Über den Fotoblog

Jeden Monat ein anderer Experte. Wir laden bekannte Blogger und Spezialisten aus der internationalen Fotoszene ... Read more »

About the Blog

Another expert every month: We invite well-known bloggers and specialists from the international photography scene... Read more »

Photo London

_MG_7018 (Edit)

_MG_7023_MG_7039_MG_7043

 

Just over a month ago the newly formed Photo London hosted its second edition at Somerset House – a neo-classical labyrinth overlooking the Thames. Throughout what people are now calling “Photo London week”, a wide range of talks, events, exhibitions and book fairs takes place with the main focus being the international and local galleries exhibiting at the fair. For us this is an opportunity to convey the depth of our photography programme.

On one side of the space we presented the type of large-format abstracted landscapes that we are most renowned for. Examples of new works by Nadav Kander were presented for the first time alongside works by Edward Burtynsky and Boomoon. In contrast, the mirrored space included artists newer to our gallery. From Appropriation and found objects to painted photography and investigative documentary, this group demonstrates a wider scope of photographic production; Edmund Clark, Julie Cockburn, Tom Lovelace and Esther Teichmann.

Photographs from Edmund Clark’s series Negative Publicity were displayed concurrently with his solo exhibition Terror Incognitus at Zephyr Mannheim in Germany. The artist’s new book, produced together with counterterrorism investigator Crofton Black brings together photographs and documents that confront the nature of contemporary warfare and the invisible mechanisms of state control.

Tom Lovelace works at the intersection of photography, performance and sculpture. Inspired by Industrial forms, his practice is grounded in a reinvention or subversion of everyday objects, materials and processes.Tom Lovelace partcipated in the Photo London satellite event Peckham 24, a 24 hour festival of contemporary photography and video art.

Esther Teichmann’s practice uses still and moving image, collage and painting to create alternate worlds, which blur autobiography and fiction. Central to the work lies an exploration of the origins of fantasy and desire and how these are bound to experiences of loss and representation. Both filmic works and photographs of turned away bodies and primordial spaces of enchantment work with the relationships between images, and the narratives these juxtapositions create.

 http://photolondon.org/

 

 

Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander, Kurchatov IV (Telephone Exchange), Kazakhstan 2011 courtesy Flowers Gallery

Fengjie III (Monument to Progress and Prosperity), Chongqing Municipality, 2007

‘These images do not make beautiful what is not, they ask of us that we repurpose ourselves to accept a new order of both the beautiful and the real’ Will Self

It only seems natural to begin here – with the work of UK based artist Nadav Kander. Having published three books with Hatje Cantz to date, it was through Kander that I learnt of the photography programme run by this publisher. Nadav Kander (b. 1961) is best known for Yangtze – The Long River, for which he earned the prestigious Prix Pictet award in 2009. Kander made several voyages along the course of China’s Yangtze River, travelling up-stream from mouth to source over a period of three years. Using the river as a metaphor for constant change Kander attempted at every stage of the journey, to relate and reflect the consequences of the incomprehensible and seemingly unnatural development in modern-day China.Qinghai Province II (Fallen Bridge), 2007 Both timely and timeless, Yangtze – The Long River has enjoyed a long run of exhibitions since first being exhibited at Flowers, London in 2008 . Most recently The Barbican Art Gallery in London included a room of seven large format works in Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, a survey that looked beyond the medium’s ability to simply document the built world and explored the power of photography to reveal wider truths about society. Grace of Intention: Photography, Architecture and the Monument at Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago explored how monuments champion collective aspirations and serve to cement narratives about our past. the exhibition focused on a number of Kander’s most iconic images from both Yangtze and the more recent series Dust. Priozersk XIV (I Was Told She Once Held An Oar), Kazakhstan 2011Rooted in an interest in the ‘aesthetics of destruction,’ Kander’s Dust  series explores the vestiges of the Cold War through the radioactive ruins of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia. Fascinated by the area’s past and driven by discovery, Kander’s photographs portray stark fact and bleak setting with a characteristic poeticism. Secrets seem to seep from the silence of the crumbling monuments, bowing under heavy grey skies. Describing what he saw as ‘empty landscapes of invisible dangers’ Kander’s images evoke his sense of awe and fear as he responded to these places and to the weight of their history.

http://www.nadavkander.com/works-in-series

http://www.mocp.org/exhibitions/2015/10/grace-of-intention-photography,-architecture-and-the-monument.php

http://www.barbican.org.uk/news/artformnews/art/visual-art-2014-constructing-wor

Israel, fotografiert wie durch ein ikonographisches Kaleidoskop: Andres Serranos Buch „Salvation, The Holy Land“

cover Salvation Serrano

Wie nähert man sich fotografisch, künstlerisch einem Land wie Israel, diesem kleinen, großen, dem „Heiligen Land“, in dem die monotheistischen Weltreligionen aufeinandertreffen wie in keinem zweiten? Und das, wenn man Andres Serrano heißt, erklärter Christ ist und von konservativen Kreisen mehrfach der Blasphemie bezichtigt wurde? Serranos internationale Karriere beginnt 1987 mit einem Paukenschlag: dem Foto eines Kruzifix’, das in einem mit Urin befüllten Plexiglasgefäß steckt und das später mehrfach attackiert und beschädigt wurde. Später experimentiert der vermeintliche Dauerskandalisierer mit Körperflüssigkeiten wie Blut und Sperma und fertigt ikonographisch anmutende Bilderzyklen von Leichen, Obdachlosen oder Vertretern des Ku Klux Klan an.

