Posts Tagged ‘Russian photographer

25
Oct
14

Exhibition: ‘The World c. 1914. Colour Photography Before the Great War’ at Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin

Exhibition dates: 1st August – 2nd November 2014

Albert Kahn, Sergej M. Prokudin-Gorskii, Adolf Miethe

 

One of the most beautiful postings that I have ever done on the blog. The colours, the people, the faces, the places: magnificent.

This was Sarajevo two years before Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated there, catalyst that sparked the beginning of The Great War. Bread and dirty clothes, rough hands and mud-stained shoes.

I could find nothing about either of the two photographers (Stéphane Passet and Auguste Leon) online, which is a pity because I would have liked to have known more about them. Can you imagine the journey of Stéphane Passet in those days with plate cameras:

Turkey: September 1912
Morocco: December 1912 / January 1913
China: May 1913
Mongolia: July 1913
India: December 1913 – January 1914
France: June 1914

Marcus

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Many thankx to Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

The Archives of the Planet (French: Les Archives de la Planète) was photographical endeavour to document buildings and cultures.

In 1909, Kahn travelled with his chauffeur and photographer, Alfred Dutertre to Japan on business and returned with many photographs of the journey. On his return to Europe, he decided to go back, this time with the professional photographer Augustus Leon, for a second two-month trip to South America in 1909 where he visited Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. All materials became the first of the “Archives of the Planet” based in Paris: a collection of color photographs (process autochrome plates, invented by the Lumiere brothers) and movies.

This prompted him to begin a project collecting a photographic record of the entire Earth. He appointed Jean Brunhes as the project director, and sent photographers to every continent to record images of the planet using the first colour photography, autochrome plates, and early cinematography.

Professional operators were recruited and sent around the world and in France to photograph (color) and film (the movement) as evidence “aspects, practices and modes of human activity, including the fatal disappearance is only a matter of time.” Among them, the photographer Stéphane Passet conducted between 1912 and 1914, several trips to China, Mongolia and in the British Raj (India and Pakistan), yielding several thousand Autochromes and movies on the people and customs of these country. At the same time Kahn sent his operators, including Augustus Leon, to Scandinavia and more than twenty European countries on the eve of the Great War. Kahn’s photographers began documenting France in 1914, just days before the outbreak of World War I, and by liaising with the military managed to record both the devastation of war, and the struggle to continue everyday life and agricultural work. Other parts of France are not forgotten either, Kahn sending Brittany operators to take monochromes from 1909 – 1931. In 1926 and 1927, it was to Japan that he sends an operator, Roger Dumas.

Between 1909 and 1931 they collected 72,000 colour photographs and 183,000 meters of film. These form a unique historical record of 50 countries, known as The Archives of the Planet. Between 1909 and 1931, it is thus some 72,000 autochrome (first global fund of early color photography), 4000 black-and-white, and a hundred hours of footage that will be reported from fifty country. These images are the iconographic side of a large documentation project that will take other forms (publications, documentation centers, etc.) and whose goal is a better understanding of other nations for a better deal in order to prevent conflicts. The images are also projected for this purpose to the guests, often prestigious people from around the world, as well as in higher education structures.

Translated from the French Wikipedia

 

 

Stephane Passet. 'Morocco, Benguerir' December 1912 / January 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Morocco, Benguerir
December 1912 / January 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'Turkey, Istanbul September' 1912

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Turkey, Istanbul
September 1912
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Auguste Leon. 'Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo' 15 October 1912

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo
15 October 1912
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Auguste Leon. 'Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo' (detail) 15 October 1912

Auguste Leon. 'Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo' (detail) 15 October 1912

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo (details)
15 October 1912
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'Mongolia, near Ulaanbaatar' 17 July 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Mongolia, near Ulaanbaatar
17 July 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Auguste Leon. 'Egypt, Giza' 6 January 1914

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Egypt, Giza
6 January 1914
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'India, Uttar Pradesh' 19 - 21 January 1914

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
India, Uttar Pradesh
19 – 21 January 1914
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Auguste Leon. 'Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mostar' 29 April 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mostar
29 April 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar' 25 July 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar
25 July 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'India, Bombay' 17 December 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
India, Bombay
17 December 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'France, Paris' 24 June 1914

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
France, Paris (Family in the Rue du Pot-de-Fer)
24 June 1914
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Auguste Leon. 'Serbia, Krusevac' 29 April 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Serbia, Krusevac
29 April 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Auguste Leon. 'Serbia, Krusevac' (detail) 29 April 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Serbia, Krusevac (detail)
29 April 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

 

“In commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War, the Martin-Gropius-Bau is presenting an exhibition entitled The World c. 1914 – Colour Photography Before the Great War, which features nearly forgotten colour photographs and films commissioned by the French banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940) before the First World War. As the nations of Europe were already arming themselves for battle, Kahn, who was excited by the Lumière Brothers’ colour photography process, dispatched photographers out into the world to develop a unique photo archive. Over 70,000 colour photos have survived in this collection. They represent an immense ethnographic treasure and were also intended to perform a mission of peace: Bringing the outside world closer to home. Kahn’s activities were intended to help secure the fragile peace. The exhibition brings this treasure trove of images from a long forgotten world to light.

For Albert Kahn, knowledge of peoples, buildings, landscapes and lifestyles was directly related to his desire for global peace: People who know and respect one another, and who encounter one another face to face, do not need to wage war. In 1908/09, excited by the new autochrome process of the brothers August and Louis Lumière, Kahn commissioned his photographers to document the world with the goal of assembling an archive of colour photographs from Europe, Asia and Africa. They photographed local scenes and people in typical clothing as well as monuments of cultural history. From this global treasure trove, more than 160 images have been selected for this exhibition. The autochromes from the Kahn archive form the centrepiece. The exhibition also displays images and projections by Adolf Miethe (1862 – 1927) and Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii (1863 – 1944).

Adolf Miethe, the inventor of a panchromatic film-coating process and thus the creator of three-colour printing, played a significant role in the development of colour photography. His presentation before the Kaiser led to a commission to create a colour documentation of German landscapes for the St. Louis World’s Fair. His work also enjoyed great popularity as collectible pictures sold with chocolate bars. This resulted in the “Stollwerck Album” – Germany’s first coloured photographic album.

Moreover, the Miethe Process inspired the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. His work is present in the form of approximately twenty-five colour prints and fifty projected photos. A special item is on loan from the German Museum in Munich: The original projector with which Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii exhibited his work to Nicholas II, the last tsar. In 1909, as a result of this presentation, Prokudin-Gorskii received a commission to record the Russian Empire in 10,000 photos. Between 1909 and 1915, Gorskii made several thousand photographs of great brilliance. He documented the cultural diversity of the tsarist empire from the Crimean Peninsula to Siberia.”

Text from the Martin-Gropius-Bau website

 

Auguste Leon. 'Egypt, Assuan' 20 January 1914

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Auguste Leon
Egypt, Assuan
20 January 1914
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'Morocco, Fes' January 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Morocco, Fes
January 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'China, Beijing' 26 May 1913

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
China, Beijing
26 May 1913
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'Turkey, Istanbul, Pera' (today: Beyoğlu) September 1912

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Turkey, Istanbul, Pera (today: Beyoğlu)
September 1912
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

Stephane Passet. 'Le Moulin Rouge, Boulevard de Clichy (18°) Paris' 24 June 1914

 

Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planète

Stéphane Passet
Le Moulin Rouge, Boulevard de Clichy (18°), Paris
24th June 1914
Autochrome
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine

 

 

Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin
Niederkirchnerstraße 7
Corner Stresemannstr. 110
10963 Berlin
T: +49 (0)30 254 86-0

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Wednesday to Monday 10 – 20 hrs
Tuesday closed

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30
Jan
14

Exhibition: ‘Golden Years / Rob Hornstra’s Russia (and Oleg Klimov and Olga Chernysheva and Sarkis and Willie Doherty)’ at Huis Marseille – Museum for Photography, Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 14th December 2013 – 9th March 2014

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A very strange conglomeration of artists in this exhibition. Individually some interesting work, but not sure what the rationale was of putting them together…

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Many thankx to Huis Marseille – Museum for 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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Oleg Klimov. 'Visser sorteert de vangst in het ruim. Ochotka Zee / Kamtsjatka' (Fisherman sorting the catch in the hold. Ochotka Sea / Kamchatka) Augustus 2007

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Oleg Klimov
Visser sorteert de vangst in het ruim. Ochotka Zee / Kamtsjatka (Fisherman sorting the catch in the hold. Ochotka Sea / Kamchatka)
Augustus 2007
© Oleg Klimov

