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

CARTAGENA

i´m a self tought photographer based in hamburg and berlin.i travel a lot and everywhere i go i try to shoot some personal work. some of the work is organized and well prepared ..some is just happening..

this shot i took in cartagena/columbia some time ago

Catagena

Catagena

 

Photobook Workshop in Rangoon / Burma

At the end of August, I was invited to run a photobook making workshop in Rangoon / Burma. It the first photobook workshop that ever took place in Myanmar, in Myanmar Deitta, the country’s first and only institute supporting documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia production.

My workshops are about the creation of photobooks on the one hand, as well as about rethinking the photographer’s work in the context of a photobook on the other hand. I work closely with the participants in the production and presentation of a book from their own photo projects, focusing on design, editing, sequencing and the importance of materials in the production of photobooks.

Before the workshop, we went to street shops to check the materials available. Before I arrived in Burma, I was told that you don’t find different papers in Rangoon and the printing possibilities are limited, but it turned out that if you know what to look for, you find a wide range of materials. At the end, we managed to print (besides the digital printing) silkscreen and white on black paper. Riso printing is also possible and very cheap, but we didn’t used it because of the nature of the works.

In the first step, the six participants (Sai Htin Linn Htet, Yu Yu Myint Than, Shwe Wutt Hmon, Minzayar Oo, Hkun Lat and Wai Hnin Tun) started to work on their editing and sequencing with printed photos. We try to find out what’s the best for the book, even if it means to “kill” the darlings, to get rid of favorite photos or photos that might be good, but they don’t fit to the story.

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After the layout and the printing: late night making of the books – cutting, glueing, sewing. On the last day, we left the place at around 2.30 am.

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The dummies. We make dummies to see what works and what doesn’t, find other solutions, see if the editing, sequencing, size, etc. works or what can be changed – just for getting an idea what the project is about, and have something to show. We did the dummies from scratch in four days, the final book would need more time for finalizing the layout, working on the final cover, looking for the right materials and printing places.

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Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.

Merken

Yu Yu Myint Than: Memory Lane

“I wanna go back home” are the words I frequently hear from San Kay Khine whenever I visited her in the hospital. San Kay Khine is a 17-year-old girl who spent 5 years as a tortured captive at a famous tailor shop in Yangon and was rescued after the publication of a report by an investigative journalist.

Though Kay Khine managed to escape, she suffered from broken bones in all the fingers from her both hands. Her arm was severely twisted and she initially could only stand for not
more than 15 minutes. Kay Khine has undergone several surgeries at the hospital for months and
now under the guardianship of Ministry of Social Welfares. She still  cannot be back home before her case is finished.

She always had a mature and calm disposition. I visited her home village Baw Lone Kwin without her to meet her parents. I had never been there before, but as soon as I got there, I felt familiar with the village. The rain trees and bamboo trees, the cows, the smell of soil after rain and the cool breeze passing from the paddy fields made me feel welcomed instantly. I felt like I could hear the giggles of San Kay Khine in her younger days playing with her friends; and imagined the ghost stories they shared at night with her friends. I felt like Baw Lone Kwin was my own homecoming. That unexplainable feeling of nostalgia is strange but beautiful. I breathed in the memories of her childhood in that village.

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“Memory Lane” is a beautiful gift for both of us, San Kay Khine and I joined to recreate her memories and visited her home village through her nostalgia.

www.yuyumyintthan.com

Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.Merken

Photobook Exhibition “Raving Madness / Coming home”

For the 2017 edition of the Obscura Festival of Photography in Penang / Malaysia, I was invited to curate a photobook exhibition, which travelled subsequently to Burma.

The selection of 20 titles was based on a personal perception of last year’s mood on different levels – political, social, emotional – and the reaction corresponding to this perception. This is my curatorial text:

“While our own state of mind is a vibrating string of uniform motion, the political, social, economical and personal changes seem to pass us with lightning speed, going above and through us like an uncontrollable steamroller. The fast and surprising flashing of conflicts make the space around and between us become an unstable place: On the one side, never knowing what will happen next and being prepared for the worst, and on the other side – being forged by the emotions and learning to be guided by basic trust. With these two elements in a state of calm and chaos, there seems to be only one exit: raving madness, or coming home.”

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The impressions are from the exhibion in Rangoon, the first photobook exhibition that ever took place in Burma – in Myanmar Deitta, the country’s first and only institute supporting documentary photography, filmmaking and multimedia production.

