Interview / Kyle Laidig

It has to be said that it’s been a slow start to the new year here at WB, but we are kicking 2014 off with a great interview with image making machine Kyle Laidig. No fears we are back. Enjoy.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your photographic background?

I began taking images when I dropped out of film school about 6 years ago.  It was a time when I was totally free and completely lost.  I used images as a way to structure my daily life and in many ways photography was my salvation.  All nostalgia aside, I am self taught and am just now entering an institution to receive instruction (but mostly access to mad resources).  On a side note, I began taking images at the same time I discovered Tumblr… so if you want a visual background on my practice it is literally all there, infinite scroll, the good the bad and the ugly.

 

 

As mentioned your tumblr is where we find most of your images, do you feel that this is the best outlet for your work?

I think it is an effective outlet for a variety of reasons.  For one, as I mentioned earlier, pretty much my entire practice is on view through my site.  There is something really great about being able to see every photograph someone has taken in a pretty straight chronological order.  It becomes about the process and the journey as well as the individual image.  It makes me think about Zoe Strauss, a Phildalphia based artist.  She has a Flickr that houses almost every single picture she has taken including her subsequent edits.  That transparency is really refreshing to me, where you can see the entirety of my work, all collapsed on top of each other.  That idea of collapsing a practice is also interesting for my work, which is pretty multifaceted.  You get my observational “street photography” next to my assemblage constructions next to Photoshop interventions and everything in between.  There is also this idea of a relationship with your viewer that is interesting.  I have met so many incredible people through the site, and have found that its casual nature fosters openness amongst users.  I have found many opportunities through the website and many opportunities have found me.  Tumblr has been good, but there is also the need to create a space that is more controlled, where these different bodies of work exist on their own terms.

 

 

There is a real varied approach to the photographs you present your viewers, where do you interests lie in photography and who has influenced those views?

Let me begin by saying that while photography has been my medium of choice for quite awhile, I am invested in having dialogue about photography and its relationship to other mediums.  I think photography is a medium that is very accessible and particularly relevant to where we are now.  That being said, I am much more interested in the aesthetics of painting and digital spaces, and situating work in a sculptural context.  I am just now getting into a place where I have access to the resources I need to make this work that I think will reflect more precisely my concerns.  However, I will say some things I have been interested in lately.  For one, there is digital manipulation and what I see as its relationship to painting and ideas of performance, more on that later.  I am deeply invested in the concept of flatness.  I believe that an image starts and ends with its surface.  I think that we exist in a very flat world right now, we live in a screen and we collapse our lives into flat social structures like Facebook. I am also interested in formalism.  When I was a bit younger, Laszlo-Maholy Nagy was a big influence.  I made a lot of work that rested purely on its formal properties.  Even now, though I have become much less focused on that realm of Modernist purity, it is one of the more important things I consider when making an image.  I believe that our first understanding of the world is through visual language, and that this should inform the direction of art production.  I see a lot of work that relies on context, where the content of the image defines the form and I believe it should be the opposite, that form should be the first experience, the point of access from which the content creeps in.  Matisse is a huge influence on my work and I suppose my life in general.  I look to his uncanny understanding of color but even more to his immaculate strategy of composition, where if any element were to be removed the entire balance and integrity of the image would be upset.

 

 

What do you feel about the trend of deliberate post production appearing in photography at the moment?

On the one hand, I am really tired with the trend. I think my frustration has more to do with the spectacle of imitation that informs most trends in contemporary photography, thanks in large part to the ubiquity of online image dissemination. I also think that my frustration with the use of deliberate postproduction is rooted in seeing very specific iterations all the time, manipulation a la Blalock if you will.  There are a few artists using this tactic that I really think are pushing the envelope but by and

large it is a lot of mindless copycats.  There is alot resting on a few very specific references who have set a precedent.  I think people either are uncomfortable creating their own language using post production techniques or feel that clumsy manipulation is an easily exploited formula, that is thusly validated by their peers; preaching to the choir. In most cases I see deliberate post production as a decorative affect instead of an integral function of the work. So much of the work is aesthetic swagger jacking which misses the whole point of someone like Lucas Blalock is doing.  I read an interview with him recently where he talks about how his manipulations function as acts of performative intervention.  It is that conceptual foundation that is lacking from a lot of the work I am seeing these days.

