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Simon Roberts Shows Us Ourselves

We experience the world through what we see. Increasingly that means capturing what we see through photographs by camera or smartphone. The action of taking pictures has become so widespread that it’s faded into the background. What once made pedestrians duck out of the way is no longer even noticeable. But artist Simon Roberts wants to bring the attention back to this gesture that once had so much more power. Using his own techniques, Simon scanned published photographs of major events from UK newspapers and processed them in such a way that these passerby photographers are what we see. Simon is showing us the pieces of a changing world. As the throngs of casual photographers blend into the background, the private becomes increasingly public and no event goes unnoticed. As Simon describes it, “disruptive technologies and the emerging role of citizen journalists have transformed traditional media reporting and distribution.” When

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Landon Nordeman Lets Us Into Fashion

For many, the world of fashion seems impenetrable. The glitz and glamour of fashion week, high gloss ads, and carefully curated advertising all come together to create a perception of perfect that is crucial to the industry. That’s what high fashion sells: an unattainable lifestyle, that can be touched for a cost. Consumers are meant to forget that the men (and women) behind the curtains are mere mortals, running their businesses in the same pedestrian tedium as everyone else. Sure, their clothes are nicer, but there are the same pressures and annoyances that plague the rest of us. Photographer Landon Nordeman spent the Fall of 2014 traveling the world for three weeks visiting over 100 fashion shows through New York, Milan and Paris. What he captured was the world behind the catwalk. The intensity of preparation, emotions around presentation, and the messes that come together to compose the most carefully

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The Strength of Flowers

Flowers are the ultimate ephemera. They exist for the sole purpose of attracting or warning insects or animals during the short period the plants are in their reproductive cycle. They are brief beacons with built-in expiration dates. They arrive, and wilt before practically any are appreciated. But photographer joSon wouldn’t have you believe that. His recontextualization of these buds and bowers demands that we see the strength in what, seemingly, has none. In joSon’s Fotanicals: the Secret Language of Flowers, the flowers and buds whose fleeting life is built into their nature is forgotten as we are offered a view of insect like exoskeletons or the architecture of petals. Broad leaves, spindled stems, and battalions of stamen firmly take their place in composition. Still life gives us the opportunity to see what we wouldn’t otherwise see. By changing the context of the subject, we get to view it in a

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Olivia Parker’s STILL/LIFE Is Anything but Still

As a form, still life is about getting a closer look at those things we usually overlook. The smaller pieces of life become the focus, as they fill the frame and we’re forced to regard them entirely. The often ignored becomes the subject. When these objects are taken out of context we learn something new about them, that’s what we take for granted in this form. But photographer Olivia Parker doesn’t want us to take that for granted. In her surprising still life photography we see those elements that we’re used to: the beautifully composed flower, a nest of eggs, a boldly placed seashell or vegetable. But Olivia gives us added context. A bowl ad pair of squash are framed by an out of focus forest setting, while a blurred object screams into center frame promising incredible movement. Frozen flames dance over a whole walnut and single flowered vase. A

Joel Meyerowitz’s ‘Once More Around the Sun’

In some ways, how we track time is entirely arbitrary. That events happen one after another, with the expectation of future and the memory of past is a human construct. Hours, minutes, weeks, are units that we’ve chosen to cut up and categorize our experiences. But the days were given to us. The earth revolves on its axis to face the sun at a rate we did not choose, and the whole planet orbits the sun upon its own volition. Photographer Joel Meyerowitz challenged himself to take at least one photograph per day, extending himself and his vision beyond what he had normally allowed. He says it acted as test to, “let nothing happen without considering it an opportunity to see freshly what I think I already know.” As a new resident of Europe, the time and environment were ripe for him to see with fresh eyes every day. Joel

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David Spero’s ‘Settlements’ Goes Au Naturale

We are what we surround ourselves with. Our homes reveal as much about us as the clothes we wear and the people we spend our time with. Whether it’s a bustling city or a sleepy hamlet, our environments are the world we create around us. In David Spero’s series “Settlements” he’s chosen to bring attention to communities that are following the path of “integrated living.” These groups have chosen to shrug off the pressures of modern life and instead follow ecological principals that bring them inline with the natural world. Using only natural and recycled building materials, they’ve created their homes out of the nature around them. Adopting a strict set of edicts about staying in symbiosis with their human and environmental community, they’re able to integrate into their surroundings in a way that people have done in at least a hundred years. In his work, David shows the rhythms

