Lonneke Engel for Versus, 1996, gracefully shot by Bruce Weber
Bruce Weber, a noted fashion photographer with a long and distinguished career, is having a retrospective exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary. It is fascinating for many reasons, but first of all because an exhibition venue known mainly for installations and projections has dedicated almost its entire gigantic space to a solo show of this kind of “traditional” photography. But also – and especially – because it offers an unusual view of fashion photography as it is.
Here is something exciting to which I would like to invite you!
Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas, the umbrella organization of Dallas art galleries, is organizing, for the first time, CADD FUNd: a fun, fast-paced evening of sharing innovative ideas about potential artistic projects. CADD FUNd will make possible a high-impact idea that needs the support of the Dallas-Fort Worth community. I am very excited to announce that I have been selected as one of 6 finalists for this event!
CADD FUNd was inspired by similar events throughout the U.S. such as Feast in Brooklyn, Incubate in Chicago and Spread in Santa Fe. Numerous organizations have taken the basic premise of a Sunday soup supper – collect creative proposals, invite the public to pay, eat, listen, and then vote for a winner – and adapted it to their own local purposes. The winner will receive the funds raised by the attendance tickets to finance his or her project.
I would love to have the honor of your presence at the evening as my fellow artists and I share our work and projects. Regardless of whether I win or not, it is a really great chance for me to speak about a new exciting work in progress to an audience that deeply cares about art. Hope to see you there!
To purchase tickets or for more information, follow this link: http://www.caddallas.net/wp/cadd-fund-2/
John Thompson: Manchu Bride, Peking, Penchilie province, China Photo Courtesy of Wellcome Library, London
At a time when neither Leicas nor iPhones existed yet and photography was quite a serious affair involving assistants, coolies and fragile heavy equipment, you’d think photojournalism would be impossible. Yet it was in those early years when a Scottish photographer – John Thomson (1837-1921) – laid the foundations of photojournalism with the social documentary work he did in China in the 1860s. His photographs from those years can be now seen in their first exhibition ever at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas.
It is an exceptional exhibition on so many levels. Of course, the first appeal is the chance to see what China was really like in an era when cameras didn’t roam its lands – the great diversity of peoples, life and traditions, many of which are now extinct. And Thomson pointed his camera to street porters and high-rank officials, rejected ethnic minorities and respected monks alike.
The most compelling feature of his photography though was his cultural sensitivity and his poignantly humanistic approach as an observer and a photographer at a time of which we are used to expect cultural paternalism and a focus on the exotic. While looking at a reality and people so different from his own, he saw not just types but their distinct personalities. When witnessing social phenomena dramatically different from what he knew, he didn’t point at their weirdness but found parallels with those at home. And he did it through photographic means. Continue reading
She is a Lady from the Arthurian legend and like most mysterious women, an enchantress in both romantic and magical ways. Belonging to a separate realm — like a lake or forest that will never be truly human — is always alluring. So I’ve always been attracted to many legendary ladies who, in one way or another, belong to water, like La Llorona.
Turns out that White Rock Lake in Dallas also has such a legend, alhough the lady in question is not a powerful enchantress. According to the tale, a blond woman in her early 20s will appear at night, dripping wet in a 1920s evening dress and will flag a car passing along the road circling the lake. The woman will tell the driver she had an accident and needs to get home. The driver will then drive to the address given, but then the girl is gone, leaving only a puddle on her seat. The driver then knocks on the door of the house and learns that that she was the family’s daughter who died in a boat accident on the lake one night decades ago. Continue reading
Nickolas Muray (1938). Frida and Diego with Gas Mask. PDNB Gallery
It’s not an exaggeration to say that we owe the popular image of Frida Kahlo to the photographs of her as much as to her own paintings. Her relationship with photography is so strong one might wonder why she didn’t embrace it as her own art. The daughter of a photographer, one of her most intriguing early images is in a family portrait, dressed as the son her father craved. Tina Modotti, Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo were three big-name photographers within her circle of friends as well as influential artists who put in motion the post-revolutionary Mexican cultural renaissance. And let’s not forget the powerful role photography played in the Mexican social and political upheavals of the early 20th century.
But the connection here is not just Frida’s friendships with photographers and the power of photography in society. The striking correspondence of her paintings of herself and the pictures others took of her just invites us to look closer and to use one in order to understand the other better. There is definitely a dialogue between her self portraits and her photographic portraits that’s worth exploring and enjoying. Continue reading
It’s that time of the year again, Halloween! when people get to dress up in a different persona for a day, try out being something else and have unrestricted, unpenalized fun. While portraits are – supposedly – a truthful reflection of a person, Halloween portraits are an imaginative play with that idea, reflecting something totally made up or perhaps the opposite: the real, hidden self 🙂 The European tradition has the Carnival for that, and America has Halloween. Everybody needs an occasion to turn themselves creatively upside down.
We are lucky here in Dallas that the Halloween dress-up festivities are so popular and creative and I love taking advantage of that. Halloween portraits are my favorite to do. Here is a brief list of locations and occasions for them: Continue reading