by Yoffy Press. Since the Spanish word for ‘Three’ is Tres, I enjoyed the ironic play on words and double meaning for this publication of three separate books by artists Kota Ezawa, Tabitha Soren and Penelope Umbrico. Each book could stand on its own for the artist’s chosen inspiration, or the reader/viewer can make connections between the three collaborative parts of the series and perhaps see parallels in the overarching theme. The TRACE artists each experiment with appropriation in their practices to explore how we all interact with images in the contemporary world.
While I immediately see the connection between these three artists and the photographic based works created for the series, I am careful here to refer to the contributors as the artists; rather than as photographers. This is a slight departure from most of the photo books I review. The ever-present argument of whether a person calls themselves an artist or a photographer will not be resolved in this review, I think I will steer clear of the trap and simply follow the lead of the publisher’s same wording choice for the contributors. Ezawa, Soren and Umbrico delve into lens based media, appropriated images from contemporary culture, and the technological devices we use to experience photography.
The strong work of each artist has clear ties to the photographic image, both historic and contemporary. Kota Ezawa works with images which are almost immediately recognizable – even after he has pared the image down to basic elements of shape, tone and line. We see each layer of the construct revealed until the final image is formed. The process speaks to the power of the photographic image in our collective memory and culture. Ezawa’s twenty page build-up to the final image of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s casket compelled me go back and forth several times to see the layers build one upon the other, and then deconstruct the image in reverse. The series made be consider all the elements that go into the construction of powerful images. All those elements often go unnoticed to an untrained eye when something works well.
Tabitha Soren also addresses the visual aspect of our collective exposure to imagery, and the role technology plays in how we experience photography in an ever-increasingly digital viewing space. The monitors and screens we use on a daily basis to experience images and the world around us are an invisible layer we look past or look through. But how often do we consider the surface which transmits the images? Soren’s images that include the visible smears and fingerprints over captured images prompts us to consider the touching aspect of the screens on smart phones and hand held devices we use to see the world and connect with others. The potential tension and anxiety of technology that can overwhelm personal relationships is one aspect Soren explores in her series on the theme.
In a related train of thought, Penelope Umbrico’s work in TRACE addresses the nearly invisible aspects of monitors and screens. The ubiquitous nature of them and the blind spot we have for them as well. But she has chosen to focus on the flaws and defects within which can be seen. Her images of monitors or computer screens for sale online are cropped to create abstracted fields of color. She has made marks to indicate where the physical flaws and defects are found in each example; there are arrows, circles and lines to show the viewer tiny artifacts within something we are used to looking past or through. She draws our attention to each tiny, unique aspect which exposes the underlying material for us to consider the marks of the maker; the trace of the flaw.
TRACE, Artists: Kota Ezawa, Tabitha Soren, Penelope Umbrico
Softcover, set of three books
8.75 x 6 inches
each book is 40 pages
Edition of 250
About Kota Ezawa
Kota Ezawa often reworks images from popular culture, film and art history, stripping them down to their core elements. His simplified versions remain easily recognizable and potent, the result of a process that illuminates the hold certain images have on their viewers. Working in a range of mediums such as digital animation, slide projections, light boxes, paper cut-outs, collage, print, and wood sculptures, Ezawa maintains a keen awareness of how images shape our experience and memory of events. Kota Ezawa lives and works in Oakland, California.
About Tabitha Soren
Soren left a career in television in 1999 for a fellowship at Stanford, which led to a second career as a photo-based artist. Her images function like invitations to the viewers’ emotional memory. Surface Tension delves into the human psyche by foregrounding the anxiety we navigate in the struggle to adapt to technological domination. She lives and works in Berkeley, California.
About Penelope Umbrico
Penelope Umbrico offers a radical reinterpretation of everyday consumer and vernacular images. Umbrico works “within the virtual world of consumer marketing and social media, traveling through the relentless flow of seductive images, objects, and information that surrounds us, searching for decisive moments—but in these worlds, decisive moments are cultural absurdities.”
She finds these moments in the pages of consumer product mail-order catalogs, travel and leisure brochures; and websites like Craigslist, EBay, and Flickr. Identifying image typologies—candy-colored horizons and sunsets, books used as props—brings the farcical, surreal nature of consumerism to new light. She lives in New York City.
Yoffy Press was founded by Jennifer Yoffy. She founded Crusade for Art in 2013, a non-profit organization whose mission was to engage new audiences with art. Jennifer owned a fine art photography gallery in Atlanta (Jennifer Schwartz Gallery) for five years, and she co-founded Flash Powder Projects, a photographer-focused collaborative venture and publishing company. In the spring of 2013, she traveled around the country in a 1977 VW bus, engaging audiences with photography.
To order a copy of TRACE, or see more titles from Yoffy Press, please visit their website: http://www.yoffypress.com/
Opening Reception: Friday June 7 from 6 – 9
Participating Artists: Evan Anderman, Nkosi Barrow, Jan Bell, Barbara Boissevain, Mitchell Brozinsky, Chase Clow, Maria Coletsis,
Robert Crifasi, David Deutsch, Nadide Goksun, Lisa Griffiths,
Tytia Habing, Karen Kirkpatrick, Brian Kosoff, Bonne Levinson,
Joyce P. Lopez, Jennifer Maiotti, Noelle McCleaf, Trevor Messersmith, Jan Nagle, Rhea Pappas, Claude Peschel Dutombe, Stacy Platt, Osceola Refetoff, Debora Schwedhelm, Michael Smith, Todd Stewart, Cindy Stokes, Wayne Swanson, Mark Wagner, Sarah Weeden, and Cate Wnek.
254 Linden St
Fort Collins, CO
“In capturing the geological and architectural diversity of the bel paese, Lupi invites a modular reading of the Italian coastline, the compositional consistency of his images permitting a continuous and endlessly reconfigurable sequence where built and natural elements are flattened and reduced to their formal properties. Toying with the viewers’ sense of scale, a sublime and boundless sky nearly consumes each frame, transforming the unique details of each landscape into exquisite ornaments; a majestic Tuscan terrace mirrors a strip of narrow white beach, while the cathedrals and cemeteries of ancient Venice appear not grand and imposing but as delicately hewn as tiny watercolors.”
521 West 26th Street, Floor 2
Photography After Stonewall highlights the work of twenty-three living artists, all of whom have developed a creative approach to LGBTQ issues.The themes include Body/Gender/Sexuality, Home, Family, Gays in the Military, AIDS, Fetish, Pulp and Fantasy. Fifty years ago, much of this would have been unthinkable. Among its many accomplishments, the Stonewall Riots opened up a new area for artistic expression. Events are being held around the nation to commemorate this important milestone. This exhibition focuses entirely on creative photography.
The participating photographers are Ronaldo Aguiar, Berena Alvarez, James Bidgood, Leland Bobbé, Vincent Cianni, Joyce Culver, John Paul Evans, Sunil Gupta, David Hilliard, Robert Kalman, Rivka S. Katvan, David Lebe, Patrick McNabb, Barbara Nitke, Lissa Rivera, Jeff Sheng, Pacifico Silano, Sage Sohier, Sam Stoich, Bill Travis, Arthur Tress, Annie Tritt, and Sophia Wallace.
Soho Photo Gallery
15 White St, NYC