Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Robin Schwartz on WIP

Head over to WIPNYC to see Robin Schwartz's series Amelia's World.

Reminder: Women in Photography Spotlight Tonight @ Aperture

(via www.aperture.org)

New York, New York

Women In Photography

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
6:30 p.m.

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

Women In Photography is a new online venue showcasing work by contemporary female photographers and providing a vital platform for support and the exchange of ideas. Join WIP co-founders Cara Philips and Amy Elkins, alongside noted contributing photographers Robin Schwartz and Elinor Carucci, for lively discussion of their work and what it means to be a woman in photography today. Moderated by Laurel Ptak, Aperture's Educational Programs Manager.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Book Launch Party For Photographer Lisa Kahane @ The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Join the Bronx Museum of the Arts for a launch party for photographer Lisa Kahane to celebrate her photo-anthology Do Not Give Way to Evil: Photographs of the South Bronx, 1979–1987.

Wednesday, October 1st
5:30 - 7:30 PM
Bronx Museum of the Arts
North Building, Second Floor
Free Admission

Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow @ Rush Arts

You can see the photographic & video work titled Mildendranthema Grandeflorum of Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow through November 1, 2008 at Rush Arts Gallery & Resource Center in Chelsea, New York.

courtesy Rush Arts

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Urgent Action Needed: Orphan Work Bill

Head over to www.photoattorney.com to find out more.

Andrea Diefenbach @ Shane Lavalette

Head over to Shane Lavalette's Journal to see his recent post about photographer Andrea Diefenbach and her emphatic reportage about "AIDS in Odessa".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Marnie Weber @ Zoum Zoum

Photo Collages are making a serious comeback and Zoum Zoum has a mini-interview with Marnie Weber on their blog and examples of her collage work, that you can find here.

More Catherine Opie

The New York Times yesterday published review by Holland Cotter of Catherine's Opie's titled "A Retrospective of Many Artists, All of Them One Woman" . The article is accompanied by a slide show of Catherine's Opie's work which you can see here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Midcareer Survey of Catherine Opie at Guggenheim

A midcareer survey of Catherine Opie is now on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

September 26, 2008 through January 5, 2009

From the Guggenheim:

Since the early 1990s, Catherine Opie has produced a complex body of photographic work, creating series of images that explore notions of communal, sexual, and cultural identity. From her early portraits of queer subcultures to her expansive urban landscapes, Opie has offered profound insights into the conditions in which communities form and the terms in which they are defined. All the while she has maintained a strict formal rigor, working in lush and provocative color as well as richly toned black and white. Influenced by social documentary photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and August Sander, Opie underscores and elevates the poignant yet unsettling veracity of her subjects.

Catherine Opie: American Photographer brings together nearly 200 of the artist's photographs in a major mid-career survey, offering the most comprehensive presentation of her work to date. Including works from the series Being and Having (1991); Portraits (1993-97); Freeways (1994-95); Houses (1995-96); Domestic (1995-98); Mini-malls (1997-98); Large-Format Polaroids (2000); Wall Street (2001); Icehouses (2001); Surfers (2003); Chicago (2004); and In and Around Home (2004-05), the exhibition will provide audiences with an unprecedented opportunity to examine the many interconnections between Opie's diverse bodies of work.

Shell, Ingram: Obama

If you missed the opening for the Deborah Willis/ Jeanne Moutoussamy- Ashe curated show Obama: A Historic Campaign in Photographs at Leica Gallery in New York below are two snapshots from the reception.

images by Jessica Ingram & Callie Shell

The show and book features work by photographer Jessica Ingram (who we had the recent pleasure of interviewing for the Conversations series) and Callie Shell, who followed Senator Obama on the campaign trail for 18 months. The Guardian has an excellent article about Callie Shell by Rhoda Buchanan from June 26, 2008 , that you can find here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Conversation with Susana Raab

Liz Kuball's blog is where I first encountered the work of Susana Raab. And when I saw her mesmerizing images from Bolivia for the New York Times recently, I just wanted to get on a plane to South America to follow Susana's footsteps and explore Bolivia, that is how excited I was by her photographs. Since that was not possible right away, I proceeded to do the second thing that came to mind, which was to email Susana and request an interview. She kindly agreed and very compellingly spoke about her process and how to keep the pictures coming.

Bolivia © Susana Raab

NP: Tell us a little about yourself.

SR:. I am terrible at answering open-ended questions! I live in D.C., right across the street from the zoo, with my partner, Stephen Crowley, also a photographer, and our dog, Ted. We love it. I have been a photographer here since '98 when I returned from a wee sojourn in outer Mongolia teaching English to D.C. and began taking steps to become a photojournalist. I took a break with 2 years at Ohio U getting a Masters from 2003-2005. Since I've been back I've been trying to refashion my career from photojournalist to doc/editorial feature/travel/portrait/fine-art photog -- is the best way to describe the amalgam I'm aiming for.

Mongolia © Susana Raab

NP: How did you discover photography?

SR: It was really a Eureka moment. I was in graduate school in English at University of Oregon and I stumbled across a copy of Truth Needs No Ally by Howard Chapnick, Black Star photo agency founder. It really resonated with me - the mix of art, social purpose, communication, anthropology. I love intertextuality - and photojournalism, as I saw it then, was a fantastic vehicle to have all these conversations captured in one rectangle. I had always taken photographs, been designated the de facto documentor of all events, and have had cameras in all the formats to prove it: the beloved disk; the 126mm, the 110mm, there were others now forgotten. But I had never before seen photography as a vocation, as I feel it now. I've always loved museums and art, reading the paper. I had been searching for a purpose, and really trying to find something I wanted to spend the rest of my life practicing - I had no idea what I was doing and then suddenly it was right there in front of me.

Peru © Susana Raab

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

SR: I'd say most of my inspiration comes from reading. I'll pick up anything to read. I troll waiting rooms just to sample new literature (well, not quite). Lately it's been the sun magazine, Wendell Berry, The Washington Post, Biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Then there is walking and just getting to that blank head space where free thought just outs itself, and then ideas just come. Also just being curious and following through leads you to a lot of inspiring things.

D.C. © Susana Raab

NP: How do your projects come about?

