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photo-eye Gallery Tom Chambers: Hearts and Bones
Closing Saturday, February 16
Tom Chambers' expansive mid-career retrospective comes to a close this Saturday, Feb 16. Also debuting Wintry Beacon a new image in the Tales of Heroines series.

Tom Chambers, Wintry Beacon, 2019, Archival Pigment Print, 22x13" Image, Edition of 20, $950

"Tom Chambers transforms the everyday into the mythical. His hyperreal images depict much more than a moment in time. Rather they show something far less tangible…perhaps a memory, feeling or dream…allowing the viewer to make a personal connection."
– Anne Kelly, Gallery Director
From 'Praise for Tom Chambers' Hearts and Bones'

Hearts and Bones
photographs by Tom Chambers
Signed Hardbound – $45.00
Charming, whimsical, and enigmatic, Tom Chambers' stirring photomontages have captivated collector's for more than 25 years. In that time, Chambers' vignettes have consistently and convincingly blended fantastical elements with the everyday to tell stories about the human condition–fragility, ritual, perseverance and trust. Hearts and Bones has been a very special exhibition for us at photo-eye Gallery. Not only is it a mid-career retrospective for Chambers, but it represents over a decade of his relationship with photo-eye as a represented artist, and carries the feeling of celebrating a milestone birthday with a family member. Punctuating the exhibition was the release of Tom's exquisite new monograph, published by Unicorn, including an introduction by former photo-eye Gallery Director Elizabeth Avedon. In fact, Avedon, and then Gallery Assistant Anne Kelly, both organized Chambers' first exhibition at photo-eye Gallery back in 2007.  It has been a delight to witness the progression of Tom's work here in the gallery these months, including the debut of his newest series Tales of Heroines.
Tom Chambers' Tales of Heroines
installed at Photo LA 2019 (left)

To cap the exhibition, Chambers is debuting a new image in the Tales of Heroines series, Wintry Beacon (above).  The snowy background image was photographed by Chambers up on the hill above Santa Fe at the Native American and Folk Art museums.

Tom Chambers: Hearts and Bones closes this Saturday, February 16th. If you haven't already, we invite you to stop by the gallery or visit the online portfolio, to view this comprehensive collection of Chambers' photomontage artwork.







• • • • •

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. 
Prices will increase as the print editions sell.

For more information, and to purchase prints,  please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com

Tom Chambers, Moat Float, 2018, 
Archival Pigment Print, 28x29" Image, Edition of 10, $2300
Tom Chambers:
Hearts and Bones
Closing Saturday, February 16th, 2019

» View Work by Tom Chambers

» Read More about Tom Chambers

» Photo LA 2019, including Tom Chambers


photo-eye Gallery
541 S. Guadalupe Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505-988-5152 x202
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Book Of The Week Maine Photographs by Gary Briechle Reviewed by Blake Andrews Gary Briechle has forged many long-term relationships with the people he has photographed since moving to Maine nearly 20 years ago. This gives his work a peculiar intimacy, as if the pictures were made by a family member. He lives and works in midcoast Maine and doesn’t see a need to travel to make photographs.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=TT184
Maine. By Gary Briechle.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=TT184
Maine
Photographs by Gary Briechle

Twin Palms, Santa Fe, USA, 2018.
124 pp., 63 full-color plates, 8x10".

A funny thing happened on the way to reviewing Gary Briechle's Maine (Twin Palms, 2018). After removing the book from its packaging and giving it a quick once-over, I set it on top of my reading pile near the piano. That's where my wife found it. Tab spent her first 18 years in western Maine and considers herself something of an authority on the subject. When she noticed a new photo book called Maine in the house it was irresistible.

