September 2009 Archives

A Date with Paris Photo 2009


Van Leo - Sherihan actrice égyptienne - Le Caire, Egypte, 1976
Collection Fondation Arabe pour l'Image
© Fondation Arabe pour l'Image


From November 19 to 22, 2009 Paris Photo, one of the world's leading photography fairs, will bring together 101 exhibitors from 23 countries.  


According to their promotional material:  "Paris Photo will present a panoramic overview of worldwide photographic expression, spanning the 19th century to the present day while also unveiling an emerging international scene.


For its 13th edition, Paris Photo turns the spotlight on photographic work from the Arab countries and Iran in what is an unprecedented exploration of the practice in this part of the world. 

Curated by Catherine David who was responsible for Documenta X in Kassel in 1997 as well as numerous exhibitions and publications on Middle Eastern artistic expression, this year's project will be based on three components.

The Central Exhibition will unveil a selection of rare studio photographs from the archives of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut; the Statement section will present a number of emerging talents from the region - from Tehran to Damascus, Beirut to Cairo, Tangiers to Dubai... The Project Room will offer a series of video works, testimony to the growing interest for the dynamics of this medium among the artists of the region."

Now in its sixth year, the BMW Paris Photo Prize, worth 12 000 euro, will offer a glimpse of current trends in international photography while rewarding the work of a promising artist. The theme for 2009 is "When was the last time you experienced something for the first time?"

The Cultural Response to Climate Change

art & climate change.jpg
© David Buckland, Glacial Texts "Sadness Melts"

Cape Farewell:  The Cultural Response to Climate Change

"We intend to communicate through artworks our understanding of the changing climate on a human scale, so that our individual lives can have meaning in what is a global problem"

David Buckland, Director of Cape Farewell Project.

Paul Floyd Blake, Michal Chelbin, Mirjana Vrbaski and Vanessa Winship have been shortlisted for the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize 2009, an international award for emerging talents in contemporary photography.  The four portraits, which include one of an aspiring Olympian and another of a teenage prisoner, will go on show alongside 56 others chosen by the judges from more than 6,300 entrants at the National Portrait Gallery in London, from 5 November to 14 February 2010. The winners will be announced on 3 November 2009.

Rosie Bancroft
(2008) by London photographer Paul Floyd Blake. This portrait is part of series entitled On Track for 2012, in which he photographs young athletes with the potential to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

Stas, Sentenced for Murder, Juvenile Prison, Russia (2009) by Israel-born photographer Michal Chelbin, from her series Locked. Stas is a 15-year-old inmate of a maximum-security prison in Russia.

Girl (2009
) by Serbian photographer, Mirjana Vrbaski


Girl in a Golden Dress, Georgia
(2009) by British photographer Vanessa Winship from her series Georgia for a Song.  


See also Jorg Colberg's interview "In Conversation with Vanessa Winship" @ Consciousness

Abelardo Morell: Camera Obscura

© abelardo morell, camera obscura of central park looking north, summer


© abelardo morell, manhatten view looking south in a large room, 1996

"The camera obscura is an optical instrument that was the forerunner of the modern photographic camera. It can range in size from a small tabletop device to a room-size chamber. The term is Latin for 'dark room', which describes the simplest form of the camera obscura, a darkened room into which light is admitted through a tiny opening in one of the walls or windows. An inverted image from the outside world appears against the wall or screen opposite the opening".

abelardo morell website 

Thomas Allen: Pulp Fiction Pop Up

©Thomas Allen

Thomas Allen has created staged photographs (mini film noir stills) using characters sliced from the covers of vintage paperback books. A show of his new work, Epilogue, is on view at Foley Gallery in New York until 10 October 2009, his third show at the gallery in five years. Epilogue refers to Allen's claim that this is the final set of images he will make utilising vintage paperbacks. A book of his earlier work, Uncovered:  Photographs by Thomas Allen  was published by Aperture in 2007.

See here and here.

Dryden Goodwin

dryden goodwin 1.jpg Cradle Series 2008

dryden goodwin 1a.jpg

dryden goodwin 1b.jpg
 Caul Series 2008

All images © Dryden Goodwin via artist's website.  See here for interviews and reviews.

Nadav Kander: Obama's People

nadav kander.jpg 

Images © Nadav Kander. Obama's People

In December and early January 2009, London based photographer Nadav Kander shot 52 portraits of Barack Obamas advisors, aides and members of his incoming administration.  Kander and Times Magazine's director of photography, Kathy Ryan, discuss putting those portrait sessions together and what happened behind the scenes: here 


Kander's keen-eye for subtle beauty and bold colours seem the perfect match for the weighty responsibility of documenting the leaders of the free world.


