Photography

Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More: Photographs and Traveller, a film by Alen MacWeeney (UPDATED, including audio: Traveller Liam Weldon sings “The Blue Tar Road”)

In his important collection of anthropological photography, Robert Gardner made clear the connection between the ethnographer’s record of life in western Papua or Ethiopia and the photojournalist’s observation of downtown Barcelona or Dallas. Alen MacWeeney’s Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More is one further document in this fluid branch of study. The travellers were and still are a constant presence in Ireland, where MacWeeney was born and raised, although, at least in the 1960’s when these photographs were made, a largely unseen one—this is, on purpose. A professional need, it seems, sucked Alen MacWeeney into their society, and he remained, to observe and experience it in depth. Now, after some forty years, this experience has been made public.

Leonard Freed e L’Italia: L’elemento del tempo

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.” (1) Nel rileggere un’intervista rilasciata da Leonard Freed a Nathalie Herschdorfer (2), la mia attenzione si sofferma sulla considerazione che Freed fa rispetto alla connessione tra le sue fotografie ed il tempo: “The thing is I am trying to get into my photographs the element of time” (3). Parole che generano in me una serie di osservazioni in relazione al progetto di immagini italiane al quale proverò a introdurvi nelle pagine seguenti.

Dalle interviste e dalle opere di Leonard Freed, emerge come dato di fatto che fu un uomo di poche parole. (4) Sfogliando poi, alcuni dei diari che scrisse durante i numerosi viaggi che lo portarono in Italia tra il 1999 e il 2005 si accredita definitivamente questa teoria. Le considerazioni di Leonard Freed sono sempre coincise, dirette, ironiche e denotano tutta la finezza di osservazione che il suo sguardo ha saputo racchiudere nelle immagini da lui realizzate. Oltre che nei suoi diari di viaggio, che spesso sono delle note, atte a ricordare nomi, incontri, date e conversazioni, il tempo, Leonard Freed, lo ha racchiuso nelle sue fotografie. Interessante, al riguardo, prendere in considerazione alcuni dei bozzetti che disegnò di suo pugno per l’impaginazione del libro su Roma, progetto che per molti anni ha sognato di portare a termine. Mettendo questi in relazione con i provini a contatto stampati e archiviati in ordine cronologico, emerge immediatamente un fattore di rilievo: il progetto editoriale che Leonard Freed aveva intenzione di realizzare aveva come idea di base quella di impostare le immagini secondo la sequenza temporale in cui erano state scattate. Ecco allora che la fotografia diviene diario, narrazione del tempo, scheletro e corpo dei numerosi viaggi e rende al lettore una cronologia appartenuta intimamente all’autore.

Leonard Freed and Italy: The Element of Time

“There is a mathematical grid in the photograph. There is a rhythm.”1

While reading an interview between Leonard Freed and Nathalie Herschdorfer,2 my attention was caught by a comment Freed made on the connection between his photos and time: “The thing I am trying to get into my photographs is the element of time.”3 These words sparked in me a succession of observations on the Italian Images Project, which I will present in the following paragraphs.

Diane Arbus at the Tate Modern

Camera obscura. Despite its conversion into the hippest museum in London, the Tate Modern’s massive ugly building, unmistakably an old power station, could otherwise be one of Blake’s dark Satanic mills. In that guise it’s the perfect setting for three rooms lined with photographs by Diane Arbus. There would seem to be nothing new to say, or think, about Arbus’s scalding vision. She roamed the ordinary New York of commuters and shoppers, and yet somehow simply to have her eye settle on strangers transformed them.

Photography and Place at the Art Gallery of NSW

The Australian landscape seems to require photography. The question of who, how, where, how often and why thankfully remains open, at least among the eighteen photographers included in Photography and Place at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Australia, so conflicted about cities, is one of the most urbanized societies on earth, a situation which makes the looming question of the landscape all the more urgent. Wilderness will aways dominate the continent, never allowing settlements to be interspersed as they are in the United States or Europe. The land provokes sentimentality, poetry and bitterness. In the heart of the cities which cling to the coastal fringe, it can seem another universe until a dust storm, fire, flood or the daily violence of the sunlight reminds us of nature’s nonnegotiable and indifferent presence.

How to Become a Word: A Review of Shelley Jackson’s Novel SKIN

Since I am not a word, but am curious about the experience of being a word, I asked author Shelley Jackson if I could photograph some of her words from the novel SKIN. She agreed and gave me the email addresses for the following words:

the internal food table,
lungs lineaments law,
across mouthpiece.
Remember?

The novel SKIN exists in tattoos. In order to read the novel, one has to participate in the text by applying to become a word, and if you get chosen, the word must be inked on your skin in book font. Once the author receives a photograph proving the word is tattooed on your skin along with the signed disclaimer stating that you will never share the story with anyone else who is not a word, only then can you read the coveted story.

Rome meets Mexico. A special contribution to celebrate the 150 years of independence of the Central American country and an exploration of its art.

Mexican art comes to Rome, making the present and the past converge, combining the crafts of the most ancient civilizations with photographic images of the revolution of the first decades of the twentieth century and once again with the contemporary creations of Carlos Morales. A panoramic experience which can stimulate the mind, as it seeks points of contact in the evolution of Mexican culture and thought.

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