Archive for October, 2004

Luis Gomez “Cities”

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Luis Gomez has a few dozen photos on display through November 15 at Candida’s World of Books, a small, cozy travel and language bookstore near Logan Circle. You can make a stop before your next Fresh Fields grocery run since it is just an easy few blocks north on 14th. Around three quarters are black & white images, and they hit cities throughout the world, including the US. I liked the fact that a few themes came through the images. For example, three showed crosses in very different environments - one a crucifix of twisted girders at Ground Zero in Manhattan, one a blindingly white cross formed in the empty space looking up between four buildings, and another a figure with arms extended (maybe a Virgin Mary figurine up on top of a church?) overlooking a couple of punks in Santiago mugging for the camera. Overall, the images seemed to fall roughly into two types - one set of very graphic images - high contrast, somewhat abstract, frequently murky yet peaceful. Good examples included a photo of the Eiffel Tower in the background of a Paris street scene, the buildings a very dark murk, with the tower poking out as an imprinted grey latticework against a bright-white space. Others are more traditional street portraits and scenes, which varied much more in quality. Although it was initially disconcerting to see photographs from all over the world mixed with images in the United States, I realized this was just my bias - Mr. Gomez is from Venezuela, and the mixing of the images enhances the presentation by presenting old and new architecture together.

In the end, I walked away with a couple of images standing out in my mind, but only a jumble of an overall impression. The suggestion of themes doesn’t go far enough - it is just enough to be tantalizing, but not enough to make a statement that I could interpret. Is this exhibit about religion in cities throughout the world? Just interesting people in these cities? A graphic representation of architecture? I think the topic of “Cities” is too broad and generic, and it reflects the myriad scatter of themes in the exhibit; it was hard to feel a unity throughout the work, or even just within the black and whites. I would have liked to have seen either separate shows or a firmer breakdown between the graphic images and the street scenes/portraits. Removing a few technically substandard images such a pixelated (not in a good way) shot of a New Orleans musician would make the work stronger as a whole. Since others are technically very well done, the inclusion of a flawed image is an unwelcome and unnecessary distraction.

Fortunately, a portion of the images are gems, and could be a solid foundation for a more focused exhibit. Here are two that exhibited both technical quality and depth of subject. First, an image of a woman sitting among some pillars in Quito. The scene is peaceful, but something about the composition also creates tension. I like the murky darkness constrasting with bright sunlight filtering through the architecture. The second image that really stood out for its layering of subjects was the one of Santiago punks mentioned above. In the first, most obvious layer, two punks (complete with big hair) are clearly posing for the camera by striking a tough pose and making faces. This toughness is belied by the cherubic smiling face of one punk. The camera’s flash (or similar lighting) separates these two from the background, and if you don’t pause to look further, you can just dismiss the image as a pretty good photo of some punks. Looking a little further, however, you see a more conservatively dressed man watching in uncertain amusement. Finally, in the background, you see a murky dark church (I know I keep using that word - go look and you’ll see what I’m talking about) with the figure at the top spreading its arms. The architecture of the church is the element that clearly places the image in an unexpected locale. This layering is not a mistake - the camera has been angled specifically to include all of these elements.

In the back of the bookstore, there is also a small group of Paris black & white images by Paul Dermont. Kudos to Candida’s Books for organizing a monthly photography show in their space. Although their website doesn’t appear to mention anything about it (grumph) they are apparently intending to show additional photography each month. They do have an email list you can sign up for, and we’ll be checking it out to include future shows in the weekly What’s Happening listings.

