Doug DuBois

Doug DuBois

THE VIGIL

November 5 – December 18, 2005

The Vigil, a 3-channel video & audio installation created by Doug DuBois in collaboration with his brother, Luke DuBois, presents a meditative contemplation on the passing of life as witnessed by their late grandmother during her final days.

The Vigil opens and closes with my grandmother’s teasing resistance to my attempts to video tape her on the eve of her 92nd birthday. The middle section presents intimate and abstract images of her final days in the hospital as her body shuts down and we await her death. During the five days of our vigil we shared a terrible and disquieting space of longing for a life lived. The Vigil is about this experience and the limited consolation offered by the body left behind.

Doug DuBois has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, SITE Santa Fe, Silver Eye Gallery in Pittsburgh, Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, and at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University . He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Light Work. His images have been published in the New York Times Magazine, Double Take, The Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort, Flesh and Blood, and The Spirit of Family. Doug’s video works include Loss Prevention, co-directed and edited with Jeanne Finley and John Muse in 2000, which premiered at the New York Video Festival in Lincoln Center and has been shown at the Guggenheim and the Cinematheque in San Francisco. The Vigil was first installed at Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery in 2004.

dougdubois.com

Bushwick Farms

Bushwick Farms

BUSHWICK FARMS PRESENTS… FEAR & HOPE

November 5 – December 18, 2005

We are a collaborative team who have been traversing America for the past four years in a 1979 Ford pick up truck and a 1968 travel trailer.

During this time we have created a tangible fiction that revolves around a family farm, which sponsors a traveling variety show. Blurring the boundaries between various mediums including photography, performance art, theater, interactive installation, and constructed mythologies, we attempt to make our conceptual narrative real. References include reality television, traveling tent shows, vintage erotica, cottage industry, and otherworldly existences. Bushwick Farms exists in the space between illusion and truth, whatever is imagined becomes real and whatever is real exudes the dreamlike qualities of imagination.

Tara Cuthbert and Stuart Solzberg are a married couple obsessed with actualizing the history and genealogy of a conceptual company they created named Bushwick Farms. They created this company while living in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, an area known for its desolate industrial landscape. They began to construct an elaborate history and family tree, weaving their personal dreams and fantasies into the narrative of Bushwick Farms.

In 2001, they rented a 15ft truck and moved all of their belongings into a storage unit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.They purchased a pick-up truck and travel trailer, which they transformed into a mobile studio/home. They placed large white vinyl letters on both sides of the trailer that read BUSHWICK FARMS. Intrigued by the notion of blending fact and fiction, they began to live as Joe Rotto and Violet Gray. Joe Rotto is the youngest of three sons of the Bushwick family and manages The Traveling Variety Show, which is sponsored by Bushwick Farms. As written in the history of Bushwick Farms, Joe and Violet began to travel America recruiting performers for their Traveling Variety Show.

Bushwick Farms has presented The Traveling Variety Show in spaces ranging from parking lots and RV parks to Contemporary Art Centers throughout America. Components of the show have been exhibited in conjunction with Santa Fe Center for Photography and Rose Gallery. Cuthbert and Solzberg have been Artists in-Residence at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The MacDowell Colony, and Visual Studies Workshop. In 2005 they were awarded a grant from the Nevada Arts Council.

Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media

INAUGURAL REGIONAL TRIENNIAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY & RELATED MEDIA: CELEBRATING THE BREADTH OF CREATIVITY IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

September 23 – October 23, 2005

The Center for Photography at Woodstock is proud to present its inaugural Regional Triennial of Photographic Arts to highlight the tremendous talent of those artists working with photography & related media in the extended Hudson Valley region.

Since it was founded in 1977, CPW has provided opportunities for artists from our surrounding area who are working within the photographic arts. Seeking to build upon that commitment – to promote and support artists in our region – and the dramatic increase of artists living and working throughout the extended Hudson Valley over the past 5 years, we established the Regional Triennial to spotlight the diverse wealth of image-makers who call this part of New York State home. In doing so, what is revealed is that some of the most creative and unique artistic voices working today live in our own backyard!

