Tuesday, September 25, 2012

David Finell reviews Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy is best known as that iconic, nearly emotionless, supremely logical, and very honorable Vulcan alien known as Spock.  He has graced us with his talents on screen, in front of, and behind the camera.  But he is far more than a science and science fiction actor, director, and aficionado.  He is also a very accomplished photographic artist.  He uses the tools he has mastered throughout his life to explore and display the humanity in all of us.  Many of his images may be challenging to view and could be considered visually offensive by contemporary societal norms of what beauty should look like.  Fine art photography is saturated with stereotypical images of half starved anorexic Russian models.  Leonard Nimoy explores and embraces the full gamut of the formal elements of art and design as they apply to people.  He treats the morbidly obese with as much care and respect as those with more slender forms and he uses the full gamut of skin tones in his imagery to explore the human body and sexuality in his Full Body Project.  

He also uses the lens to delve into people’s alter egos thru his project Secret Selves. All of us at one time or another wish we could take on another persona to help us deal with various situations that occur  on a day to day basis.  Here he explores how these might manifest themselves. 

Ira — Advertising firm CEO

My secret self is a wizard who takes illusions and makes people think
Secret Selves

Leonard Nimoy delves into the feminine essence of god in his Shekhina photographic essay and has also created more traditional, but equally artistic and unique images in some of his other series.

The humanity behind Leonard Nimoy’s imagery is absolutely resplendent as he applies his master’s touch to the camera and his subjects.  He is a consummate professional whose work warrants careful study and consideration.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Joseph Tidline Resource Link: New York Foundation for the Arts

I know, I know, NYFA is not exactly located in Texas; however, the Texas Foundation for the Arts website sucks. Unlike our state's variant the NYFA has tons of valuable resources such as job postings, which for graduating seniors is always nice offering.

Another area of interest the studio realty listings. Artists can find affordable (granted in a New York version what is affordable) studio spaces at foundries and warehouses that have been (slightly) renovated and re-purposed as studio space. One place I noticed was the Morgan Fine Arts Building. So, if you're interested in moving up north to NYC this is great to check out.

The NYFA also awards fellowships each year in a rotating group of specialties each year. Last year, a total of 94 Fellowships of $7,000 each were awarded in the following disciplines: Fiction; Film/Video; Folk/Traditional Arts; Interdisciplinary Work, and Painting. For the 2013 cycle they will be awarding a photography fellowship so if you are interested you can look up the guidelines here.

The NYFA offers a magazine, NYFA Current, which reports the latest news in the arts world. It is published  twice monthly and it can be found in electronic form on their website. It features artist interviews, news about artists and events, and information about upcoming grants, residencies, and competitions nationwide.

Finally, NYFA offers multiple articles on the business of the arts, which is important in order to move forward  in such a competitive industry. Topics include obtaining housing and studio space, insurance, legal issues, and more.They also have interviews with of different mediums and discuss these topics while also allowing the artist to offer advice to prospective students.

Robert Benson reviews Elinor Carucci

Elinor Carucci is a Israli born photographer who graduated from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design with a degree in photography. After her graduation, she moved to New York where her photography career has received several accolades. She has had work featured in several galleries including Edwynn Houk gallery, Fifty One Fine Art gallery and James Hyman and Gagosian Gallery.

She has works included in several prestigious art galleries including The Museum of Modern Art New York, the Brooklyn Museum of art and the Houston Museum of Art. In 2001, Carucci was awarded the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Young Photographers.

She has published two books including Closer and Diary of a Dancer. She is currently a professor in the graduate program at School of Visual Arts. In addition to her published books, she also has several commercial photo shoots with different entities.

What drew me to Carucci’s photographs is that all here pictures, be it from her closer series or from her commercial pictures of food they all look candid as if she was invisible and had perfect lighting everywhere she went. On top of good lighting her photographs show great depth and excelent use of color. Also all her personal work is exactly that personal from photographs of her and her family nude to her pregnancy. She has such a raw way of capturing the moment that what would seem taboo to some feels natural.

