Archive for the 'american photographers' Category



09
Sep
11

Exhibition: ‘The Mind’s Eye, 50 Years of Photography by Jerry Uelsmann’ at the Harn Museum of Art, Florida

Exhibition dates: 14th June – 11th September, 2011

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One of my favourite artists. Uelsmann’s unique vision and the skill required to execute that vision using multiple exposure of negatives in the darkroom (remember, this is all done with no Photoshop!) is outstanding. Observe the sensitivity to subject matter and the placement of disparate elements in the surrealist landscape. His photographs have real allegorical power and lodge in the viewer’s psyche. My particular favourites are the library and the house on the tree stump. Uelsmann achieves wonderful resolution to inner visions and then makes the dream-like tableaux accessible to the viewer. As one who started as a black and white photographer and who experimented with multiple exposures on one piece of silver gelatin paper in the darkroom, I can attest to how enormously difficult this process is.

The text on Wikipedia states:

“Uelsmann is a master printer producing composite photographs with multiple negatives and extensive darkroom work. He uses up to a dozen enlargers at a time to produce his final images … Uelsmann is a champion of the idea that the final image need not be tied to a single negative, but may be composed of many … he does not seek to create narratives, but rather allegorical surrealist imagery of the unfathomable … Today, with the advent of digital cameras and Photoshop, photographers are able to create a work somewhat resembling Uelsmann’s in less than a day, however, at the time Uelsmann was considered to have almost “magical skill” with his completely analog tools.”

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I thank him for having the creative energy to be a magician.

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Many thankx to the Harn Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Apocalypse II
1967
Gelatin silver print
10 3/4 x 13 5/8 in (27.2 x 34.5 cm)
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Magritte’s Touchstone (first version)
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Gelatin silver print
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Mechanical Man #2
1959
Gelatin silver print
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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“The first critical retrospective of American photographer Jerry Uelsmann’s work will open at the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida on June 14, 2011. Uelsmann, known for his iconic, surreal style and his innovative composite printing techniques, has spent more than 50 years challenging and advocating for the acceptance of photography as an experimental art form. The Mind’s Eye, 50 Years of Photography by Jerry Uelsmann, organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts will feature 89 works from every phase of the artist’s wide-ranging career, including a selection of rare pieces that have never before been on public view. Additional works from the artist’s collection will be on view only during this leg of the exhibition, open through September 11, 2011.

“The Harn Museum of Art is delighted to welcome this important exhibition of photographic works by the University of Florida’s own Jerry Uelsmann, a graduate research professor in the art department from 1960 to 1998,” said Rebecca Nagy, director of the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. “Jerry has been, and continues to be a leader in the field and we are delighted to celebrate and look back on such a long, important, and innovative career.”

The exhibition will emphasize Uelsmann’s profound influence on the field of photography through his revolutionary mastery of composite photography. Through the presentation of images from different stages of his works, viewers will gain a new understanding of the artist’s creative process and the evolution of Uelsmann’s ideas throughout his career. The pieces on view will be drawn from the artist’s personal archive of vintage materials, and are the definitive prints of the images. A few examples of the artist’s photo sculptures, artist’s books and albums will give viewers first-hand insight into Uelsmann’s creative process.

“From the beginning of his career, Uelsmann has advocated for the acceptance of photography as an experimental art form,” said Phillip Prodger, curator of photography at the Peabody Essex Museum. “Uelsmann’s photography provides a valuable touchstone for understanding new trends in photographic art. His ideas and work have become even more relevant as photography embraces Photoshop and other computer technologies for altering and manipulating photographic pictures.”

Beginning in the late 1950s, Uelsmann succeeded in combining negatives in the darkroom to create synthetic compositions that conjure the illusion of photographic truth. Although these pictures are visually convincing, they depict scenes that often have no analogue in the real world. Evocative, unsettling, and often humorous, Uelsmann’s photographs are seldom easily resolved, inviting reflection without obvious resolution. His most famous technique, seamlessly fabricating photographs from unrelated negatives to create imaginary scenes, helped build his reputation as an experimental photographer, and cemented his standing as a leader of non-literal photography.

“My visual quest is driven by a desire to create a universe capable of supporting feelings and ideas,” said Jerry Uelsmann. “I am drawn to art that challenges one’s sense of reality.”

Press release from the Harn Museum of Art website

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Untitled
1976
Gelatin silver print
19 5/8 x 14 1/4 in (49.9 x 36.3 cm)
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Untitled
1964
Gelatin silver print
13 3/4 x 10 1/4 in (34.9 x 26.1cm)
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Untitled
1982
Gelatin silver print
13 1/4 x 10 3/8 in (33.8 x 26.4 cm)
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934)
Untitled
2003
Gelatin silver print
19 3/8 x 15 in (49.1 x 38 cm)
Collection of the artist
© Jerry Uelsmann

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Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
SW 34th Street and Hull Road
Gainesville, Florida 32611-2700

Opening hours:
Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The museum is closed on Mondays and state holidays.

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art website

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21
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945′ at the International Center of Photography, New York

Exhibition dates: 20th May – 28th August, 2011

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The “United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division”. Don’t you just love the irony in this title? The aim of the military group who took these photographs as part of a survey on “strategic bombing” of Hiroshima was to document the physical damage that took place. As if an atomic bomb is anything other than destructive! As if an atomic bomb is anything other than catastrophic! As if an atomic bomb is anything less than death itself!

Upon this realisation, the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, famously quoted the Bhagavad Gita after the detonation of the first bomb on July 16, 1945 in the Trinity test in New Mexico, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

In saying that, military jurisprudence, that disciplinary machine of death, becomes not only the recorder of destruction but also the re-ordering of the world, thus re(c)ording the world under Foucault’s Matrix of Practical Reason:

  • Through the technologies of production, which permit us to produce, transform or manipulate things
  • Through the technologies of power, which determine the conduct of individuals and submit them to certain ends or domination, an objectivising of the subject.1

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In short, the military is power; the military subjugates humans; and the military destroys at will.

The strange beauty of the Physical Damage Division photographs is that they simply document what remains. Like the “shadow” of a hand valve wheel on the painted wall of a gas storage tank, Ground Zero is burnt onto the ground glass of the camera.

Like the “shadow” these events are eternally seared into the collective memory never, ever, to be forgotten.

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Many thankx to the International Center of Photography for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (A-Bomb Dome)]
October 24, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Distorted steel-frame structure of Odamasa Store, Hiroshima]
November 20, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Ruins of Chugoku Coal Distribution Company or Hiroshima Gas Company]
November 8, 1945
Gelatin silver contact print
© International Center of Photography

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Remains of a school building]
November 17, 1945
Gelatin silver contact print
© International Center of Photography

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“Once-classified images of atomic destruction at Hiroshima will be displayed in a new exhibition Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) from May 20 to August 28, 2011. Drawn from ICP’s permanent collection, the Hiroshima archive includes more than 700 images of absence and annihilation, which formed the basis for civil defense architecture in the United States. These images had been mislaid for over forty years before being acquired by ICP in 2006.

This exhibition will include approximately 60 contact prints and photographs as well as the secret 1947 United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) report, The Effects of the Strategic Bombing on Hiroshima, Japan. It will be accompanied by a catalogue published by ICP/Steidl, with essays by John W. Dower, Adam Harrison Levy, David Monteyne, Philomena Mariani, and Erin Barnett.