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Oleg Klimov. 'Bootsman neemt douche op het dek van het vrachtschip 'Anatoli Tortsjinov'. Russische Verre Oosten / Stille Oceaan' (Boatswain takes shower on the deck of the freighter 'Anatoli Tortsjinov. Russian Far East / Pacific) Juli 2007

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Oleg Klimov
Bootsman neemt douche op het dek van het vrachtschip ‘Anatoli Tortsjinov’. Russische Verre Oosten / Stille Oceaan
(Boatswain takes shower on the deck of the freighter ‘Anatoli Tortsjinov. Russian Far East / Pacific)
Juli 2007
© Oleg Klimov

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Oleg Klimov. 'Illegale krabvangst in de Ochtoka Zee / Kamtsjatka' (Illegal crab catch in the Ochtoka Sea / Kamchatka) Augustus 2007

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Oleg Klimov
Illegale krabvangst in de Ochtoka Zee / Kamtsjatka (Illegal crab catch in the Ochtoka Sea / Kamchatka)
Augustus 2007
© Oleg Klimov

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Oleg Klimov: Along the shores of Russia

After years of reporting on the Caucasus, Central Asia and other hotbeds of unrest in the former Soviet Union, the Russian photographer Oleg Klimov went in search of the country’s ancient, but still unsettled relationship with water. In terms of land area, Russia remains the largest country in the world. Rivers and canals have been the most efficient transport routes since time immemorial, not only for traders and soldiers who had to traverse the country, but also for those whom tsars and, later, party leaders wanted to see exiled to its furthest reaches. Russians always sought ice-free harbours and seas from which to spread their wings still further. Nevertheless, having found open water they seldom crossed it, preferring to regard the coasts and shores as the fringes of their enormous realm. In recent years Klimov travelled by boat, or in his own yacht, along Russian waterways and seas. He visited the historic Gulag of the Siberian north, the fishermen of Kamchatka, the Pacific Ocean in the far east, the first Stalinist forced-labour camps below the White Sea, and settlements and military bases along the Volga. Klimov photographed playing children, burly fishermen, and those ‘typically Russian’ figures lying at the water’s edge that he says ‘are the epitome of unguardedness and openness – some of them are just drunk, though.’

Oleg Klimov (Tomsk/ Siberia, 1964) studied astrophysics at the University of Kazan but worked from 1991 onwards as a war photographer, including for the NRC Handelsblad. In 2004 Huis Marseille exhibited Oleg Klimov’s Legacy of an Empire. In December 2013, IKON TV will broadcast Letters to myself, a documentary by the Dutch/Russian film-maker Maja Novikova about Oleg Klimov’s life as a former war photographer.

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Olga Chernysheva. 'On duty' 2007

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Olga Chernysheva
On duty
2007
Courtesy of DIEHL Berlin

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Olga Chernysheva. 'On duty' 2007

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Olga Chernysheva
On duty
2007
Courtesy of DIEHL Berlin

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Olga Chernysheva. 'On duty' 2007

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Olga Chernysheva
On duty
2007
Courtesy of DIEHL Berlin

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Olga Chernysheva: Windows and On Duty

With her gift for delicate, empathic observation Olga Chernysheva reveals art in the everyday. Her subjects are simple and unspectacular; they concern ordinary people and objects, and are devoid of any satirical or cynical commentary. Chernysheva’s work represents a new kind of realism. On Duty (2007) is a series of portraits of Moscow subway attendants, people who are ‘seen but not noticed’. It is their blank expressions – directed inward and sometimes upward – which particularly fascinated the artist. The video installation Windows (2007) – sixteen glimpses of interiors through the windows of Russian houses – is shown on iPads. Chernysheva examines the relationship between objects and figures, particularly in the ways people enter uneasy relationships with the spaces they occupy. For her, art is “a little office that conducts research into the poetic truth of life.”

Olga Chernysheva (Moscow, 1962) studied at the Gerassimov Institute for Cinematography in Moscow from 1981 to 1986 and at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam from 1995 to 1996. In 2013 she was given a solo exhibition, Compossibilities, at the Kunsthalle Erfurt.

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Rob Hornstra. 'Sukhumi, Abkhazia' 2007

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Rob Hornstra
Sukhumi, Abkhazia
2007
© Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

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Former restaurant at the Black Sea coast in the centre of Sukhumi, capitol of Abkhazia. The restaurant was destroyed during the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict in 1992-1993.

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Rob Hornstra. 'Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia' 2011

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Rob Hornstra
Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia
2011
© Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

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The school hostage crisis in Beslan (North Ossetia) in 2004 caused 334 deaths, including 186 children. An unwashed shirt smeared with blood has been kept as a last physical memory to one of the children.

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Rob Hornstra. 'Angarsk, Russia' 2007

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Rob Hornstra
Angarsk, Russia
2007
© Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

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Masha dances at the weekend disco in the cultural centre of Cement Town, a suburb of Angarsk.

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Rob Hornstra. 'Angarsk, Russia' 2008

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Rob Hornstra
Angarsk, Russia
2008
© Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

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Employee preparing fish in the cement factory’s canteen.

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Golden Years / Rob Hornstra’s Russia

“In the wake of an eventful Netherlands-Russia year, from 14 December 2013 Huis Marseille is devoting several of its exhibition galleries to a photographic examination of the intrinsically Russian soul. The Dutch photographer Rob Hornstra lays bare the Russian soul in a thousand details: the erratically-applied false eyelashes on the flamboyant Natalya Shorogova, floor supervisor at Hotel Zhemchuzhina in Sochi; the educational ‘Cosmonautics’ museum at Orlyonok, a children’s summer camp; in nostalgic found photos, or the simple image of plate of prison food.

After his exhibition in Moscow was cancelled a few weeks ago, photographer Rob Hornstra’s Sochi Project has been continuously in the news. Since it was announced that the 2014 Winter Olympics would be held in Sochi, this subtropical Black Sea resort has turned into a huge building site; the 2014 Winter Olympics have already been declared the most expensive ever. This makes Sochi the perfect subject for Rob Hornstra, whose preference is for long-term projects that allow him, first and foremost, to tell stories and overturn prejudices. Together with writer and film-maker Arnold van Bruggen, Hornstra has spent five years documenting this region of the Caucasus. But controversial Sochi is only one of Hornstra’s Russian projects. Huis Marseille will be showing a large retrospective of his work in Russia over the last ten years. While Hornstra’s photographs are in the documentary tradition, he has an entirely original style and his images are marked by a narrative and painterly character. In illustrative themes, the typical inhabitants of various Russian regions are paraded before us: veterans, junkies, artisans, patients, prostitutes, Muslims, children, lovers, housewives, and artists. It is the documentation of a love-hate relationship with a colourful country and its remarkable people.

Rob Hornstra (1975) made his name with long-term projects in Iceland, the Netherlands, Russia and elsewhere. In 2004 he graduated cum laude from the HKU with his book Communism & Cowgirls [Tsjeljabinsk-Russia], whose independent print run also won him the Dutch Photo Academy Award. With the help of crowdfunding, Hornstra is now working together with writer Arnold van Bruggen on a number of books connected with The Sochi Project. The last of these publications, An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus (Aperture), will be for sale in the museum shop in November 2013.”

Text from the Huis Marseille – Museum for Photography website

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Rob Hornstra. 'Chelyabinsk, Russia' 2003

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Rob Hornstra
Chelyabinsk, Russia
2003
© Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

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Elfrem and Sveta near a lake in Chelyabinsk, close to the Kurchatov monument, a place where alternative people gather in Chelyabinsk.

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Rob Hornstra. 'Kuabchara, Abkhazia' 2009

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Rob Hornstra
Kuabchara, Abkhazia
2009
© Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery

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Brothers Zashrikwa (17) and Edrese (14) pose proudly with a Kalashnikov on the sofa in their aunt and uncle’s house. They live in a remote mountainous region on the border between Abkhazia and Georgia.

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Interview with Rob Hornstra

Nanda van den Berg: Why Russia?

Rob Hornstra: When I was at the academy I was interested in Russia because at that time the country was undergoing rapid transition. In the late 1990s Russia was broke, literally bankrupt, and people stood in lines for a piece of bread; by 2004 the country was going all out for hard-core capitalism and making a mint out of its natural resources. The transition from being a country in ruins to being a country rebuilding itself at a crazy speed, with young people suddenly having access to the rest of the world – something their parents and forefathers had never had – I thought that was interesting. I decided to research into it, and especially to look into how the youngest generation, in their early 20s, were reacting to the new developments. The fact that I then spent ten years working there is probably more because of my own aberrant nature; wherever I go, I get more and more interested in it. There were more subjects I wanted to research in Russia, so I went back, and every time I went back there were more things I wanted to know about it. So I just got deeper and deeper into the material, and it turned into ten years’ work. This might be the end of it, though.

