Lombard Freid Projects is pleased to present Minor Cropping May Occur (selected diaries 1962-2011), an exhibition connecting thirteen international photographers—both established and emerging—whose works were created between the 1960s and the present. The artists exhibited employ a diaristic style in approaching their subjects. All the photographs presented in this show avoid classification as documentation while firmly capturing reality. The images are carefully edited, often directly through the camera’s viewfinder, to create complex, emotional stories that ultimately transgress the private/public boundaries.
The artists participating in Minor Cropping May Occur (selected diaries 1962-2011), come from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic locations: Mike Brodie (USA), JH Engstrom (Sweden), Carl Johan De Geer (Sweden), Janine Gordon (USA), Nick Haymes (USA), Hiromix (Japan), Takashi Homma (Japan), Keizo Kitajima (Japan), Daifu Motoyuki (Japan), Walter Pfeiffer (Switzerland), Jacob Aue Sobol (Denmark), Nick Waplington (UK), and Rona Yefman (Israel). Most of the works featured at Lombard Freid Projects will be premiered in the United States and many of them presented for the first time outside their place of making.
Keizo Kitajima’s work is connected to the Provoke Era of postwar Japanese photography – a movement that sought to define a new photographic language, often using rough, blurred and high-contrast black and white images. Having studied under one of the movements leaders, Daido Moriyama in the 1970s, Kitajima’s early portraits of his life in the Shinjuku neighborhood, are presented in exceptionally graphic high contrast style. In 1979, Kitajima staged a yearlong exhibition, transforming his studio into a darkroom and projecting mural-sized images onto photographic paper attached directly to the studio’s walls. These diptychs, alongside early portraits, will be on display for the first time since they were first shown in Japan the 70s.
Swedish artist JH Engstrom’s background involves several years spent abroad in Paris and New York. Engstrom’s ‘Wells’ series on display feature images both exceedingly intimate and veristic that detail the development of his own marriage, pregnancy of his partner, birth of his children and the subsequent dissolution of the relationship. “I tried to photograph what I feel, and what I remember – that’s what these pictures represent to me,” JH Engstrom.
Tokyo based Takashi Homma’s work often depicts the lives and environs of the Japanese middle-class. Through choosing as his subject matter what might be seen as banal, Homma’s work often focuses on cityscapes, portraits and domestic interiors, captured quietly in natural color. In his series on display at the gallery Tokyo and My Daughter, Homma creates the illusion of domestic bliss, cunningly detailing the developing relationship between himself and his ‘daughter’ throughout the first six years of her life. The canard here is that far from being Homma’s daughter, the girl is unrelated to him and as a result Homma achieves a sort of false-intimacy questioning the role of veracity in narrative. Having spent much of the early 1990s in London, Homma’s work displays a keen awareness of editorial technique. In his native Japan, Homma is widely regarded as one of the country’s most enduring proponents of color photography.
Danish photographer Jacob Aue Sobol can perhaps be best viewed through two prisms. For one, he is a nominee into the circle of MAGNUM Photographers – a highly respective photographic collective heavily associated with documentary imagery – and on the other hand Sobol remains heavily influenced by the postwar Japanese graphic scene and its use of high-contrast black and white imagery. On display, images taken from his ‘Bangkok’ series show clearly a stylized reality and engaging commitment to the photographic form.
Tokyo based Daifu Motoyuki’s intimate family portraits present us with an idea that runs counter to the stereotype of the average Japanese family. Captured over four years, the photographs detail an honest account of the sprawling chaos associated with his large family’s daily life (five siblings and two working parents under one roof). Often hectic and unkempt, Motoyuki’s scenes are candid portraits of a working class Japanese family capturing the endearing dysfunction within.
In Nick Haymes photographic series ‘Zoloto,’ there is a brutal honesty that challenges the cliché portrayal of family life in picture perfect photo albums. Photographed daily over a period of over nine years by imploying a diverse range of cameras and techniques, the series exists as a veristic diary that combines both the high and lows, the picturesque and perverse, the sublime and the banal. ‘Zoloto,’ the Russian word for gold (observed by Haymes through his interactions with his Russian in-laws) reflects his affections for his family life-however unhinged it may appear.
Janine Gordon seeks out challenging experiences that ultimately become a reflection on her own self. With a background as both a visual artist and performer, Gordon’s images are often situated in ultra-masculine environments and carnival atmospheres. ‘Bike Kill’ series on display underscores the challenging conditions in which Gordon thrives—action, high emotional states, dramatic circumstances. Gordon’s participation in these extreme events, clearly reveal herself as an artist who is fully committed to her practice and the challenges it entails.
Having left home at 16 to seek out a transient lifestyle, Mike Brodie’s images depict a sobering reality of young Americans living on the fringe of society. Four years worth of Polaroid images and 35mm film document his life riding the rails, revealing intimate glimpses into an invisible class. At once youthful and optimistic, Brodie’s images can be seen as a modern parallel to photographers whose work documented the economic and social plights of the Great Depression. Initially displayed on the internet, Brodie’s methods perhaps portends to the future generation of photographic dissemination and diaristic enquiry.
Hiromix (Hiromi Toshikawa) is a Tokyo based photographer whose work has detailed the intimacies of her life from the beginning of her career in the mid 1990s. Having been mentored by both Nobuyoshi Araki and Takashi Homma and becoming a raising star herself in Japan, Hiromix’s photography captures aspects of femininity and youth with a strong affection for popular culture and sentimental exhibitionism.
Israeli artist Rona Yefman’s ‘Series My Brother and I’ 1996-2009 is an intimate collection of images portraying the artist and her brother Gil. Documenting Gil’s experience as a transgender—his transformation from male to female and eventually back to male again—Yefman’s use of the camera to invent multiple identities and complex characters, touches on contemporary taboo while also examining familial love in often unconventional circumstances.
Born in 1938, Carl Johan De Geer grew up on a grand country estate as a member of one of Sweden’s most powerful aristocrat families. Following his art school education in the 1950s, De Geer chose to reject his heritage and document the underground bohemian circles in which he was immersed. Through observant black and white imagery, De Geer’s vintage prints portray an underground world with all its requisite imperfections.
British artist Nick Waplington’s first project, ‘Living Room,’ details the lives of two working class families in Nottingham during the early 1990s. While maintaining the appearance of vernacular imagery, the prints themselves are depicted in saturated color, and photographed in larger 6×9 format. Shot at a low angle to simulate a child’s view of her surroundings, Waplington’s images are a study in both conceptual complexity and natural observation. On display are several images previously unseen during the project’s initial book edit in the mid 1990s.
Based in Zurich, Walter Pfeiffer’s work has documented his life, lovers and friends since the 1970s. A contemporary of Nan Goldin, Billy Name and Larry Clark, and a forerunner of Wolfgang Tillmans, Heinz Peter Knes and Ryan McGinley, Walter Pfeiffer turned the everyday into a visual diary with his candid photographs, creating a free-spirited playground for his circle of friends and models. His point-and-shoot visions of youth, beauty and sexual identity—usually with a homoerotic bent—introduced a bold and controversial aesthetic. On display are vintage prints from the 1970s and early 1980s provided directly from the artist’s personal collection.
Kit Lee, 1,2,3,4… March 23rd-April 23rd 2011