After the nuclear attacks in August 1945, President Truman dispatched members of the USSBS to Japan to survey the military, economic, and civilian damage. The Survey’s Physical Damage Division photographed, analyzed, and evaluated the atomic bomb’s impact on the structures surrounding the Hiroshima blast site, designated “Ground Zero.” The findings of the USSBS provided essential information to American architects and civil engineers as they debated the merits of bomb shelters, suburbanization, and revised construction techniques.

The photographs in this exhibition were in the possession of Robert L. Corsbie, an executive officer of the Physical Damage Division who later worked for the Atomic Energy Commission. An architectural engineer and expert on the effects of the atomic bomb, he used what he learned from the structural analyses and these images to promote civil defense architecture in the U.S. The photographs went through a series of unintended moves after Corsbie, his wife and son died in a house fire in 1967.

The U.S., at war with Japan, detonated the world’s first weaponized atomic bomb over Hiroshima, a vast port city of over 350,000 inhabitants, on August 6, 1945. The blast obliterated about 70 percent of the city and caused the deaths of more than 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in another 80,000 fatalities. Within a week, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, effectively ending World War II.

“Once part of a classified cache of government photographs, this archive of haunting images documents the devastating power of the atomic bomb,” said ICP Assistant Curator of Collections Erin Barnett, who organized the exhibition.

Press release from the International Center of Photography website

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
["Shadow" of a hand valve wheel on the painted wall of a gas storage tank; radiant heat instantly burned paint where the heat rays were not
obstructed, Hiroshima]
October 14 - November 26, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Interior of Hiroshima City Hall auditorium with undamaged walls and framing but spalling of plaster and complete destruction of contents by fire]
November 1, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Rooftop view of atomic destruction, looking southwest, Hiroshima]
October 31, 1945
Gelatin silver print
© International Center of Photography

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United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Physical Damage Division
[Steel stairs warped by intense heat from burned book stacks of Asano Library, Hiroshima]
November 15, 1945
Gelatin silver contact print
© International Center of Photography

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1. Foucault, Michel. “Technologies of the Self,” quoted in Martin, Luther and Gutman, Huck and Hutton, Patrick (eds.,). Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault. London: Tavistock Publications, 1988, p.18.

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International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
New York NY 10036
T 212 857 0045

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Wednesday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday – Friday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Closed: Mondays

International Center of Photography website

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24
Jul
11

Exhibition: ‘Another Story’ at Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Exhibition dates: February 2011 – end of the year

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A bumper posting from an exhibition highlighting a collection of over 100,000 photographs – how lucky are they! Many thankx to the Moderna Museet for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Another Story: Possessed by the Camera

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Annika von Hausswolff
‘I Am the Runway of Your Thoughts’
2008
© Annika von Hausswolff

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Andreas Gursky
‘Bibliothek’
1999
© Andreas Gursky/BUS 2011

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Candida Höfer
‘The Louvre in Paris X 2005 – the caryatid hall’
2005
© Candida Höfer/BUS 2011

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Thomas Ruff
‘Häuser Nummer 9′
1989
© Thomas Ruff/BUS 2011

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Cindy Sherman
‘Untitled’
2008
© Courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures

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“In 2011, Moderna Museet’s new directors, Daniel Birnbaum and Ann-Sofi Noring, will launch a new presentation of the collection. Another Story gives a fresh angle on art history, based on works from the Moderna Museet collection. We will start by focusing on photography, which will gradually be given a more prominent position, only to fill the entire exhibition of the permanent collection this autumn.

If you want an art collection to develop and stay alive, it can’t remain static. You need to present it in new ways and look at it from new angles. That may sound obvious, but it is not that common. In 2011, Moderna Museet will take a radical step, with Another Story. Photography from the Moderna Museet Collection. This is possibly the most extreme re-hanging of the collection undertaken in the history of the museum.

There is a growing interest in photography today, as proven by the panoply of exhibitions, fairs and festivals throughout the world. And this is hardly surprising. Nowadays, practically everyone is a photographer, at the very least snapping pictures with the camera built into most mobiles.

Moderna Museet’s collection of photography, ranging from 1840 to the present day, is one of the finest in Europe, featuring many of the most prominent names in photo history and comprising more than 100,000 photographs. The collection provides a historic background to the art of photography, and now we are sharing this with all our visitors. Moreover, several magnificent private donations have recently enriched the collection with works by famous artists practising in the field of photography.

Moderna Museet has one of Europe’s finest collections of photography, ranging from 1840 to the present day. Many of the most famous names in photographic history are represented, and the collection comprises more than 100,000 works. The re-hanging of the permanent collection exhibition will be done in three stages. In February, we will open the first part, Another Story: Possessed by the Camera, which presents contemporary photography-based art. Just before summer, we open Another Story: See the World!, presenting the period 1920-1980. This autumn, finally, we look at the early days of photography. Another Story: Written in Light presents the pioneers of photography from 1840 to the first three decades of the 20th century. In autumn 2011 and for the rest of the year, the entire permanent collection exhibition will consist of photography and photo-based art.”

Text from the Moderna Museet website

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Another Story: See the World!

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Aleksandr Rodtjenko
‘Sjukov-masten, radiomast i Moskva’
1929
© Aleksandr Rodtjenko

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August Sander
‘Die elegante Frau – Sekrutärin beine WDR’
1927/ca.1975
© August Sander/BUS 2011

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Christer Strömholm
‘Barcelona’
1959
© Christer Strömholm/Bildverksamheten Strömholm

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Christer Strömholm
‘Hiroshima’
1963/1981
© Christer Strömholm/Bildverksamheten Strömholm

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Irving Penn
Frozen Foods with String Beans, New York, 1977′
1977
© Irving Penn Foundation

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Irving Penn
‘Mouth (for L’Oréal), New York, 1986′
1986
© Irving Penn Foundation

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Another Story: Written in Light

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Julia Margaret Cameron
‘The Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty’
1866
© Julia Margaret Cameron

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Moderna Museet, Stockholm

Moderna Museet is ten minutes away from Kungsträdgården, and twenty minutes from T-Centralen or Gamla Stan. Walk past Grand Hotel and Nationalmuseum on Blasieholmen, opposite the Royal Palace. After crossing the bridge to Skeppsholmen, continue up the hill. The entrance to Moderna Museet and Arkitekturmuseet is on the left-hand side.

Opening hours:
Tuesday 10-20
Wednesday-Sunday 10-18
Monday closed

Moderna Museet website

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26
Jun
11

Exhibition: ‘Series of Portraits. A century of photographs’ at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

Exhibition dates: 1st April – 17th July 2011

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Many thankx to Michaela Hille for her help and to Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs to view a larger version of the image.

