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photo-eye Gallery New Exhibition
Christopher Colville: FLUX
Opening & Artist Reception: Friday, April 26th, 5–7pm "The photograph is essentially a transformation orchestrated by an artist" is the mantra of Phoenix-based photographer Christopher Colville, and his new solo exhibition Flux at photo-eye Gallery exemplifies the maxim.


Christopher Colville: FLUX 
Opening & Artist Reception: Friday, April 26, 5 – 7 PM
On View: April 26 – June 22, 2019

» View FLUX

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
“The photograph is essentially a transformation orchestrated by an artist,” is the mantra of Phoenix-based photographer Christopher Colville, and his new solo exhibition Flux at photo-eye Gallery exemplifies the maxim. Enigmatic, emotional, and explosive, Christopher Colville’s unique silver gelatin prints are contemporary in their execution and methodology while their appearance seems timeless. Crafted using controlled gunpowder-based explosions Colville records the blast’s energy as it travels across traditional light-sensitive photographic paper yielding abstract images that are expressive, not descriptive. photo-eye Gallery is proud to welcome Colville as a represented artist, and Flux will open Friday, April 26, 2019, with a reception held from 5–7 pm corresponding with the Last Friday Art Walk in the Railyard Arts District.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK
Christopher Colville, Fluid Variant 2, 2015, Unique Silver-Gelatin Print, 13x15" Image, $3,250
The images in this series meditate on the dual nature of creation and destruction. They are created outdoors at night by igniting a small portion of gunpowder on the surface of silver gelatin paper. In the resulting explosion, light and energy abrade and burn the surface while simultaneously exposing the light-sensitive silver emulsion. I loosely control the explosion by placing objects I have gathered in the field on the paper’s surface, but the results are often surprising and unpredictable as the explosive energy of gunpowder is the true generative force creating the image. I believe that by working in these ways, the images push the material and symbolic limitations of the medium. They turn the photograph inside out while creating something that is both serendipitous and elemental. The images are the residue of both creation and obliteration, generated from a single spark.”  – Christopher Colville

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Christopher Colville, Photograph by Josh Loeser
Born in 1974 in Tucson, Arizona, Christopher Colville received his BFA in Anthropology and Photography from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and his MFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico. Chris has taught in multiple institutions including as a visiting Assistant Professor at Arizona State University as well as working as the photography editor for Prompt Press. Christopher’s work has been included in both national and international exhibitions. Recent awards include the Ernst Cabat Award through the Tucson Museum of Art, Critical Mass top 50, the Humble Art Foundations New Photography Grant, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Project Grant, a Public Art Commission from the Phoenix Commission on the Arts and an artist fellowship through the American Scandinavian Foundation. Christopher’s work has been reviewed in national and international publications including Art in America, L.A. Times, Boston Globe, and GUP Magazine. He currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.

• • •

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

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



photo-eye Gallery 2019 Group Show
James Pitts Interview
Interview by Alexandra Jo photo-eye Gallery is pleased to feature three of Pitts’ new color photographs in our 2019 Group Show on view through this Saturday, April 20, 2019.
Interview by Alexandra Jo

Prints by James Pitts installed at photo-eye Gallery for the 2019 Group Show.
James W. Pitts is a Santa Fe-based photographer widely recognized for his gentle, understated platinum prints created from large-format negatives. Whether in color or black and white, his work nods to elements of minimalism and Zen Buddhism in its simplicity and elegance. photo-eye Gallery is pleased to feature three of Pitts’ color photographs in our 2019 Group Show.

photo-eye Gallery Assistant, Alexandra Jo, recently spoke with Pitts about his creative process and different approaches he takes to make his artwork:

James Pitts – Dried Gourd, 2018, Archival Pigment Print, 17x9" Image, Edition of 5, $650

Alexandra Jo:     Your work in the 2019 Group Show is in color, whereas much of the work you’ve shown at photo-eye previously is in black and white. Do you look at the two approaches differently? Do they have a dialogue with one another or progress in a certain way in your overall body of work?

James Pitts:     I actually do a lot of different kinds of work. I’ve photographed flowers for a long time and have worked in both black and white and color photography over the years… I am really open to doing lots of different kinds of things with my art. photo-eye Gallery usually shows the flower pictures and platinum prints, and I’ve kind of gotten known for that, but in all of my work I really just photograph whatever appeals to me visually. The flower pictures aren’t really about the flowers so much, it’s just an opportunity to take a picture. I’ve been very interested in taking photos of objects for a long time, and anything I photograph is really about using the formal elements of photography, things like lighting, composition, etc.

