I’m happy to announce my BLACK ICE exhibition in Tokyo from 2014 Oct. 17th to Nov 1st and the reception party on Oct. 18th
It is my first exhibition after 2 years and going to be themed around my recently released book “White Snow on Black Ice”. Of course, the book itself will be on display, as well, so everyone will have a chance to experience it without the need to commit to buying one, if it’s not sold out by then anyway.
BLACK ICE photo+book exhibition
by Holger Feroudj
Duration: Oct. 17th to Nov. 1st
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat. 19:00 – 3:00
Venue: OFFICE Gaienmae
BLACK ICE展示で最近手作りの自分で出版した「White Snow on Black Ice」という写真集／アーツブックの上、本から取られた画像が違った風に大きいプリントとして展示されます。
This exhibition is based on my recently released handmade art- and photobook “White Snow on Black Ice,” and will show both the book as well as abstract large format black and white photographs taken from the images in the book.
Synopsis of the book:
“‘White Snow on Black Ice’ is the result of using photography and book design to capture the invisible bond of memories connected to places of my past I have rich memories tied to. Places that make me re-live certain events, painful and happy alike; however, memory does not work like a video recorder. Memory changes upon re-living it. The harder you try to see and remember, the deeper you go, layer by layer, the more likely you are to re-write your past without even realizing it. Until you feel that you really experienced it.
Using a multilayered design with a special kind of reflective printing on black paper, the process of browsing and looking at these photographs of the frozen ground I experienced so much on supports the feeling of how memory works.”
Both the exhibited photographs, as well as the book, give a deep impression on the fallibility and bias of our memory.
The story of the Fox
Not a part of the BLACK ICE series, I depended on it to keep the series together when on a wall instead of in the book. The fox is a print of mine that I come to love more and more as the years pass – I already shot it like 7 years or so ago. It’s like only now I get to know the little fella with his glance straight into my soul better. This is also the reason why so far it is the only print that I explicably offer as fine art print on my little store: holgerferoudj.com/store/shop/prints/fox/
Some of the other prints I have have to stand the (emotional) test of time first.
This is an excerpt taken from my last LETTER – my monthly newsletter about visual arts, photography and Japan. If you’ve already subscribed to it you’ll know this, but still feel free to discuss in the comments 🙂
Did you ever think about what the difference between Art and Craft is? Can craft be art? Does art require craft? And where does photography fit into this? I’ve been thinking about that after listening to a conversation on On Taking Pictures that contained more thoughts than fit easily into my brain. I’m rather slow at “getting” things.
Emotion – one key element?
Photography arguably is a craft, as in you have to use the camera’s settings skilfully to get a decent picture. But then, it also isn’t because many cameras allow you to merely press a button to get a picture, and I don’t see any craft in that. One can carefully craft a picture by taking all the settings in their own hands, and by crafting the composition etc. – or, on the other hand, one can come up with a wonderful photograph with a point and shoot camera, without crafting anything. And we’re not even including printing in the discussion here.
So, what is the difference between craft and art? Both, a well-crafted as well as a point-and-shoot’ed photograph, can be art, and both can not be art. A well crafted photograph, tack-sharp, perfectly exposed and composed, maybe using the latest gear, but that I still would never consider “art” is what I see more as a rule than an exception these days. It satisfies gear affectionados, but doesn’t really stir any emotions. “Emotion” – one key element of art?
Another element I thought important for some time might be “intent,” “vision,” or some kind of concept: “What do you want to say?”
But then, I know many renowned art photographers – especially Japanese – just shoot and do that thinking/intentional part much later. And many others come up with meticulously planned concepts for a photograph and go through greatest efforts to produce an image that often seems way too planned out, way too conceptional, and rather tedious.
And then there are big artists like Magnum photographer Antoine d’Agata, who is very conscious about wanting to eliminate every single bit of consciousness when creating his photographs, numbs all thinking with drugs, gives his middle finger to all technical aspects of photography and acts from a very primal, unconscious place.
Antoine’s exhibition is on in Tokyo right now, by the way, and I admit that if I hadn’t kind of “befriended” him over the course of the last year, and as a consequence hadn’t learnt about his backstory as well as hear him talk about his work, I would have easily disregarded his photography as artsy-fartsy merely controversial “stuff” without much to it. I still don’t get my head around his photographs, but I know now that I don’t have to – and that they aren’t digested easily, but instead encapsulate something rooted very deeply.