What’s happening 10/28/2004

Thursday, October 28th, 2004
Events When
Reception: Maxwell MacKenzie: Markings
Addison/Ripley Fine Art Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
5pm
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/4
7:30p
Reception: Michael A. Lang: Hill Tribe People of Northern Thailand
Touchstone Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/12
6pm
Discussion: Michael A. Lang: Hill Tribe People of Northern Thailand
Touchstone Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/18
6:45p
Reception: Christopher Burkett: Resplendent Light
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/3
Chris Rainier: Ancient Marks
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/9
7:30p
Reception: Photo 2005
Ellipse Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/20
Reception: 4th Annual Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
3/11
6pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Photographs by Jim Tetro and Paul Matthai
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Photographs by Bob Rogers
Arts Club of Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Kristy Campbell: The Colors of Thailand
Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/31
Barely Legal: Danger
Signal 66 [homepage] [hours] [map]
Oct
Ellen X. Silverberg’s fine art photos
Spectrum Center for Natural Medicine [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/5
Into the Deep: The Third Millennium
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/7
Pierre Taminiaux: Pictures from Home
Alliance Française [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
Thomas Linder Brox: The Uttermost Part of Europe
Ingrid Hansen Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/12
Kristi Mathews: Incorporating Process
Gallery at Flashpoint [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/13
Jewish Fathers: A Legacy of Love
Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/14
Moving Walls 8 - documentary photography
Open Society Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/15
Bruce McKaig: B&W pinhole photographs & Robert W. Bazemore Jr.: Icons
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/27
Dezhan ejan: Aboriginal Works from the Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank
Canadian Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/27
Winogrand 1964
Smithsonian International Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Richard Avedon Memorial Photographs
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Land of No Promises: Six Photographic Visions
Ratner Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/1
Maxwell MacKenzie: Markings
Addison/Ripley Fine Art Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/4
Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens: Photographing the Wright Experience
College Park Aviation Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
Passages: Photographs of Africa
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/9
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
May ‘05
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue: History & Restoration
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
Jeffrey Kliman: On Stage and Back Stage: Women in Jazz
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Washington: Symbol and City
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
Anthony Dvorak: A Composer’s Life in Pictures
Embassy of the Czech Republic [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Shawn Davis: Departure: Leaving the AIDS Hospice
All Souls Unitarian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Hometown Heroes: Native Washingtonians Who Made a Difference
Covenant House Washington West [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

 

Preview of Upcoming Exhibits & Shows Dates
Michael A. Lang: Hill Tribe People of Northern Thailand
Touchstone Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
12/05
Christopher Burkett: Resplendent Light
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/3
1/8
Photo 2005
Ellipse Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/19
3/5
André Kertész
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
2/6
5/15
4th Annual Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
3/11
4/6
Irving Penn: The Platinum Prints
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
6/19
10/2

Moving Walls & The Torpedo Factory

Friday, October 22nd, 2004

Went two places yesterday afternoon: The Open Society Institute, which has an exhibit of photographs scattered throughout their office just south of Dupont Circle, and the Torpedo Factory. I know you haven’t seen the exhibit at the Open Society Institute, since the log book at the reception desk had only a few entries, and the last one was weeks ago. This is unfortunate - sure, their hours are limited, but if you work in the area, you should hop over. The subjects of the photographs range from images of a Serbian woman’s life and environment, to juveniles meeting up with the criminal justice system, to oppression in Peru during the 1980’s. There is a significant amount of black & white work, plus a good bit of color. Some series are better than others - I particularly liked the images in The Freedom of Movement Train: A Multiethnic Kosovo/a Journey by Hélène Caux. Of course, since the exhibit is set up throughout their entire office space, you have to withstand the sidelong glances from the employees working away in their cubicles/offices. A small price to pay.

After the Open Society Institute, I headed down to the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. I was primarily there to see the Multiple Exposures Gallery, but first stopped in at the Art League. The photography was displayed separately from other media (watercolors and other paintings seemed to dominate), which is not how I had seen it set up a couple of years ago. The photographs were of uneven quality, which is to be expected from a wide-ranging show selected from a large number of member submissions each month. (Note: If you want to see swarming artists, stop by when they are accepting work for the monthly show - bring your morning coffee and you can sit on one of the conveniently located benches to watch the frenzy. They ought to sell tickets.) That said, there have been a few solid pieces each time I’ve visited. In this month’s show, two photographs stood out. First was Three Women by Elliott Linder. Chocolaty and a bit murky, it shows three women sitting and talking, with someone standing behind them. The person in the background has their head cropped off, so all we see is a dark, formal torso in the background. Is that person listening? What are they doing there? Intriguing photograph. The second was a Polaroid transfer of a surfer, titled Avalanche, by Sean Kelley. I’m not usually into polaroid transfers, but in this case, it worked. An almost monochrome blue image, the wrinkles created by the transfer accentuate the looming wave behind the tiny figure. I’m beginning to appreciate small works - this one is (obviously) on the scale of a standard Polaroid. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the bigger is better trend. Lastly, in the bin gallery area, one image stood out - R. Keating’s Solitude, which shows the trunks of a few trees standing amidst the wildest, bumpiest, most pristine set of mini-snowdrifts I’ve ever seen. The bright white tone of the image works really well in a subtle way. This is just pleasant to see. I know you’re thinking “ja, ja, another trees in the snow picture.” Well, darn it, this is a pretty good one, although the top of the frame has a few distracting elements including a very dark something in the upper left corner that doesn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the image.

