Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gowin and Eggleston -- Distinguished Southern Photographers in Paris

The Foundation Henri Cartier Bresson, in Paris, is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year with a series of shows, including two dedicated to the work of Southern photographers. 

The first of these was up from May 14th to July 27th, 2014, and featured a major career retrospective of the work of Distinguished Southern Photographer Emmet Gowin (see image above). 

For more on this show, HERE, or HERE, or HERE.
This show closed in late July, but it lives on in the Aperture monograph prepared in connection with this exhibition,  Emmet Gowin, available here.

The secpond of these shows features Distinguished Southern Photographer William Eggleston (see image above), and is up now through December 21st, 2014 at the Foundation Henri Cartier Bresson.

The show is entitled William Eggleston: From Black and White to Color. It documents Eggleston's career as a photographer, emphasizing the influence of Cartier-Bresson on his work, and tracing his transformation from a photographer in black and white to a color photographer. 

In the process, of course, Eggleston is credited with transforming the practice of fine art photography.

For more on this show, go HERE.  If you can't make it to Paris to see the show, you can buy the book HERE.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Robert Frank is 90

Robert Frank, the distinguished photographer whose work in The Americans redefined fine art photography in the middle of the 20th century, is now 90 years old. 

Frank's unflinching look at 1950's America produced many of the iconic photographs of that era, including a number made in the American South (see Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA, above, and Trolley, New Orleans, below) .

There are a thorough, and thoughtful, profiles of Frank in the Guardian newspaper, HERE, and HERE.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Photography Festivals -- Late Fall 2014

The Photography Festivals in Atlanta and North Carolina's Research Triangle are winding down, but the fall festival season continues.

Next up is FotoWeekDC, in our nation's capital, running November 8th to the 16th, with a rich array of activities, including shows, lectures, contests, and, especially, since its DC, parties and social events. 

For a full list, go HERE.

December brings PhotoNOLA, scheduled for December 4th to 7th, in New Orleans. 

PhotoNOLA seems to cram more major events into a single week than some festivals do in a much longer run. 

This year's PhotoNOLA will include a major address by Distinguished Southern Photographer Emmet Gowin, as well as a vast array of exhibitions, educational events, and the Portfolio Review, which has become a multi-day event with prizes and awards. 

For a full schedule, go HERE.

So many festivals, so much to see, so much to do, so little time! 

Sigh . . . . .

Carrie Mae Weems in London, and Elsewhere

Honorary Southern Photographer Carrie Mae Weems is having a show of her work in London at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, now up through November 15th, 2014. 

The show offers Weems' work from her Color: Real and Imagined portfolio  Images in the show are here.

There is a nice profile of Weems in the Guardian Newspaper, here.  

In other news, Weems recently closed a show of her work at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC with a 3-day gala on April 25–27, 2014, entitled Carrie Mae Weems LIVE: Past Tense/Future Perfect

The Guggenheim describes Weems' work, thus:

"Carrie Mae Weems is a socially motivated artist whose works invite contemplation of race, gender, and class. Increasingly, she has broadened her view to include global struggles for equality and justice. 

"The exhibition traces the evolution of Weems’s career over the last 30 years, from her early documentary and autobiographical photographic series to the more conceptual and philosophically complex works that have placed her at the forefront of contemporary art. 

"All of her work displays an overarching commitment to better understanding the present by closely examining history and identity. 

"It also contains a desire for universality: while African Americans are typically her primary subjects, Weems wants “people of color to stand for the human multitudes” and for her art to resonate with all audiences." 

"An overarching commitment to better understanding the present by closely examining history and identity" -- that's a pretty good description of what makes a Southern photographer Southern.  

It's been quite a year for Weems, not to mention the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dennis Church is having an Amazing 2014, and Its Only October

Bonita Springs, Florida-based photographer Dennis Church is having an exceptional 2014, and its only October. 

In late October, brilliantly-colored and meticulously composed images from his AMERICOLOR portfolio were featured on Jeff Rich's Eyes on the South blog for late October.

His book of these images, also called AMERICOLOR, has just been published through BLURB, and is available here.

