In: American photography
Kary Janousek – Connecting to HistoryMarch 11, 2022
Kary Janousek Connecting to History Wind - Kary Janousek Kary Janousek is a prairie transplant. She found herself living in Fargo,... Read More
Liz Potter – ReferenceJanuary 11, 2022
Liz Potter Reference The Power of this Land - Liz Potter Liz Potter has a big personality that is inversely reflected... Read More
Philadelphia, PA, 2013 from Last House Standing by Ben MarcinOctober 10, 2021
Philadelphia, PA, 2013 from Last House Standing by Ben Marcin
I spent a significant part of my formative years in the Windsor – Detroit area. When I visited Detroit, stepping outside of the immediate downtown into the areas that still bore the scars of history, I was often struck by singular houses – occupied or not, officially or otherwise – that stood like sentinels, like final gatekeepers, of areas that were empty and desolate. At that time, living near the Ambassador Bridge in Canada, the neighbourhood was picturesque and somewhat historic if a bit leaning towards dereliction: now, nearly three decades later, that section of Windsor is rife with shuttered houses, boarded up and abandoned.
Ben Marcin’s Last House Standing series is literally that: singular buildings, from Baltimore, New Jersey or – like this image – Philadelphia. These are all places with equally iconic stature as Detroit, and Marcin’s ‘figures’ alternately evoke gravestones or lone survivors, barely holding on, amidst the wastelands that have crept and grown up around them. Many seem like tombs; others bring an incongruous element of vitality with their vibrant colours, evoking T.S. Eliot’s ‘these fragments I have shored against my ruins’ (appropriately from his opus, The Wasteland).
Marcin also revisits sites. Thus, buildings that were barely holding on in 2011 are now gone, like they’ve never been, in 2020.
More of this series by Marcin can be seen here, at his site, or at his Instagram. ~ Bart GazzolaRead More
Fire Caught and Portrait of an Artist (Franklin Ugochukwu) – Kary JanousekSeptember 7, 2021
There is an ethereal look to wet plate collodion photography that is difficult to describe. It’s no wonder that people thought that early photography was a method to steal the soul of the sitter; as you can recognize the individual, but they look detached, disconnected. The camera seems to catch something more than just the image of the person… it catches their essence.
The reason for this is that these images are primarily formed by collecting the UV light radiating from the subject, a light that is invisible to the naked eye. Kary Janousek (one of 4 of the “Dakota Revivalist Photographers” using wet plate collodion in North Dakota) uses this effect to beautiful ends. Fire Caught and Portrait of an Artist (Franklin Ugochukwu) are perfect examples of the process. Many of Kary’s images have spiritual undertones that are served well by the detachment. The images are of flesh and blood seem to transcend the glass plates they are formed on.
Based in Fargo, North Dakota, Kary is likely one of the only wet plate photographers ANYWHERE with a store front enterprise… walk in to her incredible studio in the historic center of town and you can have a plate made on the spot! Recently she has started experimenting with different types of glass, creating completely unique works of art.
You can find Kary Janousek at https://highhatportraiture.com and on IG @highhatportraiture
Shane Balkowitsch is another of the Dakota Revivalist Photographers and has been previously featured on curated.
~ Mark WaltonRead More
Shadow ChamberApril 20, 2021
Roger Ballen, Phaidon Press, 2005
I’ve been familiar with Roger Ballen’s work for several years: the direct yet unsettling images bring to mind the works of Eugene Meatyard or Diane Arbus, and with hints of a performative macabre that goes beyond those two, and perhaps edges up against Joel Peter Witkin (but with less demonstrably ‘freaky’ and more subtle, and thus more pervasive, characters and settings that are more disturbing in their supposed banality) . In an introductory text to this wonderful collection of Ballen’s photographs, Robert A Sobieszek offers the following: “To discern fact from fiction in this work may be simply impossible; to tell acting from real life may also be; to bother with such discernment may not be only futile but missing the point.” I’d argue that Ballen’s work is a glimpse of the very real, and it’s stark and unflinching. A good introduction to this prolific artist’s aesthetic.
~ Bart GazzolaRead More
Jason Langer : Twenty YearsApril 30, 2021
Published by Radius Books, 2015 www.radiusbooks.org
Also available through D.A.P. at www.artbook.com
Jason Langer was born in 1967 in Tucson, Arizona and raised in Ashland, Oregon. He has been making
photographs since 1980, and has published two monographs through Nazraeli Press.
Twenty Years represents Jason’s first mid- career anthology of work. This collection of tightly edited
monochromes bristles with tension and mystery, with many of the images made in the unaffected dark
of night. Langer deftly employs high contrast for its evocative qualities, dominating the light spectrum
with inky blacks. Tight framing of subjects intensifies the composition, and his judicious use of blur gives
the viewer the sense of being present alongside, in the moment.
Langer now lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
~ Peppa MartinRead More