Earlier this year, CPW invited a panel of nine leading figures in the region’s photographic community to each nominate three of the most interesting artists for inclusion. Representing a section of upstate New York from Beacon to Albany, the nominators included educators (and artists themselves): Stephen Shore (Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson), Kathy High (Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, Troy), and Leah Gilliam (Bard College); museum and gallery professionals: Neil Trager (Director, Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz), Carrie Haddad (Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson), and Todd Spire (New York North Arts, Beacon); and artists: Robert Flynt (Red Hook), Fawn Potash (Catskill), and Craig J. Barber (Woodstock).

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The nominated artists are diverse, both geographically and artistically. Their work reflects the broad range of contemporary practices within the photographic arts – from Olivia Robinson’s (Troy) cutting-edge interactive media art to Eric Lindbloom’s ( Poughkeepsie ) pristine gelatin silver prints of the Pinewoods. They take inspiration from their surroundings as seen in the seductive encaustic-laden works of Jeri Eisenberg (East Greenbush) as well as from historical sources as reflected in Angelika Rinnhofer‘s (Beacon) series centered around Christian martyrs and in the inquisitive, complex narratives presented by the collaborative team of Kahn/Selesnick (Coxsackie). They address our current political landscape seen in Tim Davis’ (Tivoli) bold didactic photographs and explore the disjuncture of information as depicted in the photographic & video work of Barbara Ess (Elizaville). They reflect upon the institutional environments such as the museum as revealed in Chad Kleitsch‘s (Rhinebeck) sparse interiors and their work examines the controls and limitations of video and memory as projected in the changing variables of Zachary Powell‘s (Ghent) video work.

While no single exhibition can fully define or represent the entire breath of artists working in photography who live in our region today (and we are fortunate to have hundreds!), the inaugural Triennial shines light on a group of artists who exemplify what is being done regionally as well as globally and who range from accomplished luminaries to those just beginning their professional artistic careers. The works exhibited here is as varied as the artists themselves, defying any trend or oversimplified ‘regional’ categorization. With this exhibit and the corresponding issue of PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly, the Center for Photography at Woodstock is honored to present a glimpse of the strength and depth of this region’s photographic arts community!

CPW would like to thank the all of the nominators and artists nominated for their enthusiastic participation in this project!  

The fall issue of PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly will present the work of all twenty-two nominated artists, including those in this exhibition as well as Julia Christensen, Lynn Davis, Carlos Loret de Mola, Giovanni diMola, Drie Gallant, Danny Goodwin, Jared Handelsman, Kathryn Hartman, David Lebe, Tanya Marcuse, Jeff Milstein, Jaanika Peerna, & Laura Gail Tyler.

The Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photographic Arts is made possible in part with support from the Ulster County Legislature, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, CPW members, & individuals.

[one_third first]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Tim Davis[/one_third] [one_third]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Barbara Ess[/one_third] [one_third]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Chad Kleitsch[/one_third] [one_third first]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Zachary Powell[/one_third] [one_third]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Olivia Robinson[/one_third] [one_third]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Jeri Eisenberg[/one_third] [one_third first]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Kahn/Selesnick[/one_third] [one_third]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Eric Lindbloom[/one_third] [one_third]"Inaugural Regional Triennial of Photography & Related Media" September 3 - October 23, 2005Angelika Rinnhofer[/one_third]

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell

AMBIGUOUS ICONS

September 3 – October 23, 2005

Educated as an electrical engineer at M.I.T., new media artist Jim Campbell explores sensory perception through technology. In the Ambiguous Icons series displayed here, Campbell creates custom grids of L.E.D. lights diffused by Plexiglass to approximate the appearance of grainy video.

The works featured in the exhibition focus on the point when motion becomes intelligible, and the chaos and binary coding are transformed into meaningful information. Additionally, Campbell ’s work often features subjects alluding to family portraiture or media representation: “Church on Fifth Avenue” uses slowed-down video footage of a Lower Manhattan crosswalk in front of a church shot during the week following September 11, 2001 . While technically complex in their execution, the pieces are quiet, contemplative explorations into how we see the world today.

