Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Robert Benson reviews Laura Noel

Laura noel is a photographer from Atlanta Georgia where most of her works on her website fall into the category of elegantly simplistic. The color of her images are all natural true to life colors that give her imagery a personal feel like snap shots from her life. Also the themes for her different works are things that most people can appreciate and have enough involvement with that they can have an opinion on the subject as well as the aesthetic qualities of her work.

Smoke Break - Whitney Behind her job

I personally enjoy her smoker series the best out of what I have seen on her website. The way the person smoking looks unconcerned with the bad stigma that surrounds the act of smoking yet there surroundings are places that make it look like they are ashamed about smoking and they do it regardless.
All's Fair - Flood Lights
All's Fair - March Rains

I also appreciate the idea behind her All’s Fair series however the girly and slightly disengaged subject matter throws me off. In Noels artist statement about this body of work she says “for her photography is like trying to catch the world in a flimsy net.” I think that it would be better executed if the images didn’t look staged and were more visually interesting like taking pictures without the use of sight. Perhaps the only image that I feel does justice to this title is her image Flood Lights and possible March Rains because I don’t feel like they are staged and the composition keeps your eyes moving and on the image.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ruth Olivares submits Dan Saelinger

    Award winning Dan Saelinger creates photography that incorporates sculpture, object and instillation. His work stretches the idea of photography into fine art. A graduate from Savannah College of Fine Art and Design lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his family and may explain why his photos have a domestic flair to them.

Although I was unable to find the name of this photo, I can't help but want to call it
"CONTRAPTIONS To Be TRAPPED In." Hamsters on a wheel, Lemons falling in a basket, a woman being girted up..ouch! All these combinations of gadgets found in your kitchen and in your closet make me think of how captured and imprisoned we really are. I believe that Dan is trying to create a flow with the placement of the objects but I'm not feeling it. It does have one in an oblong circular motion that runs form left to right but it's so cluttered that I am distracted.

These antlers form a space breaking image. I'm more drawn to the negative space actually. Its organic subject has great values to construct a rich subject matter. Balance is achieved as well as texture and unity. I find that aesthetically the black negative space is quite beautiful to explore between the antlers violent points.

So,water and electricity don't mix. This creates a bit of tension but I have to say that the actual motion of the image is what grabs me the most. I'm pleased to see the water and how it reaches out to the top and right to left but what brings my eye back is the larger piece of flying glass on the upper left.  Conceptually it works and being a black and white photo, it creates great ranges in value which then activates the entire subject matter. I don't believe the photo would be as powerful if it had been shot in black and white. The space is broken up dynamically.  Again, Saelinger chooses something dimestic as a light bulb but shatters it with an explosion of water! Nice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ruth Olivares Reviews Shane Lavalette

Shane Lavalette, a New York photographer, who is the the founding Publisher and Editor of Lay Flat and is the Associate director for  Light Work magazine creates his body of work and calls it Northeast. Although he includes other
bodies of work on his site 
I found Northeast to be the most interesting for reasons unknown. I believe I'm amazed how he can find interest and beauty in some what mundane subjects and others not so ordinary. For instance, this image of a young boy sitting on a parking lot space reading a book. Does the image behind him imply what he maybe thinking or what he is envisioning in him minds eye from the story he is so captivated by. I would not have caught this vision for myself to photograph only because I probably would have noticed only the mural and wished the boy would get out of the way, but no, Lavalette composes the two almost as a performance piece being documented secretly. 
There are so many angles the viewer can choose to be swept in by. We can first notice the angle of perspective that the concrete line behind the boy draws us into and then there is the white line showcasing the boy, almost like a small runway leading our eye up and through his clothing. Then there is the competing BLUE wave that washes over the entire background. So clearly the space is divided into only 2 spaces. But it is done so in a simple manner.

How many times have I spotted an nice tree, thought about photographing it only to stop myself because it's just too cliche'! I would have seen the positive space but here in this photograph Lavalette  chooses to see the negative space that forms an almost snowflake winter shape juxtaposed spring, rich, green leaves.  This is what I mean about simple everyday things made beautiful. He creates balance equally between the blue sky and the green leaves and these organic elements hold different ranges of values in their colors. 

