Features

A column of special features and reports by contemporary photographic writers and critics. Contains special conversations, reviews, essays, profiles, and more.

In this book something otherworldly is embodied in theory and ideology. The pictures are beautiful and the essays revealed, but what shines through is a commitment to community, discourse, and surrender. This form of surrender is to others’ ideas and others’ instincts, which allows a bigger picture of camaraderie and a new form of self described memorial to those we love to emerge.

Cloaked in a rhetoric of commercial promise, Joseph Desler Costa’s pictures appear, with glossy sheen, fresh off an assembly line. At first glance they present a seemingly impenetrable surface of salesmanship, a mere costuming over the artist’s searching through his own memory for products of promise that have shaped his upbringing. Costa finds an inseparable link between aesthetics and desire, allowing his own pictures to succumb to that aesthetics as a means to reveal the inner workings of them. In his pictures, consumer staples like Nike shoes and McDonald’s fries are mixed with sparse fragments of recreated memories rendered with foggy vagueness. What Costa produces is a masquerade of a masquerade, subverting the idealist promise of commerce and blending memory and desire into hypnotic echo of an echo of the real. What things may satisfy us? What convinces us of their satisfying qualities? How do pictures sell things, or inversely, how can a picture help but not be an advertisement for itself? And what of our own desire really belongs to us, and what has been implanted via the stealthy pointy end of a well made picture?

Out of the mysteries of the world figures and objects take form; they shine in darkness. A howling racket carves through the shifting of sight and imagery. The world of color is removed from curiosity because it is entrapped in literality. Grays, black and white, silvers—brilliant and pointed— are identified in every language and culture before color is procured.

Joe Rudko’s work is anything but predictable, yet he calls upon familiar visual spaces in ways that offer a sense of stability. His capacity to find practical and emotional value in the process of art-making keeps him invested in finding novel ways to articulate his ideas.

These are landscape photographs of landscapes that do not exist. I generated the images using a GAN (Generative Adversarial Network). A GAN is a form of artificial intelligence, a deep neural network computer program consisting of two nets, a generator, and a discriminator, which have an adversarial relationship. A GAN can be taught to mimic any distribution of data. In this case, landscape photographs were fed to the program and I then played with the parameters and “bred” new images over and over again until I obtained the image you see.

Paho Mann investigates the personal and cultural relationships to objects we collect to address shifting values, perceptions, and memory. In the project, Fragmented Cameras, Mann used a consumer-grade 3D scanner to scan historic and obsolete cameras ranging from early stereoscopic cameras to first-generation iPhones…

The artists in this exhibition reflect on notions of paradise, idealism, and fantasy through a broad spectrum of photographic strategies. Together, the works here represent competing visual rhetoric spanning commercialism, irony, sincerity, observational and interpretative documentary, camp, appropriation, tableaux, personal narrative, and impartial photographic philosophies….

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