NvdB: Did you always have a writing partner, like Arnold [van Bruggen]?

RH: In 2003, my last academic year but one, when I made the first trip to Russia, I went on my own and wrote everything myself. The first book I made, Communism and Cowgirls, has some text; the photographs are interspersed with quotes from students in Chelyabinsk. I was working the same way as I do now, really, but without a writer, because I couldn’t afford one, and no-one wanted to come along. Obviously, I’d only just started out. In 2007 I went on my own as well. It’s only on the the last two trips, for the book 101 Billionaires, that was completed in 2008, that I did it together with someone else.

NvdB: How long does that kind of trip last?

RH: The first one, in 2003, took exactly a month, all 31 days in May. And for the Sochi project, too, Arnold and I were travelling for about three and a half weeks. For 101 Billionaires I made trips that lasted three or four weeks. So the trips always take about a month, and that’s a period that has a sort of maximum energy and concentration span for me. At the end of the month I’m utterly exhausted, and I have a huge pile of undeveloped films and stuff like that, so I just have to go home.

NvdB: So how many of those months can you fit into a year? You work in projects, don’t you – what about repeat visits?

RH: For the Sochi project we made two big trips a year. Every now and then there was a small research trip, maybe ten days, for a magazine or a newspaper, but in principle we made two big, proper trips a year. That said, in 2007 I went to Russia four times.

NvdB: Is there a fixed pattern to those journeys? I see certain lines developing in your work. You return to certain places and people. How does that work?

RH: The whole month is just work, work, work. That’s all we do, and it’s how it started in 2003. I would go somewhere and realise that every second I had there was costing loads of money, so the only thing to do was work. Even if ‘work’ meant sitting at a table socialising. It might seem like relaxing, but in fact it’s all part of the work, because we use everything we encounter. Once I’m in Russia my radar never switches off. I try to see everything in the light of the documentary we’re making. And we plan our days. The last year of the Sochi project – and we’d planned that in 2009 – was the year of ‘revisiting people’. In 2013 we looked up many of those we’d met earlier in the project, to see how they were doing. That’s a really important part of our work – documenting the course of time, because it says something about the region or the area you’re working in.

NvdB: And how do you approach the people you’d like to have pose for you? Is it easy?

RH: Well, people do say no sometimes, even in Russia. But in practice we’ll be out and about and we’ll just start chatting to people. It’s not like we have a plan or a gimmick… I think in our case it’s just about giving it a go, getting out and about, knocking on doors and approaching lots of people. Bit by bit you make progress, and a lot of it is by word of mouth. We’ll often make early contact with students from the local university. Then we’ll go to the English classes and meet local youngsters and they’re generally happy to put us in touch with granddads and grandmas and there’s usually a party going on somewhere. It boils down to just going everywhere; the rest pretty much happens by itself.

NvdB: So do the students mediate for you?

RH: A student can also be an assistant, and arrange all sorts of thing for us, but then of course we have to pay them. We’re always looking for local assistants, and they can be students. We once had an English teacher, who took two weeks’ holiday so he could go everywhere with us. But as long as they speak English and want to help, it could be anyone.

NvdB: Do neither of you speak Russian, then?

RH: I speak reasonably good Russian – but speaking Russian is harder than understanding it, and we both understand it reasonably well. We like to keep that under our hats – it’s very useful to be able to know what people are saying about you, particularly if you’ve been arrested and you’re in a police station. We don’t use our Russian to have conversations. It’s not good enough for that, and we’d much rather have a local intermediary anyway.

NvdB: So you’ve made your contacts. How do you approach your work? You practice ‘slow photography’ and use heavy cameras, right?

RH: I always work with two cameras, one medium-format camera and one large-format camera, together with a large studio flash: a really solid, powerful piece of equipment. The assistant or Arnold carries the flash, and that’s what makes it ‘portable’ and means it can go everywhere with us. Then I choose which camera I’m going to use. There’s no real pattern to that; I make landscape photos in medium format and in large format, but I also make portraits in medium format and in large format. When you work with such a big flash, and a medium-format or large-format camera, then you’re obviously present in the crowd, or in someone’s home, and there’s absolutely no way people won’t see you as a photographer. I’m so conspicuously present that it’s simply impossible to ignore me or pretend that I can’t be seen. And the idea behind that – that’s why I use such a big studio flash, and use studio cameras too, actually – is that I see the place I’m in as a sort of studio. In fact I use the world as a studio space, and the people I want to take pictures of as my models. What I’m trying to achieve with this working method is that the photograph rises above the level of a snapshot or visual document, and – I know this sounds a bit vague – that it becomes a really strong image, one that endures, and intrigues people. I’m trying to get more and more people interested in the story behind the image. And I’m convinced that if you use really powerful photographs – if you use photography in the right way – then you can interest new people in photography, but above all, in the stories behind the photographs, and that’s actually my main aim.

NvdB: Did you develop this method mostly in Russia, or did it arise earlier, in your study years?

RH: It developed during my time at the art academy. My project Communism and Cowgirls was made using the same materials, the same equipment, in the same style, and with the same underlying ideology. I’ve noticed that the way I look at things has gradually changed, but that hasn’t affected my intentions, or my convictions about what you can do with photography, at all. The reason I became a photographer is the same, but the way I look at things has changed.

NvdB: In what way?

RH: I think I mentioned that when I was in Russia in 2003 I made absolutely no landscape photos, and only one photograph in landscape mode. The whole book was filled with photos in portrait mode. The ratio is now 50:50 but that was never a conscious decision; I never made an effort to make that happen. Perhaps you change as a person, or something arises in you which brings about changes by itself.

NvdB: Many of the photos in your series supply contextual information – like the plate of food, for instance – so wouldn’t landscapes do the same sort of thing, to show where these people lived?

RH: Yes, and the strange thing is that in 2003 I was already making many photographs of interiors, and yes, of lots of small objects, but no landscapes – and I couldn’t say why. It just didn’t occur to me. If I look back now, I miss the landscapes that I didn’t take for the 2003 series. But the fact is that the landscapes came later, perhaps in Iceland. I think landscapes can sometimes say an enormous amount about a region, or about the people who live there. And that can make a significant contribution. But I just didn’t make any, and I took all my photos in portrait mode. Right now I couldn’t say why.

NvdB: Then there’s the rest of your aesthetic: your use of colour, the fact that they’re always printed on matt paper… How did that come about? Did you have any examples you wanted to copy, or photographers whose work you particularly admired?

RH: I do admire a number of photographers, and have done so since my time at the art academy, so my style may have had its roots there. I’d found my style by the time I graduated, but a funny thing happened in 2003 when I got back from my first trip to Russia. I went to the academy to make some contacts prints. I was standing in the colour darkroom making the prints when a classmate came by and said “Your work looks a lot Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s.” Now in the meantime their work has changed a lot, but they came out of a hardcore documentary tradition… well, perhaps ‘hardcore’ isn’t quite the right word. Are you familiar with their background? They ran Colors Magazine for a long time, until 2005, and only after that did they go in an entirely autonomous direction; up to that point they did just what I’m doing now, more or less. My classmate knew about Colors Magazine and said: you should check it out, because your work really looks like theirs. So I saw Colors Magazine, and I bought their books, and I thought: this is really weird, it’s exactly what I want to do. Everything those two had made, I thought it was terrific. And there’s a little book called Mister Mkhize’s portrait and other stories from the new South Africa – something like that, I’d have to look it up – very cheap book, you can buy it anywhere on the internet for ten or twenty euros. I thought that book was great, because of its beautiful rhythm and the balance between photography and text. The text is continuous, and the photography also forms a continuous story, and the funny thing is that from time to time the text links directly to a photograph; but sometimes the text is opposite the appropriate photograph, and sometimes the text just goes its own way. And I thought: that’s what I want to do, they’re doing just what I’ve got in mind. So they were a source of inspiration from that moment on, in everything I did.

