Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tokyo Snaps

Looking at Andy Warhol polaroids.

It should be pretty clear that I'm crazy about Tokyo. Unfortunately this last trip was nearly all work, but here a few snaps of some of the things and people who caught my eye.

Burberry baby.

Louise Bourgeois sculpture at the Mori plaza.

Yoshioka Tokujin installation at the Mori Museum. The artist uses technology to recreate natural phenomena such as the snowstorm pictured here.

Murakami dolls in the museum shop.

Mika Ninagawa books and merchandise.

The pool and whirlpool at the Grand Hyatt.

My last breakfast at the hotel.

Meet Lloyd Ziff

In what is fast becoming a "Meet the Legendary Art Directors" series, tonight we are having a book signing for Lloyd Ziff. The former art director of magazines including Vanity Fair, House & Garden, and Travel & Leisure, Ziff has always been a keen snapper and his new book "Near North" presents a collection of photographs shot in Alaska and the Yukon. Not surprisingly, Ziff brings his graphic sense to the remote and vast wilderness, along with a strong sense of the strangeness and uniqueness of the place.

The book signing is from 6 to 8 p.m..

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Few Pictures That Caught My Eye

Like any art fair, Tokyo Photo has a real mix. Many of the big international names are being shown - Eggleston, Friedlander,
Cartier-Bresson, Chris Bucklow - but what interests me are things that seem uniquely Japanese in an original way. And you have to hunt for those. Nevertheless, here are a few things that caught my eye. Above "Form #1" by Miwa Nishimura. Click on the image to see the wigs that have been digitally added to each seagull.

Below: From Sohei Nishino's ongoing series of dioramas done in cities all over the world. It's a painstaking process where he spends weeks photographing the city from many hundreds of different vantage points. Then back in the studio he begins to assemble the individual frames from the contact strips into a collage that takes several months to create. The collage is then photographed and editioned into three sizes.

London Diorama by Sohei Nishino.

Detail from the above diorama.

Two prints from Haruko Nakamura's 19 print series "The Gift from the Sea".

What's selling is sex. Misato Kuroda's series "Sawako".

And last but not least - an early Chicago picture by the master photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How Cool Is This?

Yesterday, my new friend Mr. Masanori Hashimoto was kind enough to give me the latest version of the Ricoh GR Digital camera. It's a camera with a cult following based on it's lightness, speed, and quality. I've just started to try it out and it seems great, but the coolest thing of all (to me) is a function called "Skew Correct Mode". Turn it on to this mode, take a picture, and the camera looks for an object with four corners which it will then correct the perspective on. If you don't like the four corners it has selected press an arrow and it goes to the next option of a four cornered object. Select "O.K." and the camera instantaneously processes the image to crop and straighten the perspective. For a blogger like me this is heaven!

Here's an example, below. This photograph is on the wall of my hotel room. In "skew" mode it can pick out the whole triptych or just one part. I selected just the middle. Hit the button - and voila! I'm now saying the GR stands for "Gallery Robot". Very Japanese.

The straight shot.

What the camera did to the above shot in "skew" mode!

My new best friend, Masanori Hashimoto of Ricoh.

Tokyo Lecture - The Rules

As a preface to my talk at Tokyo Photo (see below) I articulated four rules that I thought were essential for any young photographer trying to survive.

Here are the rules:

1. Have talent. (Talent is not when your friends tell you they love your work, but when people who don't like you have to admit it's good.)

2. Understand how the world works. (Not just globally, but on a macro level. Understand what people need and don't need. Understand when to approach people and when not to. Develop social skills.)

3. Choose good friends. (There's nothing like an effective network.)

4. Be modern. (Don't do anything that looks like it's someone else's work. Stay on top of technology. Engage on multiple platforms.)

Tokyo Photo - The List

I have been asked by the organizers of Tokyo Photo to engage in a discussion with the famous editor and art director Masanobu Sugatsuke on the subject "How to survive as a photographer on 2010s".

As part of this, I made up a list of 10 different photographers whose careers I felt offered some guidance. Each are relatively new (or at least particularly modern and original) to the photo scene and each have developed incredibly successful careers. So for easy reference, I wanted to post a list on the blog so people could easily reference the names.

In no particular order they are:

Ryan McGinley

The Sartorialist

Massimo Vitali

Juergen Teller

Alec Soth

Richard Learoyd

Idris Khan

Tim Walker

Sze Tsung Leong

Susan Derges

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tokyo Photo 2010

On my way to Tokyo to participate in the second Tokyo Photo fair where I'm sure there will be much to blog about. In the meantime, this is my favorite of the pictures I took on my visit last year. Just some unknown hipster at a little nightclub mesmerized by the light show and his own shadow. Love the purple!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tomorrow's the Night!

I'm back!

And tomorrow (Friday) we open our show of Christopher Bucklow's photographs. 6 to 8 p.m. for those who would like to attend the opening.

Bucklow's work is one of the pillars of the British "cameraless" photography movement which you'll be hearing a lot about this fall. It's at once luminous, spiritual, scientific, and metaphysical. And did I say gorgeous?

Bucklow's other-worldly photographs of radiant men and women set against grounds of color are made through a multi-step process that is both complex and laborious. Bucklow begins by projecting the shadow of his sitter on a large sheet of aluminum foil and tracing its outline. He then makes about twenty thousand small pinholes in the foil silhouette (one for each day of the average human lifespan). Using a contraption of his own device that places the foil over a large sheet of photographic paper, Bucklow wheels his homemade "camera" out into daylight and pulls the "shutter" to briefly expose the paper to direct sunlight. Thus each finished picture becomes a kind of photogram silhouette composed of thousands of pinhole photographs of the sun. The intensity of light on a given day and the length of exposure create unique color variations on how the resulting piece appears.

Following the artist's particular ground rules, and connecting Bucklow to the mystical tradition of British artists, in particular to the work of William Blake, Bucklow does not picture anyone he has not dreamed of. In this way, the works connect more deeply to both the artist's unconscious and the unknown. Part quantum physics (in particular the light bending phenomenon of the double slit experiment) and part zen philosophy, the thousands of suns not only shine out from the paper but are a window into the soul or anima of both subject and artist, and an appreciation of the individuality and preciousness of each day.

Bucklow's explorations into avoiding the negative are both literal and figurative, connecting light and art, with the Other. We may not readily associate photography and the mystical or spiritual, but Bucklow's work asks us to start by appreciating the surface and then to dig down into all the layers that lie underneath. It's a journey worth taking.

Christopher Bucklow's show mid-installation.