Zoë Zimmerman @ photo-eye

photo-eye_Zoe Zimmerman_#12Zoë Zimmerman – OF MEN: Strength and Vulnerability, Part III: Care
June 1st, 2015 through July 11th, 2015

photo-eye Bookstore + Project Space, 376 S. Garcia Street, Suite A, Santa Fe

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Book Review: Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham by Ryan Russell

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As a native New Yorker it’s not foreign to me to think about what it would be like to live in another part of the country. One thing I find myself talking about is the fact that it must be kinda cool to move here from another part of the country and meet other like minded people from other parts of the country in a parallel dichotomy almost like that scene from Forest Gump where he’s running down the names of the guys in his platoon. I find it endearing that folks from the Midwest are moving to Astoria and rooming with people from the south or that their next door neighbor is from Brazil and their other housemate is from Seattle. I feel spoiled living in NYC because it’s the biggest city in the world even though technically it’s pretty small in terms of actual space. Lots of stories revolve around NYC and it’s damn nice seeing a book that sheds light on other areas of the US of A. If you can make it here you can make it anywhere but if you relocate from your home into strange territory while documenting it then you can also make it anywhere. Life is about taking chances and making the most of things. Being a photographer is about taking chances and making the most of things too.

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As a reader and photographer I really appreciate Continental Obscura because it’s about a dude moving from Birmingham, Alabama to Bellingham Washington. What? Who? Where? That’s Right. Ryan Russell documented his move across country with photos and stories. When I got this book I flipped through it with one thing in mind and that was “Why should I care?” After going through the book over and over again, reading the text, looking at the photos, holding the journey in my hand, I realized I care because Ryan did something that most folks only dream of. He moved.

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He left his home and took a journey. While on this journey he took some great photos of his travels and his eventual destination. This photo book is endearing because Ryan not only documents his travels but he displays photos from his journey that include the everyman. The photos are moody leaning toward the positive and almost surreal as if to just say “Hey, I could tell you what I saw on the way but I’d rather just show you.” The photos in this book tell a good story. They tell an endearing story. They tell a story a lot of us wish we could have.

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The photos in the book are a combination of landscape and obscure portraiture. My feeling on the landscape photos is that Ryan took portraits of the places he saw along the way thereby giving them a face if you will. The book itself is very well packaged and printed. It has a nice photo book smell and really displays the photos at great quality with room for interpretation. The photos on the page don’t over do the senses and instead delight the eye while keeping the journey in mind.

I really like this book and if you want a look into an endearing journey from one place to another that doesn’t present itself in a pretentious way then you’d probably dig this book. To me the photos are taken from the perspective of a person taking a deep breath and taking their new journey in. They are special.

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Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham
by Ryan Russell

For more information and to purchase the book: www.ryanrussell.net/continentalobscura

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Book Review: Stories of Change – Beyond the ‘Arab Spring’ – World Press Photo

Stories of Change Cover
Remember when Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power? The TV reports of Cairo’s Tahrir Square? The time when lots of people in Northern Africa were full of hope that their lives would get better?

Petra Stienen, “an independent advisor in the fields of democracy, diversity and diplomacy” with nine years experience in Egypt and Syria, states in her introduction to Stories of Change: “For many viewers in the West, these uprisings came as a surprise. Somehow the image had sunk in that there was an inherent complacency in North Africa with the status quo of poverty, inequality and oppression. Nothing was further from the truth.”

The ‘Arab Spring’ refers to the first months of the spring of 2011. The pictures in this tome, on the one hand, give testimony to the uprising that then took place, on the other hand, they document aspects of life in Northern Africa that, as the subtitle suggests, go “beyond the ‘Arab Spring'”.

What we get to see in this book are eleven photo-stories as well as five texts that offer, as Petra Stienen states, “an impression of how the revolutions have affected people’s lives, their dreams and their future.” That might be true in regards to the texts yet I’m not so sure whether photos can really do that. When looking at the pics of the uprisings one can – that was at least my experience – sense that something that cannot really be controlled is in the air.

The stories, and photographs, are however not limited to the uprisings. I thought it particularly interesting to be shown pictures of, and told about, people with disabilities who live in difficult and challenging social conditions – for this is not what is usually reported from these parts of the world.

Zied Ben Romdhane, born in Tunisia in 1981, for example, turned his camera on children with XP, Xeroderma Pigmentosum, a genetic disorder that forces the ones affected to avoid sunlight for their skin cells can’t repair damage done by ultraviolet light. And Ahmed Hayman, born in 1987 in Egypt, decided to portray Heba and Somaia, two blind women, as they go about their lives.

