Weekly Check In – 30 May 2020

I’m slowly getting to grips with extracting posts to showcase the various learning outcomes., but I’m confused by the level of (my) perceived overlap of the learning outcomes because I seem to be referencing the same logs over and over again.

I took a break from this and watched the MACK Live: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour. Well its not really just her bookshelf but also her husband George Giorgio’s too. He was behind the camera doing the video. So a good list of books, some of which sound quite interesting: Walker Evans, Duane Michels – Real Dreams. She read an interesting quote by Michels from this book “I am a reflection photographing other reflections with a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing” (MACK LIVE: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour, 2020). Very profound! Another artist who had an interest in using text and images is Victor Burgin.

Other artists/books mentioned were: Jo Spence (feminist theory); Cristina Garcia Rodero – Espana Oculta – a document of the religious ceremonies in Spain; Paul Fusco – the RFK Funeral Train; David Goldblatt – TJ; August Sander; Richard Powers (writer); Stefania Gurdowa – Negatives to be stored – portrait studio photographer who used glass plates, but only used half a plate for her clients, so the juxtapositioning was with a stranger on the same plate. Melissa Cantanese – Voyagers – also archives; Stefane Duroy – Distress/Berlin/Unknown; Jem Southam; Mark Ruwedel – Westward the Course of Empire; Bryan Schutmaat – Grays the Mountain Fends and Good God Damn; Paul Gaffney – We make the path by walking; Robert Adams – Summer Nights Walking; Charlotte Tanguy. Bookmakers: Raymond Meeks – Erasure – handmade books; Stephen Gill – self publishes – Hackney Flowers, The Pillar, Night Procession; Josh Lustig & Samuel Wright – The Marshes; George Giorgio – Americans Parade; Michael Ashkin – were it not for and finally Aaron Schumann – Slant.

This perceived overlap on the learning outcomes is doing my head in and I’m waiting for clarification on something I asked on the discussion forum, so I’m stepping away for a day.

I took part in an Auckland Festival of Photography zoom artist talk this afternoon. The talk was about Magnum photographer, Werner Bischof. It was a little disappointing because his son, who was presenting, didn’t show any of the work that he was talking about. So just a history lesson about Werner Bischof really. Hopefully the rest of the Auckland Festival’s artists talks will not be like this.

Stepping away from the learning outcomes for a day has definitely helped. I’m planning on presenting a list of links to back up the learning outcomes, but have added a bit of commentary on a couple of the entries. Not sure if I should add a commentary on all the LO’s as it might be a bit overkill or repetitive … jury is still out on that one. Need to have a bit of a think on that.

I’ve signed up for Susan Bright‘s virtual study event on 2 June, so thought I should watch her lecture ahead of time to provide some context. Her lecture is about collaboration and creative practice and for the second time this week I was reminded that photography is not a solo activity. One is reliant upon other photographers, family, curators, editors and so on for feedback, even one’s subjects. Susan mentioned that she regards herself as a feminist curator and will always try and reflect feminine values throughout her work, also trying to select women’s work first if the occasion arises. She gave a brief background of some of her curatorial work, especially the collaborations with Elina Brotherus. She mentioned that collaboration in documentary work was particularly interesting as it came down to the question of who has the voice, who has the empowerment. Some of her early work can be seen in the books Art Photography Now and Auto Focus. She mentioned that unlike other curators, she does not work with a collection, but has in the case of Elina Brotherus’s Anunciation taken on the traditional role of a curator as “keeper”. But that is not only a curator’s job. A curator is also a person who acts as a sounding board for other artists. Some of the other artists she mentioned were Claire Strand, Sharon Core, Laura Letinsky, Délio Jasse (I particularly found Jasse’s Nova Lisboa quite interesting as it deals with history, palimpsests, identity and colonialism, so I’m going to bookmark that for a more in-depth look during L3) and Patrick Pound who really collects photographs and other ephemera. He has a very dynamic way of thinking about how he connects his work.