Outside of its existence as a trend, I think deliberate post production is extremely relevant and interesting.  I look to Artie Vierkant’s work where he manipulates exhibition documentation or to the more meditative, process oriented work of Bryan Kreuger, as examples of compelling post production manipulation.  My own engagement with image manipulation comes from ideas about illusion.  When I think about post production, I think about blockbuster cinema and the retouching business.  There is this reaching for a kindof perfection in both, the creation of a seamless illusion.  Not only do I find this sly and deceptive, but I think the quest for the hyperreal is journey towards self-immolation, where the power of illusion is totally lost.  I manipulate images in a direct way where I want people to know that it has been edited.

 

 

Your from Philadelphia right? Can you tell us about the photographic scene over there, can you tell us of any hidden photographic gems? (shops/galleries/studios…)

To be honest, the photography scene in Philly is a bit underwhelming.  I mean there are definitely good artists working there but as far as a cohesive “scene” I’d say it is lacking.  In general, the art scene in Philadelphia is pretty conservative although there are some true gems: Bodega, Fjord and the Vox Populi building.  The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is also pretty cool.

 

You are studying at Rhode Island School of Design is it a good institution to work at, any inspirational tutors?  

RISD is an interesting place.  I’d say that it’s strength lies in an exceptional student body and tremendous resources.  As far as photography is concerned, I have some reservations.  While they don’t discourage interdisciplinary work, they are proponents of “virtuosity” and that can sometimes get in the way of fostering more progressive work.  They also push the idea of “content” based work, and that can be frustrating at times where the content of my own work is more related to aesthetic theory.  That being said I am a big fan of the former department head, Steve Smith.  He really helped me getting into the school and I think he is making really insightful work.  I’d recommend checking out his series, Irrational Exuberance, a hilarious look at architecture and landscaping in Utah, revealing a seemingly untamed affinity for creating artificial landscapes that mimic the local terrain.

 

 

Are you working on any new projects you would like to tell us about?

This summer has been quite busy.  I have been making a bunch of preparatory work for the school year, paintings in Photoshop and creating a well of “stock images” from which I will be making physical works with.  The bigger thing though has been putting together an issue of MATTE Magazine on my work.  It is a sortof mini-retrospective of the different bodies of work I have made over the past year and Matthew Leifheit.

 

www.kylelaidig.tumblr.com 

Interview / Blink Store

We caught up with newly launched Blink Store owner Anna Jay to ask her a few questions. A past guest blogger on WB, Anna graduated in 2012, after a few key internships with MACK and the Times, she became a freelance picture editor working for various well know titles. Now with her new position as a Picture & Art Editor at a newly launched digital magazine The Debrief and the launch of Blink store, it’s exciting times and here is what she had to say.
 

Hello welcome back to WB, so it’s been a month or two since you launched Blink Store, how is it all going? What’s been the top seller so far?
Hey! It’s going really well, it’s just such a great chance to be exposed to so much great work that is constantly being produced by talented photographers everywhere. The magazines have been selling really well, especially Printed Pages by It’s Nice That. Those guys do great things.
 
 

 
What prompted you to open up an online store and books and magazines in specific?

I have always been fascinated with photo books, I think publishing is such a beautiful way to communicate photography. For me, opening a book store is a great way to stay involved in the book world and just to look at a lot of  interesting work. I also use it as a personal space to experiment visually, working with different artists and making concepts come alive.

There are so many amazing books in the world, how do you make the selection for your website? 

I spend a lot of time researching online, my job gives me the ability to look at photographers for most of the day which is really nice. I keep an eye on blogs like SPBH, and Source magazine do a good self-published edit. I also always keep in touch with small publishers such as Lodret Vandret who are continually producing amazing books. I really like it when people submit their books, it’s especially nice when the artist tells a story of the work, which makes the submission a lot more personal. See the website for details of how to submit.
 
 


 
Your personal book collection must be amazing right? Whats your all time favourite photobook?

I am quite selective of my own collection, I prefer to keep it small and curated. Morel make beautiful books as do Lodret Vandret. I don’t think I could name an all-time favourite, but at the moment I am in love with Stephanie Noritz’s book Somewhere Else. It’s a stunning example of a self-published book, where every element has been so carefully considered. Somewhere Else is coming to Blink Store very soon

There is a really nice aesthetic that runs throughout the website, where does your photographic inspiration come from? 

