Posts by: Miss Rosen

An Intimate Portrait of Life After Life in Prison

TRACY, 51, in her own apartment three-and-a-half years after her release. Jamaica, NY (2017)
Sentence: 22 years to life Served: 24 years Released: February 2014 “I imagined coming home, living in a one- or two-bedroom apartment, where one was a master and an extra room for guests. Here I have that. I call this room my “doll house,” my safe haven. I feel at peace. I’ve finally unpacked. I spend a lot of time in here. I take pride in everything. I put more into this room than into the kitchen. I know I need to eat, but my room is my nutrition.”

Top of dresser

CLAUDE, 45, in transitional housing five months after her release. Corona, NY (2017) Sentence: 25 years to life Served: 25 years. Released: February 2017 “When I step into my room, I feel like I’m stepping into another world. I spent 25 years isolated. I really isolated myself. My room in the prison was my safe haven. There was no negative energy. No one came in unless the officers were doing a room search. It was my cocoon, my womb, where I feel the safest. It’s the same thing here. It’s my space. Everything in the room belongs to me, so I have a claim. I have things I was not allowed. I have glass bottles, perfume, shower gel, my mom’s ashes. My mom’s picture in a picture frame with glass. I shed the day the minute I cross over the threshold. I am home.”

American photographer Sara Bennett knows the legal system from a vantage point few have. Working as a public defender specializing in cases with battered women and the wrongly convicted, Bennett has developed a profound understanding of the impact that prison has on innocent and vulnerable lives.

The experience of prison resonates long after release for many who are consigned to spend years inside the system. Over the past five years, Bennett has begun documenting the lives of former inmates in the project Life After Life in Prison. Here we see women making their way back into the world, adapting to the challenges of life after having lost it all.

With a humanist eye and a sensitivity to detail, Bennett shares stories rarely told anywhere: the struggles of the dispossessed and marginalized who carry the weight of redemption on their own shoulders. It is only when they are able to retreat into their own private worlds that they may lay down their burdens for a moment.

Photos of Iconic Women Who Changed Course of the 20th Century

Monica Vitti, Actor, Shepperton, England, 1965.

Diane Von Furstenberg, Fashion Designer, New York, New York, 1979.

A dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, photographer Susan Wood came of age as the conservative values of the 1950s and early ‘60s were boldly stripped and peeled away as the Sexual Revolution and Women’s Liberation Movement ushered in a new age, introducing a fresh generation of powerful women who transformed the state of America.

From Eve Arnold, Susan Sontag, and Gloria Steinem to Julia Child, Yoko Ono, and Diane von Furstenberg, Wood has photographed some of the most luminous women of our times for the stunning new book Women: Portraits 1960-2000 (Pointed Leaf Press).

In her lively essay, “Women Was My Beat,” Wood recounts the unexpected path, which lead her into a career as a professional photographer during the golden age of magazines. After working for fashion magazines including Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and McCall’s, Wood realized she was most interested in doing picture stories about people, places, and events.

Working for Look, Life, People, and New York during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Wood’s photographs became an part of the cultural dialogue. As a woman photographing women, her portraits reveal the soul and spirit of her subjects with sensitivity and understanding. Here Wood looks back at her years on the beat, reflecting on life for women during the decades when everything changed.

Of Loss, Longing, Love, and Fear in the Work of Vivane Sassen

Eudocimus Ruber, 2017.

And Tango Makes Three, 2017.

Over the past two decades, Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen has created a singular body of work that weaves together a spellbinding phantasmagoria of luminous scenes of life. Her relentless independence from the limits of reality, in search of the multi-layered experience that exists beyond the known places Sassen in the realm of poets, mystics, and magicians.

In Hot Mirror (Prestel), we delve deep beneath the still surface of the images, into another realm, one that unfolds page by page as Sassen weaves a tale titled The Eye of the Eucalyptus Tree. Here, we travel between sections from the artist’s most notable series that take us from a remote Maroon village in Suriname in Pikin Slee to Flamboya, in which she returned to Kenya, her childhood home.

A Sassen photograph is not just an image of what lies before the camera, but something more; it is an ode to the medium of photography itself. Like a symphony conductor carefully leading an orchestra, Sassen creates luminous, layered images that belie the power of the visual world.

