Archive for February, 2009

Housekeeping

February 28, 2009

I received an email from a reader the other day asking how I find out about all the photo related events I attend.

The question got me thinking and in truth I don’t know how I find out about all these events. The main motivation for me is that I hate missing events, exhibitions and special film screenings just because I don’t know they are happening.

I basically make it a point to be a bit obsessive due to my voracious cultural appetite. I read a ton of stuff online and subscribe to many organizations via email. I am also regularly getting emails from all over and each time I see something that interests me, I put it right into my calendar so I don’t miss it. Usually I don’t even mention it here unless it’s worth writing about.

Realizing that there isn’t one source for all these events and that many people might not know about them, I’ve decided to post events in the sidebar under Upcoming Events. This list will not be comprehensive per say but will be comprised of events that interest me personally and that I hope to attend myself. I will do my best to keep it updated so that other people can check back once in a while and see what might be happening. Also the list will include mostly New York based events but if I discover an event happening in another city that I wish I could attend, I might list it.

On another note, I have decide to remove all the links listed in the sidebar on the front page and have placed them on a separate page titled Recommended Reading. The main reason for this is that my list has never been comprehensive and never came close to showing the full list of sites I read on a regular basis.

If I were to add the full list of links in the sidebar, it would probably go on scrolling forever and I’ve come to hate the cluttered look of all those links along the side. I am in the process of updating the new page with a list of all the sites I check regularly so stay tuned. In the meantime, to find a comprehensive list of photography related blogs worth reading, check here or here.

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Speaking of Obsolescence

February 28, 2009

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Found in a trash bin, New York City

I’m a bit slow sometimes but I just realized the absolute absurdity and irony of the experience I’m about to describe.

As I was walking home from the Obsolescence Panel Discussion on Wednesday night, I encountered a man scavenging through a large metal trash bin. He was pulling out stacks and stacks of 4×5 and 8×10 color transparencies. All the images were crisp, mostly commercial still lives. There were even 4×5 and 8×10 color polaroids. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that there must of been hundreds and hundreds of photographs, maybe even a couple thousand.

I started looking at the images too, wanting to find a few killer images that were worth taking home. I didn’t have much patience to really dig deep and I also felt bad for the guy who got there first so I took the above chrome home and called it a day.

Looking at the output I saw before me and obviously seeing that a true professional had made the images I wondered who the photographer might be. I quickly glanced at the buzzer panel of the nearest building and knew who had been trashing the work. I don’t think it’s important to say who’s work it was but let’s just say that this is a very successful and well known still life photographer.

Now the questions started coming:

Why was all this stuff thrown out?

Was this stuff archived before it was given the can?

Are these images with a stock house? If not who owned the copyright to them once they had been trashed like this?

I also wondered what the guy taking them out of the garbage expected to do with the images. I asked him and he said he planned to sell them on the street or something.

The funny thing about encountering this situation is that I did a similar thing just a few weeks ago. I needed to clear up some space and I didn’t see the point of keeping some old negatives and chromes of images from crappy jobs I did years ago and that I will never ever want to see again. I made the extra effort to cut up my images before I trashed them but I didn’t throw out nearly as much stuff.

I realize that although I still prefer and enjoy shooting film these days, I much prefer the organization of digital files into a small portable hard drive than collecting negatives and contact sheets into notebooks and boxes. My current system of archiving is mediocre at best and a huge pain to deal with when moving or reorganizing. I do however appreciate that a negative is a physical object and can be looked at and handled where as a digital file can easily get lost in digital hard drive oblivion.

Let’s not even get started with the conversation about what happens when the technology of hard drives becomes obsolete. Anyway, I’m curious what other people are doing these days with their old negatives and what if anything they are doing to preserve their new digital images. Are people out there being smart by archiving their images and storing them in more than one place?

I really hope so.

Photographic: 04-09

February 28, 2009

photographic_04_09

To request the above photograph:

Send an email (Subject: Photographic: 04-09) to horses [at] horsesthink.com with your name and address.

If you are the first person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

* This photograph is no longer available.

The Photographic Object

February 27, 2009

The Obsolescence of the Photographic Object, a panel discussion held Wednesday night at The New School was definitely worth attending.

Mia Fineman, a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, started off the evening with a brief presentation about the history of photographic manipulation, reminding us that setting up and faking images was inherent from the very beginning of photography, way before the invention of Photoshop.

After that Leslie Hewitt, Miranda Lichtenstein and Mark Wyse each took their turn presenting their work and tackling the subject at hand. Many interesting ideas came up from all three presentations.

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Leslie Hewitt, Make it Plain, 2006

I remember being impressed and intrigued by Leslie Hewitt’s Whitney Biennial installation in 2008 but I had completely forgotten about it.

Hewitt works with found and archival materials that reference photography, photographic thinking, memory and of course the act of actually seeing. At first Lewitt’s work reminded me a bit of Carol Bove who also uses old books and images in her sculptural installations. Hewitt though makes photographs and then incorporates them as pseudo sculptures in her large scale installations. She mixes the large scale framed photographs of books and found images together with some of the actual objects in the photographs and so forth. It’s quite reflexive and intelligently playful.

