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photo-eye Gallery New Work by Kevin O'Connell Anne Kelly, Jovi Esquivel We are delighted to share a new series, by photographer Kevin O'Connell, that showcases the breathtaking landscape of the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States

Kevin O'Connell, Untitled (FT #3968), 202x, Archival Pigment Print mounted on Dibond, 19x25½", Edition of 7, $3200

When I was first introduced to Kevin O'Connell's work he was known for creating minimalist, Platinum prints, made from large format negatives, inspired by his cross-country road trips through the Southern Colorado Plains in the late 1970s and 1980. Growing up in the postindustrial landscape of Hammon, Indiana, amongst the decaying steel mills and oil refineries, O'Connell was drawn to the vast and isolated West, and after moving to Denver in 1981, the horizon became his muse.

During a visit to the gallery, many years ago, O'Connell shared his new digital photographs printed in color, titled One Hundred Days. The images were personal and he initially didn't plan to share them, but after spending more time with the work, although it was different from what he had made in the past, he realized there might be something there. This was before digital prints had become predominant, and the discussion on that visit centered on whether the new color series should be shared with the public. The consensus among gallery staff was "absolutely!"

Fast forward to 2023, Kevin O'Connell has executed numerous color projects. Today, we are delighted to share a new series, initiated in 2021, showcasing the breathtaking landscape of his new home. The series features photographs taken near the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States. 
— Anne Kelly

Through his lens, O'Connell explores the concept of Mono No Aware, a Japanese aesthetic that recognizes the transience of all things and the sadness of their passing. In his photos, the fallen trees embody the fleeting nature of life, reminding us of the delicate balance between growth and decay. Alongside this, O'Connell also captures the essence of Yūgen, a subtle and profound awareness of the universe that sparks a feeling of wonder and mystery. His work invites the viewer to contemplate the larger forces of nature and our place within it, inspiring a sense of reverence and awe. 

Kevin O'Connell, Untitled (FT #0388), 202x, Archival Pigment Print mounted on Dibond, 38x50", Edition of 7, $6800

Kevin O'Connell, Untitled (FT #0632), 202x, Archival Pigment Print mounted on Dibond, 19x25½", Edition of 7, $3200"

Kevin O'Connell, Untitled (FT #1890), 202x, Archival Pigment Print mounted on Dibond, 38x50", Edition of 7, $6800

Kevin O'Connell, Untitled (FT #1918), 202x, Archival Pigment Print, 19x25½", Edition of 7, $3200

Kevin O'Connell, Untitled (FT #4375), 202x, Archival Pigment Print mounted on Dibond, 38x50", Edition of 7, $6800

Kevin O'Connell's work is held in many public and private collections. He has exhibited extensively, including numerous solo exhibitions such as Fog Journal (2021), Inundation (2016), Memories of Water (2014) at Robischon Gallery in Denver, Co; Kevin O'Connell: The New West (2014) Fort Collins Museum of Art; Everything Comes Broken, (2014) Santa Fe University of Art and Design. He has been interviewed on Colorado Public Radio and received two fellowship grants from the Ucross Foundation.

photo-eye Gallery is proud to represent artist Kevin O'Connell.

*    *    *

The prints from this series are Archival Pigment Prints 
mounted on Dibond and are available in two sizes

19x25½", Edition of 7, Starting at $3,200
38x50, Edition of 7, Starting at $6,800

Print costs are current up to the time of posting and are subject to change.

*    *    *

If you are in Santa Fe, please stop by during gallery hours or schedule a visit HERE.

For more information, and to reserve one of these unique works, please contact photo-eye Gallery
Gallery Director Anne Kelly
Gallery Assistant Jovi Esquivel
You may also call us at (505) 988- 5152 x202

1300 Rufina Circle, Unit A3, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Tuesady– Saturday, from 10am– 5:30pm

Book Review Plumwood Photographs by Rory King Reviewed by Meggan Gould "It is rare to encounter a book with no context whatsoever, neither publisher’s brief description nor biography of an artist to establish a basic working understanding of who/what/where/why/how..."

