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8

“Fall in love. Every day. With everything. With life. If you can fall in love, you can be a photographer. I think that is absolutely essential.”–Ruth Bernhard 

The Parisienne photographer, Lara Kiosses’s, series Romantic Collection isn’t breaking any new ground, or charting any new territory. Using multiple exposures is nothing new, and using female models and flowers has a long, established history. Nevertheless, the results Kiosses achieves using these common elements are impressive. The richness and the romance shine through. The images are exactly what they’re supposed to be: beautiful, meditative, and romantic.

Kiosses, like many working photographers, has a diverse portfolio. She’s talented, and I can sense through her work, passionate about what she does. Her work reminds me how many wonderful photographers–many of whom I’ll never discover–are out there falling in love.–Lane Nevares

Spring in its fullest beauty, there is new life energy coming back to nature.

The rain is increadible, it is making the colours so much more intensive you can kinda feel the wet air around and the slight chilly atmosphere.

It was just a quick look out of my window when i knew i had to take a photo of this amazing moment. thats what photography is about sometimes ;)

5

“Can the ubiquitous language of commodity culture and advertising be employed to speak to, and about, more than merchandise and celebrity?  If so, to what end?”Hank Willis Thomas

About an hour northwest of New York City, a small museum, The Aldrich Contemporary, is exhibiting from now until late September, the work of an artist who will make you think. Hank Willis Thomas’s series, “Strange Fruit,” isn’t pulling any punches. The title of a famous Billie Holiday song written to protest southern lynchings and racist violence, “Strange Fruit,” in the 21st Century, has even greater connotations.  

Thomas’s images confront and provoke. They’re beautiful and they’re troublesome.  Their impact, however, will be mitigated by what the viewer brings to the experience.  For the values and ideas we all bear, frame our interpretations. I find these images potent and dark. They’re reminders of the complexities surrounding economics, history, race and class in our visual culture.  But what others see, I can’t say.  And like Hank Willis Thomas, I also ask, “If so, to what end?”  –Lane Nevares

6

“I was stunned and amazed, my childhood memories, slowly swirled past like the wind through the trees…”–Chrissie Hynde

The photographer Todd Hido‘s latest show, "Excerpts from Silver Meadows,“ opens tomorrow at Bruce Silverstein Gallery. The show coincides with his latest monograph of the same name published by the estimable publisher, Nazraeli Press.

Todd Hido grew up in Kent, Ohio, and as a Midwesterner brings a particular sensibility to his interpretation of suburban American culture. Excerpts from Silver Meadows, named after his old neighborhood, is a collection of memories and loose narratives that let us glimpse into the artist’s own psyche. In this video, Hido tells the tale, especially why creating a book is important to his work, and why he believes, as Lewis Baltz once remarked, that Photography uniquely occupies a profound space between Literature and Film.

Hido shoots analogue. He adores light and embraces its possibilities to convey mood and emotion–though dark and uncomfortable they may be. While his portrait work is even more impactful than his landscapes, Hido’s work transcends the ordinary, because let’s face it: in our world of image saturation, how many artists make work that is instantly recognizable as their own?  Way to go, Ohio. –Lane Nevares

8

“Who controls the media–the images–controls the culture.”–Allen Ginsberg

The artist Tim Parchikov, whose work is currently on exhibit in Cologne, Germany at the Priska Pasquer Gallery, has a quality to his images that is hard to define, yet easy to sense. Based in Paris and Moscow, Parchikov is part of a younger generation of Russian artists whose broader outlook reflects new approaches to political and cultural questions.

While he’s particularly attentive to beautiful light and composition, there’s a wry attitude behind his work. It speaks of someone who isn’t afraid to question, someone who understands that political and cultural meanings are up for grabs. Parchikov’s video work is similarly charged. In an age where the public is fighting for net neutrality, we should all question who controls the flow. --Lane Nevares

10

“What appears in the pictures was the subject’s decision, not mine. I took what they presented–delicate moments–unadorned and unglamorous, yet tender and exquisite. –Ray Metzker 

Belgium isn’t a land of sunshine and smiles, but there is a no-nonsense, hardworking attitude that I’ve always respected. It’s this commonsensical approach to life that I see in the work of Belgian photographer, Jacques Sonck, who is currently on exhibit at L. Parker Stephenson Photographs here in NYC. Sonck, who trained as a photographer, did the practical thing in life: he got a job shooting images at the Culture Department of the Province of Antwerp. For 35 years he photographed their exhibition catalogs and earned a living, while doing his own personal work on the side. 

