Sunday, 30 March 2008

New York Photo Festival

Curators Martin Parr, Kathy Ryan, Lesley A. Martin, and Tim Barber

About the New York Photo Festival:
Founded by Daniel Power and Frank Evers, and a joint initiative of powerHouse Books and VII Photo Agency, the New York Photo Festival will be the first international-level Festival of photography to be based in the U.S., with the ambition of documenting the future of photography in all its forms. For the inaugural edition (May 14-18, 2008) of this new annual event, a group of internationally respected curators have been selected to deliver their personal vision of the newest and most important trends in contemporary photography: Magnum photographer Martin Parr, The New York Times Magazine picture editor Kathy Ryan, Lesley A. Martin of the Aperture Foundation, and Tim Barber of In addition to the curated pavilions, the Festival will offer visitors an extensive range of activities that will generate dialogue and buzz among all the communities of photo professionals, amateurs, students, and aficionados of art and culture: seminars, slide shows, book signings, photographic workshops, live performances and events, and a gallery row. The New York Photo Festival will be headquartered in DUMBO.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Nick Waplington at Whitechapel Gallery

The language of human intimacy and self-knowledge may be among the most difficult subjects to capture photographically, but for Nick Waplington it is the only subject. During the early part of a career that began in the mid1980s, Waplington focused his camera on friends, family and neigh-bours, in a society operating within well-defined codes of behaviour.
His earliest photographs, taken when he went to live with his grandfather on the Broxtoe Estate in Nottingham, were about dignity and communality in a place where small events assumed great magnitude. He discovered that complex ideas about society and culture could be expressed through simple subject matter incorporating small ironies and visual comedies. Ever since then he has used his large-format camera to explore local societies – street life, youth cultures, beach-holiday communities – and to remind us of the unnecessary anxieties of modern life.
In his latest exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, Waplington presents three bodies of work: a series of ten books of photographs found on the internet, a slide show of photographs, You Are Only What You See, again found on the internet, and 50 of his own works displayed in local shops, cafés and-other public venues near the gallery.
“I’m interested in mass communication and in image-sharing,” Waplington says. “I’ve always collected photographs taken by other people. I find them on internet photo-sharing websites. I’ve edited the first group into a series of ten books, each one following the lives of ten imaginary soldiers, looking at their lives at home, preparing for departure or in the theatre of war.” Use of found internet images is still a legal grey area, but Waplington only takes from sites where the photographers have allowed public access and use of their images.
You Are Only What You See shows 1,000 images on rotation, selected from Waplington’s collection of 50,000. Most of these are pictures made by soldiers, male and female, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other warzones over the past 20 years. Waplington has strung them together into a two-hour feature-length slide show, accompanied by a live internet feed that pumps out an excruciating string of chatter from a local business-news radio station. The link is, at best, obscure.
“It’s comical to listen to for a while. I want people to sit back, look and let go. The juxtaposition of images is such that people will have to find their own interpretation,” he says There are images from tours of duty, of loved ones left behind, of moments of rest between training. And dotted in among them are pictures of claustrophobic parties, of gauche youngsters defined more by their eyeliner than anything else, indulging in drink and drugs, posing with bad food and bad skin.
Perspectives are abrupt, compositions are disorganised and juxtapositions incongruous. And the food! For six seconds we are treated to the sight of a girl biting into what looks like a sandwich of melted chocolate and cotton wool. Close on her heels come foul nuclear drinks, greasy burgers, limp and oozing pastries. If our soldiers are what they eat, all is most certainly lost.
There is no personal storyline, no conventional beginning, middle or end to this narrative. The images slither past in an arc that is supported – only just – by loose sections: soldiers in deserts, tanks, guns and flags, barbed wire, the scenery of home, the girlfriends left behind, the drunken parties, the stupid drug taking. The idea is that each one gains some meaning through the cumulative effect and that the sequential format should possess an immediacy and an ephemerality to mirror the quick intense moments caught by these anonymous photographers. Together, perhaps, they carry a message about life and loss, a momentum that moves inexorably towards some generalised dark conclusion. But, personally, I could never sit through two hours of this without sliding into the land of Nod.
Waplington’s own work is much more interesting, hung in local café, bars, pubs, a halal butcher, video store, bagel shop and a music hall. “The Whitechapel has a remit to serve the local community, so I thought it was a good opportunity to reach a wider audience this way. Some are difficult to find in among the wall posters and other notices. The idea is to hunt them down.” The photographs depict everyday scenes, the streets of East London, beach holidays, urban landscapes. He uses light, form and atmosphere to evoke ambiguity, and so creates a sense of illusion even while documenting the real world.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Portfolio Submissions at Magnum

