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It was a cold and blustery winter morning when I arrived at the warm and cosy gallery rooms of the Hesse Nassau Art Club in Wiesbaden to take pictures of the exhibition "Bourquoi". This was to be my...

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Though she went to Paris in 1921 to study sculpture, Berenice Abbott would transition to photography when she became Man Ray’s assistant in 1923. Three years later, she set up her own studio, photographing the French capital’s bohemians, artists and intellectuals—and famous friends such as writers James Joyce and Jean Cocteau—before moving back to the States in 1929.

For the next two decades, Abbott focused her lens on Depression-Era New York, producing a number of moving, black-and-white images that would become part of her book Changing New York. This series, along with nearly 120 other images, is being featured in a new exhibition at Toronto’s Ryerson Image Center called Berenice Abbott: Photographs.

“She was an underestimated photographer during her life and even today,” says Gaelle Morel, the exhibition’s curator and author of the accompanying book, Berenice Abbott. “But Berenice has this capacity of mixing different aesthetics, depending on the subject, which was really extraordinary. She can do a more modern, New Vision style when it came to photographing New York buildings, or take a more documentary approach for her portraits.”

Keystone-France / Getty Images

Berenice Abbot standing for a portrait, behind a view-camera, circa early 1900s

Abbott gained acclaim for her own comprehensive career, which would later involve photographic work on physics, commissioned by Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But she also became famous for her staunch support of French photographer Eugène Atget, whom she met in 1925 while living in Paris. Atget died two years later, and it was Abbott who would photo-edit a book of his work and help stage an exhibition of his work in New York. She sold her Atget collection to the Museum of Modern Art in 1968.

“Berenice always said she had two careers—one of her own, and one championing Atget,” Morel says. “She wanted to be recognized as the Atget of New York, not necessarily his aesthetic, but his intellect.”

Berenice Abbott: Photographs, co-organized by The Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto and the Jeu de Paume in Paris, is on view through Aug. 19 at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario. The accompanying book is published by Editions Hazan and Yale University Press.

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When photographer Matthew Brandt started studying for his MFA, he began with the earliest forms of photography, immersing himself in the history of the process. Studying at UCLA also allowed him to return to his hometown and catch up with friends and family members; it was only a matter of time before the photography and friendship collided in a series of portraits.

And then the collision furthered: one day, a friend who Brandt was photographing started to cry. Brandt asked for her tears. “I know it seems a little mean but at the time it seemed to make sense,” he says. He had been studying salted paper prints, a very early form of 19th-century photography that requires just salt solution and silver nitrate to add light sensitivity to a piece of paper. The sight of that naturally occurring salt water triggered an idea. He used the tears to create a portrait of his crying friend. “It was like this ‘eureka’ process in the dark room,” Brandt says. “I was like, ‘oh my God, this actually worked.’”

Brandt, whose work will be featured starting May 24 in an exhibition at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City, finished his degree in 2008 but has continued to make photographs using the physical matter of the subject in the development process. The upcoming exhibition Lakes, Trees and Honeybees will include work from three series. For Lakes and Reservoirs, Brandt soaked photographs of lakes in water collected from the subjects, creating unpredictable colorscapes. In Trees, photographs of the title vegetation are printed on paper and with ink made from branches fallen from those very trees. The Honeybees photos are pictures of bees printed with a gum-bichromate process that required using a solution of the bees themselves in the developing process.

These photographs, of their subjects in both senses of the word, also share a certain degree of pathos and a somber tone, says Brandt. Each of the three series is imbued with its own particular sense of loss, a feeling that something is changing, maybe for the worse. The moment captured is one of crisis.

Lakes, for example, while also addressing the more obvious meanings of wetness, highlights the obsolescence of wet photography; color negative paper was becoming hard to get. The Trees series was made right around the time that Brandt graduated from UCLA and George W. Bush left office. The trees photographed are in George Bush Park in Houston; Brandt says he didn’t want to make an overtly political statement but rather to capture a sense of ambivalence about what the future could hold, an uncertainty that he felt in himself and observed on a national level. And Honeybees was made when Colony Collapse Disorder was making news, prompting the photographer to think of the bees as a clue that something was going wrong in the world.

But not everything is changing. The old-fashioned photography processes Brandt uses—not to mention the work involved in making his own paper and ink—are extremely labor-intensive, but Brandt has no plans to take it easy. The photographer, who cites classic American landscape photography as an influence, still sometimes goes hiking with a large-format camera, frequently returning to Yosemite with Ansel Adams in mind. “The guys who would travel with their wagons through these crazy hills—if they put that much work into making a picture, I should do the same,” he says.

Matthew Brandt is a California-based photographer. Lakes, Trees and Honeybees will be on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City from May 24 – June 30. More of his work can be seen here.

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Youth culture, through revolt, unabashedly asks us to question and confront our historical and cultural traditions. In post-war Japan, the explosion of the taiyozoku or sun tribe—a term for the youth sub-culture that emerged in the 1950s—was seen by the older, conservative generations as crude and violent. Flooded with new imagery from the West, there was a break in the connection to the past and thus a rejection of traditional values. Affected by the nouvelle vague Western youth and media, the taiyozoku were pictured as promiscuous and nihilistic, throwing their cares to the wind.

