Abelardo Morell: The Universe Next Door
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Through September 2, 2013
Abelardo Morell is a Cuban-born American photographer who over the past 25 years has used photography and his unique way of looking at the world to create compelling works of art. Morell finds inspiration for his pictures in the environment he is most comfortable in, his home. The subjects of Morell’s photographs are common household objects—still lives of books and money—but the photographer is most known for his Camera Obscura series. To create these unique, large-format photographs, Morell cuts out a small opening in a dark room that reveals a view of the outside world. An upside down image of the outside is then projected back into the interior of the room. Morell then photographs a projection of the outside world set against the common objects that fill a room’s interior, such as a bed, or a table of stacked books. This exhibition features more than 100 of the artist’s works in which he experimented with various techniques, including photograms, still-life tableaux, stop-motion studies, and the tent camera.
At War With The Obvious: Photographs by William Eggleston
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Howard Gilman Gallery 852
Through July 28
William Eggleston, one of the first American photographers to experiment with modern color photography in the 1960s, is known for his ability to capture the essence of southern life through photographs of ordinary people, scenes of everyday life, and commonplace objects, such as a child’s tricycle or a sign reading “Peaches!” set against the backdrop of a cerulean blue sky. Eggleston produced much of his color photography with a dye transfer printmaking process, a technique that was previously used solely for commercial and advertising purposes, and established it as a prominent artistic medium in the American tradition. The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, At War With the Obvious, celebrates Eggleston’s work by presenting together for the first time thirty-six dye transfer prints he created in the 1970s. It also features his first portfolio of color photographs, fifteen prints from his landmark book, and seven other of his most recognized photographs.
Thomas Ruff: photograms and ma.r.s
David Zwirner Gallery
525 West 19th Street
New York, NY
Through May 4
This March, Thomas Ruff’s seventh solo exhibition at the David Zwirner Gallery will be dedicated to two of the late twentieth-century German photographer’s most recent projects: photograms and ma.r.s. Ruff’s photograms series features a unique collection of “camera-less” photography—a technique used by photographers in the 1920s in which objects are placed on photosensitive paper and exposed to light. The outcome is the negative image of the object revealing itself in the form of a grey or white shadow glowing against a black backdrop. Ruff adds layers to his visually intriguing compositions—which mostly depict abstract lines, shapes, and spirals—by adding color and implementing varying degrees of transparency and lighting. To create his ma.r.s series, short for Mars Reconnaissance Survey, Ruff manipulated black-and-white satellite images, taken by a NASA spacecraft of the surface of Mars, and dramatically increased the saturation of the images, creating a striking representation of the planet’s rugged terrain.
Here at AN we have been hearing from the many fans of GA Global Architecture about the passing of its founder and creative force Yukio Futagawa. His long career as a publsiher had many highlights but it was as a architectural photographer that many feel he was most distinguished. William Stout Books, the great San Francisco architecture bookstore, has posted a tribute to Futagawa who worked with the store for many years. The store staff—a group that gets to see all the best architecture books—writes that he along with Julius Shulman were the two great “masters” of the craft of photographing buildings, particularly in black and white. They point out that the “quality of light in his work was truly unique because of his use of natural light,” particularly in his older books; The Essential Japanese House + Wooden Houses + Japanese Temples: Sculpture, Painting, Gardens and Architecture. The contrast in the black and white photos is really stunning,” they believe, and not unlike that of Aaron Siskind.
A sad but touching note today from Steven Holl informed us that Yukio Futagawa, the founder and impresario of GA Architecture magazine, passed away in Japan on March 5, 2013. Futagawa was 80 years old and was best known as the founder and director of GA Architecture Publishing Group. GA is recognized for seeking out the world’s best architects and projects and presenting them in elegant and intelligent formats (GA Houses, GA Documents) that crossed magazines with book publishing.
It is understandable that GA would be such a powerful and distinguished publishing house since Futagawa was a much respected architectural photographer and, as Holl writes, “a cultural force for fine architecture globally [who] understood that we must think beyond the provincial beyond the national.”
