Friday, June 25, 2010

Balazs Gardi - Facing Water Crisis

Great to see Balazs Gardi taking it upon himself to become a one-man media machine. Without doubt one of the finest photographers of his generation, Balazs has, for the last number of years, been filtering his global vision through the prism of drought, the availability of clean water and it's consequences with his project 'Facing Water Crisis'.

An epic tome that combines the worlds of traditional photojournalism, new media and Balazs' own expressionistic eye, the project highlights what is a basic and fundamental global issue that we never quite bring our full attention to. Everyday however billions of people around the world face health issues, failing crops and the prospect of forced migration due to lack of clean, available water.

The project is reminiscent of the mammoth works 'Workers' and 'Migrations' undertaken by the great Sebastiao Salgado that inspired so many, let's hope Balazs' work is revered in the same circles.

Here he is on Russian television recently discussing the project...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Retratos Pintados at Yossi Milo

Glad to see Yossi Milo getting on the vernacular photography bandwagon with their upcoming show Retratos Pintados.

I happened on a lovely young employee at the gallery a couple of weeks back carefully handling and cataloging over a hundred of these amazing hand painted prints, some printed on bits of cardboard, some curled over with time, all of them feeling like they were sliced from a sun-soaked and colorful but crumbling wall somewhere in Brazil. A really unique and amazing collection.

Needless to say I'm looking forward to the show, opening tomorrow night.

Reminiscent of the collection found by Thomas Dworzak in a Kandahar photo store and published as 'Taliban' there's something that really speaks to me with these hand painted images that's bordering on an obsession.

I first saw them on my travels in India and tried to buy a bunch from an old, beautiful wood fitted photography shop in Kashmir; pictures of Dal lake splashed with bold watercolour, blue skies for daytime and bright oranges for sunset. Painted portraits of young Indians with that same, timeless studio flash and painted faces; trapped in another age.

The owner, an old man surrounded by dusty old SLR's and a faded Kodak logo waved me away like I had indeed tried to steal his soul and I've continued my search for hand painted happiness ever since...

Here's the blurb for the show:

Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce Retratos Pintados, an exhibition of hand-painted vernacular photographs from Brazil. The exhibition will open on June 24 and close on September 18. This will be the premiere presentation of these one-of-a-kind photographs.

Since the late 19th century through the 1990s, hand-painted photographic portraits were a common feature in homes in the rural areas of the northeastern Brazilian states. At a time when black-and-white photographs were not considered dramatic enough, the retratos pintados (“painted portraits”) glamorized and idealized their subjects. Black-and-white family photos were enlarged and painted, conferring status on members of the family and portraying them as icons or saints. Using oil washes and other techniques specific to the region, local artisans embellished clothing with pattern and color, smoothed wrinkles, added jewelry or resurrected deceased relatives, illustrating the fantasies and desires of their customers.

Due to advances in technology over the past 25 years, hand-painted photographs have become a rarity in the region, and the tradition of analogue portrait-making is being lost. Most portraits are now computer-generated, eliminating the charm and distinctiveness of each artist’s individual style. The exhibition will include approximately 150 unique, vintage painted portraits ranging in size from 8” x 10” to 16” x 20”. The photographs were selected from those collected by Titus Riedl, a European who has lived in the region for 15 years. Fit into simple frames and hung together in clusters, the exhibition reflects the way family photos might be displayed in the home.

Bare Bones NYC

Bare Bones takes NY.

Oh Yeah...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Irish Eyes: Martin Cregg

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Martin Cregg’s photography has something quite unique in it’s approach, something that he has been honing and refining over his relatively short career as a photographic artist. His first book 'Midlands' charted the construction of the Irish midlands from the height of the Irish economic boom in the early part of the decade, to the economic insecurities and uncertainties of recession times. It was shown in Dublin's Gallery of Photography in 2008. His subsequent bodies of work, 'Home' and 'Course' have furthered and refined this approach.

Documenting what one might be tempted to label “autobiographical landscapes” if you care about the idea of photographic genres, Martin’s images, at first sparse and minimal, somehow stay with you and grow and develop in your mind, revealing a more personal experience of Martin's world and the environment around him.

His images seem to be concerned with his ‘present’ where he is at that particular time and how that relates to his life and his own personal narrative. In this vein he has created long term projects on both his rural upbringing entitled ‘Home’ and is now working on a project entitled ‘Course’ documenting the space and the minutiae of his environment as a lecturer of a photographic course in St. Kevin's College Dublin.

