Wednesday 28 January 2009

Talia Chetrit

All images ©Talia Chetrit

Talia Chetrit emailed me not that long ago with a selection of images from her Reading series. Its a body of work that deals with visualising the invisible, the results of which are initially striking yet inwardly complex. Of Reading she writes:

"Photography records optical space. Its basic elements are light and time. I reduce my subject to these elements to investigate photography's inherent properties and how we perceive and categorize this medium. Some of my subjects are created through the act of photographing. Others are illusions of or metaphors for light and time. How can the basic tools of light and space move us? How can we encounter them in new ways?

The title of my series Reading refers to the act of interpreting visual stimuli. These photographs are about seeing an image and understanding it—its formal complexity or the manner in which it was made. Reading uses experimentations with perception and abstraction to look at photography itself—its ability to transform that which already exists or to create new existence."

Talia Chetrit lives and works in New York, New York. She received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008; she previously earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Talia Chetrit's recent exhibitions including the 4th Annual Pingyao International Photography Festival in China,The 13th Annual PRC Exhibition at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston and The Form Itself at Priska Juschka Fine Art in New York. In the autumn of this year she will have her first solo show in New York at Renwick Gallery. Her work can also be seen in the current annual issue of Contemporary Magazine.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Danilo Murru

All images ©Danilo Murru

"This series of portraits is the result of one afternoon spent in Bethlehem. As I was walking along the “infamous” wall my attention was captured by two slabs of concrete, these were clean and stood out compared to the rest of the structure covered in graffiti and political statements. On these two slabs I visualised the stage of this project. I positioned the camera directly opposite the big wall with the intention of creating a sort of intimate space where the wall would have worked as a backdrop in a photographic studio. After positioning the camera I started inviting the local passers-by to enter this portion of space and pose for a photograph standing with their backs against the wall. On the other side is Israel! During this process, which lasted for the whole afternoon, I was very interested in my personal interaction with these generous and patient strangers and their personal interaction with the wall that has been imposed on their everyday lives. As I was proceeding with my work I paid particular attention to the way I was positioning the subject in relation to the line between the two concrete slabs, and I imagined this to be the centre of balance of this body of work but above all of their lives in Palestine. This line assumes a very symbolic meaning and can be read in two ways: A separation within the separation, in which case would leave them even more enclosed inside the barrier, or a crack in the wall which symbolises a ray of light meaning a constructive dialogue with the opposite side of the wall."

This is an extract from Danilo Murru´s personal statement for his Bethlehem Project. While the idea is very pertinent and I am in no doubt as to what he is trying to do and say with these photographs, they are just lacking a certain umpf in my opinion. Nevertheless, his website is still worth a visit as there is some nice photography up there but will require a lot of patience to rummage through all the images; he would benefit enormously from laying out the various bodies of work in a more user-friendly format see you can actually see what is what.

Danilo Murru was born in Italy in 1973 but now lives and works in London as a freelance fine art photographer. He has a BA (hons) Photography - London College of Printing - 2003 and is currently undertaking a MA Photography and Urban Cultures - Goldsmiths - University of London which he will finish in 2010. He has been exhibiting in various solo and group exhibitions in Italy and England, the most recent of which was Borderspaces at London Schwartz Gallery in November 2008 with Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Simon Norfolk, Tom Hunter, Stephen Gill, Ali Richards, David Spero and Nana Varveropoulou. He has a bright future ahead of him, of that I am sure.

Monday 19 January 2009

Hans Aarsman @The Photographer´s Gallery, London

Lecture/Performance Hans Aarsman
21 January 19:00

Hans Aarsman presents From Ugly to Pretty and Back Again. The Mysterious Ways of Beauty in Photography at The Photographer´s Gallery this Wednesday.

In this lecture Hans Aarsman examines the miriad of questions involved in taking photographs for purposes as varied as advertising, documentation and personal momentos. How does our understanding of the beauty in these images differ depending their final resting place, be it ebay, family album, specialist magazines or museums collections. Through his own experiences Aarsman asks if, and how, artistic ambitions, aesthetics and useful photography can coincide.