Church has also had work featured in a number of overseas venues, including 

1. Wonderzine, a magazine based in Moscow, Russia

2. Image in Progress, an Italian photography magazine

3. ARTPHOTO Magazine, Prague, Czech Republic

In September of 2014, he had a solo show of his work at the Kaori Gallery in Canberra, Australia, up from September 4th - 27th, 2014. 

And, among other achievements, late last year, LensCulture listed Church's AMERICOLOR portfolio as one of their favorite 13 portfolios from all of 2013.

I had the good fortune to see Church's work at the recent ACP Portfolio Review. I found his images stunning, a riot of color, yet meticulously composed.

Church told me that many of his images were made from his car while sitting at stop lights, the composition of a moment. 

That's breathtaking. Everything is in the right place, lined up perfectly.  Church's ability to bring the light, color, and chaos of the Southern landscape into remarkable order is simply stunning.

All this work in all these diverse and far-flung places suggests that his work has wide appeal, bringing him well-deserved recognition as a fine art photographer.

And who knows what the rest of the year will bring.


Maude Clay Proclaimed Visual Artist of the Year in Mississippi

Congratulations to Maude Schuyler Clay, Sumner, Mississippi-based photographer, who has been named recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts for the State of Mississippi for 2014.

Clay's citation from the Mississippi Arts Commission reads,

"Maude Schuyler Clay was born in Greenwood, Mississippi.  A self-described lifer of Tallahatchie County (six generations), she attended the University of Mississippi and Memphis Academy of the Arts.  

"She began her career assisting her cousin, the celebrated photographer, William Eggleston.  

"While living in New Your City, Clay worked with the LIGHT Gallery and later as a photography editor and photographer for Esquire, Fortune, Vanity Fair and a number of other publications.  

"Over several decades, she has made her native Mississippi the prime focus of her work, and her vision of this land, particularly the storied Delta, is the image many conjure when they think of Mississippi.

"In 1993, she turned her focus to a series of black and white photographs, that for her captured the complexities of the Delta landscape.  For this work, she preferred to “take photographs in the natural low light of early morning or late afternoon.” 

"The resulting culmination of her black and white series, the book Delta Land, was published in 1999 and earned her a Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for photography in 2000.

"Her current collection is Delta Dogs, inspired by her love for dogs and their unique place in the landscape of the Delta."

Congratulations to Clay for this well-deserved recognition of her achievement as an artist and for her contribution to the cultural life of Mississippi.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eliot Dudik, Breaking Ground at the College of William and Mary, Fall 2014

Williamsburg, VA-based photographer Eliot Dudik has organized a show of work at the College of William and Mary, called Breaking Ground, which is packing them in. 

The folks at William and Mary are celebrating the event, go here, and here, for more information.  

Lenscratch has run a feature story, here. More local reaction, here.

Dudik has recently  joined the faculty of the College of William and Mary with the goal, and challenge, of setting up a program in photography for the College. 

Dudik chose to launch his project with a major exhibition of contemporary photography, including images, videos, and hand-made books by 110 contemporary photographers.

One goal behind the organization of this show was to gather a diverse body of work in this, the 175th anniversary of the invention of photography, according to Dudik, "to be as broad as possible, to show the vast breadth of contemporary photography."

This goal is a pedagogical one, to inform administrators and other faculty, and to inspire prospective students in this program, about the potential of contemporary photography to facilitate human understanding and visual creativity.

Dudik took the labor-intensive route to mounting this show, creating the prints himself. from high resolution digital files supplied by the artists.

This process raised significant questions about the images themselves, especially in relationship to prints of these images produced by the artists, once the William and Mary show is over on October 31st.

Dudik explains, "These prints can't be floating around in the world because they are not part of the artists' editions and limiting their print releases is partially what brings value to their prints."

 “A large, digital, printable file is one of the things an artist has to keep closest to them because it's their livelihood,” he said. “It's quite a lot to ask an artist to send you a very large, printable file … So the artists are entrusting me that I will treat it with respect, keep it organized and do with it what I say I'm going to do.”

So Dudik plans to destroy the prints after the show ends on Halloween by burning them in a bonfire.

Then, presumably, the distinctive vision of the new photography program at William and Mary will rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes. 