SR: Of the 3 personal projects I'm working on right now, two were started as school assignments (though I knew I was going to pursue consumed before I went back to grad school and it was a major reason I wanted to go back was to develop something like this), and one was a newspaper travel section assignment (a sense of place) to photograph Flannery O'Connor's farm inMilledgeville, Georgia. But I have 3 nascent projects additionally right now - one is just a portrait of my adopted hometown, D.C., b/c why not? It's a really interesting city that most people have no clue about beyond the white pillars and podiums, one idea I'm going to work on this winter, is an idea I'm developing from a conversation I had with someone I met at a conference, and the third is about Peru, my country of birth.

If you mean, how do I fund them or get them published? I just save my nickels and dimes and live low-budget, especially when traveling. I ansel-adams it in my photo-safari wagon and get looks of disapproval from campground matrons for traveling solo. I prefer a nice Lutheran campground. Not so judgmental. ; )

And then getting published is the usual rigamarole of taking your wares around to your contacts and wringing your hat and telling your story and hoping they will bite. But I am looking for other ways to modify this process. For example, via my blog and website, I am selling a limited edition magazine, rank strangers, of work from my consumed and off-season projects, and will debut a second from the Sense of Place series later this fall. If these ventures are successful in paying for themselves, and adding a little more to the production pot that will be fantastic to help me produce more work. Maybe it is too micro-business, who knows?

The hardest thing for me since I am so over the map with all my projects and always pursuing something, b/c I get burned out on one, and inspired by another, and then the situation reverses, is finding the time to get them all done. But I enjoy the process so much, so if I can earn a living and still produce the personal work - then I'm not in a huge hurry for completion, because making it is the best part.

A Sense of Place © Susana Raab

NP: What's next?

SR: The website redesign/update. Then perhaps a trip to Kentucky this fall to work on additional writing for Sense of Place. A portfolio review and road trip down to New Orleans to Photo NoLa in December which will also mean 2-3 weeks off from paying gigs, a road trip! And lots of new work for 3 different projects, hopefully. Then this winter a trip to Peru, to work on a new series. In between hoping to be doing a lot of assignment work!

NP: Thank you so much!

To see more of Susana's work visit her website: www.susanaraab.com, to read her blog head to: www.susanaraab.wordpress.com or ro browse her prints & books shop, click here.

Find more Nymphoto Conversations, here.

Daylight Magazine#7- The Agriculture Issue out now

Issue no. 7 of Daylight Magazine, Agriculture, is out now.

Featuring portfolios by: Michael Ableman, Wout Berger, Tessa Bunney, Jason Houston, Raoul Kramer, Eduardo Martino, Peter Menzel, Brad Phalin, Heinrich Riebesehl, Munem Wasif.

Studies now confirm what many traditional farmers have always known: small crops of vegetables grown in mixed plots can be produced without chemicals, more efficiently and with richer supplies of nutrients than industrially grown crops. This edition of Daylight features a diverse range of photographic representations of agricultural practice from around the world.

1968; Then & Now - Opening Reception Tomorrow

Entitled, 1968: Then and Now, this multimedia exhibition explores an era when a multitude of social movements climaxed in discontent with political order, particularly of the United States, that was rooted in domestic racial inequality and imperialist foreign policy. It also reflects on the presence of the memory of this time in our hearts and minds for 40 years. In 2008, our world is saturated with iconic images that reflect upon and draw from 1968. This exhibition combines historical and contemporary images that construct diverse stories about the culture of resistance, beauty, power, and the notion of disenfranchisement.

Artists, photographers and writers in the exhibition include: Emma Amos, Tomie Arai, Derrick Addams, William Cordova, Bruce Davidson, Thulani Davis, Tom Drysdale, Ellen Eisenman, Jessica Ingram, Lorie Novak, Norman Parish, Jolene Rickard, Stephen Shames, Margo Machida, Elaine Mayes, Iris Morales, Paul Owen, Jamel Shabazz, Hong-An Truong, Hank Willis Thomas, Fran Wilson, and more.

Curated by Deborah Willis

PLEASE RSVP @ 646-485-1284

A companion exhibit will be on display at Tisch School of the Arts from Sept 2- Nov 20, 2008
Opening Sept 26 6-8
Gulf + Western Gallery

Plenary Symposium
Monday Oct 20 7-9
@ Tisch School of the Arts
Cooper Union Great Hall

Thursday, September 25, 2008
6:00pm - 8:00pm
The Nathan Cummings Foundation
475 Tenth Avenue - 14th Floor
New York, NY

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Open House: Swing Space Studios

Please join us for an Open House in the Swing Space studios at 100 Church Street. Participating residents will display work they have been developing since moving into the space in June. Resident artists include Jonathan Allen, Frederick Hayes, Katie Holten, Elisa Lendvay, Danny Licul, Kleoni Manoussakis, Laura Napier, and Jamie O’Shea.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Swing Space Studio at 100 Church St
100 Church Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY

RSVP at http://app.formassembly.com/forms/view/34907

Rock Bottom

Pino Granata speaks out about the state of the photo agencies, you can find it here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Art Under the Bridge Festival

The Dumbo Arts Center (DAC) is pleased to present the D.U.M.B.O. ART UNDER THE BRIDGE FESTIVAL,™ sponsored by Current. For the 12th year running, the entire neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn, will become a multi-sensory art arena, FREE and open to all.

7 PM on Friday, September 26th through Sunday, September 28th evening.

For more information about Art Under the Bridge festival, click here.

Fraction, an online photography magazine

Featuring the work of:

Holly Lynton
Donna Ferrato
Bill Schwab
John Mann
Samuel Portera

a book review by Melanie McWhorter and a show review by Carrie Cooper.

They also have a blog!

Shots 101: Dreams

Shots Magazine
The Autumn Issue is available now. (preview here)

With images by nearly 50 contributing photographers, the current issue of SHOTS explores the theme of DREAMS. Also included are two feature interviews with artists Suk Kuhn Oh (South Korea) and Cannon Bernáldez (Mexico). Though their approach is significantly different, both Oh and Bernáldez use photography to explore fears, memories and childhood traumas loosely related to nightmares. In total, this issue presents a fascinating and compelling examination of where dreams and photography intersect.

Karolina Karlic in Minnesota

Karolina Karlic will be showing a series of photographs from her "Dear Diary" series in a two-person show at the Independent Feature Project now through November 8.

From the press release:

Intrigued by the motivations of those that post Internet classifieds through “Missed Connections” on Craig’s List, Karolina Karlic sought out the posters to create her images. Perhaps by helping to complete their need for connection she was able to draw them into collaboration to make photographs of vulnerability and longing in our contemporary world of impersonal Internet communication.