AJ:     That kind of leads into my next question about how you set up your photographs… In a previous conversation with photo-eye Gallery, you mentioned setting your photographs as if they're on a stage and working to find different backgrounds that appeal to your aesthetic. Can you go into more detail about both the process of finding backdrops and setting the stage for your photographs?

JP:     I pretty much rely on chance. I gather things up and put little stage sets together. The photographs in this show that have Jackson Pollock-esque backgrounds are actually papers that were the backs of two of my paintings. I saw them one day and thought they looked interesting. I like photographing things from more than one angle, turning things around, finding comparisons and dialogues someone might find by looking at them… that’s why there is a diptych [in the show] of the same vase and leaves from different angles. I also like photographing things that are small because it’s easier to find an interesting background for small things. I like the intimacy of something small… I even prefer small prints to bigger ones. I can find more interesting paper that has odd stains of metal that has a pattern, and backgrounds that are seamless. You can also see things that you don’t normally see when working small. You are able to pick up things that otherwise go unnoticed.

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for failure, but chance is definitely a big thing for me. I don’t have any kind of slick philosophy for what I do; I’ve just been in love with photography since I was a kid.

James Pitts – Dried Gourd Leaves Diptych, 2018, Archival Pigment Print, 11x17" Image, Edition of 5, $650


AJ:     I like that idea of chance and opportunity for failure. Could one say that there is a spirit of experimentation in your approach to art?

JP:     Yes, I do think with painting experimentation is more available. You’re not relying on using a machine, but using your body and responding to the materials. But it’s like Eggleston said: “[Photography] is a democratic medium.” It relies on what you choose, what you edit. I like to think about what you don’t include in the photograph instead of what you do include. Everything is available and it’s up to you to decide what you put in front of the lens. I don’t like to put so much self-importance on the process. If people respond to [the work] I’m welcome to the possible creative dialogue.

AJ:     Well, one thing that I strongly respond to in the work is the connotation and subtle reference to Zen Buddhist aesthetics like minimalism, geometry, simplicity and natural texture. Has that culture directly influenced what you find visually or aesthetically pleasing?

JP:     Yes, that culture is very influential on what I find aesthetically pleasing. I’m a minimalist. I don’t like having a ton of things around, so it’s better for my eye to not have a lot of things. It’s been a part of my life for a long time.

AJ:     So that carries over to your aesthetic preferences in photography?

JP:     Yes. I think you’re influenced by everything you see all the time. I have big heroes in art… I love Matisse, Cy Twombly, etc. and I may be influenced by them on a certain subconscious level. But I think you’re influenced by everything you see.

AJ:     The three works in this show are of wilted, shriveled, dying plants, whereas a lot of your other photographs of flowers are of living plants in the prime of their bloom. Was there an influence or specific purpose behind your shift in focus between plants in their prime vs. plants in stages of decay?
James Pitts – Wilted Yellow Tulip, 2018, 
Archival Pigment Print, 17x11" Image, 
Edition of 5, $650

JP:     Subconsciously, I think so.  The photograph of the wilted flower in the exhibition was taken after an eight-year relationship ended. It’s been a difficult time dealing with that because it kind of came out of nowhere, and around that time a friend had said something about how beautiful dying things are, so all of that may have played some sort of subconscious part in the wilted flower, and the wilted gourd photograph.

Also, I like using the backs of books for backgrounds sometimes, and in that wilted flower photograph, I used an Anselm Keifer book that shows a painting he did of collapsing buildings. I love that contrast between the wilting flower and the collapsing concrete structure. It was a coincidence that I pulled that book out and happened to find the juxtaposition interesting. I also just think it’s interesting what age does. It brings some perspective that just gets more interesting as I get older.

AJ:     So is there anything that you’re working on currently, or a different direction you think your work might take in the future?

JP:     I’ve always been interested in the same things, taking photographs, objects, some things have just taken longer to make. I’ve always worked in series. I’m interested in building from what people do in “unintentional art...” I have a series of photographs of utility covers from Tokyo in which I arrange them in a grid. I’m interested in portraits; I have a series of portraits that have never been shown. I love the texture of peoples’ skin and just the way they look… it’s pretty fascinating that we are all different. I’ve also been building boxes recently, thinking about the sculptural element of objects. I’ve also been working with 35mm film to make blurry images. I just love film cameras. Something about using film is really elaborate and nice. But I don’t think my work is going in any different direction… it’s all just a continuation of those things I’ve always found interesting.

