10.24.2010

10.15.2010

Newsprint and the Contemporary Photobook: Part 4, Rob Hornstra


I became aware of the Dutch photographer Rob Hornstra with his book 101 Billionaires, a project based in the former Soviet Union depicting the quotidian lives of the average citizen in the new capitalist economy through portraiture and text. Since making this book and the follow-up after the 2008 economic crisis, 101 Billionaires: The Crisis Edition (Down to 49), Hornstra has been working with writer Arnold van Bruggen on the The Sochi Project. The Russian resort town of Sochi will be the location of the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. For this is a donation-funded project, Hornstra and van Bruggen will continue to document this region of Russia as it prepares for the massive changes brought about with the advent of the Olympic Games. As part of this ongoing project, Hornstra and van Bruggen produced a newsprint publication/exhibition On the other side of the mountains to raise awareness and funding. Here Hornstra discusses the newsprint publication. More info The Sochi Project or to donate visit the website.



MM: Why did you, the designer, or publisher choose newsprint for The Sochi Project On the other side of the mountains?

RH: We don't work with a publisher. So we is me, the writer Arnold van Bruggen and the designers Kummer & Herrman.

This is from our sketchbook at thesochiproject.org

The production had a number of preconditions: at each location we would have use of a piece of wall, but it was unclear how much. Furthermore, 'something with the internet and projections' was expected. In addition, we wanted to give visitors something they could take away, which fits the strategy of The Sochi Project. And if possible, we also wanted to carry out guerrilla campaigns in the various festival cities. The budget for all of this was €3,000.

Based on the success of the poster exhibition in Rome and our introductory newspaper, the question arose of whether we couldn't combine all these elements in one product. And so the idea of a multi-functional newspaper-cum-Do-It-Yourself exhibition was born. A couple of quick calculations revealed that a 64-page newspaper would result in an exhibition of 1.20 x 6 metres. This, combined with an adapted, more public website, would be it.






MM: Does this choice relate to the subject matter or concept of this specific book?

RH: The choice relates to the concept and it fits the subject. But there are more media (for example a small book) which fit the subject.

I wrote before how we came to the concept.

 
MM: What are your thoughts on the non-archival nature of this material and how it relates to this publication?

RH: I wonder what the criteria are for archival or non-archival material. I mean, a newspaper maybe exists for a few years. A c-print maybe for a few decades. A book for a few hundred years maximum. What does it matter? Is a hundred years enough to say that the object is archival material? And if we make digital files from this paper, are these digital files archival material as well (it showed how a newspaper looked like, also after a hundred years).

All of this is not my first concern. We just want to make what we want to make.







MM: Do you think there is a modern movement that prompted this move towards affordable materials aside from economic reasons?

RH: I wouldn't call it a movement. What you see is that we (photographers, documentary makers) slowly start to move away from all traditional stuff and definitely not only because of economic reasons. We should start thinking from scratch what to do with our work over and over again. I believe an important reason for this is that right now everything is possible. The crisis in the editorial world gives photographers a lot of freedom. You don't have to think about publishers or magazine editors anymore. You can do whatever you want. Personally I never think about editorial stories anymore. Sometimes it happens that a series appears to be successful in magazines. So if everything is possible and if you don't have to think about editors or publishers or who ever, that mean that you have all the freedom in the world. Why not distribute your work via IKEA instead of DAP? You reach much more people if you distribute your work via IKEA. I am not seriously investigating this idea, but what I want to make clear is that we have to delete all our old fashioned ideas and start thinking over again from scratch. I think the self-published newspapers are only the start of many new ways of publishing in the upcoming years.





A newspaper has many of course advantages before traditional books. It is cheap, you can reach many, many people, you can give it away for free, the attitude is magnificent rough and it feels serious and so on and so on. It is a brilliant product.

By the way you also have those great free supermarket advertising newspapers which are printed on a little bit more sophisticated paper. Also very thin, but white and a little glossy. We already informed if we could use this material as well, but it starts from 100,000 copies (at least here in the Netherlands).

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This handmade Collectors Box is a gift to all gold donors for
The Sochi Project.For every year they are a gold donator,
they will receive a numbered andsigned C-print. This C-print
won't be for sale in galleries or anywhere else.For more information,
please click on the link image above or visit the donation page.

