Wednesday, 30 March 2011

And So It Ends

And so it ends. The last photomontages are made and the series "The Photograph as Contemporary Art" is finalised with 33 unique pieces and what a journey it has been. The images above, from left to right are "Photomontage XXXI, (taken from pages 29, 72, 88.)" , "Photomontage XXXII, (taken from pages 109, 120, 218.)" and "Photomontage XXX, (taken from pages 37, 42, 46.)"

I would like to take this opportunity to wholehartedly thank all the photographers whose images are published in Charlotte Cotton's book and especially to the artists whose images I have used in the 33 pieces, I couldn't have made such a sucessful body of work without your work - Thank You!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Expert Visions

Follow the debate with new visions from Foam's Expert Meeting held last Saturday 19th March. New videos and thoughts available by some of the leading contemporaries, from Fred Ritchin, Laurel Ptak to Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin's presentation at the meeting and discussions with Charlotte Cotton and Lisa Oppenheim about the Ideal Insititution.

This really is a fantastic project, putting forward very important ideas and notions regarding Photography and where it is/ can head in our ever changing, ever developing future.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Мелинда Гибсон

Nice post on a Russian Blog "Look at Me" about the series "The Photograph as Contemporary Art", quite interesting to see how it's described in Russian and that the work is getting interest and exposure in many different countries.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Photographic help for Japan

Marc Feustel has written a great piece about how to help Japan on his wonderful blog Eye Curious, see below for important information on how photography is helping and how you can too.

“Since the quake and tsunami hit Japan on Friday 11 March, a number of photo initiatives have sprung up to support the relief efforts that are being made after this terrible disaster. Here is a list of the ones that I have come across so far. If there are any other initiatives out there, please add them in the comments or send them on to me by email and I will add them to the post.”

Read more here:

Friday, 18 March 2011

Anna Fox - Cockroach Diary

Last week I visited the Bonington Gallery at Nottingham Trent University to see the Anna Fox exhibition, while I was up there doing some teaching. I had already seen much of the work but found some new found inspiration from the Cockroach diary and one other piece, that I hadn't seen before which was brilliant, a collection of emails and CMYK proofs all catalogued into glassed tables; beautiful.

Above is a section from the Cockroach diary and details a very personal account of what was found, organised but even more interestingly an insight into the lives and dysfunctional relationships of the people in the house. This got me thinking about my new project "Little Gifts" and how important it was/is to incorporate text into this body of work. So I have been putting together new pieces of text, in an automatic style, images to follow shortly.

Image copyright Anna Fox.

Aaron Schuman and Charlotte Cotton Say...

CC: We're definitely out of that phase when discussion centres around whether you're an 'artist using photography', or a 'photographer'. Doesn't that feel completely irrelevant now?

AS: At what point did you first feel that this debate had become irrelevant?

CC: Even when I was writing The Photograph as Contemporary Art, around 2004, I felt that it was over as a debate, or at least I was no longer remotely interested in having that debate. But the point at which it was really over for me was last year, when the contemporary art market imploded completely, because that terminology is only important if the locus is the contemporary art market. I don't think that contemporary art is the centre of things anymore.

AS: But to a certain extent, your book - The Photograph as Contemporary Art - was responsible for centring photography within that context for the current generation of practitioners, and still remains important to students in terms of figuring out where photography is located. Do you feel that the book is relevant anymore?

CC: Well I wrote the new chapter about a year and a half ago. In the book, I clearly sidestepped trying to validate photography as contemporary art and just said, 'It is; that war is over.' And then each chapter started with historical precedents that at the time were unexpected, like Cindy Sherman or Jim Welling. For some people, those artists constitute what photography as contemporary art is, but I was saying that they are actually historical precedents who initially got the ball rolling for all of the more recent artists, who were born around 1965-1970.

AS: But could you write a book like The Photograph as Contemporary Art now?

CC: No. I could only write it now if 'Contemporary Art' was understood as a museological term for a period in art-making that, for most museums, started around 1965 and ended around 2010.

AS: So we've come to the end of the 'Contemporary' period?

CC: Maybe. I'm certainly finding that the work that most interests me today doesn't sit within that field. I think that the very nature of the time that we're now living through has led me to change my opinion about lots of things profoundly. And to not change your opinion about something that is shifting so radically is to not be really and truly invested in it.

