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Book Review Women Street Photographers Edited by Gulnara Samoilova Reviewed by Blake Andrews “Street photography and Instagram are a match made in heaven. Within the democratic immediacy of this platform, the genre has finally found its ideal expression. No gatekeeper, no CV, no pixel-peeping perfectionism, no conceptual burdens or waiting around. Just post a picture and move on to the next one. For those pacing busy sidewalks with a camera, the medium mirrors the process..."

Women Street Photographers. By Gulnara Samoilova.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=PX360
Women Street Photographers
Edited by Gulnara Samoilova

Prestel, Lakewood, 2021. In English. 224 pp., 9x9¾".

Street photography and Instagram are a match made in heaven. Within the democratic immediacy of this platform, the genre has finally found its ideal expression. No gatekeeper, no CV, no pixel-peeping perfectionism, no conceptual burdens or waiting around. Just post a picture and move on to the next one. For those pacing busy sidewalks with a camera, the medium mirrors the process. So perhaps it’s inevitable that street photography has mushroomed on Instagram over the past decade.

No place has the explosion been more evident than @womenstreetphotographers, the site founded and curated by Gulnara Samoilova. By providing a daily platform for women street photographers, WSP has identified and filled a former void in photoland. Since launching in 2017, the account has quickly gained more than 100,000 followers. Women around the globe have been inspired by WSP not only to submit pictures, but also to possibly rethink their career paths and photographic opportunities. Although Instagram remains the base, WSP has generated spinoffs along the way, including two group exhibitions in New York, and now a bright orange book from Prestel. Like the IG handle, its title shies from grand overture. Instead, it is simplified to a matter-of-fact description: Women Street Photographers.
 
A Dance Of Joy, 2019. By Regula Tschumi.

Women Street Photographers
is edited by the indefatigable Samoilova. In it she has collected 100 favorites from women around the world, representing a variety of locations, backgrounds, ages and approaches. For those who follow @womenstreetphotographers, almost all of the photos here will be familiar. Most appeared on Instagram initially, which served as the initial cut in Samoilova’s selection process. Indeed, the bios make repeated reference to Instagram as an impetus to photography. “Her work has emerged through Instagram,” writes one. Another woman “started taking photographs in 2013, when she bought her first iPhone and started posting on Instagram.” “After she started using Instagram,” proclaims another bio, “she began to take street photos.”

The comments above come from the informative descriptions that accompany each photograph. The pictures are generally interesting on their own, but they take on a new dimension when paired with first-hand accounts by their creators. The texts describe a bit about the process and what was happening at the scene, along with a short author bio. Each pairing — picture/text — fills a one-page spread, with the images generally confined to the right page (although a few spill across the gutter) and text on the left. This layout leaves plenty of negative space to keep the reader’s eye actively moving through graphic forms. The result is a book that feels inviting. It can be browsed like a coffee table survey, in short dollops, a few pages at a time, or read straight through in one sitting.

Setting up an Instagram account is one thing. But making a book is something else. For Samoilova, there was the matter of finalizing the edit, then gaining hi-res files and reproduction rights. Not to mention commissioning author texts, two introductory essays (one each by Melissa Breyer and Ami Vitale, both excellent), a designer, proofreader, publisher, and funding. If coordinating all these efforts seems like a massive task, it was just another day at the shop for Samoilova, who has proven herself a whirlwind of can-do energy. And oh yes, did I mention that every bit of the book’s production was executed by women?

Cloud Eaters, 2018. By Gulnara Samoilova.

For her efforts, no one will begrudge Samoilova for claiming the book’s pole position. Her photograph of kids eating cotton candy (or is it clouds?) kicks things off. From that point, the sequence follows visually, in a series of one-off pairings which meander gradually through themes and forms. Samoilova’s clouds cue the white wedding dress on the following spread. The formal attire in that shot (by Birka Wiedmaier) leads to three sharply dressed Orthodox Jews in the next picture, captured delightfully in mid-leap by Efrat Sela. On the next page, Graciela Magnoni carries the uniformed motif forward. And so on. This sequencing style continues through the entire book in ways that are sometimes surprising and occasionally predictable. By the end, the photographer stew has been thoroughly mixed. Fortunately, the opening contents list each contributor alphabetically by name and page number, so they can be easily tracked.

