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It is the mark of an educated mind
to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
~Aristotle

the secret path

August 20, 2014

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When people talk listen completely.
Don’t be thinking about what you’re going to say.
Most people never listen. Nor do they observe.
You should be able to go into a room and when you come out
know everything that you saw in there and not only that.
If that room gave you any feeling
you should know exactly what it was that gave you that feeling.
Try that for practice.
~Ernest Hemingway

Photograph by Carlos Batts

Photograph by Carlos Batts

Sugar and spice and all things nice, like glitter and gold, sparkle and shine and delight, like lip gloss and candy-colored purses with matching shoes and perfume that smells like spring, like flowers in bloom. All things femme, feminine, sexy, sex, lots of it, like seconds and thirds and even fourths. A way of being, of flowing, of feeling, a vibration that is sweet and juicy, like a bowl of mixed berries over cherry vanilla ice cream. And it keeps going, glowing, the way that April Flores with energy, a feeling and a beauty that goes so deep below that you know that it’s love. True Love. Self Love. One Love…because that’s all it ever is, especially when you bring another person into the mix.

This is where Fat Girl (Barnacle Books) begins. Before the lens of Carlos Batts, husband to April Flores, he who dies October 22, 2013, just a few months after the book was released. He who gave his heart, his soul, his love to his muse. He began photographing Miss Flores in June 2000, and from that thousands and thousands of images were born, images of the beauty of the beloved before the man whose heart she adored.

Fat Girl is a love story, a story of wonder, of self-discovery, to be or not to be beauty, to be art, to live as your own creation and to collaborate with your other half, to live as Goddess, Queen, and Consort. Here, the masculine and feminine come together in the celebration of the spirit made flesh, in the celebration of one woman, an icon of glamour that belies the great D.I.Y. art of self invention. April Flores carries her curves the way other women carry their furs. She wears her body like a luxury.

Miss Flores observes, “I have come to have such an ease within my skin by learning over time that confidence is what really matters. I used to be super-uncomfortable within myself because of my weight. Slowly I realized that the happiness I wanted to feel inside would not magically come if I lost the weight. I decided not to base my happiness on something as trivial as body size. It has all been a growing process for me.”

Read the Full Story at THE CLICK.

all the right questions

August 18, 2014

Untitled (1981), by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Untitled (1981), by Jean-Michel Basquiat

It begins, as it always does. With a question or two, three, four. Where we began and where we’ve come, the spiral of eternity known as time. Which is really just distance, measured by rotations of the earth and sun. We come and we go and we never really know unless we stop and ask. And so it is that we reflect, and where we’re going because we’ve been here before, for energy cannot be created or destroyed. But remade once more…

I had no idea it would come to this, but I should have known cause I could have guessed. Without further adieu, I am honored to bring you the words of Negro Libre, once again.

~*~

Mr. Fuego: So basically what you’re saying is that Feminists, most typical Western intellectuals, lawyers, and other Post-Modernists are all philosophically descendent of the Sophists? What about the Solipsists? Were they a derivative of the Sophists?

Mr. Libre: I think, Sophists in particular represent something completely different, you can almost say sophists are the enemies of philosophy. Solipsists are just another kind of sophist, but aren’t as vindictive or as Machiavellian.

Understanding the Sophists, is kind of an exercise in understanding a lot of the history of not just white people, but also the rise and fall of nations. In Ancient Greece, (Athens in particular) most of the societies were dual class. The upper class were the free people, the lower classed were slaves (this has to do with the men primarily). The free people got a liberal education; whereas the slaves got a servile education. The liberal education served the purpose of teaching all the members of that class, what they needed to manage any civil/political activity in the country. Anytime the city wanted something to be done politically, they would literally just throw a name in a hat, put a name, and anyone whose name was picked out was supposed to have the skill and talent to be a leader, thus the primary purpose of the liberal education was to bring about leaders; the purpose of the servile education, was to teach a slave to do a particular job or task…you can guess where our educational system evolved from.

