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fall 2007 / #12


Domingo Milella Taryn Simon Jiuliang Wang Astrid Kruse Jensen Mikhael Subotzky Lieko Shiga

NL/IT €12,50 • E € 14 • AUT €16 DE €20 • Dkk 150 • PTE CONT €14

foam magazine #12 / talent

editorial / contents



Marloes Krijnen, director Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

This edition of Foam Magazine is a departure from the norm. The magazine is generally typified by a careful balance between recent work and historical portfolios, and between work by famous and less well-known photographers united by a chosen theme, whereas this edition, as the theme suggests, is entirely devoted to work by a selection of extremely promising young photographers. The decision to publish a special Talent edition was inspired primarily by the annual KLM Paul Huf Award, an international prize for talented photographers aged thirty-five or under, organized by Foam. Because of the way the award is run (see the text Why Talent? further in this issue), the editors of Foam Magazine are able to examine a hundred portfolios a year by young photographers from all over the world, selected by renowned experts. This means we are in a position to produce a special edition on an annual basis, exclusively featuring work by exceptional young talents. We have decided to do exactly that. We believe it is important to survey a wide range of new photography annually and to examine the emerging talents that will ensure the medium a healthy future, thereby gaining an insight into the subjects that occupy the new generation of photographers, how they express themselves, and their attitudes to the medium. Such knowledge is essential to our efforts to stay in touch with contemporary work and respond quickly to interesting developments. In this edition we naturally look at the winner of the KLM Paul Huf Award 2007. This year, unusually, there are in fact two winners: Taryn Simon from the United States and Mikhael Subotzky from South Africa. In addition to the presentation of their portfolio, the magazine includes an extensive interview with each of them. The work by Taryn Simon shown here is from her latest project, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. This unique undertaking demonstrates one specific application of the medium and proves Simon capable of transforming complex issues into extraordinary works of art. Mikhael Subotzky also looks at things that are ‘hidden and unfamiliar’, although of a completely different kind. He uses both a regular camera and a panorama camera to create images of the overpopulated jails of South Africa. The result is not only convincing but shocking. Besides the two winners, there are four more portfolios in this issue, selected from the entries for the award. Landscapes by Domingo Millela from Italy grab the viewer’s attention by their fragile balance between complexity and scale, and demonstrate a feeling for formal equilibrium unique in such a young photographer. The tranquil night shots of Astrid Kruse Jensen from Denmark have an emotionally charged, surreal atmosphere and refer implicitly to cinematography. Work by Lieko Shiga, a Japanese artist living in Berlin, is anything but introverted; she offers a breathtaking visual spectacle, intriguing and intangible in equal measure. Jiuliang Wang concentrates on the rediscovery of the personal, and the tension between individuals and communities. The natural and uncontrived atmosphere of Wang’s powerful imagery is striking, and very different from that of most Chinese photographers. In our regular feature On my Mind... we ask six people active in the cultural sphere to choose the photo that has captured their attention most powerfully of late. We are extremely pleased with the unexpected choices made by Celina Lunsford, Elisabeth Biondi, José Lebrero Stals, Daido Moriyama, Erik Kessels and Antonio Gnocchini. As always, this edition concludes with an overview of recently published photobooks and extensive information about forthcoming exhibitions at Foam.

On My Mind... images selected by José Lebrero Stals ~ Elisabeth Biondi ~ Erik Kessels ~ Antonio Gnocchini ~ Celina Lunsford ~ Daido Moriyama

Pages 014 - 019


Why Talent?

Interview with Mikhael Subotzky Filling in the gaps behind the headlines ~ by Sean O’Toole


Pages 022 - 027

Interview with Taryn Simon It’s not like I was trying to ‘superhero’ my way through the red tape ~ by Eric Miles

Pages 028 - 034

portfolio: Domingo Milella ~ Paesaggi text by Max Houghton

Pages 035 - 052

portfolio: Taryn Simon ~ An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar text by Eric Miles

Pages 053 - 070

portfolio: Jiuliang Wang ~ Private Space text by Max Houghton

Pages 071 - 088

portfolio: Astrid Kruse Jensen ~ Nocturnal Dreamscapes text by Max Houghton

Pages 089 - 106

portfolio: Mikhael Subotzky ~ Die Vier Hoeke text by Sean O’Toole

Pages 107 - 124

portfolio: Lieko Shiga ~ Stranding Records text by Max Houghton

Pages 125 - 142

Photobooks ~ by Tanja Wallroth

Pages 144 - 147


Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam InsideOut ~ Photos from Amsterdam collections and archives Foam exhibition diary

Page 021

Pages 151 - 165

Domingo Milella ~ Paesaggi Over the course of the past six years, Domingo Milella has been developing a catalogue of the ‘human landscape’. With the precison of a cartographer, he charts our world the way it is: the layers of detritus, the relentless creep of the urban and our fruitless attempts to manage the force of nature.

Taryn Simon ~ An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar In her latest series, Taryn Simon documents places that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology and daily functioning, but which remain inaccessible or unknown to the public, from domains including science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature and religion.

Jiuliang Wang ~ Private Space

Astrid Kruse Jensen ~ Nocturnal Dreamscapes

According to Chinese artist Jiuliang Wang, people only get close to the essence of humanity when they enter their private space, where they can give free reign to their emotions. This series of images represents the antithesis of the formal portrait and forces the viewer to think about what is hidden in society and what is exposed in private – and the dialectic between the two.

In her eerie, dreamlike nightscapes Astrid Kruse Jensen explores the passage between reality and imagination, and the constant clash between nature and the artificial. An abiding sense of menace pervades the jaw-dropping beauty of each nocturne. Through her instinctive use of the dark of night combined with her appropriation of artificial light sources, Astrid Kruse Jensen makes nature her very own theatre.

Mikhael Subotzky ~ Die Vier Hoeke

Lieko Shiga ~ Stranding Records

Mikhael Subotzky’s photographs offer an at times bleak vision of contemporary South Africa through its prisons. Die Vier Hoeke – which translates as ‘the four corners’ – is prison-gang terminology for the process every prisoner inevitably goes through when incarcerated. Die Vier Hoeke was Subotzky’s graduation project and has won him widespread international acclaim.

Lieko Shiga orders her photographic projects geographically, yet her dramatic tableaux are rendered otherworldly. Whether we view them as part of an elaborate dreamwork, or as modern myth-making, her images are frequently as inexplicable as the universe itself. For her fantastically strange scenarios, Shiga digs deep into her own Japanese culture, and deeper still into the obsessions of the human psyche.


foam magazine #12 / talent Six well-known figures from the cultural world selected an image that has recently been on their minds... co-editor: Addie Vassie

On My Mind...

José Lebrero Stals at his office with the UEFA Cup

José Lebrero Stals This is an image of me in the entrance of my office at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, with the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Cup. This cup is the golden fetish of millions and millions of people, all over Europe, who dream of seeing it in the hands of their favourite football team. And here I am alone with this great object of desire, because Sevilla Football Club, having just won the UEFA tournament, visited our arts centre along with hundreds of their fans. Luckily there was a brief moment, a minute or two, when chaos ensued and no one was sure where


to put the cup safely and it was left near my office. Finally I was alone with the golden object. Unfortunately, the photo is a rather blurred as the museum’s Chief of Security who took it was, like me, extremely excited and nervous at the time. This happy event happened in 2006. This year Sevilla won again in Glasgow and I wonder if they will visit us again with this icon. And then to think that I don’t even like football! As opposed to our marble angel that you can see standing behind the cup… + José Lebrero Stals is director of the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Sevilla, Spain. The museum recently presented a retrospective exhibition of Daido Moriyama.

foam magazine #12 / talent On My Mind...

Virxilio Vieitez, San Marcos, ca. 1959 Š Virxilio Vieitez / VU’La Galerie, Paris

Elisabeth Biondi I easily and frequently fall in love with a photograph, for all sorts of reasons. I saw this one when I was in Arles during the photo festival this year. It was taken in the 1950s by Galician photographer Virxilio Vieitez, who staged pictures featuring the people of the small town in which he lived. The town was his studio and the people paid to be photographed by him. I love this photo for its joie de vivre. What better time can be had than by sitting around the table with friends and family and lots of wine and food! Several generations are assembled here for a meal, which


makes me feel nostalgic for my European life of the past. I am amazed when I look at their expressions, the full range of emotions on their faces, each revealing a different personality. Stories start to form in my mind. Most of all I like the children and particularly the pretty little girl proudly displaying her new dress. She makes me think of the Velazquez painting Las Meninas. I wonder if Vieitez thought the same. +

Elisabeth Biondi has been Visuals Editor of The New Yorker since 1996. Before that she was Picture Editor of GEO USA, Director of Photography of Vanity Fair and of Stern (Hamburg).

foam magazine #12 / talent On My Mind...

From: Parking Spaces by Martin Parr, published by Chris Boot © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

Erik Kessels Martin Parr’s latest book has been on my mind a lot recently. It’s called Parking Spaces and, true to its title, features a wide variety of parking spaces from around the world. The empty parking spaces in question are always created by two neighbouring cars – negative spaces defined by what they are not. We see passers-by on the edge of these spaces and catch glimpses of their lives. The parking space becomes our viewfinder, we observe their world through it. These pedestrians never seem to stray into the space itself. It’s as if there’s a tacit agreement: the space is sacred. Don’t step on it. It’s waiting for a car to fill it, and anyone who gets in the way will have violated some unwritten rule of the road. There are exceptions. Sometimes a stool or chair touches the space, claiming it on behalf of some absent someone. Back off, these sentinels say. This one’s taken. When confronted with this particular type of image, the question naturally arises: ‘Would I dare to move that stool? What would be the consequences of parking my car in that space?’ We construct possible


outcomes: A furious shopkeeper pops up demanding we clear his tradesman’s entrance. A pregnant woman appears, starts pleading that we please, please, move – turns out that space is reserved for an incoming ambulance. Or nothing happens. Perhaps those stools have been there for months, years, signifying zilch except that every single passing motorist has been too chicken to move them. That’s a lot of yellow-bellied drivers. Hundreds. Thousands. More questions. What constitutes an attractive parking space? One that just happens to be available? Or should we apply a greater level of discernment? For me, the ideal space is one that’s dry while the rest of the road is wet. Now that’s a five star parking space. This book must have become Martin Parr’s obsession. Where others spot trains, he spots parking spaces. For me, the great thing about this book is the idea: to make a book that provides people with places to keep their car. To receive this book is to receive the finest parking spaces from across the globe. Wherever you go, take this book and you’ll always have the safe, warm feeling that there is an endless supply of parking spaces to hand. + Erik Kessels is Creative Director of KesselsKramer. He is a photography collector who has published several books of his collected images and is editor of the magazine Useful Photography. He has curated exhibitions such as Dutch Delight at Foam and Loving Your Pictures at Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie Arles.

foam magazine #12 / talent On My Mind...

Boogie, Mexico City, January 2007 © Boogie / www.artcoup.com

Antonio Gnocchini I have always been interested in reportage, sudden snap-shots of real life that stress reality, and Boogie is really good at this. He is someone who stops and looks, usually capturing a moment when most of us would just pass by. I became familiar with his work through the Make History contest (www.makehistory.eu) that the Lee Europe Marketing Team is currently running. Fortunately for us Boogie decided to take part in the competition and I became a big fan. He usually documents places where people have lost faith, like war zones and ghettos. He was in Belgrade during the war and is therefore used to seeing history being made from the grass roots, which has always been extremely interesting to me – history read from real people’s lives.


I studied history at university and at that time I was always extremely impressed by the books and essays of Howard Zinn, who tries to write about history through the art of expression, the artworks of real people. How they express real issues through art – not major works of art in galleries or famous novels, but by digging into letters sent to magazines or newspapers, speeches made at rallies, or even just text on banners during manifestos and I see this here, in this one image. Basically, by changing the view point and looking at something that usually we don’t pay attention to, at real people’s expressions, you come to realize and know how people are informed. They express opinion in different ways, using the forms they have access to. But as you see here, the blue-collar worker doesn’t even turn, doesn’t notice the graffiti, and for a moment you understand that the daily struggle of these people doesn’t allow them to see these things. When I was studying history, we always said that wars were happening because people did not have the right information. In reality when you look at the forms of expression used by people, not only nowadays, you see that they know what’s going on, understand what’s going on, they know that governments lie and okay, maybe today information is more accessible to people so they should know better, but it is the same as before. +

Antonio Gnocchini is European Marketing Director of Lee Jeans.

foam magazine #12 / talent On My Mind...

Rondal Partridge, Ansel Adams’ Party Trick, late 1930s © Rondal Partridge

Celina Lunsford This party shot was made in the 1930s by Ron Partridge when he was an assistant to Ansel Adams. He also assisted Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, and his mother Imogen Cunningham throughout his early career as a photographer. Ron’s style of image-making has from early on been – as it continues to be – a critical, sometimes satirical look at his subject matter, revealing the essence of the subject, in this case Ansel Adams with a mountain of cloth, perfectly balancing an apple in a pan on his head.


Ron Partidge celebrates his 90th birthday this year and continues printing his works daily (75 years of photography), mostly now as Gold prints, at his darkroom in Berkeley, California. I think about him a lot and about this image too. It displays the essence of the classical West Coast Photography in another, lighter light. Thanks to photography we continue to have such surprises. +

Celina Lunsford has been director of the Fotografie Forum international in Frankfurt am Main since 1992. She is also working internationally as a writer and curator. In 1999 she curated Rondal Partridge’s first European show and she has worked on various projects with the Imogen Cunningham Trust.

foam magazine #12 / talent On My Mind...

