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BY STEVE BISSON
We are glad to introduce this new work by the Italian photographer Gianfranco Gallucci that we’ve already interviewed recently for Photo Schools (Stories # 3 october 2013). This time we present his research on immigration in this city of Rome. The project alternates portraits of foreign workers, snapped in their respective home and workplace. The alternation between the use of the color with black and white creates a double reading, a kind of parallel narrative. Each immigrant is also described through a place, a ‘zone’ especially liked by the portrayed person. In this way, this project is also an emotional map, and a set of desires to be preserved. The text written by Gianfranco is very useful for getting deep into his intentions. We like this project because without expressing too many opinions is capable of bringing out from oblivion the lives of several people who have left their country to redeem their own life. It seems to us representative, and capable of giving voice, though silently, to a highly relevant social condition.
© Hui, Home, Work, Zone
- ” Immigrant ” is one who moves to another country, leaving their own land, because driven by the need for better living conditions. -
« Eh ! Integration is a big word ! Eh ! The integration is still a concept, a bit ’ far, for me it takes many, many years before this happens. For me, integration is yet to come . There are still many people who say that we should better stay at home. They say: What are they doing here , that the work there is not even for us, and all these things.. » (An Immigrant)
Between 2010 and 2013 I searched and met 18 extraordinary, although common, people. The project “You’re Welcome” tells the story of these people.The only thing they have in common is Rome, coming each one from a different country, everyone with his/her own story, and now all living here, in the Italian capital. I took three portraits each person. One in their house, where they live sorrounded by their most intimate and personal things, objects and memories; the other one at work, showing their real and concrete contribution to the society; and the third one, even if without the subject indoors, that represents a further portrait of themselves, showing their most beloved and favorite place in Rome. Italy is a country where integration is not at all completely realized, most of all socially,as a result of the attitude of most people. I wanted to show how much richer and wonderful a multiethnic society is, where each person brings his/her contribution, and lives with the same rights and duties as everyone else. I narrated these stories, in order to tell, for once, a positive story about immigration, about people who left their “homes”, leaving everything, and fortunately found something better.
© Maria, Home, Work, Zone
When I decided to develop a project about immigration, I was confronted immediately with the vastness and complexity of the issue. My thinking began with the desire to understand what my personal relationship was with this topic, from my point of view as an”Italian citizen”. Which had been, till today, my attitude towards immigrants and immigration (despite having lived my childhood in a small town where immigrants where not common at that time, to be the son of southern Italian immigrants who moved to the north, and to be born and raised in a land that was not my parents home)? I really think that too many people, and not only in Italy, have never asked this question, or perhaps more simply, we just quickly forgot our own recent past as immigrants.
© Alema, Home, Work, Zone
I did not know what I could say or tell about it, being able to say many things and nothing at the same time.
The phenomenon of immigration is often associated within media to individual episodes of anonymous negative realities. When repeated on the television information space daily, it ends up creating only prejudices and stereotypes against those who, for the simple fact of having left their country looking for a better way of life, later become the ‘carriers’ of a series of negative judgments that are not part of their everyday life.
In the end I chose to tell the stories of these people; eighteen stories, which have in common only the fact of coming from a country other than Italy and living in Rome with the hope of building a better future. I photographed each of them at home and at the workplace, with staged portraits that would tell something about them and their condition. I portrayed their favorite places in the city, getting a visual mapping of the same, according to their point of view.
© Kamila, Home, Work, Zone
The stories I have heard, recorded and later told, are very different from each other. Each one carries with it, the image of a country, and a culture, different from our own, and the combination of all these stories is a credit to the extraordinary wealth potential that resides in a multi-ethnic society. I avoided the stereotypes socio-economic context of the roman society, where certain ethnic groups or populations, because of cultural heritage or the particular dynamics of the market, have “monopolized” some sectors of the labor market. An example can be the Romanians, mostly employed in construction industry or of Bengali, in the bazaars or phone centers.
© Eddaoudi, Home, Work, Zone
My meeting with each one of these stories, happened almost by accident, after having studied and identified the decisive nationalities of theRoman area in the recent years. Based on studies and statistics, drawn up by the various institutions, I pointed out that migration flows are changing, even massively, for socio-economic-cultural reasons, from year to year or cycles of 5-10years and can even completely distort the previous situation. Therefore, this project is located in a very precise temporal context by referring to the current situation of migration within the Roman location. One of the aims of the project includes an observation of a wider phenomenon unrelated to the particular conditions of temporality or location.This begins with a desire to make us think a little more about how we live every day and the people who are going, even just for a few seconds, to become part of our lives.
© Gianfranco Gallucci
Robert Koch, San Francisco
06.02.2014 - 29.03.2014
The Robert Koch Gallery is pleased to present Transition, the first solo exhibition at the gallery for French artist, Lauren Marsolier. We are also proud to announce that the Robert Koch Gallery now represents Lauren Marsolier.
While Lauren Marsolier’s work is photographic, her process is similar to painting. Marsolier’s work is composed and assembled from photographs she takes at multiple geographic locations over spans of time. “Months or years often separate the capture of elements juxtaposed in my landscapes,” she explains. “This approach reminds me of many painters who would make sketches at different locations to use as reference for their future paintings.” Akin to the way a painter would use his sketchbook, Marsolier uses this data-bank of collected imagery to construct her photomontage landscapes.
At first glance, Marsolier’s appear to be seductively lit, neatly-composed, landscapes. However on further examination, we soon realize that the soft-hued dreamlike images comprised of elemental architectural structures encroaching on the natural landscape are devoid of protagonists, and that something is amiss. Marsolier’s mysterious and psychologically imbued images blur the distinction between the natural and constructed, both literally and conceptually.
Of her work Marsolier remarks, “I became interested in how we perceive reality and how our times, marked by constant changes, affect us on a psychological level.” Initially Marsolier scrubbed her images of “the tracks of time and the signs of life” as a method of describing “a lonely experience, like being lost in your own mindscape, something close to an existential angst.” Writer Stefan Mattessich further elaborates, “This is the felt stake in Marsolier’s evacuated edges and borders, the transitional non-places where human action and inhabitation are recorded in strange antitheses of nature and artifice, or, better still, artificial nature and natural artifice.”
Marsolier currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of the 2013 Houston Center for Photography fellowship award, which included a solo exhibition of her work at the institution. In 2013, she was also featured alongside Mitch Epstein, Robert Adams, Simon Norfolk, Edward Burtynsky, and others, in the London exhibition Landmark: The Fields of Photography, curated by William Ewing at the Somerset House. She was part of the Humble Art Foundation 2012 selection of “31 Women in Art Photography” and has been featured in the British Journal of Photography as one of 20 photographers to watch in 2013.