The point is that since there was this divide in the society, the classes evolved differently. The upper class evolved to see things big picture and often talked about big ideas and mulch-faceted things, this was the kind of society that Southerners were trying to rebuild in the U.S, which played a major role in their desire to fight the Civil War, you can find references, which they openly talked about during the Civil War. However, unlike in the South, many of the Grecian slaves were not dehumanized, and weren’t meant to be slaves all their lives.

After the events of the Greco-Persian wars (what the 300 movies are about), the Greeks started to get interested in imperialism, especially the city of Athens, and began to educate themselves on other people’s cultures. Over time, a lot of guys began to realize that due to the fact that cultures differed so much, that the idea that there could be an “objective truth” was dumb. And due to that fact, the easiest way to achieve dominance or political significance was not in being able to persuade people what truth was, but being able to disprove the foolish idea that anyone could know truth. These people became the first group of lawyers, where they started teaching people how to manipulate crowds, got murderers and criminals off, since they were able to argue that it was impossible to know what truth was, all that mattered was creating a story (narrative) that people felt agreeable.

These guys started to get rich, and many of those older traditionalists in the society started to get scared because they could see that the country was in decline. People no longer wanted to be engaged in politics, or take leadership roles, but were more concerned in training themselves in rhetoric to disprove arguments. One of the few people who did a good job refuting these sophists though, was Socrates. Socrates was a broke philosopher, who used to challenge the Sophists, and often embarrassed them publicly. And he separated himself from them, by saying that anyone who charged to give knowledge to others, would by default become a sophists, since they would only profit from complexity. He began to develop a following among many young children, so to traditionalists, he was just as much a sophist as the others, however, it was the sophists managed to convince the traditionalists that Socrates was the main Sophists corrupting the young, so they gathered together and had him executed. 

Due to the corrupting forces of the Sophists, the Greeks eventually divided up and it was hard for them to engage in collective action, since they were all caught up in the disproving of their opposing competitors “truth”, that they forgot that it’s the idea, acceptance and working towards the discovery of an objective truth that actually brings people together, on all levels, despite the ugliness that might occur during such pain. They ended up becoming extremely weak as city states and it was this political weakness that enabled Alexander the Great to completely conquer the nations of Greek, and eventually provide the Romans with the blueprint of Empire, that has been passed down from generation to generation, and is applied by our leaders today.

Post-modernism which is more a modern development, has the same origins in multiculturalism (Lol I sound like a conservative, but it is what it is). Where other cultures, under the guise of diversity, are used instead of as a wider scope of knowledge, but as a way of exercising power over other people and achieving political means. So rather than engaging in the painful debate over facts that is required to arrive at objective truth, Academics just divide up truth based on a group’s consciousness. Which is why there is African American History/Studies, Feminist/Women History/Studies, eventually LGBT studies/history and of course White History, which is just normally History. So rather than having professors and thinkers have to seriously debate the facts of what actually happened in the History of the U.S. for example, various groups of people are only taught the history of the group they choose to associate with, as if your group determines your reality, rather than we all being a part of it. In their desire not to have to defend their points and stick to the facts, but attain unity through propaganda, we all become conflicted in our education, which manifests itself in our politics and prevents intellectual unity.

It all ends up leading to self-imposed divide and conquer which is driven primarily by ambition and appeals to bitterness; it also proves the axiom by my favorite historian Will Durant, that an empire is destroyed from within before it is destroyed from with-out. And it’s usually because people are so caught up in their divisions that they only see the present moment, but cannot see the next 50 to a 100 years in advance. Which is what I think has been the mindset of the black community since black feminism became the dominant ideology among black people. A great example of this is the example of Welfare. We all know welfare is destroying the black community, but in the short term giving up on welfare, would require, mostly black women to have to struggle immensely and not only that rely on black men a lot more, which a lot, especially in that situation are not prepared to do. So what’s the solution…well leave things the way they are, and blame white people. Even as society crumbles, blaming white people, only helps rationalize inaction, where regardless of whether or not you blame white people, it doesn’t change the timetable for your own self-destruction.

