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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Looking: Hannah Whitaker & Taryn Simon

On my quest for inspiration, I decided to look a little beyond my usual suspects. One image that kinda really tickled me is by Hannah Whitaker, who I found via "Horses Think Don't Think".
I love the bunny image. It's so whimsical, yet so possible and as the blog remarked: clever.
Because of Amy Stein's Blog (always a good read) I was reminded of the work of Taryn Simon. Taryn Simon has a truly extraordinary career, particularly for her young age. Ms. Stein blogged (it's explicit, be warned) about an erotic picture Ms. Simon might have taken many years ago and seemed perplexed by the possibility that this image was indeed by Taryn Simon.
However as I recall (and correct me if I am wrong!) Ms. Simon started out with erotic or sexually provocative imagery. And it got her a lot of attention. She also used to do strictly commercial work.I believe there was a beautiful campaign with horses on a beach (yeah, yeah...I know horses) for Chloe and I remember several editorial portraits for main stream magazines too. (That there are not many traces left of her previous works is for a whole other blog post).
However now Ms. Simon exclusively works in Fine Art and increasingly successfully so -- her latest body of work "An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar" was original, meaningful and meticulously executed; and I do not find it surprising that Ms. Simon explored other avenues of photography (for whatever reasons) first. I think most artists go through different phases while they find refine their voice. Ms. Simon is so young and was successful so early on, that I think she did her creative exploring in the public eye (while most of us do it in anonymity while in school or before we have our first success). I also suspect that working in different genres of photography gave her an outstanding foundation in the craft, which immensely contributes to her successfully communicating through her work.
You can listen and watch Taryn Simon eloquently explain what drives her (and why she uses analog methods of photography!) on Charlie Rose:

Do You Gocco ?

In my search for inspiration and techniques I came across The Gocco! And now I want one. However I think I need to do some more research, because of course I shall have stumbled on another process that is threatened by extinction! Read more about the Gocco in Rob Walker's article for "The New York Times" , titled "The Cult of Gocco".
The Gocco prints on paper and fabric and I have a feeling they would like this thing at a craft store named "Fishy Business" too ;) -- even though I am not sure if Placencia has a traditional photocopy machine, which is a very helpful yet not necessary tool in the Gocco Process.

Celebrating Women

Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day as talented artist Camilla Engman announced with a big hurray and shout-out on her blog. She went on two list some noteworthy achievements by women, among them that Graciela Iturbide is the winner of "The 2008 Hasselblad Award". I have been meaning to write about Ms. Iturbide's outstanding work and was delighted to see that the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is showing her work through April 13, 2008. The show is tiled: "The Goats Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide"- and it showcases 30 years of her work -much of which was photographed in her home country of Mexico.
A little further north in Texas, is where Mona Reeder, a staff photographer at the Dallas Morning News, worked for three years to complete her often heartbreaking and tragic project titled "The Bottom Line"about poverty in the Lone Star State. Ms. Reeder was just honored with "The Community Service Photojournalism Award" from The American Society of Newspaper Editors
for this work.You can watch parts of the series here; but to really see and take in this extraordinary document you have to visit the Dallas Morning News site: www.dallasnews.com/photography.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blocked, Stuck & Pondering

A while back one of my favorite artists the immensely talented Amy Ross blogged about hitting a bump in her creative flow on her blog "Nature Morph". I have been pretty stuck myself. I now only seem to be able to shoot when I travel. Which used to not bother me all that much since I am on the way to somewhere pretty often. But I think the time has come to deal with this issue. My wise friend Amy (not Ross) told me many years ago (Oh yes: years ago!) that I better look into this and the time has come.
I noticed that some of my other creative friends also seem to experiencing "a disturbance in the force". Perhaps Wyatt and Emily are not blocked, however they seem to feel the excitement has gone out of it or the need for change. You can read about Wyatt's woes on his blog "The Journey of Wyatt Gallery" and Emily's thoughts on the matter on her blog "My Four Eyed Fantasy".
Not coincidentally there is also tremendous change in the photo world and lest not forget the economy.
Personally this not just a question of style or content, but also one of what medium to continue in.
Painting was my first love, but it was hard for me to part with any works. So photography seemed like the right way to go, and I always liked the populist aspect of photography and how integrated that medium was into everyday life. I also like the process of pre-digital photography. I have written before about my nostalgia for darkrooms and my uneasiness with the new process. So much about art making is about the process and the new process of photography is less enjoyable to me and most importantly it has changed how I look at photography and maybe things have simply swung too far to the other end of the pendulum.

l ooking © Nina Buesing Corvallo

In any case I am following Amy Ross' example and looking at other artists to get back some inspiration and I am looking at my past work - and myself , Guru Aimee ;) - to figure out why I cannot shoot whilst in New York.

