Tag Archives: art

Coincidences by Jonathan Higbee

© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions

When viewing the work of Jonathan Higbee, I am reminded of the metaphor of theater as applied to street photography. Whichever street corner, subway station, beachfront, or billboard Higbee selects as the tableau, it feels like a magnificent theater with a diverse cast of characters performing in an unscripted play on an ever-changing stage. As individuals interact with one another in these tightly-packed public spaces, occasionally extraordinary situations unfold that are unexpected, mysterious, humorous or poignant. A strange or wonderful juxtaposition may materialize and then vanish in a split-second. Such ephemeral events are often overlooked or quickly forgotten. Higbee captures these fleeting moments as evocative, richly-layered images that allow each viewer to enjoy the sense of wit and painstaking patience Higbee undertakes.

It is somewhat unappreciative to say his images are merely serendipity, or lucky happenstance. Jonathan Higbee spent years meticulously documenting these fleeting juxtapositions on the streets of New York. The intersections of pedestrians, street signs, billboards, and more take on new meaning and life: as a dancer on a stage of trash, graffiti unfurling from a backpack, or even a giant casually walking the streets of the city. Each photograph captures the wit, joy, and surrealism of everyday life in a sometimes chaotic world. The resulting images are a visual language of their own; an expression that is equivalent to the final situation captured. The sum is greater than its parts. The craft and attention required to make this body of work should prompt us to pause and reflect on how magical these instances truly are.

© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions
© Jonathan Higbee. From Coincidences, Anthology Editions

 


Coincidences by Jonathan Higbee
Foreword by Dustin Lance Black and an afterword by Jonathan Higbee
Hardcover
160 pages, 125 images
10 inches x 8.85 inches
ISBN 9781944860257

Anthology Editions is an independent book publisher based in Brooklyn, New York. anthologyeditions.com

Jonathan Higbee will be in discussion with photographer Harvey Stein at Rizzoli Bookstore, New York on December 11, 2019 at 6pm. See their website for information: https://www.rizzolibookstore.com/events

Jonathan Higbee is a New York-based photographer who is often noted for his street photography, but his portfolio also includes fine art and commercial work. His photos have been exhibited all over the world and have been featured in numerous publications such as Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Buzzfeed. His unique vision has amassed a large following on social media, including a major presence for his Coincidences series on Instagram. He was awarded the World Street Photography grand prize in 2015, a LensCulture Street Photography Award in 2016, and most recently was a 2018 Hasselblad Masters finalist.

Dustin Lance Black is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist. He has won a Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for the 2008 film, Milk. Black is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights and writer of 8, a staged reenactment of the federal trial that led to a federal court’s overturn of California’s Proposition 8.

SEEING THROUGH YOU – Online Photography Exhibitons by Fort Gansevoort

With consideration to the short-term shift from in-person gallery exhibitions to online presentation of meaningful projects and artwork, Wobneb Magazine is happy to help spread the word for the following show:

A cloud in a box Will Be the First In An Online Weekly Exhibition Series Organized By Invited Curators and Critics

A cloud in a box
Curated by Terry R. Myers

Opening Online Thursday March 26, 2020

Fort Gansevoort is pleased to announce SEEING THROUGH YOU, a series of weekly online exhibitions organized for the gallery by invited curators and scholars. Launching with its first exhibition on Thursday, March 26, 2020, this initiative will highlight artists from around the globe and aim to initiate lively discourse among larger and more diverse audiences for whom the web and social media are an even more vital ‘salon space’ in a time of crisis.

The series takes its title from a 2004 piece by Barbara Kruger, who has said, “I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are, what we want to be, and what we become.” In a moment when communities worldwide are called upon to redefine daily life, seek new ways to connect, and locate sources of mutual support, art has a critical role to play.

The first exhibition of SEEING THROUGH YOU is named for the 2016 Pet Shop Boys song, A cloud in a box. Organized by Los Angeles-based writer, educator, and independent curator Terry R. Myers, the show brings together seven artists currently working in Berlin, LA, Santiago, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv, and reinforces how profoundly these artists have, in Myers’ words “unexpected connections, as they been together for quite some time in my mind’s eye.”

Artists in A cloud in a box are Milly Barzellai, Chinatsu Ikeda, Peter Köhler, Vicente Matte, Jeni Spota C., Keith Tolch, and Pilar Trujillo.

Myers explains: “Collectively, the works here display an abundance of imagery in a vibrant and material spectrum that contains agile bands of alienation, contentment, devotion, infatuation, joy, tragedy, and magic. These bands, of course, are powerful and they bend and/or blend within the work of any one of these artists as much as they do across that of the group. Magic is last in this list because it mixes with the others the best. Magic is a secret, but a secret made to be shown to others. The Pet Shop Boys song tells the story of a magician with a cloud in a box— ‘a secret between him and the sky’— that he would display once a week. These seven artists, each in their own way, are doing the very same thing.”