Daido Moriyama, copy of studio portrait, ca. 1933, courtesy of the artist and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Daido Moriyama The two people in this photo are my late parents. I copied (re-photographed) a Tokyo studio portrait from around 1933; the original image was taken to commemorate their engagement. One of the primary roles that photography has played is that of capturing a portrait. Different human figures and shapes are documented by a camera. They are made available for others to view and to be kept for following generations. While these images have an official and important function, they serve a highly private purpose at the same time.


Photographed family, loved ones and friends, these beloved people and their important shadows can be considered whenever - at our preferred times - and moreover, can be kept as memories, through a ‘very human recording equipment’. Photography’s most fundamental charm is the commemorative or souvenir photograph, enabling us to hold forever the way the people that we love used to be. This photo of my parents is my starting point as a photographer and it is an image that will always remain in my heart.  + Daido Moriyama is one of the most influential Japanese photographers of today. Special thanks to Elisa Uematsu / Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo.

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foam magazine #12 /talent

theme introduction

Why Talent? As of 2007, Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam organizes the annual KLM Paul Huf Award, an international photo-graphy prize for talented young photographers. The prize is worth 20,000 euro and the winnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is exhibited in Foam. In order to make a representative selection, Foam has approached ten people in different countries to act as nominators, all of them specialists or experts in the photographic field. Each has been asked to nominate ten young talents from the part of the world in which he or she is active. The winner may therefore come from any region of the globe. The maximum age of the entrants is thirty-five. All forms of photography are eligible, from documentary or applied photography to journalistic or free work. The Award is intended to recognize work with a clear visual language of its own that is distinctive in both content and form. The jury chooses the winner from among the one hundred photographers asked by the nominators to send in portfolios. The 2007 jury was composed of: Alejandro Castellanos Cadena (director of the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City), Charlotte Cotton (recently appointed curator of photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Adriaan Monshouwer (commercial director of Hollandse Hoogte) and Simon Njami (freelance curator and artistic director of Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie in Bamako, Mali). This year the jury has made an exception by announcing two win


ners of the KLM Paul Huf Award: Taryn Simon and Mikhael Subotzky. Taryn Simon was chosen for her exceptional and distinctive portfolio. The jury finds the standard of her work remarkable for someone so young. Mikhael Subotzky received praise for his energy and passion. The jury describes him as a talented, engaged photographer with a great deal of potential. The editors of Foam Magazine have decided to select a further four photographers out of the hundred who were asked to send portfolios and to present the work of all six talented photographers in a special Talent edition. It has also been decided that each year from now on an entire edition of Foam Magazine will be devoted to the work of exceptional talents like these. The editors may well have applied different criteria in making their choice than the jury of the KLM Paul Huf Award. The responsibility of the editors is above all to ensure a magazine of the highest quality, which makes diversity and a good balance between the six portfolios important factors to consider. The editors are of the opinion that exceptional talent means more than just an ability to produce adult work strong in both content and form. Talent involves renewal, risk-taking, and an irresistible urge to express oneself in a personal and authentic visual language. The editors are convinced that the six portfolios presented in this special edition do justice to the outstanding talents of the photographers who created them. However much they may differ, all six are undoubtedly at the start of brilliant careers that will help to define the future of photography. +

foam magazine #12 / talent


Filling in the gaps behind the headlines ~ The stories of Mikhael Subotzky

interview by Sean O’Toole ~ photographs by Guy Tillim

It is perhaps an understatement to say that things have happened very quickly for the young South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky. A mere two and half years ago he was a recent graduate exhibiting his university project, an extensive documentary survey of prison life in and around his native Cape Town; by July this year Subotzky had been elected a Nominee Member of Magnum Photos. The startling extent of his career trajectory is concisely explained by his breakthrough body of work, a series of documentary images first shown inside a prison and titled Die Vier Hoeke. The work has won him numerous international awards and catapulted Subotzky into the international art limelight. Despite all the fuss, he remains singularly committed to the difficult story his photographs tell. How did you come to decide on prisons as the focus of your photography? In 2004 I was doing my final year as an art student. In April I went away for a weekend to take some pictures. I came across some people from the Independent Electoral Commission doing special voting sessions at peoples’ houses. They told me they were headed for Dwaarsrivier Prison, north of Cape Town, near Wolsley and Tulbagh. I had been reading about the constitutional court case around prisoners voting, so I was aware that it was quite a pertinent issue, and decided to make a phone call to see if it was possible to see the prisoners voting. I went to the prison on Election Day and took some photographs. It was the first time I had been in a prison. What struck you about the experience? The environment fascinated me. I had so many ideas of what it might look like and yet I hadn’t seen many actual images of a currently running prison. I was also fascinated by the conversations I had with the guys I photographed. One man in particular, Peter Alexander, spoke a lot about what it meant for him to vote. He happened to be HIV positive and was open about it. He said that being able to vote made him feel the opposite of a sick prisoner left to rot in prison.


How did you make the jump from Dwaarsrivier to Pollsmoor Prison? I read Arthur Chaskalson’s judgement on the case; he was the Chief Justice of South Africa at the time – it was fascinating, touching on very interesting issues. I also read about prison gangs. I titled my university project Die Vier Hoeke (Afrikaans for ‘the four corners’). It is a prison gang term and refers to the steps you go through as you enter prison: you get searched, you get booked in, you go to the holding cell, and finally your section. That is the literal reference, but its more metaphorical meaning refers to what happens when you go through that process. Prison is a different world where different rules apply. Are you not concerned that your prison photographs might feed negative perceptions of South Africa’s crime culture? Perceptions of South Africa’s crime culture are already extremely negative due to media hysteria. I try to tell stories which fill in some of the gaps behind the headlines. The thing that I do try to do is refute that it is just a project about prison; it was never just about prison. It was always about how the prison system relates to the broader South African social and historical landscape. Looking back, in 2004 you were still an art student; by the end of 2005 you had been signed up by a prominent gallery, been invited onto a major American exhibition, and were also working as an assignment photographer for The Telegraph in London. In retrospect, were you prepared for your sudden uptake into the world? Not at all. [Laughs]. It was overwhelming and incredibly exciting and difficult all at the same time. I had no idea how to approach a relationship with a gallery, a picture editor, or an international curator like Okwui Enwezor. It all really happened on top of one another. Did sincerity help? Yes, I think you can only be sincere. When I was at art school I had this terrifying idea of what it would like to be an artist. I thought it would be necessary to schmooze and know the right people, to play a social

foam magazine #12 / talent



foam magazine #12 / talent


~ I have been very aware of the dangers of catering to market expectations ~

game. After the Pollsmoor work got the recognition it did I realized that actually these things weren’t the case, that I was getting recognized for making what I thought was good work.

the trip across town to see the concurrent exhibition I presented at Constitution Hill, in the Old Woman’s Prison – an exhibition that addressed many of the issues he raised in discrediting my show.

Your photographs are unashamedly couched in a documentary language. Has this presented any problems showing in a gallery system? I was initially surprised by how my work has been taken up. Documentary photographers wanting recognition in the art world often believe that in order to make the jump one has to do something fundamentally different. When I initially went to Pollsmoor all I wanted was to become a documentary photographer. Somehow the way I worked was more engaged than someone working on a two-week assignment. Perhaps that led to the work being read differently, but my initial intention was pretty straightforward: I was trying to make a really good documentary project

You mention that word ‘relationship’ a lot. How would you describe your relationships with the people whose life stories you borrow from? It is a very difficult and complicated thing to speak about, and it can’t be anything but difficult and complicated. There is always such a huge gap between the realities of the lives I focus on and where my work is eventually consumed, be it the gallery or the lounge where a newspaper or book is read. I don’t think one can ever remove that gap, but I do try to find ways to bring those two worlds together by organizing exhibitions in alternative spaces, like in Pollsmoor Prison itself. I try to focus on building relationships with people and then let the work follow from that. The quality of the relationship is important to both the integrity of the work and my own integrity.

How do you cope with the expectations of the art market, which can be quite fickle? Once your work gets shown on something like Snap Judgments there is of course an expectation to make work that will match that and will be marketable in the same way, particularly if you are working with a gallery. I have had to work hard at not letting that get in the way of my photography, and have been very aware of the dangers of catering to market expectations. I think, to a large extent, I have tried to climb back into the work. That said, the art world has allowed me to work on my new Beaufort West project in a much more engaged and sustained way than would have been the case were I working as an assignment photographer. Your debut solo exhibition at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery last year was a mixed affair, in my view. It seemed to present many of the problems you mentioned earlier, of a documentary photography trying to make a significant statement in an art context. I know it was heavily criticized in the magazine I edit. I want to be criticized and I welcome debate. I accept the points made in the Art South Africa magazine, but I do feel that the particular review that you mention failed to put that exhibition in the context of the bigger engagement with the issue of incarceration which I had been involved with for two years. The reviewer didn’t bother to make


Your uncle is Gideon Mendel, a respected documentary photographer. What role has he played throughout your career? He has been hugely important all along. He has been like a mentor, and been able to give me a tough and informed opinion. That is the most valuable thing anyone can give you. Looking at your Beaufort West project, how do you go from an intention, which is to document an isolated rural community that is still beset by many apartheid-era problems, to actually taking the pictures that will tell this story? The theoretical starting point was the Beaufort West prison. It is located on an island in the middle of N1, South Africa’s most famous national road. Normally prisons are on the outskirts of town and hidden away; this one is right in the centre of town, and yet it is still hidden because people who drive around it don’t know it is a prison. Practically, when I first went to the town I found a place to stay and started walking and hanging out, I knew I needed someone to work with, someone to translate and also tell me where it is safe to go. I went to the prison and met a social worker; she suggested I meet Major. He is one of the most popular guys in town, having played football for a local team; he introduced me to many people. Major turned out to be a major part of the project, if you’ll excuse the pun.  >

foam magazine #12 / talent



foam magazine #12 / talent

Sean O’Toole (South Africa, 1968) is a Johannesburg-based journalist and writer.

He is the editor of the quarterly print magazine, Art South Africa. An art critic and


columnist for the Financial Mail magazine, he also writes a weekly page on photography for the Sunday Times, South Africa’s largest circulation newspaper. His journalism and writing has been widely published, in magazines, newspapers and artists’s catalogues, both in South Africa and internationally. His debut book The Marquis of Mooikloof and Other Stories was published by Double Storey in 2006. Guy Tillim (South Africa, 1962) was recently awarded the first Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography by the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. In 2005

How long did you work on the project? I started in April 2006 and finished a year later, in April. I did six trips of two to three weeks at a time.

he received the Leica Oskar Barnack Award and in 2004 the Daimler Chrysler Award for Photography. His work is currently included in major group exhibitions including Documenta 12, Kassel, Global Cities at Tate Modern, London and the travelling exhibition Africa Remix. In the past few years solo exhibitions of his work

Your Beaufort West project is about picturing lingering inequality. How do you achieve this without resorting to cliché? I noticed while editing my Beaufort West work that I was a lot less concerned with consciously trying to show things. I chose pictures that have a particular feeling. I think this is a really exciting step for me; I am beginning to communicate more subtly through my photographs. It isn’t about a photograph showing something to make a particular point; rather, it is about presenting a particular feeling I had when I was in Beaufort West. I think it is a much better and more profound way to communicate the town’s problematic social issues.

were held at the Photographers’ Gallery, London; Les Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, Bamako, Mali; Photo Espana, Madrid; South African National Gallery, Cape Town and at Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town. Guy Tillim published several books, including Departure, Leopold and Mobutu, Jo’burg and Petros Village. He is represented by Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town.

What do you mean by ‘feeling’? It is a certain atmosphere, something which comes through that isn’t necessarily describable in the content of the photograph. I don’t want to sound mystical or anything but I think photographs can operate very effectively on that level. I want my photographs to be subtler; I don’t want to rely on drama and subject matter to make good photographs. I want to be able to make photographs that are dramatic when the subject matter isn’t, and I think that can happen when one manages to transcribe one’s personal feeling of being in a space into a photograph. Concurrent with all this, you also recently took up a residency at Benetton’s self-styled communication research centre, Fabrica. How did that come about? I entered Fabrica Forma Fotografia, an international award for concerned photography launched by Fabrica and Forma, Centro Internazionale di Fotografia. I won the under-25 category prize, which included a scholarship to Fabrica. Fabrica has played an important role in recent South African documentary photography. Adam Broomberg and Pieter Hugo, for instance, have both been residents at Fabrica; they also worked assignments for Colors magazine. Given all this history, what were your feelings about going to Fabrica? To be honest, I felt completely mixed about entering a place with these strong precedents and influences. Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s work represented an important development in the documentary mode, Pieter Hugo’s work too, in a different way. But I don’t want to work in that way. Have you done any assignments for Colors? Two, one in South Africa and another in Ghana. I really enjoyed my trip to Ghana. I think I took good photographs, but I somehow felt uncomfortable throughout the whole trip, that I was making work in a context so far removed from my own. One could argue the same about South Africa, but I have spent a lot of time on the Cape Flats and I understand the background to the area and why it is like it is. Ghana was just so far away and the people so different.


