• War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath

    Sal Veder, Burst of Joy, Travis Air Force Base, California, March 17, 1973. Tonnemacher Family Collection © Associated Press
    It started with the acquisition of an iconic and prize winning photograph: Joe Rosenthal’s Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima (1945), in which Marines are seen raising the stars and stripes after a key and very costly World War II victory.
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  • Nicholas Nixon: New Work at Fraenkel Gallery

    At a time when western beauty standards are at their most rigid, and collective fears of aging are aggravated by media messaging, …
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  • Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography

    … the years between 2000 and 2012 were.. exceptionally fruitful for the production of contemporary photography in China.
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  • Before and After the Falls: The Film and Video Work of Phil Solomon

    With a massive multi-channel installation and a range of single channel works, the current exhibition, … ask a very important question: …
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  • Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday

    J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Untitled, 1968, 15.24 x 15.24 cm. Courtesy of the Museum of African Diaspora.
    Seven years after independence from British rule was achieved, in October of 1960, Ojeikere and other artists committed to moving their country beyond a colonialist mindset by exploring the points where European and broadly defined African cultural sensibilities collided and diverged.
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    BY Z TUCK | Exhibition dates: Jun 28 - Aug 18, 2012. Originally printed in Moholy Ground #005 August 2012. Reprinted online in respect of SFMOMA's upcoming (March 09 - June 02, 2013) Winogrand retrospective. I exited the Garry Winogrand Circa 1969 show at Fraenkel Gallery onto Geary Street with my friend, J-. She pointed…
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  • Connie Samaras: Tales of Tomorrow

    Connie Samaras, DNC LAPD Bikes, Los Angeles, 2000, from the series Angelic States - Event Sequence, 1998 - 2003. Courtesy of the artist and Armory Center for the Arts.
    At the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena March 1 to June 23 2013 By: Astra Price Standing in opposition to the notion of an artist locked away in a studio, the work of Connie Samaras finds its origin in journeys literally to the ends of the earth, where the edges of civilization are formed.  Tales…
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  • ULU BRAUN: First Major Survey

    By Rachel Kenndy | ULU BRAUN AT YOUNG PROJECTS RUNS THROUGH MARCH 1ST 2013. From the ambient yet grating cultural noise of celebrity worship to popular perceptions of environmental degradation, Ulu Braun’s artworks confront us with the surreality of contemporary life. Through March 1, the artist’s panoramic videos of digitally contrived landscapes and portraits of…
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  • Catherine Opie at Regen Projects

    Catherine Opie, Catherine Opie, Oliver & Mrs. Nibbles, 2012. Pigment print 33 x 25 inches (83.8 x 63.5 cm) Edition 2/5, + 2 APs CO 4276. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles © Catherine Opie.
    Opie’s new body of work signals a departure point in some ways, and thematic continuities elsewhere. The images comprising this show create a fictive space. They do not capture a world that already exists beyond Opie’s lens, but instead will a mysterious and dark world into existence.
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    PHOTOGRAPHIC ART EXPOSITION, LOS ANGELES January 17 - 21, 2013. by: Zach Houston | Why it is important to take notes and not photographs Photo Los Angeles 2013 was a curious perusal of fashion palate, social inebriation, gallery swag, hollywood/rock icon, excuses for nudity, and historic moments, all of the majestic uses the high-content industry…
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    Love_of_sun_HeaderLOVE OF SUN

    Love of Sun, inspired by a Chinese rock song by the same name, invites artists to produce works which critically examine cultural, political, economic, and aesthetic influences between contemporary California and China. This project asks Chinese artists to express their vision of California, and California artists to express their vision of China, in any of the following mediums: photo, video, web-based media, other digital media. Background Today, potential for cross-pollination between artists working in urban China and California deserves deep investigation. Economic and political relations between China and the US are at a historic high — California is the locus of this cultural exchange. Meanwhile, digital communications allow for new forms of intercultural investigation. Opportunities to articulate and refine tangible transnational influences arrive with online access to otherwise localized aesthetics, business, and ideology. Artists hold a special capacity to uncover unique features of large systems and situations, and are especially suited to defining and representing current intercultural influences between China and California. Project goals Juxtapose, complement, and complicate the visions of both California and China, for artists and patrons in both countries; inspire an international community to intercultural discourse; expose local artists to international audiences through online and gallery representation
  • War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath

    Sal Veder, Burst of Joy, Travis Air Force Base, California, March 17, 1973. Tonnemacher Family Collection © Associated Press
    It started with the acquisition of an iconic and prize winning photograph: Joe Rosenthal’s Old Glory Goes Up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima (1945), in which Marines are seen raising the stars and stripes after a key and very costly World War II victory.
    Read more
  • Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan: Blood Money

    Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan : Blood Money #1

    Warning: This article contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing

    The headlights of my car shined in what seemed like a thousand twinkling, fearful eyes. I squinted to see clearer beyond my windshield, which was covered with rain droplets. The eyes belonged to buffaloes lined up in a massive brown truck as though they were cigarettes in a pack. Tied up to the railings, it was as if they knew what was about to happen to them. In that instant, I knew what my next project would be about.

    Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan : Blood Money #19

    Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan : Blood Money Series

    In a Hindu-dominated society where the killing of holy animals like cows and buffaloes is considered to be the epitome of disrespecting all things Godly, there I was walking right into the middle of the unthinkable. I was focused on what a gripping yet uncomfortable experience I was going to encounter. Mistaken for an animal rights activist, I was refused access by many shop owners to their slaughterhouses. After some research and networking, I came across four ordinary townspeople who took up butchering as a part-time job during the weekends to make some extra cash. It required some serious convincing, but I ended up photographing some of the most disturbing moments I’ve ever witnessed.

    Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan : Blood Money #3

    Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan : Blood Money Series

    It was pitch black, three in the morning, and I was 30 miles away from my hometown when I pulled my car up to the backyard of a small, raggedy house. There was just enough light and I could make out the silhouettes of the men forcefully pulling a big buffalo into a shed behind the house. I followed the thin ream of light my flashlight provided and swiftly made it to the scene. I was tense, nervous, and filled with a sense of unreasonable guilt. My insides were twisting and turning as the animal was crying in pain. My camera was my witness…

    The slaughter came to a halt, only to be resumed next weekend with another buffalo.

  • Open Call: Curatorial web project – 2016

    Moholy Ground’s curatorial web project is for independent curators and emerging artists wishing to present new ideas and projects in the context of a website. The site will be built by Moh to the winners specifications.

    Please submit a 1000-word proposals for a curated website of five or more artists that examine a compelling idea.

    The proposal should include a brief description of how the sites design and presentation ties into the idea

    We develop two projects year If selected your proposal will be developed and hosted by the Moholy Ground Project

    Contact Us

    Please fill out the form so we can get in touch with you.

  • Poetic Contradiction:
 Interview with Margo Moritz

    Interviewed by Rachel Kennedy |

    San Francisco photographer Margo Moritz has shot live and studio-based dance for various companies including Hope Mohr and ODC. In this exclusive interview with MOH, Ms. Moritz describes the evolution of her distinctive synthesis of dance and photography.

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - Hope Mohr Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – Hope Mohr Series


    Margo Moritz: I started dancing around the same time I learned photography. The two art forms were always side by side for me. I was 12-13 years old when I started. I was always interested in the exploration of movement, and I continued to dance all throughout my schooling. I ended up touring, performing, and teaching my own classes while studying at UC Santa Barbara. I also practiced photography throughout my schooling, and came to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco for my MFA.

    Rachel Kennedy: As a young dancer, what periods or genres of dance were you drawn towards?

    MM: I was always attracted to modern dance, which I was trained in. I was, and continue to be, attracted to the more raw, more challenging, open movement. The weirder stuff. I was never classically trained. My approach was more about visceral, raw, spontaneous movement. I did other dance forms – jazz, lyrical, hip-hop – but within all of these forms it was always the more non-traditional movement that I liked.

    RK: As for photography, did your work develop from a similarly “raw” approach?

    MM: I started learning in the darkroom. My early practice was pretty traditional, using black and white film, shooting with a 35 mm Canon AE1. I started with more of a street style, idolizing Henri-Cartier Bresson. (laughs) Typical for a beginning photographer. I was processing my own film, handling my own prints, processing chemicals. I was immediately drawn to the magic that happened in the darkroom, to being able to create your own prints with paper and chemicals. I have continued to work as a photographer since then. After college, I was working a traditional desk job in advertising and decided I wanted to do photography full time so I went to graduate school. I have been working ever since graduating, and started landing some editorial assignments while I was still in school.

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - Movement Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – Movement Series


    RK: What was a deciding factor for merging the two mediums of dance and photography?

    MM: My movement photography started out as a very personal project, trying to capture more unconventional movement than we typically see with dance photography. I was only focused on exploring the projects for personal reasons, but because I kept building on it, it started getting me commissions with local dance companies, which has been great. It helps tremendously that I understand the dance language and it’s very gratifying to be able to communicate with the dancers about movement.

    “Dance is intended to be experienced with the passing of time. When you make a photograph, you are freezing a moment, so it changes the intended mode of perception.”

    RK: You have written about a poetic element of your work, of the “implicit contradictions of introducing the static art form of photography to the kinetic art form of dance.” Is it a challenge to combine stillness and movement?

    MM: It’s a constant challenge. Dance is intended to be experienced with the passing of time. When you make a photograph, you are freezing a moment, so it changes the intended mode of perception. It is difficult to reconcile how to hold on to a moment meant to be fleeting. But I think that’s what is exciting about it as well – photographing movement gives you the opportunity to dissect it, to explore it further.

    RK: Do you prefer to shoot live dance, or to collaborate with dancers and create premeditated images?

