D Nâ€™T TAKE PICTURES Klaus Frahm Daniel Grant Anna Filipova Petros Koublis Helene Schmitz Kristen Hatgi-Sink Francine Fleischer
Issue 6 Spring 2016
Don't Take Pictures Issue 6 – Spring 2016
California Dreamer Daniel Grant Beyond the Surface of Perception Petros Koublis Understanding the Photography Market
2 Elin Spring 8 Caitie Moore 16 Elizabeth K. Harris
8 Stark Lives, Stark Land A nna Filipova’s Northernmost Mines The Power of Three
Swim: The Water In Between Francine Fleischer Book Review: Borderlands Helene Schmitz 18
Delicate Flowers The Photographs of Kristen Hatgi-Sink Backstage Pass Klaus Frahm and Germany’s Magnificent Theaters In Context Two and One
Founder/Editor-in-Chief Senior Editor Staff Editor Designer
Publisher: Don’t Take Pictures 129 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
18 Roger Thompson 24 Arno Rafael Minkkinen 28 Diana H. Bloomfield 36
38 Kat Kiernan 44 W.G. Beecher 59 Scott & Tina Bryson
Kat Kiernan Roger Thompson W.G. Beecher Union Jack Creative
Tess Kristen Hatgi-Sink, 2012
Kat Kiernan (right) with Debbie Hagan at the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Focus Awards. Photo: Silke Hase
large banner declaring “no photography” in Dutch hangs over the entrance to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Displaying an illustration of a camera with a red X through it, the message is clear: don’t take pictures. The banner, reminiscent of this publication’s logo, is intended to be jarring and to make people question their use of the camera. The museum’s ban on cameras has caused quite a stir as part of its initiative to encourage visitors to engage with the artwork, viewing it carefully with their own eyes, unfiltered by a lens. Photographs are uniquely able to record our surroundings, allowing us to revisit a place, person, or moment as often as we like. But with the prevalence of cameras today, sometimes the experience itself becomes secondary to the act of documentation. Realizing that museum-goers have a desire to remember their visit in this manner, Rijksmuseum has launched a “Start Drawing” campaign which favors sketching the works of art over photographing them.
To sit and study a piece while attempting to interpret and render your own version is an admirable goal. Many photographers, like the ones in this issue, spend extended amounts of time examining their subject both with and without the viewfinder. Some spent months immersed in coal mining communities, hours staring down at a swimming hole, or weeks attempting to perfect a collodion plate. The depth of each body of work is unquestionably connected to these photographers cultivating relationships with their subjects, before creating a “document” to share with an audience. Just like the Rijksmuseum, Don’t Take Pictures encourages our readers to slow down, carefully viewing the portfolios and reading the thoughtful and considered articles about the hows and whys of the photographs within these pages.
—Kat Kiernan, Editor-in-Chief
California Dreamer Elin Spring
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Grant's imagery transmits a soulful feeling, one that reflects his own journey, as irregular as the coastline.
nswering a call as old as the sea itself, Daniel Grant was drawn as a young boy to the ocean’s edge. And like a siren song, it calls to him still, infusing the photographs in his series Sand People with reverence and yearning. Growing up in southern California in the 1970s and ‘80s, the beach was a limitless playground on which to run freely, at least until dinnertime. But as a latchkey kid living with his mother and two sisters, it also became a place where Grant discovered an enduring brotherhood. When his friends’ older brothers took them to the beaches, Danny eagerly joined the ad hoc family of “surf rats,” bonding through their ocean adventures, clothing, language, and music. The sense of belonging was infatuating and the lifestyle, pure fun. Grant has spent years “following the swell,” photographing Sand People in California, Hawaii, Costa Rica, North Carolina, Mexico, Spain, France, and Australia. And while he relishes the idiosyncratic flavor of each location, it is impossible to detect those differences among his images. Instead, the viewer senses the predominance of surf culture over every other. “It’s like a religion,” says Grant.
Fins Up (Sayulita, Mexico) 2014
That universal surfing ethos might make it all too easy to create repetitive images, but Grant sustains our attention with a dynamic variety of content, perspective, composition and texture. His use of a Diana toy camera imparts an intimate visual narrative. Something of a subculture itself, those who photograph with toy cameras—known for their uneven exposures, focal variations and light leaks—invite the dreamy implication of memories, along with the substantial vagaries of chance. It seems an especially fitting camera to use when tracking the wanderings of his subjects in Sand People. Whether picturing a group or lone surfer, tumultuous or velvety seas, a stand of battered boards, or the campy features of surfside neighborhoods, Grant’s imagery transmits a soulful
feeling, one that reflects his own journey, as irregular as the coastline. Serendipity has played as important a role in Grant’s life as it has in his imagery. Consumed in his youth with surf culture, his career path followed a circuitous route from bartending to a degree in Environmental Studies (something he discovered that “all surfers choose”). When his classic, youthful aspiration to, “make a difference and change the world” collided with the need to make a living, Grant again changed course. Landscape Architecture became the viable career that allowed him to combine his creative instincts with his zeal for outdoors and travel. Grant’s studies allowed him to criss-cross the world, but it was a college elective in photography that opened that world up to him in unimaginable ways. His first visit to a gallery was with this class, transforming his view of photography, “from a means of advertising to one of personal expression.” It was the mid-1990s, and Keith Carter’s blackand-white series Ezekiel’s Horse was on view. Grant says that he experienced, “a revelation about the use of depth of field and the one-image story in conjunction with an overarching theme.” Prior to starting his master’s degree, he joined a group of restaurant co-workers traveling to Europe for a month. Before leaving, a friend gave him a Holga toy camera and about 20 rolls of expired film, which he carted along, completely ignored, until he lost his workhorse 50mm Pentax lens to a lake in a lens change on an unsteady boat. From that point onward, Grant used the Holga exclusively, later commenting, “I loved the way that camera captured cultural differences. It changed my entire world view again.” Later, while living in San Sebastian, Spain for a six-month graduate study travel program, Grant made the switch from a Holga to a Diana toy camera. His extensive travels provided the material for his first pho-
BRFTBOY (My Dad’s Car, Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA) 2006
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
Paradise (Pinceville, Kaui, HI) 2004
tographic series, which was mostly in black and white and covered a range of subject matter. Subsequently, his work became more autobiographical, with Homeland tracing his family’s roots in Italy, and Remembered Landscapes paying tribute to his late father through blurred color images. It was nearly a decade after that first gallery visit that Grant enrolled in a Santa Fe Workshop with Keith Carter, an experience that altered his shooting style again, “I started thinking about series, about creating a story over time and envisioning a bigger picture.” During the workshop, he stretched himself in a new direction, shooting nudes in a series that became My Affair with Diana (yes, the camera), winning Grant the 2007 People’s Choice Award for “Natasha” in SoHo Photo Gallery’s Krappy Kamera Competition, an exhibition at the
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
SFMOMA Artist Gallery, and numerous awards and honorable mentions since then. With Sand People, Grant seems to have come full circle, adopting another sage piece of advice from Keith Carter: “shoot what you love.” In returning to surfing’s tribal coastal culture, Grant has married youthful passion with a mature photographic style. Architectural training has helped to hone his native sense of spatial relationships, cultivating concepts of symmetry, order, and the ideas of positive and negative space, an effect accentuated by the Diana’s square format. To this Grant deliberately introduces the magic of chance. “I’m extra careful with my composition and framing, but the image is ultimately manipulated by light and the time of day, with the Diana providing an element of surprise with the exposure.”
