Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One, One Thousand

I just learned about One, One Thousand, a new online magazine and website dedicated to Southern photography. There's also a blog and the usual social media to keep up with.

The folks at One, One Thousand are photographers Daniel A. Echevarria and Natalie Minik, who hail from New Orleans. They say One, One Thousand is "a bi-monthly publication focusing on photography produced in the Southeastern United States by emerging and established photographers." Started this fall, " One, One Thousand features new photographic works from the South."

They now have out 4 issues and the work looks strong and compelling. They accept "both film and digital photography submissions." The only requirement is that "all work must have been created in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia."

Here's wishing these folks well. Will be on the lookout for future issues.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas at Laura Noel's House

Laura Noel has a fascinating blog called Alls Fair on which she discloses the development of her photographic practice. Good to consider it in this season when we can watch the seasons change. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I've reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland . . .

if of course we have the $30 admission fee.

Christmas at Graceland -- difficult to get more Southern than that.

Here's wishing you all blessings during this holiday season. JNW

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lori Vrba in SHOTS -- a Year to Remember

Lori Vrba is truly having a year to remember in her photography career. After her success at PhotoNOLA, she got home to find the latest issue of SHOTS Magazine in her mailbox featuring her work in their annual Portfolio issue.

Congratulations are definitely in order!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lori Vrba at PhotoNOLA

Chapel Hill photographer Lori Vrba staged a major coup in New Orleans at the recently-past PhotoNOLA -- a one-day show of her work in a New Orleans house still under reconstruction after the ravages of Hurricane Fran. Assisted by Atlanta Gallery owner Jennifer Schwartz and a bunch of others, she found the house, printed the work, hung and lighted the show, and drew a crowd from folks attending PhotoNOLA.

And it was all over in one night. 

The images are from her Piano Farm portfolio. The work, and the event, certainly delighted David Bram over on the Fraction Magazine blog.  He says, this was "one of the best shows going on in New Orleans."

"I'm not sure," David writes, "I've ever been to a photography show before where the surroundings were so perfect.  The house that, well, housed the show was in the middle of restoration with loads of exposed walls and ceilings and a slightly creepy feeling.  Had I been in the house alone, with the dim lighting, creaky floors and somewhat haunting photographs, I'd probably be a bit on edge.  It was kind of like a haunted New Orleans house. In the space, the photographs really fit the environment.  I loved it."

Greg Wakabayashi, the art director of Welcome Books, who was also a portfolio reviewer at PhotoNOLA, made it to Lori's show as well. He says, "It was a one-of-a-kind installation, any description of which I might offer would not do it justice. The work was installed on the first floor of the partially restored historic Louise Arsene Vitry House in the legendary Treme neighborhood and it made me feel like I was in something like Grey Gardens. Lori is a very talented photographer and printer. She is all traditional all the way…from film to beautifully executed toned gelatin silver prints. The creativity of the installation was perfect for her work and a true reflection of her artistry and personality."

On the basis of that kind of celebration, Jennifer Schwartz  is surely right that it was "a light your pants on fire blow-out event that people would be buzzing about so loudly the buzzing would become a roar."  Anyway, Jennifer supplies on HER blog a photograph of Lori in her space before the hoards descended.

And here is the show in full swing.

And you can see the work here. And now we've all been there, too. Amazing the sense of presence the web can provide.

Vrba was born in Texas and received her education in photography at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Her images are made with an old Hasselblad. She does her own darkroom work, and fine work it is, indeed. And she clearly has profound insight into how to stage an event.

Here is Jennifer Schwartz' blog about a visit to her studio:

Lori is definitely a Southern Photographer We'll Watch Out For.

Friday, December 10, 2010

William Eggleston in Los Angeles

Those of you headed to Southern California for the holidays will want to check out three major exhibits of work by Memphis photographer William Eggleston, now up in Los Angeles. Eggleston is one of the masters of contemporary fine art photography, much of whose work (like the image above, from Louisiana) was made in the South.

