Leah Oates

Leah OatesLeah Oates captures time and space in her photographs. She says, "The work I create first originates as a response to space that is in a continual state of change. In everyone there is a sense of flux and a familiarity with this type of space.

Transitory spaces have a messy human energy that is always in the present yet constantly changing. I find them endlessly interesting, alive places where there is a great deal of beauty and fragility. They are temporary monuments to the ephemeral nature of existence."


Essay by David Gibson

The power of the photographic image has always been to stop timeÑto create instant artifacts. But these days, since digital media has overwhelmed the processes by which photographs are made, this original logic seems to have been turned upon its ear. How do we judge a static reality when images are considered as mere samples of perception rather than documents of beauty commingled with truth? It is equally a matter of the photographic image, the objective it depicts, and our approach to it. The photograph, if taken in consideration of static and transitory elements, can be said to share time with reality, because as a document it represents both the actual and the symbolic.

The photographs of Leah Oates are meant as documents not of an object frozen in time, but animated by it. Hers is a visual register similar to the literary trope called Òstream of consciousnessÓ in which the perspective of the writer--in this case the artist or viewerÑcreates a fluidic narrative that affects the way the text is recognized as a metaphor for actuality. It is not filled with symbols but is symbolically actualized.

In her recent series of photographs, Leah Oates deals with physical areas in Newfoundland, Beijing, China, and in several public parks in of New York City including Pelham Bay, Jamaica Bay and Prospect Park. What unifies all these areas is that they share once wild or cultivated natural areas with post-industrial, post-residential ones. She creates fantastic vistas that, despite not being attached to the same static environments of her previous collectionsÑthat dealt with consumer detritus in an urban sphere of lost spaceÑOates is dealing with nature as a by-product of Bourgeois appetites for conspicuous consumption, an idea that was birthed in the late 19th century with the advent of cities built around industrial habits. So called Òcivilized peopleÓ were attempting to maintain the rituals of court society in a post-imperial world. These manicured and landscaped environments created a doppelganger to the grounds of great castles like Versailles or Vaux-Le-Vicompte, or city parks such as the Luxembourg Gardens. Over the interval of progressing eras, these parks shifted in the use value and their reference to the urban areas surrounding them.

In her famous book about urbanism and urban blight, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs talks about how neighborhoods that are organized around a public park invariably lose their focus as communities, and become centerless. This is because they do not resemble court society, but a more complex version of Main Street America, in which services and residences take up different areas not always en face with one another. The community that develops in an urban community is interior and is unified by ethnicity and nationalism and their shared commonality, not by imposed class-based values. Parks in cities changed as the 20th century progressed, because they suffered the same fate as the streets ringing them. They became places that nobody went, for not only were they in disrepair, they were a loss of ideals, a degradation of a glorious past, a ruined purity. Yet today many of the parks have been returned to a version of their glory, in some case s completely re-landscaped so as to hew to the original wishes of their historical builders and preservers. In OatesÕs images they take on a wildness that is both diffuse and sublime, like entering a glade in a place weÕve never visited before. Oates reaffirms the primal character of nature by allowing the eye to meander and vibrate among optical perspectives enlivened by the rigor of the transitory.

Alternatively, the images of hers originating in faraway places such as Newfoundland and Beijing tend to reference abandoned residences around which nature is slowly creeping and taking over, turning them into mordant relics; or she focuses specifically upon objects such as electric and telephone wire towers, silently connecting human communities while creating an industrial periphery in uninhabited areas that are otherwise entirely natural. They are metal and energy totems representing the value system of human will with only the sky, wind, and clouds to symbolize and lay bare the alternately implied and emphasized manifest destiny that utility structures and the system of organic interactions that is nature itself, mean to one another.

Leah Oates brings our impressions of both worlds into one frame. Who could look upon any of her scenes and not agree that she had transformed our trained esthetic expectations into a manifestation of reality that creates beauty in its path, not because it makes the image more precious, but because they make us feel more alive. Like people who share a single space but never at the same time, always looking out the same window but perhaps seeing completely different things, we are given the chance to share moments of transcendent fragility that approach the originality of the empirical.


Maria Creyts

Maria CreytsArtist Maria Creyts creates extraordinarily long photos depicting subjects she designs from textiles.  Her works are concerned with hand-sewn garments as subjects in same-scale photography.  Large photo compositions and the clothing subjects themselves are often exhibited together with the matching image and subject just out of view of each other.  Complete ensembles suspended on hangers seem like mysterious gallery goers whose boldly patterned dress outshines the individual to the point that we do not see him or her at all.

In 2012 the artist focused on custom clothing design while preparing an African-themed fashion collection for Kansas City’s West 18th Street Fashion Show.  Through this, she acquired further skill in sewing and explored how clothing design and construction could help in planning a purpose for her sewn subjects beyond the photo shoot.

