Review: Costa by José Pedro Cortes

This review is written by Adam Bell, a writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, and will also be published on his excellent photo book review site.

Within landscape photography, the liminal spaces the skirt our cities and communities have long served as a source of fascination not only for what they say about the particular landscape, but our ever conflicted relationship with the natural world, of which we are inextricably a part. They're places of potential contradictions, collisions and confusion, but also potential cliché. In this sense, it's easy to see what drew José Pedro Cortes to the town in Costa (Pierre von Kleist Editions). The beach town in Costa more often than not resembles an abandoned ghost town of the American West than it does an idyllic Mediterranean costal town. Apocalyptic and impressionistic, Costa avoids the trapping of the well-worn genre in which it exists by being fiercely subjective. Forced to follow Cortes through the dunes and cluttered alleyways, we're thrown into the noon sun looking for answers, but going in circles.

The book begins as we head over a dune. Shot from below, the sandy mountain seems insurmountable. Wood and debris hover and jut from its surface impeding our ascent. Climbing over the dune, we are lead down a desolate road. Walking along the meager strip of asphalt, Cortes points out some grass, a snake and a rock, until we reach the town's first buildings. Sealed off with bricks or curtains and often marred with graffiti, the structures are either abandoned or have fallen into disrepair. The streets are empty too, but evidence of inhabitation can be seen in the cars, empty chairs, hung fabric, graffiti and posters that fill and decorate the outdoor spaces. Perhaps everyone has fled this strange landscape or are simply hiding from the oppressive sun. Even the book's cover seems drawn from a foreign or alien landscape—its image of a sickly yellow-green textured earth enticing and repulsing us.

The scrappy costal town of Costa de Caparica sits approximately 14 km outside Lisboa. Hovering on the edge of the beach, the town seems threatened on all sides by the sun, sand and ocean. The sun beats down relentlessly reducing the plants, buildings and ruins to a bleached mirage. The sand surrounds all and seems ready to swallow whole the makeshift houses and huts, whose improvisational nature seems perfectly suited to the shifting and precarious nature of the place. The ocean, barely visible in the distance, lurks over the dunes—its glassy impassivity keeps us on edge.

Sun blanched and raw, Cortes uses both black and white and color to unsettling effect in the work. Images retain or lose color as if drained and sapped by the overpowering sun—fading out and then springing back to life. Alternating between forensic close-ups of plants, snakes and trash and more expansive landscapes and architectural shots, the book's sequencing takes on a bobbing rhythm as its gaze moves up and down. Elemental and foreboding, the landscape offers nowhere to hide. Luckily we have Cortes to lead the way through this world of dazed heat-stroke confusion.

Cortes combines the cool austerity of Lewis Baltz with the poetic nonchalance of JH Engström. An incongruous pairing, but it works. Looking through the book, I was immediately reminded of Baltz's San Quentin Point and Candlestick Point. Like Baltz's almost mechanical eye, Cortes' allows nothing to escape scrutiny, but the work's evidentiary qualities are muted and complicated by its subjective and impressionistic tone. Although the influence of Engström is more noticeable in Cortes' previous book Things Here And Things Still To Come, which included nudes and echoes Engström's own confessional and voyeuristic gaze, Costa shares Engström's relentless exploratory gaze, as well as his often washed out and unstable palette.

Subjects and genres within any medium emerge slowly as the result of a confluence of artists working alone and in tandem, often in response to broader cultural and social changes. Once legitimized, these subjects lure, inspire and influence artists, but also expand the permissible territory of the medium. In the worst case, artists use these subjects and approaches to suggest and posture meaning rather than developing their own language or vision within that terrain. In his attraction to the despoiled landscape of Costa de Caparica, Cortes may follow the pull of an extensive tradition, but he seems to be carving his own path. Too exuberant and fever-pitched to sit calmly in one place or gaze impassively at the landscape, Cortes has given us a vision of a small marginal town that is personal, idiosyncratic and unsettling. Try not to stay out in the sun too long.


Mexico Notebook: Q&A with Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

Hannah FrieserJaime Permuth and I have begun a collaboration to explore contemporary photography in Mexico. We're looking at trends and how they relate to traditions; events, institutions and venues; as well as pursuing conversations with curators, academics, gallerists and photographers on what's happening currently. This collaborative project will feature a variety of types of posts including interviews, book reviews, published letters, portfolios of images and more.

