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Featured photographer Rachael Banks

© Rachael Banks, Grady after Benson, 2016

Rachael Banks is a photographer from Louisville, Kentucky, and is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Northern Kentucky University. In a recent issue of F-Stop Magazine, I was fortunate to interview her and feature her work in the thematic context of animals  – while acknowledging her work focuses primarily on family dynamics, relationships, and nostalgia. She is also especially interested in social subcultures and identity informed by place. Banks’ creates work about her family and the uneasiness of those relationships that are strained but also incredibly involved. The inclusion of numerous pets or animals in her family’s life conveys the importance animals play in our lives as she explores feelings of loss, identity, and meaning in the context of family, love and acceptance. It is immediately apparent that she cares deeply for her family – a tough subject to be subjective with, and also intimately close to. 

 

I am the oldest of three, but more like a mother than a sister.

I constructed a family of siblings, both real and assumed.
‘Between Home and Here’ addresses deeply internalized
guilt and the essence of loved ones.

There is a history of pain and an apparent inwardness in my family.

My brother has a rage inside of him that I know others can see. 

But, I can’t help noticing the way he delicately handles a small rabbit in his arms, gently stroking its ears and shielding its eyes from the fear of the unfamiliar.

I am a witness to their sensitivity and empathy in how they revere animal life, despite human failure.

This is a story about hating and loving where you are from.
It comes from doing anything to go back to a place that you left.

I left my heart in Kentucky and came back to find it.
The photographs are artifacts from my search.

Rachael Banks – ‘Between Home and Here’

Cary Benbow (CB): Your project Between Home and Here explores very powerful tropes of Family and inclusion. Let’s talk about the level of trust and intimacy in your work, and I’d like to ask about the project in terms of portraiture versus straight documentary style photography.

Rachael Banks (RB): While I am extroverted at work (I have to be), I am actually pretty shy and slow in how I go about making work, so it isn’t always as viable for me to photograph strangers. There is definitely a level of intimacy I have to achieve with a person to make work about them extensively. I really like to invest in whoever I am making work about. I go back and forth about my work being more portraiture based vs. documentary. In the beginning, I was interested in the concept of aesthetic beauty and portraiture allowed me to explore that. However, as the work has continued, I’ve thought more about my relationships with people and the place I feel I have in the world. I never considered myself a documentary photographer because I wasn’t sure if photographing my family fit within the scope but as the work expands, I definitely feel like the work is more heavily influenced by documentary photography. Portraiture is something I naturally gravitate towards in respect to my working methodology but my intent goes beyond the mode in which I present my images.

CB: Let’s discuss the role animals play in your work; how much of a role do they play in the lives of your subjects, or in your own life?

RB: I’m not sure if this is a regional or family influence (maybe a little bit of both) but I grew up surrounded by animals. My family members have always had a wide array of pets and my dad lives on a farm. I was definitely raised in an environment that placed a heavy emphasis on respect for animals and to treat pets as family. Because my work is so centrally focused on my relationships with immediate family, it is inevitable that animals become a part of that. Additionally, I see that animals often serve as an extension of the subject I am photographing and that they can help inform the viewer with more insight into the personality traits of the individual. On a personal note, I spend a lot of time driving to make work and I bring my dog Ghost with me as much as possible. If there isn’t an animal in the photograph I’m making, there is most likely one sitting next to me while I’m shooting.

CB: With regard to your earlier statement about your portraits documenting your family, what do you feel are the “obligations” of a photographer, or what obligation do you have to the people, your family, in your photos?

RB: I think it is important to have the ability to stand behind every image that you make. I understand that anything I put out into the world for others to see is coming from my own specific gaze and that I am actively selecting how the subject is framed and presented. I feel that I have a responsibility to myself and others to be able to understand that not everyone will see my images the same way that I do and that I have the ability to contribute (both negatively and positively) to how an individual/region/situation is represented. There is always the possibility that something I make can be misunderstood or that I can even cause harm, so with that in mind, I try to make sure that I don’t share anything that I can’t live with later on in life.

CB: What compels you to make the images you create? Why do you photograph?

RB: My mom photographed my entire childhood – and I mean she photographed everything constantly. While she has never identified as being creative/artistic, I feel that her compulsions have influenced me greatly and my need to document as much of my life/surroundings as possible. I have a lot of anxiety about forgetting defining moments or losing sight of what informs my identity. Photography has always provided a way for me to stay connected to who I am and what matters to me.