About Fort Gansevoort

Fort Gansevoort is a contemporary art gallery representing emerging and established artists from around the world. With a strong commitment to curatorial excellence and new research, Fort Gansevoort mounts six exhibitions annually, devoting its space and publishing efforts to both emerging artists and established figures whose art invites fresh study and warrants increased recognition. Fort Gansevoort represents Zoë Buckman, Zoya Cherkassky, Patrick Martinez, and Christopher Myers, and exhibits the works of many other artists in group and solo exhibitions.

A cloud in a box will be on view online at fortgansevoort.com from March 26 through Spring, 2020.

Press Contact:
Andrea Schwan, Andrea Schwan Inc.
info@andreaschwan.com
+1 917 371.5023
http://www.fortgansevoort.com
@fortgansevoort

Above:
Vicente Matte
Taller, 2018
Distemper on canvas
67 x 52.75 inches
© Vicente Matte
Courtesy the Artist and Fort Gansevoort

Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War – by Kevin Bubriski

Kevin Bubriski was on assignment in Syria in 2003, during the infancy of the U.S. war in neighboring Iraq. He was photographing the country’s ancient monuments, as well as documenting the daily lives and ordinary human stories of its citizens. Unbeknownst to him, within the decade, a war would break out in Syria, and destroy or damage much of what he had photographed. Legacy in Stone: Syria Before War is a collection of 100 black-and-white photographs immortalizing the ancient monuments of Syria.

Until the Syrian civil war in 2010, the Suq (an open marketplace) in Aleppo was considered to be the longest continuously inhabited place of commerce in the world, existing for well over two millennia. Bubriski photographed the Suq while it was still thriving, teeming with merchants and artisans. He also captured stunning, decisive images from the Dead Cities, the basilica of St. Simeon, the pilgrimage sites of Serjilla, al-Bara, Kharab Shams, Mushabak, Baqirha, Qalb Lozeh, Resafe, early Islamic sites near Raqqa, and the ancient Roman trade cities of Apamea and Palmyra.

Bubriski recalls a special sense of discovery and awe being in a place of such rich history and haunting beauty. He remembers holding his breath and seeing the ruins take shape on the ground-glass of his camera as he gathered and preserved these sites forever in photographs. In an interview with public radio station WBUR earlier this year, Bubriski and Syrian scholar Amr Al-Zam spoke about important aspects of the project and the photographs. Al-Zam wrote the foreword to the book, and he said, “Syria is very fortunate in that it is an extremely rich region in terms of the amount of cultural heritage that we have. So even as we have lost such amazing, beautiful sites and monuments, there is still a huge amount left. My concern is that our ability to then make sure that future generations can see, feel, and experience the same things that we have and if not the same way, in just as equally meaningful manner.” But Al-Zam has also been quoted saying… “the damage is phenomenal and it’s gone forever. It can never be returned or retrieved.”

Bubriski’s images of Syria feature the architecture, and in some cases, the people he encountered at a number of the sites he photographed. The living legacy of Syria, its people, will endure. This is in contrast to the ruins of cities, cathedrals, and infrastructure that had stood for centuries. Generations of Syrians will never get to experience the rich history firsthand. Bubriski’s images serve to document and educate.  Roman columns and roadways, Suq rope makers and soap sellers, stacks of limestone abstracted in his compositions – in light of the destruction that has happened since the images were made, I felt lucky to be able to view these scenes. In the same WBUR interview, Bubriski says, “Everything has been damaged to some extent. Some things have been entirely destroyed. … This was a direct assault on the cultural history of place, and also the multi-ethnic cultural histories, because there were the ancient Romans and the early Christians and the Byzantine world, followed by the early Islamic world. All of that was targeted by ISIS and others.”

Some of the scenes Bubriski captured may never exist again. Without him as witness, and his photographs as evidence, this aspect of world history might have remained lost.

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 

From Legacy in Stone by Kevin Bubriski, published by powerHouse Books

 


Kevin Bubriski’s fine art photography is in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. He is a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships. His books include Portrait of Nepal (Chronicle Books, 1993), Pilgrimage: Looking at Ground Zero (powerHouse, 2002), and Look into My Eyes: Nuevomexicanos por vida 1981-83 (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2016).

To see more of his work, and follow links to his books for sale, please visit https://kevinbubriski.com

Continuum – A Photography Book by Abelardo Morell, Alyssa McDonald and Irina Rozovsky

Continuum is the second Yoffy Press Triptych after TRACE was published in late 2018 (reviewed in F-Stop Magazine here), and features the work of Abelardo Morell, Alyssa McDonald and Irina Rozovsky. In each Triptych, three artists are given a word to inspire the creation of a small book of work. The three resulting books are sold as a set, inviting the viewer into the collaboration to make connections between the projects and the overarching theme.

