Combining punches of color, intense natural light and ironic visuals, this photographer commentates on the gloom of dying industries in the wake of political promise.
Niko J. Kallianiotis’ first monograph, America in a Trance, dives into the heart and soul of Pennsylvania’s industrial regions, a place where small town values still exist, and where sustainable local businesses once thrived under the sheltered wings of American Industry. In his explorations, he offers a quiet assessment of the cultural and economic state of the nation, as seen through a number of cities and towns in Pennsylvania. The approach to this book shares some stylistic similarities with some of the great documentary works that precede it, like Joel Sternfeld’s witty insight, Robert Frank’s ‘outsider’ observations of America, the use of color and light in the street photography of Saul Leiter, and Walker Evans’ landscapes and portraits of the same region. While the work of Kallianiotis is an homage to these influences, it is also a departure from them.
There is far more to Kallianiotis’ images than an expected patina of fading industry, waning prosperity, and portraits of the people who call this place home. He uses evocative color and an artful use of light to convey the dynamics of the scenes he encounters. Flat light from an overcast afternoon helps bring out the texture of American flag-like awnings, which partially obscure the alleyway side of an apartment building’s back porch.
He captures signage and language on buildings and advertisements with visually ironic placement — both physically, and in respect to this point in history. Political references are not avoided. In the case of political campaigning by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, Kallianiotis visually pits them against each other in a two-page spread. But the end result of the book is not overtly slanted to one side or the other. Optimism for a better future and pessimistic views of the current landscape balance the scales.
Kallianiotis is Greek by birth, but is also an American citizen, and has lived in the country for 20 years, so his commentary on the current political climate is influenced by strikingly different factors than the average Pennsylvanian. In a 2017 interview with PBS, Elizabeth Flock asked Kallianiotis about the meaning behind the title for his project. He replied, “The meaning is the way the country is right now. I’m sensing that after the election, people walking in these towns are disoriented and alienated…including me. I’m in every picture, too, in terms of the loneliness and trying to assimilate. I’m trying to blend with the culture, since I have two countries. I’m a U.S. citizen and I’m Greek, and I love both. This hybrid situation is complicated. The trance is: you’re aware, you’re listening, but you can’t really respond. I think that’s where we are right now.”
That place in the middle is bitter-sweet. His decades spent in America have taught Kallianiotis how beliefs from both sides of the fence in the current political climate have a direct effect on these towns. And yet, he achieves a certain level of neutrality within the work. Whether it is the hard Pennsylvania coal towns to the East, the shadows of looming steel stacks to the West, or every faded American Dream in between, Kallianiotis explores an illumination of hope through his own relationship with the land. Within America in a Trance, there is the silhouette of what once was: streets and storefronts thriving, and the reflections of that time coming back to us through his mindful eye.
America in a Trance by Niko J Kallianiotis Publisher: Damiani ISBN: 9788862085953
To find out more about America in a Trance or to see more work by Niko J. Kallianiotis, please visit his website: www.nikokallianiotis.com.
This was the first year Wobneb Magazine hosted an online exhibtion, Sense of Place. We featured the work of over 50 contributing photographers from around the world, and the exhibit drew tens of thousands of viewers. Next year will bring our second online exhibition for photographers completing a BFA/MFA or equivalent degree program. The exhibition will be juried by photographer Mark Sawrie. We are really looking forward to this opportunity to present work from photographers who’ve worked intensely on a unified body of work, and are on the verge of the next big ‘something’ in their life and career as a photographer.
There have been so many great photo books this past year, and I had the opportunity to review a number of them through writing for F-Stop Magazine. And increasingly photographers are contacting me directly to review their work and published books. I couldn’t be more honored to help spread the word about great work here via Wobneb Magazine, as well as a couple other publications where I contribute as a writer.
Please check out the website for a list of books and featured photographers who I’ve had the great fortune to work with this past year. Hopefully 2019 will bring much more of the same!
Are you completing a photo degree program? What comes afterward? Career, continued education, gallery or museum work, or ???
In a few months, Wobneb Magazine will host a free juried exhibition for photographers who’ve reached the final stage of their current studies. This will be an exhibition for a photographer’s portfolio of work. Full details to follow – please share this opportunity!