    MM: I would say that I prefer working directly with dancers, because it is more of a collaborative relationship rather than a documentary one. There’s more potential we can explore when I can give input and feedback. The scope of live performance is much larger – movement is made for an audience in a theater rather than for a photographer. I am there to receive and document their performance, and if I miss a moment there’s no going back. When I work one-on-one with dancers, we can create a more intimate relationship, explore movement more specifically, and go further when we see something we like.

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - The Falling Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – The Falling Series

    RK: When capturing a choreographed piece meant for live audience, many voices are expressed: choreographer, writer, dancers, costume designer, scenic designer, lighting designer…and so on. To what extent does your voice come into play, relative to all who contribute to the image?

    MM: I think this really adds to the last question you asked, live performance as opposed to me hosting the shoot. The high level of collaboration for an intimate shoot is why it’s so satisfying. It really is my voice in collaboration with what the choreographer and dancers bring to the table. Because I have much less input on the artistic direction of a live performance, my vision comes through in the way I’m experiencing the performance that night.

    When I do collaborative photo shoots I meet with the director/choreographer, and we come up with concepts together. I try to see who they are as a dancer, what their concept is, and let that guide the shoot. Two series represented with this interview were personal shoots, and two were commissioned jobs that stemmed from them. In the personal shoots (The Falling and Movement series) I had a concept I wanted to explore and brought in dancers to help create it. In the commissioned shoots, it was more of a collaboration with the choreographer or art director, and we worked together to achieve it. The goal of every shoot is different, so it just depends on who I’m working with and what we’re trying to create.

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - Hope Mohr Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – Hope Mohr Series

    RK: Before we discuss the four series represented here, can you tell me what you shoot on, and other props you use for studio shoots?

    MM: These are all digital. With dance the quick feedback of digital is very helpful. I shot many of these series with a Canon 5D Mark II. They are shot in-studio with strobe lights. The Movement series is shot with the focus thrown all the way out to get the blurry effect. I don’t do much post-processing or compositing. All movements, lighting effects, etc. are captured in-camera.

    RK: Let’s talk about your series, Exquisite Abandon (late 2009) and The Falling (early 2009).

    MM: The Falling was an earlier series that I worked on. It was a completely personal project that I invited dancers to participate in. I was intent on exploring this idea of people falling through space. I tried many different setups in the studio, and went through many steps before I found something that worked.


    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - The Falling Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – The Falling Series


    Exquisite Abandon…I entered the images from The Falling to Surface Magazine‘s annual “avant-guardian” competition in 2009. I was one of ten winners who get assigned a fashion spread for the magazine. They gave me a Prada collection and basically told me I could do whatever I want with it. I decided to do something in the same vein as The Falling. I had a team of stylists, models, and assistants. I worked with a great male dancer from the San Francisco ballet and a professional fashion model with some dance experience. It was very exciting, to take the original concept from my personal work, and be able to apply it to a high fashion editorial with a team of incredible creatives.

    RK: Was there anything about that process that has stayed with you creatively?

    MM: When I was shooting Exquisite Abandon an undercurrent theme started to develop. The shapes, textures, and colors of the clothing had a modern military character, and the movement started taking on something between obedience and total chaos, so I went with it. I think it’s great to have a plan, to have a cohesive creative goal, but it’s very important to remain open and flexible when unexpected things happen on set. That’s usually when the best shots happen, where the dynamic imagery comes out.

    RK: I want to jump back to the The Falling for a moment. I couldn’t help but think of the Biblical Fall with the title of this series. Is there a connection? What is the underlying concept?

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - Exquisite Abandon Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – Exquisite Abandon Series

    MM: I didn’t intend for there to be a biblical reference, though you’re welcome to interpret it that way (laughs). I think it will take me many years to figure out exactly why I wanted to photograph people falling. It was such an instinctual desire to shoot the concept. I wanted to capture something very aggressive and wild in energy, but elegant and graceful at the same time. There’s this feeling of completely giving in to the movement, even though it’s painful.

    RK: Painful in the sense that there’s going to be a landing…and it’s going to hurt?

    MM: I think the fear of falling is a universal fear we all have that might express itself differently for everyone. There’s something about not fighting it but just submitting to it, that gives it an incredible amount of gracefulness. I just find that combination of opposites really moving and powerful.

    “It is difficult to reconcile how to freeze a moment of something meant to be experienced over time. But I think that’s what is exciting about it as well – with a photo you get to hold onto the movement, dissect it, keep it frozen. The two together have something that’s at the same time fixed and fleeting.”

    RK: Now I’m curious as to where the dancers were landing, where they are jumping from?

    MM: They’re falling onto a trampoline. I set up a 14-foot trampoline. It really requires them to let their bodies fall without bracing themselves. Both The Falling and Exquisite Abandon were shot at Left Space studios.

    RK: Two other other series, Hope Mohr (2011) and Movement (2010), contrast from the earlier two in both contrast and concepts. Let’s start with Hope Mohr. How did you and Ms. Mohr divide authorship of the work?