I stopped in at a couple of other studios, but I’m going to focus on the Multiple Exposures gallery, which is a collective of 14 photographers. Every month, a couple members show their work in an exhibit up on the walls of the gallery. In addition, each photographer always has a bin of photographs for sale. I didn’t have time to look at everything (more on this later) but I’ll at least mention some standouts.

First were Danny Conant’s images from Tibet. Her book of these images, “Tibetian Journey,” is very good, but even better are the half dozen or so originals in her bin. These are more than just standard B&W images - she first prints the negatives using a platinum process on very thin paper made in Tibet. These are in turn mounted on a heavier paper that she makes by hand, and the entire result is matted with a standard white matte. Unlike most traditional photography, these are truly unique items, since the two types of paper interact to form something that exists in only that one piece. Sometimes this effect was almost too strong - the fiber of the underlying paper seemed to make too much of an impact on the image. But that’s nit-picking some very strong work. She has also exhibited her work with Phil Borges, a favorite of mine.

Tommy Olof Elder has some intriguing work showing death. Unlike Sally Mann’s fuzzy, warped images, these are strongly colored and sharp as a tack. Some felt over the top, with the elements too strongly arranged (e.g. in the eye socket of a fake-looking skull), but the majority from the series are intriguing and painstakingly composed.

Peggy Fleming traveled to Kabul a year or so ago. Unlike most of the images we are currently seeing from Afghanistan and Iraq, her B&W prints primarily showed women in daily life without an overbearing sense of danger or violence.

Link Nicoll had two standout pieces from a series about American diners: “Coffee Cup” and “Waitress, The Tune Inn” were both striking and well-printed. I very much like the idea of a series on diners, but I didn’t see enough here - I wanted to see a dozen prints of the caliber exhibited by these two. Some of the other prints seemed flat and uncompelling, with perhaps too much emphasis on the coffee cup as a primary subject. The images in the bin have promise; I’d like to see more.

There are hundreds of prints available for viewing in the Multiple Exposures gallery, and it gets to be overwhelming. I talked briefly with Danny about this, but here are some thoughts. I think the Torpedo Factory galleries serve two audiences: the tourist busses that stop in Old Town Alexandria, plus local enthusiasts. I’d imagine that DC scenes sell well to visitors from out of town, and indeed, many of the bins contained images of area monuments. Unfortunately, neither tourists nor locals are getting an optimal experience in the gallery, since many viewers are likely to be interested in only very specific types of photography. In addition, the DC monument and area scenics seem unlikely to change very quickly - if you have a hot seller, you’d be best off putting another same or similar print into the mix in hopes of another sale. This means that a local coming to see what’s new needs to go through all of those images again. They aren’t bad, but good heavens - I see these things every time I ride the metro, in postcards everywhere I shop, etc. I’d recommend separating the two types of photographs so that tourists can easily find what they are looking for, and locals can come back and more easily see what’s new. This would help cut down the volume of images for both types of visitor. Other thoughts include putting an 8×10 sheet of thumbnails above each bin so visitors can quickly decide which bins are most interesting - judging a photographer from only the topmost visible item in each bin would be a mistake. Finally, making sure images are somewhat organized within the bins would be helpful - I’d like to see all pictures on a theme together. For example, it would be good to see all of Link Nicoll’s diner series together rather than scattered throughout hisher other work. Perhaps some subject dividers in each bin would help people find the work better, and more quickly find the photography that interests them. Less can be more - I bet many people visit the gallery for no more than 5 minutes, which means about 20 seconds can be given to each bin, and even less if the visitor takes a minute to look at the current exhibit up on the walls.

