News Recap: April 24, 2015

Weekly recap of art world news. 

Antiques Roadshow talks with Andrew about his Edward Weston prints.

Antiques Roadshow talks with Andrew about his Edward Weston prints.

Antiques Roadshow Values Edward Weston Prints at $260,000
Antiques Roadshow, the TV show that travels the country appraising junk and/or treasure recently valued a set of four Edward Weston prints at $260,000. The owner, Andrew, was thrilled with the unexpected result. The prints had been in his family for decades and he had never had them examined.
Read the full story (Peta Pixel)

Court Rules in Favor of Photographer Who Secretly Photographed His Neighbors
In 2013 photographer Arne Svenson was sued by his NYC neighbors when they realized that he had been photographing them inside their homes for his fine art series The Neighbors. A New York State court judge dismissed the claim in 2013 citing the photographer was protected under the First Amendment, and last week the judge’s ruling was upheld by the court of appeals. 
Read the full story (Hyperallergic)

Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Photographer Faces Allegations of Inappropriately Photographing Students
Former instructor and photographer Bruce Monk was let go after the ballet school discovered he was under investigation for inappropriate photographs of students in various states of undress. According to authorities, multiple victims were involved.
Read the full story (CBC News)

Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced
The Pulitzer Prize is awarded in 21 categories each year and is considered the highest award in journalism. This year's winners include New York Times photographer Daniel Berehulak's coverage of the Ebola crisis and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch photography staff's photographs of the reaction to Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri. 
Read the full story (CBS News)

Seeking Contemporary Photography at AIPAD 2015

In its 35th year, The AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers) Show in New York continues to be one of the world’s most anticipated photography events. Running from Wednesday to Sunday last week, this year’s show featured over 90 galleries and dealers displaying work ranging from early daguerreotypes to contemporary digital prints and new media. While New York galleries occupied the majority of the booths, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and other parts of the United States were also well represented.

The majority of booths exhibited vintage works, spanning the iconic to the vernacular. While it is both thrilling and humbling to see the prints of master photographers such as Edward Weston, Diane Arbus, André Kertész in person, I was most inspired by new names and images. Presenting all of the fantastic work on view would be a herculean task, so here are five contemporary photographers whose work has been swirling around in my mind since the fair.

Reenie Barrow at Robert Burge

Reenie Barrow at Robert Burge

Reenie Barrow

Robert Burge introduced me to Rhode Island-based photographer Reenie Barrow, whose 2015 series of Easter Island stopped me in my tracks. Imposing in their stature and in their simplicity, the photographs exist somewhere between traditional landscape, portraiture, and National Geographic travelogue. Printed on off-white Japanese rice paper, these prints look at once contemporary and timeless. The gallery also exhibited her earlier series of flower still lifes, which nicely complimented the Easter Island images.

Brian Buckley at ClampArt

Brian Buckley at ClampArt

Brian Buckley

Displayed on the outer walls of ClampArt’s booth, Brian Buckley’s nautical-inspired unique cyanotypes instantly captured my imagination. The heavy brushwork in the emulsion gives the impression of a highly stylized and ethereal rendering of a ship’s design blueprint. Both pieces on view were an excellent marriage of process and content. I revisited Brian Buckley’s cyanotypes multiple times throughout the fair each time hoping that the red dot marking the ship piece as “sold” would disappear so that I might take it home. 

Izima Kaoru at Von Lintel Gallery

Izima Kaoru at Von Lintel Gallery

Izima Kaoru

Izima Kaoru’s circular photographs stood out amidst rows of rectangular booths exhibiting rectangular images. From the series One Sun, each photograph is a single exposure of the sun’s movement across the sky. The representatives from Von Lintel Gallery explained that the photographs were made with a specialized camera that tracks the sun and produces a round image. They are not cropped nor are they distorted in Photoshop. Needless to say, these prints were mostly sold in their frames, as finding a framer could be a challenge.

Jefferson Hayman at Michael Shapiro Photographs

Jefferson Hayman at Michael Shapiro Photographs

Jefferson Hayman

I have admired Jefferson Hayman’s work for years and was thrilled to see him at Michael Shapiro Photographs’ booth. A collection of still lifes, seascapes, and portraits graced the wall in platinum, cyanotype, and other alternative processes. Bucking the tradition of uniform sizes, some photographs were printed at 8x10 while others were smaller than a business card. Embracing framing as an integral part of the work, the prints are displayed in unique vintage frames or in some of Hayman’s own designs.