I recently heard a photographer speaking with his former professor/mentor in a podcast interview (check out Ffoton Interviews from Ffoton Wales), and the photographer specifically mentioned the impact made on him by the way lectures were structured and the influences introduced throughout the course. He also made a point to mention that work by certain photographers was included in the lectures, and unless otherwise he may have never learned about them; which made a big impact. The decisions made by the professor were lasting and altering for this student in the decades to follow. Personally, I can trace back many of my photo influences through my former professors and mentors.   

If one studies the history of photography, or even skims an anthology of famous photographers of the 20th century, it’s not hard to trace the traveling impact of Strand to Steiglitz, to Evans, to Parks, to Winogrand, to Metzner, to Leibovitz, to Gilden…and so on. Just pick a starting point and follow the breadcrumbs. The path of influence could lead in a number of different directions from any number of different artists; but the core idea remains. Photographers don’t create work in a vacuum. In the triptych Continuum, the impact of these three photographers upon each other, Morell, McDonald, and Rozovsky, gives the viewer an opportunity to explore the similarities and differences across their work. Whether it is subtle or direct, the lasting impact can be immeasurable.

To their credit, Yoffy Press has taken the triptych format of publishing in interesting directions. Continuum is another wonderful way for a publisher of photo books to explore themes that are not easily explored. Continuum leads us in a circle of influence asking the viewer to reflect upon the work of these three photographers, and it also invited me to reflect on the influences I had as a photo student and beyond. The three books examine the relationship between student and teacher and how that dynamic can shift, reverse and fuse over time. Abelardo Morell taught at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for more than thirty years. Irina Rozovsky was his student there and became a teacher herself.  Alyssa McDonald became Irina Rozovsky’s student, and later became Abelardo Morell’s assistant.  Continuum brings these three photographers together in a way for the viewer to discover the different ways they learned from each other.  This continuum is one of many lineages in the unending and ever-changing collective evolution of photography.

© Abelardo Morell, from Continuum by Yoffy Press
© Abelardo Morell, from Continuum by Yoffy Press
© Abelardo Morell, from Continuum by Yoffy Press

About Abelardo Morell

Abelardo Morell was born in Havana, Cuba in 1948. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1962.  Morell received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his MFA from The Yale University School of Art. He has received an honorary degree from Bowdoin College in 1997 and from Lesley University in 2014.

His recent publications include The Universe Next Door (2013), published by The Art Institute of Chicago, and Tent-Camera (2018), published by Nazraeli Press.  His most recent body of work, Flowers for Lisa, was published by Abrams in October 2018.

He has received a number of awards and grants, which include a Guggenheim fellowship in 1994 and an Infinity Award in Art from ICP in 2011. In November 2017, he received a Lucie Award for achievement in fine art.

His work has been collected and shown in many galleries, institutions and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York, The Chicago Art Institute, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Houston Museum of Art, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum and over seventy other museums in the United States and abroad. A retrospective of his work organized jointly by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Getty in Los Angeles and The High Museum in Atlanta closed in May 2014 after a year of travel. This November of 2019, he will have a show of his work Flowers for Lisa on display at Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York City.

www.abelardomorell.net

© Alyssa McDonald, from Continuum by Yoffy Press
© Alyssa McDonald, from Continuum by Yoffy Press
© Alyssa McDonald, from Continuum by Yoffy Press

About Alyssa McDonald

Alyssa McDonald is a New England native and photographic artist based in Boston. She graduated with honors from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. Most recently, she has exhibited her photographs in group shows at ROW DTLA for the Lucie Foundation’s Month of Photography Los Angeles, SE Center for Photography in Greenville, South Carolina and Millepiani Exhibition Space in Rome, Italy, Aviary Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts and Dehn Gallery in Manchester, Connecticut.  She has work in three upcoming shows in 2019 including a group exhibition at the Rhode Island Photographic Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, The Cumberland Valley Photographers Exhibition at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland and Women Photographers Today at Valid Photo in Barcelona, Spain.  She was part of Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 200 and received an honorable mention in the 12th Annual Julia Margaret Cameron Awards.

