Snow is a bitch to get right, be satisfied with…but we go forth anyway despite snowblind and other temporary post processing afflictions..
Archive for the ‘Photographs’ Category
“Simon Norfolk is a very talented driven young photographer who is pursuing one of life’s big questions with intensity and focused intention. He is studying war, and its effects on many things: the physical shape of our cities and natural environments, social memory, the psychology of societies, and more.
He is examining genocide; imperialism; the interconnectedness of war, land and military space; and how wars are being fought at the same time with supercomputers, satellites, outdated weapons and equipment, people on the ground, intercepted communications, and manipulated and manipulating media.
Norfolk is doing this with photography that is beautiful — stunning in its clarity and detail, without the typical shock or trauma that one might expect about the subject of war. All of his work is informed by inquisitive intelligence, research, supporting facts and figures. And over time, deliberately and carefully, he is trying to connect many of the dots.
He attacks his subjects with a forensic approach, and thinks of his photographs of landscapes as “chronotopes”, layers of meaning, abandoned redundant military hardware, bombed-out ruins, mass graves, forgotten memory — all dating back to before the Roman empire and continuing through to the future, non-stop.
His personal manner and his supporting texts are as quiet as his photographs, but he has an edge about him that rivets listeners and readers. He makes bold sweeping statements that link together “designs and patterns, historical traces [of war] in landscape, architecture, language” all over the world. He speaks from direct experience: Rwanda, Afghanastan, Iraq, Bosnia, abandoned battlefields scattered with broken tanks, unexploded cluster bombs, depleted uranium bullets, mass graves, ruined houses, towns, villages, lives.
In this constant layering and covering up, and what remains, he believes it is his duty as an investigative photographer to make us stop and regard a seemingly benign scene with more discrimination. His job is to “lift it out of the flow,” freeze it, and make us think.
His books, which he refers to as “chapters” in the same ongoing story-telling, are perhaps the most satisfying way to comprehend the complex things he is trying to communicate. His website is state-of-the-art and packed with informed reporting and packaged in a compelling manner. If you get a chance to hear him speak, do so. And when you see his very large prints on the walls of galleries or museums, they will mean so much more to you.”
And now it’s time to make the long awaited announcement!
Neath Turcot’s Person Of The Year
*gnaws open envelope*
And the winner is…for making something artful, for bringing sublime elegance to activism, for courage beyond the call of duty, for a willingness to be silly while being serious and not seeing a paradox in that, and for having the foresight to do something unique in order to make his wife laugh while she began chemotherapy, but most of all, for making complete strangers smile from straight out in left field in a multitude of locations…
Verdun and water…
One of my favorite photographers, and a Canadian, eh?
“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.”
“The project takes us over gouged landscapes, fractal patterned delta regions, ominously coloured biomorphic shapes, rigid and rectilinear stepwells, massive circular pivot irrigation plots, aquaculture and social, cultural and ritual gatherings. Water is intermittently introduced as a victim, a partner, a protagonist, a lure, a source, an end, a threat and a pleasure. Water is also often completely absent from the pictures. Burtynsky instead focusses on the visual and physical effects of the lack of water, giving its absence an even more powerful presence.” – Russell Lord – Curator of Photographs – NOMA
Burtynsky is perhaps the most important photographer working in the world today.
Fifty-eight years ago today, the Four Level interchange first opened to traffic. This iconic concrete ribbon that binds the 101 and 110 freeways is an almost inescapable feature of many Southern Californians’ commute. Admired by some and feared by others, the Four Level was—like many other highway innovations in Los Angeles—the first of its kind and destined to be copied elsewhere.
The Four Level, also known as the Stack, gets its name from its multi-tiered structure that separates traffic heading in each direction into dedicated lanes. On the bottom level are curved ramps for those changing from the 110 freeway to the 101. One level above is the main trunk of the 110 freeway, named the Arroyo Seco Parkway north of the interchange and the Harbor Freeway south of it. On the third level are the arcing flyover ramps carrying traffic from the 101 freeway to the 110. Finally, on the fourth and top level is the main trunk of the 101 freeway, named the Hollywood Freeway to the west and the Santa Ana Freeway to the east.
This design, now the basis of freeway interchanges around the world, was a marked improvement over the previous model. Older cloverleaf interchanges were less expensive and kept a lower profile, but they also tended to slow traffic and were more dangerous. They required motorists both entering and exiting a freeway to merge into one lane. (The 405 freeway’s interchange with Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood is an example.) Stack interchanges, on the other hand, kept the eight directions of traffic separate until the final merge.
by David Rosenberg
Photographer Nina Berman had just started focusing on climate and environmental issues when she read an article about fracking and its connection to the possible contamination of New York City’s drinking water. Berman resides in New York and knew very little about how the controversial process of drilling for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing worked and decided to head to Pennsylvania for Gov. Thomas Corbett’s inauguration in 2011.