PlumwoodBy Rory King.
Photographs by Rory King

Tall Poppy Press, Melbourne, Australia, 2022. 104 pp., 8x10".

It is rare to encounter a book with no context whatsoever, neither publisher’s brief description nor biography of an artist to establish a basic working understanding of who/what/where/why/how. I must confess that I usually succumb to this background curiosity — who made this, and why? — sooner than I should. I approach Rory King’s Plumwood without any explanatory language and deliberately seek none out; I allow myself a space of pure looking. This is an atypical indulgence for me, and a reminder to do it more often. As such, I will begin with some of my notes from an initial, and very linear, meander through this book.

A pattern reminiscent of reptilian skin, matte olive green and black, covers this Smyth sewn book. In lieu of colophon, a small photograph of a crocodile grins at me from deep shadows. The image is, perhaps, an analog test strip, with stripes of sequential density. I am thrown off guard.

I move through photographs that make me instantly forget the crocodile’s teeth. Everything is printed on, engulfed by, black paper. The photographs are gloriously dense — with foliage, with silver darkness, with the intensity of the underlying black. Forests are dense with undergrowth. I run out of words for some of this recurrent, lush plant life, so I keep writing the word foliage. Big leaves. Dripping, expansive greenery, rendered in a shadowy black and white. The aspect ratio of larger negatives, which slow me down as a maker, similarly slackens my pace as I absorb.

Two abutting full-bleed images jar me. We are flung headlong into a heavy structure of stone and wood, dense with wicker and books and vessels, a banjo on a couch. Decorative suns and books everywhere, both shelved and not. I want to inhabit this space.

Pulled outside from this comfortable, shabby chaos, we find a grave marker, half concealed by ferns. I glean: Dr. Val Plumwood, 1939-2008, philosopher and activist. Enticingly, only the words “never been one for…” are legible in the epitaph.

I’ve always been one for a good mystery. I do not know Dr. Plumwood. I continue. A figure hovers between interior and exterior spaces, caught in the purgatory of a double exposure. Another full bleed delivers a human in a white t-shirt, features obliterated by a deluge of light from above. To the right, a wheelbarrow full of cords; to the left, another shelf crammed with books, a lantern. The figure, about to be beamed up, is arm’s length from a brimmed hat with a beaded decorative band, a walking stick, a plaid shirt. Behold: adventure awaits!

The detail within these gorgeous, dark pages begs to be absorbed and itemized, and I linger on each, increasingly aware that I am untangling a mystery. Never been one for….? A hand blocks the sun, a hand wields a stick in an ambiguous gesture, somewhere between dousing and defending. We bushwhack through the vegetation, through bone, brick, skull, leaves, tree trunks reminiscent of the human form in ways that make me laugh. We stray into what must be the space of a laboratory, where I stare at a pair of tagged boots; forensics is glancingly invoked. A hint of pleasure via a figure lounging on a precarious vine hammock. Intermittent: a freckled face, figures crouching in forests, flowing water. Branches block the view. Boulders obfuscate.

Remember that crocodile, hovering on the first page? I am halfway through before I experience a sudden, acute awareness of lurking danger. This place is fecund and overgrown in a comfortable way… until…a revelation: wait, this is a dangerous swamp! Shadows become more ominous. And then, the climax: the crocodile, stretched to its full length, floating silently in the water. Impassive, it has been waiting here since the beginning. The many prior pages of fragile, fleshy hands flash through my mind. Watch your fingers.

The pace accelerates here. Fire in the relentless undergrowth, inscrutable machinery sinking into moist dirt. A figure sleeps in the grass, echoing my own exhaustion at the culmination of this epic adventure. A crocodile skull is possibly a secondary climax, held by a figure sinking into shadows. A singular brick wall stands, resilient.

My delight in an untethered wander through this book gives way, the minute I close it, to a need to assuage my piqued curiosity. I discover that crocodile encounters are not even the most interesting part of the eponymous Val Plumwood’s extraordinary legacy, steeped in environmental philosophy and ethics. I probably should have known of her, although I am grateful that I did not before encountering this book. Rory King’s visual homage to Plumwood strikes an exquisite balance in the individual images and the sequencing, subtly embedding sublime complexity and devastating cultural critique.

