WPP 2017 (our worst or Ozbilici’s iconic photograph)

© Burhan Özbilici, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shouts after shooting Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey.
© Burhan Özbilici, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shouts after shooting Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey.

Most of us will agree on one thing: this year’s WWP winning photograph is not their typical choice. But that’s it! The consequences of this choice are as multilayered as the photograph itself.

One of the first persons to speak openly about why this photograph “should not have won such a prize” was the chairman of the judging panel: Stuart Franklin. In an opinion article, published by The Guardian, Franklin describes the event that is depicted in Burhan Özbilici‘s winning photograph as a murderous spectacle. Franklin adds that this is only the third time a register of an assassination wins the prize. For Franklin, awarding the photograph of a murder poses a moral problem. Sorry, that’s not really what he says. In fact, his words are: It’s a photograph of a murder, the killer and the slain, both seen in the same picture, and morally as problematic to publish as a terrorist beheading.

I don’t like to give in to cynicism, so I’ll hold back my worst self and just say that I smiled when I first heard this. Sorry, Franklin, but the idea that a competition such as WWP should not beautify and promote our worst selves is ludicrous. The only reason why some photographs have traveled the world with the WWP exhibition is because they were made famous at the expense of the dead bodies represented in them. And those lifeless bodies were only seen, contemplated and appreciated because they had an aesthetic dimension, they were beautified and through that transformation evil was made redundant. That, as I see it, poses a moral problem, because it compromises the dignity of the people in them. But Franklin means what he says. Not only does he disagree with the photograph of an assassination being the winner of the year, he also opposes the message it sends out to the world: Placing the photograph on this high pedestal is an invitation to those contemplating such staged spectaculars: it reaffirms the compact between martyrdom and publicity.

I confess his honesty and ingenuity surprise me. And I understand where he comes from. In Franklin’s perspective, the winning photograph should testify to a less visible reality and it should expose, be a call for action, inspire change, so he says.

But let’s go back to that day: 19/12/2016. Özbilici, a Turkish photographer, is attending a press conference by Russian ambassador that was happening in a gallery in Ankara. One should stress that being a photographer in Turkey is to be part of the resistance, for that country’s liberty is long gone. What happened next is history: while the ambassador, Andreï Karlov, was speaking, Mevlüt Mert Altintas, a 22 years old off duty police officer working security for the event, shot him. He shot him 9 times and claimed to be punishing Russia for its intervention in Syria.

Being there, Burhan Özbilici made the decision to photograph and his shots immediately traveled the world. I saw the winning photograph the following day and I remember it clearly. I was extremely surprised, I showed it to my partner and we had a wee chat about it. At the time, what surprised me had nothing to do with the event itself. What astonished me was the contradictions at place, how different forces and dynamics had made it into one picture. Still, to this day, what I think makes this photograph so great is that it is iconic. And being iconic means we’re talking about its aesthetic value. It’s almost as if this photograph should not be understood as photojournalism, for it has too many hidden layers, too many subtleties. Basically, it’s too brilliant to be reduced to its role as proof.

I also remembered wondering how cold blooded the photographer had to have been to compose this image. It’s inevitable, it looks like a performance. It’s the effect of the White Cube: you put something inside a gallery and it becomes art. The reality is quite different. Ozbilici tells us that he felt he just had to do his job. Back in December, on Hyperallergic, Robert Archambeau published an excellent article entitled Aesthetic Interference where he pretty much says it all, so I’ll quote:

I think a large part of my inability to fully process the images from Turkey has to do with a kind of category error. They should, I tell myself, be documents of an atrocity, the kind of images we’re bombarded with all the time, and to which most of us have, perhaps at some cost to our humanity, developed antibodies. We see mediated atrocity every day. We tell ourselves we care, and perhaps we do. But generally we look at the wreckage, the carnage, the suffering faces, and we move on. This time, though, I’m having a hard time moving on, because I don’t just see the images as documents of atrocity. I also see them as aesthetic, and that doesn’t sit easily with the other way of seeing them. Indeed, it feels immoral. It feels wrong.

