Magazine


rob-hann-amboy-road-ca.jpg

Artist Rob Hann is physically in New York much of the time. But I know deep down he's always on the road. I'm thrilled to present a summery selection of rich and gorgeous photographs from a trip earlier this year.

"While trying to decide where to go on my latest road trip I found myself singing Little Feat's 1971 song, Willin', one of my absolute favourites. There's a line in the song that goes "I've been from Tucson, to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah" so that's what I did. I flew into Tucson, Arizona, got a rental car and headed off. In 2 weeks I drove 5,700 miles and took in 7 States. Curiously, I never took any pictures in Tucson or Tucumcari, Tehachapi or Tonopah."

View the magazine full screen photo feature
.

View Rob's 2010 feature 'Deserted States of America'.

Amboy Rd, California © Rob Hann

Catherine_Chalmers_Ants.jpg


"I'm in Costa Rica working with the ants. And they're stars."
 
Catherine Chalmers' wonderful photographs of praying mantises have graced these pages. Keeping in touch, I was excited when I heard she'd be in Costa Rica working with leafcutter ants this year, and hence a series for the height of summer featuring my personal favourite bugs.

"Leafcutter ants are the principal herbivore in the tropical and semi-tropical regions where they live. They do not clear cut rainforests quite like we do, but they can strip a tree in a single night, and repeat this night after night. At a time in history when humans are causing deforestation at an alarming rate, this insect provides rich and relevant opportunities for illuminating man's impact on the environment.
 
Throughout history, dominance begets hubris, the language of which humans have used to heighten divisions and impress superiority across tribes, cultures and nations. The leafcutter ant project borrows that language and uses it as a metaphor for the relationship between humans and the natural world today."

It's easy to become enthralled with Catherine as she masterfully reflects humans' fascination  and relationships with creepy crawlies back on us and relates their behaviour to ours. It's hard to do this new ongoing project justice here, so I must encourage you to follow the links and learn more.



Ant Works preview: "Usually leafcutter ants cut green leaves high up in the forest canopy. In order to film the 'Ant Works' video, the heart of which is a stop-motion sequence of the colony completely denuding a tree, I need to find a plant the ants were willing to take that was also on my scale. I offered them more than a dozen plants they are known to like and they refused them all, except this one. The aesthetics of the video were framed by their choice of a plant that happened to resemble a Jackson Pollock painting. The final scene is an art show of the ants parading their works."

Excellent interview with Catherine about the Leafcutters project at Scientific American.

I highly recommend these radio interviews from Catherine's archives.

View the magazine full screen photo feature.

Baron_Wolman_Little_Richard.jpg

Little Richard at KPIX-TV, San Francisco, 1967 © Baron Wolman

I've worked with Baron "Mixing business with pleasure since 1965" Wolman for almost 20 years now. Baron's iconic photographs graced the earliest years of Rolling Stone magazine, when he was their first shooter. His new autobiographical book, 'Baron Wolman: The Rolling Stone Years' is packed with icons of the 60s and 70s, the stories behind the photographs, and is an honest account of starting out green - "I didn't know what backstage was."

"I hope people spend some time reading the text. We look at pictures and wonder how they came to be. Or we speculate a bit about the life of a photographer, especially one who has been on the front lines, the front lines of any subject, be it music, war, politics, etc. In my book I tried to provide a small window into that photographer's life and offer a few words about the origin of the photos."

"...The other message I got from my days at Rolling Stone, one that I carry with me to this day, is the joy of having an idea and bringing it to reality. It was so wonderful; Jann presented this idea in April of 1967 and not even six months later the idea had turned into a reality as we watched our new baby come off the presses. An idea, Jann's and Ralph (Gleason)'s idea, had now become a reality."

Read lots more in the Rolling Stone Years blog. Buy a premium, signed edition. Buy a regular copy. Buy a T shirt, take a photo wearing it and Baron will put it in the blog.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Priya_Kambli_Inoculation.jpg

Priya Kambli is an artist and professor currently based in Missouri, whose work has been widely exhibited across the US. This beautiful series was created over the last five years.