Okay, so this is what I mean by mundane and almost depressing. such a tipical scene. Although it's a bit comical I can't help but notice the words on the ballon..CHEER UP! 
Enough said about the depressing subject matter. Lets notice that the main focus of our image is the child who seems to be haloed by the water spot behind him that tends to wash him out a little but yet still making him the main subject matter. Color composition with the green, brown and blues work well together and yet set off by the slight dash of red on the white bucket and the other small toy next to the high chair. Is there impact to the scene? Only in the fact that I don't feel it's interesting makes me wonder why choose this to photograph.I'm not interested in balance, line or movement here. I just hate the image!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Joseph Tidline Reviews Tim Barber

Tim Barber is a photographer, curator, and publisher. He runs a an online gallery and image archive, which he founded in 2005. He photographs mainly fashion and portraits, but he also has a very large collection of personal photos that he recently has been exhibiting around the country. These untitled photos cover a variety of topics and tend to lean towards the documentary style.

A lot of his work is intimate. Even with fashion photography, he appears close to the models both physically and emotionally. I particularly like his use of color, a demure color palette loaded with grays, greens, and blues. 

Here Barber combines place, subject, and color create a tone that feels heavy. Where the light touches less on objects, pictures glows like a light bulb within the images. Another technique Barber likes to employ is creating a massive landscape plopping a person in it (albeit not a dead person). I do think these images are probably his strongest technically but not all that interesting to me. I prefer those odd moments and people that he meets and photographs. Seeing what Barber has to say about them through their framing and composition feels more like an opinion and less like, "Oh that's pretty." 

Another great thing about Barber is that he is constantly promoting other artists' work, which is important for creating vibrant and contemporary art communities in any area. I think as students we should always try to collaborate on projects and get in contact with the greater San Antonio area. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chad Davis Reviews Paul Biddle


         Paul Biddle is at heart a conceptual photographer and surrealist. In his artist statement he says that he bases his images around objects found and juxtaposed in a way to create a composition that comes to life in light. He creates pockets of mystery such as in “The Cabinets of Curiosities” and otherworldly landscapes in “The Archipelago of Fantasy Islands”. But one thing holds true throughout each of his presented exhibitions and portfolio work and that is to share with others the way he views objects and the impact they might have on an individual.              
“The Archipelago of Fantasy Islands” is the specific portfolio I will review. All of the images in this set are heavily edited through the use of photoshop to bring about a place that could not possibly exist in reality. They are islands of ears, hands and noses along with his imaginative inhabitants that live among these places. The source images used are staged sets of these found objects that he often uses in all of his pieces, they provide the viewer with a familiar piece to identify with and then branch off to serve another purpose that is appropriated by the artist, for example, in “Creatures come out to play” a seashell is used as the abdomen of his inhabitants.
        The Isle of No Egrets (left) and Contarini Cauliflower Island (right) are just two examples of these islands which exist to his character Count Muldivo that he made up for his presentation of this set as a book. Each of the images is shot as a monochromatic color scheme, and with frayed edges to stay consistent with the idea that this island was founded by the Count in the past. Along with the islands are the ships of the Fantasy Islands Navy which are objects shaped into a familiar silhouette. This creative use of real objects and an idea that there could still be an unexplored part of the world culminates into something that invites anyone to actually sit with each individual piece in the set and wonder how these places could exist and what mysteries might be there.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ruth Olivares Reviews Bruno Boudjellal

Bruno Boudjellal

Doesn't care if his images are in focus nor does he sometimes care about elements or principle of photography. He takes his images by feeling, he mentions. He mainly focuses on shooting his family and  people of Algeria where Bruno reconnected with his Arab roots. 
I see playful images (right) as aesthetically pleasing. The us of motion, blur of color and subject matter taking up 3//4 of the space all works very well to give the viewer a dream like illusion and it works well for me. However, I can't say that I appreciate too much motion (below right). when am image is too ambiguous, to some it becomes intriguing but to myself it is difficult to look at and gives me a headache! lol! Iguess I'm trying to balance out the image and find some elements to focus on but I have to try too hard and I immediately move on.
Although in the bottom  image, the young child on the scooter is in jsut enough focus to allow me to be at ease with the entire scene of the location. Conceptually I do see myself being drawn in by the rail the young man is leaning on and that quickly makes my eye shift to the light post and up to the top story of the building and back down to the man in the black shirt. I rest again on the child with the scooter. I am fascinated with the drift shown by the affect of the blurred  view and by the movement of the random shot itself.

