Mark Morrisroe, Homosexuality and AIDS.
Mark Morrisroe, Homosexuality and AIDS.
Alessandra Sanguinetti and The Adventures of Guille and Belinda
“I spent my childhood summers at my father’s farm outside Buenos Aires. After the long highway drive and dusty dirt road, as soon as we arrived, I would run to the front of the car and begin the delicate process of unsticking the crushed butterflies from the still hot radiator. Most of them would be terminal, but one or two would cling to my finger, slowly regain center, revive and eventually fly away, always leaving behind some dust from their wings. I have two older sisters, but when I was nine, they were teenagers, existing in another dimension, so I would wander pretty much alone around the corrals, the sheds and the fields, talking to the horses and the cows, feeling sad for the perpetually frightened sheep… ”
“My parents sold that farm in 1981, and it would be a long time until I returned to the countryside. When I did, it was to his new smaller farm to the south of Buenos Aires, and I was older, just back from a year studying photography in New York… spent the next few years visiting Juana constantly, photographing her animals and listening to her tales of days long gone, her musings on life and on the Bible. She would tell me all her animals’ names, their histories, and, while gutting a freshly killed boar that she had raised, insisted that if you paid enough attention to animals you would be able to understand and see that each one is singular. “
“There were always many visitors at Juana’s…The most regular visitors were her grown daughters Pachi and Chicha, who lived nearby with their own families. They’d come over with their youngest daughters Belinda and Guillermina, and chat as they prepared sweet fried bread and sipped mate. Beli and Guille were always running, climbing, chasing chickens and rabbits. Sometimes I’d take their picture just so they’d leave me alone and stop scaring the animals away, but mostly I would shoo them out of the frame. I was indifferent to them until the summer of 1999, when I found myself spending almost everyday with them. They were nine and ten years old then, and one day, instead of asking them to move aside, I let them stay.”
Bill Viola and Eastern and Western Ideologies, through the show Liber Insularum
During the 1970s Viola lived in Florence, Italy, as technical director of production for Art/Tapes/22, one of the first video art studios in Europe, and then traveled widely to study and record traditional performing arts in the Solomon Islands, Java, Bali, and Japan. In 1979 Viola and Perov (partner) traveled to the Sahara desert, Tunisia to record mirages. The following year Viola was awarded a U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship and they lived in Japan for a year and a half where they studied Zen Buddhism with Master Daien Tanaka. More recently, at the end of 2005, they journeyed with their two sons to Dharamsala, India to record a prayer blessing with the Dalai Lama (“Bill Viola”).
Liber- In ancient Roman religion and mythology, “the free one”, German for free
Insular- ignorant of or uninterested in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one’s own experience;lacking contact with other people; of, relating to, or from an island;(of climate) equable because of the influence of the sea; Anatomy of or relating to the insula of the brain, cerebral cortex, involved in consciousness and play a role in diverse functions usually linked to emotion or the regulation of the body’s homeostasis. These functions include perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal experience.
The Quintet of the Astonished, Bill Viola
Hieronymous Bosch’s Christ Mocked
Four Hands, Bill Viola
Religious hand gestures in Christian, Buddhist and Hindu religions
The Ascension, Bill Viola
The Ascension of Mary, possibly baptismal rebirth (often through water) and to some Eastern philosophies as ways he addressed a need to get back to feelings and awareness, this “rebirth” as the stripping of the physical body for the liberation of the spiritual soul.
Family of the Photographer
The use of family in photographs is one of the oldest forms of portrait photography, we can imagine that the accessibility of family is partially the reasoning behind this. These photos may also create a dialogue about what the author feels, or the relationship the author has, with these subjects.
Text and Image
How does text, wether through newspaper, text on walls or written on or around the image, change the way we understand the photograph? Do they reinforce what the photograph shows or do they cause a juxtaposition? Do they create another narrative creating characters and plots, or do they give us insight on the subject?
Sally Mann and “Black Men”
Sally Mann was first introduced to us through the work of “Immediate Family” where she photographed her children nude and free, wild and intimate. The children play amongst the backdrop of the vast southern landscape. Eventually, the children become smaller in the photographs until they virtually disappear.
