MAY 25 Max Cozzi

MazCozzi.com

The Wisconsin Natural is a portfolio of landscape photographs portraying the beauty and wonder that the great state of Wisconsin holds within its unaltered environment. Conserved in a network of state and nationally owned parks, forests, and lakefronts the state holds a sense of midwestern allure. Unlike the immense landscapes that cover the American West, these photographs portray the appreciation of looking into the rich possibilities of a modest landscape. Between the glacial formed hills and moraines, the mazes of lakes and woods, to the dynamic and ever-changing shorelines of the great lakes the natural beauty of Wisconsin is pure and full of magnificence.

— Maxwell Cozzi, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

© Max Cozzi

© Max Cozzi3

© Michele Ravasio

MicheleRavasio.com

Milan is a grey city. Essentially, it’s a uniform casting of asphalt and cement. Bringing some colour to its streets is very hard work.

This project, titled Broken Flowers, is dedicated to the many and various flower kiosks spread throughout each neighbourhood of the city. It tells about an impossible challenge, lost already at the beginning, against a hostile environment, and in the good season against heat and sun too, which threaten to burn the flowers. For that reason the flower sellers have, for more than half of the year, to find any possible solution to cover carefully their merchandise through awnings and cloths of any sort, of any pattern and fabric, that they move depending on the sun movement, and the result is the picturesque look of these little “flower cottages.”

They turn out to be completely foreign, seem to have fallen out of the sky and the tents contribute to further their distance from the surrounding area. Similar, furthermore, is the state of the ones that, besides flowers, are under those tents. 90% of them are young men from Bangladesh who do not speak Italian and manage hardly to understand and to help the nowadays very few clients. For them integration is a mirage simply out of reach, an ideal landing place, last unlucky carriers of one of the activities that will be totally swallowed up by the large retailers.

— Michele Ravasio, Milan, Italy

© Michele Ravasio

© Michele Ravasio3

© Fulvio Bortolozzo

BorFul57.blogspot.it

A photographic collection of places taken from a soap opera in which I play the protagonist role: my life. The photographs are realized following the Rules of Perspective and are not prepared or planned, but “happen” during the movements. From the taproot of this series I have developed site-specific works.

— Fulvio Bortolozzo, Turin, Italy

© Fulvio Bortolozzo

© Fulvio Bortolozzo3

© Ricardo Dominguez Alcaraz

DominguezAlcaraz.com

Working in the shadows is fine. You have the peace of not being exposed and the pressure it entails. But working in the shadows is unappreciated. You do an essential function, or at least an important function, but no one sees you and no one knows your existence, so no one knows your importance.

At the surrounding zones of the city something like that happens. We don’t realise their importance. In fact, we don’t even realise their existence. We pass through these zones in cars, motorcycles, bikes and even by walking. And we do not realise that these limits are what make the way for us to get to the city, make the way for the existence of this city. They nourish the city and through them crosses the things that make a city become a city.

Usually we presume the things and we don’t ask why or how it was. It’s normal, today more and more — the “modern” life is faster, impulsive and direct. There’s no time for reflection, the decisions are here and now. The “now” rules. So we go to our things, fast and without looking around. 

No One’s Land pretends the opposite. It pretends to stop, take a break, look around and reflect. Mainly about the city limits, about these territories that are in a no man’s land, about what defines them and about their importance for the citizens in a city.

But you can’t try to understand them from inside your car. You must walk through them, listen to their sounds, smell their scents, see what things are arranged in them. And the first thing you realise is that, although they are part of the city, they are completely different from the city itself. They are still, almost changeless and it seems that there isn’t much to do in them. They are the perfect and necessary opposition to any city and they cannot exist without each other.

And what do I do? I observe, I listen and I document it all. But without indicating a way of thinking. Just documenting it in a neutral way. I think it’s the better way to give these zones a voice and the chance of being seen and understood. 

