INTERNATIONAL EDITION NO. 8 VOL. 1
DANIEL GORDON CHRIS BOOT THOMAS WREDE ZOE CROSHER THOMAS STRUTH SONDRA GILMAN DAVID LEVINTHAL SLATER BRADLEY LAURENT CHﾃｩHﾃｨRE JULIEN FRYDMAN RONA YEFMAN DIDIER MASSARD AND A COLLECTION OF EMERGING ARTISTS
INTERNATIONAL EDITION NO. 8 VOL. 1
Founder / Editor in Chief Andrea Blanch Creative Director Sam Shahid Art Director Matthew Kraus Publication Director Marsin MOGIELSKI Editorial Directors Ellen Schweber, Ann Schaffer ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR ANDRÉ LANOIE Photo Editor Tatiana Kiseleva
writers / editors john hutt, carlos J. Fonts, JUSTIN MCCALLUM
retoucher spencer bergen
CONTRIBUTORS Reynolds Avlon Matthew Williams Paul A. Longo
Website www.museemagazine.com Email info@museemagazine Facebook facebook.com/museethemagazine Twitter twitter.com/MuseeMagazine Tumblr museemagazine.tumblr.com behance behance.net/Museemagazine instagram instagram.com/museemagazine pintrest pinterest.com/museemagazine/boards linkedin linkedin.com/pub/musée-magazine/42/3b4/ba4 vimeo vimeo.com/museemagazine
Cover Image: Daniel Gordon. Portrait with Blue Hair, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Wallspace. ©2014 MUSÉE MAGAZINE. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED.
INTERNATIONAL EDITION NO. 8 VOL. 1
INTERNATIONAL EDITION NO. 8 VOL. 1
EDITOR’S LETTER by Andrea Blanch
DANIEL GORDON by John Hutt
EMERGING ARTISTS I
EMERGING ARTISTS II
Spencer Bergen, Dedalus & Crane, Silvia Grav by Andrea Blanch Karina Boissonnier, Tamara Ramos
THOMAS WREDE by Justin McCallum
EMERGING ARTISTS III Valérie Nagant, Randy Rojas
ZOE CROSHER by Andrea Blanch
EMERGING ARTISTS IV Sara Angelucci, Marsin
THOMAS STRUTH by Andrea Blanch
EMERGING ARTISTS V
EMERGING ARTISTS VI
Zelco Nedic, Matthew Rose by Andrea Blanch Formento & Formento, Eran Gilat
DAVID LEVINTHAL by Andrea Blanch
EMERGING ARTISTS VII Lindsay Keys, Joon Sang Lee
SLATER BRADLEY by Andrea Blanch
EMERGING ARTISTS VIII Justyna Neryng, Lawick–Müller
EMERGING ARTISTS IX
EMERGING ARTISTS X
by Carlos Fonts Alev Takil, Linda Troeller by Andrea Blanch Finn Schult, Nina Moysi, Carnisch
rona yefman by Andrea Blanch
EMERGING ARTISTS XI Jeremy White, Jimmy Dabbagh
didier massard by Justin McCullum
MUSÉE MAGAZINE. established 2011.
E D I T O R’S LETTER Neither snow nor rain nor sleet nor flu could stop us from producing Volume 1 of Fantasy, Issue 8. All through this relentless winter, Musée’s team trudged through the elements to make it to work each cold, snowy day. I affectionately nicknamed them “The Postmen.” We dove deep into this issue’s theme of “Fantasy,” something we all sorely need a bit of. Musée’s fascinating adventure continues with nine photo-based artists, each bringing their unique imaginations and rigor to their art practice. There’s Didier Massard’s fantastical constructions of detailed scenes producing two to three pieces a year. Laurent Chehere fuses flying houses with charm and narrative. Slater Bradley’s muse, Alina, is the inspiration of his current exhibition at the Sean Kelly Gallery, the penultimate ode to unconditional love and loss. Thomas Wrede’s fantastical landscapes cause us to re-consider humanities role in nature and making seemingly uninhabitable places possible. Zoe Crosher re-considered photographs of Michelle duBois, who some might say is her doppelganger, revealing to us who she is and where she is going, all the while keeping us questioning: is this her or me? And in Martha, Rona Yefman’s collaboration with a Holocaust survivor who wears a mask to keep his true identity hidden, challenges us to ask questions rather than to give answers. Da-
vid Levinthal, whose early collaboration with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau propelled his career, and has stayed on course ever since, producing work that brings toys to life through meaning and historical significance. Thomas Struth’s exhibition at the Marian Goodman gallery begs one to ask: What does this have to do with Fantasy? His answer, explained in his interview, is what Fantasy: Issue 9 is all about! Our “industry insiders” include Sondra Gilman, Chris Boot and Julien Frydman. Gilman’s photography collection is considered one of the ten best in the world, and she recounts her fascinating introduction to the world of photography and its history, and imparts her personal vision; one part instinct, one part knowledge, one part heart. Chris Boot, Director of the Aperture Foundation, articulates his vision on the past, present and future of the Aperture Foundation and his influence on making Aperture a more approachable resource for photography enthusiasts. And lastly, Julien Frydman, director of Paris Photo. I wanted to interview him so badly that even after I took a fall along the Seine, consequently breaking my wrist, I first went to interview Frydman before going to the hospital! It was worth it. Many thanks to all those who support and follow Musée!
Daniel Gordon. Portrait in Yellow, Orange and Blue, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Wallspace.
DANIEL GORDON about face
John Hutt: Your latest photo book is titled, Still Lifes, Portraits and Parts. What “parts” do you have in mind?
No way! I like having a body – being connected to earth, and other people.
Daniel Gordon: The abstract photographs that are made using the constituent parts of older, discarded works.
Your use of colors, especially in “Green Line,” are striking. Do you intend them to be viewed as a series, or individually? The work is a wall covered in “green line” with the colors informing each other, or ….
What is the thought process of creating the backgrounds for each “model”? Do classical form paintings bear an impact on your work? When making a picture, I’m making a series of formal decisions that are wordless until I reach a point that feels done. My pictures aren’t based on specific works within art history, though I am certainly inspired by many artists, past and present. The portraiture work is disjointed, angular and unsettling. There is a sense of body dismorphia that makes the viewer uncomfortable in their own skin. Do you feel that way? I’m interested in conflict within a work of art. For example, grotesque vs. beautiful, wholeness vs. fragmentation, or natural vs. unnatural. These are themes at play within my pictures. I think that the human experience encompasses this range, myself included. If you could be uploaded into a cloud of nanoparticles and be formless, but still retain the ability to feel emotions and create art, would you do it?
Ideally, I’d like them to be viewed both as a series and individually. “The Green Line” is a nickname for a painting by Matisse of his wife. In the painting there is a green shadow forming a line down her face. It’s a beautiful painting, one I find inspiring. When I’m making a show, the color of the individual works are built and conceived in relationship to one another. The female forms viewed from multiple angles as one harken back, especially to Picasso, but to cubism, futurism, dadism and even Haitian traditional art. Am I getting lost in technicalities? Yeah, I feel my work is connected to multiple periods of time. “It is only after you know how to paint that you can forget how to paint.” You have an MFA from Yale. How much work and planning is involved in making a piece, or are they more spontaneous? When making a picture, I start with a general idea, though the Portrait by Andrea Blanch.
final form usually is quite different from my initial expectation. I guess it’s a combination of hard work and spontaneity.
a year later the current curator, Chris Murtha, got in touch, and we got along great. A show came together pretty quickly.
Levitating or Flying Pictures have become very popular to the point of being ubiquitous. Your early work, Flying Pictures, is still special because of the composition, but also because of how the hell did you not break your / the model’s neck?
We are neighbors, Musée is in Manhattan and your studio is in Brooklyn. Would you ever consider a move to somewhere else? What do you like about Brooklyn?
I would set up the camera on a tripod, make a polaroid, and decide where I wanted to situate myself within the landscape. Then I’d head out there, and attempt to fly. Sometimes the friend who would be helping me was able to capture a flying picture, and other times I just looked like a dummy jumping around. So to answer your question, I only got as far as I could jump. Photography did the rest. You now have a son. How do you think it will affect your art and art practice? I have no idea, he probably already has!
I can’t picture living anywhere else. In a lot of ways my work has grown out of the space. It’s so important to me, I don’t think I would want to be anywhere else. Now actually think about where you would have your studio – the perfect place, a garden of earthly delights in some Turkish field, a small place overlooking the Seine in the middle of Paris, or even a bigger place in Brooklyn – maybe move a little further out to avoid the encroaching crowds? I’m in Dumbo now, and I like my space. But now that you’re offering, sure, I’d take a bigger space with lots of light and a roof garden that was right next to home – sounds good!
How did his last exhibit come to be? What is your biggest fantasy at the moment? I had done an interview with Jodie Jacobson for Blind Spot, and she had been a curator at The Horticultural Society. She mentioned the space, and I was really interested. Maybe half
That all kinds of Polaroid film were miraculously available again, at bargain prices.
Daniel Gordon. Left: Portrait, 2010 Above: July 27, 2010, 2010. Following Spreads: Still Life with Fish and Forsythia, 2013., Pink Ladies and pears, 2012., Apple, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Wallspace.
EMERGING A RTISTS
Spencer Bergen. Left: Haunted. Right: Desire.
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dedalus & crane
Dedalus & Crane. War.
EMERGING A RTISTS
CHR I S BOOT jumping the fence Andrea Blanch: So Aperture started publishing sixty-two years ago, correct? Chris Boot: Yes, that’s right. I’ll give you the history: The idea of Aperture came out of the Aspen Photo Conference on the future of photography in 1951. One of the things that conference identified was the need for a magazine like Camera Work, which had been key for the photography world early in the century, and there was nothing happening like that then in 1951. Aperture was initially a text magazine; there were very few photographs in the first issues. It was about a language that began to talk about the art of photography. Nobody was writing and cultivating the language. The first book Aperture published was a special issue of the magazine bound with hard covers and published simultaneously with a book about Edward Weston. And that became the beginning of the book program. Why do you think Aperture brought you in? My history is in photography and publishing. I have a mixture of public and educational experience, as well as publishing business knowledge. I think a combination of that made me appealing. You held down a few positions. Why the different changes? Well, I started in the public sector in a photography education organization called The Photo Co-op (now Photofusion). That was my grounding in photography. After six years, I wanted to get involved internationally. This was a very local organization, you have to understand. I spent a lot of my time working in the grant world at that time and I really wanted to work in a more commercial market. So, I went to work for Magnum Photos, initially selling features. I was putting feature ideas together, selling photographer’s ideas to magazines and publications and graduated from there to become Portrait by Andrea Blanch.
the director in London. I think it was nearly nine years that I was working for Magnum, and I had become, in that period, very seriously interested in publishing. I had been working on books and putting book projects together with photographers and came to the end of my contract, and chose at that point to go off to Phaidon Press, which was an amazing moment. I had been working with Phaidon on behalf of Magnum for several years and then, as it were, I jumped the fence. They were putting a lot of resources into building their photography list. That was a very exciting moment. When I was at Paris Photo fair everybody was talking about MACK. Why do you think they are receiving so much attention? MACK is certainly a contender for one of the best photobook publishers out there today. They are brutally simple artist books. There’s usually no text, and very little paraphernalia to the books. There’s a strong visual concept to each book they do. Michael Mack is one of the smartest guys in the photo book publishing industry now. They’ve also won a lot of awards for best books. They’re doing really great work. What do you think makes a good publisher? A reputation matters in terms of attracting photographers and artists who want to work with you. Having a clear vision of what you’re doing is also important. One of the ways in which we’re different from MACK, is we have much more of an educational role in what we’re doing. We want to illuminate people about the medium, its history and future. Text is much more important to us. The photographic content in the magazine, frankly, is not that dissimilar to what other photo magazines are doing. There are lots of great visual magazines out there, but where we are distinct is with the text. We use the tagline for the magazine: speaking the language of photography. The magazine began as a vehicle to develop the
language with which one spoke about photography, with which one was able to assist the understanding of photography and photographer’s intentions. Do you think a lot of people read that now? Yes, actually. People are selective about what they read. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but there’s a lot of bad stuff out there too. It’s not a magazine for people who are just starting out in the medium. We also are going to do an app, it will be a digest of some of the things we’re doing in the magazine. The app is more for attracting the enthusiast and building their knowledge, rather than our magazine, which is really for people who are already in the field and serious about dealing with the issues professionally and artistically in a period of rapid change in the medium. I think Aperture is an essential read for anyone with a serious interest in photography. We are working with the best writers on photography in the world, in a very smart way. I just want to say, visually you’ve turned the magazine around. You’ve made it more appealing to read. I found it to be very academic.
ever did before and they’ve got more confidence, and more knowledge about the process of putting a book together. To go back to your original question: how does it all begin? Sometimes photographers come with a body of work and we as editors or designers are really key in shaping how that work comes to the world in book form. Often the photographer comes with either a design and a very particular version of the work that they want to see published, or, it’s at least well on the way there. And of course the photographer is always involved in the process. It becomes a collaboration between a designer, editor, and photographer. Who has the final say? You or the photographer? The photographer definitely has the final say about the choice of the photographs. That’s their work. I think we’re very sensitive to a photographer’s wishes but we’ve also got the economics of the project to worry about, and so we may well put some pressure, and say, “We think it should be like this. We think it will appeal to an audience better like this,” and that’s not always what the photographer wants. I would like to think we always resolve those things in a friendly way. Are you a collector?
