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Spotlight Series: Zeke Peña

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“Graciela's work grabs you, it pulls you in. So when I was working with her images I tried not to change them much, because I don't think they need anything. I was simply was trying to translate and place them in a graphic narrative.” -Zeke Peña

About fourteen years ago while traveling on a road trip through Northern Mexico, Zeke Peña brought only one book with him: a small, pocket-sized book of photographs by Graciela Iturbide. A few years ago, the works of Graciela Iturbide entered his life again when he was presented with the opportunity to illustrate Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide, published by Getty Publications. It was not until he was preparing the proposal for the book that he made the connection between the subject of his most recent project and the photographs that accompanied him throughout the landscape of Northern Mexico. 

Zeke Peña, Juchitán, 2017

Zeke Peña, Juchitán, 2017

In the pages of Photographic, Peña recreated Iturbide’s subjects in a graphic form, allowing the reader to understand the narrative around Iturbide’s images. In one of Peña’s drawings, two women from Juchitán walk across the composition with their skirts flowing behind them as they move forward. The two walking women originate from a photograph in Iturbide’s series from Juchitán, a body of work that greatly resonates with Peña both because of the indigenous community’s resistance to western colonial, patriarchal influence and the subjects’ proximity to his own cultural and racial identity. Through the research that Isabel Quintero — the author of Photographic and Peña’s collaborator —  conducted, Peña learned in great detail about the lives and history of the women in Juchitán. Within a community where women owned property and had enormous agency relative to in western culture, the women in Juchitán moved with both power and a joyful sense of ease, which is felt strongly in Iturbide’s photographs. 

In Zeke’s drawing of the two women from Juchitán, they move across an empty space where the viewer can imagine their surroundings, but in the actual context of the photograph the words La Libertad are sprayed above them. Within their environment, everyday life moves alongside the political undertones of their existence. Libertad from the pressures of an imposing colonial culture that denounces their cultural practices and the agency of women in their community. Libertad from the invisibility of their lives and stories, for in Peña’s words: “For indigenous people, story is everything.”

Graciela Iturbide,  Untitled , from her series Juchitán, c. 1986


Graciela Iturbide, Untitled, from her series Juchitán, c. 1986

As a storyteller himself whose work is rooted in the oral histories of people of the border region, Peña felt the impact of Iturbide’s subjects and the mastered methodology with which she approached and photographed them, continuing to pass oral histories through a photographic form. Through the respect that Iturbide gave her subjects and stories, she spotlights the indigenous cultures she photographed in intimate and true detail. In Peña’s work from Photographic, he derives the subjects from Iturbide’s photographs while bringing his own discoveries and connections to the page, highlighting the intimate narratives that play through the works of Graciela Iturbide with his own pen. 

"Real Food" by Martin Parr reveals how we eat

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Pioneer of food photography, Martin Parr's Tongue-and-cheek view of how we eat and what we eat is now in a 200 plus slate book Real Food published by Phaidon in April 2016.  

Real Food  by Martin Parr, published by Phaidon, 2016

Real Food by Martin Parr, published by Phaidon, 2016

With meals taken from 36 countries around the globe, Martin peers into the kelidescope of what we can see in a society from the plate of food before them.  “You can tell a lot about society, who we are and what we like doing, by looking at the food we eat,” he says in an interview. “As a subject matter, it’s quite revealing. It’s like a new social landscape so it’s been good to explore food all around the world."

“I am showing food as it really is because we are surrounded by images in magazines where you see food looking glorious and beautiful, and we know that most people don’t surround themselves with food like that. It is like the propaganda of food sales.”

Feeling hungry?  Buy your copy of Real Food from Phaidon.com
View more MARTIN PARR

Source: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/read/art...

Provocative Things: A Profile & Interview with Jo Ann Callis

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In the early 1970s, Jo Ann Callis left Cincinnati, where she had grown up, for California. Some forty years later, FotoFocus brought her back. On February 24, 2016, she gave a lecture—really an annotated slide show of her work—at the Cincinnati Art Museum as part of its Lecture and Visiting Artist Series, and the following morning she spoke informally at some length to Aeqai, both conversations generously arranged through FotoFocus. After her evening presentation, as an unofficial part of the celebration of her homecoming, a group of Cincinnatians who had gone to Walnut Hills High School with her crowded around to swap stories and memories. (One was Louis Sirkin, the First Amendment lawyer who, some two decades after Callis left town came to prominence by defending the Contemporary Arts Center in the Mapplethorpe trial. Callis remembered him fondly: “We were in the same Chemistry class. But we never went out.”) Callis, a pioneer of color photography and a leader in the Fabricated Photograph movement of the 1970s and 80s, has some deep professional roots in Cincinnati, where one of her first solo shows was mounted by the Contemporary Arts Center in 1983. Looking over Cincinnati’s downtown revival the following morning, Callis was only moderately interested in how the city had changed in the intervening decades. She was eager to walk from her hotel to the Taft Museum and to renew her acquaintance with one thing you can get in the Midwest that she can’t see in California. “Oh good!” she said: “it’s snowing!”