The Serpentine, 2017. By Efrat Sela

If the decision to sequence visually seems facile compared to more nuanced curations, it’s in keeping with the spirit of street photography. This is an art form that values the moment and the singular image. A street photograph is expected to explain itself and stand on its own outside of any text or project, a facet enabled by Samoilova’s strictly visual choreography. In other words, flipping the pages is somewhat akin to thumbing a carefully sequenced Instagram feed. The emphasis is on quick visual power, not conceptual or academic undercurrents. Several bios make proud reference to lack of formal training, mid-life career changes, and a quest for “soulful” reverie. Francesca Chiacchio’s bio — “an architect who decided to abandon her profession to follow her dream: photography” — might be a manifesto for street photography in general, but especially women, for whom such opportunities have historically been restricted.

Samoilova’s definition of street photography is deliberately inclusive: “unplanned photos taken in public places”. Within that broad boundary, what distinguishes the style of women shooters from their male cohorts? In some ways, not much. One can find in this book all of the tropes and patterns that have become staples of street photography, regardless of gender. There are silhouetted figures, funny characters, obscured faces, and dramatic lighting. Such motifs will be familiar to fans of @streetrepeat (run by Julie Hrodova, a contributor) or anyone tracking SP on Instagram. That said, the book carries divergent strains. Many of these pictures reveal a degree of patience and empathy less common among males. Photos by Karine Bizard, Amy Touchette, Suzan Pektas, Marina Sersale, Catherine Le Scolan-Quere, Natela Grigaliashvili, Suzanne Stein, Jane Zhang, and Margarita Mavromochalis reveal interior worlds more typical of portraiture than candid snapshots. At the same time, the book has excised photographs that rely solely on formal sterility. Thankfully there are no poster/pedestrians, clever postures, or exotic rainbowed chiaroscuros present.

Young Old School, 2019. By Dominique Misrahi

It’s admittedly simplistic to mark these traits as masculine or feminine. Let’s just say that the photographs here connect with their subjects in ways that past street photo surveys have not. It’s no coincidence that those to date have focused primarily on men. Perhaps the closest cousin is David Gibson’s 2017 survey 100 Great Street Photographs, featuring a similar format but with texts authored by himself. There must be something special about the number one hundred, for it also formed the basis for Szarkoski’s Looking At Photographs and Stephen Frailey’s recent follow-up Looking At Photography. Both were aimed at the general photography audience.

In street photography, the gold standard is Bystander, the standard text by Meyerowitz and Westerbeck. The book is excellent in many ways but it’s beginning to show its age, even with its recent revamp in 2017. Perhaps the title which bears the closest relation to WSP is 2013’s Street Photography Now by Sophie Howarth and Stephen Mclaren. Designed to capture the zeitgeist of the early 2010s, this book featured a handful of talented women active then (Polly Braden, Melanie Einzig, Narelle Autio, Carolyn Drake, and Ying Tang). Strangely none are included in WSP. It’s unclear if this omission is a deliberate refutation of the old guard, a sign of rapidly shifting tastemakers, or perhaps just a natural outcome of Instagram’s curatorial process. In any case, the separation from SPN, Bystander, and other predecessors mark WSP as worth acquiring. Most of the photographers here can be found in no other book. SPN was notable in that it managed to capture the energy of its era, which was then based in Flickr, blogs, and early social media. WSP does the same thing for the current Instagram moment.

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Mind Flayer, 2017. By Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet.
 Sun Worship, 2017. By Laura Reid.

Blake Andrews is a photographer based in Eugene, OR. He writes about photography at blakeandrews.blogspot.com.
photo-eye Gallery From the Flat Files: Narrative Photography photo-eye Gallery
Photography is a tool that allows us to express concepts and emotions in a purely visual way. The transmission of ideas and feelings becomes even more evident in narrative photography, whether the story conveyed by an image is real or fictional.

Zoë Zimmerman, Her Dream IV, 2014, archival pigment print, 24 x 20 inches, edition of 24, $1500

Photography is a tool that allows us to express concepts and emotions in a purely visual way. The transmission of ideas and feelings becomes even more evident in narrative photography, whether the story conveyed by an image is real or fictional.

This week we share some of our favorite images from our collection that encompass a story. Take a look at our selection below and let us know if you have any questions. Enjoy! 
 

