Thursday 17 December 2009

Michael Grieve

All images taken from No Love Lost © Michael Grieve

1000 Words contributing editor Michael Grieve recently revamped his personal website with a whole new look and feel, and has put up some fresh portfolios as well as stuff from his frequent forays into editorial photography. He is also selling prints from his wonderful series Blue of Night and No Love Lost. Check it out.

It´s no secret that Michael and I are good friends (shock horror!) but, needless to say, I am an avid admirer both of his work and his spirit for life. The images shown above are taken from his trademark project No Love Lost which speaks volumes about intimacy and dislocation in a theatre of sexual commodity. Talking about the body of work, he says "(No Love Lost) is a visual project that inhabits heightened sexual environments in contemporary England. People featured are active in the increasingly entwined and performative worlds of pornography, prostitution and stripping. What they share is a measured psychological engagement with strangers in close proximity that is a purely physical and sexual union lacking in affection. Fantasy is played out within the frame of constraints and closeness is kept at a distance. Menace is always present, control is often threatened. These are emotionally charged settings, both plastic and primitive, where the ‘stuff’ of life is all too present."

"These are real fictional encounters that convey a sense of the difficulties of meaningful human connection in spiritually vacant environments," he adds.

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1966, Michael Grieve is based in London and is represented by the prestigious Agence Vu in Paris. He studied an MA in Photographic Studies at the University of Westminster in 1997 and works for a variety of publications internationally including the Sunday Times Magazine, Weekend Guardian Magazine, Liberation, Le Monde and Le Monde 2. He writes for Hotshoe and the British Journal of Photography and, as I mentioned before, is a contributing editor for 1000 Words. His first book, No Love Lost, will be published in the new year. He describes his work generally as ‘searching for the light of possibility in an existential world’. Here´s to you, Michael.

Monday 14 December 2009

Catherine Opie on New Topographics


New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape @Los Angeles County Museum of Art

October 25, 2009–January 3, 2010

A restaging of the landmark exhibition first seen in 1975 at the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House. "New Topographics" signaled the emergence of a new photographic approach to landscape: romanticization gave way to cooler appraisal, focused on the everyday built environment and more attuned to conceptual concerns of the broader art field. More than two-thirds of the photographs by the original ten participants—Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott, Stephen Shore, and Henry Wessel, Jr.—are displayed. An accompanying presentation of works by influential photographers and thinkers offers historic context, including Timothy O’Sullivan, Walker Evans, Ed Ruscha, Robert Smithson, and Dan Graham, as well as architect team Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, with their publication Learning from Las Vegas (1972), an ode to the “ugly and ordinary.” A final video installation by the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), commissioned by LACMA, explores oil’s central role in the development of the American landscape. CLUI’s contemporary response to the legacy of "New Topographics" suggests an ongoing concern for man’s use of the land.

Curator at LACMA: Edward Robinson, Photography.

New Topographics was organized by the Center for Creative Photography, the University of Arizona, and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Diane, I miss you.

Having just stumbled upon this wonderful online archive of Diane Arbus´ work, I thought it might be nice to share a few quotes that make me tick, both personally and professionally. Some are very well known, others less so. Photographers, if you can make your life half as interesting as Diane´s, you will find the inspiration that gives you something truly worthwhile to say about the world and what it means to be human. So, without further ado, here is a choice selection from the legend herself:

"If I were just curious, it would be very hard to say to someone, "I want to come to your house and have you talk to me and tell me the story of your life." I mean people are going to say, "You're crazy." Plus they're going to keep mighty guarded. But the camera is a kind of license. A lot of people, they want to be paid that much attention and that's a reasonable kind of attention to be paid."

"There are always two things that happen. One is recognition and the other is that it's totally peculiar. But there's some sense in which I always identify with them."

"The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."

"The thing that's important to know is that you never know. You're always sort of feeling your way."

"I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do - that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse."

"I never have taken a picture I've intended. They're always better or worse."

"It's important to take bad pictures. It's the bad ones that have to do with what you've never done before. They can make you recognize something you hadn't seen in a way that will make you recognize it when you see it again."

"A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know."

"There are things which nobody would see unless I photographed them."

"Everybody has that thing where they need to look one way but they come out looking another way and that's what people observe. You see someone on the street and essentially what you notice about them is the flaw."

"I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don't like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself."

"One thing I would never photograph is a dog lying in the mud."

"My favorite thing is to go where I've never been."

"Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first things I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still do adore some of them. I don't quite mean they're my best friends but they made me feel a mixture of shame and awe."

"Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats."

"Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true."

