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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

 

Floyd and Lucille Burroughs; Walker Evans (American, 1903 – 1975); 1936

 

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Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.

Walker Evans

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I am a big fan of the photos of Walker Evans. Some of my early Exiles paintings were inspired by his Depression era work, many of which were captured in a landmark book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,. Written by James Agee, the book is a document of the two men’s journey through the American south during that trying time.

I came across this quote from Evans and it made me appreciate his work even more. The idea that the eye traffics in feelings and not in thoughts is a simple one but it cuts right to the truth as any artist knows it to be. Art, whatever medium in which it takes place in, comes far before thought. It is that reaction, that feeling that hits you before your brain even begins to fully process what you are seeing that is the engine of art.

It is the feeling that bring on real thought afterwards. Allan artist can hope for their work.

I like seeing it put that way. And Mr. Evans certainly trafficked in feelings as the artist and joyous sensualist he was.

Here are just a tiny bit of his works.

 

Digital Photo File Name:DP264548.TIF
Online Publications Edited By Michelle Ma for TOAH 11_23_15

 

 

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I never made a person look bad. They do that themselves.

-August Sander

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I came across a video this morning that I want to share. It is a PBS produced film called What This Photo Doesn’t Show and delves into the backstory and meaning of the photo shown here, Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, taken by the German photographer August Sander in 1914.

It’s an a provocative photo, one that provides plenty of material for one to create narratives in their imagination. So, to learn more about the young men and the story behind the photo adds an additional layer of interest.

August Sander (1876-1964) was considered the most important German photographer of the of the early 20th century. Sander was widely recognized for a collection of portfolios of his portraits taken over a couple of decades. Titled People of the 20th Century, it contained hundreds of his photos that documented a wide spectrum of the German people of that era, from the working classes to the more privileged classes to the homeless and forsaken.

He also produced a book in 1929, Face of Our Time, that contained a group of 60 of these portraits. Under the Nazi regime a few years later, this book was banned and the printing plates for it destroyed. He was allowed to continue working as a photographer but kept under the radar. His son, as a Socialist, was sentenced to ten years in a German prison, where he died in 1944, near the end of his sentence.

That same year, 1944, a bombing raid destroyed Sander’s studio, destroying many of his negatives. Two years later, an accidental fire destroyed the remaining archived negatives of his work. It was said there were around 40,000 negatives at that time. Sander basically stopped working as a photographer at that time until his death in 1964.

The August Sander Archive, even with the great loss of the fires, contains about 5000 photos and 11,000 negatives.

If you have about 9 minutes, take a look at this video. I think you’ll find it interesting and informative.

 

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Want to keep it short this morning as I want to get right to work on a piece that is on the easel. And that desire to go right to the brushes is a good thing, an indicator that a groove is coming.

So, for this Sunday morning here are a couple of noir-ish photos to accompany one of  my favorite songs, Stolen Car, from the 1980 album ,The River, from Bruce Springsteen. The mood of this song, especially within its organ and piano lines, always moves me.

Good painting music.

Have a good Sunday…

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Just a bit chilly this morning. Another -9 or -10° beginning to the day. The only consolation comes in knowing that it could be worse, like it is for some folks out in the Midwest. Everything seems to take longer in the cold so it has me running a little late. Thought it might be a good morning to run a post from a few years  back concerning the photography(painting?) of Teun Hocks. Take a look and if you’re in the colder regions, stay warm

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I came across these photos by Dutch artist Teun Hocks  (b. 1947) which reminded me very much of the work of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, which I have featured here twice before.  Actually, it was on this same day last year that I last featured them– perhaps I am looking for an alternate reality on this date as opposed to trying to relive in some way that morning twelve years ago [this post originally ran on September 11, 2013].  The ParkeHarrisons create elaborate but real backdrops against which they photograph their Everyman in allegorical scenes– there is no digital manipulation.  It is more like the worlds created in the earliest days of cinema when what was seen had to made real in some way, even the most fantastic scenes.

