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Exploring the Chimerical World of Fantasy in “Korean Dreams”

Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-Il was the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea between 1994 and 2011. Affectionately referred to as the “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong-Il presided over a highly repressive regime that controlled virtually every aspect of political, social and economic life. Note: The North Korean government website once stated that Kim Jong-Il was the world greatest golfer and never needed to urinate or defecate.

Mass Gathering
The North Korean constitution guarantees the freedoms of speech and assembly but in practice the regime does not tolerate any challenge to its authority or propaganda machine. Gatherings outside state-organised civic events and ceremonies are strictly prohibited in order to prevent the spread of dangerous liberal ideas.

The media will have you believe we live in a post-truth world – but what they fail to mention is, this is the way it has always been. Misinformation, disinformation, deception, deceit – the powerful have always sought to use smoke and mirrors to cover their tracks. In a world ruled by 24/7 communications, we have amplified the divide between illusion and reality, opinion and reportage.

Yet, the systems that distort, erase, and wholly rewrite history exist within all cultures, regardless of wealth and technology. Consider North Korea, a nation that exists as both a fantastical image and a quixotic mystery to the world. The distance between these two realms has captivated Canadian photographer Nathalie Daoust.

In her new exhibition, Korean Dreams at the Gadsden Museum of Art in Gadsden, AL (September 7-October 29, 2018), Daoust has created a series of photographs that act a metaphor for the way information is manipulated in North Korea. During the development stage, Daoust deliberately obscures her photographs. As the layers of film are peeled off, information is “lost,” and what remains is a haunting shadow of the original – it’s truth no longer evident, or even essential to the viewing experience.

24 Photos from The Print Swap Are Headed to London!

Visitors © Sebastian Dijkstra Nilander (@___sebastian_dijkstra___), Lier, Norway

guides & messengers / net fishing in Cartagena © Hakim Kabbaj (@ _______hakim), Brooklyn, NY

Palouse Green Acres © Clark Most (@clarkmost), Midland, MI

The Print Swap by Feature Shoot is coming to The Other Art Fair in London on October 4th, in an exhibition curated by Caroline Hunter, the Picture Editor at The Guardian Weekend Magazine! This show is our first in the UK, featuring 24 images in total with photographers hailing from the United States, Canada, England, Norway, Germany, Poland, Italy, Belgium, and Qatar. The Other Art Fair is expected to draw over 14,000 visitors.

While this show has no fixed theme, Hunter’s selections feel bound by a common thread; that is, they all seek beauty in the overlooked. These artists ask us to discover and delight in the surprises that lie beyond the surface, whether it’s the poetry of color in the streets of London (Kyun Ngui), an otherworldly trick of the light behind a seemingly ordinary tree (Sebastian Dijkstra Nilander), or the shadow cast by a lonely basketball hoop (Bastian Richter).

Remembering the net fishers he encountered in Cartagena, the photographer Hakim Kabbaj writes, “Despite the fact that they were just kids making a few bucks for the day, at that moment, they seemed to become mythological figures who had control over everything around them, the boat, the net, the fish, the birds, the tides and sun.” Amanda Annand says she feels “most at home in small and unusual places, and similarly, Edward Kreutzarek admits, “I always had that affinity for those not ‘obviously beautiful’ places.”

If you’re in London between October 4th and 7th, be sure to check out the show in person! As always, we invite photographers around the world to submit images to The Print Swap by tagging #theprintswap. Our team of editors selects outstanding images to be part of the project, and participating photographers both give and receive prints. Prints are mailed out at random, so it’s always a fun surprise to see who ends up with each print. A photographer in New York, for instance, could receive a print from Pakistan. While it’s free to submit to The Print Swap, selected photographers pay $40/image to participate, and that covers printing and shipping in full.

In November, we’ll be having our holiday party and exhibition at ROOT Studios in Manhattan, and all photographers who participate in The Print Swap between now and November 11th will get to show work! Learn more at our website, and follow along at @theprintswap on Instagram for more.