Eggleston has helped bring color to fine art photography. Perhaps more important, he helped make the ordinary scenes of daily life at the end of the twentieth century part of the essential subject matter of serious photography. Years before Robert Venturi published Learning from Los Vegas in 1977 and alerted us to the aesthetics of neon lights and automobile culture, Eggleston was making fine art photographs of strip malls, gas stations, grocery stores, and other manifestations of urban sprawl.

Lots of this work is now on display in Los Angeles. The Big One is at the Los Angeles Museum of Comtemporary Art  and it's entitled William Eggleston: Democratic Camera—Photographs and Video, 1961-2008. (up now  at LACMA through January 16, 2011).

There is another exhibit of Eggleston's work, entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer across the street, at the Edward Cella Gallery, through January 29, 2011.  One piece in this show is the image, below, of a truck I think my father used to own.

The third exhibit is at DNJ, with work from two of Eggleston's portfolios, William Eggleston's Graceland  (sample shown here:
and from The Democratic Forest.   Oh yes, the democracy of filling stations and trash containers and neon signs: 
My guess is that Eggleston's eye was shaped by the the strange look of Southern small-town culture after the automobile but before the interstate, by the kitsch glitziness of Nashville and country music, by the aesthetic of NASCAR and billboard advertising. One thing's for sure -- all the photographers who have made their reputations photographing the fringes of the suburban landscape -- and you know who you are -- ought to be sending him royalties. 

Of course, Los Angeles is the perfect place -- outside of Atlanta -- for a celebration of Eggleson's work. As my Aunt Effie used to say, its a hoot.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Good News for Jeff Rich

Savannah-based photographer Jeff Rich has just been named one of five finalists in the Book Award competition for Critical Mass, a virtual jurying process run by Photo Lucida to identify and promote the careers of emerging fine art photographers.

Jeff achieved this distinction based on reception of his portfolio Watershed which includes photographs of waterways, chiefly Southern, like the shot, above, of a garden on the North Toe River near Spruce Pine, North Carolina.

Jeff had pieces from this body of work at a show in Tallahassee, Florida in the 621 Gallery earlier this fall (hey, I had work at a show at 621 Gallery several years ago myself), in connection with a meeting of the SPESE Conference.

There's also an interview with Jeff up at URBANSAND, and he has work in a show up through January 13th, 2011, at the Reece Museum in Johnson City, TN, sponsored by the Appalachian Photography Project.

Congratulations to Jeff. He's definitely a Southern Photographer We Will Watch Out For.

Actually, I think it was the red wheelbarrow that makes this image. But then I'm a fan of William Carlos Williams, who knew that so much does depend on a red wheelbarrow. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Southern Photographers in Fraction 21

Fraction Magazine, one of the best and most influential online photography magazines, has included several photographers with Southern connections in its Issue 21, just online. Among these are  Kathleen Robbins and Susan Worsham, photographers already familiar to readers of this blog, as well as Savannah, GA photographer Jeff Rich, whose image of the Ivy River in Harriman, Tennessee, is above, and Houston, TX photographer Warren Harold, whose haunting image of his son is below.

For your information, Warren Harold's website is here and Jeff Rich's website is here. Fraction 21 also includes a review of the catalogue (Sally Mann: The Flesh and the Spirit) for Sally Mann's current show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, by Daniel Coburn, here.

Fraction Magazine also has a blog, here. Fraction, magazine and blog, is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but its editors take a wide view of the world of photography, so it has been an originating source for a number of the entries on this blog, like this one. I am grateful to them for their good work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Roe Ethridge, Southern Photographer, Makes Good

Roe Ethridge is having a year to remember in his career as a fine art photographer. His roots are Southern; he was born in Miami and studied photography in Atlanta, where he received a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1995. He now lives and works in New York, where he has achieved remarkable success in a very short time.