— Ricardo Dominguez Alcaraz, Valencia, Spain

no one's land

no one's land

© Thieu Riemen

ThieuRiemen.nl



Everyday Aspects and Genius Loci

River landscapes (Maas – Waal)
Since my childhood I have been fascinated by the landscapes of the great Dutch rivers. On beautiful summer days we sometimes went to the riverside to cool down. In winter we went watching high water and in spring we now and then made a trip along the blooming orchards. Later on I visited the remnants of the brick industry along the rivers. These mostly rural or suburban landscapes are man-made environments with a strong impact of nearness of the river.

Nature in these areas is most of the time nature made by and controlled by man. As a matter of fact most of the diverse Dutch landscapes are the result of centuries of intervention by humans. The common point of view of governmental and environmental organizations is that to maintain our characteristic landscapes, management is required. Regarding the river landscapes, it should be added that the security of many people depends on careful management of the river waters. For example, one makes more room for the river by digging trenches and by removing vegetation.

Dutch landscapes
In my images I focus on the signs and traces of human presence. You might say the landscape of the Netherlands is some sort of palimpsest of human actions. In this way it tells me often more about human culture than for example straight forward portraits of people can do. Landscape in my pictures is almost entirely the result of human behavior and intervention.Traces of technology, of industrial and agricultural activities tell me about the use and exploitation of the land. All kind of buildings, materials used, roads, canals, more or less disturbed or cultivated vegetation allow me to see how we have changed, and how we are still changing our surroundings. I explore these gradual and rapid changes in my photographs, sometimes by taking again and again pictures of the same subject and place, just like in my series Four Seasons.

Mood and genius loci
I am usually not very interested in capturing the reality of the landscape in an objective way; as a mere document of human actions. The light and weather conditions are clearly very important to me. I have an enormous fascination for light effects. Carefully I try to choose the weather and time of the day (preferably at twilight) to take my photographs. Sunny weather with nice blue skies are seldom seen in my recent pictures; I am far more fascinated by the gloom that comes with nightfall. In addition many times at dusk silence descends on the landscape. The silence at the end of a working day contributes greatly to the atmosphere of a location.

My emphasis on the importance of having particular light and weather conditions is just because of my interest in the experience of a location; I often spend much time on one particular location and I return frequently in different seasons when I feel a special bond with a place. With experiencing a location I mean feeling the distinctive atmosphere or emotion that a location evokes: the genius loci, the ‘spirit of the place’. To me the genius loci is an very meaningful aspect of the landscapes where I wander around with my camera. In capturing the landscape the omnipresent sky is an important means to strengthen the expression of mood of a landscape.

Transience
Another reason why I chose to render a distinct sky in my images, is that the skies for me convey a feeling of transience and impermanence of all human enterprises. 
I am always very interested in the history of a location or landscape; I read as much as I can about it and try to imagine how people before our times used and changed the landscape. In my opinion the skies — although highly variable and changeable — are the timeless elements in the photographic image. Never the same but substantially not changed since ancient times, thus being eternal in contrast with the volatile earthly things.

— Thieu Riemen, Tilburg, The Netherlands

© Thieu Riemen

© Thieu Riemen3

© Leona Strassberg Steiner

LeonaStrassbergSteiner.com

The downtown Jersey City area is booming and natural landscapes are becoming harder and harder to find. Tall skyscrapers, office buildings, and coops are popping up all around us, along with the infrastructure that must accommodate our growing population. 

Searching for Natural Landscapes is composed of photographs taken in four different locations: Mill Creek by the Jersey City Marina, two different spots under the New Jersey Turnpike Extension (Exit 14c), and the area behind Harismus Cemetery. Having lived many years in a small village on the northern coast of Israel, my need to go out in search of quiet intimate spaces for solitude and reflection were becoming more and more vital for my sanity and healthy living. Leaving the paved streets and sidewalks was the only way to find these sacred spots. While photographing, I was especially taken by Mother Nature and her ability to encompass and engulf the old and unused railroad tracks, tunnels, and bridges, turning these areas once more into sacred spaces.

