Friday, September 27, 2013

Carrie Mae Weems Wins MacArthur Fellowship




Honorary Southern Photographer Carrie Mae Weems has been named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation.

Her Fellowship (the so-called "genius grant") recognizes her extraordinary achievements in photography and the visual arts and provides her five years of funding to ensure "maximum freedom to follow her own creative vision."
maximum freedom for recipients to follow their own creative vision. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/press/press-releases/24-macarthur-fellows-announced/#sthash.DtNtYHvd.dpuf

The Foundation says that Weems was named a MacArthur Fellow because "in images that are lyrical and evocative, Weems unites critical social insight with enduring aesthetic mastery.

"Her signature works over three decades—Ain’t Joking (1987), The Kitchen Table Series (1990), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995), The Louisiana Project (2004 -- see image above), Roaming (2006)—juxtapose the harsh realities of race, class, and gender discrimination with the dignity and resilience of the human character in everyday life.

"She enriches the traditional black-and-white cinéma vérité style with African American folklore, multimedia collage, and experimental printing methods, and in many of her prints, she casts herself as silent witness and guiding avatar through “fictional documentaries” in contemporary surroundings or historical recreations.

"Resurrecting lives and legacies invisible in plain sight, familiar but unseen, Weems creates a poignant and revealing visual archive of the human condition."

Despite the fact that Weems is Not From Around Here, she has worked here extensively. She says of her work:
In images that are lyrical and evocative, Weems unites critical social insight with enduring aesthetic mastery. Her signature works over three decades—Ain’t Joking (1987), The Kitchen Table Series (1990), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995), The Louisiana Project (2004), Roaming (2006)—juxtapose the harsh realities of race, class, and gender discrimination with the dignity and resilience of the human character in everyday life. She enriches the traditional black-and-white cinéma vérité style with African American folklore, multimedia collage, and experimental printing methods, and in many of her prints, she casts herself as silent witness and guiding avatar through “fictional documentaries” in contemporary surroundings or historical recreations. Resurrecting lives and legacies invisible in plain sight, familiar but unseen, Weems creates a poignant and revealing visual archive of the human condition. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/905/#sthash.GNjKciQu.dpuf
In images that are lyrical and evocative, Weems unites critical social insight with enduring aesthetic mastery. Her signature works over three decades—Ain’t Joking (1987), The Kitchen Table Series (1990), From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995), The Louisiana Project (2004), Roaming (2006)—juxtapose the harsh realities of race, class, and gender discrimination with the dignity and resilience of the human character in everyday life. She enriches the traditional black-and-white cinéma vérité style with African American folklore, multimedia collage, and experimental printing methods, and in many of her prints, she casts herself as silent witness and guiding avatar through “fictional documentaries” in contemporary surroundings or historical recreations. Resurrecting lives and legacies invisible in plain sight, familiar but unseen, Weems creates a poignant and revealing visual archive of the human condition. - See more at: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/905/#sthash.GNjKciQu.dpuf

 "My work has led me to investigate family relationships, gender roles, the histories of racism, sexism, class, and various political systems.

"Despite the variety of my explorations, throughout it all it has been my contention that my responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the roof-tops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specifics of our historic moment."

That, in my view, is an exceptionally powerful and challenging statement of the Southern photographer's project.

Weems' work in the South informs, enables, and ennobles us all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Photography Festivals for 2013, Part Two



It's now officially autumn in the South, and the photography festival season is in full swing.

Folks in Atlanta, Washington, and New Orleans are gearing up to welcome the photography community. Each of these festivals has its own distinctive flavor, but they all have in common an exceptional array of good photography on offer.

October brings us Atlanta Celebrates Photography, in its 15th annual incarnation.

In Atlanta, in October, ACP is everywhere, This is a festival of exceptional variety and range, in exhibitions, talks, and gatherings both formal and informal. Every year, ACP transforms Atlanta into the world center of photography.

Actually, ACP has now grown so large that it has spilled over from October into the surrounding months. But you can find out about everything that is going on, if you go to the ACP Guide, here.

In the meantime, the folks in Our Nation's Capital are gearing up for FOTOWeek DC, which used to be a week, but now is up to 10 days, this year November 1 - 10, and is also due to grow and grow.

Washington has going for it the presence of that bastion of documentary photography known as the National Geographic Society, as well as major national museums, and a diverse collection of photography competitions.

