'About Face' at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

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Kansas City's preeminent art museum, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, has recently opened an exhibition entitled ABOUT FACE focusing on contemporary photographic portraiture. We are proud to announce that ROSEGALLERY artists Ken Kitano, Jocelyn Lee, Laura McPhee, Lise Sarfati, and Tomoko Sawada are included in this exhibition. Read on for their press release.

This exhibition will explore the breadth and global diversity of contemporary photographic portraiture since 2000, highlighting recent acquisitions to the museum's permanent collection.

About Face will include works by twenty-nine artists from the United States, England, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Iran and South Africa. Though each of these photographers approaches portrait-making differently, certain thematic threads resonate throughout the show, including questions of racial, cultural, ethnic, class and gender identity; the relationship between individuals and typologies; the way photographic processes themselves inform meaning; the relevance of historical precedents to contemporary practice; and the impact of media stereotypes on self-presentation. Considered collectively, the works in About Face offer a provocative and engaging forum for considering the question: how do we define portraiture today?

For this exhibition, co-curators Jane L. Aspinwall and April M. Watson at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are partnering with FlakPhoto.com creator Andy Adams to create a collaborative exhibition project focusing on contemporary portraiture.

The project will present two distinct, simultaneous exhibitions: About Face, our in-gallery exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins, and Making Pictures of People, a digital exhibition presented online for web-based audiences worldwide. Visitors will be able to access the Flak Photo exhibition via touch screens in the gallery and on mobile devices outside the museum.

The goal of our collaboration is twofold: to celebrate the complementary experiences of engaging with photographs as objects and as images, and to connect museum visitors in Kansas City with an international community deeply engaged in thinking about portraiture and contemporary photographic practice.

ABOUT FACE is on view at the Nelson Atkins Museum from August 9, 2013 - January 19, 2014. Click here to be explore to their site.

Image titles: Jocelyn Lee, Untitled (Julia and Greenery), 2005 and Lise Sarfati, Emily, 2850 Sunset Boulevard, 2010

Robbert Flick at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art

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Three very different styles of landscape photography are being served up in a small but savory sampling of images from deep in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Part of a series of exhibitions meant to showcase objects that rarely see the light of day, “Landscapes in Passing” features work from a trio of photographers, each of whom is represented by a single body of black-and-white work: Elaine Mayes, Robbert Flick and Steve Fitch.

The show spans a single decade and begins with Mayes’s “Autolandscape” project documenting her 1971 cross-country road trip from San Francisco to Amherst, Mass. Shot from inside a moving car — sometimes while she was driving — the 18 images are arranged in geographic order and include pictures from 11 states. (Only one image of Utah, hung outside the entrance to the show, is out of sequence.)

Because her camera was moving, there’s a bit of blur in most of the images, which only adds to the feeling of exhilarating speed and spontaneity that comes from the fact that Mayes usually wasn’t even looking through the viewfinder. As a result, there’s a random quality to the subject matter, which avoids the photogenic grandeur of scenic parklands for the banality of street signs, offramps, distant mountains and telephone poles. Most of Mayes’s sea-to-shining-sea travelogue emphasizes hypnotic monotony over purple mountain majesties.

“Autolandscape” contains a double meaning, referring both to the artist’s vehicular vantage point and to the automatic nature of the shooting, which was guided primarily by instinct, not aesthetics. Flick’s photos, from his 1980 “Sequential Views” project, are similarly robotic.

Each of Flick’s works contains a 10-by-10 grid of 100 postage-stamp-size images of such Los Angeles area neighborhoods as Beverly Hills and Venice Beach. Like Mayes, Flick is also a documentarian of the landscape, except he’s moving through it on foot, not in a car. Shot at prescribed intervals, his grid of Inglewood, for example, documents a stroll down 10 blocks of Regent Street. Look very closely at the left-hand row, and you can just make out the street signs.

Surprisingly, the effect is less numbing than you might think. Shooting the quintessential car culture as a pedestrian — with his shutter blinking every few steps or so — Flick creates an almost filmlike effect, like an extended tracking shot. Evoking frames of a movie, Flick’s sequential views aren’t so much panoramas as miniature “cineramas.”

Steve Fitch’s work is unlike anything else in the show. Shot between 1971 and 1976 for a series (and book) called “Diesels and Dinosaurs,” the images document a Western America characterized by truck stops, motels, drive-ins, roadside reptile zoos and dilapidated dinosaur sculptures. Wit — along with careful composition — replaces the seemingly haphazard, deadpan tone of Mayes’s and Flick’s work.

Most of Fitch’s humor derives from irony. His idea of “nature” or “landscape” is epitomized by Woody Woodpecker on the screen at a Dallas drive-in or a mural of mountains painted onto the wall of the Big Chief Motel on Highway 80 in Gila Bend, Ariz.

It’s tempting to dismiss Fitch as the least landscape-y of the three artists. After all, his subject, more often than not, is vernacular architecture.

On one level, his work is about displacement, not place. Still, like Mayes and Flick, he conveys a real sense of a country in which no one — least of all the artist — stays in one place anymore.

The Story Behind the Work

Flick’s series of sequential views were shot for the Los Angeles Documentary Project, a survey sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, that put into service seven photographers (in addition to the Dutch-born Flick) who were known for their work in California: Gusmano Cesaretti, Joe Deal, Douglas Hill, John Humble, Bill Owen, Susan Ressler and Max Yavno.

Surprisingly, all of the artists shot in black-and-white, other than Owen, who focused on swimming pools, clubs and other colorful SoCal stereotypes.

That may be because the NEA survey project was as much conceptual as retinal. Although there aren’t many people in Flick’s images — a rare exception being his grid of a crowded Venice Beach on Labor Day weekend — his photographs are all about man’s effect on the environment. There isn’t much nature in his pictures. Mostly, it’s restricted to the street signs that evoke an American myth of rusticity that exists only in the place names on urban maps: Prairie, Eastwood, Hillcrest, Locust, Fir and Eucalyptus.