Jo Ann Callis, “Woman Twirling” (1985)

Jo Ann Callis, “Woman Twirling” (1985)

Callis has been in the news for the 2014 publication of Other Rooms, an anthology of what she had originally called her fetish photographs from the mid-1970s, now sumptuously printed by Aperture with an introductory essay by Francine Prose. The work garnered much praise and raised some eyebrows. Callis’s sensibility might be described as a heady blend of the mischievous and the prim. At the Museum, she said of one of her photographs that “it looks like a bordello to me. Or what I imagine a bordello to be like.” Up till now, most people had thought of Callis’s oeuvre as being both elegant and mysterious, characterized by sparse, finely-staged photographs of rooms subject to questionable degrees of order and human control. In the title picture to her 1999 exhibition at the Getty “Woman Twirling” (1985), a woman spins close to the corner of a nearly empty room. She is little more than a skirt and a blur. In the foreground, a lamp sits on a small round table, its base made of carved wood, depicting a couple melting into each other in an embrace.  While the twirling woman might be celebrating, she seems in a frenzy. In her Museum talk, Callis calls attention to her “repetitive action”: this, she says, is a sort of “madness.” What exactly are we witnessing? Like a lot of Callis’s images, it borders on the political, raising questions about women’s roles in our culture and their responses to those roles. And like a lot of her images, it shares some of the wild logic of a dream. But if so, whose?

Jo Ann Callis, “Woman with Black Line” (1976-77)

Francine Prose, in her excellent introductory essay to Other Rooms, observes that Callis’s photographs are “rich in erotic possibilities,” though it is worth noting that this is not quite the same as saying that they are richly erotic. The pictures are smart and telling, but they are certainly not depictions of—or incitements to—pleasure. In speaking of her work, Callis begins by asserting her formalist credentials: “I wanted my pictures to be constructed formally, and to be kind of tight.” Francine Prose wonders “what is so erotic” about these photographs? What “about a dark line, like the seam of an old-fashioned stocking, drawn from the top of a woman’s head straight down the length of her spine?” Prose’s answer begins with imagining the sort of scenario of sexual play that produces such a mark: “it’s something the woman is unlikely to be able to do on her own….We wonder: at what point does a lover feel comfortable enough to say, Want to know what I really like?…At what point in the discovery of desire does a woman realize that is what she wants?” Callis explains a different sort of origin for the picture: “It started with the feeling of a bowling bowl on a pillow.” In describing “Hands on Ankles,” Prose asks “How many of us could have predicted that a pair of hands, grasping a woman’s ankles, could be as charged with emotion as hands joined in prayer, in this case before the altar of the woman’s shoes?” Callis explained that she was drawn to “the way the heels dug into the chair.” She values “that moment of a little tension” because “the hands make it precarious,” and then noted “I felt the shadows were good.” She is perhaps the opposite of another photographic formalist of the 1970s, Robert Mapplethorpe, who sought prurience everywhere but actually captured it only fitfully; Callis was uninterested in prurience and found signs of it all over.

Jo Ann Callis, “Hands on Ankles” (1976-77)

Jo Ann Callis, “Hands on Ankles” (1976-77)

For complete read please visit: AEQAI

The Home Front by Ken Graves reviewed by Adam Bell

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The Home Front
Reviewed by Adam Bell

The Home Front
Photographs by Kenneth Graves 
Mack, London, England, 2015. 80 pp., 45 black and white illustrations, 9x6¾".

As a formative moment in the lives of American Baby Boomers, the Vietnam-era has been endlessly paraded in popular visual culture for decades — hippies, Flower Power, rock concerts, protests, political scandals and assassinations. Given the well-trod visual record of the mid-60s to early-70s, it’s rare to find photographic work that offers a fresh and unique perspective of the turbulent era. Focusing on city streets, public fairgrounds, and suburban cul-de-sacs, Kenneth Graves’ The Home Front offers a humorous and playful look at San Francisco during the war. Eschewing the expected, Graves reveals moments of absurdity, pointed sociological detail and whimsical formal delights. Brilliantly designed to resemble a dossier or report, the manila Swiss-bound book is an absurdist sociological missive — part Garry Winogrand and part Eugene Ionesco.

The Home Front. By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

The Home Front. By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

From the cover image of two men frozen and bewildered on an empty sidewalk to the closing image of a couple, whose heads are cut off by the kitchen cabinets, kissing over an empty array of dinner ware, Graves delights in the absurdities of the banal. Men and women are caught wearing silly costumes or contorted in odd poses. Legs jut inwards from outside the frame or up from behind beds, and heads peer in through windows or emerge from the foreground. While there is humor and oddity in the moments Graves captures, he steers clear of simple or mean-spirited visual puns. Instead, he is sympathetic observer who highlights our common frailty, solitude and anxieties. Continually directing our eye to poignant and absurd tableaux, Graves’ dynamic framing gives a sense that theatrics surround and circle us daily.

The Home Front . By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

The Home Front. By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

Yet beneath the absurdity, there is a lingering anxiety. Like Tod Papageorge’s American Sports, 1970: or, How We Spent the War in Vietnam, the book offers a pointed look at America society and the simmering political climate in the late 60s and early 70s. Although he enlisted in the Navy as a young man, Graves was no hippie and does not wear his politics on his sleeve. He would likely bristle at the moniker of a ‘concerned photographer,’ but his work exudes a subtle politics that both celebrates and critiques what he sees and captures. Over the course of Grave’s work from the mid-60s to 70s, the Vietnam War expanded into Cambodia and Laos. All the while, the American bodies kept coming home. Simmering below the surface, the war played out at home. Men in uniform stand silent and sullen, bearing the burden of their obligation both at home and abroad, while others simply carry on, raising their children or going to the county fair. In the opening image, we see Graves’ daughter or that of one of his peers standing in a corner and measuring herself with a ruler that bears Graves’ name. In another, a man leans back to watch a trapeze act in the distance. His balding head is thrust in our face. These moments of levity are balanced with more poignant ones like that of a legless man, likely a veteran, who peers into a military themed arcade game named Texas Ranger Gatling Gun. Gazing intently through the viewfinder, he shoots down his imaginary enemies again and again. 


Read more at: Photo-Eye

Artist News, Bruce Davidson "Gifts to the Collection" exhibition at de Young

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Bruce Davidson,  Brooklyn Gang , 1959, 1959. Mid-vintage gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Jerri Mattare. © Bruce Davidson/Howard Greenberg Gallery 

Bruce Davidson, Brooklyn Gang, 1959, 1959. Mid-vintage gelatin silver print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Jerri Mattare. © Bruce Davidson/Howard Greenberg Gallery 

Bruce Davidson: Gifts to the Collection
27 February 2016 – 11 September 2016
GALLERY 12

Bruce Davidson (American, b. 1933) is one of the most influential photographers of the last half century. Working in both color and black and white, Davidson has documented subjects ranging from the civil rights movement to the urban grit of Harlem and the New York subway system. This exhibition presents a selection of 42 photographs and celebrates important gifts of vintage prints that will be exhibited for the first time since their acquisition in 2013. 

Davidson is known for his humanist outlook and a desire to engage directly with his subject matter, approaches that owe much to his early artistic influences in photography, including Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Davidson’s projects include The Dwarf (1958), Brooklyn Gang (1959), and Time of Change (1961–1965), the latter of which chronicles the events and effects of the civil rights movement in both the North and the South. In East 100th Street (1970), he documented a conspicuously poverty-stricken block in East Harlem over the course of two years. Davidson followed this with Subway (1980), and in 1998 he returned to East 100th Street to document the revitalization, renewal, and changes in the neighborhood that occurred since he had last photographed the neighborhood. All of these significant series are represented in Bruce Davidson: Gifts to the Collection.

Source: https://deyoung.famsf.org/exhibitions/bruc...

Frame by Mark Cohen review – small-town America in all its normality and oddness

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 ‘Singular’: Small Hand and Ball, 1987, from Frame. Photograph: Mark Cohen

 ‘Singular’: Small Hand and Ball, 1987, from Frame. Photograph: Mark Cohen

The term “shooting from the hip” could have been invented to describe Mark Cohen’s style of street photography. Like many of the 1960s pioneers, Cohen likes to surprise his subjects, capturing them as they pass by and often without them even being aware that they have been photographed.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, though – Garry Winogrand, say, or Bruce Gilden – Cohen’s images do not tend towards the cruel or the confrontational. Rather, there is a certain tenderness to the best shots, particularly when his subject matter is children or teenagers. A beautiful little book called Dark Knees, which accompanied a mini-retrospective of his work at Le Bal in Paris a few years ago, homed in on this aspect of his work to poetic effect, emphasizing just how singular a stylist Cohen is, not least in the way he crops the human figure or captures it from odd angles. ~ Sean O'Hagan

Future details HERE.

 

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/...

Eggleston's "The Democratic Forest" Featured in AnOther Magazine

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Daisy Woodward discusses the legacy of William Eggleston's mid-1980s work and his new 10-volume edition of The Democratic Forest, published by Steidl.

"I was treating things democratically, which of course didn't mean a thing to the people I was talking to. I already had different, massive series. I had been to Berlin and to Pittsburgh and completed huge bodies of work. From that moment everything from the boxes of thousands of prints made cohesive sense for the first time."

From the AnOther Magazine online posting from 3 December 2015.

For more about William Eggleston visit his artist page.