4124_8b-352402_20-5_v01_hc

Was also macht dieser Andres Serrano in seinem Essay über Israel? Er wählt die leise Ouvertüre. Sein bei Hatje Cantz erschienenes Buch „Salvation, The Holy Land“ – die Quintessenz eines vierwöchigen Lehraufenthalts an der Musrara School of Photography - beginnt mit Landschaftsaufnahmen. Neuland für den 1950 in Brooklyn geborenen Sohn eines Honduraners und eine Kubanerin. Kontemplative, archetypische Ansichten, die uns Abendländern seltsam vertraut vorkommen: Knorrige Bäume und steinige, karge Landschaften, Treibgut am See Genezareth oder am Toten Meer, Landschaftsbilder mit alttestamentarischer Aura: “dunkel, spirituell geheimnisvoll und bezaubernd“ (Serrano). Doch erwartungsgemäß bleibt Serrano nicht stehen bei diesen lichtbildnerischen Archetypen, deren Zeitvergessenheit noch durch die analoge Anmutung der mit einer Mamiya RB 67 auf Portra 160 eingefangenen Bilder verstärkt wird.

4124_3a-352402_59_12_hc

Im Laufe der 225 Seiten gehen die Landschafts- allmählich in Stadtlandschaftsaufnahmen über, dann in Gruppenbilder und Portraits. Wir sehen: das warmgelbe Licht, das die Straßenlaternen in der Altstadt von Jerusalem ausschütten; eine betende Nonne im Kerzenlicht; Mönche in mythische Erscheinungen suggerierenden Doppelbelichtungen; ein zerkratztes Jesus-Poster; geschlachtete Tierkörper; israelische Soldaten und Soldatinnen; die Souks in der Altstadt Jerusalems; Checkpoints für Palästinenser; desolate Beduinenbehausungen; Esel, Ziegen, Haiköpfe; Gruppen orthodoxer Juden in schwarz-weißer Uniformität, konterkariert durch die karnevaleske Verkleidung ihrer Kinder während des jüdischen Purimfests. In einer wie beiläufig daherkommenden und keiner offensichtlichen Ordnung unterworfenen Sequenz von Streetfotografien folgen Portraits von Palästinensern und Israelis, Moslems, Juden und Christen.

4104_gomez_02_hc

 

Das Buch endet mit einem langsam anschwellenden Crescendo von Familien- und Einzelportraits. Erst leise und dann immer lauter schleicht sich in diesen Studio-Aufnahmen wieder Serranos ikonenhafter Stil ein: Nonnen, wie freigestellt mit ihrer weißen Kopfbedeckung und dem schwarzen Chormantel vor schwarzem Hintergrund. Ein Mann, der unter dem „Jerusalem-Syndrom“ leidet und sich für eine Figur aus der Heiligen Schrift hält, gefolgt von Jesus-artigen Männern mit wallendem Haar und Vollbärten; ihre Blicke werden gegen Ende des Buchs immer verklärter und scheinen schließlich wie erleuchtet. Das letzte Bild holt den Betrachter dann mit einem Paukenschlag wieder zurück in die profane Wirklichkeit. Es zeigt das entstellte Gesicht eines unter der Elefantenkrankheit leidenden Mannes.

4104_romero_02_hc

In „Salvation“ entfaltet Serrano ein kaleidoskopartiges Panorama der israelischen/palästinensischen Gesellschaft – eine vielschichtige, subjektive, interpretationsoffene Annäherung an ein kleines, großes, geschichts- und religionstrunkenes, zerrissenes Land. Es ist ein schweres, schönes Buch mit mattem Hardcover und negativ geprägtem Titelbild. Ein vermeintlich willkürlich kompiliertes, nicht leicht zu dechiffrierendes, im besten Sinne irritierendes Buch, das seine Wirkung erst ganz allmählich entfaltet. Eins, in dem man sich verlieren kann, auch als Agnostiker oder Atheist. Ein gutes Buch.

 

PS: Noch bis zum 21.8.2016 ist im Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brüssel eine Ausstellung mit Bildern Serranos zu sehen.

PPS: Hiermit verabschiede ich mich als Gastautor aus dem Hatje-Cantz-Blog. Auf Wiederlesen!

 

Zwischen den Welten ist es am schönsten. Oder: Die bewegte Gegenwart der Stills

Videoprojektion von David Claerbouts."The American Room", third movement

Wirklichkeit ist für mich gesellschaftlich geformter Wahnsinn.“ (David Claerbout)

 

Im Grenzgebiet zwischen den fotografischen Stills und den Bewegtbildern nimmt der Transitverkehr in letzter Zeit deutlich zu. Es bewegt sich etwas, vor allem in eine Richtung: Immer mehr Berufsfotografen filmen, um sich ein Zubrot zu verdienen, und die Fotoindustrie verspricht: Wer 4k- (und bald 8k-)fähige Aufnahmegeräte nutzt, verpasst den decisive moment“, den entscheidenden Augenblick, nimmermehr. Denn schließlich lässt sich der ultimative Sekundenbruchteil aus dem Fluss der (Film-)bilder herausfiltern: hochaufgelöst, druckfähig, verwertbar. Bleibt die Frage: Ist der entscheidende Augenblick ebenso entscheidend, wenn er nicht dem zuckenden Auslösefinger eines genialen Fotografen geschuldet ist, sondern dem Mausklick eines begabten Editors? 