Hannah Frieser is a curator, photographer and book artist and former Executive Director of Light Work. Jaime Permuth is a Guatemalan photographer living and working in New York City and a Faculty Member at the School of Visual Arts.

Today we start the project by collaborating with photographer Alejandro Cartagena. Cartagena has overseen and executed a series of short interviews with photographers from Mexico that will be published over the coming weeks.

The first interview of this collaboration was between Cartagena and Jorge Taboada. Today we continue the series with an interview between Cartagena and Melba Arellano.

Alejandro lives and works in Monterrey, Mexico. His projects employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine social, urban and environmental issues in the Latin-American region. His work has been exhibited internationally in festivals like CONTACT in Toronto], The FIF in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, GuatePhoto festival in Guatemala City, FOTOFEST in Houston], the PHOTOIMAGEN festival in the Dominican Republic, Photoville in Dumbo, New York and UNSEEN by FOAM in Amsterdam among others.

Alejandro's work has been published internationally in magazines and newspapers such as NewsweekLe MondeThe GuardianThe IndependentNownessDomusDomus Mexicothe Financial TimesViewThe New York Times Lens BlogSternPDNThe New YorkerMonocle and Wallpaper among others. His book Suburbia Mexicana was published by Photolucida and Daylight books in 2011.

He has received the Photolucida Critical Mass book award, the SNCA-CONACULTA grant for Mexican artists, the Premio IILA-Fotografia 2012 award in Rome, the Street Photography Award in London and a POYi reportage award of excellence, the Lente Latino award in Chile, the award Salon de la Fotografia from the Fototeca de Nuevo Leon in Mexico among other awards. He has been named a FOAM magazine Talent and one of PDN Magazine's 30 emerging photographers. He has also been a finalist for the Aperture Portfolio award, the Photoespaña Descubrimientos award, the FOAM Paul Huff award and has been nominated for the CENTER Santa Fe photography prize.

His work is in many private and public collections including the San Francisco MOMA, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Portland Museum of Art, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Rio de Janeiro, the Fototeca de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico, the University of Maine collection and the Fototeca Nacional in Pachuca, Mexico. He is currently represented by Circuit Gallery in Toronto, Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles and Galería Patricia Conde in Mexico City.

© Melba Arellano

Alejandro Cartagena: Where do you live and what you do?

Mela Arellano: I live in Mexico City and I am a photographer.

Alejandro Cartagena: ¿Dónde vives y a qué te dedicas?

Melba Arellano: Vivo en la Ciudad de México y soy fotógrafa.

: How did you get started in photography?

MA: I started by taking some workshops developing and printing black and white in college, but I already liked photography much earlier. I decided to make my passion for photography and my career converge. I investigated and noticed that there was a sector of photography that demands service, impeccable technique, perspective correction, modeling through lighting and the trained eye of an architect.

AC: ¿Cómo te iniciaste en la fotografía?

MAComencé a estudiar fotografía después de haber estudiado Economía y cuando me encontraba trabajando como asesora en desarrollo económico para algunos gobiernos municipales. Hasta ese momento nunca había hecho foto pero desde siempre había tenido una fascinación por las imágenes, especialmente las fotográficas, desde niña las buscaba en libros, revistas, monografías, el álbum familiar, etc. y las coleccionaba, después tuve la necesidad de yo crear las mías. Creo que cuando entré a la escuela de fotografía sabía que imágenes quería hacer pero no tenía idea cómo. Después decidí dejar la Economía y dedicarme a la foto.

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

AC: When and what made you start considering producing photographic work to explore your personal concerns?

MA: The process began when I was studying fashion photography in London when out of curiosity I signed up for a workshop in documentary photography in which we developed small series of photos around the theme of the city. Through those exercises I began to know the city in which I lived and photography became the medium of exploration that allowed me to approach everything that sparked my curiosity. With my exciting new discovery, my only thought when I went back to Mexico was to explore the place where I had grown up. I had some memories of it, and there were places and people that still intrigued me. I started photographing them. At that time had no idea where this process would take me - I also think this question didn’t interest me very much. This work later became my first photo project "Carretera Nacional" (National Highway). The following projects were born in the same way, meeting a pressing need, an impulse to explore something.

AC¿Cuándo y que te hizo empezar a considerar producir trabajo fotográfico que explorara tus inquietudes personales?