In perfunctory internet research, I did not find an image that filled in the epitaph’s fern-concealed words. Never been one for spoiling another’s adventures, I will leave you to your own journey through this surprising book.

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Meggan Gould is an artist living and working outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of New Mexico. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,, the SALT Institute for Documentary Studies, and Speos (Paris Photographic Institute), where she finally began her studies in photography. She received an MFA in photography from the University of Massachusetts — Dartmouth. She recently wrote a book, Sorry, No Pictures, about her own relationship to photography.
Book Review Some Say Ice Photographs by Alessandra Sanguinetti Reviewed by Brian Arnold "Singh has developed a life’s work based on a deep reverence for books and has pioneered new understandings of what they can be by exploring all their layers — as objects and artifacts, as metaphysical entities, as narrative vessels and as performance pieces..."

Some Say Ice By Alessandra Sanguinetti.
Some Say Ice
Photographs by Alessandra Sanguinetti

MACK, London, UK, 2022. In English. 148 pp., photographs, 11x12".

In The Photobook: A History Vol. 2, Gerry Badger and Martin Parr describe the 1973 book by historian Michael Lesy, Wisconsin Death Trip, as being

"Ahead of its time, not because it was a published collection of nineteenth-century vernacular photographs....but because of Lesy’s attitude to his material. He looked upon the photographs of Charles Van Schaick, taken between 1890 and 1910 in the town of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, in a way that predicted postmodernism. To say that he viewed them skeptically would be overstating the case, but he certainly did not take them at face value, and he treated them proactively rather than reactively – that is, as a creative resource."

The book is now an essential part of photobook history, revered as a sort of cult classic. Wisconsin Death Trip is a romantic story that Badger and Parr go on to compare to Steichen’s The Family of Man, I’m So Happy by Heiferman and Kismaric, and Portraits and Dreams by Wendy Ewald. These books were all developed by their authors working with collections or archives of photographs, rather than a more typical photobook with the author in charge of a camera, though Wisconsin Death Trip is unique in the sort of ownership the curator assumed in defining the meaning of the pictures.

If you are unfamiliar with the book, it started as a master’s degree project of Lesy’s while a student of American History at the University of Wisconsin. Perusing the archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Lesy stumbled upon some glass plate negatives made by Charles Van Schaick, a collection of 8,000 photographs made in Black River Falls, Wisconsin between 1895-1940. Lesy went on to pursue a PhD in American History at Rutgers University, and two hundred of these pictures were again included in his doctoral thesis. Wisconsin Death Trip grew out of his graduate work, and again developed using Van Schaick’s pictures, this time distilling the collection down to 130 pictures. To complete the book, Lesy paired the photographs with different historical documents pulled from newspapers and other sources. These documents describe various crimes, misdemeanors and tragedies in Black River Falls and its neighboring communities, and combined with Van Schaick’s photographs, Lesy created a historical narrative of a region in deep despair and with a film noir-like feel. I like to think of Wisconsin Death Trip as being similar to In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, who described his book as a nonfiction novel. Looking at it this way, we can better understand the assertion that Wisconsin Death Trip predicted postmodernism.

Over 40 years later, Magnum photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti returned to Black River Falls to photograph the region the way she saw it, referring to Wisconsin Death Trip as a primary influence when she was first embracing photography as a young woman in Bueno Aries. Sanguinetti returned decades later armed with a much more sophisticated vision than Lesy or Van Schaick, but like its predecessor, Some Say Ice is an instant classic. Unlike Lesy, Sanguinetti made her own photographs, and they reveal a tremendous visual sophistication. The design and production of Some Say Ice are traditional, simple and rich. All in black-and-white, each spread is just one picture, and guides us through a meditation on Middle America. Going through the book can feel intoxicating, as page after page you see pictures that so beautifully mix photographic technique with a curious approach to psychology, equally as enigmatic as it is flawless. Washington Post critic Kenneth Dickerman compares Some Say Ice to an A24 film, an apt comparison that I think describes a similar reading to the pictures — somehow confoundingly bleak and beautiful, harsh and compassionate.

