Archives For Documentary

Going well beyond the simple document and using time as a visual key into the work, Amy Elkins has made an astounding group of images about capital punishment titled: Black is the Day, Black is the Night.


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Photographer Amy Elkins has won the 2014 Aperture Portfolio Prize for two bodies of work exploring capital punishment. The Aperture Foundation announced the prize today.

For her series “Parting Words,” Elkins utilized the text of the last words of executed prisoners to reconstruct their mug shots and portraits. “These briefest of statements resonate with the micro-narratives of entire lives, tragic crimes, and opportunities and potential squandered,” writes Aperture Books Publisher Lesley A. Martin in a statement announcing Elkins’ award.

To create her second series on capital punishment, “Black is the Day, Black is the Night,” Elkins corresponded with death-row inmates and created images based on those conversations. In her series she combines these images with photographs of the physical letters, and with portraits of the inmates which she obscures digitally according to the amount of time the inmate has been incarcerated. “As viewers, we are invited to puzzle over an assortment of clues, including reenactments, exhibits submitted for our considerations, partial evidence, and statements both leading and misleading,” Martin writes.

via PDN



Amy Elkins Wins Aperture Portfolio Prize

Normally known for places without people the always interesting photographer Josef Hoflehner hits a home run with his series titled Jet Airliner. The best images are of the interactions of humans and huge menacing airliners (which seem to always come in a bit too low).

Don’t miss his series on China.

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The Photographs of Josef Hoflehner

The biggest retrospective ever on the work of the influential photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of the decisive moment, is now up at the Centre Pompidou. This exhibition promises to be the definitive look at the great photographers work that influenced generations of documentary and street shooters. If you can’t make it to Paris there is a very large book from the exhibition here.

Henri Cartier-Bresson 12 February – 9 June 2014, Galerie 2 – Centre Pompidou, Paris


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“Taking a photograph means putting head, eye and heart in the same line of sight,” said Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Ever since Cartier-Bresson began to exhibit and publish his pictures, some have attempted to define the scope of this principle as a single stylistic entity. His genius for composition, his ready grasp of situations and his dexterity in capturing them at just the right instant are generally summed up in the idea of the “decisive moment”. Ten years after the death of the photographer in 2004, now that the thousands of prints he left to posterity have been meticulously collected and classified by the foundation bearing his name, while his archives of notes, letters and publications are now accessible to researchers, it appears clearly that while it serves to qualify some of his best-known pictures, the “decisive moment” is too limited to give the full measure of his work as a whole. In complete contrast to a unified, simplified view, the Centre Pompidou retrospective endeavors to show the wide variety of the photographer’s career, his successive changes of direction and his different periods of development, with the aim of showing that there was not just one but several Cartier-Bressons. While his great iconic works are presented, obviously, if his diversity is to be appreciated it also means taking lesser known images into consideration, reassessing certain photo-reports and highlighting collections of his paintings, drawings and incursions into the realm of the film: endeavors that also shed much light on his relationship with the image and, by default, on what he was looking for in photography.

The first part of the exhibition, covering 1926 to 1935, was marked by his contact with the Surrealist group, his early beginnings in photography and his major trips across Europe, Mexico and the USA. The second part, which begins in 1936 on his return to America and ends in 1946 with another trip to New York, deals with his political commitment, his work for the Communist press, his anti-fascist activism, the cinema and the war. The third part begins with the founding of the agency Magnum Photos in 1947 and ends at the beginning of the Seventies, when Cartier-Bresson stopped doing photo-reports.

The retrospective follows Cartier-Bresson’s career from Surrealism to May 68, including the Spanish Civil War, the Cold War, decolonization and the economic boom of the “Trente Glorieuses”, and provides a new interpretation of the work of France’s most famous photographer, a long way from all the legends and clichés. Through over five hundred photographs, drawings, paintings, films and documents bringing together well-known and unfamiliar pictures alike, the exhibition aims to present a history of his extraordinary work, and thereby of the 20th century.

Curator : Mnam/Cci, Clément Chéroux

via Centre Pompidou

Photography is at its best when it becomes more than just the thing photographed. Jackie Nickerson gives us both photograph as human sculpture and a faceless portrait of the thankless tasks preformed by the farm workers of Zimbabwe; which then becomes a metaphor for the invisible workers everywhere who provide the modern world with all its material desires. See this incredible series: TERRAIN






“Jackie Nickerson began photographing Zimbabwean farm workers in 1996 as a way to change the perception that those who work in African agriculture are dis-empowered, un-modern people. The resulting series, Farm, focused on the unique and beautiful clothing the workers made for themselves, and by doing so highlighted the worker’s identity, individuality, and ultimately their modernism.

This was published by Jonathan Cape in September 2002. German edition, ‘Leben Mit Der Erde’, published by Frederking and Thaler, 2002; French edition, ‘Une Autre Afrique’, published by Flammarion 2002.

For her most recent series, TERRAIN, Nickerson turns her attention to the roles in which workers play in the production and commodification of agricultural goods. TERRAIN focuses on the synergy between cultivation, workers and the environment, employing a reduced artistic language to draw attention to important debates around crop specialization, subsistence farming and food security.

Nickerson was born in Boston, USA in 1960 and divides her time between Ireland and southern Africa. Her work is held in many important private and public collections and has been exhibited in venues which include the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; National Portrait Gallery, London and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.”

She is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.


Exhibition: Jackie Nickerson Photographs


Roger Ballen is the William Faulkner of image-makers. His work is in the collections of over 20 museums yet the general public does not know much about him. He still shoots film. He mines the areas between sculpture and photography, darkness and the light.  His photos are some of the richest in all of art. He makes his work in places in South Africa where the police will not go near; Hell on earth kind of places.  His disturbing work grabs the back of your brain and won’t let go. Right now he is everywhere. Check out why he has blown the doors off the art and photo world. Maybe the most powerful work ever done by any artist. To understand the environments he frequents, and thus his pictures, you have to see the video above first…

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“Photography is like going into the mineshaft”

“What I am doing is about visual relationships not stories…”


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On his project: Aslyum for the Birds:

Asylum has two main meanings in the English language; the first is a place where insanity prevails and the second describes a place of refuge. In some ways those are very opposing meanings. In ‘Asylum of the Birds’, the asylum is place where animals and people live together away from the outside world. It’s a very claustrophobic, surreal and strange place yet, at the same time, what’s going on in this place is abnormal – it comes from deeper levels of the subconscious, but I don’t equate those deeper levels with insanity.

via January 2014 / Peggy Sue Amison in conversation with Roger Ballen



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Excerpt from his talk at the George Eastman House: The Shadow Chamber



The Photographs of Roger Ballen