© Martin Parr, Ocean Dome

Magnum Photos Members are meeting at the end of June to evaluate proposal from new photographers. The staff will be looking and voting portfolios for potential new member.
Successful applicants will be invited to become a "Nominee Member" a phase of getting to know each other. In 2007 three new nominee members were accepted.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Thomas Struth al Madre di Napoli

© Thomas Struth

La prima personale di Thomas Struth al Museo Madre di Napoli curata da Mario Codognato. Sono in esposizione cinquanta opere tra le piu` significative dell` artista, di piccole e grandi dimensioni, dai primi lavori in bianco e nero ai progetti piu` recenti.
In esposizione anche lavori dalla serie Museum Photographs, forse la piu` conosciuta dell` artista.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Around Photograhy diventa International

© Marina Abramovic
Intervista a Roberto Maggiori, direttore della rivista Around Photography, che con l`ultimo numero e` diventata "International".

da a cura di Silvia Maria Rossi

La fotografia costumi e consumi

Cosa vi sembrava che mancasse nel panorama editoriale contemporaneo delle riviste d'arte quando avete iniziato?
Quando abbiamo iniziato, mancava in Italia una rivista che intendesse la fotografia non come un'occasione decorativa o legata alla documentazione, ma come strumento di riproduzione e relazione con quanto ci circonda. In altre parole mancava un luogo di riflessione sulla registrazione visiva di un'esperienza, di uno spazio, di una situazione o di un (s)oggetto che un autore può operare per le finalità più svariate. Il tema è affascinante e sterminato, basta pensare che il 90% dell'esperienza e conoscenza di quanto depositiamo nel nostro immaginario è veicolato dal "fotografico" che ritroviamo nei più svariati media: dalla stampa alla televisione, fino al cinema, ad internet e ai video più o meno amatoriali. Medium che sottintendono sempre la regia di chi sta dietro l'obiettivo o orchestra la registrazione. Around Photography si occupa appunto di riflettere sulle potenzialità e sull'uso e consumo del fotografico che, a prescindere dal media utilizzato, è comunque riconducibile alla rivoluzionaria invenzione di Niepce, Daguerre, Talbot e conseguentemente dei Fratelli Lumiere (la famosa fotografia in movimento...). Quest'allargamento del concetto di fotografia non è azzardato come sembra, non a caso in ambito anglosassone con il termine camera si intendono sia le macchine fotografiche che le tele o video camere e le cineprese; tutti derivati della camera obscura. Dal Rinascimento ad oggi (dall'entrata della camera oscura nell'ambito della pittura) la maggior parte degli artisti ha per certi versi lavorato sul "fotografico", si è cioè spesso interrogata su come riprodurre delle forme di esperienza, proprie o altrui, nella maniera più verosimile e credibile attraverso l'aiuto di strumenti tecnologici. L'invenzione della macchina fotografica, ma sarebbe meglio dire dell'emulsione fotosensibile, ha poi apportato a questo discorso un cambiamento qualitativo che è anche stato un cambiamento epocale che oggi definiamo arte contemporanea. Ovviamente questo è un discorso che andrebbe affrontato ben più approfonditamente di quanto sia corretto fare in questa occasione, è comunque indicativo del nostro approccio al fotografico e delle logiche complesse che lo sorreggono. Prima di Around Photography, a fronteggiare questa complessità c'erano da una parte le riviste tecniche (interessate a parlare più di macchine fotografiche che di Fotografia), dall'altra le riviste d'arte che affidavano gli interventi sulla fotografia a critici con alle spalle, salvo poche eccezioni, si e no un esame di Storia della Fotografia fatto magari al primo anno dell'Università o dell'Accademia.Dal momento che neanche le riviste d'Arte avevano gli strumenti storici e teorici per approcciare seriamente quest'ambito, abbiamo cercato di colmare questo vuoto editoriale e soprattutto culturale, preoccupandoci di alzare il livello della discussione sulla fotografia attraverso una rivista seria e curata, in cui chi scrive abbia una buona conoscenza della storia dell'arte contemporanea e quindi (dovrebbe essere una conseguenza logica) della fotografia.
E oggi è cambiato qualcosa?
Oggi c'è Around Photography e una discreta quantità e qualità di pubblicazioni credibili sul fotografico, grazie anche all'attività dell'Editrice Quinlan che pubblica una collana didattico- divulgativa e una di saggistica, oltre ad alcuni cataloghi a tiratura limitata. Ci sono poi più occasioni espositive, festivaliere e fieristiche per la fotografia. La qualità di questi appuntamenti però non è sempre delle migliori, anche se le cose stanno migliorando. continuia

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Deutsche Börse Prize 2008 a Esko Männikkö

© Esko Männikkö

Il fotografo finlandese Esko Männikkö e` il vincitore del Deutsche Börse Prize con Cocktails, una retrospettiva dell` artista che include una serie di portraits, still life e landscape dai progetti Finnish Series, Organized Freedom and Harmony Sisters.
I progetti documentano la quotidianita`in zone periferiche della Finlandia evidenziandone gli elementi di solitudine e una serie di ritratti di animali fotografati in zoo. Il premio e` stato conferito presso il Photographer`s Gallery di Londra.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Rites of Passage con Przemysław Pokrycki Pryma

© Przemysław Pokrycki

Di recente ho visto alcuni lavori di Przemysław Pokrycki Pryma, giovane fotografo polacco. In particolare mi interessava il progetto Rites of Passage, gentilmente ci ha concesso questa intervista via email.