Like Wisconsin Death Trip, Sanguinetti’s book is a dark romance about Middle American disillusionment and despair. She isn’t as grounded in the photographic vernacular as Lesy, though the book does reference vernacular photographic traditions (I love the group portraits of the young girls — the Black River Fall Varsity Girls Basketball Team and the Catholic School). Instead, she brings incredible visual skills, full of a masterful understanding of lighting, tonality and sequencing, to create a narrative that is quintessentially American, and yet somehow made new and inventive again. Like any good photobook about America, this one is puzzled together with the same tropes, metaphors and symbols — God, guns, new frontiers, deeply held secrets and a curiously humble beauty.

Despite these praises for Some Say Ice, I will confess to being a little disappointed by this book. If you are familiar with the wonderful early books by Sanguinetti, On the Sixth Day and The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and The Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams, these are much richer with humility, affection, and deeper connection with a place, and as a result they represent much greater feelings of compassion and affirmation. Some Say Ice feels cooler and more aloof, as though developed with a much more conceptual framework (perhaps something like Lesy), ultimately embracing a clinical and distant perspective. Her early books have a wonderful naivety — the discovery we witness in the girls photographed in The Adventures of Guille and Belinda parallel the photographer’s discoveries — and Some Say Ice is anything but naïve. Nevertheless, the book is tightly edited, with each photograph demonstrating a superlative visual and technical aptitude.

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Brian Arnold
is a photographer, writer, and translator based in Ithaca, NY. He has taught and exhibited his work around the world and published books with Oxford University Press, Cornell University, and Afterhours Books. Brian is a two-time MacDowell Fellow and in 2014 received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation/American Institute for Indonesian Studies.
Book Review The Settlements Photographs by Ken Taranto Reviewed by Arturo Soto "Photobooks often double as didactic devices that introduce us to unfamiliar places. Such is the case with Ken Taranto’s The Settlements, which documents the houses, roads and general infrastructure in the Israeli-occupied territories..."

The Settlements by Ken Taranto.
The Settlements
Photographs by Ken Taranto

GOST BOOKS, London, England, 2021. 112 pp., 53 photographs, 9x12¼".

Photobooks often double as didactic devices that introduce us to unfamiliar places. Such is the case with Ken Taranto’s The Settlements, which documents the houses, roads and general infrastructure in the Israeli-occupied territories. Taranto’s series constructs an “architectural portrait of the settlements from a broad sampling of all types, sizes, densities, ages and regions” to know what these communities “actually looked like and how it felt to be there.” His intention is laudable since the topographies in question have a troubled history that’s difficult to capture. The pictures suggest the arduous human labor responsible for these structures in communities surrounded by a vast emptiness. But while the hasty transformation of some of these territories may be recent, the political, historical and theological grounds on which they are disputed constitute one of our age’s most controversial subjects. 

The sociological characteristics of the land are conveyed in spectacular foldout panoramas that, on the one hand, give us a sense of the scale of these urbanistic operations and, on the other, break the rhythm of an image sequence composed almost exclusively of deadpan pictures. The tonal range achieved during exposure is masterfully replicated in the printing, offering incredible detail in the shadows, where Taranto often places essential information. Take, for instance, the panorama showing a barbed-wire fence in the foreground and the settlement a few hundred meters in the background, with the elevated perspective rendering the in-between space as a source of political debate. The place of this panorama in the sequence is significant, between frontal images of unadorned houses, suggesting that we shouldn’t judge these structures on their architectural merits alone. 

The book eschews a comparative approach, which keeps us from seeing how Israeli communities differ regarding materials, design and planning from their Palestinian counterparts, as if Taranto wanted the occupied territories to tell the whole story. The dissatisfaction that ensues can be taken as a metaphor for our unending desire for photography to explain the world, presenting us with an opportunity to reflect on the nature of documentary work. Is it even possible to make impartial photographs of this (or any) topic, or should we demand that they explain — with words or sounds — one of the most multifaceted conflicts in history? What do we make of all those things that Taranto’s proposition leaves out? It’s unclear if, by not including certain kinds of pictures, viewers will look at The Settlements with admiration, indignation or indifference.