Independent Feature Project
"The Longing"
featuring: Josh Quigley and Karolina Karlic
September 19th – November 8th, 2008
2446 University Ave. West
Saint Paul, MN

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jane Hammond @ Galerie Lelong

Jane Hammond's interesting photo collages, where she merges found images into interesting scenarios using a digital composition into a negative, then printed in the darkroom is now on view at Galerie Lelong.

Galerie Lelong
528 W. 26th St.
on view through Oct. 11th.

Off Color II: Opening Reception Today

courtesy Rush Arts

Off Color II
Corridor Gallery Brooklyn Project Space
334 Grand Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11238
On View September 24 - November 2, 2008

Opening reception: Sunday, September 21, 2008 4-6 PM

Co-Curators: Kalia Brooks and Hank Willis Thomas

Off Color highlights the work of twelve emerging international artists - Elizabeth Axtman, Petrushka Bazin, Kareem Black, Andrea Chung, Nekisha Durrett, Heather Hart, Terence Nance, Bayete Ross Smith, Stanley Squirewell, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Russell Watson, and Lauren Woods - who employ video, photography, and illustrative software to investigate the formative possibilities within the image-narrative complex. These artists encapsulate a generation of creative inquiry that reflects an impulse to purse a variety of technological media in order to construct images that challenge authorship and traditional visual representation.

You can also still catch Off Color I at:
Rush Arts Gallery & Resource Center
526 West 26th Street, #311
NYC, 10001

Laura Marina

via Conscientious

Laura Marina shows us the rarely photographed landscape and people of Transylvania.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sheila Metzner @ Haus der Photographie/Deichtorhallen

See Sheila Metzner's work as part of the group show "Traumfrauen" at:
Haus der Photographie/Deichtorhallen
Deichtorstr. 1-2,
20095 Hamburg

-- through October 26, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dina Kantor: Beyond the Portrait: Photographing Communties @ ICP

Andre © Dina Kantor

Beyond the Portrait: Photographing Communities
Instructor: Dina Kantor
Dates: 10-Week Course
10/3/08 - 12/12/08
Fri (2:00 PM to 5:00 PM)
Meeting Times: Friday: 2-5 pm at ICP
Code: 08FPJ05

Course Description

By examining the individual, one gains a better understanding of the
whole. This course goes beyond traditional portraiture by focusing on the people who make up a larger community. Students should prepare for this course by doing preliminary research on a community or group with whom they would like to work. Discussions will include gaining access, what it means to document a community, creating an archive, and how to structure such a project. We will look at the work of August Sander, Tina Barney, and Sharon Lockhart, among others. This is a critique and discussion course with emphasis on aesthetic and conceptual issues. The final class will culminate in a portfolio review. PREREQUISITE: Photo II or portfolioreview *NOTE: No class, Fri Nov 28

Off Color I & II- opening

Off Color I,
Rush Arts Gallery & Resource Center
On View September 23 - November 1, 2008
Opening reception: Friday, September 19, 6-8 PM

Off Color II,
Corridor Gallery Brooklyn Project Space
On View September 24 - November 2, 2008
Opening reception: Sunday, September 21, 2008 4-6 PM

Co-Curators: Kalia Brooks and Hank Willis Thomas

Off Color highlights the work of twelve emerging international artists - Elizabeth Axtman, Petrushka Bazin, Kareem Black, Andrea Chung, Nekisha Durrett, Heather Hart, Terence Nance, Bayete Ross Smith, Stanley Squirewell, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Russell Watson, and Lauren Woods - who employ video, photography, and illustrative software to investigate the formative possibilities within the image-narrative complex. These artists encapsulate a generation of creative inquiry that reflects an impulse to purse a variety of technological media in order to construct images that challenge authorship and traditional visual representation.

Rush Arts Gallery & Resource Center
526 West 26th Street, #311
NYC, 10001

Corridor Gallery Brooklyn Project Space

334 Grand Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11238

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Conversation with Lisa M. Robinson

I first came across Lisa M. Robinson's work when I was a junior in college and watched an unbelievable landscape of snow being printed on a large format inkjet printer. The landscapes looked so untouched and it was the type of fresh snow any child would love to jump into. Lisa was on a residency at Light Work, fortunately for me, and I had a chance to get familiar with her series of work titled "Snowbound."

Wish & Erasure ©Lisa M. Robinson

NP: Tell us a little about yourself.

LR: I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. I received my BA in English from Columbia University, then taught for four years in the New Orleans public schools as a Teach for America corps member. While my entry into photography seemed a bit roundabout at the time, it now makes perfect sense. My experiences and interests have helped me develop my sense of self in the world; photography is the perfect extension of that for me.

NP: How did you discover photography?

LR: I took my first photography class when I was in high school. I loved it, but it was one of many loves. Painting and drawing were my primary sources of creative expression. I never studied these disciplines formally, but I believe they deeply inform my photography. Though I was introduced to photography as a teenager, it was not until many years later, in 1996, that I picked up my Olympus camera again. I had been living in Argentina for the year, and realized several weeks before leaving that I had not made a single photograph during the time that I had been there. I shot what I thought at the time was a lot of film- six rolls of black and white Tri-X. All I knew upon returning to the states was that I wanted to process and print those images. I returned to Savannah, Georgia, my hometown, and enrolled in several classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design in order to use their darkrooms. And I guess I fell in love with the medium in a deep way. I received my MFA in Photography from SCAD in 1999.

Solo & Trace ©Lisa M. Robinson

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

LR: Inspiration comes from many sources- books, paintings, film, music, conversations with people, walks through nature. I think about ideas and possibilities all the time. I read and write a great deal as I am working on a photographic project, precisely so that when I go out into the world with a camera, my conscious mind can work subconsciously as I respond to what I see in front of me. I believe I see the world through this internal veil, that is both consciously created and mysteriously manifested.

NP: How did this project come about?

LR: “Snowbound” has been a five-year project. I moved to New York in 2001, just before 9/11. That first year in New York was one of great transition for me, in which I struggled with the value of what I did as a photographer. My most recent body of work, a series made in Argentina (I returned on a Fulbright in 1999), seemed unimportant and deflated in the context of our lives. It took me a long time to feel comfortable making images, for I wrestled with the significance of such a seemingly indulgent act.

