Monthly Archive for August, 2011

“the answer is blowin in the wind…”

 

yes, Bob Dylan had it right..answers for life tend not to be empirical but rather instinctive gut level decisions based on the moment and circumstance…we TRY to have rules to follow, methods, reason, and sage advice…any of that really work for you? most likely instinctive decisions  seem to play the largest role for most of us…things seem to either go good or bad based as much on the alignment of the moon and stars as on any reasonable “planning”…there is no doubt that man has always tried to “stack the deck” in favor of good outcomes,  and surely this is a noble effort, but i think we all know that fate, whatever that is, has center stage…whatever actually happens can be justified or vilified by any number of philosophies, religions, political beliefs, and/or coins tossed into the fountain…

those of us who rode out hurricane Irene on the coast of North Carolina indeed did have the feeling that we had cast our fate to the wind…yes, we followed all the rules(well, except the “rule” to evacuate)….boarded up our homes, stocked up with food and water , extra candles and flashlights, and then just waited…and waited..and listened ..and felt….and finally became a part of the power of nature…a spectacular and most beautiful power…a power that was actually only destructive for those who had homes built in the known path of hurricanes..those of us who live here take our chances..this cost some their lives, others their homes…

yet all KNEW the worst could happen…intellectually likely to happen in fact…they just hoped and/or prayed it would not happen…Billy and Sandra Stinson are friends on my street and i suppose now ex-neighbors for they surely will not be allowed by town rules to build another vacation home out over the water where they were..their house was totally destroyed by a fast moving wall of water…last year i  photographed Billy and Sandra in their moments of best family joys  in their home and now also  of greatest despair,  but i will not publish this last moment without their permission on Burn , or  in National Geographic where my assignment is indeed right now the Outer Banks..maybe by next spring when my story is due in NatGeo will i seek to publish, for storms are indeed part of the story…but now my role is friend and neighbor more than journalist….the picture i took for  FB and Twitter of Billy and the destroyed house is not the picture to which i refer…

Michelle Madden Smith, above, lives just a few hundred yards from the Stinsons who lost it all…Michelle, who runs my workshop program and my son Bryan’s partner in life, also rode out the storm, but with a happier fate….here shown in 75mph winds in Nags Head….a joyful moment amongst tragic moments for others and part of a 10 picture series i did publish on FB and soon to be part of a new book….in any case, i have ridden out many hurricanes in my life and IF you are not in a vulnerable position from flooding or wind damage, then it is  truly one of the most dramatic living experiences one can have…so, exhilarating for some, and a tragedy for others….

indeed Mr. Dylan, the answer my friend is blowin in the wind, the answer is blowin in the wind…

Lucia Herrero – Tribes

Lucia Herrero

Tribes

‘Tribes’ is a social analysis, a raw portrait of occidental society.

Groups of families and friends set themselves up by the sea equipped to spend a day in the sun. All this, harmoniously juxtaposed, seems like a poem of customs that reveal with humor, color and tenderness, the profundity of a whole society.

This series represents the human condition in a moment of peaceful holiday, pride, honesty and vulnerability. The objectively limited surrounding offers a complete extract of the essential. The photos are inspired by the studio portraits of ancient tribes who proudly posed in traditional costumes next to their prized possessions. The sky and the sea become the painted backdrop of the studio and the sand seems as if it were sprinkled on the studio floor. The lighting and the theatricality of the groups add an element of fantasy to the portraits of real people in their natural surroundings.

The photos were taken along the Spanish coast and people were asked to participate on the spot: ten minutes for a flashing set up, balancing color, shapes and hierarchies. All that gets dissolved afterwards leaving as the only witness a group portrait, a poetic painting, a human allegory.



Bio

Lucia Herrero (Madrid, 1976) studied Architecture at Polytechnic University Madrid, Photography CEV (Madrid), FOTOGRAM (Amsterdam), IEFC (Barcelona), and Physical Theatre -Jacques Lecoq Tech.

In 2010 Lucia’s work was successful in various photographic competitions: winner at the SFR-Jeunes-Talents which led to exhibit at Rencontres d’Arles; Group ‘Discoveries PhotoEspana ’10’ and among 10 best portfolios in Barcelona Photomeeting and Month of Photography in Bratislava. She has been  finalist in Magnum Expression Awards, Scoop Photo Festival and Honourable Mention at Viewbook. Her work has been exhibited in the Photography Festival of Pingyao (China), SCAN Festival in Tarragona, Lille 3000. In 2011 she’ll exhibit in Fotoseptiembre (MexicoDF), Belfast Photofestival, Montpellier and Toulouse and hall “Manege”, St.Petersburg.