NvdB: But you don’t seem to have had the classic heroes – Walker Evans, or August Sander, or…

RH: Well, I was actually a bit of a difficult customer at the academy. The teachers rolled out the icons, people like Walker Evans and Cartier Bresson, and I did my level best to feel admiration for them. And I do think Walker Evans is a fantastic photographer. But right from the start I didn’t like Cartier Bresson at all. I thought then, and I think now, that his work is heavily overrated. I thought Walker Evans was definitely very good, but for some reason I have a problem with black and white photography when there is a large time interval – I have a problem identifying with it. That’s why it can’t be an inspiration to me, although it doesn’t change the fact that Walker Evans is definitely a hero of mine, and Diane Arbus is an even bigger hero. There are some older photographers amongst them who I think are really good, people like William Eggleston. Perhaps those photographers were an inspiration… but I would rather name some of today’s photographers.

NvdB: Do you think that if you go somewhere new to take photographs – and perhaps you will, because you already said that you might be finished with Russia – that you might start developing a new idiom, or start including new elements? Do you think your style is strongly inspired by Russia itself?

RH: No, because I also have the same style in Iceland or in the Netherlands. I don’t consciously employ a specific style; I just have the idea that what I do closely reflects who I am as a person, and that any other style would come less naturally to me. The country I happen to be in has absolutely no influence on that, but I do think that small changes in style can occur, because as a person you also go through occasional changes. In the year to come I want to have the time to reflect on what I’m doing. I can’t imagine I’ll be making any great changes. Things just happen more gradually with me. For instance, I was fascinated to see how Broomberg & Chanarin made documentary work in 2004-2005 and then suddenly switched to autonomous work. That’s when I think: what’s happening to them? I think my own trajectory is a more gradual one.

NvdB: So do you have any ideas where your trajectory might be headed in the future?

RH: That’s a rather difficult choice, because analogue photography seems to be dying out – I’m increasingly coming round to that idea – and if it doesn’t disappear altogether it’s going to be a very expensive business. I don’t make all that much money, so it’s going to be hard to keep doing analogue photography, and I’m not all that keen on digital photography. I’m rather inclined to go even more extreme with the analogue work, like with an 8 x 10 inch camera, and focus only on even more powerful, more extreme, stronger images, and let the rest go.

NvdB: And the subject?

RH: I’m still thinking hard about that. I can see myself just staying and working here in the Netherlands for a while. For ages I’ve wanted to do something with my own family, with the area they come from, south-west Friesland; that would be an interesting place to comb through. On the other hand I’d like to go back to Russia and head towards South East Asia, through Central Asia, with all those authoritarian regimes in Uzbekistan and Kirgizia. You end up in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, those sorts of countries, and that’s a fascinating part of the world. So I’ve got different places in mind, some close to home and some a long way away. Anything goes, really. The world’s my oyster.

NvdB: And new subjects are always possible.

RH: I don’t want to make any hasty decisions. Over the last three or four years I’ve been non-stop running, I’ve had to keep going, keep going, keep going. I’d really like to have some time again to see new books, visit exhibitions, get lots of new inspiration and ideas. I don’t want to start out by keeping up this tempo. I think it would be much healthier to take it easy for a while.

NvdB: The Sochi project was rather inclined towards ‘commentary’. Perhaps you’d like to do something with less commentary – or are you in fact always looking for it?

RH: Yes, I’m afraid that’s exactly what I want! I think there are already far too many people who never comment, and I feel the lack, I miss the nuance and the depth. I think people shout a lot but say very little, and I think there is too little investigative journalism. Art and investigative journalism are both dying out for lack of funding, and I think that puts the world at a great risk. People – and governments – don’t seem to understand the importance of free artistic expression and the freedom to carry out in-depth journalism, and that it’s a real threat to democracy if they no longer take place. These days all these things are being swept into a corner and then thrown away, especially in journalism, but also in the arts, and that worries me. So if you’re asking me whether I want to make less comment in the future, then the answer’s no, absolutely not. I want to stay involved, stay concerned about everything that’s happening in the world. I think it’s important to get people thinking, and I think it’s essential to sometimes confirm preconceived ideas and sometimes to totally negate them. I don’t think that’ll ever disappear from my life.

NvdB: Is there anything you’d like to add?

RH: Yes, and it has to do with the fact that I work in the Netherlands and live in a Vogelaarwijk, an official ‘problem neighbourhood’, and started observing my neighbours. Because the assumption is that only antisocial types live in a Vogelaarwijk, and that bothers me. I want to ask them: ever been there for yourself? Ever knock on one of their doors? It’s the same with Islam. Lots of people have a low opinion of Muslims, but go and knock on a door, go and have a look in a mosque – they invariably welcome you with open arms. That’s want I want to do with my work. I have a huge ambition to get people thinking and to confront them, acquaint them with other habits and customs; with things they might never have expected, or had never seen before. In Sochi, the project we did in the North Caucasus, you can see this very clearly. If we hadn’t done it, there would probably have been precious little interest in its violation of human rights and that sort of thing. I want to keep adding to that knowledge, and I think it’s very important to stay focussed on it.

Interview from the Huis Marseille – Museum for Photography website

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Sarkis. 'Galadriel' 2008

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Sarkis
Galadriel
2008
C-print
30 x 45 cm
Courtesy of Galerie De Zaal, Delft

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Sarkis. 'Gimli' 2008

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Sarkis
Gimli
2008
C-print
30 x 45 cm
Courtesy of Galerie De Zaal, Delft

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Sarkis. 'Legolas' 2008

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Sarkis
Legolas
2008
C-print
30 x 45 cm
Courtesy of Galerie De Zaal, Delft

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Sarkis. 'The Witch-king of Angmar' 2008

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Sarkis
The Witch-king of Angmar
2008
C-print
30 x 45 cm
Courtesy of Galerie De Zaal, Delft

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Sarkis: Portraits of the Ring

The elves, orcs, magicians and hobbits populating J.R.R. Tolkien’s saga The Lord of the Rings form a unique culture in which the forces of good and evil are engaged in a constant struggle for supremacy. This good and evil are also depicted in the expressions given to the tiny, mass-produced figurines of Ring characters, so the expressions of these figurines allow others to communicate the nature of the struggle between good and evil. Sarkis collected Ring figurines and used them to create a series of 54 Ring portraits, photographing them in an analytic manner so as to sublimate their powers. Sarkis focuses on their faces, which gaze downwards; we cannot see what they see. This fusion of the exotic and the contemporary is characteristic of Sarkis’ entire oeuvre. Huis Marseille is showing 30 of his Ring portraits; the rest can be seen in a video, made specially for this exhibition by Emma van der Put, which describes the seeds from which these artworks first grew. 

Sarkis (Istanbul, 1938, lives and works in Paris) was invited by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in 2012 to transform the Submarine Wharf in Rotterdam harbour into a new experiential world, Ballads. Sarkis’ work has been exhibited internationally since the 1970s, including at the Venice Biennale and in Istanbul. Over the last four months the young video artist Emma van der Put (1988, Den Bosch) also made four videos of the last stages of Huis Marseille’s rebuilding activities and its preparations for the exhibition The rediscovery of the world.

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Willie-Doherty-2-WEB

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Willie Doherty
TO THE BORDER
From the series A Fork In The Road 1986 – 2012
Black and white fibre photograph mounted on aluminium
122 x 183 cm
Collection Huis Marseille

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Willie Doherty. 'Seepage' 2011

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Willie Doherty
Seepage
2011
C-print mounted on aluminium faced with non-reflective Plexiglas
122 x 152 cm
Collection Huis Marseille

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Willie Doherty and the Huis Marseille collection

The museum galleries devoted to Huis Marseille’s own collection include two large, recently-acquired works by the Northern Ireland photographer Willie Doherty (Derry, 1959). At this year’s Art Basel Doherty was represented by his compelling video Remains (2013), drawn from ‘a body of work that meditates upon the irrefutable traces of past events that will not disappear, that resurfaces and cannot be forgotten.’ The two photographs, Seepage and To the Border, A Fork in the Road, were made at the end of the last century but first printed only very recently. Here, along the fracture line of escalating violence between Irish Catholics and Protestants, Doherty traces and articulates the scars in the city and the country in an understated but powerful way. Willie Doherty is currently the subject of a retrospective exhibition in Derry, Unseen, which will be shown in Tilburg’s De Pont museum of contemporary art in 2015.

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Huis Marseille – Museum for Photography
Keizersgracht 401
1016 EK Amsterdam

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday
11 – 18 hr

Huis Marseille – Museum for Photography website

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09
Dec
12

Exhibition: ‘WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – Posting Part 1

Exhibition dates: 11th November 2012 – 3rd February 2013

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This is the biggest posting on one exhibition that I have ever undertaken on Art Blart!

