Film

Photography, Publishing

Excerpt from In the Midst of Things (Photograph)

Excerpt from “In the Midst of things”
by Sarah Hiatt

In the Midst of Things by Sarah Hiatt
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Photographer Sarah Hiatt captures a side of adolescence that we only murkily remember: a feeling of weariness with the present moment, terror of the future, the awkwardness of being in between. Over the course of six years, Hiatt photographed her younger niece and nephews around their home as they grew up in the small town of Joplin, Missouri, for her series In the Midst of Things. The images serve as a coming-of-age story, a visual narrative created through their personal experiences and shaped by the photographer’s struggles with guilt, loss, and loneliness. As their aunt, Hiatt was able to depict the formation of memories and the sad passage of time in a uniquely intimate way.

Hiatt writes, “The photographs of my niece and nephews reflect the formation of identity, and the relationship the children have to one another, to their environment, to their bodies, and to me. They live in a rural, predominantly white area of the Ozarks. In this series, they are often seen in quiet spaces, isolated and surrounded by darkness. Their internal lives emerge through subtle gesture and expression. Their home seems a safe space as identities and relationships are built and nurtured within a domestic, womb-like environment. Children often physically and emotionally mature beyond those boundaries. Time extends while pushing us forward, upward, and out.”

As a native of the Ozarks, Hiatt brings a nuanced and honest perspective on rural America that is so often lacking in contemporary photography. In the stillness of Hiatt’s images, becoming an adult means growing out of, or growing into, one’s family, religion, society, gender role, and place. Hiatt’s photographs ask: Do we inevitably accept this place, these obligations, this repetition? Do we reject these constraints? Would anyone know the difference?


Sarah Hiatt earned her BFA from Missouri State University, and her MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Hiatt currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Photography

Photography by Julian Lucas

Photography by Julian Lucas

From Camera Lucida, by Roland Barthes:

The Photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been. This distinction is decisive. In front of a photograph, our consciousness does not necessarily take the nostalgic path of memory (how many photographs are outside of individual time), but for every photograph existing in the world, the path of certainty: the Photograph’s essence is to ratify what it represents. One day I received from a photographer a picture of myself which I could not remember being taken, for all my efforts; I inspected the tie, the sweater, to discovery in what circumstances I had worn them; to no avail. And yet, because it was a photograph I could not deny that I had been there (even if I did not know where). This distortion between certainty and oblivion gave me a kind of vertigo, something of a “detective” anguish (the theme of Blow-Up was not far off); I went to the photographer’s show as to a police investigation, to learn at last what I no longer knew about myself.

No writing can give me this certainty. It is the misfortune (but also perhaps the voluptuous pleasure) of language not to be able to authenticate itself. The noeme of language is perhaps this impotence, or, to put it positively: language is, by nature, fictional; the attempt to render language unfictional requires an enormous apparatus of measurements: we convoke logic, or, lacking that, sworn oath; but the Photograph is indifferent to all intermediaries: it does not invent; it is authentication itself; the (rare) artifices it permits are not probative; they are, on the contrary, trick pictures: the photograph is laborious only when it fakes. It is a prophecy in reverse: like Cassandra, but eyes fixed on the past, Photography never lies: or rather, it can lie as to the meaning of the thing, being by nature tendentious, never as to its existence. Impotent with regard to general ideas (to fiction), its force is nonetheless superior to everything the human mind can or can have conceived to assure us of reality—but also this reality is never anything but a contingency (“so much, no more”).


Julian Lucas (b. 1974, Chicago) is an American photographer living in Los Angeles who has been photographing since the mid ’90s. Julian became interested in photography while studying sociology at Portland State University. His photographic works range from the fine art nude to an exploration of human behavior and challenging social norms. Julian is an inquisitive viewer and incisive photographer of the human condition. Fascinated by identities that exist within society, his portraits attempt to define an innocence of personalities. His most recent study, Apt #31, chronicles everyday life within an intimate interior of a one-bedroom apartment. The photographs featured here are from his series “Vanglorious” and “The Color of Deficiency.” Visit his website here.

Photography

Nada (Short Film)

Nada

by John Brian King


John Brian King is the photographer of LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84 and Nude Reagan, both available from Spurl Editions. He is the writer and director of the art house film Redlands (2014) and the short film Model Test (2016). Visit his website here, and check out his latest photography series Sick City.

We will be selling John Brian King’s two photo books at Lit Crawl SF on October 20. Come see us!

