Monday, March 25, 2013

A Package

The other day I received a neatly wrapped package in the mail from California photographer, Noah Beil. I purchased Noah's first book, This is Not My Sky, in 2009 and I've been in contact with on and off since that time. Internet acquittance's are an odd thing but somewhat common in the photo world, as I've come to find. Even though I've never met Noah in person, I picture him coming over for dinners with my husband and our family, sitting around the table chatting while drinking a glass of wine like long time friends. He's a genuinely thoughtful person and his photographs reveal a quiet sensitivity to the world around him.

Noah's first book was hand printed in color and simply bound with binding thread. The images were carefully composed (neat and tidy) and, in a way, left an emotional space between the the image-maker and the image. Gone Quickly is beautifully printed and shows Noah has grown both as a bookmaker and a bookbinder. The images are less formal in their composition, as well as their placement on the page. Each image is claustrophobic with information and highly saturated colors. The decision to keep the saturation heavy and use bright rag paper makes perfect sense to me given the content of each image, which can be overwhelming at first, just on the edge of feeling heavy handed without going over the cliff. I actually had to go through the book at two different sittings because halfway through I felt like I was  unable to concentrate and needed a break. The fact that I needed time to sit though is not a negative comment on the work, in fact, I find I want to go through it often.

Through the work, I've been taken on an adventure into the mind of someone who is both very contemplative yet struggling to find their place in the world. Is this Noah's voice or is the narration he's set up for us? At times, I feel suffocated by the amount of information thrown at me and then just when I need to breathe, Beil places one single image of contemplation for you to sit with - a space for you to rest your mind, take a breath before you turn the page and are thrown back under the sea of stimulus. The images feel like the depiction of a mind that is overwhelmed and I find the photographic illustration  works well to communicate that idea.

This series of images in Gone Quickly is reminiscent of the Tree series Noah created in 2009/2010. I absolutely love that set of images and Gone Quickly feels like the sister series to this work.

Noah is working on another book and I can't wait to get my hands on it. From looking at the pictures on his blog, it's going to be worth the wait. His process is clearly a labor of love and the end result, is a beautiful piece of art.

Watch Noah in action by watching this short video: Bookbinding Time-lapse

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Art Photo Index

Have you looked through Art Photo Index yet? There are so many reasons to love this Photo Index -  as a means of discovering new work, as well as reconnecting to photographers you've always admired. If you create an account, you can drag and drop images into your own private collection. This is a great way to organize work you want to remember. You can also follow different image makers, but I'm only just discovering the ins and outs of how following is beneficial beyond notification when he or she has updates their profile. 

Art Photo Index was conceived and developed by Rixon Reed, founder and director of Photo Eye, located in Santa Fe, NM. (If you're in NM you MUST GO visit Photo Eye.) The Photo Eye Online Gallery has always been a lovely place to look at work but I often felt it didn't expose me to much new work. It was one of the sites I recommended new photo students explore when I was teaching. API, as it's called, is a much larger database of images and yet is still selective since the artists must receive an invitation to load images onto the site. Read more about that process here.

I'm tiring of seeing the same old series by the same photographers (even if I love the work and those who make it). Often I feel like there is some friendly nepotism happening within the circles of curators and photographers on and offline, and it seems to me those circles are shrinking as time passes. Maybe that's just my own circle though and why I'm seeking out new work. I'm looking for artists that really move and excite me. I need to find more work that has intellectual and emotional depth to it and that's why I love this database.

Not that Art Photo Index has arrived on the scene without criticism, because it most certainly has and the fact that it is by invitation only, seems to be some of the loudest criticism I've heard. This is followed closely by the fact that artists are asked to pay in order to load more than 10 pieces into the database. I personally don't see either point an issue but maybe that's because I received an invite last year. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to show ten pieces along with my contact/website info. free of charge. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mike Brodie showing at Yossi Milo Gallery

I haven't seen work as good as Mike Brodie's in a very long time. The images are raw, gritty and uninterrupted by the ego of the image maker. I want to look at the work all day long. The sexual undertones are palatable, so is the trickery my thirty something brain is in trying to fool me into believing these kids are lost. These kids aren't lost, the culture of freedom is and Mike Brodie's images remind me that like a slap in the face.

I haven't asked for permission to publish his work on my blog, so please visit Mike Brodie's images on his site, at Yossi Milo, or on the Slate Behold Photo Blog.

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