Tom Chambers

 

Julie Blackmon  

Julie Blackmon, Outing, 2019, archival pigment print, 26 x 41 inches, edition of 10, $4000
» Interview with Julie Blackmon
 
 

Mark Klett 

 

Cig Harvey

Cig Harvey, Emily in the River, archival pigment print, 20 x 16 inches, edition of 10, $3000


Book Review A Small Guide to Homeownership Photographs by Alejandro Cartagena Reviewed by Kyler Zeleny "At its surface, A Small Guide to Homeownership is an amalgamation of related projects produced by Alejandro Cartagena in the Monterrey area of northern Mexico since 2005. The book weaves together the key elements of an expanding urban condition with all the informalities, pains and ecological follies generated from poorly-regulated growth..."

By Alejandro Cartagena.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZJ409
A Small Guide to Homeownership
Photographs by Alejandro Cartagena

The Velvet Cell, 2020. 360 pp., 6x9".

At its surface, A Small Guide to Homeownership is an amalgamation of related projects produced by Alejandro Cartagena in the Monterrey area of northern Mexico since 2005. The book weaves together the key elements of an expanding urban condition with all the informalities, pains and ecological follies generated from poorly-regulated growth.

Sinking below the surface, however, the book is an episodic journey. Our first foray into the work is through images of landscapes, which begins with the natural, and moves into fresh suburban developments in various states of completion. Onward, we are led to images of bustling offices, where clients and workers immerse themselves in life-altering calls; feelings of impatience and stoicism push against one another in equal measure. Next, we are shown the interiors of small homes made even smaller by internal clutter. From these suburban interiors, Cartegena centers us on cityscapes, environmental portraits, and cars abutted, before leading us to a series of nightscapes under a section titled ‘Bracing for Success’. Who and how we brace is uncertain.


If Cartagena is a guide, he is an absentminded one. He playfully utilizes a Dummies Guide on Homeownership to not only map out a journey for us, but also to provide a space for collisions. Cartagena’s images collide, grinding against one another while contrasting tips for hopeful homeowners. The more time I’ve spent with the work, the more I realize that the images, and the text-ridden pages they are nestled within, are not simply an inked backdrop but a conversation. A conversation similar to Christian Patterson’s Bottom of the Lake or Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin’s Holy Bible, both of which build upon this emerging subgenre by appropriating common cultural texts. This is a genre that pulls from the deep-rooted history of collage and montage found in 20th Century art and film, and the ideas of Post-Photography explored most elegantly by Joan Fontcuberta in the early 21st. For Cartagena, the conversation is about action and inaction, our innate interest in bettering ourselves, and, above all else, it is about striving to meet the American Dream.


By casting his gaze upon suburban Mexico, Cartagena invites us to think about the American Dream. On the back cover, the quote “how to mortgage your future and find happiness” speaks volumes. The critical bones in my body keep asking, when was this dream viable and for who? What Cartagena shows us, while also problematizing in the process, is that there is another way to subscribe to, bite, and devour this myth.

Over the past few years, and with growing intensity, I’ve been thinking about the American Dream. About who wins and who loses, about the distance between people and their sacred ideas of success. At its core, the American Dream is a vapid exaggeration, a rugged and merry fuck-around, a culture-wide attempt at raw boosterism. Once tested, the dream breaks into a crass contradiction, a premise as simple as: for some to succeed, others must not. Those who do not succeed must try, and try again, and again, until they rise or evaporate.

It is difficult to pinpoint A Small Guide to Homeownership’s modus operandi. The work is in the form of a journey, but one that is more of a nebula than a linear progression. As a result, we are given no answers to questions that might be raised, nor are we shown a specific way of seeing, only a topic and its many tentacles. Numerous questions circulate and compete: Are we chasing the wrong dream? Have the suburbs failed in Mexico? Are we building a ‘new’ Mexico? Not all treaties, which begin with ponderings, must end with answers. Through an information overload, Cartagena makes visible a modern crisis, and the constant anxiety that exists as its background noise. Like a conductor, he uses his images as the highs and lows, a way to both soothe and extend the perplexing feeling of a heart beating too fast, of a room made small with clutter.