This approach is kind of curious to me, his images at first seeming quite detached, then somewhat self-reflexive but ultimately personally revealing.

I asked Martin to tell me a little about his series and his process and his work

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Your photography has obviously evolved over a long period of time. Can you give us a little bit of background to you and your work?

I am still relatively new to photography. I bought my first SLR (Pentax) just over 10 years ago. I studied photography as part of a Video Production course in Galway and, somehow, got accepted, along with my best friend, into IADT (Institute for Art, Technology & Design) in Dublin in 2000 (on a faux pas, we think!). It was, and still is, a fantastic environment to nurture and cultivate a love of photography.

I was lucky enough to be in a really energetic and close-knit group of diverse and interesting photographers who constantly talked about photography, helped each-other through projects and exhibited as a group when and where we could around Dublin.

Photography for me, in a way, became a riddle that needed to be solved. It’s a difficult one to explain. But, I really felt around my second or third year that though I was not the most promising or gifted or technically proficient photographer, I could use the medium to explore the world I knew and to articulate something about who I was and the time I lived in. Photography transformed the way I saw and understood the world. I feel that it awakened something inside me. I found it, and still find it, a liberating, therapeutic and energizing practice.

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

I feel that photography has given me a way of grasping the intangible meaning of the world, the ambiguities of life and the labors of society to organize and articulate a meaningful world. The act of photographing, in a way, attempts to make these sensations tangible. It encourages and permits a quiet comprehensive musing over even the most seemingly banal and ordinary of things and offers an invitation to scrutinize, to ponder, to connect with whatever piece of life it privileges. Photography, for me, became a way to assert and express the way I saw the world – a subjective comprehension and impression which I could never communicate or articulate with words. Once I started to feel a real impulse to use photography, I found that my entire behavior, my world view and everything about me changed. My first, lets say, ‘serious’ project started with my own roots – in rural Roscommon - looking with a more critical eye on what was happening in my own hometown. This was, kind of, the beginnings of my Midlands project. Though, looking back at it now, it was pretty messy. Thankfully I have improved a little since then.

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

You also work as an educator in the Photography field. Can you talk about how these two sides to your life inform each other?

I teach History and Theory of Photography, Critical Studies and Practical Studies in Dublin. One thing I have learned is that teachers can teach more by what they are than by what they say. I feel that my love and passion for photography translates through my teaching of it. I would feel like a fraud if I wasn’t a practicing photographer.

'Untitled' Image by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

I try, rightly or wrongly, to suggest to my students that I too am still a student of photography: I struggle with trying to understand the complexities of the medium, I too try to overcome my inadequacies and my insecurities to continuously better myself as an artist and, well, as a person. I love the craft of teaching and dealing with people day after day. In my area of education where there are so many limitations placed on us, so little space and so little money that there is a lot more to my job than simply imparting knowledge about photography. Its an all encompassing experience, which is as enriching as it is destroying. I sincerely care about teaching standards and about my students, so I put everything I have into my job. But the flip side of that coin is the fact that I tend to put so much energy into other people that it certainly has its effects – I find myself at certain points of each term just emotionally, physically and mentally drained. And it absolutely takes that energy away from the development of my own work. But, to answer your question in a positive way – yes, they undoubtedly inform each other. I talk about photography and art and ideas day after day, and this ongoing interchange always keeps me alert to possible projects and possible ways of solving that ‘riddle’ that is photography.

Image from the series 'Course' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Image from the series 'Course' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Your work seems to be very much about process, both in the kind of analytical way you approach your subjects and in the images themselves. Can you tell us about how you come about your subject matter?

I have no real methods of finding work. I just go out and photograph, with a clear head and something will fall from this. I have learned to trust my impulses and my instincts. Usually, there is a little surprise in a contact sheet that I wouldn’t have seen or understood while photographing. The ‘optical unconscious’, as Walter Benjamin termed it, at work.

