Monthly Archives: August 2016

Venice sinks – What can be done?

“Can we save Venice before it is too late?” – asks Salvatore Settis on the Opinion Pages of the International New York Times. He is the chairman of the Louvre Museum’s scientific advisory council and the author of the – not forthcoming as INYT says – already published book “If Venice Dies.”

With a shrinking population – today only 56,000 inhabitants – and as many as 20 million visitors per year, Venice’s very existence is indeed threatened.

That Venice is in peril – well, that has been known for quite some time. And the diagnosis of the malaise is quite clear too: Greed, short-sightedness, corruption etc. being central catchwords. And fundamentally: the lack of appreciation of non-material, cultural creation that characterizes the ‘market’ lead, profiteering epoch in which we live.

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Group Selfie: Tourists Turn Their Backs To Venice’s History @ Jan Oberg 2016

Fortunately, there are constructive initiatives – but they don’t seem to be able to turn the trend. Venice is also sinking physically…

One very important such initiative is the 40+ years one with exactly that title – Venice in Peril and its Fund. There is the wonderful initiative by globally renown photographers who took photos in Venice and put the income from auctioning them into doing good for Venice – see the book and website of Real Venice.

I’m sure there are many others, I haven’t investigated it.

I have been to Venice many times. I love it. It’s a favourite destination for my photography.

I love the city itself, the Venetians I have met, the charm, the stunning beauty Continue reading

Video “Abstract Real”

This video offers glimpses of the works I exhibited in my studio in 2016 – an exploration of abstract photography: What is real? What is abstract? And how do the two mix…blur?

All the works started out with a photography and successively changed in the process to become “abstract”.

I find that fascinating since photography has almost always been about taking pictures of what is, i.e. documentary. (Of course with the exception of those few who experimented with “photograms” à la Moholy-Nagy and other techniques that departed from the urge to present a documentation of a recognizable reality).

Observe please the inspiration from Iranian aesthetics, including classical geometric patterns and calligraphy, and enjoy the music I’ve chosen by Iranian composer Fariborz Lachini too.

I’ve written about the background of this exploration at Oberg PhotoGraphic’s blog. And as usual the video is uploaded to my channels on Vimeo and Youtube.

The Photo Festival in Landskrona, Sweden

Landskrona – a town of 30,000 inhabitants situated at the south-eastern coast of Sweden – has a vision:

“To become the home of photography in Scandinavia with a history museum and research facilities in co-operation with Lund University (a 30 min train ride south of it); it will arrange unique exhibitions of contemporary photography as well as the largest photo festival in Sweden.”

One wonders whether Landskrona’s cultural pioneers have been inspired by Marrakech in Morocco that has about the same vision?

 

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The Citadel in Landskrona – photos being on display around and inside it
The Landskrona Photo Festival 2016 ran from August 19 to 28 – and if you couldn’t go there, there is both a fine website and an app.

It’s a remarkable and very welcome initiative of a rather small town; it proves that size is not of importance. It’s the vision and the investment and the synergy among enthusiasts that drive it all – something my town Lund, 4 times bigger, has no sense of.

This Festival is neither Photo London nor Photo Basel in terms of sophistication or quality. It is not a fair where works are sold. It’s very different – it’s about passion and giving various buildings, parks and even a citadel a new life, a new function. It’s about Landskrona’s vision that may lead to comerce, of course, but is not driven by a commercial motive. But there is all reason to believe that Landskrona will soon be on the international art photography map for real.

And it’s pleasantly down-to-earth and filled with talents from rather many corners of the world. A day pass is US $ 12 and the exhibitions take place in the Museum, the Japan-inspired Art Hall, at majestic Citadel, in parks, squares and local gallery spaces – all within some 600-800 metres of walk.

Landskrona is definitely what you’d call charming. The environment in which the exhibitions take place is a great asset that the Festival people exploit to its limit.

