Archive for the Photography Category

Colorized Depression

Posted in Image Discovery!, Photography with tags , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by michaelchernoff

On twitter there was a post during the Great Depression commissioned by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. The photos feature mostly rural farm communities and factory towns or pubic works. Walker Evans and his crew have received most of a claim for their depression documentation of the Dust Bowl and its Black and White collective created a vital and desperate tone for the American public and poor. These color photos seem to more about finding a balance of fruition and poverty through FDR’s stimulus and social aid programs in the 30’s and 40’s. The pictures have a lot more black citizenry and women working than I have seen in the Dust Bowl FSA documents. The black and white photos are a call of defeat while the color is a sounding of fighting poverty.

Seeing the era in color also makes me think why the “Obamavilles” are not being covered. Maybe a new committee has to be formed like the ones in the darker days.

Miquel Barcelo, Caixa Forum, Jacques Henri Lartigue

Posted in Artist, Image Discovery!, Painting, Photography, Print, Sculpture with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Since coming to Barcelona I stumbled onto a well established mixed media Spanish artist. Along Consel de Cent I went into a gallery with an unfriendly attendant. On the gallery walls were loose monoprint and ink brush renderings of bullfights. There was a high amount of energy implanted into the bull charging and the cape swishing a red streak across the paper. Everything was black ink on white with tinges of red smearing. Blood and the illusion of the matadors veil were one. The name of creator was M. Barcelo.

I googled searched but got nothing. I couldn’t understand how respected or acknowledged Barcelo was. Incredibly in Madrid I happened for the first time to visit the Caixa Forum by accident. On display was a retrospect of MIQUEL Barcelo. His paintings took time to grow on me. The oil and watercolors were as messy as the prints. But the splotchy figures in his Dantes Divine Comedy were refreshing from an overused epic poem in image media. Small mounds of paint made slight shadows on canvases and the perception of rocky dirt ground was executed by him too. His working career has spanned before my birth.

But what immediately grabbed was the video of his sculpture in the main lobby. Along with the warped faces he made from metal casts was a huge installation he did in real time with some editing. He and accompanying sculptor had an immense wall of clay before them. They slashed and hacked at the wet clay with sticks and metal. At first their carving seemed arbitrary and unguided. At the climax however the camera shot is way back and you see a scene reminiscent of cave paintings from Neanderthals. Trees, shrubs and rock are captured by the shadows of deep lines in the clay.

Then the pair use clay pancake slabs to form masks on their faces. Blind only with their palms and fingers are grotesque noses, eyes and bone structures emulated. I immediately thought of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice when Alec Baldwin pulled his face forward when witnessing Marcelo’s first clay facial. Numerous masks were made and accompanied a finished lair of clay sculpture.

As a craftsmen Marcelo is seemingly sloppy and uneducated. But then again most modern spanish artists are. I am now a fan his work and take his name in my head easily. It’s hard to find his distinct work in english so anyone reading just surf around. Since I am on the subject vaguely, the Caixa forum is a big interest for me. I have never heard of a bank funding free open artwork for everyone. A bank supporting art seems cold and devious in America but in SPain its like a civic duty of the company. Near Placa Espanya I have seen work by Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Joseph Buys, and Jacques Herni Lartigue.

Lartique was a rich Frenchman who because he was so wealthy could spend all his time photographing as a young man. He captured the lives of wealthy French at the start of the 20th century. Early photos you could see his fingerprints, scratches, and graininess of an amateur. By the 30’s he was producing glorious action shots of car races, swimmers, skiing, and pretty mistresses. He also did a lot of stereograph work like making 3D photographs. I think I may want to invest in a stereograph camera after seeing the dynamism of his work.

What Kind of Photographer am I?

Posted in Photography, Projects with tags , , on June 9, 2010 by michaelchernoff

It is reaching close to the point where I must deicide what I am doing for a photography project in Barcelona. I keep looking to the negatives and jpegs I have shot all being people, objects, and landscapes mostly urban. I keep trying to shoot architecture but eventhough I enjoy looking at buildings the results are rarily what I want. I need cititis with wide areas and busy activity and Barcelona is calmer than other places I have been in.

So landscape seems to be out of the picture and then I started thinking about my past work and what photos I enjoyed seeing everyday and putting on this blog. originally I thought these photos were nudes and cerebral photography. I put these labels on the pictures because I thought it would to be formal or traditional to just call them what I realised they are. I make portrait photography…I use human bodies and thought a portrait is someone standing staring into a camera or sitting for a painting. But not everything I make is a document of person even if the project is not supposed to identify with their persona…inevitably it does because mannerism reveal themselves in modeling.

Having people lift shirts over their heads and being covered in string made me believe that the material covering bodies was the focus. Instead I should be considering these photos indirectly as portraits. So are my friends models or portrait subjects. Well I am done guessing what I am doing here. I should be taking portraits of people…in color and black and white film. Digital is fine for walking around the city and capturing architecture, but persons will be devoted soley on T 400 Kodak film and Tri-X.

