Journal: Good News, Self-portrait Experiments, and Learning from Samantha Box, Sarah Meister, & Caravaggio

Some good news!:

I was a featured photographer in NYC Photo Community Newsletter!

And!

I was awarded the “Heather B. Mattera Opportunity Scholarship” along with Daura Campos (@daurismo)

Media/Books/Classes I’m Consuming:

This is Caravaggio by Annabel Howard

Making Photographs: A Workbook of Materials, Tools, And Processes by Ross Harris

The Photography Workshop Series: Mary Ellen Mark on the Portrait and the Moment by aperture

“The Expanded Self‑portrait: Exploring Traditional and Alternative Methods of Personal Expression” taught by Samatha Box via StrudelmediaLive

“Samatha Box: Pushing the limits of the documentary practice, building worlds, and the fundamental task of looking at self” by Ximena Natera

“Seeing through Photographs” taught by Sarah Meister via Coursera

Dorothea Lange | Live Q&A with Sarah Meister and Sally Mann | Virtual Views

Be ordinary and organized…

Sally Mann, Dorothea Lange | Live Q&A with Sarah Meister and Sally Mann | Virtual Views

Excerpts:

Excerpts from “Samantha Box: Pushing the limits…”:

I am trying to compress everything — that for me is diaspora: a place of slippage, where a lot of different things merge, and what comes out of it is something else.

Asked why, in a moment like this, she feels people feel drawn to still life, she replied, “I think that there is the idea of wanting to make something beautiful [using what we have access to] but on a deeper level, people have spent a lot of time thinking about and facing our mortality. There is longing for a sense of control, and understanding… [At its best], still lifes function as an incredibly potent vehicle to express your views on the world around you.”

Everyone who wants to do documentary or journalism work should learn to be photographed, to understand and feel the weight of that gaze, the way we have seen – and see – the world.”

Excerpts from “Seeing through Photographs”:

Photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz demonstrated the expressive potential of photography with his evocative images of clouds. More than portraits of the sky, the photographs are meant to reflect the emotions and states of mind Stieglitz experienced while finding their equivalents in the varied patterns of the clouds.

Although the moon is not visible in this photograph by Eugène Atget, its presence is implied. This crowd was gathered in Paris’s Place de la Bastille on April 17, 1912 to observe a solar eclipse (where the moon comes directly between the earth and sun) through viewing apparatuses. Rather than recording the astronomical event itself, Atget turned his attention to its spectators. Though Atget made nearly 10,000 pictures of Paris and its environs in a career that spanned over thirty years—most documenting the built environment—this photograph is an unusual example that focuses on a crowd of people.

The Afronauts by Cristina De Middel

Excerpts from This is Caravaggio by Annabel Howard:

An influential patron

It was into this world that Caravaggio was welcomed. Del Monte did much more than buy his paintings; he gave the young painter a suite of rooms in the palazzo in which to live and work. Caravaggio’s life changed. Suddenly he had stability, the confidence of a patron, and exposure to the cutting-edge thinkers of his day.

A basket of fruit

Unlike other painters, Caravaggio did not consider still life a straightforward transcription of the natural world. It was, for him, an intense examination of reality that led to a rare yet fundamental reimagining of the world. The sensitivity and intelligence he brought to it transformed peaches and grapes from simple objects to subjects in their own right.

Caravaggio’s new patron, Giustiniani, understood the painter’s vision. For the two of them this fruit bowl became both portrait and poem.

Rebirth

Naples, at three times the size of Rome, was a cosmopolitan European powerhouse. It was the capital of the busiest trading state in the Mediterranean and growing rapidly. The city was keen to use its new wealth to decorate itself with art, and it greeted Caravaggio more like a gift horse than a fugitive – his fame as a painter, if not a murderer, proceeded him. The Neapolitans fell over themselves to secure his services, and the commissions came pouring in. For the first painting he was paid a reasonable 200 scudi, and double that amount for his second. Less than two months later, no sooner had he finished the second painting than buyers were offering in excess of 2000 scudi for it.

Thoughts

Caravaggio’s paintings in black and white

I miss my old blog “Afro-textured Art”/“Afro-textured History”. My personal fantasy of having a museum-level collection of artifacts, visual and textual references to afro-textured hair, and public curation of said items.

Final Results of my Self-Portraiture assignment:

Inspired by “Sick Bacchus” by Caravaggio
Went more into the Dionysian/Satyr theme with costume horns

Photo Journal

“Sick Bacchus” is the first painting shown in This is Caravaggio.
The image looked more like this in the book.

The very reason I picked the book was to allow some inspiration for my self-portrait course. I didn’t know anything about Caravaggio. It is fitting I took something away from his self-portrait.


© SAMANTHA BOX
Construction #6, 2019, from Caribbean Dreams: Constructions
The Crucifixion of St. Peter

Here, I wanted to look at Caravaggio’s work in black-and-white and feel how it relates to black-and-white photography aesthetics.

Detail of “The Seven Works of Mercy”

One thought on “Journal: Good News, Self-portrait Experiments, and Learning from Samantha Box, Sarah Meister, & Caravaggio

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