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December 10, 2010



December 10, 2010

John Divola, As Far as I Could Get / D20F09 Run

These photographs were made by pushing the self-timer button on my camera and running as fast as I could away from the camera. An exposure is made in 10 seconds.



December 9, 2010

Ironing Man, 2006

David Hilliard is an American photographer and contemporary artist working within the mode of tableaux/directorial photography.  Hilliard composes panels of diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs that function as single, panoramic images telling unsuspecting narratives with unsuspecting, yet familiar characters.  As story teller, Hilliard plays with the ideas of antagonists, protagonists and plot, keeping the audience intrigued by hinting at ambiguous events that may have occurred—or may occur.  Hilliard photographs the ordinary extraordinariness of his every day life in shooting elaborate scenes with a large format camera.  Yet, it is in the concept of his meticulous compilation of several images to create a panoramic that Hilliard’s photographs become the tableaux.    

I admire Hilliard’s work for a number of reasons, mainly because I relate to so many of his insights in interviews (it’s sort of weird; feeling like you can identify with someone so much without having met them in your life-but also very exciting and inspiring).  I remember reading an interview between Hilliard and Vincent Borrelli, with Hilliard saying (in reference to this photograph Swimmers 2003) :


Swimmers, 2003

“. . .Maybe this kid is with the other kids, maybe he’s not.  He’s looking down.  He’s just not in the moment.  He’s not able to be with those boys, for whatever reason.  Either they’ve pushed him away or he cannot connect.  And I may be watching him.  On one hand, it’s me as a parent, wanting to help him, but it’s also that he becomes a stand-in for me when I was that age and trying to fit in, but just not quite making it.  That’s always the story of my life.  Even now, as a grown man, functioning in society, I still don’t feel like I’m ever in a moment.  I always feel like I’m a spectator.”

It is this one facet in his photographs that I feel a strong connection to.  This sense of being a spectator; never being entirely a part of what is going on around you and looking at everything from afar.  This is a recurring theme in many of Hilliard’s photographs.  No matter how close or familiar Hilliard is to his subjects, there is always a physical distance that represents his own emotional distance.  There is a classical resonance in Hilliard’s photographs; the lush colors and precise plane of focus reference a new type of pictorialism, despite their hyperrealist quality.  And, to put it simply without critical support and embellishment, his photographs are just so stunningly beautiful. 

The fact that these elaborate tableaux are also portraits is secondary, yet still very relevant to the artist’s ouvre.  They act as self-portraits in away, showing the people that Hilliard chooses to surround himself with; many of the photographs show people in very private instances, with very private possessions; both elderly and young men and women appear half dressed performing normal daily routines such as ironing, eating, reclining, vamping, watching and/or reading pornographic material, in resort and et cetera.  I found it interesting that Hilliard’s sexual development simultaneously helped stunt his development as an artist.  Very early in his adolescence, Hilliard discovered his homosexuality.  It was in this self-discovery that he connected with other accepting persons his age who, like himself, were either gay or held an interest in art.  As a gay artist, Hilliard’s photographs of men often possess a sense of male eros, portraying a very specific type of male; one who resembles the conventional hunky jock or a heroic protagonist of western literature; his physique oozing with testosterone and masculinity.  He looks at us, almost through us, with a stoic, unresponsive gaze.

Hulk, 2003

I really respect and admire David Hilliard; his vision and his methodical, yet purist work ethic is so refreshing.  For me, Hilliard’s photographs remind me of just how beautiful my own world has potential to be.   

For more information on Mr. Hilliard, please check out his website here or take a trip up to Corcoran’s library to view his amazing, self-titled  monograph!


December 9, 2010

Nigel Henderson, Head of a Man, 1956

‘The Independent Group looked at, discussed, analysed, wrote about, designed, built and assembled a galaxy of highly significant work exploring contemporary culture “as found”. Using a range of sources including the pages of science-fiction magazines, Jackson Pollock’s paintings, Hollywood film, helicopter design, the streets of London’s East End and modernist architecture the Independent Group created a radical approach to looking at and working with visual culture.’

More on Nigel Henderson and the Independent Group (descendants of Dada, predecessors to Pop) HERE


December 8, 2010

As far as the constructed image project goes, I came across these cut outs for Dazed & Confused magazine by Photographer Damien Blottiere. Check them out here.


December 8, 2010

As a follow up to our discussion on the Constructed Image in class yesterday, check out the following:

Dan Estabrook, from the series PATHETICA

The wonderfully brilliant DAN ESTABROOK blogs at, and his work is featured as an extension of the site HERE.  Also, spend a few minutes with this video which features Estabrook as he discusses his work and his process:

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Louviere + Vanessa, The Scopophobe

New Orleanian duo Louviere + Vanessa have a few sites, all full of mesmerizing content.  One features a recent body of work entitled INSTINCTEXTINCT, another features a wide variety of works along with sketches, notes and statements (and includes their mind-boggling Cinegraphs), on a uniquely interactive site HERE.  For a more straightforward portfolio of their work, check out THIS SITE.

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Luis Gonzalez Palma, CROWN OF ROSES

LUIS GONZALEZ PALMA has a comprehensive site with a lot of new, recent work that greatly differs from the images we saw in class, so check those out.

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VIK MUNIZ‘s site has a ton of video and multimedia packages, plus portfolios from his many bodies of work.  Be sure to look at the Verso projects that deal with the backs of famous paintings and photographs.  Also, if you have a chance, get down to the E St Theater to see WASTELAND, a documentary film about Muniz’s Pictures of Garbage series.  It is so incredibly inspiring.  More on the film in a future post…

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Masao Yamamoto

Finally, spend time getting lost in MASAO YAMAMOTO‘s site – there are literally hundreds of photographs to look at through 24 different pages – all really beautiful.


December 4, 2010

We all know photographer Jerry Uelsmann famous for his artfully composed images made entirely in the wet darkroom from multiple negatives. (If you don’t, shame on you and check out his work here). However, lesser known, but equally awesome is his wife Maggie Taylor. The twist is that while her husband’s work is done in a traditional darkroom, Maggie’s work is all done digitally.

While the pair’s work often contain similar themes and imagery (for example, a ladder, bricks, and a familiar house) their styles are very different.  Her colorful compositions are extremely beautiful in a haunting way where she combines turn of the century images with fantastical and ghost like scenes.  Each image has something peculiar about it that really intrigues me.  I first noticed Maggie’s work when watching an episode of Ghost Whisper, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Maggie’s work is animated for the opening credits of the series. I found myself more interested in the artwork than the show.  Check out the video here. Most recently, Maggie Taylor has released the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with original text by Lewis Carroll.

Alice In Wonderland, cover by MaggieTaylor

The Great Puzzle, 2006 fts Almost Alice by Maggie Taylor

I wish I had this version of the illustrations while growing up. I can’t say enough good things about her work, so check out more on her website.