I have a friend who is a painter who never shows her work, but to me, if there is no one to see the work it’s kind of pointless. And whether it’s liked or not is kind of irrelevant, I just enjoy the dialogue. Connecting is the most important thing in my world, and in life, for me. Art has been a part of my life for a long time, and luckily I don’t have to make a living off of it, I can just love doing it. Being able to do art and have someone look at it is part of that. I just like doing art, and if I can connect with another person, that’s wonderful. ■

photo-eye Gallery's 2019 Group Show remains on view through this Saturday, April 20th. If you're in Santa Fe, please stop by to see this diverse collection of new and notable works by ten acclaimed represented artists.



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

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


2019 Group Show
on view through April 20, 2019

» View work from the exhibition

Select Included Artists:

» Julie Blackmon
» Kate Breakey
» Mitch Dobrowner
» Michael Kenna
» Clay Lipsky
» Beth Moon
» James Pitts 
» Reuben Wu 
» Brad Wilson 









photo-eye Gallery 2019 Group Show
Mitch Dobrowner's Still Earth
Profile by Alexandra Jo photo-eye Gallery is proud to feature Mitch Dobrowner’s Monument Valley and Fly Geyser from his series Still Earth in our 2019 Group Show on view through April 20, 2019.
Profile by Alexandra Jo

Monument Valley, 2014, Archival Pigment Print, 20x30 inches, Edition of 40, $4500
Mitch Dobrowner’s landscape photography is elegant, bold, and powerfully composed. His black-and-white images have an incredible range of value and tone that captures the majesty of nature in a vivid, luminous style. photo-eye Gallery is proud to feature Dobrowner’s Monument Valley and Fly Geyser from his series Still Earth in our 2019 Group Show on view through April 20, 2019.

The artist’s deep, personal connection to each of the landscapes he photographs is legible in the work. Dedication to finding, observing, and personally resonating with a specific location is vital to Dobrowner’s landscape practice, and is clearly visible in the care that goes into composing and printing his images. He patiently waits for the right moment, capturing fleeting instants like when a cloud nestles into the curve of a mountainside only for a minute, or when sunlight slants across the shapes of desert buttes and mesas for a few, perfect seconds.

Fly Geyser, Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, 2018,
Archival Pigment Print, 20x30 inches, Edition of 25, $2500
Dobrowner says of his work:
The Earth is an ever-changing ecosystem. It existed well before we were here and will hopefully be here well beyond the time we leave it. It’s real, at times beautifully surreal, powerfully haunting and alive all at the same time.


In both Monument Valley and Fly Geyser there is a play between intimacy and vastness as the desert monuments and towering spray of water unfold before the artist's lens. When looking at the work I am reminded of the grand scale of our planet: of how long it takes the wind to carve intricate desert formations, how slowly a geyser erodes the face of stone, and how long those monuments will outlast my own time on this earth. For me, that is truly the power of Dobrowner’s photographs. They connect the viewer to the immensity and ephemeral beauty of nature in a way that feels universal, yet personal and intimate.

More specific information about Monument Valley and Fly Geyser can be found in previous photo-eye Blog posts:




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

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


2019 Group Show
on view through April 20, 2019

» View work from the exhibition

Select Included Artists:

» Julie Blackmon
» Kate Breakey
» Mitch Dobrowner
» Michael Kenna
» Clay Lipsky
» Beth Moon
» James Pitts 
» Reuben Wu 
» Brad Wilson 

photo-eye Gallery – 541 S. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | VIEW MAP



Book Of The Week Red Ink Photographs by Max Pinckers Reviewed by Owen Kobasz Red Ink was commissioned by The New Yorker for the article “The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea” by Evan Osnos, in the September 18, 2017 issue and supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZH788
Red Ink. By Max Pinckers.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZH788
Red Ink 
Photographs by Max Pinckers

Max Pinckers, Brussels, Belgium, 2018.
180 pp., color illustrations, 6x7¾".

In 2017, Max Pinckers was commissioned, by The New Yorker, to photograph Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city. His photographs were to be used in the article “The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea,” written by Evan Osnos. Pinckers’ self-published title, Red Ink, now re-contextualizes them in the form of a photobook. Two texts are included, one by Osnos, and another by Slavoj Žižek.

In Evan Osnos’ short essay, “Pyongyang’s Anaconda in the Chandelier,” he describes the actual experience of traveling to North Korea: The anticipation (July 2017 was an especially tense time), the Chinese security who confiscated Max Pinckers’ main flash (forcing him to use a number of small flashes taped together for the same effect), the North Korean security who were suspicious of Osnos’ books, and then, the drama of living, breathing, and trying to work in Pyongyang. He writes:

In two decades as a journalist, I had never encountered an assignment quite like this. It was not remotely dangerous in the overt sense; nobody was shooting at anyone or threatening us. And yet, we were never sure of the ground beneath our feet.

