DEAR DAVE,

As I write, Tunisians vote and Libyians bury their deposed dictator. Social networking, cell phone and video images’ function in enabling the breathtaking uprisings throughout North Africa and the Middle East, has been notable. It provides further traction to the possibility of images, generated by a citizenry, replacing the function of ‘professional’ depictions of conflict to provoke social change.  Our enthusism for this, and its evidence of the power of photography at its most fundamental, is without bounds.

Despite this, we rely upon a professional, Yuri Kozyrev, to pay homage to the courageous. These epic and triumphant images depict heroism and endurance, and the choreography of social change amidst urgency, brutality and desperation. This portfolio is offered in memory of our friend, the photojournalist Tim Heatherington who died under mortar fire in Misrata earlier this year.

Again in North Africa, An-My Li observes political and millitary history that is contemplative rather than urgent, and assumes the form of an epic and monolithic diorama. Disguised in their banality, the images suggest the massive forces deployed in the ‘theater of war’, and their inevitable, if lumbering, advance.

Encourgaing accumulation, photography amasses agreeably on refrigerators, hard drives, social networks, print media, and office cublicles and offer an improvisational diary, a portrait of the individual who has posted the collection, and a compelling collage.  As Vince Aletti writes in his discussion of the office wall of the picture editor Elisabeth Biondi, it is not only a document of the celebrated and influential who have passed through the pages of The New Yorker, but a tender and playful portrayal of friendship, pleasure and refinement.

The description of light reflecting from the surfaces of the world is a fundamental attribute of the photographic procedure; film and photographic paper are often described as being ‘light sensitive’.  In the work of Valerie Belin this simple trait is amplified in elegant depictions of mangled automobiles, as well as in a variety of still lifes: lapidary cut glass, cosmetic containers, mirrored tea sets, baroque interiors and other ornate objects of the bourgeois.  The resulting images are both morbid and elegant, and a bit sufocating in their intricacy, but like much of the most significant photographs, present the familiar in the most startling of terms.

‘Chasing the White Tiger’ is an essay and conversation among several young photographers, some still in art school, whose work and sensibility has been framed by the internet and the virtual, QR codes, blogs and issues of simulation, originality, and the flexibility of content via context. 

Narrative is, arguably, a characteristic that animates the most crucial and relevant contemporary fashion photography, and manipulation in post-production has become part of the language. Like several photographers of his generation, Daniel Sannwald conflates the psychedelic with the technological, the improvisational with high fi.  The often feverish images reference theatrical forms: German expressionist film, video games, opera, puppetry, and kabuki.  

With thanks and love,
Stephen