What’s happening 10/21/2004

Thursday, October 21st, 2004
Events When
Artist Talk: Deborah Luster & C.D. Wright
Corcoran Museum of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
 10/21
7pm
Reception: Bruce McKaig: B&W pinhole photographs & Robert W. Bazemore Jr.: Icons
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/22
Bob Krist: The Art of Travel Photography
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/26
7:30p
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/4
7:30p
Reception: Christopher Burkett: Resplendent Light
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/3
Chris Rainier: Ancient Marks
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/9
7:30p
Reception: Photo 2005
Ellipse Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/20
Reception: 4th Annual Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
3/11
6pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Vietnam in Profile
Embassy of France [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/21
Viggo Mortensen’s “Miyelo”
Addison/Ripley Fine Art Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/23
Photoworks at 30: A Modern Retrospective
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/24
Photographs by Jim Tetro and Paul Matthai
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Photographs by Bob Rogers
Arts Club of Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Kristy Campbell: The Colors of Thailand
Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/31
Barely Legal: Danger
Signal 66 [homepage] [hours] [map]
Oct
Ellen X. Silverberg’s fine art photos
Spectrum Center for Natural Medicine [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/5
Into the Deep: The Third Millennium
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/7
Pierre Taminiaux: Pictures from Home
Alliance Française [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
Thomas Linder Brox: The Uttermost Part of Europe
Ingrid Hansen Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/12
Kristi Mathews: Incorporating Process
Gallery at Flashpoint [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/13
Jewish Fathers: A Legacy of Love
Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/14
Moving Walls 8 - documentary photography
Open Society Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/15
Dezhan ejan: Aboriginal Works from the Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank
Canadian Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/27
Winogrand 1964
Smithsonian International Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Richard Avedon Memorial Photographs
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Land of No Promises: Six Photographic Visions
Ratner Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/1
Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens: Photographing the Wright Experience
College Park Aviation Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
Passages: Photographs of Africa
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/9
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
May ‘05
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue: History & Restoration
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
Jeffrey Kliman: On Stage and Back Stage: Women in Jazz
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Washington: Symbol and City
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
Anthony Dvorak: A Composer’s Life in Pictures
Embassy of the Czech Republic [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Shawn Davis: Departure: Leaving the AIDS Hospice
All Souls Unitarian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Hometown Heroes: Native Washingtonians Who Made a Difference
Covenant House Washington West [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

 

Preview of Upcoming Exhibits & Shows Dates
Bruce McKaig: B&W pinhole photographs & Robert W. Bazemore Jr.: Icons
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/22
11/27
Michael A. Lang: Hill Tribe People of Northern Thailand
Touchstone Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
12/05
Christopher Burkett: Resplendent Light
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/3
1/8
Photo 2005
Ellipse Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/19
3/5
André Kertész
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
2/6
5/15
4th Annual Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
3/11
4/6
Irving Penn: The Platinum Prints
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
6/19
10/2

A few workshops…

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

I don’t normally include classes and workshops in the weekly list of events, simply because I want to keep it focused on shows and focused talks by photographers, not about how to use your camera. You can also check out a previous post on this topic, but here are a few that are coming up soon:

On Saturday, you can pay $49 for a few hours of training from Blue Pixel at the Reston Sheraton. It comes around again in Baltimore on 11/20. Blue Pixel is the real deal: Kevin Gilbert and Rob Galbraith are two of the founders. They gave a freebie full-day event at the Corcoran a while back (maybe two years ago?) while they were creating their material, and it was not just puff - they got into details on specific software packages and real issues you’d encounter in the field. Hopefully these other sessions keep up that standard.

Blue Pixel also handles the digital Nikon School classes. Although more expensive, they last a full day. They don’t stick nasty things under your fingernails if you shoot Canon (or any other non-Nikon system) but obviously they lean in the Nikon direction. They now offer 3 different classes - “Shooting Digital” focusing on the basics of lenses and lighting, “Digital 101″ teaching the basics of digital capture, and “Digital 201: Workflow Techniques” detailing the complexities of more advanced digital capture and processing. The DC classes are held at the Crystal City Marriott: Shooting Digital on Dec 4 & 5, Digital 101 on Nov 13, and Digital 201 on Nov 14.

Penn Camera also offers similar classes in the area.

Finally, Colleen Henderson offers digital photography classes in Bethesda.

EDIT: Forgot one - National Geographic and the Santa Fe Workshops have a one day seminar on the Inside Secrets of Successful Travel Photography on November 7th here in DC. Steep at $195, but it is taught by National Geographic Traveler magazine editor-in-chief Keith Bellows, and Traveler photographer Jim Richardson. And as if that isn’t enough, the fee includes lunch, which I’m sure will be tasty. Or maybe not.

