Friday, October 29, 2010

Microsoft Launches Foursquare Photography App!

Microsoft Launches Foursquare Photography App!
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

October 29, 2010, New York City, Seattle & San Francisco:

Microsoft released its new photography app on 4square today, for which I served as their NYC photography adviser.

From their site: "To bring you the best photos, we toured the country and got to spend time with some amazingly gifted photographers...We teamed up with great, local photography experts who really know their way around these cities and their best spots."

Click on the this link to read more!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Conversation with Graciela Iturbide and Martín Weber

A Conversation with Graciela Iturbide and Martín Weber
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Photo: 1979 Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas Juchitán, México, © Graciela Iturbide

A Conversation with 2011 Lucie Award Winner Graciela Iturbide and Martín Weber
by Lorenzo Domínguez

(Originally published by En Foco, October 27, 2010)

On Sunday, October 24th, Graciela Iturbide and Martín Weber spoke before an attentive audience at the annual Nueva Luz Artist Talk co-sponsored by En Foco and Lucie Foundation, as part of the week long festivities leading up to the Lucie Awards.

Graciela Iturbide

Many of her fans had come out to listen to this iconic photographer speak about her work, both present and past. Included amongst her admirers was Amber Terranova, photo editor at Photo District News (PDN) who enthusiastically relayed, “(Graciela) is one of my favorite photographers. Her images resonate with me because of the way she captures the spirit of a place and a culture. Also, she’s visually provocative and quite prolific.” To show the extent of her admiration she had brought along two of Iturbide’s books with her, hoping Ms. Iturbide would sign them.

Born in 1942 in Mexico, Graciela was the oldest of 13 children. She turned to photography to grapple with the death of her six-year-old daughter in 1960 and under the mentorship of teacher, cinematographer and photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo, she eventually learned the craft that would bring her much acclaim as an artist.

Dismissing the notion that she must keep up with the times, Iturbide only photographs with film, most of her work is in black and white, and she is best known for her focus on the marvels of everyday life. In addition to more than 60 exhibitions of her work around the world, she has also been the recipient of prestigious awards including the Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography in 1987, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1988, the Hasselblad Award in 2008, and on Wednesday she will receive an award for Achievement in Fine Arts from Lucie Foundation.

Her photos of everyday life often showcase fascinating images such as her photo Mujer Ángel (Angel Woman) featuring a rural peasant climbing a mountainside with a boombox in her hand, or perhaps her best known picture— Nuestra Señora de Las Iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas)—which shows a woman with bushel of hair made entirely of a dozen dead iguanas to be sold as meat in the market.*

To her dismay, the significance of this particular photograph is wholly usurped by the bizarre image itself, for the photo was part of an important series about the Zapotec women of Juchitán, Oaxaca, a city where women dominate village life, as well as rule over the marketplace. Moreover, taken during several trips to the area between 1979 and 1988, this series established her stature as a strong supporter of feminism.

Nonetheless, it is this photo that helped Iturbide make her mark, to the point where the locals in Juchitán adopted it as their own, many of them putting up posters of the photo in their homes and eventually renaming the image “The Juchitán Medusa.” In 2008, the stature of this photo prompted the Smithsonian Magazine to publish a story about it and how it became so well-known—Day of the Iguanas.

Iturbide explains, “The camera is an excuse to share the life of the people, the rhythm and simplicity of festivities, to discover my country. While using my camera I am, above all, an actress participating in the scene taking place at the moment, and the other actors know what role I play. I never think of my images as a project, I simply live the situations and photograph them; it is afterwards that I discover the images.”

Martín Weber

Despite Graciela’s stature as an artist, it was her co-presenter, Martín Weber, and his work, A Map of Latin American Dreams, that truly stole the show for the evening.

Made over a period of 15 years, his series of black-and-white photographs show primarily impoverished people from countries throughout Latin America including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru, with an individual—sometimes alone, sometimes in the middle of a group—holding a small black chalkboard upon which he or she has written a dream.

Martin explains, “Sharing their stories, these dreamers restore our awareness of individual and collective experience. In a globalized world, dreams are often reduced to commodity status. Countries and continents are frequently exploited as mere sources of trade. The histories of our communities can be made visible…Our destiny will change when we allow ourselves to imagine differently from what we were given.”

Some of the more moving dreams and photographs include:
- Mi hermano sueña con estudiar música (My brother dreams of studying music)
- Mi sueño es morirme (My dream is to die)
- Ser abogada (To be a lawyer)

Every one of the subjects is markedly somber; almost none reveal a smile, apart from a naïve child here and there. One almost immediately gets the impression that folks throughout Latin American are depressed. That said, Weber’s pictures do have a purpose. His photos, tell how unemployment in Latin America is driving the middle class into poverty, and that the disparity between the rich and the poor is continually expanding, creating a pattern of cycles that abet further social fragmentation, political violence and economic instability.

