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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged european:

"What appears in the pictures was the subject’s decision, not mine. I took what they presented—delicate moments—unadorned and unglamorous, yet tender and exquisite. —Ray Metzker 

Belgium isn’t a land of sunshine and smiles, but there is a no-nonsense, hardworking attitude that I’ve always respected. It’s this commonsensical approach to life that I see in the work of Belgian photographer, Jacques Sonck, who is currently on exhibit at L. Parker Stephenson Photographs here in NYC. Sonck, who trained as a photographer, did the practical thing in life: he got a job shooting images at the Culture Department of the Province of Antwerp. For 35 years he photographed their exhibition catalogs and earned a living, while doing his own personal work on the side. 

Looking at his images, we can conjure the influences of Arbus and Penn, but Sonck’s images are not derivative. He is straightforward and unapologetic about what he’s doing. He’s a skilled photographer who has no personal interest, at all, in the lives of his sitters. Indeed, he often doesn’t even know their names. What he’s after is the transcendence found in any great portrait. That is, the notion that through the alchemy of photographer and subject, the photograph, itself, elevates their brief experience into something greater that we can engage and project ourselves onto. They are looking at us, we are looking at them, and we are all looking at each other. —Lane Nevares

"I do not mistrust reality, of which I know next to nothing, but I am suspicious regarding the image of reality which our senses convey to us, and which is incomplete and limited. Our eyes have developed such as to survive. It is merely coincidence that we can see stars with them as well."—Gerhard Richter

Luigi Ghirri, who passed away in 1992, was many things in his 49 years: a writer, curator, land surveyor, photographer, and conceptual artist. It is through his color photography that he is best known. His 1978 self-published monograph, Kodachrome, has influenced numerous artists and was re-printed to great acclaim last November. Currently (and for the first time in the United States), the accompanying exhibit of 25 vintage works is on display at Matthew Marks in NYC. 

Ghirri pursued his philosophical ideas using photography as a medium for deciphering form and meaning. His cool, smooth, Kodachrome view of the world is an attempt to mine significance from the signs surrounding us. Engaging with his work is to join him in grappling with universal questions of identity, place, and reality. Are his photographs, then, aspirations for some cathartic truth? Don’t let the ironic, understated images fool you, Luigi Ghirri is enjoining us to think deeply and critically about what we see and know. —Lane Nevares