— Leona Strassberg Steiner, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

© Leona Strassberg Steiner

© Leona Strassberg Steiner3

Perspectives on Place

Perspectives on Place, by J.A.P. Alexander

This book sets out to survey “theory and practice in landscape photography,” and does an admirable job, considering the long history of portraying the landscape in painting and photography. Alexander gives introductions to a variety of subjects, such as the sublime, that are useful to understanding contemporary landscape photography.

He organizes his book into an introduction and five chapters, on such topics as “Defining Nature” and “Landscape and Power.” In each chapter, Alexander combines a discussion of the practical aspects of photography and project-making with the aesthetic considerations of artists who have explored this genre. He also makes it clear that successful photography is more than just showing up; it’s a matter of research and reflection.

In Alexander’s first chapter, “Taming the View,” he weaves together a consideration of tripods and camera formats with Robert Adams’ thoughts on geography, autobiography and metaphor. Those three elements can be combined successfully in landscape photography to bring out the richest compositions, according to Adams.

In the books’ second chapter, “Defining Nature,” Alexander draws our attention to 18th-century discussions of the sublime, beautiful and picturesque, three ways of describing the landscape — first by painters, then eventually by photographers. Alexander introduces images by contemporary artists who challenge easy notions of beauty.

The book is well-illustrated, with photographs from early artists such as Timothy Sullivan and Carleton Watkins, to contemporary artists such as Penelope Umbrico, Nadav Kander and Celine Clanet. Alexander also uses reproductions of paintings to make points about art history that are pertinent to painters and photographers.

Alexander has created a book that should be useful to artists, teachers and anyone interested in a nuanced presentation of issues in contemporary landscape photography. The book is published by Bloomsbury.

— Willson Cummer

© JAP Alexander

Photo © J.A.P. Alexander

© Elisa Maple

ElisaMaple.com

In a time when water is poised to become the oil of the 21st century, The River’s Edge explores the vernacular landscape of the Lower Neuse River Basin, a complex relationship between the river and man. Weaving through seven North Carolina counties, the Neuse River begins its journey in the Piedmont in the West, and ends it in the Pamlico Sound in the East.  Although under increasing environmental pressure, there is still a beauty that flows with the Neuse, a quiet strength and resilience that feeds both the spirit of the land and the people of this region of Eastern North Carolina. 

— Elisa Maple, New Bern, North Carolina, USA

© Elisa Maple

© Elisa Maple3

© Agan Harahap

MelmanAndTheHippo.blogspot.com

The Invisible Monument is a photography project that I did in my pilgrimage to various locations of massacres that occurred in Indonesia in 1965. These locations have changed or may have been converted into other forms. In the absence of instructions or accurate markers of the precise locations of the points, I tried to bring back the dark story that happened 50 years ago. This project is a response and my responsibility as an artist in trying to photographically document the historical facts in order to provide a new alternative view of Indonesian history.

At the age when it could have been called a ‘teen,’ Indonesia was in a very bleak era. People branded as members or sympathetics of the Partai Komunis Indonesia or PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) were arrested and tortured. There is no exact nominal figure on the number of these victims of human rights violation. Some researchers estimate between 1 to 3 million lives were victims of this barbaric act.

Until 1965, PKI was the third largest communist party in the world after the Soviet Union and China. In Indonesia, PKI was the largest party with millions of members and sympathizers. PKI has several organizations that serve as engines of the party such as Pemuda Rakyat (Youth Citizens), Lembaga Kesenian Rakyat (The People’s Art Institute), Barisan Tani Indonesia (The Farmer’s Line Up of Indonesia), Sentral Organisasi Buruh Seluruh Indonesia (Central Labour Organisation Throughout Indonesia), Gerakan Wanita Indonesia (Indonesian Women’s Movement) etc, all of which participated in almost every part of society at that time .

