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Preview: Joseph Squillante, “A Closer Look: The Hudson River,” at the Beacon Institute

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on October 1, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Piermont Marsh

Piermont Marsh

“My work in A Closer Look springs from a need to see the Hudson River in a fresh way. By considering the essence of the subjects along the river my vision has been crystallized with a new sense of depth.”
- Joseph Squillante

Joseph Squillante, is a dedicated visual archivist and passionate advocate of the Hudson River through his photography, which has developed a reputation for being in the style of the Hudson River School of landscape painters.

“A Closer Look,” collects his new images which investigate the abstract through motion and close-ups and places them next to his classic landscape work, showing personal and professional transformation. Working entirely in-camera to achieve the desired affect, he brings forth both the wildness and the sublime while his inspiration, The Hudson, continues to inform and enrich his work down to the final print.

Despite the differences in approach, Squillante’s work continues to focus on the beautiful, magnificent and timeless, and this opportunity to compare his transformation from classic to abstract is not to be missed.

Opening Reception: October 12, 5-7pm

Gallery Talk November 2 at 5pm

October 12, 2013 – March 2, 1014

For more information: The Beacon Institute

And don’t forget his current exhibition at: Red Filter Gallery

Preview: Photographs by Norman Seeff: The Lost Archive

In Auction, Black and White Photography, Gallerist, Photo Print Collector on October 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

Ray Charles LA '85

Ray Charles, LA, 1985.

The Aperature Foundation and Christie’s of NYC present the first ever auction of silver gelatin prints by Norman Seeff; acclaimed pop culture photographer, and producer of some of the world’s most enduring images of musicians, moguls, actors, and athletes over the past forty years.

Known for illustriously bringing out the true spirits of his subjects, Seeff worked independently and with United Artist Records to create some of the greatest album covers of the 1970s and 1980s. Displayed in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Time  and Life, vintage prints by Seeff are extremely rare, and this collections includes authentic “work prints,” which were physically presented to artists and agents for approval and often became the basis for the world’s perception of some of the greatest stars at the time.

Christie’s online-only auction will run September 27 – October 9, 2013

For More Information: Christie’s

Profiles in Black & White: Edward Steichen

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 30, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.”

-Edward Steichen

Edward Steichen photographed by Don Hogan Charles of the New York Times

Edward Steichen,  by Don Hogan Charles/New York Times

If there were ever a photographer to be coined a natural, the labeler would be hard pressed to argue against Edward Steichen. Success followed him in every venture that he made in the field. He experienced a career not only in the artistic medium, but fashion/advertising, portraiture, nature and even combat photography. At one point, he was known as the highest paid photographer in the world. And when he switched to filming, he won an Academy Award for The Fighting Lady. The Museum of Modern Art in New York would tap him to be their Director of the Department of Photography after World War II, a position he would keep until 1962.

Raised primarily in Milwaukee but born in Luxembourg in 1879, Steichen’s cultivation as an artist originally began as a lithography apprentice at the age of 15. The apprenticeship would allow him to practice his painting and drawing skills. Near his place of work, a camera shop would persistently pique his fancy. Eventually, he caved and rationalized the purchase of his first camera, a second hand Kodak box camera. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: Nick Brandt – Across the Ravaged Land

In Black and White Photography, Books, Exhibits, Gallerist, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Giraffe Skull Amboseli
Giraffe Skull, Amboseli

Nick Brandt has been photographing East Africa’s landscapes, people and animals since early 2000, but this latest series of work, Across the Ravaged Land is darker and more haunting than his previous series alluding to the increased difficulty in creating his work. His photographs stand as a tribute to the elysian natural world of the region which are disappearing as industrialization and population consume the land. Calcified animals, expansive droughts, and poached animal parts evoke the sense of staggering loss and foreboding in the region that Brandt holds close to his heart.

September 5 – November 2, 2013

For More Information: Fahey/Klein Gallery

Preview: Lauren Semivan “Observatory”

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallerist, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm

L_Semivan_July_1_2013

July 1, 2013

“Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams , and to employ the uses of the unkown.”
- Lauren Semivan

Observatory, Lauren Semivan’s first solo show, is a collection of black and white photographs that explore the prolific young artists’ surreal narratives utilizing still life, drawing, painting, and performance. Each photograph documents an imagined moment utilizing staged sets and scenes designed entirely by the artist. Semivan uses an 8 x 10 view camera to commit each image to film.

September 18 – October 26, 2013

For More Information: The Bonni Benrubi Gallery

Profiles in Black&White: Herbert Bayer

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 24, 2013 at 12:16 pm

“My work seen in its totality is a statement about the integration of the contemporary artist into an industrial society.”