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Nan Goldin
All by Myself (detail)
1993 – 1996
Projektinstallation mit 89 Farbdiapositiven und programmiertem Soundtrack, Laufzeit: 5 Min. 33 Sek.
© Nan Goldin/Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Foto: Christoph Irrgang, Hamburg
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Dauerleihgabe F. und W. Stiftung fur zeitgenossische Kunst in der Hamburger Kunsthalle

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Nan Goldin
All by Myself (detail)
1993 – 1996
Projektinstallation mit 89 Farbdiapositiven und programmiertem Soundtrack, Laufzeit: 5 Min. 33 Sek.
© Nan Goldin/Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
Foto: Christoph Irrgang, Hamburg
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Dauerleihgabe F. und W. Stiftung fur zeitgenossische Kunst in der Hamburger Kunsthalle

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August Sander
Jungbauern, Westerwald, 1914
1914
Silbergelatine, vor 1962, 28,5 x 21,9 cm
© Photograph. Samml./SK Stiftung Kultur – A. Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011
Foto: Jorg Arend/Harald Dubau/Maria Thrun, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

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August Sander
Notar, Köln, 1924
1924
Silbergelatine, vor 1962, 29,1 x 20,5 cm
© Photograph. Samml./SK Stiftung Kultur – A. Sander Archiv, Köln/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011
Foto: Jorg Arend/Harald Dubau/Maria Thrun, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

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Michael Schmidt
aus der 81-teiligen Serie Frauen, 1997 – 1999
Silbergelatine, je 44,1 x 29,9 cm
© Michael Schmidt
Niedersachsische Sparkassenstiftung, Hannover

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Rineke Dijkstra
Montemor, Portugal, May 1, 1994
1994
C-Print, 35,2 x 27,8 cm
© Rineke Dijkstra
Foto/Photo: Jorg Arend/Harald Dubau/Maria Thrun, Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Haus der Photographie/Sammlung F. C. Gundlach, Hamburg

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The exhibition comprises 400 exhibits and reflects on important artistic positions in photographic portraiture. During the eventful 20th century portrait photography continually redefines itself, between dissolution of the traditional concept of the subject in the masses and the pursuit of individuality and identity – culturally, socially and in terms of gender. Portraiture is one of the traditional genres in art and was one of the driving forces behind the invention of photography in the 19th century. The image of the human being is subject to constant change, which is also reflected in photography. In postmodern society mass media create ever-changing ideals according to various requirements in tune with a quick succession of trends. Art photography responds to the changes and reflects the development sometimes with spectacular results while it questions the medium of photography itself. The exhibition presents 35 carefully chosen international artists, who through history have opened up a dialogue among themselves; they are referencing each other’s work, and are received and interpreted in evernew contexts. On show are works by Diane Arbus, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Roni Horn, Jurgen Klauke, Annie Leibovitz, Helmar Lerski, Irving Penn, Judith Joy Ross, Thomas Ruff, August Sander, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and others. An exhibition in cooperation with the Sammlung Niedersächsische Sparkassenstiftung on the occasion of the 5th Photography Triennial in Hamburg.

“The PORTRAIT-PHOTOGRAPH is a closed field of forces. Four image-repertoires intersect here, oppose and distort each other. In front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art.” (Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, London, 1984, p. 13). The photographic portrait does indeed combine contrary interests. The relationship between photographer and sitter is crucial. The third factor is the viewer, who is already being considered during the process of photographing. In the knowledge of the particular psychological situation resulting from the presence of a camera, Richard Avedon laconically stated: “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed.” The sitters’ reactions to the camera differ, depending on how experienced they are. Fact is: It is not possible to not communicate, as Paul Watzlawick’s research on communication shows. People demean themselves, even if they withdraw or turn away.

The confrontation climaxes in the principle of frontality, which remains valid today although it is constantly being tried and questioned. The project “Serial Portraits” invites the visitor on a journey through time starting from the beginnings with Hermann Biow’s (1804-1850) daguerreotypes, David Octavius Hill’s (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson’s (1821-1848) talbotypes up to the digital present with Michael Najjar’s (*1966) cyborgs, and wondering whether classical portraiture has come to its end.

The beginning includes a model case, where due to the long exposure necessary the models do not live out of the moment but into the moment, as Walter Benjamin said (Little History of Photography, 1931). “Thirty Minutes Dialogue von Kyungwoo Chun” (1969) from 2000 is examining the synthesis of expression, which is necessitated by the models’ keeping still for so long. An exposure time of half an hour allows the work to penetrate the depths of the pictorial space.

The creativity of the 1920s and the New Vision inspires a “visual vocabulary” appropriate for modernity. Its different forms can be seen in the individual responses of photographers such as August Sander (1876-1964). Being a typical studio photographer, he works on a typology of “man of the 20th century”, beginning with the agricultural type, his “Stammappe” (engl.: “Germinal Portfolio”) being a memorial to the latter. Helmar Lerski (1871-1956) takes a different stance; having originally worked in film, he is photographing his “Everyday Heads” in extreme close-ups. Making use of effective lighting in his studio, he invites unknown sitters from the street and fashions characteristic heads.

Sander’s oeuvre represents a turning point for comparative vision as a genuine principle in series. Considering photography of the 1920s and questioning the photographer’s position as well as the medium itself, author-photography in the 1970s is developing a new idea of documentary. Thomas Ruff (*1958) is testing the limits, when he presupposes that photography can merely reflect the surface of things. Bernhard Fuchs is adding a personal touch when he is seeking out the places of his own past. The great portrait photographer Irving Penn is cornering his celebrities in a corner of his studio and allows them to find their place, according to their inclinations and abilities to self-represent.

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) is holding a one-sided dialog, certainly not giving equal weight to the photographer’s interests and that of her models. While the frontality signals the conventionally due deference, the complex composition of her pictures is dominated by the superior gaze directed at the supposedly others, the freaks of bourgeois society. Until now Arbus is misinterpreted as a documentary photographer. It is being ignored that photography inevitably presents a specific view of reality and that the viewer’s position has been carefully constructed within the picture.

Only pictures that have been taken without the awareness of those represented document a found situation at the same time as they present a monologue. Heinrich Riebesehl (1938-2010) chose this method for his series “Menschen im Fahrstuhl” (engl.: “People in an Elevator”), which he completed in just one day. In a moment of pause people can reflect and are not forced to react to being observed. In his pictures the photographer respects their individuality without judging social differences.

Examples for comparability as principle in a series can be found early on. Hermann Biow’s (1804-1850) daguerreotypes as unique copies of the members of parliament in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt from 1848/1849 were later reproduced as lithographs and distributed in portfolios. These politicians were the direct successors to the galleries of ancestral portraits in stately homes, whereby the new medium was democratic. Rudolph Duhrkoop’s “Hamburgische Männer und Frauen amAnfang des XX. Jahrhunderts” (engl.: “Men and Women of Hamburg in the Early XXth Century”) represent the citizens in this tradition.

Since 1975 Nicholas Nixon (*1974) is extending the series “The Brown Sisters” every year. His study is observing changes, while Hans-Peter Feldmann (*1941) is representing a century through 101 average people in his sequence “100 Jahre” (engl.: “100 Years”). It is fascinating, how the uniqueness of each person even if they remain anonymous is transported in the photographic portrait. Judith Joy Ross’ (*1946) series “Protesting the U. S. War in Iraq” documents a seriousness in the sitters’ faces, the political dimension of which can only be fully grasped with the information on the context. As with every photograph the title or accompanying text is part of the message.”