Literature, Publishing, Photography

Carl Van Vechten, William Seabrook, and Marjorie Worthington

William Seabrook and Marjorie Worthington
Portraits by Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964)


Usually we took them in our stride, offering an apéritif, lunch, or dinner, and sometimes a trip in one of the little boats across the harbor to Les Sablettes. But when Carl Van Vechten and his vivacious wife, Fania, arrived, they expected more than that. At least, Carl did. For all his sophistication there was a streak of naïveté in Carlo that was perhaps part of his charm. 

We took him and Fania to Charley’s, where we enjoyed our dinner, and then Carl announced that he wanted to visit a Toulon brothel. I am quite sure he would never have asked to visit one in New York or any other American city, but because he was in France and because Marseilles had a certain reputation and Toulon, actually, was not far from Marseilles, he expected Toulon to be filled with houses of ill fame, all of them very exciting and special. 

The truth was, Willie and I were the last people to act as cicerones in the area of commercialized vice. When Willie wanted excitement he had his own ways of creating it, and the synthetic stuff likely to be found in brothels would have bored him to death. 

However, since all our friends expected us to show them the sights, we walked with the Van Vechtens to a part of the town that was almost as unfamiliar to us as it was to them. As I remember it, there was a row of houses over near one of the gates in what remained of the wall that had surrounded Toulon in medieval times. Over each house, on the glass transom, was written in elaborate lettering, a name: Adele, Nanette, Mignon, etc. And over the name was a naked light bulb, painted red. 

We went along the row and came back to the first one, Adele’s house, because it was the largest and therefore promised the most elaborate entertainment. We rang a bell and the door was opened for us after a while by a rather drab female whom we took to be a servant. She led us into a large square room, and to a wooden table along a wall. She took our order for drinks, and disappeared. 

We looked around. Anything less like a house of joy would have been hard to find. The floor and walls were bare. In a corner was an upright piano and a bench but no piano player. In fact, a lugubrious silence filled the room, and we waited for our drinks with the hope they would brighten things up, at least for us. They took a long time coming and when they arrived were served by a short squat little man with a handlebar mustache, wearing sloppy trousers and carpet slippers. 

Carlo asked him where everyone was and he shrugged his shoulders. Adele was not working tonight, he said, and her regular customers had the delicacy to stay away. It appeared that Adele’s father had just died, and the house was in mourning. 

However, he added, as we started to leave, there was one girl on duty, “une brave jeune fille,” and he would send her to us immediately. In the meantime, since the “girls” were permitted to drink only champagne, would we not like to order a bottle? Of the very best? It was obvious that he disapproved of our marc, the local eau de vie, which Willie had ordered for all of us in a vain effort to show we were not tourists. The French were always great sticklers for form, and in the circumstances champagne was the proper thing to drink, even the sweet, sickening stuff he opened for us with a pop and a flourish. It didn’t make us feel any gayer. 

Pretty soon a young woman entered the room and came up to our table. She was wearing a plain dark skirt and blouse and she looked vaguely familiar. It was the little slattern who had opened the door for us, only now her dark hair was brushed and she looked cleaner. She sat down with us and accepted a glass of wine. Then she looked at us expectantly. 

Willie spoke to the girl, using the patois of the region, and Carlo listened as if he understood, and I grew very nervous. I looked at Fania and she looked at me and we didn’t need words in any language to understand each other. We made an excuse and asked the girl to show us where the powder room was, just as though we were at “21” or the Colony, and if the girl looked puzzled it was only for a moment. She caught on quickly enough that we wanted to talk to her. 

When we got out of sight, Fania took a handful of francs from her bag and I found fifty of my own to add to them. “Say no to the Messieurs,” I managed to say. She understood, parfaitement, and thanked us. After all, with a death in the family . . . you understand . . . and the funeral tomorrow . . . one didn’t feel exactly like . . . It was understood. And she thanked us. 

Carlo and Willie were as relieved as we were to be out on the street again. The hour was late, and the Van Vechtens were catching a train for Italy early in the morning. We took them back to the Grand Hotel, still good friends in spite of the fact that we, as well as Toulon, had failed to live up to our reputation.

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Photography

Photography by Consiglio Manni

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CONSIGLIO MANNI

Berlin I

The high roadside where we lay was white

with dust. In that narrow place we saw

the numberless: the people press and pour,

the city loom far in the fading light.

