This month I bought an obscene number of books, watched many docs and wrote for the latest issue of Modern Times. Below are just a few of the things I find interesting:
All posts in Photography
I don’t remember Romania’s Lenin statues. I was too young to remember. But I do remember streets that had his name. The statues quickly disappeared after the revolution, and the names of the streets changed as well. To me, this getting rid of symbols was and still is fascinating. It is as if someone has been moved out of the apartment, throwing away all his stuff, which include personal items in the form of photos and statues, and his name on the door bell. Making these things disappear is the supreme post-regime clean-up and makes you realize just how deeply involved into the fabric of everything the regime really was. It took Ukraine a long time and some scandals around it, but here is Niels Ackermann’s photo series documenting where the ‘Lenin-toys’ go.
Every now and then I take a step out of myself and look at my life. Every now and then I reflect on what it is that I’d like to be different. And every now and then I miss the smell of fresh laundry when you bring it from the outside during the day, and the comforting feel that slow early mornings have for me. And every now and then, especially then, when I feel nostalgic for slow paced days, I daydream about moving out of the city.
Hey you all, Passepartout is back. I said it would be June, I kind of meant the beginning of it, but the 26th is still in June so no one can deny that I am true to my word.
Now…have you ever seen this photo?
After thinking long and hard about the changes I want to make to Passepartout, I finally reached some conclusions. Starting June 2016 you can expect some new sections on the blog: a monthly interview, stories behind photos you might or might not know, more in-depth look into photo themes and also a monthly ‘Best of’ with everything good I spot around the web each month.
Meanwhile, May will be a month of rest, and Passepartout takes some time off because I will be on a trip to Thailand and Myanmar to recharge and explore.
But let’s not lose touch. Please subscribe Passepartout’s feed & newsletter.
See you all in June,
Apparently, New York photographer Arne Svenson inherited a 500 mm lens from a friend who was passionate about bird-watching. Svenson didn’t know much about birds but he put the lens to good use, taking these really beautiful pictures of his Manhattan neighbors. The neighbors weren’t as excited about the photos as I am, so guess what they did, not rocket science, they sued him. And he won. It was 2013 and a court decided that what he did – taking the photos and then exhibiting them in a nearby gallery – was something defensible under the First Amendament’s guarantee of free speech and the photos needed no consent to be made or to be sold. That’s good to know. I accidentally found this story and these amazing photos some days ago, when I started doing research for a photo project I want to pursue, a project for which I was wondering where’s the line between public and private.
I really really miss being in a forest. I felt it today, really strong, didn’t recognize it at first but then I realized what it was. I miss the forest and therefore I miss home. Back home where I’m from. Romania. The misty days. The trees and the smells. And that certain feeling of having reached an end of the world. And strangely enough, this feeling reminded me of Henrik Emtkjær Hansen‘s photos from around the Wadden Sea.
Doing Art and Being a Mom: a Photographer That Does Both and the Story of Travelling Around the US with Her Son
“I took Casper on his first road trip when he was three-months old and by the time he was one we managed to stay out most of each year for the next five years of his life” begins the written story that comes with these photos. By the time I finish this first phrase, I’m already hooked. Justine Kurland is the photographer, Casper’s mom and the writer of this essay published in a book called How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood. And not only I love her photos and the stories around them, but I’m also genuinely interested in how exactly can we do both art and motherhood.
The Idiot Box: a Touching Photo Series of Kids Watching TV Said to Point at Something It Doesn’t Really Point At
This photo series has been circulating around the web recently. It has been described as a series portraying children’s vacant stares at the TV, but honestly they don’t look so vacant to me. Instead, they look absorbed. Completely absorbed, the kind of surrender only kids can express. And while the series has been used to open up the never ending talks and questions regarding too much technology – to which we never seem to find an answer or at least not one that we’d like to adjust our life to – I loved these photos for completely different reasons. Photographer Donna Lee Stevens named the series ‘Idiot Box’, but to me the name doesn’t suit the photos.
I saw these photos and thought I’d like to live inside them. Then I read all sorts of things about the series. I’m not a big fan of big and twisted metaphors that completely lose touch with reality. But I’m a big fan of these images and the ‘magic is everywhere if you bother to see’ feeling they give me. So from everything I found about the project, I will skip the metaphors and keep with me these magic and atmospheric photos and also their name, Fairytale, which I believe it suits them perfectly.
Hey, you know what? I almost decided to show you some photos of Iceland, with that kind of isolated landscape and towns with 5 inhabitants. But then I thought: it’s almost summer and you’re probably thinking of holidays and new places to see. So I picked Dee O’Connell’s old school and charming series of a trip she made from Beijing to Sankt Petersburg. With the Trans Siberian. My kind of holiday.
Photographer Geoff Johnson lived in this house until he turned 17. Behind the Door is series of photos he took when he had to go back to this place, after his mother passed and the house was left to him and his sister. Their mother was a hoarder, and living between piles of stuff and broken appliances had a deep psychological impact on both Johnson and his sister. To face their old feelings of shame, they photographed the place and then used Photoshop to super impose their own children into the photos.
Wait, I know what you’re going to say: it’s spring already and you’re not so much in the mood for photos from the Arctic. But these are not just any photos, they are a magical portrayal a photographer made when she returned to the place where she grew up and which she missed.
Serge Bouvet first went to India in 2012 with the plan to make a photo project about the hijras – a term used in Southeast Asia to define transgender people. But while documenting this story he discovered something else: the openness and beauty of the Muslim community living in the Turkman Gate old city in Delhi. Bouvet decided to photograph the Muslim men he met. And I talked to him about this project, about how he got the idea and about the way he approaches the people he photographs.
It looks romantic but it’s actually a really tough harsh life. So tough and so harsh that it’s actually disappearing. The Dukha people live in the North of Mongolia and they domesticated reindeer but the current population is now estimated between 200 and 400 people. Many moved to the cities and the herds diminished. The remaining people make most of their money from tourists buying their crafts and riding the reindeer. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami documented the life of this shrinking community in these beautiful and poetic images.
In the end of January this year, I decided that for the whole month of February I will take photos every day. Not random photos, but photos of the same route I walk every day. I really live in one of the most uneventful places possible, and especially the route I walk is pretty plain, passing by flats, a huge parking lot (where I found the heart balloon) and the Shell offices. But the commitment to keep taking photos, even though not a recipe for some amazing photographic project, proved to be a way of paying attention, searching and finding something new and something beautiful in the routine the mind normally ignores. These are some of the photos I took.
I think most people have seen darkrooms in films, where they can seem this mysterious places where pictures come to life. Film characters are either developing their films there because they’re artists, or is their craft or perhaps because they’ll reveal a secret this way. But truth is hardly anyone uses darkrooms anymore. Truth is they’re smelly places, far less charming than portrayed in movies. Truth is photographer Michel Campeau documents a world that is disappearing.
I don’t like jokes about husbands and wives, and I don’t like comments about dreadful Monday mornings and happy Friday afternoons. Yet, here I am, pretty sleepy and confused on a Monday morning, sitting in my office, dragging myself through the hours, wanting to be somewhere outside instead of here. And it’s in this kind of moments – sometimes powerful, sometimes just a thought – when opting out sounds free and romantic and natural. Sounds like the way it should be. And I’m not alone in this.
No rocket science. No award winning. Just a couple of street photos from the carnival in Maastricht, to be seen before I lose them.