Project-wise, I like to take subjects which will be challenging and maybe force me to renegotiate the way in know and use photography. I have no real style, I think. I adapt styles and approaches to suit a subject matter. Though I like to feel that I am forcing my vision through any subject I take onboard. I like to be confronted with complexities of photography and tend to spend a lot of time thinking my way through projects. Lately, true, I have added elements of the ‘during the process’ stage of my work into my work. Some artists I have spoken to suggest that it makes me ‘vulnerable’. I understand this, but to me vulnerabilities are part of the creative process, so why hide them. I feel it can make my work more wholesome. I write a blog, which is my visual diary, containing my thoughts, my ideas, my notes and scribbles, my test shots. I decided to use them in the finished piece. It works for some subjects and not for others. For the ongoing ‘Course’ work, it is necessary, because that work is ‘about’ making work, about teaching and churning out photographic discourse and, maybe, an awareness that I am physically changing an educational environment through doing this (talking photography, and being a photography teacher). Ok, that is confusing. I still am grappling with it! Get back to me about that one some other time.

Image from the series 'Course' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

In your most recent body of work ‘Course’ you describe it as a self-reflexive project. I personally think it’s a great body of work that must have taken a huge amount of discipline to put together. Can you talk about this series a little?

With ‘Course’, the discipline comes from making sure that there is time to do something for myself in the context of a working day. I usually find time between classes, at lunch time, or before and after my working day. I remember reading a little of Neil Youngs biography ‘Shakey’ in an airport once, where he described his father's working methodology – he was a writer.

He suggests that he used to force himself to write ‘something’ each night. Some nights, he remembers, it seemed like sado-masochism – working through the pain of frustration until suddenly finding ‘that place’ where there is clarity and freedom of expression. Sometimes you need to force yourself to find expression, its not a given. And even when you find expression and inspiration, its not enough! You have to force further aspects through by spending time with your work, conceptualizing it, editing it, finding a rhythm or re-enforcing a context. There are so many things to consider when doing a project - it needs to consume you.

Image from the series 'Course' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Image from the series 'Course' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Maybe the self reflexive notion comes from not necessarily wanting to hide the fact that I am photographing something. Maybe its that simple. Sontag once said that
photography ‘hides more than it reveals’. I am at the stage where I want to reveal more about the processes of being a photographer – to show the construction of the work in the finished piece. Maybe I am realizing that my photography is always about the relationship between myself and the surface world anyway. Though, this approach doesn’t suit every project. For 'Course' and especially for my ‘Sketches From Home’ it is totally necessary. 'Course' is a complex series to digest right now. I am still working through it.

Your work is documentary but photographically eschews the narrative and portraiture elements that traditionally spring to mind when we think of documentary photography. You still maintain a sense of personal image making. How did you develop this approach?

I think that I generally add a bit of a conceptual element to my documentary approach. It always throws the question at me: well, what is documentary photography? I like the fact that there is no answer, there are just boundaries which need to be confronted and re-imagined. Photography is constantly evolving. I don’t think traditional labels are relevant anymore. While there is a narrative of sorts in ‘Midlands’ – it charted the development of areas of the region at the beginning of the housing boom to the uncertainty of abandonment – it just took on a more conceptual and minimalist approach which suited my ever-changing relationship to an ever-changing landscape. Recently one French curator I met commented that he liked the idea that my work was documentary which went in abstract directions as far as it could go and still remained documentary. This is something I try to work towards. In regards to personal image-making, every documentary is to a degree personal and subjective. No matter how objective it pretends to be. There are always levels of determination behind documentary images.

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

I always find Ireland a difficult place to photograph but you seem to be able to find a way to make projects here. Is it an inspiring place for you?

I think Ireland is really visually interesting. Ireland is full of potential projects. I feel that my work needs to be, at some level, culturally specific or it is not an honest vision. I want to reflect something about the place I know and the times I live in. I am challenged by, for instance, the Irish landscapes that I photograph. I feel I have an attachment to landscape, probably due to my own cultural background in rural Ireland. In midlands for instance, I really felt that sense of change happening in the early 21st century – especially in rural areas. Most of the places I photographed I had known well since I was a child. And there was something undeniably poignant for me to explore within these landscapes which were changing so rapidly at the time.

Image from the series 'Midlands' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Photographers seem to be really delving into the History of Photography just now for inspiration into how to approach creating bodies of work. Is that something you're aware of as a lecturer?