Chris Killip at Erick Franck Fine Art

Chris Killip at Erick Franck Fine Art

Chris Killip

Chirs Killip is decidedly not a new discovery, however, I think his work is underrepresented in the United States and find it incredibly powerful. Two images from his series In Flagrante were on display at Eric Franck Fine Art’s booth as well as the book, which is now out of print. While it was the gritty silver gelatin photograph that drew me in, it was the title that made me catch my breath, “Simon being taken to sea for the first time since his father drowned, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1983.” 

Kat Kiernan is the Editor-in-Chief of Don’t Take Pictures.

Rule Breakers: Mariette Pathy Allen

“I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present their “rule” along with five photographs that break the rule in an effort to show that great work is the exception to the rule.

Rule Setter: Ann M. Jastrab, Gallery Director, Rayko Photo Center
Rule Breaker: Mariette Pathy Allen

I never want to see another picture made in Cuba. Now it’s true, photographs of vibrantly dressed people walking by vintage automobiles and old city walls with peeling paint and crumbling architecture are seductive. Especially when they are taken in the gorgeous light near the Tropic of Cancer, the earth tilting towards the sun like a gift each spring breaking my heart with its warmth. My time in the West Indies haunting me anew each time I see pictures made in that light. Well, it used to be each time. Even after viewing 20 or 30 portfolios of these pictures, they are still seductive. There is something about this place, frozen in time, which is magical and alluring. But at some point (maybe it’s around the 50th portfolio), you realize that not everyone can be Alex Webb.

And just when I thought I could never be won over again, that I was just too jaded and cynical about a country I’d ceased wanting to visit because of the multitude of images I’d seen of it, I saw Mariette Pathy Allen’s Transcuba pictures. I had seen her work before (she has long been a champion for the transgender community) and yet these were something new and different. Pictures that vibrated with the strength of their message. And also, this was Cuba as I’d never seen it. No cars. No colonial buildings. No kids playing soccer in that haunting light…The pictures were simple, just the truth of three transgender women who invited Allen into their world and their lives and opened the doors for her in their circles. The resulting images are moving and personal and when her subjects look back at the camera, there is trust and pride in their gaze. Allen’s project and the resulting book, Transcuba, document the transgender world in Cuba with empathy and compassion. Bravo, Mariette Pathy Allen, for bringing the stories of these brave individuals to light. And thank you for making me rethink my bias to photographs from Cuba. I am so impressed with the work that I’ll be showing it at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco this summer. Mark your calendars for the opening reception on June 25th, 2015!

—Ann M. Jastrab

Las Vegas Club, Havana
Malu and her parents and sisters in front of their home, Cienfuegos.
Natalie, with two self-portraits, Havana

News Recap: April 17, 2015

Weekly recap of art world news.

Kissing the War Goodbye, Lt. Victor Jorgensen - US archives via Wikimedia Commons

Kissing the War Goodbye, Lt. Victor Jorgensen - US archives via Wikimedia Commons

Scandal Over World War II Photos Causes Russian Museum to Close
The Metenkov House Museum of Photography’s exhibition Triumph and Tragedy was cancelled before it opened. The exhibition was to feature 150 WWII photographs by American and British photographers. Following objection to the absence of Soviet soldiers in the photographs, the museum has been closed by the FSB, a successor of the Soviet KGB.
Read the full story (Moscow Times)

Routine Plumbing Job Reveals Ancient Roman Treasures
In Lecce, Italy, Mr. Faggiano planned to open a restaurant. A broken toilet pipe caused him to excavate the basement and turned into a full-scale, multi-year archaeological dig that has resulted in the Museum Faggiano. The museum includes layers of underground chambers and centuries of history including art and artifacts.
Read the full story (New York Times)

Counterfeit Nikons Discovered on the Second-Hand Market
Thinking of buying a used Nikon? Buyer beware. Nikon Europe has released a warning about modified or counterfeit DSLRs hitting the second-hand market. The most common cases involve lower end models with badges from a newer model such as passing a D800 for a D800E.
Read the full story (Popular Photography)

Trend Forecasting: The Octographer

Photography trends come and go, and recent months have shown a surge in animal-ographers. First came the monkey selfie, a strange case of curious paws that resulted in a viral photograph and a copyright case that showed the world photography is so easy, “even a monkey could do it.” This spring brings us the world’s first “octographer.” In a highly entertaining publicity stunt, Sony has partnered with the Sea Life Aquarium in New Zealand where Rambo the octopus photographs visitors with an underwater camera. The promotional video has been a tremendous hit, reassuring photographers everywhere that with this camera, their photographs will turn out great even though they have just two hands to work with. Of course, this is only the latest in examples of sea creatures mastering the arts, in the late 1980s a Jamaican crab astounded millions with his underwater musical performance. 

In Motion: Oliver Ogden

This series showcases those who have expanded their artistic palate, moving from still to motion, or motion to still.