[…]

In the strange combination of urgent action and an uncanny suspension of motion, they are reminiscent of some of Jeff Wall’s photographs (1984’s “Milk,” for example, or “Dead Troops Talk,” from 1994). Perhaps it is the dramatic nature of the poses — combined with the fact that they’re set against the stark, white background that instantly declares itself an art space — that makes the figures almost seem like an art installation. Perhaps an installation by Maurizio Cattelan, in line with his 2002 wax dummies of police officers, “Frank and Jamie.” If you begin to let yourself see the photos as works by Jeff Wall, they seem to show the calm at the heart of violence. If you begin to look at them as photos of an imaginary Cattelan installation, you start to think of them as meditations on the nature of exhibitions. But if you do either — and I have done both — you might find yourself uncomfortable to the point of queasiness with your own slip into aestheticizing. The atrocity is real. The violence is real. The death is real. And the photos? They’re so good, they almost don’t let you see that. They’re so good they make you feel bad to have shifted your attention from the moral urgency of bloodshed to the composition itself. They’re so good they make you wonder about the cruel indifference of beauty. They’re so beautiful that they lift you from the real to the aesthetic, so true they send you plummeting right back.

There’s nothing we can do about our visual culture and backgrounds, so it’s inevitable that for those familiar with references such as the ones mentioned by Robert Archambeau, this photograph jumps between categories and tends to reject the most obvious one: that which gave it the WWP prize. Where I differ from Archambeau is that I don’t have any remorse. And why is that? It’s complicated, of course, but as I’ve mentioned many times before, I think contemporary photojournalism is condemn to fail. It hasn’t always been like this. Before the wars were televised, before cellphones had cameras, photography held that status of “authentic proof”. Now, the most authentic imagery seems to come from the perpetrators themselves. They photograph their victims as trophies and those images are also good examples of the hatred that rules this era. But they are not conscious photographs, only digital images. In most of the cases, there is no author behind them; that maker is so morally compromised that one could not recognize him authorship. What this era might well do to photography, as an autonomous expression, may actually be what we’ve been waiting for. And maybe Özbilici’s photograph could trigger that debate, because photography is not an automatism, it is not a machine, and there’s always an aesthetic dimension to every image. Maybe if we don’t potentiate that dimension we will just keep talking about realism and objectivity, where instead we should be speaking about fiction and subjectivity.

Have you seen this?

the_wolfpack_trailer_t
The poster for The Wolfpack documentary © The Sundance Institute.

I confess: as soon as I heard about this project I was sold. The history is so special, so out of the ordinary, that it would be impossible for whatever projects that went in contact with it not to acquire some of that originality, depth and playfulness.

The Wolfpack, i.e., the Crystal Moselle‘s documentary, follows the lives of six brothers who spent 14 years locked away from society in a Lower East Side housing project. Their paranoid father forbade them, along with their mother and sister, from leaving the apartment. Movies provided their only window to the outside world: they learned almost everything they knew from obsessively watching films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and The Dark Knight, and they spent their days reenacting scenes and violent, movie-inspired fantasies.

ht_wolfpack_13_kab_150615_3x2_1600
Family archive (the parents: Oscar and Susanne) © Susanne Reisenbichler.
ht_wolfpack_11_kab_150615_3x2_1600
Family archive (the brothers) © Susanne Reisenbichler.

The photographic project (Wolves Like Us),  by Dan Martensen, follows the Angulo‘s brothers as they come in contact with the outside world. Martensen started photographing them in 2010. The photographs and the movie are quite different approaches to the same reality. In Moselle‘s documentary we see the ambiance of fear in which the brothers lived for a big part of their lives and the resentment towards their father becomes almost a forth dimension. In Martensen‘s photographs we see the brother’s potential, their creativity, their joy, their will to live out their lives in the outside world, in the midst of nature and other human beings.

a6954603688903a3820a4132cb0baec3
© Dan Martensen’s, Wolves Like Us.
8.jpg.CROP.original-original
© Dan Martensen’s, Wolves Like Us.
3014-12a 001
© Dan Martensen’s, Wolves Like Us.
one.jpg.CROP.original-original
© Dan Martensen’s, Wolves Like Us.

At one point in Moselle‘s documentary, the mother explains how they (she and her husband) feel about interacting with other people and she comments that her socialization in school was not very positive, so they decided to keep their distance. The story is much more complex and Moselle‘s documentary gives us an insight into how dangerous it is to make such a decision, i.e., to keep your kids imprisoned in a house for reasons that have to do with your own fear of the world. No doubt this story would have had a tragic end if the kids hadn’t started to rebel against their father. In the brothers’ discourse hanger is almost at the point of turning into hate.

