Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long. -- Walker Evans

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hans Engels: The Seven Wonders

From Conscientious: German photographer Hans Engels has photographed The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World ... as they are today. See: The Seven Wonders. How could I not quote Shelley?

Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Photo: Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus © Hans Engels

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Young French Photographer's 2011 TED Prize-Winning Speech

A young French photographer, working under the name JR (because his public-space exhibitions have often been illegal), won the TED 2011 Prize. 

His project consists of posting huge billboard-sized portraits of people in public spaces. By doing so, he has sought to break down stereotypes and enmities. 

Most effectively, he posted dyptich portraits of Israelis and Palestinians from the same occupations, on either side of the Israel-Palestine wall. People had to look closely to see the captions, which stated which portrait was of a Palestinian and which was of an Israeli. Once he had left the location, the portraits continued to stimulate a lot of discussion.

Watch full-screen pop-out video

There are images and an audio interview on the Lens Culture website. 

Check out JR's website, too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Robert Adams and Robert Frank

Returning to Robert Adams: The PhotoEphemera Blog has a page on his book The New West, containing what is, in retrospect, a hilarious review from Popular Photography Magazine, which didn't get it at all, and an excellent interview with Adams, below that.

You have to scroll down a long way to get past the shots of the book.

Fishpond has the best price anywhere online that I've found, for The New West.

There's also an interesting Time Magazine discussion of The New West and Robert Frank's The Americans, which were republished around the same time, entitled Two Reissued Photography Books Reconsidered.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Rafal Milach: Black Sea of Concrete

Rafal Milach is a documentary photographer based in Warsaw, Poland. His Black Sea of Concrete essay hosted by the FlakPhoto website, examines the relationship between humankind and the sea of the Ukraine Black Sea coast.

From Rafal Milach's statement: 
'The first thing you notice by the sea is the concrete. Kilometers of grey blocks sometimes painted with blue and yellow, the national colors of Ukraine. You can feel the soviet past at once. It looks surreal and it doesn’t match the beautiful landscape that surrounds you. Industrial zones and the iron waste by the sea don’t remind harmonic idyll between nature and man. People have changed the landscape in a very brutal way here. But the sea fights back for its natural shape and territory.'  [Read more ...]

The video, which is part slide show and part interviews, very effectively conveys the atmosphere of a place half a world away, which few of us will visit, and is well worth watching. [Watch video]

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Justin James Reed: The Real Unknown

The Great Leap Sideways is hosting a portfolio by Justin James Reed. From the introduction:

I was struck instantaneously on seeing the landscapes in Justin James Reed's ongoing  project "The Real Unknown", by their deeply psychological air, by the forceful and poetic abstractions he was constructing, and by a sense of vibrant, interconnected, overlapping, countervailing ideas being somehow at work both within the compositions and the wider body of work. They are only generically, I think, landscape photographs in the conventional sense of the term. What makes them unconventional beyond the tight and oblique composition of the images, is, I think, their unrelenting search for and reverence of the unknowable mysteries at work in the land, in the woods, between the trees. They are not possessive in the way that a good descriptive landscape photograph will invariably be, but instead seek somehow to devolve the power to name, to reject an insistence upon the strict measurement of proportion and provenance.

All of this is, I would argue, in a very real sense inscribed onto the surface of these pictures. Underneath and outside of the frame however, is one of those countervailing factors. Each of the photographs has been made at a property lot set to be developed for sale. 
[Read more ...]

A lengthy interview with the photographer follows the introduction.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fraction Magazine: Robert Adams

Fraction Magazine features a portfolio of important photographer Robert Adams.

From the website: For over four decades Robert Adams has photographed the geography of the American West, finding there a fragile beauty that endures despite our troubled relationship with the natural world.

Adams’s photographs are distinguished not only by their economy and lucidity, but also by their mixture of grief and hope. On the one hand, his pictures acknowledge an impoverishing loss of space and silence, and the opportunity they provided for focus; they also record the inhumanity of much that has been built, and the ferocity of our attack on the environment. On the other hand, they remain alert to the startling eloquence of trees, the signs of caring and joy in people, and the redemptive power that sunlight continues to have even as it falls across suburbs. [Read more ... ] 

See also: Masters of Photography: Robert Adams