 The artist shoots mainly in black and white but sometimes in color. I don't think these particular photos would have as much impact in black and white. I'm wondering If I'm the only one that feels that.

Ruth Olivares Reviews Ahmed Jadallaha

Ahmed Jadallaha, photo journalist from Palestine, risks his life daily to capture the truth about war in the Gaza Strip. He has many times over nearly lost his life and has made himself a target causing himself to be barred from local establishments.

I do find the images disturbing but for  personal reasons I am drawn to photo journalism and especially images that shock my senses as these do.  
Camera angels make this image more emotional then had it just been a standard horizontal shot. I get the impression that Jajallaha is engaged in the struggle of the street violence. Was he running, hiding or injured when he captured this snap second in time.
The unpleasant view of the young boy being framed by a bullet shot  windshield comes with great reminders of how I as an individual enjoy my life so much that I often forget the struggles of others.
The perspective of this photo ( one point) allows the subject matter to take main stage for a closer examination of his eyes focusing on, possibly the next round of bullets? His red shirt almost makes him a perfect target for the enemy. This view could very easily imply that it is being seen through the eyes of the gunman himself! The repetitious shape of the  bullet holes allows the space to be broken up so that my eyes is kept traveling from one spot to the next.

The subject is difficult to deal with but I do appreciate the courage photo journalist must have to report to the world whats happening on the other side.

Kathryn Fisher reviews Chrissy Lush

Chrissy Lush is a photographer who is interested in how people construct their reality, more specifically their surroundings, homes, and spaces and how they present themselves to others.
Her photos in homes consist of only two or three prominent colors. These photos are staged images that evoke a sense of emptiness and futility. Even though the rooms are brightly colored, there are only a few objects present in the rooms, which brings about a sense of sadness and emptiness. When looking at these images I do not see these as homes that people have moved away from. Lamps are still plugged into the walls, curtains still hang in the windows. People still exist within these spaces. I interpret these as conceptual/metaphorical representations of mood. These awkward spaces show the strain and anxiousness of their inhibitors. 

The arrangement of objects makes rooms uncomfortable and sometimes unusable. In The View, a bedroom can be seen through a hole that has been punctured into a wall. This image creates a sense of unease because this hole has been created in an otherwise perfect custard colored wall. Why is this hole here? It isn’t because of any kind of construction because nothing in the bedroom has been covered or put away. This is a representation of a mental or emotional state. In Abundance the curtains are too long and take up the entire room. Because of these curtains nothing else can go into this room. 

All of the rooms that Chrissy Lush creates are award in ways such as these. She manages to create a beautiful uneasiness within her images with her use of color and minimal objects in the photos. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Joseph Tidline reviews Ryan McGinley

Ryan McGinley is a photographer who takes "snapshots" of young people having sex and doing drugs, and generally running around nude. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find photos of clothed people in any of this photographer's series. If there is one I like more than nudity and debauchery, that one thing would have be flair, which McGinley has plenty of.

McGinley's latest series, "Animals," consists of McGinley’s color portraits of live animals with nude models. The work errs on the side of grotesque beauty and explores our relationship each of the earth's many creatures. Sometimes the photographs focus on weight and form such as the above. Others, including one of a woman with a porcupine covering her inner thighs explore a more textural approach to the human form. The quills could serve as a metaphor for female nudity and how it is viewed outside the world of galleries and ivory towers.

McGinley's early work was more documentary, exploring the lives of his friends in New York City, a drug induced, hipster affair akin to something one might see in an MGMT music video (only with nudity). He published two books these works: "You and I" and "Whistle For the Wind."