About the moment when they started to leave the house, their mother comments that it was their way into “normalcy”. It’s complex. Their mother, Susanne Reisenbichler, it’s a central figure in all of this. Apparently, she fell in love for Oscar‘s open spirit, but latter realized it was all but free and that they had to live by his rules (the Angulos’ parents met when hippie Susanne was on the Machu Picchu trail, in Peru, where she met Oscar, a Hare Krishna follower. They gave their children ancient Indian names. How come the pair settled in New York? “They didn’t mean to stay there,” says Govinda, “but because Dad didn’t believe in working for a living, our options were limited.”) She cries, she laments their upbringing and we are left wondering what really went on behind those walls. When we hear Oscar, the father, stating that “[his] power is influencing everybody” I shiver. No doubt, a lot is left in the dark. What do these kids mean when they say that “sometimes there are things that you just…you just don’t for… you just don’t get over, you just don’t forgive”?

When Moselle‘s documentary won the Sundance Grand Prize Jury Award the brothers’ story was put on display. So much so that it was appropriated by the art market, as an example of was a mix between ‘pop art’ and ‘primitivism’. Of course this is the critical perspective, not theirs. No doubt their intentions are honest, to share their creative view of the world, to help change their lives, etc, etc, but what will this amount to? Apparently, they are all doing great.

The Wolfpack Show is an exhibition hosted by Jeffrey Deitch, showcasing the elaborate homemade movie props, costumes, and scripts created by Mukunda, Govinda, Narayana, Jagadisa, Bhagavan, and Krisna for their recreations of blockbuster films.

wolfpack_opening_invite
The Wolfpack Show invitation.
wolfpack2
Installation view © Daniel Maurer.
wolfpack52
Installation view © Daniel Maurer.

≡ The Hyères School of Photography ≡

My love for the Hyères Festival is known. I’ve written about it and have featured a great deal of the authors shortlisted each year. The judging panel has been responsible for issuing a statement about what they want to see in contemporary photography and it has been bold and exciting, for Hyères always awards an experimental attitude towards the medium itself, as well as valuing innovation and creativity. Amidst the past festival judges “we can randomly mention Urs Stahel (Fotomuseum Winterthur), Marloes Krijnen (FOAM, Amsterdam), Dennis Freedman (W, New York), Charlotte Cotton, Glenn O’Brien, Marta Gili (Jeu de Paume, Paris), Jörg Koch (032C, Berlin), James Reid (Wallpaper*, London), Frits Gierstberg (Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam), Kathy Ryan (New York Times, New York), David Campany (London), Joerg Colberg (Conscientious), Charles Fréger (photographer, France), Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer, Amsterdam), Brett Rogers (The Photographer’s Gallery, London), Karen Langley (Dazed, London), Winfried Heininger (Kodoji Press, Switzerland), Damien Poulain (Oodee, London), Jason Evans (photographer, United Kingdom), Mutsuko Ota (IMA, Tokyo), etc.

What follows is my selection of work from the 10 authors shortlisted for Hyères 2015.

I – Oezden Yorulmaz

5© Oezden Yorulmaz, Untitled, from the series Ed Meets Jack, 2013.

6© Oezden Yorulmaz, Untitled, from the series Ed Meets Jack, 2013.

excerpt from Hyères’ press release:

Oezden Yorulmaz is interested in how photographical images play an important aspect of self-definition within the western society he cohabits. He plays in his work with the borders and the limitations of photography’s try to represent reality. He often uses himself as the main protagonist and creates male performs that is acting a narrative or mental state within the space of images or locations.
In Ed Meets Jack he created a fictional story, told through a series of photographs, which resemble a sequence of film stills. By using props or costumes he is trying to create a persona or situation that is aiming to reproduce an authentic atmosphere that only exists within in the space of the image. The photograph acts as a springboard between his performance and the observer and is limited to each one own presumption and experience.

II – Filippo Patrese

patrese_filippo-3© Filippo Patrese, Settembre 1977, from the series Corrections, 2014.

patrese_filippo-1© Filippo Patrese, Febbraio 1983, from the series Corrections, 2014.