 

Through the tumult crowded coaches bore,

along them lines of paper flags were tacked.

Omnibuses, roof and body packed.

Automobiles, smoke, horns with their roar.

 

Towards the giant stone sea. But we looked west,

saw tree on tree lining the road’s long rim,

the filigree of crowns whose leaves were lost.

 

The ball of the sun hung vast at heaven’s seam.

Out of the sunset’s road red streamers burst.

On all heads there lay the light’s last dream.
 

— Georg Heym, translated by Antony Hasler


Consiglio Manni was born in Puglia in February 1989. He moved to Milan and graduated with a degree in Audio Technology from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. He worked as a sound engineer for long enough to realize that photography was his real path. He was a staff member for three years at Besafe Studios, in Lecce. Now he is again in Milan, working for Circus Studios and as a freelance photographer. Visit his Instagram here, and check out his website.

Photography

Photography by Veronica Alessi

PHOTOGRAPHY BY VERONICA ALESSI

MARCH 14–15, 1925

Sidled up to a woman named Nadia – to whom I am drawn by very tender feelings – I am at the edge of the sea, a shore on the order of Palm Beach, a Hollywood beach. Playfully, just to scare me and to ascertain how hard I would take her death, Nadia, an excellent swimmer, pretends she is drowning. In fact, she does drown, and her lifeless body is brought to me. I begin to weep until the wordplay “Nadia, drowned naiad” [Nadia, naïade noyée] – which comes to me just as I am waking – appears to be both an explanation and a consolation.

From Nights as Day, Days as Night, available now.


With her 35 mm camera, Veronica Alessi creates scenes in which her subjects seem to be suspended in a dream-like atmosphere. Her photos often feature girls’ faces, bodies within solitary landscapes, and her focus is always on the light. Veronica Alessi was born in Lucca, Italy, and currently lives and studies in Bologna. She is passionate about photography, and through it she describes things she could not express in words. Follow her on Flickr.

Photography

Photography by Alexander Deprez

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEXANDER DEPREZ

Alexander Deprez was born in Kortrijk in 1995. He now studies photography at Sint-Lucas, Luca School of Arts Ghent. Through his work he allows the viewer to take a look at his private life, his view of the world, and his intimate relationship with his wife. His photos are voyeuristic and often leave the viewer with an uncomfortable feeling. His work was published in De Morgen and Vice, and he participated in various group exhibitions in Kortrijk, Ghent, Antwerp and Brugges. Visit his Tumblr here.

Photography

Photography by Sara Rinaldi

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA RINALDI

From The Street Kids (Ragazzi di vita), by Pier Paolo Pasolini:

Nadia was lying on the sand, unmoving, her face filled with hatred for the sun, the wind, the sea, and all the people who had come to sit on the beach, like an invasion of flies on a table that’s been cleared. They were there by the thousands, from Battitini to the Lido, from the Lido to Marechiaro, from Marechiaro to Principe, from Principe to Ondina, in dozens of beach clubs, some lying on their backs, some on their stomachs, but those were for the most part old people: the young people — the boys in their long trunks, baggy or form-fitting, so that everything underneath was visible, the girls, those dopes, in very tight suits, their hair long — walked back and forth without stopping, as if they had a nervous tic. And they all called to one another, shouting, yelling, teasing, playing, going in and out of the cabanas, calling the attendant; there was even a band of young men from Trastevere in Mexican hats who were playing in front of the cabanas with an accordion, a guitar, and castanets; and their sambas were mixed in with the rhumbas of the loudspeaker at Marechiaro that echoed against the sea. Nadia was lying there in the middle in a black bathing suit; she had a lot of hair, black as the devil’s, curling and sweaty in her armpits, and the hair on her head was black like coal, too, as were her eyes, blazing furiously.


Sara Rinaldi began taking photographs in high school, and studied video making, performance art, and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. She carries a camera almost all the time and takes pictures of everything – lights, people, colors, places. Her friends and the female body are her main sources of inspiration, and photography is her messy diary. She is currently living in Milan and working on her first photo book. Follow Sara on Flickr and Instagram

Photography

Broken Ground (Photography)

Broken Ground

by Ana Catarina Pinho

Ana Catarina Pinho: “Broken Ground” is a particular landscape developed in the periphery of urban spaces, where a different kind of interaction between man and space is visible.