He writes of his work, “Wave Modulation”, “This work incorporates low resolution and time variation to look at the notion of visual abstraction. The image gradually changes its speed over a 20-minute period, going from real time to still. This time processing takes place live, such that the still images that are seen at the end of the cycle are always different.” And of “Church On Fifth Avenue”: “A matrix of 32 x 24 (768) pixels made out of red LEDs displaying a pedestrian and auto traffic scene in NY from an off street perspective. There is a sheet of diffusing Plexiglass angled in front of the grid. As the pedestrians move from left to right the figures gradually go from a discrete representation to a continuous one (or metaphorically from a digital representation to an analog one).”

Jim Campbell is a San Francisco-based new media artist. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in solo shows at Site Santa Fe in NM; The Berkeley Art Museum in Berkeley, CA; and the Nagoya City Art Museum in Japan; and in group shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC; the Fabric Museum in Philadelphia, PA; the Wexner Art Center in Columbus, OH; and the Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria; among others. Public collections featuring his work include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, CA; and Austin Museum of Art in Austin, TX. Additionally, Campbell received a Guggenheim Fellowship Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Award, and two Langlois Foundation Grants. His work is represented by the Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco , CA .

Following its presentation at CPW, this exhibition traveled to the Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.

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jimcampbell.tv

PLAY

PLAY

curated by Ariel Shanberg

July 2 – August 21, 2005

One can imagine that if play were absent from our lives, the world in which we live would be a much smaller, narrower universe. The unknown has been discovered, the familiar expanded, the indescribable expressed, as the result of countless hours spent playing, experimenting, or doing things with no particular consequence other than it seemed fun at the time.

It has led to profound concepts, breathtaking accomplishments, and as this exhibition purports, great works of art. Though play has often led to notable creative works, it was not until the Surrealist and Dada artists introduced play, chance, and experimentation as art that the value of play was recognized. Avoiding pretensions of seriousness, the eight artists gathered for the exhibition “PLAY” offer us, at first glance, playful gestures, silly observations, and/or inconsequential and bizarre experimentations. They invite us to be amazed, humored, and satisfied before we need to ask “what is it about?” And yet with further consideration, their works reveal a variety of complex investigations into social and personal concerns, elements of chance, and careful observations. Play, as utilized and/or examined by the artists in this exhibit emerges specifically from the type of activity that comes from childhood – games, toys, competition, role-playing, etc. All adults themselves, these artists affirm the premise that through a re-visitation of playful exploration, by taking the seemingly circuitous route, new realms as well as forgotten ones can be discovered.

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For the British photographer and curator Sian Bonnell the mundane setting of one’s daily surroundings is a source of great inspiration. Through her alterations of domestic landscapes in her series “Everyday Dada”, Bonnell creates renewed wonderment by introducing actions that suggest the possibility of a housewife gone mad, or a child’s play gone curiously array, and which inspire us to consider the aesthetic potential of your average lunch meat sandwich. Artist Doug Holden’s art-actions hold a similar allegiance to Dada (which called for the celebration of life through art, often through the act of turning notions of art upon its head). Employing randomness and playful behavior in his artwork, as seen through the kickball toss that is the central action of his two-channel video piece “Ball”, Holden both creates and disrupts the visual occurrence of a ball passing between the two video monitors, not unlike the child who both builds a sandcastle only to find utter satisfaction in owning its destruction.

The wife/husband team, Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand, have engaged in a type of competitive play within their collaborative works, which began following years of individual art making. Often through the guise of childish behaviors and games, together they create pieces that depict themselves continuously competing to one up or excise the other. In “air hunger”, a photography and video installation, they create an ethereal womb-like environment where between the snap of bubbles, and the exhalations and inhalations, we learn what is at stake in their activity is nothing less then life itself.

