Tag Archives: photography

Hot Mess

“Hot Mess” is the title of an artwork by Doug Aitken that features a beautiful photograph showing an aeriel view of the Las Vegas strip at night.  The image is displayed as a back-lit circular framed object mounted to the gallery wall. At the center of the photo, just above the bright lights of the city, is the title of the artwork in a standard serif font.

There’s humor in this artwork, one of dozens currently on view as part of the artist’s massive retrospective exhbition “Electric Earth” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a.k.a., MOCA, in downtown Los Angeles. “Hot Mess” is part of series of circular photographic works that marry text and image in intriguing and ironic ways. In the case of this piece, the words evoke and connect several notions about Las Vegas.

Vegas is a unique and strange city among America’s big cities, and for that matter it’s unlike any city in the world in ways that are both obvious and not-so-obvious. As a tourist  in the unlikeliest of geographical places, Vegas has traded on its image of being home to relatively legalized vice and moral laxity when it comes to these. Gambling, partying, hotel resort travel, and various types of adult entertainment (in addition to entertainment in general), plus a slew of massive trade shows and conventions, and flamboyant, whimsical architecture — all in the middle of the desert — make the city singular and a kind of “mess” culturally and symbolically.

The term evokes the idea of somebody or a thing that is scatterred, disorganized, troubled and possibly pathological. Vergas can seem like that. Much like a freshly spewed pile of vomit — from which the term “hot mess” is metaphorically derived — on the pavement from a drunk college student after chugging too many Jager shots. And Vegas is kind of like that. But it’s only one facet.

And yet, it has its own beauty. Seen from afar, like many cities and in the photo in Aitken’s artwork, Vegas appears like a glittery jewel, a Mikly Way galaxy of neon and LED coalesced into a distant blur of energy, enterprise, and urbanized humanity.

The Amazing Drawings of Toba Khedoori

The artwork of Australian-Iraqi artist Toba Khedoori leaves a distinct impression. Her works are primarily finely detailed, photo-realistic pencil drawings in monochromatic lead or color on massive sheets of waxed paper. The drawings tend to be focused on discrete, single objects set in a vast emptiness — a chair, a fence, a door — or a piece removed from its larger architectural context — rows and rows of seats from a theater or, as in the example pictured here, a fireplace. It’s one of a series of drawings of fireplaces currently on view as part of her solo show at LACMA in Los Angeles. The drawing has a trompe l’oeil quality but has none of the cheap gimmickry of that anachronistic decorative conceit. Looking at the drawing from afar, it appears as if there’s an actual fireplace recessed into the gallery wall.

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これらの大きくて、詳細で、現実的な図面は、オーストラリア – イラクの芸術家トバ・ケドゥリ氏によるものです。 これらはロサンゼルスのLACMAで展示されています。

Surf Photography Books

On a recent visit to the Arcana bookstore in Culver City, in Los Angeles, we checked out some beautiful coffee-table books on surfing and surf photography. Among these was a book titled “Surfing San Onofre to Point Dume: 1936-1942.” It’s a collection of sepia-toned photos by Don James documenting his surfing experience and his surfer friends and their lifestyle in Southern California during the pre-World War II era and early war years. The photos reveal what the surfing life was like in its first idyllic golden age when the Hawaiian “sport of kings” was still novel and taking root in California.

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これらのクールで美しい本は、サーフィン撮影に関するものです。 これらの本は、ロサンゼルスのカルバーシティにある有名なアルカナ書店で見つけました。

The 100 Most Influential Images of All Time

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Time magazine recently published the “100 Most Influential Images of All Time.” It’s a stunning mixed collection of iconic, powerful and beautiful images. Among these images is the first photograph ever taken, a picture from 1826 titled simply “View from the Window at Le Gras.” The image shown above is a 1968 photo titled “The Invasion of Prague.” It’s one of our favorites. 

The World According to Photographer William Eggleston

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The New York Times Style magazine “T” recently published an excellent feature on photographer William Eggleston, considered the pioneer of color photography. The article was written by Augesten Burroughs and offers images of Eggleston (like the one below) shot by another influential photographer, Wolfgang Tillmans. The online version includes video by Tillmans and a slideshow of some never-before-published images by Eggleston. Great stuff and a must read for fans of the photographer and his style.

“Airportraits” by Photographer Mike Kelley

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Photographer Mike Kelley photographed airplanes taking off from airports around the world and then composited the images to provide a visualization of all the various airlines and takeoffs.  Kelley calls these “Airportraits.” You can view more of these images on his website. The image of LAX above was used for the front cover photo of Nicholas Felton’s recent data-visualization book “PhotoViz.”

Blown-Up Robin Williams Photo as Street Art … Mission, San Francisco

This blown-up black-and-white image is a fitting street-art tribute to the late great actor-comedian Robin Williams. The photo adorns a construction-site hoarding next to a popular book shop in the Mission District of San Francisco, where Williams had lived for many years and where he spent his early career working the local stand-up comedy club scene. In the photo, Williams is young, bearded, almost feral with a poignant, restrained intensity. In context of the city’s visual clutter, the image manages stands out.