Press release from the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg website

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Andy Warhol
Self-Portrait in Drag (Platinum Pageboy Wig)
1981
Foto: Christoph Irrgang, Hamburg
© 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Hamburger Kunsthalle

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Andy Warhol
Self-Portrait in Drag (Long Reddish-Brown Wig and Plaid Tie)
1981/82
Foto: Christoph Irrgang, Hamburg
© 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Hamburger Kunsthalle

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Andy Warhol
Self-Portrait in Drag
1981
Foto: Christoph Irrgang, Hamburg
© 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Hamburger Kunsthalle

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Roni Horn
Portrait of an Image (with Isabelle Huppert)
2005
50 Fotografien (Version 1)
Color Print, je 38,1 x 31,8 cm
© Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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Roni Horn
Portrait of an Image (with Isabelle Huppert)
2005
50 Fotografien (Version 1)
Color Print, je 38,1 x 31,8 cm
© Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

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Thomas Ruff (*1958)
Portrait (C. Bernhard)
1985
Color Print, 24 x 18 cm
© Thomas Ruff/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011
Niedersachsische Sparkassenstiftung, Hannover

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Thomas Ruff (*1958)
Portrait (T. Ruff)
1983
Color Print, 24 x 18 cm
Thomas Ruff/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011
Niedersachsische Sparkassenstiftung, Hannover

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Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Steintorplatz, 20099 Hamburg

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday and Thursday 11 am – 9 pm

Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg website

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22
Jun
11

Review: ‘American Dreams: 20th century photography from George Eastman House’ at Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria

Exhibition dates: 16th April – 10th July 2011

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Many thankx to Tansy Curtin, Senior Curator, Programs and Access at Bendigo Art Gallery for her time and knowledge when I visited the gallery; and to Bendigo Art Gallery for allowing me to publish the text and photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Gertrude Käsebier
The Sketch (Beatrice Baxter)
1903
platinum print
Gift of Hermine Turner
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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Dorothea Lange
Kern County California
1938
gelatin silver print
Exchange with Roy Stryker
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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Ansel Adams
Winter Storm
1942

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Diane Arbus
Untitled (6)
1971

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This is a fabulous survey exhibition of the great artists of 20th century American photography, a rare chance in Australia to see such a large selection of vintage prints from some of the masters of photography. If you have a real interest in the history of photography you must see this exhibition, showing as it is just a short hour and a half drive (or train ride) from Melbourne at Bendigo Art Gallery.

I talked with the curator, Tansy Curtin, and asked her about the exhibition’s gestation. This is the first time an exhibition from the George Eastman House has come to Australia and the exhibition was 3-4 years in the making. Tansy went to George Eastman House in March last year to select the prints; this was achieved by going through solander box after solander box of vintage prints and seeing what was there, what was available and then making work sheets for the exhibition – what a glorious experience this would have been, undoing box after box to reveal these magical prints!

The themes for the exhibition were already in the history of photography and Tansy has chosen almost exclusively vintage prints that tell a narrative story, that make that story accessible to people who know little of the history of photography. With that information in mind the exhibition is divided into the following sections:

Photography becomes art; The photograph as social document; Photographing America’s monuments; Abstraction and experimentation; Photojournalism and war photography; Fashion and celebrity portraiture; Capturing the everyday; Photography in colour; Social and environmental conscience; and The contemporary narrative.

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There are some impressive, jewel-like contact prints in the exhibition. One must remember that, for most of the photographers working after 1940, exposure, developing and printing using Ansel Adams Zone System (where the tonal range of the negative and print can be divided into 11 different ‘zones’ from 0 for absolute black and to 10 for absolute white) was the height of technical sophistication and aesthetic choice, equal to the best gaming graphics from today’s age. It was a system that I used in my black and white film development and printing. Film development using a Pyrogallol staining developer (the infamous ‘pyro’, a developer I tried to master without success in a few trial batches of film) was also technically difficult but the ability of this developer to obtain a greater dynamic range of zones in the film itself was outstanding.

“The Zone System provides photographers with a systematic method of precisely defining the relationship between the way they visualize the photographic subject and the final results… An expressive image involves the arrangement and rendering of various scene elements according to photographer’s desire. Achieving the desired image involves image management (placement of the camera, choice of lens, and possibly the use of camera movements) and control of image values. The Zone System is concerned with control of image values, ensuring that light and dark values are rendered as desired. Anticipation of the final result before making the exposure is known as visualization.”1

Previsualisation, the ability of the photographer to see ‘in the mind’s eye’ the outcome of the photograph (the final print) before even looking through the camera lens to take the photograph, was an important skill for most of these photographers. This skill has important implications for today’s photographers, should they choose to develop this aspect of looking: not as a mechanistic system but as a meditation on the possibilities of each part of the process, the outcome being an expressive print.

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A selection of the best photographs in the exhibition could include,

1. An original 1923 Alfred Steiglitz Equivalent contact print  - small (approx 9cm x 12cm, see below), intense, the opaque brown blacks really strong, the sun shining brightly through the velvety clouds. In the Equivalents series the photograph was purely abstract, standing as a metaphor for another state of being, in this case music. A wonderful melding of the technical and the aesthetic the Equivalents’ “are generally recognized as the first photographs intended to free the subject matter from literal interpretation, and, as such, are some of the first completely abstract photographic works of art.”2

2. Paul Strand Blind (1915, printed 1945) – printed so dark that you cannot see the creases in the coat of the blind woman with a Zone 3 dark skin tone.

3. Lewis Hine [Powerhouse mechanic] see below, vintage 1920 print full of subtle tones. Usually when viewing reproductions of this image it is either cropped or the emphasis is on the body of the mechanic; in this print his skin tones are translucent, silvery and the emphasis is on the man in unison with the machine. The light is from the top right of the print and falls not on him directly, but on the machinery at upper right = this is the emotional heart of this image!

4. Three tiny vintage Tina Modotti prints from c. 1929 – so small, such intense visions. I have never seen one original Modotti before so to see three was just sensational.

5. Walker Evans View of Morgantown, West Virginia vintage 1935 print – a cubist dissection of space and the image plane with two-point perspective of telegraph pole with lines.

6. An Edward S. Curtis photogravure Washo Baskets (1924, from the portfolio The North American Indian) – such a sumptuous composition and the tones…

7. Ansel Adams 8″ x 10″ contact print of Winter Storm (1944, printed 1959, see above) where the blackness of the mountain on the left hand side of the print was almost impenetrable and, because of the large format negative, the snow on the rock in mid-distance was like a sprinkling of icing sugar on a cake it was that sharp.

8. A most splendid print of the Chrysler Building (vintage 1930 print, approx. 48 x 34  cm) by Margaret Bourke-White – tonally rich browns, smoky, hazy city at top; almost like a platinum print rather than a silver gelatin photograph. The bottom left of the print was SO dark but you could still see into the shadows just to see the buildings.

9. An original Robert Capa 1944 photograph from the Omaha Beach D Day landings !!

10. Frontline soldier with canteen, Saipan (1944, vintage print) by W Eugene Smith where the faces of the soldiers were almost Zone 2-3 and there was nothing in the print above zone 5 (mid-grey) – no physical and metaphoric light.

11. One of the absolute highlights: two vintage Edward Weston side by side, the form of one echoing the form of the other; Nude from the 50th Anniversary Portfolio 1902 – 1952 (1936, printed 1951), an 8″ x 10″ contact print side by side with an 8″ x 10″ contact print of Pepper No. 30 (vintage 1930 print). Nothing over zone 7 in the skin tones of the nude, no specular highlights; the sensuality in the pepper just stunning – one of my favourite prints of the day – look at the tones, look at the light!

12. Three vintage Aaron Siskind (one of my favourite photographers) including two early prints from 1938 – wow. Absolutely stunning.