What’s happening 10/14/2004

Thursday, October 14th, 2004
Events When
The Photographs of Roger Fenton: A New Starting Point
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
2pm
Reception: Ellen X. Silverberg’s fine art photos
Spectrum Center for Natural Medicine [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
2pm
Reception: Land of No Promises: Six Photographic Visions
Ratner Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
1:30p
Reception: Bruce McKaig: B&W pinhole photographs & Robert W. Bazemore Jr.: Icons
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/22
Bob Krist: The Art of Travel Photography
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/26
7:30p
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/4
7:30p
Reception: Christopher Burkett: Resplendent Light
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/3
Chris Rainier: Ancient Marks
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/9
7:30p
Reception: Photo 2005
Ellipse Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/20
Reception: 4th Annual Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
3/11
6pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Neil Leifer: The Greatest of All Time: Photographs of Muhammad Ali
Govinda Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
Vietnam in Profile
Embassy of France [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/21
Viggo Mortensen’s “Miyelo”
Addison/Ripley Fine Art Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/23
Photoworks at 30: A Modern Retrospective
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/24
Photographs by Jim Tetro and Paul Matthai
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Photographs by Bob Rogers
Arts Club of Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Kristy Campbell: The Colors of Thailand
Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/31
Barely Legal: Danger
Signal 66 [homepage] [hours] [map]
Oct
Ellen X. Silverberg’s fine art photos
Spectrum Center for Natural Medicine [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/5
Into the Deep: The Third Millennium
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/7
Pierre Taminiaux: Pictures from Home
Alliance Française [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
Thomas Linder Brox: The Uttermost Part of Europe
Ingrid Hansen Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/12
Kristi Mathews: Incorporating Process
Gallery at Flashpoint [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/13
Jewish Fathers: A Legacy of Love
Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/14
Moving Walls 8 - documentary photography
Open Society Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/15
Dezhan ejan: Aboriginal Works from the Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank
Canadian Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/27
Winogrand 1964
Smithsonian International Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Richard Avedon Memorial Photographs
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens: Photographing the Wright Experience
College Park Aviation Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
May ‘05
Passages: Photographs of Africa
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/9
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue: History & Restoration
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
Jeffrey Kliman: On Stage and Back Stage: Women in Jazz
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Washington: Symbol and City
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
Anthony Dvorak: A Composer’s Life in Pictures
Embassy of the Czech Republic [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Shawn Davis: Departure: Leaving the AIDS Hospice
All Souls Unitarian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Hometown Heroes: Native Washingtonians Who Made a Difference
Covenant House Washington West [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

 

Preview of Upcoming Exhibits & Shows Dates
All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
1/2
Land of No Promises: Six Photographic Visions
Ratner Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
12/1
Bruce McKaig: B&W pinhole photographs & Robert W. Bazemore Jr.: Icons
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/22
11/27
Michael A. Lang: Hill Tribe People of Northern Thailand
Touchstone Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
12/05
Christopher Burkett: Resplendent Light
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/3
1/8
Photo 2005
Ellipse Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/19
3/5
André Kertész
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
2/6
5/15
4th Annual Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
3/11
4/6
Irving Penn: The Platinum Prints
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
6/19
10/2

ATOM feed now available

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

Now you don’t have to keep pushing reload in your browser all day anxiously awaiting the latest entry. Add this link to your favorite ATOM-capable tool (I use My Yahoo) to see the latest headlines automatically. If anyone starts having an anxiety attack that we’re using ATOM rather than RSS, send chocolate a polite email and we’ll see what we can do.

Smithsonian

Tuesday, October 12th, 2004

Spent a few hours Sunday afternoon at the American History & Natural History museums on the Mall. Was very excited to see the WWII exhibit at American History, but the hilight turned out to be the Beatles exhibit. These were really nice prints that had tons of life in them. The WWII exhibit was a disappointment - sure, there were some of the classic WWII images from Capa and Bourke-White, but the exhibit was small and also contained quite a few soldier snapshots, which is fine, but I was looking for more of a definitive collection. The AP WWII photo exhibit at Union Station earlier this year was much, much better. The Liverpool photographs were so-so as well. Bottom line: get down there for the Beatles exhibit, and skim through the rest of the photo exhibits at American History. Luckily, this is easy since all of the photo exhibits are gathered together in the 3rd floor west wing.

The National Geographic Greatest Portraits exhibit at the Natural History museum was pretty much what I was expecting - a variety of portraits arranged roughly by time, with decent captions to let you know what’s going on and sometimes a little bit about the photographer as well. Steve McCurry’s famous portrait of the Afghan girl is of course there, along with many others you’ve probably seen before, but there were also a number I hadn’t ever seen. Worth stopping in.