Reminder: Thomas Holton @ Sasha Wolf

Thomas Holton show titled "The Lams of Ludlow Street" opens tomorrow (March 6th, 2008) at the hip downtown Sasha Wolf Gallery.

Where: 10 Leonard Street
When: 6- 8 p.m. March 6th
More directions here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Thierry Le Goues

It is my understanding that Thierry Le Goues photographed the Hermes ads I posted about yesterday. I had always seen Le Goues work here and there; and a few years back I bought his monogram titled "Popular". I love his sense of color and how soft yet hard his images can be . When I was pondering the wider implications of the Hermes ad yesterday, I decided to revisit Le Goues' work. He has a very comprehensive website: www.thierrylegoues.com which I much enjoyed browsing through. No doubt Le Goues has a conventionally male approach in his vision. He does produce visually stunning (commercial) work and one suspects he greatly enjoys life -- or so his imagery leads you to believe. The work is never boring and I do think he really is among the best in this genre. Do check out the following portfolios on his site: "Antik Batik 3" and "Popular".

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hermes, Lakshmi Menon, Two Elephants, A Horse & Lots of Marigold

The current Hermes Print Campaign, featuring beauty Lakshmi Menon is visually exquisite. You can see the Ads on Fabsugar.

e-card via www.orangehermesetroseindien.com courtesy Hermes

update: if you read the comments on fabsugar, you can see that some people find these ads offensive. They feel the depiction of any non-Caucasian woman with exotic animals can be construed as negative. I personally do not see the ads this way , but do respect that opinion. I do think that Lakshmi Menon and other models such as Liya Kebede are not necessarily more objectified than any other model -- and I enjoy seeing them in editorials and ads and I do think their presence helps present more diversity. But again maybe this is something that has to be looked at on a case and by case basis and surely this also has to do with the worldview of the beholder. When I look at these ads I also sympathize with the people who voiced their concern in regard to the animals. I do not think this shoot was harmful for them, I think how they generally are treated might be more of interest.

Guillaume Bonn

The documentary "Peter Beard: Scrapbooks from Africa & Beyond" that will premiere on The Sundance Channel this week was co-directed by Guillaume Bonn. We had the pleasure of meeting Guillaume when he was in town to promote his first monogram "Le Mal d'Afrique - A Journey Into Old and New Africa". Guillaume is a passionate photographer (& filmaker) and the cleverly chosen title of his first book and its photography reflect his devotion to the continent that has been his home. A French national but born in Madagascar, Guillaume currently lives in Nairobi. You can see some of his images documenting the recent crisis in Kenya at www.thinkpictures.org.

"Le Mal d'Afrique" © Guillaume Bonn

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Life in Focus

The Sundance Channel will present a series of documentary about revered photographers and life behind the lens, starting tomorrow. Read Philip Gefter's article "Photographers, on the Other Side of the Lens" here. And you can find schedule information here.

From The Sundance Channel 's E-Guide:
March 2008
Their work was revolutionary, sexy, startling, soulful and scandalous. Sometimes, so were their lives.
This month, Sundance Channel salutes photography with LIVES IN FOCUS, a five-night documentary series spotlighting noted artists - including Helmut Newton, Tina Modotti and William Eggleston - who have shaped the medium over the past century.
Premiering as part of LIVES IN FOCUS are:
* HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON: THE IMPASSIONED EYE, an illuminating look at the life and work of the legendary "photographer's photographer."
* BLACK, WHITE + GRAY: A PORTRAIT OF SAM WAGSTAFF AND ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, an acclaimed exploration of the complex and fertile relationship between a curator, patron and photography collector, and his protégé and lover.
* TINA BARNEY: SOCIAL STUDIES, a profile of one of America’s leading photographers, known for her revealing color photos of the East Coast elite.
* PETER BEARD: SCRAPBOOKS FROM AFRICA AND BEYOND, a visit with a true artist-adventurer, whose passions range from Africa’s wonders to living the good life.

LIVES IN FOCUS premieres Monday March 3 through Friday March 7 beginning at 7:00pm e/p.