In the winter of 2002, I decided to take a road trip to Ohio. It was the holiday season, that timeless time between Christmas and New Year’s, when most people congregate with friends and family. I think I was hoping to rediscover the sense of communion I had always felt when making images… it had been so long since I had experienced that joy. Somewhere along a highway in Pennsylvania, I encountered snow. And immediately, I felt the rush of something new, something I had never quite seen before, or at least not in this way. It was just so beautiful… no other word could quite capture it for me. But it was not a beauty of nature that I was drawn to… trees and mountains and sky. I was drawn to our very human world. I made the same kinds of pictures I’ve always made, depicting a human presence even in the absence of humans. I was in a constant state of awe… I remember simply gasping in wonder. For the first time in a very long time, I was experiencing something pure and beautiful in the world, something very new and hopeful.

Emergence & Valhalla ©Lisa M. Robinson

NP: Do you have any advice for emerging or young photographers/artists out there about promoting yourself as an artist? How do you go about going after a new project after the previous project is "done" (Where do you find the drive)?

LR: I think the best advice I might offer to a young photographer/artist is to set the highest possible standards for yourself that you can, and expect the work to rise to that level. While it is certainly important to promote oneself and one’s work, it is much easier to do so when you really believe in the value of that work. For myself, the real gift of being an artist is the creative process, so being able to return to that place is a pleasure. The challenge is to become comfortable once again in NOT knowing what you may be exploring, for that may feel like new and uncomfortable territory after your previous work. Trust (that you are being guided in the right directions) and discipline (in your work ethic) are good companions to foster as you embark on the next project.

NP: What's next (in terms of future projects, shows, residencies, books)?

LR: I’m very much in the beginning stages of several new projects. This fall, I will be on a residency in Maine. No snow, but plenty of atmosphere. I look forward to seeing what unfolds…

NP: Thank you!

To see more of Lisa's work, visit www.lisamrobinson.com. You can also purchase her book, "Snowbound" from Photoeye or Light Work. A limited edition, signed print of Wish, featured on the cover of Lisa’s book, is available through Light Work’s Fine Print Program too.

Lisa is represented by Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, www.klompching.com, and the Etherton Gallery in Tucson, AZ, www.ethertongallery.com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Upcoming Lecture: Susan Meiselas @ ICP

(via ICP.org)

Susan Meiselas: Rethinking Documentary Photography

September 20 | Saturday | 2:00 pm | $10/$5 for ICP members
School at ICP, 1114 Avenue of the Americas

Documentary practice has raised ethical questions that have been central to debates in photography since the 1970s. American photographer Susan Meiselas has actively participated in these conversations and raised thought-provoking issues, which will be the topic of this afternoon panel discussion moderated by Kristen Lubben, ICP Associate Curator. The discussion will be followed by a reception in the ICP Museum.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Deborah Willis -- Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs @ Leica Gallery

Opening Reception Thursday:

courtesy Leica Gallery

Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs
Curated by Deborah Willis & Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe
Leica Gallery
670 Broadway / Suite 500
New York, NY 10012
September 19-November8, 2008
Opening Reception: Thursday September 18, 2009

Monday, September 15, 2008

II Amerika @ ICP : Tina Markova-Gold, Alice Dison, Christina Oaige & Many More

If you missed the opening reception of II Amerika at ICP Friday, you can still see the show featuring great work by photographers like Tiana Markova-Gold through October 12, 2008.
More about the exhibit below:

(via ICP.org)
Education Gallery: 1114 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street

Hours: Monday–Sunday, 10:00 am–6:00 pm

Conceived through informal meetings between graduates of ICP's Full-Time programs and members of the ICP community, this collection showcases the personal vision of a diverse group of photographers free from the constraints of the commercial and editorial market. It brings together the work of 24 photographers and represents a broad social commentary on the United States at this pivotal moment in the country's history.

The photographers in this collection exemplify the cross-cultural nature of America. While living here—whether American-born, immigrant, or just passing through—each one represents a facet of this diverse society and has a unique take on its culture. There is more here than just a geographical link; each photograph in some way addresses the nature of American life. These pictures are grounded in a particular reality unique to this country, a 'New Americana' if you like.

Regarding the collection, Robert Stevens, former international photo editor at TIME and current ICP faculty member, identifies the notion that: "America, truth be told, is fractured into a thousand pieces. But it couldn’t be anything else."

Originally premiered as part of Bushwick Open Studios in June 2008, this exhibition—II AMERIKA—further expands upon the themes and issues addressed in the original, showcasing a broader spectrum of work and delving deeper into the nation's psyche. Though it would be a mistake to suggest this is a comprehensive review, there is here the making of a statement about where the country is today.

If America is a democratic idea, then Amerika is the social reality. These photographers live and breathe its air, they explore its people and its landscapes. They photograph what they find and their discoveries give us a better idea of the State of the Union than any Presidential address ever could. And to that, attention must be paid.

Curators: Nicolas Silberfaden, Deidre Schoo, Tom White
Project Coordinator: Lucy Helton

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Opening today at Wave Hill

Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx
Photographs exploring nature as an essential element in the fabric of the borough by Lawrence Beck, Steven Day, N.W. Gibbons, David Gillison and Robert Schneider, Todd Martin, Leah Oates, Christine Osinski, Patrick Perry, Eric Slayton, and Ron Terner. Presented with Lehman College Art Gallery and Bronx River Art Center.

Reception: September 14th, 1-4pm
September 9 - November 30, 2008
Wave Hill
Glyndor Gallery
West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (front gate)
675 West 252nd Street (mailing)
Bronx, NY 10471-2899

Opening Today: Street Art Street Life

Street Art, Street Life at the Bronx Museum opens today in conjunction with an open house from 12-6 pm.

"Organized by guest curator Lydia Yee, Street Art, Street Life examines the street as subject matter, venue, and source of inspiration for artists and photographers from the late 1950s to the present.

This far ranging exhibition, one of the largest to consider the subject, includes street photography; documentation of performance, events, and artworks presented in the street; works using material from the street; and examples of street culture by more than thirty artists including William Klein, Lee Friedlander, Raymond Hains, Vito Acconci, Martha Rosler, Sophie Calle, David Hammons, Jamel Shabazz, and Francis Alÿs, among others."