    MM: The Hope Mohr shoot was commissioned by a dance company. Hope Mohr is the name of the director. Working with Hope was a very successful meeting of the minds. She came to me and explained the concept of her work, and told me what was important to capture. She was very open to pushing in another direction so long as the thread of the idea was there. The shoot was very symbiotic – myself as the photographer, Hope as the choreographer, and the dancers, working off of each other.

    RK: What aspects of this work were most gratifying to explore? For instance, symbolic features like the palette or American flag?

    MM: I didn’t have a specific reaction to the flag per se, but I was very connected to that shoot because it was seamlessly creative and fluid. I think every participant felt fulfilled and engaged. It wasn’t specifically the concept of the shoot, but the openness of everyone, and being able to throw out ideas and have the dancers apply them in a really beautiful way. I felt very lucky to be able to apply something very personal to a public commission or commercial work, similar to the Exquisite Abandon shoot.

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - Hope Mohr Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – Hope Mohr Series

    RK: Tell me about your Movement series.

    MM: The Movement series has a different feel from the other work. For one thing, the images have a very soft focus. The lighting is softer, and there’s something dreamlike and abstract about it, whereas The Falling has this very intense energy and full of contrast. The movement in the Movement series is very soft, but at the same time awkward. I’m not giving too many details, actually restraining them from the viewer. It’s like you’re looking through a cloudy layer at something, you can’t exactly extract what’s going on. I’m exploring unconventional body shapes that at the same time have something elegant to them. So in this sense, it’s like The Falling: combining two elements that don’t necessarily go together.

    RK: There’s a dialectical element to this work.

    MM: Exactly.

    RK: On that note, can you discuss your technical method for Movement?

    MM: I played with the focus of the lens. I put the lens in manual and threw it far out of focus. Technically, the intention was to erase the details. I just wanted the figure to become a soft shape. I think you can see the awkward movement still, through the blurriness, without seeing all the details of it. I think this stems from my constant interest in seeking the unconventional through movement, abstract shapes and the emotions they may evoke.

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction - Movement Series

    Margo Moritz: Poetic Contradiction – Movement Series


    The way photography and dance treat movement is actually quite contrary; as one freezes it the other is defined by it passing of it. It is this unique relationship they both have with movement that I explore with my work. I am particularly intrigued by the unusual combination of tension and elegance, and use my own dance experience to explore emotions through form and movement.

    In The Falling and Exquisite Abandon series, I strive to capture the moment the subject is neither flying up nor falling down; where they are at the apex of their passage through air. Something indescribable happens in that brief weightless moment, and to reach it the subject has to utterly give in to the force of their rise and fall – if they fight it, it won’t happen. Once they are there, they can taste the ephemeral gratification of letting go before gravity pulls them back down to earth. They somehow seem peaceful and tranquil while they are in the midst of aggressive movement.

    In The Movement Series, elegant lines are confused with awkward ones. The graceful bodies take on unconventional shapes, and the out of focus viewpoint makes it difficult for the viewer to grasp what is really there. The whole story is not told, and the light and airy scenes leave many questions unanswered. The bodies are awkward, yet soft; elegant, yet contorted.


    I am a native Californian, born to a Persian mother and Belgian father. I started training in dance around the same time I started making my own prints in the darkroom. I’ve continued exploring both arts as I’ve moved up the coast to pursue my BA from UC Santa Barbara and my MFA from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I am now a freelance photographer and create photographs for magazines, websites, and small businesses. I also photograph for many local dance companies, capturing live performances as well as conceptual movement work. My personal work has been shown in the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, seven degrees gallery, and Mina Dresden Gallery as well as my editorial and fashion work in San Francisco Magazine, The Bold Italic, and Surface Magazine. Whether it’s portraiture, dance, or commercial work, I am always driven by the intimacy, elegance, and authenticity in each of them.





    This first person text by the artist examines gravity’s effect on human emotion, told through five high definition video sequences filmed at 2,000 frames per second. GRAVITY debuted in Los Angeles at Young Projects this past February as a video installation. MOH presents GRAVITY’s most dramatic moments in still images alongside Mr. Haussman’s exegesis and a video taken at the original exhibit.

    Courtesy of Young Projects

    Each of the five subjects is filmed in slow motion, floating upward then descending down to the earth, where they bottom out in gravity’s clutch. Yet each person is magically stationary. They do not move an inch. All that moves is their skin, cellulite, muscles, bones, and expression, creating a disturbing yet beautiful shift in body mass and emotion. Even the background stays perplexingly still. The total effect is that of a moving painting.