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Miranda Lichtenstein, Untitled #2 (fruit), 2002-2005

Miranda Lichtenstein showed Polaroid work made during her three month residency at Monet’s Gardens of Giverny. The photographs were her first exploration of the still life genre and obviously took inspiration from her natural surroundings but also made enigmatic use of shadows both real and painted. Lichtenstein talked a lot about the difference in experience between the physical quality of seeing a photographic print (like a polaroid) and looking at an image on the computer screen or via a projector.

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Mark Wyse, Marks of Indifference #3 (Neighbor’s Fruit)

Mark Wyse gave the most entertaining and enjoyable presentation as he showed images from Marks of Indifference without being too didactic and let his dry humor come through. He also showed images from a new book project he’s been working on, titled Seizure, which playfully combined some found images together with new photographs. He expressed his satisfaction with shooting digitally and just looking at images on the computer screen and how that has completely sped up his picture making and editing process. What I saw definitely looked quite enticing and I look forward to the final result.

An interesting topic of conversation brought up by Mia Fineman, was a question related to the idea of collecting a digital file. Basically, when the Metropolitan buys a photograph today, they get two prints. One is for framing and display while the other, known as the reserve, goes into storage and darkness until the day that the original needs replacing.

Fineman wondered if the reserve print might be replaced by collecting a digital file instead. She took the idea a step further (and this is where it gets interesting, maybe scary) by wondering if maybe the museum of the future would only collect digital files and not the artwork itself. When a photograph was required for inclusion in an exhibition the museum could just have the image printed. Since there is a whole calibration system in place, the digital file could hold all the necessary information to present the work as the artist originally intended. This would probably save museums a ton of money since they wouldn’t have to pay for storage and for transporting photographs back and forth or around the world. In my mind an idea like that takes photography and puts it into the realm of video and how that is collected these days.

Certainly a heavy thought to take home and marinate.

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Sherrie Levine / Walker Evans / Thomas Ruff, 2008 by Mark Wyse

My favorite quote of the evening came from Wyse as he discussed the reasoning behind and thought process of putting together his Disavowal exhibition. Speaking about the above photographic juxtaposition, he said:

“If Sherry Levine and Walker Evans had a kid, it would be Thomas Ruff.”

Branding

February 26, 2009

Did you know that Canon used to be Kwanon, named after the Buddhist goddess of mercy? Me neither but you can see that their logo and name have certainly come a long way since 1934.

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Canon’s corporate brand logo evolution (via)

Kodak also started off with quite a different logo design than what they have now. In 1907 they used their complete name of the Eastman Kodak Company but now of course they simply use Kodak.

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Kodak’s corporate brand logo evolution (via)

Check out 18 other companies and their corporate brand logo evolutions here.

Not photographically related but Pepsi’s brand evolution is worth a look as it’s completely insane how far they’ve come. Most people seem to agree that the latest incarnation could have been better but in the context of all the others that came before, I’m not really bothered by it anymore.

B-U-T-EE-F-U-L

February 24, 2009

Speaking in front of an audience about your artwork is hard enough but I really have to hand it to Richard Renaldi for the way he handled the hilarious group of old ladies sitting in the front row of his lecture last night at The New York Public Library.

From what I could see and hear in the dark, there were 3 hecklers barraging Renaldi with bizarre and repetitive questions, not to mention many many useless comments. It was almost as much fun as seeing a film at MoMA with all the regular characters yapping and arguing away. Believe me when I say that you had to be in the room to fully appreciate what went down.

What follows are several direct quotes and some of the photographs that sparked them:

“They look like angels, B-U-T-EE-F-U-L.”

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Irina and children, 2008 by Richard Renaldi

“When was that taken, it’s the springtime, right?”

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Aaron, 2005 by Richard Renaldi

“The poor dog is hiding.”

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William and Morgan, 2005 by Richard Renaldi

“Wow, what state is that? They have a different shape of windows than us.”

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Abandoned Mill, 2001 by Richard Renaldi

“Could you tell me what state is that?”

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Cheikh, Alioun, Gracy, Terry and Pape, 2007 by Richard Renaldi

A few other random yet unforgettable quotes:

“Do you have any photographs of Polar Bears?”

“eew, that’s gorgeous, what state is that?

“B-U-T-EE-F-U-L. It looks like a painting, it doesn’t look like a photograph.”

“They all look the same.”

“Wow.”

“Did you meet Sarah Palin?”

Let’s just hope this kind of thing doesn’t happen to you at your next presentation.

Thank Goodness

February 23, 2009

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It’s back!

(via)

The Crisis Visualized

February 22, 2009

Photographic: 03-09

February 21, 2009

photographic_03_09

To request the above photograph:

Send an email (Subject: Photographic: 03-09) to horses [at] horsesthink.com with your name and address.

If you are the first person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

* This photograph is no longer available.

Another Point of View

February 20, 2009

“Being enclosed in an intimate space and on view to the public became a metaphor for the bond we share, and to which we had made a lifelong commitment just one week before. It didn’t feel like us against the world, but rather us in the world, indivisibly together. All too common are the tragic events in life that make you aware of the bonds that connect you to friends and lovers. Rarer are the happy occasions in which relationships are instantiated.”

-from The Search Was the Thing written by Brian Sholis

A completely different take on One Million Years by On Kawara.

(via)