Teun Hooks Untitled- Man on IceTeun Hocks works in very much the same vein except that he creates a painted backdrop against which he photographs himself as the sometimes comical but deadpan Everyman.   Think Buster Keaton here.  He then creates oversize  gelatin silver prints on which he paints in oils, treating his original photo as an underpainting.  The result is a beautiful image with a painterly feel that is  imbued with both humor and pathos.  You can’t but help feel some sort of connection with Hooks’ character as he faces a sometimes puzzling reality.  Don’t we all?

I’m showing just a handful of the work of this prolific artist here as well as a YouTube video showing a larger group.  Hope you’ll enjoy this on this day.

Teun Hocks

Teun Hocks Baggage

Teun Hocks Untitled-Man Sleeping with Weight

Teun Hocks CrossroadsTeun Hocks Prairie

Teun Hocks Music

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We are into the month of October and it’s very dark and gray here this morning which has me thinking of Halloween. I thought that since I was in that mood I would run a post from back in 2010 about some macabre images from France in the 1860’s. Guitarist Brian May of the band Queen spent decades researching and assembling the most complete collection of these stereoscopic plates, which he published in a book a few years back. I’ve added a few images and a video featuring some of the plates as well.

I came across these photographic oddities and thought they would be fitting in this week that ends with Halloween.  The stereoscope was invented in Paris in 1850 and became a worldwide sensation over the next decade.  In 1861, a series of 72 of these stereoscopic photos were printed anonymously in Paris that consisted of macabre scenes of Satan and various aspects of Hell.  Called Les Diableries, these plates were a drastic turn away from the often mundane photos seen in early stereoscopes and were quite the sensation in 1860’s Paris.

The photos remained anonymous in that time because they were viewed as politically satiric of the French government of the time, the Second Empire under Napoleon III.  To openly chide the Emperor at that time could bring dire consequences but the images circulated freely, nonetheless.  I think they are a remarkable set of images from that time and I can imagine how they must have resonated in the minds of people who weren’t exposed to the mind-boggling array of imagery that we often experience in a single day in our time.

 

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The British photographer Alfred G. Buckham (1879-1956) was one of the pioneers of aerial photography. Already a photographer, his career as an aerial photographer began with the outbreak of WW I.

He became the first head of aerial reconnaissance for the Royal Navy and later translated that to a private career of daring and wondrous shots taken from small planes, often with him standing perilously on the plane with one leg tethered to it. He was involved in 9 plane crashes and it was only in the ninth that he was seriously injured, having afterward to breathe for the rest of his life through a tube in his throat after a tracheotomy.

This shot at the top of the page taken by Buckham from above Edinburgh, Scotland around 1920 is one of my favorite photos. I urge you to check out the website devoted to the career and work of Alfred Buckham. Interesting stuff.

I thought I’d accompany this photo with a track from the album Skala from musician Mathias Eick that is titled, of course, Edinburgh. Another track, Oslo, was featured here several weeks ago. Not all the tracks are titled after European cities, in case you were wondering.

I think this composition fits the photo very well, with a gliding beat that I can imagine aligns itself well with swooping over the Scottish landscape in a small plane in 1920. Give a closer look and a listen and have a good Sunday.

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“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”

― Werner HeisenbergAcross the Frontiers

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I stumbled across this photo the other day and I have come back several times to look at it. It’s the image of a mosquito’s foot at 800x magnification and there’s a strange organic beauty and weird delicacy to it that draws me in.

The complexity of the individual elements in its design is fascinating. The reddish grabby claws have a certain elegance but I can only think that if a mosquito were the size of a housecat they could latch on to you with those claws and you would never be able to merely swat them off.

Thankfully, I have yet to come across such a mosquito.

I can only think that if something so common as a mosquito can seem so alien, even if beautiful, imagine how strange the truly alien might be. As the physicist Heisenberg points out, are we even capable of imagining such strangeness?

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