The idea of an invisible force underlies Pinckers’ bright photographs. At first glance they are unassuming: high-flash images of people and objects. A style which, very intentionally, references the bold, artificial lighting used in advertising and propaganda. His subjects look perfect, orderly, and new. As Osnos states in his article, “Pyongyang is a city of simulated perfection, without litter or graffiti—or, for that matter, anyone in a wheelchair. Its population, of 2.9 million, has been chosen for political reliability and physical health. The city is surrounded by checkpoints that prevent ineligible citizens from entering.”

The simulation is, however, imperfect. Small things in Pinckers’ photographs remind us of the isolation experienced by North Korean citizens: curious glances from children and passersby, who have likely never seen any, or at least very few, outsiders. Even, in a different way, the absence of brands like Nike or McDonalds in a large, developed city.

There are also extremely humanizing photographs. People enjoying a nice day at the park, or an improvised picnic. A woman tending to the plants in front of her house. Kids playing in a pool. These pictures serve as a testament to the fact that people living under a regime still experience life completely; still laugh and cry.


Now, the title, Red Ink, refers to an except, “The Missing Ink,” from Welcome to the Desert of the Real by Slavoj Žižek, which is reproduced on the book’s rear flap. The first part reads:

In an old joke from the defunct German Democratic Republic, a German worker gets a job in Siberia; aware of how all mail will be read by the censors, he tells his friends: ‘Let’s establish a code: if a letter you get from me is written in ordinary blue ink, it's true; if it's written in red ink, it's false.’ After a month, his friends get the first letter, written in blue ink: ‘Everything is wonderful here: the shops are full, food is abundant, apartments are large and properly heated, cinemas show films from the West, there are many beautiful girls ready for an affair — the only thing you can’t get is red ink.’

All of the text in Red Ink is written in blue ink. The pictures seem to be as well. The problem, to lack the language needed to properly express the truth, underlies a project of this nature. Documenting North Korea is a necessarily convoluted task. Max Pinckers was offered a carefully curated tour, from which he photographed the strange, the surreal, and, ultimately, the invisible. Ending with a picture of a blank screen, an empty theater, we are left with with more questions than answers.

Purchase Book



http://blog.photoeye.com/search/label/Owen%20Kobasz
Owen Kobasz edits the blog & newsletter at photo-eye. He holds a BA in the liberal arts from St. John's College and takes photos in his free time.

photo-eye Gallery photo-eye at The Photography Show
Presented by AIPAD
Both photo-eye Gallery and photo-eye Bookstore head to New York this week for AIPAD’s The Photography Show!

The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, April 3-7th, Pier 94, 711 12th Avenue, NYC 10019

Both photo-eye Gallery and photo-eye Bookstore head to New York this week for AIPAD’s The Photography Show!

Reuben Wu at The Photography Show
photo-eye Gallery is thrilled to announce Aeroglyphs, a rare solo exhibition of represented artist Reuben Wu's photographic work at our booth (#1022). Bringing an innovative technique and contemporary aesthetic to the classic genre of landscape photography, Wu is a renaissance man who’s already made his mark in multiple mediums, including being a founding member of the British electronic band Ladytron.  Aeroglyphs is an ongoing series of large temporary geometries traced by light carrying drones in space. A nod to the Land Art movement, Wu views Aeroglyphs as “non-invasive interventions in the landscape where the medium is simply the trace of light over elemental landscapes.”


» View Work By Reuben Wu

» Read our Interview with Reuben Wu

photo-eye Bookstore (booth #615) is excited to partner with Radius Books in an exclusive offer for The Auckland Project Limited Edition that includes two prints (Alec Soth and John Gossage). Other titles available at our booth include Limited Editions by Nick Brandt, Kevin Horan, Tom Chambers, Steve Fitch and an unusual selection of photobooks from around the world.

photo-eye Bookstore, booth #615
 The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD
The photo-eye Bookstore is also pleased to host the following book signings during The Photography Show at our booth (#615):

FRIDAY APRIL 5th BOOK SIGNINGS

2:00 – Sheron Rupp
Taken From Memory, Kehrer Verlag

3:00 - Debi Cornwall

Welcome to Camp America, Radius Books

4:00 – Alex and Rebecca Norris Webb

Violet Isle, My Dakota, Memory City, Radius Books

SATURDAY APRIL 6th BOOK SIGNINGS

1:00- Brad Temkin
The State of Water, Radius Books

2:00- Janelle Lynch
Another Way of Looking at Love, Radius Books
Radius Books, 2018. 