1040 Grand Concourse @ 165th St. Bronx NY 10456 Check out the website for directions and info. On view through Jan. 25, 2009.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Meera Margaret Singh's Nightingale opens today

Invite courtesy of Meera Margaret Singh

Meera Margaret Singh’s MFA thesis exhibition, entitled Nightingale, opens tonight at Les Territoires gallery in Montreal, 4pm.

Les Territoires
372 Ste-Catherine St. W #527, Montreal
info@lesterritoires.org www.lesterritoires.org
Business hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12-5
September 10-30, 2008

“So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death…”
-Oscar Wilde, The Nightingale and the Rose

Meera Margaret Singh’s most recent work, Nightingale, is a series of still and moving images of her mother. Harking back to literary and artistic symbolism, the nightingale often appears as a metaphor for both love and loss. As the protagonist in a narrative of human fragility and tenacity, Singh’s mother embodies the twin impulses of living and dying. With Nightingale, Singh explores the inescapable reality of age and loss and the beauty made acute by this inevitability.

Opening Reception Tonight: Brea Souders

"Time Between"
Brea Souders
Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand at Pitt
New York, NY 10002
Sep. 6 - Oct. 12, 2008

Opening Reception:
September 13, 2008, 6:30 -8:30pm

Friday, September 12, 2008

Opening Tonight: Cara Philipps, Rachael Dunville

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Work by Cara Phillips, Rachael Dunville, Julie Peppito, John Chervinsky, Robert Bowen, Craig Barber, Caleb Charland, Roger Erberhard, Fernando Souto, Josh Quigley, Christopher Rauschenberg, Sebastian Lemm & Will Steacy.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Michael Mazzeo Gallery
526 E 26th Street #209
September 12-October 11
Opening Reception: September 12, 6pm-8pm

Sasha Wolf Gallery

if you did not have a chance to stop by Sasha Wolf Gallery at for the opening yesterday, try to see the show at some other point.
Guido Castagnoli's prints are phenomenal, they have to be seen in person for the full effect.

Photo Women Meet-Up: Next Week

Nymphoto initiated a Meet-Up for Women involved with Photography (as artists, curators, editors, etc) for next week.
If you are interested in this event please email us for further information: contact (at)nymphoto.com.

Opening tonight at Bronx River Art Center

Surprisingly Natural

An exploratory and cross-disciplinary group exhibition focusing on the prevalent friction between states, psychologies and ideologies.

Opening Friday, September 12, 2008 6:00pm - 9:00pm
On view through October 18th
Bronx River Art Center
1087 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY
Directions: 2 or 5 train to West Farms/Tremont

artists: Mac Carbonell & Luke Stettner, Jason Falchook, Bettina Johae, Holly Lynton, Laura Napier, Katherine Radke, Yumi Janairo Roth, Benjamin Swett

Opening tonight at Camera Club

My Other Nature” brings together photographers who use the external to explore the internal self. The exhibition explores how we mark our environment and loved ones with memories and pieces of ourselves. Some of the photographs describe specific qualities about the artist's character, while others illustrate a lasting feeling, a deep emotion that the artist has experienced, or comment on the idea of “being human.”

An Exhibition Curated by Alexander Perrelli

Lindsey Castillo
Jesse Chan
Amy Elkins
Travis Kent
Sara Macel
Azikiwe Mohammed
Reka Reisinger
Heather Sullivan
Eric Weeks
Ofer Wolberger

The Camera Club of New York
336 West 37th street
New York, NY 10018-4212

Opening reception:
Friday, September 12th from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
On view until October 10th 2008
Monday—Saturday 12-6 p.m.

Opening Reception Tonight: Alessandra Sanguinetti @ Yossi Milo

"The Life That Came"
Alessandra Sanguinetti
Yossi Milo Gallery
525 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001
September 4 -October 18, 2008

Opening Reception: September 12, 2008 -- 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Conversation with Sasha Wolf

Untitled, 2005 (#24) © Thomas Holton

Seven years after the events of September 11, Manhattan below 14th Street is booming. It is a tribute to New York's resilience and New Yorkers' love for their city and life.

Untitled, 2005 (#5) © Thomas Holton

Tonight on the occasion of the opening reception for Guido Castagnoli's exhibit Provincial Japan at Sasha Wolf Gallery we are presenting our most recent Nymphoto Conversations series with curator and gallery owner Sasha Wolf.

Sasha Wolf established her gallery in downtown's Tribeca neighborhood in 2007. It was immediately evident that the exhibits at this art space were curated by someone with a distinct vision. A vision rooted in the documentary tradition but that was also thoroughly contemporary and interested in the human condition. We recently sat down with New York City native Sasha Wolf for an in-person conversation at her Leonard Street gallery – and we left completely inspired and smitten by Sasha.

Discover why by reading the interview below:

NP: Tell us a little about yourself.
SW: From the time of my early 20's until five years ago, everything revolved around writing and film making and actually a significant handful of other collaborations with modern choreographers. I was making money working in film and television- directing and producing stuff I hated for ESPN, MTV, the occasional B movie, or even A movie that stunk. You make really decent money doing production. I did everything I did to make my own films, write my own work. I did not actually like the stuff I was doing, it was a job. It just happened to be in the same realm of what I wanted to do. I was learning skills, there's no doubt about that. Everything was to support the habit of writing scripts and shooting films, and the occasional collaboration which I loved doing.

NP: So your film making wasn't just documentaries?
SW: My film making was only narrative. I didn't make any documentaries, which is a common assumption. I love telling stories.

Museum Interior, NYC, 1972 © Paul McDonough

NP: When did you become interested in photography?
SW: That was the first thing I did in HS. My father used to produce television commercials. I grew up looking at images with a vested interest. My father loved making photographs as well and he got me a camera when I started becoming interested, when I was 14 or 15. I was one of those people that always had my camera with me all through HS, into college. When I discovered film making, I transitioned out. I was a literature and writing major so I combined photography and writing and just started making films. But photography was my first passion.

NP: Have you shown anybody that shoots digital?
SW: No. I'm not representing anyone who shoots digitally because I haven't fallen in love yet with anyone who does. I don't have any rules about it. I'm not that sort of a person. As soon as I am impressed and engaged with someone who shoots digital, I will be working with it. To be really honest, I don't see enough of it. I couldn't talk about it in any depth. I think film still holds a fetishistic power over people. I don't think digital is there yet in terms of that kind of engagement that people have with their tools. I don't think it's happened yet, I think it will, I don't know when.