III – Thomas Rousset

hyeres_01_news© Thomas Rousset, Untitled.

1074720© Thomas Rousset, Untitled.

1074713© Thomas Rousset, Untitled.

IV – Jeannie Abert

1jeannieabert-champ-de-bataille© Jeannie Abert, RÉVOLUTIONS, 2011. Collages sur papier.

c2_624© Jeannie Abert, COVER. Collages sur papier, incrustations diverses et brou de noix.

4-x_800© Jeannie Abert, COMPILE POUR UN AMNESIQUE, 2015 (en cours).

Jeannie’s statement:

I take photography as my starting point as a database of experimental research which I see as a raw material that I then manipulate. I search in pre-existing iconographic banks and appropriate the images. Thumbing my nose at the screen, a paradigm of the contemporary view, I question the images by bringing them back to a materialstate. There are so many axes and interpenetrations which define a genetically hybrid operation – contact photography, scanned, printed, photocopied images, reproduced so much so as to lose their definition – material – grain – frame photography which can meet up with drawing – painting – textiles. My intention is to stimulate the regard by changing the points of view. I play with the production and diffusion processes of the image. I question the medium of photography by trying to build a “play area” which could open new visual preoccupations.

V – Sjoerd Knibbeler

sjoerd-knibbeler-003© Sjoerd Knibbeler, Current Study # 3, 2013.

sjoerd-knibbeler-018© Sjoerd Knibbeler, Skyline, videostill, 2013.

sjoerd-knibbeler-010© Sjoerd Knibbeler, FW-42, from the series The Paper Planes, 2014.

excerpt from press release @ Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam:

Knibbeler is working independently again, on a quest to capture wind. He tries to make the impossible possible by simulating tornados, folding model airplanes and trying – literally – to capture air. The model airplanes, all of which are based on designs that were never airborne, provide a context insinuating the impossibility of his quest. But parallel to these experiments he created video work showing an aerobatics pilot practicing his flight patterns on ground. In this work the complexity of the matter becomes tangible and the research of the contemporary experience of nature suddenly reappears. In November, LhGWR will present Knibbeler’s first solo show.

VI – Sushant Chhabria

ILMtext-637x800© Sushant Chhabria.

ilm_exhbit-1000x730© Sushant Chhabria, installation view, 2015.

chhabria_sushant-1© Sushant Chhabria, Untitled, 2015.

ilm_13-584x800© Sushant Chhabria, Untitled, 2015.

VII – Wawrzyniec Kolbusz

12-833x1024© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Untitled, from the series Sacred Defense.
wawrzyniec_kolbusz_sacred-defense_14-834x1024© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Untitled, from the series Sacred Defense.

wawrzyniec_kolbusz_sacred-defense_07-1024x834© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Untitled, from the series Sacred Defense.

Installation-View-of-Sacred-Defense-by-Wawrzyniec-Kolbusz-Wroclaw-SEP-2014-f1-1024x683© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, installation view from the series Sacred Defense.

excerpt from Kolbusz’s statement @ Format Festival:

Sacred Defence, embedded in the Iranian post-war reality of the Iraq-Iran war (1980– 1988), is a story of producing artificial war images and reconstructing historical events to create a group memory. It is questioning whether reconstructed evidence is still evidence. It not only traces the existing modes of construction of fake war narrations. It also creates new war-related simulacra in digitally amended satellite images of nuclear installations. Hence, testing further the notion and limits of artificial evidence.

Sacred Defence is a game, in which images make us believe we see the war. We are looking at illusions, however. We follow how the war simulacra of social and political importance are being created within different spaces. A cinema city, constructed only for the purpose of shooting war movies, is a self-referencing space, created not to be experienced itself, but to become an image of war. Museums mimic the wartime reality in the smallest detail; wax figures of particular martyrs allow a meeting with fallen heroes again; and plastic replicas of antipersonnel mines sold as souvenirs.

From a play between the evident and the non-evident, author leads us to the point where he creates new simulation. He amends satellite images of Iranian nuclear installations with mutually exclusive versions of air strike destruction. Buildings destroyed in some images stand intact in others – parallel versions of the same event are presented on a single satellite map. Author is producing a ‘proof’ of an event that never happened despite being discussed in media.