13. Harry Callahan. That oh so famous image of Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago (vintage 1953 print) that reminds me of the work of Jeffrey Smart (or is it the other way around). The wonderful space around the figures, the beautiful composition, the cobblestones and the light – just ravishing.

14. The absolute highlight: Three vintage Diane Arbus prints in a row – including a 15″ square image from the last series of work Untitled (6) (vintage 1971 print, see above) – the year in which she committed suicide. This had to be the moment of the day for me. This has always been one of my favourite photographs ever and it did not disappoint; there was a darkness to the trees behind the three figures and much darker grass (zone 3-4) than I had ever imagined with a luminous central figure. The joyousness of the figures was incredible. The present on the ground at the right hand side was a reveleation – usually lost in reproductions this stood out from the grass like you wouldn’t believe in the print. Being an emotional person I am not afraid to admit it, I burst into tears…

15. And finally another special…. Two vintage Stephen Shore chromogenic colour prints from 1976 where the colours are still true and have not faded. This was incredible – seeing vintage prints from one of the early masters of colour photography; noticing that they are not full of contrast like a lot of today’s colour photographs – more like a subtle Panavision or Technicolor film from the early 1960s. Rich, subtle, beautiful hues. For a contemporary colour photographer the trip to Bendigo just to see these two prints would be worth the time and the car trip/rail ticket alone!

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Not everything is sweetness and light. The print by Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California is a contemporary print from 2003, the vintage print having just been out on loan; the contemporary section, The contemporary narrative, is very light on, due mainly to the nature of the holdings of George Eastman House; and there are some major photographers missing from the line up including Minor White, Fredrick Sommer, Paul Caponigro, Wynn Bullock and William Clift to name just a few.

Of more concern are the reproductions in the catalogue, the images for reproduction supplied by George Eastman House and the catalogue signed off by them. The reproduction of Margaret Bourke-White’s Chrysler Building (1930, see below) bears no relationship to the print in the exhibition and really is a denigration to the work of that wonderful photographer. Other reproductions are massively oversized, including the Alfred Stieglitz Equivalent, Lewis Hine’s Powerhouse mechanic (see below) and Tina Modotti’s Woman Carrying Child (c.1929). In Walter Benjamin’s terms (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) the aura of the original has been lost and these reproductions further erode the authenticity of the original in their infinite reproducability. Conversely, it could be argued that the reproduction auraticizes the original:

“The original artwork has become a device to sell its multiply-reproduced derivatives; reroductability turned into a ploy to auraticize the original after the decay of aura…”3

In other words, after having seen so many reproductions when you actually see the original –  it is like a bolt of lightning, the aura that emanates from the original. This is so true of this exhibition but it still begs the question: why reproduce in the catalogue at a totally inappropriate size? Personally, I believe that the signification of the reproduction (in terms of size and intensity of visualisation) is so widely at variance with the original one must question the decision to reproduce at this size knowing that this variance is a misrepresentation of the artistic interpretation of the author.

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In conclusion, this is a sublime exhibition well worthy of the time and energy to journey up to Bendigo to see it. A true lover of classical American black and white and colour photography would be a fool to miss it!

Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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Actual size of print: 9.2 x 11.8 cm

Size of print in catalogue: 18.5 x 13.9 cm

These two photographs represent a proportionate relation between the two sizes as they appear in print and catalogue but because of monitor resolutions are not the actual size of the two prints.

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Alfred Stieglitz
Equivalent
1923
gelatin silver print
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film 

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Actual size of print: 16.9 x 11.8 cm

Size of print in catalogue: 23.2 x 15.8 cm

These two photographs represent a proportionate relation between the two sizes as they appear in print and catalogue but because of monitor resolutions are not the actual size of the two prints.

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Lewis Hine
[Powerhouse mechanic]
1920
gelatin silver print
Transfer from the Photo League Lewis Hine Memorial Committee, ex-collection Corydon Hine
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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As it approximately appears in the exhibition (above, from my notes, memory and comparing the print in the exhibition with the catalogue reproduction)

Below, as the reproduction appears in the catalogue (scanned)

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Margaret Bourke-White
Chrysler Building
New York City
1930
Silver gelatin photograph

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“An exhibition of treasures from arguably the world’s most important photographic museum, George Eastman House, has been developed by Bendigo Art Gallery. The exhibition American Dreams will bring, for the first time, eighty of some of the most iconic photographic images from the 20th Century to Australia.

The choice of works highlights the trailblazing role these American artists had on the world stage in developing and shaping the medium, and the impact these widely published images had on the greater community.

Curator Tansy Curtin, who worked closely with George Eastman House developing the exhibition commented, “Through these images we can recognise the extraordinary ability of these artists, and their pivotal role influencing the evolution of photography. Their far-reaching images helped shape American culture, and impacted on the fundamental role photography has in communications today. Even more than this we can see through these artists the burgeoning love of photography that engaged a nation.”

Through these images we can see not only the development of photography, but also as some of the most powerful social documentary photography of last century, we see extraordinary moments captured in the lives of a wide range of Americans. The works distil the dramatic transformation that affected people during the 20th century – the affluence, degradation, loss, hope and change – both personally and throughout society.

The role of photography in nation building is exemplified in Ansel Adams’ majestic portraits of Yosemite national park, Bourke-White’s Chrysler building and images of migrants and farm workers during the Depression. Tansy Curtin added, “We see the United States ‘growing up’ through photography. We see hopes raised and crushed and the inevitable striving for the American Dream.” Director of Bendigo Art Gallery Karen Quinlan said, “We are thrilled to have been given this unprecedented opportunity to work with this unrivalled photographic archive. The resulting exhibition ‘American Dreams’, represents one of the most important and comprehensive collections of American 20th Century photography to come to Australia.”

George Eastman House holds over 400,000 images from the invention of photography to the present day. George Eastman, one time owner of the home in which the archives are housed, founded Kodak and revolutionised and democratised photography around the world. Eastman is considered the grandfather of snapshot photography.

American Dreams is one of the first exhibitions from this important collection to have been curated by an outside institution. It will be the first time Australian audiences have been given the opportunity to engage with this vast archive.”

Press release from the Bendigo Art Gallery

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Alfred Steiglitz
[Georgia O'Keefe hand on back tire of Ford V8]
1933
gelatin silver print
Part purchase and part gift from Georgia O’Keefe
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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Walker Evans
Torn Poster, Truro, Massachusetts
1930
gelatin silver contact print
Purchased with funds from National Endowment for the Arts
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California
1936, printed c2003
photogravure print
Gift of Sean Corcoran
Collection of George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film

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1. Anon. “Zone System,” on Wikipedia [Online] Cited 13/06/2011
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_System

2. Anon. “Equivalents,” on Wikipedia [Online] Cited 13/06/2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivalents

3. Huyssen, Andreas. Twilight Memories: Marking Time in a Culture of Amnesia. London: Routledge, 1995, pp. 23-24.

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Bendigo Art Gallery
42 View Street Bendigo
Victoria Australia 3550
T: 03 5434 6088

General admission fees for this exhibition
Adults - $12
Concession/tertiary - $10
Primary/secondary - $4

Opening hours:
Bendigo Art Gallery is open daily 10am to 5pm

Bendigo Art Gallery website

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04
Jun
11

Exhibition: ‘Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change’ at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Exhibition dates: 26th February – 7th June, 2011

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While rightly famous for his work on animal locomotion it is the first group of photographs in this posting that shine most brightly. It is often overlooked how magnificent a photographer Eadweard Muybridge was and what a brilliant eye he had. The top three photographs, especially the first one, are knockouts – radiant jewels in which the tensional points of the composition and the atmosphere of the scene are captured magnificently. I also love the use of human figures to give scale to the scene.