Over dinner that evening Tab described to me her initial shock. Briechle's book was most definitely not the Maine she expected to see. There was nary a sailboat in it. Nor any black labs prancing on lawns. No quaint harbors, lighthouses, lobster pots, or fall foliage. In fact, all the LL Bean scenes seemed to be missing completely. In their stead was a seedy underworld of vice, mobile homes, and things that sagged. The mood throughout was downbeat. The tone was set by the cover shot of a dark figure retreating into an icy patch, and the opening pages offered no letup. First came a grimy snowbank piled with debris, then a closeup of old cigarette stubs. And so on. You get the picture. My wife sure did. Somewhat rattled, she put the book back in its place after a few minutes.

The items above describe Maine, of course. Just not the one of popular imagery. But in Gary Briechle's world these things assume primacy. His photo subjects are pulled from his immediate surroundings: friends, family, neighbors, and local events. "Most everything that inspires me is within a few miles of home," he writes on the Twin Palms site. "Sometimes I think that Maine is like my foster family; I'm not really entirely comfortable and will probably never feel completely settled, but Maine keeps feeding me."

The feeding frenzy has been happening for nearly two decades, ever since Briechle resettled in Maine from New Jersey in 2001. Most of his photos since then have employed the wet collodion process, an archaic monochrome practice of long exposures and rushed development. Ghosts and glitches are endemic to the method, and they often imbue a dreamy quality all its own. Such was the style of his wonderful debut book from 2012, Gary Briechle Photographs, also published by Twin Palms. That book was followed in 2015 by a Guggenheim. Judging by what came next, it may have precipitated some artistic restlessness.

Subject-wise, Maine covers similar territory to the debut, but the approach is radically different. Instead of long exposures, Maine catches subjects in the moment, snapshot style, with digital color. Whereas the debut slyly hinted at subversive doings, Maine puts them on full display, sometimes with the help of flash (a near impossibility with wet collodion). There are photos of guns, scabs, butts, tats, needles, debris, cash, filth, malaise, cobwebs, and one beautifully frosted butterknife. While most photographers might bypass such things, Briechle seizes them as narration devices.

The youngster clutching this rainbow icing, who appears a few times in the book along with various other tots, gives the reader pause. Just what lies ahead for these Maine youth? The reader isn't sure but a penny-loafered yacht outing seems improbable.

The mix of innocence and experience is the same concept used to great effect in Larry Clark's Tulsa, both extremes tangled together in a foreboding blend. As we know, Tulsa did not end well. Maine too ends on a sour note, with a grim finishing sequence: a prone smoker, an aging invalid, and a blood-soaked animal. Then the final photo, a grim winter domestic scene. Lobster roll, anyone?


Throughout the book Briechle's desaturated palette is thin and waifish, the flesh drained of life. As with wet collodion —whose orthochromatic sensitivity dramatizes skin tones— this approach heightens certain flaws. Blood vessels, peeling sunburn, and grime are pronounced. And I suppose the many tattoos in the book would be too, if they weren't already so commonplace. The approach is revealing but not quite sinister. "I don't ever set out to take harsh pics," he says in a recent interview. " I like a good belly laugh with my sons as much as anyone. But people actually don't spend the majority of their lives smiling. This is real life."

So it is. Tagging alongside my wife, I've spent a bit of each summer over the past 30 years in backwoods Maine. Physically the state is gorgeous. But Briechle's view strikes me as fairly accurate. Drive inland a few hours from the coast and you're basically in Appalachia, with miles upon miles of steep hills separating homespun hamlets. Pry under the surface of these towns and you'll find Briechle's stern, unsmiling Maine: Debris, cobwebs, rusty trucks, and such. If the conditions are right, on certain days you might see a rainbow over the town. The icing on the cake.

Purchase Book

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Blake Andrews is a photographer based in Eugene, OR. He writes about photography at blakeandrews.blogspot.com.


photo-eye Gallery Heart Work:
A Selection of Photographs Capturing Love
photo-eye Gallery Associate Juliane Worthington curates a Valentine's Day collection featuring work by Carla van de Puttelaar and Brad Wilson.