While it’s true that each photograph carries with it an aesthetic, moral and political position, artists can hide their views using specific combinations of tools and techniques. The problem of reading moral values in images of the landscape reminds me of the negative response some visitors had to the landmark exhibition The New Topographics (1975), perceiving the works on view as dull and concluding they were meaningless. For these visitors, the combination of a particular subject matter (urban landscapes devoid of people) and a ‘way of seeing’ (detailed prints of deadpan views made from large negatives) passed as banal and styleless. Only the ulterior success of the exhibition legitimized this way of working and accustomed us to its advantages.   

In the case of politically divisive places where controversy seems unavoidable, how much signposting should a project include? Is Taranto’s attempt to avoid offending politically negligent, or is he a victim of self-censorship? Critics like Ariella Azoulay would likely condemn Taranto’s approach as morally suspect. Since the conclusions one arrives at will depend entirely on one’s political beliefs and moral compass, The Settlements is a good starting point to discuss ideas about the role of political art and whether it needs to be accompanied by activism. Taranto’s detached stance, which reads like an aspiration of neutrality, sharply contrasts with that of fiction writers like Adania Shibli, for whom writing about Israel seems intrinsically linked to addressing the conflict with Palestine (as she does in her novel Minor Detail, linking the foundation of the Israeli state with the ongoing oppression of minorities in two devastating stories). 

The difficulty of representing these landscapes is that they mean different things to different people, with their current context always enmeshed with considerations of justice and human rights as much as fanatic patriotism. The Settlements is far from neutral, but its ambivalence will probably not please either committed faction. The images don’t emphasize Judaism in the way some might desire, nor do they show the repercussions of these constructions on Palestinian life. However, Taranto’s willingness to focus solely on the landscape to extract its secrets is undoubtedly welcomed, even if it comes in a visual manner that’s exceptionally challenging to interpret. 

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Arturo Soto is a Mexican photographer and writer. He has published the photobooks In the Heat (2018) and A Certain Logic of Expectations (2021). Soto holds a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Oxford, and postgraduate degrees in photography and art history from the School of Visual Arts in New York and University College London.
photo-eye Gallery Photographers Showcase: Ben Depp's Louisiana Jovi Esquivel photo-eye Gallery is pleased to welcome Ben Depp to the Photographer's Showcase and his series based on the wetlands on Louisiana's Gulf Coast.

Ben Depp, Jeannerette, Flooded Sugar Cane Field, 2016, Archival Pigment Print, 22½ x 30", Edition of 10, $3,000

photo-eye Gallery is delighted to welcome artist Ben Depp, and feature his arresting photographs of the Louisiana Gulf Coast, into the Photographer's Showcase

Ben Depp is an artist and National Geographic Explorer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Much of Ben's work has been centered around environmental issues, and his ongoing work documents wetland loss and coastal erosion in Louisiana. Over the past eighty years, the Louisiana Coast has lost 2,000 square miles of wetlands. 

This week, we are sharing an interview between the artist and Gallery Associate Jovi Esquivel. The two discussed Depp's passion for documenting the changing landscape of the Gulf Coast, and the motorized paraglider Depp uses to travel throughout the coastline to capture his images. 

•    •    •

Jovi Esquivel: What is your background as a photographer, what drew you into the world of picture-making? 

Ben Depp: The magic of being able to see and connect with people and places around the world through photographs is what first drew me into the world of photography. I studied photography in college. I lived in my car during that time so that I would be able to pursue photography without the burden of debt. I then worked at a newspaper and freelanced for magazines, newspapers, and non-profits in a number of countries. I lived in Haiti for five years, which precipitated a shift in my photography to cover environmental issues. I was in Haiti when the 2010 earthquake struck, and I covered the aftermath of the earthquake, the cholera epidemic, and much political unrest. I have PTSD from some of those experiences, and making beautiful (but also meaningful) landscape photographs has been part of my healing process.

JE: Wow, it sounds like despite the trauma you experienced, you are still committed to the medium.

BD: I still believe in the power of photography to connect people to the earth and to each other. The environments I currently work in are very remote and hard to access. Through my photographs, I think people can begin to see the beauty and value of this landscape and better understand what we are losing. I think making these photographs is the most worthwhile use of my time right now.