Hans Aarsman (b.1951, NL) worked as a photojournalist until 1994. He currently works as a writer, in particular on photography, and is co-founder of the magazine Useful Photography. Aarsman displayed, and invited contributions to, his project Photography Against Consumerism here at The Photographers' Gallery last July. He is based in Amsterdam.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Laura Pannack

I got chatting to a very talented young photographer by the name of Laura Pannack last week at Flowers East and discovered she was in fact the author of a body of work that I adore so much so I must share it with you all just in case you are not familiar with it. She is still at a very early stage in her career but given that she won the Next Perspective Hotshoe Award and assisted the likes of Simon Roberts for 2 years during university, she has come quite far in a short space of time. Here are a few images and artist statement from her beautiful project the untitled:

All images ©Laura Pannack

"Shut out from the teenage world the majority of us struggle to comprehend the behaviour of some adolescents. Through a lack of understanding ,which breeds fear,we tend to stereotype young people. However, these judgements are fuel for rebellion, intensifying the search for attention,identity and belonging.

The invincible yet vulnerable nature of teenagers has inspired me to embark on photographic adventures, sharing their company and releasing their undefined identity through the art of picture making.

I have intentionally chosen not to title my project as I did not want to label or define any of my subjects. Likewise, I have left it unclear whether my subjects are young offenders on probation, pupils with special needs, private school attendants or other young people I have encountered. The images are simply titled with the true forename of each young person, giving the viewer a hint as to their identity without attaching stigma – and emphasising the fact that each of my subjects is unique.

Adolescence is a universal experience and by considering these images we can begin to reflect and connect with the subject. Young people are a constant reminder of our existence, our past and our identity. Just as we wonder for them, we also review who we have grown up to become.

With the prevalence of negative images of young people in the media, it is time to celebrate British youth with their infinite diversities and see them as individuals with a huge potential of talent and skills they can offer to our country. We need to challenge those images which only serve to give our youth a sense of low worth resulting in a perpetuating cycle of problems, low image, crime, bad press, low self esteem and more crime. Constructing stereotypes and transcribing blame is preventing the next generation from being inspired to achieve and develop self-confidence. I hope through my imagery to challenge these perceptions."

Monday 12 January 2009

Suzanne Mooney

All images ©Suzanne Mooney

Via the super new issue of SeeSaw magazine comes Suzanne Mooney´s Make Love To The Camera, a collection of diagrammatic drawings that she has plucked from various photographic manuals that show how to best photograph the female nude. Contextualising the work, she writes:

"Each image depicts a diagram of a naked or semi-naked woman in a studio set-ups surrounded by lights, cameras and props. Instead of following the instructions of the diagram, I photograph the diagram itself. The work denies the erotic charge that the photographic images may have, and becomes a humorous but disturbing comment on glamour photography.

The work deconstructs the mechanics involved in image making by focusing on the exact moment a photograph is taken. The diagrams can no longer exist as functional drawings outside of their original context, blown up and displayed they become the work itself. Make Love to the Camera continues my conceptual play with the processes involved in image making from behind the camera, in front off the camera, and the camera itself."

If you are feeling this then go on over to her website to see more work of this nature, including Decommissioned Cameras, Behind the Scenes and Found Photographers. Thanks for the link Aaron!

A week with Nina Korhonen from April 5th until April 12th 2009

Atelier de visu is organising a workshop directed by Nina Korhonen. The workshop will take place in Marseille.

Content of the workshop:

> defining each participant’s photographic project.
> shooting sessions.
> editing sessions, each participant will create a coherent series of images.
> creation of a slide show.
> opening night at Atelier de visu’s gallery and projection of the images of the participants.

L’Atelier de visu will also be doing portfolio reviews.