VIII – Polly Tootal

picture_054print30x24c© Polly Tootal, #20406, 2014.

cf013534r44x59insq© Polly Tootal, #43534, 2014.

bcf013839_1r© Polly Tootal, #43839, 2014.

excerpt from an essay by Matthew Parker about Tootal’s work:

Polly Tootal is a photographer of British landscapes, yet the landscapes she registers are not likely to be found in any popular chronicle of the land, rejecting as they do the obvious beauty or grandeur of things and instead existing in the spaces in-between, the ones that are passed through every day, so nameless as to be embedded deeply into our consciousness and then forgotten. Perhaps this is why then, despite their surface anonymity, they all seem so uncannily familiar to me.

(…)

It’s no surprise to discover the Bechers are an influence, but compared to their typological surveys, her project is loose, deceptively objective, varying from image to image. Not concerned with the repetition of specific elements. Not so narrow in its vision. Instead, with each unique image, there’s a subtle vein of drama, an eye open to the strange and the exotic, the mundane and the obscure. Not limiting herself to specialised projects or adhering to restrictive formal rules, she instead takes an interest in atmosphere, humour, light and tone, looking to craft a delicate mood or declare a truth about a place. The ultimate goal is of a complex story, a vast and wide-ranging index of the British landscape and a store of unrelated yet connected images.

Common elements hold the project together. The images often lie upon thresholds and boundaries, liminal zones, between urban and rural, leisure and industry, lived in and discarded. Polly is interested in “places where abandoned industry mixes with functioning architecture and development, spaces left awaiting completion or areas of recent renewal.” Whether suburban, urban or rural, the subjects have, for the most part, been seen from the road; discovered and observed from the inside of a car. This might be another reason for the strange familiarity the images possess, their sometimes-disturbing déjà vu. I think to myself, how many times have I passed this place? Unknowingly drinking it in and storing it inside. Warehouses, business parks, shopping centers, waste-ground, motor- ways, car parks: the non-places that quietly fill up our lives, the sites of transience. Maybe I’ve seen none of them, but I am certain that I know the Little Chef, this stretch of motorway, that patch of industry, this housing estate.

(…)

And what has been left outside? Well, people, of course. There are no people in these landscapes. There are no moving objects either. There are no bustling, vibrant markets. And there are no stunning vistas that haven’t been touched by the modern world. If there is woodland there is a motorway bridge towering behind it in monumental silence, if there is a valley there happens to be a cement factory, if there is a quarry there is a housing estate it seems to be at war with. But for all these things it’s the absence of people that I find most interesting. Despite these being landscapes I feel as if they should be there. I find myself yearning for them. But I admire the fact that they will not come. Human portraits are not needed. If you know how to look, these rigorously poetic landscapes tell a story enough.

IX – Evangelia Kranioti

695ff4d5c22e8242ba64d8ee85bfd28b© Evangelia KraniotiFrom Lagos to Rio – end of sea passage, 2010, from the series Exotica, Erotica, etc.

502d1520ef9b8689e48a48d7deb1f9ff© Evangelia Kranioti, Buddha of the main engine, 2012, from the series Exotica, Erotica, etc.

7e2f10d380416ee7b341cec930747b2b© Evangelia Kranioti, Desert on board, 2011, from the series Exotica, Erotica, etc.

excerpt from press release @ Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève:

At the heart of Evangelia Kranioti’s research are the notions of desire, wandering, and return to one’s origins. Inspired by the work of the Greek writer Nikos Kavvadias, Kranioti questions the male-female relationship through the fleeting loves of sailors in ports, terrae incognitae where the magic of wandering still operates.
The documentary essay Exotica, Erotica, etc. is the culmination of a long-term project undertaken over four years, during which she followed the crews of the Greek navy worldwide and spent months in the company of the women they frequent.
Through the stories of Sandy, former Chilean prostitute and those of these souls in perpetual homelessness, Kranioti poetically depicts the romantic imaginary of the sea, its tragic heroes and its forgotten loves.

X – David Magnusson

Purity-DM-028-560x700© David MagnussonJamie & David Clampitt, Shreveport, Louisiana, from the series Purita.

Purity-DM-005-560x700© David Magnusson, Will & Nicole Roosma, Tucson, Arizona, from the series Purita.