Arriving in Tokyo in 1961, Daido Moriyama began photographing the seedy streets of Shinjuku, a ward ravaged during the war. Although the Shinjuku of today is best known as the economic and commercial center of Tokyo, it still retains a revolutionary spirit that started in its post-war bars and red-light district. Moriyama’s high-contrast, gritty depictions capture the energy native to the neighborhood, creating a visual history of Tokyo’s youth throughout one of its most combustible phases in history. It is this power that shapes Moriyama’s work, creating an unfolding visual testament to the cultural landscape of post-war Japan.

A new exhibition pays tribute to Moriyama’s four decade relationship with Shinjuku, which serves as a photographic act of memory and desire. In Fracture: Daido Moriyama, opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on April 7, these notions are explored through a selection of prints and books, as well as recent color work. Moriyama began his career in Tokyo assisting the photographer Eikoh Hosoe. Hosoe was a member of the influential artist collective VIVO, which served to capture the significant cultural and structural changes within Japanese society. In line with this method of working, Moriyama began to roam the streets of Shinjuku and, since the early 1960s, has been witness to the ever-changing and expanding post-WWII landscape—a fractured, strange world that oscillates between time and space, reality and fiction.

Fracture: Daido Moriyama is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from April 7 through July 31.

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Grey Villet, a photographer for LIFE magazine, took fly-on-the-wall images of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple behind a milestone Supreme Court case. His photos of the Lovings are now on display at the International Center of Photography in New York and play a key role a new HBO documentary, ‘The Loving Story.’ Recently, photojournalist Daniella Zalcman visited his widow Barbara Villet at her home in upstate New York while on assignment for The Wall Street Journal. Below, hear Barbara discuss his work and see more of his photos.

To read reporter Lana Bortolot’s story about Grey Villet and his work, click here.

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The CityMedia system is an open platform for the exploration of public screens and new forms of collective interaction. It uses multi-touch sensors, 3*d body tracking, webcams and internet connectivity to connect people, data, media and objects. CityMedia systems can connect to other CityMedia systems, with the first two exhibited simultaneously in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille during the month of April 2011. Tthe CityMedia Project can currently be experienced at the Bâtiment d’art contemporain as part of the Mapping Festival in Geneva, Switzerland until the end of May 2011.

Over the past year, we have been building and experimenting various applications at the Atelier Hypermédia in Aix-en-Provence and at the Master Media Design —HEAD Genève. We were also joined in the prototyping phase by students and teachers from the Studio Lentigo, ESBA Marseille, the École spéciale d’architecture Paris, and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratives, Paris. Over forty students have built about twice as many prototypes in 10 different sessions dedicated to designing, prototyping and developing uses for and with the system.

There are currently about 25 applications presented in the system, with eventually more to come at the end of a workshop dedicated to Kinect hacking this Thursday, May 26, 2011, also at the BAC. This workshop sold out very quickly, and unfortunately we do not have any more room for extra participants. So please people, stop begging, it’s heartbreaking. You are welcome to come at the end of the workshop though, and watch as will attempt to add any working applications developped during the workshop into the system.


While the project was developed principally at the Atelier Hypermédia in Aix-en-Provence, our students in the Media Design Master at the HEAD did a considerable amount of work in the design and development of the various applications and contributed as well to the design of some important platform components; as a consequence we wanted to show the result of this work in Geneva. Given that there was already this interresting festival dedicated to real-time visualization, and given the amount of body tracking and various other techniques of real-time image manipulation we use in our system, the venue seemed appropriate.

Finally, I will be giving a talk Wednesday afternoon at 16:30 at the auditorium of the BAC, along with Jean-Baptiste Labrune and VJ Fader, moderated by Nicolas Nova. For my part, I’ll be exploring some of the artistic and speculative predecessors to Microsoft’s latest Kinect device, and will finish with the artistic work, research, and collaborations that allowed us to quickly get up to speed with these new devices.

P.S. There are some good pictures of the exhibit over at Pasta&Vinegar: From Hal to Kinect: live visuals, music and body tracking technologies – Mapping Festival Geneva

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You’re probably familiar with the work of Jon Link and Mick Bunnage. Together as Modern Toss, they’ve mastered the art of drawing cynical cartoons that make people laugh and laugh and laugh. Some of their new work is currently showing at Ink_d Gallery in Brighton, so I used that as an excuse to call up Jon and ask him about the Modern Toss book that will never get published because it’s called Britain’s Biggest Cunts, as well as the £850 Swearing Jacket and his black dog, Peter.(...)
Read the rest of MODERN TOSS - THE WORST PEOPLE IN BRITAIN (1,198 words)

(...)
Read the rest of MODERN TOSS - THE WORST PEOPLE IN BRITAIN (1,198 words)

© Alex for Viceland.com, 2011. |
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