© Robert Koch | Lauren Marsolier
‘The Walk…in green’
Laura Bartlett, London
22.02.2014 - 30.03.2014
Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to present The Walk…in green, our fourth solo exhibition with artist Becky Beasley.
Robert Walser’s relatively long short story, The Walk, is the story of a day in the form of a walk ending at nightfall. Along the way the story unfolds through domestic, urban and country landscapes. It is a kind of straight story (A to B), which nevertheless proceeds by a shaggy dog method (via C). It is a model for the exhibition.
The various photographs in the exhibition – in the form of silver prints, postcards and offset litho prints – were originally taken by Beasley between 1999-2003. Taking time to revisit her own archive of unprinted negatives, Beasley’s works imagine an intimate relation to nature which, similarly to Walser’s narrative, passes through domestic (Re-potting (2000, Coldharbour Lane), urban (Auxiliary Flora and Fig Tree (2001, Amwell Street) and rural (Flora, A Life (1999-2001) settings. In each, however, a sense of domesticity emerges as a result of varieties of scale, proximity or distance.
Bearings (2014) is a three metre long, brass cast made from nine twigs collected by the artist’s father from wind-fall after the St. Jude storm. The purposely-tapering fragments screw together like a snooker cue and rotate at one and a half revolutions per minute (1.5 rpm). Inhabiting, by turns, the large bay window area of the gallery, this minimal work quietly takes up extroverted space. Bearings proposes The Walk…in green as a dis-oriented journey, which proceeds only by slow, attentive circling. This point is underlined, albeit differently, in the form of the revolving postcard-rack work, Flora, A Life.
The other sculpture, Steppe (Cloche version), is a reprise on an ongoing series of works whose original dimensions are identical. Despite its domesticity, the original black work, Steppe, invokes a hard landscape. Here the transparent green glazing suggests a horticultural device (cloche) used for incubating seedlings and as a protective covering to shield plants, primarily from the undesirable effects of weather, but also from insect damage. Also sculptural, but employing photographs to produce volumes, the two works, Re-potting 2000 and Flora, A Life have take away elements. Visitors are invited to choose a postcard and take a litho-print.
Like a routine daily walk from A to B and back again, the exhibition is a detected cosmos [Cosmos [ Kosmos, 1965) is a novel by the Polish author Witold Gombrowicz. It is a metaphysical thriller which revolves around an absurd investigation ] in which new clues can be discovered by attentively recovering the same ground.
Becky Beasley (b.1975 Portsmouth) lives and works in St.Leonards-on-Sea. Recent solo exhibitions include Spring Rain at Spike Island, Bristol and Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, A Slight Nausea at South London Gallery, London, The Man Nobody Could Lift at Leal Rios Foundation, Lisbon and The Outside, Tate Britain, 13 Pieces, 17 Feet, “park Nights”, Serpentine Gallery, London
Selected group exhibitions include Viral Research at Whitechapel Gallery, London, The Imaginary Museum at Kunstverein Munich, Je Suis Un Autre, Kunstverein Freiburg, Structure and Material, Becky Beasley, Karla Black, Claire Barclay, Arts Council (tour), British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet (tour), La Carte d’Après Nature, Curated by Thomas Demand, NMNM Villa Paloma, Monaco.
© Laura Bartlett Gallery | Becky Beasley
BY RACHEL WOLFE
At first glance, Joy Drury Cox’s work could be perceived as thoughtful, quiet and unobtrusive. It is in these subtle qualities the viewer is drawn inward, to examine notions of labor, concepts of form, space and constructions within other entities, among other fruitful considerations. Dispelling the engrained mythologies of artists and their methodologies is no easy task. Joy’s work opens these lines of communication by highlighting the simple qualities in good materials and here, explains her aptitude for the succinct by elaborating on her art through action processes.
1. The reoccurring theme of art through action, a minimalism meets poetry, seems to string through the wide variety of mediums you take on in your work. Where would you say your inspiration stems from? And can you describe your artistic processes in relation to time, materials, your preferred work environment?
I like your mention of “art through action.” This is important to me in the most elemental of ways. Like many artists who use more than one medium, it is challenging at times to talk about my work because fundamentally people want to know what I do, what the work looks like.
© Untitled Spaces, Inkjet photograph, dimensions variable, 2006 - present
Saying that I make drawings or take pictures just never feels like enough. I am trying to be intensely cautious when deciding what medium to use to execute each project. Inspiration has always had for me a funny sort of artist-genius mythology tied to it, that at times feels too proprietary and ambiguous. My work stems from actual interactions/reactions to things in the world that anyone and everyone could have a reaction to. It usually starts with the question “why is this thing, this way?” I tend to hold ideas for a while until I have the time to execute them. I usually gravitate to everyday materials- standard sizes, good quality but not overly expensive paper, things you can find at the hardware store. My hope is that these materials are re-highlighted for their simple intrinsic qualities through my work. In grad school when my work became less photographic, I started working at home, and it has been that way for me ever since.
2. In your statement, you speak to “notions of labor, form and space.” What about these topics creates the most interest for you?
Obviously these are pretty broad terms, which people have written book lengths worth of research on. My sort of rebirth as an artist came with a series of drawings I did in 2006 of job applications for low-wage service industry jobs. The words labor, form and space have come to take on various meanings in later work, but for that first series, ‘Applications’, I was really interested in the “space” of a form. More specifically, I was thinking about how people might limit or define themselves in a given proscribed space for the purpose of acquiring a job, and whether this standardized evaluation form could accurately reflect how good a job one might do.
© Applications, graphite on paper, 30 in. x 22 in., 2006
The drawings were made by measuring each line/box of the form and then redrawing it on another piece of paper. I omitted the text of the forms, so the viewer was confronted with this pseudo-abstraction. It was a labored process, but one that didn’t have the look of taking a long time, which I liked.
3. There’s almost an inescapable candor and humility to your work. In other words, in a world increasingly relying on the obscurity in approach, your work though feels a bit more friendly. A great example is your ‘Thank You Letters’. Is there something in particular from your life experiences, environment or anything else that might be contributing to this?
I have a personal interest in saying thank you. Maybe it has something to do with being raised in the South. The ‘Thank You Letters’ are less these days, but I initially sent them in response to specific works of art that I saw museums and curators choosing to display. The lines of communication among the various strata of artists, curators, gallerists, and museum officials aren’t always so open. A few years ago, I was especially responding to works that I saw in institutional spaces that didn’t seem like the fad of the moment. Obviously, I think artists should be thanked for making the work they do, but I also feel like when an institution displays something risky or unpopular, there should be some sort of acknowledgement from the community as well.