Prosaischer Workflow, poetische Wirkung. David Claerbout. Aus "The American Room"

Prosaischer Workflow, poetische Wirkung. David Claerbout. Aus “The American Room”

Rückblende: Als sich die Flugzeuge am 11.09.2001 mit sanfter Gewalt in die WTC-Tower bohrten als seien sie aus Seidenpapier, lag ich mit leicht erhöhter Temperatur sofalägrig vor dem Fernseher. Neben dem Horror, der Ungläubigkeit und der Trauer, die ich angesichts der Bilder empfand, konnte ich nach Stunden des Hin- und Herschaltens zwischen den Privaten und den Öffentlich-Rechtlichen irgendwann nicht anders als die mediale Aufbereitung selbst zu betrachten – ein klassischer Fall einer „Deformation professionelle“. Tage später, der Berufsalltag hatte mich wieder im Griff, machte sich eine Frage in meinem Kopf breit: Welches Medium vermag die Geschehnisse, das Grauen, die ganze Dimension des Wahnsinns besser abzubilden – bewegte Bilder oder das Standbild? Natürlich lässt sich so eine Frage nicht mit A oder B beantworten, schon klar. Aber: Neben den offensichtlichen Vorzügen, die allein der Film bietet, ist das Still – und nur das Still – zu etwas in der Lage, das bei 50 Frames per second verlustig geht: das Innehalten. Das Still reißt einem Moment aus den Stromschnellen der Zeit, schafft Raum für Kontemplation und verleiht dem Betrachter eine absolute Autonomie über die Zeitdauer des Betrachtens. 

Der Betrachter "geht" durch die Reihen der Zuschauer. David Claerbout. Aus "The American Room".

Der Betrachter “geht” durch die Reihen der Zuschauer. David Claerbout. Aus “The American Room”.

Knapp zehn Jahre später stieß ich auf der PHotoEspaña auf eine „Videoarbeit“ von David Claerbout. Der belgische Künstler legt die medialen und wirkungsästhetischen Unterschiede zwischen Stand- und Bewegtbildmedium frei wie ein Präparator, der einen Schmetterling aufspießt: nailed! In „The Amercian Room“, so der Titel, verwischt der Belgier die Grenze zwischen Film und Fotografie. Der Workflow ist durch und durch prosaischer Natur Zehntausende von 360-Grad-Scans, Bluebox-Shots, virtuelle Kameras und die Rechenpower von fünf parallel geschalteten Macs stecken in dem Werk (mehr zur technischen Umsetzung auf Monopol) . Das Ergebnis aber ist pure Poesie. Das gut 24-minütige, mit Klavierklängen unterlegte Video zeigt nicht mehr und nicht weniger als eiKlavierkonzert und die ergriffenen Reaktionen des Publikums Das Irritierende und zugleich Faszinierende: Während  die Kamera durch die Reihen der Zuhörer fährt, verharren diese regungslos – gefangen in ihrem Raum-Zeit-Kontinuum als plastische Fotografien. Der Betrachter von Claerbouts Werk aber bewegt sich durch ihre Reihen wie durch ein Aquarium mit gefrorenem Wasser. Stehende Filmbilder? Animierte Stills? You name it!

 

Der White Cube als Rezeptionstunnel. David Claerbout. Aus "The American Room".

Der White Cube als Rezeptionstunnel. David Claerbout. Aus “The American Room”.

Die emotionale und mediendiskursive Wirkung des Foto-Film-Hybrids, lässt sich hier nicht wirklich nacherzählen (und anders als einige wenige konzeptuell ähnlich gelagerte Arbeiten Claerbouts ist „The American Room“ nicht als Video abrufbar im Web; (man muss sich also auch noch 2016 in den White Cube begeben – welch formvollendeter Anachronismus). Claerbout jedenfalls gelingt so etwas wie die Vivisektion bewegter und unbewegter Bilder. Und dazu noch etwas Magisches. Etwas, das wir uns alle in bestimmten Lebensmomenten wünschen (wenn auch nicht gerade an Tagen wie dem 11.09): einen bestimmten Augenblick anzuhalten, hineinzutauchen und zu verweilen. Es lebe der Stillstand!

