Bertien van Manen is a Dutch photographer with a long and distinguished list of exhibitions, books and prizes to her credit. She has an eye and feel for domesticity as well as a curiosity for how others live their lives.

In a 2009 interview with Bint Photobooks, the interviewer noted how, in the United States, images of the Soviet Union are consistently read as ‘depressing’ and ’spiritually depleted’ and asked van Manen how she felt about the reaction to her work overseas.

“Perhaps Americans are a bit more moralistic than Europeans? I never looked for “photogenic poverty”, I photographed what was there. What shocked me was the reaction of Ljoeda, the lady in whose house I always stayed in Moscow. She was angry because I was showing her table without a tablecloth and because I wrote about the fridge in which they had stored their administration instead of food. Some Russian people who, after seeing my pictures, realized how poor they were, they were so used to this life, they did not see it anymore. And they had to go on living in it, having for dinner nothing but carrots and cabbage and some meat every day. I could go home to Holland, where I was confronted with the abundance in the supermarkets.”

Of her most recent book, Let’s Sit Down Before We Go, van Manen says “The photos in this book have been made between 1991 and 2009 in Russia, Moldova, Kazachstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Tatarstan, Georgia. The editing and sequencing of the images have been done by Stephen Gill. The title of these series, ‘Lets’s sit down before we go’, is a metaphor for the subject of the images. An old habit in Russia. Before leaving for a long journey, people sit down for a moment and think about where they will be going and why…”

The special edition of Let’s Sit Down Before We Go, published by Mack, is signed and numbered (edition of 15 + 2 APs) and it comes with a hand-made c-type print (24×20 cm, choice of 3 different prints) signed and numbered by the artist. The book is housed in a bespoke embossed linen clam-shell portfolio box and it can be purchased directly from the publisher’s website for $1750.

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by Denis on February 9, 2012


Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) was possessed of both tremendous energy and incredibly diverse abilities: famed as an architect and furniture designer, he was also a writer, photographer, race-car driver and downhill skier. His private life was no less intense. Mollino had a closely guarded obsession with erotic portraiture, and would regularly invite prostitutes from the streets of Turin to come to his home and pose for him. The scenes were carefully prepared: the models would dress (or partially undress) in costumes, accessories and wigs that Mollino had acquired on trips to France or Southeast Asia, and pose before backdrops of drapery, screens and sculptural furniture. Despite the furtive circumstances of their production, these portraits express the aesthetics of Mollino’s more public photographs, as the models appear more statuesque than pornographic. Likewise, the opulent interiors and opulent furnishings of Mollino’s private homes in Turin, the Villa Zaira and what is now known as Casa Mollino serve as crucial components of the compositions. In 1962, Mollino began to employ Polaroid film for these shoots, eventually making some 1,300 exposures before his death in 1973. Neither these nor the silver gelatin works that preceded them were published in his lifetime, and this is the first publication of these Polaroids.

This hardcover book, published by Moderne Kunst Nürnberg, has 220 pages and it can be purchased directly from the distributor’s site for $50.00.

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by Denis on February 8, 2012


For Roger Ballen, a photographer who has worked as a mining expert, photography is a means of drilling down into his own psychological depths. His images are obviously staged, but they are troubling in their brutal raw reality. Ballen uses recurring themes and props: wire, shadows, dirty feet, soiled bed sheets, filthy walls, boxes with rough holes cut out, crude drawings cover many surfaces. Junk is piled on junk. People and animals are in awkward, dangerous and absurd positions.

It would be easier to swallow if we could think of the characters as models or actors, following stage directions. But very many of these images seem too real. The characters look like they are really strung out on the far edges of ordinary life. Ballen has been accused of exploitation, coercion, manipulation and other bad things. He has also been praised as one of the best photographer-artists of our day.

Ballen has directed the new music video for Cape Town hip hop trio, Die Antwoord. The band’s music is characterised by its Zef references (Zef being South African slang for modern and trashy, with lots of knowingly discarded cultural references).

Of the video, Ballen said “We had really clear concepts of what we wanted to do in our heads. We started with my photographs for ideas and then mimicked them in the sets. Most of the sets started with almost like a ‘Roger Ballen still life’ and then we might have added in a mouth or foot or hand and then we went into them cinematically.”

(The text above is taken from Phaidon.com & Lens Culture.)

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by Denis on February 6, 2012

The brainchild of curator and self-published photographer Matt Martin, The Photocopy Club is an innovative monthly photography exhibition which features photocopied images sent by postal submission from all over the globe. Photocopying is one of the cheapest ways to get photography printed and the show will be like a giant zine that everyone can take a page from. All the photocopies will be for sale for as little as £2- £5, depending on the size and the money made will go towards the production of a book that will feature all the photos from the first 6 exhibitions.

The show runs until the 5th February at Beach London.

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by Denis on February 3, 2012


Boris Mikhailov, one of the most influential photographers from the former Soviet Union, has been awarded the Spectrum Photo Prize 2012. The 73 year-old photographer joins Sophie Calle, Martha Rosler and Robert Adams who have previously won the prize which is awarded every three years by the Foundation of Lower Saxony and the Sprengel Museum.

Born in communist Ukraine, Mikhailov’s career as a photographer began after he was forced to quit his job as an engineer when the KGB uncovered photographs of his wife naked. Much of his work focussed on everyday life throughout the Russian occupation. After The Soviet Union’s collapse Mikhailov sought to uncover injustices people began facing as his hometown of Kharkov adjusted itself to the new capitalist culture.

“It is a disgraceful world, populated by some creatures that were once humans, but now these living beings are degraded, ghastly, appalling,” Mikhailov said at the time. “This “fauna” is specific especially to the period of quasi-general diffidence, specific for most of the post-communist world.” Taken throughout the 1960s and 70s in Soviet occupied Ukraine, Mikhailov’s Superimposition series depicts an extraordinary double world of Soviet drudgery juxtaposed with sex and beauty (shown above).

Perhaps, what could be considered as his most important work were the photographs Mikhailov took in Kharkov in 1997 and 1998. He visited this industrial Ukrainian city after the fall of the Soviet Union and found that many people, including those who were previously middle class, had been displaced and were now homeless. Mr Mikhailov was disturbed that despite the “shiny wrapper” of Western modernity, people were starving, suffering from disease and resorting to prostitution. Mr Mikhailov envisioned himself as a type of modern Dorthea Lange, documenting a class of people that would be otherwise invisible. He makes it impossible for viewers to look away. The figures plead with their eyes, every sore, every wrinkle depicted in Technicolor. He spent a year taking the pictures that would eventually become “Case History”, a 400-photograph series and book (see below). An exhibition of these pictures was shown at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2011.

(The text above is taken from Phaidon.com & The Economist.)

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by Denis on February 2, 2012

Pejantan Black Geyser by Zhao Renhui

by Denis on February 1, 2012

Zhao Renhui‘s practice investigates the different modes of the human zoological gaze, that is, how people view animals. Together with The Institute of Critical Zoologists, he has exhibited in Photo Levallois in Paris, Photo Ireland, Format International Photography Festival, Singapore International Photography Festival, Emerging Wave (Seoul) and CUT2010 (Southeast Asia). His research with the Institute for the Pulau Pejantan project received a winning award from the Sony World Photography Awards at Cannes 2010.

An uninhabited island in the Indonesian Archipelago first visited by scientists only in 2005, Pulau Pejantan (also known as “Sand Forest Island”) has recently drawn increasing attention from researchers for its extremely unusual geological features and remarkable biodiversity. Two distinct environmental regions – a central semi-tropical forest, ringed by pale white sand dunes dotted with geothermal oddities like the extraordinary Black Geyser – harbor some six hundred species of fauna, roughly seventy percent of which exist only on the island.

The photos of Pulau Pejantan, one of which is Pejantan Black Geyser, were taken by Zhao Renhui on an expedition to the island between January and April 2009.

Pejantan Black Geyser is an archival, chromogenic prints on a semi-matte paper. It is available in three sizes (refers to the paper size):

1) 11″x14″ / Edition of 150 / $50
2) 20″x24″ / Edition of 25 / $500
3) 30″x40″ / Edition of 5 / $1500

Each print ships with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and they are available through the Eye Buy Art online store.