To read the article in its original format please click here.

Camilo Vergara MLK Poster-bombing in Camden, NJ

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By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer

POSTED: August 19, 2013

As workers in Washington were removing scaffolding from the $120 million Martin Luther King Jr. statue on Saturday, Camilo José Vergara stood on a rickety ladder in Camden, taping images of King to the windows of an abandoned diner.

From each poster, a mural of King painted mostly by amateur artists in some of the nation's poorest cities looked out at a desolate strip of Mount Ephraim Avenue in Camden near West Collingswood.

"It seems this fits King, the King I imagine," said Vergara, a photographer whose photos of these murals commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's march, set for Washington later this month. "He was a person for everyone. This expands the celebration, the tribute, to other areas and raises questions. You have to look at this and say, 'What happened to the dream in Camden?' "

Vergara's posters of King, who struggled against poverty and segregation, covered the windows of the historic Elgin Diner in a parking lot blanketed in broken glass and litter. A syringe and a dirty diaper lay next to discarded chip bags and liquor bottles.

Vergara, a nationally renowned artist, approached the City of Camden through a friend to showcase his posters, but when he didn't hear back, he opted to take a more independent approach.

"Putting these up in City Hall as posters standing on easels or something like that didn't interest me too much," he said. "The idea was to do this in venues you would not pick for an exhibit."

For 40 years, Vergara has chronicled urban blight through photography; along the way, he has captured hundreds of murals dedicated to King. Last month, Vergara, originally from Chile and now living in New York City, became the first photographer awarded the National Humanities Medal. He's the author of six photography books, and a seventh, Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto, is due out in November.

In February the U.S. State Department commissioned 1,000 posters of his mural photos to be sent all over the world. His mission is to make sure they are also visible in U.S. cities where their message is most relevant.

"You get a very different perspective when you put King in D.C., in Independence Mall, where the focus will be accomplishments in the black struggle, but here in Camden, in L.A., in Brockton [Mass.], in Gary [Ind.] the questions are very, very different," said Vergara, who already has poster exhibits on buildings in the Bronx and plans for more in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Brockton, and Detroit.

Just as dawn broke Saturday, Vergara pulled up to the diner with a friend, Columbia law professor William Simon, who assured him that in the absence of no-trespassing signs their "poster-bombing" was technically legal.

Indeed, Peter Abdallah, Realtor for the property, later said he planned to leave the artwork up until the building is demolished in the next few months. The property is still for sale, but Abdallah said he was in talks with a developer to make it a Family Dollar store.

In about an hour, Vergara's team had covered the front of the diner with mural images of King from a garage in Chicago, an abandoned factory in Detroit, and even part of the "Equal Rights" mural that remains at Callowhill and Second Streets in Philadelphia.

Vergara's photos are in many cases the only existing record of these public artworks.

The representations of King reflect the communities where the murals were painted; sometimes his likeness is Asian or Hispanic. He might appear with Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, or Cesar Chavez.

Passersby stopped to ask questions. A few hoped the diner was reopening.

Joseph Adams walked by on his way to a barbershop. Adams, 50, grew up in Camden and called the diner a historic fixture.

Despite the deterioration of the city, he pointed out the obvious progress in front of him. "Who knows if blacks could even eat here when he was coming up?" Adams said of King. Then he lamented a lack of leadership to carry out King's dream.

"It's alive, but we still got a long way to go," Adams said. "I think he would have tried to make it better."

Click on this link to watch a video of Vergara's installation:

Camilo Vergara poster-bombs the Elgin Diner in Camden, NJ

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Bruce Davidson: ‘Time of Change:

Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965’

Police dragging a man, in Bruce Davidson’s show “Time of Change.”                                                                                     Howard Greenberg Gallery

By KEN JOHNSON

Published: August 15, 2013

41 East 57th Street, Manhattan

Through Aug. 31

In 1961 the photographer Bruce Davidson boarded a bus with a group of anti-segregationist Freedom Riders traveling from Montgomery, Ala., to Jackson, Miss. Two years later he was in Washington for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1965 he joined the historic five-day march from Selma to Montgomery. Photographs from those and other excursions to the South as well as from Mr. Davidson’s hometown New York were gathered together in the book “Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965,”published in 2002. This poignant exhibition presents 37 of them.

The photographs avoid partisan sensationalism. There are images of watchful National Guard soldiers among ordinary people, both black and white, made during the 1961 bus trip. One shows a group of white men heckling the Freedom Riders. Walker Evans-like pictures show people living in extreme poverty in sharecropper cabins. But few document instances of overt violence and many are not obviously political. The rail thin, elderly black woman in a bright dress holding an umbrella striding purposefully past a clapboard wall in South Carolina is not the sort of subject that incites righteous indignation. Is there racial tension between the two women sitting next to each other at a New York lunch counter in 1962, one black with pearls in her hair, the other white wearing pearls around her neck? Maybe, maybe not.

A lyrical, ruminative mood prevails. Looking at Mr. Davidson’s deeply humane photographs is like seeing the world through the eyes of a wandering poet, like Walt Whitman with a camera.

A version of this review appeared in print on August 16, 2013, on page C26 of the New York edition with the headline: Bruce Davidson: ‘Time of Change: Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-1965’.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/arts/design/bruce-davidson-time-of-change-civil-rights-photographs-1961-1965.html?_r=0

Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door at the Art Institute of Chicago

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Over the course of the past 25 years, Cuban-born American artist Abelardo Morell has become internationally renowned for works that employ the language of photography to explore visual surprise and wonder. This exhibition of over 100 works made from 1986 to the present is the first retrospective of Morell’s photographs in 15 years. Showing a range of works and series—including many newer color photographs never exhibited before—the exhibition reveals how this persistently creative artist has returned to a photographic vocabulary as a source of great inspiration.

