Archive for photography

Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize

Posted in Other Photographers, Personal with tags , , , on August 6, 2010 by brettvanort

Do I have a chance?  I mean really?  That’s what I thought about.  Should I actually go through the process of filling in the info, paying the £30 fee, then make a print that would cost about the same only to probably get rejected?  Rejection is the name of the photographic game, so I thought to myself, just get used to it.  And send the damn thing in anyway.

Problem with the print I liked…I made it in the darkroom…old school…black and white.  I really like the print, however there is a spot on the neg.  In the print it’s a black splotch, on a bit of white.  And it looks like crap.  So I had to make a digital one.  Am I happy with it?  Well, no.  It could always be better.  But it’s my submission so it has a shot.  At least I got it in on time.  And when I got there, there were 2500 or so stickers there awaiting to be affixed to other portraits.  I imagine 50 get in or so.  Rejection city.  But it’s not Howard’s fault.  It’s mine for not giving myself time to submit the perfect print.

Howard Robinson in his store. He was a great sitter.

I’ll certainly let you know how it goes on my end.  Results should be back on or about August 22.  Now, on to who I think should get in:

Dennis © Freya Najade

That’s right, Freya.  I’m certain you’ll get in.  At least I think you should.  And I imagine that Laura Pannack girl will too.


More Surveillance

Posted in Other Photographers, Personal with tags , , , on July 16, 2010 by brettvanort

Another artist’s work I came across at the Tate Surveillance show was that of Oliver Lutz.  Lutz, like Pechlan, calls himself an artist rather than a photographer.  He works in several media, from drawing to installation to photography.

Detail of CCTV image of The Lynching of Leo Frank © Oliver Lutz 2009

His work is participatory though.  And I thought it was absolutely brilliant.  When you walk into Room 10 of the exhibition, you are overwhelmed by a gigantic black shining flat piece on the wall.  Whoa!  I thought.  I had to back up and see what I could see…nothing.  Wait…it has to be something!

Then as you turn around, away from the black canvas, err, painting based on a photograph, you realize the entirety of the work.

Now I met Sandra Phillips, the curator of the show that is at the Tate, and lead curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  I met her in Madrid at PhotoEspana.  I showed her my work, including the miniature version of the opening frame revealing the landmine underneath.  Her impression of the work, to me, was that she didn’t quite get it.  Maybe it was jet lag or maybe she needed to see a full scale version instead of the miniature (15″ x 12″) version I brought with me.  At any rate I got an impression from her that she didn’t think of it as photography.  She claimed it was participatory, which, yes, it is, and that it was performance art, therefore not photography.  “But these are photographs?!?!”  She then asked if I came from a theater background.  Huh?  Then my 20 minutes were up.  Great.

That led me to think, why the label?  Why must photography have to consist of a picture hanging on a wall and that’s it?  Obviously she felt that Lutz’s work, however participatory it is, was photographic enough (even though on the surface it’s a black shining surface, and the actual seen image is a painting that is based on a photograph) to be in the same exhibition as photographs from more traditional artists that click a shutter, develop an image (whether it be digitally or analog), and hang that image on a wall.

And this brings me back to what Lutz and Paglen say about themselves.  That they are “artists” first and photographs are the medium they are using in this instance.  Great.  I get it and I think that’s fantastic but I felt from speaking with Sandra that because I have yet to be accepted as an artist I have to declare myself a photographer first?  Isn’t this backwards?  It is only until the public accepts your work as “art” that you have the ability to transcend the medium, photography, and be an artist?  And that, makes my head hurt thinking of things in that regard.  Aren’t we all artists first and foremost and photography is the medium we use?  Many of my friends will use other medium to portray their thoughts.  I already know plenty of writers that play music, photographers who write and photographers who paint and painters that sculpt.  So why the label dammit?


PDN Photo Annual

Posted in Minescape, Personal with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2010 by brettvanort

The PDN Photo Annual came out recently on US news stands.  I’ve been trying to find it for about a week here in the UK and I can’t find it anywhere.  I even tried the Photographers Gallery to no avail.  How is it that one of the most highly thought of US photography publications not make it over here in the UK?

No answer, huh?  My wife is going to the States for some work soon so she’ll be able to bring one back with her and it will be June before I see the May 2010 issue that my work is in.

The Front Cover: Snowy Owl (2009) © Andrew Zuckerman

The online gallery was posted recently as well.  It seems a little clunky in its operation, but I can’t complain.  Happy I made it in there.  Although I have to see if I can make them change the links to my website.  That sucks!


Posted in LCC assignments with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2009 by brettvanort

Economy.  My reaction?  The way that we move and shake.  This is my take on our Elephant and Castle project:

In documenting the Elephant and Castle I opted to take multiple exposures instead of singular frames.  When these multiple images are compiled together in a sequence, it highlights the movement of our daily lives.  This animation shows the daily slog of a commute, waiting for the bus or the ATM, walking through a subway or the streets of a housing estate.  Traffic flow patterns, rapid transportation patterns all emerge when real time is manipulated to see the ebb and flow of the area.  This in essence is the economy of Elephant and Castle at work.

People blurred into a pattern making one realize that we are part of a bigger picture.  It makes one feel both insignificant but at the same time a part of the greater whole.  We are not permanent fixtures on this planet nor are the buildings or the cars.  All that stays the same is the rising and setting of the sun, which acts as a benchmark to the passage of time.

Unfortunately You Tube blocked my audio track but I’m trying to figure out a way around this.

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