Primal Sight - Photographs by various artists | Book review by Magali Duzant | LensCulture

Curated by Efrem Zelony-Mindell, this book surveys the rich and elastic world of black-and-white photography via the works of over 140 artists and essays from Zelony-Mindell, David Campany, and Gregory Eddi-Jones

Weaving its way from landscape to portrait, still life to assemblage, Primal Sight takes a near encyclopedic approach to sight itself. From Ally Caple’s quiet but forceful portrait Jasmine in Home Studio to Anastasia Samoylova’s dimensional Black and White Mountain, the viewer is led through multiple iterations of what a photograph can be. A survey, whether an exhibition or a book, is a hard format to get right. What is enough and how much is too much?
Categorized as Books

A Photographer’s View from Inside a Brooklyn Junior High

Puppy love, cafeteria jousting, and other scenes from a public school in Bushwick in the eighties and early nineties.

Between 1981 and 1994, the photographer Meryl Meisler worked as an art teacher in Bushwick, Brooklyn, at Roland Hayes Intermediate School 291. In a new book, “New York: PARADISE LOST Bushwick Era Disco,” out in June, she collects photos that she took of her students and colleagues during those years—the Menudo fans, the puppy love, the cafeteria jousting, the sneaker style, and a bit of teacher trash-talking. “The students were on the pulse of popular culture, exuded youthful pride, and could challenge one’s wits,” she said recently. Meisler (who’d previously photographed the disco scene and her own family on Long Island) eventually moved to a school in Manhattan, where she continued to teach—and take pictures—until 2010. Her photography from three decades inside the city’s public schools is her largest unseen body of work. “I still get teacher nightmares,” she said.

The harder the composition, the better the image: Katie Burnett on her experimental new book Cabin Fever

The London-based photographer is always up for a challenge, and her new book – made in lockdown and published by Art Paper Editions – proves just that.

Katie Burnett never thought she’d become a photographer. Instead, she found herself naturally gravitating towards art, making things in her spare time from a small town in Missouri. “I am very dyslexic so, for me, painting, drawing and making things were always what I excelled in at school,” she tells It’s Nice That

Do Blue-Chip Photographers Prop up Global Capitalism?

In his recent manifesto, Jörg Colberg takes aim at three prominent photographers for their "visual propaganda."

That said, what are the “identical” mechanisms Colberg suggests that link these artists to their socialist-realist predecessors? Leibovitz, Crewdson, and Gursky produce a kind of capitalist propaganda that, like socialist realism, “does not aim to depict an actually existing reality but instead presents a code that can be read by its intended spectators.” Colberg derives his description of socialist realism from art historian Boris Groys, who suggests that this code entails stories about heroes, demons, transcendental events, and real-world consequences that serve the messaging needs of the powerful. In this formulation, Colberg’s neoliberal realists make images that perpetuate, or even celebrate, unjust power structures.

Donna Ferrato: HOLY - LENSCRATCH

Holy is forged from one woman’s outrage against a woman-hating world. Donna Ferrato’s radical photographs showcase the remarkable ways women survive, endure, and change. Holy depicts women who prevail. Holy is an invitation to understand denigration, abus

Jason Langer: Twenty Years - LENSCRATCH

“Jason seems to have absorbed the entirety of photo history, particularly the so-called “New York School”, identified by historian Jane Livngstone in her book of that title from the early 1990’s: Arbus; Avedon; Brodovitch; Croner; Davidson; Donaghy; Faure

Six years ago, I wrote a review of Jason Langer’s book, 20 Years, published by Radius Books. When we featured the book, I didn’t have the book in hand. Much to my delight, Jason recently sent me a copy and I decided to revisit the project after spending time with his stellar monograph, which still can be purchased here. An interview with Jason follows..

The Twenty Years War

Peter van Agtmael has been documenting the Twenty Year War since its very beginning. I first spoke with him in 2007 and then again ten years later. He has published a number of books, all of them essential records of a country too embroiled in its own senseless militarism to recognise the folly of it all. There’s Disco Night Sept. 11, there is Buzzing at the Sill, and now there is Sorry for the War.

Nick Meyer: The Local - LENSCRATCH

Photographer Nick Meyer has created a remarkable body of work with his powerful project and new book published by MACK, The Local. It’s a collection of unrelenting seeing from a perspective of compassion and familiarity with place, but also a keen sensiti

LaToya Ruby Frazier, American Witness

A marriage of art and activism, the artist’s searing photographs reveal the human toll of economic injustice.

This fall, Frazier will publish “Flint Is Family in Three Acts,” a record of her five-year collaboration with people affected by the ongoing contaminated-water crisis in Flint, Mich. “The Last Cruze,” a formidable and moving volume of portraits and interviews with the autoworkers, was released in December. “If you take the work seriously, it changes how you see people,” said the artist Doug DuBois, another friend and mentor, who taught Frazier at Syracuse University. Her work has the power to propel viewers “from empathy to activism,” he said. “If you get it, you’re going to get angry.”

Peter van Agtmael’s Absurd, Grotesque Chronicle of the Fallout from the Iraq War

Van Agtmael’s images in his new book, “Sorry for the War,” highlight all the little ways in which the war twists and perverts whatever it touches, over there as well as over here.

For a decade and a half, Peter van Agtmael has been photographing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and their human fallout around the globe. In 2014, he published “Disco Night Sept 11,” which chronicled some of the more unexpected echoes between the wars overseas and the home front between 2006 and 2013. His new book, “Sorry for the War,” focusses on Iraq but roves farther afield. It includes images of refugees in Europe, U.S. military veterans Stateside, victims of an isis terrorist attack in Paris, an American guard at Guantánamo, and an Iraqi civilian injured in the battle of Mosul. Each individual picture is startlingly rich and lucid. Cumulatively, though, they present the viewer with a riddle: What can we learn from this body of work as a whole?

Susan Meiselas’s new book Eyes Open features 23 photography projects for curious kids

The Magnum president’s latest book reinterprets her cult classic Learn to See for young people.

Eyes Open is loosely inspired by Meiselas’ previous cult classic, Learn to See, a sourcebook of ideas from and for teachers and students published by the Polaroid Foundation in 1974. Reimagining this volume nearly 50 years later, Eyes Open saw Meiselas work with students and their work, not to mention an array of teachers who also submitted ideas for the newly published tome.