3:30- Barbara Bosworth
Artist Talk- Photobook Spotlight
The Heavens and 3 books from Datz Press, Seoul.
Photographer Barbara Bosworth and photo-eye’s Carlo Brady discuss Bosworth’s The Heavens, published by Radius Books.
Book signing afterward.


The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD, takes place April 3-7th at Pier 94, 711 12th Avenue, NYC 10019.

Public hours are Thursday-Saturday 12pm-7pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm.

» Get Tickets

Reuben Wu talks with photo-eye's founder and director, Rixon Reed, at The Photography Show opening night.

photo-eye Gallery's installation of Reuben Wu's Aeroglyphs at The Photography Show.
• • •
For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com


Current Exhibition
2019 Group Show
on view through April 20, 2019

» View work from the exhibition

Select Included Artists:
» Julie Blackmon
» Kate Breakey
» Mitch Dobrowner
» Michael Kenna
» Clay Lipsky
» Beth Moon
» James Pitts 
» Reuben Wu 
» Brad Wilson 

photo-eye Gallery – 541 S. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | VIEW MAP



photo-eye Gallery 2019 Group Show
Clay Lipsky's Atomic Overlook
Profile by Alexandra Jo photo-eye Gallery is pleased to feature two images from Lipsky’s Atomic Overlook in our 2019 Group Show.
Profile by Alexandra Jo

Clay Lipsky – Atomic Overlook: 02, 2012, Archival Pigment Print, 16x16" Image, Edition of 10, $1000 

When looking at Clay Lipsky’s photographs in the series Atomic Overlook it becomes difficult to firmly place the images in a specific period of time. By layering historical images of atomic explosions with original photographs of tourists, Lipsky creates a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world in which people watch atom bombs for entertainment. However, the clothing and details of the people in the photographs feel familiar and current. It becomes clear that a line is being drawn between our present moment and what the future of our society may hold.

According to Lipsky’s artist statement: “This series re-contextualizes a legacy of atomic bomb tests in order to keep the ongoing nuclear threat fresh and omnipresent. It also speaks to the current state of the world, a voyeuristic, tourist-filled culture where catastrophe is viewed as entertainment by increasingly desensitized masses.”

Clay Lipsky – Atomic Overlook: 19, 2013
Archival Pigment Print, 16x16" Image Edition of 10, $1000
Indeed, the shifting temporal quality in Atomic Overlook does bring up important questions about the roles of entertainment, politics, and the media in our culture today, and what this implies for society’s future. Where is the line between politics and entertainment? What are the implications of a voyeuristic culture that watches catastrophe from a safe distance, but never acts due to apathy or inability? Mass desensitization to broader environmental and social threats is also an issue addressed in the work that I’m personally very drawn in by. I enjoy Lipsky’s use of the atomic mushroom cloud as a symbol for both scientific progress and the horrific destructive powers that man has created. “Progress” has revealed itself to be a double-edged sword. In this body of work, it is easy to make broader connections to the threats of global warming, industrialization, and pollution in addition to the ever-present looming of the potential for nuclear war.

The photomontage techniques Lipsky uses to create each image are so seamless that visualizing a future in which atomic explosions are a mundane occurrence becomes effortless. The colors, handling of scale, for me, are part of what makes the work so effective in conveying its message.

photo-eye Gallery is pleased to feature two images from Lipsky’s Atomic Overlook in our 2019 Group Show. Lipsky’s work was included in Atomic Playground, an exhibition at photo-eye’s Project Space in 2018, and also featured on the Photographer's Showcase in 2015.


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

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


2019 Group Show
on view through April 20, 2019

» View work from the exhibition

Select Included Artists:

» Julie Blackmon
» Kate Breakey
» Mitch Dobrowner
» Michael Kenna
» Clay Lipsky
» Beth Moon
» James Pitts 
» Reuben Wu 
» Brad Wilson 

photo-eye Gallery – 541 S. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | VIEW MAP



Book Of The Week Southbound Edited with introduction by Mark Sloan and Mark Long Reviewed by Karen Jenkins Southbound comprises fifty-six photographers’ visions of the South over the first decades of the twenty-first century. Accordingly, it offers a composite image of the region. The photographs echo stories told about the South through Americanization and globalization, and as a land full of surprising realities.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZH786
Southbound. By Mark Sloan & Mark Long.
Southbound
Edited with introduction by Mark Sloan and Mark Long

Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, USA, 2018.
384 pp., 300 illustrations, 11x12".