The inaugural exhibition hosted by Wobneb Magazine - with essay by Rob Hudson
Wobneb Magazine wants to provide opportunities for photographers to exhibit in group online exhibitions with no entry fee. This series of exhibitions is open to any amateur or professional photographer around the globe — with the goal of providing the chance for many different people to contribute to the theme. The inaugural theme for 2018 is Sense of Place.
On some level, each photographer tries to convey an observable sense of a place within a slice of a second; hopefully transcending mere documentation of physical appearance to impart a feeling of their experience or emotions. This exhibition is fortunate to have a range of styles and methods used to address the theme. Photojournalist Louise Wateridge’s image of a Syrian refugee child playing with a pigeon is reflective of her sense of place as an observer; capturing a moment of joy within a life of hardship, and creating a strong image without being overly invasive. The work of photographer J.M. Golding is connected to specific locations and presents a spiritual and philosophical connection to the world around her. She observes and transforms the views into what exists internally as well. The landscape by Ellen Jantzen takes a step further into how an artist can capture an image or images of a place, and create new realities in her process of looking beyond surface and trying to reveal something emotional through her manipulations.
Rob Hudson is a special contributor to this exhibition. In his essay, Hudson addresses the idea of place and how photographers try ultimately to show the uniqueness and insight each person brings to the table. In addition, Hudson and photographer Al Brydon contribute images from their respective regions of Wales and England to share their sense of place with respect to their own relationship with the land.
For this exhibition, we asked photographers to consider the following: What is the social or physical landscape where you live? How do you define your sense of place in the world? A sympathetic understanding is the goal of any photographer. Each one asks the viewer to look at what they’ve captured with their camera, recall their own personal experiences, and draw meaning from the connections. We asked contributors to show how they document or interpret the world around them, and convey a sense of place using their unique visual voice. This exhibition is an exploration of that idea, our surroundings, as well as ourselves.
A Sense of Place by Rob Hudson
I’ve just returned from spending a few days in somewhere that, to me at least, has a strong sense of place — the St. David’s peninsula in the far southwest of Wales. It was one of the places in Britain where the first Christians arrived from Ireland, now memorialized in both the place’s name, and the cathedral tucked into a little valley to hide it from Viking marauders. There’s a sense of human history here that is so close to the surface and obvious in such a sparsely populated area. It seems to shine forth in a way I don’t recognize or feel about in the city I live within.
The tilted rock strata produces a long line of low hills that seem to rise up from the surrounding plane with the character of mountains. They look like leaning triangles, and that feature is carried all the way to the sea cliffs and the outlying islands. If you imagine that line of hills to be the dorsal fins of a giant subterranean whale, several miles long, then the cliffs and jutting rocks are its teeth having taken giant bites out of the coastline.
I could tell you these things, and create the idea of a sense of place in your mind to illustrate how the uniqueness of a place makes it stand out. Is it uniqueness, or because I’ve been visiting here since I was a boy, and have a strong emotional connection to this place? Perhaps it is because there’s a commonality of features which we recognize as having a sense of place. I can also tell you that six different people from varying ages, genders or cultures have independently described this place as having something ‘magical’ about it (and it’s a term I’d happily subscribe to myself); but this brings us no closer to explaining or identifying any features that give a sense of place.
The poet Edward Thomas wrote the phrase, ‘Within the spaces between’, which simply sums up the connection we make to the often unappreciated places we visit — especially when we engage with making an artistic response to them. A sense of place isn’t a simple concept to understand. We all recognize it when we feel that connection, but like many emotional responses it is more difficult to explain in words. Perhaps this is because a sense of place isn’t an inherent aspect of a place’s identity at all, but something we project onto it. In short, it is a social and cultural construct. This isn’t to suggest that a sense of place is lesser because of its human roots; landscape itself is an idea, and it doesn’t exist outside the human realm. Both terms express the power place can hold over us, the depth of our emotional connection.