It is at this time that Mann turned to the grandeur subject of just the "Southern Landscape." Having been raised in the south there is a lot of background and homage for her in this work, which lead her to photograph the landscapes of the Civil War, like those of Gettysburg. Having always used a traditional 8x10 view camera, she would now venture into using the same method of those photographers in the Civil War era, the wet plate collodion. It is at this time that she allows the collodion to do as it pleases, instead of trying to perfect this tedious process she allows the mistakes to run the show, maybe in some way allow the medium and the land make their mark.
She is now using this method to photograph “Black Men”, which is just that. Black men’s teeth, black mens ears, their backs and so-forth. In combination of all these elements, the images created become quite haunting, they reflect something maybe, uncomfortable. It is difficult to ignore the elements of her being raise in the south, being raised by a Mammy, using the technique of those used to photograph slaves, while also recognizing how they are being photographed.
Mann came to Miami to speak, and after reading a wonderfully poetic monologue tracking the origins of her family back to the Mayflower, she introduced this new work. She explains she finds the men in the street, asks them to come to her home and she pays them per hour. However they are in her territory, in front of this alarmingly intimidating camera. It is curious, and alarming, that when asked is she was talking about slavery she responded, “How can you photograph black men, without talking about slavery?”
Social Landscapes, Our Society
August Sander, from People of the Twentieth Century, a portrait project where Sander set out to photograph all professions and social classes of the German population.
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, was known for his paintings and gestures of the Moulin Rouge nightlife, revealing a personal and humanistic view on those prostitues, dancers and the like.
Gary Winogrand, from Public Relations, “The photographs depict the emerging hype of a society in the 1970s that indulges in celebrating itself and in which the presence of the media becomes more and more important in public life (Press Release).”
RuffThomas, “I wanted to a kind of official portrait of my generation.”
Masao Yamamoto and Buddhism
Masao Yamamoto, a Japanese photographer, takes a meditative approach to photographing. They are modest, intimate, secrets; they survive as small gifts in infinite space. The images of hands, torsos, flowers-all small details-suddenly evolve into moments of great importance and fascinating events. These outlooks echo many ideals of Buddhism. Buddhist practices, such as meditation, serve as the means of changing oneself, in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. Buddhism is not about teaching or learning, but about experiencing (here).
"Long ago, there was a man named Ryokan, who was a calligrapher and a poet. I have an enormous amount of respect for him. In one of his Haikus he describes simply the movement of a leaf trembling as it falls. But in reality, this poem can be interpreted in several ways. For example the falling leaf could be a metaphor for life, the right side up, the bad, and the reverse side, the good. From this simple natural phenomenon he speaks of much deeper things. I find this remarkable. I would like to take these kinds of photos." -Yamamoto
"Everything has a scale…but everything is appropriate size. Because i want to hold them in my hand, I want them to be object, I believe the Buddha is the size for a reason.” -Yamamoto
"My installation has no beginig, you can start anywhere…and that is where the story begins.” -Yamamoto
"…he silently placed eleven of his small photos on a glass table and started to arrange and re-arrange them into a kind of visual haiku." (Lens Culture)
Francesca Woodman and Narrating Space
How do we experience something, how do we experience the wallpaper deteriorating off the wall? We put our selves in between the wall and the falling paper. Francesca Woodman’s self portraits exhibits her body absorbed in a nostalgic space. She is anamorphose, transformed at times, into these abandoned settings. In these settings, many of which used to be homes, where we would find comfort and safety, also what may be deemed ”a woman’s place”, we find the opposite. A body engulfed, a space so present, ‘a fear of being abandoned by the femininity of space.’ (Womans Art Journal)
The Contemporary Still Life
All of these photographs depict a very traditional subject in art, the still life. Still life paintings, particularly before 1700, often contained religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. Decorative mosaics termed “emblema”, found in the homes of rich Romans, demonstrated the range of food enjoyed by the upper classes, and also functioned as signs of hospitality and as celebrations of the seasons and of life (Wiki).
These contemporary still life’s have many of those traditional elements of foods, table ware, flowers, but they are depicted with this sense of “left behind.” They are not glorious and sacred, but mundane, overlooked, they create a new emblem.