Isn’t assignment photography an expectation if you are a part of the Magnum collective? No. I made very certain before I applied to the collective that joining Magnum wouldn’t blow me off the course that I am on. I am completely committed to continuing with long term personal projects and there is a misconception that being represented by Magnum necessarily entails something different. What prompted you to apply to Magnum? I applied to Magnum to get my work seen in more varied contexts. I was also attracted to the idea of being a part of a collective with many photographers who I admire greatly. Contrary to what many believe, I think that my work with Magnum can be very complimentary to my work with galleries. How did you feel when you were accepted? I wasn’t expecting to get in, despite the support of the people I had met. It was quite a shock to suddenly find oneself standing in a circle of people talking to Martin Parr, Josef Koudelka, Jim Goldberg and Elliott Erwitt. I think despite me thinking that I can take it in my stride and I can get used to all these things, it is still remarkable for me when I remember that I am 25. +

foam magazine #12 / talent



foam magazine #12 / talent


It’s not like I was trying to ‘superhero’ my way through the red tape ~ Taryn Simon talking about An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar

interview by Eric Miles ~ photographs by Dana Lixenberg

Like the most sharp-eyed observers of our national culture, Taryn Simon aims to uncover contradictions that lay at the heart of the institutions that comprise it. In her most recent body of work, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, she explores the most basic of these contradictions – known versus unknown, public versus private, overt versus covert. An exhibition of these works opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in March of this year and will travel to the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt in September. Her acclaimed 2003 book, The Innocents, which she produced with the help of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, pictured men and women who had served time in prison for crimes of which they were later exonerated, at times setting them in locations pertinent to those crimes. Can you describe the genesis of the American Index project? What was the progression from your earlier work on The Innocents? After completing The Innocents, I looked back over past work I had produced. One photograph I kept returning to pictured the interior of Castro’s Palace of the Revolution in Cuba, a site that the public can’t typically access. I responded to it formally: the absence of a figure appealed to me after The Innocents, which was so invested in documenting human subjects. The light was softer and had more of a religious and ethereal feel. There was an abstraction alive in it that became somewhat disorienting. I knew I wanted to achieve this feel aesthetically. But it was a huge departure. That said, its formal success was inextricably bound to the fact that it was a site reserved for ‘the few’. It had no popularly distributed visual anchor. It confronted the boundaries between the public and the expert. I wanted to find more images


like that. Initially I imagined them throughout the world. But that quickly transformed into a very focused effort to find that which is unseen within American borders. It was a critical moment in American history, in which America’s identity was being redefined. It was a time in which the American government was invested in finding secret sites beyond its borders. As they looked outward, I looked inward. Was this before or after September 11? After. Just after. I took the photograph of the Palace of the Revolution before 9/11. Its conceptual makeup and relevance was alive before that event, but after 9/11 it became very clear to me that this study needed to focus within American borders. The subject matter and the institutions in American Index – NASA, U.S. Customs and Border control, radioactive waste, death row, girl scouts, for example – are decidedly recognizable and familiar. But since the sites you’ve chosen to picture reveal ‘hidden and unfamiliar’ recesses, the book is incredibly accessible, riveting even, to a fairly wide audience. How would you guide viewers to an understanding of the complex issues it raises? There is a peculiar logic to the selection of sites in An American Index; they are not easily categorized. The subjects are familiar, but the visuals are not. I’m not sure it requires any guidance. It’s intentionally chaotic. The viewer should feel its entropy. Its initial influence was the method and form used in early discovery books exposing and recording explorer’s finds (fauna and plant life) within the New World. They always include a small encyclopedic description beneath a rendering of the subject. The project was very much in line with that model. In characterizing the project as ‘indexical’ and ‘encyclopedic’, how would you describe that taxonomic, organizational scheme that you employed in selecting sites to be photographed and described? It’s a bit of a play on the word index, because it’s certainly not comprehensive and never could be. It gracelessly jumps from one thought to the next. You’ve got Hollywood, science, security, government, and so on bouncing off one another. It’s almost irresponsible.

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foam magazine #12 / talent


‘After giving your request serious consideration, even though it is against company policy to consider such a request, it is with regret that I inform you that we are not willing to grant the permission you seek... As you are aware, our Disney characters, parks and other valuable properties have become beloved by youg and old alike, and with this comes a tremendous responsibility to protect their use and the protection we currently enjoy. Should we laps in our vigilance, we run the risk of losing this protection and the Disney characters as we know and love them. Especially during these violent times, I personally believe that the magical spell cast on guests who visit our theme parks is particularly important to protect and helps to provide them with an important fantasy they can escape to.’

Quote from a faxed response from Disney Publishing Worldwide, July 7, 2005

reproduced in An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Steidl, 2006

And that was the point. It reflects how people are receiving information, on the Internet, or even in an encyclopedia or newspaper. Yet it is one individual as the editor and manager of the project. As for the site selection process, it employed so many different approaches. I began with a very clear list of topics and sites that I had imagined and wanted to include in the work. These, upon further research would mutate, transform and lead me to something completely unexpected or to nothing at all. I was constantly aware of chapter headings – medicine, nature, government etc – by that I mean categories that needed to be filled to achieve the disorder I was talking about. I often picked the brains of experts at the sites. For example, NASA. I knew I wanted to do something with space travel and America’s history in its evolution. I spent a ton of time researching NASA and talking to them on the phone. They were giving me access to pretty great things for any other photographer. But they were flat, deeply inaccessible, but flat, with no white noise to them. I then kept researching and unearthed the beach house where astronauts spend their last moments with their families in quarantine before going off into space. That had something in it that I wanted. It had the emotional quality and conceptual nugget that I needed – the history, the foreboding, an awkward incongruity. And then I had to work really hard to explain to them that this was something they would want out there representing them. They were much more interested in showing their technological prowess. The last plate in the book is an ‘absent’ image accompanied by a quote from a Disney P.R. person to the effect that the ‘magical spell’ of Disney needs to be protected [see above for quote]. What were some of the other sites to which you were not granted access? The White House. Initially I asked to visit Camp David. They declined. I then tried for something more benign: the place where they keep past presidents’ furniture. Current presidents, when they assume their presidency, can go in and select what furniture they want to have in their version of the White House. A pretty safe image, but still declined. These are all under the umbrella of the White House. They were not interested in working with me. Not surprising. Actually, I feel great luck that Disney denied me access. I was never convinced that it would ultimately fit in the book. It was too obvious. But I followed it through in case something surprising was revealed. We were requesting access to the underground tunnel system, where characters become human again and all the inner, ugly workings of a theme park are kept from the public. They even have a holding


cell. I actually flew to Florida for another photograph in the book and was scheduled to go to Disney upon its completion. At the last minute they said I couldn’t come and sent me that brilliant fax. It gave me the ideal postscript and summed up all the contradictions and complications at the foundation of this work. There is something dream crushing about this work…something that creates an anxiety; there is an ‘ageing’ in doing something like this. They articulated that process. I also liked the idea that some individual within this colossal corporate structure had such a defined voice; that they ‘leaked out’. Many of the people and sites you picture – Ku Klux Klan members, quarantine facilities, C.I.A. headquarters, military bases, to name a few – raise obvious and, to most viewers, very intriguing questions about accessibility. How would you characterize the role of negotiation with authority figures and others in the project as a whole? It is an enormous part of the project. At one point I even considered making an addendum to the book that included all of the letters that went back and forth between myself and the sites. I ended up including only the Disney note. I worried that too much of the process would shadow the work. It is extremely interesting how you go about getting in; how you have to package yourself, sell yourself to authority figures. It is really site-specific. There isn’t any formula that consistently works. It took me four years to do this project. I worked with different producers along the way. It starts with a phone call; you just have to hear the voice on the other end and determine what is the best method. It’s always more difficult in the beginning as you have nothing to show them as examples of other people who have joined in. I think in many cases I slipped through the cracks. Mine was sort of the antithesis of a standard journalistic approach. I was calling and it felt like a small art project. There was nothing particularly threatening in what I was doing. How would you describe the ‘second order of meaning’ that joins together the images that comprise American Index as a whole? Are you after a specifically American ‘mythology,’ in the sense that Roland Barthes uses that term? America is changing. It is changing in its approach to the world and in its approach to its inner politics, so there is a sense of discovery at this moment. It feels as though we are in a different landscape, ethically, morally, religiously, and politically. And so I am indexing and discovering that moment.  >

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foam magazine #12 / talent


~ If the photographs are like helium balloons, the text is like my lead weight ~ What sort of reception has American Index received outside of this country? We’ll see. It hasn’t gone there yet. I’m aware of the implications of taking this work outside of American borders. That is why I’m also so careful about the context in which it is presented. The work is not inherently critical and I don’t want it be misused as such. That’s where the reliance on text comes into play in a very obvious way; it is a way of protecting the intention of the work because it could so easily be translated into other forms. I want to be very vigilant about making my intentions clear. Is this also the reason for your lack of desire to do assignment work for magazines? Ways in which the work circulates? Exactly, you’re just a pawn in somebody else’s editorial decisions. Photographers are used. To what extent is your work in American Index and The Innocents a critique of verité style documentary or of the ‘decisive moment’? I am not interested in the ‘decisive moment’; everything I do is extremely calculated. I don’t catch moments; they’re very constructed. This is linked to the way I photograph, the equipment I use, as much as with my understanding of what photography is. American Index does appear to have a journalistic intention, but then when you look at something like the JFK contraband room, you can see very clear actions of intervention. I don’t try and act as though I am documenting what is there; I created the arrangement. It refers to earlier still life paintings in a contemporary form. I like to have that intervention be very evident when you are looking at the photograph. Your use of a detached, clinical prose in the accompanying descriptions contrasts rather sharply with the artifice you’re describing. The text very much links back to The Innocents project and to an understanding of photography’s inherent ambiguities and the problems that stem from that. It can be artful in one context, and then it can actually lead to someone’s death in another. This is why I did The Innocents: this idea that through a process of misidentification, at the root of which is someone’s response to a photograph – which is itself replacing a memory – someone could actually loose their life on death


row. Within that is the absence of a caption, some sort of a ‘correct’ narrative connected to the photograph. If the photographs are like helium balloons, the text is like my lead weight. The space in between those two is where something happens. It’s not what’s on the wall or the page; it is the space between those two. And the way people interact with those two. People will approach the image aesthetically, they come in closer and read the text and back up and re-examine the image with this new information. In The Innocents project, there is a clear ethical commitment, very much related to the traditional roots of documentary in social justice. In what ways does this sort of ethical commitment figure into American Index? I don’t even know what ‘documentary’ means; it seems to be trying to assert that it is getting at something honest, without intervention. My approach to documentary subject matter is to not pretend that, to not pretend that I have any connection to the truth of my subjects. In everything I do, I show this distance, which some people find cold or antiseptic because there is no conventional emotional ‘tangle’ in the image. I am not pretending to understand, to access, or know something completely. I’m constantly showing that I don’t know what I’m seeing. In The Innocents [the ethical commitment] would sometimes shadow what led me to that body of work. What I was most interested in from the onset of that project was photography, and photography’s role in that process. It was a focused site to investigate photography’s complexity and power. But you have this thing, which is so huge, and so wrong built into that exploration. And that naturally became bigger… and it was always an effort to keep the photographic focus alive within that. I did that through the interviews and the sites at which I photographed. By taking the men and women in these pictures back to the scene of the crime (where they had never been), I was able to visually produce the conflict between truth and fiction in their lives within the photograph. But American Index was produced at a time when citizens felt they lost access to the core of anything; as individuals, we live in a society with an increasingly secretive power structure. It’s not like I was trying to ‘superhero’ my way through the red tape; I got in, but I don’t think I ever really came to know anything. Mine was just another perch.  >

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foam magazine #12 / talent


Does the juxtaposition of text and image mitigate aesthetic qualities as well as the ‘irrefutable thereness’ of the images themselves? Regarding language, there are two schools in photography: there are many who will look at my work and say that its reliance on text is a crutch, that a great photograph exists and survives outside of any connection to its caption/context. I don’t disagree, rather I’m not interested or compelled to make that kind of work. It feels disposable. For me the work is more than a photograph and more than aesthetics. It’s not just about taking a perfectly seductive image. Many aren’t. For me it’s the entire package. I am very committed to what is alive aesthetically in a photograph, I work tirelessly at it – but it is always inextricably and perpetually linked to its context. I can’t separate the two. I don’t think I’ll ever want to. Its relevance or success will always be linked to what it is.

Eric Miles is a writer and bookseller specializing in photographic literature. He is based in New York and Santa Fe, N.M., where he is the in-house rare book specialist for photo-eye Books & Prints (see www.photoeye.com/auctions). Dana Lixenberg (Netherlands, 1964) studied photography at the London College of Printing and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. She received widespread acclaim for her series of portraits of residents of the Imperial Courts Housing Project in Los Angeles, resulting in commissions from a wide variety of magazines. Her editorial clients include The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Vibe, Fortune, GQ , Life, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine, Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Time, Vrij Nederland and Wallpaper. Dana Lixenberg published several books, including United States (2001) and Jeffersonville, Indiana (2005, both by Artimo). Her work was exhibited at the Frans Hals Museum/De Hallen, Haarlem; Museum of Photography, The Hague; Percy Miller Gallery, London and Kunsthal, Rotterdam, among others. She lives and works in New York.