PH39 - Tell us about your work? Przemysław Pokrycki Pryma - With my work I want to show a piece of every day life. People in their surrounding, usually at work or at home. I'm interested in general in a man in his/her surrounding.

PH39 -Your works describes social every day life or is there more to it? PPP - Interpretation is up to the one who is watching. I'm photographing a little bit like an amateur, a layman: people in the centre of a picture and a lot of background visible. Most of amateur pictures look like this. From my experience I know that interpretation depends mostly an a person who looks at a picture. I don't want to make up any philosophy or ideology to my work. I make a documentary, that is all from me. Now it is up to sociologist to discuss about life condition, social classes or whatever they want. Art critics may discus about aesthetic value. And so called "common people" will pay attention to something different too (long legs of a female driving instructor or to a mass on someone's desk). I'm interested in making documentary, in collecting pictures as someone else collects stamps, or postcards, or whatever.

PH39 -How do you decide which project to work on and what subject to pick ? PPP - Sometime ago I worked for a press agency. I went to photograph a strike in a factory and that is how I started Laborers project and I visited the following factories just for my own project. At the same time economic situation in few big companies (mine, car production factory, shipyard) became critical. Companies that hired few thousands people were about to collapse and workers were going on strikes. I went to all those places and collected a whole series.
Nowadays I photograph Inhabitants and Workers because these are people that I portrait everyday for all kinds of magazines.
Each time I try to take one picture just from myself: I put wide lens and stand in front of a person, and I press the button. After this one shot I take pictures for a magazine. This first one I also sent to a magazine but it's usually not chosen to be published. I usually hear from an editor that this one is no good and they need just "a head" (meaning a close portrait of a face).

PH39 What drew you to Rites of passage project and was it planned from the beginning this way?
PPP - I started working on Rites of passage photographing on communions and later weddings. Them I realized I would also need baptism ceremony and funerals to have whole life cycle. A photographer assists family in most of these situation (nowadays not so often at funerals as 20 years ago) These are very important moments in people lives. And everyone looks good, wear their best clothes, the best dishes are put on a table.

PH39 -How important is for for your work the content in relation to the aesthetic?
PPP -I don't care much about aesthetic. I put most important person in the centre of the frame. I have a flash with umbrella behind me, usually I take 10 pictures . Aesthetic on my pictures is the one I find in the place: size of the room, housing condition etc decide about final effect.

PH39-Rite of passage includes all main phase of a person catholic life, do you fell like intruding people`s life?
PPP - Rites of passage are not specific only for catholic life. But there are up to 90% of catholics in Poland.
I photograph people in situations which are very important for them, and they want to have a picture of those moments. I'm not a paparazzo, I'm not spying through a keyhole. Situation in between us is a very clear one: a photographer, a camera and people photographed. I never use hidden camera. I'm a guest on a ceremony, not an intruder.

PH39- I imagine it must be quite difficult to build a trust with certain topic, how did you develop this trust.
PPP -I usually have a contact to a family from someone I know, it "opens door" for me, I'm not an anonymous. I sometimes asked people I didn't know (in front of a church). I offered them pictures for free in exchange for their agreement for publication.

PH39- In this project you touch some personal aspect of people life, how do you define boundaries for what to show and what not to show in your work?
I show what people let me show. If they don't want something to be visible I don't photograph it. I use camera which needs a tripod and external flash, it's not a cell phone camera that you can photograph unnoticed. I have certain problems photographing funerals. There was a custom of photographing whole family with open coffin but today it is a rare thing. In the rural communities you can still find people sitting and praying around open coffin. In cities there are sanitary regulations forbidding dead body in a house. Ritual of last farewell become limited only to at a church or at a chapel.

PH39- Tell us about the inhabitant project, did you know the people or how did you meet them. Was the project based in Poland?
PPP - All my projects are based in Poland. Inhabitants are either my friends or people I meet when photographing for press.
With my pictures I describe world around me. This reality is very familiar but sometimes very surprising. I see a lot of work to be done for my projects in Poland. I want to photograph here, I don't look for extreme situations as war, hunger or disasters. Society in itself is most interesting for me: changing life styles and standard of living after transformation of 1989. I regret I didn't start my projects then.