MAEl proceso comenzó cuando me encontraba estudiando fotografía de moda en Londres, por curiosidad me inscribí a un taller de fotografía documental, en él desarrollábamos pequeñas series que tenían como temática la ciudad. A través de estos ejercicios comencé a conocer la ciudad en la que vivía y la fotografía se convirtió en el medio de exploración que me permitía acercarme a todo aquello que me generaba curiosidad. Con mi excitante y nuevo descubrimiento lo único que pensaba al regresar a México era ir y explorar el lugar en el que había crecido, conservaba algunos recuerdos de él pero aún había lugares y personas que me seguían intrigando. Comencé a fotografiarlos, en ese momento no tenía idea de a que me llevaría este proceso y creo que tampoco me interesaba mucho. Esto se convirtió después en mi primer proyecto fotográfico “Carretera Nacional”, los siguientes nacieron de la misma forma, satisfacer una necesidad imperiosa, un impulso de explorar algo.

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

AC: Tell us about some of your projects and the themes you approach through the images we are presenting.

MA: In "Carretera Nacional" I went back to the place where I spent my childhood and recreated the trips I took as a girl along this road. Basically I returned to those places that 20 years ago I was not allowed to go [because I was young and traveling with my family], but that aroused in me a strong attraction to them. I also looked at the people who caused in me this same type of attraction. One by one I photographed them. Later I went to all the villages that paraded before me in the travels of my youth in which I had never walked, to explore what my eye could see years ago from the family car.

The resulting images are the remnants of my journey as a performative activity in which I form new connections to these places. They are the creation of a representation that gives an account, symbolically, of my coming into the world. I rummaged around in the present, as a way to give life to something that no longer exists through representing it and by momentarily recovering the past.

In “Palacio Municpal" ("City Hall"), a work still in progress, I explore the subject of the smallest administrative and political unit of my country, the city hall. I am searching for power through its traces. I think it's still present in spaces that are so austere. The city hall interests me as the place of origin of the metastasis of the bureaucratic system and the misuse of power as its engine.

ACPlatícanos un poco de tus proyectos y los temas que abordas en las imágenes que estamos presentando.

MA:  En “Carretera Nacional” regreso a el lugar en el que pasé mi infancia y recreo los viajes que hacía de niña por ésta vía. Básicamente retorné a aquellos lugares a los que 20 años atrás no se me permitía ir pero que despertaban en mí una gran atracción, busqué además a las personas que me provocaba lo mismo, uno a uno los fui fotografiando. Después me dirigí a todos los poblados que desfilaban ante mí en mis viajes, aquellos en los cuales nunca había caminado, para explorar lo que mis ojos alcanzaban a ver desde el auto familiar.

Las imágenes resultantes son los vestigios de mi viaje como actividad performática en la que generé nuevos vínculos con el lugar, son la creación de una representación que da cuenta, simbólicamente, de mi irrupción. Hurgué en el presente, como una forma de dar vida a algo que ya no existe por medio de la representación y de recobrar momentáneamente el pasado.

En “Palacio Municipal”, trabajo aún en proceso, exploro el territorio de la mínima unidad político administrativa de mi país, un Palacio Municipal, voy en la búsqueda del poder a través de sus rastros, creo que está presente aún en espacios tan austeros. El Palacio Municipal me interesa como el origen territorial de la metástasis del sistema burocrático y el mal uso del poder como su generador.

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

AC: How do you think about the history of Mexican photography in your work?

MA: I think consciously or unconsciously it is part of my work, its practitioners, their work, everything that I've nurtured myself with. I admire the work of many and of various time periods, and those that gave a dynamic and authorial twist to documentary photography are especially inspiring to me, but its more accurate to say that as references I like the work of the present and the global contemporary discourses that generate diversity.

AC¿De qué manera consideras la historia de la fotografía Mexicana en tu obra?

MA:  Creo que consciente o inconscientemente estará parte ella en mi obra, los exponentes, los trabajos, todo de lo que me he nutrido. Admiro el trabajo de muchos y de varias épocas, especialmente quienes imprimieron un giro dinámico y autoral a la fotografía documental, son inspiradores aunque más bien como referencias me gusta el presente, los discursos globales que se generan, la diversidad.