Some criticisms of McGinley definitely ones that we have talked about many times such as the advent of Instagram and it effects on the world of photography. McGinley shoots with digital for his studio shots but typically carries a Leica R8 SLR uses Kodak Portra, yet his work has an Instagram esque quality and the youthful abandon of his subjects also adds to this effect. There are also claims that McGinley's personal life affects the way he shoots men versus women. Larry Clark has also been criticized in this same manner: indulging in the nudity of the youth rather than artistic concept of nude photography. I disagree with some of those criticisms (mostly because I really like their stuff and they are influences on me), but I definitely think that evidence supporting those claims exists. Is that a bad thing? In my opinion, no. 

Next Week's Blog: "Why I think Facebook Photos of Shirtless People in Their Bathrooms Should be Hung in the Guggenheim"

Just kidding. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Robert Benson reviews Julie Cockburn

Julie Cockburn is a contemporary photographer located in London and her works are manipulated found photographs and objects. She takes photographs of portraits or a landscape with little to no worth and re-purposes them into beautiful intricate thought provoking images. Julie has multiple ways of changing the found photograph; such as embroidering painting of cutting them out and reassembling them. The photos I appreciate the most are the ones she cuts and reassembles where the images start to resemble what you would see if the pieces of the photo were put into a kaleidoscope. The kaleidoscope effect gives the image a feel of three-dimensionality and invites the viewer to move throughout the image as if you are seeing not only the image of the person but thoughts of the person in the image.

Other photos I think are notable by Julie are the ones where she embroiders or draws tattoos onto the portraits of women’s faces and body’s. The tattoos like the kaleidoscope photos add an extra dimension to the images as well as add new meaning by the choice she made in the type of tattoos she put on the subject. I really enjoy her works because she takes portraits from the 50s where they already have classic beauty and carefully and thoughtfully recreates them into beautiful piece of art.
Julie Cockburn’s educational background includes Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design 1993-1996 and Chelsea School of Art 1992-1993 and has had many solo and group exhibitions in the USA and London.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kathryn Fisher reviews Mandy Cano Villalobos

Mandy Cano Villalobos is an installation artist whose work focuses on personal memory. Her early works are deeply personal and intimate, dealing with belongings of her family members and her. An early work, Undone (2006) is a wooden cabinet filled with balls of thread and yarn. Each ball of fabric is a piece of unraveled clothing that she has reassembled into balls of yarn. Each is labeled – “Big Daddy’s favorite sweater,” “Tim’s gloves,” “The sweater nobody wanted to wear anymore.” The original forms and functions of these objects exist only as memories or imagined memories for the viewer.

Analog: Private Life (2008) consists of tapes, tape recorders, earphones, and carrying cases. Each tape is a recording of banal moments of life, such as showering, eating and checking email. These tapes are then meticulously labeled and categorized.

Family Meals (2005-2006) consist of food extracts sheathed between plexi-glass. This work is a wonderful illustration of change, the passage of time, and desire to remember. While these foods are saved as an artifact for remembrance of family and community, the samples of food continue to mold and congeal. A wonderful illustration of the idea that items, these memories, still exist but that our memories can become confused and blurred and disintegrate, despite our efforts and desires to hold onto those intangible moments in our lives.

Her more current works have become more geared to social and political commentary, and the work deals with the memory and identity of specific individuals. Voces (“Voices”) (2008-present) is in mourning and protest of the femicide in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Mandy Cano Villalobos sits to the side of the gallery, embroidering the names of individual murder victims into white blouses, starting with the first documented victims in 1993.

Her most current work, Identity/Identification, is a gridded quilt of Rol Unico Nacional (RUN) Numbers assigned to Chilean residents by the government. When the quilt is finished it will have 27,153 RUNs of political prisoners who were tortured, disappeared or executed under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinoched (1973-1990). Each RUN is hand sewn with human hair onto white fabric.

Throughout her works Mandy Cano Villalobos deals with the concept of memory and identity through mementos. Her early works are of a more personal and familial nature that allows the viewers to image her memories and her family, to develop their own narrative. While her later works confront viewers with the memories of missing and murdered people. These works make the viewer question the state of their government, community, and themselves.