The Last Days Of the Arctic - Ragnar Axelsson.

For some, we are actually, literally, living in the last days. The ice is melting. Some people actually depend on this environment in a direct way, rather than seeing it as some abstract 'somewhere else'. By the time the problems of the disappearing ice caps reach the rest of us, it will be too late. Way too late.

Check this out. These photographs may well become an important historical document of a time lost before you know it.

LAST DAYS OF THE ARCTIC, photographs by "RAX" Ragnar Axelsson, documents the vanishing Inuit hunting culture in Greenland and Baffin Island, Canada, caused by global warming, environmental, and cultural changes.

Post-production by Brooks Walker-Borealis Works.

My broken world; Francesca Cao & Michela Palermo

I recently mentioned an exhibition in Italy which included work Francesca Cao and Michela Palermo. Francesca has kindly provided me with an english translation of the accompanying text and a few images featured in the exhibition taken by herself and Michela. Good stuff. check it out.

My broken world
An emotional panorama of Irpinia thirty years after the earthquake
By Francesca Cao and Michela Palermo
curated by Irene Alison

It was 7.34 p.m. of November 23, 1980, when the earth shook for 90 seconds in Irpinia, Basilicata and Alto Sele districts of Campania Region in Italy. Seismic waves snuffed out the life of some three thousand human beings, tore down the houses of 280 thousand people, changed the geography of the land, and created in the aftermath expectations that were swiftly deluded.

My Broken World is a novel told through images of a shuttered world. About a land that was shaken by deep quakes and chasms that haven’t been bridged. Of the suspended lives of those who have been trapped in a deaf-dumb world. It is the disassembled world of Michela Palermo, photographer, aged 30, who was born in Bagnoli Irpino in the year of the earthquake, and came back to striken zones to document the change. It is the collapsed world of Ernestina, 66 years old, upon whom Francesca Cao stuck her lens, testifying the suspended life of a woman who has been living in an asbestos temporary house since 1985, caught in an eternal waiting for a house that was promised but never came. With two different registers, one dreamier and more evocative, the other more descriptive, the two photographers are telling the same story: Michela Palermo portrays the places where the earthquake tore down everything, the scratched territory and the strange fruits of reconstruction, all the while documenting her personal world, the hurting disenchantment of one who comes from a place where injustice doesn’t disconcert or makes one indignant any more. Francesca Cao records the life of Ernestina giving voice to a fight for dignity that united many people of this grieving land.

My broken world
An emotional panorama of Irpinia thirty years after the earthquake
By Francesca Cao and Michela Palermo
February 11/ March 5, 2011
OpenMind Gallery, Milan (Italy)

Monday 15:30 - 19:00; Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 - 13:00 / 15:30 - 19:00

Here And There

Yasutaka Kojima, a talented photographer and friend has work on display in New York at the hpgrp gallery for the next month. The opening reception is tonight, if you are in the area.

Here's the info from the gallery website:

here and there

by three japanese contemporary photographers
February 17 – March 12, 2011
Opening Reception: February 17 2011, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Photography is a device that absorbs the various appearances of the world as light in a dark box of camera and then restores it to the world again. The trace of the light from the actual world is enclosed in the dark box. They are transformed by the artist's intentions and represented to us as another realities. The images of the altered world inevitably project the past that is similar to an old memory. Thus the photography doesn't have a sense of "Now" that the viewers can share in the duration of the work itself like movie does.

In Motohiro Takeda's 'River' series, the images are continuingly emerging and submerging from the surface of the prints as if they are a fading memory. The photographs of the lost one and the empty house suggest the time of a family life that runs over the generations from long time ago.

Yasutaka Kojima's 'Tokyo' is a documentation of the city in the period of time where our identity and subjectivity has been lost in the urban environment. The city has lost traditional meaning of the perspective structure and collapsed and expanded itself beyond men's intention.

In 'Figure', Yu Kanbayashi photographed the imprints of the cut marks on the ice skate link. The way he perceives the very surface of the subject displays a trace of time that is always passing seamlessly towards evanescence.

