developments in photography
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6 Clay Lipsky In Dark Light
26 Patrick Gries Evolution
46 Ben Marcin The Towers
60 Deanna Witman Ways of Being
84 Frederic Vanwalleghem Vodun, trying to grasp the ungraspable
102 Tim Hope Continuum
Welcome to our third issue of ‘BETA – developments in photography’, and let me start with a big THANK YOU to all you readers for the wonderful feedback, compliments and recommendations to friends and networks that are helping to grow our database.
We really do appreciate your support. In this issue we present works from five photographers I discovered at two of the Portfolio Review events I was invited to attend as a reviewer in 2012. The Portfolio Review is a fairly frenetic affair. Photographers, for a fee, get just 20 minutes to show their work, one on one with a range of career important people – gallery owners, publishers, museum curators, festival directors, editors, art directors, artist representatives etc., etc., with a view to exposing their work to a broader audience and propelling themselves down the road to universal fame and unbridled wealth [we all have dreams!].
This intensive event usually takes place over a period of two to four days, when the artists present their folios sometimes to as many as fifteen reviewers of their choosing. It’s a kind of speed dating for photographers, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to put work in front of potential promoters with whom, in the normal course of events, it could take months to orchestrate a meeting. From the reviewers point of view the process can be quite exhausting, viewing and providing considered comment, constructive feedback, encouragement and analysis, on around twelve folios in the space of six hours. And there is always a range of competencies and styles in the folios to contend with. It is anticipated that the artists have researched and selected reviewers on the basis of the style favoured or appropriate end use so that the potential is maximised for all concerned.
In my case, I am looking for work at reviews for possible inclusion in one of the BIFB exhibition programs, or lately, BETA – developments in photography. I am also looking for works that I might be able to recommend to fellow festival directors or gallerists or publishers where I feel exposure of the work may be more appropriate. In November 2012 I was invited back to review at The FOTOFEST Lens Culture reviews run in conjunction with Le Mois de la Photo, Paris. From those reviews we have great pleasure in presenting works in issue 03 by Patrick Gries [France], Ben Marcin [USA] and Frederic Vanwalleghem [Belgium]. Another group of photographers from both Paris 2012 and Paris 2011 have been invited to submit proposals for the BIFB’13 projections program, and five artists from the 2011 Paris reviews have been accepted for the BIFB’13 Core Exhibition Program [but more about those in the following issues of BETA].
Hot on the heels of Paris Photo in December, I was invited to review at PhotoNOLA [New Orleans] a festival that grew out of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There I was excited by the works of Deanna Whitman, Clay Lipsky and Tim Hope, which are also featured here in our third issue. A further six photographers from the PhotoNOLA reviews have been invited to submit proposals for the BIFB’13 Projections Program. And in case you didn’t know, since 2007 our own festival has offered a Portfolio Review Program.
BIFB’13 reviews will take place Sunday August 18th and 19th, and the review panel is being selected on the basis of their potential to offer the reviewees exposure, within Australia or on the international stage. Full information on the BIFB’13 Portfolio Reviews should appear at www.ballaratfoto.org by the end of February. Places are limited, and will be allocated on the basis of first come first served. So if you want to launch yourself on the slippery slide to photographic immortality, think about oiling up your britches and finessing your portfolio and booking your spot at the BIFB’13 Reviews. The road to superstardom has to start somewhere!!
This is getting to sound a bit like a paid political broadcast, so I had best get my nose back to the grindstone, and leave you with some great work to contemplate until issue number four of ‘BETA – developments in photography’ rolls around in April.
Jeff Moorfoot Festival Director Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Clay Lipsky www.claylipsky.com
In Dark Light
This series of self portraits examines my loss of identity and enduring personal journey through depression. It is a solitary path that encompasses loss of home and parent, the pursuit of beauty, work and perseverance under no religious or visceral compass. Imagined as a vast, shadowed plane mired in fog with colors muted and senses numbed the landscape becomes a metaphor for lifeâ€™s obstacles. Beyond the horizon lies hope for brighter days and so the lone soul carries on, albeit cast in dark light.
Clay Lipsky is a fine art photographer based in Los Angeles, California. His photos have been exhibited in various shows including those at the Annenberg Space for Photography, MOPLA and The Impossible Project Spaces in NYC & Warsaw, Poland. Clay has also been published internationally in print and online, most notably with Esquire Russia, Wired Italia, Libération (France), Yahoo! Germany, Fraction, Square, Diffusion, F-Stop, PH and Shots Magazines. He had his own “Ten” series through Jennifer Schwartz Gallery and North Light Press will be publishing an edition of his photos through their 11+1 book series. Additionally, Clay is also an avid self-publisher with several titles that exhibit as part of the Indie Photobook Library.