The idea of borderline and of observing the social and visual differences connected to urban space were the focus of this series, which highlights landscapes and interactions between people and the places they inhabit. The “borderline” is conceived as something directly connected to people and to how their thoughts and behavior about territory and possession lead to separation, misunderstanding, and conflict.

In Broken Ground,” we perceive an intent to unveil certain contemporary social issues and contradictions, relating them to architecture and urban space, putting people—with their expectations and emotions—at the core of the series.

Images of diverse suburban areas belonging to Portugal and Turkey are merged, creating a fictional place that calls attention to the similarities of situations and people of different cultures, showing at the same time the psychological and spatial border that divides people and spaces in many of our contemporary territories.


Ana Catarina Pinho (b. 1983, PT) has a background in Fine Arts and Documentary Photography and Cinema, and she is a practitioner and researcher in photography. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally. In addition, she collaborated as a lecturer in the University of Coimbra and the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and she is currently an FCT research fellow, developing a Ph.D. within the European Centre of Documentary Research at the University of South Wales. She is the founding editor of ARCHIVO, a photography and documentary research platform, which she has coordinated since 2012. Visit her website here.

Photography

Dal Mago (Photography)

Dal Mago

by Renato Gasperini

Renato Gasperini turns his wry, intuitive eye on a local restaurant in the small town of Morro d’Alba (in the province of Ancona) in his series “Dal Mago.” Loud, bright reds and yellows predominate: there is red wine, meat ready to be sliced, red curtains, red walls beside painfully yellow walls. Gasperini’s photographs show a surreal, garish place, beautiful and horrifying, its oddness accentuated by periodic portraits of the restaurant’s mysterious former owner. This former owner is the most fascinating aspect of it all, with his peculiar frozen smile, which is echoed in the grimace-smile of the taxidermied fox that has been appointed to guard the liquor. Follow Renato Gasperini’s work, as he continues his excellent, ongoing project to photograph Ancona and the surrounding regions.


Renato Gasperini was born in 1967 in Ancona, Italy. He studied with photographer Guido Guidi, and he was in photography workshops with Davide Monteleone, Giorgia Fiorio, Ferdinando Scianna, Diego Mormorio, Valerio Spada, Gerry Johansson, Joachim Brohm, Peter Fraser, and others. He has been exhibited in galleries throughout Italy, and his work was recently highlighted in the 4th FotoFilmic//PULP Print Showcase in Vancouver. Visit his website here to see more of his work.

Photography

Carmen Colombo (Photography)

Photographs by Carmen Colombo

From “Smog,” The Watcher and Other Stories, by Italo Calvino (trans. William Weaver):

Purification was the organ of an Institute, where I was to report, to learn my duties. A new job, an unfamiliar city—had I been younger or had I expected more of life, these would have pleased and stimulated me; but not now, now I could see only the grayness, the poverty that surrounded me, and I could only plunge into it as if I actually liked it, because it confirmed my belief that life could be nothing else. I purposely chose to walk in the most narrow, anonymous, unimportant streets, though I could easily have gone along those with fashionable shop windows and smart cafés; but I didn’t want to miss the careworn expression on the faces of the passersby, the shabby look of the cheap restaurants, the stagnant little stores, and even certain sounds which belong to narrow streets: the streetcars, the braking of pickup trucks, the sizzling of welders in the little workshops in the courtyards: all because that wear, that exterior clashing kept me from attaching too much importance to the wear, the clash that I carried within myself.

But to reach the Institute, I was obliged at one point to enter an entirely different neighborhood, elegant, shaded, old-fashioned, its side streets almost free of vehicles, and its main avenues so spacious that traffic could flow past without noise or jams. It was autumn; some of the trees were golden. The sidewalk did not flank walls, buildings, but fences with hedges beyond them, flower beds, gravel walks, constructions that lay somewhere between the palazzo and the villa, ornate in their architecture. Now I felt lost in a different way, because I could no longer find, as I had done before, things in which I recognized myself, in which I could read the future. (Not that I believe in signs, but when you’re nervous, in a new place, everything you see is a sign.)


Carmen Colombo was born in 1991. After earning a degree in Photography and Visual Arts at the Istituto Europeo di Design, in 2013 she attended a documentary course at Luz Academy in Milan. She is currently living and working in Milan as a freelance photographer; she is also developing her personal portfolio. She exhibited some of her works at the Photofestival Milano (2012) and at the Jitterbug Gallery in Paris (2016). Her project “Al di qua delle montagne” has been recently selected for the Emerging Talent Awards 2016, and it was exhibited at the Macro Museum in Rome in December 2016. Next March she will publish a book from her work “Al di qua delle montagne” together with Balter Books, a publisher from Turin. Visit her website here.

