Posts by: Matthew Leifheit

Instagrams Fetch Thousands of Dollars at 2013 Aperture Benefit Auction

Vik Muniz Vik Muniz [@vikmuniz], Full Moon, Rio de Janiero $5,325

This year, the Aperture Foundation opened its annual benefit up to a wider range of ideas—a silent auction of Instagram photos curated by New York Times Magazine Director of Photography Kathy Ryan [@kathyryan1]. Individual cell phone photos by artists both famous and unknown sold with some going for thousands of dollars a piece.

Photographer Captures ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Surrounding Media and Politics in America


Washington D.C.-based photographer Jay Turner Frey Seawell’s series National Trust examines the way democracy looks. In these dark observations, pangs of red, white and blue light cut through black suited bodies and gray limestone masonry. An uncertain, lurching creepiness pervades the work. Information is not presented earnestly in these photos rather it is withheld, blocked by TV cameras and dark shadows that loom menacingly over the punctum of the frame. National Trust is an allegory for the present condition of American politics, a behind-the-scenes tearing apart of the ways in which political transparency is constructed. Seawell recently spoke to us about the series.

Photographer Captures Tough Streets of Marrickville, Sydney for Over 45 Years


My parents moved to Marrickville when I was four years old, and my father gave me my first camera, a plastic Diana for my seventh birthday. It was then that I made friends with the camera and photography. Marrickville is my home. I love it here. Every time I go out with my camera in Marrickville I return with compelling outcomes. It is is a real place with real people. Photography has this power to render things sometimes so real that they seem unreal.
Emmanuel Angelicas

Whimsical Portraits of Two Grandfathers Spending Their ‘Golden Years’ in South Florida

Harry-Griffin iced teeth

Brooklyn-based photographer Harry Griffin titled the above photo Iced Teeth. This kind of rye humor pervades his series Gold Coast, and it betrays an obviously deep respect for his primary subjects, his two grandfathers. Griffin recently told us more about the work.

Blog Re-Blog

Photo: Charles Negre + Maciek Pozoga

Last Friday night a show called Blog Re-Blog featuring work by 200 contemporary photographers opened at Signal Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Its two curators, Max Marshall and Paul Paper, each chose 100 photographers, then drew names from a hat—must have been a large hat, a sombrero maybe—to pair the artists on their lists randomly. Each photographer was invited to choose an image from their partner’s portfolio, and the images were projected in tandem on one enormous wall of the gallery.

Cliffhangers and Quandaries Posed by Photographer Bryson Rand


Phoenix-born photographer Bryson Rand is an army brat, and I suspect moving around a lot while he was growing up has had an effect on his work. He freezes disparate moments of suspense, often seeming to focus on interpersonal relationships and family structure. It’s hard to define exactly what makes his pictures so good or what holds them together, except that they are in the middle of the moment, on the way to a conclusion, lurching and sputtering wildly, and at the same time they are silent, like a plane stalling out in mid-air. Rand is currently pursuing an MFA at Yale University, and we recently talked to him about his work.

The 15 Most Promising Photography BFA Grads of 2013: From SVA, Pratt, Parsons, MICA, and RISD

The first day of my first photography class in art school, Henry Horenstein told me, “People always like the early work.” I have since found this to be true. I tend to identify more strongly with the raw emotions of photographs made in the throes of hormones than those benefitting from wisdom gained by age. The work is usually rougher, more risky.

With this thought in mind, I decided to schlep to art schools in the New York City area and go to every thesis show I possibly could. I sat in on senior critiques, asked department heads and current students to recommend standout work among graduating seniors, and scoured the websites of over 200 photographers getting a BFA this year. Hailing from SVA, Pratt, Parsons, MICA, and RISD, here are 15 students who caught my eye with their fresh approaches to image making.

Portraits of a Zesty Mother


New York-based photographer Molly Matalon journals her relationship to her zesty mother against the tropical tones of South Florida. Matalon’s mother provides ample fodder for this lighthearted but tender documentary series, dressed to the nines in cheetah print, hair perfectly coiffed and makeup always done flawlessly. Matalon just completed her junior year at School of Visual Arts, she’s visiting her mother in Florida, and it’s raining there, so she has some time to tell us a little more.

Evocative Photos of Lonely Roads Taken on Overcast Days


The road shows what is going to be, or what hasn’t still become. It’s a mystery in itself. Like this, the path as humans’ fundamental “ignorance” has a deep symbolic meaning, we all seek to know and also to dream about what isn’t known. Another key idea is the road as a “means” for men to go through nature by way of domination of landscape, piercing and cutting it. Men, as a microcosm, need to create artificial pathways to allow them to move through the natural world. Faced with a powerful nature, the human being needs a shelter; they need the artificial to catch the natural.—Carla Andrade

Roads lie down before Carla Andrade’s lens. Based in Madrid, this Spanish photographer explores the possibilities of this simple tenet in landscapes across the globe—one road in a field, tearing into the distance. This is the purest example of one-point perspective, and the formal conceit of a line disappearing into space is used as grounds to examine the differences between the landscapes of this ubiquitous scene.


Photos of Displaced Animals Who’ve Been Illegally Imported into the United States


Linda Kuo only photographs animals. Her new series entitled Displaced pictures exotic creatures being treated for various maladies at the New York City Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine. Her subjects represent just a few of the estimated 300 million animals that are illegally imported into the United States each year as exotic pets. Although this alarming societal problem is at the heart of Kuo’s series, it’s impossible not to smile when you’re looking at a bunny rabbit wearing an oxygen mask.

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