I was planning on getting up early to watch another VII Photo Agency Book Club talk by Daniel Schwartz, but quite glad I didn’t, as when I went to watch the recorded version, there were all kinds of technical hitches and the show only got on the road after about 10 minutes or so and some expletives from Schwartz later. Schwartz was talking about two of his books While the Fires Burn: A Glacier Odyssey and Tales from a Globalizing World. He started off with Tales which started in 1998 from a concept which he read out to the viewers which quite remarkably could easily apply to our times today, dealing with all the interconnectivity that is so prevalent in society.  He approached a number of photographers who he invited to collaborate on the project. Akinbode Akinbiyi looked at religion in Brazil and Nigeria, and their mutual influence, laws, migrants and cultural identities; Thomas Kern examining American identity post-9/11; Ziyad Gafic looked at the aftermath of war in a Bosnian community and the diaspora; Shehzad Noorani examined tourism, migration, and the effect of regional poverty on the lives of children in India and Nepal; Cristina Nunez focused on Italy and the transnational elite, workers in the sweatshops of Milan, and street traders in the world of fashion (which of course has quite a prophetic tone in light of the Corona virus pandemic situation); Bertien van Manen photographed the souvenirs of immigrants living on the fringes of Paris. Other photographers who took part in the project were: Tim Hetherington, Stephan Vanfleteren and Phillip Jones Griffiths. When asked why he produced a book, Schwartz answered that a book is a trace, a memory. Its a container for our memories and we often feel the need to leave something behind. While the Fires Burn, was partly politically motivated. Schwartz travelled to Peru, Switzerland, Uganda and Pakistan to photograph the disappearing glaciers. He has an interesting analogy: like a book a glacier is also a container of memory. A glacier contains all sorts of objects. While exploring some of the glaciers near Mt Everest, they came across German objects dating back to 1938, many of which had the swatstika  emblem. Other objects were things like parts of a spine, ropes, clothing, all of which had been buried in the glacier and were now exposed due to the glacial melt. The glacier is a type of archive. When it melts we loose the archive. Not only archival objects found, but also climate information as well as historical information about the planet. Interesting fact – glacial reaction time only translates over a long period of time. What we are seeing happening to the glaciers now is their reaction to climate changes that occurred in the 70s/80s.

Today I got so focused on finalising my assessment that I completely missed two Zoom artists talks that were being presented via the Auckland Photography Festival, which I can absolutely kick myself for, because they were the two talks that I really wanted to see – the one being about the female eye and the other about female identity. But the good news is that I’ve now completed my assessment package and have uploaded everything to the G-drive. Now that that is out of the way, I can now probably clear my desk of the piles of books and notes that are liberally strewn all over the place, so I can get ready for L3.


To Do List
  • Rest of World Hangout – 31 May, 2020

MACK LIVE: Vanessa Winship Bookshelf Tour (2020) Directed by MACK Live. At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=kxW_yZQXCms&feature=emb_logo (Accessed  23/05/2020).

Open College of the Arts (2020) Virtual study event: Susan Bright | Collaboration & Creative Practice | The Open College of the Arts. At: https://www.oca.ac.uk/weareoca/photography/virtual-study-event-susan-bright-collaboration-creative-practice/ (Accessed  28/05/2020).

VII Interactive Book Club (2020) VII Interactive Book Club. ‘While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey’ and ‘Tales from a Globalizing World’ by Daniel Schwartz – VII Agency. At: http://viiphoto.com/event/vii-interactive-book-club-while-the-fires-burn-a-glacier-odyssey-and-tales-from-a-globalizing-world-by-daniel-schwartz/ (Accessed  26/05/2020).

5 thoughts on “Weekly Check In – 30 May 2020

  1. Pingback: Rest of the World Hangout – 31 May 2020 | Lynda Kuit Photography: Documentary – Fact & Fiction

  2. Pingback: Weekly Check In – 4 June 2020 | Lynda Kuit Photography: Documentary – Fact & Fiction

  3. Pingback: Symposium, Visualizing Climate Change: The Environmental Sublime | Lynda Kuit Photography Level 3

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