Children playing often find themselves to be a source of attention for photographers as well as doting parents. In capturing the acts of pure enjoyment and thrill, the photographer creates the opportunity to celebrate, reclaim, or in some cases call into question the play of our youth. Since 1999 Alessandra Sanguinetti has returned to her family in Argentina to work collaboratively with two young female cousins for the series “The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of Their Dreams”. Together they visually recreate their dreams and echo the vital role “playing” serves – to explore what cannot always be expressed verbally, and pay homage to the unbridled possibilities that fill the young women’s minds before the impositions of social and cultural orders alter their innocent freedom. Considering the impact and the influence the objects we play with holds in molding the persons we become, William Laven offers a straight-on examination of the toy models of war planes marketed for children’s play. His work reflects on how the tools of war are presented as familiar and comfortable. In producing each piece at a scale of 1/72 to its real life counterpart, Laven creates a mid ground between the toy and the actual warplane in which their influence can be explored.

For many of us, as the years between youth and adulthood grow, an air of supposed maturity or sophistication seems to dictate our behavior, preventing potential slurps of spaghetti, spontaneous races down crowded sidewalks, and so on. In Meredith Allen’s sugary rich landscape images from the “Melting Ice Pop” series, she reveals the doorways that play can open. Allen allows the subject of her photograph to go beyond the brink, and holds against the desire to capture perfection, and instead records the moment at which things seem to come apart. The result of which is an excitement of the senses – of sight, smell, touch and even taste – and the resurrection memory unattainable by a linear approach.

While much of the play in this exhibition has been performed by the artists themselves in or prior to the creation of the work, multi-media artist Olivia Robinson’s interactive work is dependent on our active engagement, inviting us to play by shaking, cranking, and clicking her work! In bringing us into an intimate sphere through contact with the familiar objects that she has “hacked” electronically and/or manually (the Magic-8 ball, a music box, and the stereoscopic View Master), Robinson reveals bits and pieces of the personal – her body, her loves, and her travels as recorded over the past few weeks prior to this exhibition.

Whether relating to the exhibition’s theme as a point of departure or exploration, the artists featured remind us of the immeasurable value and the enormous potential for discovery that resides in “play”.

-Ariel Shanberg, 2005

Ariel Shanberg has served as the Executive Director of CPW since 2003.

[one_half first]"PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005Meredith Allen[/one_half]

[one_half] "PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005Doug Holden[/one_half]

[one_half first]"PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005Mary Magsamen & Stephen Hillerbrand[/one_half]

[one_half]"PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005Alessandra Sanguinetti[/one_half]

[one_half first]"PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005Sian Bonnell[/one_half]

[one_half]"PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005William Laven[/one_half]

[one_half first]"PLAY", curated by Ariel Shanberg, July 2 - August 21, 2005Olivia Robinson[/one_half]


Liséa Lyons

 

Liséa Lyons

HAUNTED

July 2 – August 21, 2005

I wonder how the mind decides which memories to keep. There are certain moments you can always return to, never knowing why. Not the graduations, births, and weddings, but the strange summer day where nothing ever seemed to happen.

The significance of these slivers of time is just as obscure as the remembered scenario itself. It seems odd and almost unsettling that you can still see the colors and feel the temperature of what was just another day.

I used to feel certain I was documenting something – a time or place in my daughter’s life; it was actually my connection to her world. I felt consumed by thoughts about our domestic space and my role within it. As time passed and I abruptly changed the familiar landscape there was a new twist. In her world I began to see my memories, my ordinary days, fears, and dark spaces. Now the stories overlap and fold into one another. The picture becomes a window, a mirror, and can root itself in the place where those fragments and slivers live.