Ethridge has exhibited in major museums in Atlanta, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City. He has also exhibited his images at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and various museums and galleries in Paris, London, Berlin, and other European v

Ethridge's website is empty of visual content, perhaps itself a statement, but you can see lots of his work from his part of the Andrew Kreps Gallery website, here, or his part of the Gagosian Gallery, here

Some of his work exhibits what a writer for Frieze Magazine calls his attention to “exorbitantly bland subjects,” which he presents in a way that “undermines that very certitude,” appearing as “little more than the erratic product of an unsettled, expansive attention” which, when “taken together . . . or looked at generally . . .  to bounce off each other, their cumulative effect suggestive rather than illustrative of his fundamental inquiry into our ready assumption that photography will tell us something true.”

Right now, Ethridge's work is part of MOMA's New Photography 2010 exhibition, up through January 10, 2011, including Moldy Fruit, above. This latest work grows out of an examination of the photographic process in its various cultural manifestations, or, as MOMA puts it,

“Drawing upon the descriptive power of photography and the ease with which it can be accessed, duplicated, and recombined,  [Ethridge] orchestrates visual fugues, juxtaposing, for example, a picture in which he has superimposed an image of a plain white plate, grabbed from Bed Bath and Beyond’s website, on a checkered Comme des Garçons scarf . . . . . The pictures acquire their meaning from the salient way in which they have been shuffled, sequenced, and laid out in nonlinear narrative structures. Combining and recombining already recontextualized images, Ethridge at once subverts the photographs’ original roles and renews their signifying possibilities.”

Ethridge said of his Whitney Biennial portfolio, “The idea is not to render a perfect illustration of a coastal-themed photo project, but something more like a fugue form with multiple voices that pull the threads through this coastal thematic. There could be any kind of counterpoint—formal, conceptual to content. It’s like a plate spinner. You want to keep all of them going at one time." 

Jason Kaufman, writing in the Biennial catalogue, says Ethridge has been influenced by the work of Thomas Ruff, Michael Schmidt, Christopher Williams, and other artists “who combine photographs that veer from the biographical to a metanarrative conceptual mode. . . . By arranging his work in various sequences, contexts, and installations, Ethridge reveals the mutability of his images, the possibility that the original intention with which a picture was created might fall away over time, allowing it to take on new meaning. We are encouraged each time to examine these images and their interrelations anew.”

I've quoted from several commentaries on Ethridge's work that are couched in the language of aesthetic theory because I'm trying to come to terms with his work's distinctive combination of the elegant and the banal, the commercial and the conceptual, with Ethridge's success as a photographer and his concern with Objects of Southern Desire, as here.

Or this:

Anyway, Ethridge has now been shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for 2011, awarded annually by London's Photographer's Gallery, along with fellow American Jim Goldberg, Germany’s Thomas Demand, and Israel’s Elad Lassry. This prize is worth £30,000 and recognizes "a living photographer, of any nationality, who [in the past year] has made the most significant contribution, in exhibition or publication format, to the medium of photography in Europe."

High cotton, indeed, for Ethridge to be in. He's definitely a Southern Photographer We Admire. Will keep you posted as to the progress of the Deutsche Börse competition.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kathleen Robbins is Mid-Career Photographer of the Month at Texas Photographic Society

Mississippi native and Columbia, SC resident Kathleen Robbins is Mid-Career Photographer of the Month for December 2010 for the Texas Photographic Society. You may find a portfolio of her work on their website, here,

This portfolio consists of ten images Robbins made while living in her ancestral home place in the Mississippi Delta, the place that has been called the South of the South. She found the truth of Faulkner's observation that in the South we live in a world shaped profoundly by long lost events and people and places, or as he put it, "the past isn't dead; its not even past."

Kathleen says that for a time she "ate from my great-grandmother’s china, drank from her crystal and slept in her bed. At dusk I rocked on the porch and watched the blackbirds descend on the canebrake planted by my great-grandfather. Living on the farm I existed in a strange continuum. My family’s history and their connection to this place were markedly present in my everyday experience."

So she made these familiar and yet haunting, contemporary and yet timeless, images.  She is also having a show of this body of work right now at the Du Mois Gallery in New Orleans as part of this year's PhotoNOLA. Check 'em out.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Group Portfolio Show at Atlanta Photography Group

ACP is over for 2010 but the photography scene in Atlanta continues to thrive. One of the major organizations supporting photography in the South's major city is the Atlanta Photography Group, which is now sponsoring its Portfolio Show, juried by Anthony Bannon, Director of the George Eastman House.

