Posts Tagged “landscape”

Wide Open: Photographs by Linda McCartney was an exhibition on display from June 4 to July 2, 1998 at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York. McCartney never saw the exhibition, having passed away April of that year, although she had been involved in the preliminary processes. “Last September, I spent time with Linda, in England,” writes gallery owner Bonni Berubi in the book’s introduction, “and quite literally looked at every photograph she had made in the past thirty years.”

Very different from her early years spent photographing the “swinging sixties” music scenes and Rolling Stone stories, Wide Open is a series of nature photographs, just a small microcosm from a lifetime of work. Published to correspond with the exhibition of the same name, the book is divided into four section—platinum prints, photogravures, silver-bromide prints, and Polaroid transfers. Subject matter includes garden variety photographs, desert scenes, forest glades, and flowers. The flowers, and my personal favorite Several Autumn Maple Leaves, 1996, are featured in the Polaroid transfers section, also the only color photographs in the book.

In their simplicity and starkness, McCartney’s photographs showcase a beauty more elaborate images never could. Sand Sea Sky, a platinum print from 1995, is a photograph of the horizon. Sand, sea, and sky all continue forever, meeting at a point in the distance, only to keep continuing. That it’s photographed in black and white only further illuminates the extending horizon, drawing the viewer in. Staring at this photograph—into this photograph—one can almost feel the sand between toes, waves lapping at ankles, sunlight warming skin.

John Lennon once said of Linda McCartney, “she has an eye for an eye.” While he was speaking specifically about her uncanny ability to capture people’s emotions, one can argue he was referring to her other photographs as well. Wide Open is a slice of life as its best, the wide open spaces we’ve long forgot, only to be reminded when we least expect it.

“UNCATALOGUED” contributor Stefanie Maclin is a published poet and recent graduate of Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library Science. Currently, she’s organizing the “uncats”—books on the shelves in the PRC’s Siskind Library yet to receive Library of Congress catalogue records. Stefanie will regularly be highlighting books from this collection for BPF.
Editor’s Note: The code ‘UM78’ following the title of McCartney’s book indicates that it is the 78th title in the series of uncatalogued books by photographers, authors, or editors whose last name starts with ‘M.’ This system, reflected here and in subsequent titles in the UNCATALOGUED blog entries, is how nearly 1,500 uncatalogued volumes were arranged on the Siskind Library shelves before we secured an internet connection in the library (late 2010) to enable our librarians to look up Library of Congress call numbers for books that were published without that information. GS.

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[Reviewed by PRC 2010 summer intern Chris Maliga]

Victorville, by J Bennett Fitts. Used with permission of the artist.

No Lifeguard on Duty, J Bennett Fitts’ first catalogue (published by Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, in 2006), explores the built environment within California city-scapes, using the Pacific urban background to suggest the limits of the American dream. Fitts has taken a fixture of twentieth-century American life, the swimming pool, and depicted it in varying states of decay, typically behind seemingly vacant and unappealing motels.

In several of Fitts’s photographs, the pool is juxtaposed against a background of natural serenity, with the sun setting over the ocean. Los Angeles’s omnipresent palm trees move with the wind as they grow out of the ruined concrete fixtures that are no longer a source of entertainment for visitors to the city.  Fences surround every one of the pools, apparently to shield them either from the intrusions of nature or the rest of the urban environment. Despite this barrier, nature finds a way to reclaim these spaces, and there is a sense that these supposedly private places are never entirely separate from their surroundings.

The color palette Fitts uses comes from his choice of shooting near sunset combined with the dismal smog that creeps in from the city. This suits his idea of examining the pools as artifacts of the prosperity of twentieth-century, post-war America. The setting sun, the swaying trees, and the mostly vacant motel settings indicate a time of transition away from this prosperity. The dinginess of the water and extensive decay of many of these pools and their surroundings indicate that this transition is not a positive one. Save for the last photograph, there are no people present in this series, despite lights being turned on at a lot of the motels. This final view of Grand Junction, with a tired figure staring at some sort of ghostly presence in the water with the sun setting overheard, leaves the viewer wondering what has become of a luxurious past and what the future might hold in this time of uncertainty.

