Monday, April 25, 2011

Being a girl, becoming a woman (Part 2)

The young photography is as close as it can get to documenting the little pleasures of daily life. Full of innocence but also with strong perspicacity young artists’photography is like a bubble balancing between dream and life, between reality and fiction, between a personal diary and a children’s book. With surprising maturity and distance they often describe their own life. They recreate personal stories from little details that surround them. Through their lenses they express their feelings and try to answer the questions that fascinate them.
Anastasia Cazabon
Anastasia Cazabon belongs to that type of photographer who likes to create stories with images. A story she has first dreamed and imagined sequence by sequence. Like a child playing with dolls and imaginary friends she recreates little adventures with her friends. Her photography explores the ideas of children friendships and childhood memories. While each image tells a story by itself, when they are all put together they become this little magic tale. Reality and fiction become one like in a children’s book where we can become the heroes.

More on Anastasia Cazabon:
An interview of Anastasia where she talks about her work:

Elise Boularan
Young French photographer Elise Boularan also likes to tell stories. Stories where time seems to have stopped for a minute or for an hour. With her Polaroid she captures suspended moments and researches the silence and the secrets of her life. Real moments become memories and thoughts that she combines in diptychs and sequences that invite us into our own souvenirs. She is interested in the poetry of the body, its imperfections and its limits. Entering deep in Elise Boularan’s images is like retaining your breath and trying to define the unseen, to describe a passing thought forgotten the moment we try to speak it out loud.

More on Elise Boularan:
An interview (French only):

Christina Maria Oswald


Christina Maria Oswald is German and she lives in her own unique world, unexpected and full of little details that make her happy. Her humor is shifted, her images are surprising. She sees the things that we don’t see. She likes to play with colors and shapes. But behind simple innocent images she investigates things around her and subjects that fascinates her, from modernity and tradition in China, to family bonding or the cohabitation of man and nature. Her images are like her poems, simple, straight forward alive, evocative and always on the edge. 
‘The rain-wet streets were silent
the birds had gone
as if you showed them
how to flee

Familiar feeling
fucks me
once again’

China (2009)
Being 2006/2007
(No) Paradise lost/Paradise 2.0 (2008)
Hybrid (2008)
Some about Granny (since 2006, ongoing)
More on Christina Maria Oswald:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thank you Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington

Like everyone else in the photojournalism and the photography world I was shocked yesterday to read about the deaths of talented young photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington. I didn’t know them personally of course but it touched me more than I expected and I felt sad. Mostly sad for their friends and families, but also for the loss of great war witnesses. Yesterday I followed the developments of the story on twitter and through the news, and I couldn’t get myself to twitt about anything else. I don’t know really why but I guess it was my way to pay tribute to their work. We know war photography is dangerous, they knew it too. We also know that we needed them, that we need the testimony of these incredible reporters who risk their lives to tell the truth.
This is my way to tank them for what they have accomplished, to thank all journalists who risk their lives everyday for what they believe, to help us understand the world we live in and hopefully to help us make it better.
In Memoriam | Tim Hetherington 1970-2011 Chris Hondros 1970-2011 :

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being a girl, becoming a woman (Part 1)

As much as I enjoy strong somber approaches I believe that the pleasure and the power of photography reside in its diversity: in the multiple forms and aspects it can take, in the multiple photographic languages used by  artists, in the multiple emotions it creates.
After exploring our deepest darkest limits, I’d like to let photography take us on a dreamy journey, I’d like for a minute to stop looking at fears and open our mind to simple beauty and femininity.
Just because it feels good and refreshing to look at vibrant, soft or dreamy new photography… For a moment we can escape reality to discover a word of lightness and poetry.
But also because behind dreamy beautiful images appear questions and emotions of a new generation of women from around the world. Their style and images define a certain vision of what it’s like to grow up in today’s world. It gives the opportunity to discover their feelings, memories, daily life. It’s our chance to open and read the private diary of young women of our time.
Maia Flore
Entering the strange dreamy world of the Young French photographer Maia Flore is like opening the doors to the world of Alice in Wonderlands. It’s like discovering a new universe that could only belong to our childhood memories. The soft color palette of her images makes you feel rested and joyful.  Her feminine touch and even sometimes the girly naivety of her images remind us that we still have the right to dream without limits. Life can be as happy as you want as long as you don’t allow yourself to be blasé.
From her series ‘Sleep Elevation’ to her ‘Diary’ images she helps us escape in a magical or simply poetic world. 

