New Website for Catalin Cernat

 

CatalinCernat.com

The Romanian artist Catalin Cernat and I worked together over this past week to build a website for his photography at CatalinCernat.com.

I was happy to help Catalin because his work is graceful and thought-provoking. I believe that a good website is a huge step up from a Flickr or IG feed, or a Facebook page: it allows the artist to control the sequencing of his images and the text that enhances them.

English is not Catalin’s first language, so I helped him clean up the artist statements and his bio — using his own words. I also sequenced the photos for Catalin, which was much easier than sequencing my own work. (It helps to have distance.)

Catalin is the rare photographer who is able to photograph landscapes and portraits with equal fluency and skill. We presented 15 images in each category.

Please let us know what you think of the website. There is discussion on the 3,000-member  NLP Facebook group about Catalin’s new site.

I am interested in doing more work of this type: sequencing, editing, tweaking of the operation of a website. I will charge a modest fee. Please email me at Willson@NewLandscapePhotography.com to find out more about how I might help you.

— Willson Cummer, Fayetteville, New York, USA

Book Review: No One’s Land

No One’s Land

This stunning book from Ricardo Dominguez Alcaraz, a Spanish artist, is a step up in the world of print-on-demand. The images were selected and sequenced by José de Almeida, of the Camera Infinita publishing house. Peecho, the Amsterdam-based print-on-demand company, printed the book with subtle color and tonal variations.

My copy was mailed to me from Seattle, USA, and I understand that Peecho uses a distributed model of printing, with partners around the world.

Alcaraz told me that he and Almeida supplied images that they thought would print well through Peecho and were pleased with the first copy of the book they ordered. (Another Peecho user told me that he had to order a sample book and then resubmit his images after some toning adjustments.) In any case, the book is more attractive than ones I have made through Blurb, and quite a bit less expensive. I will be using Peecho in the future for my self-publishing.

Alcaraz’s book is full of intriguing images of suburbs, “intermediate places that are absolutely necessary for the city,” according to his introduction. My only complaint about the book is that Alcaraz’s thoughtful introduction is rendered in not-quite-perfect English. This is made up for by the eloquence of his images, which can be universally appreciated. He makes a poetry of wooden pallets, stunted trees, billboards, roadsigns and other ephemera of the suburbs.

Almeida skillfully sequenced the images into a flow that links one picture to another, building a work that is more powerful than any individual image. His touch demonstrates the value of a careful and thoughtful editor. Alcaraz told me in an email that he saw his work with fresh eyes when presented with Almeida’s sequences.

No One’s Land is a treat, and reminds me once again of how powerful the printed image can be when sequenced into a carefully-made book.

— Willson Cummer, Fayetteville, New York, USA

John Brian King

JohnBrianKing.com

Riviera is a new series I photographed in the summer of 2016 in Palm Springs, California. I experimented with many cameras but finally settled on a Fuji instant film camera. I liked the way the camera goes against the grain of fine-art landscape photography, and it somehow captured the grittiness of the city without being too detailed and harsh.

Palm Springs is usually presented through photography as a place to relax and unwind — as a full-time resident, I chose to focus on the incongruous and decaying spaces of the bleak desert city.

— John Brian King, Palm Springs, California, USA

Changes to the Blog

I’m a person who keeps cars long after the repeated repairs make it worthwhile. So it’s no surprise that I held onto the original design for this blog for more than six years. The theme was called Neutra. I loved its simplicity and clarity. The problem was that whomever designed Neutra decided to give up on it after about three months. So there were never any updates — not even accommodations for cell phones.

These days most people look at New Landscape Photography on their phones, according to the analytics I have. So it was critical that I adopt a responsive theme, which would adjust to phones. A particular frustration for me was the difficulty of reading the artist statements on a phone. I believe that the artist statements complement the work and add to a viewer’s appreciation of it. (Some disagree with me, saying that work should always speak for itself, alone — but that’s a topic for another blog post.)

For the last couple of years I’ve been looking around for a better theme and couldn’t find one I liked. Finally I checked out WordPress’s theme called 2017, which was released — surprise, surprise — just this year. I really like it, and have changed the blog over to it.

There are some big changes: the picture window has grown from 575 pixels wide to 740. That means that, depending on the proportions of the image, the photographs will be about two-thirds larger in area. The first image published at this larger size is my own picture of a small park across the street from my home. It’s part of the From My Front Door project, in which I took Henry David Thoreau’s approach to Walden and applied it my immediate neighborhood, using a camera instead of a pen.

Another change is that I dropped the right column, which had my picture, a search box, an email-signup box and an enormous list of all the artists I had featured. (Confession: I stopped keeping that list up after it grew over 300 names and someone chided me for its being unwieldy). I put my picture on the contact page, along with the email sign-up box. I dropped the list of 300 artists, and I’m working on getting a menu link to a search box (help, please!).

Things that won’t change: my commitment to sharing the work of exciting photographers, many of whom are emerging and early-career. I’m also determined to make the blog more international. I have so much enjoyed getting to know artists from Europe and the US, but I want to add more work from people in Africa, Asia and South America.

I continue to run a Facebook group that is also called New Landscape Photography. It has over 3,000 members and is an active site of discussion, picture-sharing and questions. I lightly curate the group, tossing out postcard scenics, pretty sunsets and the like. Watermarks are also not allowed. It’s a very collegial and polite group, which I am determined to maintain as it grows.

The transition to the new theme may be rocky. Please let me know if you encounter any troubles. Thanks for your readership and support over these past six years. It has meant the world to me. And let me know if there’s someone’s work you think I should publish.

— Willson Cummer, Fayetteville, New York, USA

Gregor Kuhlenbäumer

Kuhlenbaeumer.de

German landscape has been cultivated for centuries: created through continuous construction, destruction, rebuilding, mining and recultivation. However, until the industrial age landscape changed very slowly. Therefore, it appeared static and stable in relation to a human lifetime.