The Talk

The talk began with an introduction of Elizabeth Ferrer, a curator and writer who is also an authority on Mexican and Latin American photography, by Miriam Romais, Executive Director of En Foco.

Elizabeth began by introducing Martín who read and translated the wishes conveyed by each individual in his photographs.

Since it was suggested that questions from the audience be deferred to the end, Martín deferred any further comments about his work to allow the headliner to take the stage.

Instead of simply showing her photographs though, Graciela began by speaking about how and why she started taking photographs. Through an interpreter she conveyed to the audience that she felt photography allowed her to know her country, Mexico, in a way that she would not otherwise. She also mentioned that she loved taking photos of objects throughout the world and that “in all landscapes and objects, one can feel a human presence.”

She also mentioned that her most recent work is focusing on “el mundo fantasia,” the world of fantasy as inspired by her nietos. To do so, she had to retreat to her archives to find images that would appeal to the imaginations of her grandchildren.

Since Graciela seemingly preferred to discuss her work, rather than merely show it, the audience was allowed to ask her questions before the official Q&A had begun for both speakers.

Asked what prompted her to go to India to take photographs, Iturbide immediately and repeatedly gave Mary Ellen Mark, who was in the audience, credit for her inspiration to travel there. “Mary Ellen said ‘I had to go.’”

When asked what is the significance of birds in her imagery, she answered with a sincere smile, “I don’t know,” arousing a bit of laughter from everyone. She went on to explain, “I never know why I take photos. I suppose it is simply intuition. For example, in my photo Ojos para volar (Eyes to Fly With), I have one live bird and one dead bird over my eyes. It was simply something that I intuitively and spontaneously decided to do. I suppose that I simply have an obsession with the flight of birds.”

Cat Jimenez, Executive Director of the Lucie Foundation, asked Graciela about her Asor series, to which she went on to describe a little about each photo shown—a floating body during a Mexican ritual, a construction site which she referred to as “iron gardens,” and a carnival in the distance over an arid landscape somewhere in Texas. Ultimately, she said that, once again, it was about “intuition” and it was difficult to explain.

Graciela went on to speak about her photo series of Frida Kahlo’s bathroom, which she was invited to photograph 15 years after it had been closed by Frida’s husband, the muralist and painter Diego Rivera. She elaborated, “We had discovered that it had been closed for fifty years, not fifteen, as Diego had claimed. Ultimately, I ended up taking photos of objects that revealed Frida Kahlo’s pain”—a prosthetic leg, a poster of Stalin, crutches, back braces, and corsets.

She ended her talk by declaring, “I don’t want to be the photographer known only for her ‘The Lady of Iguanas’ photo anymore. In fact, they are now making a sculpture of that iconic picture. I think it will be horrible.”

Audience Q&A

The official Q&A from the audience began with a question for both photographers:

What is your dream?

Graciela answered, “Quiero Soñar,” I want to dream.

And Martín, almost sadly, said, “To be with my family.”

Weber was then asked, “In group photos how did you choose the individual?”

He immediately responded, almost shyly, “Mostly it was my intuition.”

Also posed to Weber, “How do you approach your subjects, to garner their honesty?”

Martín answered, “My work is based on trust; there is something very powerful with photography. I sought to create spaces where they were willing to share something. Surprisingly to me, 99% of them said ‘Yes.’”

Asked to Iturbide, “What is most similar between Mexican and Indian culture?”

“Their rituals about death. The yellow flowers, the marigolds, that they both place over the dead.” After further thought, she further added, “Actually, they are not similar. They are different cultures,” and deferred further explanation to Mary Ellen Mark, who has also worked in both places.

Both photographers were asked “What kind of richness would you like your work to reveal to viewers, especially to those ‘outside’ of Latin American culture?”

Iturbide responded, “I think that the fact that we were all colonized by either the Spanish or the Portuguese gives us a common history. We all have beautiful pueblos (communities). Yet, so many have to migrate to the United States, because the one thing a lot of us do not have are—jobs. This is why we suffer so much adversity, there is no work in Latin America. I’ve worked with immigrants before and it vexes my soul.”

“Moreover, despite this problem and others like drug trafficking, the people, our villages, are marvelous. This is why I like to photograph the dignity of these pueblos.”

The talk officially ended when Cat Jimenez asked the final question of Graciela, “Why don’t you use digital photography?”

“I don’t like it,” she candidly answered, explaining, “As per the title of a short film I did with Alejandro Gómez de Tuddo, Hay tiempo, hay tiempo (There is time, there is time). I want to have time to take and develop my photos. Film allows, and even forces, you to take time with your work.”