"My photographs visually express the notion of transience and split cultural identity caused by the act of migration. I have been viewing this issue through the lens of my own personal history and cultural journey from India to the United States. This journey left me feeling disconnected, unable to anchor myself in any particular cultural framework. I have therefor formed a hybrid identity, a patching together of two cultures within one person. In my work I explore absence, loss and genealogy through the use of my own family snapshots. These personal artifacts are recontextualized alongside fragmented images and staged imagery to reveal the correlations between generations, cultures and memory."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Inoculation © Priya Kambli

Leland_Bobbe_times_square.jpg

Introduced to me when I was still at the photo agency I ran for many years, Leland Bobbé had a virtually-unseen archive of classic shots from the heyday of CBGB's. Going through his archives recently he came across another cache: long-forgotten photographs of Times Square and the Bowery in the 70s. We collaborated on this, Leland's second aCurator feature (the first was the critically-acclaimed 'Women of Fifth Avenue'), to present a good, graphic selection.

"New York City in the 1970's was a dark, dangerous and gritty place. Before gentrification, neighborhoods had unique personalities; no Starbucks, Duane Reade or Gap every few blocks. Son of Sam, the big blackout, a city on the verge of bankruptcy. Times Square wasn't a playground for Middle America and the Lower East Side didn't look like the Upper East Side. The Bowery was the end of the line for many. Some of these shots were taken shooting from the hip, pre-focused to 6', with a 28mm lens without looking through the viewfinder so I wouldn't be noticed. My intention was to capture the grit and personality of a unique period in New York City history. Long live The Ramones." - Leland Bobbé

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Ramones_Leland_Bobbe.jpg

Top: 8th Avenue between 42nd and 53rd Street

Bottom: "The Ramones on the original small stage at CBGB before they signed their deal with Sire Records. Probably '74."

© Leland Bobbé

Dara_McGrath_blog.jpg

Some of my favourite features come about when one photographer refers another. Dara McGrath was referred by Miriam O'Connor, whose blog article was mentioned in the Life.com Photo Blog Awards in June. He submitted 'Boundaries', his series on Eastern European border crossings.

"My central concern lies in exploring transitional spaces, those in-between places where architecture, landscape and the built environment often intersect, and where a dialogue - of absence rather than presence - is created. My practice is driven by explorations of these charged, shifting entities - buildings that have come to the end of their functionality, the changing functionality of a landscape, human interruptions in the landscape - that exist in urban, rural and suburban contexts. The resultant photo works are realised both with the gallery space and as site-specific installations and interventions.

One of my most recent projects involved documenting the deconstruction of the former Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, culminating in a site-specific installation at the prison facility itself. Previous work has also included interrogating the dystopic architecture of the Parisian suburbs, the changing face of the new motorway system in Ireland, and the physicality of the planning system in the rural west of Ireland. I am now engaged in a long term and ongoing documentation of the European Borderlands, with a recent emphasis on Eastern Europe.

The deserted spaces of the East European national borderlands are spaces in flux. Devoid now of controls, they are in the process of being decommissioned and abandoned. No longer points on a map, but neither fully blank spaces, they are spaces-in-between, and are difficult arenas to absorb and comprehend. This photographic documentation looks at the transitory nature of the present day European border checkpoints and crossings and what it says about the relationship between society, identity architecture and the landscape in a united Europe."


Kudowa Zdroj Czech-Polish Border © Dara McGrath

Darren_Nisbett.jpg

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."
 
View the full screen magazine photo feature.

There is an extensive personal diary and more images from the project at Darren's Dark Optics website. An exhibition opens July 1st at Rhubarb and Custard, Eton, UK.

Pripyat © Darren Nisbett

Brian_Shumway.jpg

Brian Shumway was introduced to me by Kellie McLaughlin, the director of print sales at the Aperture Foundation. Upon reviewing his work, rather than feature a single series, I decided to publish a range of his images.