    This slow motion study reveals the shocking effects of gravity upon our body. What is normally missed in the blink of an eye, is poetically recorded in extreme slow motion, as gravity takes hold and pulls the body down to earth, causing the skin, cellulite, muscles and facial expression to sag down, with a weariness, as if the subject has suddenly aged thirty years. It appears like a special effect, the force ripples from the legs up, turning the body wrinkled and saggy, with a worn, older face that is defeated and depressed. Then the exact opposite effect and emotion overcomes the subject as they are made weightless and set free. We observe the body becoming youthful, rejoicing in it’s expression and flawless skin texture, as it soars away from the earth. All physical and emotional expressions seem to float effortlessly upward in a positive, beautiful direction.

    The lighting and color palette is created by a strong heavenly top light, used by Renaissance masters, which dramatically exposes the flesh as if it were moving brush strokes and reemphasizes the relation with the heavens, gravity and sheer weight of the world.

    This emotional shift from optimistic youth to depressed old age provokes a very strong, emotional effect. Therefore, each person interacts with a simple, yet symbolic prop in order to gain more depth into this radical emotional shift.


    A large naked man points a pistol at the screen. He stands below brooding clouds. The pistol is an iconic image we have seen before – from movies, magazines, to the Wild West – but never in this context. To suddenly take the clothes off this man and expose his emotions, as he bottoms out and goes from dark, brooding, old man, darting his eyes, paranoid, searching for someone to shoot; to his highest apex where he is a happy, confident younger man, with a child like expression, creates a psychotic shift in emotion. As the man unpredictably shifts from angry to happy, desperate to carefree, just like the clouds above him, going from black and stormy to patches of blue sky, the feeling provoked is one of constant unease. The interesting point is that he always points the gun at us on his way up, escaping gravity.

    GRAVITY{Man with Gun}, 2012
    2,000 fps HD Video, stereo sound, 16:9 vertical {portrait} format,
    dimensions variable, 4:06 min loop, Music by Gareth Williams, Human

    Man with Gun Screen Shot


    A young blonde woman clutches her red bra and panties. Traces of a worn, textured European wall are exposed above her. The use of the color red as underwear seems to be judgmental of her character, along with her smeared lipstick and mascara.She is obviously not coming from a good place, however when she soars up, her body is flawless, attractive and she exudes a confident beauty, making her red underwear sexually promiscuous and enticing. Her beautiful blonde hair floats up, exposing sparkling earrings. She raises her chin, challenging the viewer. Yet when she bottoms out, all her blonde hair wraps around her face and she suddenly ages forty years, making her a ‘Sunset Boulevard’ tragedy. Her thin body now looks ravaged by time. Her expression becomes disfigured. Those red underwear now tell a sadder story, of life silently passing the beauty who has lived the same day over again, relying on her youth and looks, which has clearly now faded, due to it’s lifelong battle with gravity – the symbolic shift from sexy lingerie to sad relic.

    GRAVITY {Blonde Hair Woman}, 2012
    2,000 fps HD Video, stereo sound, 16:9 vertical {portrait} format,
    dimensions variable, 4:06 min loop, Music by Gareth Williams, Human


    MAN with CHILD

    A father cradles his wounded son in his arms. Brooding clouds at sunset, tell of a warm day approaching darkness.The father’s face mid flight expresses fear, shock, and complete uncertainty of his next move. As he reaches the bottom the struggle to hold his son, as gravity tries to steal him away, becomes paramount. His son cries out in pain, helpless, as if it were his last breath. The father readjusts and struggles, with what is now a bag of heavy mass and bones. The boy soon becomes weightless in his arms and the father looks to the camera for help. It is a moment of true crisis, which immediately reminds one of the fragility of life, and that fate plays no favorites. The call of gravity upon all bodies is created equal with the same destination.

    GRAVITY {Man with Child}, 2012
    2,000 fps HD Video, stereo sound, 16:9 vertical {portrait} format,
    dimensions variable, 4:06 min loop, Music by Gareth Williams, Human



    A voluptuous woman, with pristine white skin and red hair floats upward against a cold, dark, chunky wall. Her red hair swirls like beautiful ink in water. Her skin texture is flawless and rounded, like a ‘Botero’ sculpture. Her eyes stare out almost lifeless, like a baby doll. Once gravity calls her back to earth, the red ink swirls now fall like blood onto her shoulders and neck. The once flawless skin and body is riddled with wrinkles and cellulite texture. Her weightless body now feels too heavy to hold, a burden. And the face that once looked like a young pristine baby doll becomes that of a seventy year old struggling with a life of weight and battle with gravity. The red hair seems to take the viewer’s eye from magical and pristine to heavy and forlorn.

    GRAVITY {Red Hair Woman}, 2012
    2,000 fps HD Video, stereo sound, 16:9 vertical {portrait} format,
    dimensions variable, 4:06 min loop, Music by Gareth Williams, Human



    Lastly and maybe most shocking is the only close-up of the show. An older woman’s face is filmed in close-up as rain provides the most magical result of the effect in the entire ensemble. This woman seems optimistic and fine with age and the rain. She almost seems to be living out a great memory. Her face seems to laugh with joy. She has a child-like expression. Then as she bottoms out, the rain pours down her face. The viewer observes in close-up, heavy streams rolling down her face at the same time her expression is dropping, making it seem as if her face were dripping away. The rain runs with the contours of her wrinkles, cascading down her sagging jaw, down the loose-skinned neck, drooping eyes, in such a dramatic fashion, one is immediately reminded of some special effect in a horror film or early ‘Indian Jones’, where the person’s face literally melts away. Just as the viewer thinks it is as grotesque as it can get, it becomes more extreme. This would have to be the purest example of gravity’s final act, and it is appropriately positioned in the center, two portraits on each side…. as the fifth.