"It gets to seem as if way back in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Adam and Eve had begged the Lord to forgive them and He, in his boundless exasperation, had said, ''All right, then. Stay. Stay in the Garden. Get civilized. Procreate. Muck it up.'' And they did."

"Love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding."

"Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory."

Friday 4 December 2009

James Clark

All images © James Clark

Why aren´t there more photographers turning their cameras to the effects of the recession I wonder? James Clark´s project Downturn, however, is an ongoing documentation of an ever-changing British landscape in this time of great economic turmoil and does very well in making you feel what it describes.

"Over the past few months," says Clark, "I have been objectively documenting signs of the recession. I have witnessed elements that have traditionally balanced a British lifestyle meet their fate, with homes, workplaces and entertainment outlets all buckling under the strain.

Any project that deals with such loaded subject matter can be viewed as having vested interests, but this body of work is not intended as a critique, or a veiled snipe towards the financial systems, but merely a document, a record of what is happening now and the audience is strongly encouraged to form their own opinions and judgements."

James Clark was born in Reading, England in 1987. He is currently in his final year studying for a BA Graphic Arts: Photography, at Winchester School of Art,(University of Southampton). Previous to this, he completed a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Thames Valley University, passing with Distinction. His work experience includes: assistant to Kalpesh Lathigra for the Guardian Weekend magazine, assistant to Rob Smith for a University degree show publication and a three-month work placement undertaking product photography for a company website.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Special x-mas book offer!

Christmas is now fast approaching and what better present to give your photography-loving friends and family than a photobook. 1000 Words is offering its readers discounts on Magnum photographer Donovan Wylie´s Maze and Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2009 winner Paul Graham’s Monograph, courtesy of Steidl. To order your copy please contact tim(at)1000wordsmag(dot)com.

Please see below for more details:

Donovan Wylie


All images © Donovan Wylie/Magnum Photos

Between 2002 and 2003 Donovan Wylie spent almost a hundred days photographing inside the Maze prison. Through its history of protests, hunger strikes and escapes, this prison, holding both republican and loyalist prisoners, became synonymous with the Northern Ireland conflict. After the Belfast peace agreement in 1998, inmates were gradually released, but the Maze remained open.

Wylie was then the only photographer granted official and unlimited access to the site, when the demolition of the prison began, symbolizing the end of the conflict in 2007. He systematically recorded its demise. The photographs which document this period are divided into four sections, each depicting a “layer” of the prison: the internal walls, the various modes of fencing, the H-blocks and, finally, the perimeter walls, which reveal the external landscape. Eventually this once-enclosed space is reintegrated with the outside world.

First published in 2004 to critical acclaim, this new edition of Maze comes in three volumes: Maze 2002/03, Maze 2007/08, and The Architecture of Containment.

Special price for 1000 Words readers: £45.00
Free shipping within the United Kingdom available

Essay and historical chronology by Louise Purbrick
206 pages, 150 colour plates
29.5 cm x 23.5 cm
Two hardcover books and a singer-stitched booklet housed in a slipcase
ISBN: 978-3-86521-907-7
Publication date: April 2009

Paul Graham


All images © Paul Graham

Paul Graham is one of that remarkable generation of photographers born in the 1950’s who have come to dominate art photography today and who dedicated themselves to photography at a time when it was unwelcome in the art world. This book is the long awaited survey of 25 years of his photography, 1981-2006, to coincide with a large scale touring European museum exhibition. Graham was the first photographer to unite contemporary colour photography with the classic genre of social documentary.

His colour work in the early and mid-1980s had a transformative effect on the black and white tradition that had dominated British photography to that point. Since this ground breaking early work, and what sets Graham apart from his peers of that time, is that rather than rest on such achievements, he has continued to radically explore the medium for the next two decades, showing a profound commitment to expanding photography’s artistic space, whilst remaining faithful to that core locus where the documentary and artistic aspects of photography coalesce.

At a time when art photography is increasingly staged, or holds the world at a conceptualized distant view, Paul Graham's work distinguishes itself by retaining a firm and full commitment to life as it unfolds; to an understanding that at its core photography begins with an unblinking engagement with the world. Embracing this crucial axiom of photography, Graham's work of the past 25 years has been vital in reinvigorating the core of photographic practice, both by broadening it's visual language, and essentially, by questioning our notions of what such photography could say, be, or look like.

Special price for 1000 Words readers: £32.00
Free shipping within the United Kingdom available

Essays by David Chandler, Michael Almereyda
and Russell Ferguson
376 pages, 250 colour plates
22.5 cm x 28 cm
ISBN: 978-3-86521-858-2
Publication date: July 2009