CB: Who are your photography inspirations or how to they influence your work?

RB: This is a question where I can go overboard so I will attempt to be as concise as possible. I really love Doug Dubois and the way he documents youth in addition to integrating a graphic novel in his series My Last Day at Seventeen. When I think about the muse in the photograph, I always look at Emmet Gowin; because who wouldn’t want to be loved the way that Edith is? I’m really inspired by Nathan Pearce and the way he photographs his life in the Midwest – he also has an incredible work ethic that always pushes me to be better. Jake Reinhart is another big inspiration for me because of his extensive approach to research and his ability to articulate his work in such a thoughtful way. I am also currently excited about Amy Powell, Caiti Borruso, Susan Worsham, and Dylan Hausthor.

CB: Do you feel there is a significant difference between “documentary” style photography versus “portrait” photography as a label? Or are those labels significant as a category to your work?

RB: I think that there is crossover between portraiture and documentary in my work. In terms of there being a difference, I believe the intent of the photographer is significant in making distinctions between the two. I’ve seen documentary work that is mainly consistent of portraiture so there isn’t much a difference between the two in that situation but I have also seen a lot of portraiture work that is more about visual aesthetics than it is about being documentary. I feel that my work falls in both categories in that I work primarily in portraiture but I am approaching my subject matter as a documentarian. Portraiture is a natural habit for me but I am more interested in the research and document component of making work. I don’t want to be the person that says I don’t fall into a category because I definitely fall into a few! If I had to describe my work in one sentence to a stranger I would summarize it as a documentary approach to family (assumed and biological) portraiture.

CB: Please talk about the role of a photographer as “publisher” and what you think about the recent increased push for photographers to publish photo books and/or zines. I know you are a strong advocate for publishing work.

RB: I am 100% supportive of photographers working in self-publishing and its one of my favorite components of photography. I think there is a lot that self-publishing/zines allow for a photographer in regard to the opportunity for exposure that it provides. While I feel it is still important to show work in galleries, a zine allows a photographer to share work without being weighed down by so many financial burdens. Accessible art is really important to me and I feel that self-publishing allows for photography to be more readily distributed and shared which fosters such a dynamic community that I value being a part of. On another note, I think that there is an over saturation of photobooks in the world right now, but I’m not terribly upset about having more books to collect. If there is a project that isn’t ready to be presented to the work as a traveling solo exhibition or a monograph, it can still be shared/distributed as a zine. Publishing also allows for photographers/viewers to see work as a physical object as opposed to looking at everything through a screen. I definitely appreciate the photograph more as a physical object and publishing encourages this.

 

© Rachael Banks, Ghost in the Snow, 2017
© Rachael Banks, The See Him in You, 2018
© Rachael Banks, Dad Holding Mabel, 2017
© Rachael Banks, In the Garden, 2015
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, Ghost, 2017
© Rachael Banks, My Dream of a White Horse, 2018
© Rachael Banks, Basil, 2015
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, Bo Jackson, 2015
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here
© Rachael Banks, from Between Home and Here

Rachael Banks (b. Louisville, KY) is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Northern Kentucky University and is based in Covington, KY. She received an MFA in photography from Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX). Banks is an avid supporter of self-publishing, accessible art, zines, and collecting. Her work has been shown at The Center for Fine Art Photography, The Kinsey Institute, Black Box Gallery, Darkroom Gallery, and several other institutions. She has also been featured in a number of online photography publications and frequently participates in panel discussions and invited speaker presentations.

To see more work by Rachael Banks, please visit her website at www.rachaelbanksphoto.com


An edited version of this article was first published in F-Stop Magazine in April 2019.

Carrie Mae Weems Headlines CONTACT Photography Festival

Solo exhibition in five parts throughout Toronto, Canada

Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY.

Carrie Mae Weems
Opening May 3–4, 2019 with artist in attendance
Public lecture May 4, 4:00 pm
CONTACT Gallery and Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto
80 Spadina Avenue, Suite 205 and 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto

The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is thrilled to announce that renowned American artist Carrie Mae Weems will headline the twenty third edition of the citywide event, spanning the month of May 2019.