    GRAVITY {Lady in Rain}, 2012
    2,000 fps HD Video, stereo sound, 16:9 vertical {portrait} format,
    dimensions variable, 4:06 min loop, Music by Gareth Williams, Human


    Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 12.33.44 AM

    To the normal viewer, a person jumping on a trampoline is just a figure moving up and down and their expression is a blur of motion.To capture this action and emotion, all the subjects were shot at 2000 frames per second, while performing one simple action. Afterward, the body is completely steadied in a postproduction process known as ‘tracking’.  This process takes the subject and steadies them in the frame, so they are no longer moving up and down. All that moves up and down is the skin, cellulite, muscles, and weight of the body, caused by jumping on the trampoline. Therefore the overall effect is a subject completely still in the frame, yet their skin, fat, and expression changes and moves dramatically upward in slow motion, as they defy gravity, and then sags downward, and ages as they are pulled back down. It is beautiful, magical, yet disturbing.

    Each of the five screens is 72 inches and viewed in a vertical position, mounted on the wall. The monitors are spaced three feet apart from each other. The music is aslow haunting, yet beautiful choral mix that summons the heavens and earth. It represents all the portraits both lyrically and emotionally, playing to the motion and emotion of each of the five subjects. Each piece is exactly the same length and begins and ends in sync with each other.
    Each monitor, however, will be playing one specific section of the music mix, so that although one is hearing the mix of all the monitors, we are able to distinguish a difference in the instrumentation of each monitor. In essence all five monitors are creating the single piece of music we hear in the exhibit space.


    Michael Haussman was born in the USA in 1964 and lives and works in Rome. He is a director, writer and artist, whose internationally acclaimed commercials have won numerous awards and are featured in advertising books and trade journals. They include campaigns for Levi’s, Diesel, Bulgari, Absolut, BMW, Yves Saint Laurent, Guinness, Adidas, Ray-Ban, Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Replay, Nespresso and more.

    He has directed music videos for such artists as Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Chemical Brothers, Kanye West, Usher, Shakira, Chris Cornell, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King. His videos have won several MTV and VH1 awards, including twice MTV ‘Music Video Of The Year’ and the prestigious Museum Of Modern Art award.

    His solo art show Naturales, featuring paintings and works on paper premiered at the Desoto gallery in Los Angeles, the New York Scope Art Fair, and Group Showing in Los Angeles.

    Michael wrote and directed the experimental film, Rhinoceros Hunting In Budapest, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He also completed a feature-length documentary about two matadors and the world of bullfighting, entitled The Last Serious Thing. The Unsinkable Henry Morgan, a documentary for the Sundance Channel premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013.

    Michael is currently attached to direct Man Of Power, the story of Nikola Tesla, which he co-wrote and is being produced by Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihl. He has also just finished writing Good Guys, which Michael will direct in Rome, Italy, centering on two Americans meeting in a hotel bar. After one is found dead, the other takes over his identity, becoming everything in life he fought against.

    GRAVITY was chosen by LA Weekly as one of “10 Great Artworks at Art Platform Los Angeles Art Fair 2012” — “This dispatch from the ugly/sexy aesthetic wing of modern art comes courtesy of video-centric Young Projects Gallery, which presented a series of large-scale video pieces distributed throughout the fair. Considering his career as a commercial, video, and fashion editorial director, it is perhaps not surprising that Haussman would utilize both cutting-edge software and his up-close look at bodyimage obsession to create this super-creepy video work that transforms footage of a model jumping on a trampoline into an unsettling meditation on the effects of gravity {and by extension, the ravages of aging } on the female body.” — LA Weekly, 12 October 2012



    Michael Haussman

    Director of Photography:

    Rodrigo Prieto


    Marco Perez, Union Editorial

    Special Effects:

    Phil Crowe, The Mill


    Gareth Williams, Human


    Ron Mohrhoff


    Cecilia Leroy Beaulieu

    Executive Producer

    Rebecca Skinner


    Blonde Hair Woman:

    Lily McAlevey

    Man with Gun:

    Michael Q. Schmidt

    Lady in Rain:

    Corol Hannan Mulcahy

    Man with Child:

    Michael P. Mallers {man},

    Gavin Muckey {child}

    Red Hair Woman:

