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Posts tagged: fine art photography

Celebrating the Second Annual Latin American Foto Festival in the Bronx

Fred Ramos. A Honduran child plays near train tracks in Arriaga, Chiapas, in southern Mexico, October 2018.

Johis Alarco?n. Nicole Carcelén, 19, plays with a cotton plant in her hair. The black slaves who first came to Ecuador were forced to work in cotton fields, cane fields and coal mines. For Nicole, cotton plants represent the strength of her ancestors and the strength of their blood. La Loma, 2018.

Yael Martinez. Alin Granda at her father’s home in Taxco Guerrero.Ignacio Granda went missing in Iguala Guerrero on May10, 2013 Alin was one year old.With more than 100 thousand deaths that the fight against organized crime has left, there is a generation of children growing in a context of violence. Guerrero Mexico on July 13, 2017.

With the second edition of the Bronx Documentary Center’s Latin American Foto Festival, curators Michael Kamber and Cynthia Rivera provide a space for photographers living and working in Latin America to tell their stories on their terms. The Festival, held in nine venues throughout the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx, gave some 50,000 residents — many of whom are Latinx immigrants — the opportunity to engage with stories from their homelands through exhibitions, workshops, tours, and panel discussions.

The history of colonized lands is rarely told by those who have suffered the fate of centuries of imperialism that have systemically decimated the people and the lands of every continent outside Europe. Over the past 200 years, the people of Latin America have fought for independence and sovereignty, and against puppet regimes installed by the United States that first began in 1823 under the Monroe Doctrine.

As ICE raids systemically target Black and Latinx communities, the Foto Festival provides a pertinent moment to pause and reflect on the impact of white supremacy in its many forms, and the ways in which those it aims to exploit, oppress, and erase fight back in a struggle for life or death.

Picturing the Banality of Evil in the Ominous Workings of the State

Many Americans profess surprise at the inhumane social practices coming from the present White House. Perhaps they are comforted that they once had the luxury to have never been concerned about the forces of the military and prison industrial complexes weighted against foreign lands and U.S. citizens alike.

Perhaps the carnage of AIDS never touched their families. Perhaps they were never the victim of land grabs, medical experimentation, or any number of the genocidal acts waged by this nation that are documented in the annals of history and the on-going subject of current events.

“I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them,” poet Charles Bukowski opined, summing up the new wave of “Not my country!” that greets those who have chosen denial over truth up until it finally affected them.

Deconstructing the Visual Language of Group Photography

Bob Adelman (1930–2016), People Wall, World’s Fair, New York, 1965, gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased as the gift of Nancy and Burton Staniar, 2015.131. © Bob Adelman Estate

Amy Arbus (b. 1954), The Clash, NYC, 1981, gelatin silver print. The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Amy Arbus, 2018.74 Copyright © Amy Arbus

The mind loves to generalize, group and sort, to make categories where they might exist and impose them where they do not. It’s simpler this way; superficiality releases us of the presence of complexity, contradiction, and inconsistency that are the hallmarks of life. Once sorted and filed, we can rely upon confirmation bias to avoid the painful discomfort of ignorance.

The photograph — in as much as it is art, artifact, evidence, testimony, illusion, and artifice — allows us to simultaneously reinforce and question the assumptions we hold. It is only fitting that a group show about the group could offer the possibility of exploring the many facets of our insatiable desire to organize life into neat and palatable portion sizes.

In Among Others: Photography and the Group, now on view at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York through August 18, 2019, Joel Smith, the Morgan’s Richard L. Menschel Curator brings together more than 60 works from the 1860s through the present that explore that which we have long taken for granted as a photographic archetype.

A Rock Star Finds Himself on the Other Side of the Camera

Montserrat, Lesser Antilles, December 1982

Copenhagen, Denmark, January 1982

Montserrat, Lesser Antilles, December 1982

Back in 1979, while watching television in his New York hotel room, British rock star Andy Summers had a revelation: “I should get a real camera,” he writes in an essay that appears in the new monograph, A Certain Strangeness (University of Texas Press).

“Our band, the Police, was moving fast in the US. With pockets suddenly stuffed with dollars and what they called ‘media attention,’ we were a hot new band. You could feel it in this city, where already our names were being called out in the streets. It was fun, but sitting around and staring at the walls of hotel rooms was boring, and we need diversions.”

Summers goes on to recount the experience of being in front of he camera, posing for snaps, and realizing he was intrigued by the way photographers went about their business. He decided to buy a camera and immediately took to the streets, like a duck to water, equally at home with a guitar as he was with a Nikon FE.

Using the Female Gaze to Look Inside the Self

Arielle Bobb-Willis. San Francisco, 2017.

Vortex.

Arielle Bobb-Willis. NYC, 2016.

What we see is informed by how we look at it. What gets framed, by who and to what end are some of the questions that occur whenever an image is introduced. In the realms of Western art and history, access has been limited to a select few who hold the power to use iconography to influence and shape ideas about “truth.”

It is only in recent times that the question of intent and exclusion have been put to the pantheon, calling out misinformation and marginalization, over and over again. At a certain point, one ceases to argue and decenter the narratives foisted upon us. Rather than shadowbox with a lie, we can choose to change the paradigm writ large.