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by Denis on February 1, 2012

Warren Street by Peter Spear

by Denis on January 30, 2012

Photographer Peter Spear chronicles life, as he sees it, in his hometown of Hudson in New York state. Commenting on Spear’s work, Andrew Wagner said

“Peter has made a habit of lugging his various cameras around with him almost constantly and in doing so has managed to capture some fantastic, beautiful, simple moments in this tough little town. Peter’s photos are not necessarily about capturing the traditionally picturesque or scenic (though he has certainly done that as well) but rather about allowing the camera to tell a story in a remarkable manner by simply keeping your eyes open and waiting for those moments to present themselves.”

In a recent interview, when asked “What do you look for when you go out to take pictures?”, Spear’s answer complemented Wagner’s assessment:

“I think at their best, photos can be like secrets – something that catches my eye may not catch someone elses eye. I suppose, when I walk around Hudson with a camera, I am looking for light and I am looking to be surprised. It’s a great excuse to try and really be open to the place where I am.”

Spear recently published his first photography book, The Friendly City, which can browsed and purchased on the Blurb website.

His limited edition print Warren Street is offered on 100% cotton rag paper and the image is printed with archival pigment inks. Each print comes with an artist-signed + numbered certificate of authenticity.

This print is offered in two sizes:
Image size: 7.5 x 10 in.
Paper size: 8.5 x 11 in.
Edition Size: 40
Price: $75.00

Image size: 13 x 18 in.
Paper size: 16 x 20 in.
Edition Size: 20
Price: $300.00

The prints can be purchased at Small Batch Editions.

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by Denis on January 30, 2012

To Cross by Tim Jarosz

by Denis on January 12, 2012

Tim Jarosz is a professional photographer and graphic designer who lives and works in Chicago. His photo To Cross is part of a series entitled Street, an engaging collection of images of older buildings, grafittis, a train station and various individuals in a part of town that care seems to have forgotten.

To Cross is printed on 13″ x10″ thin sheet of metal and is available for $30 from Tim’s shop.

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by Denis on January 12, 2012

Skid Row II by Lee Jeffries

by Denis on January 4, 2012


Lee Jeffries began his career as a sports photographer in Manchester. Following an encounter with a homeless girl living in the streets of London, he decided to make a series of raw portraits of homeless in black and white. The result is absolutely stunning and compelling.

The strength of Jeffries’ work lays in his ability to make his subjects both timeless and out of this world. His portraits speak volumes. A story unfolds. It is no longer possible for the viewer to remain indifferent. The photograph becomes a document which narrates misery, injustice and suffering.

Jeffries was just announced as the Digital Camera Photographer of the Year and you can read more about him at the Independent.

Skid Row II is available as a limited edition print in two sizes:
* 60 x 60cm / Edition: 500 / 325,00 €
* 100 x 100cm / Edition: 150 / 735,00 €

This image is printed on silver photographic paper. The prints are numbered and come with a certificate of authenticity. You can purchase Skid Row II from Yellow Korner.

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by Denis on January 4, 2012

After Identity, What? by Hank Willis Thomas

by Denis on December 21, 2011


Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He gained wide recognition with his highly provocative series B®ANDED, which addresses the commodification of African-American male identity by raising questions about visual culture and the power of logos.

In discussing the subject of identity in Art In America Magazine, Thomas said “An artist friend of mine, Bayeté Ross-Smith and I were walking down the street twenty-five years ago; we were coming from an after school program. I asked a question about why we were called ‘black’ if our skin was brown and Bayeté tried to tell me that my skin may be brown, but I’m black. I said, “No, I’m brown.” He said, “Yeah, but they call us ‘black’ to simplify it. It’s more direct.” In so many words, he was saying that it’s easier to group people into one [definition of] color, as opposed to identifying them under the many hues within their race. He helped me realize that though my skin may be brown, my identity is black and in that moment, it became clear to me that I was black. ”

After Identity, What? is part of the artist’s 1969 series. PS1 invited Hank Willis Thomas and other artists to respond to the year 1969, a period marked with revolution and socio-political tumult. The artists made work utilizing images from magazines of the period and juxtaposed them with text derived from the same publications. The resulting pieces demonstrate the concerns and social values of the era and reflect a historical perspective only the passage of time can provide.

The limited edition print After Identity, What? has an edition size of 15 and 3 artist proofs and it is signed and numbered by the artist. The paper size of this digital C-print is 16″ x 10″ and it can be purchased for $1200 on the online store of the Aperture Foundation.

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by Denis on December 21, 2011