Archive for the “Stuff We Like” Category

Fast Camera:

An App That Lives Up to Its Name

 

by Zach Hoffman

Right now, more and more camera and photography related apps are flooding the online market. There are hundreds of apps all telling you that they can radically change the way you take pictures with your phone, but none seem to do more than put a new face over the default camera. Fast Camera, on the other hand, not only changes the interface of the camera, but also alters the way the camera captures images to speed up the process without sacrificing quality. Most apps are designed to streamline the image capture process and generally replace technical controls with “cool” filters and aesthetic facades. As an academically trained photographer, this app provides me with the technical control I am used to in an interactive, touch sensitive experience.

Basically this app allows you to capture quickly and easily several images and review them later. With the default camera on your phone, images can only be captured as fast as you can push the button. With Fast Camera, you have full control of not only the speed at which the images are taken but you can also set and lock exposure, focus, and white balance settings with a simple touch.

When you first open the app, the capture mode is set to auto by default. This means as soon as you open the app, Fast Camera instantly starts capturing images. This feature can be a little agitating if you are not expecting it but once you understand the settings and their functions, this app really begins to shine. Read the rest of this entry »

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By Zach Hoffman, Spring 2013 PRC Intern

On display at the Koppelman Gallery at Tufts University until April 21, Night Hunter by Stacey Steers takes the viewer into the dark and hopeless environment of Victorian life. By blending hand-made video, 3-D sculpture, and collages, she not only deepens the impact of the video but also creates several new access points into the work giving the viewer room to explore the conceptual and technical aspects.

When I entered the space the first thing I noticed was the dark and despondent dollhouse. Each room of the house was well crafted and displayed a typical Victorian style lost in a psychedelic nightmare. Integrated into each room, solid-state video screens played out select clips from the video playing on the far wall. After viewing each room I became more and more interested in the video and was able to place what I saw on the screen into the setting of the house. The dialog between the two made the experience even more pertinent, as I was able to understand the work conceptually and to place the character in a physical realm.

http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/images/2012steers1v2.jpg

Stacey Steers, Night Hunter House, 2012, mixed media, music and sound by Larry Polansky. Image from Hood Museum of Art.

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By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

When it comes to imagination, there are no limits to how far our minds can take us. I recently had the exciting opportunity to observe an exhibit by Lynn Goldsmith at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester. This body of work, entitled The Looking Glass, highlights the psychological relationship between what we see and what we imagine while exploring the issue of identity.   Taking on the role of various make believe characters, Goldsmith places herself in her images to represent her numerous fictional identities. A new adventure awaits the viewer as they jump from one photograph to the next. In other exhibits by contemporary photographers, I have found there to be a lack of imagination and creativity. Goldsmith, however has broken this barrier, exposing what lies in the deepest and most private corners of her imagination. But in portraying numerous fictional characters, is Goldsmith attempting to represent what is in her own head, or perhaps what lies deep in the minds of us all? We all have dreams, fantasies, and worlds that we travel to when reality becomes too much to bear. Is it possible that we can identify with any of Goldsmith’s multiple figures of her imagination?

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This review of The Space in Between was written during the exhibition’s run at the PRC Gallery (November 15, 2012 – January 19, 2013). The show has now moved to a second venue at the Atlantic Wharf Gallery  downtown as a PRC satellite exhibit. We invite you to visit The Space in Between to experience its new configuration this spring. This satellite exhibition will be on view from January 28 – March 22, 2013. The Atlantic Wharf Gallery at 290 Congress St. is open every day from 7 am – 10 pm.

 

By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

When we think of places like shops and houses, we expect there will also be people to fill them. So what happens when three different photographers decide to challenge this idea? In the most recent exhibit on display at the Photographic Resource Center, photographers Stefanie Klavens, Lynn Saville, and Daniel Feldman showcase work that explores the idea of empty spaces where humans are present without being physically pictured. Through the use of architecturally-focused photography, they have depicted manmade locations that would normally be buzzing with people, but are captured completely empty. Yet, the viewer can sense a human presence just out of reach. Where did everybody go? Why is this location void of the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life?

In her body of work entitled How We Live, Stefanie Klavens has selected spots that would normally be filled with people, but strangely, are completely barren and desolate.These locations range from a bar in Reno to an elegant restaurant and even an abandoned apartment that seem to have been caught in a post-apocalyptic state. Weren’t places like these built so that people could come together and socialize?  Where is the usual crowd? Upon closer inspection, signs of a human presence beings to emerge. Holiday decorations line the walls of an empty bar, while white graffiti stands out against the brick wall of an abandoned building. Vibrant yellow sunflowers and pink Gerber daisies give life to a seemingly empty flower store while cars surround a hotel pool without any swimmers. While these images lack any human beings, they serve as a clear representation of how we as a society live. In a way, they serve as portraits exhibiting the unique lifestyles of people in this day and age. In her artist statement, Klavens states that these “intimate, frozen moments become pieces in a jigsaw puzzle that reflects our culture and how we choose to go about our lives.”