Liséa Lyons is a NYC-based photographer who received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001. In addition she studied photography at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA and earned her BA in English Literature at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Her photographs have been presented in solo exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay area at the Marx Zavattero Gallery (where her work is represented), the Diego Rivera Gallery, the Isabel Percy West Gallery at the California College of Arts and Crafts, and in group shows at the Scope Art Fair in Miami, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Texas A&M University in College Station, Southern Exposure Gallery in San Francisco, the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, and abroad at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts in Japan. Liséa’s work has been featured in Art in America, ARTnews, Photo Review, and Artweek.  This exhibition marks Ms. Lyons’ New York solo debut.

lisealyons.com

Photography Now 2005

PHOTOGRAPHY NOW 2005

curated by W.M. Hunt

May 7 – June 19, 2005

Jurying a photography competition is a breathless ride on an emotional roller coaster.

It is a very intense day. Bear in mind that the job at hand is looking at and evaluating over 3000 images in a compressed period of time, defining and refining your critical criteria as you go along.

What I look for is something new, and I am filled with the hope that I will be taken to someplace surprising. Photographs can do that; they can transport you. They can provoke you. The subject matter may be emotionally unsettling or aesthetically lush and seductive.

This year’s Photography Now competition had many delights. The submissions I reviewed showed that contemporary photography overwhelmingly consists of very good, well-made work. I am especially pleased to present work by photographers, which I believe rose to the top.

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Jeff Krolick‘s color landscapes are classic, like Eliot Porter’s, formal with very subtle shifts of color. Richard Gilles‘ panoramic graffiti covered factory interiors seem impossible, garishly colored, and alien. Beth Lilly‘s black and white studies of trees are described as monsters in her titles with nature artfully but delicately distorted (by telephone wires).

The portraits I’ve selected range from Ethan Levitas‘ subway cars, unexpectedly and formally presented like a fashion shoot as if on seamless paper, to Michelle Sank‘s images of adolescents seeming to offer uncanny previews of the subjects as adults.

The compassion brought to Amalia Mendez‘s long form photo essay is intimate and touching. As heartfelt but more delightful are the giddy and sweet groupings in Gerald Forster‘s work with a sense of delight that transcends this work’s ethnographical origins.

The abstracted dreamlike nature of Ron Diorio‘s stylish studies is subdued and engaging. This is work that lingers in my memory.

Margarida Correia creates a special kind of visual story telling which imaginatively and uniquely combines vernacular, still life, and portrait photography. This is the work I have selected for the 2005 Director’s Prize.

I am very pleased to present these image-makers in Photography Now 2005 and hope their work will surprise and delight you too.

-W.M. Hunt, 2005

W.M. HUNT is a NY-based collector, curator, and consultant, a champion of photography. He is the Director of Photography at the estimable Ricco/Maresca Gallery in NYC. His Collection Dancing Bear has been profiled in The New York Times, Art News, and more. “Look Here – Collection Dancing Bear” will be one of the featured exhibitions at the Rencontres d’Arles in France this summer. Hunt produces and moderates a series of panels for Photo District News entitled Your Picture … and has presented lectures at the Museum of Fine Art Houston, The Cleveland Museum, The Columbus Museum, and Boston University. He is an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, the Chairman of the Center for Photography, and the former Chairman of Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS.

[one_third first]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Margarida Correia[/one_third][one_third]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Ron Diorio[/one_third][one_third]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Gerald Forester[/one_third][one_third first]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Richard Gilles[/one_third][one_third]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Michelle Sank[/one_third][one_third]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Amalia Mendez[/one_third][one_third first]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Beth Lilly[/one_third][one_third]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Ethan Levitas[/one_third][one_third]"Photography Now 2005",selections by W.M. Hunt, Director of Photography, Hasted Hunt Gallery, May 7 - June 19, 2005Jeffrey Krolick[/one_third]

Charise Isis

Charise Isis

AMERICAN STRIPPER

May 7 – June 19, 2005

For the last twelve years, I have worked on and off in the world of exotic dance (strip clubs). It is a world harshly judged by the mainstream and generally negatively depicted by the media.

Strippers are often viewed as dysfunctional people on the fringe of society. Throughout my career as a dancer I have come to know some very powerful and creative women. I have witnessed deeply moving and healing experiences and I have seen a great deal of beauty and strength within this industry.