Looking at his images, we can conjure the influences of Arbus and Penn, but Sonck’s images are not derivative. He is straightforward and unapologetic about what he’s doing. He’s a skilled photographer who has no personal interest, at all, in the lives of his sitters. Indeed, he often doesn’t even know their names. What he’s after is the transcendence found in any great portrait. That is, the notion that through the alchemy of photographer and subject, the photograph, itself, elevates their brief experience into something greater that we can engage and project ourselves onto. They are looking at us, we are looking at them, and we are all looking at each other. –Lane Nevares

8

“…once the needle goes in, it never comes out.”–Larry Clark 

A lot has changed in American culture since the publication in 1971 of Larry Clark’s classic photobook, Tulsa. Today, these images, while still unsettling, have gone completely mainstream. In the world of 2014, one can see the entire series now on display, along with “Celebrating Smokey the Bear,” at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. I’m sure Mr. Clark would be pleased.

For over 40 years Tulsa has been a touchstone for aspiring photographers and documentarians. It will stand the test of time because the depiction of the truth will always connect with each generation exploring photography and storytelling. Critical acclaim and analyses will come and go as fashions and ideas change, but Tulsa will continue to remind us that the human capacity for sharing self-destruction and excess never goes away. Each generation lives and learns its own lessons.–Lane Nevares

5

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”–Joseph Campbell

Currently on view at Luhring Augustine in Bushwick is only one work: a performance piece of endurance art, A Lot of Sorrow, 2014, (Video, Edition of 10 and 2 artist’s proofs. Duration: 6 hours, 9 minutes, 35 seconds) by the artists Ragnar Kjartansson and band The National

I know little of Ragnar Kjartansson and less of The National. My intent was only to see this piece for myself. I was dubious about watching musicians performing a three and half minute song for over six hours. But sitting there alone in the installation, I became a believer. Once you settle into the repetitive flow, the music, the lyrics, and the atmosphere all become a resonant visual and aural experience. I stayed half an hour, deeply absorbed, and left the gallery feeling as if I had been away somewhere for a long time. Why? I don’t know rationally, but therein lies the beauty and the mystery, and the experience of being alive. –Lane Nevares

6

“It (taking photographs) is all about longing…without longing–no pictures at all.”  –Anders Petersen

One of the nicest gifts I received this year is Anders Petersen’s latest monograph, "Soho.“ In collaboration with London’s noted Photographers’ Gallery and Mack Books, Petersen was given a four-week residency last year to shoot images of an area in London known for many things to many people. For Petersen, it was an opportunity to return to a place he’d known in the 70’s and could re-discover, thirty years later, through the lens.

While there are many impressive photographers working today, Anders Petersen is one of the finest. I am consistently astonished at the power of his photographs. His ability to infuse images with a poetic gaze that senses fragility and yearns for Beauty is the mark of an artist in love with his craft, and more importantly, in love with people. I can keep returning to his work and always find something deeper, more resonant. 

For a peek inside the book here’s a video. But I recommend discovering his work, first hand, in print. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in the magic of the photobook. –Lane Nevares

7

“Why is Form beautiful? Because, I think, it helps us confront our worst fear: the suspicion that life may be chaos and that therefore our suffering is without meaning.”–Robert Adams

Robert Adams, who is widely recognized and who has published more than forty monographs, is one our great, American photographers. His vision of the American West has forever shaped how artists (and indeed many of us) look at these vast spaces. His contemplative, quiet images from the past fifty years have become a new Americana. We can keep returning to his work and still find ourselves asking questions and seeking answers. 

Currently on view in Paris at the historic, Jeu de Paume, Adams’ classic series, “The Place We Live”, will be exhibited until 18 May. (PBS has also released a new video interviewing Adams.) Seeing his handmade prints, with their gracious attention to light and form, is an opportunity not to be missed, and perhaps, a chance to come in from the chaos.–Lane Nevares

6

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see."— Henry David Thoreau

When I was a kid, someone once told me that,”the difference between something and nothing is everything.” Of course, they were just teasing an eight-year old boy with a zen-like statement, but since then I’ve often considered the philosophical impact of that assertion. Somewhere between what we see and what we don’t see—lie the possibilities.

