For more than a decade—and for the full stretch of the United States’ war in Afghanistan—curator Anne Wilkes Tucker has been planning a massive exhibition of war photography, scheduled to open this fall at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
MICHAEL ALMEREYDA'S films include Nadja (1994), Hamlet (2000), and William Eggleston in the Real World (2005). He is the editor of William Eggleston for Now, published in 2010 by Twin Palms. THOMAS BARROW is Professor Emeritus of Photography at the University of New Mexico.
It was while working as an assistant professor in English at Colorado College, in the 1960s, that Robert Adams turned his photographic hobby into a full-time occupation. Between 1968 and 1974, while gradually extricating himself from the academic context, he would produce what arguably remains his most influential body of work, an exhaustive survey of the industrial exploitation and commercial development of The New West, as his first monograph was titled.
Tangier is a pretty large and rapidly expanding city, with a population nearing a million and a dense historic city center and casbah. But you would learn little of that from Yto Barrada's Riffs, a selection of photographs of her home city that the artist began taking about a dozen years ago.
William Henry Fox Talbot was famously compelled toward the salted-paper photographic process while on his honeymoon at Lake Como, in 1833, when he found himself unable to render to his satisfaction a drawing of the lake, even with the help of a camera lucida.
It seems ironic that, in the same year that Kodak ceased production, a photographer is being rediscovered who was one of the earliest to use the company’s color films. Saul Leiter bought his first rolls of 35-millimeter Kodachrome slide film in 1948, placing him years ahead of the proponents of “New Color Photography,” such as William Eggleston and Stephen Shore.
CENTRE INTERNACIONAL DE FOTOGRAFÍA BARCELONA (1978-1983)
The exhibition Centre Internacional de Fotografía Barcelona (1978-1983) is the result of intensive research into one of the most important episodes of Barcelona's cultural development during Spain's "transition years"—that is, the period just after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975.
THIS THING CALLED WAR AND THESE PEOPLE CALLED PHOTOGRAPHERS
The project WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath was conceived in 2002, when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker and photographer Will Michels began to consider expanding the museum’s collection of war photographs.
For reasons that aren’t really worth expanding upon here, during a recent trip to Houston, I found myself trudging through a barren and forbidding landscape, in search of a waffle iron. Without a car of my own, I had taken public transportation as far as it pitifully stretched, and with only an address in hand I struck out into a wasteland of strip malls and parking lots, aiming quite literally for a Target.
Reality is always a partially cloaked thing: the sum of sociopolitical structures and strictures, the warp and weft of interpersonal dynamics, and so on. It is created largely through instances of alchemy that evade the realm of the visual, in which photography traffics.
Looking at George Georgiou’s work, I recall a long-ago lunch with a travel-magazine editor. When he asked what I wanted to write, I said I wanted to describe what must be a common experience: you travel to a foreign country and, all the time you are there, you have absolutely no idea what you are seeing or what anything means.
In my teens and before, I searched the mirror for answers. What will I be? If I'd had a voice, I would have been a singer. When I was young, growing up in Hungary, "Que Sera, Sera— Whatever Will Be, Will Be" was a very popular song. I enjoyed it all the more because it was banned by the government of Hungary.
Two years ago, looking through my archives, I took a trip through time, from 1991 to 2009, revisiting Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Tatarstan, and Georgia. Although I have traveled to these places many times, my curiosity and fascination for this part of the world has never left me.
Chris Killip's photographs—black and white, crisply detailed, at once lush and stark—tend to center on working-class people, hard-pressed citizens on the job and at rest. We see them collecting sea coal, toiling in a tire factory, or withdrawn into attitudes of wariness, disenchantment, exhaustion.
Richard Avedon's first published photographs—advertisements for New York’s Bonwit Teller department store— appeared in Vogue in late 1944 and 1945. From that one client and that one important magazine, his commercial reputation (and income) quickly soared.
Shomei Tomatsu’s work served a critical purpose at a transitional moment in Japanese postwar photography: as a catalyst toward the rejection of a classic photojournalistic approach. As members of VIVO, a photographers’ collective formed in 1959, he and his colleagues were inspired, in part, by Magnum and the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa—yet determined to move beyond what they considered to be the reductionist humanism of war-era reportage, finding greater affinity with the work of William Klein and Robert Frank.
London’s Photographers’ Gallery, which moved from its thirty-seven-year residence on Great Newport Street to Ramillies Street, on the far side of Soho, in 2008, has undergone a massive reconstruction. No less than nine million pounds (ca. U.S. $14.5 million)—a third of which is government funding—has been invested in “going through the roof” of the former West End warehouse.
PHOTOGRAPHS NOT TAKEN: A COLLECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHERS’ ESSAYS Edited by Will Steacy
We know about architects who didn’t build, artists who renounce the making of objects, filmmakers who tell no stories, musicians who explore only silence, and choreographers who revel in stasis. But photographers who renounce the image— these surely must be the last explorers of negative space.
In a process guided by the agility and skill necessary to react instantly to an impulse, Meyerowitz saw color as a source of deceleration. It was a route to reflection; it provided the interval in which the photographer could take a step back.
Photography is an important part of Russia's rich artistic tradition. To bring this talent to wider American attention, FotoFest in Houston mounted a massive showcase of Russian photography as part of its 2012 biennial, featuring work from the post-Stalinist 1950s to present day.
1. The photograph of a painting by Paul Delaroche appealed to me after seeing a retrospective of Vito Acconci's work at a museum in Nantes, which included a swing to be used by visitors to the museum. The girl in Delaroche's painting is very dreamy and reflective, reminding me of my own childhood escapes into fantasy while swaying to and fro on a swing.