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I usually start out these blog articles by stating that I am not an art critic but an art recommender. It means that I choose to tell my readers what I like, convey positive energy, inspire other photographers/artists and art lovers and make them want to go and see what I’ve seen. And – of course – what I mention below is only a selection of the places, artists and impressions.

Konsthallen – the Town Art Hall – hosted two young female artists allegedly dialoguing with each other, Elina Brotherus and Dorothée Smith. The text on this link offers an explanation and background but I just did not quite feel that dialogue – except for the identity dimension. In my view, Smith is by far the most interesting of the two; Brotherus somehow too self-focused for my taste. Brilliant photography for sure, but just did not speak to me.

Smith’s so-called Spectographie seemed abstract, intriguing and more explorative of the bigger world out there than Brotherus’ images in which, with few exceptions, she herself is the central object/subject.

IMG_8908Two works by Smith

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People I met at Victoria and Albert in London

The Victoria and Albert Museum – V & A – is a fabulous museum in the heart of London. It calls itself “the world’s leading museum of art and design” on its homepage – which can of course be discussed. But that’s not what I want to do here.

It was a late May Sunday afternoon, drizzle. Queues to the exhibitions being too long, prices being too high for me and my time that afternoon too limited, I chose to walk through its collections and just get a sense of the buildings and whatever I might be surprised by.

That’s when I thought it could be exciting to try to bring some life into these old, very dusty and immovable objects – making them more human.

Always having my iPhone 6 with me stuffed with apps, I chose to experiment with long exposures and here is what it resulted in.

IMG_3443_5V & A Series © Jan Oberg 2016

 

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V & A Series © Jan Oberg 2016

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Shoot # 54

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Lund, August 3, 2016
Click on images for info, link or prices 

Content  

• Tate Britain (Painting With Light and Tracey Emin) • Tate Modern • Iran • Fotografiska in Stockholm • Abstract Real Show • Global Art Magazine • Instagram • Montenegro and more from:

Jan Oberg – Oberg PhotoGraphics

Dear friend

Welcome to shoot # 54 

Art exhibitions are a kind of performances: How do we relate to the works we see and how do we ‘perform’ in the rooms? The above photo was shot in London in May at Tate Britain.

It’s not just documentary; it’s has a particular colour atmosphere; the bodies relate to each other, there’s a head under the arm, people move in and out of the ‘stage’.

It’s a digital gift and will appear only here and on my blog,a moment of joy or reflection from Oberg PhotoGraphics.

A special welcome to many new subscribers and social media friends. Here is the preceding shoot. 

shoot aims to stimulate art curiosity and only secondly to tell what I do. It wings into your mailbox now and then, and sometimes I may shoot just a single image your way.

shoot also leads you to the online GlobalArt Magazine that I curate. Click: Inspiration is guaranteed. It’s sharing of art for cultural bridge-building and civilisation, the opposite of war and other destruction.

I write as an art recommender, not art critic. What’s the use of telling you what I find boring, bad or bull? But I sometimes deviate a bit: below I write about Tracey Emin’s exceptionally boring bed.

I believe in networking, sharing and creating positive energy. Share with me if you have news and views.

Iran
When you receive this, I’ll be in Iran – to do some interviews, give a lecture, dialogue for understanding and peace. And of course to take photos – perhaps a photo book in the future? There is a small collection of my Iran photos here. It’s an amazing civilization of its own, the people truly welcoming. I believe that going to places and see for yourself contributes to peace.

Fotografiska in Stockholm
Fotografiska is one of the leading meeting places for everything photography in the world. I write about the place and some of this summer’s many exhibitions – by Nick Brandt, Bryan Adams and others – here.

Tate Britain and Tate Modern
My first time to see the new ‘old’ Tate building. The “Painting With Light” exhibition was a real eye-opener for me. So was the collection and the dance performances – beautiful, silent and surprising (see the link). Tracey Emin’s bed has re-appeared and she thinks it is a part of history. I don’t. I found it boring, a sign of the navel-gazing, atomistic times in which we live, or perhaps die.