Valentine’s Day is often lost in a sea of pre-written cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and other merchandise schemes that claim to express the abstract idea of love and attraction we feel for those dear to us. The day can end up feeling like pressure to perform or to find the right gift—to say the right words. Over the years I’ve tried to embrace the holiday as an opportunity to pause and be grateful for those who love me and support me through all the joys and pains of my life. Maybe you have someone you share romantic love with, or maybe you come home to the beloved pup you rescued (so he could rescue you right back). Either way, you have love, even it’s the love you have for yourself.

Sometimes when these sorts of holidays come up we focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have. Working with art and artists reminds me daily of how blessed we are as a human race that our lives lend themselves to creativity. It’s something we give to ourselves as a gift each time we participate in the perspectives and colorful interpretations of the world around us.

I’d like to share two artists who’ve really impacted me in my short time at the gallery. They remind me how much love is coursing through the veins of our planet.


Carla van de Puttelaar, Rembrandt Series, Archival Pigment Print, 18×12" Image, Edition of 8,  Price Upon Request
In her book Adornments, Carla van de Puttelaar, a Dutch photographer, connects sensual depictions of flowers and trees with the faces and bodies of women. She focuses on the imperfections of the skin of things—the beauty to be seen in the lines and marks of time. The collection of her images are bound together with a recycled paper cover that feels somehow both rough and smooth, like skin. The thick pages are full of deeply colorful, sensual photographs of her subjects in varying stages of life and age. The book is heavy and large—the weight of it encapsulating her appreciation and intrigue with the figures she studies. Van de Puttelaar’s work is a tribute to women—real women with real bodies, who have real reservations about their vulnerability and who they’re allowed to be. This image from her Rembrandt series illustrates the quiet, often hesitant, openness she admires about women. When I think about how I want the women in my life, my daughter especially, to feel loved by me, this is how I imagine it: To be truly seen in all the ways and from all the angles as one would hold up a flower on a warm summer day with awe and appreciation.

Adornments 
Photographs by Carla van de Puttelaar
Fw: Books, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2017
In English. 270 pp., color illustrations, 9¾×13¼×1½"

$71.00 Hardbound

» Purchase

» View More Work by Carla van de Puttelaar




Brad Wilson, Lion #3, Los Angeles, CA, 2010, Archival Pigment Ink, 20×29" Image, Edition of 15, $1500

The second artist whose work has brought tears to my eyes at times is Brad Wilson. The animals Wilson photographs are inhabitants of various sanctuaries who house these precious, endangered lives and redirect them into a close relationship with mankind. Wilson uses a portrait style format, getting so close that the reflection of him working can often be seen in their eyes. The result is a very intimate encounter with these creatures we long to know and be close to. What I love about Wilson’s work is how he can portray this lion, dangerous and unpredictable by design, as capable of great feeling and emotion. The lion has symbolized man for ages; as our country and culture strives towards redefining how strong, good men should behave toward the world around us, it’s important we allow for a bit of wild and untamed nature. While we cannot tolerate predatory behavior, we need to allow our boys and men to roar. It’s the balance and bay of masculine and feminine energy that makes our world so beautiful. I see in the wild eyes of Wilson’s lion a bit of sadness, of longing for understanding and respect—wanting to be seen and loved in all his power and might, and not feared. I give my boys, now 11 and 15, the space to be both gentle and strong for me and with me. As a single mom, they guard me like a lion and also look to me when they’re broken and sad like the cub who will always live inside them. This portrait of Wilson’s lion reminds me I both need to respect the strength of the men in my life, and know when to sink my hands into their hair, look in their eyes and assure them of that same strength.

