The photo book After the Firebird is now available. The photo project by the same name is the result of a 7-year project in Pskov region (Russia) by award winning photographer Ekaterina Vasilyeva.
After the Firebird talks about the mystery and magic of the hidden world and the amazing discoveries that can occur in front of everybody. You need only to look around carefully.
To view samples and purchase the book, please visit : http://www.ekaterinavasilyeva.ru/books/after_the_firebird/
Interviews and/or coverage of the project has been published at: Critical Mass, Wobneb Magazine, Art Narratives, Dodho Magazine, C41 Magazine, PDN Magazine, Edge of Humanity Magazine, F-STOP Magazine, WorkshopX, Fotografia Magazine, Private, Saint Lucy, Phosmag Magazine, Tonelit and LensCulture.
To see more images from After the Firebird and read the interview in Wobneb Magazine: click here or to read the interview as it appeared in Art Narratives on Medium, click here
After the Firebird by Ekaterina Vasilyeva
Designer: Ekaterina Vasilyeva Limited edition of 85 copies (numbered and signed)
Sise: 24 cm x 32 cm
48 pages + 1
37 color illustrations 1 Firebird for the Incantation
Inside paper: Materica Gesso 120 gr
Cover paper: Materica Gesso 250 gr
Languages: English, Russian Self published and printed in St. Petersburg (Print Gallery) in 2017
Ekaterina Vasilyeva is an independent photographer from St. Petersburg, Russia, working at the intersection of the genre, documentary and art photography.
In most of her projects, she explores the theme of a particular place (space, territory, it changes in the context of time and historical landmarks, environment problems, interaction with human activity, personal relationship and the myths of the place. To see more of her work, please visit her website: http://www.ekaterinavasilyeva.ru/
Nirvana: The Spread of Buddhism Through Asia, authored and photographed by geologist Jeremy Horner has been awarded the Silver award in the Best Coffee Table Book category by the 29th Annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. The IBPA celebrates vibrant independent publishers through the Benjamin Franklin Awards for excellence in book editorial and design and is one of the highest national honors for independent book publishers.
This is a journey of spiritual as well as visual enlightenment, as the reader traces the origins of Buddhism and following its evolutionary paths from its birthplace at Bodh Gaya, India to northeast Asia, along the Silk Road through China, down to Sri Lanka, and across to southeast Asia.
From its origins at Bodh Gaya on the plains of northern India, the book leads the reader through travels up into the Himalaya of Ladakh, where Buddhism thrived and split in the five different sects. The journey takes us to Nepal, historically a receptive home for Buddhism, to Tibet in Exile in Dharamshala, and to Sikkim and Bhutan paying homage to the sacred sites of Mahayana Buddhism along the way. Maps with reference to the photographs will guide you along the routes.
Then we venture along the silk route into the mountainous region of Xinjiang in China, and to the largest monastery in the Buddhist world at Labrang in Gansu Province, home to the Yellow Hat sect. We visit the Longman Caves and the legendary Shaolin Monastery, with its extraordinary Kung Fu monks, before eventually embarking for Korea and Japan to trace Tantric Buddhism. There we sample the tranquility of Zen temples and the fresh mountain and sea air of the most sacred pilgrim sites.
We follow the story of how the once precarious belief emerged as Theravada Buddhism and found a haven in Sri Lanka before progressing eastwards to Burma, and on into southeast Asia, as far as central Java.
We explore the exquisite temples of Luang Prabang in Laos, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Sukhothai in Thailand where Buddhist art reached a certain zenith. Finally we traverse the Tibetan plateau to reach the fabled capital of Lhasa, with its spiritual center of the Jokhang Temple and the iconic Potala Palace, the abandoned home of HH the Dalai Lama. Maps with reference to the photographs will guide you along the routes. The illuminating text by Denis Gray provides an authoritative perspective of Buddhism in 21st century Asia and assists in navigating the reader through the book’s journey.
About the author:
Nomadic by nature, and as a qualified geologist, Jeremy wandered into the Himalaya in 1987, teaching himself photography. His work from the Nepali Himalaya was immediately published in Hong Kong to high acclaim, sparking a romantic career which has taken him to over a hundred countries across the globe.
