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Category Archives: photography

Lacey Terrell: The Passing Ring

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Being nomadically inclined, I’ve always understood the appeal of running away and joining the circus. In fact, if it weren’t for shared bathroom facilities and a little too much socialising for my tastes, I would probably have already done so.

F-Stop have released a new issue of their always awesome e-zine, focusing this month on the theme of Amusement.  Their featured artist is Lacey Terrell who has spent the past 13 years documenting what she calls one of America’s last nomadic tribes, the Culpepper & Merriweather Great Combined Circus.

The circus travels continuously for eight months of the year, mainly throughout the midwest, and is otherwise based in the remote town of Hugo, Oklahoma – perculiarly, the town of 5,000 people seems to be the winter home of about a dozen competing circuses.

Anyway, back to the photography.  Terrell’s work captures the essence of what the circus is all about: bright colours, movement, and the promise of something new every day.  It also goes behind the scenes to depict the reasons that circus performers choose this lifestyle in the first place: for some escapism, others restlessness, boredom, cameraderie or sheer desparation, for the lack of a better option.

The Passing Ring is a culmination of over a decade’s hard work, and the quality of the images definitely reflect the artist’s dedication. You can see more of Terrell’s work via West Hollywood’s Kopeikin Gallery.  Also worth checking out is the F-Stop group gallery exploring similar themes.

Edit: after hearing from Terrell herself, she suggests some more reasons why people join (and stay) with the Circus:

One thing not mentioned was that many of the performers are true artists, trained in Circus arts since they were children. So there is an artistry element, as well as a life-style element that factors into the reason for being with the show. Other non-performers have many reasons as well. For some, it’s a business. For some, an adventure. For some, a second chance at life away from hardships experienced in the past. And for others, it’s what they know. Circus is a way of life, offering a sense of community and family to many. EB White wrote, “The circus comes as close to being the world in microcosm as anything i know; it is universal and complex magic.”

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All photos copyright Lacey Terrell.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Awkward Family Photos

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Family portraits.  It’s somewhere we’ve all been; somewhere few of us want to return.

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember some classic photo shoots – heads stacked on top of each other in a bizarre human Christmas tree; my brother pouting below a street sign bearing his name; and those awful, forced poses that the photographer would always get you to do: “put your arm on your brother’s shoulder”, “Turn to your left”, “Look at the watering can”, “For god’s sake, just smile will you”.

The guys over at Art Fag City have taken me back recently with their link to awkwardfamilyphotos.com, a seriously disturbing, yet seriously addictive site showcasing the best and worst family photos of all times.  It’s all there – terrible 80s and 90s fashions, enforced ‘fun’, couples with matching clothes, and holiday snaps gone awry.  Take a look, if only to ease your mind that weirder families than your own really do exist.

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Posted by on July 30, 2009 in laughing, photography

 

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Brad Moore Photography

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Brad Moore takes wonderful photos of urban wastelands and isolation.  The images were taken around Southern California – the real SoCal, not the glamorised version that the state likes to portray.

Thanks to wrongdistance for the link.

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Posted by on July 26, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Anne Zahalka: Playing The Game

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Elton (above) is an Environmental Engineer. How lovely for him.

Anne Zahalka’s latest series Playing the Game uses photography to examine how people are transformed through sport.  Elton can escape his conservative day job and become a warrior on the track (and, presumably, in the shower).  Karo (boxing, below) is normally a performer, but put some boxing gloves on her and she becomes a force to be reckoned with.  When flight attendant Brian (below) goes to the gym, he is no longer a trolley dolly.  And Karen (with basketball) is no longer a teacher but a hoop-shooting superstar.

It’s true that they say sport is the great leveller, and can bring out the best and worst in everyone.  But for the individuals photographed by Zahalka, it is also what can transform them from their mundane day jobs into glamorous ‘superheroes’, particularly in sport-obsessed Australia.

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Posted by on July 19, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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Traffic! by Benny Chan

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Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a small obsession with traffic, maps and urban design, so it’s no surprise that I love Los Angeles: the ultimate car city.

I just spent half an hour reading a brilliant, if somewhat old, post on urbanist blog cityofsound discussing a recent (and, it must be said, outrageous) article in The Economist about how electric cars should simulate the noise of a conventional fuel combustion engine for safety and aesthetic reasons.  The article really makes you wonder what a world without cars might be like.  To emphasise his point about how preposterous personal transportation has really become, he links to some amazing photos by photographer Benny Chan.  GOOD has a picture show with more, but I’ve posted some of my faves here, depicting rivers of concrete snaking through the LA suburbs.

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Isidro Blasco in Shanghai

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More than anywhere else in the world, Shanghai is a city in constant flux.  The never-ending sound of construction creates a landscape that is constantly evolving, barely recognisable from one year to the next.

Isidro Blasco is fascinated by this evolution.  In his mixed-media pieces, Blasco combines architecture and photography with recycled building materials to manipulate well-known perspective of Shanghai, both old and new.  The work becomes angular and fragmented – almost like a Cubist painting, in fact – and, at once familiar and new.

Isidro is coming to Dominik Mersch Gallery in Waterloo from July 23rd.  He is an accomplished international artist with work at MoMA and The Whitney amongst other places, so be sure to check it out.

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Posted by on July 15, 2009 in art, looking, photography

 

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Robert Overweg’s Reality

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Today we’re featuring the work of Dutch photographer Robert Overweg, who has taken some pretty interesting urban photographs of late.  But these are not shot on the streets of Amsterdam or Zurich: in fact, all his images are taken from virtual environments – mainly computer games.

Robert sees ‘virtual environments’ as the new public spaces, and aims to document them on his new site, Shot By Robert.  In doing so, he asks questions about copyright, popular culture and whether experiences in the visual world – which are becoming as much a part of reality as day-to-day life – are the property of the copyright holder or the person who actually has the ‘experience’.

British photographer Robbie Cooper would agree that the virtual environment has the ability to become a new reality – just take a look at his ‘My Game Face‘ gallery via the New York Times, where he captured kids’ faces as they played violent video games, thanks to his RED camera. Spookey.

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Posted by on July 8, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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