Saturday, February 21st, 2009 - Nicholas Calcott

Nicholas Calcott

Well, it’s been about a year now since this blog went up. For me it’s strange to think about – I can’t really remember most of what I’ve written about. During that time (the blog officially debuted the 7th of February, 2008) I’ve published 257 posts, a fact which seems remarkable to me, considering how much more I would always like to do.

But, it seems that it’s about time to follow through on that threat that I made a few months ago. But don’t worry, I intend to go out with a bit of a bang. I’ve been collating and collecting a whole series of links, thoughts, and essays, on a whole range of topics that concern contemporary photography, and I think you’ll enjoy them. Trouble is, I haven’t had the time to sit down and put them into presentable order.

So, this blog will be taking the month of March off, during which time I intend to work on this last series of posts that will be published weekly starting the first Monday of April and continuing until I’ve run out of posts (probably 2-3 months). I hope you enjoy them, and I encourage your comments, input, etc.

Link Dump

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 - Nicholas Calcott

An Edward Weston invitation from PhotoEphemera. The author writes, ‘Not sure who’s invite this was or who wrote on it but I like the idea of cocktails in the penthouse with Ed after the show. I wonder if he was a fun drinker.’

Some things I’ve been meaning to post about lately but haven’t really found a way to fit them into something with more depth:

First off, you really must go to PhotoEphemera, a blog dedicated to the printed accompaniment to photo history. They feature a wide range of photographers, showing gallery announcements, greeting cards, tearsheets, invitations, and other assorted odds and ends. As the author says to explain the site in his inaugural post:

I collect all sorts of photography related stuff. Mostly photography books–or I did anyway, BC–but also ephemera such as gallery announcements and the like. I’m sure if I dug down deep enough I could figure out why, but you know, at a certain point in one’s life, you just have to live with it.

Little by little, I’ll put some of this collected material up. It’ll be a wide variety of odds and ends from the history of photography: things I find interesting or amusing or unusual.

Secondly, recently featured a useful link to Smarthistory, a site that is trying to replace the ‘static art history textbook.’ But, having completed my art history requirements a few years ago, it’s also a pretty fascinating visual reference of movements and periods. take a look.

And finally, Art Fag City was sifting through some old Onion articles and usefully compiled a list of hilarious art related ones. My favorite below.

Hard To Tell If Wikipedia Entry On Dada Has Been Vandalized Or Not

“This is either totally messed up or completely accurate,” said Reed College art history major Ted Brendon. “There’s a mustache drawn on the photo of Marcel Duchamp, the font size keeps changing, and halfway through, the type starts going in a circle. Also, the majority of the actual entry is made up of Krazy Kat cartoons with abstract poetry written in the dialogue balloons.”

The fact that the web page continually reverts to a “normal” state, observers say, is either evidence that ongoing vandalization is being deleted through vigilant updating, or a deliberate statement on the impermanence of superficial petit-bourgeois culture in the age of modernity.

Francesca Romeo Again

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 - Nicholas Calcott

Francesca Romeo, ‘Chuck After Being Attacked,’ 2007

The wonderful Francesca Romeo has a split show with Tema Stauffer opening up at Daniel Cooney Fine Art. Definitely definitely definitely go take a look if you’re in NY. Running from this Thursday the 19th until April 18th. From the press release:

Romeo knows her subjects intimately as they are fellow artists and patrons of the bar she owns on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Drawing upon the aesthetic of both film noir and classical painting, she is interested in documenting her circle of friends that are emblematic of the new bohemia. She seeks out subjects that are affected by gentrification and that exhibit characteristics contrary to the mainstream in order to elicit a sense of psychological malaise.

Stauffer is exhibiting selected images from a work-in-progress inspired by the song, “A Ballad of Sad Young Men.” All of the subjects are photographed on Main Street in Binghamton, a small industrial city located in central New York well past its heyday. The young men she photographs are high school students and transient early twenty-somethings. Her approach contrasts to Romeo’s because she finds her subjects on the street and introduces herself as a photographer. While lacking a familiarity, there is a sexual tension that surfaces in the exchange between the photographer and the subjects.

Photo Magazines

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 - Nicholas Calcott

Jacob Silberberg
Jacob Silberberg, from a portfolio featured in Blueeyes Magazine

The lack of posting means that I’ve been working on other projects – my job has taken up alot of time, but coming soon will be a redesign of the blog (and following that a re-debut of 12TH PRESS) and even sooner a slight change in the direction and type of posts you’ll find here. Nothing too serious, but I’d like to post less frequently and spend more time on individual posts, giving me the chance to think more deeply about the images I present to you guys.

At any rate, to tide you over, I’ve prepared the following list of online photo-art magazines. They’re all worth a look, and they’ll take you a little bit to get through… So, in no particular order:

1000 Words
Seesaw Magazine
Lens Culture
Flak Photo
Blueeyes Magazine
And, quite frankly, Humble‘s website is basically a magazine without text.

Update: Oh wait, here’s another one (courtesy of Hippolyte Bayard): Ahorn Magazine.

Let me know of any I’m forgetting.

Update 2: And thanks to commenter Yaniv Waissa for pointing to the following:

And I Still Miss You

Naho Again

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 - Nicholas Calcott

Naho Kubota, from her ‘Minimum Structure’ series

Naho Kubota has some new work and a new design on her site. In addition, she’s the latest feature on Women in Photography, a great resource if you haven’t yet been over there to check it out.

Yes, Another Archive…

Monday, February 2nd, 2009 - Nicholas Calcott

N 1572 Bild-1925-052
From the German Federal Archives

I know this sometimes seems like I post archives alot these days, I really can’t help it. It’s not even that I really prefer historical photographs over contemporary ones (I don’t) – it’s just that I love wading through thousands of images. I suppose the same instincts of obsessive collection and categorization that got me into photography in the first place are the same ones that lead me to spend so much time sifting through digital dumps of images.

Most of all, though, it’s a really really good time to be into online archives. I guess bandwidths are sufficiently high now, and digitizing projects are sufficiently far advanced to justify placing all of these images online. In addition, there is the rise of Flickr and other ways of organizing images online, buzzwordy ‘crowdsourcing‘ phenomenon, and the Creative Commons and intellectual property movements, all of which have culminated in what seems to be a golden age of online image archives.

If you want further proof, simply check out the ARCHIVE category on this blog – Though, in future, I’ll refrain from wasting so many posts on individual archives. I’ll try and save the archives I come across up and give you posts with several of them at once, thereby not wasting so many posts and creating the skew of this blog to things historical.

That being said, I can’t help but push one more archive in your laps: The German Federal Archives has just uploaded 100,000 images onto Wikimedia Commons (which is itself a phenomenal archive). They. Are. Awesome. They include things as varied as aerial reconnaissance photography immediately preceding WWII to bureaucratic councils (East and West Germany) to industrial production to records of historical events such as Weimar politics, the rise of Hitler (some of which you could well see in Nein, Onkle), and the Berlin Wall falling to just about anything German or Germany related. Spend some time. Some serious time. There’s an intro page (as well as a small gallery of selections) as well as an index by category, but I recommend diving into the uncategorized section, where one may find the lions-share of the collection. It’s worth noting that, unfortunately, almost all of the captions are entirely in German.