December will bring PhotoNOLA, December 12-15, when the good folks in New Orleans will pack an enormous number of events into a long weekend. You can see their schedule of events here.

Work on offer this year includes the Great Picture, supposedly the world's largest photograph, and, as they say, much, much more.

More on all this as the season progresses!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Erickson and Johnson in One One Thousand for September 2013




We Southerners have complicated, paradoxical relationships with our geography. On the one hand we celebrate our landscapes, oceans, forests, mountains, streams, and rivers. We even celebrate our kudzu

On the other hand, we also dump our trash into our landscapes, or sell our landscapes out to the highest bidder who needs the space for toxic waste or refineries or chemical plants. 

Then we reject the kinds of government policy that might regulate use of our land, to make our use of it more benign. 

Annie Laurie Erickson (see image above) and Courtney Johnson (see image below), in September's One: One Thousand: A Publication of Southern Photography, offer photographs of natural settings that suggest some of this complexity. 

For both photographers, the emphasis is on technique, on how alternative ways of image making can open up the documentary impulse of much Southern photography to new ways of making meaning out of their subjects.

Both these photographers produce images that are of something concrete -- chemical refineries and fishing piers -- yet their work is very painterly, very impressionistic, very much about juxtaposition of subject and treatment.

In thinking about their work -- and especially the work of Erickson -- one might hold in mind the strongly confrontational style of Richard Misrach's portfolio of refineries  made for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

New Orleans-based Erickson  says here work is about "generating alternate modes of representation by isolating and exposing various aspects of sensory perception, using photography to create images outside the spectrum of human vision."

Erickson creates images that are "afterimages," latent images, using "handmade artificial retinas that register the remains of light," she is "able to simulate an essentially unphotographable visual experience."

This interest in the lingering after image seems appropriate, almost analytical, considering that what troubles us about refineries, is, in large part, what lingers after them, the toxic waste such operations leave behind as their operators try to escape the consequences of their labors.

Erickson notes that she was "struck by the appearance of oil refineries at night, which looked like strange forbidden cities." 

Soon, she learned, these sites were technically “unphotographable” according to post-9/11 regulations," a discovery that only "heightened [Erickson's] interest in them as photographic subjects."

She seeks to photograph these installations as "ghostly, mysterious constellations of light marked by unearthly color shifts," that "evoke both a presence and an absence. They are points along a continuum between strict representation and subjective abstraction, or between our immediate visual reality and the decaying, remembered imagery that subconsciously shapes our perception."



Wilmington, NC-based photographer Courtney Johnson makes similarly impressionistic, painterly images.

Her work, however,  attends to the phenomenon of the fishing pier, a construct that extends out into the ocean, providing fishermen with access to off-shore fish stocks  and the rest of us with the perfect opportunity to take a break from sand and sun and have the special experience of walking out over the water we come to the beach to celebrate. 

Johnson is also interested in alternative techniques and practices, making these images from her Light Lure portfolio using "low-tech pinhole cameras constructed out of cookie tins, fishing line and waterproof tape."

Johnson's cameras join both the underwater world and the world of fishermen. Her pinhole cameras are pulled underwater "by fishing weights, lowered into the Atlantic Ocean off all 19 fishing piers along the North Carolina coast."

Johnson's goal in her images is to "capture the light, mystery, and exploration imbedded in the historic North Carolina coastal tradition."

In all this work there is the conversation between subject and technique, between experience and interpretation, between aesthetic pleasure and rueful concern about the Southern environment and what we are doing to it. 

One: One Thousand continues to remind us of the exceptional range of photographic work being done in the South, and to challenge as well as to delight us with their monthly offerings. 

Keep up the good work, you guys.


Southern Photographers in the News -- Mid September 2013




Rebekah Jacob and her gallery in Charleston have been featured in a story in Charleston Living magazine, here.


Portfolios  by Houston's Keliy Anderson-Staley, Norfolk, Viginia's Matt Eich, and Richmond, Virginia's Susan Worsham are included in FlakPhoto's online exhibition Making Pictures of People, in cooperation with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


And SlowExposures 2013 opens today (image courtesy Donna Rosser).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mitchell Kearney at Rebus Works



Back in the late 1970's and 1980's, pop culture in New York City was defined by punk rock, and the Ramones, and Andy Warhol, and the photographer Michell Kearney was in the middle of it.


Then, defying the old adage that in America there are no second acts, Kearney moved to Charlotte, where he has become a very successful commercial photographer.