Purity-DM-027-560x700© David MagnussonJenna & Jeff Clark, Chandler, Arizona, from the series Purita.

excerpt from Jessica Valenti’s article Purity balls, Plan B and bad sex policy: inside America’s virginity obsession:

«The men and girls in the photos hold hands and embrace – the young women are in long white dresses, the men in suits or military regalia. If some of the girls in the pictures weren’t so young – Laila and Maya Sa up there are seven and five years old, respectively – the portraits could be mistaken for wedding or prom pictures. What they actually capture, though, are images of those who participate in purity balls – father-daughter dances featuring girls who pledge to remain virgins until marriage and fathers who promise to protect their daughters’ chastity.

The images from Swedish photographer David Magnusson’s new book, Purity, are beautiful, disturbing and tell a distinctly American story – a story wherein a girl’s virginity is held up as a moral ideal above all else, a story in which the most important characteristic of a young woman is whether or not she is sexually active. This narrative of good girls and bad girls, pure girls and dirty girls, is one that follows young women throughout their lives. Purity balls simply lay that dichotomy bare.

(…)

Magnusson says he hopes his pictures elicit empathy,not judgment: “As I learnt more, I understood that the fathers, like all parents, simply wanted to protect the ones that they love – in the best way they know how.”

I have no doubt that families who participate in purity balls are doing what they think is best for their children – but that doesn’t make them any less wrong. When we teach girls that their virginity makes them special and valuable, we’re sending the simultaneous message that without their virginity they are tainted and damaged.»

٠ The Jejune Institute – best alternate reality ever ٠

DSCF7056nonchalance-stickerAn emanations warning sticker from the Elsewhere Public Works Agency

this_man_has_a_secret2917276399_c3217ba387_zThe Jejune Institute initiation form.

Our mission is to provoke discovery through visceral experience and pervasive play. We achieve this by means of interactive narrative, game design, augmented reality, automated environments, event production, installation art, spatial navigation and cultural curation.

full str**ming of the documentary about The Jejune Institute here

٠ Reina’s Altered States ٠

43_at002© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

43_at007© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

43_at011© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

43_at014© Francisco Reina, from the project Altered States

A minimum amount of truth is necessary to justify the communication of any kind of information. To tell the truth is often very difficult and even when a lie is told by omission of certain information can result in an accusation of being guilty of hiding the truth. Additionally, manipulation can be defined as the act of representing something false as real, a negative as positive, a degradation as beneficial.

In every society there is a general need to achieve both economic and political power and when these two forces come together to rule the State, manipulation is implemented to turn people into subjects, potential voters or consumers. Some of the political and commercial strategies are very familiar with this strategy of manipulation and are constantly focused on supplying society with enough sensuality to keep the citizens´ animal sensitivity alive. The most well known form of manipulation is lie.

Current society would not exist if people did not have reciprocal trust. Manipulated language can be received with confidence and good faith and eventually people may be guided not by the truth, but by the manipulator´s intentions. Therefore, each of these manipulations is a lie servicing the social realm.

The picture of the world that is constantly being shown to us has nothing to do with reality because the truth about every single event is buried under a mountain of lies. This system has reached extraordinary success at creating a dissuasion from the menace of democracy and what is really interesting is that this has been achieved under the banner of “freedom”. Reina’s statement
“From all illusions the most dangerous one consists in thinking that there is only one reality”
Paul Watzlawick

25_absence-001© Francisco Reina, from the project Absence

25_absence-007© Francisco Reina, from the project Absence

25_absence-008© Francisco Reina, from the project Absence

With Absence we venture into the forest. […] A place where man abandons all his beliefs, yielding to the uncertainty of destiny. Here, the notion of a forest, as a part of a landscape, ambiguously stands for two separate things at once. It is, on the one hand, a particular physical place and, on the other, it is a figurative representation, a construct of the mind in which the dreams and desires that have made their way inside are participants. Here we are offered an actual forest. This is where our fears, hopes, and desires are hidden. It is a world in which the idea of presence turns absence into a corporeal being.

