one of the 873 things i enjoy about Ms. Shahbazi is her sort of all-around excellence. that sounds stupid, maybe, but what i mean is that regardless of the tendency of a lot of 'contemporary' stuff to clump it all together and call it a mis-matched-and-therefore-matching day, each photo usually does not hold up alone. she is excellent - and i use the word deliberately (it is a simple, solid word) - because she is where image execution is concerned. it sort of feels like that, too. like a mission to execute an idea, very deliberate, obsessive, as perfect as one could be. controlled. in looking at her work i feel like i'm walking over a really strong bridge, or witnessing someone build a really well-stacked tower of jenga blocks. part of the the dance going on these days with 'pictures' involves a lot of smoke and mirrors, literally. shahbazi, 1 person 234023423408 immaculately executed ideas, falls into a different category, though she touches on a lot of what we're seeing these days. seeing too much, i think. i don't give a fuck about your bright colors or empty scenes, but if ms. shahbazi has these things to show, i am looking. as i am wont to say these days where excellence is concerned: shirana shahbazi can do whatever.
saw a number of gorgeous little (and big) books at the ny art book fair yesterday, and met a few people i've been wanting to meet for some time. the internet is weird in that one's images usually precede the photographer, as in, i was flipping through a book in front of a young man manning a table yesterday, and later found out it was his book. photographers are just now on the cusp of not being able to remain anonymous anymore. could you pick imogen cunningham out of a line-up? doubt most people could. in this tumblr infested day, facebook parties and RSVP's abound. . . sometimes the people materialize, sometimes they remain a figment of your facebook imagination. among the people i met yesterday was paul schiek, who runs TBW books out of the Bay Area. the fog of his photos is undoubtedly bay area fog, but the rest is pretty placeless, which is something i am really drawn to these days. i also lingered at a dutch publisher's table, way too long, because he was in possession of paul kooiker's newest book, 'heaven,' which was just that. i'll keep the praise to myself and write about it later, or just process it and keep it for later artistic purging, inspiration, whatever. i asked the publisher what paul was like. he tilted his head down, peeking at me over the rims of his reading glasses and said 'very kind. very hard-working.' i suppose when you emerge from the womb having the art of the still-life encoded on your DNA you gotta move on to other ideas. he loves flesh and bodies and women, and repetition. he is an autist, as many photographers are - fixated, obsessive. contemporary editing and a loose (but rich) book-making style add to the classicism that are his female nudes, resulting in a very free, very authoritative kind of photographic process. mature, even. something to aspire to, no, tumblrinas?