Wild Life 
Photographs by Brad Wilson
Prestel, Lakewood, 2014
184 pp., illustrated throughout, 10×11¾"

$45.00 Signed Hardbound
$250.00 Limited Edition with Print

» Purchase

» View Additional work by Brad Wilson


I hope wherever and whoever you’re celebrating this holiday of love with you can look beneath the commercial layers and find the raw, realness of what you truly have. And, I hope these images bring you the same reminder they do for me: we are an artful embodiment of creation and life. In the imperfections of love and relationship between human beings, there is also great beauty when we trust and let down our robe for another to see us as we are: alive and here. May there be a reflection in your eyes of one who sees you in all your strengths and weaknesses and loves you for them.

If you’d like to see more work like this please come by the gallery or visit our website.

Some other pieces I’ve selected that make me feel a sense of love, which are available for pick up and can be shipped in time for Valentine’s Day if ordered by February 10, 2019, are listed below. Let the gift you chose to express your love this year be one from the heart—one that will inspire you to love more deeply each time you see it.

—Juliane Worthington

Juliane is a freelance writer, editor and the gallery associate at photo-eye Gallery in Santa Fe, NM where she lives with her three kids, two cats and golden retriever.








Additional Selections by Juliane


Steve Fitch
Las Vegas, Nevada, August, 2002
Archival Pigment Print
12×12" Image
Not Editioned
$600



Michael Lange, Wald #6678
Archival Pigment Print (3 sizes available - check add. info)
37×28" Image
Edition of 7



Maggie Taylor
Looking glass house, 2016, from A tale begun other days II 
Archival Pigment Print
8×8" Image
Edition of 15
$1500



                    Richard Tuschman
                    Green Bedroom (Morning), 2013
                    Archival Pigment Print
                    24×18" Image
                    Edition of 9
                    $2500




                            Rafu
                            Photographs by Michael Kenna
                            Nazraeli Press, Paso Robles, CA, USA, 2019
                            In English. 64 pp., 41 duotone plates, 8×12"
                            $75.00 – Hardbound
                            $1,500 –  Limited Edition with Print




David H. Gibson
Double Rainbow, Hondo Mesa, New Mexico, 1996
Gelatin-Silver Print
8×23" Image
16×32" Mat
Edition of 48
$800

• • • • •


All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. 
Prices will increase as the print editions sell.

For more information, and to purchase prints, 
please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com


Book Of The Week Sun Gardens Cyanotypes by Anna Atkins Reviewed by Kevin Bond This lavishly illustrated book features the beautiful and scientifically important photographs by Anna Atkins, whose landmark work combined a passion for botany with remarkable creativity and technical skill.
Sun Gardens. By Anna Atkins.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=PX324
Sun Gardens
Cyanotypes by Anna Atkins

Prestel, USA, 2018.
176 pp., 9x12".

In 1843 Anna Atkins created the first book illustrated with photographs, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions. She has, however, only been briefly mentioned in the history of photography. By acknowledging her years of extensive, exhausting, and ambitious research, Sun Gardens: Cyanotypes by Anna Atkins is the best representation to date of Atkins’ importance and influence.

The title, Sun Gardens, is borrowed from the 1985 Aperture publication, Sun Gardens: Victorian Photograms, which served as the original catalyst for reestablishing Atkins’ importance in the history of photography. The new publication was produced by the New York Public Library, who are responsible for digitizing Atkins’ work and making it freely available online. Sun Gardens captures the intention behind Atkins’ handmade photograms — they were not made as works of art to be seen in a frame on the wall, but, rather, as pages of a book best held in your hands.

Produced and edited by Joshua Chuang, the senior curator of photography at the NYPL, Sun Gardens was published to accompany an exhibition of Atkins’ work there. Larry Schaaf, the author of the original Sun Gardens, wrote the bulk of the essays, which provide the context for understanding both Atkins’ work and how she fits into the history of photography. Mike Ware, a chemist, photographer, and distinguished authority on the history and conservation of historic photographic processes, also contributed an extremely valuable text about the cyanotype process. He sketches out the origins and following conservation of cyanotypes, and more specifically the pigment Prussian blue, the base of all true cyanotypes. The inclusion of contemporary texts shines a new light on Atkins’ books and the cyanotype process in general, which is still commonly used by artists today.

Sun Gardens is a large book, measuring at about 10 x 12½ inches with 176 pages, and its size complements its content. It is the perfect blend between an art book and a photography textbook. A selection of the photograms from her original book, Photographs of British Algae, is reproduced in their original size, allowing an experience similar to those who were able to handle the original book. The delicate cyanotypes are made from artful arrangements of feathers, ferns, and flowering plants, and are printed to capture the deep hues of each photogram, as well as the subtle backside of the previous plate. The images are accompanied by informative text about the botanical specimens, reproduced perfectly in Atkins’ beautiful cursive handwriting.

After the photograms, Schaaf provides an account of Atkins’s life, accompanied by a number of historical images and documents. Beginning with her childhood, this essay provides an in-depth look at her passion for botany and how she paired it with her technical and creative skill set. The book proceeds to explain and illustrate all of the productions that Anna Atkins and her collaborator, Anne Dixon, made.

This is a beautiful catalog of the first book illustrated with photography. It’s difficult to properly represent the importance of this work. Not only was Atkins one of the most innovative and influential female photographers of all time; she pioneered both the photobook and the cyanotype as we know them today.




Kevin Bond is an Artist and Photographer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He holds a BFA in photography from University of the Arts. Bond is the current shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore and a lab technician at Bostick & Sullivan. You can reach him at kbondphotography@gmail.com or to see more of his work at www.kbondphotography.com.

photo-eye Gallery photo-eye Gallery at photo LA
Jan 31–Feb 3, 2019
photo-eye Gallery is hitting the road this week with a van full of goodies on its way to a photographic exhibition that has inspired photographers and collectors alike for nearly three decades.


photo-eye Gallery is hitting the road this week with a van full of goodies on its way to a photographic exhibition that has inspired photographers and collectors alike for nearly three decades. Photo L.A. is hosting approximately 70 galleries from across the country in a truly remarkable venue, Barker Hangar. Our Gallery Director, Anne Kelly, photo-eye Director Rixon Reed, and Vicki Bohannon will be on site for this not to be missed event, January 31st-February 3rd. If you’re in the LA area please stop by and say hello!

We’re excited to be bringing work from a baker’s dozen of our many talented photo-eye represented artists!

Kevin Horan

Here are a few highlights:

Nick Brandt

This Empty World, Photographs by Nick Brandt, 
Thames & Hudson, London, United Kingdom, 2019. In English. 120 pp., 70 color illustrations, 15x13".

Brandt recently released a new body of work, including a book, entitled, This Empty World 
with which he intends to raise awareness of how the often thoughtless construction of our modern world is so deeply impacting the biological structure and foundation of our dying world. photo-eye is honored to represent such a talented photographer and inspiring humanitarian.

Brandt’s passion for highlighting the destruction of the natural world translates to a deeply emotional experience and one that he wields toward the furtherance of environmental awareness. In 2010 Brandt Co-founded Big Life Foundation with one of the most respected conservationists in East Africa, Richard Bonham. Now, eight years later, Big Life protects 1.6 million acres with more than 200 rangers in 36 permanent and mobile outposts. With the aid of multiple patrol vehicles, tracker dogs, night vision equipment and aerial monitoring, this new level of coordinated protection for the ecosystem has brought about a dramatic reduction in poaching of ALL animals in the region, with numerous arrests of some of the worst, most prolific poachers.

photo-eye is pleased to offer a special print edition to accompany the release of the book This Empty World. Two Limited Editions of 50 copies each, with your choice of one 12 × 14-inch print (see below).


Limited Edition [A]: Construction Trench with Young Elephant & Workers, 12 × 14 inches.
Edition of 50 copies. Starting at $950.
Limited Edition [B]: Construction Trench with Jackal, 12 × 14 inches. Edition of 50 copies. Starting at $950


Tom Chambers

Tom Chambers, Hide Your Eyes, 2018, Archival Pigment Print, 22x13" Image, Edition of 20, $950

Tom Chambers is a creative genius in the photomontage realm of photography. Our current gallery exhibit features over two decades of Chambers’work in magic realism. In his new series, Tales of Heroines Chambers pays homage to strong young women and begins a conversation with us eye to eye.

» Read the full interview with Tom about Tales of Heroines



Mitch Dobrowner

Mitch Dobrowner, Fly Geyser, Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, 2018, Archival Pigment Ink, 
20x30" Image, Edition of 25, $2500
Mitch Dobrowner is a National Geographic feature photographer, most know for capturing vast landscapes in the eye of the storm. Dobrowner first began photographing storms about ten years ago and was immediately hooked. He says the experience has taught him the frailty of his own existence as well as a deep respect for the storms he now views as living beings. He finds oneness in knowing that each experience, like his own life, is fleeting and unique. Dobrowner, who lives in the Bay area will be attending PhotoLA on opening night. Don’t miss your chance to meet a truly talented artist and admirable human being!

To read more about Mitch, his process and his thoughts on life please check out this interview –
New Release: Mitch Dobrowner – Fly Geyser


Jo Whaley

Jo Whaley, Clematis, 2018, Archival Pigment Print, 24x19" Image, Edition of 25, $2000


Jo Whaley’s work is also on display in our Santa Fe gallery location and is being honorably featured in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum as well. We’re excited to be bringing a few of Whaley’s most popular prints with us to LA. Whaley is known for her theatrical display of the disconnect we have as a culture with nature.

» Read our Inspiring Interview with Jo Whaley


Reuben Wu

Reuben Wu, LN 0309, Archival Pigment Print, 15x20" Image, Edition of 10, $950

Reuben Wu is our newest photo-eye represented artist. Wu, a British born child of the 1970s, is making his photographic debut at PhotoLA with two portfolios of work: Lux Noctis and Aeroglyphs. In addition to his recent success as a photographer, Wu is also a violinist, keyboardist, DJ and music producer for the popular electronic band Ladytron. With over 138K followers on Instagram, and his remarkable, otherworldly shots of drone-lit landscapes, Wu is well on his way to worldwide success.

» Check out photo-eye Gallery Director Anne Kelly’s interview with Wu


• • • • •

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. 
Prices will increase as the print editions sell.

For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com





Book Of The Week The Hollywood Suites Photographs by Steve Kahn Reviewed by Collier Brown This generously illustrated book chronicles Steve Kahn's The Hollywood Suites series, which is comprised of photos taken in rent-by-the-hour apartments in a run-down section of Hollywood from 1974 to 1977, featuring porn industry models and the architecture of the rooms themselves.
The Hollywood Suites. By Steve Kahn.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZH614
The Hollywood Suites
Photographs by Steve Kahn

Prestel, Munich, Germany, 2018.
160 pp., 168 illustrations, 11x11¾".

In Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923), a window is divided into two panes—a diptych, of sorts. The bachelors convene in the lower pane, below the woman isolated above them. To the right, a chocolate grinder twists an axle attached to scissors. Something has happened. And in its aftermath, a bridal gown drifts like tattered clouds.

With The Bride, Duchamp reverse engineers the dynamics between sexes, extracting erotic distress in the modern vernacular of gear and cog. Instead of canvas, we get glass; instead of paint, we find dust; instead of bodies, we see machines. And though we witness events from a window, the view is anything but clear. In fact, not until the glass had shattered in transit to an exhibition did Duchamp pronounce the work complete.

Though Steve Kahn, the photographer behind this extraordinary edition of The Hollywood Suites (1974-1977), may not cite Duchamp’s work as a direct influence, the subject matter bears comparison, as Matthew Simms, professor of art history at California State University, Long Beach, suggests in his contributing essay. Polaroids of bondage and sparse interiors take us back to that image of the stripped bride, bound not just behind the doors, walls, and windows of her room but to them. Making that analogy explicit is what Kahn does so well in The Hollywood Suites.

This new scholarly edition of the Suites compliments a recent retrospective of Kahn’s career. Between 2016 and 2018, curators Julian Cox and James Ganz, of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, collaborated with a number of dealers and collectors to produce the exhibition. Key to their efforts was Kahn himself, who worked closely with the Museums, making available an extensive archive of journals, sketches, and diagrams. Sadly, Kahn passed away before the project was finished. But during this two-year endeavor, he also placed at the group’s disposal more than a thousand previously unpublished Polaroids.

Of the hundred or so Polaroids re-photographed and printed in gelatin silver for the original exhibition, fifty-nine were chosen for the plates in the catalog. Though condensed, the selection gets to the heart of the Suites, not only thematically (nudes, windows, doors, corridors) but creatively—that is to say, the plates document how Kahn’s understanding of the project changed as it developed. What began as a bondage series of nudes became something much more innovative and complex.

At the time, innovation was in the air. Like many cities during the mid-seventies, Los Angeles (Kahn’s home turf) suffered a debilitating economic downturn. Artists turned to nontraditional modes of performance art and experimentation to express the desperation of the city. As a street photographer, Kahn might have played it safe, opting for a more conventional series of images. Instead, he brought his camera to an old Hollywood apartment complex off Melrose Avenue. Having catered to Paramount’s local studio workers in the early thirties, the apartments, along with the neighborhood, had declined drastically over the years. By the time Kahn got there, the building had been condemned—a perfect setting, given the state of affairs.

The nudes that occupy the first pages of the Suites are unlike typical, voyeuristic bondage photographs. As Jodi Throckmorton, curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, notes in her contributing essay, Kahn often photographed his models from the side, denying the viewer his gaze, and focusing instead on the lines of the tautly drawn plastic or the forms of the body’s resistance.

Kahn felt that these tensions resonated with something in the rooms themselves. “It’s the experience of being confronted w/oneself,” he wrote in his journals, “confronted with the feelings of need, emptiness—fears of failure—fear of the light where ‘things’ are visible.” It wasn’t long before Kahn dispensed with female models altogether. The room’s own distress offered the camera more than enough drama to make up for the loss.

The plates in this catalog, though not necessarily chronological, follow the conceptual revelations Kahn experienced in the making of The Hollywood Suites. Starting with the nudes, which, as already mentioned, emphasize the architectural quality of binding, the Polaroids transition rather quickly to images of stripped rooms—stripped of much décor, stripped of character and vitality. Even the flash strips the walls in a way that makes their surfaces look like skin.

In the images that follow, hanging chords and knotted drapes obscure a series of windows, repeating the bondage of the nudes in their domestic seclusion. After the windows, we see doors wrapped with rope or taped closed, empty doorframes sutured with thread, doors shut beside pictures of bustling crowds. Then comes silhouettes of mirrors where mirrors used to be, as if the mirrors were the eyes of the room, now blindfolded like the nudes. Outside the rooms, Kahn photographs the corridors. “These were part of the syntax I was developing,” he says, “the apartment building of my mind—the rooms that I never wanted to find, the doors I never wanted to open.”

For better or worse, the doors we never intend to open seem to multiply over time. Likewise, Kahn’s images, toward the end of the series, break down into multiple parts—what he calls his “Triptychs” and “Quadrants.” In these composite works, disconnected interiors are reassembled, as Kahn puts it, “to make another whole out of these distinct wholes.” Which takes us back to Duchamp. Unlike The Bride, Kahn’s Suites makes the shattered scene whole again—at no loss to desire (a tremendous accomplishment) and at no one else’s expense.


Collier Brown is a photography critic and poet. Founder and editor of Od Review, Brown also works as an editor for 21st Editions (Massachusetts) and Edition Galerie Vevais (Germany).