250 Images You Need to See

Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol, UK

I can’t say enough good things about the Justine Kurland workshop I was fortunate to attend at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol. She was a fantastic workshop leader, full of inspiring and insightful things to say about both photography and making art generally. The book I brought to cut up was Photobox The Essential Collection: 250 Images You Need to See, which exhibited the usual prejudice for male photographers (although, as I scoured it for useful material I found more women in it than I had noticed at first).

Above, the collage I started under her tutelage. I look forward to finishing it. You may recognize bits of some famous images (or their outlines) in the work above. I recommend Girl Pictures and the SCUMB Manifesto highly.

Photo, Sculpture and Painting

Victor Brauner, Conglomeros, 1945. Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris

In Plato’s cave allegory we are bound and can only see images of the shadows cast by statues of real things. As we free our minds, we first discover that we are looking at mere images, shadows. Next we discover that the shadows are cast not by the real but by statues, imitations of the ideals which they represent. Only when we emerge from the cave do we discover the world of real things.

Al Zoe Leonard: Al río

The day after we went to Paris Photo we went to the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and got tickets to the Zoe Leonard exhibit, Al río / To the River, recommended by classmates who had seen it the day before. It’s an immense show that goes on and on for rooms and rooms, vast expanses of white space, perhaps conveyed by the images above. We arrived late morning and were, initially, the only ones there, other than the guards. I was almost more impressed at the opportunity to wander through the vast, empty white space of the museum (reminiscent of my trips to NY’s Metropolitan as a kid, when it was often so empty you could go bowling without disturbing anyone) than I was by the photographs.

The images look at the US/Mexico border area, as loosely defined by the Rio Grande/Bravo. On each wall is a series of pictures, looking at a particular scene, over the course of time (seconds, or minutes, I would guess). Some of these are very affecting; cumulatively, they certainly are. But I was unable to guess at the reason for some of them. One entire room was dedicated to pictures of the swirling water taken, perhaps, over the side of a bridge. While they are far from identical, they are all the same. Another follows a man on horse from a distance, behind, as he travels a short way. The final room is a series of color pictures of a laptop showing security footage of people crossing a barbed-wire-surrounded bridge. No indication of whether this is a public website, or if she’d been granted access to a security control room. Beyond the brochure materials about the exhibit (shown at the link above) there are no placards, captions or other text to explain what you’re looking at or why – which is, in itself, a kind of statement, I suppose. I confess, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Of course, the same might be said of my series of images of the exhibit.

As always, click any image to see them all full-size.

Some more haiku sketches

These are a few more shots, potentially for the haiku project. They are 2 different shadows on the wall, slightly before dawn, cast by the security lights of the construction site outside my apartment. Shooting at base ISO yielded exposure times of 2.1 and 4 seconds respectively.

Systems

Farnham, UK

Among the subjects we’re studying in our Critical Perspectives class is something called variously Systems Thinking or Systems Art.

Passing out of the library one day I saw this half-completed jigsaw puzzle on a table and immediately thought, “systems”!