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23.5.09

Say Cheese!

Summer is upon us, the prime season for photographing family vacations and gatherings. But before you print those mementos, check out the Printed Picture exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. It chronicles the ever-changing technology of printing pictures, from Renaissance-era etching to lithography, gelatin silver processing, and today's ink jet printers. I've been watching the leaps in technology, most importantly the latest dye and pigment inks that offer greater archival stability for my own photographs. Advancements that are perfect for those museum-quality shots when crazy uncle Mark shows up unannounced to your vacation beach rental.

Also at MoMA is Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West, examining photography's role in introducing the American West to the world through reality and myth -- you make that decision for yourself. In the exhibit dreamy photos of magnificent pristine wilderness enticing dreamers and adventurers to move west, often sponsored by railroad companies and real estate developers, get paired with some pretty gnarly contemporary western anti-heroes. My one fault is the overindulgence of a bleak perspective. I kept thinking the tearful Native American in the 60s anti-litter campaign would be in the next frame. In my west, the one of Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, roaring rivers and movie glamor can never be tamed -- may the mystique continue.


And in conclusion, with summer in mind, the beach pictures of Christian Chaize at Jen Bekman are my pick of the Lower East Side. Over a five-year period Chaize returned to the same beach in Portugal, Praia Piquinia, and took photos from a similar angle. It becomes somewhat of a "Where's Waldo" experience, as the weather and characters change in each version. Pass the sunscreen, please!

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