To purchase a copy of Nirvana: The Spread of Buddhism Through Asia please visit: Goff Books website
“It is still said around here that the house is haunted.
At the house there lived seven women, all maiden sisters.
One of them was a witch.
On full moon nights, the ladies in their white garments would fly from the balcony to the leafy branches of the chestnut across the street. From there they would seduce men who passed by.
In the House of the Seven Women, chatting, getting to know what it was like before me, listening and imagining, was as important as the act of photographing.
I started by doing some portraits of people. They interested me because they have always lived here and are attached to land just like trees. They speak about time, about their memories; their losses … many of them already dress in black.
This series gives an account of a persistent return to the same place, so as to scrutinize its differences (the slow deactivation of agricultural practices, the gradual transformation of the territory, aging…), in spite of listening to the same owl, to the same fox, to the same stories.
Same as in legend, perhaps the magic and appalling features, this cyclical experience, were my greatest wound: night, fumes, corpses, moon, ruin, sounds.
A place of affections, after all I was also born here.”
In the Beira-Alta region of Portugal, where Tito Mouraz was born and brought up, there is a house that is said to be haunted by the ghosts of seven women, all maiden sisters. One of them was a witch. On nights of the full moon, the women, in their white gowns, would fly from their balcony over to the leafy branches of the chestnut across the street. From there they would seduce men who passed by.
One cannot help but imagine these women with their siren songs, their efforts to lure men toward the house, all in an effort to do what? Do them harm? Enchant them? Seduce them? Regardless, Mouraz’s surreal, dreamlike images take us to a world of mystery and visual metaphors for the world that surrounded him in his youth, and are re-explored in his repeated trips to photograph the same area and people.
Mouraz explores the myth of this place through raw, moody black and white images that capture the sense of the night, the fumes, the moon, the sounds of the trees. It is an environment where the past resonates deeply and within which the people portrayed seem attached, like trees, to the land in which they they live. Beira-Alta shaped Mouraz as a child and through his persistent return he searches out the slow changes of time through the gradual aging and transformation of a landscape.
Tito Mouraz is a gallery represented photographer in Portugal and France. He has exhibited internationally in Europe and has work in a number of public and private collections. To view more work by Tito Mouraz, visit his website at http://titomouraz.com/
The ƒ/D Book of Pinhole is a collection of pinhole photos from 99 photographers which was submitted in response to a Call for Entry in July and August of 2016. The photographs were selected and accepted based on their aesthetic quality, uniqueness of execution, appropriate use of pinhole and, in some cases, demonstration of persevering through the challenges of pinhole. In their entry, photographers also noted their response to the prompt “I saw through a pinhole” – quotes from these will be featured in the book.
The photographers represent the North & South American, European, and Asian continents in geographical and aesthetic uniqueness. The photographs themselves represent executions that show the “pinhole look” in general as well as the unique ways in which pinhole works with motion and time, bent film planes, infrared, and other techniques and formats.
A Pinhole Photography Primer
The pinhole camera serves as a creative antidote to today’s pixel-perfect world. ƒ/D feels that pinhole can serve as a creative bedrock from which a photographer can build in a number of directions. Whether you are a current or aspiring pinhole practitioner, or you practice other forms of photography, there is a wealth of inspiration provided by these photos showing what can be accomplished with time and the barest equipment.
Pinhole cameras, by definition, use no lens. Instead, light is focused by a tiny hole; oftentimes it is literally a hole made with a pin. The camera relies on the property of light to travel in a straight line. The numerous rays of light from a scene are projected individually through the pinhole and onto the photo taking medium (film, photo paper, or digital sensor). Because the pinhole is tiny, often fractions of a millimeter, the f-stop of such cameras tend to be very high numbers – usually above 100. Consequently, exposure times usually range from about a second to 10 or more minutes. In addition, the tiny pinhole aperture provides almost infinite depth of field, usually extending from an inch in front of the camera to infinity.
Because of the way the light is focused by the pinhole, and the long exposure times, Pinhole Photographs have some unique properties. Details in a scene are softened compared to lensed images. Because of the long exposure times, parts of a scene that move are blurred. Between the softened details and the blurred motion, pinhole photos tend to skew towards abstract and surreal imagery. Sometimes this combination of qualities can result in unpredictably creative effects – effects that we can in some cases apply in other aspects of photography.