    Lillian Centeno

    Head Of Production

    Doron Kauper

    Production Supervisor



    Marie D’Amore

    Assistant Coordinator

    Kimberly Barron

    Assistant Director

    Dale Paris

    Director’s Assistant

    Scott Passey

    1st Assistant Camera

    Zoran Veselic

    2nd Assistant Camera

    Craig Bauer

    Digital Imaging Technician/ Phantom Tech

    Patrick McGraw


    Manny Tapia

    Best Boy Electric

    Alex Sinclair


    Anthony Gudino


    Anselmo Vargas

    Electric Driver

    William Reid

    Key Grip

    Joey Dianda

    Best Boy Grip

    Domenic Pacino

    Art Director

    Rene Navarrette

    Set Decorator

    Madison Geissman

    Art Coordinator

    Nico Millican


    Annice Jacoby


    Michelle McKaig


    Go 4 Crafty

    Casting Agent

    Joe Blake Casting


    Beth McManigill

    Production Assistant {Agency}

    Dariene Pina

    Production Assistant {Truck }

    Jeff Rivera

    Production Assistant {Truck}

    Charlie McLeod

    Production Assistant

    Ray Conchado

    Production Assistant

    MJ Cohen


  • Humanizing Process: Interview with Ed Drew

    Interviewed by John McCoy |

    Ed Drew is a sculptor, photographer, and serves in California Air National Guard. He recently returned from a military combat deployment to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan. There, he united his military and artistic identity by creating the first series of tintype photography made in a combat zone since the Civil War. This body of work has redefined Ed Drew’s artistic and life approach.

    | Courtesy of The Robert Koch Gallery

     Ed Drew: Combat Tintype Series - Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery

    Ed Drew: Combat Tintype Series – Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery

    John McCoy: How long have you been working with tintypes?

    Ed Drew: Not very long, I had known about them for almost a decade, but I didn’t commit myself to actually making my own until a year ago. At that point it was in preparation for my deployment to Afghanistan, so it was a matter of getting good in a relatively short amount of time.

    JB: So, you wanted to get good fast with the idea of taking tintypes in a combat zone?

    Ed: Well, I wanted to out of necessity, because I had not previously had any desire to make tintypes. Since the process is important to me as part of the piece and I use it to translate metaphors, up until that point I didn’t see a necessity for tintypes in my work.

    Americans in war are still people and I wanted to reclaim their humanity.

    Merely making tintypes of people, for me, wasn’t enough. I really had to have a cause to use it in a proper application. For instance, my first military job I was as a mechanic, and I had to use the proper tool for the job I was doing. I wasn’t trying to be creative or different in using tintypes, but that happened as a result of my using the process.

    JM: Did anything inspire you to pursue taking tintypes in Afghanistan?

    Ed: I can definitely say that there was a desire to use the process to “describe” a particular aspect of the person, something that only tintypes can produce. I also felt tintypes were very revealing of both the sitter and, interestingly, the photographer. So in making them, they told the story of me as well—the photographer’s story in the way I worked the photo and the physicality implicit in the creation of the image.

    It’s important to understand I am a conceptual artist and the process—and indeed the creation of art—is the essence of my work. Through process, I convey the metaphors necessary to understand my meanings. So you see, it had to be tintypes not for aesthetic purposes, but mostly for their fundamental nature of being a singular, almost sculptural artwork. And then the conceptual meanings they produce that help us appreciate the actual person in the picture.

    Ed Drew: Combat Tintype Series - Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery

    Ed Drew: Combat Tintype Series – Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery

    JM: As a conceptual artist, do you see your work in a cultural, historical, or political context?

    Ed: I see my work as cultural with a specific context that can be broadly applied across other cultures; the context being that Americans in war are still people and I wanted to reclaim their humanity. I think military members are perceived to lose their humanity when they enter the “war machine” and put on the uniform—by definition, a uniformed service member is supposed to do this.

    Then there is also a certain timelessness to the photos—one of the reasons I use the process—that makes them look like they could be from the past. I feel like this can talk to people from any age by recalling that people in war always look the same. It plays on the idea that war has existed since human beings came into existence. The battles change throughout time, but the faces remain the same. The timelessness directly speaks to the historical context and conjures ideas of the Civil War—and even more recent wars—in their faces. I definitely make no political statement with my photos, and I am very explicit in saying that there was absolutely no motivation to promote war or dismiss it. The only allusion to war I make is our collective human connection to it throughout the history of mankind.

    Ed Drew: Combat Tintype Series - Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery

    Ed Drew: Combat Tintype Series – Courtesy of the Robert Koch Gallery

    JM: I’m a Veteran. (Army Infantry- 11 Bravo)  I was deployed to North Africa as a peacekeeper in the early 90’s. As an artist and a soldier, I had trouble reconciling the two identities. Did you find it difficult to be both at once, or did you have switch mindsets back and forth?

    Ed: I think it’s always a challenge for me to switch back and forth and I feel a lot of a stress when I do. In Afghanistan, I was in more of a documentary mindset and I worked mindlessly, so the work came from a natural space inside. My work there was directly dealing with what I was doing so I just had to coast mentally and let the work create itself.