Photography

Atlas (Photography)

Atlas

by Mélanie Desriaux

From Diaries 1914–1923, by Franz Kafka (trans. Martin Greenberg):

June 25, 1914. I paced up and down my room from early morning until twilight. The window was open, it was a warm day. The noises of the narrow street beat in uninterruptedly. By now I knew every trifle in the room from having looked at it in the course of my pacing up and down. My eyes had traveled over every wall. I had pursued the pattern of the rug to its last convolution, noted every mark of age it bore. My fingers had spanned the table across the middle many times. I had already bared my teeth repeatedly at the picture of the landlady’s dead husband.

Toward evening I walked over to the window and sat down on the low sill. Then, for the first time not moving restlessly about, I happened calmly to glance into the interior of the room and at the ceiling. And finally, finally, unless I were mistaken, this room which I had so violently upset began to stir. The tremor began at the edges of the thinly plastered white ceiling. Little pieces of plaster broke off and with a distinct thud fell here and there, as if at random, to the floor. I held out my hand and some plaster fell into it too; in my excitement I threw it over my head into the street without troubling to turn around. The cracks in the ceiling made no pattern yet, but it was already possible somehow to imagine one. But I put these games aside when a bluish violet began to mix with the white; it spread straight out from the center of the ceiling, which itself remained white, even radiantly white, where the shabby electric lamp was stuck. Wave after wave of the color—or was it a light?—spread out toward the now darkening edges. One no longer paid any attention to the plaster that was falling away as if under the pressure of a skillfully applied tool. Yellow and golden-yellow colors now penetrated the violet from the side. But the ceiling did not really take on these different hues; the colors merely made it somewhat transparent; things striving to break through seemed to be hovering above it, already one could almost see the outlines of a movement there, an arm was thrust out, a silver sword swung to and fro. It was meant for me, there was no doubt of that; a vision intended for my liberation was being prepared.


Born in 1981 in La Rochelle, Mélanie Desriaux lives and works in Paris. She graduated from the School of Fine Arts (Rennes, France, 2006), and completed the Higher Competitive Exam in Education and the Visual Arts, with Photography as a major subject (Aix-en-Provence, France, 2010). Mélanie Desriaux now shows her work in France and abroad. From 2006 to 2012, she exhibited her work at Le Radar Gallery (Bayeux, France), Art & Essai Gallery (University of Rennes 2, France), and the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. Her photographs of the prison of Saint-Martin (Ré island, France) were selected by Carceropolis and are regularly published by the Prison International Observatory. In 2015, she won a scholarship for a wandering photographic tour in the United States. A year later, she was selected by Pascal Amoyel to exhibit her work on the Oregon Trail in Bowen Island (Vancouver, Canada) for FotoFilmic // PULP Gallery & Store. Her work is published by C41 and Camera Infinita, among other outlets. Visit her website here.

Photography

Desert Mass (Short Film)

Desert Mass

by John Brian King

Desert Mass is a new short film by John Brian King, art photographer and director of the feature film Redlands. In Redlands, King eschewed typical film editing techniques, featuring instead eight-minute scenes without any camera movement or cutting. Reviewer Angeliki Coconi commented on Redlands: “[It] sits still while everything happens. It doesn’t follow its characters — it watches them. It doesn’t admire or criticize them; it simply looks at them.”

Filmed in Palm Springs, California, King’s latest work Desert Mass focuses on the strange, the disorienting, and the decaying. Its austere style, reminiscent of Redlands, often takes on a dream-like quality, and the accompanying hypnotic organ music underscores the film’s theme of a Satanic mass in an arid, artificial land. Interspersed between alienating landscapes, filmed with the detachment of a wandering traveler, are scenes of two women, each alone in an anonymous hotel room — their distress, which is never explained, surreally related to the unease of the city. It is a brilliant, unconventional work, which you can watch in full above!


John Brian King is the photographer of LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84 and Nude Reagan, both available from Spurl Editions. He is the writer and director of the art house film Redlands (2014) and the short film Model Test (2016). Visit his website here, and check out his latest photography series Sick City.

We will be selling John Brian King’s two photo books at the Philadelphia Art Book Fair on May 5 and 6. Come see us!

