Point Pleasant, NJ #1, 2006 © Isa Leshko
The image above by Isa Leshko from her “Thrills & Chills” series reminds me of the image by Robert Adams that begins his revised and expanded edition of “Summer Nights, Walking.” I originally saw Adams’ image in the exhibition “In the Darkroom” at the National Gallery of Art and sought out his book just for that one image. I had hoped for more of the same, but for those who know this series, the amusement ride image seems an outlier. For Leshko, though, these rides are the focus.
Isa Leshko’s solo exhibition “Thrills & Chills” is currently on view at the Houston Arts Alliance, co-organized by the Houston Center for Photography and the John Cleary Gallery, and includes twenty-one prints from the series. The exhibition runs through December 31, 2010. space125gallery, 3201 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX 77019
courtesy of the Houston Arts Alliance
About this work Leshko writes, “[a]musement park rides terrify me, which is why I began photographing them. I am fascinated by what compels people to surrender themselves to these mechanical beasts. The rides seem to challenge the very limitations of being human. We can’t fly; yet these vertigo-inducing machines allow us to soar through the open air. The experience combines elation with fear; thrills with chills.
These images explore the fantastic and sinister place these rides hold in my imagination. With some of these images, I suspend disbelief and embrace the underlying fantasies of these rides. With other images, I examine the tensions that exist between fantasy and reality. I am interested in exploring the range of emotions—from anger to shock to exultation—that people exhibit in pursuit of the amusement these rides are supposed to provide.”
Coaster at Dusk, Hershey Park, PA 2008 © Isa Leshko
To see more work from “Thrills & Chills” visit Leshko’s website as well as the John Cleary Gallery. There is also a collectible little limited edition book available of this work.
Three amazing places to find photography prints this month are David Bram‘s Fraction Magazine Holiday Print Sale, Kevin Miyazaki‘s collect.give and Jen Bekman‘s 20×200. Check them out. Such great work to choose from. There are too many amazing photographers to list!
Third Annual Fraction Magazine Holiday Print Sale
100% of the sale goes to the photographer.
Beach House, Fire Island, 2009 ©Dalton Rooney
The photographers featured on collect.give have pledged to donate 100% of the profits from their print sales to worthwhile causes they support.
Hanging Snowflake ©Melissa Kaseman
Affordable art prints.
Nethermead ©Joseph O. Holmes
It’s always in season to support photographers, the photo community, and charities. Collect.give and 20×200 come out with new images all year round and you can always contact photographers directly to purchase work. Have fun shopping.
a selection of books on African photographers/photography
I just received my review copy of Zwelethu Mthethwa’s monograph published by Aperture. So excited! This is his first monograph and a monograph I have been waiting for for years. Joerg Colberg recently reviewed the book on his blog Conscientious and my review will be published by photo-eye. Colberg, or anyone for that matter, should definitely not be looking at traditional media for guidance in learning about the nuances, diversity, vibrant culture, art, and photographic discourse of Africa. About the monograph he said, “I really hope that Zwelethu Mthethwa will not be the last book of its kind, showcasing photography done by African artists. We need to see more.” I agree, in the sense that we need more monographs. Where are monographs for Lolo Veleko and Philip Kwame Apagya for example.
My interest in contemporary African photography developed in graduate school. Okwui Enwezor is my favorite curator. Half of my photography collection is dedicated to African photographers and I have a wide range of books on African photography. In light of Colberg’s search and a recent #photohistory discussion on Twitter, I wanted to offer a partial list of books dedicated to African photography from my library – a good place to start for anyone interested in this history of photography.
Snap Judgments (ICP/Steidl, 2006)
Rencontres Bamako 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009
Anthology of African & Indian Ocean Photography (Revue Noire, 1998)
In/sight: African Photographers 1940 to the Present (Guggenheim Museum, 2003)
The Short Century (Prestel, 2001)
Flash Afrique! Photography from West Africa (Steidl, 2002)
You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe (Harvard Art Museum, 2001)
Africa Inside (Noorderlicht, 2000)
Malick Sidibe: Photographs (Steidl/Hasselblad Center, 2004)
J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere Photographs (Scalo, 2000)
Fifty-One Years: David Goldblatt (Actar, 2001)
“Talk of the Town: Seydou Keita” by Manthia Diawara in Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace (MIT Press, 1999)
Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art
and of course Zwelethu Mthethwa (Aperture, 2010)
And you can read about James Pomerantz’s class on African Photography on his blog A Photo Student.
I would love to hear from anyone about this subject. Please get in touch if you are a photographer, curator, writer, scholar, etc. I am specifically interested in what material/photographers are out there from East Africa.