Elephant Butte, New Mexico, 2006 © Peter Kayafas

NP: How did you start selling photography?
SW: I decided to stop making films because I was tired of raising money. It's no more complicated than that. I still think it's the greatest thing ever. However, when you make the kind of films that I made, you are dependent on other people. I was almost never making films but trying to make money, my producing partner and I. I did not want my life to be about that. I am active. I want to make things. I love working on houses, woodworking, photographs (I still have a darkroom.) I like to make things and I was becoming a person that was rarely making anything. I decided to start another chapter. I went back to this other thing I really loved and I asked my friend Peter Kayafas (one of my absolute closest friends in the world) if I can try to sell some of his work. We already had wonderful dialogue established about his work. I was comfortable with where he was coming from, what he was doing. He said yes. I started talking to some other people, they said ok. I turned part of my house into an art gallery. I have a big apartment (I'm lucky) I could separate, sold all my furniture that was in that part of the house and put up amazing lights. And just started selling work. I have a lot of connections in LA because of my former life so I started to go out to LA, bring work out, meet fancy, wealthy film industry people. I would show them work and they would buy work. It just slowly built up this way. I just worked really, really hard. It wasn't magic. I just kept going and going until it got to the point where I could get investors and open a gallery. That took about four years from when I started dealing until I opened the gallery.

Couple on Newspapers, Central Park, NYC, 1969 © Paul McDonough

NP: How did you decide on this location?
SW: I'm a lifelong New Yorker. I was born and raised here. My parents are from here. I'm in love with the city and I had a real obsession with this part of the city for a very long time, way before it was "fancy" Tribeca. I love the architecture down here, the way the light bounces off the buildings. I like the way it's put together, the vibe that is down here. I had felt for a long time that I wanted to spend more time down here (I live on the UWS). I knew that I couldn't afford a ground floor space in Chelsea and I didn't want to be up on the 8th floor, I wanted to have events here, where people can spill out on the sidewalk, mingle, come in. That's what the openings are like here. Crowded but you can go out, and you don't have to get in an elevator or stairs to smoke a cigarette or get a little space where you're never going back up. There's a fluidity, a social quality to the events. Tribeca is so welcoming. It's so set up in terms of trains. There's tons of restaurants around here. I really love it down here. I do get foot traffic and walk ins who can buy because it's an affluent area. My clients who come here have been complementary about the space. I don't know if it's a smart decision but we do well down here. I know I'm happy coming to work here.

NP: Do you enjoy the more public space you have as opposed to when you dealt from your apartment, where it was by appointment?
SW: I'm a social person. I enjoy conversations with strangers. It's a big part of city living. I have that here and I really do enjoy it.

Old Woman, Blind Man and Hare Krishnas, NYC, 1972 © Paul McDonough

NP: You are creative yourself. Do you ever feel this takes up too much of your time, resent it?
SW: I don't resent it. I don't set people up or myself up. I'm deliberate and clear about what I do. If I were to feel resentful about not having time for my own work, I would make time for it. I'm not one to sit around and get myself into a state. There's no doubt that I don't have as much time to make my own work. But having said that, it's always how you look at something. I can step back look at myself at the gallery and say, "Oh my god Sasha, no time to do anything else." or I can look at myself at the gallery and think, "This is so great. You' re building all these things at the gallery and it's great you're doing this new thing after coming off of 15, 16 years of doing nothing but making your own work." I don't really feel bad about it. I just think when I miss making work, I try and do it. I still shoot pretty regularly, I don't get into the darkroom as much as I want to, even though it's inside my house. But if I wanted to, I would. I feel that what I create in the gallery is my artwork. I take your photographs and make something else while retaining the integrity of your photographs completely and thoroughly. I can make a second thing, my exhibition, in my space. Orchestrate things the way I want to. That process feels pretty creative to me.

Libramiento Mexico- Cuernavaca, 2007 © Pablo Lopez

I would say that the most creative process for me is editing, which takes up a huge amount of my time. I edit most of my artists work to different degrees. Some almost not at all, but a little bit. It could be them sending me digital files and saying "what do you think?" to some artists who go out and shoot and then give a hundred photographs and say, "can you make an edit?" I'm also working with a lot of photographers who I'm not representing whose work I am looking at regularly. There isn't a week that goes by where I'm not engaged with one of those people, trying to help them along with what they are trying to do and say. You know, I think I am so busy and so artistically and intellectually engaged that I don't have time to feel that anything is missing. I love being engaged intellectually. As long as I am, I am pretty happy.

Capetown III, Sudafrica, 2006 © Pablo Lopez

NP: You work with people that you don't represent. Is that one way of going about finding new artists to represent, people who approach you, who might not be quite there yet?
SW: That's one way, and the other way is if I really like someone. There are certain people who I am working with now who I will never represent for various reasons, having least to do with the merit of their work, that's the least of it. But I really like them. And I want to be helpful. I try really hard to be nice. It's important to me to be a good human being, in general. I take it seriously in all aspects of my life. I want to be a positive force on the planet and I wish more people embraced that very simple philosophy. I try to put my money where my mouth is, even if I'm overwhelmed and I don't have the time. I've had almost 250 to 300 submissions in the last eight months and I try to answer almost every one. These things mean a lot to someone who may be struggling to get somewhere, get someone to pay attention to them. I know this from film making. It was brutal. I cannot be the person that was mean to me, there were plenty of people who were not nice to me.

NP: Are you always here (at the gallery)?
SW: I'm always here. I'm here about 98% of the time.

Ekaterinburg, Russia, 2003 © Yola Monokhov

NP: You've already answered this question, whether or not it's just about the work or the personality of the photographer.
SW: No, yeah, it is, believe me. I will not work with someone I don't like even if I think they are a genius. I'm too old to be around someone I don't like. It's not worth it. My relationships with my photographers goes from a lot of affection to adore. There's a bunch of photographers who I work with, obviously there's Peter (Kayafas) who's at the extreme end, someone I'm so close to, close to my family, for many many years. I'm very close to Paul (McDonough), Thomas (Holton), Yola (Monokhov) . . . my newest artist Guido (Castagnoli), I describe to people as one of the loveliest human beings I've ever met. That's a real pleasure. My artists and I spend a lot of time together. Paul is here at least once a week, it's a good thing I adore him.