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

AC: Do you believe that there is any relationship in subject matter, form or any other aspect between photography in Mexico and the rest of Latin America?

MA: Yes, si some points. In Latin America and Mexico the historical and current dynamics of the region imply assuming heterogeneity and marginality as part of existence against the centrality and homogeneity of Europe or the United States. In a way this frequently allows or forces themes and perspectives to have a more critical consciousness, and makes a social responsibility for photographers here clear. But even given this, I do not think that there are clear and fixed signs to identify a photography of the region or that has much in common (as I think could be done in the past). There is a heterogeneous production manifesting reality through many varied discourses, a scattered and fragmented view. At the same time I think it is important to try to retain some of its identity, a language that somehow reflects something of our origin and environment.

AC¿Encuentras alguna relación de temas, forma o cualquier otro aspecto entre la fotografía en México y la del resto de America Latina?

MA: Si en algunos puntos. En América Latina y México las dinámicas históricas y actuales de la región implican asumir la marginalidad y heterogeneidad como parte de la existencia frente a la centralidad y homogeneidad de Europa o Estados Unidos. Esto de alguna manera permite u obliga en cierta forma que las temáticas, las posturas, suelan tener un sentido más crítico y se hace evidente una responsabilidad social de los autores. Aún con lo anterior no creo que hoy existan signos claros y fijos que identifiquen una fotografía de la región (como creo que se pudo hacer en un pasado) y que haya muchos puntos en común, hay una producción heterogénea que manifiesta la realidad a través de discursos muy variados, una mirada un tanto más dispersa y fragmentada. A su vez considero que es importante que se trate conservar algo de identidad, de un lenguaje que en cierta forma refleje algo de nuestro origen y entorno.

© Melba Arellano

AC: What are the issues being addressed both in contemporary photography in Mexico and outside of Mexico that interest you?

MA: I am interested in topics that sensitize and raise consciousness about their context and to the presence of others. I am also interested in work in which the placement of documentary photography and of the photographer come ever closer together.

AC¿Cuáles son los temas qué están siendo tratados en la fotografía contemporánea en México y también afuera de México que te interesen?

MA: Me interesan los temas en los que se sensibiliza y se provoca la consciencia del entorno, la presencia del otro. Me interesa también el tratamiento, aquel en donde la fotografía documental y la de autor se acercan más.

© Melba Arellano

© Melba Arellano

: What do you feel benefits you or is a problem with being based in Mexico?

MA: I think the general picture has improved dramatically in recent years, there have been positive developments that have transformed photography in the country, such as the emergence of specialized training centers and more spaces for showing work. Today photography in Mexico shows many types of forms of expression and representation. It is the subject of collections in galleries of art, and it is published and consumed more than before. Furthermore, we have done more to have a stronger level of and more focused critique and to have more research done in the area of photography. It’s still not in the ideal place yet but we have experienced gains. I think the main problem remains the lack of support for creation, both local and national, which limits production and thus all the other parts of the system.

AC¿Qué sientes te beneficia o problematiza producir desde México?

MA: Creo que el panorama ha mejorado notablemente en los últimos años, se han dado fenómenos que han transformado positivamente la fotografía en el país, como el surgimiento de centros especializados de formación, más espacios de circulación del trabajo. Hoy la fotografía en México muestra diversas formas de expresión y representación, es objeto de colecciones en galerías de arte, se publica, se consume más. Adicionalmente se han llevado a cabo más esfuerzos para contar con una crítica mayor y más especializada y tener más investigaciones en la materia. No es el terreno ideal pero se han experimentado avances. Creo que el principal problema sigue siendo la insuficiencia de apoyos a la creación, tanto locales como nacionales, lo que limita la producción y por ende todo el engranaje del sistema.

MA: Anything you'd like to say about contemporary photography in general?

MA: Contemporary photography proposes interesting challenges to those that make it now having gone beyond the limits formerly imposed by typologies, beyond the convergence of artistic media and the greater awareness of the variety of possible forms of the work as well as the vastness of possible topics and the great number of photographers demands a more intelligent, reflective and more personal look for its creation.

AC¿Algo que quisieras comentar sobre la fotografía contemporánea en general ?

MA: La fotografía contemporánea propone un territorio con interesantes desafíos a quienes la generan ya que al haber rebasado los límites impuestos por las tipologías, la convergencia de los medios artísticos y una mayor consciencia por la variedad de posibles soportes de la obra así como la vastedad de temas y de autores demanda una mirada más inteligente, reflexiva y más personal para su creación.