© Thank You Letter, (To Ms. Kleinberg), photocopy w/ stamp
11 x 8.5 inches, 2008
Clearly the letters have an affinity to conceptual art’s aesthetic. I’m using an old Smith Corona typewriter, and it is pretty amazing how many times I had to retype each letter to get a mistake free copy. The process makes me really carefully consider each word and sentence. I hope these letters pick up on some untapped, friendly form of institutional critique as well.
4. At the same time, there’s a sense of detachment or perhaps an extreme distilling of content, thought and meaning. Are your works of a personal or non-personal nature? Or perhaps more of a social or slightly scientific exploration of labor, form or space?
My feeling is that most artwork is personal in some general way, if only in that at the very least an artist feels personally connected to an idea that he or she uses art to express. Often the notion of personal or not is made manifest by the conversation surrounding the art rather than the actual objects.
© Subsidy Opportunity #3 ($642.48)
The danger with discussing work in terms of the personal is how quickly the conversation can change to being more about the person and less about the ideas/art object(s). With that, I’m personally invested in the ideas my work deals with, but I am less interested in how these ideas pertain to me specifically.
5. ‘One Liner’ seems to have had a sense of humor instilled in the piece. It appears as if you leave your artistic intention wide open to interpretation by the viewer. Can you speak more on this?
Measurement has been a component of my work for several years now. I like to address the problems of measurement both through the subject matter that I chose but also through how the work is made (i.e. measuring and re-drawing to scale job applications, birth certificates and other bureaucratic forms). This piece, “one-liner”, was initially conceived of as a response to a call for artists to try to conceive of how cities (like New York) could be in general better places to live. The ruler was supposed to be a pocket-sized tool for people to measure small things in their lives: a device to understand space on a micro level. I guess in some ways I wanted the text to remind the users of how very rare it is to be surrounded by a space where you and all your belongings fit.
© One-liner, wooden ruler, 1 in. x 6 in. edition of 200, signed and numbered, 2011
One of New York’s never ending challenges is coping with or overcoming the inadequacies of confined spaces. Obviously, there is a whole other reading of the piece that is perhaps more where the title comes from. At some point, there will be a twelve-inch ruler and also other rulers made of different materials. I like that the phrase can have more or less weight depending on the ruler. David B. Smith wrote a lovely bit about the piece here.
6. Texts and generally recognized forms take on new meaning in your work. How would you relate your ‘Every State I’ve Ever Stepped Foot’ to ‘Old Man and Sea?
These two pieces were generated from a similar tactic, which I’ve used in several works. I think standard formats provide viewers with something they are visually comfortable with looking at. Through a subtraction of some information, I hope to destabilize the assumptions that go hand in hand with looking at something recognizable.
© Every State I Ever Set Foot In, 10.5 x 7.5 inches, ink on mylar, 2007
With an “edited” re-presentation of a map or a book, I hope that viewers question the essential nature and boundaries of each. What I loved about each of these pieces was how simple the idea was and how much became open from just carrying it out. With the map, the delineating language, which on the surface reads so clearly, really made me question what it meant to “set foot” somewhere. I was drawing this type of personal map for friends for a while, and I repeatedly got the question, “does it count if I just went to the airport in ______?” I also liked the temporal permanence of the drawing, which is now no longer quite as “true,” which points nicely back to actual functional maps of the world that become outdated.
© Old Man and Sea, ink on mylar and limited edition artist book, dimensions variable, 2006, 20012. Installation view of original ink on mylar drawings.
© In 2012, Conveyor published a limited edition artist book based on the original drawings. The book is available for purchase through Conveyor and Sternthal Books.
7. Artists are always working up something new. Do you see yourself taking your work in a new direction, implementing any new mediums or installation techniques that you’d like to share?
I am an artist. Things are always simmering…
© Joy Drury Cox
Whitechapel Gallery, London
15.01.2014 - 23.03.2014
Hannah Höch was an artistic and cultural pioneer. A member of Berlin’s Dada movement in the 1920s, she was a driving force in the development of 20th century collage. Splicing together images taken from fashion magazines and illustrated journals, she created a humorous and moving commentary on society during a time of tremendous social change. Höch was admired by contemporaries such as George Grosz, Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters, yet was often overlooked by traditional art history. As the first major exhibition of her work in Britain, the show puts this inspiring figure in the spotlight.
Bringing together over 100 works from major international collections, the exhibition examines Höch’s extraordinary career from the 1910s to the 1970s. Starting with early works influenced by her time working in the fashion industry, it includes key photomontages such as High Finance (1923) which critiques the relationship between bankers and the army at the height of the economic crisis in Europe.
A determined believer in artistic freedom, Höch questioned conventional concepts of relationships, beauty and the making of art. Höch’s collages explore the concept of the ‘New Woman’ in Germany following World War I and capture the style of the 1920s avant-garde theatre. The important series ‘From an Ethnographic Museum’ combines images of female bodies with traditional masks and objects, questioning traditional gender and racial stereotypes. Astute and funny, this exhibition reveals how Höch established collage as a key medium for satire whilst being a master of its poetic beauty.
© Images credit
1. Hannah Höch, Für ein Fest gemacht (Made for a Party) 1936, collage, 36 x 19.8 cm, collection of IFA, Stuttgart.
2. Hannah Höch, Ohne Titel (Aus einem ethnographischen Museum) (Untitled [From an Ethnographic Museum]), 1930, collage, 48.3 x 32.1cm, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, photo: courtesy of Maria Thrun.
3. Hannah Höch, Kleine Sonne (Little Sun), 1969, collage, 16.3 x 24.2 cm, Landesbank Berlin AG.
© Whitechapel Gallery
BY STEVE BISSON, GAIA MUSACCHIO
1. Tell us about your approach to photography. How it all started? What are your memories of your first shots?
My Dad and his best friend Tony were passionate photographers and collector of cameras. I grew up surrounded by camera equipment and technical discussions about darkroom techniques and flash lighting, but as a child I wasn’t very interested in the techie side of photography, I preferred the tactile nature of painting and clay.
© Ellie Davies
As a teenager my passion was sculpture. I worked in clay mainly and as my projects became more ambitious my parents bought me a small arc welder and I made several large pieces including a 15’ dinosaur skeleton from welded scaffolding clips and bits of broken down agricultural machinery. I wanted to be a sculptor but I couldn’t envisage a life working alone in a studio. After a frustrating Art Foundation year I took a darkroom course and realised that I could have a creative life without having to be alone. It was a revelation. The black and white darkroom became an addiction.