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Lucia Herrero


Manjari Sharma – Darshan

 

Manjari Sharma

Darshan

Historically considered a mechanical device to keep record, photography didn’t even start to find a place in galleries until the 20th century. It’s no surprise then that paintings and sculptures of Hindu deities were the dominant way to experience Indian mythology. As an Indian traditionally raised in Mumbai, despite my extensive exposure to Hindu temples, I had never seen a photograph of a deity created from scratch. Most Hindus have seen the use of painting and sculpture but rarely photography taken to the level of exacting measures with respect to showcasing deities, this is how “Darshan” was born. Darshan is a Sanskrit word that means ‘sight,’ ‘view’ or ‘vision’. My project Darshan aims to photographically recreate 9 classical images of gods and goddesses pivotal to mythological stories in Hinduism.

I grew up in a Hindu home to parents who were quite spiritual. I visited countless temples, shrines, and discourses as frequently as my parents wanted. These discourses circled around attempts to unravel the mysteries locked in chapters of mythological enigma and tales of deities, reincarnations and astrology. The roots of Hindu mythology run deep; my own experiences as a child ranged from being fascinated and enlightened to lost and still seeking. I moved from India to the United States in order to pursue an undergraduate study in Fine Art Photography. The frequency with which I visited Hindu temples in what felt like my previous life, gradually got replaced with visits to art galleries, museums and studios, where creativity in all mediums of expression was revered and placed on a pedestal to honor. The museum in my life had now became the temple. As I dug deeper, I saw a lot of parallels between the museum and the temple. As devotees, as students, as artists we frequently visit what we regard our own temples of worship. We take our aspirations and desires to these places. We hope that a piece of art or a symbol of God will speak and send us a message.

This communication inspires us and helps show us our path in life. Sometimes our expectation filled visit disappoints us, but ultimately it’s our faith that keeps us going. While making the first image I discovered that what this project bridges for me, is that be it photography or spirituality, both need practice, faith and devotion.

Aside from stretching the boundaries of photography as a medium, Darshan showcases the ability of a photograph to evoke a spiritual response. This project also highlights and culturally preserves the heritage and artifacts from one of the oldest religions in the world. The nine deities that will be photographed are are Maa Laxmi and Lord Vishnu, Maa Durga and Lord Shiva, Maa Saraswati Lord Brahma, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and Maa Kali.

The first image created as a proof of concept is Maa Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune. The creation of these photographic icons requires the most laborious and detail oriented study. It involves a 14 person crew that includes set & prop builders, makeup artists, art directors, painters, carpenters, jewelry experts and assistants. September 2011 will be spent in Mumbai creating four more images in the series. I encourage you to look at the link below to view a three minute video showing you the making of my first image.

Related links:

www.manjarisharma.com

Brian Shumway – True Men

Brian Shumway

True Men

ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

Gender can be a perplexing thing. Despite being flexible and malleable, it defines and confines who we are and how we express ourselves, especially through behavior and dress. Men in particular are bound by the dictates of gender. To be a “real man”, being manly and masculine (or at the very least not outwardly effeminate) are tantamount. Expression of one’s manhood, especially in public, must remain within a narrow range of acceptable social norms. Little boys are conditioned as such from birth, almost as a universal absolute. But this ignores the full story of male identity. There is a large spectrum of male experience that is deemed off limits by popular society. The men in this portrait series fall outside traditional notions of manliness and masculinity. They possess an effeminate manner, dress, or look, a “girlishness” that is as much a part of being male as weightlifting and football. They boldly embrace expressions of male identity which flaunt the confines of conventional conceptions of manhood and what it means to be a man.

Thus far, True Men has only been photographed in New York City, and has not been published. If i can secure some funding, I will be broadening the project’s scope and reach. To be more inclusive and provide a wider perspective on this fascinating area of male identity, I’d like to photograph men in other regions of the United States from many racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. The idea is to show the universality of this hidden side of male experience. I hope to deepen the viewers’ understanding of manhood and to remind men who may identify with those photographed in this project that they too are true men.