Occasionally a rather academic text creeps in. We do work with academic writers but ask for writing directed more toward a general reader, to introduce the ideas photographers are dealing with for a broader audience. I’m not an academic. I use myself as the judge. I’m much more of a populist. When dealing with new artists on their first book, do you provide a lot of guidance or do you prefer the artists that already have a theme or idea in place? We rarely are involved in helping a photographer make a body of work. That sometimes happens, but usually we’re in discussion with the photographer either when they’ve finished or are well on the way to finishing a body of work. Many photographers now, and this is different from a decade ago, have very clearly developed ideas of how the book should be and exactly how they want to see it made. That’s really changed. There’s been an incredible growth in consciousness of the form of the book. Now when I get a book by an artist, I want it signed. I never used to care about signatures. Now I want to have it signed. There’s a joke going around in the photography world. It’s to do with Martin Parr. He’s signing so many books that it’s better to get one that’s not signed, because they’re rarer.
I don’t have the collector’s gene. I’ve never been totally serious about curating my own collection. I’m an editor and a book maker. I love the process of making books. I love being surrounded by books, but I’m not a collector. Do you consider yourself a scholar? No, I’m educated and relatively well-informed and a real enthusiast for photography, and I completed a photography degree, which was a very theoretical degree. There was a moment in that time where I was studying Lacan and Derrida and Victor Burgin and simultaneously grappling with some problems of growth, managing growth, with my then-employer, The Photo Co-op. I took a business course to help me. The business course was about finding solutions to problems, and the theoretical work I was doing in college was all about dismantling meanings. I found it nihilist. It was a fork in the road and I chose business. I’m not an academic by nature. I’m a practical person. I gained an academic grounding through college which is definitely useful for my journey in photography, but I’m not drawn to it. If something seems more interested in theory than the encounter with the visual world, then it loses me. With the emphasis on illuminating people about photography, do you feel that graduate school is important for a photographer today?
That’s very funny. There’s a real appreciation out there and a real knowledge. The other aspect of this knowledge is the photographers. They’re much more sophisticated and quite often their first steps in the photo book world are to make a book, not to go to a publisher with a body of pictures. They make the book. They know much more about book-making than they
The world of photography has changed since I’ve been involved. Twenty years ago, most people working with a camera, making pictures – photographers – had no training. There was very little available.There’s been an incredible growth in photography education. On the one hand, I would say it’s very hard for a photographer to make an impact today without knowing where they fit into history and having
really thought about a lot of things. You come across very few instinctive, great photographers. On the other hand, it’s sort of a burden that people are so educated. It isn’t instinctive anymore. It is an intellectual practice now. It’s very self-conscious. I miss, at some level, the period when people were driven by instinct rather than intellect. This brings me to where photography is right now. I think that there’s been such a shift, and not only because of technology. Photography is not just a camera and straight photographs. A photographer doesn’t want to be called a photographer anymore, they want to be called an artist. And if they do mixed media, then they’re definitely an artist. Well you noticed, I don’t always use the word “artist,” I mix. I think everybody is an artist at some level, everybody. I don’t find the words that meaningful. We can’t really define what a photograph is anymore. The boundaries are blurred of what is and what isn’t a photograph, and I defy anybody to give me a clear definition of what a photograph is at this point. We’re all photographers. We all use cameras. It’s the nature of the world we live in. We all make pictures with photographic technology. If I was to locate myself in photography within one specific place I would use the words “documentary art.” Documentary, because it is about the observed world. Art, because it’s fashioned by the unique approach of the individual photographer. We’re in this world where suddenly there are billions of people engaged with photography, and I see it as our job to bring the story and culture of photography to as many of the people of today using cameras. It’s all about history being relevant to what photography is becoming. There are lots of people enthusiastic about contemporary art who really don’t know anything about the story of photography. I’m here at Aperture because I think the story which Aperture has been so much a part of is relevant to today: how people make pictures, how people use pictures. They may be going off in new directions, but there’s a history to the way people frame a photograph today. It comes from inventions in the past and the work of certain individuals who created ways of looking at things. It has a genealogy, even as the borders of what photography is and isn’t are no longer clear. That doesn’t matter to me. We are photo-centric, we’re engaged in this particular story and it has fascinating chapters underway now, which is what the magazine is tracking; the evolution of the medium as it happens. Some of the photographic work no longer involves a camera, and that’s where the nature of the medium is blurred. What has been the shift in viewpoint from before you took over at Aperture? It’s a question of emphasis rather than anything radical. I completely identify with all of what Aperture has done in its past. But there’s this incredible growth of photographers making their own books; and in that context I see our role as a publisher, our job, to cultivate relationships. We offer the opportunity for people to meet and get to know photographers
in person. Events are key to how I see publishing. It’s not just the book launch, it’s the fact that we are offering multiple points of access as well as multiple revenue streams that go with that. We offer workshops with the photographers we publish. It helps to build a direct audience, building opportunities for people who want to have an intimate connection with the photographer, where books are key to that, they are the heart to it. But it’s not only about the book. We work in part as an events organization. I think this is what the publishing future for photography is going to be. We try to offer people a rounded experience. I want to ask you something that is dear to my heart. Fashion photography: Why, in your opinion, do you think it’s still snubbed by the photo community? I think there are two reasons. One, there’s the issue of commercial photography generally being somewhat snubbed. There’s a certain snobbery in the art photo world about photographs made for commercial purposes which, by the way, I don’t happen to agree with. Then the second part: fashion is an enclosed world. I blame us, but I blame fashion too. They don’t necessarily think outside their own world. There are a lot of things that exist in the fashion world only for the people in the fashion world. You don’t think they reach out? Very few fashion photographers come to us with projects. I think that’s going to change because of people like Viviane Sassen. An amazing fashion photographer making amazing books. Absolutely stunning work. There are some artists/fashion photographers breaching boundaries in that area and beginning to change that. We will do more fashion projects in future. This is our fantasy issue, so I have to ask. What’s your personal fantasy right now? I picture myself walking country footpaths in England, with the dog. That’s very clean. I’m not giving you my dirty one. When we were talking about the photographers going to graduate school, one of the things that I noticed, is that everybody I’ve interviewed, the artists, are so articulate about their work. And they never were before. If you had asked me about my work, I wouldn’t have been able to talk about it. We’ve trained ourselves. It’s happened. The naive thing is gone, it’s over. I mean, Google. Everybody knows everything about everybody. It’s horrible. That’s my fantasy. A world in which there was no internet and we acted on artistic instinct, and we didn’t know what was going on on the other side of the fence. I grew up in that world. I grew up in a photographic culture in England where we didn’t know what was going on in Paris.
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Karina Boissonnier. The Beginning.
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Tamara Ramos. One Day at a Time.
THOMAS W R E DE the photo I want Justin McCallum: You first started 20 years ago. Did you start out pursuing more traditional photography? If so, how did you transition to your more abstract, fine art landscapes?
tional because I have to shift the focus to achieve sharpness throughout the entire image. Sometimes objects are just a few meters from the camera, maybe an arms length.
Thomas Wrede: I started off studying painting and drawing. I was at the Art Academy and I always used photography for my paintings and drawings. I started doing photography in 1991, at the art school of Dieter Appelt. He’s a German photographer and teacher. I’ve been taking photos of landscapes now for ten years, not twenty. I’ve done several other published photography works. In 1998, I completed Magic Worlds, artificial landscapes in German amusement parks. After that I took photos of interiors of wallpaper in German living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms. These photo wallpapers, all around German apartments in 2000 and 2001 , I called Domestic Landscapes. From 2002-2007, I was doing Manhattan Picture Worlds that were billboards in New York. I’m doing the Real Landscapes project at the moment. I take five to eight photos a year. It’s done very slowly. Sometimes I take one or two years to produce a single photo. Of course, I don’t work every day on one image, but I have to wait for just the right light and I’ll drive into the landscape and place the small things on the beach. Sometimes it’s too rainy or too windy, but those are obstacles you always deal with if you make photos in nature.
Do you approach the idea of size and presence in your work mathematically, or is your aesthetic something that has come about organically?
You have to use some impressive equipment to produce your work. Do you choose your gear based upon the ideas you have, or had it developed with your interests? TW: First, there is the idea. Sometimes I make a small drawing or painting in my sketchbook, and then I try to find the right house or car. Sometimes I have a dream, sometimes I see photos in a newspaper or magazine or somewhere in the art world: I get inspired by these types of things. Then I develop the idea in my studio and, with my assistant, build the models to make test photos. Later we place objects in the landscape. I use a large format camera. It’s analog, and it’s very tradi-
It always goes through a long developmental process. I return to the same place several times to evolve my idea of the landscape. Along the same lines; do you always know what you’re going to get in each picture? How do you cope with nature as a creative force limiting control over your final images? 80% of the image is already in my head. I just have to find the right place. Sometimes I wait for natural factors like clouds and rain become present. It’s a communication between two: first, I have my idea, then I go into nature and wait for the right elements, and it develops. Sometimes the image I’m striving for is very clear in my head, others aren’t. With my technique, a small puddle can become a lake, and I may have that idea from my first drawing. Then it’s very clear, I know how to make the photo I want. Do you have a specific idea or message that you’re trying to convey to the viewer of your photographs? There are different levels. First off, I want to make a good image that surprises you. On the other hand, it’s a lot of fun to see the whole world within a small world. In the sense that you don’t have to travel because I take all of these images in Germany, at the German North Sea. I found all the things here around my home. There’s another idea in my work too; you don’t need to travel, everything you need to make quality photographs is around you. Also, there are some philosophical ideas, that a photograph is always in a place between longing and catastrophe. I use Portrait by Thomas Schmitz
All photos ÂŠThomas Wrede. Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery and Beck & Eggeling Gallery.
images that you would find in newspapers and magazines, so there is a communication between the small things that are just toys, very simple things, and then big ideas. Do you create the models yourself or do others create them for you? Both. I have a few assistants that help me in my studio. On the other hand, I buy most of my models on eBay. I buy them and we paint them with new colors and add details. A lot of things you can’t buy anymore, but they can only be found on eBay. I also like to use recycled or appropriated materials which I find. And everyone can use these simple toys, too. Since you use models in your work so much, did you ever play with or collect these sort of toys as a child? No, only a few. I love to do it, but it was not the main subject. I was usually on the football field. But we like to do it. It’s very popular in Germany, there’s a lot of people playing with these kinds of things. There are lots of shops and business for it. Sticking with your childhood, a lot of your work feels very isolated or lonely. Did you grow up in a removed or rural area? No, it’s just something that comes out in my work. I think there is a big tradition in German art, the romantic, to be alone in the landscape. In it, the landscape feeds the emotion of the person. There’s a longing for the landscape - for a clean place, white places. I think it’s a tradition. On the other hand, this minimalism is an aspect of my art. I use very few things in my frames, I don’t want too much. Do you think that idea of German Romanticism translates to other cultures? Perhaps through the images people will understand. On the other hand, if you look back 150 years ago, it was a political thing for you to ‘go back to nature.’ I don’t know if you can translate all these cultural aspects, but I think the idea of adventure, of danger, can transport you to other countries. I have a lot of exhibitions in China and Korea and I believe they understand my work. There are a lot of movies, American movies, that work with this; with scenic space – often a desert – at the beginning or end of the movie. You put a lot of thought into the models and scenes you create. Do you base these on places you’ve been or are they totally unique? It’s both things; there isn’t only one way to look. Sometimes I’m inspired by the place and I get new ideas from a story. I don’t have all of my ideas inside me. I like to get inspiration from the land-
scape. However, there are a lot of dreams in my head, and I try to find them. It’s a communication between me and nature and the landscape. It’s a development. Sometimes I drive to the same place three or four times just to find the right light. It’s different to make a photo at two or five or six o’clock. Light is very important. In setting up your models, do you try to create a narrative? You say the images go from idyllic to catastrophic. Is there a message across the series, or a story between the images? Not between the images, no. A single image maybe. A small story, a beginning of a story, or an end to a story may be in one image, but not in many. What’s going through your head as you set up the vignettes? Is there a theme for them beyond creating that sense of longing for nature? Yeah, I think there is a theme of social dramas. The dream of perfect nature, the dream of a landscape with no human beings, that is very silent. There are different subjects, but I think there is one line in all these pictures at different levels and through different stories. You explore how humanity and nature are existing at odds. How do you feel about the current state of environmental degradation and human impact on climate change? We are frightened by it. I’d like to translate this feeling of fright for it, because it’s everywhere, but we don’t know it. Sometimes we feel it slightly. Sometimes images like these, it could be, and it could not be, and you don’t know. If you compare the image with the cars (the first image on my website of cars in a coal mine), it is very brown, titled Tertiary Valley. It’s a long, long time ago, and you don’t know why there are cars. It’s like the dinosaurs. The cars are fossils from five million years ago. You can see it on the ground and it’s about 100 meters deep because it’s an old coal mine, and you see the cars on the ground like old animals that were fossilized but you don’t know what they’re doing. There is always a question about nature and catastrophe, and the relationship between the human being and nature. Last but not least, what is your fantasy? My fantasy is a mixture of reality and construction, reality and fiction.You don’t know what fantasy is and you don’t know what reality is. There is always a mixture. Sometimes the reality is built like a fantasy, and you don’t know where you’re standing. Even in my photos of the billboards in New York you don’t know where the fantasy and the reality ends – you are between all of these things.
