A cross-cultural tale of migration

photo caption (image above): © Alia Ali, BORDERLAND Series, 107 cm x 72 cm. Pigment Print on Cotton Rag 310 gr. 1 AP + 1 EP + 5 Editions, 2017. ALIA ALI “Alia Ali (1985) is a Yemeni-Bosnian-American multi-media artist”. Her work with fabric and thread is present throughout her entire body of work, referencing…

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Visual Narratives by Martin Kollar

Caption (photo above: image from Kollar’s book Field Trip. Source: STET Photography Editions. More of Kollar’s work here.  I’d say this is the exception and not the rule: sometimes authors’ statements about their work really add to it. I think this is the case: a brief and sincere text about the emotional experience that results…

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The press loves this, but who else does?

caption: © Elizaveta Porodina, portrait of Lily D. Moore, for Radical Beauty Project. I came across this project through a very complimentary review in the Guardian. The Radical Beauty Project is about “challenging opinions”, questioning perceptions about beauty. It brings together people with down’s syndrome and “40 renowned fashion and art photographers”. In creative director…

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Soraya Vasconcelos

image caption (above): © Soraya Vasconcelos, untitled, digital c-print, 122×163 cm, 2007. More of Soraya’s recent work can be seen here.   Models of “territories” are constructed with organic matter and inorganic material: paint, pigments, varnishes, wax, plaster… There is a process of constructionIs it possible to formulate a general theory of artistic collaboration? And…

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Ramona Guntert

For quite some time I made very simple posts showcasing artwork from authors who used photography in a way that somehow interested me. Back to the old ways here are some images from Ramona Guntert‘s work. Some words from the author about her own work here.     excerpt from a conversation between Ramona Guntert…

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Where have all the graveyards gone?

Still from HyperNormalisation showing journalist Daniel Pearl. This is mostly a critic of Adam Curtis‘ work for the show Mezzanine XXI, performed by Massive Attack, although their curating act is equally up for critics. I went to their concert a few days ago, in Lisbon, and was ill impressed (to say the least). I knew…

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Art is Not Propaganda, an editorial

Here is the editorial I’ve written for Propeller #3, about Propaganda. This editorial introduces a series of great essays, namely: Fire Inside, by Pete Brook, Propaganda and photography at the front door, by Teresa Mendes Flores, and Shooting in the name of (and now you do what they told ya): Photojournalism – keeping the status…

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From Icon to Splendor – about Valter Ventura’s ‘Light and Darkness’

The following text is a short and edited version of the essay written about Valter Ventura‘s exhibition Light and Darkness, (“Compêndio de observações fotográficas: luz e cegueira”), produced specifically for the Lisbon Municipal Photographic Archive. The full original version was published in the respective catalog. Several mythological narratives account for the gods’ will to punish…

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From Africa to Sweden to Brazil: the problem with cultural appropriation (in the age of social networking)

caption: unknown author, at Stockholm Pride Festival In the past few weeks several events concerning cultural appropriation have motivated public discussions. I’ll be focusing on three: Gucci’s blackface jumper, Amanda Lind‘s dreadlocks and Donata Meirelles birthday photograph with two black women wearing traditional Bahian outfits. The fact that I’m appropriating these events in order to talk about cultural…

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Every trace of death is benettoniful

caption: Oliviero Toscani for Benetton, 1992. In 1982 the Mafia killing of Benedetto Grado in Palermo, Italy, was captured by Franco Zecchi. Ten years later the image was featured in Benetton’s spring/summer 1992 campaign. Various publications refused to publish the image and the dead man’s daughter claimed she would sue, asking: “How does my father’s…

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Ruth Van Beek and the need to wonder

caption: © Ruth van Beek, The Situation Room (Two figures), 2018. When I regard van Beek‘s collages I immediately know they were made by a woman. There’s a feminine sensibility at play, an heritage of affective labour that is put to work. This idea of a visual heritage is not a reference to a nostalgic…

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All photographs look alike and I blame digital design

caption: image illustrating an article @ Time.com, entitled TIME’s 25 Best Photobooks of 2018. The first sentence of the article reads: “As an antidote to your unyielding Instagram feed, consider the photobook.”  I’ve been thinking about photography’s relationship with digital design in the twenty-first century. After some considerations and discussions with colleagues and students I…

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The uncanny power of a portrait

caption: © Pierre Gonnord, “Ali” 148 x 125 cm. Color photograph under plexiglass, framed.   I’ve had this portrait hovering in my desktop since November. From then on, I kept avoiding identifying the author and seeing further work, already suspecting my enthusiasm would be cut to shreds. It was and it wasn’t. I’m clearly not…

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Photography and psychoanalysis as overlapping fields?

Searching the web for author Glorija Lizde (b. 1991, Croatia), whose work Persona(L) I came to know in December due to Parallel Review, I was surprised to find a particular essay accompanying her project F20.5 (2016-2018). That particular text, published at Hulu-Split, is an excerpt from Ana Peraica‘s Culture of the Selfie: Self-Representation in Contemporary Visual Culture. But before…

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Photography, you slut!

Right before the year comes to an end, every online platform rushes to publish their best-of lists. Excited, editors exchange reviews and debate on their conclusions. The most this, the most that, the best photographs, best exhibitions, best books… It’s guaranteed that the photography market will be alive and kicking for another year. As for…

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My dog died a dying death

It’s a new year and I’m back at Nihilsentimentalgia with the usual suspects: photography and death. No surprises there. My oldest dog, Ghost, died last week. To be fair, I killed him. As I made the choice I thought I’d have to assist him in his last breath. That decision led to the creation of…

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Ewa Kuryluk’s love letters

My understanding of one history of art is just not there. There are many reasons for that and no need to address any of them. Now I find myself discovering Ewa Kuryluk’s work (via books and internet) and I fail to make sense of this late encounter. Why not sooner? I arrived at Kuryluk’s work…

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Dante Busquets: ‘Sateluco’ (featuring Propeller’s open call for edition #2 – fiction)

SATELUCO Dante’s statement A self-referential photographic analysis of middle-class suburban Mexico City, based on past relationships with people and urban space, that seeks to establish a visual dialogue with them in the present day. I examine social stratification of the Mexican culture in Sateluco. This project, which received the acquisition prize of the XII Photography…

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