The show includes the work of 10 photographers, at least 7 of whom have Southern roots. This show is up at the Tula Art Center in Atlanta, at 75 Bennett Street, NW. It opens today, December 3rd, with a reception from 7:30 - 10:00, and remains up at the Art Center through January 21st, 2011.

Bannon says this show is "about light. In particular, it is light in those moments of change - between day and night, between the presence and the absence, perhaps in and out of the shadow. Dr. Bannon's full statement about his choices of work is here.

The  photographers whose work is included in this show are Paul H. D'Amato, Jill Ediger, Richard Ediger,Jan Kapoor, Kent Krugh, June Yong Lee, Tom Meiss, Gina Randazz, David Simonton (whose image from the invitation to the opening is shown above), and Svjetlana Tepavcevic. 

Of the photographers in this show, those with Southern roots include David Simonton from Raleigh, NC; Paul H.D'Amato, Jill Ediger, Richard Ediger, Jan Kapoor, and Tom Meiss, who are based in Atlanta; and June Yong Lee who hails from Athens, Georgia.

Lots of strong work to be found here. This is definitely worth checking out if you are in Atlanta over the holidays.

Art Basel Miami, Or, Is Florida in the South?

Art Basel Miami Beach, an American version of the Swiss art festival Art Basel, brings people from all over the world to Miami Beach to see and be seen, and to party, and perhaps, occasionally, to look at and even buy the art.The New York Times calls it "that bacchanal disguised as the Western Hemisphere’s most prestigious art fair."

Its now in full swing in Miami Beach, running this year from December 2-5, 2010, in museums, galleries, warehouses, and everywhere else one can display art. The full Program is here.

There is lots of photography on display, including a show entitled Inside Out, Photography After Form: Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, on view at the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, 1018 North Miami Avenue, in Miami.

This show includes the image, above, by Los Angeles-based photographer Uta Barth, entitled Sundial, and we are told that this image and the others in the show explore "the creative relationship between the camera lens and the construction, production and deconstruction of form; tracing the many and various ways in which form can and has been both produced and undone through the agency of the camera lens."

There is also lots of photography on offer from the 300 or so galleries who have moved their wares to Miami Beach for this event. Some real Southern photographers are among them, including Sally Mann, whose piece, Jessie  #6, above, is for sale at the booth of New York's Edwynn Houk Gallery.

But is this an event in Southern culture? How would we know if it were? Much of coastal Florida certainly has lots in common with the rest of Southern coastal culture, but the last time I was in Miami, I saw a forest of empty condominium towers.

Not sure about any of this. Perhaps I should look at more of Uta Barth's photography, which I'm told is about just these kinds of questions, about "a consciousness of the processes of perception and the visceral and intellectual pleasures of seeing." 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shane Darwent at Rebus Works

Rebus Works, one of our local galleries here in Raleigh, has an annual show of work by folks associated with North Carolina's Penland School of Crafts, which is mainly about, well, crafts, but it also has a solid photography program. Shane Darwent is a photographer who has recently finished a 2-year residency at Penland, and his work is at the center of this year's Rebus Works show, opening this Friday, December 3rd, 2010, and up through January 29th of next year.

Darwent is a new name to me, but he grew up in Mt. Pleasant, SC, studied photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art,  and has recently moved to Chattanooga, TN. His work looks intriguing, or at least what one can see of it on the Rebus Works' website or on his blog.

He's clearly interested in using photographs in mixed media, and has a collection of images called East of the Mississippi/Below the Mason-Dixon that he's making into a book with bookmaker Kathy Steinsberger. He also plans on showing photographs of large Southern houses printed on semitransparent paper and superimposed on maps.

He's also interested in the detritus of the new South, in garbage dumps and mounds of construction debris, and also in color work, also of odds and ends, as in this image.

I'm looking forward to seeing Darwent's show at Rebus Works, and to following his career as it unfolds. Definitely worth checking out.