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Art Photo Collector

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"Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that."—Chris Steele-Perkins 

Few photographers understand their compatriots as well as British photographer, Chris Steele-Perkins. Born in Burma in 1947 to an English father and Burmese mother, two years later he moved with his family to England where he would grow up and later embark upon a career as a photojournalist. In 1979, at the age of 32, he joined Magnum Photos and his first book, The Teds, was published.

Teddy Boy culture developed in the London of the 1950’s. This new alchemy of teen culture fused Edwardian fashion, rock ‘n’ roll, drinking, dancing and, at times, collective violence into an original youth subculture. And like everything in Britain, social stratification and class played their customary roles. The Teds, for their part, were decidedly working class.

While Chris Steele-Perkins has enjoyed a long, storied career as a social documentary photographer covering a wide variety of issues, “The Teds” is something special. I pulled the book off my shelf yesterday, and as I smiled poring over the stories and images, I was reminded again why, thirty-four years later, “The Teds” remains a classic. —Lane Nevares

"For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean. As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it. That’s a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge. When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water. We call this the moment of death. That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves."—-Bill Viola
The American artist, Bill Viola’s, most recent show, Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures, opened last week at BlainISouthern gallery in London. For anyone remotely familiar with Viola’s work, this is an exciting opportunity to see nine new works created between 2012-2013. 
For more than 40 years, Bill Viola has transformed our ideas about art and video. He and his partner Kira Perov have truly been at the vanguard, fusing Eastern mystical and spiritual traditions into modern works that take us deeply into emotional and philosophical territory. Sometimes cathartically so. Slow down, spend three and half minutes, and watch his new work Inner Passage. Fill your bowl. —Lane Nevares

 

"For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean. As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it. That’s a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge. When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water. We call this the moment of death. That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves."—-Bill Viola

The American artist, Bill Viola’s, most recent show, Frustrated Actions and Futile Gestures, opened last week at BlainISouthern gallery in London. For anyone remotely familiar with Viola’s work, this is an exciting opportunity to see nine new works created between 2012-2013. 

For more than 40 years, Bill Viola has transformed our ideas about art and video. He and his partner Kira Perov have truly been at the vanguard, fusing Eastern mystical and spiritual traditions into modern works that take us deeply into emotional and philosophical territory. Sometimes cathartically so. Slow down, spend three and half minutes, and watch his new work Inner Passage. Fill your bowl. —Lane Nevares

 

"Beauty is a term that is always in development, it’s not a fixed thing and is very much subjective, so to me, it’s a perception." Erwin Olaf   

"It all begins with a dream," Erwin Olaf told a group of us last Saturday. His latest show, Berlin, currently on view in NYC at Hasted Kraeutler and in London at Hamiltons Gallery is true to form for Olaf: sumptuous images layered with narrative, rich with details, and perfectly executed.

Using his dreams as surrealistic launching points, Olaf described his process of finding themes, unifying them, and working with his design team to bring them to fruition. This latest series, Berlin, took him outside of his Amsterdam studio and into a city steeped in history, where he could shoot his tableaux inside noted buildings, some of which have notorious histories. (Indeed, the stairs Olaf climbs in his self-portrait are the same that Hitler mounted into the Olympic Stadium.) These particular interiors, and the tales they contain, become part of the new story. Olaf’s Berlin series takes us into an enigmatic world where no one is telling us what to believe, but rather engaging us to conjure these stories ourselves. —Lane Nevares 

"It (taking photographs) is all about longing…without longing—no pictures at all."  —Anders Petersen

One of the nicest gifts I received this year is Anders Petersen’s latest monograph, ”Soho.” In collaboration with London’s noted Photographers’ Gallery and Mack Books, Petersen was given a four-week residency last year to shoot images of an area in London known for many things to many people. For Petersen, it was an opportunity to return to a place he’d known in the 70’s and could re-discover, thirty years later, through the lens.

While there are many impressive photographers working today, Anders Petersen is one of the finest. I am consistently astonished at the power of his photographs. His ability to infuse images with a poetic gaze that senses fragility and yearns for Beauty is the mark of an artist in love with his craft, and more importantly, in love with people. I can keep returning to his work and always find something deeper, more resonant. 

For a peek inside the book here’s a video. But I recommend discovering his work, first hand, in print. Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in the magic of the photobook. —Lane Nevares