Also I really am into photographing advertisement around the city. Some light glares and reflection looks great and other times poor. This another route I could take too in the project. I’ll have to see what is well received tomorrow.

In this last year I feel that my photographic skills have improved simply because I concluded technically I was dumb when it came to shooting photos. It seemed like dumb luck was on my side with 35mm…now I feel competent again and coming to Barcelona has made acknowledge what photos could be instead of are.

Art Happenings

Posted in Artist, Photography, Sculpture with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Yesterday sadly I was alarmed by the fact that Louis Bourgeois has passed on from this world from a heart attack. Reading her death at 98 was heart wrenching, sadly even more she is one of the few female artists I can summon up in my head quickly. I was first exposed to her work at the Guggenheim in NYC which was doing a retrospect on her. I saw her life’s work in one sweep of the spiraling floors. I didn’t know what to expect from the exhibit except her name was part of socialist thinking vocabulary. Each sculpture impressed me and more from arch of hysteria to her Cells. Supposedly she had been still working until her recent end. Her life seemed to sum up a a lot things women deal with from infidelity, the sides of men, and being unnoticed by societal culture until later in life. Thinking about it now she is my favorite sculptor. I can only hope some curators snatch her unfinished work in her studio and display in New York soon.

The other news is I finally was able to see 3 galleries in Barcelona today. I have been so busy with shopping and class events that I havent gotten a lot of free time to explore. In Albany my home town the art work is pretty poor. I don’t see a lot of interesting work and mostly hack paintings and ink jet photos. But here in Barcelona were numerous photographers who must be so new that I can’t find them on the internet…nada, no websites or at least not yet hopefully I can track down these photographers. It’s refreshing to know that I am in a city where there a new photographers creating high-definition work and not cliché buying details like dogs and horses. A gallery attendant I spoke told me her experience in art in Arizona would have been native american chickens and horses all the time for a living. Similarly I tell my compatriot John Gill he should just draw horses in Saratoga and sell them at the track.

Stuff like that isn’t art because it doesn’t go anywhere only into peoples homes and makes no new societal ideas. Only the same dullness is reciprocated. But the paintings in Barcelona still seemed stale.

The artist I saw today were…

Amadeo Berges

M Barcelo…Great bull fighting mono prints

Pavel Amilcar

German Peraire

Julien Mokrani

Posted in Artist, Photography, Video with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by michaelchernoff

On Vimeo on found a video Called Beauty Reel it was crafted by a music video director named Julien Mokrani. I don’t know much about him (I’m pretty certain it’s an him). I can’t tell what his videos on the site are supposed to be about. It’s really mostly pretty thin women and a music video for a metal band which I didn’t care for the video or song. Since I haven’t seen much of his video work I have mixed feelings about what his work represents and if it holds my attention as art.

However his portraiture within photos are amazing. There is a sense of unaltered beauty in the images that doesn’t need nudity or provocative gestures. The bodies in the photos seem to effortlessly shine and the lighting and size of the photos dramatizes them to a new high. Both color and black and white are treated with same light and drawn out glamour of real stress and thinking positions. If that made any sense it’s that poses appear genuine and hide a formula of positioning models for media. Julien is a master of getting his models to pose without forcing gazes or pushed out bodies. Still the ideal prettiness is retained in his photos that resemble fashion and glam photos.

Julien seems to be relatively new creator so I hope he puts more video work up on the internet and that his photography will continue to grow along side it.

What Have I been Missing?

Posted in Photography with tags , , on March 10, 2010 by michaelchernoff

I’ve been a novice with my DSLR…maybe all my photography. Maybe all my good photos were flukes and I mistakenly took good ones. I hardly used to notice what f-stop I was at I just stared at light meters. I hardly knew any of the modes in my D40 until this past month. At first I was depressed by these facts. Lately I haven’t known what to shoot and the things I did were mostly unimpressive. Then I got pissed.

But now that I’ve mastered these modes I took snaps of my television with Nip Tuck on and the feed back and interlace are amazing to look at in BW and color. In one instance I’ve discovered a new features of a camera and a new subject…tv screens a favorite of mine. Now photos will the clarity I want. TV screens should be given thanks to Peer Bode…I took some shots of his video at a show. I don’t mind if the pictures get swiped on the web.

Gary Wickbold

Posted in Artist, Photography with tags , , , on March 2, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Gary Wickbold’s use of paint and photo is AMAZING!!! I found his sexual colors series on sweet station and they definetely invoke a primal urge within in them. He is a brazillian photographer but I don;t know uch ore than that. I don’t think his work gets uch coverage in the US.

Seeing these photos I think I want to something similar some day. All of his photos are great but I picked out y favorites from his site.