Photography

Alain Greloud (Photography)

Hôtel de la baie des trépassés
(Bay of the Dead Hotel)

by Alain Greloud

Located between the Pointe du Raz and the Pointe du Van, the Bay of the Dead (Baie des Trépassés) derives its name from a misinterpretation of the Breton Boe An Aon, or bay of the river, into Boe An Anaon, bay of lost souls.

On the beach, a hotel. The Bay of the Dead Hotel, the hotel of “the bay of lost souls.” It is this name that serves as my mantra, and which, throughout this series, will be there like an inner incantation between the seclusion of the room and the harshness of the sea elements. It is the subtitle for each photograph I take. — Alain Greloud

Située entre la pointe du Raz et celle du Van, la Baie des Trépassés tient son nom d'une déformation du breton Boe An Aon, baie du ruisseau, en Boe An Anaon, baie des âmes en peine.

Sur la plage, un hôtel. L'hôtel de la Baie des Trépassés, hôtel de “la baie des âmes en peine”. C'est ce nom qui me sert de mantra, qui tout au long de cette série, sera là comme une incantation intérieure entre l'enfermement de la chambre et la rudesse des éléments marins. Il est le sous-titre de chaque photo que je prends.


Alain Greloud lives and works in Paris. With a degree in journalism, he now works exclusively as a freelance photographer. Greloud’s personal photographic research is influenced by travel and literature. More contemplative and narrative than informative, his photos – tinged with solitude – are often polysemous and leave much room for reflection and the imagination. If his work is sometimes marked by the notable absence of human presence, he also treats the theme of humanity more directly through portraiture, notably Man’s place in his environment and the body’s place in spaces. Alain Greloud thinks of photography as poetic introspection, a reflection on the world around us that we often do not know how to see. His work is distributed by the Plainpicture Agency. Visit his website here.

Photography

Beatrice Migliorati (Photography)

Photographs by Beatrice Migliorati

How did you begin taking photographs?

I remember I was in a tiny train station waiting room in Trento, waiting for a three-hour train ride back home. I was sitting there, bored, and I saw these brown chairs – four in a row – just in front of me, with a light gray marble wall behind them. It was so simple yet so strong and evocative: probably because that setting was pretty anachronistic, I felt like I was back in the ’70s. I started photographing it with my phone but it was so disappointing, I felt the need to have more control over the creation in order to better express what I was living. I really felt like “writing things down” without using words, communicating through impressions. A couple of months later I started using a film camera and studying a lot, teaching myself. I try hard to embrace and translate into photography the feeling a place could evoke.

What is your photographic process like? Do you carry your camera with you everywhere, working spontaneously, or plan your photographs in advance?

I’m really bad at planning when it comes to photography: I usually write down some general ideas for a series but I only photograph when I feel the need. When I worked on Saturday nights I used to go out, as normal, carrying the tripod and the cameras and eventually stopping to photograph; I had some subjects I wanted to photograph, but my ideas mainly came spontaneously by looking out the car window. I always go around with at least a camera, anywhere I go, even to the supermarket or to university. I can’t help doing it in this way, I can’t predict how the light will look like so I need to be ready even when I’m out for the most banal errands.

Why do you photograph on film?

I started with film when I was about 14; my parents gave me a Lomo camera and I enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately it broke after a while and I gave up. I tried several times with digital but it never worked out for me. I think film throws me into reality: analog photography turns a real moment into an existent object, it’s not a mere and inconsistent simulacrum, it has substance. And it made me much more patient and careful.

Who are some photographers (or other artists) who have influenced you? How have they influenced you?

Among the photographers I really admire are William Eggleston, Todd Hido and Wolfgang Tillmans, all for different reasons: Eggleston taught me that everything is worth a portrait and that there are no poor subjects, he helped me become aware of prosaic and daily scenes; Hido helped me in creating the groundwork for potential stories, starting from evocative sceneries that drag you into the space, making you feel the subject of that piece of reality. Tillmans’ work, especially the still lifes and portraits, helped me to focus on details and close-ups, to get physically and emotionally closer to the subject, leaving aside for a moment the environmental space.

I really like music as well and I mainly listen to Italian music because I often translate the songs into images automatically. I hope to work on that soon.

What are some subjects that you do not (or would not) photograph? Why is that?