-Herbert Bayer

Self-Portrait, 1932, Herbert Bayer

Self-Portrait, 1932, Herbert Bayer

The vast majority of artists that are profiled here dabbled in a multitude of mediums. Ultimately, however, they considered themselves to be photographers at the end of the day. This was not true in the case of Herbert Bayer; he actually considered himself a painter at heart. But Bayer’s vast tool set impaired any reductive labeling past the broad title of “artist”. Along with painting and graphic design, he sculpted, designed environmental and building architecture, designed interiors and photographed. Not to mention a plethora of fun with font types and the alphabet itself. His cohabitation of the worlds of fine and applied arts was uncommonly seamless.

Born in 1900, the Austrian-born Bayer was taken under the wing of artist Georg Schmidthammer at nineteen, following a stint in the Austro-Hungarian military. After leaving Schmidthammer to study at the Darmstadt Artist’ Colony, Bayer became enamored with Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Manifesto. Here Bayer was under the watchful eyes of teachers such as Wassily Kadinsky and Paul Klee for four years until Gropius appointed Bayer director of printing and advertising. It was at this time, in 1925, that he started exploring camera work. Under Bayer’s control, Bauhaus publications had a brusque, succinct visual element and adopted an all-lowercase usage of sans serif font. Three years later, he left Bauhaus to become art director of Vogue’s Berlin office.

Being the personification of eclecticism that he was, photography became an effective asset in his mixed media creations. In the piece “Metamorphosis,” from 1936, Bayer’s use of photomontage overlays dynamic three-dimensional geometric shapes looking out on to verdant, cloudy horizon. As an advertising director, photomontage often aided him in his commercial use of avant-garde imagery.

Metamorphosis, 1936. Herbert Bayer

Metamorphosis, 1936. Herbert Bayer

After arriving in New York as a refugee from Nazi Germany in 1948, Bayer would create memorable ad campaigns such as 1945’s “Great Ideas of Western Men.” CEO Walter Paepcke, an important patron of Bayer in the latter half of his life, led the campaign’s publisher, Container Corporation of America. At Paepcke’s behest, Bayer would move to Aspen, where he supervised both the design of the Aspen Institute’s architecture and program graphics. While here, Bayer also gave birth to the “earth art” movement, starting with his walled ring of grass that was festooned on the Aspen Institute’s campus.

In 1974, moved once more, this time to California. Until his death in 1985, much of his artwork from this period would continue incorporate the environment. During his 85-year life, Bayer’s works were displayed in over a 100 exhibitions. Numerous accolades were bestowed upon him, such as the Culture Prize of the German Society for Photography and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art. As the Art and Design Consultant for his friend Robert O. Anderson’s Atlantic Richfield Company, he would also help cultivate the largest corporate art collection in the world.

Bayer’s work can be seen in numerous places all over the world, but example of said work can be found: Herbert Bayer

Preview: George Tice: The Photographer’s Photographer

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallerist, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Shaker Interior, Sabbathday Lake, Maine

Shaker Interior, Sabbathday Lake, Maine, 1971

The Scott Nichols Gallery is hosting a 60 year retrospective: George Tice: The Photographer’s Photographer to celebrate tice’s many achievements and contributions to fine art photography as an artist, teacher, and technical master.

Renowned for his technical printmaking skills, Tice began working for names in the fine art photography field such as Edward Weston, Frederick H. Evans and Edward Steichen while promoting his own portrait photography. His skillfully executed images of American rural and suburban life earned him national and international acclaim. Despite his lack of classical training, his images are sophisticated in both aesthetics and technical quality.

September 5 – November 16, 2013

Reception: September 26th, 5:30-7:30pm

For More Information: Scott Nichols Gallery

Profiles in Black&White: Josef Sudek

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm

“I believe a lot in instinct. One should never dull it by wanting to know everything. One shouldn’t ask too many questions but do what one does properly, never rush, and never torment oneself.”

-Josef Sudek

Roundnice Gallery, office of the director, when Sudek visited to see his exhibition. Photo by Charles Sawyer, 1976

Roundnice Gallery, office of the director, when Sudek visited to see his exhibition.
Photo by Charles Sawyer, 1976

For Josef Sudek, his first true foray into photography was, literally and figuratively, an autodidactic trial by fire. Born in 1896 in Kolin – then part of Bohemia and now part of the Czech Republic – Sudek was originally apprenticed to a bookbinder by his father, a house painter. In 1915, he was drafted into the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. While serving on the Italian front, Sudek was shot in the right arm. The wound became gangrenous, forcing doctors to amputate. To find a use for their wounded soldier, the Austro-Hungarian army put a camera in his hands despite little experience. The next three years would be spent recuperating and capturing images of war.

The conclusion of the war led to a time of turmoil for Sudek. Bookbinding was no longer an option and a desk job didn’t appeal; nor did the life of a merchant. After a move to Prague, he took small commissions for photographs to supplement his military disability pension. Many of these works were in the pictorialist style. Sudek also joined the Amateur Photography Club, where he struck a friendship with Jaromir Funke. By 1922, Sudek decided that proper refinement of his abilities was needed and enrolled in Prague’s School of Graphic Arts. His formal education fueled his progressive mentality, to the point that it led to his expulsion from his photography club – he had emphatically argued that the club’s beloved pictorialist style was no longer relevant. Along with Funke, Sudek would found the Czech Photographic Society in 1924. The pair’s intellectual co-op spawned great ambition.