Through teaching history of photography I always find interesting figures and bodies of work. For instance Lewis Hine is someone who I feel is a fascinating figure, he's maybe not spoken of in the same canonical breath as Walker Evans, but none-the less his work is more complex than he is given credit for. August Sander, of course, is someone who I just love teaching classes on seems to understand a definite sense of purpose for photography. Paul Strand and Evans, of course, I love. For me I find that I am informed by the work of the American ‘New Topographics’ in the 1970s, maybe what we know as the ‘Dusseldorf’ tradition – The Bechers, Ruff, Struth, etc. I love the work of what you might call American Social Landscape photographers such as Lee Freidlander, Bill Eaggleston, Stephan Shore, etc. Contemporary photographers I admire include Paul Graham, Edgar Martins, Alex Soth; artists Sophie Calle and Laurel Nakadate. I love projects that just have a visceral edge - Kohei Yoshiyukis ‘The Park’ comes to mind as something that just really stimulated my mind. As did Jason Lazarus’ recent works - the ‘Nirvana’ project (simple but so poignant for me). I really like Jitka Hanslova, Naoya Hatakeyama; Todd Hidos recent work is really poetic. Yao Lu’s recent images, which were part of the Prix Pictet, were pretty amazing. I know it may be a bit fashionable but I like the energy in the work of Ryan McGinlay, Wolfgang Tillmanns and Phil Collins. Angela Strassheim’s recent work ‘evidence’ is interesting, as is the work of Beate Gutschow. Japanese street photographer Osamu Nemura is great. Alexander Gronsky’s work ‘The Edge of Moscow’ I really like. I could go on - there is so much out there!

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Recently I was inducted into the International Reflexions Masterclass – a forum for debate and practice held in various cities throughout the course of two years. Each year 10 photographers from all over the world are chosen to join the Forum along with established guests (curators, publishers, philosophers, practitioners, etc). This year there are photographers from Egypt, Korea, Italy, Russia, Canada, Peru, etc each with unique perspectives and uses of photography; each trying, like I am, to force their own vision through. Working with photographers from diverse cultures has been so stimulating and energizing and has helped to open even more perspectives and possibilities within the practice of photography and offered new ways of thinking about the medium which I have never considered before.

Image from the series 'Home' by Martin Cregg Copyright 2010

Tying it Together: Brooklyn Gang, Bruce Davidson, Book Signing

Los Angeles, 1964, Bruce Davidson/Magnum Photos

Sean O'Hagan continues his ability to read my mind for what I like in the photography world over on his Guardian blog with a great piece about Bruce Davidson's "Brooklyn Gang"

Davidson, whose image on the "Beastie Boys: Ill Communication" album cover inadvertently led me to becoming a photographer myself has long been a huge hero of mine and am always delighted when his classic images are talked about and discussed.

O'Hagan mentions that first edition copies of "Brooklyn Gang" are retailing for about $800 a pop: probably double that if Bruce gets the pen out on Wedenesday during the Magnum Book Signing at Milk Studios.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monthly Print Offer: 'Limited Editions'

'Joyrider' 17"x11" Archival Inkjet print, Edition of 5.

Hopefully the first of a monthly print sale here, the online store is in the process, promise. Small editions, unique print sizes, images from the archives and by request.

A couple of these prints are exhibition bound but a couple remain for sale.

'Joyrider', 17"x11" Archival Inket print, Edition of 5.

I can confirm that the prints are gorgeous and this edition is limited to 5 so get them while they're hot...

Worldwide shipping included they are $500. Please contact me for info or to purchase via Paypal.

AK Kimoto, Lens Blog

AK Kimoto's series on cultural opium use in Afghanistan has been featured over at the the New York Times Lens blog today. A year after AK completed his work in Badakhshan province, one of the most remote and primitive locations on earth and three short months since his tragic death from unknown causes, AK's incredible work has been given a deserving showcase.

This was a story that AK was passionate about, that other photographers and mainstream news outlets overlooked in favor of the sensationalism of staid 'embedded' images and repetitive photos of Kabul's heroin den of iniquity, the Russian Cultural Centre.

AK felt this story said something real about the true state of Afghanistan and about the nature of the people's suffering there. In hindsight perhaps it said something true about himself. He said to me at the time that 'this was an important story' for him. The remoteness of the region and the deeply conservative nature of the people proved huge obstacles to completing this work there. In many ways this is one of the most difficult stories to photograph in Afghanistan.

In a country where the thrills of shootouts and the potential of danger are easy to access through established media channels and a place where reputations as conflict photographers are earned with the purchase of a flak jacket and helmet, shooting a story in Badakhshan is to go out on a limb; it's a region far away from the influence of Kabul and the western world, a place only accessible during the summer due to it's mountainous terrain and lack of infrastructure.