Stars, 2014 by Dennis Busch

Stars, 2014 by Dennis Busch

Dennis Busch works in Germany, making his own brand of readymade photography, cutting and collaging and writing charmingly rude messages in white paint over many of the images. He constructs his images from photographs, revising our references until each work circles in on itself like a dream.

Busch’s work is a striking display of nihilistic collage art, absurdist sculpture, and abstracted photographs—many with messages for the public. An image of a medieval coat of armor, placed against a lavish red-orange backdrop, is casually adorned with the work iPhone. Juxtapositions seemingly so meaningless they make one pause in wonder, only to discover there is no “Why?”

Balancing this image is a photograph of an apple that has been given an unfortunate set of teeth. Well, only the top teeth, and those are not too fresh. The apple sits against a white backdrop, enjoying its time in front of the camera with a goofy grin you won’t find anywhere else.

Busch’s provocative iconography is at once awkward, edgy, aggressive, sexy, silly, and sometimes a little sentimental. Published in Back to Normal (Airbag Craftworks), Busch does not ask simple questions or offer easy answers, but happily thumbs his nose at convention, beauty, and formality. His work is a collection of imperfections, and a love of the absurd. Dada for your nerves.

Busch most recently published The Art of Collage (Gestalten), a survey of contemporary work that is as rich as it is inviting in its layering of aesthetics, one a top another. He speaks with The Click about his singular life in art.

Busch observes, “I consider myself a human being. I don’ feel like an artist. I see myself as a ‘metaphysical bomber’ bombing boundary after boundary. I am kind of satirist, critic, truthfinder, surgeon, dreamer, nutter, lovemaker, killer, pathfinder, astronaut, politic, maker, watcher, etc. Who cares about that? That’s part of the only game.”

Read the Full Story at THE CLICK.

become a new spring

August 14, 2014

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait - Time Flies, 1929

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait – Time Flies, 1929

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man;
true nobility is being superior to your former self.
~Ernest Hemingway

 

Pablo Picasso, postcard to Jean Cocteau, 1919

Pablo Picasso, postcard to Jean Cocteau, 1919

Art is my way of understanding the world.
~Lygia Pape

Artwork courtesy of Joie Iacono

Artwork courtesy of Joie Iacono

Joie Iacono is a diamond, polished to shine, reflecting, refracting, and bending light at she desires. A photographer, painter, designer, director, DJ, and collaborator, Iacono is a many-faceted gem who best embodies the phrase, “I am every woman.” She first picked up a camera at the age of eight and turned the lens upon herself, becoming both artist and model in each frame.

Iacono reveals, “My work is diaristic; I am always pulling elements from what is going on in my life, to re-enact and perform these moments for the camera. I am an artist, a business woman, a wife, a homemaker, and a world traveler—yet I’ve been an outsider all of my life. As humans, we are such chameleons. I believe in making the world what I want it to be. My birthday is December 31; according to astrocartography, that’s the Day of the Joker. The Joker is no card and yet it is all the cards in the deck at the same time.I experience nothing and everything. In my art I am capturing the experiences I am having from a tertiary place. I am observing the changes and allowing the process to take place. My mantra for the last couple of years has been to let experiences pass through myself, rather than carry them with me. I am being a receptor, a channel, a path for these ideas.”

It is through these channels that Iacono’s iconography travels, finding its form as it makes its way through time and space. As she changes location, she also changes form. Where she was previously focused on photography in New York, Iacono has become much more invested in music in Berlin. She recalls, “A few years ago when I was touring around Europe a lot with Antony and the Johnsons, I began to have very strong desires to leave the U.S. permanently. Growing up in New York, which is such a transitory place, I met so many people from all over the world who were dying to get to New York City, meanwhile I was dying to experience the places they had come from. As my concerns about the current climate in America grew, my desire to move grew. Living in New York started to feel too forced to me.”