Morell came with his family to the United States as a teenager in 1962. He received a scholarship to attend Bowdoin College in Maine, where he first took a photography course; he later completed an MFA in photography at Yale University, looking to street photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank as models. After the birth of his son in 1986, he began making large-format pictures around his home, examining common household objects with childlike curiosity. As a professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, he experimented with optics in his teaching and initiated a series in which he turned an entire room into a camera obscura, photographing the projection of the outside world juxtaposed onto the surfaces of the room’s interior.

These twin poles—examining objects and images with fresh vision and exploring simple optics in myriad forms—have been consistent orientation points for the many series that have since followed. Morell has turned his camera on conveyors of cultural meaning such as books, maps, money, and museums in extensive series that explore the perception of images. He has experimented with techniques as varied as photograms, still-life tableaux, stop-motion studies, and most recently the tent camera—a kind of portable camera obscura that throws the image of a landscape upon the ground’s surface. Now, after decades of working exclusively in black and white, he has begun to embrace color, both returning to old themes and series to view them in a new spectrum and pioneering new ways to understand optical effects, nature, and picture making. Showcasing his ever-inventive practice, this retrospective traces Morell’s innovative career as he continues to mine the essential strangeness and complexity of images.

Image: Abelardo Morell. Camera Obscura: View of the Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom, 2009. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, purchased with funds provided by Richard and Alison Crowell, Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, and anonymous donors in honor of James N. Wood, 2011.62. © Abelardo Morell, courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

To watch the video Abelardo Morell on Photography, Life, and Dancing click here.

Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door is currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago. When the exhibition closes September 2, it will travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. ROSEGALLERY will be mounting an exhibition concurrently with The Universe Next Door opening November 23, 2013.

TIME Online - Camilo José Vergara's 'The Dream Continues'

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The Dream Continues is a poster show of my photographs of popular, transitory murals depicting Martin Luther King, Jr. that I encountered when documenting the urban inner city over a period of forty years. The U.S. Department of State prepared one thousand copies of the thirteen 20” x 30” posters for travel around the world, and ten for me to do with as I wish. My plan is to exhibit those ten sets of posters in locations around the U.S. in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington that took place on August 27,1963.”

Camilo José Vergara is the first photographer to receive the National Humanities Medal, which was awarded to him earlier this year by President Barack Obama. The Dream Continues limited edition posters were funded by the U.S. Department of State and will be on view in various cities throughout the country starting August 14.

To view a slideshow of Vergara's Martin Luther King murals, follow this link (scroll down to the bottom).

Martin Parr's 'The Non-Conformists' set for October release

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"The Non-Conformists features Martin Parr’s first major body of work from the mid-1970s, published here for the first time in book form. A wonderful and charming surprise for Parr enthusiasts and fans of traditional reportage, this body of black-and-white imagery predates the cutting color work that earned him his fame in the 1980s. In 1975, fresh out of art school, Martin Parr found poor footing in the London photography scene, so he moved to the picturesque Yorkshire Pennine mill town of Hebden Bridge. Over a period of five years, he documented the town in photographs, showing in particular the aspects of traditional life that were beginning to decline. Susie Parr, whom he had met in Manchester, joined him in documenting a year in the life of a small Methodist chapel, together with its farming community.

In words and pictures, the Parrs vividly and affectionately document cobbled streets, flat-capped mill workers, hardy gamekeepers, henpecked husbands, and jovial shop owners. The best Parr photographs are interleaved with Susie Parr’s detailed background descriptions of the society they observed."

Click here to read more about the book and to pre-order your copy of The Non-Conformists.

Nature Within the City: Bruce Davidson’s Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, California, 2008.                            Bruce Davidson- Magnum

Bruce Davidson is part of a generation of documentary photographers who emerged in the 1960s: Danny Lyon, Lee Friedlander, and Diane Arbus, to whom he was once close. He is best known for his photographs of people such as “East 100th Street,” “Brooklyn Gang,” “Freedom Rides,” “Subway,” but in the last twenty years has dedicated himself to an exploration of nature within cities, which has taken him from New York’s Central Park to Paris. His latest series on Los Angeles completes this trilogy.

How does this photographer of human beings explain his recent pursuits? “Landscape is people to me,” he explains. “To me a tree is as lovely as a bathing beauty.”

His relationship to nature goes back a long way: “I grew up in Chicago across the street from a forest preserve. When I was ten years old I photographed owls. I always had a feeling for vegetation and the desert. When I was in the military I spent about a year in the Arizona desert. I enjoyed the exploration of things related to nature.”

His new exhibition focuses on two parallel series shot in Los Angeles in 1964 and 2008. The two series could not be more different: it is as if in this 44 year interval Bruce has “tamed” a place that seemed at first to be alien territory. Together, the two series form a lyrical poem of sorts, an unlikely ode to a city that to most of us is not much more than a cliché.

Davidson’s 1964 photographs give out a feeling of alienation and loneliness. Everything seems grey, lackluster and tawdry.

“In 1964 I was asked by Esquire magazine to photograph Los Angeles. It was dull and sort of lonesome. They were just getting started with the building. The editor did not understand the pictures at all. He gave them back to me and they stayed in my drawer until 1978.”

There are men playing chess, athletes on Venice Beach, surfers, people waiting at a bus stop, most seen from afar. They seem like characters in a noir movie, dwarfed by a sea of interlocking highways and ugly concrete street malls. Buildings and cars have an air of unreality. A stocky, bespectacled woman pushing her cart looks like Duane Hanson’s fiberglass sculpture “Supermarket Shopper.”

In Davidson’s latest series, shot with a Linhoff medium format camera and a Hasselblad, a sensuous black and white palette seems to evoke all the absent colors. “LA always was a black and white picture for me. I thought that I would never find the right green,” Davidson explains.

Intent on photographing nature within the city, he went looking into unlikely places, including below the highways: “I had this vision of the superhighways, the freeways, commingling with trees… Underneath the 405, ivy was growing. Nature clings, nature will adapt, nature will find a way to live. Even under concrete, nature is there, surrounding the grid of the city itself.”