It is Grant’s combination of sophisticated, controlled design and the capricious nature of the toy camera’s treatment of light and focus that makes his photography so alluring. His use of silhouetted figures, soothing light, and the hazy vignette of the Diana’s frame bestow an otherworldly sensation of dreams and memory. With its modern narrative and vintage aura, Grant has invented a special combination of story and photographic object, his own riff on reality. This son of the California coast and citizen of the world has captured the essence of Sand People in image that are undeiably evocative, intensely meditative, and gently lyrical.
Elin Spring is a Boston-based portrait photographer and the author of the photography blog, What Will You Remember?
Sandy Feet (Hammonds, Santa Barbara, CA) 2013 Right
Winter Line Up (Under the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Point, San Francisco, CA) 2006
Offshores (Quimixto, South of Puerto Villarta, Mexico) 2014
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Insperato If somehow all suddenly awakes 2014
etros Koublis’ photographs are profound and visually striking. His work evokes a sense of déjà vu, haunting the waking consciousness; triggered by forms within the immediate environment. Like a dense fog, his images veil the native senses and alienate the surrounding landscape in waves of shifting perspective. The viewer is left suspended in time and space, stranded without a compass.
Having originally studied painting, Koublis recalls that photography found him naturally. Heavily influenced by Romanticism, he employs photography to explore themes of spirituality, sublimity, and the immense beauty of nature. His auspicious use of light and rich sense of color elicit an emotional response akin to 18th century Pastoral and Sublime landscape paintings. Koublis focuses on these attributes in an attempt to evoke a deep spiritual connection with nature and reveal an unspoken truth that lingers just beyond the surface of our perception. In his series In Dreams, Koublis reveals a journey that zigzags across a foreign terrain. An undulating narrative unravels as the landscape slowly reveals subtle truths only to hide them once again. Objects and spaces begin to take on a renewed metaphysical significance. Shallow pools of water become portals with unknown depths. Explosive waves dominate the shoreline, embodying the strength and perseverance of nature. At times portrayed as a glassine mirror, the sea dissolves completely as it recedes into the background. Animals become beacons of wisdom and guide us through the unforgiving landscape, while other times they appear as gatekeepers standing at the brink of an unforeseen threshold. It is difficult to view this work without recalling the long history of Greece and the mythology of the region. Herons, olive groves, and thick pine forests are not only symbols in ancient mythology, but hold significance in modern Greece culture. Noting that, “primitive memory is ingrained with symbols,” Koublis recognizes that,
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
“every culture … carries natural symbols in abstract or specific ways.” He takes pleasure in the nature of a symbol as both culturally and religiously subjective. Koublis believes that everyone must follow their own history to understand and reflect upon why certain elements elicit particular emotional responses. As Greek mythology offers explanations for the changing of the seasons, Koublis too asks us to reconsider how and why things occur. He envisions a new mythology, explaining, “Plato claimed that myths can convey meanings that are hidden from our mind and can only be reached through our intuition. When we put our mind in doubt … other senses become more alert, revealing concepts that are free of words and definitions.” Koublis transforms the Greek landscape into a visceral viewing experience that is free from the confines of historically accepted beliefs. Adamantly, we welcome new possibilities by trusting our intuition and curiosity. In his series In Landscapes, Koublis examines the disconnect between the modern man and the weathered Greek landscape. His exploration offers a reconsideration of existing notions, and attempts to draw new parallels. One notices the influence of Romanticism and the Sublime most vividly in these photographs underscored by the wild, often foreboding, landscape. Although situated a mere thirty miles from Athens, we are transported to a mystical realm of rolling hills, replete with majestic animals and ancient olive groves, that beckon a deepened visceral response. The dense fog saturates the landscape and embodies an immense aura or spirit—prompting us to view it as a living, breathing, and unsympathetic being. By recasting the Attic landscape in this way, Koublis seeks to rid us of our acquired history of the land only to offer a new direction with continued hope. Personal discovery is central to Koublis’ process. He often spends hours wandering the diverse Greek countryside, guided solely by his intuition—seeking images that attract him on an emotional level. Subtly, this process suggests what we might learn about ourselves and
the universe once rational thought and preconceived notions are set aside. With his camera, Koublis expands and compresses the landscape, challenging our perception of the surroundings. In both In Landscapes and In Dreams, he rejects our ability to immediately comprehend and trust the native sense of sight, inviting instead a second glance. This aggressive shift in perspective skews our sense of scale and generates a feeling of dysphoria. Long, grassy reeds are viewed from above appearing as dense as forests, and rock formations shift from mountainous cliff faces to coral no larger than the size of a hand. As if teetering on the edge of a dream, Koublis plants the seeds of ideas in his viewers’ heads, rarely providing answers to the questions that his work conjures. Captions present a delicate, opaque narrative. Inspired by the works of E.E. Cummings and T.S. Eliot, many of his captions are derivative of their writings. Abstract enough so as not to provide an explanation for the photograph, the titles provide a direction for the viewer to follow. A narrative unfolds in waves like a lengthy poem, and generates yet another layer to one’s path of understanding. Koublis’ photographs stimulate our subconscious and welcomes renewed insight upon continued reflection. He claims that, “Our dreams form a realm that inevitably hosts every desire and every passion, every hope and every fear, every thought and every instinct. For it is a realm that arises from the vast oceans of emotions, the dense forests of thoughts and the endless steppes of intuition.” Just as his photographs become about more than the thing itself, his work draws us to inconceivable depths. He alludes to the frail but confident nature of the human spirit, invigorating our senses and freeing us to explore the limits of our intuition.
Caitie Moore is an artist and independent curator. She is the owner of Nomadic Bookshelf, an independent bookstore dedicated to the self-published photobook, and is the former director of Aint-Bad Magazine. She currently resides in Cleveland, OH.
