Saturday, May 15, 2010

New York Photo Festival Day 1

NYPH 10 Day 1:
I have experienced a lot while at the NYPH 10, but I will only be sharing what I think were the most informative experiences from the event. The Aperture Foundation presented a lecture featuring visual artists Justine Reyes, Hank Willis-Thomas, and Brian Ulrich.
Justine Reyes is an artist living and working in New York. Her work titled "Vanitas" is inspired by the Dutch Vanitas paintings and deals with memory and mortality. She built still lifes with objects that belonged to her grandmother while incorporating objects of her own that include old, rotting fruit and other organic materials with man-made possessions. These combinations result in a visual representation of the break down of the human body before death and the memory of the passing.
The second body of work she introduced is titled "Home, Away from Home" and documents her mother and uncle in the comfort of their own home, as they all three live together. This project also includes portraits of Reyes' two relatives staying in motels around the world while the three travel together. After Reyes' other uncle, Vinnie passed away, she feels as though this project helps her to comfort her own fears of losing her mother and uncle Al.
Justine Reyes spoke about her experiences at residencies and applying for grants. At the beginning of every year she makes a budget list for the different opportunities that she wants to apply for and stays true to the list. She researches which grants and residencies are right for her work and her personal interests. She said she applies for maybe 20 or more opportunities including exhibitions, grants, and residencies and receives maybe 4 or 5 a year. She reiterated the fact that artists need to help each other out and work together as much as possible. While on a trip to North Carolina Reyes was asked to bring back a specific species of vine for another artist working on a project which he needed the vine for. While attempting to collect some of the vine she was introduced to Poison Ivy, which shares similar characteristics with the vine. This is what artists do for artists.

Hank Willis-Thomas is an African American artist working in New York whose mother, Deborah Willis, is a successful photographer, historian and educator. His work deals with race, history, pop culture, and advertising while using appropriated images and photographs to convey his point in a very simple and meaningful style.
Some images he shared with the audience included Nike symbols branded on African American males' bodies, a basketball chained to a player's foot, and Black Power written on gold teeth. These images are from the Series titled B(r)anded which speaks about the utilization of African Americans for advertising, especially in athletics. Another body of work he showed were semi-collages of cigarette ads where the models are all in very ridiculous poses. He has subtracted the cigarettes from their hands to emphasize the pose itself.
Many of Willis-Thomas' work is displayed in large public spaces, echoing the advertisements in which he is making the work about. He has collaborated with several artists on most if not all of his projects and commented on how important this was to the way he works and educating the public. He was also the winner of the first Aperture West Book Prize for his monograph "Pitch Blackness" in 2008. He has been exhibited extensively throughout the world and attended many residency programs. A quote he shared: "It's not how you get to the door, it's what you do when you get there."

Brian Ulrich is a Guggenheim Fellow whose work deals with the United States' consumption habits and the culture that surrounds it. He lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. He showed work from his project titled "Copia" which includes images from 4 different series. He shared photos from the "Retail", "Thrift", and "Dark Stores" series from the "Copia" project. "Retail" shows people shopping for different goods throughout stores carrying various items. The "Thrift" series documents various thrift store locations, employees, customers, and the abundance of items for sale. As the United States economy shifted from stable to desolate, Ulrich started locating and photographing "dead malls" which have closed down due to lack of consumer support. His large format photographs show in great detail the elements left behind and the environment abandoned in ruin.
His work reveals the stages in which consumer products travel, from their first days on the shelves in big box stores, into the hands of the shoppers and out the door. After their first use they make their way into thrift stores which are flooded with second hand items and hard-to-sell merchandise. As the economic downturn hit harder throughout the United States more and more malls and shopping centers closed their doors resulting in dead malls, ghost boxes, and dark stores. These series have played a major role in the realization of our society's over-consumptive tendencies and desires as has been discussed and publicized as of late.
Brian Ulrich commented on the importance of the photographic community as a whole and the ability to overcome obstacles when help is more easily accessed from peers. As he approached the opportunity to apply for the Guggenheim Fellowship he realized the significance of other artists who had been in his position and had experienced the process first hand. Not only was their knowledge helpful but it played a key role in his outcome as a recipient of the award.

Hopefully some of this information will guide you to research the artists mentioned and give you a sense of motivation to pursue your passion with a new found excitement and dedication. I will post more as time permits.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Camden Hardy Photography

Here are some images from Camden Hardy.  Mr. Hardy is a graduate of Montana State University and will be attending Grad School at University of Arizona in Fall 2009.  Much of his work deals with social landscapes in Bozeman, Montana and Lihue, Hawaii.  Some of his work that I really enjoy are stitched collages of landscapes in the Beartooth Mountain Range (see top image).  Mr. Hardy is also involved in a collaborative project between students and professors of MSU documenting the greater Bozeman area over time called the Bozeman Survey Project.  Mr. Hardy photographs with both large and medium formats with a distinct style including much of the foreground.  Check out Mr. Hardy's website.

Zachary S. Allen Photography

Check out the photography of fellow MSU Graduate Zachary S. Allen.  His work documents people and places from areas in which he feels important for various reasons.  The Hi-Line is a project documenting the Hi-Line region of Northern Montana, which surrounds what was originally the Great Northern Railway.  While staying near Cutbank, Montana, Mr. Allen has chosen some very interesting landscapes to include in this series as well as some great portraits; a house which was "Once Montana's Largest Meth Lab" and a "Texaco Oil Cleanup Site" as well as a guy named "Kodiak".  Roseland is a body of photographs documenting a new sustainably built "green" community near Richmond, Virginia.  His work shows the impenetrable, dominating forest that is the setting for this community based on the "New Urbanism" philosophy.  The Transitory project documents the area around Bozeman, Montana in a manner similar to Stephen Shore.  Mr. Allen is also part of a collaborative project called The Bozeman Survey Project, documenting the greater Bozeman, Montana area with students and professors of MSU.  All of Mr. Allen's photographs were created using 4x5 or 8x10 format and in the hopes of re-photographing several of the images over time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Four Corners, Montana -New Images and Statement


Jason- Painter

Sebastian and Timmy- Monforton School Students

                  This project focuses on the residents and landscapes of Four Corners, Montana in the Gallatin County.  Four Corners is located at 45.667876 degrees North, 111.182530 degrees West, which is approximately eight miles west of the Bozeman city center.  The Gallatin County spreads over 2,500 square miles with Bozeman being the densest conglomeration of citizens, but relying on the many hardworking residents commuting from one of the outlying communities like Four Corners.  I find this area particularly interesting due to the vast array of unique businesses, business owners, and community members.  These surrounding communities are a large part of the adhesive that hold the Bozeman municipal together as a whole.

Four Corners, Montana Landscapes

Some more large format photographs taken on my adventures in the Four Corners community.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Four Corners, Montana

Jeff- Custom Hill Design

Colleen and Nick- Greenspace Nursery and Alaska Drilling

Travis, Ayden, and Kandace- Ressler Automotive

Noah- Everlast Paint and Body

Four Corners, Montana

Robert- K.O.A. Campground

Timmy and Sebastian- Monforton School Students

Jason- Painter

Josh- Custom Woodwork and Carpentry