I wouldn’t set any limit, I often change my mind and go back to things that initially didn’t feel right to me – I’m currently trying black-and-white film for the first time. All those opportunities actually thrill me, there’s always something new to explore, from different points of view. The only limit I have is myself. Taking photos of people, for example, is really difficult for me because I feel I can’t fake it, I need a connection with the people I portray so we need to get to know each other, I need to sit down, have a coffee and a long chat and make sure that the person I would like to photograph is comfortable with it.


Beatrice Migliorati was born in 1996 in a small village in northern Italy. She lived in Scotland for one year and she is currently living in Bologna, where she studies philosophy. Follow her work on her Instagram, Flickr, and Tumblr.

Beatrice Migliorati’s photographs will be displayed at Galetér di Nadia e Rachele from April 1st to April 22nd, and at a bookshop in Reggio Emilia, Italy, as part of the Fotografia Europea Festival from May 5th to July 15th.

Photography

Dreary Town (Photography)

Dreary Town

By Enrico Doria

Enrico Doria’s series Dreary Town was inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities: “Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.” Doria photographed his series with a Holga camera, capturing the towns of Sicily (Trapani and Palermo), Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Sarajevo, Milano, Johannesburg, and Tallin.

Thanks to Doria’s distinctive look (high-contrast, slightly shaken, and deliberately imperfect), his photographs feel at times like glimpses. The glimpse of a man or woman going to work, or to the train station; a wanderer glancing upward. Yet there is a deliberate sameness to these glimpses, which extends from Johannesburg to Paris. The sameness of modern life, of the memories created by an identical commute. Here the well-traveled city is a receptacle of memories (psychically recorded by workers and travelers), which are all alike. Doria writes that he wanted to portray the “impersonality of the city, showing the cold regularity of some urban architecture and the small places in which many of us are living, sometimes in contrast with the spaces all around.” 


Enrico Doria was born in Palermo in 1978 and received his PhD in Genetics and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Pavia. He currently works in Pavia. His photographs have been published widely in several national and international magazines, including LensCulture and Lomography. He has exhibited his photography, which he often shoots on medium format film, in various Italian and foreign cities, including at the Spaziofarini6 Gallery in Milan. Follow his work on his website here.

Doria recently prepared a book dummy for his photography series Esprits, which you can – and should! – check out here.

Literature, Publishing

A Vertiginous Decline: Minor Literature[s] Reviews “I Am Not Ashamed”

Thom Cuell wrote a phenomenal review of Barbara Payton’s I Am Not Ashamed in Minor Literature[s] that is sure to get you excited about this unique autobiography. He emphasizes the way that Payton talks about sexuality and subversiveness in Hollywood:

The idea that female sexuality is transgressive and deserving of punishment is a long established trope of Hollywood film-making, satirised by Wes Craven in Scream (1996) which codified the unwritten law, ‘you may not survive the movie if you have sex’. For Payton, this fictional conceit became a reality: ‘I had a body when I was a young kid that raised temperatures wherever I went. Today I have three long knife wounds on my solid frame’. No stunt doubles or prosthetics here, the wounds are written on her body.

She learned early that her body was a saleable asset, and this coloured her view of relationships. It is no surprise that she uses the language of economics to describe her love life: ‘I sold, they bought, and for years the demand was way out ahead of the supply’. At first, this exchange was transacted on an unofficial basis, with her affections bought by extravagant gifts or favours. Later, as her erotic capital began to decline, the arrangement became more formalised: ‘It’s funny how supply and demand, sex appeal and talent regulate a girl’s price. I found out soon enough that my price was a hundred dollars and not a cent more’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her most treasured relationship did not involve sex: ‘I once loved a man who was impotent and I was faithful to him. He left me after a while saying it was unfair to me. But it wasn’t and I would have loved him for the rest of my life’.

Cuell also remarks upon Barbara Payton’s wretched end, and her take on her own decline:

Payton quotes ‘a kind of saying among the hip set in Hollywood that if the pressures don’t get you the habits will’. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the pressures and the habits haven’t changed too much in the fifty-odd years since she wrote I Am Not Ashamed. She wasn’t the first starlet to come to a disreputable end, and there have been more since (although few suffered quite such a vertiginous decline in fortunes). Ultimately, there’s a lot to be said for the lack of regret or hypocritical self-flagellation which normally characterises the Hollywood exile’s memoir. And at least she doesn’t try vaginal steaming.