Exhibit review by contributor Patrick Collier – Blake Andrews at Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR – June 2016
I’ve known about Blake Andrews for many years. He is a force to be reckoned with in the world of photography, particularly because of his minimally titled blog, B. Steeped in the history of and a dialog about photography, the blog is informative, but its real bite comes when Andrews applies his creative, incisive wit—sometimes so dry that how one interprets him says more about the person reading than what he writes—that makes it a must-read. Those who make the mistake of taking him at face value are said to start bleeding a good 24 hours later from the place his scalpel almost imperceptibly pierced their skin.
But I’m here to talk about his exhibit of photographs, specifically his exhibit this past June, Pictures of a gone world at Blue Sky Gallery. All framed by sprocket holes (not visible in the reproductions here), the 28, black and white, analog photographs carefully attend to a specific aesthetic and technical history of his craft. The subject matter is mostly his wife and kids, which some might consider a bit of a throwback. But the images illustrate the title for the exhibit, “Pictures of a gone world,” which, the exhibit’s press release informs us, is also the title of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s first book of poems.
“Gone?” If I were of a literal bent, I’d see no pending doom in these photographs. (Well, maybe in one photo, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) Quite the contrary: I see joy, even in the most chaotic of moments portrayed in these images, and a lot of fun being had.
Oh! “Gone!” Like in “Gone, Daddy, gone,” as in “far out,” taking things to a new level, or being unconstrained. It is a vernacular older than Andrews; another time lost; still, albeit anachronistic, applicable for this exhibit.
The press release goes on to explain that this exhibit is inspired by a specific Ferlinghetti poem, “The World is a Beautiful Place,” which starts out: “The world is a beautiful place/to be born into/if you don’t mind happiness/not always being/so very much fun.” Continuing the theme, the poem finishes: “Yes the world is the best place of all/for a lot of such things as/making the fun scene/and making the love scene/and making the sad scene/and singing low songs and having inspirations/and walking around/looking at everything/and smelling flowers/and goosing statues/and even thinking/and kissing people and/making babies and wearing pants/and waving hats and/dancing/and going swimming in rivers/on picnics/in the middle of the summer/and just generally/’living it up’/Yes/but then right in the middle of it/comes the smiling/mortician”
I have gone to the bother of transcribing most of this poem for a reason, and it is not because these photographs are not capable of standing on their own. The majority were taken between 2006 and 2010, yet span a slightly longer period of time. As such, they function as a chronicle of his family as they age, and as one might suspect, there is a broad range of emotions portrayed.
Andrews is known as a street photographer, a practice that is said to depend heavily on the “decisive moment,” that critical and optimal split second in which the photo comes together in both form and content within the frame. These street skills become paramount when capturing the half-feral, gleeful chaos that can be found in a child’s exuberance. Even so, to be both parent and photographer must pose some interesting problems: To be both in the moment and outside of it; enjoying/enduring the time in a dual capacity; and then capturing it as best he can. Stopping to appreciate that which has just passed is an indulgence he may not be able to afford, that is if he is to follow the photographer’s dictate: Take it all in, watch, watch, watch to see and be ready before the moment becomes a missed opportunity. (And, I would add, capturing the decisive moment is only an attempt, the actual accomplishment something else, closer, perhaps, to the happy accident in one of ~36 frames.) Only at a later time might he make something of the experience.
Taken as such, the option of staging a photo doesn’t seem like a bad decision. And there is one photo in this group that does have that flavor, a photo that, somewhat understandably, was not available for reproduction here. It shows one of Andrew’s sons at a fairly young age, naked and holding a large pair of garden shears—the limb-lopper variety—in front of himself.
Despite this psychoanalytic show-stopper, I can hear someone ask incredulously, “Pictures of his children are worthy of an exhibition?” and perhaps continue with a litany of photo history references that amount to an argument of “been done a thousand times.” Sure, if the work simulated the times I’ve been trapped on someone’s couch with their photo album in front of me. Instead, Andrew’s combination of the candid moment and his composition skills set a stage from which to dismantle the contempt of even the most hardened, wow-me-now gallery-goers—and perhaps not just the ones who have watched their own children grow.
