Friday, 30 March 2012

Unseen Plans

Gashouder interior plan for Unseen © Müller van Tol/Unseen

So how exactly is the layout of the Unseen photography festival this September going to work?
If you don't already know, the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam's Westerpark will be the location for all the galleries' stands, you can read more about the Gashouder building in my previous post. But now we have some initial plans by Müller van Tol for the interior to give you a better idea of how things will be laid out.

Gashouder interior plan for Unseen © Müller van Tol/Unseen

Gashouder interior plan for Unseen © Müller van Tol/Unseen

For more information about the fair itself, you can read the press release or take a look at the Unseen website.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Ryan McGinley's Exhibition Image

 In this excerpt from her talk at Foam, Kathy Ryan explains how the headline image from The New York Times Magazine Photographs was achieved.

Foam Magazine's New Editor

Elisa Medde © Foam
We would like to welcome Elisa Medde, the new managing editor of Foam Magazine. In this interview she talks about her new job and explains what her role is in the Foam Talent Call 2012.

When did you first develop an interest in photography?

I guess it's all my father's fault. Since I was a kid I remember him often around with his Canon AE1. I would get very mad when photographed, which I still do sometimes. He was a talented photographer himself, and I grew up surrounded by art and photographic books. I started taking the matter seriously later on, while in high school. Thanks to one of the greatest teachers I had, Angelo Friolo, I had the chance to spend some time with Ruth Bains Hartmann, not too much time after Erich Hartmann died. That was a true turning point. During my Art History studies visiting exhibitions and looking at books and magazines became a kind of addiction. I am quite fascinated by the power of images, and I think that the photographic medium is somehow able to expand that power.

Could you tell us about how you got involved with Foam Magazine?

As many things with me, a bit by chance about a year after arriving in The Netherlands. In 2010 I took a sabbatical and attended the Master in Film and Photographic Studies in Leiden. While doing that, I had the chance to do a short internship at the Magazine during the preparation of #29 What's Next. I had worked with museums and magazines before, but What's Next? was something else. A thrilling experience from every point of view: crazy deadlines but then an incredible staff, a very ambitious project and a great institution. I was a big fan of Foam Magazine before, but after that I fell truly in love. So, as soon as I had the chance to apply for the position, I did not hesitate for a moment…

Elisa Medde © Foam

What do you like the most about your new position?

I like the combination of very creative and abstract moments, while working on concepts and themes, with more practical and hands on phases during production. Every issue is a timeless project in itself that must be re-thought and renovated every three months, and I find this very exciting. Then you have the absolute privilege of working closely with some of the best photographers, writers and curators out there, experiencing very inspiring and magical moments. This all, plus the madness of some editorial meetings, makes it a very great position.

Could you describe your role in the Foam Talent Call?

As a member of the editorial team I look at all the submissions we get, so that during the whole process we will make smaller and smaller shortlists, until we get to the final selection. This is going to be my first Talent issue, and I am really excited! I already know that it's going to be a very difficult task, as the quality and strength of the portfolios is always very high. I also wonder if there are going to be recurring themes this year, as with "beds" in 2011. Then, when we'll have the final list, I will be the one who will contact the winners to give them the great news, so that we can start working on the publication of the portfolios. I can't wait!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Titans of the Stage

Kathy Ryan of The New York Times commissoned Nadav Kander to shoot portraits of some of theatre's leading lights for its London issue.

'It is striking that Londoners, notorious for being convulsed by courtesy, embarrassed by display and unwilling to look people in the eye on the street, should have theater as their most celebrated art form.'

Read the full article from The New York Times.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Alex Prager - Compulsion

Paul Huf winner Alex Prager features on the Cool Hunting blog with her upcoming exhibition, Compulsion.

'Since exhibiting "Week-End"-her last solo show at NYC's Yancey Richardson Gallery in 2010-photographer Alex Prager has been busy at work, but mostly with projects outside her own personal endeavors. Whether shooting the 1960s-inspired Missoni for Target campaign, villainous celebrities for the New York Times' annual Hollywood issue, or lending her talents to Bottega Veneta's "The Art of Collaboration" campaign last spring, Prager keeps her signature cinematic style at the forefront of her work while successfully bringing to life a new vision for each commercial and editorial assignment she takes on'.

Read more on the Cool Hunting article.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The New York Times Photographs Installation

Installation, The New York Times Photographs © Foam

How do you work out the design of an exhibition like The New York Times Photographs? With a model, of course. These print outs of a 3D model of the Foam space I think give an interesting insight into how a show is put together. The plans were created by Aperture in cooperation with The New York Times and they're stuck all over the place at the moment.
Installation, The New York Times Photographs © Foam

Installation, The New York Times Photographs © Foam

Installation, The New York Times Photographs © Foam

Installation, The New York Times Photographs © Foam

Installation, The New York Times Photographs © Foam
You can see the real deal once the show opens on 23 March.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Rineke Dijkstra at SFMOMA

Rineke Dijkstra, one of the photographers featuring in the next issue of Foam Magazine, is on show at SFMOMA. Here is what they have to say about her:

'In works of classical simplicity and remarkable psychological depth, Dutch artist Rineke Dijkstra presents a contemporary take on the genre of portraiture. Whether adolescents, soldiers, or new mothers, Dijkstra is fascinated by people in states of significant transition. Her sensitive pictures generate a monumental sense of presence, not only in how they record the details of an individual's physical appearance, but also in how they illuminate subtly shifting inner states. The scale and ambition of Dijkstra's photographs connects them to a Dutch tradition of portraiture stretching back to Rembrandt and Frans Hals. Bringing together 70 large-scale color photographs and five video installations, this is the artist's first major retrospective in the United States.'