I’m a sucker for bright colours and just try and inject some fun into the way the books are shot. I am really inspired by a lot of the surreal still life work that is popular at the moment. I love to look at Stephanie Gonot’s curated blog Please Excuse The Mess which always delivers a beautiful stream of work. And of course Wandering Bears is a great resource to discover photographers, which come in useful for Blink Store and The Debrief.

There also appears to be a personalised relationship with the photographers your using such as Trey Wright for your Winter edit, is this an aspect other photographers in the future can get involved with?

Definitely. I started working with Trey in my work as a Photo Editor and I really admire his style. Because Blink Store is in the early stages I wanted to involve people I have communicated with before, as I feel that there is a level of trust which helps get things started. I am really open to photographers getting in touch who would like to be involved in the website visuals. The Edit is a great space to work with a photographer to collaborate over an edit of products and an image to represent the selection.
 
 

   

We really like the idea of your ‘editions’ section, can you tell us a little more about it?

Over the past couple of years I have started to collect some prints from photographers I have worked and really admire. I just wanted print buying to be more accessible and at a price point more appropriate. All the prints on Blink Store are priced between £35-£100, in editions of five so it’s a great opportunity to start collecting work and they look great on the wall!
 
 


 
 
The last time we spoke to you your were just about to graduated from a degree in Photography, where have you found yourself in the past year and a half?

I moved to London straight after my degree in 2012 and started interning at Steidl/MACK and The Times. I loved the pace of working on a picture desk, so pursued a year freelancing before accepting the job of Picture & Art Editor at a new digital magazine, The Debrief. It’s a really amazing opportunity to work on a new digital launch, and to be able to create the visual identity. I have quite a lot of creative free-rein which is really nice and have the freedom to work with some really talented and emerging photographers.

It’s the season for promotions, can you offer our readers an incentive to go check out your site?

Definitely! WB readers can get 10% off until 31st December using the code WB10.
 
 


 
So that’s 10% off for all Wandering Bears readers until the 31st December using code WB10, so go check out Blink Store for some amazing books.
 

www.blinkstore.co.uk

Blog / Max J Marshall

We caught up with Max Marshall on his latest photographic series. The Poetic Species explores the instinctive human bond with other species. The series is shaped by naturalist E. O. Wilson’s “Biophilia Hypothesis“, which explains man’s tendency to focus on living things is innate and has been informed by our evolution. All photographs in the series were made in New York City.
 
In previous series, I focused on man’s impossible attempt to recreate or mimic nature. However with this latest series, I set out to make completely natural, beautiful photographs (all within arguably the most urban place on earth). I set out to make images in the same mode as early scientific journals, or illustrative plates in Darwin’s notebooks. This is what informs the vertically oriented, 4×5 crop, extremely scientific and straight-forward depictions of nature. The locations of the photos vary from zoos, aquariums, pet stores, to parks, bodegas, street corners, etc. It was important to me that the images be presented on an equal playing field.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.maxjmarshall.com

Interview / PH Space

 

Estelle Hanania

Estelle Hanania


 

First off could you introduce yourself and what the PH Space is all about?
 
My name is Kuba Ryniewicz, I am a traveller and a dreamer. I studied  Philosophy in Poland and Photography at Northumbria University in Newcastle. The idea about PH Space came when I worked with a great friend of mine Charlotte Gregory on an international show examining shared heritage in Malaysia. This project was part of Asia-Europe Foundation / Singapore/ youth program. For that exhibition we had to make too many compromises. The best proposed body of work for the show was based in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India. However, we were not able to use these photos. Despite difficult ethical issues around this show, our friendship and desire evolved into the idea to open own exhibition space. This process gave birth to PH Space. We felt that contemporary photography and post-photography aesthetics are not well presented in the North East of England. The main aim of the gallery is to promote, exhibit, discuss and re-examine photographic practice. PH successfully obtained funds from Ideas Tap and great support by The NewBridge Project to grow and develop potential.
 
 

Jim Mangan

Jim Mangan


 

How is the photography / gallery scene in Newcastle?
 
Newcastle is a welcoming and encouraging environment to support emerging artists. The recent city council cuts in the culture sector also trimmed the wings of the artists in their natural progress of emerging in the local scene. Although there is a wave of optimism through the city such as NEPN / North East Photography Network /. They are based in Sunderland but host a rising number of events across the region including Newcastle. NEPN recently set the benchmark with “The Social: Encountering Photography” festival across the North East. It brought a lot of national attention and good vibes.
 