Or, at least some new work by Dudik, who plans to preserve some of the ashes, and, as W and M says, "immortalize the show by creating at least one piece of artwork from them."

For us, any time one makes a list or establishes a group of contributors, one makes choices. Whenever one makes choices, one establishes a kind of informal canon, a list of people and their work, who meet certain standards, however loosely defined.

I've chosen to illustrate this blog post about Dudik's fine show with images by Southern photographers, by at least some of the Southern photographers Dudik chose to include in his show, namely, in order, from the top, Jeff Rich, Susan Worsham, Anne Berry, S Gayle Stevens, and Lori Vrba.

Any of the rest of you who want to contact me and send along a 72 dpi file of the image Dudik chose for the show, I'll e happy to include it in an updated version of this post. And we will not need to burn anything when we are done. 

And we will end, as we began, with a shot Dudik posted to Facebook from the opening of the show. The image at the top shows the crowds at the opening. The image here shows a Southern Photographer (namely, Lori Vrba) who got to attend the show.

Here's Dudik's full list of the participants in this show:

Aaron Blum, Acacia Johnson, Adam Neese, Alex Leme , Aline Smithson, Alyssa C. Salomon, Amy Elkins, Amy Friend, Andrea Bonisoli Alquati, Angela Bacon-Kidwell, Anne Berry, Anthony Antonellis, Arnaud Teicher, Ashley Kauschinger, Ben Huff, Bill Schwab, Blue Mitchell, Brandon Thibodeaux, Brian Ulrich, Brittany Nelson, Bryan Schutmaat,Bryon Darby, Carla Richmond Coffing, Christa Blackwood, Cig Harvey, Clay Lipsky.

Also, Daniel Coburn, Dave Jordano, David Carol, David Emitt Adams, David Goldes, David Hilliard, David Leventi, Elizabeth Mead, Eliza Lamb, Eugene Ellenberg, Euphus Ruth, Frances Denny, Frank Hamrick, Gareth Phillips, Gordon Stettinius, Greer Muldowney, Holly Roberts, Ian C. Bates, Ian van Coller, Jamey Stillings, Jared Ragland, Jason DeMarte, Jay Gould, Jeff Rich, Jennifer Chan. Jennifer McClure, Jess Dugan, Jim Fitts, JK Keller, John Mann, Jonathan Blaustein, Jon Horvath, Joshua Dudley Greer, Justin James Reed, Justin Kimball, Ken Rosenthal, Kevin Strickland, Kyle Ford, Kevin Parent  ,  

Also, Lawrence McFarland, Lisa Robinson, Lori Nix , Lori Vrba, Lottie Hedley, Mark Dorf , Mark Klett, Byron Wolfe, Matt Eich, Matt Gamber, Matthew Swarts, Matt Siber, Maude Schuyler Clay, McNair Evans, Meg Griffiths, Michael Tummings, Michele Tecco, Nate Larson & Marni Shindelman, Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick, Nicole Killian.

Final Group -- Paula McCartney, Petra Cortright, Polly Chandler, Rachel Jerome Ferraro, Rania Matar, Rebecca Nolan, Rebecca Norris Webb, Richard Bram, Rollin Leonard, Rob McDonald, Robert Sulkin, Ryan Zoghlin, S Gayle Stevens, Sara Macel, Stan Strembicki, Stephanie Shively,Susan Burnstine, Susan Lipper, Susan Worsham, Suzanne Elise, Terri Warpinski , Tim Hyde, Tom Rankin, Walker Pickering, Yoav Friedländer, Zach Nader.

And there you have it, an epic photography event!  And in the South, too. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lenscratch Celebrates Slow Exposures

The Lenscratch Photography Blog is celebrating the SlowExposures Photography Festival this week, bringing some exceptionally-well deserved love to Chris Curry and all the good folks in Pike County, Georgia, who make Slow Exposures a joyous event every year.

Chapter One of this series is here, from October 20th, and features a report by Aline Smithson, one of this year's jurors, on her experience with SlowExposures this year. 