Although these three works seem to be very different in terms of the subject matters and the creative processes, each photographer explores the horizon of the medium and its possibility to express their visions of the world that is reconstructed in their own artistic contexts. These photographs in this exhibition manifest the new gaze towards the world, the photographs that are foreseers of the memories that we have not yet seen.

Motohiro TAKEDA

"River" is a photographic series taken at my grandparent's family house on the countryside, in Japan, which has been produced as a personal funeral for my late grandfather who past away three years ago. The images are recollection of my own childhood at the house. They have been printed very dark to allude to the way our memory works. When we try to recall something, we try to examine and investigate the fog of our unconsciousness and consciousness. The darkness of my prints is to represent the deep chaos of our minds, the place where our memories are preserved. I had given the work title "River", because in Japan the river is a metaphor for the split between life and death, and also the flow of time, which never stops and runs beyond our life.

Motohiro Takeda
Moving to New York City when he was twenty-one years old, Motohiro Takeda received a BFA on photography from Parsons the New School for Design in 2008. Motohiro was awarded the Tierney Fellowship Grant in 2008, and his work has been exhibited in various venues in New York, including the New York Photo Festival in Brooklyn. He was a selected photographer for Photo España Descubrimientos PHE 2010 and his work is currently a part of the exhibition traveling throughout Spain. He is one of the four recipients of the darkroom residency program in Camera Club New York in 2011

Yasutaka KOJIMA

have been recording cityscape of Tokyo since 2008. The city gives me a sense of evanescence. All the cities are formed by man's lust and the depth of it decides the size of the cities. Every single thing existing in the cities is consisted by man intentionally. The cities transforms themselves every moment like the nature does. I see the future of the cities in the boundary of cities and the nature. I want to record it by photography before it disappears.

Yasutaka Kojima
A New York based Photographer born in Tokyo, Japan. Has been awarded the Japanese Government's fellowship for artists. His works are permanent collection to Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art, Japan. He was selected for one of the Juna 21 photographers by Nikon in Japan. Exhibited in New York and Tokyo.


This photograph symbolizes the landscape of time through ice itself and scratches on the ice.
What is time? Can we see time? We conceptualize time both subjectively and objectively. My work is an attempt to capture time as represented both in the ice and scratches on its surface. Ice includes time, because water freezes with time.
At the same time, Ice skate rink is like photography – frozen in frames. Photographs show both the present and the past. Scratches on ice also do. We always see the past as the present, the present as the past. We are in-between time.
In this work, the ice themselves and the scratches on ice embody our concept of time. The image presented is landscape of time.

Yu Kanbayashi
Yu Kanbayasshi received a BFA of ART from Tama Art University (Tokyo,Japan) in 2002. His works were selected and exhibited as fine works by Canon New Cosmos of Photography 2003 (Canon & Tokyo Photo Museum ,Japan), by TPCC PRIZE 2003 (Tokyo Photo Culture Center,Japan), and by Tokyo Wander Wall 2009 (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,Japan).
Yu worked for Tama Art University as a Research Associate from 2007 to 2010. He curated the exhibitions [Photo of our TIME] 2009 and [126 Polaroid] 2010, and he also edited books of those exhibitions.
October 2010, he moved to New York City as an awarded artist of the Japanese Government's fellowship.

The World Press Photo Awards and Ed Kashi's The Leaves Keep Falling

With all the fuss the winner of this year's World Press Photo has caused (well, to be fair, it is the use of that photo alongside a controversial headline by Time magazine that is the problem) it is often difficult to remember that the competition often rewards some other worthy work.

One such winner for me this year was Ed Kashi with his photo of 9 year old Nguyen Thi Ly who suffers from Agent Orange disabilities in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Ed Kashi, USA, VII Photo Agency.
Nguyen Thi Ly, 9, suffers from Agent Orange disabilities, Da Nang, Vietnam

If you head over to VII's website, you can view The Leaves Keep Falling - a video piece on the same story - which I watched the other day on a commute and had me tearing up to hear the simple tale of normal people having to cope with the barbaric effects of chemical warfare perpetrated long before they were born.