Can you play historian and try and predict how American Index will age. What do you think it will say to future viewers about our immediate post 9/11 epoch? I always wonder how it will age. The larger contradictions it exposes will always be alive. There is a black and a white, opposing forces, in each of the subjects, in each individual image. And this does define the period. But what appears to be inaccessible and unknown right now, down the line will likely grow more familiar and potentially more photographed, studied and written about. Right now they don’t have any real distributed history or popular visual representation. But that’s right now. Since we live in such an image-saturated culture, the problem then becomes to find things that are not photographed, which would seem to be impossible. In this work there were a few subjects that slipped into popular consciousness while I was working on it. When I visited Colorado City, the center of polygamist practice in America, it was under the radar. And then suddenly there was an HBO series [Big Love] and the capture of Warren Jeffs [fugitive leader and self-declared prophet of a fundamentalist Mormon sect on the Utah-Arizona border that practices polygamy] and it became a widely discussed issue, a part of the zeitgeist. I was trying to find things outside of that. But ultimately, I decided to include it, as there is something in that process worth looking at; how things slip in and out of the zeitgeist and of a national identity’s consciousness. Which raises the question of a sequel. Won’t there always be a ‘zeitgeist’ against which to position oneself? Then I wouldn’t have to torture myself about what I’m going to do next. I could just embrace the sequel; The Innocents part two and American Index part two.  + 


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Domingo Milella Paesaggi

foam magazine #12 / talent

portfolio text

Domingo Milella

List of works (in order of appearance): Torre Latinoamericana, Mexico City, 2007 Naucalpan, Mexico City, 2004 Tlanepantla, Mexico City, 2007 Cuautepec, Discarica, Mexico City, 2004 Cuautepec Notturno, Mexico City, 2004 Cerro Elefnate, Ixtapaluca, 2004 Ankara, 2007 Civitavecchia, 2004 Marina di Sibari, 2003 © Domingo Milella, courtesy Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Contemporanea, Rome

Domingo Milella (Italy, 1981) lives and works in Bari, Italy and New York. In 2005 he graduated from the New York School of Visual Arts under Stephen Shore. For the past six years he has been working on a major project, documenting the human landscape ‘as it is’. He used to spend a month every year with a friend, driving a Fiat camper to the remote corners of Europe to photograph the landscape. He also travelled to locations in the US and Mexico. His work has been exhibited at the Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery in Rome, and at art fairs like Paris Photo and Art (212) in New York. Milella participated in group exhibitions at


Museo dell’Ara Pacis in Rome, Castello Svevo in Bari and Pinacoteca Provenciali in Bari. Domingo Milella is represented by Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Contemporanea in Rome.

Max Houghton is features editor for Ei8th magazine and part-time lecturer in photojournalism at Westminster and Roehampton Universities. She is based in Brighton, UK, and writes about photography and the media on a freelance basis for a variety of international publications.

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Speaking the language of objects ~ The unlovely vistas of Domingo Milella

by Max Houghton

With the precision of a cartographer, Domingo Milella charts our world the way it is: the layers of detritus, the relentless creep of the urban, our fruitless attempts to manage the force of nature. Working solidly with an 8x10 camera in the manner of his visual mentors, from the Bechers, by way of Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, Milella hopes to transcend monocular vision and provide the viewer with an ‘objective’ view, despite being only too aware of the impossibility of such a feat within a postmodern sensibility. Unlike most young photographers, Milella does not work in series. Instead, each work is an accretion to a growing corpus, which at its heart is concerned with imparting knowledge or beginning a dialogue with the viewer about contemporary landscapes. The tutelage of Stephen Shore at the School of Visual Arts in New York (Milella graduated in 2005) can be traced from the specifically-chosen foreground to a distant horizon, all the while reading and assimilating the mental depth of the image. It is in the selection of the foreground that we find a clue to the work’s intention. Take the various jumping off points used to photograph Mexico City – the sea of plastic bottles, the unfinished buildings, the flat roofs, the cemetery more colourful than life itself – Milella speaks the language of objects; their very facticity appears almost comforting to him. Since his childhood in the southern Italian port of Bari, Milella has been fascinated by the idea of function. The view from the apartments where he grew up became etched in his mind: the buildings like boxes, which implied a mentality, a history, even, of function. The young Milella gazed for hours upon the standardized industrial/post-industrial environment that created the contours of his mental landscape. ‘It conflicted with my identity,’ he says, ‘as an Italian, as a resident of a mixed city. It was as though the Bari landscape had been bleached out of history. There was no evidence of the mixed blood, the layered genetics of the Greeks, the Byzantines, the Spanish, the French. It made me ask a very basic question, one which I am still trying to answer: how is it that we have made our environment and manipulated nature in this way?’ His portrait of Ankara, the Turkish capital (but who would think it?), insists upon such questions; its breath-taking functionality everywhere resembling only dysfunction.


In the Mexico City images, we follow Milella to the peripheries of this megacity, as he tracks the rhythm of its growth. The scrubby headland is what’s left of ‘nature’, a spot as yet free from flat-roofed houses or brightly coloured washing blowing in the wind, embraced by the weekend leisure-seekers. That the vastness beyond is a shimmering sea of buildings, and not the ocean itself is hard to hold on to. Milella’s images do not allow for neat resolution. Yet despite the unloveliness of the vistas he frames, the feeling Milella has for the landscapes he photographs is far from contemptuous. Tinged with the melancholy resignation of someone who sees only the long view, Milella inhabits a territory that is resolutely antiRomantic. It is not with awe that he gazes upon the world’s megalopolises, but with a certain humility, as he waits for nature to reclaim what we have taken away when our civilization ends. ‘It is only for a season,’ he says, ‘that we hang on to what we pretended to have for a while.’ As we wait for the tourists to populate the carefully laid out tables and chairs in the last image in this portfolio, it seems possible they will come only to admire the tablecloths. Milella captures the pain of forgetfulness that cuts through the landscape like a scar.  +

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Taryn Simon An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Contraband Room John F. Kennedy International Airport Queens, New York African cane rats infested with maggots, African yams (dioscorea), Andean potatoes, Bangladeshi cucurbit plants, bush meat, cherimoya fruit, curry leaves (murraya), dried orange peels, fresh eggs, giant African snail, impala skull cap, jackfruit seeds, June plum, kola nuts, mango, okra, passion fruit, pig nose, pig mouths, pork, raw poultry (chicken), South American pig head, South American tree tomatoes, South Asian lime infected with citrus canker, sugar cane (poaceae), uncooked meats, unidentified sub tropical plant in soil. All items in the photograph were seized from the baggage of passengers arriving in the U.S. at JFK Terminal 4 from abroad over a 48-hour period. All seized items are identified, dissected, and then either ground up or incinerated. JFK processes more international passengers than any other airport in the United States.

Hymenoplasty Cosmetic Surgery, P.A. Fort Lauderdale, Florida The patient in this photograph is a 21-year-old woman of Palestinian descent, living in the United States. In order to adhere to cultural and familial expectations regarding her virginity and marriage, she underwent hymenoplasty. Without it she feared she would be rejected by her future husband and bring shame upon her family. She flew in secret to Florida where the operation was performed by Dr. Bernard Stern, a plastic surgeon she located on the internet. The purpose of hymenoplasty is to reconstruct a ruptured hymen, the membrane which partially covers the opening of the vagina. It is an outpatient procedure which takes approximately 30 minutes and can be done under local or intravenous anesthesia. Dr. Stern charges $3,500 for hymenoplasty. He also performs labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation.

Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility, Cherenkov Radiation Hanford Site, U.S. Department of Energy Southeastern Washington State Submerged in a pool of water at Hanford Site are 1,936 stainless-steel nuclear-waste capsules containing cesium and strontium. Combined, they contain over 120 million curies of radioactivity. It is estimated to be the most curies under one roof in the United States. The blue glow is created by the Cherenkov Effect which describes the electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle, giving off energy, moves faster than light through a transparent medium. The temperatures of the capsules are as high as 330 degrees Fahrenheit. The pool of water serves as a shield against radiation; a human standing one foot from an unshielded capsule would receive a lethal dose of radiation in less than ten seconds. Hanford is among the most contaminated sites in the United States

Cryopreservation Unit Cryonics Institute Clinton Township, Michigan This cryopreservation unit holds the bodies of Rhea and Elaine Ettinger, the mother and first wife of cryonics pioneer, Robert Ettinger. Robert, author of The Prospect of Immortality and Man into Superman is still alive. The Cryonics Institute offers cryostasis (freezing) services for individuals and pets upon death.Cryostasis is practiced with the hope that lives will ultimately be extended through future developments in science, technology, and medicine. When, and if, these developments occur, Institute members hope to awake to an extended life in good health, free from disease or the aging process. Cryostasis must begin immediately upon legal death. A person or pet is infused with ice-preventive substances and quickly cooled to a temperature where physical decay virtually stops. The Cryonics Institute charges $28,000 for cryostasis if it is planned well in advance of legal death and $35,000 on shorter notice.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;World Church of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Simulation Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) Fort Campbell, Kentucky The Cassidy Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) training site is a 90,000 square kilometer training facility built for tactical simulations of urban combat. Cassidy MOUT contains representations of government buildings, a hospital, a bank, a school, suburban homes, apartment buildings, narrow and wide streets, a park, and detailed elements such as street signs, sewer covers, utility cables, and streetlamps. The World Church of God represents a generic religious structure where city residents meet for collective worship. Recently, Cassidy MOUT constructed a wall around the church to mimic the set-up of many mosques in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military Operations on Urban Terrain, Virtual Simulation MetaVR Brookline, Massachusetts This computer-generated model of Fort Campbells Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) site in Kentucky depicts the cement wall recently built around the World Church of God to simulate a mosque in Afghanistan or Iraq. MetaVR, a software company that creates 3D, real-time, PC-based visual systems combining geo-specific simulations with game quality graphics, built a computer generated replica of Fort Campbells MOUT site. Virtual simulations like these are used for the training of soldiers and the development of future combat systems and strategies. They enable soldiers to operate a computer as an individual combatant from the perspective of a first person shooter, commonly seen in popular computer games. The U.S. Army uses MOUT sites, site simulations and 3D virtual MOUT site interactions to prepare soldiers for urban warfare, which is considered the future of enemy combat.

The Central Intelligence Agency, Art CIA Original Headquarters Building Langley, Virginia The Fine Arts Commission of the CIA is responsible for acquiring art to display in the Agencys buildings. Among the Commissions curated art are two pieces (pictured) by Thomas Downing, on long-term loan from the Vincent Melzac collection. Downing was a member of the Washington Color School, a group of post World War II painters whose influence helped to establish the city as a center for arts and culture. Vincent Melzac was a private collector of abstract art and the Administrative Director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.s premiere art museum. Since the founding of the CIA in 1947, the Agency has participated in both covert and public cultural diplomacy efforts throughout the world. It is speculated that some of the CIAs involvement in the arts was designed to counter Soviet Communism by helping to popularize what it considered pro-American thought and aesthetic sensibilities. Such involvement has raised historical questions about certain art forms or styles that may have elicited the interest of the Agency, including abstract expressionism.

White Tiger (Kenny), Selective Inbreeding Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and Foundation Eureka Springs, Arkansas In the United States, all living white tigers are the result of selective inbreeding to artificially create the genetic conditions that lead to white fur, ice-blue eyes, and a pink nose. Kenny was born to a breeder in Bentonville, Arkansas on February 3, 1999. As a result of inbreeding, Kenny is mentally retarded and has significant physical limitations. Due to his deep-set nose, he has difficulty breathing and closing his jaw, his teeth are severely malformed, and he limps from abnormal bone structure in his forearms. The three other tigers in Kennyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s litter are not considered to be quality white tigers as they are yellow coated, cross-eyed, and knock-kneed.

Playboy, Braille Edition Playboy Enterprises, Inc. New York, New York The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the U.S. Library of Congress, provides a free national library program of Braille and recorded materials for blind and physically handicapped persons. Magazines included in the NLSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s programs are selected on the basis of demonstrated reader interest. This includes the publishing and distribution of a Braille edition of Playboy. Approximately 10 million American adults read Playboy every month, with 3 million obtaining it through paid circulation. It has included articles by writers such as Norman Mailer, Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, and Kurt Vonnegut and conducted interviews with Salvador Dali, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Malcolm X.

All images and text Š Taryn Simon, courtesy Gagosian Gallery / Steidl Publishers

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Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon (US, 1975) is a graduate of Brown University and a Guggenheim Fellow. Her most recent series, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar was exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007, and published as a book by Steidl. The exhibition will travel to the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt. In 2008 her work will be exhibited at Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Simon’s previous endeavors, especially her most influential work The Innocents (published by Umbrage Editions in 2003), have been received with high acclaim. Simon’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including High Museum of Art, Atlanta; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Haus Der Kunst, Munich;


Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Simon has been a visiting artist at Yale University, Bard College, Columbia University, School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design. Her photography and writing have been featured in numerous publications and broadcasts including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, CNN, BBC, Frontline, and NPR. Taryn Simon is represented by Gagosian Gallery, New York.

Eric Miles is a writer based in Santa Fe and New York, see page 34 for more information.

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Proof of access granted ~ On Taryn Simon’s exploration of America’s hidden realities

by Eric Miles

As humans, one might say we are hard-wired to look beneath the surface of things. Medieval biblical exegetes, conspiracy theorists and Kabbalists alike seek the hidden meanings beneath a textual exterior that, to use an ancient metaphor, casts a veil over an inner reality. As children, we like to peer under rocks, into the windows of the scary house down the lane, and various other places we probably shouldn’t. Eventually some become professional probers of the secret and hidden. Through her work, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Taryn Simon can count herself among this select group. From its beginnings photography was recognized as an unprecedented means of discovery. As Abigail Solomon-Godeau has pointed out, ‘[until the formulation of the category documentary] photography was understood as innately and inescapably performing a documentary function… to nineteenth-century minds the very notion of documentary photography would have seemed tautological.’ While the category remains highly contested, documentary photography is the genre that embodies the human proclivity toward discovery most explicitly. While complicating them in fundamental ways, Taryn Simon’s work invokes the two fundamental codes of documentary form – authenticity and context. In An American Index, many of the unseen places that she photographs (and the fears they evoke) are the sorts of black holes whose gravitational pull draws those of a paranoid disposition: the specter of Nixon, the glow of radioactivity, hyperreal military simulation. Yet even with some the ‘tamer’ subjects that Simon shoots, such as Girl Scouts Beyond Bar’s, Hibernating Black Bears and Cubs or Death with Dignity Act, the viewer is compelled to marvel at the very fact that the photographer has gained admittance or been given an audience. Her images are, in many cases, the product of protracted negotiation with various figures of authority. The power of the images derives in equal parts from the very existence of the subjects and from the artist having been there. The photographs become proof of access granted.