As befits the gravity of the subject matter this posting is so humongous that I have had to split it into 4 separate postings. This is how to research and stage a contemporary photography exhibition that fully explores its theme (NGV please note!). The curators reviewed more than one million photographs in 17 countries, locating pictures in archives, military libraries, museums, private collections, historical societies and news agencies; in the personal files of photographers and service personnel; and at two annual photojournalism festivals producing an exhibition that features 26 sections (an inspired and thoughtful selection) that includes nearly 500 objects that illuminate all aspects of WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY.

I have spent hours researching and finding photographs on the Internet to support the posting. It has been a great learning experience and my admiration for photographers of all types has increased. I have discovered the photographs and stories of new image makers that I did not know and some hidden treasures along the way. I hope you enjoy this monster posting on a subject matter that should be consigned to the history books of human evolution.

**Please be aware that there are graphic photographs in all of these postings.** Part 2Part 3Part 4

Marcus

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Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for allowing me to publish some of the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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“On November 11, 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, debuts an unprecedented exhibition exploring the experience of war through the eyes of photographers. WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath features nearly 500 objects, including photographs, books, magazines, albums and photographic equipment. The photographs were made by more than 280 photographers, from 28 nations, who have covered conflict on six continents over 165 years, from the Mexican-American War of 1846 through present-day conflicts. The exhibition takes a critical look at the relationship between war and photography, exploring what types of photographs are, and are not, made, and by whom and for whom. Rather than a chronological survey of wartime photographs or a survey of “greatest hits,” the exhibition presents types of photographs repeatedly made during the many phases of war – regardless of the size or cause of the conflict, the photographers’ or subjects’ culture or the era in which the pictures were recorded. The images in the exhibition are organized according to the progression of war: from the acts that instigate armed conflict, to “the fight,” to victory and defeat, and images that memorialize a war, its combatants and its victims. Both iconic images and previously unknown images are on view, taken by military photographers, commercial photographers (portrait and photojournalist), amateurs and artists.

“‘WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY’ promises to be another pioneering exhibition, following other landmark MFAH photography exhibitions such as ‘Czech Modernism: 1900-1945’ (1989) and ‘The History of Japanese Photography’ (2003),” said Gary Tinterow, MFAH director. “Anne Tucker, along with her co-curators, Natalie Zelt and Will Michels, has spent a decade preparing this unprecedented exploration of the complex and profound relationship between war and photography.” “Photographs serve the public as a collective memory of the experience of war, yet most presentations that deal with the material are organized chronologically,” commented Tucker. “We believe ‘WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY’ is unique in its scope, exploring conflict and its consequences across the globe and over time, analyzing this complex and unrelenting phenomenon.”

The earliest work in the exhibition is from 1847, taken from the first photographed conflict: the Mexican-American War. Other early examples include photographs from the Crimean War, such as Roger Fenton’s iconic The Valley of the Shadow of Death (1855) and Felice Beato’s photograph of the devastated interior of Fort Taku in China during the Second Opium War (1860). Among the most recent images is a 2008 photograph of the Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the remote Korengal Valley of Eastern Afghanistan by Tim Hetherington, who was killed in April 2011 while covering the civil war in Libya. Also represented with two photographs in the exhibition is Chris Hondros, who was killed with Hetherington. While the exhibition is organized according to the phases of war, portraits of servicemen, military and political leaders and civilians are a consistent presence throughout, including Yousuf Karsh’s classic 1941 image of Winston Churchill, and the Marlboro Marine (2004), taken by embedded Los Angeles Times photographer Luis Sinco of soldier James Blake Miller after an assault in Fallujah, Iraq. Sinco’s image was published worldwide on the cover of 150 publications and became a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The exhibition was initiated in 2002, when the MFAH acquired what is purported to be the first print made from Joe Rosenthal’s negative of Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima (1945). From this initial acquisition, the curators decided to organize an exhibition that would focus on war photography as a genre. During the evolution of the project, the museum acquired more than a third of the prints in the exhibition. The curators reviewed more than one million photographs in 17 countries, locating pictures in archives, military libraries, museums, private collections, historical societies and news agencies; in the personal files of photographers and service personnel; and at two annual photojournalism festivals: World Press Photo (Amsterdam) and Visa pour l’Image (Perpignan, France). The curators based their appraisals on the clarity of the photographers’ observation and capacity to make memorable and striking pictures that have lasting relevance. The pictures were recorded by some of the most celebrated conflict photographers, as well as by many who remain anonymous. Almost every photographic process is included, ranging from daguerreotypes to inkjet prints, digital captures and cell-phone shots.”

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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Yousuf Karsh. 'Winston Churchill' 1941

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Yousuf Karsh
Winston Churchill
1941

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Roger Fenton. 'The Valley of the Shadow of Death' 1855

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Roger Fenton
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
1855

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WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath is organized into 26 sections, which unfold in the sequence that typifies the stages of war, from the advent of conflict through the fight, aftermath and remembrance. Each section showcases images appropriate to that category while cutting across cultures, time and place. Outside of this chronological approach are focused galleries for “Media Coverage and Dissemination” (with an emphasis on technology); “Iwo Jima” (a case study); and “Photographic Essays” (excerpts from two landmark photojournalism essays, by Larry Burrows and Todd Heisler).

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1. Media Coverage and Dissemination provides an overview of how technology has profoundly affected the ways that pictures from the front reach the public: from Roger Fenton and his horse-drawn photography van (commissioned by the British government to document the Crimean War), to Joe Rosenthal’s 1940s Anniversary Speed Graphic (4 x 5) camera, to pictures taken with the Hipstamatic app of an iPhone by photojournalist Michael Christopher Brown in Egypt during the protests and clashes of the Arab Spring. (22 images/objects)

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Roger Fenton English (1819-1869) 'The artist's van [Marcus Sparling, full-length portrait, seated on Roger Fenton's photographic van]' 1855

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Roger Fenton English (1819-1869)
The artist’s van [Marcus Sparling, full-length portrait, seated on Roger Fenton’s photographic van]
1855
Salted paper print
17.5 × 16.5 cm
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

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Manufactured by Graflex, active 1912-1973
Anniversary Speed Graphic (4 x 5), “Scott S. Wigle camera” (First American-made D-Day picture)
c. 1940
camera
Collection of George Eastman House (Gift of Graflex, Inc.)

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2. The photographs in An Advent of War depict the catalytic events of war. These moments of instigation are rarely captured, as photographers are not always present at the initial attack or provocation. Photographs that Robert Clark took on the morning of September 11, 2001, and the aerial view of torpedoes approaching Battleship Row during the Pearl Harbor attack, taken by an unknown Japanese airman on December 7, 1941, both convey with clarity the concept of war’s advent. (11 images).

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Unknown photographer Japanese
War in Hawaiian Water. Japanese Torpedoes Attack Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941
gelatin silver print
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Will Michels

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3. Recruitment & Embarkation shows mobilization: the movement toward the front. Mikhail Trakhman captures a Russian mother kissing her son goodbye in Kolkhoz farmer M. Nikolaïeva bids her son Ivan goodbye before he joins the partisans (1942), while a 1916 photograph by Josiah Barnes, known as the “Embarkation Photographer,” shows an archetypal moment: young Australian soldiers waving goodbye from a ship as they depart their home country to fight in World War I. (7 images)

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Josiah Barnes Australian (1858-1921)
Embarkation of HMAT Ajana, Melbourne
July 8, 1916
Gelatin silver print (printed 2012)
On loan from the Australian War Memorial

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Mikhail Trakhman
Kolkhoz farmer M. Nikolaïeva bids her son Ivan goodbye before he joins the partisans
1942

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4. Training explores photographs of soldiers in boot camp or more-advanced phases of instruction and exercise. World War II Royal Navy officers gather around a desk to study different types of aircraft in a photograph by Sir Cecil Beaton. Also included is the iconic Vietnam-era photograph of a U.S. Marine drill sergeant reprimanding a recruit in South Carolina, from Thomas Hoepker’s series US Marine Corps boot camp, 1970. In one photograph, shot by a Japanese soldier and published in 1938 by Look magazine, Japanese soldiers use living Chinese prisoners in bayonet practice. (13 images) 

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Thomas Hoepker German (born 1936)
A US Marine drill sergeant delivers a severe reprimand to a recruit, Parris Island, South Carolina
1970
from the series US Marine Corps boot camp, 1970
Inkjet print
Thomas Hoepker / Magnum Photos
© Thomas Hoepker / Magnum Photos

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5. Daily Routine features moments of boredom, routine and playfulness. A member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps wears a gas mask as he peels onions. A 1942 photograph by Sir Cecil Beaton catches the off-guard expression of a Royal Navy man at a sewing machine, mending a signal flag. (13 images)

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Anon. 'Soldiers trying out their gas masks in every possible way. Putting the respirator to good use while peeling onions. 40th Division, Camp Kearny, San Diego, California' 1918

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Anon
Soldiers trying out their gas masks in every possible way. Putting the respirator to good use while peeling onions. 40th Division, Camp Kearny, San Diego, California
1918
National Archives and Records Administration

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Cecil Beaton, English (1904-1980)
A Royal Navy sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag during a voyage to Sierra Leone
March 1942
Gelatin silver print, printed 2012
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation
© The Imperial War Museums (neg. #CBM 1049)

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HMS Alcantara

HMS Alcatara was an RML passenger liner of 22,209 tons and 19 knots launched in 1926, and taken up by the Royal Navy for conversion to an armed merchant cruiser to counter the threat posed by German surface raiders against shipping. When Jim Hingston joined her as an ordinary seaman at Freetown she was still largely in merchant dress, with wood panelling throughout. Much to the regret of her crew this was removed during their stay at Simonstown – the wisdom of that was apparent to them only too soon.