Graciela Iturbide will be presented with the Achievement in Fine Art award at the Eighth Annual Lucie Awards to be held on Wednesday, October 25 at Lincoln Center in New York.
An exhibit of Martín Weber’s work, along with that of photographer Joseph Rodriguez, titled Cultural Memory Matters, is now showing at 601Artspace in Chelsea. The show runs through March 12, 2011.

* This image is featured in a poster for En Foco’s 1991 Intercambio program, in Puerto Rico. Graciela’s work was also featured in En Foco’s 1988 exhibition, Latina.

For More Information
Martín Weber on En Foco
Print Collectors Program: Martín Weber

Graciela Iturbide on En Foco


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Another painting by Claudio Filippini

Another painting by Claudio Filippini
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Italian Painter Claudio Filippini Inspired by Another Photo by NYC Street Photographer Lorenzo Dominguez

October 22, 2010, New York City:

A special thanks to Italian painter Claudio Filippini, who just informed me that he has finished two more paintings inspired by my photos, both come from my series, The March of the Shadows: 1. Marching in NY 002, and 2. Marching in NY 159.

They are now one of the featured works on his website.

The first painting he created was inspired by my photo, This Is New York!, which he finished in October of 2008.

And the second, recently finished in May of this year, was inspired by my photo, the most beautiful day of the year.

You Lookin' at Me? was finished in September and is one of the featured works on his website. See painting here on flickr.

Please check out Claudio's work at

Mille Grazie,

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

No beginning, middle, or end: a journey through the art world with Savannah

No beginning, middle, or end: a journey through the art world with Savannah
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

© 2010, Paintings of Home, Bo Bartlett

No beginning, middle, or end: a journey through the art world with Savannah
(Originally published by The Examiner, October 15, 2010)

Popular Culture, Comics & Cartoons

“I’m telling a story with no beginning, middle, or end, one that is hard to tell in words,” pseudo-excitedly explained Jason Limon to three fans that were surrounding him, three middle-aged men who seemingly had closely been following his evolution as an artist.

“Are you still doing your electrical-battery work?” anxiously intoned one of them to the boyish-looking Limon.

Limon replied with a surprised look in his eye, “I still do them, but not as much. People were into the robots and electrical pieces, but I’ve moved on because I want to tell a story that takes shape over time, filing in the gaps with every new painting that is completed.”

This ambiguous, open-to-wide-interpretation explanation is abetted by the artist statement he has posted to his website, one which reminds me of some of the lighter, high-flying moments I’ve had with my friends:

"I am an observer of our world, silently scanning its elements and the beings who move among them. My mind absorbs and overflows with thoughts and emotions with no way to be revealed but through marks on a blank surface. There is a curious young soul within me that begs to show its existence. My mind drifts to far of places in hopes of returning with fragments of memories and dreams to share with others. I create so that I may speak. With every image released I step further away from the shadows of my past and into the bright lights of a happier place."

His work consists of a fantastic ensemble of “masks,” as he calls them, hiding giant insect-like-aliens, or at least the heads of them, because almost all his figures all body-less. The paintings are all reminiscent of a surreal genre of work that is headlined by established stars like Todd Schorr, who have been influenced by strange images drawn from popular culture, comics and cartoons.

Collectively, artists like Schorr and Limon, have driven a movement known as lowbrow artor pop surrealism. Limon’s work was recently previewed in Juxtapoz, a magazine which was has been at the helm of the movement since 1994.

It’s Now or Never
This run in with Jason at the opening of his show, Blood Nectar, at the BOLD HYPE Gallery, was just the first stop on my tour through New York City’s premier art gallery district, Chelsea, with my partner in crime for the evening, Savannah Spirit.

Savannah is a photographer, curator, blogger, all-around cool art chick and someone who likes to profess her love for New York City (most of the time). Hanging around her for an evening, one immediately gets the impression that she is a connoisseur of the art world, she knows whats-what and whos-who, and admittedly has made many of her connections first online.

We talked about the "it's who you know" principle, and she said, "Actually, I feel like I've truly just begun my journey through the art world. There is so much to absorb, so much to know about art and the people who make it happen. Often, I feel like the eternal student, always learning. For now, I'm just sponging it all in. Moreover, I also feel as if I'm part of something bigger, contributing to the larger picture. My role keeps slowly revealing itself."

“And it’s amazing how many people you can meet in the art world via Facebook,” she added, unapologetically .

