Retracing Modernist Architecture in California

There is a special relationship between sunny California and modernism. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, the Golden State was a rich hub for innovation in design, with proponents like Charles and Ray Eames leading the way for establishing a truly American modernist aesthetics. Delving into the rich architectural heritage, the photographer Stephanie Kloss explores the material qualities of that period through an appealing series of photographs displayed above.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Stephanie Kloss 
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Sophie Green: Gypsy Gold

Photographer Sophie Green’s fascination with the quirks and eccentricities of travellers was born after watching the series ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’. She explains: “I became captivated by the heritage and traditions behind their lives and felt compelled to go and discover their unique culture for myself. The shoots took me to regional horse fairs from Appleby in Cumbria, across to Ballianasloe in Ireland, all the way south to Wickham horse fair in Portsmouth. At the fairs, horses are traded, girls search for husbands and friends and family from far and wide reunite. I love the vibrancy and colours of the fairs and find them totally mesmerising – incredible faces, theatrical outfits, traditional carts, horses, cockerel fights, singing birds and fortune-tellers. Whilst shooting I often felt like I had gone back in time. The process was very organic and the series is a spontaneous, intuitive reaction to what I observed. I became obsessed with small details – the fashion, makeup, eyebrows, hairstyles, market fakes, leather, bits and whips. It’s a series of fun incidentals which create a visual story.”

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Sophie Green 
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Helmut Newton – Pages From the Glossies

Helmut Newton, master of late 20th-century fashion photography, always considered the printed page the most important factor in his work. It was, he explained, in the framework of an editorial or advertising commission, that he found his inspiration and produced his best shots.

Joining the prestigious roster of TASCHEN’s Helmut Newton titles, including Sex & Landscapes, World without Men, and the much coveted Helmut Newton SUMO, this fresh edition of Pages from the Glossies gathers the most eminent and interesting examples of Helmut Newton’s work for magazines across Europe and the United States. Facsimiles of more than 500 original spreads from the likes of Elle, Amica, and, above all, Vogue follow Newton’s ongoing ability to break the boundaries of his genre and explore the interaction of his unique, daring, pictures with typography and layout. In lively personal anecdotes alongside the spreads, Newton talks through the inspirations and informal moments behind some of his most memorable images. We follow him scouting models, setting up a shot with the captain of a nuclear submarine, collaborating with Anna Wintour, and negotiating between different cultural attitudes towards the nude.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Taschen 
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Gianni Berengo Gardin Exposes a New Venice

For more than a couple of decades, life in Venice – perhaps the most charming and preciously conserved city in the world – has been profoundly changing, with an ever growing global flux of tourists showing deeper and more profound problems on which the town was, perhaps, built. A new exhibition in the lagoon city brings together the contradictions of Venice, told through the lens of one of its most well-known photographic masters. The Olivetti showroom – designed by late architect Carlo Scarpa and recently reopened after a renovation by Italian association FAI – hosts a show portraying the daily arrival and departure of cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon.

The exhibition of the photographs is intended to document the landscape of the cruise liners. The implacable black and white of Gianni Berengo Gardin’s photographs has, as always in his work, the purpose of bringing to light, with a sensitive and critical eye, the contrasts implicit in reality, society and the landscape, which are represented without filters or softening, in their raw essence. Gianni Berengo Gardin has never wanted to be called an artist. His mission has always been to document, to be a witness to his own time, and even when faced with the cruise liners – these anomalous, abnormal and extraneous presences set against the Venetian panorama – the photographer has done what he knows how to do best: to communicate through his photographs.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Fondazione Forma per la Fotografia 
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Ryan McGinley’s Fall and Winter

Over the years, Ryan McGinley’s camera has become more a tool for invention than documentation, conjoining the corporeal, narrative aspects of photography and cinema with their more orphic qualities. His images hover deliriously between reality and utopian fiction, characterized as much by apparent authenticity as obvious impossibility. This shift is crystalized in his most recent exhibitions at Team gallery
: Winter at 83 Grand Street in New York, and Fall at 306 Windward Avenue in Los Angeles. To create this work, the artist and his team photographed nude figures in upstate New York during the eponymous seasons. While the resultant images have precedent in the oeuvre — both thematically and aesthetically building upon McGinley’s expansive and culturally pervasive Road Trip pictures — they also represent a multifariously momentous change within his practice. Past works have been created across the country during summer; by concentrating on a single region during specific times of the year, McGinley transposes the axis on which his works operate: rather than exploring the American landscape through the lens of geographical variation, these images scrutinize and poeticize its temporal metamorphosis.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Team Gallery 
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Alec Soth: Gathered Leaves at Science Museum

“One of the joys of being a photographer is the ability to present my work both in the pages of a book and on the walls of a gallery,” said Alec Soth in the occasion of his first major UK exhibition. “Gather Leaves: Photographs by Alec Soth” opened at London’s Science Museum to rooms filled with Soth’s signature projects Sleeping by the Mississippi, Songbook, Niagara and Broken Manual, which explore American everyday life. Alec Soth’s work is characterised by a lyrical approach to documentary photography and a restless experimentation across the many forms that photography can take: from exhibitions and books, to zines and digital media. Soth, who lives and works in Minnesota, also shares the great American fascination with the open road in his projects, bringing a fresh perspective to ideas explored in the twentieth century by artists and writers such as Robert Frank, Stephen Shore and Jack Kerouac.