In terms of both design and presentation, American Index references that strand of documentary that has its roots in the illustrated travel books and topographical studies that proliferated during the second half of the 19th century. Given the colonialist tenor of the times, images of ‘exotic’ peoples and places were particularly in demand. Simon’s project shares this positivist model, while subverting it in intentionally jarring ways. The images authenticate the very existence of terra incognita; the texts follow after the camera, tracing the scene in detached, objective prose, bringing the images into sharp clarity. Yet the categories ‘hidden’ and ‘unfamiliar’ remain purposefully vague – the referents growing only marginally more concrete as we page through the book – the selection of subjects just arbitrary enough to lend an ironic twist to the word ‘index’. Unlike her earlier book, The Innocents, in which she photographed men and women recently released from prison after having been wrongfully convicted of crimes, in American Index the status of the photograph as evidence is somewhat more secure, though no less important as an object of inquiry. In concert with text, a change in the epistemological register of the photographs is effected. In addition to being objects of aesthetic appreciation, they become evidence: each image yoked to a very specific, sometimes entirely singular reality. As such, the images take on a much more instrumental function, making the ordinary extraordinary. The studied formalism of her photographs with their arrangements of contrasting colours, dramatic lights and shadows, solids and voids is certainly more evident in the gallery context than in the book. But in either case Simon’s attentiveness to what is ‘aesthetically alive’ in the photograph, as she puts it, is belied by the precision of context spelled out in the clinical prose of the captions. Whether in the book or on the wall, whatever free-floating ‘reality effect’ we experience in the presence of her images, is dramatically reined in through the deliberate juxtaposition of text and image. The inclusion of text asks us to engage in a distinctly positivist exercise: the single image here referring to some foundational area of American experience tied to the collective mythology of America. To the extent that she is exploring America, her view is not across its surfaces, but rather a free-associative, occasionally surreal attempt to re-mystify that which we may have come to take for granted. To plunge headlong into An American Index is to enter a world where like Oedipa Maas, heroine of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, we experience the ‘the American continuity of crust and mantle’, or surface and depth, that which we are permitted to see, and that which remains perpetually obscured from view. +

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Jiuliang Wang Private Space

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Jiuliang Wang

Jiuliang Wang (China, 1976) started photographing while he was still at high school. In 1997 he opened his own studio for photography in Jinan, in the province of Shandong . He entered Xiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;an Polytechnic University in 2001 and the next year he opened a new studio, in Xiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;an. From 2003 until 2007 he studied photography at the prestigious Communication University of China (CUC) in Beijing. His series Private Space and Basement were exhibited at the Pingyao International Photography Festival


in Shanxi, China in 2005 and 2006. His latest series Legends of Ghosts and Immortals will be exhibited at the 2007 edition of the Pingyao Festival. Jiuliang Wang lives and works in Beijing.

Max Houghton is a writer and lecturer based in Brighton, see page 51 for more information.

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Jiuliang Wang: Happenings of the private sphere

by Max Houghton

The possibility of making images that depict intimate life in China is a very recent phenomenon. Under communism, photography was employed primarily as a propaganda tool, and it is only in the last ten years that the art photography scene has exploded. While many a young photographer has rushed to make highly sexualised images, or to photograph the more unusual aspects of sexual life – transvestites being a rather tired subject, as is also true of ‘Western’ photojournalism – fewer have looked to document the intimate yet ordinary stories of the private sphere. Beijing resident Jiuliang Wang has sought to accomplish just that with his work Private Space. The seed was sewn as he stayed in a hotel and began to imagine those who had lain in that very bed before him. Wang was quite overwhelmed by a desire to seek traces of these people like him, and admits to becoming aroused as he lay there imagining the stories played out there, not the first to be affected by the heady scent of hotel sex (and its attendant sense of death). The resulting images are by turns voyeuristic and collaborative, brutal and tender, serious and ludic; their imperfect framing and dizzying blur serving to increase the sense of intimacy. They represent the anti-thesis of the formal portrait and force the viewer to think about what is hidden in society and what is exposed in private (and the charged dialectic between the two). Wang’s belief is that people only get close to the essence of humanity when they enter their private space. Take the young man sitting down in the shower, head resting on his knees. His vulnerability is palpable. Or the young woman playing cards – Solitaire? – in a blank, almost institutionalized room, save one personal effect: the lurid yellow-and-blue cuddly toy, watching her play. Yet what are we to make of the semi-pornographic images; the satin basque and the red underwear of the woman reading a magazine? The magazine portrait of a man staring out at us, as well as Wang’s own use of the male figure in several works from this series, suggests an objectification of the woman, one that can be honestly acknowledged within the private sphere, as opposed to being hidden in society under layers of politeness and hypocrisy. Wang believes people expose the uglier sides of their nature in the private space of home (or hotel) where they are able to give free reign to their emotions. Sex is not discussed in public even today in China, but in the private space, stories about sex are as old as time.


Through his earlier work, Wang has acknowledged traditional Chinese culture as well as charting the mores of contemporary culture. Stories of gods and ghosts are revealed in Daydream and Marriage in Acheron. Because such stories are passed on mouth-to-mouth in the oral tradition, Wang wants to maintain this essential element of Chinese culture. As he is only too aware, the people who know these stories are disappearing one by one. Wang says ‘Of course there’s no actual god and ghost in the real world; they just exist in people’s minds.’ Wang has not underestimated the significance of the mind as a plane of existence, far from it, in fact he knows more than most of its absolute centrality to Chinese thought. It is for this reason he harnessed the power of photography, to bring these thoughts to life. As China goes through the biggest cultural changes in recent history, on its long march out of communism, Wang also has an eye on the new breed of real estate companies which are entering traditional Chinese villages and changing their visual landscape, their very way of life forever. The happenings of the private sphere may be markedly different from what is seen in public, but the two worlds are constantly colliding, mirroring each other, reflecting back what sometimes we would prefer not to see. +

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Astrid Kruse Jensen Imaginary Realities Parallel Landscapes Hypernatural Indefinite Spaces

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Astrid Kruse Jensen

List of works (in order of appearance): Miniature World, 2001 (from: Imaginary Realities) Green Street, 2001 (from: Imaginary Realities) Hotel Room, 2001 (from: Imaginary Realities) Bus Stop, 2000 (from: Imaginary Realities) Reverie, 2006 (from: Parallel Landscapes) Within the trees, 2006 (from: Parallel Landscapes) The house by the water, 2006 (from: Parallel Landscapes) Looking Out, 2006 (from: Parallel Landscapes) Hypernatural #37, 2003 (from: Hypernatural) Hypernatural #40, 2004 (from: Hypernatural) Hypernatural #01, 2003 (from: Hypernatural) Hypernatural #32, 2004 (from: Hypernatural) Indefinite Spaces # 32, 2006 (from: Indefinite Spaces) Indefinite Spaces #2, 2006 (from: Indefinite Spaces) Indefinite Spaces # 38, 2006 (from: Indefinite Spaces) Constructing a memory, 2006 (from: The construction of memories) All images: Š Astrid Kruse Jensen, courtesy Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen.

Astrid Kruse Jensen (Denmark, 1975) attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 1998-2002 and the Glasgow School of Fine Arts from 2000-2002. After graduating, she lived for some time in Dale (Norway), St Petersburg and in Iceland as artist-in-residence. Solo exhibitions of her work were held at the the Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung, Berlin; Center for Photography NCPA, Mumbai; La Galeria, Barcelona; Harbourfront Centre, Toronto and at Galerie Mikael Andersen in Copenhagen, among others. Astrid Kruse Jensen participated in many group exhibitions at venues like the Museum of Contemporary Art, St Petersburg; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; Philips Contemporary Art Gallery, Manchester; Fotografisk Center and the National Museum for Photography in Copenhagen; Museet for Fotokunst/Brandts


Klaedefabrik, Odense; Shangcheng Gallery, Shanghai and last year at the central exhibition of Paris Photo in Paris. Kruse Jensenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photographs are represented in the collections the George Eastman House, Rochester, NJ; Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus; Museet for Fotokunst/ Brandts Klaede Fabrik, Odense and the John Kobal Foundation in London, among others. In 2006 a book of her most recent series was released, Selected Works by Astrid Kruse Jensen, published by Space Poetry, see www.spacepoetry.dk. For more information on her work see www.astridkrusejensen.com . Max Houghton is a writer and lecturer based in Brighton, see page 51 for more information.

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An abiding sense of menace ~ On Astrid Kruse Jensen’s hypernatural nightscapes

by Max Houghton

These eerie nocturnal surveillances from Danish photographer Astrid Kruse Jensen’s most recent series of work play with the very idea of reality. Who is the young woman looking upon an illuminated box in a shopping mall at night with a somnambulist’s gaze? Why is she there? Who, or even what, captured this moment? There she is again, at a bus-stop, hands folded protectively across her lap, and again, staring up in awe at a lamp-post, like a neoRomantic poet. People are mostly absent in Jensen’s images, save for the occasional visitation from a female character, a latter-day Red Riding Hood who haunts these deceptively placid dreamscapes, where an invisible wolf is always lurking. An abiding sense of menace pervades the jaw-dropping beauty of each nocturne. ‘I restage situations I imagine could have taken place in certain locations. What is real? It’s impossible to separate your own subjective reality from ‘reality’. You are always with your own reality,’ says Jensen. And it is in this way that ‘reality’ becomes a kind of doppelganger to reality, with only a set of spectral fright marks to separate the two. We are in the realm of the Uncanny, never quite at ease with this strange species of the familiar played out before our eyes. Although only one series carries the title Hypernatural, it is the thread that binds all her work, as she constructs a world more real than the real. Jensen speaks of the representation of the real as ‘photography’s burden’. While her jumping-off point is always reality, Jensen uses photography as a tool to create fictions. Her long exposures permit more than the naked eye can see, creating layers suffused with meaning. The water, for example, in the geothermically heated Icelandic swimming pools, appears denser than that element should rightfully be. Its newfound opacity may be hiding something, something that could appear at any moment, breaking the spectral silence, breaking the spell.


From Imaginary Realities to Indefinite Spaces, there is always the sense that Jensen is somehow searching for the end; for what lies beyond. As though in the grip of a death drive, Jensen forces the viewer to confront what might be waiting through the thick trees, or inside the creepy cottage at the forest’s edge. Just like an especially dark Grimm’s fairytale, it is while we are transfixed by a story and captivated by the enduring mysteries of nature that terror strikes. Through her instinctive use of the darkness of night combined with her appropriation of artificial light sources, Jensen manipulates her locations, making nature her very own theatre, subjecting it to the vicissitudes of human emotion. Often, where we would expect black-and-white nightscapes, we find an excess of colour. Yet other images are so dark as to be virtually impenetrable, objects half-appearing as the eye adjusts to the darkness. Houses and trees are constant motifs in Jensen’s work, representing the constant clash between the artificially constructed and nature, or wilderness. Jensen describes her native Denmark as being ‘without wilderness’, something she noticed more keenly than ever on her return from Scotland, where she studied at the Glasgow School of Art. Since then, she has recognized her own quest for a space that no longer exists in her own country, and thus has created psychological spaces for herself through her images, where, like solitude standing, she can luxuriate in a silent world. The final image chosen for this portfolio is from her latest work entitled Construction of Memories. As we contemplate the red swings hanging serenely from the too-perfect tree, the first thought may be of a joyful May Day dance, a familiar seasonal tradition. Yet the people have long since vanished. Instead we see their fictional nooses. The haunting has begun again. +

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Mikhael Subotzky Die Vier Hoeke

foam magazine #12 / talent

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Mikhael Subotzky

All images: © Mikhael Subotzky, courtesy Magnum Photos / Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.

Mikhael Subotzky (South Africa, 1981) graduated with distinction from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2004. Subotzky’s final year project entitled Die Vier Hoeke received widespread acclaim, winning the 2007 Young Photographers Award at Perpignan, the 2007 KLM Paul Huf Award (with Taryn Simon), 2006 F25 Award for Concerned Photography and the Special Juror’s Award at the 2005 Les Recontres Africaines de la Photographie in Bamako. In 2006 he participated in the Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo. Solo exhibitions of his work were held in Pollsmoor Prison in 2005, at Goodman Gallery and at Constitution Hill, both in Johannesburg in 2006. His work has also been exhibited in Basel, Miami, Bamako, San


Francisco, Amsterdam, Turin, Verona, Canary Islands, Rome, Paris, London and New York. His prints are held in the permanent collections of the South African National Gallery, Cape Town, The Johannesburg Art Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mikhael Subotzky is represented by Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, and he was recently accepted as Nominee by Magnum Photos. He lives and works in Cape Town. For more information: see www.imagesby.com.

Sean O’Toole is a writer and journalist based in Johannesburg, see page 26 for more information.