© Ahmed Hayman, for Reporting Change. Seeing Without Looking. Heba has a beautiful, strong singing voice. She plays the piano and is a member of the choir at the Banat Al Noor association.

© Ahmed Hayman, for Reporting Change. Seeing Without Looking. Heba has a beautiful, strong singing voice. She plays the piano and is a member of the choir at the Banat Al Noor association.

© Ahmed Hayman, for Reporting Change. Seeing Without Looking. Somaia’s mother, who raised her daughter to be independent, says: “I can see, but I can’t read or write. My daughter is considered blind, but she reads and writes in three languages; she uses the computer and the mobile phone. I’m the blind person, she can see with knowledge.”

© Ahmed Hayman, for Reporting Change. Seeing Without Looking. Somaia’s mother, who raised her daughter to be independent, says: “I can see, but I can’t read or write. My daughter is considered blind, but she reads and writes in three languages; she uses the computer and the mobile phone. I’m the blind person, she can see with knowledge.”

And then there are the photos by Tunis born Douraïd Souissi whose father hails from the Kerkennah Islands, off the Tunisian coast. These pics are meant to take a stance against bottom trawling that has increased tremendously in post-revolutionary Tunisia and endangers the livelihood of Kerkennain fishermen.

© Douraïd Souissi, for Reporting Change. Fishermen of the Kerkennahs. A new fishing-boat is under construction at the Kraten boatyard. Local fishermen say that the boat is going to be used for bottom trawling, and claim that the owner—a well-known entrepreneur from a nearby village—will not file for a permit, but will still manage to operate.

© Douraïd Souissi, for Reporting Change. Fishermen of the Kerkennahs. A new fishing-boat is under construction at the Kraten boatyard. Local fishermen say that the boat is going to be used for bottom trawling, and claim that the owner—a well-known entrepreneur from a nearby village—will not file for a permit, but will still manage to operate.

Whenever we get news from Libya we hear about a country in chaos, we rarely get information about the many daily challenges that people there have to meet. Shahd Attaher, for instance an 11-year-old girl who suffers from Down syndrome. She lives in Tripoli with her parents, brother and sister. Photographer Mohamed Alalem documented aspects of her life. By the way, Shahd is herself a photographer; some of her photographs are shown in “Stories of Change“.

© Mohamed Alalem, for Reporting Change. Shahd. Shahd’s mother serves her breakfast, at home in Tripoli.

© Mohamed Alalem, for Reporting Change. Shahd. Shahd’s mother serves her breakfast, at home in Tripoli.

 

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Stories of Change – Beyond the ‘Arab Spring’
World Press Photo
Schilt Publishing

For more information and to purchase the book: http://www.schiltpublishing.com/publishing/authors/world-press-photo-stories-of-change/

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Interview with photographer Jeff Phillips

JeffPhillips5F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?

Jeff Phillips: I’ve been obsessed with photography almost as long as I can remember. I was first attracted to the camera as a gadget—a mysterious machine able bring time to a standstill. Like many, I photographed for my school newspaper, learning how to develop film and make prints. The very first time I saw an image appear in the developer tray—under the glow of the safelight—I was hooked.

In the 1980s and early 90s I worked as a darkroom printer, a photographer’s assistant, a commercial photographer and eventually as a studio manager. Since then I have concentrated solely on making my own work.

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

JP: I have always envied artists whom are able to plan and execute a body of work that supports a premeditated thesis. My approach is quite clumsy and inefficient: I stumble through time photographing a variety of subjects, adding any promising new images to one of several conceptual buckets. Eventually a theme emerges, and at that moment I Iearn something about myself.

JeffPhillips2F-Stop: How did the “Humans | Nature” project come about?

JP: Humans | Nature is simply one of the “buckets” that has helped me understand and express how I feel about the environment within which I exist.

F-Stop: How did you choose what to photograph? What are you looking to capture in these photographs?

JP: I capture scenes that contain (or that may be manipulated to communicate) conflict and contrast. To achieve this, I look for competing messages, colors or textures.
I’m attempting to capture the absurd relationship between mankind and the natural earth. I’m not an activist and I don’t photograph fracking sites or oils spills; the images in this emerging series show a more subtle cause or effect. In the most recent images, humans are completely absent from the photographs, although there is evidence of their activities.

JeffPhillips20F-Stop: What do you hope people see or feel or perhaps learn when they look at your photographs?

JP: My best hope is that viewers will laugh—or at the least, shake their head at the absurdity of the scenes I’ve captured.