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Valérie Nagant. Left: Haussmanienne. Right: Odéon.
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Randy Rojas. Sky is Falling.
ZOE C RO S HE R elicit art
Andrea Blanch: You have the Michelle duBois project and the billboard project. They both require a different type of energy and creativity, working with archives and then something that is new and part of a bigger project with other people. What’s that like? Zoe Crosher: Sometimes people get confused about what I do because I do a number of different things, but in an overarching sort of way, the projects come from a similar place. They both deal with the discussion of fantasy, so it made sense when you said I was in the Fantasy issue. Photography lends itself to the confusion of the fantasy/imaginary version of something and the disconnect to what its reality actually is. A lot of the things I think about have at its core the fantasy of construction of selfhood -you’re dealing with a Michelle duBois selfhood and a selfhood of Manifest Destiny of the US. The projects are very different. One difference between the two is that the Manifest Destiny Billboard Project, done in collaboration with the Los Angeles Nomadic Division, is conceptually complete – how it unfolds is going to be the fun part. The hard creative work, in a way is done, and now it’s more about executing the project, seeing what comes, all these wonderful unexpected responses. It feels much more communal, and it feels more open. The Michelle duBois projPortrait by Tony Byrd.
ect was challenging in a very different way. I sometimes have this sense that the project has always been around, and that’s such a fiction, right? The truth is that artists struggle to work through a ideas and inspirations. It’s a creative process to figure out the things you’re interested in, and how to manifest them aesthetically and conceptually and historically. I feel like that type of engagement is so dynamic but also quite stressful. It was exciting because I had the question but didn’t have the answer. And often when things become more successful, the speed suddenly shifts. It’s not that I was working in obscurity, I had been working quietly for a number of years on the duBois project. But the work really hit its stride starting around 2010, and suddenly everything moved much more quickly and I had to figure through things creatively at a faster rate. I only now have time for reflection. When I’m looking at the Michelle duBois project, what exactly am I looking at? It depends on where in the stage of the project you are looking. As each step and stage unfolds, you are looking at different things that I was thinking through, and the questions in photography that I was playing out. If you were looking at work from 2008 you are looking at how things are collected and cat-
Zoe Crosher. Mae Wested no.9 (Crumpled) from the series 21 Ways to Mae Wested, 2012. All images Courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles.
egorized. Sometimes they include manipulated original documents or original photographs from the archive. For instance, there is The Polaroided Series, literally a series of polaroids of her at the same bar with ten different men where I just black out the men. Later aspects of the work deal with greatly manipulated material aspects or obfuscation of the archive, with images that are separated and far removed from the initial reference. Often repetition is a big part of my practice. Were the polaroids archival photographs or something else? The actual polaroids are from her collection, but I manipulated these particular ones. That was one of the few sub-series where I included original images. Polaroids are also included
in the Grrrr series, a work that concentrates on her obsession with the tiger print; tigers on the wall, images of her wearing a tiger blanket, riding a tiger statue, polaroids of her wearing a tiger shirt, etc. Some were original from her archive but most were pieces that I created, from her quote-unquote â€œarchive.â€? Her original archive was a complete disaster zone, not really an archive at all, more an accumulation of negatives, polaroids, contact prints, slides, photo albums, immaterialness that had no rhyme or reason, and all of which fit into a couple boxes, hidden under beds and behind cupboards. What attracted you to her? I was given these photographs when I was twenty-two and I
didn’t do anything with them for a number of years. Then I realized that the images have this casual 70s snapshot aesthetic that I was interested in anyway. On top of that they were photographs of someone that kind of looked like me, when I was younger, and at certain moments I really did look like her! There was a deep confusion that I played with and took to a much broader professional level, confusing the conversation around the project to the point that people are still unsure as to whether or not I have made duBois up entirely. What I really respect about duBois (that is one of her five aliases, by the way), is that she completely dictated the terms of her own fantasy life. I’m as feminist as I possibly can be without going out and burning bras! But duBois had a very feminist trajectory. I’m not interested in judging how she lived her life, which is questionable to some people. But I am interested in how she wanted to present this fantasy image of herself. She dictated her own terms at a cultural and historical moment when it wasn’t easy to do from where she was from. She was from Oklahoma, a small town. She was married twice to young guys, young Okies, and all she wanted to do was see the world. She had a passion for traveling, which totally falls into this manifest destiny promise I am obesseing over right now. I like how she dictated the terms of her own world. She did it photographically at the time, and people forget how expensive it was to actually and physically do so. What is important is that she dictated the planning, execution and critically, the keeping of these images of herself, what I call ‘Auto-Portraits.’
You did look alike. How much did that play into it? I don’t think I understood how profoundly I looked like her until I was continually told so, and realized that is an element to play up. I think we look pretty different – I know exactly what I look like and what she looks like, but if you look quickly at a photograph we do look similar. Because the archive covers such a long time span, ranging from when she was sixteen to thirtysix years old, a lot changes in how she looks over time. Actually an amazing part of the archive is just how much she transforms her physical self, how unrecognizable she is from one set of images to the next – a blonde here, a red head here, etc. But these questions of our looking so alike, confusing the audience about who is who and what is what, opens the door to larger issues of appropriation and ownership and is this mine or hers? One reason it took a while to work through the project is that I needed to ethically figure my way through these questions with her, which I have. Importantly, I pay her a portion of what I earn from each work that sells. How do you feel about fundraising? There is a strange, uncomfortable and unspoken aspect of the art world; a lot of people come from wealth, and don’t need to work outside of their practice. Luckily while at CalArts I received the amazingly generous Liberace scholarship, a full ride. And to be honest, as someone who does not come from extraordinary wealth, I’m not sure if I would not have agreed
Zoe Crosher. No.39 from The Additive Dust Series (GUAM 1979) from The Disappearance of Michelle duBois, 2012.
â€œA lot of the things I think about have at its core the fantasy of construction of selfhood...â€? -Zoe Crosher
Zoe Crosher. Opposite: Posed Postcard, 2004. Above: Like Miko Smiling for Christopher Williams, 2008.
to be $60,000, $90,000 in debt to go to graduate school. I also learned early on that there are collectors and patrons who support young artists as part of their involvement in the arts. The inextricable dynamic between money and the art world is very confusing to me, in part because there is such great and overwhelming wealth. With experience, I have grown to take a much more strategic approach to the access that the art market provides in order to help make my work. I don’t shy away from these opportunities when they present themselves as I may have when I was younger. What are the biggest lessons you brought with you from your MFA education from CalArts? How important is graduate school, aside from the fact that you can accummulate tremendous debt?
Where are you at right now with your work? What would you like to convey using photography as your medium? ZC: The fictional image, the fiction of the image, presumption of the image, the fiction of documentary, the presumption of history. Taking an idea and applying a satellite approach to it. I’ve been thinking about the process of witnessing, repetition, expansion, iterations, rephotographing – how memories materially interrupt the photograph. How these different levels of interruption, not for the sake of collapsing, have a liberating affect on the medium. How mediumness has changed, how The Image and The Photograph are now totally separated. People are pushing photography differently than they used to, it’s exciting, they are no longer confined to invisible material rules. Can you share what your personal fantasy is at the moment?
What you get out of grad school depends on when you go and who is there when you go. When I went to CalArts I had no art theory background and I chose CalArts, a more liberal and theoretical school, because I knew that was what I lacked. Art can be complicated because it’s such an instinctual reaction and yet one that is quite constructed. I do find that a lot of people are scared off by the intellectual bullies in grad schools, but ideally you want to have someone see your work differently and understand it, to be exposed to someone who helps you understand how your work exists in a historical context. Most important is to find someone to help you learn to hold your own, in every way. I was extremely lucky to be there during the Michael Asher and Alan Sekula years.
To live in Paris! And to paint giant epic paintings! Although not necessarily at the same time. But I was recently in Paris with Alexandra Grant, a fellow Los Angeles-based artist and friend, collaborating with her on a show she had at The Musee d’Orsay. It was based on this wonderful project at 18th Street in Santa Monica she had previously done, inviting people to come paint with her. She had asked me to participate and finally the last day of the participation of the exhibition, at the very last moment, I showed up. She gave me a palette and some text to paint and I sat there and I felt completely and surprisingly liberated. I loved it so much, they had to kick me out.
Zoe Crosher. Above: No.22 from The Additive Dust Series (GUAM 1979) from The Disappearance of Michelle duBois, 2012. Opposite: Silhouetted no.1, 2010.
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Sara Angelucci. Aviary; Red-headed Woodpecker/endangered. 2013
Sara Angelucci. Clockwise from top left: Aviary; Sage Thrasher/endangered, Loggerhead Shrike/endangered, Barn Owl/endangered, Winter Bobolink/endangered. 2013
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THOMAS STRUTH 10,000 hours of practice
Andrea Blanch: Let’s talk about your new show at the Marian Goodman Gallery, the thread that goes through your choices of your pictures, how it all ties together. Thomas Stuth: I started five years ago, around 2009. I photographed locations in science and technology. Our secret title was nature and politics. It was very general so I decided not to give the series an official title. I thought the public might name it, but since everybody says science and technology, there’s no title. Everything is politics. Every activity is concerned with the group. People don’t usually live alone, every activity, one way or another, has political dimension. One of the motivations was to look into science and technology and the phenomenon of invisibility. For example, most people
have a friend or family member who needs to have an operation, but usually they don’t see it being performed. People don’t know what it looks like. People use cell phones, but most of the time they don’t know how it operates. People use Google on their cell phone, and they search something in and ten suggestions come up immediately. These operational functions are largely invisible. A majority of people believe that progress is connected to technology, and that idea seems to me something that detaches us from ourselves. How do you see that as fantasy? It’s more about imagination. I wanted to open doors to science and technology. When I go to locations I have no knowlPortrait by Andrea Blanch.
edge of the places or the scientists or the doctors. I come with visual and pictorial experience as an artist. People fantasize in order to invent. For example, I had made one picture of plasma fusion; a forced collision of hydrogen atoms. When they collide they create a lot of energy. For decades people tried to turn that into an ongoing, constantly running process to solve the energy problem. For me, these pictures are emblematic of the dynamic and process that it requires to solve problems, build and progress. And what it requires is an initial prediction or fantasy by people and scientists who study and have knowledge about these things. What’s the span of years that this covers? The earliest picture in that show is a scene of a backyard in
St Petersburg, Russia with graffiti, taken in 2006. It’s a new thing for me to include some works that are not so recent in this exhibition. Fourteen pictures in total, six of them are from Disneyland in Anaheim taken in April of last year. There’s a picture of a prostate operation which was performed by a surgeon using a da Vinci remote surgery robot, that’s from 2012. I went to three or four operations before getting to the final picture, which introduced the relationship between technology and nature. That leads me to a more general question of imagination, the result of imagination as it materializes into urban landscape. Your first process is imagination, like a rebuilding. I wanted to rephotograph the Grand Canyon at Disney to come close to making it feel and look like a memory. Maybe you went somewhere, such as the Pantheon in Rome, or the ruins of Yucatan in
This spread: Thomas Struth. Ulsan 2, Lotte Hotel, Ulsan, 2010. All images Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery.
Mexico, and you have the memory, you formed a picture of the memory that is not as detailed as the reality. It’s like a picture in a dream. You loose details and you change some of the things because you cannot exactly remember. You imagine something and you think maybe it works like this or that, and that’s partly what artists do, but that’s also what everybody does. In this exhibition, I wanted to focus on more of a general subject matter. It’s not really about Disney, I use it to show something about materialized imagination, and in a funny way, Disney is a historic dynamic of invention. I would never have thought that this is what you were thinking! It’s great. It’s a closed homogenized body of work.
When I looked at the operation I said, “Well, why didn’t he do a series on this?” It’s an experiment. I had the Disney pictures and I thought immediately that I should connect others to them in the show, and I asked, “Will there be any architecture with them?” Because it seemed to fit, but it didn’t seem to match. Then slowly I worked on it and I made combinations. The combination of pictures have to speak to each other in order to raise the intensity and intellectual and emotional fun. Specific combinations allow strange discussions and debates matched up with each other. I thought that was a pretty good idea, every picture should lift us in a very inspiring manner. I love pictorial beauty. I love composition. I love to orchestrate an exhibition, to find the best wall for
Following Spread: Thomas Struth. Kovenskij Pereulok. St. Petersburg, 2005.
every single picture. It’s very important which wall makes which picture speak. For example, when we installed the exhibition I thought that the operation pictures should go with the Asian cityscape. When we tested it, it didn’t speak to each other like I thought it should. Then I tested it in several other locations and ended up putting it in a conference room. It needed intimacy. I thought it was better to look at the picture without fifteen other people visiting the exhibition around you. You should look at it alone and by yourself.
and very emotional. I’ve been fully invested in every photograph I’ve ever made. I believe that I am in the picture. It’s a funny thing, my audience is divided into one portion of people who see that and feel that, and then the other group fails to see that aspect of my work. That’s a striking thing for me, but that’s just what it is. For some people the work looks very objective and unemotional. The people that react this way can’t read it and it doesn’t speak to them. As an artist, I always take what’s very close to me. Let’s talk about [the series] Audiences.