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Kyler Zeleny (1988) is a Canadian photographer, educator and author of Out West (2014), Found Polaroids (2017), and Crown Ditch & The Prairie Castle (2020). He holds a masters from Goldsmiths College, in Photography and Urban Cultures and a PhD from the joint Communication & Culture program at Ryerson and York University. His work has been exhibited internationally in twelve countries and has been featured in numerous publications including The Globe & Mail, Vice, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Independent. He occupies his time by exploring photography on the Canadian prairies.



photo-eye Gallery Gallery Staff Favorites | Michael Kenna: Il Fiume Po photo-eye Gallery
The online exhibition Il Fiume Po (The River Po) presents the natural and man-made surroundings of the River Po through Michael Kenna's captivating perspective, offering both mystery and stillness. This week, for the Gallery Favorites segment of our blog, we highlight images from the exhibition that personally resonate with each of us.

The online exhibition Il Fiume Po (The River Po) presents the natural and man-made surroundings of the River Po through Michael Kenna's captivating perspective, offering both mystery and stillness. This week, for the Gallery Favorites segment of our blog, we highlight images from the exhibition that personally resonate with each of us.

We hope you enjoy our selections from Michael Kenna: Il Fiume Po (The River Po) and please reach out if you have questions about one of the featured prints!

 — Anne & Patricia

Anne Kelly

I rarely stumble on a Kenna photograph that I don’t like. Sometimes, however, certain images will stand out, and it can be hard to articulate exactly why that is. Over the years, I have noticed that I tend to instinctually pause a bit longer when viewing images that I favor. On a more conscious level, I gravitate towards images that possess a bit of mystery — while simultaneously offering a sense of déjà vu.

Kenna photographs both the natural and man-made world with the same grace — a singular vision. He depicts the industrial landscape with the same reverence as a snow-covered tree in the forest.

From our current exhibition, I selected two images: 
 
 

Ponti di Spagna, Bondeno, Ferrara, Italy, 2018

 
In this carefully composed image, we see a single tree on the edge of a river, six birds are in motion — and the fog causes the river and sky to become one. On closer inspection, we see a subtle ring of water in the river — as though someone has just skipped a rock or perhaps one of the birds swooped down to take a drink. The photograph could have been composed a hundred years ago — or today, but it transports me to “now”.

Many of Kenna’s photographs are multiple-hour exposures. While making the exposure Michael patiently enjoys taking in the world around him. The evidence is the photograph. 
 
 

Night Power Station, Pila, Porto Tolle, Rovigo, Italy, 2018


I have always appreciated Kenna’s ability to approach industrial landscapes and the natural world with the same method. It appears that he addresses both with equal wonder and reverence. As a young boy, Michael spent quite a bit of time exploring the industrial landscape of northwest England — and it is clear to me that he hasn’t lost the sense of child-like wonder. 

In his adult years, Ford River Rouge, an industrial complex outside of Detroit, Michigan, and Ratcliffe Power Station in Nottinghamshire, England are two locations that Kenna has photographed extensively. This image is a bit different in that the river and absence of daylight become such a large part of the composition. The star trails in the sky and man-made light sources bring the power station to life.


Anne Kelly, Gallery Director
anne@photoeye.com
505-988-5152 x 121 
 
 

Patricia Martin

The work of Michael Kenna is magical and of admirable beauty. His images often transport me into an oasis of calm and solitude, reflection and imagination. To observe the world through his oneiric and evocative photographs is to enjoy an everlasting present. 

My favorite images from the current exhibition are the following: 
 
 
Tunnel of Poplars is a domesticated landscape where human presence is noticeable through its absence. A seemingly endless succession of trees flank an empty road. Like natural architectural lines organized in gradual shades of gray, the trees engage my gaze in a perpetual exercise of back-and-forth, an infinite loop. In this image, I enjoy the imaginary long walks I take along its placid path. 
 
 

River Po Headwaters, Pian del Re, Crissolo, Cuneo, Italy. 2019 


Michael Kenna, River Po Headwaters, Pian del Re, Crissolo, Cuneo, Italy, 2019, gelatin-silver print, 8" x 8", edition of 25, $3000
 
In River Po Headwaters, the river reads like a calligraphy mark, or the brushstroke in an abstract expressionist painting. Kenna's ability to draw out the essence of the space is mesmerizing. The long exposure in this image has made the snow blinding and the undulating river black. By blurring the details and creating a dramatic contrast between the elements, Kenna offers us a suggestive space away from the chaotic details of every day living. In this photograph, I like to follow the river up the mountain and imagine discovering its source.