Still, is the temptation to ask such a question telling of another gone world? There is a certain cynicism as well as disregard that lurks in the contemporary art arena; both attend to our need to expect the unusual. In the face of such a reaction, Andrews might smirk. The yearning for the quirky or unique creates a disconnect, both passive and active (seen that, done that), and manifests as a loss. In spite of all of the obvious fun his kids are having, these images could very well flip around and act as a stand-in for anyone’s loss of innocence or sense of wonder.
On the surface, cynicism is antithetical to sentimentality. A closer look finds something not always easy to perceive, let alone embrace and utilize: cynicism and sentimentality are two sides of the same coin. What if, then, we were to accept this kinship? What if cynicism was just as hackneyed as sentimentality, and just as much from the heart? After all, in the quest for artistic contemporaneity, should we distance ourselves from a substantial part of what has nurtured us?
We learn to anticipate loss. The loss all parents experience as their children’s autonomy burgeons is just one aspect of this life-long lesson. Blake Andrews’ images celebrate playfulness—including his own with a camera—all the while making us look more closely at what we have lost in our sophistication as adults. After all, it is the adult, not the child, who worries about that garden tool.
Blake Andrews is a photographer based in Eugene, Oregon, who has been “shooting photos since 1993, with occasional one hour breaks.” His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as Artget Gallery in Belgrade, Photofusion Gallery in London, Drkrm Gallery in Los Angeles, Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, and Newspace Center for Photography and the Art Gym in Portland.
Photographer and writer Mandy Williams attended this year’s Paris Photo exposition, and had a special interest in viewing works from galleries that were owned by, or whose directors are women. As a special contribution to Wobneb Magazine this month, Williams presents her experience and particular works of note. She found the artists’ desire to expand the definitions of photography was the highlight of the show.
Mandy Williams, PARIS – Visiting Paris Photo for a day when there are 153 galleries, 29 publishers and 1255 artists exhibiting means having a clear idea of what you want to see. I decided to focus on galleries with women directors, but specifically those showing distinctive contemporary work from emerging and mid-career artists. All of them had female directors, and all were showing artists who are either working beyond the flat surface of traditional photography, or exploring ideas of ‘real fictions’.
One of these was Binôme, a gallery founded by Valérie Cazin. At Paris Photo they showed two artists, Mustapha Azeroual, who applies old processes to contemporary photography, and Thibault Brunet whose camera-less photographs are created from digital sources.
I was immediately drawn to Brunet’s Typologie du Virtuel series, 2014-16 where he takes images of suburban buildings that have been modeled in 3D by Google Earth users. He personalises these images by adding a drop shadow according to the date and time of its creation and chooses a dominant colour for each building ‘defined by the objective modeling file data’. Visually, the work is stunning. The buildings seem to float halfway between reality and artifice in a world of muted colour. Brunet pursues his interests with intelligence, adding his voice to debates about authorship and our relationship to the virtual world.
At Melanie Rio gallery I was interested in the work of Edgar Martins, a Portugese photographer living in the UK. His 2010 series, ‘A Metaphysical Survey of British Dwellings’ shows the mock-up of a town created in 2003 for the purposes of police and firearm training. Pizzaland was on display at Paris Photo and like others from his series it appears both hyper-real and fictional. The blank facades, black skies and unpopulated streets create a sense of anxiety. This displacement, this absence of community is according to Martins ‘not just a simulacrum of contemporary British towns’ but ‘also a metaphor for the modern asocial city’.
Leyla Cardenas, showing at Galerie Dix9 Hélène Lacharmoise, explores urban ruins and city landscapes as indications of social transformation, loss and historical memory. In “Contained Entropy”, her image of the building is mounted on demolition debris, through an extension of the image. “Unshrouded #3” is a photo showing the facade of an old building in Bogotá, and is printed on fabric she uncovers at one end. She has used fabric and thread in her work for a long time and felt it was logical to start working with veils, ‘that are like phantoms, the last fragile image of places that are about to disappear and dissolve’.