Parking lot, Shizuoka City, Japan, 2007 © Guido Castagnoli

NP: What's next?
SW: I'm showing Guido next. He just won the big photo8 award. I'm very excited about it. He'll be here.

Amusement Structure, Yaizu, Japan, 2007 © Guido Castagnoli

NP: How did you meet Guido?
SW: He submitted. He's the one person who submitted that I'm working with.

NP: Once you have your roster of artists, is there a schedule of how often you'd like to show them?
SW: I'd like to show them every 18-24 months. My intention is for the gallery to remain a boutique gallery. I hope to represent no more than 12 people. That should give people a show every two years. That's basically what I'd like to do. I represent 7 artists now, I can't imagine representing more than 12 people. I can't do it and have the same relationship with my artists. I don't see why I'd do this for a living if I didn't have the relationship I have with my artist because I'm not doing this to run a business. I'm doing this because I like working with the people and the work. I love my clients as well. They are wonderful. If I get to a point where all I'm doing is organizing art fairs, then I've gone offtrack.

NP: Any words of wisdom for photographers?
SW: The problems I identify with work that is submitted to me (and I can only speak about those), I get a ton of work that is super super competent, but there is no subtext. There's nothing beyond what is going on the surface. You have to supply that. It has to be there. I can't say that strongly enough. Great work operates on many different levels, great work is work where the three of us look at a photograph and see three different things. There is enough there for different interpretations, even if it's a literal scene, something about the way everything is lining up beyond the literal, in a additional to the literal. So that our imaginations can be sparked. There is a Peter Kayafas photo of a couple holding hands with their back to the camera. They are both quite heavy. They are wearing striped bathing suits, almost the same, except his and hers. Literally it is a photo of a couple holding hands in the water at Coney Island. I have clients who look at this photograph and say it's great, it's funny, but I could never live with it, it's depressing. Other clients look at it and say it's so moving and they have to live it. I personally am in the second camp. It's one of my favorite photographs. I find it extremely moving. Which is not to say I don't understand what the other people are feeling. But a great photograph, among other things, provides the room for us to bring our own psychology to it, our own life history. I get work that is dead-on what it is and nothing else.

Coney Island, New York, 1992 © Peter Kayafas

The second problem is that I get a lot of submissions from photojournalists that are really just editorial. This is an art gallery. You can't really have it both ways. Look I represent Allen Chin, who is a brilliant photojournalist, who does both. He can shoot work that needs a story and work that doesn't. Occasionally there is a crossover and that's fine. I get work that is really editorial work. If you want to go shoot prostitutes in Cambodia or people with AIDS on the Ivory Coast, it's good to know who your audience is. My clients are probably not your audience. Make sure that your photograph is rich, complex and operating on more than one level. If you are shooting in a hardcore photo journalistic style, make sure that your work does not need any explanation, that it can stand up on it's own, that it's not meant to be in Newsweek. Spend as much time looking at work you love and ask yourself "why do I love this?" These are important questions to answer when you're going out to make work. What do you want to communicate? Are you communicating it? Is a series about, fill in the blank, really going to be interesting to other people? Do I care? Maybe you don't care. Then don't expect it to be in a gallery. There is no right or wrong answer there. You don't have to care about your audience. It's not mandatory. I think it's a good thing, personally, and so I run my gallery accordingly. . .

Changan Boulevard, Beijing, China, 2008 © Alan Chin

Wukesong Camera Market, Beijing, China, 2008 © Alan Chin

The next question is this- am I communicating this vision I have? Is it really in the photograph? Just because you can make a good looking photograph, don't stop there. You really have to challenge yourself, be honest with yourself, and then call people like me or send us stuff. I do wish people would be a little harder on themselves, first, but not in a bad way. Not in a beat yourself up type of way but I do see too much work where I don't believe the photographers asked themselves the tough questions before coming to me. Then I'll have to do it. I'll do it but I wish people would be honest with themselves. I think people would be better off for it.

NP: Thank you so much!

See more work by Sasha Wolf's artists at: www.sashawolf.com or visit the gallery at 10 Leonard Street, Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 6 pm or by appointment.

If you are in New York tonight stop by Sasha Wolf Gallery for the opening reception of Guido Castagnoli's "Provincial Japan" exhibit tonight from 6-8pm.

Crossroad, Shizuoka City, Japan, 2007 © Guido Castagnoli

All photos courtesy of Sasha Wolf Gallery.

Opening tonight: Lauri Lyons

Umbrella Arts & En Foco present
Photographs by Lauri Lyons
September 11 - October 11

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Response to A Photo Editor 's Recent Post

Artist and blogger extraordinaire Cara Phillips responds to Rob Haggart's AKA A Photo Editor post Fair Use of a Photography on a Blog on her blog Ground Glass with her post Very Important.

Fair Use by APE

Read Rob Haggart AKA A Photo Editor (APE) post titled Fair Use of Photography On A Blog.

Opening tonight: Cornelia Hediger

Cornelia Hediger's Doppleganger series opens tonight at Klompching Gallery.

Opening Reception September 10, 6-8pm
September 10-October 31, 2008
111 Front St. Suite 206
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Sanctuary: Victoria Ryan, Jennifer Shaw, Michel Varisco

Six Photographers from New Orleans:
Victoria Ryan, Samuel Portera, Lee Area,Eric Paul Juline, Jennifer Shaw & Michel Varisco.
Soho Photo
15 White Street
On View through October 4, 2008

Myra Greene, Clarissa Sligh @ Museum of the African Diaspora

You can see the work of Myra Greene, Clarissa Sligh and many other talented artists at the Museum of the African Diaspora(MoAD) in an exhibit titled Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera -- through September 28, 2008.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

En Foco Portfolio Review

There is still time to register for the En Foco Portfolio Review Sessions.
Find out more here.

Alessandra Sanguinetti on WIP

Alessandra Sanguinetti is the current featured artist on Women in Photography. Her new show, The Life that Came, is currently on view at Yossi Milo Gallery.

Bronx River Art Center

My classmate from Bard, 

Laura Napier,
 has some photographs in this show! 

Bronx River Art Center presents
Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx

a three-venue photography exhibition between Wave Hill, Lehman College Art Gallery and the Bronx River Art Center

September 12 - October 18, 2008
Opening Reception at BRAC: Friday, September 12, 6 - 9pm
(*artists will be in attendance)

Featuring: Mac Carbonell & Luke Stettner, Jason Falchook, Bettina Johae, Holly Lynton, Laura Napier, Katherine Radke, Yumi Janairo Roth, Benjamin Swett

Peggy Nolan

There isn't much about Peggy Nolan on the internet but I remember well her quiet images from Light Work's Permanent Collection (also a great resource).