Equally important is to consider what the opposite of a sense of place might entail — what is ‘placenessness’? Placeless spaces are just as valuable in artistic expression as those that have a sense of place. A few years ago my good friend and fellow founder member of the Inside the Outside collective made a series of photographs he termed ‘None Places’. Like others engaged with a radical interpretation of landscape, Al Brydon’s ‘None Places’ are sites of freedom, which allowing for a more anarchic expression. It is arguable that after we put a frame around a photograph of a place, it ceases to be placeless because we’ve begun the process of myth making and story telling, which contribute to the creation of a sense of place. This doesn’t mean they are invalidated, they are worthy of our exploration and expression, but we should also be aware of our own contradictions. As Gertrude Stein said, “There is no there there”.
The truth is, we make or find a sense of place if we look long and hard enough. After all, that is the job of the artist or photographer — to show others our insights. In essence we’re trying to understand and express ourselves through the medium of our relationship to place. But, and this is an important ‘but’, we don’t all share the same experiences of place. Our world is so full of imagery; only an individual’s unique response to place will stand out. That’s easier than it sounds. We have to do the legwork. It’s taken me approximately 40 years to visually consummate my love for St. David’s peninsula; I hope you’ll achieve success somewhat faster.
Rob Hudson is one of the co-founders of Inside the Outside, a collective of landscape photographers based in the UK. He has contributed to a number of books and projects on landscape photography, and his photographs have been shown in a number of prominent exhibitions throughout the UK. www.robhudsonlandscape.net
This exhibition is also published at on Medium.com. All images are used with permission. I want to sincerely thank all the contributors and artists for sharing their work. —Cary Benbow, Publisher, Wobneb Magazine
Wobneb Magazine will provide opportunities for photographers to exhibit in group online exhibitions. The exhibition is open to any amateur or professional photographer around the globe – with the goal of providing the chance for many different people to contribute to the theme. All entries will be exhibited.
Final deadline is 11:59pm September 30, 2018 (GMT-4:00). The exhibition will be posted online starting October 5 – October 31, 2018.
The theme for our first online exhibition is Sense of Place. What is the social or physical landscape where you live? How do you define your sense of place in the world? This does not need to be a literal translation of the term – send your images that convey a sense of place using your unique visual voice.
Photographers will be allowed ONE maximum entry per exhibition. Please do not send images that are unrelated to the theme. We reserve the right to exclude submissions if they do not fit the theme. Images can be made with any camera you choose, (large format, medium format, digital, lomo, camera phone, etc) and in any style.
Image Guidelines Size: 72dpi, sRGB, 1000px wide Save as .jpg Submit Via Email
Submissions It is FREE to enter. Send only ONE image to: firstname.lastname@example.org In the subject of your e-mail, type the name of the exhibition (example: SENSE OF PLACE)
Filter Photo announces the 10th Annual Filter Photo Festival. This four-day Festival celebrates the vibrant art community in Chicago through photography-inspired programming. Nearly 30 photography curators, collectors, and critics from across the country and abroad will conduct over 800 portfolio reviews with aspiring artists and photographers. The Festival will also host a variety of photography workshops exploring everything from historical processes and creative production, to professional practices and career development. Additionally, the Festival will welcome photographer, Mona Kuhn, as the keynote speaker. Finally, there will be several artist talks and presentations, special receptions for three juried exhibitions featuring over 80 artists at Filter Space gallery, and a Portfolio Walk showcasing the work of nearly 100 emerging, mid-career, and professional photographers. All midday artist talks and evening programs are free and open to the public. Portfolio reviews and workshops are paid events that require advanced registration.
The 2018 Filter Photo Festival will take place September 27-30, 2018 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. Additional evening events and programming will occur at several partner galleries, institutions, and organizations around Chicago.
Cristóbal Carretero Cassinello is a Spanish designer and photographer who “uses photography to capture beauty, detail and unique moments of our daily life and existence; also to surprise and play with the spectator, questioning the prism with which he observes the reality of things. Photography tells us and helps us to understand our relationship with the world through our own narrative and visual language.”
Dialogues His project, Dialogues is a presentation of coupled images. These apparently unrelated stories, spontaneous encounters, whimsical shapes, colors and textures play against each other, speak and intertwine – showing us a new and visual vision of the city of Almeria, Spain. ‘Dialogues’ is a visual puzzle that reveals images with their own identity about the unexpected relationship of their people, objects, shadows, neighborhoods, beaches, streets and buildings with their surroundings, where everything acquires a unique meaning.
