Identity and Place

Blas' OCA Learning Blog


Part one: Origins of photographic portraiture

Joel Sternfeld: Stranger passing

One of Sternfeld’s most interesting project and closely related to this module course is “Stranger Passing” in which the artist photographs strange people on the street, proposing them to interrupt what they are doing and prepare themselves briefly for the photo. Continue reading “Joel Sternfeld: Stranger passing”

James & other Apes

Another brief additional comment about the typologies in photography, based on a suggestion sent to me by my tutor. The work of photographer James Mollison in addition to being surprisingly fresh and visually striking, introduces a new and interesting element in portrait photography. Continue reading “James & other Apes”

Bettina von Zwehl

Following my tutor’s recommendation, I have explored the work of this German artist based in UK, who is specialized in portrait photography and explores identity issues far beyond the visual matter, because she looks for connections with the unconscious dimension not necessarily of a particular subject but as a contemporary paradigm. Continue reading “Bettina von Zwehl”

Family Portraiture Archive

When we talk about the family photo archive we could think that is a sophisticated system of storage and classification of photographs that allow us to access and locate quickly and efficiently any photograph, collection, or album, but based on my experience that “archive” is “organized in packets or drawers, some may be in albums, others scattered around in a disorderly way” (Patricia Holland) that do not seem to obey any specific chronology, leaving to the judgment of the compiler the criteria (if any) for the inclusion and the order of appearance. Continue reading “Family Portraiture Archive”

Typologies: Artisans

Eirini Grigoriadu reflects about the concept of distance in her essay about typologies published in the magazine “Ars Longa” in 2012 stating that the portraits of the German photographer Thomas Ruff offer a proximity to the individual where we can see each detail of another human being, although we are protect against a personal encounter. Continue reading “Typologies: Artisans”

Typologies in Photography

Marc Freidus defines a typology as a collection of members of the same class or type in his essay included in the book “Typologies – Nine Contemporary Photographers”, catalog of the exhibition held at several museum between 1992 and 1992, that featured works of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lynne Cohe, Judy Fiskin, Candida Hofer, Roger Mertin, Thomas Ruff, Edward Ruscha and Thomas Struth. Continue reading “Typologies in Photography”

Background as Context

August Sander (1876-1964) is interesting enough and with such a prolific body of work that deserves a deeper research about a lot of questions implicit in his photography. In an age where Pictorialism still maintained a certain grade of influence, Sander could be considered, as long as Renger-Patzch, and Blossfeldt, the founder of New Photography, a variation of the artistic movement known as New Objectivity. Continue reading “Background as Context”

Historic Portrait

Between 1850 and 1860 there was a flourishment of photographic portrait ateliers in Europe and in America. The invention by the French photographer André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri (1819-1889) of the carte de visite, consisting on printing 10 equal photographs on a single sheet, quickly spread around the world and along with the fact that production cost of these pictures was inexpensive, soon it was considered very fashionable to have such visiting cards. Continue reading “Historic Portrait”

The Square Mile

This is the first exercise I made after complete the course of context and narrative, so I felt a little anxious and nervous for having to go outside and experience the uncertainty of the unknown. I basically planned a first approach to this  exercise consisting in taking photograph of the places to which I’m related: the houses and neighborhood where I used to live, trying to include some elements that connect those places to my memories. Continue reading “The Square Mile”

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