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My list of fave photobooks is the Vantage list of fave photobooks. I noted the subheader should read: How four books mailed to the author and two other books he bought in crowdfunding campaigns made the grade

THE ANOINTED ONES

Fan by Rian Dundon (Modes Vu)

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A Lebanese Archive by Ania Dabrowska (Bookworks + Arab Image Foundation)

 

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Deadline by Will Steacy (b.frank books)

 

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In The Vale of Cashmere by Thomas Roma (Powerhouse)

 

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Law & Order by Jan Banning

 

 

Pony Congo by Vicente Paredes (This Book Is True)

 

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I’m perplexed by how exactly the photo-world goes about constructing its holiday exhortations. So much so that Joachim Schmid’s polite takedown of the Photobook-Industrial-Complex is just the best thing.

READ THE FULL REASON BEHIND THE LIST HERE

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Paccarik Orue. BS Ice Cream, I Love Ice Cream, 2010. From the series ‘There is Nothing Beautiful Around Here.’

When mentioning, yesterday, that the Status Update book is now on sale, I listed the press thus far. Hours after I published that post, Michael Shaw published his own — a review of the show at Reading The Pictures. More accurately a review of the edit of images within the projects.

Shaw’s review, titled Silicon Valley in the Mirror pairs some images and makes juxtaposition between others. It’s full of the pep and the frenetic keen-eyed we’ve come to expect of RTP articles.

I think Shaw is being deliberately provocative putting Silicon Valley front and center of the title and piece; he knows Rian Dundon, Catchlight and I wanted to create a show that went beyond the “tech narratives” but Shaw, to be fair, makes good points to say that all aspects of this Bay Area region are (knowlingly or unknowingly) in response or conversation with tech monies, people, culture and economies.

On Talia Herman‘s photographs of her family and his comment that “the symptom on the flip side of the [tech] boom is narcolepsy” I reckon Shaw misinterpreted the images and our curation. If there’s a slowness in the countryside and in the last embers of counter culture, it’s still a chosen sleepier pace; a calm, not a fatigue.

I love, though, what Shaw had to say about Paccarik Orue‘s portrait of a Sikh ice-cream vendor in Richmond:

“So much for virtual reality and commodification. In Orue’s photo, a sense of place (and respectful commerce, too) comes from identity and ritual, faith and ethnicity, as well as all the old flavors of the neighborhood.”

Good stuff.

 

Read Status Update: Silicon Valley in the Mirror

Status Update

WARM OFF THE PRESSES

Hey y’all, the Status Update publication is now on sale.

$$$ 25 $$$ Buy Status Update Now $$$ 25 $$$

A perfect-bound, 128-page, softcover book featuring the work by Lily Chen, Janet Delaney, Sergio De La Torre, Rian Dundon, Robert Gumpert, Pendarvis Harshaw, Talia Herman, Elizabeth Lo, Laura Morton, Paccarik Orue, Brandon Tauszik, Joseph Rodriguez, Dai Sugano and Sam Wolson.

Introduction by Raj Jayadev, coordinator for Silicon Valley De-Bug and an interview with San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
 
5.5 x 8.5 inches
ISBN 978-0-692-55576-7
Edition of 1,000 (November 2015)

Designed by the genius Bonnie Briant.

$$$ 25 $$$ Buy Status Update Now $$$ 25 $$$

Produced by Catchlight, Status Update curated by Rian Dundon and myself is an exhibition of photography and video about change, chance and inequality in the San Francisco Bay Area. It premiered at SOMArts in San Francisco in November 2015 and will travel throughout the SF Bay Area throughout 2016.

PRESS

So far, so good. The show got some great coverage.

Laurence Butet-Roch reflected for Time: Witness the Complex Evolution of the San Francisco Bay Area

California Sunday Magazine gave us a showing: Long Exposure: New Exhibit Captures Residents Experiencing the Boom and Bust of the Bay Area

Mark Murrmann wrote a glowing preview for Mother Jones: These Photos Show the Bay Area You’ll Never See From a Google Bus

Stanford Ethics students got to grips with the show: Adjusting our Focus: the Tech Boom through a Different Lens

Mashable threw down a gallery: Photos Capture Inequality and Change in San Francisco Bay Area

Wired offered great support with Laura Mallonee‘s feature: Capturing the Bay Area’s Diversity — and Rapid Change

Erin Baldassari for the East Bay Express reviewed the show with focus on Oakland-based artists: Beyond Black and White: Nuanced Ways of Documenting the Housing Crisis

Silicon Valley DeBug, with whom we partnered in the show posted for their committed South Bay community and following.

And finally, I was interviewed by Doug Bierend for Vice: ‘Status Update’ Captures the Evolution of the Bay Area

GET IT NOW

The book’s going to last longer than any of the prints and beyond next years traveling exhibit. Whether it will last as long as the issues that are percolating here in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, we’ll see …

$$$ 25 $$$ Buy Status Update Now $$$ 25 $$$

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I just wrote, for Vantage a review titled The Portraits In This Book Are Only Visible When You Hold It In Your Hands of Carina Hesper’s yet-to-be-made book, Like a Pearl In My Hand.

The book is printed with thermochromatic ink (yes, the same stuff used to make 90s Generra Hypercolour Tshirts) and so it changes from pitch black in a resting state to emerging portraits of blind Chinese orphans the next.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Of course, the book hasn’t made full production yet, so I’ve not held on in my hands, but the dummy and the vids look impressive.

The degrees to which Like a Pearl In My Hand plays with metaphor and reconfigures our use of sight and touch further distinguishes Hesper’s book.

Disability is a hidden problem. Blindness prevents sight. By literal description or by strategic manipulation, everyone is in the dark. But when sight is denied, other senses compensate. Hesper plays with this truth.