Out the Georgetown way

Saturday, October 9th, 2004

Saw a variety of photo exhibits on Thursday, some quite good, some not quite so good. Let’s go in order, from best to worst:

First was the Vietnam exhibit at the French Embassy. If you go to this one, call ahead - I got to the imposing gates in front of the Embassy, and after an exchange of bonjours, the guard in the hut asked me if I had an appointment. Non. He made a call, told me I was lucky and they would let me in, but that I should get an appointment next time. D’accord. Heading past the gold sculpture into the deserted lobby area where the photographs are exhibited (some inconveniently behind badly placed sculptures, fake plants, and 70’s sofas), I was wondering if it would be worthwhile - fortunately, it was. My exposure to Vietnam is mostly from war images and Apocolypse Now and Full Metal Jacket movies. You always get a sense that Vietnam must be a really beautiful place, but your mind is on the terror of the terrible things that happened there 30 some years ago, often helped along by the crazed bleeding soldiers these images and movies so often depict. This exhibit moves on by simply not acknowledging the bloody past beyond the place names that you recognize like Mekong Delta. You can recognize many of the elements from past exposure, but the raw beauty of the waterfalls, rolling hills, rice terraces, rivers and forests sweeps away 90% of those stock feelings, leaving just the occasional passing attempt to imagine helicopters and Rambo with an M-16 in the pictures. The portraits and street scenes are less even in quality, but some are as achingly beautiful as B&W portraits of children can be. Still, the landscapes take the cake. If you’re up near Georgetown, dial 202-944-6091 and get an “appointment” to take a look. Don’t let the gates scare you away.

Along with the opening of the American Indian Museum down on the Mall, there are a variety of shows in progress with an American Indian theme. I saw three that contained photography. I almost skipped the best one since it was on my way home and I was tired. Luckily, I stopped in the Kathleen Ewing Gallery. The ethereal yet vibrantly colored images by Victor Masayesva Jr. were sometimes over the top with montages of sunsets and feathered wings, but others such as #12 - So’yoko The Ogre Kachina were compelling, with a wash of a single color and strong composition. The best, however, was a series of straightforward, solid B&W prints by Zig Jackson. These had real depth of subject, and displayed a long-term considered approach. In the series of four photographs titled “Indian Photographing Tourist Photographing Indian,” we see exactly what the title says. Tourists are shoving cameras into the lives of Indians dressed in full regalia, seemingly oblivious to everything except getting their picture, without any apparent involvement with what is going on. In “Entering Zig’s Indian Reservation Series” we see an official looking sign erected in front of well-known monuments like the Golden Gate bridge and City Hall stating “Entering Zig’s Indian Reservation” with a list of rules including “NO PICTURE TAKING” and “NEW AGERS PROHIBITED.” Zig appears in headdress in each of the pictures. I love it. Other images include Zig in a headdress seemingly going about his daily life. For instance, one image shows him about to board a bus with a “Geronimo” movie billboard on the side. The feeling from all of the photographs is one of not fitting. Even in images where there are a number of Indians and just a few tourists, I felt like the Indians were the outsiders.

Departing from the American Indian theme, the Georgetown Fraser Gallery was displaying a set of dark montages by Hugh Shurley. Sometimes disturbing, these montages combine strange elements such as a woman wielding a knife, with a face made up partially of a playing card, and something, perhaps a name, inscribed on her arm. Oh, and the hand that is not wielding the knife is tinted red. Not like its dripping blood…just red. Most of the images seemed eclectic to me - I had trouble reading a story into the elements that made up most of the works. The one that did make me pause was “Crime of Wanting,” which features a man leaning over and holding a (perhaps stone?) headless bust of a woman. A face appears faintly superimposed on the bust. The whole image communicated loss very effectively.

Next was Miyelo, by Viggo Mortensen. These didn’t do it for me. They are relatively consistent in a large, fuzzy, garish style, but the photographs alone don’t tell me much. They are clearly about American Indians, but none of the composition, large size, or color seemed to communicate much to me. The poetry on the walls didn’t help me either. Flipping through a copy of the Miyelo book, the text seems to help with understanding the images, as it puts them into some sort of context. I’ll admit I’m biased against movie actors doing photography as a sideline since you don’t know if they are standing on their own merits. However, in my defence, I thought that Brendan Fraser’s show in the Leica Gallery in NYC was not bad, although his statement on the merits of Leica cameras was way over the line, making viewers snort and roll their eyes as they entered the exhibit. But I digress.

