Dawning of a New Age of Digital Photography at AIPAD Show

New York dealer Robert Burge, who specializes in 20th century photography, described this year’s three-day AIPAD fair, which concluded April 7 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, as “more buoyant than previous years.” “Contemporary photography is always a tougher sell than well-known vintage work,” he said, “but people were buying, writing checks. There was less talk about spousal approval…” Now in its 33rd year, The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) annual exhibition attracted 82 dealers from around the country and a smattering of foreign cities, including London, Paris, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Osaka, and Jerusalem. The show traditionally has strength in fine, museum-quality vintage prints, but the show-stoppers this year were primarily contemporary photographs, many the product of digital manipulation, which seems to have moved into a new phase with gimmickry giving way to photographs that more closely resemble fine art—and are stunningly beautiful. The images are fresh and original and, indeed, visitors responded with their wallets.

Daniele Gatti’s Stillness

I’ve had my problems with conductor Daniele Gatti. I’ve heard him conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra five times in the last decade, and have always been disappointed. He’s regarded as a serious musician, a thinker. But his live performances rarely arouse excitement. Even his Verdi Requiem this past season seemed plodding and surprisingly unidiomatic for an Italian conductor. His tempos tend to be on the slow side, but some major bandleaders—I’m thinking especially of Otto Klemperer, or even James Levine—convey the profundity of that slowness while also creating either enormous tension or vast spaciousness. Or both.

Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven – Holly Hardman’s documentary about Hurricane Katrina and the End Times

Holly Hardman begins her important film, Good People Go to Hell Saved People Go to Heaven, with words in white lettering against a black background—words in a basic, analytical form, first the word “rapture” followed by a series of common synonyms—euphoria, elation, bliss, etc.—then a dictionary definition of the expression, “the Rapture,” Theology; aspect of Apocalyptic Millennialism. In Evangelical and fundamentalist Christian belief, the act of being lifted by Jesus into heavenly skies upon the Second Coming, either before, during, or after the Tribulation (a time of great suffering for those left behind on earth).” Before any moving image appears, we hear a strange, incoherent hissing sound, which becomes clearer as we observe a strapping man in early middle age. The man, who wears biblical robes and flowing hair and beard, is muttering the name of Jesus, as he carries a large cross along a highway. Then he half-chants, “Jesus have mercy, Lawd.” The cross has a small wheel or caster at its base to facilitate the bearing of it. This practical touch hints that the man is not carrying out some fanatical penance, but working.
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