The Latin American Library at Tulane University has acquired an archive of images documenting Erika Diettes’ photographic process, in addition to a copy of each of her published works, Silencios, Río Abajo and Sudarios.
Shuli Hallak’s 2005 series, Cargo, provides a glimpse into the mechanics of a largely unseen world: the large-scale, industrial systems we depend on, but often don’t see. A recurring theme in her work, Hallak’s photographic investigations have focussed on the solar, oil and natural gas, and coal industries.
Hallak photographed at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for more than two years, before traveling aboard the M.V. Charles Island from Staten Island through the Panama Canal to South America. The voyage lasted two weeks, allowing her to experience and present the industry from the perspective of a crewman.
“There is a surreal charge to this mysterious network, which seems to have a life of its own,” Hallak says. “People function in service of its meticulous efficiency, and they are small in comparison to its heft.” But the artist also finds beauty in the spaces we create to serve our collective demands, “smoothly, beneath our radar, almost like our subconscious.”
The art world is replete with “best” lists and the photographic community is hardly immune from them. The Greatest Photographers of the 20th Century, The 50 Best Photographers of All Time and Top 10 photographers every student should study represent just a handful among many that purport to feature a “definitive,” often ranked list.
Lalla Essaydi‘s 2004 body of work, Converging Territories, offered many Westerners their first glimpse into the lives and traditions of Islamic women. Created in a family house where women—including the artist herself as a child—were confined for transgressions against Islam, sometimes for extended periods, the series was developed as a performance piece Essaydi then photographed.
The work intentionally challenged perceptions of women both within and outside Islam. The text, for example, which was written on the walls and hands, faces and bodies of the women, was itself done in protest, since Islamic calligraphy is meant to be practised solely by males and forbidden to women.
Born in Morroco, Essaydi attended L’École des Beaux Arts in Paris and earned a B.F.A. from Tufts University. She received an M.F.A. from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1993. Essaydi lives and works in New York.
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2013 Rome Prize. The prize is awarded annually to thirty emerging artists and scholars in the early or middle stages of their careers who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities working in the following disciplines:
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Renaissance and Early Modern Studies
Modern Italian Studies
For additional information and to apply online, visit the American Academy in Rome website.
Considered one of the world’s leading contemporary artists, Lorna Simpson is widely known for juxtaposing photographic images and written text to produce conceptual work that questions “how we represent, see and communicate with each other and ourselves.” Born in 1960, her work has often challenged perceptions of gender, identity and culture using the figure of a black woman as “as a visual point of departure.”
Simpson was the first black female artist to have a one-person show at The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the first to exhibit in the Venice Biennale. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including The International Center for Photography, The Irish Museum of Modern Art and The Studio Museum of Harlem, and she is only one of a handful of black artists whose work has been exhibited at Documenta.
In 2006, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles mounted a mid-career survey of her work. The show traveled to The Miami Art Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Kalamazoo Institute of Art and The Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC. Simpson lives and works in New York.
Max de Esteban’s series, Elegy I – Vertige, is featured in the current issue of THE PHOTO Magazine.
In 1929, the Italian-born photographer, Tina Modotti, photographed the hands of a young artist named Louis Bunin pulling the strings of a marionette. An apprentice to Diego Rivera, Bunin, like Modotti, was a leftist, and both were acutely aware of the use of the puppet stage as a vehicle for conveying social and political messages.
Almost a decade earlier, the then Hollywood actress had met the photographer Edward Weston, with whom she had begun an affair. Although he was married, the couple moved to México in 1923. First working with him as his assistant, Modotti apprenticed with Weston before eventually becoming his business partner and a photographer in her own right. The artists maintained their friendship after separating, often exchanging photographs with one another. Hands of the Puppeteer was originally presented as such as a gift to Weston.
An active member of the Communist Party, Modotti was deported in 1929. Relocating first to Russia and later to Spain, she returned to México in 1939. Modotti died of heart failure in 1942.