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Larry Sultan: Here and Home

Larry Sultan was considered one of the most influential photographers of his time, rising to national prominence in the late 1970s with multiple awards from the NEA and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1983. His latest show at LACMA, Here and Home, draws from some of his most incredible bodies of work including, Evidence (1977), Swimmers (1978–81), Pictures from Home (1982–92), The Valley (1998–2003), and Homeland (2006–2009). This retrospective hits shortly after the five year anniversary of his passing, and LACMA has brought together a group of artists and industry folk to speak about Larry and his work this Sunday, January 11 in “Larry Sultan: Short Stories from Here and Home.” The speakers will each offer a short reading in response to a photograph from the collection, which include Hylan Booker, Mary Jo Deschanel, Philip Kaufman, Keith Kleiner, Rebecca Morse, Catherine Opie, Matthew Sultan, James Welling, and D. J. Waldie. LACMA

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Ken Schles Shows The East Village Then and Still Then

The romantic idealization of New York’s East Village in the 1980’s has created a history that photographer Ken Schles finds himself grappling with, even more than 30 years later. When his first book was released in 1988 (“Invisible City“) he showed the world he knew, one of dysfunction, violence, and crime. “I don’t pine for the days when I’d drive down the Bowery and have to lock the doors, or having to step over the junkies or finding the door bashed in because heroin dealers decided they wanted to set up a shooting gallery,” the photographer told The New York Times. Ken followed his first book with “Night Walk” in 2014. This compilation acts as a retrospective of the world he left behind with the new perspective of a distant life. Drawing from his original contemporaneous archives, he strolls the streets again in memory and silver negative. Images from both

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Peter Funch Changes Time

Photographs are definitively still. They capture a subtle, ephemeral moment that will never return. They’re a stolen piece of life, carved out of reality and frozen in collection together. Unless they’re not. Peter Funch’s latest project, “Expedition: Mt. Baker” proves to be just what the title implies: an examination of one of Washington’s best-known mountains. Taking inspiration directly from history, Peter recreated imagery familiar to Mt. Baker’s past. Photographs, postcards, and paintings of the mountain that reach back as far as a century are meticulously recreated by the photographer, with his own spin. Taking three photos in succession in red, green, and blue Peter gets the full spectral spread required for a color photograph. By capturing each range separately, and combining them after the fact, there is implicit movement in each photo. Each color shadow shows the passing of time directly into one image. Three pieces of time are stitched

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Diana Scheunemann Invites Us Inside

Time is the context of a human life. Time is how a life is measured, and the boundaries of time gives it meaning. Lists of accomplishments and failures, successes and losses, all between the beginning and end paint a picture of finite decisions and fates that add together into the impression and impact of one person. And then they are gone. Recording the simple passage of time, photographer Diana Scheunemann took one selfie every day for 15 years. The nearly 5,500 photographs come together in her ultimate piece “Behind My Face,” whose title invites you to consider the artist. Each day her environment shifts slightly. We watch her hair, skin, and clothes adjust and evolve slowly over time. We aren’t clued into the major moments of her life, instead we check in silently day after day. In totality that is what a life lived is. We may only remember the

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The Seas Are Rising, What Do We Do?

The seas and oceans are rising all over the world, threatening communities across the globe. From Thailand, to Bangladesh, the USA, Japan, Netherlands, and Benin, villages, towns, and cities are all being forced to grapple with the reality of the invading water. But far too little has been done to combat these issues, and the progress of the waterline has not slowed. Many in places of power, or simply those who live out of the danger of the rising seas, have not had to face these realities, living in a sweet oblivion where that which is out of sight is out of mind. The Annenberg Space for Photography’s exhibit “Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change” presents photographic evidence forcing us all to take stock and recognize the new, wetter world we’re living in. The images show how people in the affected areas deal with the new invader, from

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The Barefoot Artist’s Search for Healing

“Our world is full of darkness, what can an artist do but bring color and paint and celebrate art?” asks Lily Yeh in the first lines of the trailer for “The Barefoot Artist,” the documentary about Lily’s life and artistry. Since the mid 1980’s Lily has been using art as a way to enter broken communities and help them heal. By offering an avenue of expression, these groups are able to take responsibility for their experiences and grow through emotional confrontation, fitting them through the lens of art to contextualize and understand their pasts. “Beauty is intimately engaged with darkness, chaos, with destruction. You need to walk into the darkness and hold it in your arms,” Lily explains in the film, where she found herself traveling back to China to confront her own shadowed past. There she went, with her director and son Daniel Traub and co-Director Glenn Holsten, to