A glimpse of Tate Britain’s unique interior

The new Tate Modern extension hadn’t been opened yet. But what a collection! A wonderful exhibition of “Performing For The Camera”, and a fine juxtaposition of Mark Rothko and Claude Monet and much more more. Positive notes and impressions here.


Mark Rothko and meditating viewer at Tate Modern

Montenegro
Recently hiked in Montenegro’s wild nature with its majestic mountains and magic lakes. Here a few shots – nature photography as well as Gerhard Richter-inspired ‘blurred’ images that I call contours.


“Montenegrin Contour # 2 © Jan Oberg 2016. Click it.

Instagram
I like Instagram, @obergphotographics, and its responsiveness. I upload travel images, experiments and some of my works there. Almost every day. Let’s follow each other! 

Exhibition “Abstract Real” still on
Visitors tell me that my studio is more like a home than a cool, commercial gallery. You can watch photos and browse books as well as discuss art and global affairs with me. It’s by appointment only and then I am present to care for each visitor.

Non-figurative photography? Some words about it on Oberg PhotoGraphics BlogHave a sneak peek here of some of the works that are on show.

Always welcome – just call first! Perhaps one day you need a gift or want to give your own walls a new life.

Next shoot
Much from Iran and some shots I haphazardly did of objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collections like this:


Jesus at Victoria & Albert Museum © Jan Oberg 2016

– and perhaps some late reflections on SCOPE, Liste and Art Basel.

Remember
– that it’s the arts more than anything that keep us human…

My best
Jan Oberg

Fotografiska in Stockholm

Fotografiska in Stockholm is one of the largest meeting places in the world for photography with about 500,000 visitors per year.

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Stockholm floats on islands, not without similarities with Venice, but in contrast to Venice it has cars, too many cars, and the modernism and futurism of the 1960s destroyed a series of quarters in the city centre.

Fortunately Fotografiska is beautifully situated across the water from the Skeppsholmen island of the old town that is host to a lot of educational and historical building as well as museums, including the famous Moderna Museet.

Fotografiska – The Photographic – is a number of simultaneous exhibitions and a magazine, café, restaurant (good!), bookstore (fine diverse selection), courses, lectures and workshops.

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And the opening hours are interesting, at least when I was there in July 2016: Sunday to Wednesday 9-23, Thursday-Saturday 9-01. How wonderful to go there in the late summer evening!

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It will take you 30-40 minutes to walk from the Central Station to Fotografiska, and it is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch through old lanes, past the Parliament and Foreign Ministry etc. And then no less fascinating when in the late evening, or night, you walk back again. Try it!

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Here is what one could see in late July: An exhibition of Nick Brandt, “Inherit The Dust”, “The Image Of Greta Garbo”, Bryan Adams’ “Exposed” and a selection from his “Wounded. The Legacy Of War” project; Hanna Modigh “Hurrican Seasons”, Aapo Huhta’s work as young Nordic prize winner and Åke Ericsson’s “Non Grata” about Roma people in Europe. I focus in the following on the first-mentioned four.

It will take you several hours to visit Fotografiska to do justice to the building, the environment, the bookstore etc – and of course the exhibitions. The rooms in this 1906 Art Nouveau-style customs building that the Stockholm City paid US$ 30 million to renovate – Fotografiska is otherwise a private enterprise – are ideal: Dark, fine spotlightning and excellently informative texts.

Nick Brandt

I’ve seen Brandt’s works before, at Photo London, and wasn’t so taken as many others – except of course for the superb technical quality. But what really was the idea, I wondered?

This time, I tried to understand them better and it helped a lot to watch the movie in which Brandt speaks about his motives and goals and how these pieces were done – and, yes, those inserted pictures are real and not PhotoShopped!

The fact that they are real, huge photo walls placed on location opened up for them to become interactive with the local population.

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