The Munich-based photographer, Robert Voit, series “New Trees” plays with these possibilities and asks us to consider what’s real, unreal, and an everyday part of our lives. Voit, who studied at the prestigious Arts Academy in Dusseldorf, Germany, knows all about the “Becher School” of photography. His photographs, however, play with typologies rather than being boxed-in as such. Voit is merely asking us to look closely, pay attention, and smile along the way. Our world has changed and these “new trees” reflect the landscape of our 21st Century planet.

Voit’s exhibition, “New Trees” and “The Alphabet of New Plants,” opens tomorrow at Clamp Art here in NYC. His monograph, “New Trees,” is now available from Steidl. I look forward to attending the show and seeing the possibilites.—Lane Nevares

6

“The exercise of democracy begins as exercise, as walking around, becoming familiar with the streets, comfortable with strangers, able to imagine your own body as powerful and expressive rather than a pawn.”–Rebecca Solnit

The photographer Richard Renaldi isn’t afraid to talk to people. For nearly seven years he has been approaching strangers throughout the United States and asking them to pose, along with another complete stranger, for his large format 8 x 10 camera. This ongoing series, “Touching Strangers,” is now a new monograph from Aperture, with an exhibit opening tomorrow night. 

In these images, body language reveals everything. We look at these folks looking at us and understand that we’re all sharing a moment. Once the shutter’s released, the magic is frozen. Yes, we know it will never happen again, these individuals will probably never again meet each other, but what remains is the touch. And most importantly, the idea that we are, despite the negative aspects of our culture to dictate otherwise, humanly connected. –Lane Nevares

9

“Adults are obsolete children.”–Dr. Seuss

Bruce Gilden’s latest book, Face, printed by the estimable British publisher, Dewi Lewis, takes us straight to the heart of the matter. In a blaze of flash and color, we are confronted, eye-to-eye, with our humanity. These collaborative portraits reveal what Bruce Gilden does best: take photographs that hit you in the gut and make you feel something

What that something is, of course, depends upon you. Many will like and many will hate. Gilden, who feels more at home with life’s underdogs than winners, took these blunt portraits without irony and superciliousness. He just wants to take good pictures of the folks who interest him.

For my part, these stark portraits remind me of childhood. I look at these women–stare into their eyes–and think about the little girl they once were. I imagine all of the “living” that brought them to the moment when the flash burst and the shutter clicked. The wear and tear of life captured in a frame.

Perhaps Dr. Seuss is right: the travails of living make us grown-ups, sadly, obsolete.–Lane Nevares

7

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”—Franz Kafka

Mark Cohen, born in 1943, is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. To a 21st Century audience, he’s perhaps not as well known, but for over 40 years he’s been documenting his local community and building a foundation from which many photographers (consciously or not) have tread upon. As early as 1973, John Szarkowski recognized his talent and showed his work for the first time at MoMA. Now, in 2014, the Danziger Gallery in New York is representing his work and giving him a new solo show that opened last week.

Cohen’s flair for using strong off-camera flash, a wide angle lens, and avoiding the viewfinder (while shooting with the camera away from his body) bring an immediacy to his images. Like Bruce Gilden, who’s no stranger to the close, flash-in-your-face approach, Cohen’s surrealistic style is reflective of his personality. This video shows him in action, moving, shooting, talking and constantly on alert for the next frame.

Now in his 70’s, Mark Cohen has kept his ability to see beauty and to remain young. Any photographer who creates work this good (not to mention his superb color work), merits all the attention he receives. The show is up until June 20th and a must-see. Never grow old. —Lane Nevares

7

“Obey the principles without being bound by them.”–Bruce Lee 

I came across the work of Michael Mapes quite by accident via the BBC. Seeing it for the first time online, however, I was struck with intense curiosity. How were these portraits constructed, and how much work went into creating them? On the off-chance, I sent Michael an email. We later spoke on the phone and arranged to meet in person to chat and to view his work.

Referencing Dutch Master portraiture, Michael Mapes,“specimens” deconstruct and painstakingly re-construct how our eyes interpret. It takes a particular artistic vision to manifest work that takes you somewhere new. Vials of hair, resin, sequins, thread, photos, jewelry and more–all (at the end of a pin) go into making these “dimensional collages.” The result is a portraiture unlike anything I’ve seen before. 