 

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Photographers and book titles featured in the show
Alexa Vachon, What we do in the light
Andreas Frei, Hab Acht
Anna Block, Water Break Rocks
Anna-Stina Treumund, Lilli, Reed, Frieda, Sabine, Eha, Malle, Alfred, Rein and Mari
Christoph Bangert, War Porn
Çağdaş Erdogan, Control
Emilie Hallard, L.
Goran Bertok, Requiem
Janine Bächle, months together — months apart
Pieter Wisse, I Believe in 88
Ruth Erdt, The Gang
Mathieu Asselin, Monsanto – A Photographic Investigation
Laetitia Donval, Nerves
Laura Hospes, UCP
Olaf Unverzart, Leichtes Gepäck
Miquel Llonch, In the fields of gold
Miron Zownir, The Valley of the Shadow
Richard Robert, Noir Interiors
Shilo Group, Euromaidan
Simone Hoang, Ký úc / Memento

Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.

“we will have been young”

we will have been young” showcases twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed series related to “Youth” over the past eleven months. The photographers have been mentored by Tobias Kruse​ and Jörg Brüggemann​ from the Ostkreuz Agency, and published by dienacht Publishing with the support of the Goethe Institut in Malaysia.

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“In summer of 2016, we met with twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries for a workshop in Penang, Malaysia. Over the course of five days we reviewed and discussed various images. Criticism was voiced and embraced. After this intense time in Malaysia everyone worked on their own project and continued to communicate with us and each other: Ideas and images were reviewed repeatedly, across different time zones and cultural boundaries. Equally important is that a group evolved out of the participating individuals that persists beyond the initial contact. The series of images have a common topic – ‘Youth’. Originating from this notion, each of the workshop participants’ task was to generate an idea, formulate it and eventually realise it. Sometimes this included failing and starting over.

Through his stark aesthetic, Alvin Lau shows us love in times of Tinder and we ask ourselves whether love has indeed become easier.

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Easy is the love between young homosexuals in Singapore, against all odds and beautifully depicted in the images of Lee Chang Ming.

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Likewise, Amrita Chandradas conveys the circumstances of life in Singapore with powerful portraits of a strong woman with a rare illness.

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Asrul Dwi deals with the stigmatisation of mentally ill youth in Indonesia and portrays them with a gentle touch.

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Dennese Victoria experiments with the realm of possibility and observes what unfolds – her construction of an ideal family turns into a touching intimate play.

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In a small village in the Malaysian jungle Elliott Koon documents the journey of young Orang Asli who are growing up in a world caught between tradition and the modern age.

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The modern era in Vietnam appears slightly lost in reverie in the images by Linh Pham of people celebrating in Hanoi, relating to excessive isolation and the search for reorientation.

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Muhammad Fadli captures the eccentricities of modified scooters – extravagant constructions, nailed and welded – in his portraits of Indonesians with their prized possessions.

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In Phnom Penh, Cambodia there is a house that once symbolized the rise of a new society – The White Building. Kanel Khiev shows us the inhabitants of this house before it is demolished to make way for future development.

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The story of the house that Geric Cruz embarks on is of a private nature. His memories of his own past are revived by a chance encounter with a young boy in his grandmother’s house in the Philippines where he spent most of his childhood.

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The time of adolescence in Thailand displays an invariable, almost military uniformity – clothing and hairstyle are orchestrated for all adolescents, leaving no room for individuality. Watsamon Tri-yasakda portrays transgender teenagers in their uniforms, with imagery that enlightens the issue and allows us to smile over the impositions of the present-day.

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With her poetic images, Yu Yu Myint Than introduces us to the dreams of a young woman in Myanmar who was severely abused and longs to return to her home village.

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Youth is a universal subject; photography is a universal language. No matter how different photographers’ approaches and works, their images are intelligible to all. Every viewer is or will have been young eventually and everyone likes to look at what might be the future one day. Images rendering this visible, remain forever present.”
– Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse

The works have been showcased at the Obscura Festival of Photography in Malaysia, and will travel in South-East Asia and to Germany.

You can take a look and get the book here: www.dienacht-magazine.com/publishing. Less than 100 copies are available.

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Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.

Muhammad Fadli: Rebel Riders

Since its inception in Florence in 1946, for most people Vespa is nothing sort of extraordinary. But for some, Vespa is an impeccable way of life.

In many cities in Indonesia, a unique form of Vespa community thrives: Extreme Vespa. Like emerging from Mad Max movies, the riders—mostly are youngsters in their early twenties—wander around the country riding scooters which often looked too weird not only for outsiders, but also for people within the greater Indonesian Vespa scenes. Some scooters have more than twenty tires attached to them. Some are adorned with bu alo skeleton, electrical pole, bamboos, fake gattling gun, or anything the riders could scrape along the road. Some of the riders even go further by rebuilding their Vespa out of a tree, or turn it into a DIY four-wheeler. For them, creativity has no limit and the original Vespa is merely just a starting point.

