Monday, July 26, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

melanie pullen

this beautifully eire photo is backlit in an interesting way. the red fabric and details of the shoes feel symbolic of blood and life in this now lifeless body. i find it facinating that one shoe is undone, like a small act of unkeptness is really being used to show a very violent action. the lighting brings a dramatic and stark unnatural presence to the piece, like it may come from a searching helicopter or flashlight.


David Hilliard

Here is the typical triptych form that Hilliard uses. His father, one of his more popular subjects, is featured. The separation he feels with his beloved father is most palpable in this work where it is symbolized by an expanse in the middle frame. Age also separates them, but we see through to their shared expressions and tattoos. The focus on the sky and stretched out wilderness seems to show reverence for his father. The tones and the subjects' poses give me a feeling of stasis slipping into movement.

Image Critique-Uta Barth-"Nowhere Near"

When initially seeing this photograph, and before i researched the concept behind Barth’s work, I was reminded of painting methods that use light to portray a subject. The photo was interesting to me because the focus would normally be on scene outside the window; whereas here the focus is on the window itself and how it changes the objects outside. There are repeated shapes in the square window panes, and the view through the window is blurred. The scene through the window is recognizable as a landscape with a tree and building, but the focus seems to be on the time of day, the color palette created by light, and the shapes created by all of these . Her personal perception looking through this window is very apparent. The panes of glass that she is looking through are visible, as well as the reflections of red light from her house, and the time of day when she happened to be looking through this window. The viewpoint is a very personal one, because if anyone else were looking through the window the conditions would be different. For example, the place where she is standing, the light reflecting on the glass, the time of day, and the focus on the background and foreground are all records of place and time that are personal to her.

Stanley Kubrick Self Portrait Critique

The composition in this photo is really amazing. The shallow depth of field really draws the viewers eye right onto Kubrick. I think it is great that the camera is included in this photo. It seems like every one of us has tried to get that good of an angle while taking a picture of ourselves in the mirror. I also think it is really interesting that the watch is shown, considering how long Kubrick's films always took to produce. However we could only be so lucky as to get a shot as good as this one. After examining everything that is in focus, my eyes can't help but be drawn to the chaotic background. It seems like on the top right there is a doorway, that leads to another doorway, into an area that is just to blurry to see. I'm pretty sure that this is no accident on Kubrick's end.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Melanie Pullen

Melanie Pullen

American artist self trained in her chosen field grew up in New York city in a family of artists. Born in 1975 she work with galleries and museums around the world. Also working with musicians like beck, she currently resides in L.A. Her work has been published in numerous publications in many countries. There is also a book of her photographs out called High Fashion Crime Series published by the Nazraeli Press.

Her work is often very large and backlit when in a galleries setting. Pullen works in film and scans, prints and retouches her own work. Inspired by crime scene photographers between 1914 and 1918 as represented in the book Luc Sante’s “Evidence”. She has combined fashion, military uniforms and crime scenes in an interesting way. The film “Eyes of Laura Mars “ also was an influence.

High Fashion Crime Scenes (official site)

Ace Gallery

Exhibition Stephen Wirtz Gallery

New York Times Interview, 2004 New York Times


[KQED Gallery Crawl]



David Hilliard

In David Hilliard's work there is a shirtless father in the wilderness and men chugging soda in a convenience store. There are also gay lovers, boys transitioning into adulthood, and glances filled with desire. These are all attempts at achieving self understanding.

Hillard is a gay intellectual with an MFA from Yale. He also comes from a working class background. Through his work you see a discord within his identity. The bluebird tattoos on his chest, identical to his father's, symbolize sewing himself into his alienated history. Amidst the lovingly made scenes of his father, and his empathy towards all things masculine is a critical and uncomfortable eye.

His works are triptychs (or more) of ordinary scenes that imply a narrative. This structure comes from a joint appreciation of film and photography and also memories of his father creating panoramic landscape photos. The style of the pictures, much like the photos of Philip-Lorca diCorcia, walk the line of fiction and truth, or actually, autobiography. In the narratives that Hillard creates about masculinity, identity, and the distance between loved ones, the fiction of the scene accentuates the truth.