In Songbook, one of four exhibited projects, Soth elucidates modern American life in stunning and timeless black and white. The project emerged from a series of road trips he embarked on with his friend, the writer Brad Zellar. Posing as local newspaper reporters, over the course of two years they crossed seven states and attended hundreds of meetings, dances, festivals, and communal gatherings. The resulting stories were published by Soth’s own imprint, Little Brown Mushroom, as an ad hoc series of ‘dispatches’ from the different states visited. In the series, Soth isolates his photographs from their original news context, and in doing so, evokes a human desire for interaction in an era increasingly defined by virtual social networks. Funny, fragmentary and sad, Songbook is a lyrical meditation on the tension between American individualism and the urge to be united.

Kate Bush, Head of Photography at the Science Museum, perfectly described Alec Soth: “His work belongs within the canon of great American photography of the past century. He’s an acute observer of contemporary life, always alert to the poetic possibilities of individual triumph and tragedy. He’s an artist who captures a profound sense of what it is to be human, in all its surprising dimensions.”

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Science Museum 
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Wolfgang Tillmans: PCR

Since the beginning of his career, Wolfgang Tillmans has taken an active interest in the display of his works, using the exhibition as a distinct medium in its own right. Meticulous wall installations of photographs in greatly varying sizes, often hung unframed or taped directly to the wall, allow for a multitude of aesthetic as well as social relationships to crystallize. Each installation is arranged in dialogue with its particular space as well as the city it is in. For his latest exhibition at David Zwirner gallery in New York, Tillmans has arranged over one hundred recent works, spanning a comprehensive selection of the major themes and processes in his oeuvre.

Bringing together pictures taken across the world of friends and strangers, as well as the natural and built environment, the present exhibition addresses one of the main questions explored in Tillmans’s recent practice: as photography becomes increasingly ubiquitous, and as ever higher resolution yields unprecedented views of our surroundings, how do pictures continue to shape our knowledge of the world? The artist proposes that there is still a space for perplexity, mystery, and emotional relevance. Throughout the installation, photographs of activists in New York, Berlin, Osaka, Santiago de Chile, and St. Petersburg coexist seamlessly with glimpses into the artist’s private life, reflecting the broader tension in Tillmans’s oeuvre between the political and the personal. Extending this thematic, new nightlife pictures present underground club venues frequented by the artist as sanctuaries for free expression and even protest, offering a subtle counterpoint to the flood of uniform party pictures that now clutter social media.

PCR, the title of the exhibition and an abbreviation for “polymerase chain reaction” (a technique in molecular biology of amplifying a DNA molecule), also echoes a principle interest in Tillmans’s oeuvre. Whereas PCR can determine the overall genetic identity of an individual from a trace amount of starting material (a single hair follicle, for example), each work is for the artist a sample from a seemingly infinite pool of possible subject matter. The question of when a picture becomes a picture, and when certain developments become noticeable, has remained a central concern throughout his career. The exhibition runs through 24 October 2015.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of David Zwirner 
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Amanda Marsalis: A Catalogue of Constant Motion

A Catalogue of Constant Motion is a 232-page tome collecting the extensive series of Polaroids that Amanda Marsalis shot over the period of eight years. Amanda Marsalis is a LA-based photographer and director whose work captures the subtle intimacy of everyday life. This book catalogues Amanda’s numerous shots of sunsets, palm trees, hotels, exquisite meals, enviable clothes, airports and men. The photographs gathered in this volume show the depth of her obsessions in collecting the same subjects, experiences and memories over long periods of time with the same meticulous, systematic approach.

The visual language of these images – interpreted with a 4-colour Risograph print – makes them particularly special and vulnerable, as they show Amanda’s continuous desire to expose the recurrent themes of her life both in subject and form. Published by Venice-based Automatic Books publishing house, A Catalogue of Constant Motion is both about preserving the most personal and intimate moments, as well as about offering them for public consumption through the very real and material form of the Risograph-printed book.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Automatic Books 
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Through the Lens of Thomas Prior

Thomas Prior’s photography could easily be described as effortless. In a series of images captured during his travels, Prior presents snapshots of landscapes, sceneries, events and people that seem as if we had seen them hundreds of times before. And yet, his attentive eye manages to transform what appears to be ordinary, normal or unremarkable in extraordinary narratives about our world. Here, a selection of photographs that range from blurry skies to human gestures, from urban landscapes to geometric grids, bring about his incredible capacity to tell stories through what most of us would often overlook.

Images courtesy of Thomas Prior 
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DIY – Skaters and Subculture in Richard Gilligan’s Book

DIY can be described as a movement within skateboarding which operates outside civic and societal norms. Through the utilisation of skater-constructed spaces, which are ordinarily, an adaptation of existing, but often abandoned, terrain in both urban and rural settings, the modern skateboarder transcends the need to exist within a more conventional environment. Utilising found materials, these unauthorised and often illegal temporary constructions have fascinated photographer Richard Gilligan, who has spent the past four years tracking down these ephemeral spaces throughout Europe and the US. His pictures show how skaters and DIY builders free themselves from the constraints of societal rules, creating their own domain in which to practice this peripheral pursuit. Gilligan’s photographs were documented in a book, simply titled DIY, published by 19/80 Éditions.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of 19/80 Éditions 
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