Chapter Two, for October 21st, gives us the statements about this year's show by jurors Smithson and her co-conspirator in the jury room, Alexa Dilworth, as well as a generous selection of images from the main show at SlowExposures and a list of the overall winners as well as all those juried into the show. 

Chapter Three profiles MacNair Evans and his solo show, Confessions of a Son, a show growing out of Evans' first place award at the 2013 SlowExposures juried show. Evan's work is deeply personal and also documentary, linking his own coming-to-terms with his late father and the economic crisis faced by many Southern small towns while Southern big cities boom.

Chapter Four, for October 23, 2014, features the pop-up show organized and presented by a group of photographers collectively known as The Posse, and individually known as Lori Vrba, Bryce Lankard, Ann George, Anne Berry, and S. Gayle Stevens.

Their installation, called Time, Place, and Eternity: Flannery O’Connor and the Craft of Photography, went up in Chris Curry's horse barn. Aline Smithson, writing for Lenscratch,  calls it "one of the most interesting and innovative exhibitions I’ve seen in a long while.

Chapter Five, for October  25th, 2014, features the Do Good Fund's growing collection of Southern photography, focusing on its show at this year's SlowExposures, under the title Brought to Light, presented at the Whiskey Bonding Barn and curated by Constance Lewis.

Chapter Six, for October 26th, 2014, features a second pop-up show that was part of SlowExposures this year, this one entitled Off the Page, featuring work by the Southlight Salon of Nashville —Jerry Atnip, Nick Dantona, Robert McCurley, Jerry Park, Mark Mosrie, Rick Smith, and Chuck Arlund.

Great for SlowExposures to get this kind of, well, exposure. 

The Lenscratch folks nailed it when they said, "The entire show was filled with stellar work."

Make sure you check this out.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Susan Harbage Page in Italy, and in North Carolina

Distinguished Southern Photographer Susan Harbage Page is opening a show of work from her Objects from the Borderlands: The US-Mexico "Anti-Archive" Project portfolio in Rome, at La Stellinia Arte Contemporanea (The Gallery of Contemporary Art) in Rome, Italy.

Harbage Page describes this work as capturing a "collection of objects found along the border between the United States and Mexico that witness a silent immigration that people do not want to see."

Harbage Page says she "began this work on the border after I heard a radio broadcast on National Public Radio. 

"They said that 20% more women and children than men die crossing the U.S.–Mexico border without official papers. I couldn’t get this statistic out of my head, so I decided to go see it with my own eyes. 

"I began to make yearly pilgrimages to the border to photograph the objects that are left behind by border-crossers. 

"The objects that I find speak of a difficult journey and the risks that these individuals are exposed to when they enter the United States. 

"I didn’t want to photograph the individuals in the traditional documentary manner—media and popular culture already do this. I wanted to show these left-behind objects as reliquaries, imbued with power." 

If you are in Rome, the Gallery is at 93 Via Braccio da Montone.
There will be a reception and artist's talk at the Gallery on Friday, October  24th, 2014, at 6:00 in the afternoon.

We've discussed this work before, here and here, and it's really great to see this work receiving attention in another country where the possibility of a better life tempts large numbers of people to risk literally everything for the chance to pursue it.

Page is also busy this month, with work in two group shows in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area as part of the CLICK! Triangle Photography Festival.

The first is now up at Light Art + Design in Chapel Hill, and features photography by Taj Forer, Jimmy Fountain, Susan Harbage Page (see image above), Harrison Haynes, Jeff Whetstone, and Laura Williams.

This show is up through October 25th, 2014 at 601 West Rosemary Street, in Chapel Hill, open from 11:00 to 6:00 pm every day except Sundays and Mondays.

The second show is at the Flanders Gallery in  Raleigh, at  302 South West Street, up now through October 29th, 2014, on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 -6:00 pm

In addition to Harbage Page, this show of photographers and artists in other media includes the work of Derek Toomes, Damian Stamer, Lydia Anne McCarthy, Kenn Kotara, Ian F.G. Dunn, Bill Sullivan, Mia Yoon, Holly Fischer, Ashlynn Browning, Jason Craighead, and Peter Glenn Oakley.

Great to see Harbage Page becoming both a locally- and internationally-celebrated photographer!