Max de Esteban‘s recent series, Proposition One, is featured in an article by Ute Noll in the September issue of Photographie magazine.
Somos naturais de Kerala, Sul da Índia. Quando tinha 30 anos, mei pai recebeu uma proposta para trabahlar como engenheiro no Brasil. Tanto ele como minha mãe desejavam conhecer outros lugares no mundo, então ele aceitou. Aqui eu nasci. Eles sabiam que alguns costumes iam mudar bastante, como a tradição de manter os casamentos somente entre indianos. Meu irmão mais velho, engenheiro naval, é casado com um brasileiro. Embora meu futuro marido não seja indiano, a cerimônia será na Índia e será tradicional por minha própria vontade. Dos Brasileiros temos hoje o jeito caloroso, a demonstração de afeto mais espontânea,costume pouco usual na Índia. Por isso dizemos que morar no Brasil realmente nos modificou: a raiz é indiana, o caule é brasileiro. As flores e os frutos são uma mistura dos dois. Um pouco de curry e um pouco de pimenta malagueta.
We are from Kerala, South India. When my father was 30 years old, he received a proposal to work as an engineer in Brazil. Both my mother and father wished to know other places in the world. so he accepted. I was born here. They knew that some habits would change a lot, as the tradition of marriages only among Indians. My oldest brother, a nautical engineer, is married to a Brazilian woman and I, a lawyer, will soon be married to a Brazilian guy. Even though my future husband is not Indian, the wedding ceremony will be in India and it will be a traditional one, because I wish it. From Brazilians we got the tenderness, the spontaneous way to show love, attitudes rather unusual in India. That is why we say that living in Brazil has really changed us: the root is Indian, the trunk is Brazilian. The flowers and the fruit are a mixture of both of them: some curry and some red pepper.
– Kalyani Madhusudanan
“On rawguru.com,” the contemporary visual artist Amber Stucke notes in her graduate thesis, Embodying Symbiosis: A Philosophy of Mind in Drawing, “you can buy, for thirty-four dollars and ninety five cents, a tincture of cordyceps mushroom extract.”
Quand j’ai pris ces photos, j’avais en tête ma nouvelle série intitulée Lying Still (rester tranquille), sur laquelle j’ai travaillé ces derniers mois. J’y explore nos façons d’appréhender le changement et les défis de la vie. Ma série comprend des autoportraits, des paysages et des natures mortes qui, tous, abordent les notions de mort, de sexualité et d’intimité, ainsi que les relations humaines.
When I took these pictures, I was thinking of my new series, Lying Still, which I have been working on these past months. I explore the ways we understand the changes and challenges of life. My series includes self-portraits, landscapes and still lifes, all of which address the concepts of death, sexuality and intimacy, and human relations.
This text was originally printed in M Magazine, 21 July.
Part storyteller, part folklorist, part image-maker, the photo artist Carrie Mae Weems defies simple explanation. Throughout her career, making use of conceptual photography, sculpture, sound, and video, Weems has integrated text with the visual image to document and challenge perceptions of race, class, and gender.
The photographs of Chester Higgins, Jr. capture a certain grace. His work, rich in both shadow and light, evokes the warmth and dignity of his subjects while, at the same time, illustrating his commitment to his artistry. A practiced, visual ethnographer who has worked in more than thirty countries, he often describes himself as “a cultural anthropologist with a camera.”
It is unlikely that many people would be familiar with the name Jules Lion. A free man of color, Lion established the first daguerrean studio in New Orleans and, in doing so, became somewhat of a local celebrity. Alone, his accomplishments might have been of little interest. But the fact that he did this in the early spring of 1840, soon after the announcement of the daguerreotype process, is worthy of special attention.
Alex Leme’s current and ongoing project, Small Town: Portraits of a Disappearing America, offers a glimpse of the small, rural towns—as well as the lives of those who live in them—which are fast disappearing from the American landscape.