Weems’ exhibition in five parts represents the artist’s first solo exhibition in Canada. Her work will be presented in two gallery exhibitions at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and CONTACT Gallery, and in three major public art installations in downtown Toronto. Weems will be present for her exhibition receptions at the CONTACT Gallery (May 3, 6:00–9:00 pm) and at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery (May 4, 6:00–8:00 pm).

The Festival’s spotlight on Weems situates her work at five distinct locations across Toronto, representing the artist’s first solo presentation in Canada. These gallery exhibitions and public installations combine pivotal streams of Weems’ practice: her sustained focus on women, which confronts issues of both repression and empowerment; and her ongoing investigation into the devastating effects of violence, especially against Black men. Weems’ exhibition at CONTACT Gallery, Blending the Blues, features photographic works spanning three decades that draw together these parallel themes.

MORE DETAILS

CONTACT is a not-for-profit dedicated to celebrating and fostering the art and profession of photography with an annual Festival in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery. CONTACT embraces an inclusive, accessible approach to the medium, and cultivates collaborations with and among artists, curators, institutions, and organizations.

Exhibition Information provided by Aperture Foundation

Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, N.Y. 10001
212.505.5555
aperture.org

 

Seeing Deeply – A Retrospective by Dawoud Bey

The Woman in the Light, Harlem, New York City, 1980. © Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply offers a forty-year retrospective of the celebrated photographer’s work, from his early street photography in Harlem to his current images of Harlem gentrification. Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States. Prodigious is an apt descriptor for ‘Seeing Deeply’.

After taking in the span of images within the book, an analogy came to mind. You can draw a line from the beginning of his work and see it all the way through to his current projects. Like a carpenter lifting a board to look down the length of its edge, one can see straight from one end to the other and know that it is true. The sturdy grain of the wood may flow slightly from side to side, but  its core is unwavering and reliable.

Throughout his career, Bey made images in communities he felt had been under-represented by other photographers. He shot photos in Harlem, Birmingham, Syracuse, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, and many other cities. Whether the work was made in small or medium format cameras, black & white or color, and even large format Polaroid portraits, the feel of Bey’s work gives a nod to some of his influencers; photographers such as as Roy DeCarava, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and James Van Der Zee.

Bey’s photo of a young woman waiting for a bus in Syracuse in 1985 could have easily been taken in 1965. The timeless quality of this portrait demonstrates sensitivity to the person, and showing them in a certain state of mind, rather than a time and place, and allows the viewer to make an intimate connection. The way she regards the camera/viewer, leaning against a counter in a bus terminal directly under a sign telling patrons to wait outside for busses, evokes a feeling of dignified protest, or respectful righteousness.

The list of Dawoud Bey’s accomplishments, awards, grants, and museums that collect his work is staggering. Bey was also a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant”, yet when I viewed a TEDx talk he gave in 2015 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, I was struck by his humility and sense of inspiration and drive to explore ideas and themes through his genuine love for the medium of photography.

Bey was drawn to visit the Met in 1969 by news of demonstrations by people who were called to action by the idea of who was being allowed to author the experience of the African-American community. He viewed the exhibition on the day he went to the museum, and decided to start making photographs in his own community of Harlem. His photographs from Harlem over a five year span resulted in an exhibition in 1975. The project was an effort to convey the humanity of the men, women and children in that community. In Bey’s words, many African-American communities up until that time had been predominantly been shown through a lens of pathology. His sense of duty to depict African-Americans and their lives has been an underlying theme throughout his career. I was drawn to a certain quote by Hilton Als in Sarah Lewis’ introduction to ‘Seeing Deeply’. Als comments that Bey creates “works of art made out of real lives as opposed to real lives being used to reflect the artist’s idea of it.” Amen.

A Young Woman Waiting for the Bus, Syracuse, 1985. © Dawoud Bey
Alva, New York, NY, 1992. © Dawoud Bey
Mark and Eric, Chicago, IL, 1994. © Dawoud Bey
Four Children at Lenox Avenue, Harlem, New York City, 1977. © Dawoud Bey
Mary Parker and Caela Cowan, Birmingham, AL, 2012. © Dawoud Bey
Men From the 369th Regiment Marching Band, Harlem, New York City, 1977. © Dawoud Bey
Three Men and the Lenox Lounge, Harlem, New York City, 2014. © Dawoud Bey
A Girl with a Knife Nosepin, Brooklyn, N.Y., 1990. © Dawoud Bey
A Boy in Front of Loew’s 125th Street Movie Theater, Harlem, NY, 1976. © Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply by Dawoud Bey
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press; First Edition
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781477317198


Dawoud Bey’s work is held by major collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In addition to the MacArthur fellowship, Bey’s honors include the United States Artists Guthman Fellowship, 2015; the Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, 2002; and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1991. He is Professor of Art and a former Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.