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Impossible to imagine from the outside ~ Mikhael Subotzky’s photographs of prison life

by Sean O’Toole

The prison is an unavoidable focal point of South African history, an anxious setting that continues to insinuate itself into the present. In contemporary Johannesburg, on a stony outcrop that divides the city’s north and south, the country’s new constitutional court is built on, and in places with, the remnants of a former prison. In Cape Town, during the city’s long summer months, endurance athletes attempt to swim an icy 7.4 km route from Robben Island to the mainland. Less than two decades ago, the island, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, was a no-go area confining Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. But these are well known stories, fragments from an optimistic and forward-looking narrative. Mikhael Subotzky’s photographs, which offer an at times bleak vision of contemporary South Africa through its prisons, are not necessarily counter-intuitive to the upbeat tone of the foregoing. After all, his interest in documenting life both inside and outside of prison was sparked by seeing prisoners vote for the first time in South Africa’s 2004 elections. This incident suggested an idea, which not long afterwards saw Subotzky spend lengthy periods of time locked up in what is arguably the country’s most notorious prison, Pollsmoor, in Cape Town. More often than not the long hours spent in this overcrowded prison involved little more than chatting – some of it earnest and purposeful, no doubt, as is the photographer’s way. However, when conditions permitted, he would hitch his Canon EOS 10D onto a specially designed tripod (it is capable of taking 18 consecutive frames on a rotating axis) and set about making his technically audacious panoramic photographs. Beyond the techno wizardry, his method revealed some other noteworthy quirks.


Aside from running a photography workshop with inmates, Subotzky also ventured beyond Pollsmoor’s innocuous brick facades and menacing tangle of perimeter fences in search of answers. In one memorable sequence from this breakthrough body of work, Die Vier Hoeke, he followed a deceased prisoner, Loyanda Motomi, to his ancestral place of burial in rural Eastern Cape. The resulting images not only debunked how the prison experience is recorded but also planted the seed for what was to come, including the Umjiegwana series and its preoccupation, as its title suggests, with life outside prison. But it is Die Vier Hoeke, predominantly, that holds our attention here. It is what propelled Subotzky to regional, national, then international prominence – all in a breathtakingly short time. The signs were, of course, visible early on. Shortly after completing the project in November 2004, Subotzky won the Michaelis Prize, for best undergraduate portfolio, at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. He also received a much-debated perfect grade of 100% for his thesis exhibition – the only humanities graduate in the university’s history to accomplish that feat. Less than a year later collectors at Art Basel were acquiring his work. As is inevitable, given both his age and the parochial nature of Cape Town’s creative scene, hype and rumour soon attached themselves to his name. Ignoring these downsides of success, what emerges intact is the photographer’s clear understanding of, and unflinching focus on the complex social issues that satellite around the concept of modern incarceration. It is tempting, perhaps, to say that his photographs, with their sometimes all-encompassing prospect, try to show us the whole story, but such a claim is both bland and hyperbolic. In truth, what this young photographer offers is an unpretentiously fuller picture of things, one that nonetheless remains partial. The South African journalist Hugh Lewin, in 1964 sentenced to seven years imprisonment for sabotage activities against the apartheid state, concisely articulates an idea that is useful to an appreciation of Subotzky’s photographs. In his book Bandiet, first published in the mid1970s, Lewin argues that it is impossible for anyone outside to imagine what it is like inside prison. ‘Prison is a complete world, a life complete in itself, without reference to anything outside itself,’ he writes. In a sense, Mikhael Subotzky’s photography disrupts but never quite shatters this completeness. More significantly though, his photographs show us that this ‘complete world’ extends far beyond the jail cell and the brutal architecture that contains it. +

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Lieko Shiga Stranding Records

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Lieko Shiga

Lieko Shiga (Japan, 1980) attended Chelsea University of Art and Design in London and was awarded a BA in Fine Arts New Media in 2004. Her work has been exhibited at several solo shows at graf media gm in Osaka, and in 2006 at NUKE gallery in Paris. She participated in several group exhibitions world wide, including Jacques at Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Yamaguchi; Art Court Frontier 2005 at Art Court Gallery, Osaka; Stolen Recorder at Areal 28 in Berlin; Rapt! Contemporary Art from Japan at Seventh Gallery in Melbourne; Re:search


at Sendai Mediatheque, Sendai and BMW Young Asian Artists Series at the Tyler Print Institute in Singapore. In 2005 she won the Jurors Award of the Japanese Mio Photo Award. For more information see www.liekoshiga.de. Lieko Shiga currently lives and works in Berlin.

Max Houghton is a writer and lecturer based in Brighton, see page 51 for more information.

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As inexplicable as the universe itself ~ The fantastically strange scenarios of Lieko Shiga

by Max Houghton

Leiko Shiga’s belief in the transcendent power of the photograph verges on the religious. As the printed image reveals itself in the darkroom, Shiga plays with the axis of time, floating with the image before it settles, before it becomes permanent. The act of creating a moment of frozen time is akin to prayer for her. Now it exists: it is evidence. The confident choreography at play in these often radiant images can be traced back to Shiga’s earlier life as a classical ballerina. She links her childhood on stage directly to her system of artful construction, which never aims to assume total control, but allows or even awaits the possibility of the unexpected. Perhaps what comes as the biggest surprise is the range of emotions awakened in the viewer, who becomes a collaborator in an extraordinary experiment that dares to challenge how we perceive reality. Shiga orders her photographic projects geographically – much of the work in this portfolio originated from two residencies, one in Sendai, in her native Japan, another in blisteringly hot Brisbane, Australia – yet her dramatic tableaux are rendered otherworldly. Whether we view them as part of an elaborate dreamwork, or as modern myth-making, her images are frequently as inexplicable as the universe itself. Many of Shiga’s photographs are themselves rephotographs – a print framed by a macro lens, bright lights or black ink saturating the reverse of image. A photograph of Shiga’s grandfather is just that, photographed once. Photographed twice, he becomes a work of fiction. In this way, Shiga becomes a master storyteller, a creator of fictions, casting herself as a spectral fairy godmother, a granter of wishes.


Take, for example, the picture of the pink house in the rain. It represents a dream come true for Tatsuko (also pictured). Shiga talked at length with Tatsuko, with the intention of eliciting her heart’s desire: a pink house, it transpired. Shiga scoured Sendai, and on finding the city’s oldest house, ready for demolition, contacted the owners and asked if she could paint the house pink. On the rainy night before the house disappeared forever, she did just that. Another wish was granted when she asked residents of Sendai via a questionnaire to name their personal brightness and darkness spots in the city. A ten-yearold boy cited a particular park as his brightness spot, and then revealed his dream to Shiga. By standing in the centre of a star etched into the ground, he would fly through the sky. The resulting image soars. In Brisbane, Shiga met a woman whose husband had died too young. Inspired by the many bones and animal skulls that punctuated the arid foreign landscape, Shiga first photographed them and then synthesized them into one nameless beast on her computer. She then sculpted a Gargantua of polystyrene and plaster, and asked her new friend to pose lovingly, naked beside her ‘husband’, reborn. In all these fantastically strange scenarios, the photograph itself becomes an actual memory of what happened; bona fide proof that what it depicts is real. The boundaries that separate fact from fiction, past from present, fantasy from reality blur and then slip away altogether. Shiga digs deep into her own culture, seeking to remove the wrapping that encloses products and people in Japanese society, and digs deeper still into the obsessions of the human psyche. Her desire to mine ideas of death and birth found its apogee during a bear hunt, the traditional sport of the Ina people of northern Japan. ‘An old man I met told me the bear is a human wearing fur. I persuaded some hunters to let me join them. They caught a bear, and used a knife to skin it. It was so beautiful. It didn’t feel like death at all, but like a human being born. We prayed to the head of the bear, and then I ate it. I could not know how to make work about life and death until now.’  +

foam magazine #12 //talent talent

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4 1

Alec Soth: Fashion Magazine. Paris Minnesota Following Martin Parr and Bruce Gil­ den, Alec Soth was given the honour of 2


serving as editor-in-chief of Magnum Photos’ third Fashion Magazine. It was an interesting challenge for Soth, who normally works in a very solitary way on long-term projects, and who fur­ thermore considers himself as ‘some­ one utterly removed from the world of Parisian culture’. This then became

Koos Breukel: Among Photographers

his starting point. Paris Minnesota is the title, as Soth photographed big

This publication appeared with the

names in the fashion world and profes­

eponymous exhibition in the Museum of

sional models in Paris, as well as locals

Photography, The Hague. Koos Breukel

and high school kids in his home state

is chiefly known for his intense, austere

Minnesota, posing in a combination

black-and-white portraits of people to

of their own clothes and expensive de­

Through the years he’s also made many

Pieter Hugo: Messina / Musina

are alternated with details of interiors

the refined elegance of the world of

portraits of colleague photographers he

Messina is the name of the northern­

and group portraits of the local resi­

Paris fashion shows and the distinctly

knows well or whose work he admires.

most town in South Africa, bordering

dents, straightforward portraits of fam­

unglamorous extremes of Minnesota

Now these portraits are combined with

on Zimbabwe. After the abolition of

ily members pictured at home, on the

in the winter could hardly be greater,

a work by each photographer, selected

apartheid the old name Musina was

couch, with pets – if they have any – on

as Soth’s photos reveal: when the snow

by Breukel. Thus the book offers a

reinstated; Hugo keeps both names, to

their laps. The portraits make us slight­

piles up metres high along the high­

superb personal overview of Breukel’s

emphasize the transition phase and all

ly uncomfortable and call up questions

ways, naturally you’d prefer to keep on

‘professional soulmates’, ranging from

the ambiguity that accompanies it. All

about these people’s lives: a father poses

your cowboy boots under your evening

good friends and former students at

that links the inhabitants of Musina are

with his two sons, barely in their teens,

gown. As editor-in-chief he also thought

the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam

economic motives: the hunting grounds

in full combat dress and heavily armed;

up a hilarious solution for the advertise­

to great ‘heroes’ such as Gerard Fieret,

and a diamond mine, which attracts a

members of the Christian Motorcycle

ments: all the products are ‘hidden’ in

Richard Avedon, Daido Moriyama and

diverse lot of fortune seekers. Hugo was

Association Musina are all seated on the

lush, atmospheric landscapes. At the

Robert Frank. The oldest portrait in the

curious to find out ‘what happens when

couch in their motorcycle jackets, and

back of the magazine the solutions to

collection is that of Ed van der Elsken,

you put people like that together, in the

an older white couple pose with a black

the puzzles are revealed in enlarged

one of the photographers Breukel ad­

middle of nowhere, on a dry riverbed’.

toddler on their lap. Messina/Musina is

detail photos. There you can finally re­

mires most. Breukel photographed him

His deliberate, penetrating photos pro­

the second book that Punctum Press

trieve the green Ralph Lauren tie hang­

shortly before his death in 1990, leaning

vide a rather uninviting picture. The

published by Pieter Hugo, who is prop­

ing over a branch, and the Dior handbag

on crutches outside his beloved farm on

surrounding landscape consists mostly

erly considered as one of the rising stars

that was tucked away in the shadow of

the IJsselmeer.

of desolate no-man’s-land where the lo­

of South African photography.

the chalk cliffs.

whom he personally feels connected.

signer outfits. The contrast between

Veenman Publishers,

cals carelessly dump their rubbish and

Punctum Press,

Magnum Photos/Thames &

ISBN 978-90-8690-081-7,

the graveyard is bordered by an above-

ISBN 978-88-95410-03-6,

Hudson, ISBN 978-2-9524102-1-2,

216 pp.

ground sewer pipe. The landscapes

120 pp.

212 pp.


foam magazine #12 / talent

books 5

Simon Roberts: Motherland In 2004 Simon Roberts embarked on

Fazal Sheikh: Ladli

a tour of Russia that would last a year,

Fazal Sheikh holds a remarkable place in

Paolo Pellegrin: Double Blind

beginning in the farthest eastern part

the world of photography. As an activist

Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin

of the country and ending in Mos­

artist, for years he has used his photos

was in Beirut with journalist Scott An­

cow. On the way he booked more that

of displaced persons in Africa, South

dersen on 12 July 2006 when the con­

75,000 km and crossed 11 time zones. In

America and Asia to bring about more

flict with Israel flared up, resulting in –

his photo document of this journey,

understanding and respect for their sto­

once again – the massive destruction of

Roberts makes a conscious effort to

ries. In 2001 he established the Interna­

the city, as well as many fatalities caused

present a more positive image of Rus­

tional Human Rights Series (see www.

sia than what is so often portrayed

fazalsheikh.org) to this end. He always

by the media, in which decay and

provides his introspective, respectful

Josef Schulz: Ubergang

chaos seem to dominate. Roberts was

portraits with the personal stories of

Josef Schulz, a former student of

and-white photos are alternated with

instead struck by the optimism of the

his subjects, to create a direct, probing

Bernd Becher and Thomas Ruff, pho­

jet black pages with text in which An­

Russian people, and especially by the

appeal to the viewer to take the time to

tographed former European border

dersen describes the war’s progression.

particu­­­­­­lar, mysterious love that near­­ly

look and listen to their story. In his most

crossings that have fallen into disuse.

