Just think about it. What all of us have in common, what all of us can do without help, what is an absolutely direct experience? to be struck by, and admire, a photo. Art by comparison begs for mediation, interpretation – or a suspension of judgment.
A photo is just there. Photos tie into deep human needs & wants: to see the unusual, the foreign – to see life at an angle. It permits us to see different worlds – blacks, Indians, Asians, gays, happy people, disaster-struck people – and of course the built environment, nature, or areas of the planet we’d never be able to step foot in.
One extraordinary book in the publishers section at AIPAD is Iceland II. Iceland I is a typical photo book, squarish. But Iceland II enables us to see super-wide-angle, 10×20 approx. A big thank you to the photographer who invested in and lugged around such an ungainly tool for seeing differently around such a starkly beautiful land.
In fact most of the sleepers at AIPAD are in the nonprofit/publisher section (publishers are a form of nonprofit organization come to think of it….). Picturebooks. Each of the magnificent photo shows here – masquerading as books – is a booth in itself. By my computation if you hung out and stayed in just this small section of AIPAD you’d be seeing a show 2-3-4 times the size. And you’d be able to view each photo much more appropriately and conveniently – at your angle, for as little or as long as you’d wish. And move from “booth to booth” in seconds. What a pity there are no chairs provided to see ease the acquisition of such wealth.
If you like Iceland II take a look at the online Photo Guide to Iceland, an e-book by Hawk and Finn – 148pp of dramatic photography, available as spreads or single pages in Acrobat Reader for free. And talk about help! Take a look at Forever Light: The Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Iceland (2nd edition). It features in detail the 30 best locations (including GPS coordinates and camera settings) plus 20 more ideal spots.
PPS Have you ever thought why video is totally absent from a pinnacle show like AIPAD? or Instagram? two forms of picturing that have both proved themselves and are now here to stay?
Went spur of the moment to MAD – New York’s Museum of Art and Design on Columbus Circle – to the pop-up jewelry show they mounted today. Found a few exhibitors to be of interest. And if you’d do what I did you’d find many more to be of interest to you.
What did I do? Cherchez l’histoire! Look for the story. And if you ask leading questions and have an inquisitive spirit you’ll find behind every artist there is a story to be told.
Take the couple from Greece, Labros & Semeli, with those languorous luscious swirls of gold, summoning up the intense sun and sky of Greece. Their gold pieces owe as much to the air they enclose as to their weight in gold. They sum up Greece in their swirls.
Then what about Helene Prime of Paris? Massive hammered metal covered in gold, married with stone. Only in France could such things be made, so bold, so massive.
Let’s not forget Konrad Laimer from the north of Italy. He marries pearl like drops of snow-like ceramic to his long thin strands of gold. Enough said. Yet another story told.
Giulia Barela of Rome brings a mature, hard look coupled in a marriage of bronze and gold. Lost-wax casting is her technique, bronze her love of sculpture, silver for its delight in light, and gold – needs no explanation. A law degree helps, as does growing up amidst bejewelled women. Let her be your guide.
Lastly, Aurum, by Boubjorg from Iceland, evoking directly with gold delicate flowers what happens in Iceland as its winters fade and nature once more fights the noble battle for life. Volcanic black also plays a part. And there is truly a tale to be told here.