But he brought his early work with him when he moved South, and you can see it now, up at Raleigh's Rebus Works, now through October 26th, 2013. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

SxSE for Early Fall 2013




Nancy McCrary and all the good folks at South by Southeast Photography Magazine (SxSE) have a rich assortment of work for us in the early fall 2013 issue (volume VIII, issue 5), now online.

This issue comes out in the dog days of summer for 2013, and so its appropriate that much of this issue is given over to images of dogs, as well as to the not totally unrelated topic of children. 

We have portfolios of dog photographs by Allison Barnes, Beth Lilly, Jim McGuire, Karl Baden, Parker Smith, Priscilla Davis, Walter Beckham, and Willard Pate.

Their work is complemented by portfolios of children from DB Waltrip, Karl Baden, Kim Lane, Mary Anne Mitchell, Rick Smith, Builder Levy, Parker Smith, Rob Amberg, Rose Wind Jerome, and
Aaron Canipe.

We've also got a long interview with the distinguished American photographer Elliot Erwitt, a review of a new limited edition portfolio of Sally Mann's Southern Landscape (see image above), conversations with Jack Spencer and Clint Kimberling, and much, much more.

And you can have access to all this fine -- and award-winning -- work for a very reasonable fee, a fee insignificant in the larger scheme of things, a fee not worth a second thought.

To subscribe, go here.

Don't put it off any longer.

You know you should subscribe.

You know it, you really do.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mr Bennette and Lori Vrba Make Special Plans for Slow Exposures


 
SlowExposures opens this year on September 20th, in Pike County, Georgia, just south of Atlanta. And it is becoming more of a photography festival with every passing year.

The schedule of events now lists portfolio reviews, satellite shows, pop-up shows, workshops, formal presentations on photographic practice, and scheduled informal discussions in addition to the customary gatherings for food and Southern hospitality.

Here are a couple of examples of what's happening.

 
John Bennette, the distinguished curator of photography, is offering once again his own special vision of Southern photography, in a satellite show at the Whiskey Bonding Barn, in Molena, Ga, entitled Fins, Fur,  Feathers,  and Foliage. 

Mr. Bennette's show brings together the work of a number of photographers of the Southern landscape, including Laura Noel, Jane Robbins Kerr, Donna Rosser, Eliot Dudik (see image above), Bryce Lankard, S. Gayle Stevens, McNair Evans, and, as they say, many more.

Mr. Bennette has been giving us a foretaste of the work in this show on his blog, Hanging with Mr Bennette, and you can check it out here.


In addition, Chapel Hill, NC-based photographer Lori Vrba (see image above) is bringing an RV to SlowExposures this year.

She and her colleagues Anne Berry, Ann George, S.Gayle Stevens, and Bryce Lankard have formed what they are calling a Photography Posse.

They are all going to be living in the RV, making music, and discussing photography. Vrba and her friend Dennis Kiel will be playing guitar, Lankard will be on harmonica, and the rest of the Posse will be on percussion.

AND they are also having a group pop-up show entitled Hay Now...A Pitchfork Posse Production, set up  in a working barn.

Vrba had a widely celebrated pop-up show in New Orleans at PhotoNOLA a couple of years ago, so this one ought to be a similar blend of wit, timeliness, celebration, and exceptional photography.

Vrba says that everyone at SlowExposures should be on the lookout for "the lit-up trailer house" and come on over to join the party.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Photographers Meet-Up at the NC Museum of Art




If you are in Raleigh, NC on Friday, September 13th, this will be your lucky day.

In connection with the show Close to Home: A Decade of Acquisitions now up at the NC Museum of Art, the museum is sponsoring what it is calling "an informal evening of conversation with artists cool enough to call North Carolina home."

Photographers invited to attend include Titus Heagins (see image below), Bill Bamberger, Taj Forer, Alex Harris, Linda Foard Roberts (see image above), John Rosenthal, M.J. Sharp (see image below Titus' image), and Jeff Whetstone.


There will be other NC artists in attendance, but we are photographers and these are the folks who matter to us.


The NCMA is making an evening of the event.

Starting at 6:00 pm, there will be a food truck, then an hour of conversation with the artists, then "wine and ambiance" with Ed Stephenson and the Paco Band in the NCMA's West Building Wine Bar.

Congratulations to all these photographers who have the honor and distinction of having their work included in the permanent collection of the NC Museum of Art.