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 By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

Since opening in 1971, the Panopticon Gallery has become one of the oldest fine art photography galleries in the United States specializing in contemporary, modern, and vintage photography.  Their goal is to represent established and emerging photographers who are focused on developing and expanding their careers. They also regularly assist collectors in buying, selling, and locating photographs along with supporting local educational institutions. On October 25th, I had the privilege of attending the Panopticon Gallery’s Fall Photography Salon, where photographers represented by gallery owner Jason Landry were able to show off their most recent work. The artists-Lindsey Beal, Heidi Kirkpatrick, Stella Johnson, Roger Farrington, Alexander Harding, and Bill Franson-all had very different ideas, making each of their portfolios unique.  Throughout the night, I was able to talk with and interview each photographer and learn more about his or her artistic style.  My goal was to learn what each of their portfolios was about, if there was a message they were trying to convey, and what inspired them to create their personal style of photography.

Interestingly enough, both Heidi Kirkpatrick and Lindsey Beal have incorporated themes involving contemporary and historical women’s issues, feminism, and sexuality into their work. Their images highlight the delicate shapes and gentle curves of the female body through unique photographic methods such as transparent imagery on film, sculpture, and 3D mixed media objects. But while the overarching themes of Beal and Kirkpatrick’s work are similar, vast differences set them apart from one another. Kirkpatrick’s work depicts the world experienced by women, along with exploring various areas of the female body in detail, such as faces, arms, legs, breasts, hands, and hair. The subjects in her images range from infants to full grown women, symbolizing the different stages of female’s life.  In a non-traditional approach to photography, Kirkpatrick has transferred these vintage images onto three-dimensional objects including wooden blocks, ceramic spheres, and even mahjong tiles. When I inquired as to why she had chosen such a unique way to display her work, she said that she wanted to give both the objects and photographs a second life. “Only part of their story is being told,” she stated, “The rest is out of reach.” This idea caused me to view the items in a new light, and not as old things, but symbols of another era. What purpose did these objects serve before they were altered? Who are the women in these photographs? What stories do they have to tell? The answers to these questions are, unfortunately, lost with time, but through her creative process, Kirkpatrick has indeed given them a ‘new life.’

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By Meredith Hoobler, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

Walking down the hallway leading to the Ori Gersht: History Repeating exhibition, I hear unidentifiable sounds, looming, heavy sounds that immediately envelop me. Directly ahead is a grey wall that displays one of Gersht’s many prints. I am immediately drawn into the photograph depicting an explosion, Blow Up. The suspenseful work depicts flower petals and fragments of glass being blown in every direction, looking as though they will scratch the print itself. Distracted by this violent and vivid image, I walk up to what appears to be a painting. I hear a shot and whip my head around, immediately disoriented and confused as to why I hear gunshots in the Museum of Fine Arts. What I think is a photograph has just started to move; the screen depicts a previously hanging pomegranate that is now splattering its contents all over the floor, the objects sprawled below like blood dripping from a wound. It swings like a pendulum gushing its juices on everything in its path.

Continuing through the rest of the show, I experience many mixed emotions. It is apparent that the works were arranged for aesthetic impact, but I only focus on their subtle undertones.  I inspect the visual aspects of the work that accompany the written descriptions and feel a complicated combination of emotions: I am inspired, horrified, impressed, and confounded.  On my first visit, expecting to spend only a half hour in the exhibition, I stay an absurd three hours in the two-room gallery viewing the two-dimensional works and three digital productions.

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By Meredith Hoobler, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

Exhibition planning, design, and execution is one of those tasks that simultaneously makes curators want to pull their hair out and jump around like a little girl who just received her first doll. It is complicated yet surprisingly simple, and its success depends on a few very important skills. Over the months I have worked at the Photographic Resource Center, I have been constantly working with Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis, the Program & Exhibition Manager. Working on so many different projects at the PRC it has been easy for me to pick up the important aspects of exhibition development, through Erin discussing her tasks with me, and my own observations.

Everything fell into place for me personally when I interviewed Erin for a profile article. Sitting down with her at an isolated location away from work really allowed us to converse about her thoughts about the upcoming exhibit, The Space in Between: Daniel Feldman, Stefanie Klavens, and Lynn Saville. This one exhibit taught me in only two short months about approximately a yearlong journey that ends with an opening night.

First and foremost, you need substance. You need to get that spark, light bulb, or flash of an idea, usually triggered by seeing an artist’s work. Once you have the idea, brainstorming steps in. What other artists could pair or complement this one, should it be a solo show, which works are the most influential, powerful, or able to be applied to your theme? This step’s time period is infinite and depends on individual timelines, a boss or department’s deadline, or the organization where the show is to be installed and exhibited. Erin explained the difference in timelines to me based on institution size. Smaller nonprofits such as the PRC have much less time in planning. A year is ideal, but usually the curator and small support staff have under a year to complete the exhibition process. A larger museum typically requires years of planning and research done by a much larger staff of professionals and interns.

