"Davies’ work is concerned with stories and personal histories, the tales and myths we use to structure our lives: memories, life-stories and beliefs. She takes inspiration from classical and modern painting, cinema and theatre as well as the imaginary worlds of literature. She employs a deliberate reworking of our visual vocabulary, playing on our notions of nostalgia, visual conventions and subconscious ‘looking habits’, with the intention of evoking a sense of recognition, narrative and movement."
Schneider uses his old family house to construct new additions over its original structure - new rooms, passageways, and portals. In building upon the house in this strange way he amplifies the feelings of unfamiliarity and claustrophobia that emerge from domestic space; and the fear that one may never be able to leave, or individuate, from their childhood home. -MS
The blogger for this site writes: "Few things intrigued me more as a kid than the hidden closets and secret passageways found in old houses. The very thought of clandestine nooks and crannies offering a path to who knows where filled me with excitement. When I recently paid a visit to Gregor Schneider's Dead House ur in the small German town of Rheydt, an hour away from Cologne, that distant sensation--part curiosity, part fear of being trapped in a claustrophobic space--came back in full force. But this place is a bit too much: The building is more labyrinth than house, and the prospect of getting stuck in a particularly narrow passage is truly frightening. The artist's remarks (e.g., "What is within the house must stay there"; "I'd love to stop someone from getting away some time") don't exactly put me at ease..."
"Among contemporary American artists Simmons is a creative pioneer of dramatised figurative photography. She describes and comments provocatively on contemporary culture, recreating something of the fifties, a sense of the 50s that I knew was both beautiful and lethal, using dolls to act out various scenarios. Her way of using narrative links her with many contemporary fiction writers, while her love of artifice, advertising and childhood recollections, her eclectic tenacity, these all link her to the raging debate about the reality of photography which has been going on for the last thirty years.
Simmons is at her most original and creative in her new way of working in the artistic/photographic world. She completely transforms modes of representation with her photographic collages, introducing these smooth surfaces which give to the pictures something original, strange and disturbing.
Housewives, dancers, cowboys, tourists and 'ventriloquists’ dummies, all in saturated colour, fill her large pictures, which are imbued with a sense of bittersweet nostalgia, a disorienting feeling of mystery. She does not deal in visual magic realism, however: she is always moving towards a precise perspective, transforming the scale of what she portrays and creating new settings which are never less than dramatic.
In the last decades of the twentieth century, Laurie Simmons played an important role in the feminist critique of the image. Her creativity is immense. Since the seventies she has produced 14 series, in which presences and absences combine, transforming the female role into a personal world. You could say that with the use of her own image she herself becomes her own muse."
"The men in Mera Apna Sheher are constantly trying to make sense of Dhanda. She refuses to display any sign that she is either accidentally in a public space or is there out of a certain necessity: no hurried air, no tapping buttons on her mobile, no earphones, no files against the chest, no mangalsutra or sindoor. After completing the more elementary excursions, she decides to relax in a park—not exactly an unreasonable instinct. Sitting on the grass, she has a long phone conversation before she stretches out on her side, facing two men who are lying at a considerable distance, but close enough to be disconcerted. They start by ignoring her; then they try, visibly, to figure her out; finally they just sit up and stare at her, apparently with more bewilderment than sexual threat."
"From the earliest days of photography, practitioners took their inspiration from paintings.... A brittle portrait of a suburban couple from Martin Parr's 1991 album Signs of the Times, for example, is contrasted with Gainsborough's Mr and Mrs Andrews of 1750. Both are images of possession and entitlement, the latter displaying landowners at ease amid their fields and woods, comfortable with both themselves and their station, the former a couple posing stiffly in their sitting room."
"The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" capture a set of household objects that are "orphaned" when their caretaker is violently killed. The objects are in a state of "half living" - they carry the warmth and momentum of everyday routine while evoking the frozenness of still life or rigor mortis. Botz used a set of crime-scene models from the 1940s and 50s to shoot the scenes. -MS
The initial goal of Instagram was to make mobile photography "fast, simple and beautiful" by giving it a "mood and tone", and by facilitating the transfer of images from phones to social media. Photojournalists started using Instagram as a "visual journal" to communicate "behind the scenes" events and "backstories" that preceded the final edited product. Now National Geographic and brands like Starbucks, MTV, McDonalds, Nike and Tiffany & Co. have opened Instagram accounts to share the softer and more intimate aspects of their operations. Not only is Instagram "mood-based", allowing for greater "personal" connection with viewers but the application works through a number of parallel media forums - useful for broad dissemination. Critics however have raised the spectre of privacy issues related to instant publication, and highlighted the invisible labour that goes into creating a stream of "personal" images - that are never fully compensated, appreciated, or recognized as art. -MS
"I want a photograph to become denser, more complex, and in the Go West collages I use family snapshots, favorite music, mother's embroidery, prints of palm trees and champa flowers from Mumbai streets, as well as photographs of temples and monuments visited on family trips, including my first visit abroad. I use my fingers, palms, knuckles and arms to grab, place, hold, nudge, jog, sweep, and shake the different components of the photomontage. The discordant friction between the separate bits of the montage, and the moments when the seams dissolve and the juxtaposed bits come together are equally desirable."
"Indian Memory Project was founded in February 2010, by Anusha Yadav. It is an online, curated, visual and oral-history based archive that traces a personal history of the Indian Subcontinent, its people, cultures, professions, cities, development, traditions, circumstances and their consequences. Applying images, letters and stories from family archives (sent and collected from contributors), it reconstructs a visual history that is emotionally rich, vivid, informative and even more surprising than we think.
