North Korea

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Tongil Street in Winter‘ by Kernbeisser

Via Photography Prison, I came across this interesting Flickr set of Pyongyang in winter by Kernbeisser (who has alot of other North Korea Photos, too) which launched me on this extended internet recollection of interesting things I’ve recently read on the reclusive North Korean regime. Yes, I know, none of this is strictly photo related, but, of course, photography is all about building relationships between otherwise unconnected subjects, so I think you’ll forgive me for this.

Due to the general prohibition on journalistic access to North Korea, the only real way to get a look at the country is via tourist photos, like the Pyongyang set, or via satellite photos, available to us on Google Earth.  If you’d really like to spend some time trying to figure out the country, the North Korea Uncovered add on is invaluable.  Pieced together from news reports and tales from defectors, it provides a map key to the country’s infrastructure, military installations, and the yawning divide between how the country’s tiny elite and the great mass of the population live. [Found via a fantastic On The Media story]

It’s also worth noting, at this point, the excellent 3-part series on North Korea, shot by Shane Smith.  The thing culminates at the Arirang Mass Games, a massively creepy demonstration of autocratic power. Definitely worth watching if you haven’t already seen it.

But the limited access provided to tourists in North Korea, like the tour that Smith took, is not the only diplomatic effort the regime engages in. Besides blackmailing foreign governments by returning kidnapped foreign citizens in return for visits by high profile politicians, North Korea has also opened a series of restaurants in places popular with South Korean Tourists…

But the best recent thing I’ve read on North Korea was a several page article in the always excellent Cabinet Magazine (whose most recent issue has a photo by Alessandra Sanguinetti on the cover, incidentally) on the kidnapping of Choe Eun-hui and her ex-husband Shin Sang-ok. Entitled “All Monsters Must Die,” by Magnus Bärtås and Fredrik Ekman, it tells the story of the couple’s kidnapping by the agents of Kim Jong Il and how the film obsessed dictator built a studio and forced them to create films intended to rival the best that South Korea had produced. Unfortunately, the article is not available online, but I was able to find a telling of the story by the BBC, though I assure you it’s worth tracking down a back issue of Cabinet to read all about it.

One Year of Books

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Michael Lundgren’s ‘Transfigurations
‘ from the ‘One Year of Books’ blog

Laurence Vecten, who writes the wonderful LOZ blog, began a project a couple of months ago keeping track of every photobook she and her husband acquire, called One Year of Books. It’s a nice little compliment to LOZ itself, which is really minimal on text, and instead shows a small selection of a different photographers work every day.

One Year of Books also recently announced a book swap, a sort of online I’ll-trade-you-this-for-that. So if any of you have any photobooks that you have doubles of, or ones that you decided you didn’t like after you bought them, visit One Year of Books book swap post for details and pop Laurence an e-mail…


Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

‘4 x 2 + 4,’ from

I recently came across the blog AAnonymes – it’s all found photographs with a focus on the odd, accompanied by sometimes witty, sometimes mysterious titles.

Strictly speaking, it’s not actually a blog, but rather an ‘online exhibition’ by curator Romaric Tisserand. He’s showing 365 found photographs in 365 days, proposing a type of alternate reality in photographs. From his statement in English (available in the sidebar): shows “abandoned” photographs, antiquities of a reality that has ceased to exist in its original state, images which, like every other photograph ever taken, have contributed to the creation of a photographically modified reality. The very images which Jean Baudrillard regarded as the prime instrument of the lack of reality, pictures of a contemporary world in which images are already pictures, in which everything has been fiction since Nicéphore Nièpce’s first heliograph…

Take a look at


Monday, March 15th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Pete Brook (who occasionally comments here), over on Prison Photography, just ran part five of a series of posts (123, and 4) on photographers’ activities surrounding the death of Fabienne Cherisma in Port-Au-Prince on the 19th January, 2010.

I have nothing to add except quote Pete in his text of part 4:

I’d like to state that I have no agenda here, I am simply interested in constructing the scene in a wider context. Photographers don’t work in a vacuum and we must demand to turn their images inside out to understand the context in which the images were created.

The series is good and important.  Go read it.

UPDATE: Brook has continued with the series finally finishing, it seems, with part 12. Links to all below…

Part 1: Fabienne Cherisma
Part 2: More on Fabienne Cherisma
Part 3: Furthermore on Fabienne Cherisma
Part 4: Yet more on Fabienne Cherisma
Part 5: Interview with Edward Linsmier
Part 6: Interview with Jan Grarup
Part 7: Interview with Paul Hansen
Part 8: Interview with Michael Winiarski
Part 9: Interview with Nathan Weber
Part 10: Interview with James Oatway
Part 11: Interview with Nick Kozak
Part 12: Two Months On

New Site

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 - admin

We’re happy to unveil our new and improved web site!

Please take a moment to browse through – you’ll find that all of the old content is still here. Indeed, one of the motivations for redoing the site was to make the archive for our blog, On Shadow, more accessible and to integrate the blog and the main site more fully. You’ll also notice that we’ve made comments on the blog posts much more present, appearing directly on the front page of the blog so that readers may consult them and immediately see which posts have active discussions ongoing. All of this was done to pave the way for new book projects, which we’ll soon announce.

Anyways, we hope you like the new site – we’d love to hear any comments and feedback on the redesign at our e-mail address, Please excuse the various small errors and problems with images – we’re working on fixing them all and should have everything up to par over the next week or so.



Friday, March 12th, 2010 - admin



  • 2009
  • 31.5cm x 34.3cm, 10 pages
  • Screwpost binding, inkjet prints
  • Edition of 100
  • € 75 (Shipping Included)

Already II

Friday, March 12th, 2010 - admin


Already Vol. II

  • Nicholas Calcott, 2009
  • A5 (14.8cm x 21cm), 40 pages
  • Staple bound, b/w photocopy
  • Edition of 100
  • € 6,00


Wednesday, March 10th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

from American Suburb X’s Jules Shulman Archive on Facebook

So, posting slow as I’m working on a redesign of the site that will make the archives more accessible and conversations and comments more visible. It’ll be up this week or next.

In the meantime, check out… Facebook?  Yes, Facebook, that massive social networking site that has been adapted by businesses the world over for reasons of dubious (at best) marketing trends.

Dubiousness aside, there are quite a few photo resources on Facebook, many of which you can find by searching through the profiles of various well connected photo personalities.  Most of them use the site as another website – announcing the occasional news item, keeping the profile up to date, adding friends, but little else but maintaining a presence on the site.

An exception to this has been the always excellent ‘blog’ American Suburb X, which has really outgrown the blog form and instead become a repository for scholarly essays on huge swaths of the photography world.  They maintain a huge amount of their content on their Facebook site, rendering a friending well worth it…

Others I like – The Photography Post, Foam Magazine, nofound, Lay Flat, Little Brown Mushroom, etc.  Let me know if I’m missing anything in the comments…