Another artist using thread is Iris Hutegger at Esther Woerdehoffgallery, who applies drawing and stitching to her landscape photographs. The stitching is integrated smoothly into the surface using a machine she helped develop and the textural interventions are only visible up-close. From a distance ,the work appears as a fluid photograph. Her locations are deliberately unpopulated and place-specific references are limited. By choosing titles with numeric codes she keeps these places private and mysterious.
At Les Filles du Calvaire, run by Stéphane Magnan and Christine Ollier, I was drawn to the work of Katrien De Blauwer. I was drawn in part to the intimate scale of her work, but you can also see her skillful eye and artistic sensibility in her images made by cutting and layering found images. Her source material is mainly magazines from the 1930s-60s. Most images feature women suggesting an element of autobiography. She has said, ‘My work contains hidden layers, parts of me (or my past) in the work’. These small images possess a vivid cinematic quality, a mysterious voyeurism, but also a genuine emotional impact through her skillful cutting and layering.
Creating innovative new work from old material is an element of Thomas Mailaender’s work at Roman Road, a gallery opened by Marisa Bellani. Mailaender showed work from Illustrated People (2013) where he used a powerful UV light to temporarily imprint negatives – freely accessed from The Archive of Modern Conflicts collection of 19th and 20th century photographic documents – onto the skin of his models. His Cyanotypes (2013- present), are impressive large-scale images of often mundane or unexpected subject matter found on the internet. In both series old processes are reinvigorated and brought into the 21st century through performative elements, humour and visual puns.
Dinh Q Lê’s installation, TWC in Four Moments, at Shoshana Wayne Gallery is another work where reality and fiction merge. Each moment is represented by a 50 metre long digitally stretched and manipulated photograph of the World Trade Centre taken during the 9/11 attack from different perspectives in New York. Seeing the long colour strips spilling down to settle gently on raised plinths was surprisingly emotional in spite of their abstraction. Inevitably, memories of that event are revisited, adding layers and complexity to the abstracted images. Lê abstracts the scenes and creates a scroll-like landscape that is experienced one section at a time, much like traditional landscape paintings. The artist asks us to think about the images in relation to time; to travel through a landscape. The fact that the viewer only sees a limited part of an image that has been abstracted is exactly the point—the story behind each image is far more complex, layered, and interwoven than the eye can see.
We all have places that we know well, but have been absent from our minds for a long period of time. We remember these places how they were. In some cases they no longer exist or aren’t how we remember them all. There is something about the remnants of a place that lingers with you. The memories are still there, but the reality is sometimes a little haunting because the time that passes in our minds is seemingly pristine. In actuality, these past experiences and the images of these places are vastly different then what we remember. I want to explore objects or places that were significant in people’s lives but now are left behind and abandoned. To achieve this I have gone back to a very familiar place to me and close to my heart, the home of my Nana. I spent a good portion of my childhood in my Nana’s home. The three-story twin house, which she lived for forty-five years, seemed like a castle to me when I was younger. It was a labyrinth of old objects and smells. Now, after years of being away, and Nana no longer there, I come to this place with a heavy memory, an eerie memory of what it once was. While the outside world moved on, my Nana’s house stood still. The house shows its age, but regardless of the weakened condition, the memories inside remain potent.
Will Harris’ series of photographs in the project ‘Evelyn’ pertains to his Nana (his maternal grandmother). She no longer lives in the home, and the house at time of making the series had been abandoned for quite some time (10 years or so). The ‘Evelyn’ series evokes a sense of melancholy that one cannot help but ask more questions than those answered: What happened here? What happened to Evelyn? How do we ultimately remember the people we love, and what do they mean to us?
“She means a lot to me. I don’t know if words could do my feelings justice. I have the fondest memories of spending time with her in the house. Describing what the series means to me is much easier. It’s my attempt at the encapsulation of my memories but not only mine but my mothers as well, she moved into that house as small child. Through conversations with her I learned a lot about my family history. It also meant a lot to me to take these images as a form of preservation. Nothing about the house was pristine at the time of making these images but for me it was a honest look at reality of the situation.”
“The work is not so much about the person though as it is about the space and the memories I had of it as a child, as well as the memories from the past it contains. Those memories don’t belong to just me: the house has been in my family for 60 years or so, my grandmother lived in it with many people — and for quite some time, also by herself.”