The Enduring Allure of Artificial Reality, in Photos

Ice Cream Calamity

In our never-ending quest to fix what isn’t broken, we have developed a sweet tooth for the chemical burn that comes whenever we add saccharine. This insistence on artifice is driven by an obsession with perfection, one that believes our ideals superior to the miracles nature reveals each and every day – one that has us writing ourselves out of existence quicker than we’d dare to allow ourselves to believe.

But here, in that moment before the dam breaks, we cross the tipping point without looking back. We cast our faith in illusions designed to sell us on an idea, a service, a product – any number of highly desired sources of escape. It is in this fantastical utopia that American artist Jason DeMarte creates fantastical landscapes that tap into our limitless capacity to consume.

In his series, Adorned, which was chosen for the Critical Mass Top 50, DeMarte digitally combines images of fabricated and artificial flora and fauna with commercially produced products to give us what we want – and more of it. DeMarte takes our cravings to their logical conclusion, a place where beauty becomes gooey, and yet it still appeals. These memento mori could not be more prescient of what is to come, as we step into a brave new world where AI, climate change, and late capitalism become the defining forces of our time. DeMarte shares his insights into this extraordinary body of work.

A Kaleidoscopic Portrait of America in 1966

‘Schoolboy, New York, 1966′

‘South Pacific Restaurant, Chicago, 1966’

‘Trade Union Workers, Detroit. 1966’

Born and raised in Tuscany, Mario Carnicelli was 29 when he entered and won a national Italian photography contest sponsored by Popular Photography magazine, Ferrania Film, Mamiya, and Pentax. The prize was a one month trip across United States, with destinations including New York, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Carnicelli returned to Italy and staged an exhibition at the Pirelli Tower in Milan under the title I’m sorry, America! Evocative indeed. Carncelli felt indiscreet, as though he was intruding upon the affairs of a nation that would soon be burning. He saw past appearances, peering into the soul, recognizing over 50 years ago a profound loneliness, a sense of alienation that only today people are beginning to address, as it reaches epidemic proportions.

Yet within this state, there is a poetry, a longing that underscores each and every scene. It is a wish and a desire, one that persists within every frame that Carnicelli shoots. It is almost a hello and a goodbye, a passing through, and if not for these photographs, no one else would see it too. It is the hope and the belief that a photograph can bridge both time and space.

Inside the Darkly Fascinating World of Masahisa Fukase

Sasuke, from the series Game, 1983.

Bukubuku, 1991.

For more than two decades, the work of Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase has been largely inaccessible. Following his death in 2012, the archives were gradually disclosed, revealing a trove of wonders never seen before. Among the most radical artists of his time, Fukase is now being celebrated with Private Scenes, a large-scale retrospective of original prints that will be on view at Foam, Amsterdam, from September 7 – December 12, 2018. Editions Xavier Barral will publish the accompanying catalogue, to be released on October 23.

Born in 1934 in Bifuka, in the northern region of the island of Hokkaido, Masahisa Fukase was destined to a life in photography. As the eldest son, Fukase was groomed to take over the family photo studio, founded by his grandfather in 1908. By the age of six, he was already helping to rinse the prints – and he stayed with the family business until moving to Tokyo in 1952 to study photography.

Fukase was notable for both his choice of subject matter, and his presentation of it. He was remarkably able to translate his personal struggles of loss and depression into playful and lighthearted looks at some of the most difficult aspects of life and death. This first became evident in the 1961 exhibition, Kill the Pig, which brought the young artist public acclaim. Here, the Fukase presented studies of his pregnant wife Yoko and still-born child in combination with photographs made in a slaughterhouse, providing a tender reflection on love, life and death.

Celebrating Harlem’s Legacy with Portraits of “The Golden Age”

Saint Strivers

Saint Nicholas

Native New Yorker Alanna Airitam understands the impact of place as it informs our sense of what is possible. Within the history of Western Art is a vast sense of absence and exclusion. Visibility and representation occurs for a select few the powerful and wealthy wished to venerate, often propagating distorted, dissembling narratives they pawn off as history.

After considering the limited spaces offered to Black folk in Western art, both on the walls and in offices, Airitam recognized a path for herself, one she began to pursue without knowing where it would take her. Her understanding of the human spirit found a natural home in portraiture, and as she continued to photograph, a story revealed itself.

In The Golden Age, Airitam weaves a tale of two cities exchanging ideas over the centuries, reuniting Old and New Amsterdam – Haarlem and Harlem, to be exact. It’s not small coincidence that City of New York was founded by the Dutch during their seventeenth-century Renaissance – in a real estate swindle, no less.

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.

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.

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