Maia Flore is represented by VU agency:
She was also part of the Circulations festival (a pan-European festival for young Photography) in February in Paris:
Liu Xiaofang
Liu Xiaofang’s photography is like a fairytale. It tells the story of a little girl in a white dress with a red scarf. It takes us on a soft and sweet journey through modern and ancient China. Influenced by ancient Chinese paintings her dreamy landscapes meet the current Chinese economic growth and its frenetic construction projects. Like a balloon flying between sky and see sea?, her Remember series images float between past and present. This is again an exploration of nostalgic childhood memories and the secrets of innocence. Like a kid who doesn’t want to grow up, Liu Xiaofang questions the absurdity of life, its illusion and disillusions.  

Liu Xiaofang is represented by 798 Photo Gallery in Beijing:
She was also selected in reGeneration2, tomorrow’s photographers today

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who is the Singled Person?

While I was finishing my post about the ‘Dark side of Photography’, I finally received a little photo book I ordered a few weeks ago from a Spanish independent bookseller, The Singled Person. The timing is great. This is the perfect transition.
The Singled Person was initially a simultaneous projection of eight videos from eight photographers: Michael Ackerman, Morten Andersen, Lorenzo Castore, Thorsten Kirchhoff, Peer Kugler, André Lützen, Hisashi Murayama and Filippo Romano.
‘They share their different visions of the singled person. Yet, who is this singled person: the photographer, the subject or both?’
The little book is a succession of images, without titles, captions or comments. The images follow one another to lead us through an intriguing journey. It’s not about the colour or the black and white. It’s not about the format or the size of the images. It’s not about the subject of the photography, its context or the name of the photographer who took it. The story it tells is not linear and sometimes doesn’t seem to make sense at all. Some images are so blurred or abstract that it takes time to understand what is in front of our eyes.
But I believe it’s the story of a day and night on earth. It’s the wanderings of silhouettes and shadows in a mysterious urban night. It’s about contemplation, solitude, isolation, relationship, love and passion
It’s the swirl of life.

Behind each image there is a question, a memory, a second or an eternity. It’s a poem written in images, with its rimes and its melody.

Hisashi Murayama "NeWorld"

André Lützen "Loch im Kopf"

Hisashi Murayama & Filippo Romano

Peer Kugler "Nothing At All"

Filippo Romano "Phishing Memories"

This little book was published in 2009 by the German publisher Schaden:
You can also order it from Dalpine:
Dalpine is an independent publishing company and reseller focused on selling self-published books and books produced by independent publishers. Dalpine is based in Madrid, Spain. Founded in 2010, Dalpine is focused on photobooks and zines and their aim is to make these publications easily accessible to everyone.
More info, more photos and a video presenting the initial project: 
And as this little book has made me discovered new incredible photographers, you can expect more about them on carte blanche’s blog soon…

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Dark Side of Photography (Part 2)

Igor Posner
I recently came across the work of Igor Posner and more precisely his series ‘St Petersburg 2006-2009’. It immediately reminded me of Ackerman’s images. Igor Posner was born in St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia. He now lives between the US and Russia and I think this detail has a great influence or maybe is a great explanation to his work. Just like Ackerman’s Poland, Posner’s Russia is dark, moving, but also contemplative and sad. With portraits, street scenes, snapshots of landscapes, Igor Posner offers an amazing variety of photographs and techniques that form a coherent intriguing body of work.
Posner says that ‘this place has always been overwhelmed with hopes and dreams, thus any disillusionment here is only natural.’ And this is exactly what you feel when seeing his images. Despite the fact that they are personal blurred memories of his childhood he manages to engage us in his world. 
View his essay in Burn Magazine:
 More on Igor Posner:

