In: digital photography

Jug Top, Lake Superior | John Healey
June 6, 2022

Jug Top, Lake Superior | John Healey

“Plastic Beach is a set of still life images of plastic refuse discovered along the shores of the Great Lakes and key locations along the St. Lawrence river.

Here, discarded shopping bags, fragments of milk jugs, and crushed bottle caps — among other things — are reanimated to show us the carelessness with which we treat this habitat that is home to millions of creatures.

It reminds us of the cost of convenience, and serves as documentation of the relentless poisoning of the environment and ultimately ourselves.”
– J. Healey

John Healey was born in Toronto and grew up along the St. Lawrence River in Brockville, Ontario. Since 2015 he has devoted himself to lens-based image creation and education. John has just completed an artist in residency and is currently a full-time educator at the School of The Photographic Arts: Ottawa. He lives with his wife Amy, and Arno their Boston terrier.

~ Peppa Martin

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Jerusalem floor, 2012 | Larissa Sansour
March 22, 2022

Jerusalem floor, 2012 | Larissa Sansour

Jerusalem floor, 2012 | Larissa Sansour, C-print (23 3/5 × 47 1/5 in / 60 × 120 cm)

On the flight from London I sit opposite a rumble seat where the stewardess places herself during takeoff. The stewardess is an Asian woman with a faraway look. I ask how often she makes this flight. Once or twice a month. Does she enjoy Israel? Not much. She stays in a hotel in Tel Aviv. She goes to the beach. She flies back. What about Jerusalem? She has not been there. What is in Jerusalem?

The illustrated guidebook shows a medieval map of the world.  The map is round.  The sun has a beard of fire.  All the rivers of the world spew from the mouth of the moon.  At the center of the world is Jerusalem. (Robert Rodriguez, The God of the Desert, Harper’s Magazine) 

One can’t help but be thinking of the displaced, of refugees fleeing strife, with the situation in Eastern Europe right now; and let’s be frank – not all refugees are ‘equal’ with race and geopolitics rearing their ugly heads, as we see in both the history and present of Canada, and the wider world. I’m not often a fan of Ai Weiwei, but his work about Alan Kurdi touched a nerve that many of us may not have known – or my still deny – was exposed. 

In light of that unpleasant reality, the works of Larissa Sansour, a Palestinian born artist were on my mind this week, especially her series Nation Estate. Jerusalem is not a neutral place, or an unloaded term. It may be the best example in ‘Western’ nation states – though in the Middle East – of a place that is intensely contested, an apex of Salman Rushdie’s notion of an ‘imaginary homeland.’ 

Even that tepid taupe of Wikipedia offers this: Given the city’s central position in both Israeli nationalism and Palestinian nationalism, the selectivity required to summarize more than 6,000 years of inhabited history is often influenced by ideological bias or background (please see Historiography and nationalism).

“In her Nation Estate (2012) series, Sansour conceptualizes an immense high-rise as a new home for her people. In each digitally manipulated photograph in this series, she places herself on a different floor of the edifice. We see her travel from the main lobby, to the Dead Sea, to Gaza, all in the space of a single building.”

“….Nation Estate takes place…in a mammoth high-rise that houses the entirety of the Palestinian people in one easy-to-navigate complex. Blurring the lines between utopian and dystopian realities, she paints a seemingly peaceful, albeit unfathomably sterile future where walls cease to function as barriers to human interaction.

“In a way there’s something positive about ‘Nation Estate.’ There are no check points and people can visit one city from another just by the use of the elevators. It’s an easy life that questions progress in general. Certain things are becoming easier, yet this skyscraper environment is completely inorganic,” Sansour stated. “It’s actually really a mockery when you think about it — living in a skyscraper. So it’s completely dystopian in the end.” (from here)

Who is a ‘real’ refugee? Who has a ‘right’ to live in a space, and to claim that they ‘own’ the land? Sansour’s works have often addressed this; we live in a world where to be Palestinian is often dismissed as illegitimate, if even ‘legal’, whatever that might even mean. Perhaps, as alluded to in Sansour’s work, the idea of ownership and wealth not only preclude but define / deform what it means to be a citizen, or even to be human. 

In looking at this work, I also cannot help but consider the lament of Psalm 137: For how are we to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? 

You can see more of her work at her site, and her Instagram is @larissasansour.

