Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Jesusa Vargas reviews David Corbin

David Corbin is a Fine-Art photographer in Rochester, NY. Currently, he is working on still-life, light, and landscape series that is influenced by literature. After reading that he was a self-taught artist that works with both wet and digital dark room, it sparked my interest in discovering what compositions he has created and various concepts were produced.

I came across David's series called Still Life on the LensCulture website. This series was shot using Delta film in black and white.

In the photo, Vertebrae, a soft vignette frames a seemingly human vertebrae and pelvis that is centered in this composition. The bright smooth surface of the bones contrast with the rough darker background texture that the vertebrae rests on.

Blackberries, is another image the photographer has composed that has similar high contrasting light, however, the subject matter is darker and the the background is much brighter. A metallic bowl filled with dark berries occupies about 80% of the composition. A soft Gaussian blur vignette is employed again and the bowl sits on a dark surface that splits the layout almost in half. The brighter back drop, in a much deeper depth of field, differs from that of the Vertebrae.

David's use of light to create dramatic contrasts and mystery successfully produces visually compelling photographs. His works are inspiring for any photographer interested in the play of light to create eye catching black white images.

Vertebrae. 4x5 ilford delta film. Blackberries. 4x5 ilford delta film © David Corbin

LensCulture. "Contemporary Photography." LensCulture. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2018.


            Jane Long describes herself more as a digital artist than a photographer since she has most experience in graphic design and has only recently worked with shooting her own images. Long encourages stock images since that is what began her work in photography and because projects come up that need them such as this project. This particular series Dancing with Costica involved the manipulation of Romania photos shot around WWII by photographer Costica Acsinte. Restoring these images includes the healing brush, dodging and burning, adding or decreasing contrast, controlling highlights and shadows, masking and of course adding color and new elements not in the original photos. Long’s imagery contains just enough reality and just enough fantasy to create an in between world where both of these exists and are normal. With Dancing with Costica, Long creates a story for each image and subject in the image that was not necessarily their before. These images are mysterious, whimsical and living. Further this project is a response to the respect Long has from Acsinte’s work as a photographer.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Burk Frey reviews Robert Frank

     I noticed that iconic Swiss-born American photographer Robert Frank escaped review all last semester.

U.S. 90, en Route to Del Rio, Texas (1955)
     His seminal work is a 1958 book entitled The Americans, in which Frank scrutinized everyday scenes of an adopted country to which he never fully belonged. His honest street scenes and portraits were captured with a detached bemusement, cynicism, or even mere examination, and represented a stark shift in the photography world. "The Americans challenged all the formal rules laid down by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans, whose work Frank admired but saw no reason to emulate. More provocatively, it flew in the face of the wholesome pictorialism and heartfelt photojournalism of American magazines like Life and Time. The Americans was shocking – and enduringly influential – because it simply showed things as they were," writes critic Sean O'Hagan. "It remains perhaps the most influential photography book of the 20th century."

     I had the chance to see Frank's body of work in person at the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was struck by a few things. As profound as some of Frank's moments were, others appeared, at least at first glance, to be equally mundane.

Bank - Houston, Texas (1955)
     Yet Frank also struck me as particularly that kind of artist, like Kahlo or Warhol or Pollock, for whom the work alone — interpreted in a vacuum — reveals an incomplete picture. Like those other 20th century innovators, the stories surrounding him and his personality seemed larger than life. Whether it was getting arrested for having a suspicious accent, or his irreverent photographic style upending the status quo, or his provocative filmmaking (including one with the Rolling Stones called Cocksucker Blues), or the mystique of having the forward in his book quotably and notably penned by Jack Kerouac, Frank's work is best analyzed in full context of his persona.

     Quote source: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/nov/07/robert-frank-americans-photography-influence-shadows

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Gabi Cruz reviews Nadia Lee Cohen

Nadia Lee Cohen's 100 Naked Women all started when her friend broke up her with boyfriend and she decided to take pictures of her to make her feel good. Once she saw how great she felt after the photo shoot that was the drive behind the project. The series then developed into what is happening with online female censorship, that women don't have to be restricted in how much skin they can show to the world. Cohen approach to taking her pictures is very cinematic, to the technicolor style, and her models with their facial expressive just all go together. Her work is influence by the 1950's and 60's that look very "house wife" or "stay at home mothers" but it's ironic because her models look very empowered and self-confident in the photos. These weird and surreal worlds that she creates are some of the reasons I'm so interested in her work. Some of are the different angles she sometimes takes the picture, it is not typical taken straight on. Everything is taken in consideration in the shoot to the bright colors that all match with each other even to the background. To the unique female models that are interacting with each other.

Bea Nettles is a form of art by Augustine Chavez

Most people may be hesitant to say this, but I want to say it to better understand photography as a method of art. I have often questioned if photography is a form of art. I welcome this idea because it sets me on a journey which I am not so comfortable with in search for conclusions. Bea Nettles has become a road which I would like to travel on. What attracts me to her work is the content. Family issues have always interested me. Upon viewing Nettles work, I appreciate her approach in expressing these issues by using different process in her work. She is not confined to a standard of capturing an image and printing it out. It is interesting how she connects her content with her process of expression in keeping it in an analog feel. Her art further brings conclusion to my initial question about photograph.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


            Susan Swihart ‘s About Face specifically follows the struggles and triumphs of being a twin but on a broader spectrum revolves around dependency. The entire body of work displays the war between independence and unity and identity amongst a pair. As a viewer the pair does not necessarily mean a twin but can refer to a sibling, significant other, friend, parents or even a thing. Entangled, Support and Shelter represent the moments of oneness where the two people blur into each other and create a morphed individual. Scientifically, these girls at one point were one zygote and eventually split into two embryos. These images also highlight the variations of dependency that include comfort and frustration. Always having someone present can be both warming and maddening. Furthering the sense of wrestling with identity, the girls are faceless, whether their backs are to the camera; an object in blocking their face or their head is out of the frame. Joy, Undone and Two represent the individuality that creeps out from them with slightly different gestures such as one sitting entangled and one standing. Clean, Cold, Grow and Listen show how sometimes naturally they are the same no matter how hard they battle against it. Their gestures are almost mirrored in the way their hands are raised in Clean, how their heads are down in Cold, how their legs slant in Grow, and how their hair lays against the ground in Listen. While we all cannot relate to being a twin, we could possibly all relate to having an attachment to someone or something that is both empowering and retraining.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Burk Frey reviews Deborah Turbeville

     Deborah Turbeville (USA, 1932-2013) was a fashion photographer who, along with Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, pioneered the transition of fashion's clean, well-lit character into a rougher, looser, more artistic, and avant garde style. Contrasting the urban eroticism of Bourdin and Newton, however, Turbeville achieved this with mysterious, dreamlike, and delicate scenes.

     While we can recognize her work by the grain, blurring, and understated tones, I think Turbeville's most significant artistic contribution is her rejection of the male gaze - often supplanting it with something more compelling, experimental, and emotionally raw.

     Turbeville was fixated on her own complex relationship with femininity, the art and fashion worlds (often apart, particularly prior to her influence), her insecure yet genuine rapport with the models, and her art's moody, broken quality. "The idea of disintegration is really the core of my work. I destroy the image after I’ve made it, obliterate it a little so you never have it completely there."