These first photographic projects made in 2007/8 were mainly self-portraits but I saw them as simply using myself as a model so that I could be independent. I wanted to explore without the constraints of using a model and all that is entailed. It was a very exciting and freeing process. I feel very fond of that work when I look back at it. I can see that I was getting something out of my system, it was a very intense process, and at the same time I fell in love with the intrinsically photographic process of exploring the relationship between the camera, the viewer, and the viewed. I think this is still a strong element of my process. My photographs in the forest are still a kind of self-portrait.
© Ellie Davies
2. How did your research evolve with respect to those early days?
I was interesting in the work of other female photographers using their own bodies and I studied Cindy Sherman and Francesca Woodman. I looked at Feminist research on the Gaze, and the cultural objectification of women’s bodies, I looked at advertising, and at fashion photography.
3. Tell us about your educational path. MA Photography at London College of Communication. What are your best memories of your studies. What was your relationship with photography at that time?
I began my MA about 4 years after starting down my photographic journey. I had done the darkroom course, followed by one year studying on the Professional Photographic Practice course at London College of Communication (then in Clerkenwell), followed by 3 years working as a photographer’s assistant.
Whilst assisting I began to take small commissions but I soon realised that I didn’t want to work to briefs, I wanted to continue to make my own work and the only way I was going to have complete freedom was to go it alone.
© Ellie Davies
The MA was a huge creative luxury, it allowed me to return to learning and exploring but it was also challenging and frustrating. This was a painful process but it forced me to evaluate my work harshly and to be really honest about when something is working and when it’s not. It was tough but ultimately I feel that this process has made my work stronger.
During the MA I continued to make work focusing on the Gaze and the relationship between figures within the photographic scene, reading Satre and James Elkins, I made the series’ ‘Vantage Point’ and ‘After Dark’. My time as an assistant taught me I didn’t want to use a lot of lights and a big camera, I wanted to be mobile, flexible and self-sufficient. I found ways to work with a very small kit and to use ambient lighting, and this is still the way I work today – camera, tripod, step-ladder and me.
© Ellie Davies
4. What were the courses that you were passionate about and which have remained meaningful for you?
Studying darkroom probably had the most profound effect on my work. An understanding of processing, printing and toning gives a real-world background to Photoshop, and in my own work I try as much as possible to only make these kinds of changes during retouching.
It is very important to me that all the sculptural interventions I make in the forest are ‘real’. Each one usually takes a day to create and photograph and this ‘making’ process is central to my work. It is ironic that I gave up a career in sculpture in favour of a more sociable art-form, only to find myself carving out a working practice that enables me to work alone in the woods and to make things with my hands.
© Ellie Davies
5. Any professor or teacher that has allowed you to better understand your work?
Crits with my MA tutors had a big impact on my work. Ultimately one of these crits brought the biggest change to my process so far. One of my tutors was examining my ‘Vantage Point’ series and used the work ‘banal’. This word is still burned into my memory and it made me re-evaluate my process and realise that a complete change of approach was needed. Until that point I had been placing a figure, or figures within a scene, in order to explore their relationship to the camera and to eachother within that setting. I realised that I didn’t need people to do this and I began working in the woods.
© Ellie Davies
The woods are an entity in their own right, and I began exploring my relationship to the lanscape and the way that the forest makes us feel. This is so much more direct and personal, and my work had grown and developed from that crutial turning point.
6. What do you think about teaching methodology in the era of digital and social networking?
My MA was right on the cusp of film and digital. I was one of the few students on the course using digital equipment, and there was very little emphasis on digital process or work-flow. I hope this is now a much more prominent part of photography courses, but during my own MA I was doing the majority of my learning through trial and error using my own fairly basic digital camera equipment, and learning to use programs such as Photoshop and Aperture.
© Ellie Davies
I now do most of my work online, sending images to publications, blogs, galleries, competitions and calls for submissions, and maintaining my website and online presence. I love being able to use all these different mediums, there are so many ways to promote your work online and communicate it to the world. I think it is really important that photography courses make this a significant part of the program so that students are prepared for life after art school.
7. By looking at your bio I can see that you’ve been featured in many exhibitions. Can you talk about these many experience? Any particular advice for young photographers aspiring to display and exhibit their work?
I spent the first year after my MA (2009) participating in group shows with contemporaries from the course and other photographers I’d met through photography groups. Its tough when you leave college so it can be really helpful to form a group. We became Latitude Photographers and met at the British Museum once a month to crit each others new work, and to organise small exhibitions in disused shops and galleries. We also participated in Format Photo Festival in Derby.
© Ellie Davies
Over the following year I submitted my work into shows with less artists, so that I could show more pieces of work. I also co-curated Sight Unseen at Photofusion Gallery in Brixton, London with three other photographers. In 2011 my work started to be published in print and online photography magazines, I was selected for several international Photo Festivals, and by 2012 I held five solo shows. The point is that the process of exhibiting happened gradually, its hard work, chipping away and persevering, winning some but facing ten times more rejections. Realize that if you aren’t selected it is probably because your work didn’t fit what the judges were looking for, keep going and it will happen!
I feel it is important to build your CV before you start approaching commercial galleries, they want to see some history to your exhibiting. Rather that paying out to rent gallery space try to take things into your own hands and plan shows in small, cheap spaces. Do all the work yourself: promote, curate, hang and gallery-sit your exhibitions.
© Ellie Davies ”Come with Me. Solo exhibition of New Landscape’ at Print House Gallery, London. (November 2011)
My first solo show was at Brucie Collections in Kiev in early 2011. I had won the Fine Art Landscape category of the PX3 Photo Awards and the curator of Brucie Collections noticed my work through this and offered me a solo show. This illustrates the possible opportunities that awards can have, I entered lots of calls in 2009-2011 and these awards helped to build the momentum of my exposure. It’s really important to read the terms and make sure that they are favourable for you, there are a lot of calls for submission out there that require you to ship framed work abroad etc, and this may not be something you feel is worthwhile.
8. What about your artistic paths and photographic research?
One project emerges from the last, it’s an organic process. I write endless lists of ideas and make notes and drawings, saving them all in a separate folder for each project. I read around the subject and start to sketch out an artist’s statement as I work.
© Ellie Davies
9. Do you have any preferences in terms of cameras and format?
I use a Nikon D3x, a Manfrotto tripod and a step ladder. I usually like 35mm but I have recently been making some square format work, which I shoot on the D3x too, 3 frames knitted together – I do this by hand in photoshop.
10. Is there any contemporary artist or photographer, even if young and emerging, that influenced you in some way?
I love and have been influenced by Jem Southam’s Pond and Rockfall work, Ori Gersht’s Rear Window series, Martina Lindqvist’s Ragskar Island, Jitka Hanzlova’s Quiet Forests and Jo Metson Scott’s Ethereal Forest installations. I’m not sure exactly how this work has influenced me but I know it is inscribed on my brain and it filters into my work, the way that I look at the landscape, and the possibilities of photography.