Curators Jon Feinstein and Roula Seikaly did just this with An Inward Gaze, recently on view at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland. Here, they brought together the work of Arielle Bobb-Willis and Brittney Cathey-Adams, two women who make sculptural, performative images that liberates representations of gender, race, and body size from the strictures of the white male gaze.

Carrie Mae Weems Presents a Visual Symphony in Five Parts

Carrie Mae Weems, Slow Fade to Black (Nina Simone), 2010. 

Carrie Mae Weems, Color Real and Imagined, 2014.

Carrie Mae Weems, Anointed, 2017.

When Carrie Mae Weems made The Kitchen Table Series in 1990, she centered the intimate lives of Black women on the world stage, asserting the importance and impact of these tender moments of family and self-love at the very heart of her photographic practice. Her self-portraits were constructions of intergenerational experiences rooted in knowledge of self and the power of identity when made visible and centered as the basis for a work of art.

Weems’s practice in one rooted in knowledge of self, of the visceral need to create art and share it with the world. It is something that is done for the act, rather than the ends — and in this way it withstands the test of time, never falling prey to fads or trends.

“I don’t make work for the market. I create out of necessity, and so in one strange way, if we were to look at how my work might be received at Sotheby’s or at Christies when it goes up to auction, there’s frankly very little interest in my work,” Weems reveals in an interview with canadianart. “It has been historically undervalued. I think that most people are interested in beautiful things that don’t necessarily cause them to think very deeply about any one thing.”

Poignant Photos of Rescued Farm Animals in Their Twilight Years

Violet, a potbellied pig, age 12. Born with her rear legs partially paralyzed, Violet was surrendered to a sanctuary because her guardian could not properly care for her special needs.

Blue, an Australian Kelpie rescue dog, was a companion for 21 years.

Babs, a donkey, age 24.

Babs, a donkey, spent seventeen years of her life at a cattle ranch, where ranchers used her for roping practice. “Roping involves electrically shocking a donkey to make her run, chasing her on horseback, and then tossing a lasso around her neck or rear legs to pull her to the ground,” the photographer Isa Leshko writes in her book Allowed to Grow Old. “Donkeys endure this practice repeatedly until they are exhausted, maimed, or killed.”

The fantastical world of Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri

The art of order is imperative to the human condition. We appreciate the beauty and simplicity of everyday life: rows of trees and pots placed in unison; pastel-hued doors and shutters built in perfect form; white walls, white gates and white fences guarding our homes and the contents within.

Pioneer Artist & Model Ming Smith Reflects on a Life in Photography

Ming Smith. Grace Jones at Studio 54, 1978
archival pigment print, 30 x 40 inches

Ming Smith. Sun Ra Space II, New York City, NY, 1978
archival pigment print, 40 x 60 inches

In 1974, at the age of 23, Linda Goode Bryant opened Just Above Midtown (JAM), a non-profit New York arts organization dedicated to showing the work of artists of color in the heart of 57th Street, then the capital of the art world. Rent was a astonishing $300 per month, the 70% discount a testament to Goode Bryant’s negotiating prowess.

Like Goode Bryant, JAM was a revolution unto itself, with the intention to burn the art world down to the ground. JAM pioneered the works of now-renowned Black artists including Dawoud Bey, Norman Lewis, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Lorna Simposon, and Ming Smith — all of whom are being show at Frieze New York (May 2-5) as part of a special tribute to Linda Goode Bryant’s JAM Gallery from the 1970s.

The 2019 Frieze Stand Prize was awarded to Jenkins Johnson Gallery for their presentation of the work of photographer Ming Smith, whose contributions to the medium have recently come into clear focus. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio and educated at Howard University, Smith moved to New York in 1973 to live as an artist. To support herself, Smith joined the ranks of Grace Jones, Bethann Hardison, B. Smith, Sherry Bronfman, and Toukie Smith as the first generation of Black women to break the color barrier in the fashion and beauty industries,

Fashioning the Feminine Ideal in the Photos of Martine Gutierrez

Martine Gutierrez, Girl Friends (Rosella & Palma 4), 2014. 

Martine Gutierrez, Line Up 5, 2014. 

Martine Gutierrez, Girl Friends (Anita & Marie 3), 2014. 

Martine Gutierrez is a star, restoring performance art to its rightful place in the pantheon. As artist and muse, Gutierrez uses film and photography as a medium uses a crystal ball, gazing into the vast unknowable realm until an image occurs — a lyrical poem, a visual ode to the mellifluous construction of the feminine as a look, a lifestyle, and the glorious manifestation of luminous artifice.

In Life / Like: Photographs by Martine Gutierrez, now on view at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum through June 16, 2019, Gutierrez takes us deep insider her magical world, where hair and make up, costume and set, lighting and casting combine the pleasures of cinema, fashion, and design.

Featuring works from the series Girl Friends and Line Ups, Gutierrez surrounds herself with mannequins, taking playing with dolls to exquisite new heights. “Mannequins very succinctly represent the artificial, especially in materiality, when compared to the imperfect reality of the human body,” Gutierrez has said. “But in coaxing the viewer’s misinterpretation, misleading with light and guise, I am looking for the place where those two worlds meet.”

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