There were some 53 such ships in all, poorly armed, in Alcantara’s case with eight 6 inch and two 3 inch guns, the former having a range of some 14,200 yards (13,000 metres). Such armament could not be much more than defensive, the intention being that the AMCs should radio the position of the German ship and not only give merchant shipping a chance to escape but delay the commerce raider long enough to allow regular RN warships to get to the scene.

Alcantara’s opponent, the Thor, was laid down in 1938 as a freighter of 9,200 tons displacement and a speed of 18 knots, but commissioned as a commerce raider on 14 March 1940. Though she had only 6 150 mm guns they had a much greater range, at 20,000 yards, than Alcantara and other British AMCs. She also carried a scout floatplane. During the engagement with Alcantara on 28 July 1940 the Thor inflicted significant damage but the Alcantara successfully closed, and after being hit the Thor withdrew in order to avoid the risk of being crippled or being forced to abort her mission. In later encounters with AMCs the Thor severely damaged the Carnarvon Castle and sank Voltaire.

HMS Alcantara later had her 6 in armament upgraded and was equipped with a seaplane, but as the threat of surface raiders receded she was converted to her more natural role of troopship in 1943.

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6. Images of Reconnaissance, Resistance and Sabotage are scarce by nature, as they reveal spies in the act and could be used against those depicted or their families. A U.S. soldier on night watch sits atop a mountain in Afghanistan, wrapped in a blanket and peering into night-vision equipment, in a photograph by Adam Ferguson. A photograph by T. E. Lawrence (known as Lawrence of Arabia) documents the bombing of the Hejaz Railway during the Arab Revolt. Cas Oorthuys’ photograph Under German Occupation (Dutch Worker’s Front), Amsterdam (c. 1940-45), taken with a camera hidden in his jacket, shows the back of a fellow countryman who is helping to conceal the photographer, with German troops in the distance. Also included is Arkady Shaikhet’s 1942 photograph Partisan Girl depicting Olga Mekheda, who was renowned for her ability to get through German roadblocks – even while pregnant. (10 images)

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T.E. Lawrence
Untitled [A Tulip bomb explodes on the railway Hejaz Railway, near Deraa, Hejaz, Ottoman Empire]
1918
Collection of the MFA Houston

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Adam Ferguson. 'September 4, Tangi valley, Wardak province, Afghanistan, a soldier of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division was  attentively monitoring a highway' September 4, 2009

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Adam Ferguson
September 4, Tangi valley, Wardak province, Afghanistan, a soldier of the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division was  attentively monitoring a highway
September 4, 2009

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“To me, this picture epitomizes the abstract idea of the ‘enemy’ that exists within the U.S. led war in Afghanistan: a young infantryman watches a road with a long-range acquisition sight surveying for insurgents planting Improvised Explosive Devices. U.S. Army Infantrymen rarely knowingly come face to face with their enemy, combat is fleeting and fought like cat and mouse, and the most decisive blows are determined by intelligence gathering, and then delivered through technology that maintains a safe distance, just like a video game.”

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Arkady Shaikhet Russian (1898-1959)
Partisan Girl
1942
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Marion Mundy
© Arkady Shaikhet Estate, Moscow, courtesy Nailya Alexander Gallery, NYC

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7. Patrol & Troop Movement conveys the mass movements of peoples and personnel by land, sea and air, from the movement of troops and supplies to patrols by all five divisions of military service: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force. Combat patrols are detachments of forces sent into hostile terrain for a range of missions, and they – as well as the photographers accompanying them – face considerable danger. João Silva’s three sequenced frames show, through his eyes, the tilted earth just after he was felled by an IED while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010; he lost both legs in the incident. A tranquil, 1917 image by Australian James Frank Hurley depicts silhouetted soldiers walking in a line, their reflections captured in a body of water. A 1943 photograph by American Warrant Photographer Jess W. January USCGR shows members of the U.S. Coast Guard observing a depth-charge explosion hitting a German submarine that stalked their convoy. (14 images)

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João Silva. 'Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 4th Infantry Division react to photographer Joao Silva stepping on a mine in the Arghandab district of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 23, 2010'

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João Silva
Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 4th Infantry Division react to photographer Joao Silva stepping on a mine in the Arghandab district of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 23, 2010, in a three-photo combination. For American troops in heavily-mined Afghan villages, steering clear of improvised explosive devices is the most difficult task
October 23, 2010
© João Silva / The New York Times via Redux

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Warrant Photographer Jess W. January USCGR, American
USCG Cutter Spencer destroys Nazi sub
April 17, 1943
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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8. The Wait depicts a common situation of wartime. Susan Meiselas captures a tense moment during a 1978 street fight in Nicaragua, when muchachos with Molotov cocktails line up in an alleyway, ready to initiate an attack on the National Guard. Robert Capa shows two female French ambulance drivers in Italy during World War II, leaning against their vehicle, knitting, as they wait to be called. (8 images)

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Robert Capa (1913-1954)
Drivers from the French ambulance corps near the front, waiting to be called
Italy, 1944
Original album – Italy. Cassino Campaign. W.W.II.
© 2001 By Cornell Capa, Agentur Magnum

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Susan Meiselas American (born 1948)
Muchachos Await Counter Attack by The National Guard, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
1978
Chromogenic print (printed 2006)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase with funds provided by Photo Forum 2006
© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos

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9. The Fight is one of the most extensive sections in the exhibition. Dmitri Baltermants shot Attack – Eastern Front WWII (cover image of the exhibition catalogue) in 1941 from the trench, as men charged over him. Sky Over Sevastopol (1944), by Evgeny Khaldey, is an aerial photograph of planes on their way to a bombing raid of the strategically important naval point. Joe Rosenthal’s Over the Top – American Troops Move onto the Beach at Iwo Jima (1945) pictures infantrymen emerging from the protection of their landing craft into enemy fire. Staged photographs, presented as authentic documents, tend to proliferate during wartime, and several examples are included here. In 1942 the Public Relations Department of the War issued an assignment to photographers to create “representative” images of combat in North Africa for more dynamic images; official British photographer Len Chetwyn staged an Australian officer leading the charging line in the battle of El Alamein, using smoke in the background from the cookhouse to create a lively image. (21 images)

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Len Chetwyn English (1909-1980)
Australians approached the strong point, ready to rush in from different sides
November 3, 1942
Silver gelatin photograph

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Joe Rosenthal American (1911-2006)
Over the Top – American Troops Move onto the Beach at Iwo Jima
February 19, 1945
Gelatin silver print with applied ink (printed February 23, 1945)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Richard S. and Dodie Otey Jackson in honor of Ira J. Jackson, M.D., and his service in the Pacific Theater during World War II
© AP / Wide World Photos

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Dmitri Baltermants
Attack – Eastern Front WWII
1941
Silver gelatin photograph

.

10. The Wait and Rescue bookend The Fight. Among the photographs in Rescue are Ambush of the 173rd AB, South Vietnam (1965), by Tim Page, showing soldiers immediately combing through a battleground to assist the wounded; American Lt. Wayne Miller’s image of a wounded gunner being lifted from the turret of a torpedo bomber; and Life magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith’s 1944 photograph of an American soldier rescuing a dying Japanese infant. Smith wrote about that moment, stating “hands trained for killing gently… extricated the infant” to be transported to medical care. (8 images) 

.

.

Lt. Wayne Miller
Crewmen lifting Kenneth Bratton out of turret of TBF on the USS SARATOGA after raid on Rabaul
November 1943
Silver gelatin photograph

.
More information: Kenneth C. Bratton – Mississippi (WWII vet). He was born in Pontotoc, MS, December 17, 1918. He passed away April 15, 1982. Lt. Bratton won a purple heart for his bravery during the attack on Rabaul November 11, 1943.

.

.

W. Eugene Smith American (1918-1978)
Dying Infant Found by American Soldiers in Saipan
June 1944
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Will Michels in honor of Anne Wilkes Tucker
© Estate of W. Eugene Smith / Black Star

.

11. Aftermath, with four subsections, features photographs taken after the battle has ended. “Death on the battlefield is one of the earliest types of war images: Felice Beato photographed the dead in the interior of Fort Taku in the Second Opium War (1860). George Strock’s Dead GIs on Buna Beach, New Guinea (1943), which ran in Life magazine with personal details about the casualties, was the first published photograph from any conflict of American dead in World War II. In 1966, Associated Press photographer Henri Huet documented an American paratrooper, who was killed in action, being raised to an evacuation helicopter. Incinerated Iraqi, Gulf War, Iraq, taken by Kenneth Jarecke, was published in Europe, but the American Associated Press editors withheld it in the United States. Shell Shock and Exhaustion shows impenetrable exhaustion after battle. In Don McCullin’s Shell-shocked soldier awaiting transportation away from the front line, Hué, Vietnam (1968), the man looks forward with the “thousand-yard stare.” Robert Attebury photographed Marines so exhausted after a 2005 battle in Iraq that lasted 17 hours that they fell asleep where they had been standing, amid the rubble of a destroyed building. Grief and Battlefield Burials were taken at the site of the conflict, including David Turnley’s 1991 picture of a weeping soldier who has just learned that the remains in a nearby body bag are those of a close friend. Destruction of Property shows collateral damage from war. Christophe Agou, for instance, photographed the smoldering steel remains of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 2001. (39 images)

.

George Strock. 'Dead GIs on Buna Beach, New Guinea' January 1943

.

George Strock
Dead GIs on Buna Beach, New Guinea
January 1943
© George Strock / LIFE

.

.

Henri Huet, French (1927-1971)
The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter, Vietnam
1966
Gelatin silver print (printed 2004)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase
© AP / Wide World Photos

.

Kenneth Jarecke. 'Gulf War: Incinerated Iraqi soldier in personnel carrier' Nasiriyah, Iraq, March1991

.

Kenneth Jarecke
Gulf War: Incinerated Iraqi soldier in personnel carrier
Nasiriyah, Iraq, March1991

.

.

Felice Beato
Angle of North Taku Fort at which the French entered
August 21-22, 1860

.

.

Don McCullin
Shell-shocked US soldier awaiting transportation away from the front line
Hue, Vietnam, 1968
© Don McCullin

.

.

David Turnley
American Soldier Grieving for Comrade
Iraq, 1991

.
Ken Kozakiewicz (left) breaks down in an evacuation helicopter after hearing that his friend, the driver of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle, was killed in a “friendly fire” incident that he himself survived. Michael Tsangarakis (center) suffers severe burns from ammunition rounds that blew up inside the vehicle during the incident. All of the soldiers were exposed to depleted uranium as a result of the explosion. They and the body of the dead man are on their way to a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital).

.

12. Prisoners of War (Civilian and Military)/Interrogation is a frequently photographed subject because such pictures can be made outside an area of conflict. Moreover, the people in control often documented their prisoners as a show of power. The photographs in this section include the official recording of a prisoner of war before his execution by the Khmer Rouge, taken by Nhem Ein. (14 images)

.

.

Nhem Ein Cambodian (born 1959)
Untitled (prisoner #389 of the Khmer Rouge; man)
1975-79
Gelatin silver print (printed 1994)
Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art; Arthur M. Bullowa Fund and Geraldine Murphy Fund. Digital image
© The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA Art Resource, NY. Used with permission of Photo Archive Group

.

13. Iwo Jima is a case study within the exhibition that presents the complete thematic narrative in photographs from a specific battle. Included in this section is the inspiration for the exhibition: Joe Rosenthal’s iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, a photograph he took as an Associated Press photographer in World War II showing U.S. Marines and one Navy medic raising the American flag on the remote Pacific island. (25 images)

.

.

Joe Rosenthal, American (1911-2006)
Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima
February 23, 1945
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Manfred Heiting Collection, gift of the Kevin and Lesley Lilly Family
© AP / Wide World Photos

.

.
Exhibition posting continued in Part 2…

.

.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Opening hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Thursday 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
Friday, Saturday 10.00 am – 7.00 pm
Sunday 12.15 pm – 7.00 pm
Closed Monday, except Monday holidays
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

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03
Sep
11

Exhibition: ‘Boris Mikhailov: Case History’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 26th May – 5th September 2011

 

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

 

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938) 
'Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938) 
'Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938) 
'Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938) '
Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art presents Boris Mikhailov: Case History, the first presentation dedicated entirely to the artist’s seminal series Case History (1997-98) in an American museum, from May 26 to September 5, 2011. Ukrainian-born Mikhailov (b. 1938) is one of the leading photographers from the former Soviet Union. For over 40 years, Mikhailov has explored the position of the individual within the mechanisms of public ideology, touching on such subjects as Ukraine under Soviet rule, the living conditions in post-communist Eastern Europe, and the fallen ideals of the Soviet Union. Although deeply rooted in a historical context, his work incorporates profoundly engaging and personal narratives of humour, lust, vulnerability, ageing, and death. The exhibition is organised by Eva Respini, Associate Curator of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

This exhibition, which features some 20 works, is selected from the larger body of work of Case History, which comprises 400 photographs and was published as a book in 1999. Arguably his most challenging body of work, it explores the deeply troubling circumstances of bomzhes – the homeless – a new class that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1996, after spending time abroad, he returned to Kharkov, which seemed like a changed city, with foreign ads and the glitz of a new western capitalist façade. Whereas most mainstream media focused on the new capitalists and rising oligarchs of the former Soviet republics, Mikhailov’s pictures describe the circumstances of a largely invisible underclass. Set against the bleak backdrop of the industrial city of Kharkov, his life-size colour photographs chronicle the oppression, devastating poverty, and everyday reality of a disenfranchised community living on the margins of the Ukraine’s new economic regime. Many of his subjects display their wounds, rashes, tattoos, and growths.

For Mikhailov the act of photographing was partly born out of a sense of responsibility: Case History records post-Soviet realities, in stark contrast to the previous histories of the Ukraine (1930s famine, war, Soviet losses in World War II) that went undocumented. One of the most haunting documents of post-Soviet urban conditions, these unforgettable pictures capture this new reality with poetry, clarity, and grit. The large size of Mikhailov’s pictures is in keeping with the scale of contemporary photography, creating a visceral and immersive viewing experience. Ms. Respini states, “Mikhailov inhabits the worlds of social documentarian and contemporary artist. It is partly the tension between these two roles that makes the work so complex and powerful.” 

Case History also explores the complicated relationship between photographer and subject. The photographs are collaborations, sometimes the result of a spontaneous moment, other times directed by the artist. Central to the exhibition is the seven-part work the artist calls “requiem.” The mannered posing of the people in his pictures exposes the constructed nature of the photographs, challenging the idea of objective truth and authenticity implied by documentary photography. For Mikhailov, photographic seeing is an accountable act, and viewers participate in this act. With these pictures, Mikhailov implicates himself – and the viewers – in the act of looking.