Patricia Martin, Gallery Assistant
patricia@photoeye.com
505-988-5152 x 116




 
 
 
  
 
• • • • •
 
 
All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.


For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Assistant Patricia Martin, or you may also call us at 505-988-5152 x202
 




Book Review A Parallel World Photographs by Robert Adams Reviewed by Odette England "Adams’ latest book A Parallel World takes its title from Sojourns in the Parallel World by the British-born poet Denise Levertov, which is reproduced at the beginning. Levertov refers to Nature as a beauty-filled world that exists simultaneously with ours, but independent of it. It is a fitting choice for Adams who has dedicated much of his life to nature, poetry, and picture-making..."

A Parallel World by Robert Adams.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=DU064
A Parallel World
Photographs by Robert Adams

Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, USA, 2021. 48 pp., 32 black-and-white illustrations, 9¾x11¾".

The first time I wrote Robert Adams was in 2019. In my letter, I shared with him my love of rural life, of wood, robins, growing vegetables, and spending quiet time with family. I included a small c-print of my father’s favorite tree, an old Stringybark Eucalypt, under which his first dog is buried, near his former dairy farm. In a subsequent reply, Bob mentioned Rex Vicat Cole’s book The Artistic Anatomy of Trees (Dover Publications), first published in 1915. It is a soul-enriching and thorough analysis of trees and how to represent them, and one of several books I’ve returned to regularly over the past 12 months. I know by heart the first line of the introduction: “We know that a fine picture cannot be described.” It continues, “The emotion aroused by a grand picture may be somewhat closely reproduced by a fine prose essay, by poetry, music, or by a mood in nature herself”.

Vicat Cole was referring to landscape painting, such was his profession (and that of his father, George), but I believe his sentiment applies equally to photography. I think Bob would agree. I am reminded of his response to Gregory Crewdson’s question during a live Q&A in May last year: What was your first aesthetic awakening? “As a family, we sang a lot, curiously, and I think music together with nature, the two of them were probably my first experience of beauty and of beauty’s power”.


Adams’ latest book A Parallel World takes its title from Sojourns in the Parallel World by the British-born poet Denise Levertov, which is reproduced at the beginning. Levertov refers to Nature as a beauty-filled world that exists simultaneously with ours, but independent of it. It is a fitting choice for Adams who has dedicated much of his life to nature, poetry, and picture-making.

The book contains 32 black and white photographs Adams made between 2015 and 2018 along the Oregon coast, where he has lived with his wife Kerstin for more than two decades. Twenty-one are portrait orientation, 11 landscape, all no larger than 6 x 9 inches. A good number function as diptychs or triptychs. Only two contain the smallest of human figures.


For those familiar with Adams’ photographs and his many books, there are no surprises here; you’ll see what you’re expecting to see. It is a simple book, deceptively so. The edit is water-tight, so tight it makes me wonder exactly how many images he made during that three-year period. The tritone separations and print quality are outstanding. The subject matter points true north at Adams’ visual loves: light, water, sand dunes, leaves, trees, and skies. Not just those things, though, because Adams also points to (or at) our interaction with them. The damage caused by receding dunes, the splinters of trees scarred by deforestation, for example.

The deliberate choice of cover image says it all: a window, sand its main ingredient, reflecting sun glitter on the crimped surface of the Pacific Ocean. A constructed window, taking almost a third of the available image real-estate, offering its owner a mostly uninterrupted view of Nature. A human-made window, of form and function, separating our bodies from the outside, our lips from kissing air of salted pine and toothed poplar.


But I digress, and that’s what fine pictures, grand pictures are great at. Mental digression from stark realities, yet one hopes that via digression we make the decision to emotionally invest in confronting and addressing those realities: of overpopulation, waste management, deforestation, extreme meteorological phenomena, water scarcity, and the many other crises our planet faces. That we take action for putting the human back into humanity; that we consider the weight of our humanness on the surfaces on which we exist.

Adams’ images, as they almost always do, show us the selflessness of our Earth against the oftentimes self-centered nature of human behavior. He need not change the record because it seems we keep ignoring the song. A Parallel World is its own sojourn, its own chorus that asks us to speak together to protect our sublime.