PS: Auch bei Hatje Cantz gibt’s was zu Claerbout, ganz analog und „still“- auf Papier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

„Wir sollten uns mehr um die Langeweile kümmern“: Zum Tode von Gerhard Vormwald

Gerhard Vormwald, 1999, in der FH Düsseldorf, vor einem seiner Scanner-Bilder, (c) Peter Schuffelen

Mit ein wenig Verspätung ergreife ich für diesen Monat hier das Wort – und der Anlass für meine erstes Posting ist gleich ein trauriger: Der Tod des Fotokünstlers und Fotografie-Professors Gerhard Vormwald, der Mitte März, kurz nach seinem 68. Geburtstag, verstorben ist. Ich habe noch nie einen Nachruf geschrieben, und dies hier wird auch keiner werden, jedenfalls kein klassischer. Eher so etwas wie ein öffentliches Nachsinnen über diesen zu frühen Tod. Ich habe ihn nicht wirklich gut kennengelernt, aber gut genug, um Trauer darüber zu empfinden, dass er nicht mehr da ist. An die wenigen persönlichen Begegnungen erinnere ich mich intensiv. Hochsympathisch war er mir gleich bei der ersten. Das war 1999, er war gerade erst Professor an der FH Düsseldorf geworden, und ich verabredete mich mit ihm zu einem Interview zum Thema „Digitale Bildsprache“. Da war er schon lange ein anerkannter Künstler mit Bildern im Museum Ludwig, im Kodak-Eastman House, im Centre Pompidou, hatte eine erfolgreiche Karriere als Werbe- und Editorialfotograf hinter sich (mit mehr als 60 Titeln allein für den stern). Jetzt also Professor. Ich zog dem Anlass entsprechend ein frisch gebügeltes Hemd und ein Sakko aus dem Schrank, nichts ahnend, dass ich hoffnungslos overdressed sein würde. Dann fuhr ich zur FH und fragte auf den Gängen nach „Professor Vormwald“. Ein Student sagte mir: „Der Gerhard ist irgendwo dahinten“.

 

Ich fand ihn in seinem Büro, ein schlanker Hüne im offenen Jeanshemd, auf einem hölzernen Schreibtisch sitzend. Hinter sich, auf die Tafel, hatte er einen Spruch geschrieben, dessen doppelbödiger Witz sich erst beim zweiten Lesen offenbart: „Wir sollten uns mehr um die Langeweile kümmern.“ Rückblickend erscheint mir das Bonmot wie ein Leitspruch für ein Künstlerleben, in dem das Augenzwinkernde eine tragende Rolle spielte.Wir sprachen über seine aktuellen Arbeiten, er experimentierte gerade mit fehleranfälligen digitalen Aufnahmegeräten, scannte Gesichter und historische Kameramodelle, ließ Eidotter in einer blauen Flüssigkeit durch die Luft wabern. Es war ein Gespräch auf Augenhöhe, so wie es seine Lehre war, wie ich an diesem Tag beobachten konnte und wie es mir einige seiner Studenten in späteren Gesprächen bestätigt haben. Ein Dozent, der seine Studenten ermuntert, in ihrem eigenen Weg bestärkt, der sie unbedingt ernst nahm – im akademischen Betrieb ist das eher die Ausnahme als die Regel.

Die Bescheidenheit in Bezug auf seine eigene Person und seine Offenheit habe ich auch in späteren Begegnungen immer wieder erlebt, stets hatte man das Gefühl, dass man mit dem Menschen spricht und nicht mit der öffentlichen Figur. (Er verstand sich – anders als in seinen Ding-Inszenierungen und Selbstportraits – als Mensch wohl nicht sonderlich auf die Selbstinszenierung). Wir trafen uns noch auf einigen seiner Ausstellungen, etwa zur „Autonomie der Dinge“, abstrusen Action-Stills, die unsere Sinne und unseren manchmal allzu gesunden Menschenverstand veräppeln und den physikalischen Gesetzen den Mittelfinger zeigen. Das scheinbar Unumstößliche hinterfragen, eine anarchische Lust, die Welt gegen den Strich zu bürsten, dazu ein lakonischer „Bild-Witz“. Es folgten einige Interviews, in denen er in klugen Sätzen skizzierte, wie man die eigene Kreativität wachkitzeln bzw. dauerhaft wachhalten kann oder warum er gerade die angehenden Werbefotografen, die bei ihm studierten, dazu anhielt, alles Stromlinienförmige und Marktkonforme erst einmal beiseite zu schieben.

gerhard vormwald

Das letzte Mal sprach ich ihn im Herbst letzten Jahres, ich suchte seinen Rat zu irgendeiner Story, die ich zum Thema künstlerische Strategien schrieb; es war dann doch eher ein gemeinsames Brainstorming. Außerdem schlug ich ihm eine Geschichte unter dem Arbeitstitel „So wurde ich Fotokünstler“ vor – eine Art Rückblick auf seine Karriere, angereichert mit Tipps für die nachfolgende Fotografengeneration, für das er mir dieses frühe Selbstportrait  zugeschickt hatte.

 

Gerhard Vormwald, Selbstportrait, Glasgow

Gerhard Vormwald, Selbstportrait, Glasgow

Aus redaktionellen Gründen wurde dann doch nichts daraus. Zufällig fiel mir Anfang des Jahres wieder das Portrait in die Hand, das ich bei unserer ersten Begegnung gemacht hatte. Ich legte es auf meinen Schreibtisch, um mich daran zu erinnern, es ihm zu schicken. Jetzt ist es wenigstens hier noch einmal zu sehen. Als er Anfang März starb, war ich gerade im Ausland, und so erreichte mich die Nachricht über seinen Tod erst als ich die PHOTONEWS aufschlug und einen Nachruf fand. Jetzt hat er, „der bescheidene Künstler mit Weltruf“ (Eifel-Zeitung), dort oben oder wo auch immer er jetzt gerade sein mag, die Möglichkeit sich noch intensiver um die Langeweile zu kümmern. Jedenfalls hoffe ich das. P.I.P.