One day I want to make some work in the mountains. I would combine my two passions in life, climbing and the landscape. I love the work of Anton Jankov, Jochen Klein and Meike Nixdorf. Probably the most precious photo-book I own is Boomoon’s Stargazing at Sokcho – the eerie, cold, quiet mountains transport you to another world.
11. You have been featured in many publications. Are you also working on something on your own?
I have started to look into this in the last year, more to come I hope.
© Ellie Davies
12. Three books of photography that you recommend?
'Art Photography Now' but Susan Bright, published by Thames and Hudson, 'Art and Photography' by David Campany, published by Phaidon, and Land and Environment Art’ by Jeffrey Kastner and Brian Wallis, published by Phaidon.
13. Is there any show you’ve seen recently that you find inspiring?
I took my baby son to the Light Show at the Hayward Gallery, we were both inspired!
14. Projects that you are working on now and plans for the future?
I have just launched my new series ‘Between the Trees’. There are currently eight images and a Triptych. This series is ongoing so I will be making new images to add to it over the winter and coming spring. I am working towards a solo show at the Richard Young Gallery in Kensington in London in the autumn of 2014.
© Ellie Davies
BY STEVE BISSON
I receive many books on photography. And sometimes it’s embarrassing, I would like to respond faster. However, for me, writing is more than just a job, or an exercise. Through the writing I crop the time to think. As in a ritual. The book by Nuno Moreira has remained on my bookshelf for some time. Then one day I opened it. Then the next day I did it again. I slowly realized that it would be difficult but mostly useless to write about this book without the involvement of the author. It would come out a grotesque attempt to frame an emotional work. Made of moments of silence and insights. Shortly rational. I would end up quoting some of the important white black photographer. But to what end? So this is why we have come to this interview. To present your book Nuno I would like to start from your premise. I find that it well introduces the essence of this publication. Sharing your emotional empathy with the world through photography is an act of generosity or at least it breaks a sense of loneliness. What drove you to this point of consciousness? How does this project reflect your personal research?
I agree with your observations, Steve, working with images enables me to create visual narratives - which are fortunately very ambiguous in their nature - but also, and most importantly, to analyse my role within the creative process. You see, thinking and working in artistic projects is for me a form of self-discovery. I take a topic that matters to me on a personal level and research and delve into it as much as possible to come up with answers that get closer to some sort of truth. Something that reverberates within me and possibly with the viewer as well. Fact of the matter is that any form of art is (in many aspects) only a personal dialogue of the artist.
When I’m working on a given project – be it a new series of photographs, a design piece, a photo-montage, whatnot, I’m not thinking about the outside world that much or if someone will understand what I’m trying to express – I’m more concerned in letting myself get in the zone of creation and in being truthful with my emotions and instincts and let that guide me along the way. It’s about questioning and looking and repositioning yourself everytime the perspective changes. That’s the motion of creating an art piece: this selfish pursuit to find something, tease someone, or heal a part of oneself that is looking to be resolved. If there are no issues, frustrations, questions, why create? With “State of Mind” I was dealing with topics of how to perceive inner emotions and the process of individuation. How should we view ourselves and others when they are in crisis or transition? Is it right to give time to other people? Are we in any position to demand time from others? Can we really ever understand how someone else thinks and feels or is it all just in our heads? How can I stay true to my own natural rhythm? These were all questions I was trying to get a response while working on this series and the resulting book.
2. Many of the subjects that you have photographed during your travels are lonely people. They are the silent people in your look. However, from this silence begins the recognition of a state of mind. In your approach to people there is a sense of respect for this silence. There is no urge to shout, upset, rape through the medium. How do you recognize yourself in the people you photograph?
I recognize myself immensely in my work and I believe that’s why it’s so natural for me to notice these people immediately and approach them in order to register what I see. You have to understand that to me the person who sits quietly in the corner observing seems always the most interesting and fascinating of the bunch, and that’s most likely because I am also an observer myself. So, yes, it’s only natural that I pay respect to the more quiet people and their “thinking moments” because they’re usually the most peculiar and interesting to talk with and photograph. Having said this, do you know the expression “beware of the quiet ones”? Being shy or introspective doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the most balanced person around…
A statement I wished to pass with the “State of Mind” series is that it’s perfectly all right to be a lonely person and to respect your sense of space and time. The way our lives are build nowadays society makes us feel like we don’t deserve to have free time, we feel guilty, and we tend to forget what was it we enjoyed doing when there’s nothing left to be done. You know, I realized this when I started pursuing what I wanted to do with my life and what made me truly satisfied. It’s interesting and scary but most people really don’t know how to stand still for about 30 minutes without starting to do something. I’m not talking about zen meditation here, I’m talking about regaining consciousness on who you are and how to feel good in your own skin. If you stop everything around you – and I mean shutting down everything – you’ll see what I mean. It tickles. I’m interested in what happens when things stop. That will most probably be the starting point for my next project.
3. Tell us about your photographic influences. Also books, people, art works, stories through which you have acquired significant tools to better interpret your reality.
I like researching a lot and I think all great work comes out of doing research and rethinking things through. I always liked digging and discovering new material in the realms of music, cinema or literature and the feeling of being excited by the new avenues this can open in ones mind. Language and visual arts are in general very projective tools – one can feel stimulated by discovering new forms of expression or just new angles to tackle identical issues. One thing I discovered by looking at so many images is that as an artist you have to come to terms with this idea that you’re not skilled doing a whole lot of different things. Actually, ones natural given abilities and sense of purpose is very narrow, yet if it is recognized and exercised regularly it is indeed unique and can be used in a meaningful way.
To find what you’re good at doing (or expressing) and just keep doing that and working to reach some sort of “perfection” (whatever that word means) is really the best sense of direction you can have. I’ve come to realise that most meaningful artists are not playing the seven instruments at once, they come to peace with their limitations and discover their personal voice (some say it’s a calling), and that’s what makes other people understand them and make them universally appealing – it’s their individual sense of uniqueness and the vast amount of pieces produced using that sense of language. When I’m reading, watching a movie, looking at a painting, I’m allowing myself to clear my emotions and make the illusive effort of walking in the same shoes as the creator. That’s a spring-board into what that piece might mean or at least… If it makes any sense in the context of my future realizations and efforts.
The way I see it, one can choose to discover the world looking outwards or inwards. Personally, I find it more challenging and fulfilling to have my mind expanding inwards and use art not as a mere commodity tool but as a necessity to deposit my wishes, fantasies, urges and frustrations. Fortunately I’m not alone in this kind of self-cathartic scenario so there’s an almost infinite number of interesting works out there to discover… or rediscover.