Organizing “the largest exhibition of photographs of and about the American South in the 21st century” is no small objective. The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art’s sizeable ambition is nearly matched by the physical heft of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, Southbound. Fifty-six contemporary photographers are represented, each with five, full-page reproductions. Additional images are then shared on a companion website.

In their Introduction, curators Mark Sloan and Mark Long seek to delineate how their chosen artists challenge, reframe, and move beyond entrenched and often problematic ways of depicting the South. While emphasizing the necessarily incomplete, open-ended nature of their project, they do nonetheless provide some conceptual frameworks.

Shelby Lee Adams
A collection of maps, for example, refutes a fixed geography of the South, by instead representing the region through historical, economic, and religious lenses. Contributor Eleanor Heartney considers commonalities among the photographers’ approaches to their subject, offering a high-level list of resulting themes such as: “Engage, but also critique clichés” and “Mix personal history with the complicated political and social history of the South.”

True to the curators’ stated commitment, a broad re-visioning of the contemporary American South, I found within Southbound a commanding array of established photographers (Shelby Lee Adams, Alex Harris), those who have contributed significantly in the last decade (Lucas Foglia, Gilliam Laub), and emerging artists not yet known to me.

Tammy Mercure
The authority intrinsic to this powerful collection of imagery is, however, undermined by the one-page essays that accompany each photographer’s set of illustrations. The prominence given to facts of personal geography (place of birth and subsequent areas of residence) and CV credentials (education, important exhibitions, commercial clients, and major collections) begs a number of questions that largely go unanswered. What does it mean for her vision of the American South that photographer Magdalena Solé was born in Spain, raised in Switzerland, lived in New York City for 30 years, and now photographs the Mississippi Delta? How do these photographers’ depictions of the American South enter into their commercial work and potentially shape perceptions outside of a fine art context? Page after page, these rote accolades begin to (inadvertently) suggest curatorial insecurity; a need to validate their selections, rather than let the images and their critical commentary speak for themselves.

Sheila Pree Bright
The companion essays also over-explain concepts that a reasonably well-informed reader might be expected to understand, such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the context of Sheila Pree Bright’s work. They rely too heavily on superficial descriptions of the images’ component parts, and at times, an overly reductive analysis of the work’s meaning vis-à-vis “the South.” For example, contributor Mary Trent writes of the porch and exterior wall seen in Lucinda Bunnen’s image Pink Porch:

It depicts a rundown trailer home in the South, which is not an unusual subject in and of itself; however, the work captures something surprising about the style of the trailer. Its owner has painted it a shade of bubblegum pink, making it both delightful and somewhat absurd. A pink leopard-print beach towel is also draped across the porch, suggesting that the trailer’s owner favors the flashy feminine color. Two doormats decorated with coffee cups are hanging nearby, suggesting the owner’s appreciation of a leisurely cup of coffee. These indulgences contrast with the dilapidated trailer and the obvious financial struggles of its owner….

Lucinda Bunnen
Bunnen’s photographs offer so much more than this. In Pink Porch, the choice of these household objects may just as well reflect affordability or availability in the face of the owner’s “obvious financial struggles.” Her photograph Georgia Goats conjures the work of Kara Walker, in the black silhouette cutouts of a clichéd Southern guy and gal mounted to the side of the house depicted there. And in Dixie Dogs, a line-up of real and toy dogs, behind a retired Dixie sign, populate a fenced-in yard for tired tropes. Surface and artifice are at play in these images, and beg a deeper dive.

Tom Rankin
There are, however, also passages within Southbound that spark the kind of expansive thinking that the curators aspire to facilitate here. The statement by KH (presumably Katie Hirsch, not defined as a text contributor), “A person’s relationship with their dog is sacrosanct in the South…” offers a sweeping path through this collection, beginning with photographer Tammy Mercure, and on to Tom Rankin, Jerry Siegel, Mike Smith, and others. Dogs in cars, dogs on the hunt; the hunted as human chattel, taxidermy trophy or dusty décor. Images like these suggest myriad ways to explore relationships to the natural world, organic and artificial, in domination and stewardship. Written in response to several photographs, Nikki Finney’s commissioned poems perfectly embody the deeply subjective meanings that this excellent collection of photography can elicit.

It is a challenge to create a broad-based take on a massive subject, rooted in shifting sands with contentious roots. Despite the pitfalls of the Southbound project, it assembles bodies of work well-worth exploring, by artists committing to shuffling the deck of what the new South can mean.

