Sunday, June 30, 2013

Noam Chomsky takes no prisoners!

It was good to read on the ever interesting Open Culture site that Noam Chomsky - linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist -
linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist - See more at:
linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist - See more at:
linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist - See more at:
takes as dim a view as I do of the impenetrable posturings of that clique of postmodern philosophers Slavoj Žižek, Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida and other theorists who do their best to complicate simple ideas or worse, disguise the fact that they have no ideas of substance at all.

Chomsky writes (more eloquently than I could) - What you’re referring to is what’s called “theory.” And when I said I’m not interested in theory, what I meant is, I’m not interested in posturing - using fancy terms like polysyllables and pretending you have a theory when you have no theory whatsoever. So there’s no theory in any of this stuff, not in the sense of theory that anyone is familiar with in the sciences or any other serious field. Try to find in all of the work you mentioned some principles from which you can deduce conclusions, empirically testable propositions where it all goes beyond the level of something you can explain in five minutes to a twelve-year-old. See if you can find that when the fancy words are decoded. I can’t. So I’m not interested in that kind of posturing. Žižek is an extreme example of it. I don’t see anything to what he’s saying. Jacques Lacan I actually knew. I kind of liked him. We had meetings every once in awhile. But quite frankly I thought he was a total charlatan. He was just posturing for the television cameras in the way many Paris intellectuals do. Why this is influential, I haven’t the slightest idea. I don’t see anything there that should be influential.

The Open Culture site HERE is a mine of fascinating material. Well worth a look.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Clare Strand - the mesmeric, the talismanic and the unsolvable...

I came across Clare Strand's wonderfully bizarre work via her photoworks survey monograph published by Steidl in 2009. You can see it on amazon HERE.

A recent piece in The Telegraph succinctly says this about her work...
Clare Strand’s images are conceived, researched, developed and resolved through a highly unusual and personal sensibility, using a clear and decisive method of production unique to each project. Strand belongs to the everyday, yet her images evoke the mesmeric, the talismanic and the unsolvable. Solutions reporting the ordinary often turn up further layers of complexity and reveal problems as yet un-considered. The hinterland to her image making is provided by a childhood upbringing where a family life in a suburban cul-de-sac was confounded by true crime magazines, ominous supernatural events, Paul Daniels on Sunday evenings, and a flasher who lived in the house opposite.
Subject matter dominates her work – photography and film are the mediums through which her enquiries are mapped. Strand is interested by imagery in which the aesthetic are secondary to function. Taking inspiration from forensic imagery, instruction manuals, the conventions of signage, the mechanics of spirit photography and photography employed to offer evidence of an event or a task, her work treads the uncertain boundaries between the expected and the absurd.

And there is new book about to be launched, Skirts, published by London based gostbooks. You can have a look at Skirts HERE. And if you're in Arles this year, you can see the show.

Clare Strand - Skirts

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mark Power - photography, it never tells us everything.

The photograph I bought from Mark Power to help support the publication of a bookwork celebrating 21 years of photography at the University of Brighton arrived this morning.

South-East Iceland, Tuesday 20th August 1996 is a magnificent work and what's more a stunning object as well. Mark tells the story of the photograph, handwritten on its reverse.

We took our yellow VW camper to Iceland during the summer of 1996. It was nearing the end of The Shipping Forecast but still had a few far-flung sea areas to visit. We took a ferry from Aberdeen to the Shetland before moving on, after a few days, to the Faroe Islands. It was Jo's 30th birthday when we finally reached the Icelandic port of Seyðisfjörður, and to celebrate we treated ourselves to a real smorgasbord, consisting of far too much pickled herring for my liking. 

This picture was taken on the way back to Seyðisfjörður after a wonderful two weeks. It's a strange image of an odd situation that I don't understand myself. Even the contact sheet offers no clues as to what happened before of after.

But that's one of the things I love about photography - it never tells us everything.

The Shipping Forecast in my view is one of Mark Power's most memorable and compelling series.
Mark says this: Intangible and mysterious, familiar yet obscure, the shipping forecast is broadcast four times daily on BBC Radio 4. For those at, or about to put to sea, the forecast may mean the difference between life and death.
But for millions of landlubbing radio listeners it is more than this; the enigmatic language of the forecast has entered the public consciousness, creating a landscape of the imagination and confirming romantic notions of Britain's island status.
Captioned by the 0600hrs forecast on the day they were taken, these photographs attempt to challenge our assumptions of these far-flung places.

There is much more to see on Mark's website HERE.

The University of Brighton's commemorative bookworks are now available for purchase.
You can find out more and purchase HERE

Students and staff have produced two beautiful publications celebrating 21 years of BA (Hons) Photography at the University of Brighton. Entitled '9213', the books are paired together in a foiled slipcase; One features the work of this year's graduates, while the other highlights 36 alumni who have made a significant contribution to photography over the past two decades. Limited to just 300 hand-numbered copies.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Broomberg and Chanarin win the 2013 Deutsche Börse Prize


The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize aims to reward a contemporary photographer of any nationality, who has made the most significant contribution (exhibition or publication) to the medium of photography in Europe in the previous year.
The Prize was originally set up in 1996 by The Photographers' Gallery in London to promote the best of contemporary photography. Deutsche Börse has sponsored the £30,000 prize since 2005. The Prize showcases new talents and highlights the best of international photography practice. It is one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of photography.