Bio

Brian is a Brooklyn based photographer whose work blurs the line between portraiture, documentary and fine art photography. He has worked for Reader’s Digest, Smart Money, People Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, XXL, TV Guide and other publications. His work has appeared in American Photography, Communication Arts, Shots Magazine and the Photo Review. His controversial essay Black Girl was published on Burn Magazine in 2010


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Brian Shumway


Victor Cobo – Behind the Smoke Colored Curtain

Victor Cobo

Behind the Smoke Colored Curtain

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The images that I collect are often as much about myself as they are about the subjects being photographed.  A broad exploration of real and imagined journeys, which often entail not only a physical displacement but also a psychological and emotional passage.

The act of seeking out characters of interest has become a therapeutic process by means of escapism, yet it is also an addiction whereby I can express who I am and delve into my current state of mind.  A deeper representation of my relationship to this vast world we live in.

I am both an actor and choreographer in my photographic diaries and similarly to the subjects I work with, I live on the fringes of society between dreams and memories. For me, the search for my subjects makes me realize they are my reflections and my companions, each one a Dante within a personal inferno. They are the renegades, outsiders and survivors.  In the end, their trials represent all of us and define these moments of solitude that we all experience in our lives.

 

 

Bio

Victor Cobo (b. 1971) is a Spanish American photographer based in New York City. His works explore our evolving isolation through memory, dreams, sexuality and the translucency of the psyche. Cobo is a self-taught photographer who was originally trained in painting and life-drawing.  His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine; Newsweek; Time; Surface; the San Francisco Chronicle; Ojo De Pez; Burn Magazine; Leica World; Courrier Int’l.; The Advocate; Private; Foto8; American Suburb X; Idomenee and Eyemazing.  In 2007 he was the winner of the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship. Cobo’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Akron Art Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive and the Amon Carter Museum, as well as numerous private collections.

 

Related links

www.victorcobo.com

 

Chloe Borkett – East of Nowhere

Chloe Borkett

East of Nowhere

The frozen conflict zone and ex-Soviet enclave of Trans-Dniester, is a narrow slither of land located along the Eastern Moldovan border – a disputed sovereignty, which for 20 years has been de facto governed but also unrecognized by the UN. This came about in the Soviet Union’s dying days as alarm grew in the Dniester region over growing Moldovan nationalism and the possible reunification of Moldova with Romania. A 1989 law, which made Moldovan an official language added to the tension, and Trans-Dniester proclaimed its secession in September 1990.

So what does it mean to grow up in a country that doesn’t exist? So called independence, was seen by many as a triumph that should have secured a better future, but the PMR government has only made time stand still in this little known region, where its people are subjected to living a poverty stricken, isolated and somewhat entrapped existence. Preserving a deeply Soviet hyper-reality, Lenin continues to stand proud on every town square.



Political allegiance to Russia is safely guarded seemingly at a cost to its people as the day-to-day reality of maintaining such cultural and political heritage becomes the complete opposite of preservation. Compared to the west we are spoiled by choice, so what western teenager could imagine living in a landscape absent of entertainment, modern facilities or endless consumer possibilities? Where parental presence is limited, and travel or escape is economically and politically restricted.

To date there has only been a modest response made of the territory. Carrying out an on-going exploration pieces together fragments of history and politics to create a contemporary portrait of the new generation to become a fresh contribution to an under-documented region. Interior spaces and landscapes echo psychological states and social concerns, whilst a non-linear narrative leaves individual stories open to interpretation.



Bio

Chloe Borkett was born in southeast London and has been based in a number of cities around the UK and overseas. After graduating from LCC, she embarked on a 5-year career in the music industry, specializing in online marketing. In early 2003, Chloe retrained as a teacher and moved to Thailand for a period of 3 years.

During her time in Thailand, Chloe had the opportunity to work on various charitable projects. It was here where Chloe began to take photography seriously, cementing her decision to return to the UK to study concerned photography where she is soon to graduate with a degree in documentary photography from the renowned course at Newport School of Art.

With the reoccurring theme of isolation present within all Chloe’s work, subject interests have centered on social issues concerning minority groups and the young, as well as the exploration of underground or alternative cultures.


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Chloe Borkett


Emile Germiquet – Visions of Diepsloot

Emilie Germiquet

Visions of Diepsloot

ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT

More than 150 000 people live there; 150 000 people under the shadow of sickness, cold, violence, hunger, unemployment, survival.