Photography

Punk Daze (photography)

Punk Daze

by John Brian King

In the early 1980s, John Brian King was photographing the stranded travelers and unfrequented places that would later appear in his unique, wonderful book LAX: Photographs of Los Angles 1980–84. At the same time, he was going to punk shows, desecrating L.A. industrial lofts, meeting John Lydon (!), and hanging out with some spectacularly dressed friends. He brought his camera along to capture the odder moments of his youth. His color photographs are vibrant and unaffected; his black-and-white shots are stark and impulsive, reminiscent of his work at the airport. “Punk Daze” is a casual, personal look into the photographer’s life, revealing, little by little, the anarchic ideas behind his artistic accomplishments.


John Brian King is a Los Angeles native who graduated with a degree in photography from the California Institute of the Arts. His photography books LAX: Photographs of Los Angeles 1980–84 and Nude Reagan are now available from Spurl Editions. He designed the film titles for over thirty films, including Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love and The Ring. Additionally, he wrote and directed the feature film Redlands, an examination of creativity and horror in relation to photography. Visit his website here, and follow him on Instagram.

Photography

Charlotte Hooij (Photography)

Photographs by Charlotte Hooij

Charlotte Hooij took many of these photographs in Brussels, depicting the inner life of a historic, bureaucratic city. With brilliant colors and a refreshing candid formalism, her photographs of men and women in uncomfortable habitats are reminiscent of Georges Simenon’s portrayals of existentially lost northern Europeans.

From Pedigree, by Georges Simenon, translated by Robert Baldick (available from NYRB):

Now the street was empty, with just a thin drizzle to give it a touch of life. The shop-windows had disappeared one after another behind their iron curtains. The men with frozen noses who distributed coloured prospectuses at the doors of the dress shops had vanished into the darkness. The trams were rarer and made more din; the monotonous noise that could be distinguished in the background was that of the muddy waves of the Meuse breaking against the piers of the Pont des Arches.

In the streets all around, there were plenty of little cafés with frosted-glass windows and cream curtains, but Désiré never set foot in a café except on Sunday morning, at eleven o’clock, and then always at the Renaissance.

He was already scanning the windows inquiringly. He did not think about eating. He kept taking his watch out of his pocket and now and then he would start talking to himself.

At ten o’clock, he was the only person left on the pavement. He had scarcely so much as frowned on seeing some gendarmes’ helmets over in the direction of the Place Saint-Lambert.

Twice he had climbed the stairs, and strained his ears to catch some noise; twice he had fled, frightened, sick at heart.

“Excuse me…”

The policeman at the corner of the street, standing underneath a big dummy clock with its hands fixed, had nothing to do.

“Could you tell me the right time?”

Then with a strained, apologetic smile:

“Time seems to go so slowly when one’s waiting…”


Charlotte Hooij is a photographer and a student at the Luca School of Arts in Brussels, Belgium. Follow her work on her website and on Instagram.

Publishing, Literature

A Minor Masterpiece: Kim Morgan Reviews “I Am Not Ashamed”

Film writer Kim Morgan reviewed Spurl’s edition of I Am Not Ashamed, by Barbara Payton. In her aptly titled essay “Notes from the Unashamed,” Morgan delves deep into Payton’s life and the book’s utterly unique writing style, comparing it to Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground:

Payton’s drunken ramblings and recollections (who knows how much are true or truer than you could ever imagine?) melding with Guild’s jazzed-up pulp speak becomes something of a minor masterpiece. A dime store (in the best sense of the term) Notes From Underground — the bellowing of the underground woman, telling us there is something wrong with her looks (and most certainly her liver), filled with regret, self doubt, black humor, pride and touching reassurance that it might work out one day knowing damn well it won’t. As she, via Guild, wrote with all the flavor of Horace McCoy: “Forever is just a weekend, more or less.”

Morgan later analyzes the role of Hollywood sexism in Payton’s demise:

But there’s a raw power to I Am Not Ashamed, that, even with and because of its questionable veracity, stuns with a harrowing account of that timeless struggle so many face in Hollywood — keeping a firm grip. And adding to the struggle — keeping a firm grip as a woman in Hollywood. The book works as real documentation of a downfall but also allegorical — mythic in its observations of just how hard some women can fall. And how much men can want women to fall. And how women can even embrace that fall. The shelf life of an actress was terrifying then, and terrifying now. Barbara’s demise reads like a horror movie for any actress losing one too many parts as time marches on. The roles are drying up. What to do? The world twists to make them seem a grotesque — Barbara actually became it.

It’s a compelling, tremendous review – enjoy!