On September 30, 1965, six army generals and one high-ranking officer were kidnapped and executed. In that unstable period, Major General Suharto immediately appeared to take command for security measures and order. On October 4, all seven corpses were found in an old well in the Crocodile Hole. The next day the bodies were ceremonially paraded above APCs and buried.

But it did not end there. Various media in Indonesia were forced to close. The only media that could be circulated was affiliated with the army. In its report, PKI had done a heinous torture and murder against the six generals and one officer at the Crocodile Hole. Furthermore, the army’s media also described a form of torture committed by PKI in a very cruel and inhumane way. As a result, rumors grew about the barbarity of the PKI. People who were in a confused state just consumed the news and immediately took action against the cadres, members and sympathizers of PKI in Indonesia.

In many writings that I read, mass actions against the massacre of PKI was supported by the army. In fact, there were many places dedicated specially to train soldiers to execute the young men of PKI. The result was that millions of Indonesians, be it members, cadres, sympathizers and even relatives associated with the PKI were eventually captured, tortured and killed without going through the court process. Once executed, the bodies of the victims were buried at various confidential places or dumped into ravines, rivers and left washed up on the beach.

After Suharto became President, all matters relating to the events of the G-30S and genocide became one direction. In addition to the government (Suharto), no one was sure who they could speak openly about the brutal action. Suharto took full control of the state of Indonesia. The only source that could be obtained was controlled by the government — propaganda such as history textbooks, monuments and street naming, until the movie “Betrayal G30S/PKI” which was mandatory viewing for several generations. And hundreds of ‘propaganda products of the new order’ which must be swallowed by this nation so clearly ingrained, PKI is the enemy of the nation.

After the reformation and the fall of the Suharto regime, the mystery surrounding the G-30S and the mass killings that occurred began to open slowly. Hundreds and even thousands of articles or news that emerged after the reform era, suggested that what occurred around the G-30S that had been recorded in history books, films, propaganda monuments and hundreds of other products were inversely proportional to the reality of the matter. In some documents that I learned, it was written that the mass execution that occurred in Indonesia was a serious human rights violation and second largest after Hitler and his Nazis in the 20th century.

According to Bre Redana, history is a symphony of memory. History is nothing more than a collection and a series of different stories, (or even a myth ), about what happened in the past. History is always written by the winners. Even more if when we talk about the incident 47 years ago which has always been closed and manipulated, then the true historical facts that precise and accurate must be refracted. 

Various efforts have been made to ‘bring’ history into our daily lives, ranging from the provision of street names, place names, or even to erect a monument.
 I wonder how many standing monuments there are, ranging from big cities to remote areas throughout Indonesia. Monuments were established as a symbol, a marker and a reminder of the important things that happened in that location.

 George Santayana, a writer and philosopher, once said, “Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So I would argue that the history of our nation needs to be straightened out, and should be remembered, so that similar incidents do not happen again.



— Agan Harahap, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
(translated by Aniela Rahardja)

© Agan Harahap

© Agan Harahap3

© Thomas Ladd

ThomasLadd.com

The Sheep Pasture Gardens are community vegetable gardens which are tended by residents of North Easton, Massachusetts. I began to make photographs there as a refuge from my busy and noisy life. I could focus on the beauty of the landscape, reflect on changes of the season and admire the elegant structure of plants. Yet over time the garden landscape became less fanciful. During my visits I noticed that food was left unharvested to rot. The gardens appear to be therapeutic hobbies — not essential to the people who cultivate them — and were often forgotten. This prompted me to question how gardens are used by people who truly need them. My research led me to learn about poverty farming within the Andean communities of South America. I decided to visit. Presently I am working on two complementary projects: the Sheep Pasture Gardens and the Cloud Forest Gardens — each serving a different purpose.

