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Free Gaza

I thought it was about time I broke my silence with all the war madness around us. The Israeli attack on Palestine people in Gaza is continuing, with the death-toll and casualties rising dramatically (many of whom innocent people and children). Noone is praising Hama’s terrorist attacks but this does not justify in any way the brutal force and the total disrespect that Israel has demonstrated. Following are some pics I took from the latest demonstration against the war in Gaza here in Athens.

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Osamu Kanemura

Osamu Kanemura has a unique vision that makes his photographs stand out. It all started back in Tokyo while he was working delivering newspapers across the city. His work portrays the urban landscape without sticking to any composition rules. His photographs capture the architectural madness and chaos of Japan’s capital from awkward spots. Slightly tilted angles, slightly underexposed and heavily overcrowded, his compositions provide a real insight to everyday life in the streets of Tokyo.
Following massive praise for his work, Osamu decided to pursue his love for B&W urban landscapes into the western world, with his next series in Germany and Finland. While the confusion and complexity of his early work vanished from this latter series, his photographs are still visually intense and continue to offer a different dimension to everyday settings. Each series he produced reaffirms that most modern cities are more “a product of unchecked growth than of design”, to quote MOMA’s introduction to his work. However, there is always a vision behind all his compositions, which rises from the city’s life and culture itself. As Osamu best described it, “you cannot speak of a part of something if you haven´t understood the whole.”

It’s been almost two months since my last post here in River66 (been too busy with Athens66 and work in general). I do promise to continue posting here though (hopefully really soon). I’m actually planning on a couple of posts for the next weeks. Until then though, I’ll continue with another personal set of photographs. These were all taken on a photoshoot we did for one of my buddies’ band named Freedom of Speech. The whole session was of’course amateur and mostly for fun. Nevertheless check their music out and enjoy the attempt.

I guess it’s time to post my first series of photographs. They’re from my last trip a week ago up in Scotland. I tried a different approach with this, perhaps it worked perhaps it didn’t. Anyway, the pictures are mostly a respect to the city that gave us Belle & Sebastian…and for that we trully thank you Glasgow. Enjoy (or hate)..

Cindy Sherman

I have been postponing this for quite some time now (I know it’s been a while since my last post). I have downloaded on my computer a number of photos by Cindy Sherman yet never seem to find the time to post them. Better late than never though (I really need to start working again on this blog since I’ve mostly focused on my Athens66 one. This goes down on my to-do or more appropriately hope-to-find-time-to-do list, along with posting a couple of more tributes to established contemporary photographers and also introducing some new work form new talents. The list also goes on for my personal photography projects, where I need to go out and buy some new lenses and a proper flash, a medium-format set to start exploring this form as well, a Polaroid which I always wanted, an A3 printer and most of all some time to just enjoy photographing again). But back to our current subject..

Cindy Sherman started off as a painter at Buffalo, soon to realize that this art-form was not suited for her and turned into photography for expressing herself. Cindy became known for her self-portrait series Untitled Film Stills, where she betrays different roles of B-movie actresses. The photographs portray different female characters, from housewife and actress, to dancer and prostitute, providing clear social criticism and questioning the role of women in art and society in general.

After “running out of clichés”, Sherman changed her style and besides using other people (in addition to self-portraits) in Disasters, Fairy Tales and History Portraits she uses prosthetic body parts, doll parts and colour lighting to produce more scary and grotesque images. For her next series Sex Pictures, she removed herself completely from the pictures but maintained the prosthetic body parts to produce sexual poses. Amongst her other work, her Clown series is also quite famous, as well as her latest raw and straight-forward portraits. It has to be noted that Sherman also directed a horror film but never really made a success on the big screen. Personally, while the “prosthetic” period of Sherman’s work is quite interesting, I’m still a big fan of the Untitled Film Stills.

Continuing on my previous post, I thought it would be quite interesting to post the most expensive photographs ever sold. The list has been compiled according to everyone’s favorite source (Wikipedia). While many will doubt the photographic value of some of these photos, one thing is for certain; photography has entered the art world and is gaining ground in galleries everyday. Still, there is quite some way till a photograph reaches the $137.5 millions that Willem de Kooning’s Woman III (or the alleged $140 million of Jackson Pollock’s No.5) was sold for.

10. Identical Twins (1967) by Diane Arbus $478,400

Identical Twins

9. Tree (1855) Gustave Le Gray $513,150

Tree

8. Untitled 5 (1997) Andreas Gursky $559,724

Untitled V

7. Moonrise (1948) Ansel Adams $609,600

6. Andy Warhol (1987) Robert Mapplethorpe $643,200

Andy Warhol

5. The Great Wave (1857) Gustave Le Gray $838,000

The Great Wave

4. Temple de Jupiter (1842) Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey $922,488

Temple de Jupiter

3. Untitled (Cowboy) (1989) Richard Prince $1,248,000

Untitled Cowboy

2. The Pond-Moonlight (1904) Edward Steichen $2,928,000

The Pond-Moonlight

1. 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001) Andreas Gursky $3,346,456

99 Cent II Diptychon

Andreas Gursky

Gursky’s work resembles that of Wall’s, not in style or technique, but merely on size. Born in 1955 in Leipzig, Germany, he was the son of a commercial photographer, giving him the chance to learn the tricks from a young age. It was at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf however that he really mastered the art under the influence of Bernd and Hilla Becher. At the beginning, he was part of a movement of Becher students that slowly began to break into the photographic world.

But Gursky’s talent was more than evident and soon differentiated himself from the minimalistic compositions of Becher and developed his own style with rich colors, large scale and plenty of detail. His early work documented the travel and leisure world, with hundreds of people imposed as details in immense landscapes, resembling patterns on a canvas. He later moved into more industrial and contemporary subjects such as warehouses, parliaments, office and hotel structures, capturing in detail and vivid colors humans and object from all corners of the worlds (Shanghai, Brasil, Los Angeles,Hong Kong) emphasizing the effect of capitalism and globalization in modern life.

Gurksy has (at the moment) the exclusive characteristic of having created the most expensive photograph in the world. It is ironically called “99 Cent II” and was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in February of 2007 for $3,346,456. He is also responsible for the 8th most expensive photograph ever sold (“Unitled 5” for $559,724). The full list of the most expensive photographs of all time will be posted here soon…

99 Cent IIShanghai