In fact, while we were at Noah Becker’sSix Degrees of Separation show at Claire Oliver last night, a number of people approached us who recognized Savannah from their conversations over the Internet.
One of them was Dawn Hunter, professor of art at the University of South Carolina, who was in town for a long weekend with her husband. After all the handshakes and introductions, we got to talking about Work of Art, a reality-TV show on Bravo that promises to find “the next great artist.” We discussed important questions as to whether or not Jerry Saltz, art critic for New York Magazine, was “selling out,”(read his defense here) and whether or not we would be willing to be a judge or contestant if they didn’t pay us.

Having actually experienced this dilemma when I was asked to be the lead artist for the HP Be Brilliant campaign a couple of years ago, I weighed in. “Sometimes, you’ve just got to give it up for free. Ultimately, the promotional value you get is worth a lot more than the standard professional compensation everybody cries about. I whined too when they first told me that I would ‘not be paid’ for my work, but then my ex straightened me out—‘Your ego is getting in the way of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ She was right, so I groveled back to strike my Faustian bargain.”

We also met the painter CJ Nye, who much like Savannah, has found that Facebook is a great conduit for fomenting relationships in the art community. Moreover, CJ would later reveal that one of the reasons that she picked up art again, ten years after a tragic accident in which she lost the use of her painting hand, was that Jerry Saltz had praised her work while taking an extracurricular painting class while getting her MA in Arts Administration.

As we were exiting the exhibition we ran into the curator of the show, Noah Becker, who seemed both exuberant and somewhat haggard by all the balls he’s been juggling lately as curator, painter, writer, critic and magazine editor of online art zine, Whitehot Magazine. Although the introduction was short and sweet, we agreed to continue to our conversation later (click here to read A Talk with Noah).

In addition to many of Savannah’s Facebook friends, we had conversations with a couple of the artists that Savannah knows through her latest project as a photographer. With the working title of “Shoot Me: The New York Art World in the 21st Century,” Savannah is attempting to capture the zeitgeist of the contemporary art world in two ways. First, by taking portraits of New York based artists, in a way that reveals who they are outside of their creative medium. And secondly, by documenting the art scene, through pictures of events and openings.

Ultimately, both of these perpectivies will be used in the book and exhibition that will showcase this project. She's currently working with Bruce Checefsky, Director of the Reinberger Galleries at the Cleveland Institute of Art, who will serve as the photo editor for the book and curator of the exhibition.
So far, she’s shot seven artists including Augustus Goertz, Gregory de la Haba, Jazz-Minh Moore, Grace Roselli, Michael Anderson, Lowell Boyers, and Will Ryman.

She exuberantly explained to me, “This project will serve to create a historical portrait of where we are in the contemporary art scene today. At the same time it will give the artists I photograph a chance to show us who they really are as individuals apart from what the public can garner from their work.”

“Moreover, the type of ‘camera’ I’ve chosen to use for the project is 'The Hipstamatic,' an app you can buy for your iPhone that allows you to take photos in various cool modes that mimic different kinds of analog film. I’m using this intentionally because it draws attention to the nature of an ‘instant’ age we live in, one where no one wants to wait for anything anymore. Everyone wants it now or never.”

Continuing the Legacy
Our final stop was at the P×P×O×W Gallery, which was hosting the opening of Bo Bartlett’s tenth solo exhibition, Paintings of Home, depicting “scenes from his childhood home in Columbus, Georgia.” To set the mood, the reception featured a trio performing bluegrass music.

Even though the press release claims that as a painter he is “continuing the legacy” of American Realists such as Eakin, Homer and Wyeth, many of the paintings were highly reminiscent of Norman Rockwell.

Moreover, although Bartlet graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which emphasized the mastery of realist principles, there are quaint references in his work to his training in film at NYU, with images of movie cameras sprinkled throughout the series and many of the paintings, both past and present, resembling scenes from a movie (e.g. Car Crash, Homeland, The Bride, and Return of the Three Graces from Exile).

And as per his artist statement it is clear that Bo renders from a cinematic point of view, “(My) paintings celebrate the underlying epic nature of the commonplace and the personal significance of the extraordinary. Family and friends are the cast of characters that appear in his dreamlike narrative works.”

Overall, PPOW’s show brings together an impressive ensemble of Bartlett’s work, an exemplary example of the mastery of painting that inspires many aspiring artists today.

Blood Nectar will run from October 14 until November 11. The Bold Hype Gallery is located at 547 W. 27th Street, 5th Floor.

Six Degrees of Separation runs from October 14 thru November 13. Claire Oliver is located at 513 W 26th Street.

Paintings of Home runs from October 14 until November 13. P×P×O×W is located at 511 W 25th Street, Room 301.

Read more articles and interviews by Lorenzo like these at the

Fine Art Photography in New York City

National Fine Arts

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