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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged teens:

"…once the needle goes in, it never comes out."—Larry Clark 

A lot has changed in American culture since the publication in 1971 of Larry Clark’s classic photobook, Tulsa. Today, these images, while still unsettling, have gone completely mainstream. In the world of 2014, one can see the entire series now on display, along with “Celebrating Smokey the Bear,” at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. I’m sure Mr. Clark would be pleased.

For over 40 years Tulsa has been a touchstone for aspiring photographers and documentarians. It will stand the test of time because the depiction of the truth will always connect with each generation exploring photography and storytelling. Critical acclaim and analyses will come and go as fashions and ideas change, but Tulsa will continue to remind us that the human capacity for sharing self-destruction and excess never goes away. Each generation lives and learns its own lessons.—Lane Nevares

"I’d say most of my inspiration was drawn from old-school American values mixed with a little punk-rock idealism."—Mike Brodie

Mike Brodie’s new monograph, A Period of Juvenile Prosperity has just been released in time for his two forthcoming solo shows: one in LA and one in NYC. For a diesel-engine mechanic who thinks of photography as a “hobby,” this is mighty impressive. 

Many will look at these images of young travelers living free and criss-crossing the USA as something raw and exciting, but like many things in life—“Riding the Rails” isn’t anything new. In fact, during the Great Depression more than 250,000+ homeless teenagers were doing the same. The excellent documentary, Riding the Rails, tells the story of these young people and the effect that experience had on the rest of their lives.

Brodie’s images, however, tell an American, 21st Century story that is about freedom, possibility, and opting-out from society’s dictates. These young people (who may be fleeing tough circumstances themselves) are choosing to live a different way of life. Brodie’s friends, lovers, and fellow travelers show us the rough, the real, and the nitty-gritty of life on the move.

Self-taught, Brodie is an innately talented photographer with a great sense of light and composition. This series is strong, sensitive, authentic, and will be one of the important photography shows to see in March. I am looking forward to seeing the exhibit and buying the book. (I am also including this show on my upcoming gallery tour.) Brodie’s photographs have made me eager to discover other artists, especially those outside of the States, who are living and documenting life on the road. —Lane Nevares 

"The road must eventually lead to the whole world."—Kerouac, On the Road

"Justice in the conduct and life of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens."—Plato 

Although we do not hear enough about it, there are more than 70,000 juveniles presently incarcerated in the United States. Richard Ross, a Professor/photographer at the University of California Santa Barbara, has spent more than five years in over 300 facilites in 31 states documenting, interviewing, and photographing what we do to young people in this country. This project, Juvenile-in-Justice, and the accompanying book offer a sobering analysis of how we administer justice in the USA.

Ross’s skills as a photographer are quite evident throughout his work. While these images may on the surface appear perfectly composed and cooly detached, they are, in fact, indictments of injustice. This rich alchemy of beauty and indignation gives these images their power and resonance.

Juvenile-in-Justice is on view in NYC at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts until Saturday, and then moves on to the LA Municipal Art Gallery. For an excellent and poignant overview of the project, this video is required viewing.  --Lane Nevares 

"It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled in them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are wounded." —W. Somerset Maugham

The International Center of Photography in New York recently announced their 29th Annual Infinity Awards. In the “Young Photographer” category, Kitra Cahana (b. 1987) is this year’s winner. Unknown to me, I visited her site and was immediately drawn in.

Cahana’s series on nomads and teens, in particular, caught my eye. In photography, the quality of light (and the attention given to it) means everything. Her judicious use of it gives her color images a moodiness that is both pleasing and full of uncertainty—like the kids she photographs. At age 25, Cahana reveals a depth rarely found in the work of her contemporaries. Her ICP award is well deserved. —Lane Nevares

"Reality is always extraordinary."   — Mary Ellen Mark 

For many people, Mary Ellen Mark’s work needs no introduction. Her latest monograph, Prom, done in collaboration with her husband the film maker, Martin Bell, who also interviewed the sitters, was published in April.  Since then, the exhibit for Prom has traveled: most recently to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and tomorrow night to the Janet Borden Gallery where it will be up until the 19th of January.

With her 20x24 Polaroid Land Camera and signature lighting, Mary Ellen Mark explores the peculiarly American rite-of-passage known as the “Prom.”  While, to my tastes, these portraits are not a departure from her other polaroid portrait series, Twins, this latest body of work is still excellent and distinctively Mary Ellen Mark.

The details matter. Taken over a period of four years and thirteen different High Schools, these photographs, carefully examined, reflect layers of American culture. The clothes, the postures and the gaze—all provide clues. These teens mirror our economic and social realities, and in doing so, reveal ourselves.  —Lane Nevares