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This is a blog in love with photographers. Scroll down aCurator's page and you'll see one photographer's name after another in bold, black letters with sharp, seductive images in between. These posts often link to glorious, full-screen features -- free of surrounding navigation bars and text -- on the main aCurator.com site. ("Frustration with a lack of full-screen images led me to publish aCurator," explains founder and editor, Julie Grahame.) But the signature strength of the aCurator blog is, in fact, suggested by its name. Grahame is a curator with a flawless eye and, in her assessment of the work she presents, an immediately trustworthy, no-frills tone. ("Miriam O'Connor is my latest crush," she writes, introducing one young photographer's pictures. "Her [series] 'Attention Seekers' filled me with joy; it's refreshing, smart and humorous.") aCurator's triumph is a clarity of purpose wedded to a keen intelligence, and a willingness to let its stunning photographs largely speak for themselves.
"I thought that if I was gay, I couldn't have kids." El Segundo, 2009.
Another important series, this from Stefan Jora: "The Gay Families Project". Stefan is hoping to expand the project to Washington State. If you're feeling fundy, you can easily support the project here. Benefits start at only $1.
Leaving for work. El Segundo, 2009.
"The Project has as an objective the creation of a photobook featuring American families with parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Informed by the past, while drawing from the present, and looking to the future, the book has the potential for creating awareness about the commonality of such 'gay families', especially for viewers in parts of the world where ill-informed homophobia is prevalent. Thematically, I am interested in exploring the intersection of the mythical, homosexual, and political in American culture, and am aiming for a book that will contribute to the discourse on what constitutes the proverbial American Dream in the 21st century.
I have been working on this project for close to two years, and have thus far met with and photographed over twenty families in California. With your support, I plan to photograph families living in Washington state this summer, which will give me a better idea as to whether I need to expand the Project to other U.S. states in the future, or continue and complete it in the Golden State alone."
Incoming news from Jackson Fine Art in Atlanta - they are thrilled to have Jospeh Szabo's 'Jones Beach' on exhibition this summer. As well they should be - just look at these!
"Joseph Szabo has been photographing his teen-age students for the past
twenty-five years, and has perfectly captured the ambivalence of that
time of life. As a high school teacher of photography, he takes
seriously their pretentions, passions, and confusions, and he knows
intimately how students put on, act up, behave, and misbehave. As
Cornell Capa (said), 'Szabo's camera is sharp, incisive,
and young, matching his subjects. One can use many adjectives:
revealing, tender, raucous, sexy, showy... in Szabo's hands, the camera
is magically there, the light is always available, the moment is
perceived, seen, and caught.'"
The 'Jones Beach' book is available from the gallery.
Darren Nisbett and I share a common experience of the Chernobyl disaster, both British with strong memories of the events of April 1986 which, as Darren says, "got buried in the process of growing up, surfacing now and then through documentaries, movies and even video games." In 2010, he began his project.
"Walking around the ghost town of Pripyat, a city that once was the home to over 50,000 people, you can't help noticing the silence. Very few birds sing around this area and you are always aware of an invisible poison in the air, even if levels are safe enough that humans can spend prolonged amounts of time there without adverse health risks. There are areas where this radiation is still high though, certain metal objects and vehicles that were exposed during the accident, some buildings and, most noticeably, vast pools of moss which unlike the leaves on the trees, endure the cold winters and hot summers."
"My photography project spanned two trips to the exclusion zone, known as
the 'zone of alienation'. The images are taken with a camera converted
to capture in Infrared: a filter covers the sensor and blocks out the
colour part of the spectrum. This creates higher contrast in the
textures of the concrete and picks up the reflected chlorophyll in the
plants making them almost glow; these combine to produce eerie images
which show nature growing, surviving and reclaiming a city that the
world's worst nuclear accident had rendered uninhabitable for humans."
At the School of Visual Arts' MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media 2011 Thesis exhibition I saw a few interesting photographs and installations, one of which, Carly Gaebe's 'The Pattern of Your Ways', where the artist created performances to reconnect with her Czech great-grandparents' routines, necessitated the eating of fresh Kolache (a Czech pastry). A couple of the photographs in Liz Arenberg's 'you see me', a series about her relationship with her sister, were simply beautiful. I thought Chris Sellas' project 'You. I.' was interesting - Chris mailed 2 copies of the same photograph to people from his past; he'd commented on one and the recipient should comment on the other.
Kimo Kim's project was really, really entertaining. "As a student in New York, South Korean fashion photographer Kimo Kim found that her normally gregarious personality was stifled by language and cultural differences. In response, she invented a fictional fashion show set in New York and Seoul, which she planned and executed online with her best friend at home, Sodam Yoon. The video culminates with the fashion show, in which Kim sheds her timid persona to become a runway model let loose on the streets of Manhattan." It's a little long, but worth a watch.
Dina Litovsky's project 'Untag This Photo' consists of her photographs of New York City nightlife: clubs, lounges, bars, and parties - both private and public. Now that there's a common tendency to see what you're doing through the lens of whatever recording device you have in-hand, Dina noticed 'people partying' shift to 'people photographing the partying', and a change in the behaviour of women in these contexts.
"This project explores how social behavior and self-representation of women have been influenced by new technologies, specifically digital cameras, iPhones and social networking sites", Dina says in a smart statement. "The desire to reveal has transformed into a willingness to expose."
The project has just been chosen by Whitney Johnson of the New Yorker to be part of PRC Exposure 2011 Exhibition, opening in July.
It doesn't get much more tantalizing than this: Phaidon releases a 50 x 35 cm limited edition book each with a C-type Lambda print, signed by Steve McCurry.
Most of us will be familiar with McCurry's 'Afghan Girl' from the 1985 cover of National Geographic, and the story of the follow-up years later when McCurry and the magazine eventually found her again. According to Wikipedia "(Sharbat Gula) vividly recalled being photographed - she had been photographed on
only three occasions: in 1984 and during the search for her when a
National Geographic producer took the identifying pictures that led to
the reunion with Steve McCurry. She had never seen her famous portrait
before it was shown to her in January 2003."
McCurry's career in photojournalism began during the Soviet war in Afghanistan when he disguised himself in native dress and sewed his film into his clothes, and he has continued to cover international conflicts. A regular contributor to Nat Geo, McCurry is of course also a member of Magnum.