In Los Angeles, he was struck by a range of nature that goes from desert to what he calls a Maine-like abundance. He is especially drawn to the palm trees, their brittle leaves, their rough-textured trunks, the shadows they project, their spiky silhouettes at dusk: “Palm trees are very lyrical because they are not needed. They don’t give shade and they don’t produce a lot of photosynthesis.”

In his view of the Mulholland Highway, high grasses and a rolling hill dwarf a city seen from afar, drowning in the smog. To shoot the famous Hollywood sign from behind, Davidson climbed up a steep hill to show the  scaffolding that holds the sign, like someone who, in a theater, would go behind the décor to see how it is all constructed.

“In L.A. I was not looking for anything,” says Davidson. “I wanted something to look for me. There isn’t an agenda. The photographs are not “about” anything. I only want to find beauty in banality. And that too can be very political.”

And what does the veteran photographer, whose career began in 1957, want to do now? “I don’t know what I’ll do next but it always has to come from inside, some sort of quest, a mystery, a magic that gets you into a world. The quest is as important as the outcome.”

To view slide show of Bruce Davidson Los Angeles photographs images click here


Bruce Davidson is an American documentary photographer and has been member of Magnum Photos for 55 years. His exhibition Los Angeles 1964/2012 is on view at Rose Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif. from August 10 – September 21, 2013.

Carole Naggar is a photo historian and poet. She recently wrote for LightBox on Chim’s images of children in Europe after World War IIthe visual fables of Pentti Sammallahti and Marc Garanger’s portraits from 1960s Algeria.

Time Lightbox - Camilo José Vergara

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From the Inner Cities to the White House: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara

4344 West Madison St., Chicago, 1981.

For more than four decades photographer Camilo José Vergara has devoted himself to documenting history.  His work—often focused on the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America—strives for objectivity and speaks directly about reality and how it changes over time. Vergara’s dedicated and meticulous approach—in which he has returned to the same locations at regular intervals over the years to document their decay (and sometimes renewal)—has often been a solitary and dogged one.

While his work has not yet received the acceptance of the gallery world, he can be considered one of the most important photographic documentarians of his age. Vergara’s photography has found support from museums and historical societies, earning him a MacArthur fellowship in 2002. This week, Vergara’s unique and enduring work will be recognized at the White House where President Obama will present him with the National Humanities Medal. He is the first photographer ever to receive the honor. Here, he writes for LightBox about his work.

Recent revelations about the astonishing scale of governmental snooping by America’s National Security Agency (the NSA) begs some rather troubling questions. Are photographers today leaving the recording of history — and thus the telling of history — to an exponentially growing number of surveillance cameras, to governmental spy programs and to social-media behemoths like Facebook, Instagram and Google? Or, perhaps even more dismaying, have photographers ceded control over the visual narrative of their time to high-end photography books that either aestheticize their subjects or rely solely on pictures culled from historical archives?

The most distinctive characteristic of my own work is the way in which I combine my photographs with both precise data and sociological analysis. My archive, while vast, is slim in comparison to the immense number of images found in online image banks, yet it has the virtue of possessing a genuine continuity over time; it includes the voices of my subjects; and it features my observations about the look and feel of the places I document, as well through the results of historical research.

As MIT Professor Anne Whiston Spirn has said of photography, it “can be a way of thinking about landscape, a means to read a landscape, to discover and display processes and interactions, and to map out the structure of ideas.” As a medium of inquiry, photography is, ultimately, “a disciplined way of seeing.”

For more than four decades I have devoted myself to photographing and systematically documenting the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America.  My focus is on established East Coast cities such as New York, Newark and Camden; rust belt cities of the Midwest like Detroit and Chicago; and such West Coast cities as Los Angeles and Richmond, California.

I began my documentation in the tradition of such masters as Helen Levitt, Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson, for all of whom the human figure was integral to their work. But increasingly, I became drawn to the urban fabric of America’s poor inner cities — to the buildings that composed it and the life and culture embedded in its structures and streets.

Not wanting to limit the scope of my documentation to places and scenes that captured my interest merely because they resonated with my personality, I have struggled to make as complete and objective a portrait of America’s inner cities as I could. Thus, I developed a method to document entire neighborhoods and then to return year after year to re-photograph the same places over time and from different heights, blanketing entire communities with images. Along the way I became a historically conscious documentarian, an archivist of decline, a photographer of walls, buildings and city blocks.

Bricks, signs, trees and sidewalks have spoken to me the most truthfully and eloquently about urban reality. For me, a people’s past, including their accomplishments, aspirations and failures, are reflected less in the faces, postures and clothing of those who live in these neighborhoods than in the material, built environment in which they move and that they modify over time. Photographs taken from different levels and angles, with perspective-corrected lenses, form a dense web of images, a visual record of these neighborhoods over years and even decades. I write down observations, interview residents and scholars, and make comparisons with similar photographs I have taken in other cities.

Studying my growing archive, I discover fragments of stories and urban themes in need of definition and further exploration. Some areas decline as longtime businesses give way to empty storefronts, graffiti and garbage, while others gentrify, with corporate chain stores replacing local mom-and-pop enterprises. I capture the ever-vital street life of neighborhoods, from stoop gatherings and parades to murals memorializing drug dealers, rappers and great leaders who are especially admired in such neighborhoods. I also look for the new shapes of old businesses, of emerging new ones and of new uses for old places. Wishing to keep the documentation open, I include places such as empty lots, which as segments of a temporal sequence are often especially revealing.

After 2000 my documentation entered a new phase. I began to do online searches of words, themes and addresses. With a simple Google search for a particular location, I was able to find newspaper and magazine articles, religious pamphlets, student papers and announcements for conferences and political meetings, all of which enriched the content of my research and prompted me to ask fresh questions and take new photographs. I discovered information about people who lived in the locations I photographed, read about events such as crimes, fires and stores and institutions coming to or abandoning neighborhoods, and learned about historical events that had taken place nearby. After the appearance of Google Maps (2005) and Google Street View (2007), these too became important research tools, allowing me to revisit the locations of my photographs and to go beyond the frames of the images to explore the streets around them. Whenever in doubt about the location of an image, I search for the correct address with Google Satellite or Street View.