In September 2013, painter Cédrix Crespel collaborated with Iacono on “Exhibition J.O.I.E.” at AD Galerie in Montpellier. She recalls, “I used the show as a jumping off point to leave New York, without really knowing where we would end up, like Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland

Read the Full Story at THE CHIC.

Seydou Keïta

Photographs, Bamako, Mali 1948-1963 by Seydou Keita published by steidldangin

The portrait has become the icon of our times. Where we once venerated gods and saints, we now elevate ourselves to the object worthy of beholding, worthy of veneration—by ourselves, our loved ones, or by perfect strangers. The portrait is a means of recording that one moment in time as a universal constant; this is us now and forever more, this is who we are and how we see the world. And as we see, so we are seen. And as we believe, so we become.

The portrait was originally an invention of painting and sculpture, a means of recording greatness to sway the populace. Kings and queens and lesser nobles had likenesses produced as a means of asserting their power. For the image speaks in every language and can be understood by all, no matter when we live, what we perceive through our eyes is a mirror of the world.

When photography replaced painting as the tool of recording life, painting had to redefine itself. But photography, photography was immediately taken as a form of truth, as a means of both art and reportage at the same time. It is a construction, in as much as all objects exist in our mind first. But it also the reconstruction of memory as mediated through our contemplation of the object itself.

It is this, the significance of portraiture in our lives, that makes the work of photographers Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé so profound. Their ability to show us the lives of modern Africans forever changes our assumptions about the place in which life began. The politics of Africa are so tremendous it does not behoove me to try to frame them within this piece, but suffice to say the work of these photographer strips us of the assumptions, prejudices, and distortions that history has decreed.

There is something about being one of the people that one photographs that has authenticity. Not just authenticity, but authority. Both Keïta and Sidibé are from Mali, one of the poorest nations in the world. But you would never know this to look at their photographs for the people who stood before their cameras maintain a dignity that defies the worst of circumstance. Humanity, such as it is recorded in portraiture, is how we see ourselves in our own eyes—and thus we reflect our self-image back on the world.

It is in these reflections that two beautiful new books have been released: Seydou Keïta: Photographs Bamako, Mali 1948–1963 (SteidlDangin) and Malick Sidibé: The Portrait of Mali (Skira). Sidibé’s photographs cover the period of the early1960s through the 1980s, making these volumes a discourse on the continuity of people, photography, and portraiture created in Mail from colonialism to revolution to dictatorship. Democracy was finally established, but that was after these photographs were taken, so what we are looking at is people living in the shadows and aftermath of French occupation.

The Keïta book is a marvel. It stands at 17 x 12.3 inches, with 412 pages and over 400 photographs. It is as much a piece of furniture as an objet d’art unto itself. It is a timeless compendium of portraits, mostly unpublished, taken by the man who became Bamako’s most successful portrait photographer during the 1950s and 60s.

It offers us a glimpse into the space where the public and private meet. For no matter how carefully we compose our face, there is always something in the eyes that gives us away. There is desire, dreams, hopes, fears. There is who we think we are and who we wish to be. There is who we are with one another, and who we are when we stand alone. Seydou Keïta: Photographs Bamako, Mali 1948–1963 is a picture window into a time and a place that few of us know or understand or investigate for the mythology of Africa is so vast and grand.

Keïta’s portraits show us that all the world over, in any time or place, humanity is more alike than it is different. We know love and we know hate. We know beauty and we know ugliness. We know others in as much as we know ourselves, and when we look at these portraits, what we see is the the ephemeral forever caught by the eternal.

Beautifully complementing this volume is the book by Sidibé, a paperback book that offers us a look both inside and outside the photographer’s studio. Sidibé’s work is taken after colonial occupation ended and we see the people of Bamako creating themselves as in a new world. It is a space where traditions of the past meet the opportunities of the present, where one can create themselves in the space between. Sidibé’s portraits have an emotional intensity that can only be ascribed to the space in between the photographer and the subject, that one moment in time where eyes connected and energy was shared, and the spirit of life is forever caught on silver gelatin paper.

