The Inner Path of Photography

We yearn for the taste of the sacred…and through our cameras discover it, the world, and ourselves.

Tag: Events – Houston

FotoFest 2010 Notes – MFAH: Hatakeyama Naoya

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has  a huge exhibit this year for FotoFest, titled, Ruptures and Continuities: Photography Made after 1960 from the MFAH Collection”

Nearly 200 images from over 80 artists are grouped in five themes…read the Museum’s description, it will give you an idea of what you’re in store for.

I found much of the work interesting, and nice to know to fill in more of my knowledge about photography over the years, and how it has been used, but two images in particular caught my eye, along with what the artist had to say about his work.

1) Hatakeyama Naoya, “Underground #6411”

I was drawn to this image for the simplicity, beautiful lighting, and mysterious beauty of it. It was interesting to feel such a spiritual feeling from the light in a sewer tunnel. The notes written by the MFAH curator beside the image gave words to the connection I felt with  this artist and his work:

“The experience recalled the same feeling of helplessness he had felt 30 years earlier searching for a light in a cave near his home, or standing on a giant dune in the Sahara. In the darkness of the sewer system, he realized that he was the only one needing light, compelled to feel the existence of nature, the sublime.” (my bolding/italics).

My kind of guy.

Click here for the MFAH picture of the image. This excerpt from their catalog gives you a framework for Naoya’s work:

“Since the late 1980s, Hatakeyama Naoya has created interlocking series of photographs about Tokyo. He began photographing the limestone quarries from which the buildings of Tokyo are built. Then he photographed the rivers leading to and through the city, and finally, the tunnels beneath it. This picture is haunting beyond our knowledge of where it was taken. He has created a strange stage, awaiting both players and audiences.”

There is also an artist’s page on French Artnet, where there is this image, more of his work, , and a CV of the the artist reflecting the many  projects he has worked on.

You’ll see on the French Artnet page that Naoya has also explored the art of  seascapes.  His approach and sensibility speaks to me;  reflecting what I am drawn to capture in my own work….

How nice to unexpectedly find the inspiration of a kindred spirit…

Notes from FotoFest 2010 Houston – Houston Center for Photography (HCP)

“Why images of American groups made before 1950? My rule…I like these photographs. Posses, clubs, teams, graduations, parades, rallies, klans, assemblies, ceremonies, choruses, and mobs are all here. I respond to images that have intense strangeness. This is not a definitive collection of photographs. I like these because they´re fun, and they resonate with me. For me that is the pleasure of collecting.” – W.M. Hunt, 2009

From the exhibit “RE: groups – American Photographs Before 1950” from W.M. Hunt´s Collection Blind Pirate

The Houston Center for Photography (HCP) has three exhibits for FotoFest 2010…The one that really charmed me was W.M. Hunt’s collection of group photos from before 1950. You can read the description of this exhibit on the HCP website, but you really can’t get the full impact of it until you’re actually there, standing in front of the photographs. Groups of students, employees, families, legislative groups…they’re all here, and shown together, they remind us of a use of the camera that we often take for granted and a life event that is truly part of the American consciousness.

There’s something about seeing all of these photographs in one place that made me want to go find all of my group photos, either taken by me or from my childhood school yearbooks, birthday parties, and travels. The exhibit made me nostalgic for the days of effortlessly belonging to a group, not trying, even resisting that group portrait because it seemed cheesy. There’s something elegant and respectful about these images…an acknowledgment of the power of groups.

Be sure to see the  Ku Klux Klan group image. It’s simultaneously hilarious (they all have their hoods on, so you can’t see who’s in the picture! Why take a picture of people that you can’t see?) and frightening (not seeing who is underneath the hoods is the whole point of the Klan…anyone could be there, including your brother, next door neighbor, or 1st grade teacher).

Notes from FotoFest 2010, Houston – Jason Lazarus

I was in Houston for two days last week, just enough time to connect with friends and then run around and see what I could of the FotoFest offerings this year.

Check out the FotoFest website,  where you can see all of the events, venues, activities and information…FotoFest is a  photographer’s Candyland, and it’s almost over (some venues have already changed their shows, but most are still up until April 25…next week!) so go soon!

I’m always curious as to what people have seen and what they liked/disliked…so if you’ve been to any of the shows, feel free to tell me what caught your eye. I’d love to hear.

In the meantime, I’m going to post my thoughts about some artists and shows that inspired, made me think, or uplifted me…
I’ll start with…

1) Jason Lazarus, “Nirvana,”
(1st floor, Fotofest at the Vine Street Studios, part of the exhibit “Whatever Was Splendid: New American Photographs.”)

Jason asked the question, “Who introduced you to the band “Nirvana”?” and then asked participants to submit a photograph of that person with their answer. After interviewing people and hearing their stories, he selected some key phrases and hand-printed them at the bottom of the photographs.

The photographs with their captions are emotionally stunning…I was amazed that people had such great photos of people that were very influential in their lives….and the stories that go along with them are touching/joyful/hearfelt. Jason also varied the sizes of the images, which contributed to the impact.

A small selection from the whole project is exhibited at FotoFest, but it’s powerful. You can see more on Jason’s website.

While you’re at the Jason Lazarus website, check out the project “Impossible Art Ideas”
I  love the concept and the ideas are funny, visionary, and inspiring.
More! More!

Jason’s work makes me look at my own projects and consider how I can think out of the box in some of the ways that he has, perhaps to enhance some of the work I’ve already done, and to  allow for new project ideas.

Thanks Jason! I look forward to seeing more of your work…

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