It is rare to find Eadweard Muybridge photographs other than his locomotion studies on the Internet (do a search under Google and see for yourself!), so it is a particular pleasure to post these photographs. It is something I have been wanted to do for quite a while now and finally it has come to pass; earlier iterations of this exhibition had few press images so I must heartily thank the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

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Eadweard Muybridge
Ruins of a Church, Antigua, Guatemala
1875
albumen print
Collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal

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Eadweard Muybridge
The Ramparts, Funnel Rock, Hole in the Wall, Pyramid, Sugar Loaf, Oil House, and Landing Cove on Fisherman’s Bay, South Farallon Island (4150)
1871
albumen print
U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office

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Eadweard Muybridge
Ruins of the Church of San Domingo, Panama
1875
albumen print
image courtesy The Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington

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Eadweard Muybridge
Bridge on the Porto Bello, Panama
1875
albumen print
Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA

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Eadweard Muybridge
Tenaya Canyon. Valley of the Yosemite. From Union Point. No. 35
1872
albumen print
Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

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Eadweard Muybridge
First-Order Lighthouse at Punta de los Reyes, Seacoast of California, 296 Feet Above Sea (4136)
1871
albumen print
U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office

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Eadweard Muybridge
Pi-Wi-Ack. Valley of the Yosemite. (Shower of Stars) “Vernal Fall.” 400 Feet Fall. No. 29
1872
albumen print
Collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; gift of Jeffrey Fraenkel and Frish Brandt

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From February 26 through June 7, 2011, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will showcase the first-ever retrospective examining all aspects of artist Eadweard Muybridge’s pioneering photography. Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change brings together more than 300 objects created between 1857 and 1893, including Muybridge’s only surviving zoopraxiscope – an apparatus he designed in 1879 to project motion pictures. Originally organized by Philip Brookman, Corcoran Gallery of Art chief curator and head of research, the San Francisco presentation is organized by SFMOMA Associate Curator of Photography Corey Keller.

Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change includes numerous vintage photographs, albums, stereographs, lantern slides, glass negatives and positives, patent models, zoopraxiscope discs, proof prints, notes, books, and other ephemera. The works have been brought together from 38 different collections and include a number of Muybridge’s photographs of Yosemite Valley, including dramatic waterfalls and mountain views from 1867 and 1872; images of Alaska and the Pacific coast; an 1869 survey of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads in California, Nevada, and Utah; pictures from the Modoc War, pictures from Panama and Guatemala; and urban panoramas of San Francisco. The exhibition also includes examples from Muybridge’s experimental series of sequential stop-motion photographs such as Attitudes of Animals in Motion (1881) and his later masterpiece Animal Locomotion (1887).

The exhibition is organized in a series of thematic sections that present the chronology of Muybridge’s career, the evolution of his unique sensibility, the foundations of his experimental approach to photography, and his connections to other people and events that helped guide his work. The sections include: Introduction: The Art of Eadweard Muybridge (1857-1887); The Infinite Landscape: Yosemite Valley and the Western Frontier (1867-1869); From California to the End of the Earth: San Francisco, Alaska, the Railroads, and the Pacific Coast (1868-1872); The Geology of Time: Yosemite and the High Sierra (1872); Stopping Time: California at the Crossroads of Perception (1872-1878); War, Murder, and the Production of Coffee: the Modoc War and the Development of Central America (1873-1875); Urban Panorama (1877-1880); The Horse in Motion (1877-1881); Motion Pictures: the Zoopraxiscope (1879-1893); and Animal Locomotion (1883-1893).

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Muybridge and San Francisco

Best known for his groundbreaking studies of animals and humans in motion, Muybridge (1830-1904) was also an innovative and successful landscape and survey photographer, documentary artist, inventor, and war correspondent. Born in Kingston upon Thames, England, in 1830, Muybridge immigrated to the United States around 1851. He worked as a bookseller in New York and San Francisco and returned to London in 1860 following a serious injury. Muybridge learned photography in Britain and by 1867 returned to the United States, where began his career as a photographer in San Francisco. He gained recognition through innovative landscape photographs, which showed the grandeur and expansiveness of the American West. Between 1867 and 1871, these were published under the pseudonym “Helios.”

Muybridge spent most of his career in San Francisco and Philadelphia during a time of rapid industrial and technological growth. In the 1870s he developed new ways to stop motion with his camera. Muybridge’s legendary sequential photographs of running horses helped change how people saw the world. His projected animations inspired the early development of cinema, and his revolutionary techniques produced timeless images that have profoundly influenced generations of photographers, filmmakers, and visual artists.”

Press release from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) website

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Eadweard Muybridge
Savings and Loan Society, Clay Street (340)
1869
albumen stereograph
Collection of Leonard A. Calle

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Eadweard Muybridge
Contemplation Rock, Glacier Point (1385)
1872
albumen stereograph
Collection of California Historical Society

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Eadweard Muybridge
Group of Indians (489)
1868
albumen stereograph
Collection of Leonard A. Walle

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Eadweard Muybridge
The Brandenburg Album of Bradley & Rolufson “Celebrities” and Muybridge Photographs, page 104
1874
albumen prints
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Museum Purchase Fund, 1972.9.104

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Eadweard Muybridge
Cockatoo; flying. Plate 759
1887
collotype
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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Eadweard Muybridge
Boxing; open-hand. Plate 340
1887
collotype
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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Eadweard Muybridge
Horses. Running. Phryne L. Plate 40
1879
from The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, 1881
albumen print
image courtesy The Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mary and Dan Solomon

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Eadweard Muybridge
Studies of Foreshortenings. Horses. Running. Mahomet. Plates 143-144
1879
from The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, 1881
albumen print
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

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Eadweard Muybridge
Leland Stanford, Jr. on his pony “Gypsy” – Phases of a Stride by a Pony While Cantering
1879
collodion positive on glass
Wilson Centre for Photography

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Eadweard Muybridge
General view of experiment track, background and cameras, Plate F
1881
from The Attitudes of Animals in Motion, 1881
albumen print
courtesy Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street (between Mission + Howard)
San Francisco CA 94103

Opening hours:
Monday – Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Friday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website

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02
Jun
11

Exhibition: ‘The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker’ at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Exhibition dates: 15th January – 5th June 2011

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Many thankx to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image.

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Couplets: Philadelphia
1968
Gelatin silver print (printed 2002)
Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2009.6.40
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Double Frames: Philadelphia
1965
Gelatin silver print (printed 1984)
Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2009.6.37
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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“Works by Ray K. Metzker, one of the most original and influential photographers of the last half century, will be on view from Jan. 15 to June 5, 2011, at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker will reveal Metzker’s ability to turn ordinary subjects, including the urban experience and nature, into the visual poetry of the finely crafted black-and-white print.

At the age of nearly 80, Metzker is greatly admired for his passionate engagement with both photography and the world. He has explored the use of high contrast and selective focus, the potentials of multiple and composite images, and the infinite gradations of daylight, from dazzling white to inky shadow.