GA will continue to operate under the new leadership of Yukio’s son Yoshio. The family held a private funeral service for Futagawa in Japan on March 10, but if you are in Beijing, Holl will hold a tribute toast for him at the Opposite House Penthouse on March 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.
Victoria Sambunaris: Taxonomy of a Landscape
Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 South Michigan Avenue
Through March 31
Victoria Sambunaris has photographed the American landscape from coast to coast, investigating human interaction with and relationship to the natural environment. Over a decade’s worth of color photographs taken with a 5 by 7 field camera capture the multiple layers of America’s expansive landscapes that are interrupted by human development. Born to Greek immigrant parents driven by the American dream, Sambunaris has become fascinated and identifies with the unease of the Mexico/United States border. Her photographs of over 2,000 miles of these borderlands suggest an innate similarity between the two lands in spite of national boundaries. Taxonomy of a Landscape also includes a complete archive of Sambunaris’ travels with maps, journals, road logs, collected souvenirs, and sketches.
Scrap your afternoon plans and take an amazing aerial tour of Dubai, instead. Photographer Gerald Donovan has created an interactive panorama of the city as seen from the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa for the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award. The view was taken from the top of the tower, some 2,722 feet above the street, reached by climbing nearly 660 feet through the Burj Khalifa’s enormous spire. Users can pan around and zoom in to observe the surrounding cityscape with amazing detail. To achieve the stunning effect, Donovan stitched 70 photographs together, each a whopping 80 megapixels, to create a single 2.5 gigapixel panorama. [Via The Telegraph.]
We’ve all become accustomed to seeing aerial photography from apps like Google Maps, but this aerial panorama by Russian photographer Sergey Semonov presents Manhattan’s Central Park and its surrounding cityscape with fascinating new detail. The Atlantic found the image, submitted as part of the Epson International Photographic Pano Awards. Created in collaboration with aerial-panorama-makers AirPano, the team photographed the park from a helicopter and later stitched the various images together creating the unique, albeit slightly distorted, view of the city.
Yossi Milo Gallery
245 10th Avenue
Through January 19
Chris McCaw’s continuing work on Sunburned, a series of photographs that began in 2006, will be displayed in his solo exhibit Marking Time. By combining a large-format camera with a high-tech lens normally used for military surveillance and inserting expired gelatin silver photo paper, McCaw captures images of the sun, exposing the paper from anywhere between 15 minutes to 24 hours. The extended exposures intensify the sun’s rays on the photo paper burning holes on the photographs. Thus, McCaw is able to capture and track the earth’s orbit around the sun. His photographs are taken at various locations across the globe including the Galapagos, the Sierras, and the Arctic Circle, enabling him to capture different rotations of the sun due to solar eclipses or equinoxes. In his image Sunburned GSP #429 (North Slope Alaska, 24 hours) McCaw captures the trajectory of midnight sun during the Arctic Circle’s summer solstice. The sun’s path dips to the horizon line then rises, marking the beginning of a new day.
Though books typically fall outside the scope of what we consider to be architectural products, we’re making an exception for Thames & Hudson’s new publication, Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Those familiar with Corbu’s much photographed architectural work may not know that he was something of a shutterbug himself. According to the publisher, he not only “harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and buildings,” but his influence on the medium led to the rise of photography in general. From another perspective the book provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier’s creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work, including images of him in his preferred office attire—his birthday suit.
Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
Through November 4
Naoya Hatakeyoma’s award winning photography contrasts the reciprocal impact of human industries on the natural world and that of natural forces on human activities. His photographs, ranging in topic from German coalmines to the underground Tokyo sewer systems, chronicle manmade industrial formations from their time of creation to their degeneration and ultimate decay, all captured in a seemingly objective yet sublime manner. Through this impartial method, devoid of speculation and sentiment, Hatakeyoma’s images garner the greatest impression on the viewer. Hatakeyoma was born in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture in 1958. His latest work, Rikuzentakata illustrates the devastation caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in his birthplace. In the first ever solo U.S museum exhibition, curated by Lisa J. Sutcliffe, SFMOMA showcases more than 100 photographs and 2 video installations spanning Hatakeyoma’s entire career.