Ben Depp, Pelicans in Scofield Bay, 2018, Archival Pigment Print, 30x40", Edition of 10, $4,000

JE: What inspired you to create your current body of work?

BD: When I moved to New Orleans in 2013, I wanted to photograph a project about Louisiana’s coast, which is the largest area of wetlands in the United States and the fastest-eroding coastline. The human impact of land loss in Louisiana has been well-documented, so I wanted to do something different. I first saw this landscape by air when flying into New Orleans on a commercial flight, and knew it was an incredible vantage point. I learned how to fly a powered paraglider and started exploring. My aerial photographs contribute to the existing body of work on Louisiana by centering the landscape.

JE: Will you share your process — how do you prepare to go out and shoot for your current project, what’s it like once you’re out making photographs?

BD: South Louisiana is flat, so to get any perspective on the landscape it helps to be able to get off the ground. To do that, I’ve been exploring the Louisiana coast by powered paraglider for eight years. A powered paraglider is maybe the world’s smallest aircraft. I wear a motor on my back with a propeller on it and have a paraglider wing overhead. I usually launch half an hour before sunrise or a couple of hours before sunset and fly for hours at a time.

With the paraglider. I can fly between 15 to 10,000 feet in the air. I enjoy flying low and slow to see all the textures and detail in the grasses, flowers, and trees below me. I rarely go out with a plan to photograph a specific place or thing. All of the magic I have found has been while spending hours exploring.

JE: Does your powered paraglider allow you to hoover in place — to allow you to compose your photograph?

BD: I wish I could hover. But, no, I’m always moving at somewhere between 15-40 miles per hour, so my process would be similar to photographing from your car window as you drive. I use a very high shutter speed to avoid motion blur, and I have to compose intuitively to try and get the composition I’m hoping for.

Ben Depp, Mayflies, 2021, Archival Pigment Print, 30x40", Edition of 10, $4,000 

Ben Depp, Grand Island, 2022, Archival Pigment Print, 30x40", Edition of 10, $4,000

Each flight is still simultaneously exhilarating and a little terrifying. One of my favorite things is to be a few hundred feet up at sunrise over the wetlands and watch the colors change in the marsh as the sun comes up.

JE: Sunrises are my favorite, this sounds glorious!

BD: I spend a lot of time camping. After exploring accessible parts of the coast for several years, I built a 19-foot wooden sailboat to access Louisiana’s remote barrier islands. I carry my powered paraglider in my sailboat, which I can sail and row to an island, where I then launch my paraglider. I’ve camped for up to a week in some of the most remote parts of South Louisiana.

Although I’ve been a photographer for almost 20 years, I’ve found my photographic voice through this project. By slowing down, spending days at a time camping, traveling slowly by sailboat, and then powered paraglider, I am seeing the natural world around me more clearly. The photographs I’m now making reflect my increased connection and sensitivity to this place.

Ben Depp, Cameron Truck, 2021, Archival Pigment Print, 30x40", Edition of 10, $4,000

•    •    •    •

Ben Depp is an artist and National Geographic Explorer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Much of Ben’s work has centered around environmental issues and his environmental photography has been funded by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, the Ford Foundation, and the National Geographic Society.

Ben's ongoing work documents wetland loss and coastal erosion in Louisiana. The wetlands on Louisiana's Gulf Coast are eroding at the rate of a football field every 30 minutes. Ben's work serves as a memorial to this vanishing landscape. 

He makes aerial images by powered paraglider, which allows him hours of exploration, a low flight path, and the time-intensive search for surprising compositions. 

Print costs are current up to the time of posting and are subject to change.

If you are in Santa Fe, please stop by during gallery hours or schedule a visit HERE.

For more information, and to reserve one of these unique works, please contact photo-eye Gallery's
Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Associate Jovi Esquivel

You may also call us at (505) 988– 5152 x202

photo-eye Gallery

1300 Rufina Circle, Unit A3, Sant Fe, NM 87507
Tuesday– Saturday, from 10am– 5:30pm