Three years ago, I began photographing the women that I work with. At first, I wondered if I should photograph every aspect of this world, including the stereotypical “bad stuff” (exploited women with low self esteem), but I realized that I do not view the dancers in this way. Dysfunction exists within the world of exotic dance as it does in every aspect of our society, however it is not the negative things that stay with me, but rather the humanity that constantly disrobes itself alongside the women.

I have therefore chosen to focus my lens on the performance aspect of this world where women express so much – dressing and undressing their bodies, dressing and undressing their souls.  The women I work with are extremely supportive of my work. They are inspired by my photographs and I am honored by their trust.

Born in the United States, and raised in New Zealand, Charise Isis returned to the States at 20 to study acting in NYC. As a “struggling artist”, she supported herself as a bartender and later a close friend introduced her to the world of exotic dance. Dancing for Isis became not only a great source of income, but also a wonderful platform for expressing her creativity. She also began exploring different visual media including painting, sculpture, and performance art before discovering her talent for photography. After having a son, she moved to Woodstock, NY, where she continued to supplement income dancing and began studying photography at Ulster Community College.

Having access to an abundance of interesting and beautiful women at her work, she naturally began photographing them. Since then Isis has compiled more than sixty images along with interviews, which she is currently working to make into a book. Isis has shown her work in exhibitions in NY at the Stepping Stone Gallery in Huntington, Best of SUNY show at the State University Plaza Gallery in Albany, and Backstage Productions in Kingston. “American Stripper” is Charise Isis’s first solo exhibition. Since then she has gone on to exhibit at Michael Mazzeo Gallery, Griffin Museum, and the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz, among others. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston and the Center for Photography at Woodstock.

isisimages.net

 

Framing War

FRAMING WAR

curated by Judy Ditner

April 9 – April 24, 2005

The movement from photojournalism to art photography travels a well-worn path, but it is a difficult one to negotiate if specific information is not to fall by the wayside. It is especially difficult when the situation is not only recent but still at issue, for as “art” takes center stage, “news” is pushed to the margins. [1]

The sites of the newspaper, magazine, book, and gallery and museum have very specific differences in the way journalistic photographs are presented and understood, and each has its own set of questions, drawbacks, and advantages.

In a magazine or newspaper, the editors decide which photographs to publish, and how to present them; their placement, size, and the accompanying text all influence how photographs are read. In a magazine context, many of these decisions can be beyond the photographer’s control. The obvious advantage of this type of publication is that the readership is very large, and as a result, the mass media are a fundamental part of the business. In a book, or museum or gallery, on the other hand, the photographer has more control over which images are used and how they are shown. The photographs reach a smaller audience, but that audience has a chance to spend more time with them and to contemplate the issues in a different way because each context implies a distinct type of looking.

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“Framing War” investigates the shifting contexts of contemporary war photography – from news to books and exhibitions – through an examination of photographs from the war in Iraq by Alexandra Boulat, Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, and Antonin Kratochvil. These photographers acted both as embedded and independent photojournalists during the war, and their coverage of this conflict has been widely published and exhibited internationally. These four photographers are also among the founding members of VII Photo Agency, a photographic cooperative founded in September 2001 and are highly respected photojournalists and contract photographers for major news weeklies in the United States and Europe.

The photographs in “Framing War” were taken during the U.S.-led war on Iraq in March and April 2003. The specificity of this selection helps to limit the discussion to images produced during and leading up to the official war, and reflects an attempt to keep the pool of images relatively narrow. Their experiences of the war varied widely, and the work they produced imparts disparate views of the war, both in the events they photographed, and the way in which they chose to record and present the photographs.

