Posts Tagged ‘Photography’
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.
Having previously photographed ritual objects and burial sites of the Uyghur people of Western China in the series, Living Shrines, she has created a new series that documents the surprising number of beds to be found, apparently in the middle of nowhere, in the landscape outside of the Uyghur community. While these images may appear to be some kind of artistic staging, the beds , in fact, are simply photographed where they are found.
“Who gives a fuck about what he had for breakfast? These are stylistic ticks. The digital has changed the paradigms of photography. I had an opening in Boston and this woman had a little camera with her and kept exclaiming, ‘Everything is a photograph!’ That’s the problem. The bar has been lowered so much in photography now…” -Duane Michals
“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces and more rooms and more places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?” -Duane Michals
“The best part of us is not what we see, it’s what we feel. We are what we feel. We are not what we look at . . .. We’re not our eyeballs, we’re our mind. People believe their eyeballs and they’re totally wrong . . .. That’s why I consider most photographs extremely boring–just like Muzak, inoffensive, charming, another waterfall, another sunset. This time, colors have been added to protect the innocent. It’s just boring. But that whole arena of one’s experience–grief, loneliness–how do you photograph lust? I mean, how do you deal with these things? This is what you are, not what you see. It’s all sitting up here. I could do all my work sitting in my room. I don’t have to go anywhere.” – Duane Michals
Quotes found at Kalliope Amorphous
From her website
“Christy Lee Rogers is a fine art photographer from Kailua, Hawaii. Her obsession with water as a medium for breaking the conventions of contemporary photography has led to her work being compared to Baroque painting masters like Caravaggio. Boisterous in color and complexity, Rogers applies her cunning technique to a barrage of bodies submerged in water during the night, and creates her effects naturally in-camera using the refraction of light. Through a fragile process of experimentation, she builds elaborate scenes of coalesced colors and entangled bodies that exalt the human character as one of vigor and warmth, while also capturing the beauty and vulnerability of the tragic experience that is the human condition.”
From Reckless Unbound
Christy Lee Rogers’ work enters the PostArctic endgame? as a kind of inventory of the history of Western Art, and all human narratives, bringing the human adventure (The Odyssey) together with the classic tragic elements of history (Ophelia) immersed in colour and contrast (Caravaggio) while acknowledging a return to the deep dark Sea (Moby Dick, Finnegans Wake) from where all life began. Her figures at times appear like passengers from the Titanic who, while submerged(ing), become even more free to engage, to grasp ecstasy, in this inevitable floating/sinking underworld. Is there an in-between world? In any case it’s not quite what we expected.
The light is still above, a stable, but sometimes almost violent reference creating wonderment, security and nostalgia. But the other reality, the terror of facing the depths below, where the light fades to dark, is still death and the bottom of the sea is neither Heaven nor Hell. Yes, much Biblical irony, but here it is Everyone, and the only Prophecy is no more than our own behavior and beliefs catapulting us into an unknown, unremembered, unredemptive fate based solely on humanity’s unwillingness to learn from history, seek truth and universally accept it.
The Sirens, women, whose songs are not heard under here, are no longer infamously luring ships into the rocks and sailor’s to their demise, but become pure beings without agenda, unable to help nor hinder, angels, perhaps the last observers, the ones who will be left to tell the story of humanity.
I aim to systematically document these places before they are gone forever. Fast-food restaurants have homogenized the nation’s highways to the point where every place looks like every other place. They are more than just a place providing service to the public, they represent uniqueness in a world headed toward commercialization. Rest areas connect travelers to local places in a way that fast food restaurants, gas stations and truck stops cannot. Interchange business, while also important to highway motorists, has become a homogenous collection of uniform structures that one encounters without significant variation in almost every part of the country. While rest areas were originally designed to provide only the basic amenities of parking, bathroom, and picnic table, developers soon found within them the opportunity to reconnect people with the places they were traveling though, to add some humanity back to interstate travel. We can all relate to rest stops and what they represent as social and architectural icons of Americana. To me though, they are disappearing waysides of memories, anticipation and mystery of what the next one down the road will look like, and lastly they are a relevant benchmark in an era of bygone leisure travel. This project is an ongoing road trip of discovery and appreciation for what these rest stops represent. My need to systematically document them before they are gone forever was the sole purpose of my project. I want to show how each rest stop is different and what it may have to offer, whether it is historical significance, charm, local color, or unique architecture. I hope to capture their spirit and give viewers an enlightened outlook towards these wonderful gems.
“But what can a poor boy do except to sing for a rock and roll band” The Rolling Stones
Or maybe just follow your imagination with a camera if music is not your talent. So this is my take on Blade Runner. Or should I say my ultra low budget take in an abandoned (now demolished) factory in Lachine with no cast, no crew, but with a strong, eerie, and sexy feeling that Darryl Hannah might pop out from behind a rusted machine that no one alive remembers what it was used for. Abandoned factories let your mind soar.
There was a lot of water leaking from the roof, like rain, and that area I stood in made me feel like I could have been in this scene.
Life, so totally crazy, so full of horror and pain, yet so totally worth hanging on to with everything you’ve got, every drop of blood alive as much as anything else before or after. There isn’t that much that separates us from everything in the universe beyond Time, and a few random particles here and there.
Do You See The Android? Neither Do I
This image, along with some of my other works, is on display at Cafe Victoria on Wellington street until the end of April.
I would also like to dedicate this post to the memory of Jay Simmons.
This is a work that came about during my recent consolidation of images past, present, (and future?) . The projection happened in the early 90′s when I was experimenting with arbitrary images I had shot on streets, off television sets and so on, then projecting them on houses, walls, backyards, etc. and re photographing them. The columns and woman in a dress were shot in the last two years. It seemed to come together when I noticed how the columns represented an ancient Ideal and the almost impossible task of achieving, and maintaining that, and how things have really played out despite our best intentions.
This picture is currently on display at Cafe Victoria in Verdun until the end of April. It is 20×24 inches, professionally framed and only costs $100.00. If you would like to purchase this, or a print, different sizes available too, please email me at neathatturcot (at) yahoo dot ca
I have become interested in doing a series on the original Woman in Red, Ana Cumpănaș, who apparently fingered John Dillinger to the FBI in the 1930′s. It would probably be a short parody of the urban myths surrounding Ana and Dillinger, but who knows how the ideas could grow if we do it. Any woman who has a markedly red article of clothing, not necessarily a dress, a fun sense of theatre, and a free afternoon or two, and would be interested in collaborating on this is more than welcome to contact me at the email above.