Absence has now become a black mass whose human or animal silhouette warns us of the real possibility of our desires materializing in one form or another. We are left with the possibility of deciding whether what we see is, was, or will be what we are seeing. Hence, the relation between man and forest is cast within a long running story “a story of looks” in which spectator and scene are directly related and where the subject’s gaze helps to construct the landscape lying right before his or her eyes.Reina’s statement

More from Francisco’s work here

┐ Helga Härenstam └

© Helga Härenstam, The Gap, from the series The Society, 2006-2008

© Helga Härenstam, Jesus, from the series The Society, 2006-2008

The Society is a fictious documentary, trough which Helga Härenstam has been looking for and/or constructing environments, scenes and events, that are based on memories from the small society where she grew up. The people photographed in these series are Härenstam herself, her family and other people that she is close to.


The series is a puzzle of pictures dealing with the borders between documentary and staged, the real and the unreal and the past and the present. The title The Society, is inspired by a place, where Helga Härenstam partly grew up. This place does have a name, but is simply called ”the society”. Härenstam found the ambiguousness of the word society interesting though it refers to a context of world politics and states that shut in and shut out citizens depending on where they are considered to belong. At the same time it refers to this small community, which basically functions in the same way, just on a minor scale.


The Society tells several stories about growing up in a rural area that slowly becomes abandoned. A transitional place is formed between the past and the present ways of how the society functions and between the past and the present way ones memory functions.

taken from HIPPOLYTE STUDIO

more of Helga’s work here

┐ Burkhard von Harder └

@ Burkhard von Harder, untitled, from the project Cold war in a trash bag

@ Burkhard von Harder, untitled, from the project Cold war in a trash bag

@ Burkhard von Harder, untitled, from the project Cold war in a trash bag

Cold War in a Trash Bag is based on recently found anonymous Cold War photographic footage from the Ukraine. In the summer of 2010 thousands of abandoned black and white negatives were discovered in Vinnitsa, a place only 250 km away from Chernobyl. In miserable condition, the ripped, scratched and torn filmstrips obviously had been completely forgotten and left decaying through the first 20 years of the country’s independence. They could be saved from disposal and taken abroad where 5000 of them were put through a painstaking scanning process so far. The results show solarisation processes and other signs of deterioration leading to new imagery – more publications on the subject to follow.

More of Burkhard’s work here and a preview of the book “Cold War in a Trash Bag” here

┐ Farhad Ahrarnia └

© Farhad Ahrarnia, ballet pars no.3
HAND EMBROIDERY ON DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY PRINTED ON CANVAS
SILK & COTTON THREAD AND NEEDLES, 2008-10

© Farhad Ahrarnia, beautiful is the silence of ruins II
photography on canvas and embroidery, 2011

More of Farhad’s work here

┐ Duarte Amaral Netto └

© Duarte Maral Netto, untitled, from the project “Z”, 2012

© Duarte Maral Netto, untitled, from the project “Z”, 2012

Duarte’s new work is in a rare place between verity, intimacy and honesty and the exciting and self obsessed world of fiction. The narrative constructed is that of “Z”, a physician said to have gone to Germany to specialized in facial surgery. We’re then introduced to the idea of the family album and presented with historic images of very significant relevant, both in time and the place they occupy, as in relation to their place amidst a personal account of things: which events matter, what isn’t being showed, etc? Unfortunately the work isn’t up at his site yet, but I’m sure it will be available soon.”

His website here

┐ Victoria Jenkins └

© Victoria Jenkins, Capnomancy, from Images from the Institute of Esoteric Research

© Victoria Jenkins, Aeromancy, from Images from the Institute of Esoteric Research

“A characteristic claimed to be unique of photography has been its ability to record the visible, material world, its perceived objectivity and accuracy has lead to a utilitarian application of the camera as a tool for documentation, and this can be traced back to photography’s early history. Parallel to this is a history that echoes with illusion and trickery; photography carries a false empiricism, for which we may allow our guard to be dropped.


The photographs presented here are rooted in the language of rational investigation, employing quasi-scientific laboratory style conditions in to which a series of still lives, fictional archival images, are constructed. A commingling of varied sources occurs: vernacular imagery of magic tricks, home science experiments, divination practice, superstitious belief and forensic investigation. The intent is to play on the conflicts in the languages that are being appropriated: logic and absurdity, revelation and trickery, illustration and illusion, but also that which seems concurrent despite the apparent polarities: the image whose authority is asserted through a shrouding in secret language and gesture.


This collision and coinciding intends to produce a series riddled with ambiguities, the oblique amongst clarity providing a slippery surface on which to form the photographs narratives.”

More of Victoria’s world here