Categories
Creativity Photography

The vast but empty spaces of Andreas Gursky

German photographer Andreas Gursky’s photograph “99 Cent II Diptych” (see above) was once the world’s most expensive photo.

In it, the Dusseldorf School photographer stitched together a two-part photograph (also called a ‘diptych’) of a vast but empty grocery store in Los Angeles.

Taking another contemporary digitally manipulated view of everyday objects, Gursky’s “Rhein II” sold for $4.3m at Christie’s New York in 2011 — the image became world’s most expensive photo to sell at an auction.

“I wasn’t interested in an unusual, possibly picturesque view of the Rhine… This view cannot be obtained in situ; a fictitious construction was required to provide an accurate image of a modern river,” recounts Andreas Gursky on the work.

The vast but empty spaces of Andreas Gursky
Photo: ‘Rhein II’ (1999, remastered 2014) © Andreas Gursky

However, I still dig the artifice projected in his 2017 high-speed train ride in Tokyo, where he merged multiple photos to give the picture a blurring, hyperreal effect.

Gursky’s “Bahrain I” which reconstructs myriad images of the Bahrain International Circuit racetrack is also one to marvel at — especially for the way its paint-like race-tracks enhance reality.

The vast but empty spaces of Andreas Gursky
Photo: ‘Tokyo’ © Andreas Gursky
Photo: ‘Bahrain I’ 2005 © Andreas Gursky

Regardless of his skill, Gursky tells his students that it’s only because of hours of practice and work that beget his radical intuition.

“People keep trying to find a matrix for the perfect image, but it’s intuition, it’s not something that can be taught.”

Andreas Gursky (via FT)

You can learn more about Gursky’s 2018 exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery in the video below or right here.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Photography

How we decode reality

We are not born with information.

The severity of an illusion lies within its shadow of a doubt. Objects as artifice are as credible as our eyes make them out to be.

The gut loves to sensationalize fear. The beating heart frustrates under the tick-tock of boredom. The mind interprets thoughts that drive reality.

What makes the external world feel real?

From the outer world to the inner state, sculpting perception is irrational but intentional as we all seek to decode reality into meaning.

What is the external world but just a bunch of code that exists in our heads, sorting out the facticity of objects?

Our impulse intends to give experience the benefit of “truth, both in matter and in mode.” We use our pragmatist razor to cut comprehensions down ruthlessly.

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Photography

Camera obscura

Sometimes it’s the written word. Other times, it’s a still photo. If the camera is too revealing, we can communicate via video or sound. Said filmmaker Robert Bresson’s in his 1975 book Notes on the Cinematograph: “A locomotive’s whistle imprints in us a whole railroad station.” 

Communication is a game of elements. Film is the art of combining images and sounds; it excludes what overexplains or impresses.

“One should not use the camera as if it were a broom.”

Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematograph

A good filmmaker lets the mind dance with imagination. A movie is both a creative and viewing experience. It can be dull and instantly lively, like the pendulum of our everyday lives. 

“My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.” 

Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematograph

Read The Elements of Style

Categories
Arts Photography Poetry Quotes

Robert Frank, photo poetry

Robert Frank, photo poetry
Robert Frank, photo poetry
Robert Frank, photo poetry

When people look at my pictures, I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.

Robert Frank
Categories
Arts Photography

RIP Photographer Robert Frank, the “Manet of the new photography”

Robert Frank, one of the most prominent photographers of the 20th century, passed away at the age of 94.

He documented American society while on his cross country road trips in the 1950s, eventually publishing a 1958 black and white photobook The Americans.

“With that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.”

Jack Kerouac

Writes the New York Times in his obituary:

“The Americans” challenged the presiding midcentury formula for photojournalism, defined by sharp, well-lighted, classically composed pictures, whether of the battlefront, the homespun American heartland or movie stars at leisure. Mr. Frank’s photographs — of lone individuals, teenage couples, groups at funerals and odd spoors of cultural life — were cinematic, immediate, off-kilter and grainy, like early television transmissions of the period. They would secure his place in photography’s pantheon. The cultural critic Janet Malcolm called him the “Manet of the new photography.”