A little over seventy-five miles from Little Rock, lay the city of Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Located in Woodruff County, the city was founded in 1820. Originally known for its warehouses and cotton gins, and later for sawmills and woodworking plants, Cotton Plant, along with its prosperity, reached its peak population of more than 1,800 in 1950.
The Brazilian-born Leme, who lived and studied in London before moving to Little Rock, began the series in 2010. At the time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cotton Plant had a population of 649.
In the run up to the men’s 200 meter final during the London 2012 Olympics, the BBC aired a short documentary on eugenics, which advanced the theory that sprint races are dominated by black athletes due to natural selection and the legacy of slavery.
Britain is more multicultural than any other country. It started way back when, when the explorations came. It became multicultural then, with the landings in different lands.
So it’s no surprise to me. You look at the team; look at the English team… there’re a lot of non-Whites on that team. At one time I only thought there were only White folks in England, but you see a multicultural England and I think that’s because of human rights issues, politics and the sense that this is a competition of all people, not just one or two kinds.
Tommie Smith, former Olympic sprinter and gold medal winner, talking with sports reporter Rupert Bell on the diversity of Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. Smith, along with Olympic sprinter and bronze medal winner John Carlos, raised his fist in a human rights salute in protest at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Working primarily in wood and stone, Martin Puryear is one of the premier artists in contemporary sculpture. Known for his objects and public installations, the artist’s “evocative, dreamlike explorations in abstract forms retain vestigial elements of utility from everyday objects found in the world.”
Called one of the most idiosyncratic and versatile female artists of the 20th century, Méret Oppenheim was a Surrealist painter, sculptor and photographer. Born in Berlin in 1913 and raised in Switzerland, Oppenheim moved to Paris after studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel.
She went on to study at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in the French capital before meeting Alberto Giacometti, who introduced her into the city’s Surrealist circle. Encouraged by Giacometti, Oppenheim created her first Surrealist object and went on to participate in her first exhibition of Surrealist work at the Salon des Surindépendants in 1933.
Widely known for her 1936 piece, Object, a fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon created for the first Surrealist exhibition of objects, Oppenheim—equally muse as artist—modeled for May Ray, among others, who considered her to be the “perfect embodiment of the Surrealist woman, the femme-enfant.”
Created in 1964, Oppenheim’s self-portrait “X Ray photo”, as she called it, was not realized as a photographic print until 1981. While her intention was to produce an edition with her name, birth and projected date of death, only twenty—sans title—were ever produced.
Max de Esteban’s three-part series, Elegies of Manumission, is currently being featured in a one-person exhibition at the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Birthe Piontek‘s portrait of husband-and-wife artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller is featured in the July 29 issue of The New York Times Magazine.
Accidentally, and perhaps even unknowingly, Eufália Cristina Paz de Almeida may have found her method. A largely conceptual artist that has worked in paint, drawing and mixed media, the Brazilian-born Paz de Almeida recently began combining personal experience, photographic image and text to construct effecting and sometimes deeply personal narratives.
Sylwia Kowalczyk‘s 2009 series Temporal (Portraits) investigates the notion that contemporary subjects, when posing for a portrait, “unconsciously echo the poses and expressions of our predecessors” as they were captured centuries ago by the old masters. “The viewer,” she says, “whether consciously or subconsciously, can pick up these subtle references to our heritage contained in a mere gesture or a gaze.”
Kowalczyk, who was born in Poland and now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows throughout Europe, China, the U.S., Mexico and South Africa. Both Temporal (Portraits) and her latest series, Nightwatching, were recently featured in a solo exhibition at the Wozownia Art Gallery in Poland.
Considered to be one of contemporary dance’s most influential dancers and choreographers, Pina Bausch was best known for her seminal theatrical productions including Sacre du Printemps, Café Müller and Vollmond.
Lucía Herrero’s series, Species, is a sociological study that embraces the realm of fantasy and reality. Photographed in the Albufera Natural Park in Valencia, Spain, the “species” in Herrero’s study is not animal, plant or vegetable, but human.