During December and January 2011-2012, Creyts spent time learning batik techniques in Nigeria under artist Niké Davies Okundaye with the goal of introducing the artist’s own hand into her photo friezes through designing fabrics for photography subjects.  For the menswear ensemble she photoed, Creyts used hot wax to draw and print imagery on 7 yards of seersucker.  The motif used unites the amusing story of her visit to an African palace with traditional Nigerian stencil designs that portray a European royal couple.

About the artist

Maria Creyts is a graduate of Yale University School of Art and her studio, ESTUDIO mariaurora, is in Kansas City, Missouri.  The artist’s photo friezes have stretched over walls at the Visual Arts Gallery of the University of Lagos, Nigeria (2012), Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City (2011), and Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo in Oaxaca, Mexico (2010).  In "Panoramic Patterns” (Kansas City Star, 4/21/2011), critic Dana Self described the artist as "...a curious media traveler, someone who refuses to let a material’s limitations or its nature stand in the way of her inquisitiveness.”  artist website:  http://mariaurora.net

Jill Friedman

Jf_circus_days_1971Jill Freedman is a highly respected New York City documentary photographer whose award-winning work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, George Eastman House, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, among others. She has appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout the world, and has contributed to many publications.  Jill Freedman is best known for her street and documentary photography, recalling the work of André Kertész, W. Eugene Smith, Dorothea Lange, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.  She has published seven books: Old News: Resurrection City;  Circus Days;  Firehouse;  Street Cops;  A Time That Was: Irish Moments;  Jill’s Dogs;  and Ireland Ever.

She says, "I’m a New York street shooter and have pictures of NYC in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that will be THE all-time drop-dead New York Book. I’m about to start taking it around to publishers. I love assignments and am ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice. I’m trying to find projects that wil benefit children and animals. Animal welfare is my passion; I keep trying to get editors interested in stories of the many ways they help us. I’m still trying."

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary ellen markMARY ELLEN MARK has achieved worldwide visibility through her numerous books, exhibitions and editorial magazine work. She is a contributing photographer to The New Yorker and has published photo-essays and portraits in such publications as LIFE, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. For over four decades, she has traveled extensively to make pictures that reflect a high degree of humanism. Today, she is recognized as one of our most respected and influential photographers. Her images of our world's diverse cultures have become landmarks in the field of documentary photography. Her portrayals of Mother Teresa, Indian circuses, and brothels in Bombay were the product of many years of work in India. A photo essay on runaway children in Seattle became the basis of the academy award nominated film STREETWISE, directed and photographed by her husband, Martin Bell.

Mary Ellen Mark has been among the preeminent documentary photographers working for the last four decades. Her work has been the subject of seventeen monographs, and is collected by virtually all museums. Among Mark’s many awards are a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from her Alma Mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

Gerard Rancinan

GERARD-RANCINAN-OPERA-GALLERY-570Somewhere between the glossed-up pomp of a Kanye West music video and the forceful virtuoso of a Géricault painting we get the hyper-saturated images of Gérard Rancinan.  Gerard Rancinan is a photographer.

Attempting to decipher the content of Rancinan's dense photographs would likely take an afternoon.There are heavy-handed symbols by the dozen: we see Marilyn Monroe as a heroin addict, a burqa-clad Lady Liberty, cops making out, Judith with the head of Mickey Mouse and riot protesters clamoring to the top of pile of bodies. Yet rather than using individual pop cultural triggers to tell a story, Rancinan injects them into your vision stream all at once, creating a dizzying and exhilarating image overdose.

Heavier topics like war, sex and religion are jumbled up with Disney characters, nude women and boozed-up banquets, placing no barrier between high and low, dark and light. Rancinan's photographs act as magnets for played-out historical narratives, literary cliches and pop-culture hot topics. Yet the trigger images are all a tease; hunting for a deeper meaning will only lead you back to the beginning. Instead, Rancinan serves up an all-you-can-eat buffet of images, supplying everything you desire right there on the surface.

William Klein

William Klein 3_Club_Allegro_Fortissimo_Paris_1990William Klein (born in New York, New York, USA, on April 19, 1928) is a photographer and filmmaker noted to for his ironic approach to both media and his extensive use of unusual photographic techniques in the context of photojournalism and fashion photography. He was ranked 25th on Professional Photographer's Top 100 Most influential photographers.

Trained as a painter, Klein studied under Fernand Léger and found early success with exhibitions of his work. However, he soon moved on to photography and achieved widespread fame as a fashion photographer for Vogue and for his photo essays on various cities. Despite having no training as a photographer, Klein won the Prix Nadar in 1957 for New York, a book of photographs taken during a brief return to his hometown in 1954. Klein's work was considered revolutionary for its "ambivalent and ironic approach to the world of fashion", its "uncompromising rejection of the then prevailing rules of photography" and for his extensive use of wide-angle and telephoto lenses, natural lighting and motion blur.

Klein tends to be cited in photography books along with Robert Frank as among the fathers of street photography, one of those mixed compliments that classifies a man who is hard to classify. The world of fashion would become the subject for Klein's first feature film, Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, which, like his other two fiction features, Mr. Freedom and The Model Couple, is a satire. Klein has directed numerous short and feature-length documentaries and has produced over 250 television commercials.



