Sunday, February 28, 2010
Recently, to find new photographers to look at, I have been googling "best photographers 2009" or "fine art photography contests". This gives me lots of choices every week. This week I came across Michael Levin. He won the 2009 International Photography Award in the professional fine art category. I know Libby doesn't want us to give a biography...but I found his profoundly interesting. He has only been taking photographs for 6 years. He has no formal training. He went to galleries and looked at photos that were considered good and bought the equipment those photographers used. He specifically looked at Michael Kenna. He didn't read reviews, trying to get the best newest stuff. He uses large format and prints the most beautiful black and white photos.
Now, about the photos. They are stunning to look at and beautifully simple. The content is mostly unimportant when compared to the form and shape the content takes. They are about positive and negative space. The photos seem almost flat, the whites are mostly blown out. The tones are soft and the edges are hard. They are geometric and formal. The content varies widely from water, trees, grass to architecture, bridges, piers, and tunnels. The shapes create a rhythm giving movement to what might seem cold or lifeless. I love his work! And I am not sure I could have found someone more opposite to what I posted last week!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Most of my work comes from past experiences that have happened in my own life. Everyone has a crazy family, but I would like to say that mine beats all others. My roller coaster of a life has inspired me in most of my works of art. The way that I feel is raw and real, however art allows you to think outside the box. The beauty in photography allows me to transform my emotions it to be whimsy and dreamlike, or take the emotion and translate it literally. I would have to say that my family and life experience is my most important seed.
Following close behind this seed is the water that goes on top to feed the plant. My water is my music. The lyrics that I listen to in the car, when I'm up, when I'm down, in the shower, in the kitchen, etc is what fuels my work as well. I usually listen to music that suite my mood at the time. In this state the lyrics allow me to create a picture in my head that I just have to get out. I have to say that music is the water and not the seed because my music inspired work always reflects my life and emotional state (seed).
So, now you know what fuels my work. Hope you can use it and understand more of where I am coming from.
Monday, February 22, 2010
This weekend I went on a road trip to Houston Tx. My friend lives about ten minutes from the local Children's Museum and Hermann park. On the way to take our dogs to the local park while walking the architectural design of that area in itself screamed art. Loft apartments ordained with such minimalist design and color palette that any artist would be baffled to walk in a area in Houston that less then ten years ago was considered the third ward (or the ghetto). As we continue to walk and I see that they have not only one but three museums along the same street. Aside to this once in Hermann Park I noticed the typical park activities. Picnics, feeding the ducks, people playing with their dogs etc. Then I noticed couples laying in these large free standing sculptures by French artist Bernar Venet. The couples were taking photos and posing, touching the sculptures. Not at all approaching them with the awe stricken attitude that I as an artist had. Then I took note. This is the beauty of public art. The public will see it and not everyone in public has an artistic view. To the common person they were statues in which they could use as scenes for a photo or a playground. I even watched someone laying in the crevice of the sculpture reading a book. Though all forms still allow this artwork to function as art the meaning in which is conveyed is different. For me this work of art in a park was random and unexpected yet much welcomed by my eye. The appreciation to walk my dog and stop to embrace a public work of art in such a stoic line like way intrigued me. My eye went from each panel of steel following the curvilinear motions that complete the piece. For me the interaction of the people viewing this work mixed with my appreciation for the work of art as art made this sculpture a successful pleasing piece to view.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
The above photos were taken by Grace Weston. She creates little worlds for her photos. They depict scenes of things that illustrate personal anxieties using what seem to be toys and small figurines. At first glance, they seem sort of funny. Sort of childish. Upon further inspection, they have more serious content. I particularly like the one with the clown holding strings....being the puppeteer for the people. The clown is menacing looking while controlling the people, and a doll/angel flutters behind. The title is Heaven Help Us. She puts into imagery some of the things we all think and worry about. I find these images successful because they in some ways bring me back to childhood memories, but leave me feeling a little anxious. They are funny and thought provoking. Looking at her photos also inspires me to try this method of making art...being the farmer instead of the hunter. I am thinking that will be the direction I take for the book project. Time to brainstorm!