This is great and lasting work – the very best of a classic form of American modernism, said Keith F. Davis, senior curator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins. Metzker has led a life of deep devotion to understanding the potential, challenge and pleasure of photographic seeing. In so doing, he has transcended any simple notion of technical experimentation or formalism to illuminate a vastly larger human realm – one of uncertainty, isolation and vulnerability, as well as of unexpected beauty, grace and transcendence.

Thanks to a major gift from the Hall Family Foundation, the Nelson-Atkins now has the largest holding of Metzker’s work (92 prints) in the United States.

Born in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1931, Metzker first took up photography as a teenager. After two years in the army, he entered the graduate program at the Institute of Design, Chicago, in the fall of 1956. His professors, Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan, were acclaimed artists and inspiring teachers, and they emphasized the medium’s remarkable range and visual potential. Metzker’s artistic vision grew from a union of ideas: the realities of modern life, the medium’s myriad technical possibilities, and the quest for a distinctly individual vision.

Metzker has lived and worked in Philadelphia since 1962, and as he approaches the age of 80, he continues to make new pictures there.

The photographs in the exhibition feature examples from all his major series, including his earliest mature work from Chicago (1957-59); photographs from an extended visit to Europe (1960-61); the street activity, people, and structures of Philadelphia (from 1962 to the present); beachgoers at the New Jersey shore, Sand Creatures (1968-77); the starkness of the Southwestern light and landscape, New Mexico (1971-72); and the lush mysteries of the natural realm, in his Landscapes (1985-96) from Italy, France and the United States.

The exhibition features a host of innovative and ingenious approaches to photography, including the use of the double image, Double Frame (1964-66) and Couplets (1968-69); single works created from an entire roll of film, Composites (1964-66); and the creative control of focus in both Pictus Interruptus (1976-80) and Landscapes (1985-96). 

Press release from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art website

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Philadelphia
1963
Gelatin silver print (printed 1986)
Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2009.6.5
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Man in Canoe
1961
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.1960
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Philadelphia
1964
Gelatin silver print (printed 1989)
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.1965
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Chicago
1959
Gelatin silver print (printed 1989)
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.1966
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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Ray K. Metzker
American (b. 1931)
Composite: Atlantic City
1966
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.4979.A-K
© Ray K. Metzker, Courtesy of the Laurence Miller Gallery.

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The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

Opening hours:
Wed, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Thurs, Fri, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sat, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun, Noon – 5 p.m.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art website

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29
May
11

Exhibition: ‘Garry Winogrand. Women are beautiful’ at Fundació Foto Colectania, Barcelona

Exhibition dates: 23rd February – 4th June 2011

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Many thankx to Fundació Foto Colectania for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image.

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Garry Winogrand
Centennial Ball, Metropolitan Museum
New York, 1969
Silver gelatin print, printed 1981
22 x 33 cm
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Garry Winogrand
Untitled
New York, 1965
Silver gelatin print, printed 1981
22 x 33 cm
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Garry Winogrand
Untitled
New York, 1968
Silver gelatin print, printed 1981
22 x 33 cm
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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“Foundation Foto Colectania presents for the first time in Barcelona the famous series Women Are Beautiful by Garry Winogrand.

Garry Winogrand is considered one of the greatest innovators of photography of the twentieth-century in America. He knew like no other how to capture the social transformation of females in the 60′s and 70′s through his portraits of women who stand as an allegory of women’s emancipation and their new role in society. The Foundation Foto Colectania presents its series Women Are Beautiful, including 85 photographs taken between 1960 and 1975 and collected in the book with the same title by the legendary director of photography at the MoMA, John Szarkowski. The exhibition from the collection of Lola Garrido, is part of the programming line of the foundation which is dedicated to authors who changed the course of the history of photography. The exhibition can be seen in Barcelona until June 4, 2011. In the 60′s ended the era of big images as symbols of timeless truths, by the devastating influence first from Walker Evans, and later from Robert Frank and William Klein. The pictures are focused on the reflection of reality, no retouching or other ideas added. Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander represent “the new American style” which brole new ground in the so-called Street Photography.

Winogrand combines spontaneity with an apparent confusion, which is more than aware of the complexity of the photography world: “I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.” The presence of human beings, contrasting with the crowds and the streets in his photographs reveals a new way of looking, in which the anarchy results in a wealth of shapes and structures. Biased and cold style of Winogrand is associated with Abstract Expressionism and its sharp diagonals are similar to paint brush strokes of those years. If the photographer Robert Frank was critical of the 50′s, Garry Winogrand is one of the largest photographers of the 60′s.”

Press release from the Fundació Foto Colectania website

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Garry Winogrand
World’s Fair
New York, 1964
Silver gelatin print, printed 1981
22 x 33 cm
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Garry Winogrand
Untitled
New York, 1969
Silver gelatin print, printed 1981
33 x 22 cm
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Garry Winogrand
Untitled
New York, 1968
Silver gelatin print, printed 1981
33 x 22 cm
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

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Fundació Foto Colectania
Julián Romea 6, D2
08006
Barcelona

Opening hours:
Our collection, library and temporary exhibitions can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 11 – 14 and from 17 – 20.30.
Closed Sundays and holidays.

Fundació Foto Colectania website

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09
May
11

Exhibition: ‘André Kertész – Retrospective’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 26th February – 15th May 2011

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Many thankx to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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André Kertész

Elizabeth and I
1933
Gelatin-silver print
printed in the 1960s
25.3 x 17.5 cm
Collection of Sarah Morthland, New York

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André Kertész

Distortion No. 200
1933
Gelatin-silver print
printed c. 1938/39
34.4 x 25.7 cm
Courtesy of Klever Holdings

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“André Kertész is possibly the most photographic of all photographers: he sought out the play of light and shadow; he liked the concentration and overlapping of forms, of moments; and in the everyday, in banality, he recognized poetry, beauty, and even, for all his innate modesty, the “sublime.” Kertész is a photographic poet and seer, for whom it was long difficult to break into the market precisely because of his rich, chiseled iconography.

André Kertész (Budapest 1894 – 1985 New York) supported Brassaï, inspired Henri Cartier-Bresson, is considered one of the founders of photojournalism, and introduced stylistic elements into photography that can still be found in works by contemporary photographers. At heart, he was a photographer and artist in equal measure, poetic, probing, vital, independent in thought and actions. In a word, he was a master of photography, whose long period of production was very influential. Nevertheless, it took a remarkably long time for his special abilities, his poetic experimental version of photography, to find recognition in the history of photography. The three locations where he lived (Budapest, Paris, New York), his freedom, his form of “contemplative photography,” as Roland Barthes characterized it, made quick reception and categorization of his work impossible. Today, more than twenty-five years after his death, he is recognized and considered to be a central photographer of the twentieth century who crucially enriched the language of photography.

With around 250 photographs and countless magazine contributions, the retrospective at Fotomuseum Winterthur on view until May 15, 2011, allows a comprehensive view of his work. The chronological order and the major themes show what it is that makes up his photographic practice: his unique methods (in photographic postcards, in distortions), his editorial engagement (for example, in the volume Paris vu par Kertész, 1934), his passion for experimentation (with light and shadow), and the evocation of emotions, above all of melancholy and loneliness. Periods that have remained neglected or unexplored until today (his life as a soldier from 1914 – 1918, for example) are reassessed, and juxtaposed with the development of photojournalism in Paris and the distribution of his pictures in the media, with which he earned his living.