Price of the workshop: 500 euros
Maximum number of participants: 10
Accomodation can be provided at Atelier de visu. (depending on availability)

For further information, please contact Atelier de visu
19 rue des Trois Rois 13006 Marseille
téléphone: 04 91 47 60 07

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Loan Nguyen @Ego Gallery, Barcelona

©Loan Nguyen

There is something rather Zen about the photographs currently on display at Ego Gallery. Mobile is the first solo show in Spain of the Swiss-born artist Loan Nguyen whose work can be best described as meditative moments translated into images. One shot shows a women veiled by a thin blanket of fog that has descended upon the landscape. As if on a tight rope, she nimbly walks along the edge of a stone pond, one step at a time. The same woman, depicted from behind, peers down at her reflection in the still waters of a lake. Again the body exerts a soft presence within these minimalist territories of introspection. Another protagonist seeks refuge from the sun by hiding in the shade, this time her posture accentuates the acute angle of the shadow cast from a nearby building. The subtle connection between the figure and the landscape is the linchpin in many of her works and with the slightest of gestures, the artist establishes a poetic link. On the whole, there is little to understand but much to feel in these photographs because like the principles of Zen Buddhism itself, intuition presides over reason.


Loan Nguyen Mobile
November 20th2008 - January 15th2009
Ego Gallery

Nadav Kander

Head over to Nadav Kander´s site for some real treats but before you do here are a few images from his Yangtze, From East to West project to whet your whistle.

All images ©Nadav Kander

To best appreciate this work one really needs to see the images anywhere but on a computer screen to be honest. I recently had the opportunity to view them when they were on display at what is probably my favourite gallery for checking out contemporary photography in London, Flowers East. In fact, I´ll be there this Friday for the Edward Burtynsky opening so come along and say hello if you are out Hoxton way.

Take the time to sit back and read his artist statement for a fuller flavour of the work. Here it is:

"The Yangtze River, which forms the premise to this body of work, is the main artery that flows 4100miles across china, travelling from its furthest westerly point in Qinghai Province to Shanghai in the east. The river is embedded in the consciousness of the Chinese, even those who live thousands of miles from the river. It plays a pivotal role in both the spiritual and physical life of the people. More people live along its banks than live in the USA – one in every eighteen people on the planet.

Using the river as a metaphor for constant change, I have photographed the landscape and people along its banks from mouth to source. Importantly for me I worked intuitively, trying not to be influenced by what I already knew about the country. After several trips to different parts of the river, it became clear that what I was personally responding to, and how I felt whilst being in china, was permeating my pictures; a formalness and unease, a country that feels both at the beginning of a new era and at odds with itself. China is a nation that appears to be severing its roots by destroying its past by moving forward at such an astounding and unnatural pace. I felt a complete outsider and explained this pictorially by ‘stepping back’ and showing humans as small in their surroundings. Common man has little say in China’s progression, and this smallness of the individual is alluded to in the work.

I feel that there are strong parallels in China with the 20th Century immigrants who poured off the boats onto American soil, a new beginning without roots. Millions of domestic migrant workers are travelling from rural areas to the cities. This condition manifests itself throughout China’s social fabric and echoed my own feelings of dislocation. Further layers have been added to certain images by compositing single figures into a scene, twice removed from their natural habitat. Rather than looking to the future with hope, the photographic migrants appear in limbo, unable to observe their past at a time of uncertain future.

Although it was never my intention to make documentary pictures, the sociological context of this project is very important and ever present. The displacement of 3 million people in a 600km stretch of the River and the effect on humans when a country moves towards the future at pace are themes that will inevitably be present within the work.

A Chinese friend I made whilst working on the project reiterated what many Chinese people feel: ‘Why do we have to destroy to develop?’ He explained that in Britain, many of us can revisit where we were brought up and it will be much the same, it will remind us of our families and upbringing. In China that is virtually impossible. The scale of development has left most places unrecognisable; “Nothing is the same. We can’t revisit where we came from because it no longer exists.”

China is progressing rapidly, and the landscape – both economically and physically – is changing daily. These are photographs that can never be taken again."