Friday, February 19, 2010
1. Storybook photo series
2. Gut punching photos
3. Using words in photos or artist statement
For me I like to show people how I am feeling. Whether it is what is important to me or what I am experiencing at the time I want to viewer to see it to. I published a past post last semester about Jerome Lieblings. He captures everyday people in their natural habitats yet in an unconventional way. You feel a sense of 'being', life happening. I guess my struggle has been making people care about what I am shooting. I’ve been attempting this by trying to draw the viewer into my photos through odd compositions or through the audience being able to relate to the images that I photograph. Right now I am working on a series of photos that express who I am and my inner/outer being. I think that in order for me to be able to fully become immersed in my work, I must first discover who I am and work through all the pieces in my life that I have chosen to forget or shun. Without this, I don’t think that it is possible for me to care about anything worth telling a story about. I must first understand the small struggles within myself before I can understand such complex injustices such as world hunger, sex trafficking, or poverty. For it is these that I am most passionate about yet cannot fully grasp. So I start with the small things like my feelings and physical state of being, and eventually I think all the big things inside of me will just come pouring out when they are ready.
So I guess you can say that my seed is storytelling and making people feel something that makes them think.
This is a photo that I took. It is called The King. At the time of taking the photo I was really tired or authorities telling me what to do when they really didn’t know what was going on at the time. So I took a picture of a cat- a family member of the king of the animal kingdom. The domestic cat is supposed to represent the little guy taking a stand for himself.
Monday, February 15, 2010
In terms of inspiration and “seeds,” I have had many influences so far. But one that has particularly stuck is that aspect of worship and religion in an historical context. Growing up, given that my father is the only Jehovah’s Witness in the family, I have always been interested in the religious experiences and practices of others because mine was so awkward and different from everyone else. Everyone knows what oddballs those Jehovah’s can be, especially when they knock on your door at 6am and expect a conversation about God and afterlife. Well, sadly those annoying people include my father. He’s actually a really cool dude who listens to classic rock and drinks Miller High Life every day of his life, but just so much as mention heaven, hell, or any other religious aspect, and he will politely begin to “inform” you about his ideal lifestyle complete with facts on life from his version of the Bible. I always avoid these conversations when I visit, but let’s get back to how this effects my inspiration as an artist, shall we?
So, the history or religion is an interesting story because it is involved in every aspect of history. But it has always created so much confusion in my world especially as a child. I could never understand how one religion could be the “truth” while the others were made up to trick people into false ideologies. And I never got answers, only more questions. I am fascinated with the fact that religion has been a driving force behind the continuation of nations as well as the destruction of them historically. Also, I am continually interested in the general and psychological aspects of ritual and worship.
As of recently, I am taking biblical references involving the depiction of women characters in the bible or in mythical stories because I want to investigate how the depiction of females is different from that of males and how females were depicted in biblical history in general. For instance Lot’s wife who turns to stone because all she did was look back at the destruction, or the Virgin Mary with her immense purity and how no mortal female will ever be like her, and how her sexuality was taken from her because she was never “defiled” since she was impregnated by the holy spirit. This feminine aspect didn’t come out of nowhere; as a female I have always been interested in our view of any story in history because it’s so much different for males than for females. For instance, how females experience war as opposed to males (women get the worst of the worst in the bad situations, sometimes worse than men, I’m just sayin’). As far as making images goes, I will set up a shot or capture one from my surroundings to portray these aspects; it goes both ways for me.
But I draw from this because I have noticed it for so long and I have contemplated it. I am still trying to figure out different ways to tie all of this together and I am making progress just like everyone else. No religious person really knows if there is a supreme being but they like to believe that there is whether it be because of tradition, morals, out of respect, or just because they have done so much wrong in this life that they want to be reassured that their next life will be good. Psychologically, religion is one crazy subject that we could get plenty drunk on one night, but lets save that for another time. God bless baby jesus yall! --jenelle
I am what Libby calls a Hunter. I love to carry my camera around everywhere. I photograph everything/anything. I love patterns, shadows, old; rustic, vintage things. Now, what I am looking forward to learning is how to set up my photographs.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
To put it in Libby's terms, I am a "Hunter" when it comes to photography. I have set up shots before and enjoyed it, but I like nothing better than to be out and about with my camera and stumble upon something that I can turn into a new project. My projects usually revolve around finding something that I consider odd or misplaced, and trying to find other objects like it. Examples of this would be my abandoned shopping cart series, and my garage sale series.