What kind of reaction would you like people to have when they look at these photographs? I would like people to wonder why are these pictures together? and then start a dialogue about them. And also to have the idea that Disney is clearly fantasy. I hope people will realize that the other things in the show have had to have been imagined by someone at some point before it existed. Do you want people to have a visceral reaction to your work? How would you like your work to be remembered? [laughs] Well I’m only 59. I’m an extremely invested person,
For a long time I had an idea: I would like to be the painting. I wanted to see how people looked at a painting. You cannot drill a hole in a Cezanne, so I discussed how to do it with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I asked to make a fake wall and install a device to photograph through the wall. But then we figured it wouldn’t work and that we couldn’t get releases from the people. The more I thought about it the more I thought that it didn’t feel right to do that. I dropped the idea. Then I was invited by the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence for the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo’s David. They invited five other artists and me.
Thomas Struth. Hot Rolling Mill, ThyssenKrupp Steel, Duisburg, 2010.
Thomas Struth. Blowout Preventer, Mountrail County, North Dakota, 2010. Following spreads: Canyon, Anaheim, California, 2013. Pond, Anaheim California, 2013.
David never interested me, but I said, “Why not?” When I looked at the situation I realized there was an opportunity to photograph people viewing David, and so I made some test shots. I went back with an 8x10 and placed it at the base of the David. And it turned out to be successful.
or pretentious, they are just real, hardworking and complex people who were kind.
You came out of the Becher School. What did you take away from that?
TS: Repetition is a bit overvalued with my work. For example, Rembrandt’s series of self portraits; for an artist, it is a very normal notion to be interested in a certain problem and to make many of the same works because you are studying them. It becomes richer and more complex each time. You test different angles and pallets of the problem. I think that it is just part of artistic work. The street pictures also have to do with comparisons. If you limit yourself to one kind of situation, you enrich it through many variations. You highlight the minute differences and meaning of the content in the street pictures. I found it convincing because it was less emotional. I spent five years on the street photographs. It was like training. You need 10,000 hours of practice to begin as an artist or musician. You cannot go without it, you have to learn what you’re doing through your own practice.
More confidence. The most interesting thing I came to realize there was how self focused many artists are. They have a limited perspective and only think about their own work – but at Becher, they have a wider perspective and a certain way to think about things. The visual arts are connected to politics, to literature, to TV, to the development of industry, technology and inventions. It’s a very broad cultural and historical perspective. It’s refreshing and mind opening and convincing; very, very inspiring. They were sharing what they were thinking about their own work. Generous. And when you’re twenty-two and you spend time with people like that and behave like that it’s a very valuable experience. They are not vain
What do you think repetition brings to the work? Why do you do it?
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Zelko Nedic. Untitled #1 ,#2, #3, #4 from the series The Bedroom Conception.
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Matthew Rose. Immaculate Perception, collage on vintage paper, 2003. Collection: Eric Michel, Paris, France.
Matthew Rose. Top: Days Like These, collage on paper, 2009. Bottom: A Perfect Friend, collage on paper, 2003.
S O N DR A G I LM A N look, look, look
Andrea Blanch: Photography has evolved so much in the past ten to fifteen years, taking so many different forms. How have you kept your eye evolving? You say you collect with your heart and gut, has that or your aesthetic changed? Sondra Gilman: Very true. If you look at the things that I first collected, which were done in the early 1900’s, and then you look at what I bought yesterday, they look as if they belong on different planets. While the goal remains the same, my eye has changed. If you keep exposing the eye to everything that’s going on, then it becomes your best feature. Your eye changes, it solidifies, you suddenly realize ‘this is better than that’ and why you like something. But since I started collecting, it’s been about exposure, and I always trust my eye. Portrait by Andrea Blanch.
I just think it’s extraordinary that you’ve been collecting for quite a while, but somehow manage to keep up with the times. Most notably, you’ve collected for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and for the Whitney Museum. What are the differences and criteria for collecting for these collections? Well they all have different goals. For example, The Met is much more involved in the history of photography. The MoMA really was one of the very first museums, with John Szarkowski who was an absolute rule breaker in buying and recognizing photography. The Whitney came in when I started the collection, but they had to start from the mid-70’s since a lot depends on availability. If you started early like The Met you could have a gorgeous early collection, if you started when MoMA did
then you wouldn’t go back into the 19th century but the 1900’s are brilliantly represented. The Whitney came in quite late in 1990, so the availability of the earlier works were much fewer and the prices were much higher. So practicality says they have to collect from 1975 on because, one, they could find beautiful examples and, two, it was affordable. Now with the ability to find and view art online so easily, why do people buy art anymore? Because there is nothing like sitting down in front of a work of art and communicating with it. Nothing can replace that. The same with listening to music, it’s different playing it in your little earbuds rather than a record. How do you think this has changed the game in your opinion? I feel that people who want, in a way, a less ‘deep’ experience, can do that and enjoy it and get lots of pleasure from it, but you can’t replace being directly exposed to art. Nothing can substitute for the object. Would you consider yourself a curator?
going on. And suddenly, as I look at it, I understand it more and will appreciate it more, and then want to buy it. I don’t have any rules. Rules are meant to be broken. More and more New York galleries are showing work where performance art and photography are combined. As an avid supporter of theater, where do you see the intersection of performing arts and visual arts? I think that physical performance can incorporate anything today. As I said, I think that today there are no rules; it depends on how good the work is, and the emotional response. I think that if anything really touches you and inspires, it works, it’s fine. You look at some of the young photographers and they’re doing installations with photographs or boxes - physical structures with photographs, combined sculptures with photography. And I think that’s wonderful! If it gives you a new experience, I’m all for it. Would you acquire a photograph of a performance artist by someone similar to Marina Abramovic or Nick Cave? Maybe. I have one of Isadora Duncan. And so you know, why not? If the photograph is effective, then it’s a work of art.
Only for my own collection, not somebody else’s. I couldn’t do it. Why not? I go based upon what I love and what I feel. I’ve never tried to think in somebody else’s shoes. I’ve been very lucky to do what I love to do according to my tastes, and hang things based on what I like to see together. There’s no other motivation. A museum doesn’t have that.
Are there any pieces of art or artists that have alluded you or you still want in your collection? Now I have a problem, because I only collect vintage. And it has to be quality vintage, so it can’t have nicks or tears. So that limits what I buy. In other words, there are some images that I absolutely love, but can’t find a good quality vintage image of it. So yes, it’s really a question of finding it. And now vintage is disappearing from the market.
What do you think the challenges facing photography are today? I’m curious, why did you decide to only collect vintage? Normally you think back to years ago: you thought of your film, you thought about your paper, and you thought about a camera. That doesn’t exist anymore. We work without a camera today. People are working without negatives. People are breaking boundaries. It’s almost what happened to modern art years ago with the Modernists. All of a sudden people were thinking outside the box, breaking all the rules, doing things that were never considered before. So there is no definition any longer? Except somehow or other, if you use a camera or one of the other elements, you can call it “photography.” Would you ever acquire an Instagram photo? If I fell in love with the image, I think. If the quality of the image strikes me, but it hasn’t happened yet. Although it might.
Because I think it’s the purest form of representing the artist as he was at the time. When he took a photograph, he decided the image. Then he knew what the paper would look like. He knew how much silver it would have in it. He was also at a certain artistic place in his life, and somebody took that first photograph or printed it within five years. It was as close to what the artist thought and felt and desired. Ten years later, the artist is in a different place, he’s a different human being. That’s not to say there isn’t value in that, but I’m a purist and I want the original. That’s very vintage, considering the current state of photography. Yes, it’s called making life difficult for yourself. Vintage means it was printed within five years of the negative. All contemporary photographers today are vintage, because it just means printing within five years of the negative. And that falls within my criteria.
The Instagram has become an accepted aesthetic now, and quality isn’t an issue. Is it always an issue for you?
Are there any new images that have inspired you recently?
So far it has been, but I expose myself to everything that is
I feel awkward saying the name of an artist, but I guess
since it’s my own collection, Chris McCaw. He is a Californian artist who built his own camera, and his project begun by accident. He had the camera open one night and fell asleep, and he didn’t wake up until eleven o’clock the next day. What happened was the sun burned a hole in the paper, with the image reflected, he loved it so much that he travels all around the world and does that. So I bought that. Then there’s John Chiara who builds his own camera, it’s in a truck. He takes one image and alters it, but because of the structure, all of the colors are changed. Some of it remains the same and some of it doesn’t, and I love his work. There is Jennifer Hewitt, who is a black photographer that sort of deals with the history of her culture, and she does very physical things. I think her work is wonderful. Is there any one photograph in your collection that has any special meaning or attachment? The first three images I bought. They changed my life. That was fortuitous, wasn’t it? Well, I was a junior council at the Museum of Modern Art, and I had never seen a picture that my father or grandfather hadn’t taken. So I’m tripping around the museum and they had the Atget show, so I marched in. He was a French photographer that took unbelievable scenes of Paris, and the tragedy is that he died impoverished. Bernese Abott was a friend of his, and managed to save his attic, and arranged for the Museum of Modern Art to have all of the photographs he managed to save. He is considered one of the greatest masters of photography. This was an exhibition that I tripped into, and I had an epiphany. The next day I went to John Szarkowski, who was the curator of photography, and asked him to tell me about Atget and to tell me about photography. I spent the next three days on his office floor, and he went through every bit of photography. Then he said, “Sondra, where we have duplicate images, we’re selling them to raise money to buy additional photographs. They’re $250 each.” And I bought three, went home, and my family said, “The men in the white coats are going to come and take you to the insane asylum. $750 on three photographs!?” And I remember saying, I just bought Rembrandt’s. That absolutely started me in photography. Do you prefer exhibitions in galleries or museums? What do you think one space has to offer that the other doesn’t? I think museums will offer a retrospective and a relatively in depth view of a photographer. The galleries can’t afford to do that. What galleries do is show the latest work of that photographer, so you need both. You need the educational themes and you need to find out what is happening with that artist today.
the best asset you have. Then read, but first look, and then if you’re interested in an artist read about the artist. That won’t tell you if they’re great or not, but it will help you understand where they’re coming from. And what about the art consultant, do you think they play a valuable role? I do. I mean I really do. You’ve got to check their history, because you can’t have somebody who just became an art consultant last year unless they’ve got an incredible collection. But for people that don’t have the time and don’t have the inclination, what they’re buying is hopefully expertise, then that’s the next best way to go. We hear all sorts of things about the art business. For you personally, has it changed that much? Do you like it now, or do you prefer the good old days? Years ago it was pure, because you gained no status from your photograph, and nobody came in and gasped and said, “You paid $10 million for that photograph!” It was pure. And the people that sold it, they loved photography. Today, just like the whole art market, it’s a business. There’s hype, there’s marketing, there are all kinds of elements that didn’t exist then. Some artists are getting very high prices while others are not, and they’re not necessarily not as good. I know top artists who have not been marketed so their prices are still very low, and they’re the best artists of the century. So there’s a lot of external factors in the business now, and that’s why you’ve either got to hire somebody who is totally honest and doesn’t have any relationships with the galleries, or take the time to learn about it, to be able to judge it. Nothing gets me more upset than when I look at a work of art and the gallery owner says to me, “Oh this museum just bought it,” or, “This collector just bought it.” I don’t buy it because a museum bought it or somebody else likes it, I buy it because I think it’s wonderful. Do you think fairs help photography or art in general? or do you think it’s taken away the preciousness? No, not if you have a good eye. I live in the fairs. You’re exposed to much more art than you would ever be able to see. Unfortunately, to go through all of the galleries in New York would take weeks, but if you go to an art fair, you can see it all in one afternoon. And if you have judgement, you will pass by quickly those works of perhaps less quality, and you can be exposed to and maybe discover some truly magnificent pieces. I bought twelve photos at ParisPhoto. What’s your fantasy? My fantasy is to lie down in one room and be surrounded by all my photographs.
What advice would you have for anyone starting to collect?
I think you’re going to need more than one room, Sondra.
Look. Look. Look. See as much as you can, because the eye is
That’s why I can never achieve it.
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Formento & Formento. Top: Yuka, Kosigaya, 2013. Bottom: Sheri, Tako, 2013.
Formento & Formento
Formento & Formento. Sheri, Tako II, 2013.
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Dr. Eran Gilat. Untitled from Life Science series.
DAVID L E V INTHAL an unstructured exploration
Andrea Blanch: Where and when did you go to graduate school?
ly fascinating experience. But again, I think you become more cognizant of it later on in your career as to what that meant.
David Levinthal: I went to graduate school at Yale in 1971.
What did you learn from him?