Dialogues tells us about beauty, old age, multiculturalism, poverty, luxury, religion, love and our existential step through the city of light. They are seemingly unconnected stories, but a third plane generated by our visual perception connects us with our lives, our cities and, ultimately, ourselves.
Cristóbal Carretero Cassinello is a photographer, graphic designer, web designer, professor of economics, expert in financial excel and professor of advanced office automation. Passionate about photography and design, for more than 20 years in the advertising graphic sector, he is the founder of the design and training studio for companies: www.kritodesign.com
Fluvial — transforming personal geography into a fictional world of shapes and forms
Project Statement — Fluvial is a meditation of the beaches and villages of interior northern and central Portugal. Photographed between 2011 and 2017, these fluvial scenes transmute personal geography into a fictional atmosphere. Testifying to the author’s lifelong relationship with northern and central Portuguese riverside beaches and villages, they act not in the manner of a topographic survey, but rather by equating erosion with vision. Just as the river currents have shaped the natural elements, time’s passage appears to have depurated irony off his gaze, predisposing it to form and analogy, and to kindness towards his equals.
Capturing families at informal moments of Portuguese society, predominantly emigrant workers home for summer from northern European countries, bodies, tree trunks and riverbed rocks resemble small sculptures (some of which are anthropomorphic); the human body, here almost amphibious, is often reduced to a simple form, to the submerged surface, either adopting the stream bed as an optical instrument, or by shaping it with light.
The human and non-human bodies emerge from chiaroscuro schemes, either as elements of an illusory mise-en-scène, or defamiliarized, reduced to mere form, as if by casting a spell on them.
Realistic yet dreamlike, conveying a pagan sense of nature, creating the atmospheric effect of an infinite Sunday, it reminds one of a summer dream — a visual ode to human leisure.
Peter Ydeen studied painting and sculpture at Virginia Tech, under Ray Kass, (BA), Brooklyn College under Alan D’Arcangelo and Robert Henry, (MFA Fellowship) and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture with visiting artists, Francesco Clemente, Judy Pfaff, William Wegman, Mark Di Suvero and others.
Over the past several years, Peter has concentrated on photography where he is able to use the many years spent learning to ‘see’. Shown below are examples from his latest series ‘Easton Nights’, which are all night photos from the Easton, Pennsylvania area where he lives.
Ydeen’s work from the Easton Nights series will be in an exhibition at Saint Joseph’s University, Merion Station, PA, from August 20th to September 25th, 2018.
Sandrine Hermand-Grisel grew up in Paris, France and in London, UK. She studied in Paris International Law before deciding to dedicate her life to photography in 1997.
Hermand-Grisel has exhibited nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Carroussel du Louvre (Paris, France), Rayko Photo Center (San Francisco, USA), Maison de la Culture (Luxemburg), City Hall, SFAC Galleries (San Francisco, USA), Europ’art’, (Geneva, Switzerland) Espace Bontemps (Gardanne, France), Centre Iris (Paris, France), Fotofever Photography Art Fair, (Brussels, Belgium), Le Pavé d’Orsay, (Paris, France), Viewpoint Gallery (Sacramento, USA)…
Shown below are examples from her project ‘Sea Sketches’:
Influenced by her late mother’s sculptures and her husband’s paintings and films, she worked on several personal projects before her series Nocturnes was recognized in 2005 by Harry Gruyaert, Bertrand Despres and John Batho for the Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique. In 2006 she moved with her family to the United States and began experimenting landscape photography with her series Somewhere and On the road.
Despite the diversity of her projects she has a unique, very intimate, relationship with her subjects. Photography provides her with a way to express her feelings, like in the series ”Nocturnes” where she photographed only close friends and family members peacefully abandoning themselves in front of her camera. ”Somewhere” is her dream of America, a road trip through her adopted country. And ”Waterlilies” is full of joy and love for her two children as she watched them jumping and playing in pools over and over again. Sandrine Hermand-Grisel not only photographs what she loves, she breaks free from her own reality in her poetic vision of the world.
In 2013, Hermand-Grisel created the acclaimed website All About Photo and now spends most of her time discovering new talents while still working on personal projects.