2 weeks ago I took my Advanced Photography class out on a little field trip to this wonderful little church near Rugby, ND. With the help of Dan Smith, an area photographer who knows the region well, got us permission to enter the church and a nearby homestead. There are many abandoned houses and buildings in ND. I have mixed feelings about them. They are great photographic material...detail and decay. But there is much more to North Dakota than a decaying set communities on the upper prairies.
One of the courses I am teaching is the advanced photo class. Its a small group...all women. For our our first assignment I asked them to document their life in whatever style they photograph in. I had several intentions with this. First, I was curious what they would come up with. Secondly, it is hard to step into someones artistic development without having seen much of their work and be able to give much helpful advice or critique. Thirdly, not only was the project intended to help me become acquainted with their work, but also them as students and perhaps, depending upon how honest they are, the complexities of their lives. After giving the assignment, I thought that I was in somewhat of an interesting place to do the same thing. The work is intended to highlight in someway my current existence...living in Minot with a family during the week and at my own apartment with my wife on the weekends.
Last week Friday, Karina and I made a flying trip down to Orange City, IA to my opening at Northwestern College. It was a great opening...a good turnout, time with family and friends, seeing former professors, and of course seeing ones art in a new space. As I said that night, any solo exhibition is a great event as an artist but the opportunity to do so in a community that has been so formative in my own life is extremely special. I am so thankful for this opportunity, for family and friends who came to the show, and for Emily Stokes wonderful help in hosting.
I am happy to announce my upcoming opening of Objective Subjects at the TePaske Art Gallery at Northwestern College in Orange City Iowa.
The work includes many pieces that were first shown in my MFA exhibition at the University of North Dakota. The show will also have a number of new pieces.
I am thankful for NWC's hosting of this work, their work to publicize the show and the opening. Below is their press release.
NORTHWESTERN ART EXHIBIT TO FEATURE 8-13-12
WORK BY NORTH DAKOTA ARTIST RYAN STANDER FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ORANGE CITY, Iowa—“Objective Subjects,” an exhibit by North Dakota artist Ryan Stander, will be on display in the Te Paske Gallery of Northwestern College Aug. 21 through Sept. 14, with a public reception scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m.
Stander’s show reflects his interests in memory and vernacular photography and explores the relationship between the archivist and the objects in an archive. Traditionally viewed as an objective repository of items and information essential to human history, archives now are understood to reflect the cultural and historical biases of the curator—or as Stander puts it, “the inescapable fingerprint of archivist in the formation of the archive, human memory and, ultimately, history itself.”
As part of his exploration of objectivity and subjectivity in the interpretation of texts and objects, Stander has taken thousands of vintage snapshot photographs, most purchased through eBay, and placed them in traditional archive and museum trays and drawers to suggest the modern scientific approach. By modifying them with translucent layers and white-on-white lithograph backgrounds, however, he also suggests the cultural framework— including beliefs, biases and assumptions—that guide human interpretations.
Originally from northwest Iowa, Stander now lives in Grand Forks, N.D., where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in mixed media from the University of North Dakota. He also holds a master’s degree in theology from Sioux Falls Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in art from Northwestern College. His work has been exhibited internationally in China, South Africa, Nicaragua and Grenada, and nationally in New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Kentucky and Texas. More extensive exhibitions across the upper Midwest have included North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Northwestern’s Te Paske Gallery is located in the Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center, on Highway 10 at 214 8th Street SW in Orange City. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday.
by Anita Cirulis
Following up yesterdays post on tintypes, I thought I would share this small collection of tintypes I picked up in Tea, SD back in January. They were sold as a lot of 6. These are among the smaller tintypes in my collection but they are all set within an embossed paper/cardboard frame. While none of these are have any real rarity to them, I did like the various framing on the pieces. You can see that the photos are in a plastic protective sleeve...ones that I have borrowed from my baseball card collection that is still hanging around.
My goal in collecting these objects is to one day use them in a history of photography class to discuss the early photographic processes and how photography impacted the general populace, rather than simply focus on the fine art component.
Of the thousands of vintage photos that I have collected, the tintypes are among my favorite. Today Ive included a small gallery of a few of my collection.
I am perpetually astounded by the quality of some of the images...how sharp they are...the beautiful depth of field in some. For an early process, they are remarkable. The size variation is always interesting as well. Not many are more than 2x3 but many are 1x2. I think this variation is at the heart of my love for vintage photography against the standardized formats that I grew up with. Enjoy.
