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What makes William Eggleston's ordinary photographs so extraordinary?

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Though they’re presented as portraits, the images in this National Portrait Gallery show aren’t really portraiture. They’re much more ambiguous than that

Martin Gayford


‘Untitled’, c.1971, by William Eggleston

‘Untitled’, c.1971, by William Eggleston

In 1965 William Eggleston took the first colour photograph that, he felt, really succeeded. The location was outside a supermarket in Memphis, Tennessee; the time — to judge from the rich golden light and long shadows — late afternoon. Eggleston’s subject — a young man with a heavily slicked, early Elvis hairstyle stacking trolleys outside the shop — was as ordinary as he could be. But the result was a photographic masterpiece.

It is included in the exhibition William Eggleston: Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, although, by most definitions, it is not a portrait. Indeed, it is as hard to say just what it is as it is to explain exactly why it is so good.


The catalogue essay by the curator, Phillip Prodger, recounts how the photographer was once pressed to explain a shot of his infant son lying asleep in bed (pictured above). Is this a meditation on childhood, or a commemoration of this boy at a tender age? No, Eggleston insisted, sounding a bit vexed, ‘It’s something more ambiguous than that.’

Complete read at The Spectator. 

Magnum Photo presents 'Time of Change' review by photographer Bruce Davidson

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Working as both participant and observer, Bruce Davidson captures the defining years of the Civil Rights Movement providing an alternative account of African-American life during the 1960s

Bruce Davidson

“That first ride from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson Mississippi changed my life because it was the first time I encountered oppression and pain,” said photographer Bruce Davidson during an interview in 2013 ahead of the 50th anniversary of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery.

Davidson stands tall as one of America’s most influential documentary photographers. During the Civil Rights Movement Davidson acted as both observer and participant. Between 1960 and 1965 he documented intimate, and at times painful, moments that would come together to provide an alternative visual representation of the turbulent period, capturing the dignity and struggle of African-Americans.

Recalling the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, Davidson recounts his approach to documenting the movement: “As I walked with the marchers, I photographed them by themselves and when they stopped to rest. I [had] pictures of them looking straight into the camera. They confronted the invisible audience with proud, determined looks.” Davidson worked without a long telephoto lens or a flash as he preferred to use natural light and never be further than a meter away from what he was photographing. It was this approach that allowed him to capture such strikingly intimate portraits.

 

" They confronted the invisible audience with proud, determined looks"

- Bruce Davidson

For complete read please visit Magnum Photos.

The New York Public Library: Podcast #117: Bruce Davidson and Matt Dillon on Lasting Impressions

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by Tracy O'Neill, Social Media Curator

Award-winning photographer Bruce Davidson's prolific body of work includes documentations of the 1960s Civil Rights movement and the gritty underbelly of New York City in the late 70s. He came to the Library this spring for a conversation with Academy Award-winning actor Matt Dillon, who is a great admirer and collector of Davidson’s work. In this riveting discussion between the two great artists, Davidson and Dillon talk about images, storytelling, and the joy of working in silence.

Please visit NYPL for full video.

Art Rant: Photo London

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West coast flower power: Rose Shoshana; The Mother of photography dealers, always enthusiastic and generous with her time was stuck in a badly lit overly warm corner. Her booth shows magnificent and rare Evelyn Hofer and William Eggleston dye transfer prints going for approximately the same price ($40k or less) as the uninventive pretentious void of a Jean-Baptiste Huynh print. Hello! Dye transfer prints are pure magic! This rare and complicated technique is the most vibrant expression at the heart of the historical renaissance of American color photography. Why have they not sold out?

Source: artwise

The Work of Nancy Burson, Diversity Matters by Zoë Muntaner

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“Diversity” has hit a critical mass of awareness.

What If He Were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Middle Eastern-Indian


I have always wondered about the true meaning of diversity and its role in a community and a nation at large. It always seems like it’s the right thing to say when you wish to garner votes (except Donald Trump) but in the moment of truth communities vote for projects that disenfranchise the poor (where diversity is more apparent) to open way for less integrated neighborhoods. Is Santa Monica one of those communities?

Bergamot Station & The Human Race Machine
Art always supply a good point of departure. The Bergamot Station Spring Fling last Saturday had two exhibits at the ROSEGALLERY and one at Earth WE that blew my mind in regards to diversity, challenging the audience to examine the issue and provoking us to engage in the active participation of life in the 21st century.