Alexandra Boulat covered the war, and the days and weeks leading up to it, from Baghdad, documenting the climate and tension in the city as its people prepared for war. Unlike the majority of her colleagues in Iraq, Boulat chose to cover the events on film rather than digitally. In this exhibition, nine of her photographs from the series “Iraq through the fall” are presented. Several of her photographs from this series are strangely absent of people: a photograph of candles set on the Tigris river by peace activists; a Baghdad cityscape, the sky blackened by oil smoke; children’s laundry drying on a terrace while oil fires burn in the background; a bombed out area in a civilian neighborhood in Baghdad. Even her photograph of a dead child is abstracted and serene. The caption is crucial. “A young girl lies, wrapped in a white sheet on the marble table in the mortuary washing room of a Shiite Mosque. She was killed by a bomb blast during the coalition bombing of Baghdad.” The image is a quiet statement of loss. It speaks of death poetically rather than directly. There is an air of sadness and mourning in the blue-green light that illuminates the scene.

Antonin Kratochvil presents “Hell in Basra”, a series of eighty black-and-white photographs, projected as a digital slideshow on the gallery wall. Kratochvil’s photographs focus on the experience of the Iraqi population in the southern city of Basra as British forces made their way towards the capital. The digital format allows for the presentation of a large number of images, which together create a more complete picture. In this sense, “Hell in Basra” functions like an extended digital photographic essay, and each photograph is enriched within the context of the others. Kratochvil’s photographs are never balanced; there is usually a disproportionate amount of sky or ground, and faces are usually cropped off around the edges of the frame. These visual tensions created by Kratochvil evoke and reinforce feelings of confusion and insecurity.

Gary Knight presents a digital sequence of 189 photographs taken during a two-day battle, to secure a strategic position just outside of Baghdad. This work, simply titled “The Bridge”, is projected at a rate of one frame per second, lending a feeling of urgency and immediacy. Since many of the pictures were taken within a short time frame, their sequencing animates them and pulls the viewer through the scene in what feels like real-time. The digital presentation is more true to the digital format that Knight used to record the photographs, and functions like digital contact sheet, unedited, and revealing. When projected as a series of still photographs, they retain the impact of a still image. This impact is combined with a more immediate sense of time – the viewer moves with the photographer through the scene, and becomes more aware of the photographer’s movements and choices through the sequencing of the images.

Ron Haviv’s “Iraq 2003” tracks and records the events and operations of a U.S. military unit during the war. This series of still photographs is accompanied by sound that Haviv recorded on the scene, music, and audio footage recorded from news broadcasts. Through Haviv’s sequencing and use of narrative sound, “Iraq 2003” situates the photographs in a context from which they cannot be separated. Haviv was assigned to the First Marine Division, Tank Scouts from 29 Palms, California at the beginning of the war, transferring to the Third Battalion, of the Seventh Marines (3-7 Marines) just four days before fall of Baghdad. Although taken while embedded in these units, Haviv’s photographs do not present a glorified version of the events, but rather strike a balance between criticism and compassion. His combined use of sound and digital reflects the changing way photojournalists are working in the field.

In addition to the photographs and multimedia presentations, “Framing War” presents magazines and books in which these pictures were published, to prompt the viewer to consider how the context in which one encounters photographs of war affects one’s response to the images and the events. The aim of this exhibition is to raise questions and engage debate regarding how photographs of war and conflict can be presented responsibly, to the viewing public, the photographed subject, and within the larger historical context of the events.

– Judy Ditner, 2005

Judy Ditner is a graduate student at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. The exhibition “Framing War” was organized as part of her M.A. thesis project. Before attending Bard, Judy worked as an independent curator and managed a private photography collection in Toronto, Canada. She has a long-standing interest and involvement with photography, receiving her B.F.A. in Photography Studies from the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University in 2002.

[one_half first]"Framing War", curated by Judy Ditner, April 9 - April 24, 2005Alexandra Boulat[/one_half]

[one_half]"Framing War", curated by Judy Ditner, April 9 - April 24, 2005Ron Haviv[/one_half]

[one_half first]"Framing War", curated by Judy Ditner, April 9 - April 24, 2005Gary Knight[/one_half]

[one_half]"Framing War", curated by Judy Ditner, April 9 - April 24, 2005Antonin Kratochvil[/one_half]


1. Martha Rosler, “Wars and Metaphors,” Decoys and Disruptions Selected Writings, 1975-2001, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press): 2004, 246.