Press release from The Museum of Modern Art website

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938) '
Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938) '
Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938) '
Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, b. 1938) '
Untitled', from the series 'Case History' 
1997-98

 

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938)
Untitled
1997-98
From the series Case History
Chromogenic colour print
93″ x 49 15/16″ (236.2 x 126.8 cm)
Courtesy the artist, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
© 2011 Boris Mikhailov

 

 

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 708-9400

Opening hours:
10.30 am – 5.30 pm
Open seven days a week

MoMA website

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09
Aug
11

Exhibition: ‘Alexander Rodchenko – Revolution in Photography’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 28th May – 14th August 2011

 

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

 

 

Alexander Rodchenko. '
Pine trees, Pushkino', 1927

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Pine trees, Pushkino
1927
Gelatin-silver print, Vintage print

 

Alexander Rodchenko / Warwara Stepanowa
. 'Young Gliders', Sketch of a double page for the magazine 'USSR under Construction', 1933

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956) / Warwara Stepanowa (Russian, 1894-1958)
Young Gliders
Sketch of a double page for the magazine USSR under Construction
1933
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print, Photomontage
41.2 x 60.5 cm
Moscow House of Photography Museum
© Rodchenko’s Archive / 
2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Morning exercises, Student Campus in Lefortovo' 1932

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Morning exercises, Student Campus in Lefortovo
1932
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
22.8 x 29.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko. '
Shukhov Tower' 1929

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Shukhov Tower
1929
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
21.6 x 29.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

 

Modernism made photography what it is. It gave it self-confidence and made it trust itself. Self confident because photography in the 1920s recognised and developed its own possibilities and qualities: a probing vision of the world, an investigation of the visible reality from various perspectives, direct, clear, from above, below, behind, from the front, but without references to the pool of art history. Russian Constructivism is an important part of this great shift. In 1924, Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956), already known as a painter, sculptor, and designer, conquered traditional photography with the slogan “Our duty is to experiment!” This resulted in a reconsideration of the concept and role of photography. Conceptual work entered the stage. Instead of being an illustration of reality, photography became a means to visually represent intellectual constructs, and the artist became an “artist-engineer”.

Yet Rodchenko was much more than a dynamic image maker. He wrote manifestos to accompany almost every one of his picture series, tirelessly promoting his concept of Russian Constructivism to the world. Destabilising diagonals, harsh contrasts, tilted views, and picture and text collages are design elements found in his photographs. To this day they form, together with his texts, a unique document of the indefatigable artistic energy that is also manifest in Alexander Rodchenko’s posters, invitation cards, and publications.

At the beginning of the 1920s, Rodchenko worked together with his friend the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky on bold, photographic illustrations for Mayakovsky’s volume of poems Pro Eto. Rodchenko soon became coeditor, with Mayakovsky, of the magazine LEV (Left Front of the Arts), and was responsible for its cover designs in the years 1923-24. He designed posters for Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin and was commissioned to design the Soviet pavilion to the world exhibition in Paris in 1925. The experimental and innovative “new vision” was celebrated across Europe. Rodchencko took part in the pioneering exhibition Film und Foto (Film and Photo) of the Stuttgart Werkbund in 1929. Yet already at the beginning of the 1930s, the mood had shifted in Russia; photography was increasingly being instrumentalised by the state in the interests of socialism. Rodchenko was repeatedly forced to defend himself against accusations of formalism made over his photograph Pioneer with Trumpet, and, in the end, he was expelled from the October artists group, which he himself had cofounded in 1928, for refusing to adapt his style of working to the new times.

Press release from the Fotomuseum Winterthur website

 

Alexander Rodchenko. '
Caricature Showing Osip Brik, variant of a cover for LEF Magazine' 1924


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)

Caricature Showing Osip Brik, variant of a cover for LEF Magazine
1924
Gelatin silver print
24.2 x 17.9 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Portrait of Mother' 1924


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Portrait of Mother
1924
Gelatin-silver print, Vintage print
22.7 x 16.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Pioneer with a trumpet' 1930


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Pioneer with a trumpet
1930
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
44.5 x 38.5 cm
Moscow House of Photography Museum
© Rodchenko’s Archive / 
2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Gears' 1929


 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Gears
1929
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
28.8 x 23 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko.
 'Mosselprom Building' 1926

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Mosselprom Building
1926
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
29 x 23.3 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive /
 2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

Alexander Rodchenko. 'Girl with Leica' 1934

 

Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956)
Girl with a Leica
1934
Gelatin silver print, Vintage print
45 x 29.5 cm
Private collection
© Rodchenko’s Archive / 
2011, ProLitteris, Zurich

 

 

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

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday 11 am – 8 pm
Closed on Mondays

Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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11
Apr
10

Exhibition: ‘Alexey Titarenko: Saint Petersburg in Four Movements’ at Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates: 11th February – 24th April 2010

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#1 Untitled (Boy)' 1993

 

Alexey Titarenko
#1 Untitled (Boy)
1993
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Many thankx to the Nailya Alexander Gallery for allowing me to reproduce the images in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#3 Untitled (Crowd 1)' 1992

 

Alexey Titarenko
#3 Untitled (Crowd 1)
1992
Gelatin silver print

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#7 Untitled (Three Women Selling Cigarettes)' 1992

 

Alexey Titarenko
#7 Untitled (Three Women Selling Cigarettes)
1992
Gelatin silver print

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#11 Untitled (Begging Woman)' 1999

 

Alexey Titarenko
#11 Untitled (Begging Woman)
1999
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to announce Alexey Titarenko: Saint Petersburg in Four Movements opening on February 11th, in her new space at the Fuller Building, 41 E 57th Street, Suite 704. The reception for the artist will be from 6-8pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm and by appointment.

This will be Alexey Titarenko’s first major exhibition in New York that features his entire St. Petersburg series (1991-2009). The four underlying sequences, or movements – to borrow a term from the vocabulary of music, which features prominently in the artist’s mind, are The City of Shadows, The Anonymous, The Light of Saint Petersburg and Unfinished time. Like music, the expression of time is a presence in Titarenko’s art, associated with literature and in particular, the works of Marcel Proust.

This majestic and history-laden city, where Titarenko was born in 1962, is the central subject of his photography, or to be more accurate it is the soul of the city and therefore that of Russia. As the artist himself explains:

“It would be en error to consider my photographs within the context of the values now fashionable in the arts in general and photography in particular. To align them with such and such a trend, without taking into account that their very purpose in existing is defined by the past. Even the most factual of them are not reportage, but a novel. The principal motivation for their creation is, in fact, always the same: Russia’s history throughout the 20th century, which is an unending series of tragedies of ever more baffling dimensions, whether you consider the wars, the famines or the so-called times of peace. The history of Russia … but in the form of rather contemporary images, made in a single location, a single city – St. Petersburg. Rather than the city (which is mostly only vaguely visible), these images represent emotion – the range of emotions forming the deep inner character of the people who lived in this country and endured all these disasters, people who were usually only represented from outside. And it is therefore these emotions which, in themselves, are quite general and have remained unchanged in the course of the century, like the emotions aroused by the music of Shostakovich, for example, or by the novels of Solzhenitsyn, which are the true subject of my photographs, and my goal would be to convey them to the viewer, to make him or her feel them … understand, to feel compassion and love.”

Titarenko was able to develop a form of expression reminiscent of Dostoyevsky’s stories, inspired by the moods and rhythms of the music of Shostakovich. Often, the city, veiled in winter’s shadows or bright with summer’s dazzle, is inhabited by nearly transparent phantoms. They dwell in its streets, cross its courtyards: crowds on the move, spreading over a vast square like a wave, their individual identities blurred and indistinct. Nevertheless, sometimes a few isolated, improbable figures emerge from the crowd. This photographic technique, involving relatively slow shutter speeds, confirms a taste for randomness and makes each image a unique adventure, a potential source of surprise. The approach also bespeaks Titarenko’s long-standing interest in 19th-century landscape photographers, especially those who operated in cities. In addition to this style of representation, which eschews any temptation to be objective and is finally quite impressionistic, the darkroom technique Titarenko uses transforms the black-and-white print into a composition endowed with subtle, suggestive hues and ever-differing nuances of gray. Titarenko never reproduces exactly the same rendering of light and shadow from one print to the next.

Press release from the Nailya Alexander Gallery website [Online] Cited 06/04/2010 no longer available online

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#12 Untitled (Crowd 2)' 1993

 

Alexey Titarenko
#12 Untitled (Crowd 2)
1993
Gelatin silver print

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#15 Untitled (Asking for a Smoke)' 1995

 

Alexey Titarenko
#15 Untitled (Asking for a Smoke)
1995
Gelatin silver print

 

Alexey Titarenko. '#21 Untitled (Woman on the Corner)' 1995

 

Alexey Titarenko
#21 Untitled (Woman on the Corner)
1995
Partially toned gelatin silver print

 

Alexey Titarenko. 'Untitled (Windows)' (Attic) 1993

 

Alexey Titarenko
Untitled (Windows)(Attic)
1993
Partially toned gelatin silver print

 

 

Nailya Alexander Gallery
41 E 57th Street, Suite 704
New York, NY 10022

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10am – 6pm and by appointment.

Nailya Alexander Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Sleep/Wound’ 1995-96


Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: 'Sleep/Wound' 1995-96 *PLEASE NOTE THIS POSTING CONTAINS PHOTOGRAPHS OF MALE NUDITY - IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PLEASE DO NOT LOOK, FAIR WARNING HAS BEEN GIVEN*

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