The agent orange story is not a new one, with Philip Jones Griffiths famously making it part of his lifelong commitment to reporting in Vietnam but as the generations affected in Vietnam prove, it is a story that will not go away. As I have said to colleagues and students alike, just because a story has been told once, doesn't mean it can't be told again.

With the debates surrounding the current war in Afghanistan, and the sensational winner of this year's world press competition, we would do well to take a step back and remember the long term affects of our actions and to think carefully about the consequences of what we do.

I believe this is incredibly important. I wanted to work as a documentarian and a journalist precisely because I had my eyes opened to a wider world through the work of others and I wished not only to explore more for myself, but to share that, and share it responsibly. I am a long way from being where I want to be in regards to this, but I'm in it for the long haul, not for this season's awards.

If it were up to me, out of all the World Press category winners, I would have awarded Ed's work the top prize in this year's competition. Not only for his incredible photography, but for the context in which it resides.

I headed over to Fred Ritchin's After Photography blog for the first time in a while and as always I enjoyed reading his concise and eloquent posts about photography and media.

Here's an example from his 'End of Year Thoughts' for 2010:

3. Photography of news continues to evolve into a photography better done by amateurs than professionals, given that there are many more amateurs with cameras walking around at all times. The stylized imagery by professionals repeating the stereotypical news cliches is not helpful as a way of promoting understanding. The province of the professional in a journalistic context is very much the long-term essay, and many are working both in the old-fashioned and very necessary role of witness and others are trying to re-invent it to add complexity, nuance, and engage the reader in different ways. What is needed more than ever are thoughtful editors/curators who can help make sense of the visual overload.

I agree - more than ever we photographers need those thoughtful editors and curators...

ONWARD ’11 at Project Basho In Philadelphia

If you're in or around Philadelphia Saturday afternoon (today - sorry for the late notice!) then check out the opening reception of ONWARD '11. I happen to know two of the exhibiting photographers personally so if you do drop down say hello to Lucy Helton and Adrienne Grunwald and wish them luck as two of the exhibitors will today be selected for "a two-person exhibition at Project Basho, a sponsored invitation from Ricoh’s photo gallery, RING CUBE, to attend the opening of the ONWARD exhibition in Tokyo in May, cameras from Ricoh, as well as other prizes from ONWARD sponsors."

Good luck ladies.

Photograph by Lucy Helton from the project "Where I was conceived".

Photograph by Adrienne Grunwald form the project "Parc Chateau".

A 'hopeless pandemic' in photography

I won't reproduce them here, as the whole article is worth reading to get to this point, but the last three paragraphs of this interview with Albert Chong over on Dodge & Burn are provocative and in the most part true. Since I attended art school in the nineties I have been horrified by the amount of bad art that is lauded and hailed as the product of some kind of untouchable indisputable genius. Critics and artists alike who don't understand the philosophy they're peddling and arbiters of taste who are more interested in art as an investment than as a cultural contribution.

By the way, the appreciation of art being largely a subjective matter, I reserve the right to decide for myself what constitutes bad art. And I read my art theory so I know what I'm taking about. So there.

Chicks with Guns

Anyone remember that clip in Jackie Brown where Samuel L is watching Chicks with Guns and talking about AK's - you know, when you 'absolutely positively got to kill every last...."

Well. You know how it goes

Excellent stuff from Tarantino.

Anyway, meet 'Frida'.

War Porn?

(Thanks @benlowry..)

By the way. I love my Tek 9....

My broken world – Francesca Cao & Michela Palermo

This photography exhibit in Milan, Italy includes work by Francesca Cao alongside Michela Palermo. If you are in the area, please check it out. They are both talented photographers.

Galleria OpenMind– Via Dante, 12 – 20121 Milano (Italy)
La mostra è aperta dall’11 febbraio al 5 marzo 2011
Lunedi 15:30 – 19:00; da Martedi a Sabato 10:00 – 13:00 / 15:30 – 19:00
Ingresso libero