When artists make work about memories and loss — it is as much about the process of remembering as it is about loss itself. The late B. B. King talked about the old misguided musical adage of “The blues is about feeling sad”. He would shake his head back and forth with closed eyes, and preach that the blues is about the joy of living. Not unlike the blues, photography and visual work that strikes a chord of melancholy or nostalgia have both bitterness and sweetness to be embraced.
Variations of Presence is a photo series by Alexis Vasilikos. Alexis is a photographer based in Greece and has had shows this year at CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery, Athens, GR (solo show), A Process 2.0, Krakow Photomonth, Curated by DER GREIF, and Temporarily Lost, Athens Photo Festival, curated by Apostolos Zerdevas.
“I’m not sure that I can pinpoint how my photography evolved – it is all one movement and it is somehow integrated in my daily functioning. It just flows spontaneously from within. Maybe what I can say is there was an evolution in my approach rather than in my images, maybe things I did with more effort before are easier now, and I am less concerned about showing some weaknesses.
One thing I learned is that it’s not necessary to stick to a precise creative process: paradoxically, beauty arises from the absence of identification because only when we are free from personal identity we can perceive the majesty of being as it really is.”
Andrew Mellor is a photographer based in Blackpool in the North West of England. His photography explores natural and man-made environments; and the interaction between the two with concerns over how we use the landscape and the social and political issues surrounding it. His work explores change and human impact.
“I am drawn to ordinary places, seeking to find interest in everyday spaces. My work is spontaneous and involves a process of walking and investigation and is a significant factor in the creation of the work.”
Artist Statement – On the Fringe
Prior to the arrival of the tourist industry, the population of Benidorm numbered only 3,000 and its main economy was fishing. In the early 1950s the industry started declining. Faced with an economic struggle the town council approved the ‘Plan General de Ordinacion’, employing all the town’s resources into tourism. A mass building programme was orchestrated to accommodate for the influx of visitors.
Tourism was the path to development yet it also contains the danger that development will destroy the very thing people have come to enjoy. With tourism, it is not clear whether rapid development is in the locals’ economic interest.
The proliferation of all-inclusive hotels has been the subject of much debate over the years with local businesses struggling to keep afloat. The infamous catchphrase if you want to get pissed show us your wrist certainly rings true, with the reasoning that if they have already paid why go out.
“The fundamental characteristic of tourist activity is to look upon particular objects or landscapes which are different from the tourist’s everyday experiences” (Gaffey 2004).
This series represents the possible effect the all-inclusive package holiday can have on a place whose reliance is almost solely on tourism. In reality, the social relations surrounding tourism are complex and must be negotiated, contested, and resisted.
“Our experience of any landscape through the senses is inseparable from the social and psychological context of the experience” (Sopher 1979)
To see more of Andy Mellor’s work, or connect to him via social media, check out his website and links below:
Patrick Collier has been making art for about 35 years, and has numerous exhibits and shows to his credit. He also writes poetry, and is a contributor to Oregon Arts Watch orartswatch.org. From 1998-2000, he and his wife ran the Chicago gallery bona fide. The gallery received critical acclaim with reviews in Art in America, Frieze and the now defunct Midwest art magazine New Art Examiner.
Collier says of himself: “I’m one of those photographer types who carry the conceit of not really being a photographer. Rather, I prefer to think of myself as an artist who is using a camera for the time being. Buried deep within my tumblr page are examples of how I exhibit my photographs. In short, I combine the photos you typically see on that page with photos I take of snippets of text I am reading. (The spacing on the page sometimes creates little framed segments of 2 to 4 lines of text, which I shoot and crop. They are called “Gists” on my website.) I will also sometimes use drawings and sculpture in the same installation. I’d like to think of these combinations as visual poems.”
“Photos of the things I see on the street and placed in stand-alone projects are divided into two categories. ‘Deadpan’ are the rather symmetrical, extremely formal, crowd-pleasing photos. The others I call Sidetracked, as the scenes catch my eye when shooting – and some time afterwards they make it into this category.”
Many of Collier’s photographic works explore the interplay of textures, patterns and forms, as well as color. The incidental markings on pavement or walls, and discovered visual ironies are also among his strengths.