Last in the list is Dr. Phoebe Harris’s photographs at the Parish Gallery. This exhibit intermixes photography with watercolors from another artist. Big surprise - I focused on the photography. At first glance, they mostly looked like snapshots. By the time I was done going through the exhibit, they still looked like snapshots. So I went through them all again. They are indeed mostly snapshots, but perhaps there is something more there, whether it was intended or not. First, the snapshot quality of the images lends them an air of truth. Rather than feeling I was seeing things with a careful composition and selection of subject, I felt that I was seeing things as I’d see them with my own eye if I was at the event along with the photographer. Second, the images aren’t really what one would expect when photographing a pow-wow. They have an anti-Cartier-Bresson feeling of missing the decisive moment. Many feature spectators in the background, all paying attention to something other than the subject of the image. This lends somewhat of a behind-the-scenes feel to the photographs, but it just wasn’t powerful or deliberate enough to leave a strong impression on me. If others have insight into this work, please drop me an email - I feel like I might have missed something crucial, but my fear is that I didn’t.

What’s happening 10/7/2004

Thursday, October 7th, 2004
Events When
David Lubin: Life After Death: JFK, Dallas and Modern Visual Culture
Renwick Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/7
4pm
Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher: Faces of Africa
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/7
7:30p
Reception: Photographs by Jim Tetro and Paul Matthai
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/10
2pm
The Photographs of Roger Fenton: A New Starting Point
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
2pm
Reception: Ellen X. Silverberg’s fine art photos
Spectrum Center for Natural Medicine [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
2pm
Bob Krist: The Art of Travel Photography
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/26
7:30p
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/4
7:30p
Chris Rainier: Ancient Marks
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/9
7:30p

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Aleksei Pechnikov: Illusion of Existence
Backroom Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/8
Contemporary Native American Art
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/9
A Sense of Place
Rockville Arts Place [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/9
Exhibit: Investigating Where We Live
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/10
Havana Cuba: Photographs by Seth Kaplan
Warehouse Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/10
Rain or Shine: From the Archives of the National Geographic
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Dynamic Duos: Plants and Pollinators
United States Botanic Garden [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Tornado: Twist of Fate
National Geographic Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Native Color: Phoebe Farris
Parish Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/12
Hugh Shurley
Fraser Gallery DC [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/13
Neil Leifer: The Greatest of All Time: Photographs of Muhammad Ali
Govinda Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
Vietnam in Profile
Embassy of France [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/21
Viggo Mortensen’s “Miyelo”
Addison/Ripley Fine Art Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/23
Photoworks at 30: A Modern Retrospective
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/24
Photographs by Jim Tetro and Paul Matthai
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Photographs by Bob Rogers
Arts Club of Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/30
Barely Legal: Danger
Signal 66 [homepage] [hours] [map]
Oct
Ellen X. Silverberg’s fine art photos
Spectrum Center for Natural Medicine [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/5
Into the Deep: The Third Millennium
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/7
Pierre Taminiaux: Pictures from Home
Alliance Française [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/10
Kristi Mathews: Incorporating Process
Gallery at Flashpoint [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/13
Moving Walls 8 - documentary photography
Open Society Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/15
Dezhan ejan: Aboriginal Works from the Collection of the Canada Council Art Bank
Canadian Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/27
Winogrand 1964
Smithsonian International Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens: Photographing the Wright Experience
College Park Aviation Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Portraits
Museum of Natural History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/5
Passages: Photographs of Africa
National Geographic [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/9
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue: History & Restoration
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
Jeffrey Kliman: On Stage and Back Stage: Women in Jazz
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
ongoing
Washington: Symbol and City
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
Anthony Dvorak: A Composer’s Life in Pictures
Embassy of the Czech Republic [homepage] [hours] [map]
???
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Shawn Davis: Departure: Leaving the AIDS Hospice
All Souls Unitarian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Hometown Heroes: Native Washingtonians Who Made a Difference
Covenant House Washington West [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

 

Preview of Upcoming Exhibits & Shows Dates
All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/17
1/2
André Kertész
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
2/6
5/15
Irving Penn: The Platinum Prints
National Gallery of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
6/19
10/2