Searching for the History of Humanity in the Landscape

British ‘blockhouse’ fortification,
built during the Anglo-Boer War, ‘Barton’s Folly’, Hekpoort.

The Cradle from “Spioenkop”, sniper outpost, used by Boers during numerous wars.

Just 31 miles northwest of Johannesburg lies the Cradle of Humanity, a paleoanthropological site that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCP in 1999. Here, on 180 square miles, is a complex of limestone caves, within which some of the oldest hominid fossils have been found.

The excavations, which began in 1935, continue to this day, helping to lay out the bare bones, if you will, of the mysterious origins of humankind and have been met with worldwide fascination. Our desire to understand the process by which we came to be, to fill in the missing links of evolution, is one that has captured the human imagination for centuries.

In the 3.5 million years that have passed since the hominids of the oldest known fossils walked the earth, innumerable generations have come and gone without a trace. History is written by the victors, Winston Churchill observed – and then it is edited, revised, and expanded by those who simply cannot abide by a self-serving narrative.

Recognizing the challenges of photographing history long after the moment has passed, South African photographer David Lurie has turned to the landscape as a space for meditation on the relationship between the past, present, and future – the ever present absence of all that has come before guiding us like an invisible hand, driving us forward with a relentlessness that can only be considered when we press pause.

Arlene Gottfried Captured New York at Its Best

Angel and Woman on Boardwalk in Brighton Beach, New York, 1976

Women on Riis Beach, New York, 1980

Arlene Gottfried (1950–2017) was a paradox of the best kind: the infinitely shy artist who can blow the roof off the joint while singing gospel, or approach any person in order to take their photo. Hailing from Brooklyn, Gottfried spent her childhood in Coney Island where all kinds of characters loomed near and far.

She took up photography, casually snapping some of the greatest New York scenes ever caught on film, documenting an era of life that once defined the city, but has long since been erased. In Sometimes Overwhelming (powerHouse Books). Gottfried chronicles the charismatic figures she encountered on the streets and the beaches, the nightclubs and the parks, the boardwalks and the parades, the circus and the dog shows.

These Nostalgic Photos Capture the Spirit of NYC

Sleuth

Chrysler

When describing the American photographer Berenice Abbott, the French poet Jean Cocteau once said, “She is a chess game between light and shadow.” It’s been almost ninety years since Abbott made New York her stomping ground, but her ghost continues to haunt its streets. And perhaps if you look hard enough, you’ll see she left a few of those chess pieces behind.

Ian Robert Wallace knows how to find them. As the child of two architects, the young photographer and filmmaker always shared a bond with the city. “I knew when I was growing up that I wanted to live in NY at some point,” he admits. “I thought it was mesmerizing.” He finally made the move when he went to NYU in 2012, but in some ways, the much-anticipated arrival took him back in time.

Photos of 65 Iconic Artists In Their Bathtubs

Keith Haring, 1982. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

Phoebe Legere, 1988. Photo © Don Herron, courtesy Estate of Don Herron and Daniel Cooney Fine Art

The East Village, 1988: Phoebe Legere was preparing to pose in her bathtub for photographer Don Herron. The 25-year-old songwriter had signed to Epic Records—one of the most powerful in the world back then—and they poised to make her into some combination of Madonna, Barbra Streisand, and Liberace. At the same time, Legere says, Michael Jackson had reached huge commercial success, Cindy Lauper was past her prime, and few female singers or artists were depicted as strong or powerful figures in stardom. Not to mention there was a booming yet wholly male-dominated art renaissance emerging quite literally around the corner in New York, according to Legere. Even Keith Haring was showing at the now-iconic FUN Gallery just half a block away from Legere’s apartment, where she still resides today. “It was a boys club, no question about it,” Legere tells me. “Girls were not welcome, except as maybe a muse or a drug dealer.”