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?

JP: Field For Lease is an example of what I’m most trying to achieve. The scene is a dark, lush and moody landscape, rudely punctured by a garishly decorated realtor’s sign resembling the types seen at used car dealerships. I imagine traveling millions of years back in time and being forced to listen to the awkward sales pitch of an enterprising caveman as he explains how he’d claimed section of the earth for his own but would now like to sell part of it to me.

Field for Lease

Field for Lease

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

JP: Other buckets include Crowspotting, an ongoing project where I photograph groups of people as they gather in public spaces, utilizing a motorized wide-format film camera. I continue to support Lost and Found: The Search for Harry and Edna, a social media experiment and gallery exhibition involving nearly 1,100 enigmatic photographs that I discovered at a second-hand store.

Most important to me, though, is helping produce Filter Photo Festival in Chicago each September. The festival is an annual gathering of photographers, educators, curators, and industry experts that come together in Chicago each September to share their passion for contemporary photography.

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

JP: Our beloved photography is undergoing a massive transformation, and I’m moved by so much of the new work I see. Looking to the past, I remain deeply inspired by the curiosity and experimental spirit of Harry Callahan’s work. I love the humor and endless surprises found in the street photography by Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander and Joel Meyerowitz.

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Book Review: Gardening at Night by Cig Harvey

The Pomegranate Seeds, Scout, Rockport, Maine, 2012

The Pomegranate Seeds, Scout, Rockport, Maine, 2012

Cig Harvey has created a fairy tale of magical realism in her 2nd book, Gardening at Night. In Harvey’s own words, it is “a love story” of becoming a mother and she offers the viewer a feast of color and fantasy in her pictures. A long-time teacher as well as photographer, Harvey weaves a visual poem about her life and environment through breathtaking photos firmly rooted in childhood and femininity and bursting with color. As in her first publication, You Look at Me Like an Emergency, the images are accompanied by prose, sometimes hand written across the page like a diary.

Screen Door, Warren, Maine, 2013

There is an intimacy to the book and it feels as if Harvey has let us into her own secret garden, which changes with the seasons and contains all sorts of wonderous creatures. Her subjects are photographed inside and out with fireflies, balloons, top hats, pomegranate seeds, frogs, feathers and masks– like a mad hatter’s tea party with a modern twist. The narrative tells a timeless story of a pregnant woman, who, while trepidatious, embraces her new role and life. Harvey’s story is deeply personal and her words carefully chosen. The title is a reference to an exuberant 1980’s REM pop song and her daughter’s name, Scout, references both a fearless adventurer and one of literature’s most brave little girls. Gardening at Night reads like a journal, but it is Harvey’s images – tactile, simple and always colorful, which embrace the natural world and those around her, and through which Harvey shows us a joyous Peter Pan version of life.

Rocking Horse, Scout, Rockport, Maine, 2013

 

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Gardening at Night
By Cig Harvey
Schilt Publishing

For more information and to purchase the book: http://cigharvey.bigcartel.com/product/gardening-at-night-trade-edition

 

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Thom O’Connor & Patricia Beary @ fotofoto gallery

unnamedThom O’Connor “We Aint Neva Scared”
Patricia Beary “Return to the Muse”
June 3 thru 28

Reception, Saturday, June 6 from 5-7pm

fotofoto gallery
14 West Carver Street, Huntington, NY
Huntington, NY 11743

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Mark Neville @ Silver Eye

unnamedMark Neville: London/Pittsburgh
opening reception, Friday, June 26, 6 – 9 pm

Silver Eye Center for Photography | 1015 East Carson Street | Pittsburgh | PA | 15203

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Nicolas Lotsos @ Athens House of Photography

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Nicolas Lotsos: “Africa”
May 19th – June 27th

This body of work is composed of black and white images of the African outdoors, depicting both wildlife and human presence.

Athens House of PhotographyZirini 23 145 61
Kifisia Athens (Greece)

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CHRISTY LEE ROGERS @ LTB Art Gallery

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CHRISTY LEE ROGERS: CELESTIAL BODIES
August 6 through September 6, 2015

Opening Reception with Artist in Attendance – August 6, 2015 – 6 -9 PM

LTB Art Gallery
Emilo Castelar 230
Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo
Ciudad de Mexico, 11560

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Lydia Panas @ Freedman Gallery

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Lydia Panas: GHOST PORTRAITS
May 23 – June 28, 2015

Freedman Gallery
Albright College
13th + Bern Streets
Reading, Pennsylvania

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