The book begins with a number of wide

all Russians feel for their motherland.

recent publication, Ladli, he focuses on

Unlike previous series which Schulz

overview shots of the city turned totally

It’s a love that goes further than patri­

the still heavily subservient position of

made of French commercial business

to rubble; the destruction is unimagin­

otism, a deeply felt, almost spiritual

women in India. Ladli was developed

parks and industrial warehouses,

able. As Andersen writes: ‘It’s only when

connection with the land that seems

from his previous project Moksha, also

these images have an air of nostalgia.

you observe the ruins of a city that you

to be characteristic of Russian cul­

published by Steidl, in which he inves­

You can’t help but try to figure out

realize how much work it takes to build

ture. This connection, which touched

tigated the stories of Hindu widows.

where the border posts are located

such a city.’ Then Pellegrin zooms in

Roberts deeply, is reflected in the way he

In Ladli the many testimonies of abor­

from the architecture and surround­

on the human drama with penetrating

photographed the Russian people. His

tions of girl foetuses, killings of baby

ings, although a few of these are easily

images, often taken from unbearably

portraits emanate calmness; the people

girls, child labour and abuse, and forced

guessed by the presence of traffic signs

close-by. Contrary to what the Israe­

seem firmly rooted in the ground. No

prostitution are unspeakably shocking.

or lettering. All the crossings seem to

lis have claimed, many of the victims

matter how unenviable these people’s

Such preconceived notions and prac­

be shrouded in a thick fog, strongly

were ordinary citizens and children,

living conditions are, they seem to feel

tices are deeply rooted in a culture, and

emphasizing their shapes. On closer

not Hezbollah fighters. Sixteen children

at home in their surroundings. Portraits

are consequently difficult to eradicate;

inspection it appears to be digital fog,

were killed in an attack on the village of

of the local people alternate with im­

legislation alone is insufficient to break

added by Schulz artificially, as clearly-

Qana – exactly twenty years after the

ages of the countryside or urban land­

through the apathy. Women must stand

delineated shadows can sometimes be

first ‘Qana massacre’ when many more

scape and interiors, and extensive notes

up for themselves and disseminate their

made out in the foreground.The effect

victims fell. Inspired by this human dra­

are provided: Roberts has clearly taken

stories, and in doing so prompt change.

strengthens the other-worldliness of

ma, Patti Smith wrote the song Qana,

the time to record the personal stories

And, says Sheikh, ‘this book is an at­

these disintegrating monuments, rem­

the lyrics of which are included in the

of the people he met.

tempt to help them do it.’

nants of a bygone era.

back of this book.

by the more than 2,500 missiles fired during that period. In this intense, som­ brely designed book Pellegrin’s black-

Chris Boot,

Steidl Publishers,

Schaden Verlag,

Trolley Books,

ISBN 978-1-90571-203-8,

ISBN 978-3-86521-381-5,

ISBN 3-932187-57-1,

ISBN 978-1-904563-57-0,

192 pp.

192 pp.

40 pp.

144 pp.



foam magazine #12 / talent


Hans Eijkelboom: Paris – New York – Shanghai On 8 November 2007, the day his Aper­ ture exhibition opens in New York, it will be precisely fifteen years ago that Hans Eijkelboom began the photographic journal he planned to keep for this exact period. For fifteen years, at least five days a week, he would take one to 80 photos per day in the city he was in at the time. Eijkelboom is clearly a man with a plan. He observes people in the street with ‘the discipline, rigor and engagement that are the hallmarks of anthropology’, as Martin Parr describes him in the intro­ duction to this publication. The theme

be surprised by what he observed in the

Darin Mickey: Stuff I gotta remember not to forget

street and then made his decision about

The title of this beautifully crafted

what to concentrate on for an amount

(which is always true of Jason Fulford’s

of time set in advance: couples walking

J&L publications) small book comes

of the day was not always set before go­ ing out; Eijkelboom liked to let himself

presents Emi Anrakuji’s intense, frag­

arm-in-arm, women with Louis Vuitton

from a cork bulletin board full of ‘things

Witness 2: Daido Moriyama / Witness 1: Stephen Shore

mented shots of her own body and Ken Kitano’s ‘Piling Portraits’, composed of

bag, mothers shopping with their daugh­

to do’ lists. It hangs in the house of Ken

Witness is a new biannual series, pub­

dozens of different negatives.

ters, taxi drivers in their car or men in

Mickey, the photographer’s father. At

lished by the not-for-profit photography

Witness 1 begins with a contribution

striped T-shirts.

the same time it’s a fitting metaphor for

organization Joy of Giving Something

by Martin Parr titled ‘11 interesting

In this ingeniously designed publica­

the complex mixture of feelings which

and distributed by Nazraeli Press. For

photography books about which very

tion which is actually three books in

often infuse family relationships after

each issue a guest editor is invited to

little is known’, about some wonder­

one, fastened together like an accordion,

the children have grown up and moved

present their own work as well as that

ful, obscure photobooks. But Stephen

Eijkelboom for the first time combines

away. Ken Mickey is a typical all-Ameri­

of younger colleague whose work they

Shore devotes most space to the phe­

his typologies with images of the city

can salesman, selling storage space in

know and admire. Daido Moriyama

nomenon of printing on demand, and

surroundings and carries out the same

converted caves and abandoned mines

was asked for the recently released sec­

the new photographic opportunities he

investigation in three different cities:

in Kansas. Son Darin photographed the

ond issue, Stephen Shore for the first

believes these technical developments

Paris, New York and Shanghai – the past,

not-quite-exciting life of his dutiful dad,

one and Martin Parr will follow for part

can offer. These are discussed in an in­

present and (possible) future capital of

who makes a rather weary impression.

three. Moriyama shows photos he shot

teresting, lenghty conversation with Jeff

the world. It’s fascinating to see how dif­

We see father Ken in his office, on the

in 2006 in Shanghai, a city which has

Rosenheim. In his own work it has led

ferent men dress in similar camouflage-

phone, riding around in a cart in one

held a mythical fascination for many

to ‘visual time capsules’: small unique

print clothes in New York or in Shanghai,

of the underground storage areas, as

Japanese ever since it was occupied

books which reflect the culture of a

and how identical girls wearing T-shirts

well as watching football on the couch

by Japan in 1937. For Moriyama, too,

particular day. These have been entirely

look in Paris or New York. This book and

with grandfather Mickey – one of the

Shanghai had always had an aura of

photographed on one day, when the

the exhibition of the same name provide

few moments where he lets loose and

drama, romance and exotic seduction.

New York Times reports on an event so

well-earned recognition for an artist

shows some actual emotion. Darin’s

When he finally got the opportunity to

newsworthy that they use a six-column

who operates with impressive persever­

style of photographing keeps some dis­

walk around the city and take photos

wide headline on the front page.

ance as a collector of urban images of

tance, but with an extraordinary and

(he visited for the first time in 2005)

JGS/Nazraeli Press,

how we live.

subtle eye for poignant details.

there was no time for contemplation; as

2: ISBN 978-1-59005-199-3, 96 pp.;

Aperture Foundation,

J&L Books,

always, Moriyama let himself be swept

ISBN 978-159711-044-0,

ISBN 978-0-9746908-7-2,

away by the reality before his camera.

1: ISBN 978-1-59005-188-7,

240 pp.

48 pp.

In addition to his own work, Moriyama

72 pp.



foam magazine #12 / talent



Robbie Cooper: AlterEgo: Avatars and their creators The world of online gaming may be an

Ed Panar: Golden Palms

unknown phenomenon to many of us, but some people spend as much time in it as in the real world. They vary from

When Ed Panar came to live in Los

housewives to models, from students,

Angeles in 2002, he had no car. He got

managers and academics to physically

around the city by walking and with

disabled persons who play Second Life

public transport – a ridiculous under­

as part of their daily programme. Pho­

taking, as anyone who is familiar with

tographer Robbie Cooper has investi­

LA knows. But perhaps that’s what

gated the personal and social identities,

gave him a unique eye for the surpris­

called avatars, which players create for

ing sights he saw during his rambles:


themselves in this virtual world. Each

Carlos & Jason Sanchez: The Moment of Rupture

bizarrely shaped trees and bushes,

time he combines an image of the ava­

The work of the Canadian brothers Car­

numbered photos:

unreal-looking flowerbeds, the play of

tar with a portrait of its creator, and sup­

los and Jason Sanchez has an edgy ten­

1-3 © Pieter Hugo, courtesy Michael

lines and shadows in deserted back­

plies them with biographical data on

sion which gets under your skin. Their

Stevenson, Cape Town

streets and car parks which any other

both the avatar and creator plus a short

carefully orchestrated photos have a

4 © Alec Soth / Magnum Photos

resident would drive by as quickly as

interview about their creation. It’s fas­

strongly filmic character; each single

5 © Simon Roberts, courtesy Chris Boot

possible. People are noticeably absent

cinating to compare the two identities,

image contains an entire story within it.

6 © Darin Mickey, courtesy J&L Books

from Panar’s photos: it’s as if everyone

and sometimes they are surprisingly

The menace is often situated in a home­

7 © Ed Panar, courtesy J&L Books

has fled the city following some myste­

similar, since one would expect these

ly setting, such as Overflowing Sink or

8 © Robbie Cooper, courtesy Chris Boot

rious catastrophe; the only living crea­

games to offer the ultimate opportuni­

the image of a kneeling man, shower­

tures are a startled squirrel, a lone dog

ty to escape reality. But just as often, the

ing a small girl seated on her bed with

and a few birds pecking at the ground.

avatar is physically all that the creator is

presents: the title Abduction suggests

Panar was curious about this mythical

not, and the commentaries too some­

the worst of motives. The book contains

city he had heard so much about and he

times have a melancholy ring, such as,

about twenty works from recent years,

wanted to experience it for himself. His

‘It allows us to fulfil some dreams and

with texts by Catherine Somzé and

conclusion: LA doesn’t add up; it resists

meet some really cool people we would

Joanne Lehan.

a simplistic understanding.

not otherwise have met’.

Torch Gallery/Christopher Cutts

J&L Books,

Chris Boot,

Gallery/UMA Canada,

ISBN 978-0-9746908-6-5,

ISBN 978-1-90571-202-1,

ISBN 978-0-9783439-0-3,

96 pp.

160 pp.

75 pp.


All images are reproductions of book covers, unless numbered. Credits for the

foam magazine #12 / talent

back issues

Missed an issue? You can still order back issues of Foam Magazine. The first two editions of Foam Magazine doubled as exhibition catalogues, to be enjoyed by those who had missed the exhibitions or who wanted to savour the images again in a different context. Since the release of #3, Foam Magazine is no longer linked to the exhibition programme of the museum. Foam Magazine has become an exhibition space in itself. Each edition features a specific theme, which unites six diverse portfolios of 16 pages each.

Curious about a back issue? Order at www.foammagazine.nl

Foam Magazine #3 / access Jean-Christian Bourcart Peter Granser Philippine Hoegen Atiq Rahimi Chris Shaw Mario Testino

Foam Magazine #4 / set up Hou Bo Thomas Demand Joan Fontcuberta Hans van der Meer Daniela Rossell Maurice Scheltens

Foam Magazine #8 / sidewalk Tom Wood Morad Bouchakour Raymond Depardon Trent Parke Gus Powell Nobuyoshi Araki & Daido Moriyama

Foam Magazine #5 / near Bernard F. Eilers Peter Fraser Stanley Greene Annaleen Louwes Ellen Mandemaker Ken Schles

Foam Magazine #6 / sport Giasco Bertoli Robert Davies Gustavo Di Mario Charles Fréger Claudio Hils Bill Peronneau

Foam Magazine #7 / self Machiel Botman Sophie Calle Marnix Goossens Dag Nordbrenden Jan Rothuizen Jan Smaga & Aneta Grzeszykowska

foam magazine #9 / eden Joel Sternfeld Kai Wiedenhöfer Michael Reisch Stephen Gill Jessica Dimmock Ata Kando

foam magazine #10 / stories Larry Burrows Alessandra Sanguinetti Suky Best Raphaël Dallaporta Hunter S. Thompson Wendy McMurdo

foam magazine #11 / young Raimond Wouda JR Lauren Greenfield Oliver Sieber Viviane Sassen Ryan McGinley


foam magazine #9 / eden


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20% off for students www.foammagazine.nl

Subscribe now!