Rebel Riders

Rebel Riders

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Metalheads, punks, and Rastafarians are among the die-hard fans of this customized scooters. In con- trast to the idea these scooterist are escaping from life’s harsh reality, they simply love living on the road and navigate a vast country on the saddle. And it seems they can’t get enough of it. This on-going series captures an insight into the community.

www.muhammadfadli.com

Muhammad Fadli is a Sumatran-born Indonesian photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Note from Calin Kruse: In August and September, I had the honour to work in Malaysia and Burma with young photographers from South-East Asia. dienacht Publishing published the book “we will have been young”, showcasing twelve young photographers from eight South-East Asian countries, which developed a body of work related to “Youth” over the past eleven months under the supervision of the tutors Jörg Brüggemann and Tobias Kruse from the Ostkreuz Agency, and with the support of the Goethe Institut in Kuala Lumpur. In Burma, I curated a photobook exhibition and run a photobook workshop. In my posts over the next few weeks, I would like to feature a few portfolios from South-East Asian photographers and show an inside view of my work there.

Brooklyn Times

Empty Garden (Ode to Ansel Adams), 1984, Bushwick, Brooklyn

I lived in Brooklyn for almost three years. I paid $1100 a month to live with two others in an area not far from the Brooklyn museum. I paid half for my own apartment in Berlin. It’s through this economic lens that I and many I know experience Brooklyn; holding on to a cheap apartment before the landlord decides to sell, dealing with bedbugs (twice), holes in the wall that took months to fix while tripling in size, and rats showing up to roam freely in the kitchen. Sometimes I had to wonder why I was shelling out my high rent acquiring significant student loan debt. One month before I left our kitchen sink almost exploded when mud and dirt flew out of it onto the ceiling. I looked to the blog Brokelyn for advice – a ‘post-crash survival guide devoted to living the best possible life in Brooklyn regardless of one’s means.’

But whatever I did to survive in Brooklyn I knew it was nothing compared to the bombed out recession 70s I learned about at NYU graduate school. I read that in one year – 1980 – New York City had almost 2,000 murders. So who were the artists specific to Brooklyn chronicling this time period? Who not only survived but thrived, capturing images of children playing among the debris of 1980s Bushwick as well as a more buoyant 1960s Williamsburg.

Brooklyn Photographs at BRIC near downtown Brooklyn opens September 7 featuring eleven photographers who capture the varied Brooklyn neighborhoods in a ‘rapidly gentrifying post-industrial landscape’. Change is the operative word prominent in descriptions of an exhibition thorough in its visual examination of the borough’s significant cultural history, diversity and camaraderie in adversity and celebration. Jump Rope (Vanessa's Family) “Gentrification makes neighborhoods unaffordable, and undermines many of their unique qualities” states the photographer Meryl Meisler who visually explores Bushwick in the troubled 80s. “Once a photograph is taken, the vision captures a bygone moment. The pace of change in Brooklyn is rapid.” One of her photo books contrasts scenes of Bushwick, Brooklyn with imagery from the partying nights (and early mornings!) of club Studio 54 in Manhattan – a true Tale of Two Cities. Next to Disco Era Bushwick Meryl also has a photo book juxtaposing her wacky family life in Long Island with Manhattan nightlife and Fire Island parties - Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City. Meryl told me: “Among the photographers in the exhibit and gallery talk are Larry Racioppo and George Malave. Larry, George and I met in recent years because of a common thread that connects and obsesses us – we were all C.E.T.A.photographers in the late ‘70s. [Note: Through an overseeing Foundation the Comprehensive Employment Training Act actually employed New York artists, the largest federal arts employment program since the WPA - the Works Progress Administration of 1933. The program was defunded in 1980.] This is the first time Larry, George and I are in an exhibit together, and it will be important for us to talk about C.E.T.A.’s impact on our life’s work.” Family Picnic, September 1982, Bushwick, Brooklyn Brooklyn – with all its complexity and current economic tensions appears to be very well captured in this thorough and timely exhibition. The photos preserve its turbulent history with humour, insight and delicate humanity. When I was living there I remember navigating the large borough by bike. Cruising past what seemed endless constructions of new tall residential ‘communities’ sprouting among beautiful brownstones – I wondered about its future. Will these photos make a difference? In her recent iN-Public interview Meryl eloquently states: ‘Photography is another expression of spirituality, living with purpose, questioning and seeking appreciative wonder.’ Meisler_1983_01_Man_Fixing Truck_Carrying Car Parts_1500 1983_10_24_self_bday_mirror_wood.1500

Funkalicious

YasmineCropped

“I deal with many different disciplines including photography, design and painting. What is important to me are the relevant themes, the topics and content, which are above the discipline. I want to show, discuss and work with material that has a social impact, significant to society and even obvious within our human nature.”