 

Aurélien Arbet & Jérémie Egry

Aurélien Arbet & Jérémie Egry


 

Did you receive any funding for the project and how did that come about?
 

As mentioned above, the beginning of PH Space has been greatly supported by The NewBridge Project – they offered us a space and helped a lot with putting everything together. We were successfully awarded a starter grant from London based organization Ideas Tap. The latest projects are supported by the Arts Council England.
 
 

Bridget Collins

Bridget Collins


 

Your recent show ‘PRECIOUS LITTLE DIAMOND’ features work from a number of well known global artists. How did you get in touch with these guys?
 
Apart from PH Space I also work for the Polish magazine Kwartalnik Fotografia and I am a freelance photographer; I find this helps me to make new contacts. Some of the artists in this show I know in person, others I truly respect. Last year I was assisting Estelle Hanania in one project and after that I felt inspired to do something myself. While curating this show I felt that is crucial to contact and speak everyone individually about the progress. The idea for the show came from a book I got in a second hand shop in Poland. This book tells a number of stories about ordinary people who found treasures or relics from deep pasts in casual environments such as backyards, basements or graveyards. Around this time I was asked to send a proposal for the first edition of the festival with the theme of “Social”, so right away I thought – why don’t to link these ideas together, give everyone a map, a torch and let everyone participate in the show, by finding their own Precious Little Diamond.
 
 

Estelle Hanania

Estelle Hanania


 

Do you feel modern (aka Internet Generation) photographers and artists are a little more relaxed with their work and where it is shown?
 
I would say they’re definitely more relaxed. A lot of new work appears everyday on tumblr, flickr or instagram and that is great. Everyone is a photographer and a curator – it’s easier then ever before to design your blog or stream of photos. Online galleries are an amazing phenomenon. Although, finding a decent solid project from emerging artists which is ready to present in the gallery space is a bit trickier. New photography creates, exactly like in the fashion industry, trends and these are changing fast and will be even faster in the near future. Curatorial work is also changing, it is becoming more challenging and that’s truly exciting! Again, with the experience of the latest show I am more convinced that the physical contact with photography as objects is the most honest way to explore the medium. What are your plans for the project moving into 2014? There are two plans: the first is to show Precious Little Diamond in other UK cities. I am looking for opportunities to present it sometime soon in London. Regarding PH, I have few big photo trips planned for the first part of 2014, but after that there will be number of solo shows of emerging artists. In the meantime we started research on a bigger collaborative project about natural resources…
 
 

Aurélien Arbet & Jérémie Egry

Aurélien Arbet & Jérémie Egry


 
Anyone you wish to thank? So many! Definitely every artist who agreed to be part of Precious Little Diamond, great audience, volunteers, Jon & Georgi and last but not least Will Strong, Amanda Ritson and Carole McKay.
 
Precious Little Diamond: Photo Treasure Hunters @ The Social/The NewBridge Project, Oct 26 – Dec 6
 
Aurélien Arbet and Jérémie Egry • Estelle Hanania • Ola Sliwczynska • Peter and Andrew Sutherland • Nicolas Poillot • Jim Mangan • Bridget Collins  • Kuba Ryniewicz
 

Blog / Bobby Scheidemann

After a week of guest posting on the brilliant Latent Image, (posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) it is back to business as usual here on Wandering Bears, kicking off with the ever impressive Bobby Scheidemann. Bobby is a photographer who’s work we have admired and followed since the early beginnings of WB, and below we are proud to present his latest series This Road Has Tolls.

 

 

www.bobbyscheidemann.net

Exhibition / Nordic Tones

At Wandering Bears we are very proud to present our latest exhibition, Nordic Tones.

 

Nordic Tones looks to collect and exhibit the most exciting photographic talents from the Nordic region of Europe, cataloguing the trends and approaches to the photographic medium produced by the artists originating from the area.

 
 

Exhibiting Artists

 

Osma Harvilahti (FIN)

Johan Rosenmunthe (DK)

Nicolai Howalt (DK)

Klara Källström (SWE)

Thobias Fäldt (SWE)

Flemming Ove Bech (DK)

Lotte Flø Christensen (DK)

Inka Lindergård (FIN)

Niclas Holmström (SWE)


 

02.11.2013 – 16.11.2013

 

Private View – 02.11.2013

17:00 – 22:00

 

Art Rebels Gallery

Nørre Voldgade 18

1358 Copenhagen

Denmark