© Melba Arellano



© Lee Friedlander. The New Cars 1964

Post by Pugilist Press

Now and again, with my finger on the shutter release, I'll ask myself, "What am I doing?" Some times it's an audible "Why the fuck am I taking this picture?" Sun bleached billboards for a Christian daycare. Ripped boxes behind an apartment complex. Chewing gum at the base of the drive thru order box. Is it of any value? I panic a bit, clutching that little black box with clammy hands; then I remember Lee Friedlander, and every view is alive with potential. The cloud passes, I take the picture.

The Friedlander I’m thinking about is a contemporary photographer, and not some dinosaur bones from the MOMA archives that peaked when That Girl was on the air. We will not be talk-ing about some Photo God with a string of half-empty churches across the land, and a brick-thick Bible to disseminate his legend. We will not be talking about some antique tradesman frozen in a quaint infotainment village going about his business just like they did "back then." We won’t be talking about someone we look up to, or one that we’ve evolved beyond. We are simply talking about a photographer of this day, 2014. One with bad knees, sure. One with a few more mentions in the history books, but more importantly, more urgently, one who works in the now, and one whose methods are aligned with what we say we want.

I’m assuming you want what We want. Am I wrong? A better world. Gender justice. Racial justice. A world where the puppet strings of power are illuminated and everyone is equipped with a pair of scissors. One where we embrace reason yet recognize its limitations. You are not all talk and no action. You do not have a tab at Chick-fil-A. You have never uttered the words “reverse racism.” You are for real, you want that real, and you’re ready to do the real work. If that’s the case, if you want photography that points to a just world, then start with Friedlander.

I’m not saying Lee’s the future. I don’t play those odds. Sci-fi writers don’t play those odds. The future is an unknowable distraction from the present. The question of time gets confusing for photography because it is so central to its ontology. So one must be forgiving of the many that are in a tizzy over what comes next. Amongst the arts, Photography is a pup, less than two centuries compared to the others’ millennia. The current crisis is nothing more than growing pains, but too many are worried about the crib-death of photography. And many of the attempts to Frankenstein-up the medium are light on the electricity and heavy on the formaldehyde: redoes of Sander without the wit, Rejlander without the finely calibrated melodrama, Bayard without the punchline, Hoch without the rigor, Rusha without the generosity, and so many of these sub-Bournes turning every gallery into wunderkammers. We are still learning to deal with photo-graphs that are older than grandma, never mind those that were made last week. We are still teaching ourselves how to look at photos and figuring out why we look. Currently, the best answers are provisional. Those reaching for the stone tablets are the ones making the most dubious pronouncements.

© Thomas Struth, Paradise 17. 1999

The second most influential tribe in photography still seems to be the Dusseldorf crew and affiliated chapters. The first has this weird and sad contempt for the medium and seems to control many of the institutions that should be supporting it. Thinking about them paralyzes me, so allow me to go straight to the house that the Bechers built. Could those two be any more Catholic? They have left us a body of work that treats pleasure as an annoyance, that is deeply concerned with funerary rites and the afterlife, that thrives on a clear, regimented, and immutable structure. The Bechers' work is also one huge act of faith: it was produced over decades without a single sign of doubt of deviation, it was the same process at the end as it was at the beginning. There was no reaction to the reactions, those grids kept popping up like monoliths across our museums, stating powerfully, without ever shouting, that “the answer” was there from the beginning and the world would have to conform to it. Pleasure was mostly absent, curiosity was absent, conversation was absent. The Bechers photographed a fifty-year sermon. And you know what? I ain’t mad at it. It’s decent work, and some of their students went even further and made some pretty good Catholic pictures.

© Daido Moriyama, Stray Dog, Misawa, Aomori, 1971

Here's the thing about a true secular culture, as opposed to atheism as some perverse theocracy of Logic, it allows for pockets of religion, it understands that a single system cannot possibly provide for all of its members, it understands that encouraging alternatives will make the society stronger. It is a lot more difficult, maybe even impossible, for a culture formed around strict dogma to respect and nurture pockets that wish to deviate from or reject that dogma. In small terms there’s room for the Bechers at Friedlander's house, but there's no room for Lee at the Becher temple. And this is why I am not suggesting we look to Friedlander, not as the ideal, but simply as a sturdy and useful model, one that we've been in danger of boxing up and burying in some warehouse.