Being called an “artist”
So, you see, I still can’t get my head around this whole arts thingy, and that is probably also the reason why I feel very uncomfortable with people calling me an artist – which sometimes happens – God knows why – and which always makes me feel pretty phoney.
Being called a craftsman is nice, because it implies you do something very well. What does being called an artist imply?
Tell me, will I ever have to understand all that artsy stuff to be able to create something that can be called “art” by someone some time and NOT make me feel pretentious? I guess you’ll only know after the act. Or what do you think?
Addition (July 3rd): Beautiful follow-up/write-up on this ongoing conversation by Kristopher Matheson. Well, I think we arrived more or less at the conclusion that it does not matter what is art when making your works, but that conclusion comes with a big chunk of content hiding under the surface, iceberg like.
We’re already way into 2014 – and this year promises to become spectacular in every way. As my awesome newsletter readers already know, because they followed me along the process as it happened, I’ve been busy most of the beginning of January and end of December with editing my photographs from 2013, to pick a selection for my new portfolio.
Let me tell you how I was close to burning all of my photographs, but somehow managed to reach the other side of the swamp.
I’m not gonna lie to you – the process of editing was a lot harder than I had thought. This is not the first time I am editing my photographs, but the first time after I felt that massive shift inside of me to head in another direction with my work. More than I had ever experienced before, it was driving me close to insanity at times, and definitely left me wanting to burn all of my photographs more than once. By being confronted with my images 24/7, weak spots became more and more obvious, to the point that all of my photos started laughing at me loudly like the devil himself. Makes you wonder why you waste so much time doing photography and don’t get a “real job,” when you obviously don’t have any talent at all.
It is easy to give up at that point, but this was no option for me. I had to push through this, even if not all was strawberry cupcake and some real work was involved. Gotta keep on moving. And then finally, when I was just about to call it a day, there came the moment when I started seeing everything fit together in one way or another, and suddenly I realized which way I was headed and what I need to focus on from now on. And it felt good.
Don’t get me wrong – this new portfolio is only a cross-section of what my recent photography is about. Topics change, stories change, one chapter ends and I start writing (shooting) another one. There’s a lot of work ahead, but it’s a neat stepping stone and I’m super motivated to get out there and shoot the missing pieces.
About the process
I made many small prints of a pre-selection of photographs and edited “manually” by laying them out on the floor, instead of editing them digitally. It’s different. It really is. You live with your photographs, you can’t just click them away. You get a better overview. It feels more real. Some photos look fantastic on the screen, but once you print them and hold them in your hand, they look like crap. Likewise, some photos are meant to be looked at in print and lose their magic when seen on a screen.
A lot of time was spent drinking many hot beverages just staring at the photos on the ground, feeling them, and shifting stuff around.
At some point, when I couldn’t ignore anymore that the quality is far off from where I aim at, I drank even more hot beverages at a loss of what else to do, staring at the prints on the floor a bit more desperately. That’s when the evil thoughts happened and the darkest of thoughts appeared from deep inside myself, haha.
1) Portraits: First among the selections is my portrait album, which is built from two “acts”, or two different stories. I only started focusing on portraits recently, and it shows, but this also means that i still have a lot of headspace.
2) Fine Art: People kill each other over the definition of “fine art” – this portfolio contains some of my single, very deliberate pieces. Pieces meant for a life outside of the computer, really. Pieces that cost me the one or other night of sleep.
3) City Story: Just what the name says – a city story, in 3 acts. I’m sure you will see immediately how these are grouped together. And the story only just began and is still far from being finished!
The result of my editing process is 2-3 series, and 3 portfolios (that you can find linked in the menu bar up there ↑). Compared to my previous portfolio, the photographs of the 3 new portfolios are glued together to a unity less by visual fireworks and magic tricks. I’m getting tired of merely “beautiful” photographs, both looking at them and shooting them. Just open the main page of 500px or flickr and you see what i mean. Been there done that. The portfolios I selected are instead held together more by intuition and my very personal way of looking at things. It just “feels right” to me, for various reasons. Maybe it won’t feel right to you. That’s okay. Let’s discuss it. I’m way past minding a good beating 😉
Next up is the major task of following the thread back into the past and dig out the very beginnings, and bring them into this new family, where they belong. Nevertheless, of course the world doesn’t stop spinning, and there’s something new to be found every day.
Oh, and I am currently working on the project I was shooting when I was in Germany, which I might write more about in the newsletter, but nothing to announce publicly yet.
Good things take while! 😉