Diepsloot, 30km North of Johannesburg, is a mass of shacks, dirt and people. Consisting of both formal and informal housing, it started in the mid 1990’s as a transitional resettlement area. While the relocation to the site was at first planned, it increasingly became a dumping ground for housing problems in the region. Most of these people were forcefully removed without due process and barely any warning. The recent waves of immigrants, many of them illegal, have added further complexity to the already difficult situation.



Inside Diepsloot, people are generous, most are poor, some are cruel, others kind, some use drugs, others alcohol and still many don’t touch either. Some go to church, others don’t believe in God, many don’t care much either way. Some people commit crimes, all are victims. Ordinary folks don’t go outdoors after nightfall and if they must, they hurry, worried they will fall prey to the lurking shadows. Some areas are too dangerous to venture into, even during the day.

Sickness is rife and death is common, but that doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

Streets run with the overflow from blocked toilet pipes and dirty wash water.

Ethnic tension, like a current running beneath the skin, is always present, ready.

Work is hard to find.

Money is scarce; food, paraffin, clothes are all expensive.

Diepsloot means “deep ditch” in Afrikaans, a ditch from which it is difficult to egress.



Bio

Born in South Africa in 1981 to a white family, I grew up in the suburbs of Pretoria and witnessed from the distance of a child the last years of apartheid and the early years of the New South Africa; with all the hopes and fears that accompanied the change.
At the age of 17, I left a changing SA for France where I accomplished my tertiary education. In 2009, after having decided to pursue photography, I returned to SA in order to better understand the profound changes that have occurred over the past years. In 2010, I went to Diepsloot to investigate the reality of a large sub-population of the country; the neglected people of the Diepsloot.


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Emile Germiquet

COMIC BOOK. A new reality show…with david alan harvey and friends

 

 

 

 

I have a very playful side. Some get this side confused with my so called “serious side”.  Often the two blend.  Surely my intent. So, right smack in the middle of Burn 02 production and also when I am focusing on two major projects, RIO and FAMILY DRIVE, I come up with this idea now called COMIC BOOK,  which spun spontaneously yesterday out of nowhere while I was playing with the Instagram bit.  The beauty of COMIC BOOK is that I can do it while doing other things.

These are to be three picture fiction sequences based on real life.  Or, are they even really fiction? You can decide. Just like the way I always saw the comics in the paper as a kid, and smiling as an “adult” as well. Anyway, fun and I keep trying to think of legit creative ways to use Twitter and Facebook, which is where these sequences will appear first. The “reality show”  is now being built by introducing the characters.  Two characters have been introduced so far on the FB/Twitter platform, and I will have up to ten interacting characters. These “stories” will evolve over time and are intended totally as a retro spoof on the so called “picture story”. But who knows where this goes?

Well, for one thing I hope it will spawn some ideas for you. I really want you to start thinking in terms of packages of pictures, sound, music, or whatever media you like and wrap it all into little units we can plug right here into Burn. Just as I have here. Yes, this is mine , but I am waiting for yours. The sky is the limit. No restrictions, just come up with a totally fun or totally serious concept. We will play you right here if provocative enough.You must produce the entire idea and package it for use. We can help of course, but the point is independent production by you. Yes, we already do this to some extent, but we want to max out this idea. So my “play” is just to get things rolling.

There is one thing I really need for you to do right now. We are late for this idea for Burn 02, but I think we can still make the deadline. Anyway, let’s try. Go NOW and take a self portrait using a window, any window,  to frame you. No more instructions. Just you in a window as a self portrait. We need 100 of you to do this for it to work as a spread in BURN 02 which we are scrambling to have in print and a debut at Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France by the end of the month.

Just drop this picture into Submissions right here and mark it Self Portrait. If we can collectively make this happen cool, if not BURN 02 will rock it no matter what. If you do this, it must literally be done in the next few days. Should be fun and the designer of 02 has an interesting concept for these pictures. A surprise for you of course.

Hey, its summertime. Time to do things just for fun. Of course if you do anything you enjoy, it might just be taken seriously. I think the point is, and I try to get my students to open their minds way way way up, is that everything you do should be some sort of self portrait. Not literally, but figuratively. A point of reference to who you are, not who you are supposed to be. Photography can be used in so many ways. I never cease to be amazed by the possibilities. Wishing you feel the same. Show me.

-dah-