In Evolution, published in 2008 with Editions Xavier Barral Paris (texts written by Dr. Jean-Baptiste de Pannafieu), Patrick Gries offers an atypical approach to the interrelationship between art and science. The typological black and white photo series presents skeletons of vertebrates as sculptures, which forces us to reconsider the boundaries between artistic and scientific objects. Evolution is a collaborative project realized by the effort of 3 persons: Xavier Barral (the publisher who initiated the idea) Jean-Baptiste de Pannafieu (the scientist and writer) and myself. It took over 6 month shooting which was done primarily in Paris (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle). Photo shoots also took place in Monaco (for the cetaceans), Marseille or Toulouse to photograph over 300 specimens. The main technical challenges concerned the late 19th century architecture of the Museum, in which the shooting was taking place, with its huge windows that could not be covered to block daylight that made it difficult to work on lighting. The other big problem was dealing with rigid but fragile squeletons that (because of strong supports and thigh wirering) did not allow any movement in the posture.
My philosophy was mostly graphic: how to simplify the rendering of a complex structure by removing « the excess of information » or confusion (too many bones!), using light in the manor of a sculptor. Keep it to the minimal; less is more as adopted Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. A very interesting aspect came-up after the release of the book in United States with Dan Simon (the American co-publisher) claming that for him, Evolution was not only a great art and science book but also a political book because of its evolutionist and thus anticreationist view. With now 6 foreign co-publishers, Evolution has been acclaimed throughout the world and entered private art collections and was presented in exhibitions in France and Denmark.
Patrick Gries was born in Belgium in 1959. After completing his training as a school teacher, he moved to New York in 1984 where he discovered American Photography and the vibrant art scene of the 80s. Initially working as a photographer’s assistant, than as a free-lance photographer, he began to collaborate with various art and design magazines. His first photo-documentary project on post-communist Romania was published in Interview magazine in 1990. In 1992 Patrick moved to Paris. He has since pursued both personal and commissioned work and has become a reference in the field of art and design publications for institutions such as the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, as well as various museums. In 2005 he was in charge of launching the editorial photography for the opening of the Musée du Quai Branly. Over the past years he has authored art books such as Evolution and contributed to numerous publications on Ron Mueck, Cesar, Madeleine Vionnet, Matai Crasset,…
Recognized for his strong aesthetics of precision and minimalism, Patrick Gries has captured the attention of famous luxury companies such as Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels who commission him on various editorial books projects. In Evolution, published in 2008 with Editions Xavier Barral Paris (texts written by Dr. Jean-Baptist de Pannafieu), he offers an atypical approach to viewing art and science. The typological black and withe photo series present skeletons of vertebrates as sculptures which forces us to reconsider the boundaries between artistic and scientific objects. With now 6 foreign co-publishers, Evolution has been acclaimed throughout the world and has now been on exhibitions in France and Denmark and and entered private art collections. In/Visibility, Patrick Gries’ latest work – an elaborate series of portraits of albinos of Tanzaniais a project that situates itself at the intersection of art, social anthropology, and politics, and intends to give life and identity to those who, in many ways “do not exist”. In/Visibility is currently published in the new issue of European Photography number 92, and will be exhibited in Houston/TX USA - at FotoFest’s International Discoveries IV exhibition March 21 to May 4 2013, as well as Festival de la Luz in Buenos Aires 2014.
This series evolved from a long-running sequence of semi-abstract photographs of city buildings that I started taking several years ago. I was trying to capture not only the strange architectural beauty of these structures but also their eerie impersonality when looked at a certain way; almost like honeycombs with their relentless patterned grids of black windows. Unlike the suburban and rural houses that I photograph â€“ where personality and individualism predominate â€“ the urban towers exist at a kind of emotionless macro level, exuding a sense of power, a world where hundreds, if not thousands, of people work and live.
Ways of Being
Deanna Witman www.dmwitman.com
Trained as both artist and scientist, Deanna searches for metaphysical understanding and meaning amongst the rocks and trees. She chooses to work with the pinhole camera because of itâ€™s capacity to experience time, place, and spirit as an experience. Moving the shim across the pinhole to allow the light in, for the moment to record on the film has become ritual. Metamorphosis is a frequent consequence of the temporal aspect of her process, slowly unexpected forms emerge, un/ becoming- figures in the work suggest ephemeral states and exist within primordial realms. The photographs are obsessively sought and exist privately in the longing to communicate intrinsic thoughts and experiences. A measure of existence, a rhythm with the Earthâ€™s breath, a communion with the crust of dead leaves and soil that give life and shape to her imagination and being. These images were created in camera with one negative exposed using a large format pinhole camera.
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Vodun, trying to grasp the ungraspable
Frederic Vanwalleghem www.fredericvanwalleghem.com
“Instead of regarding ‘primitive religion’ as compensation for and antagonistic to a true understanding of the physical universe, it might be useful to assume that such religious systems propose ideas which are essentially correct and in harmony with the true nature of the physical universe.” Maya Deren
These thoughts closely echo my own sentiments. For years I have been intrigued by native spirituality as for me they hold answers on how to connect with our own true nature. Since my first travels to Cuba in 2002, 2005 and 2008 I deeply got interested in African diasporic traditions like Santéria and Condomble and especially in Vodun, a subject that I have researched extensively. ‘Vodun, trying to grasp the ungraspable’ is an essay photographed during my stay with a Vodun family in Benin. Curious to dig deeper at the origin of many diasporic traditions in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil and New Orleans I immersed myself in the Beninese culture and lived in Ouidah, considered the capital of Vodun in West Africa. From my experience and encounters, and especially the participation in ceremonies, were born a video documentary and this essay.
I lived with the ‘Hounongan Zanzan Zinho Kledjé’ family who adheres the Gambada fetish or the serpent spirit, the basis of the well-known Damballah cult in Haïti. In Vodun and related African diasporic traditions a primordial way to obtain a spiritual experience is by being possessed by the Iwa or spirit. Through spirit possession the devotee and cult spirit become one. The members seem to immerse themselves in a hypnotic trance until one of the spirits starts to inhabit a body.
I was fortunate to encounter and document this intense experience. During a ceremony I witnessed the individual trance of two devotees. I wanted to document the experience of the people and attentively focused on that aspect. What happened to them during the trance states? How did they behave? Is this a genuine experience? What impact did this ceremony have on them? How do I perceive the devotees before, during and after? What effect does this have on me? The numerous uncontrollable muscle spasms, vocalizations and peculiar eye gazes showed me this was an unfeigned event.
Frederic Vanwalleghem is an artist photographer born in Belgium, 1978. He specialises in experiencial documentary and portraiture. He has been published internationally in print and online and next to his personal work he focusses on commissioned documentary photography abroad. His portraiture essay ‘Retratos en tu cuarto’ was selected for the Sony World Photography Awards 2009 by jury members Mary Ellen Mark and Sarah Moon. The essay ‘Vodun, trying to grasp the ungraspable’ was selected finalist for the International Photography Award ‘Emerging DST 2012’ in partnership with the photography festival ‘Encontros da Imagem’ in Braga, Portugal. Later this year it will be published in the contemporary art magazine Arte al Límite.“
Tim Hope www.timhope.net
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Piere Teilard de Chardin Piere Teilard de Chardin
In making photographs, I love to explore visual possibilities unbound by a normal “human” since of reality. As in a dream or psychedelic experience, I try to create a vision at the edge of believability that entices the viewer to accept the possibility of a reality beyond the one we’ve been conditioned to accept. Growing up at the tail end of the baby boom, I looked up to the ‘60s counter culture. I loved the music, art and ideals. The concert promotion posters produced in the San Francisco area in the ‘60s and album cover art of the ‘70s have had a huge influence on my work. As did, my introduction to the works of Clarence John Laughlin and Jerry Uelsmann.
“Continuum” Series: Having grown up in New Orleans, a region steeped in history, I believe I have an innate romantic sense of the past. That sense was abruptly shaken by hurricane Katrina with the loss of my home, art, photography, childhood schools and neighborhoods. Many of the places that were important to me are now empty lots. This series is a somewhat cathartic expression of place memory. A completely synthesized, happier time, haunting particular spaces. Or perhaps the addition of an imagined past to a space and time striped of any record of its history.
I’ve always used photography as studies for paintings. Over time I have abandoned the distinctions between the two. As technology presented the tools, my work has become a synthesis of photography, found images, painting and computer graphics. The incorporation of rhythm and surface tension through the use of format structure and the ancient Greek “golden ratio” are a continuing fascination for me.
Born 1958, to American parents in Caracas Venezuela Tim has been involved in some form of visual arts from his earliest memories. His childhood was spent in Houston, Texas during the “space race” 60s. In the summer of 1969 his family moved to New Orleans just in time to experience the fringes of hurricane Camille. He has called the Mississippi Gulf Coast home since 1993. A 30 year veteran of the advertising & design business. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Communications. He also attended Parson’s School of Design in New York. Tim has worked in a variety of advertising agencies and design firms. His work has won numerous awards from advertising and public relations organizations, as well as being featured in national publications such as Print Magazine’s Regional Design Annual, and The American Corporate Identity Annuals.
While the career in advertising paid the bills, Tim has always found time to create fine art; paintings, photography, and mixed media, with a personal goal of pushing boundries while retaining many time tested principals of composition and structure. In the summer of 2005 Tim, like so many others lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. His art work and life profoundly changed direction. He began to focus on fine rather than commercial art useing the tools he used in advertising. Tim uses the computer to “paint” with photography.
BETA developments in photography 03 presents folios by Clay Lipsky, Patrick Gries, Ben Marcin, Deanna Witman, Frederic VanWelleghem and Tim...
Published on Feb 14, 2013
BETA developments in photography 03 presents folios by Clay Lipsky, Patrick Gries, Ben Marcin, Deanna Witman, Frederic VanWelleghem and Tim...