A few days before her photo shoot with Herron, however, Legere had an idea. The up-and-coming musician could use the session to reveal another one of her talents: painting. Using black bathtub glaze, she adorned her bathtub in paintings of fish—which she calls her “totem animal”—and voluptuous women. She didn’t think her beauty alone was enough to would hold anyone’s attention. By the time Herron arrived, after he climbed 80 stairs to Legere’s fifth floor walk up, the paint on the tub had not yet dried and the water had turned black.

Call for Submissions: The Print Swap Exhibition at ROOT Studios


Images:  © Samuel Hicks© Murielle Etc© Andrew Heiser , © Dani Gros© Chiara Zonca© Brad Curran© Alex M. Smith© Rebecca Webb.

The Print Swap is coming to Manhattan for our second annual holiday exhibition and party, and photographers who participate in the swap between now and November 11th will be part of the show! In the past, we’ve exhibited in Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Sydney, and Hyderabad and we’re thrilled to be coming back to ROOT Studios in New York City this winter. This will be the ninth-ever Print Swap exhibition but the first to include every Print Swap photographer who submits during the open call.

Simply tag your photos #theprintswap on Instagram to be considered. We also accept submissions emailed to [email protected]

Launched by Feature Shoot Founder Alison Zavos back in 2016, The Print Swap connects photographers all over the world. Selected artists each give a print of their own, and in exchange, each participant receives a print from someone else. The element of surprise is a big part of the project; because we mail prints randomly, you could end up with a photograph taken just around the block or halfway across the globe. We’ve had participants from dozens of countries across six continents so far. While it’s free to apply, selected photographers pay $40 per image to participate, and this covers all printing and shipping costs.

Since all Print Swap photographers will be exhibiting work, this show promises to be our biggest yet. All genres are eligible, and our team of Print Swap editors will be selecting images. As with all of our shows, photographers who have submitted prior to this call for submissions will not be eligible to exhibit, but everyone is more than welcome to submit again. As a reminder, the deadline for submissions for this exhibition November 11th, 2018. Learn more at our website and follow along at @theprintswap on Instagram for updates. We can’t wait to see your photos!

These Adorable Photos Will Make You Want to Rescue a Dog Right Now

“Rescue dogs are such forgiving souls,” Suzanne Donaldson tells me. The photography expert and animal lover, who also goes by the moniker Mrs. Sizzle, recently teamed up with Social Tees Animal Rescue and the photographer Shayan Asgharnia to share the stories of nineteen of these souls, all of whom have since traveled from Los Angeles high-kill shelters to New York City, where they have a second chance to be fostered and adopted into loving homes. Donaldson and Asgharnia were able to visit dogs of all ages, who, despite having been abandoned and left behind, embodied that forgiving spirit.

Ethereal, Dreamlike Photos Inspired by the Cosmos

“I was always fascinated by the stars,” the Greek photographer Petros Koublis tells me. “In Greek mythology, they are connected with many myths. Heroes and heroines, after they have completed their sagas, get transformed into constellations.” The stars, the cosmic dust, and the space between all form the thematic foundation of his series Silentia, a reflection on the origin of our universe and the dawn of man.

The Sublime Poolscapes of Karine Laval

Through the eyes of Karine Laval, life by the pool becomes a fantastical escape from it all. Here, the raucous laughter and joyous shrieks of children wet and on the loose mellifluously float through the air along with a cool spray of water that gently lands upon your skin.

In the Poolscapes (Steidl) of Laval, we slip away into a world where fun in the sun never ends. The book brings together two connected bodies of work—“The Pool” (2002–05) and “Poolscapes” (2009–12) made at public pools in urban and natural environments in Europe and private pools in the United States.

As the pages of Poolscapes float beneath our fingers, Laval’s photos evoke sensations of peace and excitement, finding their balance in the space that oscillates between representation and abstraction until the murky depths take on metaphorical terms. Here, Laval takes us for a dip into the curiously primal world at the modern-day swimming hole.

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