Janet Malcom @ Lori Bookstein

Janet Malcom: Burdock
Lori Bookstein Fine Art
37 West 57th Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10019
Opens today

Monday, September 8, 2008

Second Issue of 1000 Words Photo Out Now

The second issue of the online magazine, 1000 Words Photography, is out now. It features the work of Indre Serpytyte, Anri Sala, Thomas Demand, Amy Stein, Iosif Kiraly, and Richard Learoyd.

Lillian Bassman in American Photo Mag

The current (September/ October) issue of American Photo Magazine has a nice homage to Lillian Bassman, who "wrote herself back into the history books at age 80."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On The Road Again with Dorothea Lange

From American Photo Magazine:

In honour of the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago is presenting several exhibitions coordinated with Columbia College's year-long celebration of beat culture. Running from September 5 to November 1, they include a collection of photographs by the Farm Security Administration photographers, who documented Depression-era America. The museum will also present an exhibition of images by FSA photographer, Dorothea Lange.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Empowering the Artist

Rob Haggart A.K.A. A Photo Editor recently posted two important posts on his blog.
In September he posted Educating Artists about Bad Practices and Finding a Rep or Starting a Collective.
Both both are very relevant and give food for thought - and further underline how artists can respond to changes in the industries (both commercial and fine art). The latter post also speaks about why a collective (like this one ;) ) can be a good idea.
Another excellent site to visit to keep informed is www.photoattorney.com published by attorney and wild life photographer Carolyn E. Wright.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Conversation with Michal Chelbin

On the occasion of the opening of her latest solo show in New York at Andrea Meislin Gallery, we are delighted to present a conversation with the visionary Michal Chelbin.
If you are not familiar with Michal Chelbin yet, you nonetheless might have seen her compelling images in the pages of The New Yorker, PDN or other publications. Aperture recently published her first monograph titled "Strangely Familiar: Acrobats, Athletes and Other Traveling Troupes" this April.
In this interview Michal speaks about her process of creation, her somewhat unusual path to fine art photography and her love for painting and light.

From Strangely Familiar © Michal Chelbin

NP: Tell us a little about yourself.

MC: I was born in the city of Haifa, Israel. I started my interest in photography at the age of 15, when I joined the photography department in a high school for the arts. No one from my family --not my sisters/parents/grandparents-- had any skills or ambitions in the fine art, but I was immediately drawn to it, especially to photography. After high school, like everyone in Israel, I did my military service.

From Strangely Familiar
© Michal Chelbin

NP: How did you discover Photography?

MC: I served as a photographer in the Spokesman unit for 2 years, gaining experience in field photography. I remember already then I wanted to direct my subjects and I didn't settle for just shooting it documentary style or watching from the side. I wanted to create my own image. After the army I worked briefly as a news photographer in Israel, and hated every minute of it. I couldn't photograph people in their grief, crying in hospitals or in court rooms. Besides, I was always late and eventually got fired…. I enrolled in the Photo dept of the Wizo academy of design in Haifa, where I studied for four years. It gave me the frame work to start working on my own personal projects which I continue to do so until today.

From Strangely Familiar © Michal Chelbin

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

MC: When I work on a photograph, either I have an image in my head which I go and create or it is an idea that I get from a subject, a location or just on set. It is all staged and what I do is to combine elements that interest me (nothing, by the way, is digitally manipulated- I shoot negs and print from the negative).
Because I shoot portraits I can say that people are my first inspiration. They are intriguing, mysterious and unsolved and therefore casting is very important to me. Sometimes, the "star" of my photographs would be the brother or the mother or neighbor or the grandfather of the person I originally came for. I search for people who have a legendary quality about them- a mix between odd and ordinary.
I spend a lot of time with the people I photograph and I usually photograph each person more than once and sometimes I return to them after months or years.

From Strangely Familiar & The Chapel © Michal Chelbin

NP: How do your projects come about?

I usually start a project with a group of people who have some narrative in common. For example, in “Strangely Familiar” I can say that most of the people that appear in these images are not from the “mainstream” and they are mainly local or small town performers, like acrobats, ballroom dancers and contortionists (although in some cases you can tell what their talent are, I think in most cases it hard to say what their professions are).
I usually contact the group in advance and we set up a time for me to come. But (and this is important), any group I cast is just a starting point for me to wonder/explore from --and I usually do veer from the initial starting point because I am looking to capture an idea, and to incorporate all the elements that interests me. To fulfill my vision I have to work within the moment.
As I mentioned it is all staged, so besides the casting for me it is also about location or space and light. These three elements are what I work with.
Although my work is staged and therefore controlled, I can say that I am a great believer in intuition, in “happy accidents” on the set -- and in just going and taking photographs of something that interests you, without thinking about it too much.

Other influences are the history of painting and the history of photography. I am fascinated by the great masters such as Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Vermeer and Velasquez. I consider them to be among the first photographers, because of their use of light and space, and also for casting “ordinary” people as models. It is something that is always in my mind when I shoot. The same goes for the history of photography; I can name Diane Arbus, Mary Allen Mark, August Sander and Julia Margaret Cameroon as influences.

From Strangely Familiar © Michal Chelbin

NP: What’s next?

MC: In terms of exhibitions I have two solo shows opening in September –one opens on September 4 at Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York and the other opens on September 12 at Tel Aviv Museum in Israel. Both will include photographs from “Strangely Familiar: Acrobats, Athletes and Other Traveling Troupes”, my first monograph which was recently published by Aperture.
I am also working on 3 different personal projects, all portraits.
Two are still in early stages. The third one is nearly done - It is portraits of athletes and wrestlers and it will be published as my second book in fall 2009 by Twin Palms publishers.

NP: Thank you so much! We will see you at your opening tonight!

Michal Chelbin @
Andrea Meislin Gallery
Presenting: Strangely Familiar
526 West 26th Street, Suite 214
New York, New York 10001
September 4 - October 18, 2008
Opening Reception & Book Signing: Tonight --September 4, 6-8pm

Michal's work will also be on view at the Tel Aiv Museum of Art starting September 12, 2008 and you can view her work online at: www.michalchelbin.com.