Bruce Haley’s book, Sunder, (published by Daylight) is a fascinating and quite poetic take on the demise of the Soviet Union and communism. I see it and am instantly drawn to the landscapes, the combination of complete environmental and industrial devastation mixed with romantic, rural landscapes and economic decay. I’ve been corresponding with Bruce Haley (see interviews here, and here) for a while and he has a fascinating take on photography that includes thoughts on landscape, politics, narrative and process.
As a younger woman, Ms. Lepkoff was a member of the Photo League, the pioneering movement of the 1930s and ’40s whose work is the focus of more than one current exhibition, including “The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League 1936-1951,” at the Jewish Museum.
Ms. Cherry was drawn to the Photo League because the work of its members tended to avoid the soft-focused, painterly style of the day. “I was in a fantasy world when I was a dancer,” she said. “And this was reality. And so much was going on in that period. And I wanted to be part of it.”
But while she describes her younger self as a political and radical person, she doesn’t recall thinking along those lines when she was shooting. Nor does she recall any major discussion of politics in workshops. “It was a question of doing good photography and a question of how you felt about what you were shooting; what you saw in what you were shooting,” she said. “There was nothing political about it.” “It was human. It was human, and it was art.”
Robin Schwartz was looking to do something with her young daughter, Amelia. “I wasn’t that comfortable being a mom,” she recalled. “It was scary. I know cats and dogs. But I had no idea it would be this hard.” Imagine how the gibbon felt. Or the capuchin, tiger and kangaroo. And for that matter the two-faced cat. Ms. Schwartz has photographed all these animals with Amelia over the past few years, compiling a series of color portraits that are by turns funny, tender, edgy and warm. At their best, they can capture a fleeting moment between the two, revealing an ease and intimacy that is surprising.
“I’m looking for a relationship between Amelia and the animal, it’s like creating a fairy tale. I’m looking for this magical connection that may or may not be there. I want the animal in the picture to be as important as Amelia. To be an equal. To have some kind of rapport.”
Scarlett Hooft Graafland’s fantastical, but wholly realistic photographs seem like spontaneous moments conjured from a magical imagination. Salt flats are turned into carpet, bowler hats are strung across a smoke filled valley, antlers line up on a frozen lake and a spiral of white balloons floats on a lake echoing Robert Smithson’s land art piece Spiral Jetty.
These images on the verge of documenting performance art are not as spur of the moment as the Dutch photographer would have you believe – they are the result of sometimes months of Graafland immersing herself in the environments she photographs.
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