In going outside the studio, Malick Sidibé: The Portrait of Mali shows us a larger world, an environment and a context into which these people appear. We see Mali through the eyes of one of its citizens, and the Mali he knows is not the Mali that is reported to the world. This is a place of power and beauty and style, and though it may be among the poorest nations in the world, you cannot put a price on pride.

The work of Keïta and Sidibé serves a great purpose—to enlighten and inspire us with self respect and self love. To understand Africa is to understand ourselves. Let us begin by listening to Africans tell us their truth.

First published 22 March 2012
Le Journal de la Photographie

Gala Ball, Bamako,1962, The Portrait of Mali © Malick Sidibé

Gala Ball, Bamako,1962, The Portrait of Mali © Malick Sidibé

satisfy yourself

August 9, 2014

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Miss Rosen Blog
est. August 9, 2009

~ Celebrating Five Years ~
of Art & Love

The Hug; Eyes Closed and Smile, 1982 ©Harvey Stein 2011

The Hug; Eyes Closed and Smile, 1982 ©Harvey Stein 2011

Coney Island is a world unto itself. It is a time and place that exists independent of everything else. Situated where South Brooklyn meets the Atlantic Ocean, it is an urban fantasy of beachfront life. It is equal parts escapism and entertainment, strange and seedy and strikingly American at its core. It is a fantasy world of populist delight: rides, games, and half-naked girls.

Harvey Stein has been photographing life in this inimitable stretch of land since 1970 and the result is Coney Island: 40 Years 1970–2010 (Schiffer), and it features a carefully curated selection of images that take us there. From the boardwalk and the pier to the amusements and the Mermaid Parade to the workers and the beach, Stein’s photographs take all that is original and iconoclastic about Coney Island and puts them in arm’s reach.

While Coney Island is available to all, it is home to Brooklynites. It is a place that breeds its own kind of people and attracts them in kind. It has a “you tawkin to me?” kinda vibe that allows its denizens to live in the public eye with a kind of shameless nakedness of spirit that makes its inhabitants unlike any other. It attracts exhibitionists and voyeurs, the people themselves being the greatest part of the show. And whether they are participating or simply kicking back, they make for what, in Stein’s eye, is undoubtedly, a memorable photo opp.

There is a spirit of love and acceptance that surrounds this neighborhood, and part of that comes from being a place for escape—what goes on in Coney Island stays there. There is an urban edge to this slice of paradise, a way in which the bright sun casts a long shadow and there is a sense of something else lurking within this distinctive world. It is that the stress of New York is not quite forgotten but simply put aside, and it lingers and it floats and it makes one wonder just who these people are. How did they get here and how did they get this way? Stein’s photographs do not provide answers so much as they provoke question after question with each turn of the page.

Mr. Stein observes, “Coney Island is about people, it’s the people that intrigue me and what I am always drawn to photograph. All sizes, shapes, races, ages, religions, behaviors. The amusements, the sea, the open air, the sun and the sand all impart a kind of freedom of behavior that I don’t see anywhere else. And I am interested in the contradictions and ironies present in its social world. I am always impressed with how we all get along at Coney Island.”

Read the full story at THE CLICK.

find your way home

August 7, 2014

 Porto 2013 © Gloria Rodríguez

Porto 2013 © Gloria Rodríguez

Talent hits a target no one else can hit.
Genius hits a target no one else can see.
~Arthur Schopenhauer.

Photograph by Douglas Kirkland

Photograph by Douglas Kirkland

Marilyn Monroe is a star cast to earth, a spirit in the flesh, and on camera, that’s ethereal. Eternal. Forever a star glowing bright in the sky and we watch as it burns, burns everything in its wake until one day, it’ vanishes. Explosions of sorts, and things leading in that direction, and stories and legends and myths. And Marilyn was the greatest star of them all.

