Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘head on

Cyber-travelling and the booty you find…

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Here’s a funny photo of a punter enjoying (I think!?) my image of Ken the bodybuilder in the Head On exhibition at the ACP:


Courtesy Australian Centre for Photography

Anyway I thought it was a bit of a laugh. Not sure who the photographer was so apologies for not citing you.

I’ve been cruising around the internet checking out various links that have come up with some real gems. Whilst this is probably not the best use of my time (especially given I have a thesis review next week!) I find these explorations always reveal treasures and this week has been spectacular. For the doubters and nay-sayers, diss not and do give it a go cos as they say…. there really is something for everyone!

First treasure up is an all American chap called Marc McAndrews. His work at first glance is brash and loud, but I couldn’t resist a closer look at the brilliantly titled Nevada Rose. The American state of Nevada is the only state where brothels are legal and McAndrews took it upon himself to photograph every single one of them…. really. The result of this massive task is a poignant look at the brothels, resident sex-workers, their patrons and other workers, such as cleaners, in the brothel industry, which will soon be released as a book.




I find these images really fascinating (I have a terrible soft-spot for American kitsch and it looks like the Nevada brothels are the place to find it!) yet I am almost more interested in the dynamics of how this project was undertaken, particularly given the “objective and anthropological” investigation of the photographer. Worth reading the interview on Humble Arts as it is an interesting insight into the artist’s motivation for the subject, as well as the issues that arise from such a choice.

It would also be interesting to compare McAndrews’ forthcoming book with that of Alexa Albert whose journey into:

…Nevada’s infamous cathouses began as a public-health study into the safe-sex practices of these legal working girls and the effectiveness of condom requirements in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. It took her three years to gain access to the brothels, and when her project was eventually approved by the head of the Nevada Brothel Association, she was surprised to be invited to stay at Mustang Ranch, among the women of the brothel, for the duration of her research. She learned that despite the legalization of prostitution in several counties of Nevada, the working girls still faced restrictive local ordinances and work regulations that kept them virtual prisoners inside the brothel compound. Outside, they encountered the same social stigma that has always haunted sex workers.

In 2003, the year following the publication of her book  Brothel: Mustang ranch and its Women which was based on her years of research, Albert and (architectural) photographer Timothy Hursley returned to Nevada to photograph the brothels, the result of which is the book Brothels of Nevada. Not having seen the contents of this book (other than the sneak-preview on Amazon), I wonder how the two might sit alongside each other? Perhaps it’s time to move my Amazon list to the checkout and find out!?

My second and last treasure find for tonight is some work by another Dutch wunderkind Desiree Dolron, who is very well known for the following picture, from her series Xteriors:

01-Desiree-Dolron-Xteriors-IICourtesy Desiree Dolron

But it’s her earlier series from Cuba titled Te Di Todos Mi Suenos (“I gave you all my dreams”) that really grabbed my attention. The images are simple yet exquisite and quiet yet so full of longing. I feel as if I could fall into these pictures, into the dirty yet earthy home of a fairytale and into a mythic Cuba that never really was:

07-Desiree-Dolron-Cerca-San-RafaelCerca San Rafael (Courtesy Desiree Dolron)

19-Desiree-Dolron-Cerca-San-FernandiaCerca san Fernandia (Courtesy Desiree Dolron)

10-Desiree-Dolron-Cerca-IndustriaCerca Industria (Courtesy Desiree Dolron)

Waving the WWW-wand.

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The beauty of being online is finding out where you can end up as you never know who might stumble upon your work. Case in point, I have found some interesting virtual portals where my work seems to have mysteriously landed or where an interest in my work is being fostered. It’s small steps but encouraging nevertheless.

You can visit here for a preview of my new series Belco Pride, here for an interesting virtual magazine “R” (I’m in Issue 14), and Culturehall for a new initiative founded by David Andrew Frey. I’m still in the process of uploading my work (no batching tools unfortunately) so be sure to come back or visit some of the other featured artists! Interestingly each of these avenues sought me out rather than the other way around, so I’m feeling like the blood-sweat and tears is well and truly worth it (kinda weird too, since it all manifests by huddling around a computer screen in my very messy home office!)… who would have thought!?

Also on the good news front, I’ve been selected as a finalist for Head On: Australia’s Alternative Portrait Prize. The show opens the same night as Inheritance (the group show I’m participating in) at the ACP in Sydney on April 30th.

And lastly, the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award was opened last weekend by Glenn Sloggett (last year’s winner) at the Gold Coast Arts Centre. The winner this year is Polixeni Papapetrou for her image Sisters Rock:

sisters-rocks-2008Sisters Rock (courtesy Polixeni Papapetrou)

Below is Papapetrou’s statement for this image:

Sisters Rocks is from the series ‘Games of Consequence’ 2008. In this body of work, I recreated my childhood memories of my play in worlds beyond the home to reflect upon the freedom that we enjoyed in these arcane spaces. I wanted to use the depth and complexity of the natural world as a backdrop in which I could explore some of the idyllic and darker aspects of growing up. For me, the land still represents a space without constraints and a place where children can attempt to define their individuality through their surroundings. Whether portrayed as idyllic or threatening, the landscape is still experienced as a metaphorical shelter. The sheer bulk of this landscape does not intimidate the children and they are comfortable with their own freedom. Even though the children are involved in reckless activity in defacing the natural landscape, they inhabit the landscape as their private space in which they create their own culture.

Naomi Cass from the CCP was the Judge this year and made the following comments about the work:

This was a difficult decision to make and there were a number of outstanding works in this exhibition.  I’m drawn by the meeting of two strong features in the work – the one being the narrative and the other the strong formal qualities of the work – the narrative is  challenging – looking at youth culture and the wanton destruction of nature and yet there is an innocence and a beauty arising from the children  – formally the composition is very pleasing with an even, almost filigree like detail across the surface arising from the texture of the rock – the trees and graffiti and against this is the foreground middle ground and background of the landscape. The action takes place in a relatively shallow almost stage like environment with massive gestural  rocks in the background – this work is both beautiful and sad.

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts also provides an additional $10,000 for works to be purchased for the collection. This year’s acquisitions are:

Karen Casey Lets shake Series #1, 2009
Ella Condon Cousin Johnny, 2007
Michael Corridore Untitled 5-14, 2008
Rod McNicol Portrait of Ansophie, 2009
Susan Purdy Detail 2 of ‘the lost forest’, 2008

Congrats to all. It is an honour to be considered and shown alongside some of Australia’s best contemporary photographers. The show continues through to May 17, 2009.