Once Sudek’s artistic sensibilities matured, his biggest muse would be the urban landscape of Prague, paralleling the love Eugene Atget showed for Paris. His propensity for focusing on Prague was aided by an aversion towards travel, tracing to a return trip to Italy Sudek had taken at the invitation of the Czech Philharmonic. Author Anna Farova commented in her book, Sudek, that it was the “last time he freely captured a person in his photographs.” The return to the hospitals rekindled the great trauma of losing his arm and caused a mental crisis. His disappearance flummoxed the Italian police until he somehow made his way back to Prague a couple of months later. Sudek vowed to never go anywhere again (his first western show wouldn’t occur until two years prior to his death). Instead, he completely immersed himself within his art. He might never be a normal whole human again, but he decided that photography would be his triumph. Over the next 50 years, the “Poet of Prague” produced 16 books of photography within his beloved city and the forests of Bohemia. In 1961 the Czech government made him the first photographer bestowed with the title “Artist of Merit.” Later, the government would also award him the Order of Work in 1966. Sudek died in 1976 at the age of 80.

1928 Photo by Josef Sudek

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague, 1928
Photo by Josef Sudek

Despite the disadvantage of losing his arm, Sudek had a preference to use larger equipment. One such camera was an 1894 Kodak Panorama that created a unique 10 cm x 30 cm negative. When without an assistant, he would cradle the camera in his lap to make adjustments, even use his teeth to compensate for his disability. Sudek also abandoned the practice of enlarging negatives fairly early in his career in favor of contact prints. This is attributed to a 30 x 40 cm he saw in 1940 of a statue from Chartres. The tonal variation of the contact method, not so much the detail, he said, left the greatest impression.

A shy man by nature, the neo-romanticist and modernist never married. He also never attended his gallery openings. Instead, he often found comfort in his extensive classical music collection.

Examples of Sudek’s work: Josef Sudek

Notable: Storms by Mitch Dobrowner

In Black and White Photography, Books, Exhibits, Gallerist, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Vapor Cloud, Near Clayton New Mexico 2009

Vapor Cloud, near Clayton, New Mexico, 2009

Mitch Dobrowner, known for his dramatic and emotive landscapes, has been working on a publication for his new series, Storms, which includes work he began when he joined up with professional storm hunter Roger Hill in “Tornado Alley,” (the area between the Rocky Mountains in the west and the Appalachian Mountains in the east). Including 51 duotone photographs from the series which Mitch began documenting in 2009, Storms, has released in time to accompany an exhibit of his work at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles. For More Information: Financial Times Magazine

Profiles in Black&White: Harry Callahan

In Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on September 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.”  

Harry Callahan    

    

Harry Callahan was a product of the Motor City, Detroit, MI, in 1912. Like many of his neighbors, he initially sought work in an auto plant for Chrysler. After a brief foray into the world of engineering at Michigan State University, he would drop out and return to Chrysler once more. This time, he joined the company’s camera club. It was about 1938 when Callahan started to teach himself how to photograph. After attending an Ansel Adams lecture in 1941, he was inspired to pursue a career in art.

Callahan is a bit of a mystery in comparison to many of his contemporaries. Their pictures might carry numerous messages or explanations to tag along to their work. Less is known about Callahan. He was prone roaming the streets of his city and take numerous photos of whatever caught his eye; this trended through his life in Detroit, then Chicago –he was asked to join the faculty at the Institute of Design in 1946 – and through to Providence, where he established the photography department at Rhode Island School of design. Of the few that he produced final images of, he rarely, if ever, explicated them. Callahan was often experimenting with new ways to produce a photo. A photo might be double or triple exposed, blurred, or use either large or small format film. He also dabbled in the use of color film. Many of his photos would experiment with abstraction as well, reflecting upon life’s experiences.

One thing that was unequivocal was who his muse was. Eleanor Callahan met on Harry on a blind date in 1933 and three years later they were married. After the Ansel Adams lecture, Harry would photograph Eleanor for decades.

             “He just liked to take pictures of me,” she told an interviewer in 2008, according to the New York Times. “In every pose. Rain or shine. And whatever I was doing. If I was doing the dishes or if I was half asleep. And he knew that I never, never said no. I was always there for him. Because I knew that Harry would only do the right thing.”

When their lone child, Barbara, was born, she became a second subject for Callahan. Many of the images would symbolize a familial tenderness.

Callahan would be awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1996. He would die three years later in Atlanta, Georgia.

Examples of Callahan’s work can be found: Harry Callahan

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