August 5 marks the 52 anniversary of her death, a death that has become as iconic as the legend herself. Less than one year before she died, Monroe posed for Douglas Kirkland, who was then a young photographer on assignment for the 25 anniversary of Look magazine.

The date was November 17 and as Kirkland recounts in his book, With Marilyn, An Evening/1961 (Glitterati Incorporated), “My greatest difficulty during that meeting was telling Marilyn exactly how I wanted to photographer her. As I’d looked into her eyes, which seemed especially warm and virginal to me that evening, I felt as though my two older colleagues were sitting there in judgment, like two ancient schoolmasters, as I tried to gently seduce her into doing the picture I had envisioned, I felt conflicted: one part, the masculine, photographer side, just wanted to say, ‘You’ll get into this bed we’ll have, with nothing on, and we’ll figure it out from there. Period!’

“However, the Sunday School-side of my background wouldn’t let the words come out. Marilyn, with her sweet intuitiveness, made it easy. She simply said, ‘Okay I know exactly what we need. We need a bed with white silk sheets and nothing else, and it will work. But,’ she added, ‘the sheets must be silk.’ She had done the biggest part of my job for me: understood my ideas and articulated them better than I had been able to—bless her.”

In Kirkland’s photographs from this historic sitting, there is an energy, a spirit flowing through the ether, captured forever in these images, a force that floats through our fingers as we page through the book, which is page after page of Marilyn wearing nothing but Chanel No. 5 in bed. It is quite literally exquisite.

Read the full story at THE CLICK.

every heart is my temple

August 4, 2014

Purple tulips, white flowering prunus, narcissus and pink chrysanthemum" 19th Century (detail). Pancrace Bessa (1772 – after 1836)

Purple tulips, white flowering prunus, narcissus and pink chrysanthemum” 19th Century (detail). Pancrace Bessa (1772 – after 1836)

Catwoman by Gilles Vranckx

Catwoman by Gilles Vranckx

Homesickness, 1940 ~ Rene Magritte

Homesickness, 1940 ~ Rene Magritte

The real beloved is your beginning and your end.
When you find that one,
you’ll no longer expect anything else.
~Rumi

jul_aug12

On this, the 25th anniversary of photograph magazine (originally Photography In New York), The Click sat down with publisher Bill Mindlin to speak about the little magazine that could — and did — become a national treasure, the only publication of its ilk. The magazine, which features columns by Lyle Rexer, Vince Aletti, Jean Dykstra, Elisabeth Biondi, and Sarah Schmerler, among others, has become a mainstay among photography aficionados.

Says columnist Vince Aletti, “Bill is at once easy-going and focused, with a strong vision for photograph that he’s honed and grown successfully over the years. I’m glad to have been one of the early contributors and happy to still be there among a larger group of writers and a substantially beefed-up section of reviews and features. What began as essentially a listings magazine has turned into something much more essential and lively. I’m always impressed by the design and efficiency of the magazine and happy to be associated with it.”

Mindlin’s path to publisher is as eclectic as his magazine. A native of San Francisco circa the summer of love, he grew up in a working class neighborhood, went to UC Berkeley during the people’s park years and then to Colombia for grad school in industrial social welfare. “After working at one of New York’s unions for ten years, it was time for a change. So I went to Europe and ended up in Israel where I enrolled in a photography program in Jerusalem.” Quickly realizing that he has the interest, but not the talent, Mr. Mindlin began exploring the medium more in depth, studying the lives and work of photographers and learning the history of photography.

“When I came back to the U.S. in 1986, I starting working at the Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery in Soho. Cusie was a pioneer contemporary photography dealer in the 1970s and 80s — way ahead of the times. I also briefly worked at A Photographer’s Place, a wonderful bookstore that specialized in photography.”

Mindlin got the idea for a guide while working at the gallery. “Visitors would always ask me where are the other photography shows, so I created a mimeographed list of suggested shows that I passed out. That was the genesis.”

Read the full story at THE CLICK.

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