To view more images or purchase ‘Seeing Deeply’ by Dawoud Bey, please visit the University of Texas Press website. All images represented are included with recognition to Dawoud Bey/University of Texas Press.

{First published in F-Stop Magazine in January 2019}

Solargraphs by Al Brydon – A conversation with the Sun

Solargraphs by Al Brydon © JW Editions

A new book, Solargraphs by Al Brydon is available from JW Editions. Brydon’s understated approach to making engaging images is disarming. There is a beautiful serendipity that comes out of his seemingly casual method for making work. He makes it look easy, but make no mistake Brydon has been steadfast for decades in making photographic work of and about his surroundings. He is continually trying techniques old and new to strive for a meaningful conversation with the land. Solargraphs is definitely one of those engaging conversations.

“Solargraphs are pinhole cameras with exposure times measured in months rather than fractions of a second. This slowing down of time produces the arcs of the sun as it traces its way across the sky. The ‘how’ isn’t anywhere near as important as the ‘why’, but it gives you an idea of what’s involved in making the work.

The length of time involved raises certain questions. Is it a different me collecting the solargraph than the person who left it? Maybe a window into what the landscape looks like when I’m not there to experience it?

What’s implied in the image is as important as what you can see. Anything moving quickly isn’t pictured but is in there. Solargraphs see everything (metaphorically) like photographic black holes. Every moment of joy and sadness you have experienced while each exposure was made is in there somewhere. A newborns first breath and another person’s last. The chaos of the universe condensed into photographic form. More than a moment. A tumbling cascade of moments set within the confines of a 5×7 piece of darkroom paper. With Solargraphs we are able to experience time almost in a geological sense and gain a glimpse into a differing reality than our own. A looped reminder how wonderfully fleeting our lives are.”

– Al Brydon

 

Solargraphs by Al Brydon © JW Editions
Solargraphs by Al Brydon © JW Editions


Solargraphs by Al Brydon

210 mm x 295 mm, hardback
96 pages, thread sewn
Introduction by contemporary photographer Rob Hudson

A Limited Edition is also available:
Signed copy of the book
Signed and numbered print – ‘Death of a Wood’
Print is exclusive to this book edition (Digital print on fine art photo paper)
Limited to 50 copies only

Published by JW Editions – an independent publisher of photobooks, producing affordable fine quality short run commercially produced edition-based releases, and handmade artist limited editions.

To order a copy of Solargraphs, visit their website: www.jweditions.co.uk


Al Brydon is a photographer based in the North of the UK. He has been exhibited and published both in the UK and internationally, and has just completed his five-year series ‘Solargraphs’ which have just been exhibited at the ‘Inside the Outside’ collective group show ‘Out of the woods of thought’. He is prone to working on various long-term bodies of work. See more of his work at his website: www.al-brydon.com


All images used with permission. Photographs © Al Brydon, and the printed book © JW Editions.

Beyond the Reach of Rivers – photography by Mandy Williams

Beyond the Reach of Rivers
Fishing Quarter Gallery, Brighton
Wednesday 1 May – Monday 6 May 2019 Open daily 11am – 5pm

Beyond Land 10_Mandy Williams
Beyond Land #10 © Mandy Williams


Beyond the Reach of Rivers is a photography exhibition by Mandy Williams that brings together work from two photographic series about the sea to the beachfront in Brighton.

Sea Level is shot in the Sussex town where she lived as a teenager and focuses on the beach shelters that line the promenade – a place to congregate and watch the sea. The photographs are taken at high tide, when the shelters are empty. Their windows are weathered and dusty and scratched by the wind. Absent of people, their presence lingers through traces of graffiti, dirt and other debris. The view of the sea through this prism produces images that are often quite abstract – the sea and the markings on the glass have equal importance in the finished photograph. Dust and neglect becomes part of the image, reinforcing the sense of melancholy which runs through many seaside towns.

In Beyond Land the photographs take place at the street, a causeway that reveals itself at low tide, stretching out towards the horizon like an umbilical cord connecting us to the sea. Started a month after the referendum result with its emphasis on Britain as an island nation, geographically and psychologically separate from Europe, the photographs show a collective march to the water’s edge. The line of people following disappearing paths out to sea not only documents our innate connection to water but can also be seen as a metaphor for the times.

Sea Level 09_Mandy Williams
Sea Level 09 © Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams is a photographer and artist who works on long-form landscape series concerned with the psychology of place and how the marks of time and human presence affect the environment. Often her photographs show a place that has been compromised – either by environmental factors or by its connection to a specific narrative.

Beyond the Reach of Rivers is her 3rd solo exhibition in the UK. Recent group exhibitions include the 209 Women exhibition at the Houses of Parliament (2018) and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2019), and The Family of No Man, Cosmos, Arles (2018). She received the Photography prize at the Royal West of England Academy in 2014, 3rd place in the International Photographer of the Year Award 2017 in Landscapes: Seascapes, and work from Sea Level was shortlisted for the 2018 Hariban Award, and was an Awardee in the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards 2018.

*The title of the exhibition is taken from Loren Eiseley, an anthropologist and natural science writer whose writings frequently reference our evolutionary connection to the sea.


Contact information: Mandy Williams info@mandywilliams.com / 07817 397 747 / https://mandywilliams.com
Fishing Quarter Gallery, 201 Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB
info@quartergallery.co.uk / 01273 723064

Taking Sides: Berlin and the Wall, 1974 – by Sven Martson

Taking Sides: Berlin and the Wall, 1974 contains many serendipitous images and glimpses of what life was like in Berlin in 1974. Martson’s black and white photographs of Berlin and its residents are an artful and skillful documentation of people living their lives on both sides of the Berlin Wall. He also presents an important historic document and intimate view of people living in a politically, and physically, segregated city. We see images of everyday life; children playing, street scenes in a large modern city, people shopping, work, play, boredom, and glimpses of the political elephant in the room – the Wall.

Martson’s images are even more poignant when viewed in the context of how a political viewpoint can divide rather than unify. A collective population of people who are more alike than different can become two polarized populations cast in opposition to the other; groups of people who are separated by imaginary lines drawn with a socio-political pen. In the author’s notes, Martson comments that the wall gave a particularly ugly form to the binary oppositions in human experience. Abstract economic and political ideologies were made real in the form of armed guard towers, land mines, razor-wire fences and an impregnable concrete barrier which divided a city, a country, and perhaps the perceptions of the world.

Martson’s parents were directly impacted by the Soviet occupied Estonia and Germany. “The radically redrawn borders of Germany and much of Europe after World War II forced my parents to flee their Soviet occupied homelands to seek freedom and opportunity in West Germany, and later in the United States,” Martson says. “Although my family has no direct connection to Berlin, I saw its stark division as a reminder and a concentrated symbol of the forces that drove my parents west to become American citizens.”

“In September of 1974, I traveled to West Berlin. It was a bright island of liberty surrounded by a dull gray wall, built not for its protection but to ensure its isolation. Fascinated by such an untenable design, I sought to record in photographs what I might find on either side of that historic divide. I spent a month walking the streets of Berlin taking pictures on either side of the Wall. I was not unbiased in my feelings toward Communist East Germany, yet I tried to avoid making political statements in favor of maintaining a documentary style.”

While I was only four years old in 1974, I can remember with clarity when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. I watched live news coverage of joyous East and West Berlin citizens mingling atop the Wall, or taking turns smashing holes in the wall with sledgehammers. And later, heavy construction equipment pulled sections of the wall apart amidst a barrage of blinding light from thousands of cameras documenting the event. I knew I was watching one of the pivotal points in 20th century history.

We find ourselves at a point in history where leaders are again speaking of walls, which makes Martson’s book even more important. Now photographers have the opportunity to record, document and comment on history potentially repeating itself, in some sense, along the border of Mexico and the United States. Martson comments about current Berlin on his website, and this prompted questions in my mind of how we will look back at the result of a proposed U.S-Mexico border wall. On his site, Martson says, “After more than two decades of German reunification, the almost complete disappearance of the Wall has produced an entirely different Berlin. These photographs are now a historical record: a visual account of opposing ideologies in precarious accommodation.”