For now, Michael Mapes may be relatively unknown, but if his work continues to follow, and not be bound by, the principles of good art–authenticity, resonance, and a yearning for beauty– his work will not remain so. This guy is onto something. –Lane Nevares 

6

“My goal is to make images that are familiar and dreamlike, evocative of an almost unreachable memory.”–Vanessa Marsh 

In photography, as in all forms of art, one must travel their own path. Seeing the work of Vanessa Marsh for the first time, I immediately sensed that this young, Oakland-based artist was following a particular vision. It’s refreshing to see images that ask us to slow down, look and ponder what we see.

Her work, which combines a variety of techniques including drawing, sculpture and photography, is layered and resonant with the subconscious. These landscapes, with their familiar elements and generic titles, maintain a silhouette quality to them, asking us to project our own thoughts and experiences onto what we see, and in effect, transforming them into our stories. 

Marsh discusses her process in this interview, revealing how the series came about and the specific techniques used in creating it. While her work lacks the confrontation and psychological prowess of a Kara Walker, Marsh is, nevertheless, graciously inviting us to enter her world to dream the dream. –Lane Nevares 

9

“Photos are profound because they have such short lives. They are more like fingerprints, dead leaves, rain puddles, or the corpses of flies.–Tom Waits 

The Belgian artist, Nicolas Karakatsanis, is primarily known for his cinematography work, but there’s far more to his interests than working on movies. His photographic work, while ostensibly influenced by the great Australian photographer, Bill Henson, reveals a quiet, painterly approach. The rich tones and carefully staged lighting in his images are superlative. The mood and feeling are elegantly captured. The yearning for Beauty is palpable.

What I deeply appreciate about Karakatsanis’ work is his stand-out approach to printmaking: ”Painting has influenced me in the general way that I decided to only print unique pieces. Just like a painting, there’s only one original. I never liked the idea of a series of identical prints. A picture should only exist once. That’s the only way to give it its own value. Duplicating a picture is a commercial decision.“

For a photographer to care enough about their work to offer only unique pieces tells us a great deal. In our modern age of duplicating, re-blogging, “disrupting”, manipulating, instagramming, pinterest-ing, and treating Photography as an entirely disposable medium, I salute Nicolas Karakatsanis. For some of us, the profundity of a photograph is enough.  –Lane Nevares

4

“The unconscious obsession that we photographers have is that wherever we go, we want to find the theme that we carry inside ourselves."  Graciela Iturbide


Mexico’s contribution to the history of photography is important, and one I would argue, often underestimated.  Tomorrow, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit "Photography in Mexico” opens to address that perception.  With over 150 images from more than 30 photographers spanning the fertile cultural period after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) to the present day, the exhibit will explore the cultural and ideological strands that have woven their way through the 20th Century and into our 21st. 

Kudos to the SFMOMA for organizing another great show and for providing the opportunity to explore a rich and diverse photographic history, one that is becoming much more internationalized/globalized as we move deeper into the new century.  –Lane Nevares


7

“Being generous of spirit is a wonderful way to live.“—Pete Seeger

Music, Photography and Film: the understated artist John Cohen’s multi-faceted career has fused all three. Cohen, who has known and documented some of this country’s seminal Americans, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac and many others, is represented by L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, who was kind enough recently to educate me on this man, of whom I knew little, behind many of these iconic images.

John Cohen, now in his eighties, has led a remarkable career as a filmmaker, photographer and noted musician/musicologist. Despite his association with many famous artists (and his folk band The New City Lost Ramblers) he is not widely recognized to a contemporary audience. I suspect, though, that for a man whose archive and legacy is now housed at The Library of Congress and whose work is in the permanent collections of many major museums, these accomplishments are far more satisfying than the ephemera of fame.

Cohen is still going. You can catch him performing this weekend at the Brooklyn Folk Festival, if you’re feeling generous of spirit and in need of some down home music and fun. –Lane Nevares

5

“Photographs open doors to the past, but they also allow a look into the future.” Sally Mann  

Artists can find inspiration anywhere, but it was a severe horse-riding accident six years ago that catalyzed Sally Mann to create her latest series, “Upon Reflection,” opening tomorrow night at Edwynn Houk Gallery.

Banged-up and physically incapacitated from the accident, Mann did what any artist impelled to create does: she looked within. Unable to carry around her large format camera, Mann took self-portraits whose reflections go deeper than the surface of her skin.

Choosing to use a mid-19th Century historical printing process, ambrotype, (with her own modern modifications) Mann’s handmade prints are a metaphor for her own recovery. These images are blurred, scratched, pitted, grainy, over/under exposed–all providing an organic reflection of an important artist who has never shied away from revealing the depths of her own psyche.  –Lane Nevares