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Odette England is an artist and writer; an Assistant Professor and Artist-in-Residence at Amherst College in Massachusetts; and a resident artist of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program in New York. Her work has shown in more than 90 solo, two-person, and group exhibitions worldwide. England’s first edited volume Keeper of the Hearth was published by Schilt Publishing (2020), with a foreword by Charlotte Cotton. Radius Books will publish her second book Past Paper // Present Marks in collaboration with the artist Jennifer Garza-Cuen in spring 2021 including essays by Susan Bright, David Campany, and Nicholas Muellner.


Book Review American Blood Photographs and text by Danny Lyon Reviewed by Brian Arnold "American Blood. I find these two words together to be incredibly charged and evocative. Do they refer to the bloodshed that has defined our nation from the beginning? From slavery to Jim Crow and the violent oppression of the Civil Rights Movement? George Floyd? Of democracy and justice? Economic and educational opportunity for all?"

American BloodBy Danny Lyon.
https://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=DT989
American Blood
Selected Writings 1961-2020
Photographs and text by Danny Lyon


Karma Books, New York, NY, 2020. 396 pp., 16 color & 57 black-and-white illustrations.

American Blood. I find these two words together to be incredibly charged and evocative. Do they refer to the bloodshed that has defined our nation from the beginning? From slavery to Jim Crow and the violent oppression of the Civil Rights Movement? George Floyd? Of democracy and justice? Economic and educational opportunity for all? Regardless of how you construe the words American Blood, there is no denying how much these notions have changed in the last year, in the wake of race riots and insurrections. These divergent perspectives on the term also provide the perfect framework for understanding the work of photographer, activist and writer Danny Lyon.

These types of conflicts of meaning and representation are at the heart of Lyon’s career. The new publication by Karma Books, American Blood, is a collection of his writings from the early 1960s to the present day, and provides insight into his life and motivations as a photographer. Lyon has been at the forefront of American photography since the Civil Rights Movement, when he left the University of Chicago campus in the late 1960s to join the struggle in the American South, to document American injustice and the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality.

If you are familiar with Lyon’s work, American Blood revisits many works you already know — the usual cast of characters, Hugh Edwards, Billy McCune, and The Bikeriders, all have plenty of air time — but also offers some interesting new material. Included is a 1972 interview with US Camera Annual, “Conversations from a Phone Booth on Route 66,” in which Lyon addresses the interviewer while on a payphone in rural New Mexico — he didn’t want anyone to know where exactly he lived, in part because he was growing marijuana — fully exposing his anti-establishment persona, as well as an insightful interview with Nan Goldin, a kindred spirit of social rebellion. Telling are the photographers and books that Lyon writes about, clarifying his self-conceptions as an artist. Included are the 1981 publication of The Auschwitz Album, an exhibition at the American Holocaust Museum, and work by Walker Evans, Larry Clark, Helen Levitt, David Seymour, and James Agee. These substantiate the moral necessity and social/documentary directives that have characterized Lyon’s work for decades. Lyon also appears skeptical of some of the other photographers that helped shape the art of his generation, suggesting that they lacked the clarity and moral conviction necessary to create real value in photography. He repeatedly questions the substance of Diane Arbus, for one, as well as others who pursued self-absorbed visions. Lyon beautifully summarizes his view on these things in his comment on Hugh Edwards, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1950s and 60s: “Nothing bored him except pretension and falseness.”

American Blood collects over 50 different essays, reviews, and interviews spanning Lyon’s career, interspersed with illustrations — both iconic images from his oeuvre and more recent pictures made trout fishing or during the Occupy Movement. The writings are divided into three main sections, Struggle, Record, and Stories. Edited by writer and curator Randy Kennedy, the sections address Lyon’s strategies as an artist working on the forefront of monumental cultural conflicts, his musings on the nature of photography and our media environment, and reflections on the individuals who inspired his art.


It is worth saying a bit about the book as an object. It is beautifully crafted with a high-quality, rich black linen cover embossed with inky red text. The endpapers are handmade and show high-quality renderings of Lyon’s “bulletin board” pieces — temporary collages tacked to the walls of his studio. These collages are thoughtful and complex, reading like a timeline of American social and political culture after the 1960s. The book pages are printed on thin, Bible-like paper, semi-transparent, allowing ghostly impressions of pictures to appear among the text.