I feel that AK thought this was an important story personally for him, that if it didn't get his name out there as a photographer he would have to reconsider what he was doing with his life and consider giving up something he was deeply passionate about. He seemed like he was, like we all are, searching for something original in his photography, searching for something to make his name with in an incredibly tough industry that is predicated by photographers going to incredible lengths for little rewards .

AK went to Badakhshan, I think, to earn some respect in the photography world and perhaps to prove something to himself. An email he wrote to James Whitlow Delano shortly before he died has also been reprinted on the blog and has been widely circulated in the aftermath of AK's death.

I don’t care about being recognized, and I don’t care if I go through life with no fame to show for my efforts. When was the last time you saw a 4-year-old sucking down heroin? Is it not a tragedy? If I can’t do anything to bring attention to their plight, and if nobody cares, then what am I doing with my time and, in fact, my life? It was never about awards or anything like that. I thought it was about being out in the world, witnessing things that others don’t see, and sharing these stories with a larger audience. I always said that I do what I do because I only have two hands.

While it is full of nobility and pathos, part of me believes that AK did want some recognition for his work and for his efforts. I worry that he lost hope and also lost sight of the fact that he was a great person and not just a great photographer between the time that I met him and the time of his death.

It's fantastic that AK is being remembered now through his photography but it brings sadness also that he felt unfulfilled by it. It reminds me that life is something to be enjoyed at all times and at all costs and that photographs, no matter how incredible, are not worth dying over, physically or spiritually.


All Photos copyright AK Kimoto 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Smash His Camera

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just Another Day in Brooklyn...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Irish Eyes: Niall O'Brien

Image from the series 'Good Rats' by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

Irish born, London based photographer Niall O'Brien has had an incredible journey through his photography since his beginnings as a student in Dublin. Working alongside the cream of the Irish fashion world, Niall quickly struck out on his own, making his mark as one of the best young photographers in the small pond that is the Irish fashion world.

Not content with putting down roots at home, Niall skipped across the Irish sea to cut his teeth in the London photo scene. Landing a job with artist Sam Taylor-Wood and getting an insight into the world of the photo-artist, Niall used his time wisely, never resting at his assisting job and always searching to find a way of working that was distinctly his.

Stumbling across a group of delinquent youths that would eventually become the subject of a short film 'Superheroes' he made in 2006, Niall knew he had found the subject matter that would define his photographic process and way of working for the coming years. The project developed into the series 'Good Rats' which was the subject of a solo show at Art Work Space in London earlier this year, garnering a huge amount of attention around the photo world and beyond.

Niall's journey is beginning to come full circle as editors and advertisers clamor to get a piece of the aesthetic and energy that Niall honed over his four years grafting on work that was entirely personal. I caught up with him recently...on the internet.

Image from the series 'Good Rats' by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

Your ‘Good Rats’ series has been blowing up the blogosphere lately and attracting incredible press and publicity. Tell us about the project.

Good Rats is an exhibition I just had that stems from my long-term project called Superheroes. It is a documentary about adolescence, which grew from a film I made in 2006 about a group of friends. The groups were a bunch, nihilistic, destructive young lads and I couldn’t let them go after we finished. Hence I’ve been shooting them for 4 years now. They were punks too. My project was about youth and when I met them I treated the aesthetic of what they wore as the ribbon on the gift.

Image from the series 'Good Rats' by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

How do the punk kids feel about being the subject of an art exhibition? Is Punk far different in 2010 from where it was in its origins?

They are cool with it. To be totally honest they are unfazed and not entirely interested. They are more concerned about they way they were kicking stuff in the pictures than the pictures themselves. The show as exciting for them as it put them on a small pedestal for an evening, what kid wouldn’t like the attention? I was never a punk growing up, I was a punk kid but I mean that as in I was a brat. All my knowledge about punk rock past and present comes from learning trough the kids and people telling me. The aspect of youth and witnessing it again is my main interest. I’m keen to be subtle in its approach too.

The project kind of had an unusual evolution, starting with your film and transitioning into more traditional documentary work. How did that relationship develop?

I’d like to think long-term projects come about because of chance or an inspirational meeting or introduction. I love the idea of coming across a gem of interest through a random meeting and seizing the opportunity. It was difficult at first, as the lads didn’t give me much time when I came down to Kingston to visit them. In fact because they didn’t give me much time I think it made for more interesting and natural pictures, I was totally ignored. Now they call me up a lot to see what I’m doing.