Semitas if breathingâ€™s a meadow 2013
Statera Then grows longer than roots 2014
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Espera Perhaps when silently everything 2013
Somnolent Beyond the brittle towns asleep 2012
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Aliento All of a sudden all suddenly all 2013
he art market has a reputation for being rather opaque. Prices sometimes go unpublished, transactions take place behind closed doors, and list prices are flexible at best. It would be an understatement to say that the market is dictated by qualitative metrics. Art has many transcendent qualities, but the dollar value ascribed to a photograph on the art market is determined by a discrete set of variables. Art Market Values First and foremost, it is essential to note that the art market is divided into the primary marketplace, which is comprised of galleries (and studios) that sell items directly from the artist, and the secondary market, which is comprised of auction houses and galleries that specialize in the resale of art. In the primary marketplace, there are a few basic criteria that determine retail prices for photography. For art dealers, pricing is primarily dictated by answering questions related to “who” and “how”: Who: Who is the photographer? How: How was the print made (process, size, quality)? How many photographs are in the edition? How many photographs are still available in the edition on the retail market? How well has the artist/photograph sold previously at public auction (if these records yet exist)? The secondary marketplace not only looks at the metrics established in the primary marketplace, but also applies additional criteria to help determine value. Since these photographs have been previously owned, “what” and “where” suddenly become factors when appraising these works; additional questions pertaining to the production, quality, and authenticity of the photograph also become relevant. What: What is the quality of the photograph in terms of subject matter and the print itself? What is the condition of the photograph? Where: Where has the photograph been held and exhibited?
16” x 20” silver gelatin Edition of 20 edition #’s 1-5: $ 500 edition #’s 6-10: $ 575 edition #’s 10-15: $ 650 edition #’s 16-20: $ 725
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
When: When was the photograph taken during the course of the artist’s oeuvre? When was the photograph printed? Who: Who printed and signed the photograph? The Primary Market
In order to better explore these questions, let’s follow the pricing trajectory of photography by the hypothetical photographer “John Smith.” John Smith joins a New York City gallery and has his first solo exhibition. He is a young photographer with no previous representation; he lacks any sales records and has minimal name recognition. Each work is available in varying sizes—16 x 20 inches in an edition of 20, 20 x 24 inches in an edition of 10, and 30 x 40 inches in an edition of 5. For the sake of this example, let’s say that the photographs come in two print mediums—silver gelatin prints and archival inkjet prints. The gallerist receives his work, and they plan to sell directly to the public on the retail market. Applying the metrics outlined above, the gallery can price John Smith’s photographs. When pricing, gallerists first assess who the photographer is. John Smith is a new photographer, with little exposure and no name recognition acquired either from his work or from celebritystatus. For emerging photographers with no significant achievements on their curriculum vitae, prices start low and are essentially dependent on only three factors that relate to how the photograph is produced and marketed—print size, print type and edition size. While many collectors assume that subject matter and quality affect retail prices, they may be surprised to learn that size is the principal metric used across
16” x 20” archival inkjet Edition of 20 edition #’s 1-5: $ 200 edition #’s 6-10: $ 275 edition #’s 10-15: $ 350 edition #’s 16-20: $ 425
20” x 24” available only in silver gelatin Edition of 10 edition #’s 1-5: $ 750 edition #’s 6-8: $ 850 edition #’s 9-10: $ 950
Photography Market Elizabeth K. Harris all genres of art to ascribe value when looking at an individual artist; the larger the work, the higher the price. In the primary market, all works are priced equally if prints are the same size, even if a few works are clearly less desirable. In the case of John Smith, works are assigned prices uniformly according to size, with the larger works costing more than the smaller works. When available, photographs that are produced in different print mediums will generally be priced according to the cost and labor to process the prints. Thus, in our example, the silver gelatin prints, which are hand-printed, costly to make, and are labor-intensive, will be priced higher than the archival inkjet works that are printed by a machine. Edition size also affects retail pricing. The larger the edition size, the lower the price of the individual prints. In the photography and print markets,
30” x 40” available only in silver gelatin Edition of 5 edition #’s 1-3: $ 1,000 edition #’s 4-5: $ 1,250
edition runs enable gallerists to implement tiered pricing if they so choose. This means that as photographs sell, prices rise as availability decreases. Given this information, John Smith’s initial gallery pricelist might look like the table on the previous page.
As John Smith’s work sells and grows in popularity, this initial pricelist will become obsolete. As he has more exhibitions, prices will increase incrementally across the board. Photographs from older series, as well as photographs from newer series, will adhere to the increased price structure. The rates at which an artist’s work increases will vary, but the primary factor that drives price increases is sales. A prudent gallery will raise their artist’s prices gradually, thereby developing support from their clientele and taking time to build the market for the individual. Traditionally, these increases are timed to coincide with solo exhibitions, and at times, can also be a result of occurrences on the secondary market. However, caution must be taken during the pricing process, because established galleries do not lower their artist’s prices even when the market lulls. The Secondary Market At a certain point, photographs are eventually put up for resale on the secondary market, whether at auction, in a gallery, or via a private transaction. In our hypothetical, this occurs when John Smith is a mid-career photographer with a few published books of his work. By this time, he has had many solo gallery shows, and his photographs have been exhibited in museum group shows. John Smith is well-known and respected, but he is not extraordinarily famous. One of his photographs, titled XYZ, is presented to an auction house for resale. The photograph is an eight-year-old silver gelatin print measuring 30 x 40 inches. It is edition number 1 of 5, and the subject was used as the cover of the artist’s book. This particular photograph is no longer available on the primary market in this size. Other 30 x 40 inch prints retail between $7,750 and $9,000 (depending on availability in the edition run). Smith does not yet have any auction records that can be used as a point of comparison.
Auction houses first assess how a photograph might fare before accepting works to put on the block. On the secondary market, there are many variables to consider when determining value. First, the artist’s primary market and existing auction records are used as a guide. The metrics that determine prices on the primary market are then examined, and finally, information that pertains to where the photograph has been, what its quality is, and when it was produced, are analyzed. Unlike the primary marketplace, prices for artworks on the secondary market are assessed both in terms of quality and popularity. The photograph’s subject matter and print quality suddenly become points of scrutiny. Most artists are known for a distinct style, subject matter, or process. Generally speaking, works that are more representative of these signature characteristics typically attract a higher price. In our hypothetical, the photograph was the cover of Smith’s book and is no longer available on the retail market, both factors that would drive up its value at auction. Experts will then look to place the photograph in the artist’s oeuvre, which is the artist’s career arc. Images made in the height of an artist’s career are generally viewed as more valuable than those from other periods. Each artist’s ascent into prominence differs, but the most highly sought after works are generally from their “break-out” period or series. The date that the individual print was made is also significant. For the majority of photographs, prints that are contemporaneous with the image’s public debut hold the most value. Later edition prints can vary in resale value for a variety reasons—someone other than the photographer may have produced the print (i.e. posthumously created prints), the later processes of a particular image may be of worse quality than those printed earlier, or they are simply not as sought after. By examining an artist’s primary market, and by asking questions that pertain to what and when, the auction house is given a rough idea of what any photograph in the edition run would be worth should it hit the market. In the case of Smith, the auction house might deduce that any photograph of XYZ at this size would probably resell between $7,000 and $12,000 based on Smith’s current primary market performance, the image’s availability, that XYZ is a signature image, and that it was taken and printed by him during the upward trajectory of his career. These conclusions are still broad. In order to
determine what this particular photograph is worth, the trajectory of its “life” must be followed—where has this photograph been exhibited, who has owned it, and most importantly, how well was it cared for? The physical condition of a photograph heavily influences its value. A photograph showing creases, acid burn, fading, or other imperfections may have little value, particularly if other prints are readily available in better condition. While condition issues can negatively affect the value of a particular photograph, its provenance and exhibition history typically bolster its value. For example, a work that was routinely exhibited in museums may justify a higher price tag. Similarly, a work will typically perform well on the secondary market if it has an interesting provenance; artworks formally owned by well-known collectors or celebrities generally garner higher prices upon resale. Smith’s photograph XYZ has a traceable, clean provenance, but its prior owners are not famous, thereby adding no additional value to the work. The photograph is in impeccable condition, having been properly framed and hung in an area where there was no apparent exposure to moisture or to excessive amounts of light. Having analyzed all of the information available for the photograph, the auction house decides that they can probably expect it to sell for $9,000 to $10,000. To entice bidders, the auction house promotes the sale by publishing a low estimate of $6,500 to $7,500. There is no guarantee what price it will fetch, or if it will sell at all. Ultimately, all sectors of the art market become contingent upon one another. If the photograph sells high, his gallery may decide to increase Smith’s retail prices. If the work sells low, this will reflect poorly on Smith’s existing primary market prices. Everyone waits... the bidding starts at $5,000. A phone bidder meets the reserve. An in-house bidder challenges, and the bidding war starts up. The hammer drops at $9,250, and Smith’s first public record for his prices is set; everyone is pleased.