Purchase Book

Read More Book Reviews

Daniel Beltrá



Karen Jenkins earned a Master's degree in Art History, specializing in the History of Photography from the University of Arizona. She has held curatorial positions at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ and the Demuth Museum in Lancaster, PA. Most recently she helped to debut a new arts project, Art in the Open Philadelphia, that challenges contemporary artists to reimagine the tradition of creating works of art en plein air for the 21st century.

photo-eye Gallery 2019 Group Show
Michael Kenna: Rafu 裸婦
Michael Kenna's Rafu, 裸婦 is a new series of female nude portraits made in Japan over the last 10 years. Roughly translated, Rafu stands for "nude or undressed female" in Japanese, and the series highlights the human body's unique form and the individuality of each model as well as examining the interplay between the body and human-constructed environments. photo-eye Gallery currently has 6 works from Rafu 裸婦 in our 2019 Group show.

Michael Kenna, Mina, Study 3, Japan, 2011 Gelatin-Silver Print, 8x8" Image, Edition of 25, $3000
Ten years ago, after a particularly tumultuous period in his life, Michael Kenna quietly made a decision to expand his photographic practice to include the human form. Kenna is well known for his minimalistic landscapes, and has been vocal in the past about the absence of the human figure in his photographs stating, "I feel they gave away the scale and became the main focus of the viewer’s attention." But, believing "fixed dogma is not a creative tool," Kenna has created Rafu, 裸婦 a series of female nude portraits made in Japan. Roughly translated, Rafu stands for "nude or undressed female" in Japanese, and the series highlights the human body's unique form and the individuality of each model as well as examining the interplay between the body and human-constructed environments.
Michael Kenna, Namiko, Study 2, Japan, 2016, 
Gelatin-Silver Print, 8x8" Image, Edition of 25, $3000

It was important to Kenna not to use professional models, "The women I photographed were a cross-section of friends of friends and their associates: office workers, dancers, yoga practitioners, actresses, and photographers, who wanted to see how it felt being nude in front of a camera…" the photographer states in a recent interview with Zoé Balthus, "…some were being photographed nude for the first time in their lives." Kenna views "both historical and contemporary creative representations of the nude as open invitations to explore this esthetic challenge. My efforts may add little or nothing to the enormous existing mountain of artistic treasures, but that is not important. This is another chapter in an ongoing story.” We are proud to feature six images from Rafu in the 2019 Group Show.



Rafu, Photographs by Michael Kenna
Nazraeli Press, Paso Robles, 2019
Hardbound: $75.00
Earlier this year, Rafu 裸婦 was published as a monograph by Nazraeli Press to coincide with a major retrospective exhibition of Michael Kenna’s photographic work at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photographic Art. The following is an excerpt from Collier Brown's excellent review of Rafu 裸婦 for photo-eye.

"In some ways, Kenna’s nudes seem inevitable. Having worked with Ruth Bernhard, one of the most accomplished photographers of the female nude in the twentieth century, I can’t imagine Kenna not wanting to try his hand at the genre. The surprising thing is that unlike so many apprenticeships, the work of the apprentice, in this case, resembles the master’s only by way of attention, not style. I see in Rafu an eye toward elegance and form that puts me in mind of Bernhard, but I see a rawness too—a mortality in the bones that reminds of me Eikoh Hosoe and the choreography of Japanese Butoh. There’s also a substance in the darkness, a depth, a “praise of shadow” that writers like Junichiro Tanizaki have described as essential to Japanese art.

Kenna’s monuments and landscapes rise up from the mists. But the nudes are hewn from harder stuff. Sculptural, Klimtian. No angelic down or wisp of incense. No Grecian symmetries. The female nude in Rafu is exactly what the body wants to be: not the dream of itself, not the paradigm or archetype, but the self-containment of its own mystery.

Michael Kenna, Namiko, Study 3, Japan, 2016
Gelatin-Silver Print, 8x8" Image,
Edition of 25, $3000
Mystery is important to everything Kenna has done. The hills and long horizons of his previous books draw us beyond the human shape of things. Oddly enough, that much is still true in Rafu, but in reverse. A photograph, even a print, says Kenna, should be “deliciously unpredictable.” It’s an ambition achieved in Rafu, where each image is a beginning and end unto itself. There’s no way of knowing what the next pose, the next expression, the next mood will be. Rafu is an exceptional addition to the nude genre in photography, living up, in its own way, to Bernhard’s insistence that artists try new things, that they be “consistently inconsistent.” She would have been proud." – Collier Brown

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).


