Archive for the ‘News & Magazines’ Category

Extra, Extra

Miranda July teamed up with photographer Roe Etheridge to direct this cinematic photo essay in Vice.

In her charmingly awkward style, July introduces the piece with a note apparently penned by an angst-ridden teen: “Dear Julie, It seems like I am forever stuck in the background, watching other people say and do all the things I feel inside. One day I’m gonna surprise everyone with my talents. They will be laughing and crying and texting me so often that I will be annoyed.”

July and Ethridge proceed to take the overlooked extras from several Hollywood films — in this particular photo Vertigo — isolate them and blow them up full size. Suddenly the lady in Podesta Baldocchi’s floral shop with her camel coat and blue cloche hat — once just a split-second flicker on the screen, a distraction from the real star, James Stewart — seems intensely fascinating.


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jocko_weylandSo I missed this, but artist/writer Jocko Weyland had a show earlier this Spring at Kerry Schuss in NYC called “Almost News.” Wayland works for the AP NewsPhoto Library, which gives him access to a torrent of images going back 100 years.  Many of them, detached from their original news story, beg for explanation.

The catalog copy for the show riffs on the AP archives filing system and the curiously poetic categories used to tame the often banal subject matter:

“Rolling open with a satisfying whoosh, the solid overstuffed drawers would reveal upright cardboard files whose condition ranged from crispy brand new to disintegrating scraps. “Schauffler, Jr;, William G. Col. Airforce D E A D 10/22/51,” for instance, on the Personality side, or on the Subject side: “Toys: Historical,” “Models: Ships and Submarines,” or “Portugal: Industry: Misc.” There were “Hands,” “Magicians and Mind Readers,” “Brushes,” and “Monocycles.” Everything was broken down into a thousand, a hundred thousand, a million different categories, subgroups, subsets, and variations. There were wild unfulfilled notions that had been photographed in the planning, the making, the testing, or the aftermath, curious pursuits, causes, philosophies, social issues, ideas, and adventures never dreamed of.”

The show was laid out with photos streaming in bands along the gallery wall — like racing stripes or lines on a highway.

There was a catalog published with the show, though I’m not sure if it’s still available.

I like the image “Stencil Lips” — for those moments when your hands just aren’t steady.

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Abner Nolan takes old found negatives and reprints them. There’s not a lot of his work online, but he did do a limited edition book with Trillium called American Negatives which looks like it might be out of print. He will have another limited edition coming out in the next year with These Birds Walk, a photo book subscription series out of Oakland.

Actually, this just in. Todd Wemmer over at Lost and Found Photos stumbled upon a collection of Nolan’s found meat photos in Issue 2 of Meat Paper, a great foodie journal about the “meat zeitgeist.”

And while you’re visiting Lost and Found Photos, take a look around. It’s one of the best resources for found photography.

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steckelberg_3.jpg I’ve often wondered if memories were qualitatively different before photography was invented. When a loved one dies we have the crutch of a family snapshot to remind us of details that without the photo might become cloudy.

The online photo magazine, Lens Culture featured the work of Ludmila Steckelberg recently, a Brazilian artist who doctors her family photo album, blacking out the shapes of those relatives who are no longer alive. It rings of those found photos where a person is cut out or torn away, an arm wrapped around a shoulder or hip the only trace of this vanished person.

But Steckleberg’s images are of loved ones, so to forcefully block them out is a painful memory exercise. If we could no longer see their physical features in a photo, how would we remember them, what would we remember?

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hughes.jpgAny photo project wrapped up with travel and travel memorabilia gets my attention immediately. Michael Hughes created a clever photo series called Souvenirs on Flickr in which he playfully shoots tourist attractions with a tourist tchotchke slyly inserted in the frame—at Cadillac Ranch a red toy Cadillac held in a fist lines up in perfect tilt with the real thing, or at the Tower of Pisa a young girl licks a tower-shaped popsicle, the icy treat outlined perfectly in front of the leaning monument. I discovered Hughes in File Magazine, an online “collection of unexpected photography.”

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Panoramic images usually take as their subject big things like canyons, mighty rivers, landscapes, long lineups of people or parades — things that don’t fit into a normal viewfinder. Aaron Hobson takes the panoramic lens and uses it to zoom in on his subjects, blowing intimate scenes up into bigger than life closeups — like this photo of a cowboy in a convertible where you feel you’re the passenger in the back seat of an immense, mythical car.

He combines the cryptic staging of a Cindy Sherman image with the distorted lens of a funhouse mirror.  The Morning News published an interview with Hobson recently.

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lutter.jpgArtkrush decorated their last newsletter with German photographer Vera Lutter‘s camera obscura image of San Marco. The picture has all the inverted elegance of a film negative with its shadows that gleam and bright sunlight that turns black. But Lutter’s images are about more than just light and dark. Standard photographs are instantaneous; Lutter‘s are taken over days, even months, which introduces time and space as new elements.

There are no passersby in Lutter’s photos, just buildings, ghost towns. Architecture and landscape persist, sit long and hard, burn shadows, while people pass through without a trace—although she admits in a great interview with BOMB Magazine that a tenacious sunbather made an imprint in one of her shorter exposures.

Lutter’s prints are large, often wall size.  One of her cameras was actually a shipping container. She talks about sitting in the camera at one point, watching the image projected on the wall: “The fast movements don’t stay in the photograph, but I see the cars driving through the image, I see trains, boats going by, birds and airplanes flying through. It’s like watching a film, but the image is reversed, upside down, and very crisp.” In some ways, her images resemble the theater photographs of Sugimoto where an entire movie over the period of a few hours leaves nothing but a glowing white screen.

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