Family archives of photographs and lettes hold a treasure trove of incredible historically valuable information. They hold astonishing secrets, and when they reveal themselves via narratives, they become the missing links to a country’s emotional history. A past that we can actually feel, connect and wonder with.
Indian Memory Project is now also on the lookout for notable, interesting, personal and not so personal handwritten/typewritten letters (including postcards).
Therefore, if you happen to have one you would like to share, we’d really like to see and show it. However, the project only accepts Photographs and Letters from before the Year 1991."
"Mika Goodfriend's Snowbirds series.. captures the thriving Québécois culture that permeates the community of Breezy Hill RV Resort, in Florida’s Pompano Beach.. the well manicured trailer park...provides a winter home to 1,800 well-to-do families of whom 95 per cent are Quebecers."
"This is a journey through 12 modern ghettos starting in a refugee camp in Tanzania and ending in a forest in Patagonia. In each of these places, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin....methodically documented their inhabitants, and asked them the same questions: How did you get here? Who is in power? Where do you go to be alone? To make love? To get your teeth fixed?"
"This 20-minute experimental montage focuses on the issues of home and the destruction of that idea after the 2005 floods in Bombay. ....Mendonca uses a traditional, three-act structure for her montage, with Act 1 setting the scene of a community in decay, Act 2 a black and white departure consisting of personal memory, and Act 3 returning to an exterior view of the community and the people. The use of natural color versus black and white in the different acts effectively separates the acts and creates a flow for the audience, without the use of traditional narrative...."
Mendonca weaves a delicate narrative between the lived environment, intimacy, and the work of memory in a flow of images that includes city apartments, light spectacles, housing colonies, and underwater debris. -MS
"Taken between 1972 and 1981, Woodman’s photographs are almost all black-and-white and have a general softness of focus not often seen these days. They depict a world almost identical to the one captured by earlier generations of photographers, as if Woodman’s camera were a filter through which the neon clutter of contemporary life could not pass. Some of these images have the polished smoothness of Surrealist photographs, like those of Man Ray and Hans Bellmer, in which precisely-rendered objects are arranged so deliberately it seems the slightest movement would alter the meaning entirely...She makes use of many Surrealist motifs, among them mirrors, gloves, birds, and bowls. Like Magritte, she often shrouds her subjects in white sheets...
...[Woodman's] death does not simply cast a shadow on the images, but suffuses them with a strange, spectral light, in which everyone looks like Woodman—photographs of models are frequently mistaken for self-portraits—and facts resemble foresight. The artist seems always to be anticipating her own disappearance....
..Woodman reveals the injuries that occur in the time it takes to produce a single picture: hair turns wispy, flesh fades and stretches into smoke. The longer her shutter stays open, the blurrier and more transparent bodies will appear, until at last they disappear. Shortly before her death, she began experimenting with a particularly long development process that required her to spend several hours producing a single photograph. In the end, her camera captures not the girl but the long moment it looked at her."
"Is photography a way of documenting the world that has an inherent “truth-claim” on the real? Or is it, as Steichen suggested, essentially graphic, a technique for creating a certain kind of image? “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” an exhibition now up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (later traveling to the National Gallery and Houston’s Museum of Fine Art), makes a vigorous case for understanding the medium as Steichen did. The argument is amplified in the accompanying catalogue written by curator Mia Fineman, who, in effect, proposes a new truth-claim of her own: “Photography’s veracity has less to do with essential qualities of the medium than with what people think and say about it.”
According to Fineman, photography has been artificially enhanced almost from its advent in 1839. “Especially in the early days of the medium, producing a realistic-looking photograph often required a healthy dose of artful trickery,” she writes. Moreover, the familiar insistence on photographic objectivity is itself something that derives from the early twentieth-century emergence of photojournalism and social documentary—and also, we might add, of motion pictures. In that sense, photography is pre-modern as well as postmodern."
“….It’s part of a project which is called The Passion….I actually was thinking about this whole thing of abduction and it’s a very archetypal thing in many of the world’s myths. Like Greek myths for instance … apparently the term rape in those days … basically was abduction[,] the kidnapping of a woman … this abducting of women was a part of war and it was a changing moment … When a new world sort of was established…”
"...it’s the posture of the body … that has been worked out very elaborately... the sets, the objects and the ... way we shoot...the lighting and the angles .... that actually make the whole emotion ... And in classical Indian performance it’s called essence or juice..." [excerpts from an interview with Pushpamala N.]
From the photo series “The Threshold” by Sudharak Olwe (with Zarina & Parvez)/courtesy Delhi Photo Festival 2011.
" .... Sudharak Olwe’s ‘The Threshhold’, [is] a set of timeless photographs that follow the love story of Zarina and Parvez, an HIV+ couple, through their days in a gritty Bombay brothel to finding a home of their own and a life of dignity and freedom."
"Eighteen years on, the BJP still professes loyalty to the Pandits but with fading credence. The Congress, having learnt the value of charade post-Partition, still goes with make-believe. The National Conference, a party that talks of all things Kashmiri, is still scared to reach out. The People’s Democratic Party, which needs to justify everything it does, still triggers scorn. Some of these parties may brave ridicule to seek the Pandit votes in the forthcoming election to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly. Some may risk an overnight stint in the emptiness of the migrant camps. This is what they will see."
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