Who was teaching then? It’s changed considerably.
I don’t know that there was anything really specific. I tell students things through anecdotes and stories, and that’s something I think I learned from Walker. Somebody will ask me a question and twenty minutes later I’ll have gone through three or four ancillary subjects and then say, “Did I answer your question?” I think it’s the experience. I never found myself asking Walker specific questions about what it was like doing ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.’ But I think you got a sense that he knew all the people in photography who really laid the groundwork for where we are today, and listening.
I went primarily because Walker Evans was teaching there. Whoa. I know. Sometimes when I tell students that, they look at me like, “And you’re still alive?” Walker was there, Paul Caponigro, and there was a wonderful group of artists who came as visiting faculty - Ed McGowan, Linda Connor, Frederick Sommer came. Obviously you’re aware of what a significant presence he is in the photography world, but I think you’re really too young to appreciate it until later on. I remember being asked what kind of teacher Walker was when I was in graduate school, and I think it was more about him as a person and being able to spend time with him. One of my classmates was Jerry Thompson. After graduation, Jerry and I got an apartment together in New Haven and Walker would often stay overnight there when he wasn’t up to driving back to Old Lyme. I got to spend a lot of time around him which was a real-
What do you think he would say, if he were alive today, about conceptual photography and how it’s been accepted? You know it’s interesting. Walker went to Paris as a young man to be a writer. He loved literature, particularly French literature. He was an absolute Francophile. In fact, a patron of his gave him a ticket so he could be on the last voyage of the SS France. I think of Walker as an intellectual, and photography was a vehicle, but it wasn’t, for him, an end in itself. Portrait by Andrea Blanch.
I remember back in those days when I was applying for teaching jobs, letters of recommendation were still confidential. This one university that I had applied for a job I didn’t get, sent me back my portfolio and inside the portfolio somebody had inadvertently stuck the four letters of recommendation, including Walker’s letter. Walker’s letter was short but it was so touching to me because what he said was that he felt I was a very unusual and special talent and that I would be a great asset to any photography program. He never said that to me personally but I was very touched that even though I was off doing this crazy wacky thing, that he saw something in me and could project forward that it would be something of interest and significance. It seems that you have an awareness of political and social issues. Where does that stem from? How does that tie in to your work? Yes. I went to college in 1966 at Stanford with the intention of becoming a constitutional lawyer. It was the 60s and I came from a liberal household. The 60s were very a transformative time. Law seemed a way to pursue social justice and changes. So, I was going to be a poli-sci major and go off to law school and obviously, things changed. It was also Bay Area ‘60s. The Free University which was essentially non-credit classes, totally unstructured. Anyone could teach a class on anything. One of the classes, and I tell students this story, there was a class called LSD and Tantric Yoga. I knew I went to the wrong school. I took this photo class because it was taught by someone who was the sort of essence of coolness and I thought, “Well, Dwight’s cool. I want to be cool through all this, and all the beautiful women around him. This sounds like a good idea.” And so I signed up. Are you shy? Yeah. Which is funny because when I came to New York in 83, I forced myself to be social. You’re always told to go to openings, meet people, which is not easy, but I looked at it as a job. I needed to do these things. Where are you with your work now? Are you still doing social landscapes or the toys? No. Once I started working on the toys in graduate school, I continued. Actually, Garry [Trudeau] and I, after we graduated in the summer of ‘73, his publisher suggested that he and I do a book together. He had created a biography of a faux German Luftwaffe (the pilot), and done it all with graphic symbols. His publisher saw Garry’s work, and my work at that time was very simple. I had been photographing on the floor with minimal backgrounds. They said, “Well, you know, you two guys should do a book together.” We looked at each other and thought, “Well, that sounds like fun.” We got an advance of $1,500. I remember when Garry gave me my check for $750. He looked at me and he said, “Now, just
remember if you cash this check, we actually have to produce this book.” Now, our contract said we had a year to do it. It took us three and a half years, for lots of reasons. One, Doonesbury was becoming such a significant force in the social and political landscape. I think Garry was the first cartoonist to get a Pulitzer. I was taking pictures with unpainted tiny little figures to the point where the images in the book were all of these larger models that I had made and painted, much more articulated. I remember Garry’s explanation to Jim Andrews and John McMeel, he said, “Well, the reason it took us longer to do the book than it actually took to fight the war was that we have to clean up afterwards.” But my work evolved tremendously and spending that amount of time focused on it really brought me to the point where working with dioramas and toys became what I wanted to do. When the book came out in ‘77, I remember going to the B. Dalton’s Bookstore because I wanted to get a copy for my parents that was wrapped up in their paper. They had it in the history section because there was no photography genre that it really fit into. I find it so interesting that Garry and I just did a reissue of the book, a 35th anniversary edition. Garry’s suggestion was that we do it larger, a bigger book and I said, “Is that because we’re both over sixty and this is the big print edition?” His feeling was, and he was absolutely right, was that it gave a great presence to the photographs. At that scale, they seemed even more powerful. They are. It’s very gratifying to see work that you’ve done become even more relevant and more significant. I remember years ago, Elizabeth Sussman at the Whitney took Garry and I to lunch and there were some Hitler Moves East photographs and a couple of his layouts from the book. As we’re walking through the Whitney, Garry looks at me and he goes, “Did you ever think when we were sitting in New Haven, eating hostess cupcakes and drinking Coke that this work was going to end up in a museum in New York City?” I think part of the reason that Hitler Moves East is the way it is, is that we were so oblivious to any boundaries or constraints. Looking back on it, we were breaking all kinds of rules and things but that’s not what our thought process was. I would think, “Well, how can I make a wheat field? How can I make snow?” It turned out the wheat field was grass seed and the snow was Gold Medal flour which I continuously recommend to students who want to create snow. It’s one of my favorite photographs. One of the signature pieces, the explosion where there are soldiers flying to the mid-air, Garry stuck a pin in one of the soldiers and so he propped him into my little mound of grass which he used to refer to as my miniature golf course. It was about three by three feet on this big table I had. I had sprinkled a little explosion powder and Garry lit it with a cotton ball and it kind of went poof. He said, “Here, give me this.” And he starts shaking it like an eight-year-old putting salt on French fries. He lights it. There’s this sound like a shotgun going off. The cotton ball flies across the room hits the window and bounces back. The negative is almost opaque but it was this great photograph that literally looks like the soldiers flying to the air. Garry said, “You know if I
Opposite and the follwoing spread: David Levinthal. Untitled from the series XXX. 2000-2001.
knew you were having so much fun doing this, I would come over more.” There was an unstructured exploration of how do we do this and without any regard to what would be considered traditional photographic work. Is your lighting setup complicated? No. Most of the time it’s embarrassingly simple. ‘Hitler Moves East’ was done in my apartment in New Haven using one of those old-fashioned, big metal reflectors that you put the light in. It was a metal dish and I bounced the light off the ceiling. That was it except for the light that came from when I would light a building on fire. That was additional lighting. I would say now it’s probably more sophisticated because they make lighting specifically for tabletop work. Were the Wild West and Desire series commercially successful at first? I’m glad my wife isn’t here... I had an old girlfriend who was a curator and she said, “Your work is always going to be discovered five or six years after you do it,” like the American Beauties which are now pretty much all gone. So, they weren’t too commercially successful at that time. They sold a little bit. I would say with the exception of the cowboys and Barbie, there’s always been this sort of lag between when the work is done and when it starts to sell, which is hard at that time. But in retrospect, it’s kind of great because I still have the work, and the prices have gone up considerably, and essentially all the 20x24s are vintage prints. I mean people are still doing some 20x24 work, but it’s not really the same. Have any fashion people ever approached you to do something for them?
What is something you’d like to talk about and that you’ve never been asked? I remember when I was in graduate school I was sharing a house with two third year law students and I remember one of them asked me, “What happens if you run out of ideas?” And I remember saying, “Well, it never even crossed my mind.” I feel in some ways I’m more concerned about staying around long enough to work through the ideas I already have because there’s just so much. One of the things that I find really interesting and kind of liberating about doing these historical iconic images is in the past I might do an entire series say of the Civil War. Now, I can pick moments like Lee’s Surrender or a charge of Gettysburg and so it’s very, very liberating, and it allows me to sort of delve into something without feeling that I have to complete it. When you create your work, do you think about the person who’s going to be looking at it and what kind of response it’s going to evoke or provoke in them? I think at this point it doesn’t cross my mind. When I was younger I would from time to time think about it, but I’ve always looked at my work as problem solving. I have an idea of what I want. I may end up with something completely different, but I’ll really focus on that as a starting point and then I let the work take its own direction. I always tell students, “You start out with an idea and you may end up some place completely different, and allow yourselves to do that.” In your own words, how would you describe yourself? Introspective, lost in my own world... When did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?
I think the closest I came was the Barbie project. I was asked by a publisher to do this book for Barbie’s 40th birthday, which was 1999, and I initially said no because I had photographed a Barbie doll in grad school with a G.I. Joe and later I showed the work, I guess maybe four or five year ago, with John McWhinnie. We called it Bad Barbie. Years later, it’s now high art and very expensive. But the Barbie book, they asked me again and I think had seen Funny Face on AMC and I thought to myself, “Well, if I approach this like I am a fashion photographer, this is going to be the only opportunity I ever have to be a fashion photographer.” I took a late 50s, early 60s approach to it that you saw in the movies of those days, like what Audrey Hepburn or Doris Day were. I picked colors with that time period in mind, a bright pastel type color. It was a fun project and I think that’s one of the reasons why we ended up focusing so much on the earlier Barbies that really had a fashion sensibility about them. But no, I’ve never been asked to do fashion work, although I’ve always felt that there’s a great deal of similarity. I said that when I was doing the Triple X work that it was like I was photographing Playboy bunnies. They had equal amounts of artificiality in them. Mine had the advantages of not going out at 3:00 in the morning and doing drugs, and they were all set to go at 10:00 in the morning.
Probably when I went to graduate school. I would guess because as an undergraduate I was a film major briefly, a classics major, I took a nuclear physics class and my father was a physicist. He told me, “You don’t have to be a physicist because I’m a physicist.” He talked to a couple of his friends in the art department including Professor Conn and Matt said to him, “Yeah, you know David really has talent,” which was very nice to hear. But my father said something else. I remember we were sitting in the car in the car port, he said, “Talent is necessary but not sufficient criteria for success.” I found that to be so true. There are so many other factors that come into play, some of which you have no control over. I was very, very fortunate that Garry and I were offered this opportunity to do the book because having a book of your work published when you’re twenty-eight years old is a big deal. It meant that that work was going to always be out there in some form. I’m grateful that I had those opportunities, and things have not always gone smoothly, they never do. What’s your fantasy? That I can live long enough to do all the work that I would like to do. David Levinthal. Untitled from the series XXX. 2000-2001.
â€œYou start out with an i up some place co allow yourselves to do Above and opposite: David Levinthal.Vintage Barbie (Bad Barbie), 1972.
idea and you may end ompletely different, and o that.â€? -David Levinthal
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Joon Sang Lee
Joon Sang Lee. Mess: mish mash. “All the mediums of art could relate to each other and join each other gracefully. And It’s like Kitsch” -L.j-
S L AT E R BR ADL E Y the three graces Andrea Blanch: Did you ever think about doing a film?
When did you say goodbye to her?
Slater Bradley: Yes.
I’ve been trying not to get so personal about the whole thing. The way I think about reality, there’s many different levels – Alina was always in my consciousness because the work is so pure in that way. It’s really difficult for me to say. It was this intense, crazy, whirlwind, hurricane that came into my life, blew through everything and brought about a lot of these deep subconscious feelings and trajectories that had been present for a long time, and which I had ignored. The piece originally was a structured photography project based on Charlie Ray’s most beautiful woman in the world. He was my teacher and I was very obsessed with this piece that he did for Parkett magazine in 1993 where he took Tatjana Patitz’s portraits. He had this supermodel, and he was depicting her as the “girl next door.” I think this piece is very genius, because this is essentially what Twitter and social media has done. But in 1993, this idea was extraordinary. I saw Alina one day at a party in Williamsburg, I thought, “This is the girl I can remake this piece with.” And I was thinking a lot about Antonioni’s films and Monica Vitti. I’m very attracted to women with these sort of Capricorn-rising faces. These sort of tragic, lost women. When I met her she was very young, and lost. I met her, and said, “Let’s do this project,” and in the process my heart cracked open, and it was like: “I’m totally in love with you, and I’ll do whatever it takes.” You know, at a certain point you make art for so long, you’re constantly giving and giving, and this was the first time I could make something happen. And then it was the difficult process of maintaining a long-distance relationship. It got to be too grueling, and it dissolved. But I learned a lot about unconditional love during the process. No matter what somebody says, no matter how hardcore it is, you continue to love them and support them and do whatever you can. That was the big lesson for me. I try and practice it every day. She’s been the catalyst of this huge transformation in me from New York to Berlin.
