Le Garage

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

So, I’m happy to announce a call for submissions for Le Garage, “an itinerant exhibition project born out of a common love for photography-related books and publications.”

In actual fact, Le Garage will be an exhibition of photobook dummies by both known and unknown photographers, held off-program at the opening week (10 days, actually) of this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles photography festival. I’ll let you all check out the details on the website, but I will say that it promises to be alot of fun and good exposure too – Arles is always jam packed with photographers and photography lovers that week, and I can promise you that we’ll be putting together an exhibition that will attract them all (or at least the good ones)…

More details later as the project comes together.


Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

I’ve got a big scanning job this week, so I’ll keep it short, but I just wanted to pass on the 3 images you find in this post.  They’re part of a larger archive of found photographs, collected here in Paris that are actually what I’m in the process of digitizing.  And I probably shouldn’t pass this on, but they’re just so cool.

I’m sure you all have seen plenty of mugshots, so this won’t be too revealing…  But check out the text on the back of the images (reproduced below each photograph – click for full size images).  It’s really fascinating.  I especially like the descriptions of tattoos, none of which are visible in the actual photographs, but reveal a world apart from that reproduced by photography.  My mind is going wild imagining into being what these tattoos could look like beneath the dark jackets and pin striped suits.

Recent Archives

Thursday, April 15th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Women in bathing suit…
‘, from the University of Washington Flickr stream

Or rather, archives that I’ve recently come across.

The University of Washington continues to post selections from their archives on Flickr – They’re mostly photos of leisure activities in the North West in the 10s, 20s, and 30s (with alot of skiing and winter sports), but there are definitely some real gems, like the photo featured above. It makes me miss Washington State, actually.

Also, the London School of Economics has a kind-of-wonderful Flickr set from the 80s thats worth a browse if you like nerds. [via Photography Prison]

Also via Photography Prison, there’s a really really wonderful archive of African American photographs from the 1900 Paris Exposition.  In addition, Pete Brook just posted a link to Hidden From History: Unknown New Orleanians with some phenomenally interesting mug shots… And the UK National Archives.

Gerhard Richter also happens to have online 783 sheets of Atlas, his archive of source material that was presented as a fascinating exhibition a few years ago.  I’m usually a bit dubious of collections whose supposed value is conferred upon them by the famous collector, but Atlas is a phenomenally interesting archive.

Photography and Art

Friday, April 9th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

So here’s a question that I think gets at what is essential in photography – is photography fundamentally ‘different’ from other forms of representation or is the fact that there is a ‘photography world’ and, for example, this is a ‘photography blog’ just a unique consequence of historical and market forces?

I don’t mean to jump into the debate set off by the Paul Graham essay that recently made the rounds which is essentially arguing for greater photographic inclusion in the art economy. I mean to ask whether there is a reason why we’re all working in, arguing about, and obsessed by this one specific medium and not any other beyond the fact that we happen to find ourselves in it.

Is photography special?

This ancient post
Christopher Rauschenburg on Concientious
Blake Andrews on La Pura Vida
Eyecurious’ take
And, like, the history of writings on photography. People seem to forget this, but Barthes’ and Sontag’s writings on photography were and are still important because their core arguments are that things represented in photography are fundamentally different than things represented in other medias. Does this still ring true, now, when photography is much less an exceptional machine made representation and more part of a general media landscape characterized mostly by its accessibility to anyone regardless of their tools and rather seamless distinctions between mediums?

Also, tangential but unrelated: When are we gonna see an iPad photobook? Will it still count as a photobook?

Also: iPad magazine aps.

More North Korea

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Noko Jeans
, ‘By Train to Pyongyang’

A brief update on the previous post – right after I published it, I came across a more photographically interesting gallery of North Korea photos taken on a business trip to Pyongyang.  There’s also a small photobook!

It’s short but interesting and brings to mind pictures of the eastern block right after it crumbled; work by Luc Delahaye, Lise Safarti, innumerable others, work that, to some extent, is still being done today.  Can you imagine the tidal wave of photographic coverage if the reclusive regime falls and access opens up to the country…  Tools like North Korea Uncovered, however, lead me to think that this time around coverage would be a bit different.  The former USSR was such an interesting subject because it was so… opaque to Westerners.  I suppose that will, to a certain extent be true in this hypothetical case, but things like the smuggled video cameras in Burma and the limited photographic work already being done in the DPRK make me think that all it would take to radically transform the story from a fingerpointing look-what-sorry-state-this-country-is-in to a much more nuanced and interesting view is a couple dozen digital cameras given to people who have likely never known that such tools even existed…