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20 DECEMBER 2012

The Ghosts of World War II: The photographs found at flea markets superimposed on to modern street scenes

"Historical expert Jo Teeuwisse, from Amsterdam, began the project after finding 300 old negatives at a flea market in her home city depicting familiar places in a very different context. She researched the background to each of the most interesting finds and created a beautiful series of pictures by super–imposing the old pictures on top of new ones.

Now she has rediscovered photographs of soldiers at war in France and across Europe and put together further sets of evocative and emotional designs."

(Emma Reynolds, 18 October 2012, DailyMail)

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TAGS

Amsterdamarchaeologyatmosphericaugmented reality • Cherbourg • Drapeau de la France • Europe • evocative scenes • Flag of the United States of America • flea market • foundfound photographsFranceghostshaunting imageshistory • Jo Teeuwisse • layeringoverlaypalimpsest • photographic negatives • RotterdamSecond World War • Sicily • situated documentariessoldiers • soldiers at war • superimpositionUnion FlagUnited States Armed ForcesUtrecht • visual history • visual memory • war scenes • what came beforeWorld War II

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2012

Su Blackwell: paper craft dioramas of childhood wonder and anxiety

"I often work within the realm of fairy–tales and folk–lore. I began making a series of book–sculpture, cutting–out images from old books to create three–dimensional diorama's, and displaying them inside wooden boxes. ...

For the cut–out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young–girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle colour."

(Su Blackwell)

Fig.1 Su Blackwell (2008). "The Girl in the Wood" [http://www.sublackwell.co.uk/portfolio–book–cut–sculpture/]

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2011book sculpturebookschildhood • childhood anxiety • childhood wonder • cut-outcut-out illustrationdesign craftdioramafairy talesfolklorefragilityhaunting imagesillustrated bookpaper dioramapapercraft • quiet melancholy • Su Blackwell • subtle colour • vulnerabilityvulnerability of childhood • wooden box • young girl

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 NOVEMBER 2011

The Commissar Vanishes: retouching Soviet Russian history

"The Commissar Vanishes is an installation of haunting images from the David King Collection, which coincides with the Russian publication of the book of the same name that traces the falsification of photographs and art in Stalin's Russia.

Like their counterparts in Hollywood, photographic retouchers in Soviet Russia spent long hours smoothing out the blemishes of imperfect complexions, helping the camera to falsify reality. But it was during the Great Purges, which raged in the late 1930's, that a new form of falsification emerged. The physical eradication of Stalin's political opponents at the hands of the secret police was swiftly followed by their obliteration from all forms of pictorial existence. Photographs for publication were retouched and restructured with airbrush and scalpel to make once–famous personalities vanish. Entire editions of works by denounced politicians and writers were banished to the closed sections of the state libraries and archives or simply destroyed. Soviet citizens, fearful of the consequences of being caught in possession of material considered 'anti–Soviet' or 'counterrevolutionary', were forced to deface their own copies of books and photographs.

The subject matter of this exhibit focuses on one particularly evocative example: in 1934 the artist/designer/photographer Alexander Rodchenko was commissioned by the state publishing house OGIZ in Moscow to design the album, Ten Years of Uzbekistan, celebrating a decade of Soviet rule in that state. The Russian edition, full of Rodchenko's skillful design techniques, appeared the same year and the Uzbek edition, with some politically induced changes, in 1935. But in 1937, at the height of the terror, Stalin ordered a major overhaul of the Uzbek leadership and heads began to roll. Many Party bosses photographed in Ten Years of Uzbekistan were liquidated. The album suddenly became illegal literature. Using thick black India ink, Rodchenko was compelled to deface his own book. This installation now brings together, in the form of photographic enlargements, the published portraits of the high–ranking officials victimised in Stalin's Uzbek purge, juxtaposed with their eradication by Rodchenko's hand. The macabre results – ethereal, Rothko–like, sometimes brutal and terrifying – came close to creating a new art form, a graphic reflection of the real fate of the victims."

(The Photographers' Gallery)

David King (1997). "The Commissar Vanishes".

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TAGS

1930sairbrushedAlexander Rodchenko • banishment • blemishcensorshipdeface • denounced politician • eradication • erasureethereal • evocative • falsificationfalsify realityfamous personalitiesgraphic representation • Great Purges • haunting images • heads roll • historical revisionism • illegal • imperfectionJoseph Stalin • Leon Trotsky • liquidated • macabreobliterate • OGIZ • photo manipulationphoto retouching • photographed • photographic enlargements • photographic retouchers • photographs • pictorial existence • portraitradical communist landscapereality • retouched • retouchingRussiaRussian historyscalpel • secret police • Soviet history • Soviet Russia • Ten Years of Uzbekistan • vanish • visual depiction

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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