Only the advent of machines allowed mankind to change, destroy and rebuild, heap up and dig out landscapes within years, just like houses. Landscape photography used to treat landscape either as constant, changed only through the influence of nature or as something new, the result of human intervention.

The project called B404-A21 describes a process, the conversion of the route B404 into the motorway B21 on a stretch of 1.5 kilometres. The boggy terrain impedes motorway construction. Hundreds of piles are rammed 30 meters deep into the ground, thousands of tons of peat, clay and mud are removed and again thousands of tons sand are filled up, levelled, turned over and flattened again before being covered with nets, native soil, grass and bushes.

Creeks are diverted, pumped away, canalized and renatured. A distributor road, a motorway entrance and exit as well as two bridges are built. And every hollow fills with water, reeds grow, grass and weeds cover every pile of sand within weeks. Birds settle in, are driven out, come back or not.

Whatsoever: an awesome undertaking, a new traffic artery, destroyed nature, lush nature, profit and loss, a heroic undertaking and a devastation. The project is ongoing, bulky, and the outcome is still vague.

— Gregor Kuhlenbäumer, Kiel, Germany

Raz Talhar

RazTalhar.com

Within the last few years, nothing has made quite such a dramatic impact on the natural Malaysian landscape around me as large-scale land reclamations have done.

It’s been both fascinating and disturbing to witness how fast once familiar scenes of “home” have been transformed and or completely destroyed. For this to happen, vast amounts of sand have been mined, transported and dispersed out to sea and along coastal areas, creating strange new land forms where once none had been.

My project covers five active reclamation sites — capturing them from land and sea. I’m interested in how these manufactured forms come into being and the process of them becoming a part of the working landscape. As to whether they are truly successful in doing this or not remains to be seen.

— Raz Talhar, Johor, Malaysia

Maxime Brygo

MaximeBrygo.com

Through the installation Pavillons et Totems I question our relationship with history and myths by exploring a little-known or evolving heritage conveying experienced or legendary stories that stem from the construction of a collective narrative.

Tied to the former Franco-Belgian mining region, my approach is that of an ethnographer of humble places. At the CRP in Douchy-les-Mines, France I am presenting a set of photographs along with a sound montage played in the art center space, forming an installation that invites visitors to consider various sites and plunge into the stories these sites echo.

At the edge of a forest, at the end of a road, behind a curtain of trees, monuments loom up like apparitions, many of them ordinary ones that speak to the inhabitants of these territories and open their imagination. Their stories can be heard, like “micro narratives” forming a discontinuous and digressive narrative that envelops visitors and stimulates their imagination.

By superimposing images of places and stories of inhabitants like a mosaic, I poetize spaces by opening them to a multiplicity of perspectives and voices. Through these micro narratives, I allow the inhabitants of these places to reclaim their history and the history of their territory.

— Maxime Brygo, Lille, France

François-Xavier Gbré

Le voile / The veil, Avenue des Armées, Sotuba, Bamako, 2011

FrancoisXavierGbre.com

November 2011. Bamako “la coquette” is changing fast. The works in progress create the new image of the Malian capital. In the Sotuba area, near the “sino-malian friendship bridge,” Korean artisans build monuments over hundreds of meters, to commemorate the glory of the veterans. In this area looking as a war theatre, between construction and destruction, the sculptures made in the style of socialist-realist works from North Korea tell us a lot about the concerns of the state.

On January 20th, 2012, the Malian army celebrated its 50th anniversary and the officials inaugurated with great pomp the Avenue of the Army with the National Band playing and revived specially for the event. The Avenue of the Army is the symbol of a powerful military force, it is monumental and filled with signs of victory. A paradox at a time when Mali falls into one of its darkest periods in history.

Fifty years after the independence, African States strive to write their memory but chosen aesthetics are often foreign-inspired. Mali Militari is a fable that lets us imagine the dramatic situation that Mali knows, with an army unstructured, unable to cope with the jihadists who threaten the country’s political stability and much more.

— François-Xavier Gbré, Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Paix et justice / Peace and justice, Avenue des Armées, Sotuba, Bamako, 2011
La fuite / The escape, Avenue des Armées, Sotuba, Bamako, 2011

Steve Cordingley

SteveCordingleyPhotography.co.uk

Burntwood Quarry

For the past three years I’ve been documenting the reopening of a small sandstone quarry in Derbyshire, UK and on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The stone, known as Ashover Grit, is being used for conservation work on the nearby stately home, Chatsworth House. The quarry was last opened in the early 1900s and it is thought to be the source of much of the original stone used to construct Chatsworth House from 1687 onwards. The project to extract the stone is due to last until 2028 using low-impact, non-explosive quarrying techniques.

I’m using a variety of photographic equipment and formats, supplemented with sound, video and written evidence, to document the re-opening of the quarry until completion. I aim to self-publish a series of booklets throughout the project and exhibit a final sequence of work once the project is complete, subject to funding.

This selection of black & white film images are from January 2016.

— Steve Cordingley, Derbyshire, England

Emmanuel Monzon

AdMonzon.500px.com

My work focuses primarily on the idea of urban sprawling and the urban expansion of its periphery. I photograph urban banality as though it were a romantic painting, trying only to be “stronger than this big nothing” in controlling the space by framing the subject. My aesthetic of the banal obeys its own rules: a ban on living objects, a precise geometrical organization, and the revelation of a specific physical and mental landscape blurring the lines between city and suburb, between suburb and countryside, a process that results in an independent identity.
This aesthetic of the emptiness in my photographic work attempts to understand our current environment.

— Emmanuel Monzon, Seattle, Washington, USA