I’m a person who has always been interested in interesting people who say or make interesting things. Advertising used to be melting pot of these kind of people. Not so much anymore. I believe the art of short film making is where all the interesting stuff is being conceived and beaten into shape on laptops all around the world – sometimes on a shoestring budget. Historically, the price of producing slick audio-visual projects were prohibitively expensive and only the most dedicated – or maddest, pick your superlative – had the endurance to bring their visions to fruition. Today, thanks to affordable technology, the price of entry to this once exclusive club has dropped to almost zero. The only investment required is a belief in your own ability to make interesting things. That’s the good news. The bad news is you have to make or say something very, very, very interesting to break through the tsunami of sameness that infests our creative culture today. These films, I believe, are a good representation of what can be achieved creatively if one sets out with a good idea to start with – something that resonates with us as empathetic human beings. The film “Reach” by Luke Randall is a good example of storytelling that pulls on heart strings as well as electronic cables. Many people believe that technology is changing us and that we must keep up with technological change if we want to stay relevant. Rubbish. Our human responses to authenticity has always been the same – for countless generations. These films are authentic. That’s why they work so well. Artifice can only get you so far. Creativity about is building things that ring true. Short films used to be a “calling card” while prospecting for bigger projects. I believe they are now a standalone art form in and of themselves. Hope you agree. Enjoy.
Now and again, I come across work that makes me stop and stare. And stare again. And get jealous. Brilliant work from Danila Tkachenko who has won first prize at the 2014 Lens Culture Exposure Awards with his series of images of decaying post-soviet weaponry called “Restricted Areas”. Maybe it’s the adman in me, but I love the conceptual simplicity of the photographs combined with an elegant execution. No trickery. Just metal, concrete and dead ideologies all drenched in an ethereal daylight bouncing off the snow. Almost like infinity studio work. Absolutely love the series. Congratulations to Danila. Damn. Where’s my camera? Great work inspires people.
Happy New Year y’all. Keep smiling and taking great photographs.
Useful Photography is a magazine focusing on overlooked images taken for practical purposes. In the eleventh edition, it takes aim at the surprising variety of shooting targets available.
This history of human targets in photo form has been collected from shooting ranges that scatter the United States of America in their tens of thousands. The series covers recent times as well as past decades, and portrays the changing state of a nation, one increasingly held ransom by gun crime but seemingly powerless to change the way firearms are viewed and used.
With the 2nd amendment stating the right to keep and bear arms, up to 55 million households take this to heart and holster by having at least one firearm in their possession.
Target practice in the US and this collection takes many forms. From masked intruders to terrorist invaders; from hostage situations to anatomy targets; from Osama Bin Laden brandishing a rifle to law enforcement officers brandishing a badge; from bombers to rottweilers. Find your favourite to force you to shoot and think.
Throughout the series, Useful Photography #11 asks the question: in this age of high impact gun crime, are the participants seeking protection or accelerating the violence?
— Erik Kessels