The Southern Photographer at ACP -- October 2014

The Southern Photographer was honored to take part last weekend in the Portfolio Review conducted as part of this year's Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival.

We saw lots of fine work, much of it by photographers working in the American South, of whom we will have more to say in future posts.

For now, my thanks to Amy Miller and her staff members Waduda Muhammad and Michael Murphy for organizing an exceptionally well-run event.

Part of the event for us was a gallery tour, which included stops at Jackson Fine Art, the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, the Lumiere Gallery, and the High Museum of Art

These stops were well-chosen to give us an overview of fine art photography from the days of black-and-white to the present, when shooters are using a wide range of imaging skills to expand photography's subject matter from direct representation of the external world to exploration of imaginative worlds and presentation of unique visual experiences.

 At the Jackson, gallery owner Anna Skillman treated us to delicious food and good conversation about the gallery's current exhibits of work by the European photographer Rudd van Empel, New York-based photographers Richard Selesnick and Nicholas Kahn, and Atlanta-based multimedia artist Carolyn Carr

At the Hagedorn,  Brenda Massie, the gallery's Director, showed us work by a wide range of contemporary photographers Not From Around Here.

This included the work Amy Miller and Waduda Muhammad are looking at in the image above, by Atlanta-based photographer Steve Aishman,  whose work comes with imbedded videos of the composition of the work, so that the image one sees on the wall is only the beginning of the visual experiences Aishman has to offer.

Also at the Hagedorn at the moment is work by New York-based (but educated at SCAD) photographer Claire Rosen and Argentinian photographer Guillermo Srodek-Hart.

Massie graciously showed us the storage room at the Hagedorn, crammed with an incredible array of work, among which I was glad to see Chapel Hill-based photographer Susan Harbage Page well represented. 

All of the work in view at the Hagedorn was presided over by this fine furry critter, who seemed not at all confident that we strangers were up to any good. 

Nearby, at Lumiere Gallery, owner Robert Yellowlees and his assistant Tony Casadonte gave us a tour of their historically-oriented current exhibits Masters of Photography,  including works by Berenice Abbot, Dorothea Lange, and other major 20th-century photographers, and Radiant Energy: Wynn Bullock, a show exploring the career of this distinguished photographer whose work is also on view now at the High Musuem of Art (see more on this below).

Yellowlees and Casadonte also showed us early results of their project to recover videotaped interviews of photographers, including Ansel Adams, from the heyday of large-format and documentary photography in California, just as photography was beginning to be recognized as a legitimate fine-art medium.

At the High, we were treated to a tour by Brett Abbott (see image below), the High's curator of photography.

Abbot spoke with well-deserved pride of the growing collection of photographs (now over 6,000 images), the opening of the Lucinda Bunnen Gallery, a space in the museum providing permanent exhibition space for photographs, and the current major show, a retrospective of photographs by distinguished American photographer Wynn Bulloch

The Bunnen Gallery honors Lucinda Bunnen, long-time Atlanta photographer, patron of the arts, and creator of the Lucinda Bunnen Collection of photographs at the High Museum.

Abbott also pointed out how photography is also included in the High's general display galleries when appropriate for the gallery, not isolated in designated display areas.

One example is the large-scale photograph shown to the right in the image above, by world-renowned contemporary photographer Thomas Struth, made in the Atlanta aquarium and on exhibit in the High's galleries of contemporary art. 

On a personal note, the guy in the white cap in the image above is the witty, personable, and exceptionally knowledgeable New York-based photography collector, curator, and consultant W. M. (Bill) Hunt, also in Atlanta to participate in the ACP Portfolio Review. 

I hope to catch up with Bill later this month when he  gives a talk at Raleigh's Contemporary Art Museum; for details of Bill's appearance at CAM Raleigh, go here.

The opportunity to view even a small sample of the photography currently on view in Atlanta is an excellent reminder of the range and diversity of imaging techniques and artistic visions now being employed by fine art photographers.

It is also an excellent reminder of how Atlanta has become an international center of interest in photography, making a home for outstanding galleries and exceptional museum collections, and for ACP, the festival that pulls all this richness together for us every October.