Sunday, October 14, 2007

"Kids with Cameras" at Soho Photo

SohoPhoto is not in Soho. It is south of Houston, but it’s also in the triangle below Canal. So really it’s Suchitra, 14 "Girl on a Roof"
in Tribeca, I’m splitting hairs. Did make me wonder if they had to move for rent increases in Soho, though. The gallery has been around since the early seventies and has monthly portfolio review for prospective members. They’re most famous for their “Krappy Kamera” competition that only allows for images taken with cameras that have a plastic lens, or pinhole, or a cell phone image, you get the idea. They exhibit and promote members work monthly throughout the year. On display currently on the second floor of gallery is Zana Briski’s “Kids With Cameras”. The children’s pictures are the last things I saw at this gallery. If they were first I may not have bothered with the rest. I found myself being incredibly moved by the free, uninhibited nature of the children’s photographs. I spoke with one patron who stated, “Well, they obviously aren’t thinking, I mean you wouldn’t expect them to”; I didn’t disagree with him then and there. I instead thought to myself how pompous of an ass do you have to be to say something like this. The children that photographed these striking images may not have the education of this man, but they have most likely experienced much more in their lives that would make for some strong photographic expressions. One young photographer, named Gour, was quoted in the flyer as saying “...that’s why I like photography, I want to put across the behavior of man.” This statement doesn’t sound like a statement someone would make that was not thinking about his or her craft. These kids are from the brothels of Calcutta. They see all kinds of despicable behavior. This 13-year-old boy seems to what to show men their behavior in pictures, so that maybe they will step back and see their misdeeds as just that. That’s a pretty lofty goal for such an ‘unthinking’ photographer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jamel Shabazz at Powerhouse

There was a tinge of excitement rousing folk at powerhouse books the other night...was it Shabazz himself arriving? No, he was present in his argyle glory. It's the 'retro' crew...mad disappointing, well there is free beer. What was even more disappointing was the fact that no one (myself included) asked the 'retro' boys if they saw the inherent irony of them getting props for vamping styles that my man Shabazz made available through the proliferation of his vision.
I mean really, these kids are rockin' a stylo they were not around to witness firsthand. So they use ebay and what have you, great. Why is all the cool gear from 15-20 years ago? Make your own way. I realize that every generation builds on the last but to straight take the same styles and just do it again...weak. I will admit in my day the 60's and 70's were really popular references, vintage pieces were coveted, and some went as far as to copy photos of the day. They were lame too. Adaption, my friends, is the key to making it your own.
The rest of the photos from Powerhouse can be found here