Imagine my surprise when, upon arriving at Thierry Goldberg Gallery in NYC's lower east side to meet my fellow judge for the Parson's BFA graduate show, it turns out to be Vince Aletti, photography critic for the New Yorker Magazine. After I got over my intimidation, I was thrilled and humbled to chat with Mr. Aletti about the more than 60 graduating artists' work, and even more thrilled when we were in agreement about much of the work on show.
We nominated our winners and each selected a Juror's Choice - mine is A. Retina Stewart
. (Her fabulous real name!)
A. Retina Stewart is Houston-born, now living and working in New York. Her short documentary is a classic; it explores the lives of underground hip hop musicians, their goals and personal endeavors. Stewart highlights the young men's struggles against the pressure to be hyper-masculine and portray a young-black-male stereotype.
"Selling drugs is NOT part of our culture. That's the situation we were put in. If we could have went to Yale, we would have. People move drugs into our streets. We are survivors. We didn't get the same opportunities... we made it work."
Genesis Iver, 2014
Carpe D, 2014
"Vertumnus" © Klaus Enrique
Frank McFly, 2014
Jevon Doe, 2014
"Male African-American hip hop musicians are notoriously perceived to uphold hypermasculine standards; which creates a commercialized persona. Through an intimate interview in each artist's bedroom, Stewart explores them on a more dimensional and nuanced level, delving into their ambitions, insecurities, and fears." A. Retina Stewart
Frank McFly, 2015
In a piece on Afropunk
, Stewart proudly, rightfully states "I have mastered the art of finding gold within people, and that's a jewel that school can't teach."
Follow Stewart on Instagram: _arstewart
's own exuberance is evident in this series of photographs in which he pays homage to the Italian portraitist Arcimboldo
in spectacular style. Referencing both the 16th century master's own works as well as updating his subjects to reflect cultural and political concerns, Klaus' images are highly detailed, impassioned, and splendidly executed.
Klaus grew up in Mexico City. He studied genetics at the University of Nottingham, UK, and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, US. Most of his working career was spent as a freelance IT consultant before he turned to sculpture and photography, which he studied at Parsons and at the School of Visual Arts, in New York. We met at the outstanding Photolucida
Portfolio Reviews in April, 2015. Klaus had the foresight to email me beforehand, and included one of his images, saying he was looking forward to meeting me. Simple things like this make me happy, especially when the work is this compelling!
Bonus Gandhi! © Klaus Enrique
aCurator and Klaus Enrique under a triple rainbow. April, 2015, Portland, Oregon. Thank you Photolucida!
Artist Terri Gold explores "universal cross-cultural truths," and for this chapter of her ongoing series "Still Points in a Turning World" she headed to Niger.
Terri says: "There has been no tourism in Niger for six years now. There were just four of us. The woman leading the trip, Leslie Clark has had a foundation there, The Nomad Foundation
. We were the only guests at the festival amid thousands of nomads - being nomads there is no fixed date or location we had to patiently search and were thrilled to finally find their annual gathering.
"There was nothing done on our behalf, this was the most authentic experience I have ever witnessed. We had 18 armed guards which the government insisted we travel with. All had Kalashnikovs and there was a 50 mm machine gun on each truck. One ahead of us and one at the rear. I have never traveled like that before. We were graciously welcomed by the nomads but right after we left al Qaeda spilled over from Nigeria and we would have had to cancel the trip.
"In this remote corner of northern Niger indigenous tribes are holding on to their way of living: in tune to the rhythm of nature, treading lightly on Earth, leading their beloved animal herds to precious water sources and staying true to their traditions. Surviving in these sunbaked landscapes, each tribe has created a richly unique identity. Yet the timeless past will soon meet the imminent future. What will be discarded and what will be treasured? If we appreciate the mysteries of every realm, we may gain a deeper understanding of that which lies both behind and ahead of us."
was purveying her photographic wares at the portfolio walk during PhotoLucida last month. I stopped in my tracks to explore her wild-looking prints and enjoyed a really fun few minutes chatting with Jan and her husband and son. Wonderful people. I had never heard of this chromoskedasic alternative process before - the prints were gorgeous. Here's the deal for any other ignorami:
"In this body of work I am using chromoskedasic painting to produce unique gelatin silver prints. The photographs are manipulated with chemistry during the black and white development process. This creates a range of subtle colors as well as a silvering out of the photographic paper. The process can be unpredictable and difficult to control as you canʼt see the effects of the chemistry until after the marks develop. It does not allow for the same kind of detail as traditional painting."