Elizabeth K. Harris is the Director of Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York. She holds an MA in Visual Arts Administration from NYU and has co-authored two books on art.
Stark Lives, Stark Land A nna Filipova’s Northernmost Mines Roger Thompson
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
There are no trees. No ground cover. No vegetation of any sort. There is only rock, snow, and human travail.
nna Filipova works in contrasts, and her photographs of distant outposts in the far north suggest that life in that landscape is, if nothing else, stark. Eschewing romance and distancing herself from any notion of the purity of extreme environments, Filipova examines the interaction between human and land in a place where nothing can obscure the impact of industry. There are no trees. No ground cover. No vegetation of any sort. No rising mists, or dark clouds, or stunning sunsets distract from the inhospitable world that she photographs. There is only rock, snow, and human travail. As a result, Filipova’s images linger somewhere between exposé and exploration, between narrative—of lives in a place few of us can imagine—and stillness—of a place where stone and snow gather. Filipova’s recent body of work, Northernmost Mines, is perhaps the most polemic of her series on far north environments. For the project, Filipova traveled to coal mining communities in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago just below the North Pole. Two mining operations, one Norwegian and one Russian, created the current settlements. And while Arctic tourism is also present, the mining operations control the economy and the thin social structures. A history of whaling at Svalbard echoes as a memory,
but it has now been displaced by the search for coal. Filipova’s images trace the ragged demarcations between the people who work an impossibly difficult terrain and the harsh realities of the terrain itself. If the far north is unforgiving, as is so commonly suggested, it nonetheless manages to serve as an austere home to the miners who work the land there. About half the images from Northernmost Mines explore the landscape and the sites of industry. The other half move inside, into the lives of the miners. Those lives are traced both within the miners’ workplace and within their domestic sphere. In one photograph, an interior view shows a cluttered room in the home of a miner, and Filipova’s use of light in the image keeps our eyes moving throughout the space as we consider the stark reality of the scene. That reality is no less stark when Filipova turns her camera to the mines themselves, where in one group of images, we see massive earth grinding machines emerge from dark tunnels. Contorted teeth of a grinder dominate the foreground of “Tunnel Boring Machine,” but the impact of the picture comes from the contrast between the light that reflects from the refined metal of the machine and the utter absence of light as it is absorbed into the raw earth around it. The depth of darkness makes the machine
Tunnel Boring Machine Right
Miner All images made 2013–14
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Interior of a Home
seem almost suspended in time and space, an artifact of industry that is severe if also magnificent in form and power. Similar impressions of power come from the landscapes in the series. In “Cleaning Coal,” a chute from a mine crosses in front of an otherwise bleak mountain landscape. Coal, startlingly black, drops from the end of a chute and piles in a form mirroring the mountains behind it. That the mechanism of the mining operation quite literally cuts across the landscape is perhaps a cliché, but when paired with the blackness of those mounds, the complete absence of any reflected light, it transforms from cliché to disturbing rumination on the capacity to remake land and space. Despite the force of the landscapes, some
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
of Filipova’s most compelling images are her portraits. “Lunch Break” shows two men leaning back against a wall, feet up in chairs between shifts. Their faces and clothes are dark with dust from the mine, and above the head of the younger man, a smear of black falls across a calendar and the wall. It appears as though the dirty hair of the man has smeared coal dust across it, and the result is an almost comic sense that he has a wide spread of hair. “Miner” is among the strongest in the series. In it, a laborer, decked out and ready for work, stands in front of open lockers. The photograph appears staged, but it conveys both the reality of the work, which requires extensive protection from the coal, and the humanity of it, as the lockers behind him, though darkened, gesture to the many lives that share his story.
Halls for Miners
We’ve seen these figures before. Jack London, writing a century ago about the gold-frenzied Yukon, reminded us that, “when a man journeys into a far country, he must be prepared to forget many of the things he has learned,” and it is impossible to see Filipova’s portraits as anything other than men who have had to forget, at least for a time, their lives back home. There’s a tension in them, and it derives from our awareness that they live small lives in the northernmost mines. Lives of necessity. Lives dictated by weather and cold and the brutal reality of their work. We don’t wish to be them. We don’t imagine lives of great hope or possibility. Instead, we sense a trudging resignation to the limits of their present existence. At the same time, these are not images of a post-apocalyptic future. They are too direct for
any imagined future, too focused on present conditions to be fantasy. The outcome, then, is not admiration for the work or astonishment at the pursuit of labor, but an empty, hollow recognition that our lives make these places necessary. Our pursuits, our demands, our conveniences shape the land in distant places and control the lives of men we’ll never see. In other words, Filipova’s work confronts the fact that we, no matter how far away, have sent these men into the mines and torn darkness from the earth. Roger Thompson is the Senior Editor for Don’t Take Pictures. His critical writings have appeared in exhibition catalogues, and he has written extensively on selftaught artists with features in Raw Vision and The Outsider. He currently resides on Long Island, New York, where he is a Professor at Stony Brook University.