Is that coming? No. I never found a script. I’ve tried, it’s definitely been a goal of mine. I know a lot of people in the film industry, and the sacrifices that you have to make, and the egos you have to balance. It’s not something I really try to aspire to. Although someone like Steve McQueen is a perfect example of an artist who has actually made the transition. Do you feel that you need to have your own script? I’ve always been waiting for someone to put the script in my lap and say, “Slater, here’s what you need to do.” And nobody ever has. You use gold a lot in your work. Gold leaf, gold marker, gold this, gold that. What’s the attraction? I use some silver too. But it’s funny, nobody’s really ever asked me that, and I sort of knew you were going to ask me that, and, well, growing up I did go to an Episcopalian school. A cathedral school in San Francisco, and the cathedral had a certain kind of imagery. I had that Catholic light. I use gold as a signifier of value. Gold and silver markers are permanent. Silver is more easily identifiable with the silver screen in cinema. Gold more of a sort of antiquated Visantium type of past era thing. Because it could border on being really vulgar. Tell me about the show that’s about to open at Sean Kelly Gallery. It’s the culmination of a body of work about Alina. It’s also the girl in The Last Goodbye picture. Portrait by Andrea Blanch.
So this project is the culmination of this entire experience? Well, I did the show in Madrid. It’s one of those things where you’ll make a body of work and it will generate momentum, and people will just really like the work. I didn’t even really know why I was making this stuff. Then I got offered the show in Madrid, and there was a paradox to it, between these timeconsuming marker drawings, very Saturn, very task-master; I just sat there, and I had to go into these very deep, meditative states. And I could telepathically communicate, I felt, with her. This process made me think of La Jetée, being strapped down and fixated by a memory. Taking yourself mentally and telepathically to that place, and that’s what I did for a year. I’d hear from her every once and a while, and I would check the astrology charts and figure out what was going on with her world. It was really a great way for me to feed my interest in astrology. I literally thought I was going to die doing these pieces. They would never stop. And finally this show is a way for me to let go. It’s been a process of letting go and in the true La Jetée narrative, she was going to go see the show in Madrid. But in the morning, when I was getting ready to go pick her up at the airport, she calls me and says, “I’m sick, I can’t go.” There was some hardcore, karmic stuff happening that day. I said, “I really have to let go, because it will kill me.” I think practicing unconditional love is an amazing thing to do, but I think you have to do it for yourself, as well. What do you think about the role that fantasy plays in long distance relationships? One of my pieces in the show is called Saturn Trine Neptune, which is the idea of taking the illusion, the dream, and bringing it down to reality. I think our realities could never exist together, because we’re at different stages of our lives. But we could go to this place where she could be my muse, and I could photograph her endlessly. And this place, that could have been the reality, but it was never really sustainable in the real reality. Meaning it was just a fantasy. I think that those moments are more real in this reality, because I exist in my imagination. And as an artist it’s my job to exist in my
imagination. That’s what I get paid to do. I have a great sort of conscious-subconscious alignment so I can really manifest things. If I have an idea of an art piece I want to create, I can turn it into a reality. You can never manifest a relationship, at least I can’t. You have to learn to let go. I think more about this project as a celebration and remembrance of true love. Everybody should celebrate it, because it’s amazing when it comes into your life. You talk about things that become obsolete, and how you have to move on. Is there any medium that takes preference over others left behind or isn’t as present as they used to be for whatever reason? Well, I was obsessed with Kodachrome. The film went out of stock in 2006 and they stopped producing it in 2009. This idea that I can be obsessed with film stocks, degenerating video and aesthetics that look like that which no one cares about come from a medium. Now there’s just an app that makes it look like that. Ten years ago I would intentionally degrade all my video work, the surface of the video work and ironically it just looks like the crappy videos people send to each other on their phones. It’s astonishing to me to think that in ten years of working, nobody had ever seen this aesthetic. Now, it’s a very ubiquitous present thing, so that’s what I talk about with technology or working with video or film, or photography. A lot of it for me was trying to find aesthetics that weren’t really prevalent in culture, and now it seems like there is an aesthetic for everything all the time. But if somebody is going to survive it has to get you on a certain level besides aesthetic. You were the youngest person ever to have work exhibited in the Guggenheim. Have you maintained that level of excitement, anticipation, work, since that moment in your career? I imagine it puts a lot of pressure on you. How did you deal with all that? I went to therapy for six years. [laughs] No, that was extraordinary because, I kid you not, in college I had taken a picture of the Guggenheim and we had a scholarship program and I won the scholarship. I put the picture up of the Guggenheim and the teacher asked, “Why is this picture here?” I said, “Because that’s where I’m going to have a show.” They all laughed at me. And of course, who’s this arrogant kid think he is? So when it happened, which was mind blowing, it was realizing your dream. I was like, “What do I do now?” And that’s when I had to spend an intense period of really going deep within and working on myself for a long, long time. It put me in a therapist office, but it was good. That’s where a lot of the work comes from. But, I’m a Capricorn, the goat always climbs the mountain. Can you explain the birth of your Doppelgänger project? What inspired the idea and the methods of producing the images? Slater Bradley. Neptune, 2007
A lot of my life is just paying attention to spirits communicating with me and these signs. In 1999 I was very obsessed with Nabokov’s Lolita. There are a lot of illusions of doppelgangers. I think at the time The Talented Mr. Ripley came out, which is one of my favorite films and that’s a doppelganger. Matt Damon is the doppelganger. It was on my mind and I just started hearing about this guy who looked like me in the city – and again, what’s really interesting about this, in the popular vernacular of 2000, nobody knew what a doppelganger was. I would have to explain to people what the project was. And by 2006 Facebook was doing doppelganger things. It’s amazing how the doppelganger thing always goes in and out of culture, depending on the anxieties of the time, like war, or spying, or 9/11, or WWII, McCarthyism, Sherlock Holmes, these kinds of things. So, it all depends. Now I’m happy to be past that project. So, sun in the seventh house of my relationships. I naturally like to make these projects about these relationships. I like to do these projects where this person becomes everybody and nobody. They become a stand in for a projection device. Alina, she has this chameleon-like face. She can look like five different girls, and I like this idea; she becomes a stand in, and a projection, filtered.
my emotions. What’s really interesting about this show, it’s called A Point Beyond The Tree, the sequoia tree, and time, the guy from La Jetée, he comes from outside the time, and I was thinking that with these marker drawings that I do, it’s about taking out the background, which makes the person iconic, but also removes them from time and space. They essentially become timeless. I think the way we think about time is wrong, especially since I’ve been studying astrology. It’s energy, and energy comes back and hits you in different ways and time repeats.
In your most recent work, Sequoia, you deal with notions of reflection, memory and the vague meshing of truth and fiction. What interests you about grabbing moments from the past, and with that, creating something new that takes on a different meaning?
So this issue coming up is about fantasy. What’s your personal fantasy at this moment?
It’s an obsession with the past and archetypes. I lead with
Do you consider yourself a romantic? Yeah. You know what’s interesting, one of the reasons I got so into astrology . . . they said, “You have Chiron in your tenth house, you have a wound and you have to share it publicly and you have to let the public eat your heart out. And that’s it, that’s what you do.” When they said that to me I thought, “This work is so personal. Why do other people make work that’s cold, you can’t tell who’s making it, and why do I have to be the one who has to die, all the time, consistently?”
To be able to move objects with my energy, telekinetically. And then you know, live happily ever after in Berlin. I really want a kid, and that’s a great place to have children. Hopefully I can meet the right one and settle down.
Opposite: Slater Bradley. Study for a Hologram, 2013. Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York. Above: Perfect Empathy (Perine 07), 2008. Following spread: Saturn Trine Neptune, 2013. Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York.
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All images: Justyna Neryng. Childhood Lost.
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Lawick-Müller, Pfaueninsel 1, 2008-2012, Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum/JHB Gallery, New York.
L AURE NT CHEHER E intention of testimony
Carlos Fonts: What was it like growing up in Paris and taking photographs?
tralia, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, etc. How happy are you about the decision?
Laurent Chéhère: My parents were smart when they offered me a camera when I was young. At sixteen I bought my first camera, a Nikon FM2. I began to photograph the old Paris, which disappears in black and white. I was influenced by Robert Doisneau and Atget at this time.
It was my dream and a feeling of liberty. Are you back working in the advertising industry?
What attracted you to the medium?
Yes, as a photographer, graphic artist, and conceptual consultant. This year I shot the LVMH campaign for The Special Days, and it was very interesting because they opened the doors of historical places to my camera, such as the workshop of Dior, Vuitton, Chaumet in Place Vendôme, and Hennessy’s Cellars in Cognac.
It’s a way to get out what I have in my head, and with Photoshop, there is no limit.
How has your experience doing commercial work influenced your personal work?
What prompted you to set aside working in advertising and travel the world?
An advertising agency is a fantastic school. At 20, I started to work in a big advertising agency (DDB Paris) and I learned everything I know about photography, graphic design, typography, art direction, directing, story boarding, copy writing, illustrating, etc. The most important thing that I learned was how to tell a story.
When did you start shooting professionally? I���ve been a professional since 2006.
I don’t like being confined between four walls in an office. When the opportunity came to leave the ad agency, I took it. I had bought an “round-the-world ticket” and I’ve gone to Aus-
Portrait by Olivier Verdon
Laurent Chéhère. Harmony - Serie Flying Houses. Courtesy Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY.
What inspired the Flying Houses project? These flying houses are a combination of my “explorations” of poor neighborhoods in Paris and were inspired by films such as Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon. Other influences were Wim Wenders, Federico Fellini, Marcel Carné, and Bruce Davidson. I tried to highlight buildings to show their hidden beauty. I wanted to eliminate their anonymity in the street to help them tell their stories, real or not, funny or sad. I was interested by gypsies in a caravan, African immigrants, a dwarf clown trying to light a cigarette on the roof of a sad circus, an old erotic movie theater in Pigalle, a small neighborhood cafe, a decrepit hotel, as well as a pretty little house
without a story in boring suburb. In the gallery, the images are exhibited in large format so they make sense, leaving the curious observer to discover details (graffiti, registration, an anachronism, a character, a street name, a window, a reference to a movie, a musician...). It allows for a double reading; a story from far and another close. The Great Illusion, viewed from far away, is a charming Noah’s Ark. Viewed closer, it’s a metaphor for the odyssey of African immigrants. I mixed the images that I shot in Mali with an intention of testimony. Harmony: it’s a perfect little house, too perfect, located in a boring suburb. It consists of an ideal form as if were drawn by a kid. In the end, everybody makes their own story with the Flying Houses. Was it your plan to photograph homes with the intention
of manipulating the image to appear suspended in mid air? When photographing these structures, how much of it involved location research and plotting out – or did you take more of an on-the-go approach? For the majority of the buildings I first made a drawing. After that, in the same light, I photographed everything I needed: roof, satellite dish, cables, graffiti, windows, people, snow, chimney, sky, clouds, etc. I photographed dozens of buildings, then reworked everything with Photoshop to build one. It’s a long process of photomontage. What interests you about applying narratives to images?
I like to tell stories. Some people will see freedom, escape, return, end, beginning, fun, drama, poverty, hope, fantasy, romanticism. You have a lot of combinations and answers. You apply themes to many of the images. How do you decide which direction to take, whether it be something political or a reference to cinema? The district of Ménilmontant and Belleville has an important political history. More or less it’s present. This part of Paris has seen the last barricades and last massacres of “La Commune” in 1871. (It was a civil war with a lot of destructions. It’s the last time where Paris has been injured
Laurent Chéhère. Caravan - Serie Flying Houses. Courtesy Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY.
Laurent Chéhère. Fire - Serie Flying Houses. Courtesy Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY.
Clcckwise from top left: Laurent Chéhère. Still Life, The linen which Dries, Blind, On the Wall. - Serie Flying Houses. Courtesy Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY.
like this. In the WW1 and WWII the capital was not the front line.) The “Red Balloon” for example” is a tribute to the film by Albert Lamorisse and also to the history of Ménilmontant. I include a lot of details, such as political graffiti representing “Big Brother,” based on the book 1984 by George Orwell, a mosaic of “Space Invaders” and above, the name of the street that was stolen, a tiny inscription: “Vive la Commune!” The Circus is inspired from a circus north of Paris close to the highway. Intoxicated by pollution, a dwarf dressed as a clown, is trying to light a cigarette on the snowy roof. It’s a little tribute to Fellini’s movie “La Strada,” (I picked the name Zampano) and the angel in the film “The Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders. The
clown is a tribute to the photographer Bruce Davidson. You believe, in the end, people make up their own stories about the flying houses. How do feel your work allows for the viewer to freely interpret? I think people are intelligent. I give them the keys necessary to understand and they do the rest. What is your process in Photoshop like? How long does it take to produce one image? Between one and three weeks.
Laurent Chéhère. Cinema - Serie Flying Houses. Courtesy Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY.
Laurent Chéhère. MC DO - Serie Flying Houses. Courtesy Muriel Guépin Gallery, NY.
There is a sense of movement in many of your Flying Houses images. Is that intentional? If so, what is that meant to represent?
dramatic form of the sky. There is no perspective. The subject is central and the square form helps with that. The eyes only focus is on the houses.
There are two Flying Houses without cables lines; the Caravan, maybe because they are gypsies and nobody wants them around, and the Fire, maybe a symbol of a story that is finishing . . . or starting?