Precarious indeed.


Taking Sides: Berlin and the Wall, 1974 by Sven Martson
Hardcover
Published by Lecturis
Language: English/German
ISBN-10: 9462262616


Sven Martson was born in Germany and raised in the United States. He received his BA from Syracuse University in 1970, and subsequent studies led to an interest in documentary style photography. In 1972 he met Walker Evans and worked under his direction, making prints from Evans’ negatives. After Evans’ death, Martson continued to print for the Evans estate.

Martson is an established editorial photographer, and he serves a wide range of independent educational institutions throughout the United States. Over the past thirty years he has traveled extensively, and exhibited in the United States and Europe. He is currently represented by the Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven, CT.

To view more work by Sven Martson, please visit his website at http://svenmartson.com/. To purchase a copy of Taking Sides: Berlin and the Wall, 1974, see the book listing here.

This review was originally published in F-Stop Magazine, January 2019.

Spring 2019 Exhibition

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!

Sense of Place Exhibition

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.

A Pembrokeshire Triangulation -05 Rob Hudson
© Rob Hudson, from ‘A Pembrokeshire Triangulation’

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.

Al Brydon 2
© Al Brydon, from the ‘None Places’ series

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.

A Pembrokeshire Triangulation -22 Rob Hudson
© Rob Hudson, from ‘A Pembrokeshire Triangulation’

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”.

Al Brydon 3
© Al Brydon, from the ‘None Places’ series

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.


Ed Fetahovic
© Ed Fetahovic, Smaller Like Man, Perth, Western Australia  http://www.edfetahovicphotography.com

KathyShorr
© Kathy Shorr, Bench, Miami, FL http://www.kathyshorr.com/

Eric Moore
© Eric Moore, untitled, Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Arizona https://elmoore.myportfolio.com

Ethan Lo
© Ethan Lo, Omission, Hong Kong http://www.ethanlo.co.uk

© Juan Rodríguez Morales, Ghost World, Alcobendas, Madrid http://www.juanrodriguezmorales.com/

Emmanuel_Monzon
© Emmanuel Monzon, Urban Sprawl Emptiness, Yucca Valley, CA https://admonzon.format.com/#1

Ritam Talukdar
© Ritam Talukdar, And the journey ended, Pondicherry, India https://ritamsphotocreation.wordpress.com/

RobTM
© Rob™, Roads, Lancashire, UK http://www.robtm.co.uk

Yuriy Pavlov
© Yuriy Pavlov, Sacred place, Saint-Petersburg, https://www.ypavlov.com/

Amanda Le Kline
© Amanda Le Kline, Origins, Strausstown, Pennsylvania https://amandalekline.com/

J. M. Golding
© J. M. Golding, At the frontier of the known world, northern California http://www.jmgolding.com

Anne See
© Anne See, Walking Among Giants, Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA https://www.instagram.com/cheeksandchubs/

© Cristóbal Carretro Cassinello, Blue Almería, Almeria, Spain http://www.cccassinello.com

Amelia Morris
© Amelia Morris, Self Portrait as a Ghost, Indianapolis, IN http://www.thanksandsorryphotos.com

catherine_slye
© Catherine Slye, Nightlight, Tucson, AZ https://www.catslye.com/

Alexandr_Polyantsev_01
© Alexandr Polyantsev, Playground, Arkhangelsk region, Russia https://polyantsev.ru

Marc Sirinsky
© Marc Sirinsky, Plane, Leesburg, VA http://www.sirinsky.com

Kristel Collison
© Kristel Collison, Noticing the Unnoticed, Northern Pennines, UK, https://instagram.com//kristel.collison

Elizabeth Virgl
© Elizabeth Virgl, Oil Refinery, Roxanna, IL

Wioleta Kaminska
© Wioleta Kaminska, Inside Silence, San Francisco, CA http://wioletakaminska.com

© Aldebarán Solares, Untitled from Umbral series, Marsella, Fr
© Aldebarán Solares, Untitled from Umbral series, Marsella, France http://www.aldebaransolares.com

David Thackwell
© David Thackwell, The Wilderness – Prologue, Hooke Park, Dorset https://dthackwell.com