~ Bart Gazzola

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Karolina Kuras – Romance, Flight and Fluidity – Femme Folks Fest
March 14, 2022

Karolina Kuras Romance, Flight & Fluidity by Mark Walton ~ Karolina Kuras The COVERT Collective is pleased to be participating in Femme... Read More
Discovering Self: The Photography of Vera Saltzman
January 4, 2022

Discovering Self The Photography of Vera Saltzman Grain Elevator No. 18 This article originally featured in the TYPOLOGIES edition of photoED... Read More
ISABELLE HAYEUR: Monograph
November 2, 2021

ISABELLE HAYEUR: Monograph
By Mona Hakim, Peggy Gale, & Ann Thomas
Hardcover, 2020, 360 pages, available from Les éditions Plein sud
Texts in French and English $70 + Shipping

Committed to environmental causes since the 1990s, Isabelle Hayeur takes an acute critical look at the changes in our ecosystems caused by the devastating impacts of massive urbanization and industrialization on our territories.

This monograph, the most exhaustive publication to date on this artist’s work, leads us to the heart of her creative activity. Bringing together numerous visual documents, from her composite photo-graphs to portraits of citizen gatherings and activist groups by way of videos, installations in public spaces, and reflective texts, this richly illustrated book explores the vast production of an artist who has gained recognition in the contemporary art world, in Quebec and internationally. The texts present the reader with enlightened insights into the artist’s various accomplishments.

Read more about this monograph and order it here.

This recommendation appeared in the Fall 2021 – ECO ISSUE of PhotoED Magazine. If you’re looking for more Canadian photography inspiration check out PhotoED Magazine, in print + online https://www.photoed.ca

~ Rita Godlevskis

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Forest for the Trees – Rita Leistner
September 16, 2021

Rita Leistner
Forest for the Trees
Dewi Lewis Publishing

Rita Leistner’s latest, Forest for the Trees, is a feature documentary film and a book (published by Dewi Lewis UK), based on Rita’s fine art series The Tree Planters and Enchanted Forests, represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery.

Rita is an award-winning multi-media artist and documentary filmmaker with a history of using photography and film to create portraits of communities in extreme conditions —such as soldiers in Iraq, female patients at psychiatric hospitals in wartime, and women wrestlers in the United States — exploring themes of purpose, struggle, and belonging.

Forest for the Trees is the story of the vast landscape of clear-cut logging and reforestation as experienced from a community of a hundred tree planters, tree planting by hand in remote locations in Canada.

Planting trees one at a time is the overarching metaphor of how we can achieve things we think are impossible: reforesting the earth one tree at a time, getting through life’s challenges one day at a time, and making a film one picture at a time.

www.forestforthetreesdocumentary.com

This recommendation appeared in the Fall 2021 – ECO ISSUE of PhotoED Magazine. If you’re looking for more Canadian photography inspiration check out PhotoED Magazine, in print + online https://www.photoed.ca

~ Rita Godlevskis

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Untitled – Jennifer King
August 29, 2021

Jennifer King’s photography has always intrigued me, so much so that I put this photo of hers (above) on the front cover of the first edition of foto:RE|VIEW magazine in 2019. Her work seemed to capture a certain type of childhood perfectly… all its innocence and curiosity, along with its foibles and anxieties.

Jennifer had always taken photographs but found a stronger connection with the medium after the birth of her first child. “The camera became a tool that allowed me to respond to and embrace a new identity that included motherhood. It also became a way for me to discover who my children were.”

King excels at capturing those minute, physical clues that reflect one’s emotional state: a hooded brow, the quiver of a lip, a flash of exasperation, unbridled energy brought on by wonder and adventure.

You can read more about Jennifer’s work with her children in the article BECOMING, found here at foto:RE. You follow her @jencking and contact her HERE.  ~ Mark Walton

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Untitled, from Joe Martz’s Underpass series
July 15, 2021

Waterloo Ontario based photographer and graphic designer Joe Martz has a strong eye for the architectural. His ability to capture the beauty in the details and structure of buildings and infrastructure we barely notice as we walk by them is powerful. One cannot help but begin to seek them out on one’s own after seeing his work.

A member of the foto:RE collective, Joe seeks the “strong lines, patterns and symetry” of a subject and often tries to find an “abstract perspective to present a different view”.

Joe’s work can be found on Instgram @joemartz and at joemartz.com – Mark Walton

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Shira Gold: Finding her breath
January 25, 2021

Drawing on deeply personal and emotional experiences, Shira Gold’s photographs demonstrate grief, loss, identity, and change.

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Melanie Crs
October 16, 2020

Melanie Crs is an unabashed, honest-to-goodness New Yorker, and her photographs leave you with no doubt that she lives and breathes the City every waking minute.

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