Saul Leiter – retrospective

‘retrospective of the work of Saul Leiter (US, 1923 – 2013), a pioneer of colour photography. Leiter was already using colour film in 1946 at a time when only black and white photography was accepted as an artistic medium.’, FOMU Antwerp (2016)

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Fascinating how Saul Leiter photographed atmosphere. His images with raindrops on windows, mirror images, refracted light, a grey landscape and one colour accent like a red umbrella or green traffic light are amazing. His pictures tend toward abstraction, a derivative of his painting works. Saul Leiter’s use of colour is an aspect I’d like to incorporate in my own pictures.

‘I don’t have a philosophy, I have a camera’, said Paul Leiter. After seeing a documentary with an aged Saul Leiter I think he means he’s not aware of philosophy when he makes pictures during his strolls. He certainly has a life philosophy.

Bibliography
Fomu Antwerp (2016) At URL: http://www.fotomuseum.be/en/exhibitions/saul-leiter.html (Accessed on 19 December 2016)

Reflection 161218

Activities done

day 36. 12 December 2016

  • Post activities done
  • Post doubt(6)
  • Read Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett p187-200

day 37. 13 December 2016

  • Read Expressing your Vision part 2
  • Watch season 2 Netflix serie ‘Narcos’, 6 episodes

day 38. 14 December 2016

  • Watch remaining episodes season 2 Netflix serie ‘Narcos’

day 39. 15 December 2016

  • Read Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett p201-235

day 40. 16 December 2016

day 41. 17 December

  • Visit foto museum Antwerp
  • Exercise 2.1-7
  • Watch 5 episodes season 1 Netflix serie ‘Stranger Things’

day 42. 18 December

  • Watch remaining episodes season 1 Netflix serie ‘Stranger Things’
  • Read Langford’s basic photography p204-254
  • Read photography a critical introduction by Liz Wells p24-44
  • Prepare posts FOMU Antwerp visit
  • Watch German movie in theater – Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016)

Reflection

Narcos. The mix of acting and historical video footage make a believable series. All though the story is dramatized the upcoming of and hunt for Pablo Escobar is factual.

Stranger Things. A science fiction – horror serie. The plot follows the disappearance of a young boy, and the appearance of a telekinetic girl, who helps his friends in their search, while the boy’s older brother, his mother, and the town police chief start their own investigations. Not to spectacular series. The electronic music adds to the 80’s sphere the creators aim for.

Toni Erdmann is a 2016 German-Austrian comedy-drama film directed, written and co-produced by Maren Ade. Brilliant screenplay and acting.

Visit FOMU Antwerp. Selleslags Unpacks. ‘Herman Selleslags (BE, °1938) is one of Belgium’s most famous photographers. In 2015, he donated his archive, and that of his father Rik, to FOMU. The variety in material is very The exhibition shows the diversity of Rik and Herman Selleslags’ work: from assignments for HUMO, family albums and product photography for Grand Bazar to street photography, Jewish weddings, the 1943 winter and the 1953 floods. Less iconic and lesser-known images by Herman Selleslags were also unearthed from the archive boxes: pictures of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and of his friend the actor Julien Schoenaerts.’ FOMU Antwerp (2016). Great variety in subjects. Interesting movie on display how 45 years of work was archived and transported.

Bibliography
Fomu Antwerp (2016) At URL: http://www.fotomuseum.be/en/exhibitions/herman-selleslags.html  (Accessed on 19 December 2016)

Coralie Vogelaar – Recognized / Not Recognized

‘For her project Recognized / Not Recognized, A comparative analysis of popular and unpopular news images Coralie Vogelaar (NL, °1981) explores the mechanisms of press photography. Every day, newspaper editors are inundated with thousands of images of one event, often in real time. One image will be destined to become iconic while others will vanish into oblivion. Vogelaar amassed an archive of 850,000 news images (including amateur footage) from the databases of international news agencies, such as AFP and Reuters, of the 10 most covered events of the past five years. Using image recognition software, she researched which images were used the most and the least on the Google indexed web and attempted to find the underlying patterns.

161217-antwerp004-2Recognized / Not Recognized is a two-channel video installation that reproduces these popular and unpopular images in the form of a performance piece created in collaboration with the choreographer Marjolein Vogels (NL, °1984). Nine dancers move from one frozen position to another: on one screen, they mimic the news photograph that was successful and on the other, the simultaneously shot but failed image.

Intriguingly, the successful images often show people in poses that we subconsciously recognise from western art, such as Michelangelo’s Pietà or Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa. It would appear that from a vast ocean of photographic data, we have the tendency to favour images that confirm our visual frame of reference.

Recognized /  Not Recognized can be interpreted as an attempt to find the algorithm for a future camera – one that only captures the perfect shot, similar to the recent ones that include smile detection software. Vogelaar begins and ends the exhibition with a collection of “orphan” press images: photographs that are hard or impossible to find on the Internet as they are considered redundant data and therefore have been almost completely erased by the system.’, FOMU Antwerp (2016)

I visited the exhibition in the FOMU Antwerp on the 18th of December. I find it an intriguing concept. It shows how conditioned we are. We often don’t realize it. We see, we hear, we form opinions in a way that we’ve been taught since birth. We filter information in a preconditioned way. This exhibition related to news photography, but for other types it’s the same of course. Only think of the composition rules, or better guidelines, that work pleasingly on the eye and the conception of aesthetics. I think that’s the link between my own pictures and this project.