Adam Broomberg (b. 1970, South Africa) & Oliver Chanarin (b. 1971, UK) were nominated for their publication War Primer 2 (2012, MACK). The limited edition book physically inhabits the pages of Bertolt Brecht's publication War Primer (1955). In the original, Brecht matched WWII newspaper clippings with short poems that seek to demystify press images, which he referred to as hieroglyphics. In War Primer 2 Broomberg & Chanarin choose to focus on the ‘War on Terror’; sifting through the internet for low resolution screen-grabs and mobile phone images, the artists then combined them to resonate with Brecht's poems. Through this layering of photographic history, Broomberg & Chanarin offer a critique of photographs of contemporary conflict and their dissemination—a theme that has been central to their practice for fifteen years.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rob Hornstra, Arnold van Bruggen, Jeroen Kummer – Workshop...


If you happen to be in Berlin this coming weekend for the BERLIN FOTOFESTIVAL'13 here's a workshop opportunity on Saturday 15th. It is too good to pass up.

Rob, Arnold and Jeroen will talk about their Sochi Project collaboration and process which has yielded a remarkable series of bookworks and supporting collateral material. These guys really know their stuff!

The Sochi Project Unveiled - Rob Hornstra is currently finishing the 5-year documentary The Sochi Project with writer and filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen, and graphic designer Jeroen Kummer. The Sochi Project documents regional changes in the conflict ridden North Caucasus, as they prepare for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The trio will give a one-day interdisciplinary workshop entitled, The Sochi Project Unveiled. In the workshop, they will discuss the background of and stories from The Sochi Project, while also dealing with the use of different presentation media and publication, financing and distribution strategies.

You can find out more on the BERLIN FOTOFESTIVAL'13 site HERE.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Photographers whose work I Like - No21/ Ofer Wolberger

12 Books 2010 - 2012
Ofer Wolberger lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Wolberger is a consummate artist, camera based, but there is more, much more. With book making central to his thinking, his practice is driven with a keen eye and intellect focused on the currency of film, fashion, design and forms of art in general. Check out his Horses Think site HERE.

In 2008 he was the recipient of The Humble Arts Foundation Grant for Emerging Photographers. He was a finalist for both the BMW Paris Photo Prize in 2008 as well as the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie in 2009. His photographs have been collected and exhibited internationally. His project Life with Maggie, was exhibited at Michael Hoppen Gallery in London and at C/O Berlin in 2009 and at the Goethe-Institut in Stockholm and at VU in Quebec in 2010. In 2012, he completed 12 Books, a series of self-published artists books and was awarded the Printed Matter Award for Artists. In August of 2013 he will be a resident at Light Work in Syracuse.

Wolberger publishes his artist's books under his Horses Think Imprint. With twelve editions to date in the words of Christopher Gianunzio writing in ahorn magazine, 12 Books, when considered as one offering, build a world oversaturated with quirk, solitude and a brimming with a kind of pop sensibility allowing the awkward beauty in the world to float to the surface.

You can read the full (and action packed) piece in ahorn magazine HERE.

Fractures & Other Injuries, Printed Matter, NY 2012

Friday, June 7, 2013

PAPER JOURNAL - A visual arts site, well worth a look...

I came across PAPER JOURNAL because they had an interview with Lucas Blalock, LA based photographer whose work I particularly like. 

PAPER JOURNAL was founded and is edited by Patricia Karallis, who says this about the journal - Launched in 2013, online magazine Paper Journal is updated weekly and aims to bring you the very best in contemporary visual arts. Based in London but with contributors from all over the world, Paper Journal shifts its focus onto innovative visual artists and their contribution to the site,  whether that be a book review, an audio/ visual studio visit, or an interview with a fellow photographer.

You can go to PAPER JOURNAL  - here, you will not be disappointed. 

Lucas Blalock - Gabriela as a Bunny, 2012

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Quentin Bajac - following the artistic practice...

Quentin Bajac and Pieter Hugo in Auckland, Jan 2012
French curator Quentin Bajac, the Museum of Modern Art's new chief curator of photography spoke this week to The Wall Street Journal. His comments reflect the changing face and pace of camera based image making in a world where everybody has a camera and is using it, social media dominates and upwards of 250 million images are posted on facebook every day.

The following comments sum up Quentin Bajac's fresh and expansive curatorial view -

Rather than suggest what it would prefer artists to be doing, a photography department, in Mr. Bajac's view, has to reflect what they are actually doing. "Photographers can be nostalgic. Curators cannot. We have to follow the artistic practice."
In his opinion, the museum will in the future "not only be collecting prints but also media installations, files, images made especially for a website. We will have to adapt. Photography is no longer about the wall. The book form is basic to photography. Young photographers are self-publishing. We must be aware of that and work closely with the museum library. There are all these forms that we should collect."
Keeping abreast of the digital revolution, he realizes, will not be easy. "Historians and curators are facing a situation quite different from what John Szarkowski faced in the 1960s. Then, it was about access to images. Today, it's the opposite problem." 

You can read the full text of the WSJ interview HERE.