Gerhard Vormwald, Paris, 1973

Gerhard Vormwald, Paris, 1973

PS: Unbedingt noch mal auf seiner Website vorbeischauen, nicht nur wegen der Klassiker, wie dem „flying black man“, sondern gerade auch bei den in den letzten Jahren entstandenen „concrete illusions“ und den grandiosen „early reportages“ aus den 70er Jahren, in denen bereits der ganze vormwaldsche Bildwitz aufblitzt.

The end, the beginning, the end

My time us up. I’m unlikely to write until May. By then I won’t be in this blog.

I learnt photography from my dad. He was in the military, and carried a camera with him to Kashmir, Golan, and other similar places in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember photographing when I was six years old. Two of the cameras I used then are ones that I still have (and used till recently): Asahi Pentax Spotmatic, a reflex camera from the 60s, and Olympus XA, a compact camera from the 80s. I remember getting the XA as a camera I could handle easily when I was small. I also remember carrying a light meter when I was seven or eight.

The one thing about photography back then was that it was not available to everyone. Having some relatively fine piece of kit and a light meter did give you an advantage. With my dad we photographed quite a few local events in the South of Spain. Soon we started selling photographs to local magazines. At times I don’t know where my photographs end and his start, or vice versa. The only problem was that it soon became a job. I didn’t see at the time any means of personal expression in photography. It was mainly about getting a picture to set the scene, couple of portraits, maybe a landscape. In hindsight, I think the archives at my mum’s flat in Spain must have interesting photographs from a time when the South of Spain was moving from the 1980s to the 1990s. Things changed a lot. You can judge from the Ole magazine front pages that there was a sense of a time gone by to the 1980s. Some of our photographs are in there too, not quite sure which or where. I can’t remember

Ole_lehti

By when I was 14 I was quite fed up of the whole photography thing. I did carry on a bit but I quitted. I did other stuff instead. I wrote horror and sci-fi short stories. I did a degree in psychology. I learnt to write code.

I picked up photography again in my mid-late twenties, this time having seen how it can be a personal thing (and not just a job to do the biding of others). I had seen a man jumping over a puddle and I was aware of flashy photographs of seagulls eating chips. I enrolled into a documentary photography evening course (that I didn’t finish). I picked up a camera again and tried to take more and more challenging photographs. Not technically challenging. I tried to find liberating photographs that would put me in challenging situations. I wanted to see what I was made of. I tried to get these photographs to express something that was beyond the thing in front of the camera. And I burned, burned, burned. Projects had become too ambitious, life too chaotic. I was assaulted a couple of times. Exhausted of challenging myself over the years I quitted again less than ten years before picking up photography again. Running a gallery and helping photography via others was more soothing, but still hard work.

So in 2014 I decided not to pick up a camera again. At least for the many years. In the summer of 2014 I took some rolls of film to be developed. I moved house. Forgot about those last rolls of film (which I had developed with the intention to be the last). I picked them up in the autumn of 2015. I’ve not scanned them.

They look sad and melancholic.

Last_6x6

Quiet.

Last 35mm

Silent.

 

 

 

Lost relations: Cyril Costilhes

I completely lost track of Cyril. For a long time we used to discuss photography and what we shot on a very regular basis. We had quite an exciting photography history where we discussed stuff like documentary photography. Not the objective stuff (do musicians get asked to write objective music?!) but the way in which you try to convey a message or personal story through photographs. Funny that so many years after we used to be in touch, Cyril published a great book that for me ticks all the boxes. It revisited something that did really happen, conveyed it to the viewer in a way that doesn’t ignore the emotional / subjective feel of the journey, and it’s made of great photographs. Recurring themes: jungles, darkness, spider webs. Plenty of abstract patterns and expressionism. A document of dreams and nightmares.

Circle Diego

Circle Diego

Circle Diego

Circle Diego

Circle Diego

Circle Diego

 

 

I found out that discussions with Cyril since 2008 (presented here in the original chat format) follow up my relationship with photography. From the first guerrilla shows, to having camera crews, opening Third Floor Gallery, running shows and all the way to quitting photography.

 

20/6/2008

10:10 PM Cyril: cool

10:11 PM did you have to pay anything to book the camp site?!

10:15 PM trying to put together a selection of black’n'white street photos, had to find everything and scan again and eveything after that…i realise the hard work that it is to edit your work down to something great…but i can’t go there without anything to show!! Anyway, you are probably already down the pub, i’m off cooking some food, speak to you late :) !

10:30 PM me: I was at the chinese for four minutes and I saw both goals…

10:31 PM Cyril: man turkey there are unbelievable!

10:39 PM Cyril: are you briçnging a project or just various stuff aside from you serie that will be projected there

me: just bringing more of the same

sticking it on a wall

maybe 60 5×7” prints :D

10:40 PM Cyril: fuck:)!

that’s a lot!

me: yeah

I’m editing it

Cyril: your serie of Cardif nights right?!

me: I just think that it doesn’t work like a sequence

but like a mosaic

10:53 PM Cyril: i miss england, going a lot to London since i left there but still….and it’s a shame i wasn’t into photography at the time as it was some made years!!

me: my area is quite much more local, though

yeah, the uk is great to shoot

10:54 PM huge variety in a small place

and people are mad

Cyril: exactly:)!!