4. Tell us about an instant, an episode among those you have frozen through the camera. With your words help us to build a scene, imagine a different place.
Earlier today I was doing a phone interview and someone said the pictures on the book seemed to be taken from a ghost point-of-view because the people don’t seem to notice the presence of the photographer yet there is a lot of silent tension involved. I never thought about my work in that way, but I suppose it’s flattering because to me photography is really about creating a sense of awe and imagination. Images have this power of transporting the viewer into a realm beyond time.
Actually I don’t know if I agree with the idea of photography freezing time, I think it’s more about creating another sense of time or opening a door into an unknown territory that can stir and move you differently because there’s really no physical touch involved when you’re looking at a photo. The photo is just there as a separate entity; like a ghost in front of you. The kind of images I’m pursuing are very similar with music or theatre because they’re trying to build an atmosphere and create some sort of wordless storytelling. Many times I take photos of people I meet or happen to see and I just smile and continue as if that moment was a special thing that only me and that person understood. Do you know what I mean?
5. Many photos among those included in the book were made in Japan. What struck you most of the places you have seen? What do you find very distant from your personal culture.
Many photos in the book feature Asian-looking persons but they are not entirely shot in Japan. The reality is that I kept many of the latest photos I did while travelling through Asian countries such as Malaysia, south-Korea or Taiwan because they were simply better than the old ones and more in-tune with the overall concept of the book. The faces might look Japanese but they are really Asian in general. Answering the second part of your question, what stroke me most about Japan when I first visited back in 2011 (right after the big tsunami) was discovering a country so self-absorbed in it’s own cultural obsessions and millenary traditions.
The biggest difference I’ve noticed here compared with European countries is the way the individual is so deeply immersed in society and is viewed as such an indispensable part of the whole. There’s an innate sense of social responsibility that the common Japanese feels he has to fulfil as part of the collective work force. This is totally a work-driven society and people are raised to feel proud in being that way, which to some degree might seem totally outrageous to a western mind more driven by pleasure, or on the other hand an interesting motif to take photographs. In Europe I think we are more considerate of our personal needs in first place whilst in Japan first is your work and your role in society and only then there exists you as an individual (if there is any room left for that). The fundamental difference I see between Japan and Europe is this way in which the individual is omitted and pushed to a secondary stage in favour of the collective/surroundings best “atmosphere”.
Even in language, while speaking, the Japanese omit subjects such as “I” and “You”, becoming something implicit in the conversation to not obstruct the real topic of focus and that’s something I find very interesting. I could go on forever about Japan, this really is a one-of-a-kind place and I mean this with all respect.
6. The publication contains many pictures. Taken in different situations and different geographies. Leafing through it several times I realized that I had missed some images. A pleasant feeling that prompted me to re-open the book. Putting these pictures in a row must not have been an easy task. Please tell us about the genesis of the book, its structure and sequence.
You’re not the first person mentioning that the book gets better and discovering new stuff by revisiting it again. That leaves me satisfied because the intention while doing the editing was really to provoke different layers of interpretation so I’m sure the book gets different with time. Anyway, the photographs from this series derive from an archive of travels and different situations spanning from 2009 to 2013 so the making of this series and the edition of the book took different stages and changed a couple of times. At some point I only had photos where you couldn’t actually see the faces of the people, they were not facing the camera. The first photo selection was of about 150 pictures (out of roughly 300) so that left me with the difficult task of discarding many photos. Some people who saw different versions of the mock-up during production actually advised me to publish two books because there was enough material to do that.
The sequencing of the pictures for the book was done by using real prints and physically moving them several times on the wall or on the floor until I felt comfortable with a certain rhythm and “storytelling”. This was difficult to do because more than pictures I had an emotional tie and a personal chronology attached with these images. Looking back, it’s not that I take many pictures either; it was just too much time to prepare and release this monograph altogether. Prior to actually doing this book, one year before I did a small booklet, which was already a study for the book itself, it was a nice way to get comfortable with the concept and show it to some people to get feedback. Now that it’s finally done and the book is released I feel freer to engage in a subsequent project and continue researching some of the topics addressed on “State of Mind”; lets see where this will take me next.
© Nuno Moreira | urbanautica
Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York
13.02.2014 - 15.03.2014
Sears-Peyton Gallery is pleased to present “Doll Portraits”, an exhibition of photographs and drawings by New York artist Roz Leibowitz. In her two previous shows with the gallery, Leibowitz focused her creative energies on elaborately patterned narrative drawings. As Ken Johnson wrote in The New York Times, they looked “uncannily like the works of a self-taught Victorian mystic.”
Leibowitz came to the art world having worked for years as a children’s librarian and reading teacher, professions that fed her appetite for stories and fables, manuscripts and weathered paper, faded snapshots and family albums, and, of course, dolls. Everything about her work is obsessive: looping lines of ink become pathways from one story to another, figures move from penciled patterns to center stage before the camera. A doll has many lives, she explains, and many tales to tell. More tales than one story or one photo can contain. The goal is to listen closely and work feverishly. When her hand ached from drawing, Leibowitz learned photography built a darkroom. She claims that she lives there now — appropriate for an artist who is always at home in the shadows.
The best advice I ever got in my life came from a doll.
I am not a photographer, but I happened to find myself with a camera, some dolls, and a hand that hurt from too much drawing.
So I shot 1,547 rolls of film and ended up with a long line of small mistakes. Of the 1,527 rolls of film, 328 were of Myron, the most patient of all the dolls. One day, as we were setting up for yet another photo shoot, I confessed my troubles and asked his advice. Myron I said, I’m a bungler. I can’t load film, I can’t attach the lens to the body, I can’t press the shutter without shaking, I can’t figure out all the dials – Myron, I cried – I am blind in the darkroom, bump into the enlarger, and can’t seem to make it from bath to bath, from go to stop to stay without losing my prints on the floor. Worst of all, Myron, your face is always out of focus.
He said to me then: don’t shoot the face, shoot the story.
What story? I asked. You can tell I was, and still am, incompetent. Myron sighed and told me to bring the hat, the one I had found at the flea market. I did as he asked. He told me to put it on his head and tie it under his chin and wrap the long ribbons around his arms and waist so he could lean back into the darkness of the hat and rest his cheek against the rough wool and learn to see again in the fabulous shadow of his Dream Hat. I did as he asked. And I knew then that this was his hat, the one he had worn and lost and found again over and over for more years than there are pictures in this world.
So I shot his story.