What’s next for you? My next solo exhibitions will be in Italy, Norway, Spain, and an Art Fair in Singapore, London, Paris, and Sao Paulo. A book will be available in September.
What influences the backdrop for each individual piece? What is your biggest fantasy at the moment? Fragonard and some Flemish painters of 18th Century inspired me. I like the details, the density of the clouds, and the
To travel! Thank the Flying Houses!
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Alev Takil. From the the Dream Lands Series.
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Linda Troeller. Opposite: Annie, 2012. Above: Dany, 2013.
JU L I E N F R Y D M AN the ambassador
ANDREA BLANCH: How did you first get introduced to photography? JULIEN FRYDMAN: Photography has always been in my life. My family had photography magazines back at home. I remember receiving a large book of Time Life’s best pictures, that was my introduction to photography. Then some years later I became the creative director for TBWA Agency and, by connection, was introduced to Magnum photographers and Magnum people. They offered me a job. Later I became the director of Magnum Photo in Europe, and then, after ten years, I was offered this position to bring Paris Photo to the Grand Palais. So you curated the shows? No, I was running the office of 35 people who are doing shows, media relations, advertising, gallery prints, everything.
able to promote it through helping the gallery. Also - utilizing my previous experience - we are cosponsoring promotion and communications; chasing money or working with the museum curators; being able to pull all the people together at the right time with the right energy. How does that differ from working in LA [for the photo fair you hosted there]? Here I am working in the environment of a fair which is 17 years old. And the Los Angeles fair doesn’t only include the galleries from Los Angeles; 50% the galleries were European, some of them were coming to LA for the very first time. It was not a show of Los Angeles galleries, it was a show in Los Angeles for Asian, American, European and Latin American galleries. It’s more about exploring and working on the relation between a moving image and still in Los Angeles, and having some videos incorporated in the work which is displayed. Also, the work has this more cutting edge feel on the West Coast.
How does that experience translate to what you’re doing now? I’m trying to first respect the work of the artists, and then be Portrait by Phillipe Levy.
I’ve spoken to some gallerists and they say that this year’s fair is much better than last year’s fair in terms of what’s be-
ing offered by the galleries. What would you say about that? It’s always the best year. It just means that you continue to welcome quality work and that we are able to take good care of our exhibitors and audience. What’s the biggest challenge running a photo fair?
it is small format or large format, the language is so much, much richer. It’s interesting because when you think of France and photography, it’s very traditional. I think Paris Photo is much more up to speed with what’s happening in the contemporary art world. Was it your conscious effort to do that or was it just more in line with what the galleries proposed to you?
Making people understand that it’s not a ghetto, but photography. And how do you do that? We do so by inviting the right galleries, by showing the different components of what is photography, not only by the selection of galleries and the artists that they’re showing, but also adding some shows that we curate and adding some portfolio conversations. That generates having the right people - people who know about the subject who like to talk about the art. That generates having unexpected artists in the fair who are realizing their work is in relation to the image, in relation with the medium. It’s something people are slowly beginning to realize. If you looked at the Falckenberg Collection, people are intrigued by the collection, they value it. Before lots of young artists got into the medium, that was not obvious. But now, people tell me, “Of course! It is photography too! Why is it you tell me this is only contemporary art? Photography is part of contemporary art.” But it’s a broader scope. Just looking at an image, if it’s black and white or color, if
My goal is to create a conversation about photography that is representative of what is going on in the production of works of art. So you look at who are the major artists, you look at who are the important ones or the new ones, like in the new photography show at MoMA, and you look at what is being presented. Then you look and say, “Okay, who are the galleries?” And you go to them and you discuss and say, “Yes, I want you in my show.” You cannot complain if people aren’t participating in the fair if you didn’t go to them and explain that they are welcomed. If you don’t go and see the gallery’s work, if you don’t tell them that you would love for them to participate, you can’t expect that they will come on their own. You must welcome your friend. You invite them. You have them understand that they’re not just a figure and that their artists are important. And of course if you’re in the position, you inform them that you have the major creators, and major museum groups, and a number of buyers, and the energy is good – that’s what they need. How do you distinguish an emerging artist from someone
who has become established in the industry?
you speak at all to the former director Guillaume Piens?
One’s just bringing another sense of question and sensation and relation to the world. It’s not that you have one artist that defines the language at one certain moment. If this artist is no longer alive, how do you look at the work, how do you look at the world today if he’s not around to show you? You need somebody else.
No, not really. You didn’t hesitate for a moment when they asked you?
Some artists that have passed on are still relevant.
24 Hours, not of hesitation. I didn’t talk to Guillaume. I talked to Martin Bethenod, who used to run FIAC with Jennifer Flay. I called and said: “How do you work in this environment?”
Yes, because a work of art should not just last ten years.
What do you see as the future for you?
How do you find vintage compared to contemporary photography? Do they have a place side by side in your fair?
Expanding the appreciation of photography. Do you take pictures yourself?
They go side by side. For me, I look at the intention of the artist. I don’t look at a photograph and question whether it’s digital or film, new or old. I see a lot of very cutting edge approaches and old vintage ideas, but the modernity of the language is not due to the years it has lasted. What new innovations in photography excite you? Do you use Instagram or see it as a valuable tool?
No. Family photos only. Analog? Digital? Whatever I have in my hand at the moment. I’m not a photographer. Are there any photographers that stand out for you at the fair?
While I don’t use use it (I’m not a technophile), it’s a social way of using the power of sharing through images. And of course as any new technical device, specifically in photography, it creates a great opportunity for artists to play with it. So let’s see. When you were first approached to head Paris Photo, did
I won’t say any at the fair, because I want to stay neutral. There are so many. Right now there is one piece that I have in my mind, and that is Robert Adams. The piece that we presented at the Armani show, the diptych.
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Finn Schult. From the series Grenades for Christmas.
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Nina Moysi. Nocturnal Water.
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Carnisch. Opposite: Mysterious Wall n.1. Above: Mysterious Wall n.2.
RONA YEFMAN questions over answers
Andrea Blanch: You say you seek people that have created a radical persona, and that you see that as authentic. Have you created your persona? Rona Yefman: What attracts me are individuals that I see as extraordinary, both visually and by being themselves. To be who you are, even if extreme, inspires me, I like things that stand out; things that are raw and challenge the status quo of our fixed conceptions in a positive way in order to achieve a sense of freedom! I am interested in collaborations on specific projects, a combination between who subject’s are and what happens in our creative work together. The process is experimental and playful and asks questions. There are real emotions and situations, but it’s not about documentation, it’s about reality and fiction blending together. The protagonists in the work,
like Martha, Pippi and Gil, are real but the collaborations create new things and reflects upon something ironic and absurd in the culture, which provides the thread to an individual, intimate story of a larger social and cultural context. If someone always wears a mask, can they become that mask, and what is more authentic? The project with Martha Bouke (2002-2011) documents my long-term collaboration with an 80-year-old grandfather and Holocaust survivor who has assumed a younger feminine persona, in both body and mind. By wearing a nonexpressive female mask (or a veil that covers most of the face), a wig and tight sexy outfits, Martha challenges the conventional perception of an elderly man and defies the Portrait by Andrea Blanch
Jewish trauma myth by claiming that she is much younger, carefree and has different interests. In the video, she explains that since she was born after the holocaust, her interests are in what is happening now and not what happened to “her brother” in the holocaust. Martha represents a radical departure from conventional parameters. She doesn’t belong to any gender or age definition, even the transexuals rejected her as not being “one of them,” or “real” enough. She is not totally defined or recognized. Her persona exhibits so much contradiction that it defies the viewer’s ability to create a concrete assessment of who it is and her intentions. She is a poetic soul, a live performer, a diva, an authentic creation, a figurative conceptual “Art” piece, and she has a great sense of humor. So yes, the answer is that she is authentic. You do a lot of work around gender, and gender identity, what fascinates you about that? Growing up in Israel in a male dominant society that repressed anything that was “different.” Having experienced it on a personal level, it created a sense of rebellion and awareness about feminism and gender identity from a very early age. To me, it’s more about questions than answers. We should view gender as something that can be flexible and changes over time. It can be playful and witty. The first person who inspired me was my younger brother, Gil. I began photographing him as a way to reveal our close relationship and our mutual desire to live outside the norm. The most fragile and complex part of this work is when I was documenting Gil’s transformation from male to a female, and then her transformation back to a biological male. This work challenges traditional gender roles as well as familial ones. It is a personal archaeological journey that reveals our symbiotic existence both as siblings and collaborative artists. Gil introduced me to Martha, but her sense of identity is totally different. In terms of gender, each character is different and I follow their interests and layers. Martha is about something else: age, Jewish identity, trauma, escapism, history, representations of women and fantasies. In the video Martha said, “I want a ‘hottie’ next to me now.” And she asked me, “So how do I define myself?” “A Lesbian,” I said and she responded, “That’s totally correct. I just like women.” You moved here from Israel, how much does that identity inform your work? Moving from one culture to another and leaving your “comfort zone” creates challenges. The complexities you understand and the layers you know in one culture is very different from others. It’s a challenge to be specific and at the same time universal. The Martha Bouke Project is local and her story is rooted in Jewish history and cultural specifics. I created collages that added new things to the language of the work. For example, the piece, Double Jew is a double collage with a yellow Star of David. The punkish, red piece, Fucked Bonny (she’s got a dick) is like a bold, witty poster or “inappropriate” invita-
tion. The black & white text piece, “To wonder around in the streets in the middle of the day is what I want..” was made from her own words. Where do you find your subjects for your films and portraits? Pippi Longstocking, Gil, etcetera. I guess we find each other. It’s an unexpected magical thing that happens and every time it’s different. What was your family life like? Diane Arbus said, all families are kind of strange, no? I tend to agree. What did you fantasize about when you were in Tel Aviv, and what do you fantasize about now that you’re in New York City? I wanted to come to New York in order to meet more artists and to enter into a larger and wider conversation. I wanted to understand more about other cultures and develop my work and who I am as a person. I think it is happening. Is there something you have always wanted to document in a series, but have been unable to do so? Why? I need to see and meet something in order to feel it. It’s a very immediate reaction. Your work seems to be narrative, how much of that is your story and how much is the subjects? It’s mostly the subject’s story that has a specific aspect which I identify with and get involved in. The final work expresses it’s own story with fictional aspects in a subjective point of view. Do you feel the series on Martha Bouke is complete? How did it begin? The work has been shown in New York in a solo show at Derek Eller Gallery in 2011-12 and has been reviewed in Art in America by Anne Doran, Art Fag City and more. I am still in touch with Martha and we always speak about new ideas and planning the next adventure. I believe our collaboration is forever and I never get tired of it. In the last video piece Martha’s visit at the Museum of Art was a huge surprise since it put her in the right context and I feel this can be explored more. I am also planning on publishing a book with a full interview, back stories, photographs, video stills and archival materials. What are you working on now? I am going to publish an artist book this year with Little Big Man books about the project with Gil, my brother, it’s titled Let it Bleed. I will then start editing a new project titled The Radio Lady 1948-Till. I’m always open to great new things to come.
All images from the series Martha Bouke project # 4, 2011-12. Shown at Derek Eller Gallery NY, which also included a video installation: vimeo.com/26473039. Rona Yefman. Opposite: Martha Bouke , kittens collage, 2009. Following pages, Martha Bouke in the studio with a plant, 2004., Martha & Bonny, 2009., Martha sitting with a black cat, 2009., Martha with African sculpture and a lamp, 2009., Fucked Bonny, 2009.
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Jeremy White. Opposite: Top: Pink Pills., Bottom: Sir Anthony Van Dyck., Above: JFK.
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Jimmy Dabbagh. Promotional shot for play poster. Art Direction: Tanya Khalil Hair and Make-up: Stephanie Hobeika.
DID I E R M A S SARD supernaturalism and irony
Justin McCallum: You are represented in New York, but you live in Paris. Do you prefer to exhibit in one location over the other?
now, with things like Paris Photo there is a larger market of photography, but at the time things were really just starting in France, for what I do is not pure photography.
Didier Massard: Not especially. I am promoted in New York by Julie Saul Gallery. I tried hard to show my work twenty years ago in France and at the time my kind of work was not really conventional for France. In New York Julie Saul was very interested so she started showing my work there and I was very surprised, but it was great for me. By now French people are interested in my work too, so there’s no special place for me.
You used to work in fashion as well, how has that effected your technique?