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By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

The ambiance that accompanies this black and white photograph by Vivien Goldman is one of tranquility and peace. The viewer is drawn to the center, the focal point of the image, a window framed by a simple lace curtain. It’s sheer, semi-translucent lace is almost ghost-like, illuminating a soft patch of light that shines through the bottom section of the rectangular window. This light casts shadows that reflect onto the surrounding walls, creating different levels of white and gray. The curtain itself has a delicate crosshatched pattern that can be observed in the upper portion of the window. Its swag is draped gently over the top windowpane, creating a delicate curve that adds a level of elegance to the already beautiful curtain.

Vivien Goldman, Lacy Curtain, 2011, Archival Inkjet Print, 16×20 inches, courtesy of the artist

The paint that once coated the walls and ceiling surrounding the window is now severely chipped and peeling. Cracks in the paint create giant Xs that travel from one section of the wall to another like veins. In the upper left corner, almost all of the paint is gone, exposing the concrete wall that it once covered. This bare wall almost serves as an omen to the walls that are still mostly coated in flaking paint. With time, they too will be bare.

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By Zach Hoffman, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

The first thing I noticed about this piece was the hand of the artist. Personal choices of content and composition mark this print as a unique view of photographer Carol Golemboski. From her series Psychometry, “They Hook and They Hold” explores themes of loss, anxiety, and doubt through the “hand-made” photographic process.

Carol Golemboski, “They Hook and They Hold,” 2001, Toned Silver Gelatin Print,
Signed Verso, AP, 10 x 10 inches, courtesy of the artist.

The evolution of photography has come a long way. Starting in the early 90s, Photoshop has made the direct manipulation of any image possible, allowing photographers full freedom to create.  At the time only professional photographers were able to access this amazing tool, but today it is in the hands and pockets of anyone with a smart phone. There is an endless amount of apps to change any image into a “retro” work of art.

Rejecting the “photoshopped” image, some photographers have begun to return to historical processes and dark room manipulations for creative expression. Although you can reproduce the same manipulations on the computer, photographers like Carol Golemboski rely on the process to produce one-of-a-kind results only found in the dark room.

“They Hook and They Hold” is an elegant and abstract exploration of the tension and fascination of the unknown inherent in all of us. A dark and consuming void fills the image, broken only by sharp contrast of the birdbath and hooks. The objects are not meant to be specific but are intended to invite the viewer to interpret their own meaning. To me the hooks represent the unseen trap set by those with power. There is always a tension or fear of being caught in the snares of daily life.

As a photographer and lover of the hand-made I find so much beauty in work like this. I am always fascinated when an artist uses scratching in the image. They are almost signatures of the artist and reference a sense of history and constant use. They also add to an illusion of depth and materiality in the image.

I could go on and on about this image and what each aspect means to me, but like Golemboski, I want to invite you to interpret the image in your own way. Photographs like these are not only to be looked at but to be a place of personal reflection and understanding.

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By Meredith Hoobler, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

As the title hints, this image depicts a vast mountain scene in the background with a valley in the middle ground. The foreground portrays a set of humans hands holding a glass orb filled almost to the top with water. The camera lens shoots through the water, capturing the distorted and turned upside-down reflection of the scene. A llama sits just left of the human hands, the tip of its nose appearing to touch the upper portion of the woman’s fingers. This perplexing image is not extremely colorful—the colors are muted and mostly earth tones. There is a small patch of blue in the upper right portion on the print, the sky visible to the side of the mountains.  Then the burnt yellow of the autumn grass spreads across the bottom of the photograph along the valley, making the print appear slightly glowing. This glowing is interrupted by the fleshy color of the hands in the central portion of the work. The burnt brown of the hilltops sharply rises to meet the black and white mountains. The only other area of color is within the reflection in the water.

Ivana George, “Glacial Waters 4,” 2011, Giclee on Moab Cotton Paper, 1/25, Signed Recto, 14×21 inches, $1,000.
ivanadamiengeorge.com

The areas of the photograph are very divided into distinctive “grounds,” back, middle, and fore. This concept immediately reminds this viewer of specific divisions and even steps towards Futurism. The Futurist movement originated in Italy and focused on the technology, violence, and speed all associated with the future. Famous futurist artists questioned everything about the past and decided to start looking at their new and fresh subjects with different perspectives than previous artists. This idea of new perspectives is seen through the glass orb. Also, movement was a key aspect of the Futurist philosophy—capturing it, representing it, and mimicking it.  Even though the image is stagnant, the water and the image appear to move slightly. The water in the orb, in combination with the light, provides the illusion the image is vibrating, moving with the current of the water.

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