But not the whole story, certainly not the beginning nor the end, just a snippet of the middle, just the part that I could really see. The truth is, I was too stupid to know the whole story but smart enough to know that I probably never will. Myron’s story is Myron’s story — but once in a while we meet, and sit and chat as storytellers often do.
And all the other dolls that were waiting? I shot their stories too. Little penny tales that I caught for an instant, just flashes, just the parts that I could really see.
Well you would think that after all this time, after 1,543,982 rolls of film (give or take a few) I would be something of an expert, a big-shot of a photographer, you should excuse the pun. But the truth is – I am still a bungler. What
was wrong before is still wrong so nothing is ever really right. I asked Myron about this recently and he said, look around you. Dolls and stories and pictures are flying like crazy, swooping through this world, up and above and around all the worlds that ever existed, all in an ecstatic flock of Wonder! And you, he said, you are worried about tiny mistakes?
I looked. I squinted. I peered into the darkness. Are you sure, Myron, because I am not so sure.
He sighed and answered, well I am sure. And he looked me in the eye and said, you may be dumb – and then he smiled – but you’re learning. [The Doll’s Story (Or
How These Images Came to Be) by Roz Leibowitz]
© Sears-Peyton Gallery | Roz Leibowitz
BY STEVE BISSON
The biological insufficiency of the human condition is the basis, according to some philosophers, of the great reversal which coincides with the subordination of nature to man. From it we can understand the motivations of the modern era with its primacy of science and technology as a theological drift. The technique has become the horizon of human self-understanding. This cognition may help us to interpret the nihilistic drift of our society, the discomfort of civilization within us, the signs of a dominant culture that is less and less connected to the spirit. There is no encouragement to understand whether it is the twilight or not. Hence the imperative search for a meaning and a sense that is a necessary means for living.
In observing the images collected in the monograph by Marco Maria Zanin, whose title ‘Inhabit the soul’ (in italian ‘Abitare l’anima) directs us in the right direction, I can not ignore what has so far been premised. Photography, when it puts us in relationship with the environment, to the point of de-contextualising its representation in order to decrypt it, then it becomes a philosophical practice through which to retrieve the “right measure” that is lost in the age of technique which has no purpose but only infinite progress.
From here I start reading the journey of Marco Maria Zanin, which begins not surprisingly from the lost myth of the fertility of the earth. The “rural cathedrals” are symbolic manifestations of the abandonment of the qualities inherent in our relation with the land, including humility, that the author reminds us of its derivation from the Latin ‘humus’, or the earth itself. In addition, this survey is carried out in an area where the split with rural memory was violent, brutal and indifferent. Consequently this left visible signs of a hasty and therefore oversized growth. The aesthetic appearance of the fog clears the field from disturbing elements and all of our attention focuses on this state of presence that is a past, a memory, and even a future not yet completely removed.
The book moves on to the Camino de Santiago where the author becomes aware of his own journey, and the slowness needed to make it authentic. It is as if the determination is not a sufficient means to reach a goal. There now is a need for effort to deepen and allow time for the fruit to ripen. And so it applies to the photography of Marco Maria Zanin, who for the last leg of this journey, in São Paulo, Brazil, turns it analog and heavy with the addition of a large format camera.
The metropolis of São Paulo is embraced by far, from the top, almost to win its subjection. It lashes out in its fullness, solidity and saturation to our eyes. It appears devoid of nature and the pale sky, like the mists of the plain, prevents a distraction and escape. Again Marco Maria Zanin is skilled in guiding the viewer, as if we almost want to reach out for an act of generosity that would facilitate the reading of his thoughts.
São Paulo, with its density that seems to have no end, embodies the utopia of the Enlightenment. The notion of individuality exported to the ‘new world’ has found fertile ground. However the author while distancing himself from it shows us an infinitesimal humanity consisting of a multitude of individuals so small that they disappear. The individual who looks at the city as a place for its realization becomes invisible?
What offers further meanings in this book by Marco Maria Zanin are his words. They can not be synthesized without the expense of their existence. They must be read to be heard. The rediscovery of the language is perhaps our salvation.
© Marco Maria Zanin
Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona
28.02.2014 - 25.05.2014
The nine great women photographers from Mexico represented in this exhibition combine very personal and often visionary responses to the social realities around them in images that are often harsh, mysterious and beautiful. These three generations of Mexican women photographers are uniquely connected over a span of three generations and an entire century. Mentors, friends, colleagues- all of them artists of great individuality and passion include Lola Álvarez Bravo, Kati Horna, Mariana Yampolsky, Graciela Iturbide, Flor Garduño, Yolanda Andrade, Alicia Ahumada, Ángeles Torrejón, and Maya Goded. Each with a camera and “exquisite eye,” these photographers share a finely tuned way of seeing the truths, visions, and enigmas of their beloved Mexico. Their connections are revealed by a discreet homage, a borrowed element, or by overlapping spiritual territory.
© Nuestra Senora de las Inguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas), 1980. Image by Graciela Iturbide
From Lola Álvarez Bravo, one of the most prominent of the first generation of women photographers in Mexico, to Graciela Iturbide, with an international reputation as one of Mexico’s premier contemporary photographers; this exhibition presents the work of a unique sisterhood of artists. Their subjects range from the 1994 Zapatista uprising in Chiapas to the gritty street life of Mexico City. Compressed urban scenes and the desolation of a landscape that often reflects the condition of the people are matched by eloquent documents of the vernacular architecture of the Mexican countryside, religious shrines, and the abiding subjects of pastoral and village life.
These photographers were the trailblazers of women’s photographic art in Mexico, and were all independent, self-supporting artists; following the example and the spirit of Lola Álvarez Bravo (1905-1993), herself a pioneering figure in the first generation of women photographers in Mexico. Lola Álvarez Bravo and her husband, Manuel, were intimately involved in the Mexican cultural renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s; she was part of a circle of friends and colleagues that included Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco.
© Diego Rivera by Lola Álvarez Bravo
This vibrant and influential circle built the dynamic traditions of photographic image-making that permeated Mexican cinema and art of the time, and which was very influential in modern Mexican society and culture. In the 1960’s, Mariana and Manuel Álvarez Bravo—first husband of Lola— were mentors to Graciela Iturbide. Kati Horna, in her turn, was mentor to Flor Garduño in the late 1970’s and 80’s, as were Yampolsky and don Manuel. The great technician and printer Alicia Ahumada, assisted both Yampolsky and Iturbide.
The second generation of photographers, Graciela Iturbide, Yolanda Andrade, Flor Garduño and Alicia Ahumada, continued the search for the universality of Mexican-imbued iconography and images. Graciela Iturbide, for example, one of the most published women photographers in the world today, both inspires and unsettles the viewer with her deeply poetic, allusive, and at times surrealistic imagery like “Ojos para volar / Eyes to Fly with” (1991) and “El Senor de los pajaros / The Lord of the Birds” (1985).