Do you think it’s easier to get work displayed in New York? At the time I was very surprised because I had no contact at all, and Julie showed my work in 1996. I believe it’s been eighteen years now. I was very surprised that people were interested in my work in the States, because in France it was not recognized yet. Now, times have changed, but at the time there was a school around those like James Casebere in New York, but in France they were used to classical photography like Henri Cartier-Bresson and black and white, things like this. Of course
Yes, more advertising than fashion. In this type of commercial work you have to deal with clients and magazines, so the technique is really very important. Working for important clients like Hermes or Cartier - the luxury brands - helped me a lot in being extremely sharp technically. Even to practice and make those experiences, it helped me later in my own creations. You also studied archeology. As a true Frenchmen you are versed in a wide array of subjects and it’s easy to notice a lot of your work resembles ancient architecture. How have those ideas of past or future influenced your work? You know how some kids dream of being astronauts? When I was a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was very interested in discovery, ancient Egyptians, all that. Of course, I never Portrait by Diddier Massard, 2013.
made it to a ruin, but it remained my fantasy and my inspiration. I was fascinated by architecture of past civilizations. It was part of my, and it still is part of my imaginary world. So along those same lines, a lot of your work in “Imaginary Journeys” resembles geographic locations or cultural ideas. Did you visit these places? No. I traveled a little bit when I was younger, but I understood most of the places I was dreaming of would not look like how I imagined them, so I decided to build them. To build in a studio what I had in my mind like Egypt - I’ve never been to Egypt - of course I have lots of books I look through, but it’s mainly the image I have of them, not what they actually are. It’s a lot purer as opposed to the real thing. It’s pure imagination. It’s a mixture. Some places are not related to a particular place, like the caravan. It’s part of my imaginary world. It’s made of many different things. I’ll realize some images are related to places I’ve been, but when I build them I generally don’t think of a special place. The image is in my mind. Sometimes it’s made of souvenirs, some things I have read, sometimes from something I saw in movies or in paintings, and all this makes a kind of magic place where I’d love to go, but it’s not always related to a specific place. Some of our favorite work of yours is from “Artificial Paradise.” How did you chose that name for the collection? The title in French is an expression generally related to drug addicts. There’s a famous text by the poet Charles Baudelaire “Les Paradis artificiels.” I just used the terms in a different meaning as my world is completely fabricated and artificial and it’s also places that are sort of idealized. I thought it worked pretty well. It’s also related to childhood, because when you are a child, you dream of wonderful places in wonderful worlds. But even if I’m a grown-up now, I have a relationship with my work related to this sort of behavior you have as a child. We were also curious, between your frequent photographing of trees and the concept of artificiality, does your work make a statement about humanity shaping the environment or environmental degradation? Yes a little bit, not 100%, but yes. It’s not my main intent, but I am a citizen. I spent most of my life in Paris, in the city. I really love cities, but when I look at nature, my attitude is the attitude of a citizen. I have an image of nature that is completely idealized. My inspiration comes from public parks in a city, so it’s related to ecological preoccupations, but it’s just one aspect of my work. Also, as a city-dweller, I miss nature. Shifting back a little bit, when you start envisioning one of your pieces how do you go about creating it? Do you create specific things first? How does it shift from this amorphous idea to a reality?
Well, sometimes it’s very long. The fabrication of an image starts with my eyes closed. I first have this image in my head, and then I start making little drawings to see how it could look. And sometimes it may take a year to finalize the project. On the other hand, before I start building a set in the studio I do not make a very detailed drawing. I am not the best at drawing, so I couldn’t do them very well anyway, but if I made a very beautiful drawing of it exactly, then I wouldn’t need to make a photograph. The drawing would be enough, and that would be very boring. Creating the scene is a little bit like a journey. I have to discover things. The image is built step by step and I need to be surprised. Sometimes I start with just a small idea, like an idea of light, and then the image is built from there. The very first concrete things are from the draftings, since I need to see how big a tree might be, for example. What size I am going to build it, if it will be in the distance or close up. I need some practical information. It’s a contradiction, though, because I don’t want to be too precise. Until the very last minute, I change things and remove parts, building the set. Before I start even that, envisioning the scene can take years. Do you have other people in your studio who help you with that construction process? No, I’m very sorry not to be helped because it takes so long, but it is very obsessive work. Sometimes I can barely cope with myself. I cannot imagine having someone here next to me to explain “do this” or “do that.” At least for me, I cannot speak for other artists, it is very solitary work. I like to work alone. It seems like it would be very hard to collaborate on this kind of work. It is. I used to, for special assignments or commercial work, but I agree, it’s difficult. Sometimes I don’t even know where I’m going, so I really have to be alone to focus and see what I really have. You just mentioned the difference between your previous editorial work and these new fine art pieces that you’re creating. When did you begin work on this newer work? Was there any overlap? How did these ideas originate? Were you rebelling against the strict confines of advertising, or did it come about more organically? The first thing, I was always fascinated by studio work, like movies and sets and all the studio techniques from Fellini to Hollywood. I worked at the Cinémathèque Française in the early 1970s, so I was always intrigued by the backstage film and theater work. But when I started this sort of work it was a good opportunity for me when there were all those places I was thinking of like Egypt, India, many, many places in the world. Then I realized that the reality was not at all what I had in mind. I used all of my techniques that I learned from the commercial world - the lighting, the sets - to produce my own things. Of course the commercial work is always meant to sell products. When I started doing my own thing, I was selling nothing. But my previous experience helped, the two were related.
Diddier Massard. Opposite: Underwater Cathedral, 2012. Following Spread: Corals, 2004. Courtesy the artist and Julie Saul Gallery.
Today, since the technology permits it so easily, we are seeing more and more photographers go into video. Do you think, given the cinematic nature of your work, you would ever produce a film? It’s difficult to answer that because my work is extremely sophisticated, in that I build the sets for only the point of view of the camera. They are still images. To move within the set, you have to build it differently. It’s like a theater; when you build the set for a theater it has to work for every point of view in the audience. I build for the front of the lens of my camera. I would be interested in making video, but I’m not sure that it would work, honestly. It’s the same thing with Photoshop because more and more tricks are being done digitally. I’m emotionally attached to the classic photography technique.
4 x 5, as far and as long as I can use film. A few years ago I had to switch from one film to another because it had stopped fabrication. As long as I can still use film, and it’s still fabricated, I will because I do very long exposures, some fifteen or twenty minutes. I make selected exposure on the film, which does work on digital. You must take three or five or eight photographs digitally and then stitch them together in Photoshop. I do all this on the film when I shoot. I do several exposures with masks on either the set or in front of the camera. I think it’s much more exciting to do that. It’s much more authentic. Yes, but it’s also trickery, which I like. What are you working on next?
Do you shoot with digital or analog? No, no, no, I don’t shoot with digital. I shoot with film with very old techniques like the big black hood over the camera. Digital things are great, Photoshop is great, but it doesn’t bring me the emotion of the old techniques of film. What format do you use?
I have begun on a photo of a grotto again. I made a grotto before, but this one is different. It’s a very Wagnerian image. And last but not least, what is your fantasy? My fantasy is to have a very special way of traveling, to make this fantasy world concrete in some way.
Diddier Massard. Above: Rhinoceros, 2004. Opposite: Waterfall, 2001. Following Spreads: Glacier, 2005., Aurora Borealis, 2013. Courtesy the artist and Julie Saul Gallery.
ARTIST B I O G R A PH I E S Daniel Gordon lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is an artist whose work shows its subject in excruciating exactness, attempting to show the subject as faithfully as possible. The still lifes and portraits, however, are anything but faithful to reality. The finished work looks like a photoshopped collage, but is anything but. He forms impossible realities in his studio which he then documents. He received his MFA from Yale and has exhibited everywhere from PS1 to Zürich. Chris Boot became Executive Director of Aperture Foundation in 2010. He has been previously employed as a director by London’s Photo Co-op (since renamed Photofusion) and Magnum Photos, and Editorial Director at Phaidon Press. He earned a BA in Photography with Distinction from the Polytechnic of Central London and a BA in English Literature from the Royal Holloway College, University of London. His company, Chris Boot Ltd., launched in 2001, and published the award-winning photo books Lodz Ghetto Album (2004) and Things as They Are: Photojournalism in Context Since 1955 (2005). He is the author and editor of Magnum Stories (Phaidon, 2004). He lives and works in New York City. Thomas Wrede was born in Iserlohn-Lemathe, Germany in 1963, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Münster, and later under Dieter Appelt. His photographic work, which presents unique and unexpected views of the human and natural landscape, has been the focus of solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Mexico City, Dusseldorf, Münster and Berlin. Wrede, who taught at his alma-matter, is inspired by ideas of Romanticism and humanity’s role in nature, much like his fellow countrymen Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hegel. He lives and works in Münster, Germany. Zoe Crosher lives and works in Los Angeles. She states that she uses photography as a “starting point to explore and examine the fiction of documentary.” Her portraits are never simply portraits. Her May West series is comprised of crumpled Polaroids and her Michelle Dubois series is a vigorously assembled collection of self portraits which she reinterprets. ‘The Reconsidered Archive of Michelle Dubois’ have recently been released as a four volume set of books by Aperture. She received her MFA from the California Institute for the Arts, served as Associate Editor of Afterall Magazine and was the recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art AHAN Award (Art Here and Now). Most recently she helped curate The Manifest Destiny Billboard Project; a venture where billboards act as a canvas for art pieces along Interstate 10 from Jacksonville to LA. Thomas Struth is one of Germany’s most widely collected and exhibited fine art photographers. His work is expansive, with subject matter ranging from cityscapes, jungles, family portraits, and museum onlookers. In his latest exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, he focuses on the relationship between invention and imagination within the context of industrial and technological progress. All inclusive exhibitions of Struth’s work have been assembled by the Kunsthalle Bern, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Carré d’Art, Musée d’Art Contemporain in Nîmes and Dallas Museum of Art (2002). He was awarded the Spectrum International Photography Prize of Lower Saxony in 1997 and in 2007 became the first ever contemporary artist to be exhibited at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, among the permanent collection of old masters. Struth currently lives and works in Düsseldorf, Berlin and New York. Sondra Gilman Widely considered among the best art collectors in the world, Gilman brought photography to the Whitney Museum in the 1980s. Since then, she has collected an unparalleled selection of work, been honored with a namesake curatorial position at the Whitney, and has had her and husband Celso Gonzalez-Falla’s collection featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville. Gilman is also an avid philanthropist, funding the Aperture Foundation, and supporter of the performing arts, sitting as a member on the Tony Awards Management Committee after receiving a nomination herself for producing.
David Levinthal began to focus mainly on toys as a subject matter in 1972 while in graduate school for photography at Yale. His work touches upon themes of American culture and moments in history; everything from WWII battles, barbie dolls, and baseball legends. Using small figurines and simple lighting techniques Levinthal brings to life inanimate objects which otherwise contain little substance and drama. He has produced politically charged and controversial work. His books include: Hitler Moves East, Baseball, The Wild West and Modern Romance. He earned a BA in Studio Art from Stanford University in 1970, an MFA in Photography from Yale University in 1973 and a Scientiæ Magister in Management Science from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1981. In 1995 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and also a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1990-1991. He lives and works in New York City. Slater Bradley is a multi media artist who works in the mediums of photography, drawing, painting, film and video. Much of his work references iconic cult heroes from the past and doppelgängers that are placed within an experimental cinematic style comparable to Stanley Kubrick or Jean-Luc Godard. Somewhat of a cult hero in his own right, at the age of 30 Bradley became the youngest male artist to have a solo show at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. He is represented by Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, Max Wigram Gallery in London, Blum & Poe in Los Angeles and Galería Helga de Alvear in Madrid. Bradley currently lives and works in Berlin. Laurent Chéhère was born in Paris in 1972. His exploration of different cities, suburbs and countrysides are captured through a wide genre of photographic techniques, from documentary to conceptual. “The Flying Houses” project he calls an exploration of homes in low-income neighborhoods around the world, which highlights the exterior structure and begins to tell a story; replacing anonymity with identity. In addition commercial work for Audi and Nike, Chehere has had exhibitions at Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York, Galeria Inox in Rio de Janeiro, Galeria Lume in Sao Paulo and has participated in many acclaimed art festivals and fairs around the world. He is represented by ZEYNEP. Julien Frydman Head of Magnum Photo Paris from 2006 until 2011, Frydman was selected to become the director of the 15th annual Paris Photo in 2011 given his esteemed career in the industry. Since then, he has also joined LUMA Foundation for Le Parc des Ateliers in Arles as a consultant in addition to his ongoing work expanding Paris Photo in the Grand Palais and across the world. His prior experiences include work for the Ministry of Culture and Education, particularly focusing on new media, as well as serving as creative director for TBWA group. Rona Yefman is a video artist, a photographer and a performance artist. Brought up in Tel Aviv, a male dominated conflict zone, her work focuses on radicalism, freedom, change and anarchism. In Yefman’s world there are no binary gender identities, and people can become whatever mask they wear. The themes of hidden identities and created personas are central to Yefman’s work. Whether it’s the created identity that is being stripped away by transitioning from one gender to another, or building a new identity at age eighty, and becoming what you have always really been. She was educated at Colombia university’s school of arts, and received her BFA in photography and video at Bezalet Acadamy, Jerusalem. Yefman has permanent collections in Artbank, Australia, Macquarie Bank, New York and at the Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery in Tel Aviv. Didier Massard Born in Paris in 1953, Massard studied at the University of Paris and under Director of the French Cinemathèque, Henri Langlois. As a commercial photographer, Massard’s clients included Vogue, Elle, Chanel, Hermès, Cartier and many more. Since 2000, he has focused on fine art works, setting up detailed scenes which he then takes long-exposures photographs of, which have been featured in a solo exhibition at Julie Saul Gallery in New York. Massard’s photographs have also appeared in fairs and group exhibitions in Paris, Brussels, Milan, New York and Los Angeles.
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