Find out more about the show on SFMOMA.

Friday, 16 March 2012

McGinley's Box

Package from Kathy Ryan © Foam

It's one of the perks of working at Foam. You come across some pretty interesting stuff during a day's work. I happened to glimpse this little mystery item as we prepare to open the show, The New York Times Photographs, next week.

Much sports photography tends to be pretty conventional, but Ryan McGinley's work for the 2004 Olympic Games produced some stunningly different images from the poolside. Now I know photography is more about having a good eye than a good camera, but I'd quite like to see what equipment he used to get those pictures. That's if it really is a camera in that box. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Jonathan Crawford

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Kemal's Dream

If you're in Istanbul, drop into Depo where Foam-curated Kemal's Dream by Ahmet Polat is on show.

Kemal's Dream is a photo series of 56 works by Ahmet Polat which focuses on young people in present-day Turkey. For the past six years, Polat lived and worked in Turkey. He travelled from Istanbul to the Black Sea and from Gaziantep in the south-east to the Aegean region to visit, photograph and interview friends and new acquaintances. This results in a personal document as well as a geographic survey that brings instances from lives of a generation closer.

Read Depo's full text.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bertien van Manen Interview part 03

Vlada in the kitchen Kazan 1992 © Bertien van Manen

 In the final part of her interview with Foam, Bertien van Manen speaks about her working practice as well as the exhibition, Let's Sit Down Before We Go.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Talent's Recurring Theme

Last year the bed was in. Foam's Talent Call 2011 attracted so many portfolios with beds as the subject that we had to make a book out of it. Do you think 2012 will have its own signature theme? If so, what will it be?

Leave your suggestions below and if you guess right, we'll send you a free one-year subscription to Foam Magazine.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Lost and Found

It will soon be the first anniversary of the huge earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan's Tohoku region. Hundreds of thousands of images have been taken since the disaster and most of these naturally focus on documenting the scale of the devastation. In my view, little interesting work that goes beyond straightforward visual description has emerged as yet. One of the strongest projects started up immediately in the aftermath of the disaster when the photographer Aichi Hirano decided to distribute disposable cameras to the people in the shelters in the devastated region. He retrieved the cameras, developed the film and published the results at I have written about the Rolls Tohoku project before on the blog and Hirano has continued to add new images to the Rolls website since then.

Read Marc Feustel's full post on eyecurious

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bertien van Manen Interview part 02

Vlada in the kitchen Kazan 1992 © Bertien van Manen

In the second part of her interview with Foam, Bertien van Manen speaks about her experiences in Russia which led to the book and exhibition, Let's Sit Down Before We Go.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Henry Horenstein - Show

The Slipper Room, New York, NY, 2008 © Henry Horenstein

 My knowledge of burlesque is pretty limited. Dita von Teese is about as far as it goes. Oh, and I once saw the movie, 'The Birdcage'. Apparently the word comes originally from the italian term for a type of mocking, burlesco, 'comically exaggerated, especially in imitation of a literary or dramatic work'. I suppose it was the French who adopted it and developed the idea into a variety show. That might explain why it now includes folks taking their clothes off.

Henry Horenstein film screening © Foam

 Henry Horenstein's film and book about this shrinking world in New York are not only revealing documents, but elegant and respectful tributes to the more spit and sawdust end of showbusiness. Like his series from decades earlier, Honky Tonk, which captured the customers, performers and workers of Nashville's dying country music bars, Horenstein manages to celebrate the rawness of this after-hours subculture without exposing any of the darker life stories. Nan Goldin, one of Horenstein's protégées, took on that more dangerous task.

Henry Horenstein film screening © Foam

 Horenstein originally studied to be a historian and you get that sense of a straightforward documentary style in his earlier work, which reflects the influence of Robert Frank and Weegee. The 'Show' series, however, draws on something more sculptural. There is less emphasis of the surroundings and more on the formal qualities of the subject, which is nearly always the performer. You do not often get an idea, for example, of the clientele who come to watch burlesque shows. The environment has been neutralised to focus more attention on the individual or the action in the frame.
It is easy to see traces of Brassai's shots of Paris night life in the 'Show' images. But I would also say, to a lesser extent, Robert Mapplethorpe. Not just because transgenders and gays feature between the stripping pin-ups. Horenstein displays none of the muscular sexuality or deviancy Mapplethorpe was known for. But he does start to share some of his preoccupation with reduced form and composition.
However, whereas Mapplethorpe brought his subjects back to his own studio, Horenstein keeps his in the nightclub, their natural habitat. Perhaps, with his historian past, he feels a responsibility to photograph these people in their world.  E. P Thompson's, one of Horenstein's early mentors, had told him it is 'a historian's righteous duty' to record the undocumented. I believe he is photographing the world of burlesque as much for them as for himself.

Henry Horenstein: Show can be seen at Gallery Vassie, Amsterdam from 3 March 2012.

Jonathan Crawford

Friday, 2 March 2012

Foam Magazine #30

Foam Magazine #30/Micro © Foam

 Here's a sneaky peek of the new front cover for the next issue of Foam Magazine, which will be out later this month. As well as being featured in the Micro issue, Stephen Gill also helped put together Let's Sit Down Before We Go, the book and now exhibition by Bertien van Manen, on at Foam from 22 March.