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

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

2019 Group Show
on view through April 20, 2019

» View work from the exhibition

Select Included Artists:

» Julie Blackmon
» Kate Breakey
» Mitch Dobrowner
» Michael Kenna
» Clay Lipsky
» Beth Moon
» James Pitts 
» Reuben Wu 
» Brad Wilson 

photo-eye Gallery – 541 S. Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | VIEW MAP




Book Of The Week Richard Kalvar (Photofile) Photographs by Richard Kalvar Reviewed by Blake Andrews A concise, informative overview of more than four decades of work by this Brooklyn-born Magnum photographer. This latest volume in the Photofile series assembles the experimental, unforgettable moments captured by Richard Kalvar in one accessible volume.
Richard Kalvar (Photofile). By Richard Kalvar.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=TH080
Richard Kalvar (Photofile) Photographs by Richard Kalvar

Thames & Hudson, London, United Kingdom, 2019.
144 pp., 64 duotone images, 4¾x7½x½".

Photobooks have come a long way since 1982, the year Robert Delpire began his Photo Poche series as a "free course in the history of photography". Back then the idea of an inexpensive pocket ("poche")-sized survey was perhaps less contrarian than it might be in today's lofty book scene. But they were still off the beaten track.

The small paperbacks were a simple antidote to more cumbersome coffee table monographs. Delpire devoted each edition to one photographer, editing his or her oeuvre down to 64 photos, one per page, simply captioned in sequence. For those unfamiliar with a certain photographer, Photo Poches were a way to get up to speed with their “greatest hits.” In style and presentation, they were a sort of pocket-sized proto-Instagram: inexpensive, accessible, and fleeting.

Delpire came out of the gate with a murderer's row of heavy hitters. First in the series was the French great Nadar, followed by Cartier-Bresson, Lartigue, Lange, and Doisneau. More luminaries followed. Smith, Frank, Davidson, Atget, etc. At this point, there have been over a hundred in the series, and Photo Poches became a de facto Hall of Fame for photographers, at least among those of a certain modernist documentary stripe. The format works especially well for photographers communicating in single frames. Classic street photographers run heavy in the mix.

One of the final photographers added by Delpire, before his death in 2017, was the Magnum photographer Richard Kalvar. His Photo Poche, published in 2018, was a highlight reel of poetic absurdism. But alas, the text was in French. In April 2019 the English version will be published by Thames and Hudson as part of their sister series, Photofile. These books are essentially similar to the original Poches, but with English captions, a different color scheme, and no series numbers.

The Brooklyn born, Paris-based Kalvar, 74, is a master of the serendipitous moment. At this point he's been shooting for over fifty years, and built up a stable of reliable keepers. From this stash, Delpire cherrypicked his favorites, then sequenced them to emphasize formal connections. A photo of men sitting around a bench is followed by one of a prone man near another bench, followed by a prone man descending into bushes, and so on. The assorted mix bounces easily from year to year, subject to subject, place to place, inferring a hidden order without ever seeming heavy-handed. High-handed art theory be damned. The emphasis here is on looking and seeing, a simple affinity for the world and its delightful quirkiness.

Kalvar generally captures people and their surroundings. People in conversation are a recurring subject, as are strong gestures. Occasionally animals are substituted—dogs are a particular favorite—while some photos are inhabited only by form and texture. A photograph of light streaking a brick wall, for example, seems animated with life. Bushy vegetation is another Kalvar favorite. So are bare limbs, serendipitous pairings, prone bodies, and enigmatic relationships. Sometimes the moments are sheer one-off wonders, coke-bottled glasses near a fountain, for example. Or a popsicle/foot/guitar juxtamiracle. Regardless of subject matter, Kalvar captures his world with the deft touch of a keen observer. His glance is offbeat, the subjects often hidden. Converted into traditional monochrome his classic style falls nicely in line with former Photo Poches by Erwitt, Friedlander, Ronis, Kertesz, and Brassai.

If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, you might be remembering Earthlings. This was the Kalvar monograph published by Flammarion in 2007 (his first and only book at the time, unbelievably). Considering that the book was edited and sequenced by another editor (Kalvar himself) ten years before, it's astonishing how similar the material is. The two books share roughly 2/3 the same content, and a similarly loose style of sequencing. Earthlings is the more lavish production, printed larger with more photos. It's a book you can dig into and get right on top of the photos. But its purpose is essentially similar to the new Photofile, a "greatest hits" summary of Kalvar. For those wanting a quick introduction to his work, either title is sufficient.


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