"My work covers a lot of ground, from the life of children in Mormon-dominated Utah, to provocative images of models, to men who push the boundaries of gender. This diversity of subject matter is one of my work's strengths and is rooted in my background in anthropology. I'm curious about people. Whether they're family or strangers found online, I strive for every photograph to be personal, engaging, and telling. What ties my personal work together is that it speaks about people's everyday experiences, identity and fantasies."

Brian is a New York City based photographer whose worked for Reader's Digest, Smart Money, People Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, XXL, TV Guide and the New York Times, among others. His work has appeared in American Photography, Communication Arts, Shots Magazine and the Photo Review. Brian was one of Magenta Foundation's top 25 'Emerging Photographers' in the USA in 2006 and 2008. La Chureca, his story on the city dump in Managua, Nicaragua, was a finalist for the (Santa Fe) Center's 2008 Project Competition.

View the magazine full screen photo feature.

© Brian Shumway

Girl_David_Pace.jpgMy colleague Stella Kramer met David Pace this year at Photolucida and recommended his work. She thought I would particularly enjoy 'Friday Night', the week's end party in Bereba where David lives when he's in Burkina Faso. Upon visiting his website I was struck by all his images from this small, land-locked country in West Africa, so we decided to create a broader feature.

"Two of my colleagues from Santa Clara University formed a non-profit organization called Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) in Burkina Faso in 2001. Burkina Faso has one of the world's lowest literacy rates and FAVL builds small libraries in rural villages to help address this problem. In 2007 my colleagues invited me to visit them while they were doing research in Burkina and asked me to photograph the libraries. That was my first trip to Africa and my first experience of village life. I began taking portraits of the villagers and documenting everyday activities. It was a life changing experience.

Over the years I have developed several ongoing photographic projects in various parts of Burkina Faso. The Bereba Portraits and Friday Night portfolios are all shot in and around the village of Bereba in the southwest. The photographs of the Kiosks and the Tabtenga Quarry are taken on the central plateau near Ouagadougou, the capital.

I spend the fall teaching digital photography to American college students in a study abroad program through the University. My students stay in Ouagadougou, the country's capital, for the first weeks of instruction and then I take them to live in remote villages without electricity or running water where they photograph, experience traditional village life and do internships in rural libraries. The students study French & French Literature, developmental economics, environmental studies and digital photography. One of their main projects is to work with someone in their village and create two photo books which explore some aspect of village life. The students write texts in simple French for beginning readers. We publish the books in small quantities and take them back to the libraries."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

© David Pace

David_Wolf.jpg

"By making a connection between one's inner life and the greater world, art transforms not only what we see but who we are. At the heart of this process is empathy."

David Wolf's series 'Nurturing Time - Life in a Backyard Garden' called to mind two of my favourite books, Michael Pollan's 'The Botany of Desire' and 'Second Nature', both about our relationship to and influence on the natural world.

"I unexpectedly became a gardener when I moved into my current home, allowing me to connect with Nature in an altogether different and deeply rewarding way. In the series, 'Nurturing Time', the intimacy of a backyard garden serves as a metaphor for the greater natural world, exploring how we shape and control Nature even as we nurture it. 

Our presence in Nature is depicted in arrangements I've made from plant and flower cuttings taken from my garden. I photograph the plants in isolation as types--often altering them by drying, tying or otherwise reconfiguring their appearance--and in arranged combinations that speak to associations, or suggest contradictions, presented by the assembled elements against a chosen background. A simple cardboard box acts as both neutral container and conceptual envelope to display the arrangements.

Beyond typology, 'Nurturing Time' offers us the richness of the garden and illuminates our connection to it. The assembled flower boxes resonate with a range of emotion, reflecting our own experience of the cycle of life that embraces vitality and decay, abundance and loss. Memory, Time's shadow, is present here, too, as events and lives are evoked and memorialized by these images." - David Wolf.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Wolf's photographs have been exhibited nationally at such venues as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the Photographic Center Northwest.  He exhibited his current series, Nurturing Time, Life in a Backyard Garden, at the Lishui International Photography Festival in Lishui, China.

Orange tree: blossom, leaves and fruit 2008 © David Wolf

Recent Entries

Categories

Links