Containment don’t jive with the faithless, and Lee is faithless. His eye has never settled on subject or schema. There has never been a lack of things to see for Friedlander. Even when age temporarily robbed him of his legs, he still managed to produce an odd and lovely book of flower stems. Viewed together, Friedlander's many series seem to say that nothing is beneath attention, nothing is meaningless. And that might be a lie, but if that's the case then it is a useful one. It's a lie that goes beyond our species dark leaning to turn every event, object, and life form as some sort of mirror. The work he's done over the years is often incredibly tender towards humanity, sometimes a bit cruel, and sometimes the very things that we have made are emancipated from us by Friedlander's framing. All those moments, spaces, and objects exist at the same level of effort and attention. There is no hierarchy. What we find instead is a keen aware-ness that Chaos and Order are the same tune played in different keys, one note after the other, one sound after the other, building melodies and rhythms, there is no status in a tune, even the voids are propulsive. The work is everywhere and it is never ending.

© Josef Koudelka, Hauts-de-Seine. Parc de Sceaux. 1987

If I sometimes get carried away describing the work, I blame its many complex and unexpected pleasures. I've seen the work described as too "flashy" or "tricky" by people, I would assume, that are disturbed by virtuosity. Or perhaps, they see it as nothing but indulgence, some dude showing off. I see nothing but humility. A thing in itself will always have value. Physics, biology, history, function and many other facets of its presence will see to that. A description of a thing, on the other hand, is often worthless as description even when it is of definite value as an artifact. Description that does justice to its object is a very rare thing. In four decades of looking at dog pictures, for example, I've seen a bunch of pretty good ones, and only two great ones. Even with the torrents of photographs coming at us from Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and others, the world lacks adequate descriptions. Friedlander is trying, and the effort often translates into pleasure, and not the cheap kind that is nothing but a shortcut to jouissance, acrid and necessary fuel for the big fire. Lee's pleasure is tantric, it is narcotic, it embraces the moment and pushes perception to bloom. These photographs help us with the necessary transition from be-ings who can look (setting eyes on the known) to beings who can see (setting eyes on the known and unknown alike). The pictures' formal verve has nothing to do with indulgence, that’s just Lee trying to describe the world adequately.

When the Chicago Sun-Times fired its photographers, I was very definitely on the side my brethren. That said, I had a big issue with the illustration that kept popping up as an indictment of The Sun-Times’ greedy, short sighted ways. In this comparison, the Tribune photograph showed me exactly what I was expecting, in a professional and polished manner, a good photograph that offers a look at victory. The Sun-Times, photograph, the supposedly bad one, allowed me to figure out that mourning is a corollary to any well earned victory. Reaching that final goal means an end to the effort that drove and at times probably sustained the players, it also means the temporary or permanent dissolution of the fellowship responsible for this success. The Sun-Times photograph is about seeing, and it exposed the very real lack that was present in even the most densely staffed papers.

© Jessica Watson, Flounder. 2001

Friedlander has not photographed everything. He has not photographed in every way, but with each year he grows the library of the seen, and each year that we’re exposed to that library, we extend our capacities for perception. Each committed laborer with a camera can add to this endeavor, and the results are invariably beyond our imaginations and desires. Look at Jessica Watson's Flounder. It's one of the kinkiest images I have ever seen, a sad and beautiful slice of fish that connects fetish culture to the Shackleton expedition in a way that makes perfect sense. Look at Wolfgang Tillmans' for when I'm weak I'm strong, a new source of hope in a world that had seemingly exhausted the resources. This is photography as instrument, as tool, as factory rather than illustration or critique or confirmation. These are the type of photographs that are always absent from all of those shows and publications that claim to be the harbingers of the New Photography. They are ignored because the language around such pictures feels exhausted, and so the common mistake is made of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. How does one even begin to catalogue the layers of fascination of this image (sadly separated from its author) found on Tumblr. More than new ways of making photographs we desperately need new ways of talking about them.''

Image from Tumblr, separated from author

Pugilist Press is a collective of seven artists who all happen to be the same person, including pensive heartthrob Jericho Butters, renaissance bad boy DJ BabyNeckFat and Haitian expat Sebastien Boncy.