Her photographs are rooted in a realm that is capable of being both physical and psychological.  It is through her intense observation of landscapes and characters over the course of the seasons and passing of years, that her subject matter is able to parallel the immediate with the infinite.  Each composition is laden with the history of its landscape and steeped with  experiences of wonder and discovery in the natural world.  With these symbolic values and narratives in mind, she aims her camera at intertwined histories, origins and fates.

www.alyssanmcdonald.com

© Irina Rozovsky, from Continuum by Yoffy Press
© Irina Rozovsky, from Continuum by Yoffy Press
© Irina Rozovsky, from Continuum by Yoffy Press

About Irina Rozovsky

Irina Rozovsky (born in Moscow, raised in the US), makes photographs of people and places, transforming external landscapes into interior states. She has published two monographs (One to Nothing, 2011, and Island in my Mind, 2015). Her work is exhibited internationally and is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Harpers, and Vice. Irina lives and works in Athens, Georgia where she and her husband Mark Steinmetz run the photography project space The Humid. Irina is represented by Claxton Projects.


www.irinar.com


 

Continuum – Abelardo Morell, Alyssa McDonald and Irina Rozovsky
Published by Yoffy Press
Softcover, set of three books
8.75 x 6 inches – each book is approx. 40 pages
Edition of 250


Yoffy Press was founded by Jennifer Yoffy. She founded Crusade for Art in 2013, a non-profit organization whose mission was to engage new audiences with art. Jennifer owned a fine art photography gallery in Atlanta (Jennifer Schwartz Gallery) for five years, and she co-founded Flash Powder Projects, a photographer-focused collaborative venture and publishing company. In the spring of 2013, she traveled around the country in a 1977 VW bus, engaging audiences with photography.

To order a copy of Continuum, or see more titles from Yoffy Press, please visit their website: http://www.yoffypress.com/

The Universal Becomes Personal: Hair Stories by Rohina Hoffman

Hair is so ubiquitous, it’s a common thread not unlike the weather. Seemingly everyone has a comment or observation about the subject. ‘How does my hair look?’, ‘I cried when my hair was cut,’ or ‘I’m having a ‘bad hair day’. Hair Stories is centered around the experience of women and their hair, yet the experience is still universal to some degree. Who among us has not had a bad hair day, bad haircut, or the experience of being happy when their hair looks exactly like they want? Through this project, Hoffman specifically addresses female identity, personality, femininity, history, and many of the aspects that are attached to the subject. Each woman in the book presents her own story about themselves and their hair. Hoffman also includes an inserted sheet where the reader can scan a QR code and hear excerpts of audio interviews of the women sharing their stories as well. By presenting the womens’ voices along with their portraits, I thought this made the stories even more personal.

In her essay in the book, Hoffman writes: “What I discovered is that hair is a language, a shield, and a trophy. Hair is a construct reflecting our identity, history, femininity, personality, our innermost feelings of self-doubt, aging, vanity, and self-esteem. Hair also has deep sociological roots. It can be indicative of a certain religious or political belief system and like its genetic code, is complicated and touches our very core.”

Hair Stories is a series of excerpted interviews and color portraits of a diverse array of women, that explores the complex relationship women have with their hair. Indian-born, Los Angeles–based photographer Rohina Hoffman used the interviewing skills she has developed in her training as a neurologist to establish an intimate rapport that allowed for a truthful dialogue about the role of hair in these womens’ lives. Though it was conceived and shot before the #MeToo movement, this salient project presents hair as a metaphor for identity, femininity and the manner in which women struggle for control over their own bodies in a misogynistic world. Hair Stories does not present itself as a politically charged story, however, and it also shows that hair is more than just style or aesthetics; it is a physical manifestation of the ongoing hope and history of women. I reflected upon the women in my own life in a way that was unexpected for me. The universal became personal. Being cognizant of their own hair stories, and the differences which make them strong individuals, allowed me to learn more about them in a way that is accessible to all of us. 

 

Yasmine, © Rohina Hoffman
Angie, © Rohina Hoffman
Samantha, © Rohina Hoffman
Althea, © Rohina Hoffman
Sophie, © Rohina Hoffman
Larisa, © Rohina Hoffman
Salma, © Rohina Hoffman
Naomi, © Rohina Hoffman

Hair Stories
Text and photographs by Rohina Hoffman
Introduction by Emily Lambert-Clements, Art Advisor and Former Assoc. Fraenkel Gallery.
Essay by Esther R. Berry, Fashion and Gender Studies Scholar and Curator, Ryerson University.
Hardcover 7.25in x 10.5in
92 pages with insert 38 color photographs and excerpts of interviews.
ISBN 978-8862086400


Rohina Hoffman is a fine art portrait photographer working in southern California. Born in India and raised in New Jersey, Hoffman grew up in a family of doctors spanning three generations. While an undergraduate at Brown University, Hoffman also studied photography at Rhode Island School of Design and was a staff photographer for the Brown Daily Herald. A graduate of Brown University Medical School and resident at UCLA Medical Center, her training led to a career as a neurologist. Taught to be a skilled observer of her patients, Hoffman was instilled with a deep and unique appreciation of the human experience. Hoffman now works full time as a photographer.

For more information about the photographer, go to: https://www.rohinahoffman.com. To purchase a copy of Hair Stories, please visit the website here: https://www.womenshairstories.com/buy/hair-stories

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.