THE SPACE BETWEEN: REDEFINING PUBLIC AND PERSONAL IN SMARTPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY
curated by Henry Jacobson
featuring Laura El-Tantawy, Henry Jacobson, Chip Litherland, Florence Oliver, Kerry Payne, Mark Peterson, Sofia Verzbolovskis, and the two collectives, Echo/Sight, and Tiny Collective.
on view: June 28 – August 31, 2014
opening reception: Saturday 5-7pm, June 28, 2014
The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is pleased to announce its summer exhibition The Space Between: Redefining Public and Personal in Smartphone Photography. Guest curated by photographer and filmmaker Henry Jacobson. On view from June 28 through August 31, 2014, The Space Between features eight international artists and two online collectives, whose work invites us to experience the sublime poetics found in the intersection of image-making and social media tools.
Jacobson observes, “contrary to popular belief, and common hyperbole, the smartphone hasn’t changed photography. The image still records something real, something that existed in time and space. Regardless of manipulation and editing, the image began with a lens capturing something. What has changed is the space, both physical and social, cultural and historical, in which we collectively approach the medium of photography.”
The rise of Instagram, which married the social network to smartphone photography and now boasts over 75 million daily users, has popularized the notion of the camera-phone as first and foremost a communication device. Photographers now aim to project themselves into the ether of the internet, engaging in an international, web-based conversation. Whether it’s cats, selfies, pictures of food, or images that directly relate to the history of photography and its rapid evolution, the space in which these smartphone photo-dispatches operate has created an unprecedented freedom for professionals and amateurs alike.
Organized into three sections – Personal Space (Henry Jacobson, Florence Oliver, Kerry Payne), Public Space (Laura El-Tantawy, Mark Peterson, Sofia Verzbolovskis, Tiny Collective) and Hyper Space (Echo/Sight, Chip Litherland), “..the images featured in this exhibition represent a grouping of photographers whose smartphone work reflects a conscious entry into the socially networked, shared simulacrum of reality. Through taking the selected images out of their native digital format and reintroducing them on the walls of the traditional gallery exhibition, we have the opportunity to examine the current relationship of photography, in the context of our shared virtual platform, to the historical significance of the photograph as document and as art” states Jacobson.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Sharing images across the Atlantic Ocean, Danny Ghitis (NYC) and Daniella Zalcman (London, England) use one another’s photographs to create composite images that represent a merging of experiences and vision. The results are reimagined memories, posted on Instagram under the handle Echo/Sight (@echosight).
For Egyptian photographer Laura El-Tantawy (@laura_eltantawy), who was born in Worcestershire, England and grew up between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United States, her Instagram feed is a diary into her everyday encounters – visual thoughts and reflections as she walks her way through daily experiences. With some more naturally profound than others, she recognizes all experiences in life are special yet shared, noting “Our experiences do not make us special, but it is how we deal with them that does.”
Photographer, filmmaker and exhibition curator Henry Jacobson (@postcardshome) began his project Postcards Home as a personal photographic exploration of the transitory field created between the physical space of reality and the socially networked space of smartphone photography. Made over a three-year period of nomadic living, his images express an experiential reality designed to communicate rather than document, sent as a message in a bottle into the digital ether. Splitting his time between New York and Washington DC, Postcards Home was published as a book in 2013 by Daylight Books.
An award-winning photojournalist who was once critical of mobile photography, Sarasota, Florida-based Chip Litherland (@chiplitherland) uses double, triple, and quadruple exposures to make pictures that don’t exist in reality and invite the viewer to see something they haven’t before. Pushing elements of beauty, form, and color, Litherland collects scraps of textures, light, and random moments that he later composes and collages for hours on the phone until the desired image is achieved.
French artist Florence Oliver (@mabelmorrison) uses her smartphone to spontaneously capture reality, transforming the image into something poetic and abstract. Creating her images under the Instagram moniker Mabel Morrison – in tribute to the 19th century French Romantic Painter of the same name, Oliver draws from her experience as a painter. Creating superimposed images, much like layers of paint on a canvas incorporating reflection, she uses superimposition, shadow, and transparency to distort the landscapes, and creates both figurative and poetic abstractions at the same time.
Kerry Payne (@instantlovestory and @kerrypayne) is drawn to the healing power of photography – a tool which she uses to explore and acknowledge emotions as guides to the path of happiness. Payne began her Instagram based project, Instant Love Story, in which she photographs the love story between her and her husband as a respite to two ongoing projects, which explore infertility and the loss of a loved one to suicide, and as a reminder of the loveliness of the world.
Mark Peterson’s (@markpetersonpixs) project Politics in Black and White was made throughout the 2013 political campaign season to explore what he calls the “Political Theater” that has overtaken our democracy. Using iPhone apps, he manipulates the photographs to make the images more cartoonish or theatrical to accurately reflect the sense of absurdity that surrounds these events.
Formed in January 2012 through a common interest in the innovative character of social photography and a desire to build a combined portfolio of like-minded individuals, Tiny Collective (@tiny_collective) is an international photography collective and agency with twelve contributing members based in New York City, Paris, Istanbul, Toronto, Zagreb, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Sydney, whose mission is to advance and explore the new social era of the digital arts. Collectively they develop new photographic work through a mission to propel and explore the new social era of the digital arts. All Tiny Collective images have been captured and edited using a mobile phone.
Drawn to the anonymity of silhouettes, and how they can become graphic elements within the frame, Sofia Verzbolovskis (@sofiaverz) uses photography to capture the hidden geometry of the urban landscape. For her, seeing is about walking and uncovering the overlooked symmetries of buildings, pedestrians, and daily life on the streets. This has been a constant approach to Verzboloskis’s photography, regardless of what camera she happens to use.
THE SPACE BETWEEN: A PANEL DISCUSSION moderated by Stephen Mayes, executive director of the Tim Hetherington Trust and previously the CEO of the photo agency VII, will take place in in New York City in August 2014. The location, date, and time will be announced shortly. For more information visit www.cpw.org
Additionally CPW invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition The Space Between: Redefining Public and Personal in Smartphone Photography.
Press Images & Interview Requests
To request high resolution images for press reproduction and interviews with the exhibition artists, contact CPW by clicking here
© Mark Peterson, Mayor Bill Deblasio Talks To The Press Before The Start Of The Veteran’s Day Parade In NYC 11/2013, 2013 (detail)