Cullum, Jerry. "The Aesthetics of Maleness." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 20 Dec. 2002. Print.

Miller, Francine Koslow. "David Hilliard - Carroll and Sons." Artforum Summer 2009: 343.


Stanley Kubrick: Film Director and Photographer ---Nick Bailey

Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26th, 1928 in Manhattan, and he died on March 7th, 1999. Although Kubrick is most well known for his astonishing film directing career, he actually first got his feet wet in the arts as a photographer. Most people say that Kubrick first gained an interest in photography when his father gave him a Graflex camera as a gift. His first strong work as a photographer came when he was only 16 when he staged a newspaper vendor to look like the reaction to the death of Franklin Roosevelt. This photograph did not go unnoticed, ultimately it landed Kubrick his job doing freelance photography at Look magazine in 1946, where he would work until ultimately he directed his first film in 1951. Although Kubrick's career as a film director really took off at that point, he always kept all of those things he learned as a photographer and applied them to his films. He says that his "photographic eye" has helped him establish the specific style of film making that he exhibits in all of his films.

Kubricks photographs are very similar to his films in the fact that they are very heavily based on camera noir.They are also usually very narrative. Kubrick often enjoyed photographing people, and the relationship between photographer and subject is very strong and well composed, as Kubrick was a master at pushing his shutter at just the right time. It's amazing that he could capture these moments at exactly the right time. The composition in his photos are magnificent. Kubrick is a master of positioning and lighting, which can be clearly seen in all of his mediums. Kubrick's work as both a photographer and director has often been described as very obsessive because of his perfectionist nature. Stanley Kubrick definitely figured out his visual styles that are trademarks of his film through his early years as a photographer.

There is a book titled Stanley Kubrick: Drama and Shadows that focuses on his career as a photographer.,4119/

For more on Stanley Kubrick photography:

Uta Barth - CO

At first glance, Uta Barth’s photographs may resemble abstract paintings or appear as personal descriptions of her surroundings. In many ways they do possess these qualities, but upon closer examination they inform the viewer of much more. The photographs are Barth’s method of questioning and examining her perception, and how her surroundings may be influenced by her perception. Rather than describing and showing to us recognizable imagery, her work appears to display almost nothing.

Barth’s earlier work is not nearly as discreet as her later, but still encompasses this idea of perception. Much of her early work combines elements of photography with Op art. For example, in her piece “Unititled # 14” , she portrays a tiny photograph of the exterior of a house at night that is lit from the inside. The photograph is surrounded by many bold black and white stripes that are almost painful to look at. In this image she is toying with the idea of the comfort associated with the home, and contrasting it with the jarring stripes that make you want to look away.

Over time her photographs grow much more painterly. They begin to suggest very subtle shifts in her perception of the things surrounding her rather than describing the study of perception in general. One particular series called “Nowhere Near” seemed to marked the beginning of her painterly abstractions. Over and over, each photo portrays the same tree shot from the same window in her house. The purpose of repeating the same subject matter throughout the series made it clear that the photographs were not about the tree or the window, but the slight shifts in her perception of them from day to day.

Another series, “...and of time.”, depicts (much like the title) very unclear fragments of things. In a manner comparable to the impressionist painters, she primarily focuses on the way that light affects her surroundings. Often times the photographs will portray the same wall over and over, and focus on the changes in the colors and shapes that are produced by the light upon it.

In a more recent series, “Sundial”, all of the photographs are taken at dusk. The photos show the transformation of things and colors as day fades into night. The changes from photo to photo are just as subtle as the natural shift from day to night, and it is often difficult to distinguish between one photograph from the one next to it. Although individually the photographs appear very similar, as a whole they capture the passing of time. They are very successful at representing both time and perception, the personal experience of each, and the interplay between the two.

Untitled #14

Nowhere Near

...and of time.



Barth, Uta, Jonathan Crary, Russell Ferguson, and Holly Myers. Uta Barth, The Long Now. New York: Gregory R. Miller & CO., 2010.

Barth, Uta, Sheryl Conkelton, Russell Ferguson, and Timothy Martin. Uta Barth In Between Places. Seattle: Henry Art Gallery, 2000.