A while back I did a little work on another Cabinet Card that was actually a lot of fun for me. I love giving these objects a bit of a historical context and the Cabinet Cards are especially open to these sorts of investivations. This card was received in the same lot as the others a few months back. Once again we set the time period of production between the 1860's and 1900.
So here it goes...
Our photographer looks like A Hellmuth from Aschersleben (or Alsleben as both places are listed on the front of the card). But sadly that is all the information I can find on the man. Ancestry.com does list several German born A Hellmuth's in the 1930 American Census. But without a full first name it becomes much harder to make any sort of conclusion about an immigration. Neither do any of them list photographer as their profession, though that may well have changed within a move to a new land where you do not speak the language.
Starting with the top line
"Atelier fur Malerie und Photograpihe" = Studio for Painting and Photography (I actually wonder if this is a typo on the "photograpihe" on the card instead of "photographie"?
In the banner under the name it lists both towns Alsleben a/Saale (Salle is the river on which the town is located) and Aschersleben. Under this, the address of Markt 25 is listed. Assuming streets and names have remained the same, see it here on Google Maps.
On the left panel it reads, "Portraits, Gruppen, Kinder, Moment, Aufnahmen, Reproduction, Gemalden etc., Specialitat: Vergrosse(?) nack jedem bilde auf pigment bromsilber, platin papier etc. Zusammengeserzte Gruppen, Vereins Tableaux, Deinecte Aufnahmen bis Lebensgrosse, Malerei in Jeder Ausfuhrung."
While Google Translate cant figure everything out, it comes back as "Portraits. Groups. Children snapshots. Reproduction for paintings, etc., Specialitat:Enlarge to every fancy of pigment-bromide, platinum paper, etc. Zusammengeserztegroups (?). Association tableaux. Direct recordings to life-size painting in any execution."
The bottom line reads, "die platte bleibt aufbewahrt" which means "the plate is kept" and numbered into the photographers inventory for future reproduction.
Within the scroll is the term "widmung" which translates to "dedication" hence the wonderful handscript, which I cannot read save for the name Margaritte. If you can read German handwriting could you make out that translation for me?
Well, without finding much on the photographer himself, it is hard to go on much beyond the facts on the card itself. I do still find them fascinating and there are more coming up in the next month or so that I will be looking at as I have time.
Within my ever growing collection of photographic objects are a few photos known as Cabinet Cards. In the mid 1800's photographers began attaching thin albumen prints to a thicker cardboard and were modeled in size (2x3.5) and intent on the calling or buisness card. By the 1870's the size increased to about 4.5x6.5 inches but maintained the albumen print on adhered to the board. The cards were greatly popular for both the photographer and consumer. For the photographer they had an easy marketing in the very form of its product. Their popularity ran through the early 1900's when it became increasingly possible to photograph with ones own camera apart from the studio.
One of the things I love about these cards is that it answers a few questions about these mysterious photographs...who took the photograph, and where was it taken. As you can see from the image up in the corner, the photographer was Albert Blankhorn in Koln or Cologne, Germany.
Once you know someones name, you can begin to do a little cyber sluething. Here are some more photos taken by Albert. His studio (Atelier) was located at 79 High Street (Hohestrasse) which you can still find on Google maps here. While you are there, take a look at the street view. Perhaps this is even the shop where he once worked. With the help of Google translate, we can figure out what the lower left means.
While some of the paper is missing, it says something like "Portraits through/by work in oil, pastel, watercolor, and platinum prints.
"vergrösserungen nach jedem bilde" - "Magnifications for every fancy"
"die platten bleiben fur nachbestellungen aufbewahrt" - "The plates remain stored for repeat orders." So apparently one could order reprints down the road.
In the upper right hand corner, we learn the Mr. Blankhorn was the court photographer (Hof-photograph) for what roughly translates as the Grand Duke of Hesse on the Rhein (Sr.Kgl.Hoh.d. Grossherzogs v.Hessen u.bei Rein). Learn about the House and Rulers of Hesse here. Given the dates of usage for Cabinet Cards, perhaps we may assume, that his reference to the Grand Duke refers to Louis IV.
A couple of weeks ago I posted on a photo I picked up over Easter of a mother holding a child still during a photo. I metnioned how this forms a motif in vintage studio photography of the hidden mother.
I bumped into a great site this morning that has a good number of example the "Invisible Mother" as they call it. I suppose I understand the practice considering the sqirmy or frightened child, but why cover the head of the mother? Why not photograph the two together or instead draw upon a Madonna and Child sort of precedent? Some of the photos in this motif do hide the mother quite well, others...well...do not. Because they are so obvious, they look rediculous...and kinda creepy. Anyway...Enjoy.