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Posts tagged: fine art photography

A New Exhibition Looks at Our Complex Relationship with Animals

Karsten, impoundment #87239. Karsten was an 11-month male Labrador/hound mix was a stray. He was brought to the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, NC on 4/20/13. Karsten was adopted on 8/13/13 after spending 78 days in the shelter, and thirty-seven days after being photographed at Landfill Park. © Shannon Johnstone

In 2013, Shannon Johnstone met a puppy named Karsten at the Wake County Animal Center in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of her long-term project Landfill Dogs, a series of photographs of shelter dogs who are at risk of being euthanized.

Karsten was a great dog, but he was young and big. He also had lots of energy, which meant he’d be harder to adopt. “Not long after his photo shoot, Karsten ended up in quarantine,” the artist remembers. “The note in his file read ‘Quarantined for rambunctious behavior.’”

Johnstone left Karsten’s photo shoot that day feeling sad and worried that he wouldn’t find a home. In his portrait, he’s sitting in the grass, looking back at the photographer under a cloudy sky. His expression is hopeful, but it’s also solemn.

Despite the nuances of the work, Johnstone initially had trouble getting people to care about dogs like Karsten. “When I began Landfill Dogs, I attended portfolio reviews and consultations with curators,” she remembers. “I was disappointed to hear that my photographs would never be anything but dog portraits.

“I was told by more than one individual that because of the subject, the photographs needed something else, some other twist to ‘elevate’ them. This really bothered me. Why can’t a portrait of a dog be just as important as a portrait of human?”

Now, an exhibition of five female artists is hoping to shift the narrative. With support from the Culture and Animals Foundation, Johnstone, Lee Deigaard, Jo-Anne McArthur, Traer Scott, and L.A. Watson have come together under one roof to examine the dignity, individuality, and worthiness of animals.

A History of Photography as Seen Through the Eyes of Howard Greenberg

Young girl in profile, 1948. Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894–1978)
Photograph, gelatin silver print

Madrid, Spain, 1933. Henri Cartier?Bresson (French, 1908–2004)
Photograph, gelatin silver print

The history of photography is shaped not only by the people who make the pictures but those who preserve their work and their legacies. In a world where the art market feeds a compulsion to buy and sell, to trade art like a commodity, the words of Oscar Wilde may spring to mind: “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

But once upon a time, it was not so. The collector was a person of tremendous importance and influence, supporting not only the artist in the tradition of patronage, but transforming the landscapes of history and art. Gallerist Howard Greenberg is one such person who understand this point of view, having not only helped establish the medium of photography in the haughty market of art, but having established a collection whose value extends far beyond the pallid discussion of price.

The new exhibition Viewpoints: Photographs from the Howard Greenberg Collection, on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston through December 15, 2019, presents 150 highlights from a group of 446 recently acquired images that showcases some of the most important pictures made during the twentieth century.

The list of photographers is a veritable who’s who of modern art — and some of our favorites including Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Roy DeCarava, William Klein, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, James Van Der Zee, Arnold Newman, and Brassaï (Gyula Halasz) to name just a few of the legends whose works are now on display.

The Hope and Resilience of Animals, in Photos

“I first saw Chloe as I was passing a beautiful rolling pasture on my drive home,” Debra Hodges remembers. “It was late afternoon. Her whiteness was shimmering against the dark green of the forest behind her as she grazed in a pasture green with the promise of warmer days ahead. I’d driven by that pasture for years and had never seen her. I knew I had to photograph her.”

After weeks of searching for the property owner and the lessee, Hodges finally got to meet Chloe–a senior horse in her 20s. Chloe had been with her family for eight years, and she had melanoma. “From a distance, she was perfection,” the artist says. “Up close she had a large mass growing at the edge of one of her eye sockets. And the base of her tail was deformed by a collection of lesions and growths that hadn’t yet interfered with her bodily functions but would before long.”

Lyrical Photos of Trails Left Behind After the Kill

On the northeastern tip of Hokkaido, Japan, Shiretoko National Park lies in the balance. Taking its name from the native Ainu language, “the place where the earth protrudes” is one of the most remote places in the island nation. The temperate and subalpine mixed forests are home to brown bears and Kamuiwakka Falls, a hot springs waterfall known as “water of the gods.”

Designated as a 2005 UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is also home to deer, whose population has been controversially culled by the government. Japanese photographer Takashi Homma began documenting the site of the kills in 2009, working over the next decade to compile a series of work just published in Trails (MACK).

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.”

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