Berlin based designer and architect Yasmine Benhadj-Djilali grew up in Algiers and Cologne. She studied architecture at the RWTH Aachen and taught at the Technische Universität Darmstadt where she focused on cities in transition with an emphasis on violent upheaval in the Arabic world. She is the founder of architecture & design studio YBDD in Berlin and in addition curates the Benhadj & Djilali gallery connected to her studio.

I met Yasmine when I saw her exhibit of Alfred Steffen’s stunning Prince photos, together with his ‘Comfort Zone’ series – photos taken from the unisex restrooms of the legendary long running Cookies club of Berlin. I showed her the late Chicago photographer Michael Abramson’s photos of mid-70s South Side Chicago blues/jazz/funk nightclubs which immediately fascinated her.

“The photos touched me deeply. . their clear illumination of this refuge, an escape we all know, that stands apart from our everyday lives – this parallel temporary nighttime universe of potential serenity and enjoyment. I’m fascinated by the effects of music and alcohol standing for a vision or hope of a better life. The so called ‘good life’ – this combination of illusion and fantasy – its unique fashion and atmosphere. Different from the ‘Cookies’ photos – this is a completely underground scene – there are very few white individuals. It’s an entirely black domain, totally relaxed, almost private and exclusive.”

A lot has been written about how Michael Abramson, a young white student at the time, was able to infiltrate this scene – made to feel welcome so much that he photographed there for almost three years after initial hesitation. He became a fixture at a series of clubs, a character whom Blues legend Lonnie Brooks called the ‘picture man’.

Next to his ballroom and strip club work of the same time period it is the South Side photos which have become Abramson’s most celebrated work – featured in two significant publications. As reported by the LA Times upon his untimely death in 2011, Abramson felt that as a traveled photographer he had been to ‘every part of the planet’ but had never felt so ‘far away as I was when I was on the South Side of Chicago. Not because it was exotic, in the misused sense of that word, but because it was so exhilarating.’

A selection of Abramson’s Chicago South Side photos are currently at the Frankfurt Foto Forum as part of the exhibition Rock.Funk.Punk. and will be opening at Benhadj-Djilali in November.

Happy

Men with Cameras

“The acclaimed photographer Michael Abramson, who passed away from kidney cancer in 2011 left me his estate. He was my longtime romantic partner but I knew little about the art world in general or photography in particular. Only that I had loved Michael and I treasured what he left, which included hundreds of vintage prints. One day as I was packing up Michael’s belongings I came across an archival box full of negative film strips simply labeled “1979.”

Holding up the first strip to the light, I realized this was Michael’s notorious never before seen work from a so-called gentleman’s club that used to exist on Chicago’s north side. Like many strip clubs of its era, the theater hosted monthly events called Camera Night during which, for an extra fee, amateur photographers were invited to arrive before the regular show began to take as many candid shots of the strippers as they liked. Like the other men present, Michael initially went to take photos of the strippers, but as he surveyed the larger scene, it occurred to him to turn his camera on the other photographers – the sea of men continually clicking their shutters.

Michael’s striking and often beautiful photographs of this complex social scene may at first glance generate discomfort, or even be dismissed as disturbing and ugly. While the images are not nearly as graphic as say those of Robert Mapplethorpe – which portrayed men on men – these photographs of men looking at women can make a feminist like myself cringe. Even now nearly 40 year after these photographs were taken, they retain the power to further the conversation of what it means for women to engage in sex work ─ and more critically perhaps, what it says about the men who would want to watch, engage in, and photograph them.”

This is part of the story shared to me by Michael Abramson’s surviving partner, Dr. Midge Wilson, who currently serves as the Director of the Abramson Arts Foundation.

When I shared her story and the images with a London professor friend of mine he wondered what had happened to all the pictures that the men had taken. I wondered too- did they develop them secretly? hiding them from girlfriends or wives? Others viewing the images pointed out to me the cost of purchasing porn in this pre-internet time. These gentlemen were creating their own personal porn supply!

Multiple stories can be unpacked about these wild sometimes humorous and over the top pictures – coming out soon in book form. Some call the scene truly sordid, but I wonder who is really holding the power in this gendered scenario. Within my gaze of the work I appreciate the wide smiles, the showbiz pizazz of the women, the relaxed atmosphere. A sign of the 70s – or men and women sharing an erotic experience? It looks like some are having fun. . Or for the women is it just put-on? A performance? And the men . . fun? bored? exploitive?

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What do you see?