Tuesday, April 03, 2007Home

BlueEyes and the Photographic Image

A bi-monthly showcase of black and white photography, BlueEyes Magazine, has released its latest issue. Three photographers are headlining the 15th edition in a familiar formula for the publication: two photographic articles by Stephanie Sinclair and Stacia Spragg-Braude; and one complete portfolio, by Cary Conover. The magazine is free, and exists online only, but proves that these things shouldn't matter if done right.

Stephanie Sinclair’s series examines the repercussions of the Lebanon conflict of 2006, one that seems to have vanished from headlines. All too often, the myriad stories that begin with war’s onset keep going unnoticed long after the peace treaty is signed. The mainstream news have leapt to the next crisis, and very few are looking back to see whether people are able to rebuild in the wake of chaos.

Nevertheless, in an age ruled by propaganda and “illegal” warfare, it is small relief that it’s possible for a conflict to be resolved, even if both sides perceive themselves as victors. War without end, embodied in Iraq and Afghanistan, has become a sad fact of life in the modern world. For those portrayed in Sinclair’s photographs, however, there is struggle with no end in sight.

Stacia Spragg-Braude has photographed the environmentalist efforts of the Begay family in the heart of Navajo Country. The recent passing of family elders Mary and Gold Tooth Begay has many raised questions for the new generation, not the least of which are how to carry on, both as a movement, and as a greater culture sharing a largely unseen connection through the land. These images convey a people’s bond through loss, uncertainty, and hope.

In the latest installment of BlueEyes’ Portfolio Series, Cary Conover shows his vision of New York City in a portfolio of found moments in street photography. City life is very much on display here, and the individuals pictured, being from all walks of life, remind over and over that there are truths that cannot be known, only hinted at through the image.

From the BlueEyes website:

The 8-track may have been replaced, and Betamax is nearly vanished, but the radio, theatre, and still photography, thank god, are all alive and kicking. And it doesn't stop there. This just in: Photojournalism is not dead… Newspapers are still being printed… Broadcast news will always suck… And the Internet is as confusing as ever.

Despite whatever is emerging now, and whatever is on the horizon, black and white photography, artfully created, will always have a special power to stop a viewer dead in their tracks. That power, much like still pictures itself relative to video, is found in the stripping away of layers and complication to foster a more immediate connection between viewer and story… of a family's connection to each other and the land, of the fear and shock of civilians during war, and of a city's bizarre and transcendent street life.

The new issue of BlueEyes Magazine has been awarded first place in the News Photo Gallery category by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). "The Naked King", an essay on the revolt against the monarchy in Nepal by Tomas van Houtryve, sheds light on another important event that the media’s spin machine won’t touch. You can view the award-winning presentation here.

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