This should be a fine evening indeed. Come out and meet these folks, and see their work in the show on view in the North Carolina Gallery.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mercure, Page, and Sole in the Galleries and in the News




Some news from the world of Southern fine art photography --

Nashville, TN-based photographer Tammy Mercure (see image above) is one of four featured artists in Fraction Magazine's 54th online issue, here.


Chapel Hill, NC-based photographer Susan Harbage Page has work from her U.S.-Mexico Border Project (see image above) in a group show now up at Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art, through December 1st, 2013.

Page also has work on exhibit in a major show of images from the Bunnen Collection at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, up now through February 2nd, 2014.


Honorary Southern Photographer Magdalena Sole will have a show of work from her Mississippi Delta portfolio (see image above) opening this Friday, September 13th, with a reception from 6-8 pm, at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida.

This show is up through December 15th, 2013.

Lots of good work here, by fine photographers, well worth your visit by internet or in the real world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

William Eggleston at the Tate Modern in London



William Egglestson, who had a major retrospective show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC earlier this year, now has a smaller, but still very strong retrospective show up now at the Tate Modern Museum in London.

The work on offer includes images from Eggleston's portfolio of work made in Georgia the year Carter was elected president of the USA (see image above), as well as a selection of Eggleston's iconic images from his work in the American South.

ard Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
Edward Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Edward Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Edward Cella Art + Architecture presents an exhibition of photographs by noted photographer William Eggleston. Entitled William Eggleston: American Photographer, the exhibition presents a rich offering of unique and historic prints dating from 1965 through 1985 including several of Eggleston’s most iconic images. Designed to present insights into the photographer’s working methods and philosophy, the exhibition is especially timely as it runs concurrently with William Eggleston: Democratic Camera Photographs and Video, 1961-2008 presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and with William Eggleston: On the Road presented by dnj Gallery.

More Information: http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=42197#.Ui94pXfm6dw[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org
Eggleston was also recognized earlier this year as an Outstanding Contributor at the Sony World Photography Awards.

Eggleston's images are often essays in seeing, employing his uncanny ability to find just the right angle from which to transform an often highly ordinary subject into a compelling composition.

Mr. Eggleston is having a truly fine 2013. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Titus Heagins is Having an Exceptional 2013, and its only September . . . . .




Durham, NC-based photographer Titus Heagins is having an exceptional 2013, and its only early September.

Heagins, one of North Carolina's most distinguished photographers, just opened a major retrospective show of his work at  NC Central University's Museum of Art, on the campus of NC Central University, in Durham.

This show is up now through October 4th, 2013. 

The show, Witness, brings together a large body of Heagins' images, work that, as he says, "Explores the lives of people often thought of as the “Other.”

 
This retrospective exhibition features over 50 select images from early bodies of Heagins' work, including images from his portfolios Dark Hallowed Ground; One Faith, One God, One Baptism; and Rainbow over Havana.

Also included are photographs from more contemporary bodies of work, Rorschach, Durham Stories, and Haiti: Before the Earth Moved.

You can read more about this show in the newsletter of the NC Arts Council, here

In addition to this major solo show of recent work, Heagins is also featured in two group shows up now at the NC Museum of Art, in Raleigh, NC.

Heagins has images in the show Close to Home: A Decade of Acquisitions, an exhibition of work added recently to the collection of the Museum, up now through February 9th, 2014. 

Heagins also has images in the show Outsiders: Facing the Camera, a show drawing on work in the NCMA's permanent collection of photographs to explore the concept of otherness in human experience and in photography. 

This show is up now through January 26th, 2014. 

Heagins photographs in the documentary tradition, drawing on his exceptionally discerning eye for the diversity of people who inhabit the American South, as well as people from across the globe.

Heagins was one of only a dozen North Carolina photographers to be added formally to the collection of the NCMA a few years ago, when the museum decided to make major acquisitions in photography.


I had the great good fortune to do a joint show with Heagins a number of years ago at the late, lamented POV Gallery here in Raleigh.

Heagins' work in that show included the image above, one of a series of powerful images in which Heagins explored the complexities of Southern social structures and the relationships among power, class, and race in the American South.

Since then, his projects have taken him to Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, and especially through the Caribbean, with extensive work in Cuba and Haiti.

I think Heagins is a brilliant photographer, with exceptional gifts of skill, vision, and understanding. It's really good to see him achieving the kind of broad institutional recognition represented by these shows.

And who knows what greater glory the rest of the year may bring . . . . .