Grand Junction, by J Bennett Fitts. Used with permission of the artist.

No Lifeguard on Duty is a slender volume, containing twenty-one identically sized photographs. The pool is always present in the foreground, with the background varying between images. This repetition places the emphasis of the work firmly on the pool as a symbol, not of the activities and experiences typically associated with pools in American life, but of their absence.

Links: J Bennett Fitts; Paul Kopeikin Gallery

[Note: This book, and most others reviewed on the Boston Photography Focus blog, are available for reading (no loans, sorry) in the PRC library.]

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I hope you can take that wonderful drive out route 2 to Harvard, MA this weekend.  The PRC’s show New England Survey gets a reprise in a delightful setting with a beautiful view (seen above).  The opening reception is Sunday, September 14th from 4-6pm.

Surrounded by 200 acres and right next to a collection of Hudson River School paintings, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting for this exhibition.  Come see work by Barbara Bosworth, Tanja Hollander, Janet Pritchard, Thad Russell, Jonathan Sharlin, Paul Taylor again or for the first time.

Click here for directions and more information about this former Transcendentalist and Utopian community and jewell of a museum.

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Last week, I traveled out Route 2 to Harvard, MA and the Fruitlands Museum to lay out the PRC’s warmly received landscape exhibition, New England Survey.  The exhibition will run August 23 – December 21, 2008 with an opening reception on Sunday, September 14, 4 – 6pm.

Take a sneak peek at the installation and their beautiful grounds in this flickr set!

I am thrilled at how it turned out.  The work is in their Picture Gallery, right next to Hudson River School paintings and right outside are incredible views and nature trails.  The juxtapositions created are stunning.  Come re-experience work by Barbara Bosworth, Tanja Alexia Hollander, Janet Pritchard, Thad Russell, Jonathan Sharlin, and Paul Taylor.

A little history – This past spring, we were approached by the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA, to show a version of the PRC exhibition New England Survey in fall 2008. Fruitlands, a former Transcendentalist, Utopian center, is increasingly considering exhibitions that complement their interpretive themes (Inhabiting Nature, Encounters on a Changing Landscape, and Traditions that Bind) as well as intersect with their mission. New England Survey was a perfect fit and joins a special exhibition of Joe Wheelwright’s trees sculptures currently on their grounds.  I am proud as a peach, as it’s the first show that I put together that has traveled.

We are thrilled that Fruitlands loved the exhibition so much and that it will live on and be shown at such a beautiful location during New England’s peak fall season. We invite you to see it again in this unique setting, or for the first time. Take a whole day, have lunch, walk the trails, and explore their collections, it’s that amazing!

Visit for more information and directions.  See you at the opening!

ABOUT FRUITLANDS: Fruitlands Museum is one of the first outdoor museums in America and boasts over 200+ acres of pastoral landscape and several period buildings. This national landmark shares the unique ideas, stories, objects, and landscape of New England’s most original thinkers, movers, and reformers. Enjoy nature trails and four unique galleries of Native American, Shaker, and American art collections, including Hudson River School landscapes and nineteenth-century vernacular portraits.

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Jocelyn Lee

There are a few key things that I’ve come to associate with summer in New England – longer and (slightly) warmer days, azure blue skies, gorgeous sandy beaches, more parking downtown (schools are out), Will Smith’s Summertime (alright, I can’t directly associate this “ode to summer” classic with New England but it is inextricably connected to my youth. If you too are of this generation and want to reminisce click here), and, of course, the PRC’s Summer Masters Workshops.

We have a great line-up of both skill and concept building workshops for a variety of interests. From Managing a Digital Workflow with Bruce Hamilton; to the travel workshop Environmental and Narrative Portraiture in Maine with Jocelyn Lee; to Barbara Bosworth’s workshop, the Uncanny Landscape; and Responsibility in Documentary Photography with Dominic Chavez; there is something for everyone.