10:55 PM did lots of “rave party”, techno stuff and man, such a shame i didn’t document this period of my life

me: shame indeed

I’ve been to a few raves

I just don’t have the time now to take two three days off

10:56 PM Cyril: yeah well that was when i was 20, now i just turned 31 all this is finish for me….but tomorrow is different, it is Music Day here :p!!

 

17/9/2008

3:03 PM me: your pics are not on flickr anymore!

3:04 PM Cyril: i know lol

made them private….felt like taking most stuff out of the web for now, need to step back and concentrate on shooting…

back from shooting my father, actually…

 

2/12/2008

9:00 AM me: I have my viva today!

doctoral thesis defense!

in two hours and half!

9:01 AM Cyril: what the fuck is that lol

me: lol

I go to this debate that determines if I’ll be a doctor or not

Cyril: wow

excellent

what kind of doctor?

9:02 AM me: I guess that doctor in philosophy

 

30/1/2009

7:55 PM me: first is good

but I am unsure of the back of the guy at the right

Cyril: untitle 1?

me: untitled 7

7:56 PM I would change the back of somebody for the door

thats it

Cyril: Mat prefered that one too…yeah could find something different for the man back

me: cool

sounds good then

7:57 PM Cyril: but really…i’ve been hating my shot recently…depressing…life is boring and so are my photos..

7:58 PM me: gotta go

dont worry

ups and downs

just shoot more

 

18/4/2009

12:06 PM me: going to ask david hurn for mindfist gallery :D

a friend has his address, so I’ll send him a letter

Cyril: really :)

12:08 PM me: :D

it’s his kind of place

Cyril: scanning back everything from my book project “Aaron Jacob”, have polaroids all over the place, some i can’t find, negatives everywhere, going throught everything and scanning them properly…fuck that’s a lot of works….

 

1/6/2009

9:21 PM me: trying to get an arts studio / exhib space in cardiff

with local visual arts people

9:24 PM Cyril: nice nice nice

me: we expect to pay £50-60 / month each

Cyril: not bad

9:25 PM me: yeah

Cyril: good idea

9:26 PM just checking with you, make sure i get the boxe around the beginning of july

9:27 PM i will go there and put the stuff up around the 6th or 7th before going to Arles

(i’ll see if it can stay up there for 3 different parties )

 

8/6/2009

Cyril: cool thanks Joni:)

3:53 PM i need a good stock of films for Arles….thinking of shooting color for d’Agata workshop, fuji 1600 iso, but not 100% sure yet…

me: I don’t know if I can make it…

 

6/7/2009

4:53 PM so what Pizzafellas is doing in Cardif?!

me: filming

he’s going to arles from here

Cyril: you?!

me: yeah!

then he’s filming you!

Cyril: héhéhé

still don’t know where we will show the photos in arles

4:55 PM me: blue tack!

Cyril: maybe the chemist shop from last year

me: cool

Cyril: yeah but then we are stuck

me: ask, ask

Cyril: we’ll have to stay near by the prints as people expect to have their prints traveling around

me: yeah

4:56 PM or put them INSIDE the window :D

 

4/9/2009

10:25 AM Cyril: so what do you think of Rubens edit?!

10:27 AM me: I want more of the cityscapes

:)

10:28 AM Cyril: i know same here

but…

so is he in?!

10:32 AM me: we might have to re-edit, though

work closely with him on the new one

 

6/12/2009

11:15 PM me: and what is ph up to?

I’ve completely lost track of him

he seems to write in facebook a lot

Cyril: yeah i know

11:16 PM no more flickr account

i don’t know…i don’t even know if he shoot those days…

11:18 PM Haven’t seen much of Rubens stuff recently

 

17/1/2010

9:48 PM me: I got an email that a kid stole my work to show in class

9:49 PM Cyril: lol

from internet?!

me: yeah

 

5/2/2010

10:46 PM me: sent an email to roger ballen if he wants to show at our gallery

10:47 PM Cyril: héhéhé nice!!!

me: not bad

hopefully he has a sense of humour

met peter dench today and he was saying to try to get martin parr to show or auction a print

Cyril: nice

what about Bourcart?!

10:48 PM me: I want to get bourcart but maciej doesn’t think he’s famous enough!

I still want him in!

Cyril: really?!

me: so much nice stuff

Cyril: wtf

me: hahaha

Cyril: yeah man!!

me: send an email to maciej

Cyril: i mean…

what this about not being famous enough?!

i don’t get it

10:49 PM me: I’m not up for that either

bourcart rocks

I liked his wedding stuff

I probably like most of his stuff

he’s just good

no matter if it’s serious or fun or kinky

10:50 PM Cyril: yep

10:51 PM his forbidden city stuff

infetil madonnas

traffic stuff

wedding

really good

he deserves it much more than Ballen in my opinion

 

12/2/2010

10:50 AM me: I’m standing off hcsp!

10:53 AM Cyril: really?!

not an admin anymore?!

Why?

10:54 AM me: too much going on

more exciting than hcsp

but I need to find somebody to replace me

 

13/2/2010

11:42 AM me: was good last night

:)

http://retwite.appspot.com/GdnCardiff

11:43 AM about 200 people

Cyril: oh yeah fuck it was last night

excellent

me: around 100 at the same time

around 400 beers were drank, and bottles and bottles of wine

and bottle of vodka

Cyril: héhéhéhé

 

22/2/2010

12:56 PM Cyril: preparing next exhib?! Who’s next, salomon?!

