Suzanne Opton, Soldier Birkholz
Is the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellowship prestigious any more? I’m asking because the foundation announced its list of 180 fellows this year, and judging from a post up at American Photo, more than a few of the recipients produce very clichéd work. Probably the best example of this comes from Suzanne Opton, who photographs the heads of American soldiers in between tours in Iraq and Afghanastan at Fort Drum. As part of the series, she also documents Iraqis who fled to Jordan since the invasion and turns these images into billboards. However, in order to produce an “emotional” picture, she uses the visual language of theatre and all the contrivances of fine art portrait photography. The result is a suite of photographs better suited for the cover of an electro-beat album than another billboard project.
Osamu James Nakagawa, Series consists of 17 images + DVD, 2003—2005, Archival inkjet print on paper, Triptychs: 11″ X 40″, others: 30″ X 40″ and 30″ X 60″
Osamu James Nakagawa employs another recycled photographic idea: linking the past to present and the future. Using his father’s memory box and the power of digital software, Nakagawa constructs a futuristic building in his photograph out of a past he describes as unfamiliar. I’ve seen countless permutations of this idea and I never like it.