In an effort to be closer to the earth, Oliver Ogden relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Saxapahaw, North Carolina. January is the first in this series of meditative short films that explore man’s relationship to the land. He says, “Our environments are often loud and hurried and frantically paced. With these vignettes I aim to celebrate simple observation, patient listening and quiet reflection.” January serves as an elegant and artistic visual diary of one man’s time spent in nature. Though there is no real narrative, the film moves from pre-dawn to evening and offers glimpses of daily activities. The camera follows the man as he crosses a river, shovels the earth, and detangles his shirt from a stray branch, interspersed with static shots of the surrounding area. These pauses in the action allow the viewer to experience the environment as the subject would; pausing to take in a view or examine a plant. Ogden has chosen to forego a traditional soundtrack, relying instead on the natural sounds of rustling leaves and flowing water. Over the course of the day, nothing of note has happened, and yet we feel satisfied at the end of the film as the sun goes down and the cooking fire burns out that it has been a day well spent.

View more of Ogden’s work on his website.

Do you make moving images or know of someone who does? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com.

News Recap: April 10, 2015

Weekly recap of art world news.

©Drew Nikonowicz

©Drew Nikonowicz

Aperture Announces Portfolio Prize Winners
Drew Nikonowicz has been awarded first prize by the editorial and curatorial staff at Aperture Foundation for their annual Portfolio Prize. His series titled This World and Others Like It features monochromatic images that question the reality of landscape. Runners up include Lisa Elmaleh, Heikki Kaski, and Laurence Rasti. 
Read the press release (Aperture)

MFA Boston Appoints Matthew Teitelbaum as New Director
Following the retirement of Malcolm Rogers, Matthew Teitelbaum will assume the role of Director at the MFA Boston on August 3, 2015. The MFA is one of the largest privately funded museums in the world and houses 147 galleries. Teitlebaum is currently the Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. 
Read the press release (MFA Boston)

New Photographic Imaging Reveals Fragonard’s “Hidden Painting”
Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s famous painting “Young Girl Reading” has always stood out from the rest of his “fantasy figures” series; the subject’s demure pose and calm demeanor contrasting sharply with the directness and vibrancy of the other portraits. Imaging researchers at the National Gallery of Art used near-infrared hyperspectral imaging and X-ray fluorescence imaging to discover a different face and pose underneath layers of oil paint.
Read the full story (CNET)

News Recap: April 3, 2015

Weekly recap of art-world news.

Empty frames where stolen works once hung in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Screenshot from virtual heist tour. 

Empty frames where stolen works once hung in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Screenshot from virtual heist tour

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist Has Been Solved! (Mostly)
Though none of the stolen artworks have been recovered, reports confirm the identities of the art thieves responsible for the infamous 1992 heist. George Reissfelder and Lenny DiMuzio dressed as Boston police officers, deceiving security guards and stealing 13 artworks. Both robbers were members of a crime ring led by Carmello Merlino and died within a year of the heist.
Read the full story (ArtNet News)

New Printing Technology Allows the Blind to Experience Famous Paintings
A new printing process called Didú has been developed by Spanish printing studio Estudios Dueror to create 3D versions of famous paintings. The relief-like sculpture is created from high-resolution images of the artworks. Now on view at the Prado Museum in Madrid, visitors can put their hands on these sculptural paintings for a new perspective.
Read the full story (Booooooom)

New Arkansas Bill Outlaws Street Photography
A new bill titled SB-79 and known as the Personal Rights Protection Act is in progress in the Arkansas Senate. Designed to protect its citizen’s right to privacy, the implications for photographers has caused substantial controversy. ASMP has spoken out against the bill with a few startlingly hypotheticals that leave photographers (and the general public) highly susceptible to lawsuits.
Read the full story (F Stoppers)

April Print Sale: Beth Dow

Each month an exclusive edition run of a photograph by an artist featured in Don't Take Pictures magazine is made available for sale. Each image is printed by the artist, signed, numbered, and priced below $200.

We believe in the power of affordable art, and we believe in helping artists sustain their careers. The full amount of the sale goes to the artist.

We are pleased to release April's print, Hillside, Waddeson Manor from Beth Dow. Read more about Dow's work below.

Purchase this print and from our print sale page

Hillside, Waddeson Manor 7.5 x 9", signed and numbered edition of 5 Archival inkjet print from platinum original $80

Hillside, Waddeson Manor
7.5 x 9", signed and numbered edition of 5
Archival inkjet print from platinum original
$80

Transcending Time: Beth Dow’s Contemplative Gardens

Like the garden designers of the 18th century, Beth Dow’s series In The Garden summons some universal, even spiritual, power, presenting brilliant garden design with her contemplative vantages and a masterful control of photographic composition and tonality. Dow’s images explore the urge to exult the natural world while simultaneously bringing it to heel. She presents these ideas as they have been harmonized in the elaborate and symbol-laden gardens of 18th-century England and Italy. Her images succeed independently from the gardens they depict because, atop this tension between man and nature, she is able to compellingly layer European history, neoclassical fascinations, and formal photographic concerns.  