Jennifer Mayhall
© Jennifer Mayhall, Rite of Passage, Cincinnati, Ohio, https://www.instagram.com/inspiration_catalyst

Piercarlo Quecchia
© Piercarlo Quecchia, The New Tomorrow Myth, Gligino Hill, Dobrljin, Bosnia & Herzegovina https://piercarloquecchia.com

Tatyana Kolbatova
© Tatyana Kolbatova, Exit to, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, https://tatyanakolbatova.com/

Ellen Jantzen
© Ellen Jantzen, Equilibrium, New Mexico,  http://www.ellenjantzen.com/

Gina Costa
© Gina Costa,Neighborhood Night Stories, South Bend,IN, http://www.ginacosta.com

Mark Sawrie
© Mark Sawrie, Twins, Joshua Tree, CA https://www.artistslashsomethingorother.com

Allan Lewis
© Allan Lewis, Gin Parlour, London, ON, allanl.com

Abhiruk Lahiri
© Abhiruk Lahiri, Urban dreams, Delhi http://clweb.csa.iisc.ernet.in/res12/abhiruk.lahiri/phaotography

Nathan Gentry
© Nathan Gentry, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania http://www.nathangentryphoto.com

Andy Mellor
© Andrew Mellor, Yesterdays, Blackpool, UK http://www.andrewmellorphotography.com

Peter Ydeen
© Peter Ydeen, Bath Construction http://peterydeen.com/

Louise Wateridge
© Louise Wateridge, Life After War -Syrian Refugee Child playing with a Pigeon in a refugee camp in Beqaa Governate, Lebanon https://www.louisewateridge.com/

Gildo Spado
© Gildo Spado, Topsy Turvy, Astoria Queens, NY http://www.gildonyc.com

Allen Morris
© Allen Morris, untitled, Milwaukee, WI http://www.allenmorrisphoto.com

Diane Fenster
© Diane Fenster, I Hear the Mermaids Singing Each to Each, Pacifica, CA http://www.lensculture.com/diane-fenster

Mirja Paljakka
© Mirja Paljakka, My place, Ylojarvi / Finland, https://mirjapaljakka.weebly.com

Nicolas Guillen
© Nicolas Guillen, Estivation, Orléans, France http://www.nguillen.com

Callie Zimmerman
© Callie Zimmerman, Turf, Fowler, IN http://www.calliezimmerman.com

Julia Ivantei-Ershova
© Julia Ivantei-Ershova, Guest, Saint Petersburg, Russia https://uabymtvk6xec.wfolio.ru/

SolaresEstefania
© Estefania Pec, Full and empty, México city https://www.instagram.com/keenkll/

Alison Benbow UK
© Alison Benbow, untitled, Liverpool, UK

Naomi Lofkin
© Naomi Lofkin, Finding Space, Dartmoor, England, https://naomilofphoto.myportfolio.com

Alex Cavalco
© Alex Cavalco, Waffle House, Milwaukee, WI http://alexcaval.co

Michael Bach
© Michael Bach, Rt. 32. Waterviliet, NY, January 2018 http.// http://www.michaelpbach.crevado.com

Devon DeVaughn
© Devon DeVaughn, RV, Eugene, OR http://www.devondevaughn.com

Martin Buday
© Martin Buday, Prophetic Kingdom, Milford, DE. 2018. http://martinbuday.com

Audrey Gottlieb
© Audrey Gottlieb, Utopia Parkway, Flushing, Queens, NY_www.audreygottlieb.com

Arthur Fields
© Arthur Fields, OBB, Vincennes, IN http://www.arthurfields.net

Tasha Lutek
© Tasha Lutek, Kitchen, Rockwood, TN http://www.tashalutek.com

 


Sense of Place, October 2018 Wobneb Magazine

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
Twitter @RobHudsonPhoto
Instagram @robhudson_

Al Brydon’s ‘None Places’ by kind permission www.al-brydon.com.

Inside the Outside collective:
www.inside-the-outside.com
Twitter @inside_the_out
Instagram @insidetheoutsidegroup

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

2018 Filter Photo Festival – 10th Anniversary

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Filter Photo announces the ​10t​h 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.

View the full Festival schedule or visit the Festival Calendar page on the Filter Photo website:  http://filterphoto.org/

Featured Photographer – Cristóbal Carretero Cassinello

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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.


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ABOUT 
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