What inspires me to photograph these things is my desire to document them. To me these things feel like they won't always be around. Right now, garage sales are a really common part of our culture, but will they always be? Some time in the future people might find it really odd that we used to take all the stuff we didn't want anymore out of our houses and sell it in our front yards to our neighbors. I also like to think of the people out there that think just like I do; and wonder what the story is behind the warped shopping cart in the ditch behind and elementary school and how it got there. I take my photographs for us.
A photographer I really love right now is Bill Keaggy. I have two of his books. "Milk, Eggs, Vodka" is a collection of abandoned grocery lists. "50 Sad Chairs" is a collection of chairs that have been abandoned. One of these "#13 Judy on a Binge" is at the top of this post. His website is AWESOME and you should all go look at it. His career is my dream, making books based on photography projects.
Find his stuff here.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Located in San Antonio, Texas, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s (GCAC) newest exhibition is La Mezcla/ The Mixture, scheduled January 28- March 5, 2010, presenting works from artists Sarah Fisch, Karen Mahaffy, Cruz Ortiz, and Chuck Ramirez. The GCAC has a mission to showcase art specifically from the people of Chicano, Latino, and Native American heritage. This establishment, which was founded in 1980, helps to encourage this diverse group of artists and assists in the celebration of San Antonio’s unique identity. Ethel Shipton, curator for La Mezcla/ The Mixture, has brought together this group of artists whose work consists of installations, videos with and without sound, and photography in efforts to express their outlook and their perception of being a current San Antonian.
In one of the rooms there are 350 colored photographs taken from an iPhone by Chuck Ramirez exposing his life. The first wall has roughly 50 photographs laid out in a precise arrangement with considerations to visual balance and the connection by association. The remaining photos are located on the perpendicular wall directly behind it, laid out in a similar manner. Every image has a wide, white border and is adhered to the wall with simplistic, clear thumbtacks. This collection allows the viewer to peer into Ramirez’s intimate affairs. I saw this composition or theme as one of the stronger pieces in the exhibit, the possible message Ramirez is trying to express is that maybe this generation has become very interested in overexposing themselves. These photos have a similar subject and composition to what would be viewed on social networking sites. Ramirez’s piece is art reflecting life with an unclear line of where art begins.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
I decided to do some more research for our window project by looking at more work by Francesca Woodman.
What really intrigued me about this photo (House #3) was how open the window is. This, paired with the blurriness of the figure makes it seem as though the figure has blown in through the open window.
I really love the contrast of the upper half of the photo with the lower off. Blurry vs. Sharp. The broken pieces on the floor have such interesting shapes, and mimic the blotchy pattern on the walls.
There is also the concept behind the photo. There is such stillness in the whole image, apart from the figure. It makes you wonder exactly what happened. Did the figure cause this mess? Was it caused by something that happened to the figure? She lies in a vulnerable position, which suggests the latter. All the details behind the concept make me more aware of what I need to think about when creating my own window image. The window has to be the center of the idea.
At the San Antonio Museum of Art David Halliday currently has an exhibition showing called "Culinary Delights". Halliday explores the alternative process of sepia toned silver gelatine prints that produce scrumptious photographs. These are no ordinary culinary photographs that one would see in a recipe book. His technique and composition are so unique that some images are hard to identify as food. Specifically his Cauliflower image which illuminated with a very soft light yet contrasted enough to enhance a shadow of the composition. The photo of the photograph does this original image no justice. The rich variations of the sepia are strongly evident. Halliday was able to accomplish a deep tone of sepia which reads across as very aged with contrast of antique like tones. These tones vary from a brown like hue to variations of purple and pink. This show is a must see!