12:58 PM me: solomons

12:59 PM hopefully then jocelyn bain hogg

Cyril: never heard

me: http://www.jocelynbainhogg.com/portfolio.cfm?nK=2502&nS=2&nL=1

Cyril: yes i’m on it already

 

21/5/2010

12:17 AM me: got a deal with newport uni on printing

they’re going to print shows for us

Cyril: found a guy named Chad states on Alec soth blog, he just won second prize for dummy book, his project is named “Cruising” and is on gay dogging spots (he works on different places), at first i didn’t want to watch it but then was curious, was scared it would look very similar, the places feels the same but different way of working so it is ok :) http://chadstates.com/

me: lambda prints

Cyril: héhéhé nice

12:18 AM cheaper?

me: free

Cyril: fuck that’s perfect, lambda print are very nice

12:21 AM me: yeah

heh, that guy has good pictures of trees ;)

 

18/10/2010

1:26 PM me: dropped an email to mark cohen about exhibiting him and he replied ;-)

Cyril: héhéhé nice:p!!!!

me: you like mark cohen? @D

:D

Cyril: hahaha

1:27 PM no he sucks ;) !!!

me: it’s one of the most underrated guys out there

Cyril: totally!!!!!!!

me: you should hear his name quite a lot more often

Cyril: yep!!!

keep me posted about this

me: yeah

you could pop by for the opening if he’s coming

1:28 PM if we have an exhib :D

Cyril: about to go visit my dad, bought 2 disposable cameras to give to nurse for them to shoot my dad

i can’t i’m working

1:29 PM me: well, it would be closer to next summer or something

 

1/4/2011

5:07 PM me: hey

5:08 PM just got home from work, but have to do phonecalls and emails about pr and exhibitions straight away… send requested images to press and such

5:09 PM Cyril: good good

 

2/11/2011

10:49 PM Cyril: You’ll be all day at nofound on saturday?! I’ll come in the afternoon i think, did you change your phone number?!

10:50 PM me: no, still 079XXXXXX

I think so

I’ll be doing portfolios in the morning

then something in the afternoon I guess

but free to look around :D

10:51 PM sounds like christian (pizzafellas) is coming too

Cyril: nice nice:)!

10:53 PM but maybe i’ll be there earlier don’t know yet, i’m supposed to see antoine but i’m sure it’s going to be very tricky for it to happen specially during a week end like paris photo…he told me to phone him when there, let’s see

planning on going to Offprint, le bal

10:57 PM me: heh, yes

I’d like to go to offprint and le bal

but depends on how I do in terms of time…

I arrive friday night and leave monday morning :)

[Here we stopped chatting via google chat. We exchanged some emails.]

 

14/11/2011 20:22

Cyril: So did you get Antoine?! I’m glad you got to meet him!

14/11/2011 22:11

Me: Hey, yes, but he already was in Marseille on his way to Asia! Just landed in the UK, on my way to the train station. Feeling quite tired even if I tried to sleep as long as I could!

07/02/2013 21:11

Me: Hey Cyril!

How are things? Here really busy with work, a bit crazy! I was thinking if it would be ok to talk about The Pond in a Magnum professional practice workshop I’ve been invited to. I’m keen on talking about stuff we haven’t exhibited! smile emoticon

08/02/2013 20:32

Cyril: Hey Joni! I’m good, been in Diego Suarez, Madagascar, for two months now, back to france in 2 weeks, 6 months work then back to Diego. Hard first month, didn’t feel like photographing, was more into living, experimenting the place, absorbing the atmosphere and darkness of it…

29/04/2013 10:29

Cyril: Hé Joni, here is a little edit of my first trip to Diego, planning on doing another trip there but shorter to be in a different energy, probably 3 weeks, then will start working on a dummy…then maybe a third trip and that’s it…

29/04/2013 11:32

Me: nice :)

12/04/2014 23:45

Cyril: Happy birthday man! What’s up with you, are you done with photography?!

Me: I think so! I’ve barely picked up a camera over the last year

Cyril: Crazy how you lost the passion! Missing Joni the photographer:(! I have a book planned with Akina Books, i’ll keep you posted if you’re interested!

6 April  2016 19:17

Me: Hey Cyril!

any more books on the works after Grand circle?

I was going to order it last year around this time but I somehow forgot, just put an order out for it

completely disconnected from photography

Cyril: hé Joni so cool to get news from you

Me: yeah, it’s weird

Local Vs Global

Photography is a fairly globalised thing. Check the internet: it’s full of pictures. You can easily read of lands far away where photography is happening… and see the pictures. People on the other hand don’t travel digitally. They have to move around with bicycles, planes and trains. They are sort of local creatures of habit. Much less nomadic than they used to be.

What is the point of galleries nowadays? In Third Floor Gallery we’ve got the criticism of not being local enough. We keep an eye on blogs, publishers, photographers and galleries independently of their location. But is it enough to be part of that network and node structure? How locally focused and by which means should you be? Welsh photography or British photography quotas? Great conversation to go hand in hand with Brexit.