André Kertész liked to characterize himself as an “eternal amateur.” But what a virtuosic “amateur” he was; what virtuosic visual language he employed his entire life to capture the poetry of the everyday! His photographic production was closely connected to his life and psyche. Even when he seemed to be documenting something, he let himself be guided almost exclusively by feeling, by instinct, from his soul. This resulted in a body of work that he liked to compare to a “visual journal”, and about which he said, “I have never just ‘made photos’. I express myself photographically.”

Text from the Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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André Kertész

Arm and Ventilator
1937
Gelatin-silver print
printed in the 1940s-1950s
30.5 x 26.7 cm
Collection of Eric Cepotis and David Williams

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André Kertész

July 3, 1979

1979
Polaroid SX-70 original
7.9 x 7.9 cm
Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

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André Kertész

Washington Square
New York, January 9, 1954
Gelatin-silver print
vintage print
12.7 x 9.2 cm
Collection of Leslie, Judith and Gabrielle Schreyer

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André Kertész

Self-Portrait
Paris, 1927
Gelatin-silver print
printed in the 1970s
25.4 x 20.3 cm
Courtesy of Estate of André Kertész, New York

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Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
CH-8400
Winterthur (Zürich)

Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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28
Apr
11

Exhibition: ‘Nicholas Nixon: Family Album’ at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Exhibition dates: 28th July, 2010 – 1st May 2011

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In the history of photography Nixon’s ongoing series of family portraits The Brown Sisters (1975 – ) is the best in the world. Beautifully structured and composed the photographs are nuanced and sensitive to the people portrayed and the passage of time. The subjects project and recede within the image frame, exposing vulnerability, intimacy and strength. Simply breathtaking!

Many thankx to Amelia Kantrovitz for her help and to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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 Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
Bebe, Cambridge
1980
Photograph, gelatin silver contact print
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Museum purchase with funds donated by the National Endowment for the Arts and Richard L. Menschel, Bela T. Kalman, Judge and Mrs. Matthew Brown, Mildred S. Lee, and Barbara M. Marshall
© Nicholas Nixon, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
Clementine and Bebe, Cambridge
1985
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Gift of Nicholas Nixon
© Nicholas Nixon, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
Cambridge
1986
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Gift of the photographer
© Nicholas Nixon, Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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“Themes such as the passage of time and the enduring nature of close family relationships are brought into focus in the exhibition Nicholas Nixon: Family Album at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). The show, on view from July 28, 2010, through May 1, 2011, in the MFA’s Herb Ritts Gallery, features more than 70 black and white portrait photographs by Nicholas Nixon, one of the most celebrated American photographers of this generation. Among them are pictures of Nixon’s wife, Beverly (Bebe) Brown Nixon, and their two children, Clementine and Sam. Nicholas Nixon also includes The Brown Sisters, the ongoing annual series of portraits of Bebe and her sisters taken each summer for the past 35 years. Nixon will take another photograph of the sisters this summer, which will be hung in the gallery during the course of the exhibition.

The promised gift to the MFA of The Brown Sisters series is the impetus for Nicholas Nixon. The group of photographs has been lent to the Museum for the exhibition from the collection of James Krebs, a Distinguished Benefactor of the MFA, and his late wife, Margie. Also included are works by Nixon purchased by the Museum, and a number that were given and lent to the MFA by the artist. Nicholas Nixon is presented with support from the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fund.

“Nicholas Nixon rose to prominence in the mid 1970s for his large-format black-and-white views of Boston and New York. Since then, he has turned almost exclusively to portraiture, and has produced many celebrated series of pictures – of the elderly, people with AIDS, and couples – but his portrayals of his family are particularly evocative and beloved. Nick has been a friend of the MFA for a long time and has generously given the Museum many of his photographs,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA.

Nicholas Nixon’s photographs of family are both personal in nature and have a universality with which observers can connect. These pictures, a number of which have never been publicly displayed, celebrate the bonds of close family relationships, especially as they grow over time. Included in the exhibition is the luminous image that Nixon took of his wife in the bathtub, Bebe, Cambridge (MFA, Boston, 1980). The beautiful glowing light on her face suggests her interior state, as well as the depth of their long relationship. There are also many photographs in the show that highlight the richness and warmth of daily life with children. In an image from 1985, a cropped view of Bebe pictures her gazing downward, as Clementine’s fist emerges from the bottom of the frame, evoking the power of a new life. A close-up of Clementine’s face made the following year, with her wide eyes gazing upward, captures the toddler’s impression of wonder. The latest photograph of Clementine in the exhibition dates to 2003 and depicts her as a young woman, embracing her mother. Images of Nixon’s son, Sam, are also included, showing him in different stages over the years and in portraits with his sister.

The most recognized images in the exhibition are those that Nixon has taken of the Brown sisters each summer since 1975. The four women – Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie – always appear in the same order in the portraits, from left to right. These compelling photographs reveal the evolving nature of the sisters’ relationship over time. The serial portraits begin with The Brown Sisters, 1975 (James and Margie Krebs Collection, 1975), which captures them as young women, ranging in age from 15 to 25. With each passing year, observers can note changes in appearance, stance, and demeanor. In several of the portraits, the presence of the photographer is suggested through the shadow of himself and his camera projected across the figures, which makes reference to his role in the family dynamic. The series unfolds in a grid display on the central wall of the Ritts Gallery.

“In his serial pictures of family, Nicholas Nixon explores a classic conundrum in photography: how to suggest the passage of time by means of an instrument that records the instantaneous image. His effort is related to that of several predecessors – Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Harry Callahan, to name the most important – who, like him, used their wives as subject matter, photographing them over a period of years. What Nixon has added to the discussion – beyond recording facets of appearance, personality, or emphasizing formal concerns – is his emphasis on the meaning of family,” said Anne Havinga, the MFA’s Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs, who curated the show with Emily Voelker, the MFA’s Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs.

Born in Detroit in 1947, Nixon graduated from the University of Michigan in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in English, and from the University of New Mexico in 1974 with a Masters of Fine Arts degree. Later that year, he moved to Boston, where he teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Nixon is known for his documentary photography, especially city views and portraits rooted in the snapshot tradition. He works primarily in black and white, creating gelatin silver prints with a 8 x 10-inch view camera as did many of the great photographers who influenced him, including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, and Walker Evans. Working in large format and making contact prints enables him to create images of crisp detail and subtle tone. In recent years, Nixon has also begun to experiment with color, although the photographs in the exhibition are all black-and-white, for which he is best known. He is the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and two Guggenheim Fellowships, and, in addition to the MFA, his work is included in numerous museum collections, among them, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.”

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website.

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
The Brown Sisters
1976
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Promised gift of James and Margie Krebs
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
The Brown Sisters
1978
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Promised gift of James and Margie Krebs
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
The Brown Sisters
1980
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Promised gift of James and Margie Krebs
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
The Brown Sisters
1996
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Promised gift of James and Margie Krebs
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Nicholas Nixon (American, born in 1947)
The Brown Sisters
1999
Photograph, gelatin silver print
Promised gift of James and Margie Krebs
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5523
617-267-9300

Opening hours:
Monday and Tuesday
10 am-4:45 pm
Wednesday-Friday
10 am-9:45 pm
Saturday and Sunday
10 am-4:45 pm

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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