vendettas, webcams, and icebergs missed

©jens sundheim

In Madrid, the annual PhotoEspana festival is going on, and there are photography shows everywhere. I didn't make it to the Andres Serrano retrospective (oh, well), or to see shows by Slyvia Plachy and Lynn Davis (argh!). But I did see a fantastic exhibit of Sebastiao Salgado's work. I was a bit deflated upon entering the gallery space, which was in the basement of an office building. But the work was powerful and moving, of course, and the space ended up being perfectly appropriate. In the tight quarters, you were forced to be close to the images, and close to those around you as well. Further, you were somewhat moved along with the crowd, which in context with some of the images of displaced people, seemed fitting.

I also was able to see terrific work on display by Americans Susana Raab, Matthew Yates, and Amy Stein, all of whom had their work reviewed as part of the festival. At the same group show, I loved the work of the German photographer Jens Sundheim. With the help of a partner, he captures images of himself posing in front of webcams.

Lastly, I loved an installation of photographs by Guillaume Herbaut, who exhibited a powerful group of text and images titled, Vendetta. In my opinion, a combination of words and photos is hard to pull off - here, they balanced well, both visually and in terms of content. The photos relate to a 15th century civil law that calls for avenge killing, and the people effected by it in Northern Albania. Disturbing subject, beautiful photographs.

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