Where does the line between the photographer and his subject begin and end for you?

I try really hard to keep distance. I never give my views and never encourage or discourage. Sometimes I find it difficult but I have to. There is no other reason I do this than to document and re-live something precious to me. I’m a photographer not a counselor and they respect that.

Images from the series 'Good Rats' by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

Delinquent youth is one of those classic storylines that continue to fascinate audiences. You mentioned Larry Clark’s ‘kids’ as a formative piece of work for you...

Absolutely. My early interest to any sort of visual art has always stemmed from Larry Clark. That was before I got into photography. Even though this project isn’t a million miles from ‘kids’, I had no part to play in orchestrating that. They came to me and I followed and treated it like a gift. I loved Clark’s work because I thought I’d never be able to befriend and gain trust with a group of kids like that.

The series marks a bit of an aesthetic shift in your work, how has your journey as a photographer unfolded so far?

Massive shift really. I’m not used to documentary photography. This came to me and it controls its own development. I some times feel I’m along for the ride. My work and approach has changed a lot in four years and my view on photography is completely different too. I used to be more considered and controlling when shooting, now I’m all over the place. It is all in my edit and that is what makes it exciting each time I process film, I’ve something unexpected to find.

Images from the series 'Good Rats' by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

Tell us about what you’re currently working on?

I’ve a lot on. A lot of film work and some photo projects and commissions. Film is getting really exciting. I don’t have a background in it and feel really naive and new. I love it like that, ignorance is bliss and I have this excitement to learn, kind of like when I was in college. I’m still discovering my style in moving image and know it might take some time but I’m shooting a lot.

Image from the series 'Good Rats' by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

You’ve been represented by D+V management for some times now, tell us about life with a big photo rep?

D+V are the most encouraging people in my life right now. My work is completely different to the other artists on their books and they respect that totally. I think it is a learning curve for both of us. I’m trying to get into shooting more commercial pictures but keep it true to my aesthetic and D+V are right behind me.

Haider Ackerman and Tilda Swinton by Niall O'Brien Copyright 2010

Jacolette and the Irish Vernacular

Jacolette is the website and blog of Orla Fitzpatrick, a librarian and photo-historian from Dublin. It's a fascinating look at vernacular photography and found images from Ireland's past that reminds us of photography's transformative nature as a historical document.

I've long been a fan of similar sites such as Square America and Black and WTF and I'm delighted to see Orla flying the flag for Ireland's photographic past.

Snapshots taken on a whim are re-discovered like messages in a bottle from the past, telling us more about their subjects than the people could ever have known they were revealing to the camera at the time....

Girls making their Confirmations, Ireland, 1950s

Similarly as time takes it's toll on images, they become portals into fictionalised histories and places that exist only in our imaginations, becoming neither a representation of a specific time or place but something else entirely. An image becomes less about what it shows and is transformed into a mood or feeling, something that is evocative, triggering memories we may never have had and jolting our imaginations into action.

This is the wonder of the photographic process at work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

La Frontera: Jared Moossy

From the series 'La Frontera' by Jared Moossy. Copyright 2010

In many ways the new series 'La Frontera' is the most personal work Texan photojournalist Jared Moossy has done to date. A friend whose work I've watched get steadily better and better over the years, Jared is no stranger to intense and volatile global hot spots.

With this new body of work, he documents something a little closer to home: the cheapness of human life in the shadow of a promised land.

It's great to see that he is able to bring all of his knowledge of Latin culture and the region to bear in an amazing set of pictures.

From the series 'La Frontera' by Jared Moossy. Copyright 2010

'La Frontera' is a depiction of chaos rising and it's aftermath in both Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana; two Mexican outposts that are defined by the promise of what lies beyond their borders and the desperation that draws people towards these social fault lines.

As the authorities struggle to control the gang warfare that is turning Mexico into one of the most dangerous places on the planet, Jared also documented the consequences of the drug war on the local population; a people so used to this kind of suffering that they turn to an image of death, even in their prayers.

From the series 'La Frontera' by Jared Moossy. Copyright 2010

Maybe it's a cliche to say it but stereotypes exist because they're true and Moossy's pictures bring to mind a kind of fictionalized, Cormac McCarthy-esque vision of Mexico as a place where bad things happen to people who should have known better in the first place.

Great work.

From the series 'La Frontera' by Jared Moossy. Copyright 2010