For more detailed info on these workshops please visit the PRC website.

IMAGE CREDIT: Jocelyn Lee, Untitled (Long haired girl in water), 2002, chromogenic print

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Inspired by our current landscape show, New England Survey, I thought it would be interesting to place a map in the gallery and encourage folks to notate it with their own “senses of place.”

It took me a while to track down a map of New England with the region all on one side (thanks AAA!). My hunt for map pins also took a little longer than expected (thank you Bob Slate!). I stocked a wooden sketch box full of materials (thanks Pearl!) and cut up pieces of vellum upon which to write. After ironing the map flat, I hung it up in the gallery and waited…

Whenever I come up with such ideas, I never know if visitors will go along. Well, I am happy to report that they did! After the opening, we had about 25 notes/places and as of yesterday, I counted over 125! As you can see in these installation shots, folks have shared a wide variety of places and ideas. Interestingly, a vast majority of them are along the New England coast, Cape Cod, or in Maine.

I have noted a few of my favorites below, but you can also check out others on the PRC Flickr page. (In our flickr group we’ve had an active discussion on what makes New England, New England.) I’d love to hear more. What spaces and places in New England are you moved by and why? Share them below, or come to the PRC and add to the collective notion of our region before the show’s last day, May 11th!

~ When I was 9, I was mobbed and pinched by a flock of geese. It was the first time I saw the ocean – Chatham Beach, MA
~ Jack’s Old Cottage – Craigsville Beach, MA
~ I fell in love, and felt home – Ayer, MA
~ Where I lived my whole life – Hudson, NH
~ Every October, our family gathers in this isolated cottage. Each morning I’d wake to the breathtaking harbor view – East Boothbay, ME
~ I realized that there is always a back road leading home – Near the border of MA & NY

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The PRC invites you to share your photographs with our new Flickr group, “New England Survey Online.”

Can’t make it physically to see the exhibition New England Survey at the Photographic Resource Center? Or, you did see it, were inspired, and want to respond artistically? Or even, have you scads of wonderfully poetic photographs of and about the New England landscape?

Well then, you are in luck… we have launched a topical PRC flickr group. Help us test the waters of this new idea in the hopes that we can do it with other topics in the future. Share your work with us and the world! To date we have over 100 photos, 40 members, and an active discussion. Browse the photographs in the pool here and see how to add yours below.

flickr group

This is an open opportunity for all to share and discuss photographs which resonate with our current exhibition and asks “What is New England about New England landscape?” We are hoping to gather together images that explore a state of mind and a sense of place that is unique to this region. We invite you to post your thoughts about this issue as well as any information on your images (and even poems too!).

To share your New England photographs and get started, first you must have a Flickr account (free!). After you do, sign in as yourself first, then go to the PRC’s group page by clicking here and to the right you’ll see “Join this Group” link. Click on it, read the rules and if you agree, and then join the group! (The rules are very minor but will help to keep the group running smoothly and a joy to all.) After you’ve joined, return to your Flickr page, click on the picture you want to share and along the top of it you’ll see “Send to group.” Click on that, select our group’s name, and then presto you are all set! If you have any issues, first visit these Flickr group FAQs, or send us an email.

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We just posted new pics on our PRC flickr page. So surf on in and check out photos from Aperture’s Lesley A. Martin’s seminar on book publishing from April 1st and snaps from the opening reception of New England Survey from March 27th. Just click the photomontage below!

A sneak peek, CLOCKWISE from upper left:
* Lesley A. Martin gave a superb seminar on publishing.  It was very well attended!
* The 2 Lesley/ies. Lesley of Apeture and the other Leslie of the PRC pose with the Boston Skyline.
* Exhibiting artist Barbara Bosworth (center) with Sage Sohier & Margot Kelley – both of whom have shown at the PRC! [in Group Portrait (2005/2006) and Land/Mark respectively (2005)]
* Some folks in this picture: photographer Bob O’Connor, Kate from MassArt and BU photohistorian and PRC board member Kim Sichel

Publishing seminar and New England Survey montage

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