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Elisabeth Biondi was the Visuals Editor of The New Yorker for 15 years until she left in 2011 to work as an independent curator, editor, writer and teacher. She curated exhibitions for the New York PhotoFestival 2011, Steven Kasher Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery, the Seaport Museum, the Ullens Center in Beijing, and Fridman Gallery. Her column Portfolio is published in Photograph magazine. She was a juror for the World Press Photography Awards and the Sony World Photography Awards, in addition to numerous national and international photography juries and portfolio reviews. She advises many up-and-coming photographers and edits their work.

The Nature of Imitation

Yola Monakhov Stockton had her first museum show at the Alice Austen House in New York in 2014, and her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has photographed regularly for The New Yorker, and her work has appeared in Harper’s, M, le magazine du Monde, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, and Time. She has worked on assignment in the Middle East, Central Asia, Iran, and the former Soviet Union. Currently the Harnish Visiting Artist at Smith College, she is also on the faculty of the International Center of Photography and Columbia University, where she received her MFA and MA in Italian literature. She was born in Moscow, and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

The Nature of Imitation

Looking closely at birds in the field through the materials of color film and studio props, The Nature of Imitation considers the physical and metaphorical qualities of the landscape. Like natural history drawings, the photographs reimagine traditions of landscape representation from Renaissance tapestries, the early history of photography, and Modernist painting and sculpture. Collaborating with scientists and naturalists in Massachusetts, New York and Costa Rica, Monakhov Stockton gained access to wild birds caught for banding and release, and those captive in labs. Alongside photographs made in woods, orchards, and gardens, the work cultivates a vocabulary of techniques that attend to the process of picture-making and the emotions and ethics of looking at other creatures.

Yola Monakhov Stockton

Yola Monakhov Stockton Foreword by Elisabeth Biondi

www.schiltpublishing.com


The painter’s products stand before us as though they were alive, but if you question them, they maintain a most majestic silence. It is the same with written words; they seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever. PhÌdrus, The Collected Dialogues of Plato

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The painter’s products stand before us as though they were alive, but if you question them, they maintain a most majestic silence. It is the same with written words; they seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever. PhÌdrus, The Collected Dialogues of Plato

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The Nature of Imitation Elisabeth Biondi

Y

ola Monakhov Stockton is a woman with an inquisitive and audacious character, which drives her to question and analyze the nature of

photography with each new project she undertakes. I first met Yola when I was the Visuals Editor at The New Yorker. She was already a seasoned photojournalist who had worked in a number of conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel, where she was wounded. She had a degree in Italian and comparative literature and was enrolled at Columbia University in an M FA program. In carrying out each assignment for The New Yorker, she consistently explored all available possibilities, always displaying enormous resourcefulness and great good spirits. After completing her M FA , she embarked on her project “Empire Pictures of the Hudson,” inspired by the Hudson River School paintings and Modernist photography she had admired when she was studying at Columbia. That photo project marked a deliberate change of direction in her work. Dissatisfied with the lack of control she had experienced when reporting from war zones, being restricted to document what took place in front of her camera, she decided to be more subjective in her work, to be free to visualize what was revealed to her by observation. As always, when faced with a photographic puzzle, she challenged herself by taking creative risks. She used 4 x 5 and 6 x 9 cameras to photograph landscapes, portraits, architecture and street life in black-and-white. The result was a conceptually thought-out reflection on contemporary life along the Hudson River, although the work remained within the confines of contemporary documentary photography. With “The Nature of Imitation,” her next project, Yola moved further towards conceptual photography. While understanding photography as a craft

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The Nature of Imitation Elisabeth Biondi

Y

ola Monakhov Stockton is a woman with an inquisitive and audacious character, which drives her to question and analyze the nature of

photography with each new project she undertakes. I first met Yola when I was the Visuals Editor at The New Yorker. She was already a seasoned photojournalist who had worked in a number of conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel, where she was wounded. She had a degree in Italian and comparative literature and was enrolled at Columbia University in an M FA program. In carrying out each assignment for The New Yorker, she consistently explored all available possibilities, always displaying enormous resourcefulness and great good spirits. After completing her M FA , she embarked on her project “Empire Pictures of the Hudson,” inspired by the Hudson River School paintings and Modernist photography she had admired when she was studying at Columbia. That photo project marked a deliberate change of direction in her work. Dissatisfied with the lack of control she had experienced when reporting from war zones, being restricted to document what took place in front of her camera, she decided to be more subjective in her work, to be free to visualize what was revealed to her by observation. As always, when faced with a photographic puzzle, she challenged herself by taking creative risks. She used 4 x 5 and 6 x 9 cameras to photograph landscapes, portraits, architecture and street life in black-and-white. The result was a conceptually thought-out reflection on contemporary life along the Hudson River, although the work remained within the confines of contemporary documentary photography. With “The Nature of Imitation,” her next project, Yola moved further towards conceptual photography. While understanding photography as a craft

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My body belongs to me; To others, its mastery. My body belongs to me; I Am The Beggar of the World: To others, its mastery. Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan I Am The Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan

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My body belongs to me; To others, its mastery. My body belongs to me; I Am The Beggar of the World: To others, its mastery. Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan I Am The Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan

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T e r e u s [within]: Epopoi, popopopopoi, popoi! Io io ito, hither, hither, hither let all my feathered fellows come! All who dwell in the country plough-lands rich in seed, the myriad tribes of barley-corn eaters and the races of seed-gatherers that fly swiftly and utter soft notes, and all who in the furrows often gently twitter over the turned soil with joyful voices, like this, tio tio tio tio tio tio tio tio! Birds, Aristophones

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T e r e u s [within]: Epopoi, popopopopoi, popoi! Io io ito, hither, hither, hither let all my feathered fellows come! All who dwell in the country plough-lands rich in seed, the myriad tribes of barley-corn eaters and the races of seed-gatherers that fly swiftly and utter soft notes, and all who in the furrows often gently twitter over the turned soil with joyful voices, like this, tio tio tio tio tio tio tio tio! Birds, Aristophones

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The Nature of Imitation by Yola Monakhov Stockton  

Preview the first pages of 'The Nature of Imitation' by Yola Monakhov Stockton, published by Schilt Publishing in May 2014. The book is avai...

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