Turkey Day, Black Friday: Time for a Culture Break ?

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Photo ops abounded.

Just letting you know there are some snaps being uploaded to the Facebook site as “share” photos as opposed to the gallery upload.
A quick way to see a couple of visuals from holiday time in NYC.

While the others shop, you can be discovering history.

Oh, there’ll be doorbusters, Black Friday deals, doors opened at 5:00AM, but you can sleep in , and see the latest offering at one of the best museums in the world : the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sure, they had a major retrospective of Richard Avedon some years back. But most of the fine art photographic history, has been left to MOMA. Don’t get me wrong: love my MOMA.

The short shrift usually afforded the chemical/lens/frozen moment arts has been adjusted in a greatly expanded series of exhibits.

Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan

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Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, born 1959)
Kolobrzeg, Poland, 1992
Chromogenic print
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Roy R. and Marie S. Neuberger Foundation Inc., Jennifer and Joseph Duke, Gary and Sarah Wolkowitz and Anne Marie MacDonald Gifts, 2001

In a show of mostly massive images by artists who may have begun as painters, there is an homage to the mostly mundane, exploring the intellectual explanation of a visual medium.

The images have interest in an historical reference ( Andreas Gursky early work ) but the reasoning on choice, the accompanying write -ups with the images, of what was on the walls was a bit over the top and made a visceral experience feel plodding and over wrought. Way too much intellectualizing on images that could easily be felt on viewing. Still recommended.

Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840–1860

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Unknown photographer
Spreading Oak with Seated Figure, 1850s
Paper negative; 7 x 8 1/8 in. (17.7 x 20.7 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Hans P. Kraus, Jr., 2007

However the main show with an historical bent was fascinating both in scope, description and gallery layout.
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In the beginning……before the common use of glass plates, while Daguerre was developing his processes, before tin types became the common tool, when paper negatives were in vogue for the wealthy practitioners and those needing a lighter load, this exhibit takes it’s cue.
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From an historical standpoint of architectural logging, flora and fauna records, the viewer is taken on a journey through a past that spans the globe, with the country of original invention as the main,pardon me, focus.
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As always was the case, non moving landscapes are in the majority, as the fidgety human subjects would cause a blur in the image. But the subjects learned to hold still and there are some great examples here.

In one of the more moving images from India, the descriptor on the side, tells of the horrors of war , as a group of civilians during the Indian Mutiny was promised safety as they moved locations only to be brutally murdered as they did. It was a pointed moment that the British pledged to avenge, keeping the war of that time in place.
The image belies the solitude in a scene of a previous tragic event. Of course the British had been colonizing a good part of the world at that point, and the retribution occurring after this event furthered the physical and emotional distance between these 2 countries.
The exhibit lays out the image and its history without taking a position other than the horrors of war.

As you may imagine, paper negatives would have a shorter shelf life than most other surfaces. The show ends with a slide show showing digital positives of some of these paper negatives.

The entire show can be had in a well made catalog with full explanations and credits.

As it’s been said before “ those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

Cheers!
Damon Webster

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Upcoming Events

  • Photoshop World
  • Sept. 3-5, 2014
  • Mandalay Bay
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
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Current Exhibitions

  • Whitney Musuem
  • “Edward Hopper and Photography”
  • July 17th – Oct.19th, 2014
  • 945 Madison Ave.
  • New York City, New York 10021
  • Tel: 212.570.3600
  • Annenberg Space For Photography
  • “Country: Portraits of American Sound”
  • May 31st -Sept. 28th, 2014
  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
  • Century City, CA. 90067
  • Tel: 213.403.3000
  • ICP
  • Urbes Mutantes: Latin America Photography 1944-2013
  • May 16th-Sept.7, 2014
  • 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street
  • New York, NY 10036
  • Phone: 212.857.0000
  • Getty Center
  • Convergences: Selected photographs from the Permanent Collection
  • July 8th-Oct.19th, 2014
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Sze Tsung Leong/ Horizons
  • May 15 -July 11th, 2014
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • Joel MeyerowitzThe Effect of France
  • April 13-August 1st, 2014
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Staley-Wise Gallery
  • Underwater
  • July 11th-August 29th, 2014
  • 560 Broadway
  • New York,NY
  • 10012
  • Phone: 1-212-966-6223
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio
  • February 8–October 5, 2014
  • 11 West 53rd Street
  • NYC,NY
  • 10019-5497
  • (212) 708-9400
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Now You See It: Photography and Concealment
  • March 31st-Sept 1, 2014
  • 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
  • New York, NY 10028
  • Phone: 212-535-7710

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