Previous years, Photoville felt like a plethora of exciting and engaging new works. This year, I felt some of the containers/exhibitions fell a bit flat. A number of containers showcased seemingly surface level work; for instance, dull and characterless portraits of ferry workers or shelter dogs in flower crowns. However, a few containers atoned for these handful of dry and uninvolved containers.
A container I especially liked was Designing the White. The curation and display of work felt creative and thoughtful. The works focused on the use of white/negative space, similar to that of Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy. The photographs were printed on what looked like a special kind of transparency paper which gave the image a translucent and soft quality. Accompanying the photographs were small motion pictures that flipped continuously. As you looked at the quiet scenes depicted, the clicking sound of the photographs flipping through filled the container. The work felt different and poetic compared to many of the other containers.
Another engaging container was Pretty Girl Charged with Clever Swindle: Women and Crime in the 20th Century, New York. It was truly fascinating to see criminal portraits of women. The photographs were extremely telling about the time and the lives of the women. The scale of the photographs seemed to be effective as well as the small information cards that described the individual and the crime.
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Luigi Ghirri, an Italian photographer, heavily influences my work. Ghirri engaged with his surroundings. He understood space and the relation and dynamic we have to it. He explored reality and everyday life, and analyzed his environment.
Here is great New York Times article called Luigi Ghirri’s Brilliant Photographic Puzzles.