© “Reyes de cana (Kings of Cane)”, 1981, Image by Flor Garduño
First Generation: Lola Álvarez Bravo, Kati Horna, and Mariana Yampolsky
The women featured in El ojo fino share many influences, but one stands above the rest: Italian photographer Tina Modotti, whose life and work had a catalytic and lasting impact on Mexican women photographers, especially Lola Álvarez Bravo and Mariana Yampolsky. During her years in Mexico, Modotti worked as an independent freelance photographer-one of the first women to do so. Modotti’s life and career opened the door for these women.
Lola Álvarez Bravo is the most prominent of the first generation of Mexican women photographers and the first to follow Modotti’s lead as a freelancer. Bravo and Modotti were good friends; Bravo inherited Modotti’s Graflex camera following her expulsion from Mexico. Bravo is credited with being an honest observer, empathetically training her lens on people from all walks of life. During the latter half of the twentieth century, Bravo was in great demand as a portrait photographer, and her images of the elite and cultural avant-garde comprise some of her strongest work. Establishing herself as a professional did not come easy. Early in her career Bravo stated, “I was the only woman that ran around the streets with a camera, at sports events and the Independence parades, and all the reporters made fun of me. That’s how I got tough.”
Kati Horna began her professional career in Paris in the 1930s, and continued as a photojournalist during the Spanish Civil War, emigrating to Mexico in 1939. She met Lola Álvarez Bravo soon after her arrival and, like her, became a freelance photographer, an influential teacher of photography, and a strong role model through her dedication to an active career. Horna’s commercial work was wide-ranging and she was an early creator of the photographic series in Mexico City.
© Kati Horna in collaboration with Wolfgang Burger, Serie Hitlerei, 1937. Gelatin silver print, 16.8 x 12 cm. Archivo Privado de Fotografía y Gráfica Kati y José Horna.
Mariana Yampolsky was another immigrant, arriving in Mexico City from the United States in the late 1940s. Inspired by her knowledge of Tina Modotti’s life and career, Yampolsky was drawn to Mexico after graduating from the University of Chicago. She was captivated by Mexico’s vivid colors and the revolutionary ideals of the famous Taller de Gráfica Popular (Popular Graphic Arts Workshop). Beginning as an engraver at the Workshop, Yampolsky later studied photography with Lola Álvarez Bravo. The two remained close friends until Bravo’s death in 1993. As Modotti had mentored them, this generation-Bravo, Horna, and Yampolsky-became mentors and teachers to later generations of women photographers.
Second Generation: Graciela Iturbide, Flor Garduño, and Yolanda Andrade
Lola Álvarez Bravo, Kati Horna, and Mariana Yampolsky-three intrepid and talented artists-set the stage for Graciela Iturbide, Flor Garduño, and Yolanda Andrade. During the 1960s, Iturbide was influenced by Yampolsky. In turn, Flor Garduño worked with Horna and Yampolsky during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Both Iturbide and Garduño often joined Yampolsky in capturing images of the landscape or rural towns outside of Mexico City. Graciela Iturbide’s photographs of indigenous cultures in remote regions of Mexico blur the boundaries between photojournalism, poetic sensibility, and magic. Iturbide’s images have been called “anchored fictions and elusive documents.” Many of her subjects, while modern, also practice a fusion of pre-Columbian and Christian religious customs and rituals. She is respected for her ability to use photography in revealing the “humbleness and grace of human gesture.”
© “Mujer angel (Angel woman)” 1979, Image by Graciela Iturbide
Studying at the San Carlos School of Fine Arts in Mexico City, Flor Garduño met her most influential teacher and mentor, Kati Horna. Horna taught Garduño first to cultivate good ideas, and then find a way to express them. Other significant influences were Yampolsky and Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Garduño worked as his assistant and later was hired by Yampolsky at the Ministry of Education to go on photographic assignments to remote Mexican villages. Garduño often photographed with Yampolsky and Iturbide in the pueblos and countryside of Mexico. Garduño’s images of landscapes and indigenous people closely follow in the tradition of her mentors through her strong composition and sensitive portraits.
Returning to Mexico City after study in the United States during the 1970s, Yolanda Andrade became part of the contemporary Mexican photography movement. Andrade is a documentarian-she walks the streets of Mexico City photographing people engaged in public events, ceremonies, festivals, or activities of everyday life. In the process she has created an intimate portrait of the great city itself. Andrade’s background in theatre is also evident in her gaze, whether conveyed by the subject of the image or by the drama of the moment.
Third Generation: Alicia Ahumada, Ángeles Torrejón, and Maya Goded
Much like the women before them, Alicia Ahumada, Ángeles Torrejón, and Maya Goded find new territory for future generations of women to explore. Goded and Torrejón have focused on the people-particularly the women-of Mexico in very distinct settings. Ahumada captures people, but turns her eye to the landscape and architecture as well.
© ‘El bosque erotizado’: photography by Alicia Ahumada and text by Alberto Ruy Sánchez
Alicia Ahumada is recognized as one of the best photographic printers in Mexico, a position of high status. She has printed for many of the country’s leading photographers, including Yampolsky, Iturbide, and others. Ahumada often traveled with Yampolsky to photograph landscapes and rural areas. In her own work-greatly influenced by Yampolsky and Manuel Álvarez Bravo-Ahumada conveys a love of nature, a keen interest in people from the country, and a passion for vernacular architecture.
Maya Goded shares similar interests, creating deeply personal and socially relevant documentary series that feature women. Her subjects range from an isolated mulatto population in Mexico, to her recent series of photographs and interviews with prostitutes in the Merced neighborhood of Mexico City. Much of Goded’s work is influenced by her mentor, Iturbide, whom she accompanied on a trip to Eastern Europe to observe her working techniques.
© Maya Goded, Mexico
Ángeles Torrejón’s travels have taken her to Chiapas before and after the Zapatista Revolution in 1995. There, she photographed the daily life of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and area Indian sympathizers, particularly the women and children. In her many series of images, she is concerned with the human condition, exhibiting a sincere compassion for human solidarity. She is among a group of photographers revitalizing photojournalism in Mexico, combining aesthetic experimentation and social commitment.
The nine women in this exhibition each have the distinction of creating powerful friendships and serving as examples for younger generations. They have traveled together, conversed, and have been both teachers and students. They share a curiosity about what it means to be a woman in the modern and the primitive worlds. They are all strong artists and are able to stand alone in their work. Together, they are a formidable Mexican voice that will speak with universal resonance through the twenty-first century and beyond.
© Southeast Museum of Photography