10.13.2010

The First Anniversary Issue of
Finite Foto: Where We Live

Iscah Trujillo

"In one short year, this collective has struggled with many issues. Longevity in the time of the internet can be short-lived, but we hope that Finite Foto will continue to produce quality content for years to come. The images in this, our First Anniversary Issue, are a mix of shoot-from-the hip snapshots and well-rounded portfolios about each artist’s notion of their idea of home as place. Many of the artists have supported us throughout the year with interviews, articles and portfolio features and a few are new contributors to our magazine. Welcome to our First Anniversary Issue, we hope you enjoy." — from the introduction of Finite Foto Issue 11

Oh Give Me A Home, Where Photographers Roam: A Commentary on Photography and Home by the Curator of Photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Katherine Ware
 
This Issue: Where We Live has portfolios by Jonathan Blaustein, David Bram, Micaela Butts, Antone Dolezal, Dan Milnor, David Ondrik, Darby Photos, Kelly Root, Iscah Trujillo, and Wendy Young.



 David Bram

 David Ondrik

Leftovers by Adam Jacono




As part of the panel discussion at Click646, I mentioned that I was still working on ideas about the ongoing project The Un-Natural Nature of Food where I am exploring on many levels our relationship with food and how photographic imagery can be used as a vehicle for information and education. After the panel Adam Jacono approached me about his project Leftovers. Here is a taste of some of his work.


"The Cafeteria: a site where food comes in a plentiful buffet, where steaming troughs of meat and cheese are piled high, and items on the menu are served hot-n'-a-lot. 

The week prior to my visits, this eastern North Carolina cafeteria had revoked food trays in efforts to conserve wash-water. This required frustrated diners to make multiple trips for food, but in my opinion the cafeteria was merely instituting an exercise regime of making people walk to, and from buffet isles. 


This project confronted patrons through photographs of a food identity, personal information can be gathered by the sitters' food choice. I would assume most Americans are concerned about waste and conservation, but who can resist breakfast, lunch, and desert in one sitting" -- Adam Jacono

10.06.2010

Back from Click 646


I just got into Santa Fe late last night after spending a week in Greenwood, SC. I am still reeling from the wonderful weekend filled with photographic festivities at the second year of the annual festival Click 646. The event was one of the loveliest and most professional events I have attended. The first evening Sundance Gallery hosted an opening reception with a potluck dinner of many Southern delicacies including one of my favorites-- baked cheese crackers topped with one juicy, meaty Southern pecan -- and someone even tried to test my Southwestern-trained taste buds with stuffed jalapenos. Ann Jastrab from Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco was my unofficial date for the evening and the photographer and featured artist at Sundance Gallery, Ben Ham, delighted us with a flight of California wines (not as delightful the next morning for some). The four-piece band and local favorite, The Nouveaux Honkies, entertained the crowd.

The next evening was The Taste of Greenwood where a few of the local restaurants set up booths on Maxwell and The Nouveaux Honkies entertained us again while we ate and imbibed more of the delicious red wine. Before the festivities, we met with some photo students from Lander University. One student, Gene Ellenberg, was wise enough to bring a portfolio and he has a promising project which I hope will appear on his website in the near future.




The local Arts Council hosted the exhibition of South Carolina student photography exhibition. That evening some of the keynote speakers -- Cig Harvey, Ann Jastrab and I -- selected the prize winners for the student show. In this order of the single image award from first to honorable mention, we selected Beth Stewart from University of South Carolina, Zane Logan from Clemson, Emily Osborn from College of Charleston and Ashley Wood from Clemson.  



The next day started out with portfolio reviews from 10am-1pm. Once again, I was impressed with the quality of work at the reviews. Many students and professors presented their work. Three instructors whose work I particularly enjoyed were Terri Bright, Kathleen Robbins and Polly Gaillard. Robbins presented work form her project on the Mississippi Delta titled Into the Flatland and Galliard showed Pressure Points while Bright presented work two projects (I hope to have a website link here soon). The rest of the day was spent shuffling back and forth from the venues, meeting other photographers, hosting impromptu reviews and discussions and grabbing a quick lunch.




The afternoon and evening were spent in the Greenwood Community Theater where a panel discussion moderated by Click 646 founder Jon Holloway and featuring Ann Jastrab, Cig Harvey, Ben Ham and me. The topic of discussion was primarily marketing your work as a photographer. The crowd in attendance was eager for information and the panel was lively and informative. I think a few of the instructors video taped the panel and I hope to post the links soon. The final events of the festival were two lectures, one by Ben Ham and, followed by, Cig Harvey. Both speakers were dynamic and charismatic seducing the audience with their passion for the medium. And thanks to Jan Banning and his assistant Ben for making the trek up from his artist-in-residence in Columbia, SC.


I might sound like I am just gushing about this event, but it took place just outside of my hometown so I am a little attached to this area. The City of Greenwood's Tourism Department, Click 646 Committee and Jon Holloway have created a festival that is on par with many international festivals that I have attended. This is a much needed event for the community of Greenwood and the photographic arts and education community of South Carolina. As I think of or find out about happenings, links or images related to the event, I might post more. Also, look out for the links and notes from the panel discussion in the near future.

For more info in the festival, read the PDF of Thump Magazine or on the Click646 website.