Petros Chrisostomou

Petros ChrisostomouPetros Chrisostomou and his art are multi faceted. Petros is a Cypriot, raised in London and currently living and working in New York. His art is essentially photography, which would not exist without his work in sculptural model making.

According to Tina Pandi, Curator, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, "Petros Chrisostomou photographs small-scale, ordinary, ephemeral objects in architectural models that he constructs himself, and then dramatically arranges, often employing lighting and staging conventions of the theatre. With the alteration of scale and reversal of the relation between object and environment, between imaginary and real space, his photographs challenge the viewer's visual certainties. The illusionary effect he achieves highlights the artist's playful approach, which fluctuates between mimicry of the real world and construction of a surreallistic reality.

In his photographs, the exuberant assemblage of objects in luxurious interiors - resembling wreckage from some disaster -create paradoxical still lifes that parody the traditional memento mori style of the genre. In his works Rococo bluff I and Rococo bluff 2, the objects he creates out of balloons, chewing gum, fabric and glasses are freed of their ordinary use and become dynamic protagonists. Similarly, the details of the rococo set consist of everyday objects, functioning as contemporary cultural signifiers. Christosomou's photographs become the field for mixing the high- and the low-brow, mass culture and genre painting, the luxurious and the expendable, as indications of social class distinctions. At the same time, the relations between the real and the imaginary in his oeuvre are a commentary on the mediated images of contemporary mass media that distort the natural and immediate dimension of our relation to reality, determining, among other things, the conditions for viewing and receiving art."

The artist himself describes his mission in the following video:

Eric Meola

Eric meola Eric Meola (born 1946 in Syracuse, New York) is an American photographer whose work has touched on the cultural zeitgeist for several decades. Moody, exciting, transformative and engaging are only a handful of the experiences one has with his amazing photographic images.

Meola graduated from Syracuse University in 1968 and is self-taught in the art of photography. In New York he apprenticed under photographer Pete Turner, who influenced Meola's use of saturated color and graphic design.

In 1971, Meola opened a studio and began working for popular magazines such as Life, Esquire, and Time, shooting editorial photos. His work has since appeared in museum collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and in Munich's Museum of Modern Art. Meola's official website can be found below. Meola has traveled throughout the world, and is recognized for the brilliant use of color in his photography.

One of his most famous photos, Coca(Cola) Kid, was taken in Haiti. This photo appeared in the 1997 issue of LIFE magazine as one of the 100 Magnificent Moments of the Past 1,000 Years. Meola is also known for his photos of Bruce Springsteen, including the cover of Springsteen's album Born to Run. Several of Meola's Springsteen photographs appear in the thirtieth anniversary box-set edition of Darkness on the Edge of Town.


George Hugnet

George-HugnetGeorge Hugnet was awriter but might be best known for his hauntngly beautiful and erotic photomontage. Hugnet was a French graphic artist but was also active as a poet, writer, art historian, graphic artist, bookbinding designer, critic and film director. Hugnet was a figure in the Dada movement and Surrealism.

A series of works collected under the title, he Love Life of the Spumifers, or La Vie Amoureuse des Spumifères, combines Surrealist poetry's fascination with l'amour and Dada's tendency towards deliberate grammatical spontaneity and absurdity. Words like bowoodling, friskadoodling and labamaraminating are concocted by Hugnet to describe the seductive strategies of his imaginary creatures. Each text is dedicated to a different creature, describing how it woos, teases, gropes and molests its intended love conquest. Each Spumifer is illustrated by a gouache "beast," which is added to an early Twentieth Century vintage "French" photo postcard. The mellifluously painted monsters slyly slither around the bare flesh of the pictured "mademoiselle," nibbling and tickling, arousing her sexual desire. Hugnet's illustrations seduce the viewer, parodying the human pursuit of love and lovemaking through these adorable grotesques.

Francesca Woodman

Francesca woodmanFrancesca Woodman (1958-1981) has an esteemed artistic pedigree. She was the daughter of ceramicist Betty Woodman.

Francesca was an artist decisively of her time, yet her photographs retain an undeniable immediacy. With their spectral figures dissolving into Gothic ruins, the black-and-white photographs of Francesca Woodman look so antiquated as to be thoroughly modern in our nostalgia-riddled digital age. She shrouded herself in sheets of plastic, smeared Vaseline on mirrors, and tucked herself into vitrines. In some of her pictures her nude body appears as a solid form, all contours and negative space, like a prop in a Man Ray photograph. In others the only evidence of her body is a pair of legs underneath a diaphanous blur.
Her entire oeuvre was created in a remarkably short period of time; Woodman leaped to her death in 1981, when she was 22 years old. Her precocity has prompted some critics to whisper that her posthumous reputation rests as much on the spooky shadow cast by her abrupt death as it does on the work itself. Others have levelled condescending compliments about her ability to convey, in the words of one, “a girl’s visual equivalent of ‘Catcher in the Rye.’”