Mastering the Power of Three Arno Rafael Minkkinen
A photographic vision is rarely built from a single great image. We can all make such photographs, share them, exhibit them, or have them published on a magazine cover. There is nothing wrong with that. When we make a second great image that shares the same qualities of the first one, and yet is entirely different, a relationship begins to form. But it can’t stop there because who can resist comparing the two? Which one is better? It’s possible to spend a lifetime going to portfolio reviews with stacks of these disparate winning images. We can break out of that perpetual struggle by producing just one more—a third great image, one that, again, mirrors the first two, yet sings its own song the way that image one and image two must also do. With three independently strong yet linked photographs—the same, but different—the comparisons cease and a pathway emerges. I call this emergence “The Power of
Norm Diamond Everything Must Go
Three.” From there, we can anticipate a fourth photograph, and a fifth—in fact three years or three decades’ worth of seemingly endless and significant works. The pathway photographer is born. It’s the same with project-based work. A project has a beginning, middle, and end. When a project is finished, it is far easier to begin a new and entirely different one than it is to stay on the same path. And with little or no connection between them, we are back at the portfolio table to find out which one works best. The Power of Three traverses subject matter. It’s not what we photograph but how we see it. Photographs that gain this power are not casual snapshots, of course, but images that have been seriously self-vetted and critically evaluated by colleagues, teachers, and mentors who have come to know and take interest in our photographic careers.
Norm Diamond Man of the House
Norm Diamond Yellow Airplane
Arno Rafael Minkkinen is a Finnish-American photographer with exhibitions, publications, and collections spanning 45 years. He is a recipient of the 2013 Lucie Award, and a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship. His work is represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York. All of his images © Arno Rafael Minkkinen/Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
Oulujärvi Afternoon, Paltaniemi, Finland 2009
THE HELSINKI BUS STATION If starting out on a pathway is difficult, staying the course is even more challenging. You aspire to become photographer, build a body of work, and two years later bring it to a portfolio review. Five minutes into the session and the conversation turns to the photographer who inspired you too much; in other words, it’s time to find a new direction. Two years later the scenario repeats. And repeats. Everything
you do has been done before. Welcome to the Helsinki Bus Station. It’s an analogy I created some 25 years ago for Finnish students seeking an answer to the originality dilemma. The Helsinki bus station is arranged by platforms from which the buses depart along the same route out of the city. And that’s the problem: you are riding someone else’s vision, or so they say.
The key is to look at the whole route map and long journey each bus takes. By the fourth or fifth stop, the routes start to separate, and soon every bus is barreling away happily along its own route. It was only at the beginning that the similarities were so obvious. The moral of the story is simple: Stay on the fucking bus. It’s where we wanted to be in the first place when we started the journey, even if we didn’t know it.
Christmas Eve, Fosters Pond 2015
PATHWAY PHOTOGRAPHERS The Power of Three does not award gold, silver, or bronze medals to individual images. Every photograph is essentially on equal footing. We simply create from within, no longer seeking winners, and no longer in search of a visual signature. We have that. Itâ€™s how my student Norm Diamond sees the objects at the estate sales he attends that define his pathway, not the concept of his lovely project. As he moves on to other subject matter, the irony, humor, and tough
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
love he shows may well surface among the leading hallmarks of his vision, of the way he works, not what he shoots. In my own case, perhaps I came to this understanding from the work of my teachers Harry Callahan, George Tice, and Aaron Siskind, all pathway photographers in this sense. Fosters Pond in Massachusetts has been my outdoor studio for nearly three decades. Ironically, my closeness to the pond
is also the reason why I travel so much. Plane tickets buy new backgrounds. Otherwise, little changes in my work: the same body grows older, the same funny ribcage and collar bone anomalies, the same height and weight, the same count of fingers and toes, the same split upper lip with varying lengths of mustaches and beards to hide the deformity. This consistency of persona perhaps allowed me to master the Power of Three and create the pathway that defines my photography.
Maroon Bells Sunrise, Aspen, Colorado 2012
ART IS RISK MADE VISIBLE It was George Braque who anchored my pathway: “Out of limited means, new forms emerge.” That meant making a contract with myself about what I would not do. I would not photograph someone else to make my kind of picture for fear of putting them in harm’s way. I would not use an assistant to check my position in the frame or the result would be collaborative. I would not wear clothes so that I could preserve timelessness and avoid fashion. I would not manipulate anything in the camera or darkroom so that the image would correspond exactly with the reality before the lens.
Put simply, I work alone. I see the image in the viewfinder without me and imagine what the lens will see some nine seconds later. I trust my camera to finish what my imagination started. Whether analogue or digital, negative or RAW file, the unequivocal truth of the reality in the viewfinder rules, and yet, in the best ones, mystery still prevails. As a twenty-something copywriter on a camera account, I wrote: “What happens inside your mind can happen inside a camera.” I believed it, and turned my life over to the lens. Later, I wrote: “Art is risk
made visible.” The audience for our work expects to see our challenge, the risk we’re willing to take to do the work we do. We will know when we have veered off our pathways, and so will our audience, most of whom we never meet—the people who see our photographs on websites, in exhibitions, or in books. Their appetite for the work is as insatiable as our own because such audiences recognize in pathway work that a lifetime vision is underway and possible, even starting with just three photographs.
Swim: The Water In Between
Diana H. Bloomfield
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
n her photographic series, Swim: The Water in Between, Francine Fleischer presents a surreal subterranean landscape, where bathers gather to swim in ancient cavernous springs, lit only by shafts of sunlight streaming down from above. These deep crystalline pools of water, called cenotes (pronounced say-NO-tays), are sinkholes formed by collapsed limestone caverns, most famously found in the Yucatán Peninsula. It was there that, on a 2010 family vacation, Fleischer looked down the precipice into that dark water, setting both her gaze and her camera. Fleischer first glimpsed these bathers, their bodies gliding aimlessly along the surface of the water, and knew immediately that she, “had work to do.” She spent the rest of
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
that first afternoon photographing them in their various free-form configurations. She returned again and again, spending longer stretches of time at each visit. Fleischer realized that a wholly, “different cast of characters and new scenarios” emerged each time, offering a rich and dynamic mise-en-scène for constructing her imagery.
#9385 2013 Above
#9214 2013 Opposite
These photographs gain their magic, in part, from the contradiction between the simplistic superficial reality of recreational swimmers on vacation, and something else altogether. That tension between what is real and what is imagined—or interpreted—is what maintains Fleischer’s interest and keeps both her, and us, continually intrigued. Swimming itself remains a solitary endeavor.