Read more here:

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Walid Raad - 2011 Hasselblad Award Winner

Walid Raad, has been awarded the 2011 Hasselblad Award. The Foundation’s citation regarding the decision to award the 2011 prize to Walid Raad is as follows:

“Walid Raad is one of the most original and singular contemporary artists using photography. He has been widely acclaimed for his project “The Atlas Group”, in which Raad generated original ideas about the relationship between documentary photography, archive and history. In order to document and investigate Lebanon’s contemporary history, Raad developed innovative methods of approaching the imagery of war and the way political and social conflict can be explored in art. Through Raad’s work we are able to question the traditional iconography of war photography and speculate productively on visuality, memory and violence.”

And what a worthy winner he is. Read more here:

Image above; WALID RAAD / THE ATLAS GROUP Let’s Be Honest, The Weather Helped (Iraq), 1984-2007 © Walid Raad. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut & Hamburg, Anthony Reynold Gall

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day Centenary

To mark the occasion of International Women's Day Centenary 1911 - 2011, I thought it only right to draw attention to the world of Photography and the extraordinary women who have contributed to this medium and will continue to do so it all our wonderful ways.

What better way to celebrate than looking at the women who have helped shape Photography in an exhibition in MOMA titled, "Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography" which is on until the 4th April 2011. Works by Diane Arbus, Berenice Abbott, Claude Cahun, Imogen Cunningham, Rineke Dijkstra, Florence Henri, Roni Horn, Nan Goldin, Helen Levitt, Lisette Model, Lucia Moholy, Tina Modotti, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems to name but are few that are on show.

I would like to thank these women and every other who is continuing to fight for what they believe in and produce beautiful work in an industry that is so predominately male. Congratulations and let’s continue!

Image copyright Ilse Bing. Self-Portrait in Mirrors. 1931.

Monday, 7 March 2011

A Little Gift

As I work on my new project "Little Gifts" I continue to find objects and images that will be part of the series. Today I found a beautiful collection of Polaroid’s that I took of my dearest friend a few years ago. There is something rather telling in the destruction and degeneration of the Polaroid itself, which is both striking and shocking in the same breath. For me, it represents and reaffirms those tender moments spent together which were captured and collected and which are now being processed.

Image copyright Melinda Gibson 2009 -2011

Fred Ritchin Says...

What a wonderful answer to the question What's Next, which is Foam's 10th Anniversary Project. Below is two paragraphs taken from Fred Ritchin's answer to this exact question and what amazing, inspiring thoughts they are. As you will know I am one of the contributors, but I felt it was important to bring forward some of the best points, (in my eyes) so far.

“Instead of becoming a photographer, figure out what to do with the enormous numbers of images - how to find the relevant ones, present them, contextualize them, link them, meld them with other media, use them effectively. This too is 'writing with light.' And then take a deep breath (never forget to breathe), and start making the new kinds of imagery that a digital/quantum/code-based/abstracted/semi-virtual/problematic world requires.

So what do we do to remain sane and to survive? Filter the overwhelming amount of imagery in such a way that it might be useful, first having decided that usefulness is a priority, as opposed to distraction. If we are, in a sense, in a boat with holes trying to stay afloat (there is no shore), we can either diagnose the problems to try and fix them, or pretend that the holes, and the boat itself, do not exist - or prematurely resign ourselves to our inability to fix anything. In a consumerist society this would be viewed as normal behaviour (just buy another one); last century we would have called it nihilism.”

Fred Ritchin, What's Next at

Thursday, 3 March 2011

People In Trouble Laughing Pushed To The Ground

Last Thursday I went to the opening of Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin's new show "People In Trouble Laughing Pushed To The Ground" at Paradise Row. The exhibition was stunning and shows a new body of work which resulted from an engagement with the Photographic Archive, Belfast Exposed, founded in 1983.

Belfast Exposed is home to half a million images and they describe the archive as "a vernacular document, a record of a turbulent historical period in the city's history, produced from the perspectives of its principal actors, the communities themselves. It is not a representative view of the city as whole but an arbitrary gathering of images and views, of and from specific parts of Belfast."

Broomberg and Chanarin have produced a series of images that attempts to re-present the emotive traces of personal intervention, in all its forms, from photo-editors, archivists to the photographers and their subjects, commenting on and "highlighting a tension between the desire to expose and the desire to remain hidden." In one series the images, examples above, present detailed sections of photographs which have been previously covered with dots, we are presented with just the dots and are left wondering what was in the rest of the frame. Other exhibits are large scale enlargements from the archive detailing the range of marks left on the images, some gentle and artistic to violent and obscuring.

The show is truly beautiful and well worth a visit. It is a must to anyone who appreciates the diversity and power of Photography used in an experimental, conceptual and poetic manner.

Images above from left to right; Untitled (Laughing, hiding, pulling), 2010, fibre print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm and

Untitled (Balloons escaping), 2010, fibre print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm - Copyright Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin

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