I see photography as a medium that spurs continuous inquiry and thus leads to greater understanding of the spirit of a place.  I think of my images as bricks that, when placed in context with each other, reveal shapes and meanings within these often neglected urban communities. Through photography, I have become a builder of virtual cities.

My hope is that my long-term records will become part of our collective urban memory.


Camilo José Vergara is a 2002 MacArthur fellow whose books include American Ruins and How the Other Half Worships. LightBox has previously featured his work on MLK Murals, the World Trade Center and Everyday Life in the Hood: New York 1970 – 1973. You can see more of his photos on his web site and can contact him at camilojosev@gmail.com.

Text courtesy of Time LightBox

an - Rinko Kawauchi

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PICTURED #3: Rinko Kawauchi, Ametsuchi

For the third instalment of our series looking at visually rich art books, we consider the delicate and meditative works of Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi, on the occasion of her latest book – Ametsuchi – published by Aperture.

BY: TIM CLARK

NEWS: 11 Jul 2013

Rinko Kawauchi’s photographs are always emerging. They show us the point of becoming or passing, the moment at which forms begin and end.

The Japanese photographer is known for her unique brand of poetic photographs that concentrate on details so obvious that they almost go unnoticed. Some of her most instantly recognisable images include a drop of milk slipping from a baby’s mouth, lightning assaulting a building, the sun winking through trees, and spider patterns in fractured glass. Her work is the product of sustained looking of the most dreamy and introspective kind. She piles melancholy on melancholy.

Now, for her latest series entitled Ametsuchi, just published as a book by Aperture, she has taken the tradition of yakihata (an agricultural practice dating back 1,300 years in which fields are burnt to prepare and enrich soil) as her starting point to explore the cycles of life – its origins, its decay and its regenerative essence.

Leafing through its pages, we are confronted with scenes of poised turbulence, full of fragility and transcience yet loaded with meaning. Flaming fields are the recurring motif, bathed in soft, almost painterly colours and shot from dynamic perspectives. It’s both a celebration and lament to the fragility and fertility of the Earth, as well as an unremitting and poignant reflection of nature’s power.

Yet, hers is a strange kind of vision, not quite total. The works are like half-images or the tenderest lines from a poem – fragmented and abstract yet somehow resolving into a whole. Indeed, her decision to include other subjects such as planetariums, night Kagura dances, the sky viewed from her home and even the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem at first glance seem discordant but, as Kawauchi states, this all part of her undulating narrative pattern.

“They all lie in a haphazard array with seemingly nothing to connect them," she says. "But when lined up on a single time axis something can be read from these things too. There is an invisible point of tangency between apparently unrelated things. I investigate the connection between dreams and reality; I consider the beginning of things.”

Ametsuchi is no masterpiece, and certainly doesn’t rank up there with her mesmerisingly beautiful Illuminance (2011) and Aila (2004) titles. But for the mere pleasure of the eye, the surer we are of her mastery – always emerging.

Ametsuchi: photographs by Rinko Kawauchi is published by Aperture Foundation. For more information click here.

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New in Zurich - Martin Parr

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Martin Parr, British Photographer in Zurich at Museum fur Gestaltung

When it comes to important British documentary photographers the name Martin Parr is never far from your lips. Born in Epsom in 1952 and holder of the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Award, Martin Parr is well known for his great photography. This year he is exhibiting in Zurich at the Museum fur Gestaltung with a collection called ”Souvenir”. Combining various aspects of his work as a photographer, film maker, collector and all round “viewer’ of the world – especially in relation to mass consumerism, consumption, tourism and various other phenomena of 20th Century life, it should make for a great exhibition.

Martin Parr Souvenir in Zurich

You may find the collection “Think of Switzerland” particularly interesting, focusing as it does on some of the cliches and humorous aspects of Swiss life. In his inimitable way he captures the essence of Swiss living through his photography.

Martin Parr Souvenir in Zurich

It all makes for an entertaining collection and you can view it from 12th July till 5th January 2014 on Tuesdays to Sundays at the Museum fur Gestaltung from 10am – 5pm and on Wednesdays till 8pm.  The Vernissage takes place at 7pm on Thursday 11th July. For more information please read here.

Text courtesy of New in Zurich

Victor Dima - William Eggleston

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Inspiration / William Eggleston

on 2013/07/14

Following in the footsteps of Robert Frank, William Eggleston is one of those names that screams “America”. He is one of the fathers of color photography and has been a major influence in both photography and film since his “discovery” by the great Szarkowski. Eggleston, in his own words, has been at war with the obvious his entire career. I have always been interested in the photography of the “mundane” (as it reveals life to be anything but) so I had looked at his work in the past. Recently however I have had the chance to get to know him better as a photographer by watching William Eggleston in the Real World, a documentary I strongly recommend. Eggleston’s work has an immense power of description, and this documentary captures very well both his personality and his artistic approach:

‘I am at war with the obvious.’ This is one of Eggleston’s rare public statements of intent, to be inscribed on a banner flying in defiance of the fact that he tends to photograph only the most obvious stuff on the planet: the unspectacular, random, ephemeral stuff that’s out there on the edges of country roads and suburban driveways, on a bureau or a bed. Signs and toys and trash are given iconic stature, mysteries hiding in plain sight. Everything shown to be simultaneously familiar and strange, recognizable and unknowable.'

-From William Eggleston in the Real World

It’s hard not to think about various layers of reality seeing Eggleston searching, composing, looking through the viewfinder. One might think he’s peeling at the mundane to expose the hidden treasures of life, but Eggleston is much more zen than that. He looks and photographs, and by doing so reveals that there are no hidden treasures underneath the surface. Photographing the mundane does nothing more than expose it, as it is, in all its glory and unhidden beauty. He looks for signs, for landscapes of banality, for the places and things that are such strong signifiers of the human condition that we take them for granted, and asks us to look at them with honesty, without judgement and without commentary. His photographs of gas stations and signage are particularly interesting to me: we use these landmarks as helpers when we navigate, and Eggleston seems to tell us to stop and look before we make that left turn past the big red sign.

I leave you with two more quotes, both from the documentary: one by Michael Almereyda and one by Eggleston himself. They need no explanation. None of Eggleston’s work needs an explanation, and that is precisely the point: photography speaks for itself.

'Of course some photographs, like bricks, stack up differently than others. One measure of Eggleton’s gift is that it’s fairly impossible to spend time with his pictures without experiencing a kind of contagious recharged awareness of the richness of the visible world. Extended exposure to his photos is likely to recondition the way you see and the way you think about seeing. Everything is worth looking at, the pictures say, worth photographing.'

-From William Eggleston in the Real World

This last quote sums up the entirety of his body of work, and reveals (to me at least) the zen of William Eggleston:

'The trouble is – whatever it is about pictures, photographs, it’s just about impossible to follow up with words. They don’t have anything to do with each other. [...] What is there to talk about?'

- William Eggleston

Text courtesy of Victor Dima

Carré d'Info - Arthur Tress

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[Diaporama sonore] : La première grande expo du photographe américain Arthur Tress est à Toulouse

C’est l’un des plus importants photographes américains des années 1970 avecDiane Arbus : Arthur Tress est exposé du 28 juin, et jusqu’au 8 septembre, dans la galerie du Château d’eau à Saint-Cyprien. Des clichés pour la plupart jamais montrés en France et à l’étranger. Carré d’Info vous offre un avant-goût de cette rétrospective estivale. A vos écouteurs.

Né en 1940 à Brooklyn (New-York), Arthur Tress est l’un des photographes américains majeurs des années 1960 et 1970, qui expose pour la dernière fois en France à Arles en 1974. Et depuis, plus rien. Un argument qui a donné l’idée à Jean-Marc Lacabe, directeur et programmateur de la galerie du Château d’Eau à Saint-Cyprien, de montrer au grand public  « un grand photographe », pourtant méconnu dans l’hexagone. « Quand on construit notre programmation, je mets généralement l’accent sur la jeune création, mais aussi des photographes connus. A. Tress, j’y avais pensé puisqu’il n’a pas été exposé en France depuis 1974 », explique le directeur de la galerie.

Au total, ce sont environ 145 photographies prises entre 1956 et 1974 aux Etats-Unis, en Italie, en Espagne ou en France qui ont été rassemblées pour éditer un livre : Transréalités, qui donne le nom à la rétrospective. Ses premières photos ont été prises à l’âge de 16 ans à New-York.

En 1964, il part retrouver sa sœur lesbienne, deux mois à San Francisco et il en sortira une de ses séries emblématiques : San Francisco 64, du reportage subversif. Homosexuel, il s’amuse à mettre en scène le corps des hommes, avec beaucoup d’ironie, comme pour jouer de sa propre sexualité dans sa photographie.

Infos pratiques :

« Arthur Tress : Transréalités », du 28 juin au 8 septembre 2013 à la galerie du Château d’Eau.

Du mardi au dimanche 13h-19H

2,50 € l’entrée, 1,50 € tarifs réduits, gratuit pour les moins de 18 ans.

Text courtesy of Carré d'Info

Graciela Iturbide: At Tate Modern

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Graciela Iturbide

Exhibition
Tate Modern, Photography, London, United-Kingdom Monday May 13, 2013 - Sunday May 11, 2014
Graciela Iturbide, Birds on the Pole, Guanajuato, Mexico, 1990
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper Courtsey Jane and Michael Wilson

Graciela Iturbide is widely acknowledged as one of the most important photographers working in Mexico today. Beginning her photographic practice in 1969, Iturbide was mentored for many years by fellow Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo before emerging from the independent photography movement of the 1970s.

The works in this room represent an overview of her practice over four decades. Her subject matter varies considerably, but her primary concern has always been the depiction of everyday life inMexico, exploring themes of urban and rural life, indigenous rituals, the role of women, identity and the tensions between tradition and modernity.

In contrast to the objectivity conventionally associated with documentary practice, Iturbide’s works often result from a strong mutual relationship between subject and artist. This type of exchange can be seen most clearly in Iturbide’s work in traditional rural communities, which is based upon her building longstanding relationships with local people.

In the southern Mexican region of Tehuantepec Isthmus, for example, she undertook a decade-long project in Juchitán, a small town known for its rare matriarchal social structure. Her stay produced some of her best-known images and culminated in the seminal photobook Juchitán of Women (1989). Although Iturbide produces the majority of her work in Mexico, this display also includes work from her more recent projects inIndia, Italy and the American states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas.

Graciela Iturbide was born in 1942 in Mexico City, where she lives and works.

Text courtesy of Art Limited

L.A.Times Review for Christian Patterson's Redheaded Peckerwood at ROSEGALLERY

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By Leah Ollman

July 18, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

Christian Patterson on the Tenuousness of Knowing

All photographs serve as evidence, but not necessarily in support of the most obvious questions put to them.

Often they seem more like pointers than fixed points, arrows extended in multiple directions. Front-loaded with credibility, though, photographs bear a weighty load of expectations, some reasonable, many not. As filmmaker Errol Morris has written, "Photographs attract false beliefs the way flypaper attracts flies."

"Redheaded Peckerwood" (2005-11), a potent, time-release project by Christian Patterson, is based on a specific incident, the 1958 murder of 10 people, including relatives and friends, by Charles Starkweather, 19, and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate, 14.

Their killing spree in Nebraska and capture three days later in Wyoming has spurred several films (most notably "Badlands") as well as a Bruce Springsteen song.

Patterson's take, now at Rose Gallery, is a radical redefinition of the documentary photo-essay as fragmentary, episodic, speculative, unanchored to the time and facts of the presumptive main event. It centers less on information about the particular crimes committed by the teenagers than on knowledge itself as a tenuous prospect.