What I like most about her work is that you can see her passion for her photography and the mood she was trying to convey is evident throughout her portfolio. And as accredited as she is Carucci’s photos shows that if you are passionate about what you do everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chad Davis, A review of Rogor Ballen

   Roger Ballen is a photographer who lives in South Africa and shoots primarily black and white film photography.  He believes that shooting in this medium not only captures the subject and idea but is an abstract representation of the figure or premise due to the nature of the black and white film.  In his belief the use of black and white removes any notion of reality from the images he takes and presents them to the viewer in a way one would view an abstracted painting, seeing the idea of the artist but without the perfection of accurate realism.  He has been photographing for nearly forty years in this medium and to this day still uses his African surroundings to influence and inspire him.  A majority of his work, both installations and photographs, are derived from people, places, and things that are relevant or natural to South Africa.  For example, towns of South Africa, rural areas and a boarding house are examples of the work he has done. 
62_Culmination, 2007
            I decided to use his series “Boarding House” to compare images and ideas to deduce the review.  It appears to me as a viewer that his purpose for this series was to present the living conditions with which these children are subjected to along with a representation or exaggeration to how they were feeling emotionally.  The use of his medium, black and white film, lends itself perfectly to the mood and atmosphere with which he is portraying to the public.  It helps to create this melancholy feeling in the viewer by removing the color in the area and living nothing but the harsh shadows and highlights to further augment the suffering in the children.  A number of his compositions either involve children in an impromptu portrait, close-up images to show the detail of the conditions of life such as “Predators” or photographs of the rooms where the children sleep and eat. 

65_Predators, 200767_Fragments, 2005

      To view the series in its entirety:   http://www.rogerballen.com/image-gallery/boarding-house

Saturday, September 22, 2012

David Finell reviews resource link Creative Live

Creative Live, An outstanding resource for creative professionals and enthusiasts

Creative Live is an online creative training resource site.  They host online live seminars pertaining to photographic, video, and graphic arts and the business there of.  They use live video streaming with two live chat rooms to interact with world-class instructors and professionals in the business.  The subject of seminars can range from managing and the business side of wedding photography to techniques used in fine art photography.  They have seminars on the use of new tools like a new version of Photoshop or light room or the use and features of a new camera.  Their instructors have included Scott Bourne, Tamera Lackey, Don Giannatti, Rick Sammon, Bambi Cantrell, and others.

I learned about Creative Live from a podcast called Photo Focus by Scott Bourne.  The first live program I saw/attended was one on children portraiture by Tamera Lackey.  The instruction was outstanding, the questions from the Internet and the small contingent of students attending the seminar live was intelligent and the answers were insightful.  Due to the nature of the seminar when student activities were taking place the pace could be a bit slow, but the hosts tried to maintain interest throughout the seminar.  These programs compare very favorably to similar seminar and small group instruction that I have attended at a cost of thousands of dollars for a weekend.  Not all of the subject matter interests me, but All of can be very valuable to people with the specific needs or interests of the subject matter.

I highly recommend Creative Live as a resource for learning new tools and techniques with contemporary peers, and masters.  Check them out at www.creativelive.com

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Joseph Tidline Reviews Annie Sprinkle

So, I decided I'd write about the artist who most inspires my performance project that I've been working on. Annie M. Sprinkle is an American sex educator and former stripper, pornographic actress, cable television host, porn magazine editor, writer, and sex film producer. My hero.

Actually, Ms. Sprinkle earned her BFA in photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York in the mid-eighties as well as a degree in human sexuality at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco in 1992. 

One of her most famous performance pieces is her Public Cervix Announcement (shown in the photo above), in which she invites the audience to "celebrate the female body" by viewing her cervix with a speculum and flashlight. As her artist statement on her website proclaims, "You can never demystify a cervix. It’s a magnificent miracle — the doorway to life itself. One reason why I show my cervix is to assure the misinformed, who seem to be primarily of the male population, that neither the vagina nor the cervix contains any teeth. Maybe you’ll calm down and get a grip."

Sexuality is still a very murky subject in American culture, swept under a rug and spoken only with a whisper. This is especially true for female sexuality though a major irony remains: female sexuality is quite prevalent in our everyday economic processes. One can barter womanhood to sell clothes, booze, club cover fees, etc.; however, discussing the subject intellectually still remains taboo. Sprinkle acknowledges that to demystify sexual re-productivity is probably unfeasible, but what I like about the performance and image above is how it forces people into uncomfortable territory without losing any slapstick, which I think is required sometimes when relating serious issues to the public.

The next photo is a still from the performance, Dirty Sexecology. Dr Sprinkle and Elizabeth M. Stevens begin to explain the science of Sexecology, first by talking about it, then with a demonstration. It blends pornography references with kitsch mock science. It was lengthy performance piece lasting around 45 minutes. The duo and two other assistants in white coats, demonstrate love with a flower, play country music, perform a kind of nudist ballerina dance and make love with an earth mound. During these demonstrations, one of the assistants in a white coat recites names of mountains. This all relates to Sprinkle declaring herself ecosexual. She claims that the Earth should be cared for and respected  just like humans. Her methods in this performance piece may be a tad over the top for this particular topic but I think she mostly accomplished her in the piece.