Deana Lawson (1979) is an American artist, educator and photographer whose work revolves primarily around issues of intimacy, family, spirituality, sexuality, and Black aesthetics. Lawson has been praised for her ability to communicate the nuances of African American experiences in relation to issues of social, political, and economic factors. Her photographs have been exhibited in a number of museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. She is based out of Brooklyn, New York.
Photographer and filmmaker Khalik Allah’s monograph begins with a manifesto entitled “Camera Ministry.” He writes: “I shoot people who find them-selves in the worst possible situation, but I recognize their invulnerability and reflect it back to them. These are psychic x-rays. I consider my photographs energy charts.” This empathic insight notably was brought to bear in his film Field Niggas (2015), an acclaimed documentary about New Yorkers facing homeless-ness, substance abuse, and harassment on 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Souls Against the Concrete (University of Texas Press, 2017) compiles 105 analog portraits made on those street corners over three years, foregrounding Allah’s long-held commitment to cinematic storytelling and nocturnal light. Rather than frame his nighttime Harlem subjects through terms of social abjection, vulnerability, and redemption—an over-determined lexicon typically used to regard people who occupy the streets—Allah practices a visual language of impenetrable self-possession. He acknowledges metaphors of darkness as both freeing and debilitating, but tables them. Instead, light is his driving concept and technical method, in service of what he terms soul consciousness.
This is the second half of a project inpired by William Blake's bleak poem, 'London'. I began taking the photographs in Central London in 2015. My goal was to capture the diversity of Londoners and the sense of unease looming over their city in recent yeas.
Every time that I would return to this house I would notice that it had changed. Often it was a minor change, some rearranged papers and a few empty beer cans in the corner. The change was at times more substantial, like arriving to find the house full of large tree branches that had recently been set on fire and extinguished, water still dripping from the ceiling. On another occasion there might be a strong wind blowing through the window. Once I arrived to find the house gone.
On Initially arriving I would move through the house looking for areas or situations to photograph. If nothing seemed to interest me I would move things around or do some spray painting. The painting was done in much the same way that one might doodle on a piece of paper. At that point I would return to the camera and explore what ever new potentials existed.
These photographs are not meant to be documents of painting, or sculpture, or even of environmental works. When photographing the space I saw my painting as only an aspect of what was there. The painting did allow me to explore my own gestures. However, it can not be isolated from the broken glass on the floor or a curtain being blown by the wind. No element is of greatest importance. I am most satisfied when the line between evidence of my actions and what is already there is not distinct. These photographs are the product of my involvement with an evolving situation. The house evolving in a primarily linear way toward it's ultimate disintegration, the ocean and light evolving and changing in a cyclical and regenerative manner. My acts, my painting, my photographing, my considering, are part of, not separate from, this process of evolution and change. These photographs are not so much about this process as they are remnants from it. My participation was not so much one of intellectual consideration as one of visceral involvement.
Matt Crabtree: "One morning in 2016, I was sitting amongst a million or so other commuters on my mundane tube journey into central London, when I looked up to see a lady dressed in a velvet hood, seated in a classical, timeless pose. She was in a beautifully serene world of her own, far away from the noise of it all. Immediately, a 16th-century Flemish painting came to mind."
Rainer Torrado is a photographer & art director who is living and working between Paris, Hong Kong, and Madrid. He regularly contributes to international fashion magazines, but this time he shares his stunning project XXY generation with us.
Alex Prager is one of the truly original image makers of our time. Working fluidly between photography and film she creates elaborate scenes that reference a wide range of influences, including Hollywood and experimental cinema, popular culture and street photography. These delicately staged compositions produce a distinct aesthetic of still and moving images that are familiar yet strange, utterly compelling and unerringly memorable.
Silver Lake Drive is the first career retrospective of this rising star, one who has won both popular acclaim and the recognition of the art establishment. It summarizes Prager’s creative trajectory and offers an ideal introduction for the popular ‘breakout’ audience who may have only recently encountered her work. Structured around her project-oriented approach, Silver Lake Drive presents more than 120 images from her career to date: from the early Polyester and Big Valley series, through her first films and collaborations with the actor Bryce Dallas Howard, to the tour-de-force of Face in the Crowd – shot on a Hollywood sound stage with over 150 performers – and her 2016 commission for the Paris Opera, La Grande Sortie.
Supported by a major exhibition, and including an introduction by Michael Govan, Director of LACMA, essays by Clare Grafik of The Photographers’ Gallery and Michael Mansfield of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, and an in-depth interview with Alex Prager by Nathalie Herschdorfer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Le Locle, Silver Lake Drive will be an essential publication for those who follow Prager’s career and all with an interest in and appreciation of contemporary art.