The show and its accompanying book keenly meditate, through photographs and assorted other objects, on extrapolation, projection, fabrication and imagination as the raw ingredients of visual perception.

The images borrow from familiar idioms. There is a small black-and-white archival news shot of Fugate in custody, grasped by her forearm, teary and defiant. There is a crisp, color, studio-style still life of a Zippo lighter, full-flame. There is a large, Eggleston-like photograph of a rumpled bed, its sheets and pillow a sallow brown.

And there are word paintings, a la Ruscha and Baldessari, lettered like commercial signage: "Helluva Mess," "Fruit Cake 98¢" and stacked in a column,"Drop Dead Drop Dead." There are also sheets of heavy paper stock that have been blasted by a shotgun, leaving ash-rimmed holes.

Every image is trailed by a story, or at least bits of one -- details related to the killings and their aftermath, or to Patterson's own endeavor to piece the tale together and yet affirm its provocative value as fragments that will be assembled in different order and with different emphasis in every viewer/reader's mind.

The work "... From Shinola" is one such glimpse. The photograph shows a bottle of black shoe polish tipped and spilled, a reference to the dye that the redheaded Starkweather used to disguise himself while on the run. The liquid seeps out of the bottle in an inky, calligraphic spread, much like a Rorschach test  image that in itself means nothing but takes on whatever significance is projected onto it.

And the title's snippet of the old colloquial expression reminds us that with a random inkblot, as with Patterson's pictures and, by extension, nearly every photographic image, we don't know the difference between fact and fake, art and artifact, what we see and what we know.

ROSEGALLERY, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-8440, through Aug. 3. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Upcoming Exhibitions at the Witliff Collections: Manuel Alvarez Bravo & Mexico Lindo

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Caja de visiones / Box of Visions by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, © 1938 AUGUST 1 – DECEMBER 1, 2013 MANUEL ÁLVAREZ BRAVO

One of the founders of modern photography, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902–2002) is Mexico’s most accomplished and renowned photographer. His images are masterpieces of post-revolutionary Mexico, composed with avant-garde and surreal aesthetics that resonate with stylized vision. Álvarez Bravo’s signature landscapes, portraits, and nudes translate reality into dream-like moments that have become iconic. “Don Manuel,” as he was called, taught photography at various schools in Mexico City and mentored generations of Mexico’s finest photographers. The Wittliff is proud to present its first-ever solo exhibition of works by this esteemed master—the result of more than 20 years of collecting—more than 50 of Álvarez Bravo’s signed prints. Included among the many famous images are: Bicicletas en domingoBicycles on SundayCaja de visionesBox of VisionsEl ensueñoThe Day DreamObrero en huelga asesinadoStriking Worker MurderedParábola ópticaOptical Parable; and Retrato de lo eterno Portrait of the Eternal.

Maguey Mazahua  © 1989 by Mariana Yampolsky

AUGUST 1 – DECEMBER 13, 2013 MÉXICO LINDO

Titled in tribute to the famous song, “México lindo y querido”—whose lyrics evoke a sentiment of love of the homeland—this exhibition celebrates the beauty of Mexico as seen through both native and foreign eyes. Presenting more than 100 photographs drawn from the Wittliff’s permanent collection, México lindo explores subjects that illuminate the diversity of the country’s landscapes, speak to the dignity of the individual, and reveal the importance of family, community, tradition, and faith. Images by 49 photo­journalists and fine-art photographers span in date from modern to contemporary and represent a variety of printing techniques.

[ROSEGALLERY artists]

FEATURING WORK BY  Alicia Ahumada  |  Lola Álvarez Bravo |  Yolanda Andrade  |  Lizeth Arauz Velasco  |  Lázaro Blanco  |  Byron Brauchli  |  Kate Breakey  |  Hugo Brehme  |  Debbie Fleming Caffery  |  Manuel Carrillo  |  Keith Carter  |  Henri Cartier-Bresson  |  John Christian  |  Marco Antonio Cruz  |  Dennis Darling  |  Faustinus Deraet  |  Alinka Echeverría  |  Miguel Gandert  |  Héctor García  |  Flor Garduño  |  Maya Goded |  Jesse Herrera  |  Robin Renee Hix  | Graciela Iturbide |  Guillermo Kahlo  |  Joseph Keiley  |  Robb Kendrick  |  Mary Ellen Mark  |  Luis Márquez  |  Eniac Martínez Ulloa  |  George Miller  |  Tina Modotti Pablo Ortiz Monasterio |  Rodrigo Moya  |  José Ángel Rodríguez  |  Josephine Sacabo  |  Joel Salcido  |  Rocky Schenck  |  Kitty Alice Snead  |  Richard Speedy  |  Jack Spencer  |  Roger Stone  |  Paul Strand  |  Antonio Turok  |  Terry Vine  |  Edward Weston  |  Geoff Winningham  |  Bill Wittliff  |  Mariana Yampolsky

Jim Dow Exhibition at the Haggerty Museum

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Exhibition Press Release from the Haggerty Museum-

''Over a span of forty years, photographer Jim Dow embarked on countless road trips across America, a paradigm informed by the legacy of photographer Walker Evans, to realize the series American Studies. Represented in the Haggerty Museum collection with photographs taken from 1978 to 1998, this body of work captures the spirit of our environment but also documents the impermanence of our ever-changing visual landscape. Equipped with an 8 x 10 camera, Dow sought to document the idiosyncratic qualities of banal sites—from motels and roadside diners to barbershops and storefront windows. While it is tempting to interpret Dow’s unpeopled photographs as signifiers of loss, the work relies heavily on the stories and sensibilities of individuals standing just outside the frame. The locations he chooses as subjects are never empty; they hold the potential for social engagement and community interaction, and it is in this way that Dow’s detailed, carefully composed images evoke a shared experience of the everyday. These portraits of place serve as compelling visual records of fading regional traditions, subcultures, and rituals that comprise a particular version of our universal and uniquely “American” experience.''