 'I wanted the portraits to be uplifting, but, I also wanted them to have a historical context in thirty, forty years, which is when I'm hoping they'll be most interesting. I was really trying to make accurate portraits of these people; accurate and uplifting portraits. What's been most interesting for me is how differently people view them, that's what it's really about, making people react in some way'

Obama's People' at Flowers Gallery, London from 15th September to 10th October 2009

Prints Charming

shoes MB1.bmp

shoes MB2.bmp
© Monika Bielskyte 
from Issue 001 of the really great & inspirational magazine someslashthings

zhang huan my New York 2002.jpg

Zhang Huan dons a muscle suit of raw meat as an American muscle man: My New York, 2002, Performance, New York, USA

"Before expatriating to New York City, performance artist Zhang Huan was one of the earliest and most influential icons of contemporary Chinese art. One of his most famous pieces consisted of him covering himself with honey and sitting naked in front of a public restroom outside of Beijing; eventually flies envelope his body. He's also made a muscle suit out of meat, created sculptures, drawings, public art, and installations, and has travelled the world shocking and mesmerizing people with his naked body and masochistic performances".  See his website Zhang Huan

Phaidon has recently published a monograph of work Zhang Huan, the first complete analysis of the artist's entire career


Zhang Huan Dragonfly Silkscreen

zhang huan dragonfly silkscreen small.jpg

©Zhang Huan: Silk Screen Print (1 of 5) from the 'Dragon Fly' Series

Asa Johannesson: Portraits of Her

The first time I saw Asa Johannesson's work was at the University of Westminster degree show (2006), Brick Lane, East London. Amongst hundreds of images this series "Portraits of Her" was the only one that really made an impact on me and remains permanently imprinted on my retina.  Aesthetics aside, what interests me about her work is her exploration of the notions of self and otherness, particularly with regard to gendered identity.  See also Portraits of Him which is a project commenting on and challenging masculinity as a form of identity. The sitters are men identifying as FTM (female to male).


Her1-1.jpg her1-2%20copy.jpg

Project #1

Next month I'm back at university.  The modules I'm taking this semester are Perspectives in Photography and Publishing Photography.

The Perspectives in Photography module will consider global perspectives in photographic practice, examining the concepts of identity (cultural, ethnic, national, and sexual). We are expected to a) write a 2000 word seminar paper and b) prepare and deliver a student-led seminar on identity and the construction of otherness, working in groups of five.

I'm typing this in an attempt to kick-start the thought process after a three month break.  What is meant be "identity"; what is meant by "the other"?

identity: a person's identity is their sense of self and the different contexts within which that selfhood is constructed.  It can never be given one simple, coherent description. For example, the national identity into which one is born may well clash with the cultural identity of the community in which one chooses to live; or a gay identity, based on sexuality, may clash with a religious identity based on strict rules governing sexual behaviour.

Identity is not static, but rather a shifting state of affairs that can be investigated, assimilated, and then rejected, as one does an outfit or a hairstyle.  Identity manifests itself through group identification, the places we live, and the influence of mass media and advertising. The ways in which we identify, both with ourselves and with others, is constantly bending and evolving. In today's society consider, for example factors such as:

Social networking tools that facilitate new communities online e.g. Facebook, Twitter;
The ubiquity of cosmetic procedures;
Face transplants performed in France, China, and the United States;
Gender reassignment surgery.

the Other:  a concept used within psychoanalysis and identity theory, and within post-colonial theory, to signify ways in which members of dominant groups derive a sense of self-location partly through defining other groups as different or 'Other'.  Thus, within patriarchy, the male is taken as the norm, and woman as 'Other', that is, not male.  Similarly in racist ideologies, whiteness is taken for granted, therefore blackness is seen as Other.

to be continued ...

[off-topic: if you like a game of pac-man, you may like a game of pac-mondarian - Im easily distracted]

Featured Image

shomei tomatsu

shomei tomatsu boy and the sea tokyo 1969.jpg
Shomei Tomatsu,  Boy and the Sea Tokyo 1969

Gender Construction

Portraits exploring female masculinity:

Extracts from Series

Trish MorrisseyWomen with Moustaches

Tanya Karen Brookes Lisa Laura Indigo

(accompanying article by Robin Whitaker from Source Magazine Issue 22) Women with Facial Hair

Catherine OpieBeing and Having, 1991


Ana Johannesson

Portaits of Her

Her1-1.jpg her1-2%20copy.jpg 

 Portraits of Him (Female to Male)

asa johannesson him.bmp asa johannesson him.png 

Martin Schoeller Female body-builders


Lea Crispi Lieux



Mary Cobel


Cass Bird

cassbird isabelle.jpg 


Del LaGrace Jacks Back

del lagrace 1.jpg
 del lagrace 2.jpg 

Claude Cahun


Joel GrafningsWomen at Work


Still to come:  Hellen Van Meene and Collier Schorr 



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