Categories
Creativity Fashion People Photography Writing

Anna Wintour teaches creativity and leadership

Anna Wintour Masterclass on creativity and leadership
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Anna Wintour, the indomitable editor of Vogue and Condé Nast’s most senior editorial figure, is the latest teacher to join the ranks of Masterclass to teach creativity and leadership.

In 12 lessons, Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology. A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years.

The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.

Anna Wintour on how to be a boss

“I know many people are curious about who I am and how I approach my work,” Wintour says. “This is a class for those who want to understand my leadership style and then understand the experiences that have helped me become an effective leader.”

“Own your decisions and own who you are, but without apology.” – Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour Masterclass on creativity and leadership

Anna Wintour doesn’t have an official Instagram or Twitter page where you can gain access to her expertise in creativity and leadership so Masterclass is your only workbook.

Not for you? Gift the class!


About MasterClass

If you’ve never taken a MasterClass before, it’s a great opportunity to take a peek into the mind and explore the process of some of the world’s leading experts in photography, writing, music production, filmmaking, and even cooking. You may be aware of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing courseTom Morello’s electric guitar course, or Serena Williams teaches tennis course.   

If you’re looking for a great gift, consider sending one of the courses to a loved one or friend. Even better, gift someone the All-Access Pass so they can explore all the courses they want!

Categories
Arts Fashion Photography Travel

Meet Bolivia’s powerful female wrestlers, Flying Cholitas

Photographer Todd Anthony took pictures of Bolivia’s indigenous female wrestlers for his new project, Flying Cholitas.

This unique group of athletes wear more than stylish dresses and beautiful petticoats — they come together to demonstrate pride in their history.

Once colonized by the Spanish and rejected as lower-class citizens, pejoratively known as “cholita,” they have since embraced the name to symbolize their persistent fight against subjugation and hierarchy.

Symbolizing the culmination of strength, power, and beauty, the cholitas will not be denied in activism nor aesthetics.

Categories
Arts Photography

Speaking through pixels

The facticity of a photo also lies within the pixels themselves, en route to perception. What we see is what we get. #gif #instagram #amwriting
art by Maximillian Piras

We take pictures intending to show someone else — whether it’s our Instagram followers or our family and friends.

But the illusion of infinite shelf space keeps so many pictures on the phone, gone and long forgotten.

Photos should not be stashed away in the closet or hoarded on the hard drive for safekeeping. Even the snap-happy tourist collects a souvenir of the present that few eyeballs witness.

Photography binds us

We communicate in images. And each viewer brings to the picture their interpretation of the truth.

But the facticity of each photo lies within the intensity of the pixels themselves, en route to perception. We can never look close enough.

Just imagine what it’s like when we train the eye to see.

Categories
Business Culture Photography Social Media

Taste at first sight 👁👀👁

rachael-gorjestani-154907.jpg

“The first taste is always with your eyes.”

Everything is contrived, from the glowing burger buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes, to the juicy fresh meat. Video takes food advertising even further, making it come alive from its static state.

Table top advertising or food marketing is no different than any other product marketing: the illusion never matches with the reality of creating it. In reality, the food has been dressed up and augmented to look fresh and mouth watering like those lobsters in Red Lobster commercials.

Fashion advertising is similar. The model is always more enticing wearing makeup and sporting a six pack. When models make commercials, they never smile. Bad assery sells.

Not surprisingly, food porn and selfies are huge on Instagram too, the people’s marketing platform. A little bit of shoot preparation and filters make both food and faces look better than they actually are.

Today, anyone can use technology to create a Hollywood look. Everyone’s deceiving and buying lies at the same time. We all desire better versions of ourselves, including what appears on our plates.

Learn more

Categories
Arts Photography

Vladimir Lagrange, photo artist

rabihalameddine_2017-Jun-11.jpg
Vladimir Lagrange, Tomorrow Morning, 1969

Vladimir Lagrange took artistic photos of ordinary Russians for the “Soviet Union” Magazine. He also captured a bunch of personal photos that never saw the day of light because of Moscow’s censorship.

In reading up on Vladimir and looking at some of his pictures, it reminded me of this Bertolt Brecht line from War Primer (1955):

“The camera is just as capable of lying as the typewriter.”

The rise of mobile photography unleashes the citizen reporter, making it even harder to assess truth from propaganda. The world speaks in images to which people latch on to their own cocoon. Beware the blind spots.