The artist’s subjects, who either protect, exploit, pass through or are fed by the land, appear to float on water, creating the surrealist tableau. In reality, Herrero’s photographs merely capture the inhabitants of the park’s microclimate standing on submerged plastic crates.
The end result is a set of images that, as a portrait of rural Spain, serve as social documentary, social experimentation and performance piece. The third in a series Herrero calls Antropología Fantástica, images of people produced in a documentary and theatrical style with fantasy and dramatic elements, Species is a “photo-event” in which the “actors” are left to interpret themselves.
Known to many as the muse and lover of surrealist artist Man Ray, as well as for her lips, which he captured in the painting A l’Heure de l’Observatoire—Les Amoureux, the photographer Lee Miller was very much an accomplished artist in her own right.
The dream-like quality to Marta Maria Pérez Bravo’s photography reflects and is influenced by her belief in Santería, a religion rich in symbolism followed by the majority of Cubans today. “The world of religion [in] my work refers to is a world where each and every colour is charged with meaning,” the artist says.
Conversely, Pérez Bravo, who was born in Havana and has worked exclusively in black and white since the 1980s, adds “black and white photography is capable of giving the whole an oneiric feeling, of producing associations with apparitions and other aspects that do not belong to a concrete reality.”
And each religious object Pérez Bravo uses is made of specific materials and colors; “the use of colors is part of the meaning, it is a kind of moral compromise with the subject.”
An article on Birthe Piontek’s series, Sub Rosa, is a cover feature in the July issue of Blink Magazine.
In 2002, Robert Storr, then Senior Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, organized and curated the exhibition, Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting. The first full-scale survey in New York devoted to the German artist’s work, the exhibition included more than 180 paintings from each phase in his career, ranging from his photographic-based work to his gestural abstraction.
One of Priya Kambli’s motivations in creating her artwork is to give voice to artists similar to herself; people dealing with issues of a “hybrid” cultural identity—of belonging to and embodying multiple cultures, but fitting into neither completely.
Born in Mumbai, the artist moved to the U.S. to study graphic design when she was eighteen, shortly after the unexpected deaths of both her parents. Her work then, Kambli contends, is rooted in a fascination in the intersection between her parents’ lives in India as well as her own, both in her birthplace and in the United States. But it is when the images are stripped of context and distilled to its simplest form that the work’s strength becomes most apparent, framed simply as a set of family pictures, stories and the artist’s own personal histories.
People have numerous and varying responses to change. Some accept change as a natural part of life, and even embrace it for the new opportunities and humilities it offers. Others fight it passionately, even when they’re aware that their efforts are pointless and futile.
Lying Still, Birthe Piontek’s most recent series, is an exploration of those thoughts and approaches to change and challenges in life. Precipitated by the artist’s own recent unexpected illness, the series consists of self portraits, landscapes and still lifes, each dealing with notions of mortality, sexuality, intimacy, roles and relationships and the change within them.
“I see the images as allegories of the human condition,” Piontek says. “They are sincere and poetic scenes that have their origin in the deep reservoir of the unconsciousness and reference our dreams, desires, urges, memories and fears.”
Erika Diettes’ evocative new series, Sudarios, opens Friday as part of the Barichara International Film Festival (FICBA) in Barichara, Colombia.
Stephen Marc is best known for creating complex digital photomontages using family snapshots, photographs of historical sites and original documents to tell the story of African American history and culture placed within the context of American culture as a whole. The stories he tells unfold into layers of detail carefully aligned, juxtaposed against each other, and set within a relevant landscape.
His recent series, Passage on the Underground Railroad, uses these images to construct thematic mélanges of metaphor and memory. Ultimately, the photographs serve as way stations towards a broader understanding of the South and its impact on the development of the United States.
Lorena Guillén Vaschetti’s latest series, Historia, memoria y silencios II (History, Memory and Silence II), is a fitting second chapter to the Argentinian artist’s previous body of work, Historia, memoria y silencios I.
While the first series was comprised solely of a set of images of slides, film canisters and notes her mother had intended to discard, Vaschetti’s second finally affords us a glimpse at the images, which the canisters once held. And whereas the first part challenged the viewer to consider his or her own family history in the absence of any detail, Vaschetti clues us in to her own this time. Smartly, the artist has alters the resulting images here, obscuring those details just enough to create a narrative that is at once private and universal.
Vaschetti’s first monograph, Historia, Memoria, Silencios, was published earlier this year. Selections from the series will be on exhibit in Buenos Aires as part of the Festival de la Luz in August.
Photographer Ruth Bernhard was born in Berlin in 1905 and moved to New York in 1927 to pursue a career in photography. After meeting Edward Weston by chance in 1935, she moved to California, first living in Carmel to study with Weston and then later in Hollywood before eventually moving to the Bay Area in 1953.
It was in San Francisco that she would become friends and colleagues with fellow Group f/64 members Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange and Minor White. Working chiefly as a commercial photographer, Bernhard was in her 50s when she had the first solo show of the work she would become famous for.
Widely known for her studies of the female figure and named by Adams as the greatest photographer of the nude, Bernhard’s 1946 black and white photograph, Triangles, was made in homage to Cunningham’s 1928 image of the same name.
Erika Diettes‘ 2005 portrait series, Silencios, bears witness to the thousands of Jewish men and women who arrived in Colombia after suffering Hilter’s barbarity.
En realidad no me gusta hablar ni escribir sobre los recuerdos mios del terrible suceso que nos ocurrió a mi familia, amigos y a mayoría del pueblo judío, pero me convencí que es necesario para no olvidarse jamás.
The truth is that I do not like to talk or write about my memories of the terrible events that happened to my family, friends and most of the Jewish people, but I was convinced that it is necessary to never forget.
— Sigmund Halstuch, naci en Czortkow Polonia Oriental actualmente Ucrania, el año 1929. (sic)
I’ve been photographing my life… the people who are close to me—my parents, my husband, my self—through many periods of time, good and bad.
Inspired by a thirst for intimacy, Elinor Carucci began photographing as a teenager before earning a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in 1995.
After moving to New York, Carucci quickly became known for her ability to capture her most personal and intimate moments in her work. Offering a rare glimpse into what for many is held private and close, Carucci received widespread acclaim and recognition for her first series, Closer.
As with his previous series, Beyond History (Havana 1998–2006), in which he “assembled, recycled and recomposed” the fragments of an eight-year experience in Havana into a powerful and affecting collection of images, Vincent Delbrouck’s photographs of Nepal represent a marked departure from those of the less discerning observer. Born in Brussels in 1975, Delbrouck integrates his personal, contextual and fictional perspectives to produce lasting impressions of the countries he chooses to explore.
An insightful photographer working across and between media and materials, Delbrouck’s collections of images and literature create a type of “poetic documentary;” these fictionalized autobiographies—often placed in “exotic” settings—afford viewers the opportunity to incorporate his work into their own personalized narratives.
Delbrouck’s photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe, North America and China. His monograph, Beyond History, was published in 2008 and was a finalist for the Book of the Year Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie in 2009. A one-person exhibition of his recent work, Beyond History, As Dust Alights and Some Windy Trees, was recently shown at the Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff, U.K.
A modified version of this text appears in PDN‘s Photo of the Day, published 21 September 2011.
In February of 1995, the J. Paul Getty Museum premiered a new body of work, Carrie Mae Weems Reacts to Hidden Witness, in conjunction with another exhibition of daguerreotypes, tintypes, and photographs of African-Americans made before, during, and after the Civil War. Weems’ installation, which would later serve as the basis for her celebrated series, From Here I Saw What Happened And I Cried, featured enlarged photographic reproductions of a number of these works culled from the Getty’s own holdings and the collection of Jackie Napolean Wilson, a private collector. Layered with narrative text on etched glass, Weems coupled word and image not only to provide a commentary on slavery and prejudice, but also to challenge the conventions of photographic history, and how these norms have shaped American attitudes toward ethnicity, gender, and identity.
Considered one of the most influential contemporary American artists, Carrie Mae Weems has investigated yearning, loss, cultural identity, and the visual consequences of power throughout her renowned career. Determined as ever to enter the picture—both literally and metaphorically—Weems has sustained an on-going dialogue within contemporary discourse for more than thirty years.
Max de Esteban’s Private Utopias portrays twenty artists of varying ages who were asked to dress in the outfit they best believed represented their personality.
The project was inspired by Julia Margaret Cameron’s series of portraits of artists and intellectuals, with an idea toward re-phrasing her modernist vision of the role of cultural producers in society. The work probes an additional question, however, which is how should the artist, many who has lost faith in art as a vehicle for social change, be represented today?
The more he contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desire.
In his proposal for the 1952 Guggenheim Fellowship, which he was subsequently awarded, Roy DeCarava wrote that he wanted to show the “dignity of the Negro people”. The artist, who would go on to become one of photography’s most celebrated practitioners, wanted to do this in a way that would not be a sociological or documentary statement but, as he wrote, “as a creative expression”, which DeCarava believed only a black photographer could interpret.
During his extensive career, culminating in his 1996 traveling exhibition, Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective, organized and curated by Peter Galassi at the Museum of Modern Art, DeCarava produced thousands of black and white images chronicling life in Harlem, the civil rights movement and jazz music.
Marisa Portolese’s 2010 series, Imagined Paradise, is a body of work that imagines an aesthetic, albeit surreal experience attainable only through a flight of the imagination. The images offer the viewer two distinct universes—the real and the imagined—represented in an “imagined paradise.”
Portraiture, the representations of women, childhood, narrative and autobiography are recurrent themes in her practice. Informed by classical painting as well as by the work of contemporary artists, like Maya, the images in all of Portolese’s works share a lushness redolent with color.
The only thing she would claim of his, the only thing she really wants, is to know the location of her son’s remains. At least she’d have a place to cry or a place where she could go to remember him. But she doesn’t; she doesn’t have any of those.
Erika Diettes‘ new book, Sudarios, is a monograph befitting the work’s evocative portraits. The artist’s compelling series offers a sobering meditation on the horrors of war.
Tell them, tell your friends and acquaintances if you do not come back, it will be because your blood stopped and thickened at the sight of those atrocious, barbaric scenes, of the death of innocent and unprotected children of my forsaken people.
UMA, Maison de l’image de la photographie, has released Antonia’s Garden, Marisa Portolese’s sumptuous new monograph.
In the Plaza de la Merced, at the entrance of the Teatro Heredia Adolfo Mejía in Cartagena, Colombia, hangs a triptych of three, large-scale images.
Erika Diettes y Joseph Kaplan se hablaron por primera vez en un funeral y, aunque parezca inusual, fue en encuentro en el que sus vidas se cruzaron.
La serie Drifting Away/Río abajo de Erika Diettes sé presenta en la edición de julio de la revista Diners. La obra también acompaña a la comentario de poeta y periodista Ana Mercedes Vivas del poder el arte de recuperar la memoria histórica.
El artista contemporáneo también fotografió a Félix de Bedout para la edición. El renombrado periodista se unió al equipo de noticias de Despierta América esta semana.
The idealization of the North has been nourished by the stories of Jack London, the films about the area’s pristine tapestry, and by the Northern Lights, which to this day have lost none of their spiritual fascination or magical appeal.
For more than seven years, Stephen Marc photographed the routes traveled by fugitive slaves in their search for freedom, documenting and interpreting his research along the way. In Marc’s new book, Passage on the Underground Railroad, Marc shares the results of these explorations through his thought-provoking, unconventional and haunting digital images.