Bibliography
Fomu Antwerp (2016) At URL: http://www.braakland-fomu.be/vogelaar.php?space=3&lang=en (Accessed on 19 December 2016)

Gregory Halpern – ZZYZX

‘Gregory Halpern was born in Buffalo, New York. He holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from California College of the Arts.’, Halpern, G. (s.d.)

Pictures out of his book ZZYZX are on display in the exhibition INDIVISIBLE: New American Documents.

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‘The exhibition brings works together of three of the most important contemporary American documentary photographers who explore the contradictory and sometimes paradoxical nature of America today. I visited the exhibition in the FOMU Antwerp on the 18th of December.

In ZZYZX, Gregory Halpern lyrically investigates contemporary California, where the sun-kissed beauty of the American Dream collapses into the reality of poverty, instability, and inequality.’ Fomu Antwerp (2016)

Strong, stylish, symbolic photos of people, objects and places in and around Los Angeles. The photographer says he hasn’t really got a message. It’s not social photography. I can’t see a clear message either in the pictures, but the pictures do give the feeling a message is to be read. It are not just very nice pictures. Beautiful they are. Form equals content, I think this is what I like in my own photography.

Bibliography
Gregory Halpern.com (2016), Halpern, G. At URL: http://www.gregoryhalpern.com/info.html (accessed on 19 December 2016)
Fomu Antwerp (2016) At URL: http://www.braakland-fomu.be/INDIVISIBLE.php?space=2&lang=en (accessed on 19 December 2016)

Doubts (6)

While reading and thinking about photography questions come up. Questions I don’t have answers to yet. For now theorizing on photography equals doubt to me. The thoughts are random and incoherent.

Thinking about long time projects. There is so much I would like to do, but can I keep the project going for a longer period? What do i have the resources for? And time?

Fact or concept?

Each time i’m surprised to learn of picture manipulation by purists

Reflection 161211

Activities done

day 29. 5 December 2016

  • Post reflection 161204
  • Post doubts (5)
  • Read Langford’s basic photography p45-100

day 30. 6 December 2016

  • Read Langford’s basic photography p101-165

day 31. 7 December 2016

  • Prepare post ruff’s jpegs
  • Read Langford’s basic photography p166-203
  • Watch serie Narcose episode 1 season 1

day 32. 8 December 2016

  • Prepare EyV exercise part 2
  • Read photography a critical introduction by Liz Wells p1-p18
  • Planning photography Gambia

day 33. 9 December 2016

  • Watch episodes Narcos

day 34. 10 December 2016

  • Exercise 1.4 photos & post
  • Ruff’s jpegs post
  • Restore hard drive & lightroom catalog
  • Watch Isles & Rizzoli
  • Watch kwis with Dutch minister of defence
  • Watch remaining episodes season 1 of narcos

day 35. 11 December 2016

  • Read photography a critical introduction by Liz Wells p18-28
  • Read Criticizing photographs by Terry Barrett p166-187

Reflection
I didnt include photos with the Ruffs jpeg research exercise as i see the wole concept as a gimmick. Also I don’t consider his project as photography, but as image making.

Reading Langford’s basic photography by a.o. Michael Langford. I find the book too vague for a practical learning book and at the same time too concrete for conceptualizing.

Ruff’s jpegs

According to David Campany the photographic art of Thomas Ruff makes demands of us and offers pleasure, both aesthetic and intellectual. The viewer find themselves switching between thinking about the image they see before them and contemplating the state of ‘all photography’ in its totality.

All images that appear on the internet and/or printed in books and magazines today are digitized. It is surprising how few of them ever wish to address the fact that they exist as masses of electronic information that take visual form as pixels. Ruff does this by making large scale photographic prints, blowing them up beyond their photorealist resolution.

Pixels are grid-like, machinic and repetitive. They do not have the scattered chaos of grain. When we glimpse pixels we do not think (yet) of authenticity.

Many of Ruff’s photographs are images of unpredictability. Water, fire, smoke, steam, explosions, ruins are all phenomena that cannot be mapped in their detail. We see these subjects throughout Ruff’s grids of pixels. We switch from looking at figuration to abstraction and back again. The result is tension or drama. And it is tempting to see in it something of the character of modern life with its great forces of rationality and irrationality.

According to Joerg Colberg Ruff’s jpegs work well in book form, not as gigantic prints in a gallery. The amount of detail in the images is not large enough to justify the sizes shown.

The beauty of some of the images notwithstanding, the concept itself seems to rely too much on the technique itself. What else is there? Images on the web often have low resolution, and if you blow them up then they show funny patterns, and photography’s role has been changing through its use online – but all that is obvious!