Hesper is currently raising Kickstarter funds to get the project into book form (it’s already shown at numerous festivals as single prints on the wall.)

Read my review in full and see more pictures: The Portraits In This Book Are Only Visible When You Hold It In Your Hands.

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FOLLOW HCAH ON INSTAH

I’m being facetious of course. Playful, yes. And earnest, oh yes.

Love the Hurford Center for Arts and Humanities (HCAH). Over at HCAH, they’ve got Matthew Callinan the hardest working man in the Greater Philadelphia area and the fellow who gave me my big break.

FOLLOW HCAH ON INSTAH

Callinan, the campus exhibitions coordinator at Haverford College, builds four shows every year, from the ground up. He’s interested not in the big names per se but the emerging ideas of curators, artists and collectives who’ll connect Haverford students to the world as it is now.

And there’s a good amount there for photo-lovers, too. For example, the recent The Past is a Foreign Country a solo show for François-Xavier Gbré and Possible Cities, curated by Ruti Talmor including the work of photographers Sammy Baloji, Pieter Hugo, Salem Mekuria, Sabelo Mlangeni, Guy Tillim and IngridMwangiRobertHutter.

Check out the archive. There’s Zoe Strauss and Hank Willis Thomas, too.

Oh, and how could I miss the current show?!?! The Wall In Our Heads is a themed show about the Berlin Wall, curated by the legendary Paul M Farber who has written extensively on the TV show, The Wire. Do not miss Farber’s paper The Last Rites of D’Angelo Barksdale: The Life and Afterlife of Photography In The Wire.

How better to follow this hotbed of innovation than through the Instah?

FOLLOW HCAH ON INSTAH

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Photographer Tony Fouhse photographed his hometown of Ottawa. Then he made a newspaper of his images and gave all 2,000 of them away for free. The project is called Official Ottawa.

I dig Fouhse’s images of politics, power, pomp and circumstance in Canada’s capital. The concept was great, the execution fine and the distribution in cafes and at truck-stops brings a smile to my face.

FREE FOTOGRAFY WILL SET YOU FREE!

I interviewed Tony about the project for Vantage in a piece titled Control and Containment in the Canadian Capital.

About Ottawa, Fouhse says:

“There is a kind of pervasive fear that percolates through the city. Not a fear of getting mugged or anything, rather, a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Workers here seem to know which side of their bread is buttered and who is buttering it; they certainly wouldn’t want to put their pensions at risk. An atmosphere like that dampers a lot of healthy thinking and questioning and certainly precludes action.”

Read Control and Containment in the Canadian Capital.

01- limo

02-west block

04-National Firefighters Memorial Service

05-memorial

06-special event

07-Govt signage

09-Parliament Hill with Leopard tank

10-Juno

11-P Hill security checkpoint

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Geekfest,a gathering of a motley bunch of photographers young and old begins tonight in Oakland.

Above is an early flier. Below is the full line-up. I’m speaking in the final spot on Sunday afternoon. I still have no idea what I’ll do or speak about. Really. I think the organisers think I’m joking but, nope, totally undecided.

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You gotta love Martin Kollar. He just won the 2015 Prix Elysée. I was cheering for Mari Bastashevski, but I can’t complain with the ultimate choice of Kollar. His work is dark and hilarious. Kollar freezes awkward. In his world, military men are less heroic, stunt men are suicide cases, and practice makes imperfect. Is this shit even real?

Kollar travels through research labs, checkpoints, sports events, training scenarios, parliaments, dentists, barrios and wheat fields. He isolates people from context and time to create solitary and uncanny moments. The list of photographers interested in documenting simulation and facade is long — Lisa Barnard, Paul Shambroom, Yann Mingard, Richard Barnes, Max Pinckers, An-My Lê to name a few — so it is a little surprising Kollar’s work stands out for me and truly strikes a chord. I reckon this is because his work is consistently good. And by good, I mean convincing. I am convinced he has looked really hard to find these scenes. I am convinced he is a good editor, or has good editors around him. I am convinced of his skill because it’s hard to make this look so easy. Check out his notebooks.

Photography is “an intermediary stage, a kind of transitional memory between two times” says Kollar who, according to the Prix Elysée, “belongs to the temporary generation, moving from job to job, from apartment to apartment, relationship to relationship.”

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Originally from Slovakia, Kollar’s projects build upon ideas from the previous. He constructs huge stepping stones and jumps from one to the next when he feels he’s considered the ideas central to each project from all angles. “Then the next idea comes, which usually corrects the previous one,” he says. “My projects are generally linked to limited territories and spaces, whether it be Eastern Europe, the European Parliament or Israel.”

Kollar’s photographs evoke a certain amount of wandering and wondering. For Prix Elysée, Kollar took a geographically unspecific overview.

Provisional Arrangement, conceived in the spirit of a road movie, aims to capture those moments when the permanent becomes provisional,” says Prix Elysée.

Again, not an easy task. To locate and understand the gaps you’ve got to have a good grasp on what the formed and formal landscape of knowledge is for a places … or in Kollar’s cases many (unidentified) places.

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In the Museum of Military History in Dresden, he photographed an installation showing pigeons wearing tiny cameras during the Second World War.

“They evoke today’s drones. In this case, photography is an intermediary stage, a kind of transitional memory between two times. That’s what I want to work on, filling the void, building something in the interstices,” says Kollar. “I wanted to do work that isn’t linked to any place, which revolves around temporality and provisionality.”

In winning the Prix Elysée, Martin Kollar won 80,000 Swiss Francs. He has one year to make an exhibition and a book which extends Provisional Arrangement. It’ll go on show at at Museum Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland in September 2016. We already know he has a wit when it comes to installation.

Good luck Martin.

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