Nancy Burson’s timely new work “What if He were: Black-Asian-Hispanic-Eastern Indian” is a large scale five-part image of presidential candidate Donald Trump that challenges photographic truth at the birth of digital manipulation. About the work on view Burson says: “This project was a commission for a prominent liberal magazine, which ultimately decided not to publish it. My interest in creating this work was the desire to know what Donald Trump’s reaction might be if he saw the images. Current research shows that experience of oneself as another produces an empathetic response within the mirror neurons of the brain. The question in my mind was whether Donald Trump’s brain would be affected by an emphatic response to viewing the work.”

Hillary Clinton’s neoliberal brain might also benefit from a journey through the Human Race Machine. Imagine the woman who bows to AIPAC and votes to go to war on Iraq becoming an Iraqi or a Palestinian or a Libyan or a Honduran, since she supported destabilization in those countries, as well as Iraq.

How it all began . . .
Nancy Burson’s pioneering work in morphing technologies began with age-enhancing the human face, enabling law enforcement to locate missing children and adults. The Human Race Machine is Burson’s best known public art project, originally developed as a commission for the London Millennium Dome in 2000. What would you look like as another race? Human Race Machines have been changing perspectives on racial diversity since 2000 and have been used on college and university campuses as a diversity tool to discuss issues of race and ethnicity since 2003. Human Race Machines have been featured in all forms of media including segments on Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, National Public Radio, PBS, and Fuji TV News, as well as countless local TV channels in the USA. Prominent articles featuring the Human Race Machine have appeared in The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Houston Chronicle, and Scientific American Magazine to name a few.

The concept of race is not genetic, but social. There is no gene for race. In 2005, there was a gene that was identified for skin color, but that was only skin deep. Skin color is simply a reflection of the amount and distribution of the pigment melanin and humans are all alike underneath their skin. This newly found gene involves a change of just one letter of DNA code out of the 3.1 billion letters in the human genome — the complete instructions that comprise a human being. We are, in fact, all 99.9% alike.

Burson’s installation compliments the ongoing Japan’s Tomoko Sawada exhibition: Facial Signature, not to be missed. Trust me, just go before it ends on April 9, 2016. Both artists focus on the ever-changing form of the human face in diverse ways." 

Please read the entire column from Zoë Muntaner on diversitymatters.co

Source: http://diversitymatters.co/2016/03/28/dive...

be-Art Magazine features Facial Signature by Tomoko Sawada

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EXHIBITION: Tomoko Sawada at ROSEGALLERY, Santa Monica

Facial Signature  Installation, 2016

Facial Signature Installation, 2016

"Of course behind Tomoko Sawada’s performance, those 300 faces staring at you, act like a boomerang toward your own identity. And you ended up asking to yourself what if I were blond, or red or long hair or whatever shape, would my life be different? Would I be different as a person? Very smart indeed.  A must be seen"

Be-Art Magazine recently covered the Exhibition Facial Signature, detailing the nuances between individual portraits as extraordinary.  Visit their website at beartmagazine.com to read more.

Source: http://www.beartmagazine.com/exhibition-to...

Tomoko Sawada's Facial Signature previewed by Jody Zellen in Visual Art Source

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Jody Zellen previews Tomoko Sawada's Facial Signature series with insightful commentary of how Tomoko's work, retrospectively, is groundbreaking and contemporary.

Tomoko Sawada, from the series "Facial Signature," 2015, photograph

Tomoko Sawada, from the series "Facial Signature," 2015, photograph

 

"... Sawada is as much a performance artist as she is a photographer. Sawada does not become someone else to the extent that photographers Yasumasa Morimura and Cindy Sherman do in their work. Rather she casts herself in the role of model, changing her appearance in myriad ways for her different projects. In her work she parodies conventions and familiar photographic formats like fashion photographs and wedding and school portraits to simultaneously examine the role of femininity in Japan and to expose stereotypes and assumptions about racial identity."

Read the entire preview on visualartsource.com

Source: http://www.visualartsource.com/index.php?p...

Exhibition Review, LA Times: Photography that likes to break the rules

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Our exhibition Her First Meteorite: Volume 2 was reviewed by Leah Ollman for the LA Times this morning. 

Ken Graves,  A Prolonged Childhood , unique photo collage, c. 1990

Ken Graves, A Prolonged Childhood, unique photo collage, c. 1990

"Ever since the earliest photographic technologies, bushwhackers have willfully deviated from marked trails, but never, it seems, have more renegades tweaked convention than in the past decade or two. " - Leah Ollman

Read the rest of the review on LA Times.com

Source: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/...