— Thomas Ladd, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, USA

© Thomas Ladd

© Thomas Ladd3

© Jesse Moore

JesseBMoore.com

I strive to make photographs that are snippets of ordinary life. In November 2014 I published a photobook, Bungalows, featuring 100 photographs that were made while walking in Durham, North Carolina. Presenting this series as a book emphasizes the commonalities between images. Patterns emerged organically in their content and compositions, as I worked on the series over three years, using point-and-shoot cameras to capture scenes of domesticity.

Although these photographs are rooted in their locality, Bungalows also highlights homes and neighborhoods in a way that is broadly relatable, by depicting them from the perspective of a passerby. I think of this approach as a combination of street photography and candid portraiture that documents the landscapes of a specific place and time. This series is intended to blur the distinctions between public and private spaces. Its images feel intimate, yet a buffering distance exists between the subject and photographer.

I’ve often wondered what someone might think after seeing a photo of their home in Bungalows. I can only hope they would be pleased to know that another person paused for a moment to focus on its unique details and commit that lasting image to film.

— Jesse B. Moore, Durham, North Carolina, USA

© Jesse Moore

© Jesse Moore3

© Renee Akana

ReneeAkana.net

I am a California photographer who recently moved to Central New York.

I come from Los Angeles, a diverse landscape of ocean, mountains and desert, uniting with a congested population. Perhaps those of us who live in mega cities often see no farther than the car ahead in grid lock. We define “natural” subjectively or conveniently.

Escaping the city meant crossing perhaps 50 miles of desert to find a pine tree. En route, the surroundings become harsh and isolated. Yet, I couldn’t escape the interaction of man upon the land.

We all seek beauty and that’s why I am a landscape photographer. Yet, I can be as excited about an abandoned building as I am when I see a giant sequoia. Perhaps there is something to be said for the secrets that they both hold, witnesses to forgotten stories that existed before I arrived.

— Renee Akana, Oneida, New York, USA

© Renee Akana

© Renee Akana3

© Jürgen Nefzger

JuergenNefzger.com

In 2008, the credit crunch in Spanish banks caused the property bubble to burst.

Tens of thousands of unsold apartments and development sites have turned into new ghost towns around Madrid. The fantasies developers used to project onto these semi-arid landscapes now seem outdated. These towns have been suddenly demoted to ruin status, and evoke a future devoid of any prospects. 

The important point here is to remain focused on the ordinariness of things — open to the very ugliness of buildings and soiled nature, which develop their own visual uniqueness — as if apportioning praise and turning it into unreal beauty.

— Jürgen Nefzger, Nice, France

© Jürgen Nefzger

© Jürgen Nefzger3

© Michele Cabas

Flickr.com

Beauty is in every thing and everywhere.
The task of the photographer is to present it in accessible terms.
This is achieved by providing an incomplete picture, without unnecessary frills, the ideas in their natural state.
This allows you to go back to the archetype, the true source of light.
The light that strikes the film.

— Michele Cabas aka Joe Galaxy, Gorizia, Italy

© Michele Cabas

© Michele Cabas3

© Babis Kougemitros

BabisKougemitros.com

These pictures are the product of my last two-year wandering in several places and areas of Attica (Greece), the zone between the city edges and the countryside. Edgelands depicts vague, ambiguous and constantly-changing landscapes that people often reject as being ugly or aesthetically unworthy.

This time I escaped the Athens city centre, the chaos, the perpetual mobility of the crowd; this time I turned my eyes to the edges of the city, where the spectacular and eye-catching frame tend to fade and disappear into the hazy and disordered flora. I ran off the main highway and followed much more peripheral roads — an uncharted road network, stretched like a web in the Attica basin, which indiscreetly unites underpopulated areas, industrial zones and slums. These are the narrow and insignificant roads we take when we’ve lost our way; these are the in-between areas which constitute the passageway from the city to the countryside.

All in all, my nocturnal wanderings in these places — so close to Athens but still so distant — revive the question of what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is significant and what is trivial — but most importantly where the heart of the city beats hard and unceasingly.

— Babis Kougemitros, Athens, Greece

© Babis Kougemitros

© Babis Kougemitros3