Antoine d’Agata
While the previous two photographers both illustrate and transcend reality in a powerful and partially autobiographic way, the photographer who takes his obsessive anxiety to the highest possible level has to be Antoine d’Agata.
Antoine d’Agata travels in the darkness of his stories, in his own darkness and fully lives the violent sexual life of his subjects. He lives at night and wanders like a phantom in dark streets and behind closed doors. The stories he tells are about sex, orgasm, love and passion. But they’re also about obsession, sickness, isolation, depression, brutality and death.
The images that he brings back from his experiences are unusual, vibrant, artistic but they explore limits that we’re not sure should be reached. His actions become his art, and in the name of Art he lives an unauthorized life between drugs, violence, and prostitution. With Antoine d’Agata we’re not sure if his extreme lifestyle is the result of his artistic vision or if photography is an excuse for his actions. The limits between apology and denunciation are blurred. But Antoine d’Agata had this life style when Nan Goldin picked him up on the streets of New York, so way before he even started to photograph. Does the fact that he photographs his own sexual relationships with prostitutes and his drug addiction make it worse? I don’t think so. And anyway the images that result from his actions are incredible, unique, moving. Of course the prude critics will cry out in scandal, but let’s stop judging the man and focus on his talent to really see the dark beauty of his work, that we could call Art.
‘A photograph is nothing but a lie. The space is cut off, the time manipulated. They are two uncontrollably false appearances of an image condemned to choose between hypocrisy ­ and good conscience ­ and being fake.’
‘I try to distance myself from a certain type of documentary photography that often avails itself of symbols that are too easy to read and assimilate in order to present a complex reality in a balance that is endlessly discussed over and over between photography as an instrument of documentation and photography as being completely subjective.’
Mala noche 1991-1997
Mala noche 1991-1997
Hometown (1998-2000) - Marseille
Hometown (1998-2000) - Marseille
Vortex, Tijuana 2000
Cambodge 2007
Aka Ana 2008
More on Antoine d'Agata: or
Watch the trailer for The Cambodian room. Situations with Anoine d'Agata:

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Dark Side of Photography (Part 1)

Trying to analyze what moves you is always very difficult. It’s an internal reaction to what you see that cannot always be explained. Henri Cartier Bresson said that ‘to take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart."  I guess falling in love with an image or a photography style is similar in a way. Images that move you are the ones that succeed in touching your eye, your head and your heart.
I’ve always been drawn by dark very contrasted black and white images and by the work of a few photographers that push the limit of the camera to it extremes. Partially blurred or totally unfocused, their images feel like they come from the darker side of the photographers’ subconscious, the darker sides of our memories. The following 3 photographers perfectly represent this idea and belong to a category of artists that succeed in expressing strong emotions through their art (of course they’re not the only ones…). Their images procure very mixed sensations and for me that’s what makes their attraction and complex beauty. They search for unknown parts of life, dive in to unexplored territories, shake our visions of the world and maybe reveal darker sides of us  (or maybe just of me!).
Michael Ackerman
I’ve already mentioned Michael Ackerman when reviewing images from Benares, India as he has created some of the most amazing images of that place. However the rest of his work is as compelling and emotionally disturbing as his first book ‘End Time City’. Through a few reportages and a second book ‘Fiction’ he continues to deliver his personal testimony of life through a very innovative visual style. The last opus of his work is called ‘Half life’ and was on view at the Vu gallery in Paris last summer. The images follow each other but they’re not a narrative essay. They feel like selected moments of life, selected emotions that throw you in to another universe. They explore the past and the present, they explore personal and universal History. Sometimes you feel the photographer’s anxiety but most of the time his work questions your own doubts and your own feelings towards people and the world. By this complex series Michael Ackerman once again reaffirms his unique style between poetry and strangeness, between isolation and mystery, between drama and love.
‘Every picture is for me a surprise’ 
Here are 2 interviews of Michael Ackerman where he talks about ‘Half Life”: the story of the book, the portraits of vulnerable men, the landscapes of Poland... Quite rare and very interesting.
on youtube:
on artnet :
Smoke 2000
Fiction 2001
Half Life
Half Life
Half Life
Half Life
More on Michael Ackerman: