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Harold Ross' series 'Night' is other-worldly, uncanny, ethereal, and rooted in his childhood fear of the bogeyman.

Harold is a practitioner of light painting: a specialized technique which requires working in a completely dark environment, opening the camera for an extended period of time, and 'painting' the light onto the subject. This reveals greater shape, texture and color, and is very much sculpting with light. What you see in his work cannot exist in nature nor in one moment in time. Instead, it's the result of a 'merging' or 'gathering' of light.

"When I was young, I often went camping in the mountains of southern New Mexico. One of the strongest memories from those trips is being absolutely terrified of whatever was beyond the light of our campfire. It didn't help that my older brother, Norman, and his friends told me horrific stories! During those sleepless nights, I was convinced that some murderous renegade or rabid coyote was just waiting to pounce on me.

I'm sure this has something to do with why I started this project. In some ways, I think that I'm dealing with the childhood fear of being out in nature in the dark. As it turns out, the first image I shot in this series (Quaker Cemetery Wall) was photographed in a place you would have never found me as a kid! I'm not afraid anymore, at least not when I have a helper with me...

One of my motivations in making these pictures is curiosity. I'm curious about just what will be revealed by the very descriptive lighting techniques that I employ. I don't really start shooting projects at the beginning, but somewhere in the middle.

The details that are present in these images can't be seen normally, as the lighting is built up over time. Normally, when using artificial light, especially light painting, one tries to be consistent with direction of light in order to make the lighting appear as natural as possible. In this landscape work, I'm not overly concerned with this, and, in fact, I'm interested in the interplay between the reality of the scene and the purposeful artificiality of the lighting." - Harold Ross, February 2011.

Two images from the series were selected for the 10th Annual International Photography Competition at Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, MD, on view through March 5th, 2011.

View the magazine full screen photography feature.

Get info about Harold's Light Painting Workshops in PA.

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According to his bio, Walker Pickering is a Texan from Texas. He has been a photographer at the Texas House of Representatives and darkroom printer for screenwriter & photographer Bill Wittliff. He currently teaches photography at The Art Institute of Austin as a part-time faculty member and is available for editorial assignments and commissions. So, there.

I love these images from his recent series Nearly West, five prints from which will be on view at the Houston Center for Photography from March 11-April 24, 2011.

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All images © Walker Pickering
In aCurator's opinion, he has an excellent name to rival that of previously featured  Huntington Witherill.

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My pal Niels sends news: "Out of more than six thousand contestants, my portrait series is between the finalists for Hasselblad Masters 2010, the most prestigious title that exists for photographers worldwide. As far as I am aware I am the only Dutch (and the only Colombian) photographer that got there. So, please vote"

© Niels Van Iperen


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Maury Gortemiller submitted his work and website and I was happy to see his various interesting projects, plus the record of his life as a Competitive Apneist. An enjoyable visit. I chose a few images from 'The Natural World'.

"I'm interested in the ways people experience nature, or the natural environment, through various surrogate forms. I'm drawn to all depictions of the natural world, such as art, toys, and things that were once living and are now preserved. However, I'm most interested in what I would call the more unfashionable displays of nature, depictions that are incongruous with the surrounding environment.
 
I'm fascinated with the perceived notion that some artificial element of nature, such as a landscape photograph, placed next to something utilitarian, like a fire alarm, can somehow beautify or make a more attractive display. The impulse to depict the natural environment is a basic impulse; after all, some of the first recorded works of art are depictions of persons and animals.  What strikes me is the endless repetition of contemporary depictions of nature. It's a procession of images that is pointless and hollow.
 
My objective is to fully explore the notion of the hyperreal. In particular, I wish to examine why there is a general preference for imitations of the natural world, and how as a culture many of us derive satisfaction from simulations of the perceived 'real'. I hope to demonstrate the absurdity of these simulations, and the manner in which they ease our anxiety over the loss of a meaningful connection to nature."

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Maury_Gortemiller_Tanker.jpgMoose, Landscape, Stove, Tractor © Maury Gortemille

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Brian David Stevens is an excellent photojournalist, based in London, who's been in touch with his various consistently great series over the last few months. I ran his portraits of WWII veterans 'They That Are Left' in the blog last year, and was fascinated by this new project on the British artist Billy Childish.

Stevens spent the day with Childish (aka William Charlie Hamper, Bill Hamper, Bill Hamper-Childish, Guy Hamper, Jack Ketch, Gus Claudius, Danger Bill Henderson) at Childish's home in Kent. I not only love Brian's photographs but am excited to have been introduced to the intense world of Mr. Childish. Be warned: if you go there, you may not return.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Listen to some noise.

Billy Childish © Brian David Stevens


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Young, hungry, talented and delightful, friend of aCurator Abby Ross was at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, recently and pulled off some gorgeous portraits including musicians who played with Bob Marley.

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Top to bottom:
Dean Fraser, Horns
Bo Pee, Guitarist
Squidly Cole, Drummer
Uzziah "Sticky" Thompson, Percussionist
Larry MacDonald,
Percussionist
All images © Abby Ross
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Mark Dorf
is based in Savannah, Georgia. I'm thrilled this young photographer has his submission skills down pat, and whilst still in school, is surely getting his work out there. Please enjoy his artist statement and thought-provoking imagery.

"Our current landscape is one that is permeated with man made monoliths, sitting on the horizon, reforming the clean line that was once firmly established. The creation of this ever-expanding human footprint encroaches carelessly upon our environment without control at every moment. Creation can be considered one of the most powerful abilities a human possesses, whether it be through the hand of an artist, the architect or businessman, an inherent amount of power and control is given to the creator. However, this amount of control and power can grow to become intoxicating leading to devastating adverse and unseen side effects. However apparent these effects are, they are not always understood and can be ignored and seen as neutral to those who encounter them until it is too late and the potential damage has been done.
 
Environmental Occupations explores humanity's role of creation and its relationship with its environment. The concrete forms seen in the images, influenced by minimalist sculptors such as Donald Judd and Richard Serra, downplay any sort of expression and instead reference nothing but geometry and the dense substance that they are made from. The aggressive shape, material, and imposing presence of the objects contrast greatly against the natural and spiritual landscapes in which they are found, rendering them out of context and providing a skewed image from what is inherently reality. The question arises, where did these forms originate? Was there a creator? What are these things?
 
Though these forms seem to mimic functional urban horizons, they themselves are useless and loom in the landscape with a quiet devastation. The forms look to have been man made, but their sheer size and lack of evidence of construction leave the viewer with a disconnect between a specific creator and the objects - just as we see in our mass produced urban world today. The figures within the images speak to the various roles found in the process of creation, ranging from the originator to the mindless and passive observer, impotent and unaware of his or her surroundings."

Mark_Dorf_Sovereignty.jpg"Sovereignty"
 
Mark_Dorf_Penetration.jpg"Penetration"

All images © Mark Dorf


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At the Karsh Estate, we get word from various people when they find something of interest on the web. The curator at the Supreme Court was doing research and came across an article from Popular Science Magazine from 1952, which talks about Karsh and his techniques, his equipment, and his recent "branching out" into industrial work. It is noted that "...because he is fascinated by the human countenance his pictures of factory interiors have workmen's faces in the foreground."

Ford of Canada 'Rear Window', Gow Crapper, 1950 © Yousuf Karsh

01_Mikael_Kennedy.jpgMikael Kennedy told me he spent the first dozen or so years of his life convinced he was going to die, and that when he didn't, he began seeing the world differently, wanting to experience everything he could. These photographs are a sampling from the results of Mikael's recent years of domestic and international "wandering around" with his Polaroid camera: couch surfing; sleeping on beaches, in vans; nomadic. Ambivalent at first about a feature, unsure about the format, the photographs have grown on me. I've found myself daydreaming, enjoying a vicarious moment.

Mikael has a new limited edition book available for pre-order, 7 in his series 'Passport To Trespass'. More info here ; heads-up - all volumes sold out, with volume 6 going in four weeks. Hunt them Out' is a limited edition booklet printed in conjunction with the release of these 20 Polaroids for sale through a special online exhibition of the prints available only through Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art Gallery in NYC. Read the back story on Mikael's wanderings.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Melaena, Cayos Cochinos, Honduras 2009 © Mikael Kennedy

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Photography's new year is well under way and on February 1st the Half King will host a special evening to launch Gina LeVay's Sandhogs exhibition. Gina will be speaking, and joining her will be a real live Sandhog, Dennis O'Neill. Come to West Chelsea for a beer and short film.

Meanwhile, take a look at Gina's feature in aCurator Magazine to learn more about how she shot this amazing series.

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