June 27, 2014

Friday Round Up - 27 June, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up two new books to add to your collection - Stephen Shore's epic From Galilee to the Negev and the Roma's The Waters of Our Time. Plus new exhibitions for Strange Neighbour and Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne, and Blackeye in Sydney, and a preview to my interview with New York-based Australian photographer Kerry Payne. And a new feature: Picture of the Week.

Picture of the Week:
Despite everything we know about climate change, coal continues to be the "energy of choice" with coal usage reaching a 44 year high in 2013 according to BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy. While Western democracies point the finger of blame at the developing world, China and India in particular, passing responsibility rather than doing more to clean up their own act, will do nothing to halt the damage being done to the planet. Not to mention the human toll. To see more images from this story visit The Atlantic InFocus.

(C) Channi Anand - Jammu, India 2012

Stephen Shore - From Galilee to the Negev

“interpretations depend very much on who the interpreter is, who he or she is addressing, what his or her purpose is, at what historical moment the interpretation takes place” Edward W. Said
In Stephen Shore’s epic book ‘From Galilee to the Negev’ there is a distinct sense of Shore’s intent and focus from the first pages on this expansive book, which comes with its own map and designated “sites of interest” and “photographed locations”.

Shore’s capacity to pursue a story that took him 17 years to complete, is one of the hallmarks that have made him a master storyteller. Shore, who took to the road in the seventies with camera in hand and hasn’t looked back, is considered one of the pioneers in documentary colour photography. Cited as an influence by many – Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky and Wolfgang Tillmans amongst others – Shore was the first living photographer to be given a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1971; prior to Shore the last artist was Alfred Stieglitz in 1931.

Situated within ten dedicated chapters – Ashqelon, Galilee, Tel Hazor, Tel Aviv, Gaza, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Negev and Sacred Stones - Shore’s idiosyncratic photographs stitch together the desert landscape, the passing of time, the rise of the modern and portraits of local residents to create a visual tapestry that is unique to Israel, and to Shore. ‘From Galilee to the Negev’ is Shore’s interpretation of this part of the world, and little has slipped his astute gaze. 

Tel Aviv, March 23, 2011

Large crater, Negev Desert, September 29, 2009

In the urban city of Tel Aviv, Shore captures cosmopolitan Israel in the bustling streets, busy cafes and growing number of high rises dotting the skyline. In the Negev the desert’s arid moonscapes and isolation draw the reader’s eye and in Jerusalem his portraits of local residents give context to daily life in this ancient holy city.

Shore says with this book it is his intention to tell a story about Israel that isn’t loaded with the stereotypes of “suffering and heroism, of victims and perpetrators”, labels often associated with this part of the world. 

Tel Aviv, June 17, 2010 

Jerusalem, September 23, 2009 

Ramallah, October 3, 2009
In "From Galilee to the Negev" each chapter leads with an essay that addresses one particular image. Written by leading artists, writers and academics the essays add another layer to this complex work. To give a flavour of the writing, the chapter ‘Galilee’ features the New Yorker’s Jane Kramer in response to Shore’s image ‘Sderot’ taken in September, 2009. This photograph comprises a map, a man’s hand pointing and his shadow cast across part of the image. Kramer writes: “The map in Stephen Shore’s photograph is, as maps go, neutral, something a pilot might use to get his bearings, benignly distant from the problems of the ground. Its divisions are faint, vague, even reassuring – thin red lines that in reality, have been drawn and redrawn, in the course of three wars, with the blood of thousands of young Arabs and Israeli soldiers”.

This is a book that takes time, you can’t rush through it if you have any intention of understanding it. Give the essayists their due and read their words, ingest the images, listen to others’ thoughts and allow your imagination to run free. Leave behind the snippets of history that dwell in memory and make you think you know Israel. Take Shore’s journey of discovery, meet the people, walk across the pebbled roadways, wipe the grit of sand from your face, and jostle for position at the local market. These are the joys of photography, allowing your imagination to drop you into a photograph to wonder.

From Galilee to the Negev, Stephen Shore £75 / €85 Phaidon 2014

The Waters of Our Time
Thomas and Giancarlo T. Roma

There is something quite seductive about The Waters of Our Time and its fictitious narrator, a woman who has lived all her life in Brooklyn. As she shares her intimate story, the words meld with the photographs of Thomas Roma, a master photographer, who has spent much of the past forty years photographing Brooklyn his hometown. 

(C) All images Thomas Roma - From The Waters of Our Time published by powerHouse Books

This is the second time Thomas and his son, Giancarlo T. Roma, have collaborated. In The Waters of Our Time Giancarlo pens what is at times truly lyrical verse that sings to his father’s photographs, which he has used as a visual storyboard on which to build his narrative.

"The Waters of Our Time" is a story of love, memories and the passing of time. And it is also a story about the relationship between a man and his father. I haven’t seen the hardcopy of this book, but if the PDF is any indication, it’s worth spending sometime in the Roma’s Brooklyn. Available from powerHouse Books New York

Exhibition: Melbourne
A Window that isn't there - Group Show

(C) Daniela Gullotta

This exhibition is based on the premise that there is a "tug of war between what we see with our eyes and what we see with our internal memories and visions". Works include photographs as well as multi-media. Exhibiting artists - Daniela Gullotta, Norian Paicu, Amelie Scalercio, Luhsun Tan, Michael Vale and Philippe Vranjes. Curated by Michael Vale.

Strange Neighbour
11 July - 2 August
395 Gore Street

Exhibition: Melbourne
Rod McNicol - Memento Mori

Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) is currently showing a series of portraits from Australian photographer Rod McNicol. One of the Prahran College of the Arts alumni in the 1970s, McNicol has won numerous prizes for his portraiture work which is held in major institutional collections including the Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, National Library (Canberra), and MGA. 

In this exhibition there are a number of dual portraits of the same person taken years apart, as shown here. McNicol has clearly had a particular vision for this series, which he's carried through the years. Hanging together the images tell a story of the passing of time, and hint at the journey of the individual pictured. There are also solitary portraits, but these duo are in my opinion the strongest of the work on show.

(C) All images Rod McNicol
Until 31 August
Monash Gallery of Art
860 Ferntree Gully Road
Wheelers Hill

Exhibition: Sydney
Eden Diebel - Germinate

(C) Eden Diebel - Germinate

Blackeye Gallery
3/138 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst (Sydney)
Until 13 July
Artist's Talk Saturday 28th June at 3pm

Coming Soon:
Interview with Kerry Payne

(C) Kerry Payne from Left Behind

Next week I am interviewing Australian photographer Kerry Payne who is now based in New York, but I wanted to share a couple of her images this week to hopefully whet your appetite. Sometimes you see work and are just blown away by it and that was my immediate reaction to Payne's photography. Deeply emotional and at times painful to view, Payne intimately explores issues around subjects that are largely still taboo in the modern world such as mental health and fertility. This is brave, courageous and infinitely important work.

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