“I knew there would be demonstrators (opposed to his support of natural gas drilling), and I wanted to learn what they were screaming about,” Berman said. After researching the issues, she then had to figure out how to document them in a visual way.
“It’s a very hard subject to photograph,” Berman explained. “You see a drill, and you don’t know what that means, and then it disappears. What does that mean? It took me a while to figure out how to approach it.”
To do that, she spent time in part of Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region, a hotbed of fracking controversy, producing a series titled “Fractured: The Shale Play.” Berman began calling activists, hoping to get a sense of the communities and knowing the people who feel they have been violated are those “interested in having their story told.”
“What struck me very personally as an outsider was how any kind of industrial activity feels like an enormous intrusion, almost like a creature from outer space; these drills at night are almost supernatural,” Berman said. “I looked for points where the industrial activity impacted these quiet rural landscapes, and I found at night was when things came alive, so I combined those pictures with more conventional documentary [style of ]subject-driven photography about people who were having serious health impacts.”
Fracking’s health impact, specifically its impact on water, is one of many controversies surrounding the process of drilling into rock in order to release gas. While some argue it is an alternative to dependence on oil, the methods of drilling involving water, sand, and chemicals to break up the rock has also been argued as the culprit for contaminated water.
“Those of us who are used to clean water have no concept of what that feels like when your water coming from your well on your land is destroyed and you can’t do anything about it,” Berman said.
Part of the way Berman is sharing her experience is through the “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project.” Started in November 2011, Berman and five other photographers documented how communities in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale region have been affected by natural gas drilling.
With a nod to the Farm Security Administration’s program assigning photographers to document communities during the Great Depression or the Documerica project during the 1970s that looked at how environmental concerns were impacting Americans, the “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project” focused on the impact of fracking on the lives of Pennsylvanians. The exhibition is currently on view at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in New York through Aug. 18.
Berman said for now she has done as much as possible in Pennsylvania but would be interested in documenting areas around the country that have also been affected by fracking. Until then, she has been exhibiting and touring with the “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project” and feels the impact has been positive.
A good friend of mine recently showed me some photographs she took from an airplane window and the window frame was included in many shots and it, of course, reminded me of Lee Friedlander’s Hassleblad pictures from inside his car.
This last one is particularly devastating. A sculpted cactus, in the real desert, by the side of the road, as homo sapiens continues to burn fossil fuels on his lonely, mindless, journey to nowhere.
Big Air Package, an indoor installation for the Gasometer Oberhausen, Germany, was conceived in 2010 and is on view from March 16 to December 30, 2013. 90 meters high, with a diameter of 50 meters and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters, the work of art is the largest ever inflated envelope without a skeleton.
For more images related to Big Air Package and other projects by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, visit photographer Wolfgang Volz’s agency.
If you have any further questions, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org (for inquiries in English and German). You can also contact Thomas Machoczek at the Gasometer Oberhausen by either e-mail or phone: email@example.com, +49 (208) 8503735.
And this is not the first time Christo has worked in this particular gasometer having once filled it with 13,000 coloured oil drums.
He is one of the greatest artists of our time, barely understood, yet he has made us think about places and spaces in different ways than anyone else ever has.
Probably the most important essay I have ever read in terms of becoming an artist, and understanding the political and art historical aspects of Photography.
The uniqueness of a work of art is inseparable from its being imbedded in the fabric of tradition. This tradition itself is thoroughly alive and extremely changeable. An ancient statue of Venus, for example, stood in a different traditional context with the Greeks, who made it an object of veneration, than with the clerics of the Middle Ages, who viewed it as an ominous idol. Both of them, however, were equally confronted with its uniqueness, that is, its aura. Originally the contextual integration of art in tradition found its expression in the cult. We know that the earliest art works originated in the service of a ritual – first the magical, then the religious kind. It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function. In other words, the unique value of the “authentic” work of art has its basis in ritual, the location of its original use value. This ritualistic basis, however remote, is still recognizable as secularized ritual even in the most profane forms of the cult of beauty. The secular cult of beauty, developed during the Renaissance and prevailing for three centuries, clearly showed that ritualistic basis in its decline and the first deep crisis which befell it. With the advent of the first truly revolutionary means of reproduction, photography, simultaneously with the rise of socialism, art sensed the approaching crisis which has become evident a century later. At the time, art reacted with the doctrine of l’art pour l’art, that is, with a theology of art. This gave rise to what might be called a negative theology in the form of the idea of “pure” art, which not only denied any social function of art but also any categorizing by subject matter. (In poetry, Mallarme was the first to take this position.)
An analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction must do justice to these relationships, for they lead us to an all-important insight: for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual. To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility. From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the “authentic” print makes no sense. But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on another practice – politics.”
To read the entire essay go here.
And here is a film about Walter Benjamin and his influences, and, relevance in today’s world.