Dow creates, as she puts it, “pictures that have a meditative quality to reflect the spiritual urges that inspired the earliest gardens some six thousand years ago.” Beautifully manipulating and reimagining formal English and Italian gardens, her work provides a glimpse into the historical tradition of garden-making while also offering an examination of “historical concepts of paradise.”

Dow’s own form of “gardening” present to us some important moment in the composition. Time stops, and we are held, by the artful employment of light or form and shape, in some transcendental limbo. We feel both exposed and welcomed, and we are made vulnerable enough to participate in the scene before us. There is a feeling of the universal in the work; something spiritual that animates it and becomes immediately recognizable when we immerse ourselves in the images.

Temple, The Courts

Temple, The Courts

In her selection of gardens, Dow draws us into a rich tradition of garden architecture, highlighting the formal gardens of England and Italy where 18th-century gentry, returning from “The Grand Tour,” exhibited their learning with collections of antiquities and art. The lush and flowing formal gardens intimated, to their minds, the virtues of the Classical world. The Grand Tour, a rite of passage for any landed and educated 18th-century man, was generally a trip through France and Italy to see (and acquire) the finest art and antiquities of the ancient Roman Empire and, perhaps, to be shaped by some worldliness as well. Few journeyed as far as Turkish-controlled Greece, though most saw Rome, Venice, and Naples. The collective experiences of these men would shape Western Europe’s taste in décor, fashion, and as Dow so brilliantly illustrates, garden-making for nearly a century.

William Kent (1686–1748) was perhaps the most famous and important garden designer of the period, but Lancelot “Capability” Brown (1716–1783) is the movement’s most colorful and revered figure. Capability Brown’s ability to create John Constable-like juxtapositions of naturalistic perfection profoundly impressed the late 18th-century estates. In keeping with the art and literature of the time, these English garden designers sought to relax the formality and release some of the pressure of past gardens. Open spaces were carefully embellished with architectural elements or some whisper of the ancient world, creating a constantly evolving temple for solemn reflection and aesthetic contemplation.

Young God, Sissinghurst

Young God, Sissinghurst

The English painter J.M.W. Turner was no stranger to this gardening aesthetic and obsession. He once observed that “To select, combine and concentrate that which is beautiful in nature and admirable in art is as much the business of the landscape painter in his line as in the other departments of art,” and Beth Dow, like an 18th-century gardener whose opus she depicts, masterfully chooses which elements to juxtapose. For example, in “Temple, The Courts,” the viewer is suspended in a timeless recognition of spiritual ritual. Like a dream, we are exposed before the symbol of some ancient rite and judged before its obscured pristine glow. Dow draws our journey by placing us in the middle of an approaching path, our exit or distraction limited by the walls of moving, breathing plant-life on either side. Confrontation with the temple is unavoidable. The viewer is pushed to connect to the legacies of spiritual constructions.

This sanctifying introspection is especially apparent in works like “Young God, Sissinghurst.” In this image, grey mist floats like a wave through the silent ovation of two rows of trees. Hibernating, they bow gently before a solitary form, a stone deity who, from his pedestal, conducts a sermon for the trees. As viewers, we observe him from a broad grassy avenue that opens before him, and feel vulnerable. We are transported and transformed, having witnessed a new episode in the Sisyphean struggle between permanence and impermanence, between our ambitions to tame and our ultimate submission to the natural world.

William Wordsworth’s reflections in “Tintern Abbey,” illustrates the inevitable, if also bucolic, splendor of nature reclaiming human creation, and his words illustrate the sentiment governing Dow’s garden series:

Snake, Sezincote

Snake, Sezincote

…For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Not harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things...(89-103)

In The Garden, then, highlights the serene, meditative quality of 18th-century formal gardens while pointing us toward transcendence—of time, place, and form. With her camera as a trowel and spade, Dow cuts a path to revelatory communication between the viewer and those who strode among the hedgerows and follies three centuries prior. Each angle creates a unique moment in timeless garden architecture, a moment that exists in Dow’s viewfinder even as the scene inevitably transforms in front of her. Dow’s images both honor the masterful crafting of these old places while, in pursuit of serenity, liberate the viewer from history.

This article first appeared in Issue 4

Joe Brennan is an artist/collector working at Sotheby’s as a Union Property Handler. He lives with his wife, baby girl, and chihuahua in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.