"Manipulating photographs allows me to work with several elements that are interesting to me, making marks on paper, altering a photographic image and integrating another medium into the surface of the print. Visually, I am interested in pushing the boundary between where the photographic image begins and ends."
India-based Rohit Saha
sent in these photographs taken after the recent, massive earthquake in Nepal along with his own stirring poem.
I can't explain how it feels.
It's dark here.
I had no idea what an earthquake does to a place.
Thousands of bodies are being burnt, the sky is filled with smoke.The air smells of death, of an unimaginable devastation that has come upon Nepal.
Bhaktapur, the ancient Durbar square, one of the Unesco world heritage sites have been completely devastated.The smell of the place, the coldness with little mountains of rubbles. A broken comb, a pack of cards and a phone just popped out from the rubble.
Just overheard from the brave rescue teams that a four month baby was found alive after 4 days. Hope.
I am staying beside the crematorium ground, near the Pashupati temple. Mass cremations are grim, any death is.
Millions of people have been left homeless, stranded without a roof. Relief camps have sheltered thousands of people, trying to live through the tough times, together. They have nothing but their family and many don't even have that.That fear is still there,but still they manage to laugh.
Sankhu, a small village uphill from Kathmandu is lost. Most of the houses in this picturesque hamlet are gone.
Family photographs on the wall and cupboards. Empty sofas and tarpaulin walls of relief camps. Sniffer dogs and international rescue teams try to bring out the dead from under the rubbles. They found a woman, dead in her courtyard, buried under her own house. I saw her face before they covered it, and wrapped her in a white plastic sheet. I could see her face. I won't ever forget.
Nepal is holding herself strong and beautiful.
Life is the most precious thing.
If you don't stay then nothing stays. What remains? - Rohit Saha, May 2015
Watching New Yorker Susan A. Barnett
build her series "Not In Your Face
" into a fantastic collection over the last couple years has been a pleasure, and now her dedication to capturing T shirt messages has resulted in a really great book, from Dewi Lewis.
"With over 200 images of t-shirt 'messages', "T: A Typology of T-shirts
" looks at those individuals who stand out in a crowd through their choice of the message on their back." Here are but a handful, from a request I made to Susan for more "sassy, edgy" messages. Susan's off to continue shooting abroad so stand by for some messages from other cultures.
In 1971, Yousuf Karsh published a book of his portraits titled "Faces of Our Time
" (University of Toronto Press). It included his iconic, intimate photographs of John F. Kennedy, Helen Keller, Albert Schweitzer, Ravi Shankar, Tennessee Williams, and many more. Anyone who is familiar with Karsh will know that the success of his portraits resulted from his respect for, and knowledge of, his subjects. When photographers have a good amount of time with their subject, so much more is revealed in the resulting portrait as a connection is made. When a photographer has to grab 2 minutes in a bland hotel room, they get nothing but a flat record of some face.
is a brilliant man, wonderful photographer, still-young and -prolific veteran artist. His new book, "Faces of Our Time," will be filled with his own intimate and iconic portraits made over the last 35 years. From Quentin Crisp, to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to Hugo Chavez, Pyke has made his own mark with the luminaries of the 20th century.
Help get this book of photos and stories published through Unbound. You get the e-book for only £10!
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced a new crossing over the Detroit River which will connect Windsor, Ontario to Detroit will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge in honor of the 87-year-old Red Wings legend.
I met Samantha Geballe
last April and I was impressed with her ability to speak about her incredibly intimate photographs, at her young age. She has a wonderfully frank attitude, and both I and two of my fellow reviewers, who will be thrilled to see the work here, were knocked off our feet.
© Bear Kirkpatrick
Our hero of the fantastical, Bear Kirkpatrick, has kindly rolled out a new set of eye-popping images in his Wall Portraits series, with a new solo exhibition of the prints opening next week at Daniel Cooney Fine Art
in New York City.
"In his studio, Kirkpatrick applies feathers, dead bugs and other assorted materials on his subject's skin and hair as he listens to their stories. They reveal their experiences and he uses his imagination to see what lies below the surface. He imagines a history and another level of consciousness that might exist beyond our own."
It is barely 18 months since I first saw this project and it has been wonderful to watch it develop, and yes, now the be-all and end-all: a solo show in NYC. Props to Daniel Cooney for knowing great stuff when he sees it. Breasts or no breasts, right Bear?