Mexico: A Revolution in Art -- The Week

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Mexico: A Revolution in Art 'Year's Boldest Exhibition'

RA exhibits works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, but the photographs are the stars of the show

LAST UPDATED AT 08:02 ON Tue 9 Jul 2013

What you need to know A new exhibition of early 20th century Mexican art has opened at the Royal Academy in London. Mexico: A Revolution in Art focuses on the art of the cultural renaissance in Mexico from 1910 to 1940, following the 1910 revolution.

The show brings together work from key figures including Diego Rivera (above), Frida Kahlo and José Clemente Orozco and photographers Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Tina Modotti. Their work is shown alongside work by international artists and intellectuals who visited and were influenced by Mexico's cultural scene, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Breton and Robert Capa. Until 29 September.

What the critics like It's "the year's boldest, barmiest exhibition", says Alastair Smart in the Daily Telegraph. Credit must go to curator Adrian Locke for pulling off this fascinating show.

"The prints and photographs are the true stars of the show," says Laura Cumming in The Observer. Modotti's photographs show her gift for capturing the sensual materiality of life, while Alvarez Bravo's monumental works are a revelation.

The show also introduces "an interesting cluster of artistic foreigners attracted to Mexico by all the revolutionary promise", says Waldemar Januszczak in the Sunday Times. Edward Burra evokes the darkness of Mexican belief, while the great American abstractionist Josef Albers captures the light and shade of a Mexican afternoon - lovely.

What they don't like The show's fundamental flaw is that it misses out on the great Mexican murals, says Charles Darwent in The Independent. Since mural painting was central to Mexican art in the decades after the 1910 Revolution – "it is a grave lack, like an ice-cream cone with no ice-cream."

Text and image courtesy of The Week.

Phaidon: Martin Parr

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Martin Parr turns his lens on the Swiss

The quintessentially English photographer focuses on Helvetican clichés in Think of Switzerland

Martin Parr, from Think of Switzerland (2013)

It's hard not to regard Martin Parr as a quintessentially English photographer. The Surrey-born, Bristol-residing Magnum photographer made his name with books like Think of England (2000), in which he captured the dowdy, endearing tattiness common to much of the country.

Martin Parr, from Think of Switzerland (2013)

Yet, Parr can apparently pull out these characteristics from more than one nation, as his new project makes clear. He shot Think of Switzerland to accompany his show at The Museum of Design in Zurich, which opens 12 July 2013 and runs until 5 January 2014. The series captures many of the same qualities as Think of England, while keeping the Swiss character firmly in the foreground.

Martin Parr, from Think of Switzerland (2013)

"Of all the countries in the world that have clichés, Switzerland scores very highly," Parr says. "I have made these my starting point for this exploration of the country through this portfolio of work. For the exhibition, I combined the new images, shown here, with many photos I had taken over the years to produce a tapestry of my impressions of Swiss life."

Martin Parr, from Think of Switzerland (2013)

We haven't spotted any cuckoo clocks, though there's a few shots of fondue, some ball nights, The Matterhorn and those delicious (but probably very bad for you) sausages. See the series here. And find out more about the Zurich show here.

You can order Parr's classic photo essay Think of England here for£19.95, for which Phaidon Club members will be rewarded with 200 Phaidon points; you can also pre-order the new edition of our classic Martin Parr monograph for £8.95; for which Phaidon Club members will be credited with 90 Phaidon points towards their next purchase. Find out more about our club here.

Text and images courtesy of Phaidon

artdaily: Christian Patterson at ROSEGALLERY

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Christian Patterson's groundbreaking series, Redheaded Peckerwood on view at ROSEGALLERY

Day of Terror, 2010

SANTA MONICA, CA.- ROSEGALLERY announces the American debut of 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, Christian Patterson's groundbreaking series, Redheaded Peckerwood. Photographs, objects and historical ephemera is on view June 29th through August 3, 2013.

Redheaded Peckerwood is Christian Patterson's second major body of photographs and the subject of his highly acclaimed monograph, published by MACK in 2011. The book has been called an "instant classic" and was named one of the best books of the year by Art in America, the New York Times, TIME and the Guardian among many others. Last year the book was awarded the prestigious Recontres d'Arles Author Book Award and it is currently in its third printing.

Redheaded Peckerwood is a work with a tragic underlying narrative - the story of 19 year old Charles Starkweather and 14 year old Caril Ann Fugate who murdered ten people, including Fugate's family, during a killing spree across Nebraska to their point of capture in Douglas, Wyoming. The images record places and objects central to the story, depict ideas inspired by it, and capture other moments and discoveries along the way.

Christian Patterson does not attempt to piece together the precise circumstances of the murders, or any over-arching narrative; rather, he creates images that speak to the themes he considers fundamental to the story - angst, love, rebellion, escape, violence, and loss of innocence. He borrows certain points freely and boldly mixes them with fictional elements, using photography as his primary tool.

Redheaded Peckerwood utilizes and plays with an archive of material, deliberately mixing fact and fiction, past and present, myth and reality as it presents, expands and re-presents the various facts and theories surrounding this story. From a technical perspective, the photographs incorporate and reference the techniques of photojournalism, forensic photography, image appropriation, reenactment, documentary, and landscape photography. On a conceptual level, they deal with a charged landscape and play with photographic representation and truth as Patterson deconstructs the pre-existing narrative.

While photographs are the heart of this work, the artist has combined them with documents and objects belonging to the killers and their victims - a map, poem, confession letter, stuffed animal, and hood ornament - which will be exhibited alongside his photographic prints.

Christian Patterson was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work is found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; The New Orleans Museum of Art; and the Light Work Collection, Syracuse to name a few. Private collections including the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Photography Collection; The Berman Photography Collection; and the collection of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser. This will be Patterson's first solo exhibition at ROSEGALLERY. The gallery is pleased to be the artist's exclusive U.S. representation.

Text courtesy of artdaily.org