Urgent environmental issues converted into dramatic form by Thaddeus Holownia

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I am not prepared for what I am going to see when I enter the Corkin Gallery in Toronto. At first glance, I only see photographs of little strange birds facing downwards as if falling out of the sky. Some look as if they are asleep, but others are charred beyond recognition. I am starting to understand that I am looking at something very tragic, captured as a reminder or warning by photographer Thaddeus Holownia. But what exactly is it?

The Canaport bird kill exhibition shows many lingering images. ‘A fast shutter for slow violence’, journalist Geordie Miller called the art of Canadian photographer Thaddeus Holownia, who took pictures of some 200 creatures killed by human error. “Drawn to a deadly light on a foggy night, songbirds begin to fall from the sky. By evening’s end, more than 7,500 are rendered flightless, lifeless. Twenty-six species of songbirds felled by one flame, a flare from the natural gas burn-off at the Canaport Liquefied natural Gas terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, September 13th, 2013.”

The disastrous event is represented on a 17-foot-high scroll – called Icarus, Falling of Birds (2016) – and several individual photographs. The viewer cannot help but be affected by their immediacy and immensity.  I left the gallery with a sense of sadness and discomfort, but also a genuine interest in the work of Thaddeus Holownia, who manages to artistically capture dramatic urgent issues in a very unique way.

Click here for the whole story and article by Geordie Miller (Canadian Art, Feb 2017).

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“The work of Thaddeus Holownia deals with how how humanity changes landscape,
how the forces of nature mould human structures.

His work calls attention to various ecological and political issues;
and his art practice conveys these precarious relationships.”

(Corkin Gallery, Toronto)

 

Further information:
canadianart.ca/reviews/thaddeus-holownia/
Corkin Gallery, Toronto

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Life through your lens – Wildlife photographer of the year 2013

Mark Steichen (Luxembourg) Badger dream scene

Presented for a third year with all new photographs, this visually striking exhibition from the Natural History Museum, London (NHM), showcases the world’s best wildlife and nature images.

With 100 new photographs found in 18 categories, visitors to the Royal British Museum in Victoria, B.C. can now enjoy the wonders of nature through the lenses of prize-winning photographers. When I visited the museum yesterday, I was truly impressed by the selection of photographs, beautifully displayed in sleek back-lit installations, each photo and accompanying caption telling the inspirational, astonishing and sometimes humorous stories of our fascinating natural world.  The exhibition runs until April 6, 2014.

“An image can alter the way we see, think and feel. Whether captured in the most remote wilderness or taken in the intimacy of your own backyard, a truly great image of nature can change our world view forever.” (NHM London).

To mark 50 years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the NHM wanted even more young photographers to get involved, offering three age group categories for images of any subject matter covered in the adult competition.

‘It takes courage to put your photos forward, but the rewards for those who do are enormous’, says Jim Brandenburg, chair of the jury. ‘When I won Wildlife Photographer of the Year 25 years ago, it opened doors for me. The publicity it generates is astonishing, so I really want to encourage every professional and dedicated amateur to think about entering. It can be a career-defining move.

For almost 50 years, Wildlife Photographer of the Year has pushed boundaries. ‘In the 60s we raised wildlife and nature photography from a simple scientific record into an art form’, says Jim Brandenburg. ‘In the 80s we conveyed environmental and conservation issues through a single image of startling clarity. And in this new century, by using technology to explore nature more deeply, we’ve piqued global curiosity with new ways of seeing a world otherwise lost in a blink. Now, as we launch our 50th competition, we are setting the stage for the future.’

More information on the website of the Natural History Museum in London, and the Royal BC Museum

The Vevey international photography Award 2013/2014 goes to Augustin Rebetez

Having lived in Switzerland for many years, I am pleased to hear that the young Swiss photographer Augustin Rebetez is the winner of the Vevey International Photography Award 2013/14.

After two days of deliberation around 750 applications from 63 countries, a jury of international professionals composed of  Florian Ebner, curator at Folkwang Museum in Essen (Germany), Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh & Rozenn Quéré, winners of the Vevey international photography award 2011/2012, Erik Kessels, curator and editor at KesselsKramer in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Kathy Ryan, photo editor at New York Times Magazine (USA) and presided by French photographer Bettina Rheims decided to award the young Swiss photographer Augustin Rebetez.

The jury states:
“The jury was unanimous in its decision for the Vevey international photography award 2013/2014. The winner Augustin Rebetez breathes energy in his works. He has developed a very ownable style over a very short period of time, even though this is not easy to put in a box. With a combination of free and staged photography using his immediate surroundings, he constantly surprises with his work. Augustin is not afraid to cross over with sculpture, film, photography and even drawings. He is one of the rare new and raw talents that the world of photography is waiting for. The fact that he studied in Vevey and lives in the region came as a pleasant surprise for the international jury. The proposed project will be a very welcome catalyst to further develop his creative madness.”

The project submitted to the Vevey international photography Award is more than strictly photographic: Augustin Rebetez plans an exhibition based on collaborations with artists and professionals from multiple fields, featuring photography and video, construction, projections and music. Starting from photographic portraits of people from the circassian community – acrobats, clowns, contortionist – he plans on recreating a magic and surprising universe.

http://www.images.ch/2013/en/

About the project:

The Vevey international photography Award consists in providing crucial assistance for projects that have not been realised, in the form of a grant up to CHF 40,000 (around € 33,000), in order to bring a photography initiative to completion.