TFG in Western Europe
TFG in the context of Western Europe

What do you think is the solution to having a physical gallery that is local within a network and content that are global? Do you follow galleries which you have never visited (I’ve never been to MoMA or FOAM)? Do you think there is a risk of being so local as to being insular?

Beginnings (iterate)

This should probably have been two better thought blog posts. No time for that.Curating a show

It’s so hard to find people to take over a gallery. When we started it was easy. It was 2010. It was difficult to get a job. Lots of students didn’t get part time jobs and they volunteered instead. Actually, it was probably the best thing you could do if you wanted to get a job. You could show you pulled your socks up or whatever. You could claim to have some experience managing people. Other people wanted longer hours in paid jobs but could only work part time. We had some time. I worked part time (four days a week) and spent another 20 hours or so emailing photographers, being at the gallery, curating shows, writing PR, changing light bulbs, sequencing, writing legal paperwork. You name it. Exhausting stuff, but we were young (-ish) and ambitious (-ish). Now that the gallery is set up it’s all easier. There are lists for PR, designers, the legal paperwork is sorted, the brand, etc. You’d expect to find people to help.

Early beginnings - Metro

Sunday before last we met up with a guy that answered our call for help on Twitter. We explained what running a gallery is: literally running a gallery. Sounds daunting but it’s easier than working at a hotel reception because it’s more fun. And people invite you to give talks about it. You can go to exciting places like Liverpool expenses paid.

An aside. I really like Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. I’ve been there once for a show and it was great. I thought that being a fan of Kohei Yoshiyuki their show of The Park would be sparse and disappointing. Instead it was great, full of content and massive immersive prints shown in the dark.

Back to the Sunday before last. We met at this new alternative cafe that shows photography called Little Man. Great that we have an interest in such a democratic medium. You can just bang prints on a wall of a cafe and you might be doing a better job than the Tate. The interesting thing was the beer we had.meetup_10_4_16Pipes brewery in Cardiff had to change name for legal reasons, but when they started they hit a niche. We hit a niche back in 2010 as well. In Cardiff I had a reasonable access to photobooks (via online shops and occasional visits to London) and photography on the web. But exhibitions were hard to come by. We had Ffotogallery which was doing a good job at arts photography (mainly-ish). But in a way that was like being in a town that has only one cinema and doesn’t always show what you wanted to see. We craved to see more photographers we saw on the web and in books up in print. Some personal documentary, some photobook bestsellers that didn’t seem to show up much in the UK, a few controversial types. Pipes beers were a bit of the same.

If the reader doesn’t know much about the UK beer scene, here is a summary: there is a strong tradition of British beer (you get plenty of this), a lot of poor commercial lager (even more of this) and more and more American influenced craft beer (back in 2010 this was on the up but not like nowadays). Pipes didn’t really specialised in any of these. They are the only British brewery that I know that has brewed what I had that Sunday in Little Man: a German Doppelbock. German beer is pretty scarce in the UK, mainly because imports are dominated by Pilsner and Weissbier. Pipes insted has featured the likes of a regular Helles, smoked lager, Altbier, Schwartz, Berliner Weisse, etc. They aren’t madly popular in the UK, but you just can’t get them anywhere else. Lots of people do actually like them. Beer, like photography, is democratic. And if you don’t like your scene you can brew your own.Vincent Delbrouck

So on Thursday (day after tomorrow) we are catching up again in a pub. Bringing photography, beer and diversity in each back together. We need to talk with the volunteers, we need to get people to run a gallery (please, give it a go) and we need people to curate shows. I usually aim at people in the 20-30 age range because they are foolish enough. But universities make them conservative and they seem to have the wrong expectations. Think it’s once in a lifetime that you are foolish and you get to follow your dreams. They are nothing particularly glamorous, but you can go to bed at some point in twenty years thinking to yourself, “you know what? I did put together a wicked show of Japanese photography”.

TFG achievements over the years

(All the photographs of the gallery come from memory lane and have been taken by a variety of photographers. You can find the credits of each on the TFG Facebook page.)

Imperfection

There is nothing more to aspire than harmonic imperfection. Imbalanced imperfection. Something that is real and true but not rehearsed. Like Kerouac in The Subterraneans (you have to read it in English, and you have to read it fast, it has a beat beat beat). Like Robert Frank photographing the USA. Only one take. Quick, quick, go, go. Garry Winogrand trying to hit the beat of LA in the dusk of his career. You might have planned it but you are trying to transcend. You are touching god. And you fail every time. It will never work but sometimes it touches others. Like PK Dick’s VALIS, a pink ray of energy from the Cosmos.

It’s my birthday.

This is the best song I have ever heard: Sister Ray

It should not work. It’s one take. John Cale played organs too loud. Lou Reed went through some lyrics. Moe Tucker bashed a drum set at different paces. Everything changed, everything was improvised but planned. Sterling Morrison tried to bring his guitar up in the mix. Only one take. The sound engineer walks out. It somehow held together like a beautiful broken butterfly. Good photography is the same. It should keep you wondering why you are drawn to it. It shouldn’t work. It should bring the irrational and the rational to the same plane, like a folded paper plane. It’s not worth it if you can explain it. Photography can bring you back to unexplained rainbows.

I’m not sure if linking here to youtube is somehow not ok. All the credit goes to the Velvet Underground (Reed, Morrison, Cale, Tucker).