Filled with symbolism, it is often viewed metaphorically. We simply try to “stay afloat” as we often find ourselves “in too deep, over our heads.” We “tread water;” we gingerly “test the waters,” or we boldly “take the plunge.” Sometimes, we take the more difficult route and choose to “go against the tide.” And, ultimately, we either “sink or swim.” All those metaphors are evident in Fleischer’s images, of course, yet just as her title suggests, she reveals to us something more—a mysterious paradoxical space in between, an allegorical elsewhere. Several of the swimmers, seemingly oblivious to one another, float on their backs, eyes closed, legs outstretched, arms reaching outward in a T-shaped formation, their bodies echoing the Christian cross, and—by
extension—the crucifixion. Paradoxically, this particular cenote, Fleischer points out, maintains a dark history of Mayan human sacrifice. They believed they could appease the Gods, communicate with them and with their ancestors, by sacrificing human life. The Mayans felt that the cenotes were the source for life, the water representing an entrance to another world. Biblically, light and dark represent good and evil, and—less abstractly—those who believe in and accept a higher power, and those who do not. To reach that other world, one had to first negotiate that watery darkness. Like the Mayans, these 21st century swimmers must also make their way beneath the earth’s surface and dive into that darkness,
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
before they can be bathed in light. This ancient cenote, formed 70 to 100 feet below the surface of the earth, washed in one singular haunting light, suggests an all-powerful God from above. These images evoke a goodness found only in the light and the promise of salvation in the form of baptism by water. To view Fleischer’s images through this spiritual, allegorical lens allows us to appreciate the allusions to other works of art, including some of the shared elements in renaissance paintings and even in literature. The soul’s journey towards God in Dante’s Inferno, with Dante traversing the dark, nearly bottomless River Styx comes to mind. In keeping with that same theme, a look at Auguste Rodin’s Gates of Hell, inspired by Dante’s Inferno, leads us to see Fleischer’s images on a wholly different level. Fleischer’s real talent, however, lies not solely in her ability to envision this landscape in a way that others might not have immediately recognized, but also in her astute compositional skills. Her images, conceived in-camera, are only minimally tweaked afterward. In Fleischer’s words, her approach is much like that of a street photographer. She simply watches and waits. When a story begins to unfold, or a visually interesting group of people, shapes or interactions emerge, and when the light shifts and wanes, Fleischer frames her scene perfectly in-camera and clicks the shutter. She exploits the vines that drop from far above, not dismissing them as an unwelcome intrusion, but rather, including them as an integral compositional element. These natural vines and ropes can be seen as intersecting lines, connectors, separators, and even as tethers.
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
Viewing these images, our perspective perfectly aligns with Fleischer’s as we look down from that very same precipice. This high vantage point creates a kind of separation, echoing that of the swimmers, who, whether in groups or alone, appear disconnected from those around them. In some of the group images, swimmers often seem to be clambering towards some unseen and unknown endpoint. And while not necessarily Fleischer’s point or intention, the visual parallels between these images and those of modern refugees struggling in unfamiliar waters to reach foreign shores are hard to dismiss. In Fleischer’s carefully composed images, she reveals a world that seems at once balletic and chaotic. The allegorical view suggests that these are two opposing and competing forces, always with and within us. Chaos, in religious terms, was seen as simply a formless matter before creation. In Greek mythology, Chaos was the first created being and the origin of everything that followed. The seeming chaos found in these images represents darkness, disorder, and formlessness, while the more elegant movements, aligned with the light, represent harmony, goodness, peace, and ultimate acceptance. Fleischer offers us a window into this ancient watery dreamlike world, layered with allegorical stories and myth. These images transport us through time and alternate worlds, and they are—like all compelling art—continually open to interpretation.
Diana H. Bloomfield, a native North Carolinian, is a photographer, independent curator, and writer. She lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina.
#9301 2013 Opposite
Borderlands Helene Schmitz Art and Theory Publishing, 80pp., $40
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
here is a certain beauty in a place or object’s state of decay. The textures and color palate that develops from abandonment or disaster can be visually seductive— even romantic. Using her camera to investigate spaces whose beauty is a product of destruction, Swedish photographer Helene Schmitz has travelled the globe in search of landscapes and spaces where time and nature’s ruthlessness have created unconventional beauty. Published in conjunction with Schmitz’s exhibition at Helsingborg, Sweden’s Dunkers kulturhus, Borderlands includes four distinct suites of photographs that explore the complex relationship between humans and nature. The slim, clothbound volume opens with “Earthworks,” a series of abandoned colonial Namibian homes filled with sand, then moves outdoors to the lush kudzucovered valleys of the southern United States in “Kudzu Project.” It visits the lightfilled greenhouses of an overgrown butter-
fly farm in the Suriname jungle in “Sunken Gardens,” and finally enters “Livingrooms,” the scorched and crumbling interiors of Schmitz’s childhood home, ravaged by fire. Each chapter is preceded by introductory text in both English and Swedish. On the surface, Borderlands could be interpreted as a book about fantastical environments, but upon closer inspection, the photographs reach beyond depictions of surreal surroundings. The images are more than aesthetically pleasing ruins. Each series represents the forces of nature overriding man’s weak attempt to tame it. In her introductory text, exhibition’s curator Lena Wilhelmsson states that the scenes portrayed in Borderlands are, “spaces that provoke questions, spaces to get lost in.” Created first by man, each environment has been affected by accident or neglect, allowing nature to take its toll. Whether Schmitz photographs a room filled with wind-swept dunes, or a forest’s edge smothered by invasive, albeit beauti-
ful, plant life, how the spaces came to be in their current state of surrender to the elements is never explored. With each turn of the page, the viewer shares the photographer’s experience of happening upon these unusual scenes and pondering the time and circumstances that brought them to their present form. These photographs, when complied together into a book, illustrate the complicated—and often contradictory—beauty of the natural world. Nature runs amok throughout the book’s pages, but Schmitz’s photographs are quiet. Devoid of people, her unbiased viewpoint makes it nearly impossible to tell if we are looking at a space or landscape that was forgotten years, months, or centuries ago. The book’s size helps to acknowledge that these places are not of grand scale, but microcosms of a larger phenomenon. Though the environments may be strange and foreign—contained to a room or small piece of land— the themes are universal.
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
The Photographs of Kristen Hatgi-Sink Kat Kiernan
n the backyard wilderness of her Denver home, Kristen Hatgi-Sink works photographic alchemy. With sunlight and simple chemistry, she makes striking tintypes of women among overgrown flora that are alive with feminine sexuality, yet carry a strong undercurrent of melancholy. The women who inhabit these luscious spaces are often despondent; forlornly draped over benches, staring into space or directly at the viewer—their gaze unapologetic yet non-confrontational. Hatgi-Sink directs her models from behind the dark cloth of her 8 x 10 view camera, positioning them in subtly sensual poses amidst the verdant Eden that she has created.
When viewing these tintypes, one might believe them to have been made in the countryside at the turn of the last century, but a closer look reveals details and gestures that are decidedly contemporary. Adorned with elaborate floral arrangements, the women in HatgiSink’s photographs present a modern-day mythology. In one image, a nude figure emerges from a pond filled with lily pads. Stark white against the inky black water, she takes on a nymph-like appearance, conjuring a darker, contemporary reimagining of Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” Her scale is distorted by the large format camera’s selective focus, and her form could be mistaken for a fountain sculpture.
delicate and evocative of the surrounding flora. In one photograph, a woman curls forward over a bench, nestled among large leaves. In another, a young woman sits against a cascade of blossoms, her long hair melding with the petals. Embracing the unique characteristics of the collodion process, Hatgi-Sink provides visual clues that all is not well in paradise. The somber facial expressions and intrusive vegetation suggest a loss of control, as though these young women seemed to have come upon some tragic realization. Many of the photographs have some degree of nudity, which Hatgi-Sink believes, “is not something new or terribly interesting, but it is beautiful.” Photographed without makeup and never retouched, the realness of the models gives the imagery a sexuality that is achieved through more than simply showing skin. She views sexuality and life as interconnected, and her work presents a strong correlation between women and the lushness of nature. Hatgi-Sink seems
Flower Dress 2012 Right
Blending into the surrounding plant life, or Goddess-like in a floral headdress; these women find themselves in beautifully luxurious garden settings. Their poses are
Shelby in Gourd Plant 2011
Daria in Pond 2011 Opposite
Caitlin with Pansies in Her Hair, The Woods 2012
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
most interested in making photographs in the moments where these women have begun to wilt. Though still beautiful, they are no longer lively, having perhaps discovered, as Hatgi-Sink describes it, “a dark correlation between themselves and the cut flowers surrounding them.” They too are decorative, meant to bloom only for a short time. While studying photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Hatgi-Sink became interested in the work of Mark Osterman, France Scully Osterman, and Sally Mann, three photographers who helped lead the resurrection of wet plate collodion. Used by historic photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron and William Henry Jackson, the 19th-century photographic process is currently experiencing a revival. Traditionally, a glass or tin surface is coated with light-sensitive chemistry, exposed incamera, and developed while the plate is still wet. The entire process, from capture to final image, is often completed within half an hour, resulting in a unique and nearly instant photographic object. Known for its detail and rich blacks, the flaws in the chemistry are an accepted and beloved component of the medium. Hearing only that wet plate collodion was “difficult and dangerous,” Hatgi-Sink became determined to learn it. Soon after, a friend travelling through Denver made a few collodion portraits of Hatgi-Sink and her now-husband Mark Sink. Captivated by the hands-on process, the ethereal quality of the photographs, and the way that the chemistry rendered the light, she returned to Boston for her last year of school and dedicated herself to learning the craft. After graduation, Hatgi-Sink moved back to her hometown of Denver, where, alongside Mark Sink, she spent the summer completely immersed in wet plate collodion experimentation. “We became a team; each being the others’ inspiration,
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
muse, assistant, plate coater, chemical mixer, costume designer, and lunch maker. Our hands, feet, clothes, and often face were marked with silver nitrate stains.” The two are partners in both work and life, having married in 2012. Mark is a fixture of the Denver art scene, and his work is held in numerous museum collections and exhibited internationally. Kristen boasts an impressive exhibition history as well since graduating in 2008 with a B.F.A. in photography. Together, they bring out the creative best in each other. Having worked as a florist, Hatgi-Sink is fascinated by our ability to purchase nature and reconfigure it to suit our needs. One of the more elaborate expressions of this fascination is the image “Flower Dress.” In it, a bare-chested woman stands tall and regal wearing a runway-worthy hoop-skirt made of flowers. The dress’s construction of chicken wire and freshly cut flowers, embellished by additional vines and flowers suspended from above, is a triumph of prop styling. Representing, as Hatgi-Sink describes it, “consumption of the natural world for self-beautyment,” “Flower Dress” became a creative turning point. Her new work is a departure from wet plate collodion, yet retains many of the same botanical and portraiture elements. Now working in digital color, she has moved into the studio, filling it with flowers and fruits. Without the seductive qualities of collodion, she relies on her talents for set design, lighting, and pose to maintain the pensive and magical elements of her signature style. Whether in the rich black and white of wet plate collodion or the rich colors of digital photography, Hatgi-Sink’s striking tableaus remain focused on the often unsettling relationship between femininity and the fleeting beauty of nature.
Kat Kiernan is a terrible gardener and the Editor-in-Chief of Don’t Take Pictures.
Megan in Flowering Bush 2010
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Backstage Pass Klaus Frahm and Germany’s Magnificent Theaters W. G. Beecher
he auditorium is lit and immaculate, ready for the audience to file in and take their seats. But the front curtain is raised and the stage is barren. In Klaus Frahm’s series The Fourth Wall: Stages, we stand on the stage of a great German opera house, looking out. Photographing from far up center stage, Frahm makes images of theaters as few people have seen them.
A Hamburg-based architectural photographer by trade, Frahm stumbled upon the idea for The Fourth Wall while on assignment for a theater in 2010, when he casually made a Polaroid looking out across the stage. It was not until he was reviewing his work later that he saw the image’s potential. Since then, he has been visiting opera houses and other large theaters around Germany. With a long and rich history of theater, the nation boasts the world’s greatest density of public and private stages. About one third of all operas performed each year are on a German stage. Frahm had his work cut out for him.
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
The Fourth Wall is on some level an exercise in typology. Frahm samples Germany’s grandest theaters, presenting each from the same perspective. The centerpieces of these images are the auditorium, which has been readied for the theater’s patrons. We are granted an impeccable view of these treasured spaces, and the series is partly a celebration of their extravagant ornamentation. Frahm’s images present us with a unique vantage of their velvet seating, gilded rococo plasterwork, and grand chandeliers—or in some instances, their clean lines and precise angles of elegant modernity.
Cuvillié-Theater, München 2013 Opposite
Markgräfliches Opernhaus, Bayreuth 2010 Above
Semperoper, Dresden 2011
This perspective is framed within a parallel typology, that of the dim utilitarian spaces which bring the magic of the stage to life. No matter how ornate the auditorium, the backstage surrounding it tends to be practical and modern. We see stage lights and drapes mounted to metal battens—half hidden in the matte black of the shadows. The lux and elaborate décor of the house contrasts starkly with these gritty and work-worn spaces behind the proscenium. While they might initially appear lifeless and uniform, upon closer inspection, the personalities of these normally-hidden places become apparent.
The bare white walls of “Cuvillié-Theater” in Munich feel cold and cramped in comparison to the expansive stage of “Semperoper” in Dresden or the worn black walls of “Markgräfliches Opernhaus” that have been signed by innumerable hands. By simultaneously photographing both the auditorium and the stage, Frahm’s images allow us to plainly see almost the entirety of the theater in a single detailed frame. But honesty of documentary photography is neither the aim nor the effect of The Fourth Wall. Using a large format camera, Frahm’s photo-
Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg 2011 Opposite
Berliner Ensemble, Berlin 2011
Staatsoper Kiel, Kiel 2012
graphs exhibit a high level of detail and an expansive depth of field, giving equal treatment to stage and auditorium. The lighting, too, is critical. The house glows with a warm radiance from chandeliers and ornate sconces, but Frahm eschews the gelled lights of the darkened stage in favor of fluorescent workmen’s lights. This decision shows the nearer spaces dimly laid bare, stripped of the magic that a theatrical performance brings. Rooted in theater terminology, the “Fourth Wall” is a reference to the division between a performance space and its audience. Actors perform their scene as if the stage were a room, with the audience hidden behind this fictional wall. It serves as both portal and bulwark, an imaginary barrier that keeps the performers from interacting with the audience and the audience from becoming participants in the show. By pointing his camera squarely at this fourth wall, Frahm seems to be letting the richness of the auditorium join with the stage into a single space. A number of critics have stated that Frahm’s
DON’T TAKE PICTURES
photographs capture the perspective of theater performers. This may be technically true, but it oversimplifies the world that he depicts. His inclusion of the floor and stage equipment neatly frames the auditorium through the proscenium arch. Moreover, positioning his camera at the far end of the stage creates the perception that we are an audience looking through an alternative “fourth wall” at the rear of the stage, with the seating included as part of the set. By flattening and framing the auditorium, Frahm’s images make it appear artificial, as though it were a detailed theatrical backdrop against which actors could perform. Frahm is often mentioned in the same breath as David Leventi and Candida Höfer, and for good reason. All three photograph the exquisite opulence of theaters head-on in vivid color and incredible detail. More than once, they have stood on the same stages and looked out. But while Leventi and Höfer focus completely on the sumptuousness of the auditorium, Frahm’s inclusion of the backstage separates us from such luxury. That
gulf—the stage, the shadows and scaffolding around the proscenium—and the vantage from which Frahm photographs, serves to invert the roles that these spaces play in relation to one another, and by extension, their occupants as well. The Fourth Wall has received a good deal of online media attention as of late. Frahm brushes off this sudden flurry of interest as “a little bit unexpected and not the point.” He continues to work on the series, taking additional time to photograph theaters from new perspectives when he can. The most difficult part about these shoots is securing access to the empty stage. But Frahm is undaunted, and has begun to imagine a time when The Fourth Wall extends beyond the borders of Germany and the cities where it has been shown. And while he makes no promises about which stages will draw his attention next, he coyly adds, “A list for Italy has already been worked out.” W. G. Beecher is an Editor for Don’t Take Pictures.
Hamburgische Staatsoper, Hamburg 2012
Richard Wagner Festspielhaus, Bayreuth 2014
DONâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
D Nâ€™T TAKE PICTURES
Each month we release an exclusive edition run of a photograph by one of the featured artists. Each image is printed by the artist, signed, numbered, and priced below $200. We believe in the power of affordable art, and we believe in helping artists sustain their careers. Artists receive the full amount of the purchase price.
Semitas Petros Koublis 6 x 9, signed and numbered edition of 5 Archival inkjet print $125 Available in April
Shelby in Gourd Plant, 2011 Kristen Hatgi-Sink 6 x 9, signed and numbered edition of 5 Archival pigment print from tintype original $95 Available in May
For more information, or to purchase a print, visit DontTakePictures.com
Offshores (Quimixto, South of Puerto Villarta, Mexico) Daniel Grant 6 x 6, signed and numbered edition of 5 Archival pigment print $100 Available in June
Swim #8229 Francine Fleischer 6 x 9, signed and numbered edition of 5 Archival pigment print $175 Available in July
MarkgrĂ¤fliches Opernhaus, Bayreuth Klaus Frahm 8 x 10, signed and numbered edition of 5 Archival pigment print $96 Available in August
The Boston Marathon draws runners from around the world every April to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton, MA to Boston. The course is legendary – the ladies of Wellesley, the hills of Newton, the gauntlet of BC spectators just over Heartbreak Hill – and the experience is one of a kind. Printed offset on bright white, archival stock, this train roll style poster commemorates each of the towns runners encounter along the route of The Marathon. 15”x24”. $20 shipped. Ships loosely rolled, USPS Priority Mail. Looks equally sharp matted and framed (not included). For more images or to purchase, visit shop.unionjackcreative.com.
Union Jack Creative
10.13 NOV 2016 GRAND PALAIS
PHOTO © SARAH HADLEY
Photographer Application Deadline Approaching April 29-May 1, 2016 Raleigh Studios, Hollywood photoindependent.com
Photo Independent provides photographers the unique opportunity to present their work to global decision makers—curators, gallery dealers, collectors, editors and publishers—who seek to acquire, publish and commission the best photographic talent today. To apply, visit photoindependent.com
2016 PHOTOBOOK COMPETITION Photo Independent announces the 2016 Photobook Competition. Winning books will be exhibited and for sale at Photo Independent in Hollywood, April 29-May 1, 2016, and will be featured on the Photo Independent website and in marketing campaigns. Submit your photobooks at photobookcompetition.com
Why Do Thousands of Galleries Hang Their Art With Gallery System? Gallery System art hanging systems are used in thousands of galleries and studios worldwide, including Kat Kiernan’s Kiernan Gallery. Why? Because Gallery System equipment makes it easy to hang, adjust, and refine until the work shines as it should. No nails, no tools, no fuss. Just great displays.
Call Gallery System Art Displays today at 800-460-8703, and mention Don’t Take Pictures for a free sample kit.
Untitled (Stand By Me boys), 2015, from the series “Years Later” - Nick Schietromo
PHOTOGRAPHIC AND PRESENTATION SPECIALISTS
Archival Inkjet Printing Archival Silver Gelatin Printing Custom Mounting and Framing Art Delivery to New England and NYC
540 Union Street Rockland, MA 02370 T 781.740.1300 www.panopticonimaging.com email@example.com
repreSented By LOUIS K. MEISEL GALLERY 141 Prince St NY . meiselgallery.com 212.677.1340 . gallery @ meiselgallery.com
Two and One Scott & Tina Bryson
Photo courtesy of Accidental Mysteries, collection of John Foster.
One dive. One dive, then one glance back. Then I’ll know. Pierce the water, glide back to the surface, then one simple look. Maybe they’re right behind me, headed into the water. Or maybe they’re still on the bank, and we’re no longer three. We’re two and one. Because I just don’t know. Not for sure. And even if I’m right, it’s not like I’m some sort of victim of a monstrous deceit. Things just change. That happens. Sometimes you feel like you’ve figured out who you are, and who your people are. Then all of
a sudden you’re not. And neither are they. But maybe I’m wrong. It was just a look. Probably nothing. Maybe nothing. It really could’ve been nothing. And when I saw their hands brush against each other? I don’t know. But I’ll know when I surface. If they’re in the water, too, we’re still three. It’s not like we had rules, or that promises were made. Not explicitly. An understanding, sure. But sometimes things just happen between two people.
Two people. Two and one. How did it happen, is what I want to know. And when? Were they together when I wasn’t? It’s not that I’m angry, or that that’d be some kind of betrayal. But were they meeting, just the two of them, without letting me know? For how long? Just for coffee? During the daytime? I’m about to find out. I hit the water. Descend, then turn and rise. I break the surface. And as I take in breath, I look to the bank to find my answer.
Photographs lacking context offer numerous possible stories, and few photographs are more mysterious than those without a known author or time period. In Context playfully brings more attention to both photographic narrative as well as the role that context plays in how we interpret images. In each issue, a writer is presented with a found vintage photograph to use as inspiration for a micro-fiction story. In doing so, the photograph is given new meaning, and the truth of the image is subject to interpretation.
IN CONTEXT SPRING 2016
Viscera With the deep caress of every most shy thing and mute Petros Koublis, 2015