What’s attracted me to Lyon’s work for so many years is his honesty, conviction, humility and compassion. In an essay, written after his 1980s trip to Haiti, called “Media Man,” Lyon reflects on his perceptions of American privilege and our shared needs for art, beautifully articulating his own motivations as a photographer, writer and filmmaker. Speaking of American blood, he writes, “But it only works when the blood flows. It doesn’t work when arteries are blocked by disease. And it doesn’t work when the body hemorrhages and the blood flows in the street... It’s an artist’s job to keep the blood flowing by keeping his or her blood flowing.”
 

In finishing Lyon’s collection of writings, I conceived of the words American Blood a bit differently than when I first started. Rather than using the term to reflect on American history, on racism and the essential, more idealistic values of American democracy, Lyon uses the term to reflect on being here and now, fully immersed in the value of each day. On living with conviction and dreaming for a better world than the one we all know. The 2016 Whitney Museum retrospective of Lyon’s work, Message to the Future, secured Lyon a much-deserved stature in American photography. American Blood now provides a useful link to establishing a more clear understanding of an essential vision of photography, and is a must for any serious student of his work.

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Brian Arnold
is a photographer and writer based in Ithaca, NY, where he works as an Indonesian language translator for the Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University. He has published two books on photography, Alternate Processes in Photography: Technique, History, and Creative Potential (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private and Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography (Afterhours Books/Johnson Museum of Art, 2017). Brian has two more books due for release in 2021, A History of Photography in Indonesia: Essays on Photography from the Colonial Era to the Digital Age (Afterhours Books) and From Out of Darkness (Catfish Books).
photo-eye Gallery Looking Inward: 2020 Highlights photo-eye Gallery
For artists, the act of looking inward is nothing new. It constitutes a significant part of the creative process. Yet, these unprecedented times have made this exercise all the more pertinent for them.

Laurie Tümer, Homebound, June 6th 2018/21, 7:21 pm, archival pigment print, 6 x 12 inches, edition of 15, $800

"Years ago, I began the practice of photographing what I see, mostly framed through a window – New Mexico’s high desert, and the gardens and buildings I designed to photograph. Weirdly, being homebound these past 10 years due to progressing Multiple Sclerosis somewhat prepared me for this pandemic. What has made this endurable is the place I live, a generous subject, and being no stranger to isolation. These images always seemed to need the suggestion of a framed opening, where I pause before these spectacles of heaven and earth that provide respite from the catastrophic losses in the world and in my own life. After years of experimentation, constructing the elliptical arch this year satisfied my need for a frame, I began the series "Homebound", and art's survival value has become even clearer." Laurie Tümer

There is something unexpectedly positive that has been generated by this pandemic: the call to look inward and contemplate our place as individuals on a shared planet.

For artists, the act of looking inward is nothing new. It constitutes a significant part of the creative process. Yet, these unprecedented times have made this exercise all the more pertinent for them.

Over the past year, art has given hope, imagination, and the feeling of companionship to many. This goes beyond entertaining those self-isolating at home with books, music, and Netflix. Art has been a platform for voicing emotional and critical responses to the current state of our world.

This week, photo-eye Gallery shares work created by some of the artists who have been actively engaged during this time. Take a look at the images below, and please reach out to us if you would like further information. Enjoy!

 Tom Chambers

Tom Chambers, Suspended Animation, 2020, archival pigment ink print, 20 x 20 inches, edition of 20, $1200
 
 

Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon, River, 2020, archival pigment print, edition of 10, $4000
 

James Pitts

James Pitts, Tulip in Small Indian Pot, 2020, archival pigment ink print, edition of 10, $1200
 
 

JP Terlizzi

JP Terlizzi, Marchesa Camellia and Rhubarb, 2020, archival pigment ink, 21 x 14 inches, edition of 10, $1200

 
 

Edward Bateman

Edward Bateman, Yosemite Gateway No. 2 (with 3D printed landscape), archival pigment ink print, 10 x 15 inches, edition of 8, $950
Yosemite: Seeking Sublime - Online Exhibition


 Michael Kenna

Michael Kenna, Four Hundred and Seventy Five Birds, San Francisco, USA, 1992, toned gelatin-silver print, 6 x 9 inches, $3000
 Michael Kenna: Il Fiume Po (The River Po) - Online Exhibition
» View More Work by Michael Kenna
 
*Four Hundred and Seventy Five Birds was made in 1992, but was printed as a result of Kenna revisiting his archive of negatives in 2020, when travel wasn't possible.



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All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.


For more information, and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Assistant Patricia Martin, or you may also call us at 505-988-5152 x202