"¿Qué separa a los fotógrafos de los artistas?" is my article "Into the Photographers’ Universe: What Separates Photographers from Artists?" translated into Spanish and published in October 18, 2017 edition of MALBA Diario, online magazine of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires(MALBA), Argentina.Read More
The Riga Central Market is a landmark structure in the center of Riga, capital city of Latvia. It was built in the 1930s. Renowned Latvian photographer Māra Brašmane has observed everyday life in this market in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s and 2010s. Through the changes in the marketplace you can notice the changes that Latvian society underwent in these decades.Read More
Today, we are used to seeing documentary images by photographers such as Margaret Bourke-White, Henri Cartier-Bresson or Robert Doisneau as fine art prints in art museums and galleries. But most of these images were initially made for the magazine page where the photographer’s name often went unnoticed. The US-based illustrated weekly magazine Life was instrumental in the process of photographers gaining more recognition and global exposure. However, this process was neither smooth nor free of obstacles.Read More
This essay describes a global community of photographers, their constant struggle to be recognized as artists, and the constant failure of this struggle. In this essay, I introduce the term “photographers’ universe” to define the community of photographers. An abyss separates this photographers’ universe from the art world.Read More
"São Paulo photographers in global context: Brazilian participation in the International Federation of Photographic Art, 1950–1965." Research paper presented at the conference In Black and White: Photography, Race, and the Modern Impulse in Brazil at Midcentury at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, May 3, 2017.Read More
"The Misunderstood 'Universal Language' of Photography: The Fourth FIAP Biennial, 1956." Paper presented at the conference Art, Institutions, and Internationalism: 1933–1966 in New York City, March 7, 2017.Read More
“The ‘Cosmopolitan Art:’ The FIAP Yearbooks of Photography, 1954–60.” Paper presented at the 105th Annual CAA Conference, New York City, February 17, 2017.
“It is a diversified, yet tempered picture book containing surprises on every page, a mirror to pulsating life, a rich fragment of cosmopolitan art, a pleasure ground of phantasy”—this is how, in March 1956, the editorial board of Camera magazine introduced the latest photography yearbook by the International Federation of Photographic Art (Fédération internationale de l'art photographique, FIAP). This paper will analyze this “cosmopolitan art” of photography in the first four FIAP yearbooks, published between 1954 and 1960 on a biennial basis.
FIAP, a nongovernmental transnational organization, was founded in Switzerland in 1950 and aimed at uniting the world’s photographers. Its members were national associations of photographers, representing 55 countries: seventeen in Western Europe, thirteen in Asia, ten in Latin America, six in Eastern Europe, four in Middle East, three in Africa, one in North America, and Australia. Photographs for FIAP yearbooks were selected from works submitted by all member associations.
The resulting large format hardcover photo-books consisted of average 120 full-page photogravure reproductions, grouped by country. These yearbooks, I argue, complicated and politicized the understanding of photographic art in the 1950s. On one side, the yearbooks presented a groundbreaking attempt to reject Western Europe as the only center of creativity in favor of a model of global participation. On the other, the organization’s ambition to survey the cultural diversity of the world at times was limited by ethnographic stereotyping (e.g., recurring depictions of Catholic priests or nuns in the Spanish section or portraits of geishas from Japan).
This paper was part of the panel "Photography in Print," moderated by Andrés Mario Zervigón, Rutgers University. The two other presenters in our panel were C.C. Marsh, The University of Texas at Austin, who presented Between Art and Propaganda: Photo-Monde in the Service of the UN, and Meredith TeGrotenhuis Shimizu, Whitworth University, who presented The Spectacularization of Disaster: Photographs of Destruction in Commemorative Coffee Table Books.
Thank you to all who came to our panel. It was a great honor to present my research and discuss it with the two other scholars in our panel.
A review of the exhibition Anri Sala: Answer Me at the New Museum, 2016, commissioned by the CAA.Reviews.Read More
“Rules of the Photographers’ Universe,” Photoresearcher (journal of the European Society for the History of Photography), No. 27 (April 2017), pp.68-77. Special issue "Playing the Photograph," edited by guest editors Matthias Gründig and Steffen Siegel.Read More
“Photography in Latvia, 1970–2000,” in The History of European Photography 1970–2000 (vol. 3) (Bratislava: Central European House of Photography, 2017). ISBN 9788085739701.Read More