I used to read horoscopes religiously. This year, I managed to change directions and make an intercontinental move without consulting my stars. (This is a big thing!)
That said, I’ll always have a soft spot for Susan Miller. Her lengthy monthly scopes are always a good read, and her yearly predictions in Russh Magazine are a tradition. But what I really love this year is the still life photographs that go with each star sign. They’re such fresh, evocative, and simple takes on the personalities of the zodiac!
Sally Mann is an American photographer best known for her Immediate Family series. Spanning 1984–94, Immediate Family captured her children as they grew up and explored the countryside surrounding their Virginia home. In later years she turned her focus towards the land itself, with a series that investigated the deep south and key locations in the American Civil War.
More recently What Remains (2000-04), has brought people and the land together in the frame, albeit in an unconventional way. Mann has photographed decomposing bodies at a Tennessee research facility. At first glance the works appear to be simple abstracted textures, but look closer and you’ll recognise traces of the human form. Death and decay, rendered palatable.
Mann’s beautiful images are given an extra ghostly quality from the dust and scratches that arise through the use of antique cameras and the wet-plate collodion process.
A photographic negative is made by coating a glass plate with collodion to form an emulsion. Then the plate is sensitised in a silver nitrate solution and exposed to light while still wet. This gives the photographer only about five minutes to make the exposure. All aspects of the preparation and developing process for the wet-plate collodion print are complicated, delicate and tactile.
Sally Mann often uses the back of her truck as a temporary darkroom when making work outside, which creates its own problems as dust and dirt is constantly attracted to the wet and sticky surfaces of the negative.
Mann’s first solo UK exhibition – The Family and the Land: Sally Mann – is now showing at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. It’s on till 19 September 2010. Highly reccomended if you’re in the neighbourhood.
Nicolas Henry is a filmmaker, photographer and artist. Usually based in Paris/Marseilles, he is currently working on a major photographic series – Les Cabanes de nos Grands Parents. This has seen him traverse the world from Marrakech to Moscow, meeting and engaging with all sorts of grandparents.
Henry travels to the home of each of his subjects (he says a friendship is sealed when you visit a home) and invites them to make a hut or play-space with their personal belongings. Inspired by their childhoods, the resulting huts are intimate glimpses into their strikingly rich and diverse lives.
If you can read French (or use a translation tool) you should visit Henry’s site and read why each space is a a reflection of their imagination. I always appreciate it when older people have the chance to share their stories, their loves, their dreams.
Delightfully, Henry had the good fortune to meet and photograph my wonderful grandmother in New Zealand. As I understand it they met while she was volunteering at the local visitors centre of her seaside village.
Here she is in her much beloved but wild sub-tropical garden – click for a larger view. The picture above Betty’s head is one of her crocheted woolen blankets and a portrait of her as a young girl. Note the teaspoon collection in the back! I love this photograph so much.
Julian Wolkenstein is a London based photographer who took these very droll pictures of horses, primped and preened with buckets of hair extensions. It’s a beautifully simple idea, well executed. The F Stop has an interview with Julian that explores his process deeply and he has some good tips for aspiring photographers. Or you can just giggle at Misty, Florence and… Bob?