161 Photograph ~ © Jaap Scheeren

foam magazine #9 / eden


new! Foam Editions is a new space within Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam where a well-balanced selection of signed prints by talented young international photographers is available for purchase. At the moment we offer work by Daniëlle van Ark, Fleur Boonman, Marcus Koppen, Marrigje de Maar, Daido Moriyama,James Nachtwey, Sanne Peper, Bart Julius Peters, Yeb Wiersma, Raimond Wouda and Vincent Zedelius. Open Wednesdays – Fridays: 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm Saturdays: 11.00 am – 6.00 pm and by appointment All profits from Foam Editions will go towards supporting Foam’s programme, with an emphasis on the educational projects. Foam Editions is open to the public from 30 May 2007. Foam Editions Keizersgracht 609 NL-1017 DS Amsterdam T +31 (0)20 5516500 W www.foam.nl E roy@foam.nl



foam magazine #12 / talent

Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam


Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam Foamâ&#x20AC;Żexhibits all genres of photography: fine art, documentary, applied, historical and contemporary. Alongside large exhibitions of established (world) famous photographers, Foam also exhibits emerging young talent in smaller short-term shows. Keizersgracht 609 1017 DS Amsterdam tel +31 20 5516500 www.foam.nl Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Foam is supported by the VandenEnde Foundation and Stichting DOEN


foam magazine #12 / talent

Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam


foam magazine #12 / talent

Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

InsideOut ~ Photos from Amsterdam collections and archives ~

28 September – 5 December 2007 by Marcel Feil

Within Amsterdam’s municipal boundaries lies a treasure trove of photography of the highest quality. Much of this wealth of photographic material can be found in prominent collections and archives such as those of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Maria Austria Institute and the Amsterdam Municipal Archive. Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam has put together an exhibition that includes work from each of these four institutions. Although these collections and archives differ greatly in genesis, nature and objective, they have at least one obvious feature in common; in much of the work they contain, human beings in their myriad manifestations are the main subject. Clothing, facial expression and posture are important elements, forming the basis on which we judge and evaluate the people portrayed. The often complex relationship between outward appearance and the identity a person presents, or would like to present, was the starting point in compiling the exhibition InsideOut. From the earliest days of photography, people have felt the need to capture themselves using the new medium. Once photographic techniques started to improve, portrait photography quickly developed into a popular genre in its own right. Initially most of those having their pictures taken belonged to the higher social classes and they usually had explicit ideas about how they wished to be portrayed. Clothing, pose, location and personal effects were important elements of the images people wanted to present of themselves. In fact in these older portraits, image, self-image and desired image, reality and illusion, commonly converge. Although this kind of direction and staging has declined, portrait photography in all its forms remains far from neutral, no doubt partly because the capacity of the photographer to influence the final result has only increased. Portrait photos often tell us more about the historical, social and cultural context in which they originated than about the subjects themselves. How did we see ourselves, how did we see and


judge each other, or outsiders, and what was regarded as important about our appearance, whether in terms of fashion or bearing? Such questions are relevant both to portrait photography as narrowly defined and to the assessment of all forms of photography in which people appear. After all, as well as being unique individuals with identities of their own, people convey a wide range of meanings of a racial, social, religious or sexual nature. A person is always a ‘what’ as well as a ‘who’. All work shown in the exhibition InsideOut – Photos from Amsterdam collections and archives is by Dutch photographers, whether famous names like Ed van der Elsken, Bertien van Manen and Rineke Dijkstra or less well-known practitioners. Documentary and journalistic photography is shown alongside autonomous work and portraits. Taken as a whole, the works in the exhibition are an indication of the richness and diversity of photography available in Amsterdam. In Foam Magazine we present a selection of works from To Sang’s photo studio. This little studio was located in an old working-class district of Amsterdam called De Pijp, where people of many different nationalities and backgrounds live in close proximity. Over the years, Lee To Sang, who is of Chinese origin, received dozens of local residents in his tiny studio. Turning his back on modernization and renewal, he captured the people of his neighbourhood using only a few backcloths, including his famous Alpine landscape. His archive documents the multicultural society that has developed in Amsterdam since the 1970s, especially in De Pijp, in a way that is both moving and timeless. A series of portraits by Lee To Sang is included in the exhibition. +

We would like to thank the Maria Austria Institute, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Municipal Archive. All images: Ca. 1985, Photo Lee To Sang / Willem van Zoetendaal, Amsterdam

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Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam


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Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam


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Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

31 August – 21 October 2007

Hans Eijkelboom ~ Paris – New York – Shanghai This exhibition features a selection of ‘photo notes’ taken by Hans Eijkelboom in these three leading cities. He chose these metropolises because each has at one time been the focus of innovation and change: Paris in the 19th century, New York in the 20th century and Shanghai now, in the 21st century. For this exhibition Eijkelboom has compiled series and created forms showing street scenes in the various cities which, despite their enormous historical and cultural differences, look increasingly alike. While making Paris - New York - Shanghai Eijkelboom wandered through these cities observing life on the streets. Whenever he noticed a recurring theme or dominant subject he began photographing. ‘After standing on the corner of Broadway and 34th Street for around fifteen minutes on Tuesday, 21 March 2006, I noticed that many people were wearing camouflage-coloured clothes. When I realised that I photographed every passer-by wearing camouflage clothes between 2.30 and 3.45 p.m.,’ explains Hans Eijkelboom. Eijkelboom compiled around thirty sets of photos like this, presented here in clearly defined groups on particular themes: women carrying Louis Vuitton bags, taxi drivers, mothers with children, men in striped polo shirts. The series produced in the three different cities are displayed here together. Each portrays a unique individual; collectively they demonstrate the uniformity of the mass in the urban landscape. These apparently superficial similarities seem to bridge the differences in culture and history in today’s world.

Paris – New York – Shanghai © Hans Eijkelboom


Pretty Problem, 2007 © Anne de Vries

31 August – 10 October 2007

Foam_3h: Anne de Vries ~ Metafiction Anne de Vries constructs unusual and puzzling images using familiar, everyday objects. Such as his photo of a model tangled up in an enormous ball of wool. In Metafiction De Vries explores the boundary between the real and the unreal. The result is a colourful series of fresh and surprising images. In his staged photos De Vries tries to bring the ordinary world closer to the fictional. Photography is ideally suited for this. Photos allow events to seem more exciting or poetic than they actually appear in reality. De Vries presents the world through ‘miracle glasses’ that transform insignificant incidents into magical moments. Given the unpredictability of the events in De Vries’s photos, the exhibition of his work at Foam is unconventional. Instead of the usual eye-level museum presentation, the positioning of the exhibits reflects the interplay of the manufactured image and the actual display area. For example, a small photo of a skirting board with a striking piece of graffiti in a frame hangs nonchalantly on the wall beside the actual skirting board. A photo of cardboard is left unframed and appears on the wall as a loose print. Viewers are challenged to look closely.

foam magazine #12 / talent

Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

21 September – 11 November 2007

KLM Paul Huf Award ~ Mikhael Subotzky In March 2007 an international jury named Mikhael Subotzky as one of two winners of the annual KLM Paul Huf Award. Part of this prize for young international photographers is an exhibition at Foam. Beaufort West is the first of the two shows. The South African town of Beaufort West lies halfway along the busy motorway between Cape Town and Johannesburg. In the centre, on a roundabout, is a prison. Fascinated by this remarkable phenomenon, Mikhael Subtozky (1981, South Africa) photographed life in and around the jail. Beaufort West was recently described by a South African human rights organization as ‘an isolated town that has yet to loosen itself from the chains of apartheid, where economic and social integration are still very limited.’ Unlike the country’s main cities, where the gap between rich and poor is dramatic, Subotzky’s work reveals a subtler contrast between various sections of the population. At twenty-five years of age, Subotzky is the youngest photographer ever to be accepted into Magnum Photos.

Participants in the fancy dress competition at the Beaufort West Show, 2006 © Mikhael Subotzky/Magnum Photos

David Duimpies prepares to leave Vaalkoppies (The Beaufort West rubbish dump) on a donkey cart, 2006 © Mikhael Subotzky/Magnum Photos.


foam magazine #12 / talent

Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

28 September – 5 December 2007

InsideOut ~ Photos from Amsterdam collections and archives The city of Amsterdam contains within its perimeters a treasure of high quality photography. Much of this photographic wealth can be found in various leading collections and archives, such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Stadsarchief Amsterdam and the Maria Austria Instituut. Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam has compiled an exhibition showing work from the holdings of all four of these institutions. Although there are major differences in the origins, composition and aims of these collections and archives, there is also an obvious similarity. In much of the work the subject is people: people of all shapes and sizes. Dress, expression and pose are key elements that form the basis of our assessment of people. The often complex relationship between external characteristics and a person’s desired identity was the theme for the compilation of InsideOut. The show includes work by, among others, Johan van der Keuken, Ed van der Elsken, Cor Jaring, Koos Breukel, Bertien van Manen, Rineke Dijkstra, Hellen van Meene and Celine van Balen.

In the garden of Plejadenplein 19, 1999 © Raimond Wouda / Stadsarchief Amsterdam


Three employees of Bob’s Vlaamse Frites at the Albert Cuijp market, 2000 © Ulay / Stadsarchief Amsterdam

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Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

2 November 2007 – 6 January 2008

Ryan McGinley ~ Celebrating Life Ryan McGinley has been hailed as one of today’s most promising international photographers. Following exhibitions at the MoMA, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Galerie du jour Agnès b. in Paris, his work can now be seen for the first time in the Netherlands. The show features a selection of warm and endearing images full of youthful élan from his recent work. For Celebrating Life McGinley photographed a group of friends on a road trip across America, in homage to American predecessors such as Robert Frank and Richard Avedon. In this series he celebrates freedom and escape from the daily grind against the backdrop of the magnificent American landscape.

Dakota (Hair), 2004 © Ryan McGinley / courtesy Team Gallery, New York

16 November 2007 – 13 January 2008

Malick Sidibé Malick Sidibé was born in 1935 at Soloba, near Bamako, Mali. He was the only child of his family to be sent to Bamako to be trained at the Ecole des Artisans Soudanais. Gérard Guillat, a French photographer who had settled in Mali hired him as his assistant and taught him the basics of photography. Guillat asked Malick to document the parties thrown by the middle-class youths of Bamako. When Malick set up his business in 1962 he quickly became famous and was much sought after for all the happening events and ceremonies in Mali, including football matches, weddings, Christmas Eve celebrations. Striking were the surprise parties he photographed, thrown by groups of youths belonging to clubs named after their idols and the records of Western music, for example Los Cubanos, Les Caïds, Les Las Vegas, which had just started being sold in Bamako. Malick sometimes made up to five reports in one night before returning to the lab to develop the negatives and display the index prints for the party guests who came around to select the photos they wanted to buy. In the mid-seventies, Malick shifted his activity to studio portraits and camera repairs, but there are still over a 1000 folders of this type. Some of them are already part of private collections but most still remain neatly piled in a corner of Studio Malick in Bamako. They are a unique testimony to the Malian society of those years.

Nuit du 7-7-1973 (detail) © Malick Sidibé / association GwinZegal


Publisher Foam Magazine BV Keizersgracht 609 1017 DS Amsterdam - NL T +31 20 5516500 F +31 20 5516501 info@foammagazine.nl www.foammagazine.nl

foam magazine #12 / talent


Colophon Foam Magazine International Photography Magazine Issue #12, Fall 2007 (September)

Binding Binderij Hexspoor Ladonxseweg 7 5281 RN Boxtel – NL www.hexspoor.nl

Editorial Advisers Christian Caujolle, art director VU, Paris Kathy Ryan, photo editor The New York Times Magazine


Editor-in-chief Marloes Krijnen Editors Marcel Feil / Pjotr de Jong / Markus Schaden / Tanja Wallroth Managing Editor Tanja Wallroth Co-editor (On My Mind...) Addie Vassie, director of Gallery Vassie for international photography in Amsterdam. Previously, Addie worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum and was print sales manager at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. She also works internationally as a free lance curator, consultant and writer. Concept, Art Direction & Design Vandejong, Amsterdam – Pjotr de Jong / Marcel de Vries / Lucie Pindat Typography Marcel de Vries & Lucie Pindat Contributing Photographers Astrid Kruse Jensen / Dana Lixenberg / Domingo Milella / Lieko Shiga / Taryn Simon / Mikhael Subotzky / Guy Tillim / Jiuliang Wang Contributing Writers Marcel Feil / Max Houghton / Eric Miles / Sean O’Toole / Tanja Wallroth Cover Photograph Mikhael Subotzky (detail) © Mikhael Suotzky / Magnum Photos, courtesy Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg Copy editor Pittwater Literary Services, Amsterdam - Rowan Hewison Translation Liz Waters - Pittwater Literary Services / Iris Maher / Sam Herman / Elisa Uematsu Lithography & Printing Drukkerij Slinger Strooijonkerstraat 7 1812 PJ Alkmaar – NL www.drukkerijslinger.nl


ModoVanGelder, Amsterdam For this edition the following paper has been selected: Pioneer offset 80g/m2 Pioneer offset 300g/m2 Pioneer offset 135g/m2 Mega Silk 135g/m2 Mega Gloss 150g/m2 Mega Matt 135g/m2 Eurobulk 135g/m2 PhoeniXmotion Xantur 135g/m2 The production of Foam Magazine has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Drukkerij Slinger, Binderij Hexspoor and ModoVanGelder, Amsterdam.

Editorial Address Foam Magazine Keizersgracht 609 1017 DS Amsterdam - NL T +31 20 5516500 F +31 20 5516501 editors@foammagazine.nl www.foammagazine.nl Advertising Eric-Jan de Graaff Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam Keizersgracht 609 1017 DS Amsterdam - NL T +31 20 5516500 F +31 20 5516501 advertise@foammagazine.nl Subscriptions Bruil & van de Staaij P.O. Box 75 7940 AB Meppel - NL T +31 522 261 303 F +31 522 257 827 info@bruil.info

ISSN 1570-4874 ISBN-13: 978-90-70516-05-5 © photographers, authors, Foam Magazine BV, Amsterdam, 2007. All photographs and illustration material is the copyright property of the photographers and/or their estates, and the publications in which they have been published. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. Any copyright holders we have been unable to reach or to whom inaccurate acknowledgement has been made are invited to contact the publishers at info@ foammagazine.nl All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of the publishers. Although the highest care is taken to make the information contained in Foam Magazine as accurate as possible, neither the publishers nor the authors can accept any responsibility for damage, of any nature, resulting from the use of this information. Distribution The Netherlands Betapress B.V., Gilze T + 31 161 457800 Belgium Imapress N.V. Turnhout T +32 14 44 25 01 Specialized bookstores and galleries UK Central Books, London T +44 20 8525 8825 www.centralbooks.com International Distribution:

Start your subscription to Foam Magazine www.foammagazine.nl

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PREVIEW Foam Magazine #12, Talent Issue 2007  

Want the full issue? Go to shop.foam.org. The theme of this twelfth issue of Foam Magazine, the fourth after its relaunch in November 2006,...

PREVIEW Foam Magazine #12, Talent Issue 2007  

Want the full issue? Go to shop.foam.org. The theme of this twelfth issue of Foam Magazine, the fourth after its relaunch in November 2006,...