    When I’m at home it’s a different story. The work I do here does not deal with the military in any way, I have to switch thought processes when I go from art to work. Flying on the helicopters and thinking tactically comes from a very different place inside than thinking about a sculpture. The 2 identities don’t match and so it’s the process of switching gears that is most difficult; it usually takes a few days for me to relax and create art freely.

    JM: For me, the portraits are the most striking. They exude a seriousness of purpose except for one—the female. How did that portrait come about?

    Ed: All portrait poses were chosen by the person and she had a specific rule, which was that she does not do serious poses. I thought it was brilliant and then later historically accurate as tintypes were the first form of photographic art that was available to the common person. Many people chose to act in a humorous manner during the height of the tintype popularity during the mid-1800’s, as more photographers made images for anyone available because the cost was so inexpensive and the exposure time so short.

    This portrait also highlights humor, a very important aspect of the military person’s life overseas that is mostly ignored. We use humor as a coping mechanism. It helps us deal with the stresses in combat and is a great distraction when it’s 115 degrees outside and you’ve been at work for 13 hours. You need to be able to laugh.

    Combat Tintype Untitled

    JM: What tintype are you most happy with?

    He had requested a nice photo for his wife and asked if it wouldn’t be a trouble for me and I was more than happy to take his photo. That photo was really in the spirit of the tintype in the Civil War, because many soldiers sent them back to their families—sometimes as the last image they would see of the person alive. There were a lot of layers of art and historical significance and personal significance in that photo.

    I also think it’s just a wonderful image with his seriousness, which reflects who he is—a very calm and collected person who shows little emotion, other than a very sincere and profound laugh occasionally. The image really reflects who the person is in this case. From my perspective in making the photo, I have great respect for the man. I think you can see that in the photo. There are so many reasons it’s the most successful piece in my opinion, and I like it the most.


    My work is based on the history of the American military member and their involvement in war as part of a brotherhood. While deployed to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan April-June this year, I decided to document my life and the people around me as part of a fine art project. It extended to my own involvement in America’s longest war, and it is meant to be a very isolated personal study on war instead of the typical photo-journalistic approach. I decided to use the antiquated tintype wet plate process, the first time tintypes were made in a combat zone since the American Civil War. Tintypes are a slow and methodical process, which I felt would best highlight the humanity of the people I work with as well as involve me from beginning to end of the creation of the photograph. Through my tintypes in combat I connected to my brothers in arms which helped to translated multiple persons views of a war, besides my own, through process and subject.



    Ed Drew was born in Brooklyn, NYC, after graduating high school joined the active duty Air Force for 6 years. His was stationed in Little Rock Arkansas and Tokyo Japan. It was in Japan that Ed Drew developed an interest for fine art and photography. After 4 years stationed in Japan, Ed Drew moved to Germany for 3 years further developing his artist oeuvre.
    He then moved back to America after 7 years absence, joined the California Air National Guard and enrolled in San Francisco Art Institute. He currently attends school full time, for a BFA major in Sculpture and minor in Photography, while flying on US Air Force Combat Search and Rescue helicopters as an Aerial Gunner.
    He recently returned from a military deployment to the Helmand Province Afghanistan. from April to June 2013. The resulting body of work while there has redefined Ed Drew’s artistic and life approach.

  • Noah Wilson: Our Land

    Photographer Noah Wilson, during a artist residency at the San Francisco dump, found and processed early 20th century negatives of National Parks. In the following artist writing, he describes his process in detail.


    The photographs in this series developed out of landscape imagery appropriated from an archive of early 20th century negatives that I acquired while working as artist in residence at the San Francisco dump. Many of the pictures depict scenes from our National Parks, as well as numerous other locations throughout the American West.

    These negatives have a nitrocellulose base (a medium used between 1889-1930s, but replaced in the 1920s by Kodak “Safety Film” because of the early medium’s proclivity to decay and self combust). Due to the unstable nature of this film, the negatives exist in various stages of deterioration and distress.


    I’m interested in reinterpreting these landscape images to show not just the place but also the passage of time, as described in the slow degradation of the photographic medium.”

    I’ve used a flatbed scanner and sunlight as a backlighting source to record both the photographic information and the surface of the negatives. I make several scans of each negative at different times of day, and depending on the quality of the sunlight (diffused or direct), I capture varying interpretations of each negative. Diffused light allows the flatbed to record more of the film surface, and direct light illuminates more of the photographic image. Sunlight and the degradation of the film brings color into these, otherwise, monochromatic images. I build each of the pictures out of several scans made at different times of day to create a composite image.

    Through this process, I’m interested in reinterpreting these landscape images to show not just the place but also the passage of time, as described in the slow degradation of the photographic medium.


    Photographic images are static containers, never commensurate with the living, evolving subject that they hold, and in the end, I’m trying to create a picture that describes the place that was photographed as well as the film artifact as an imperfect record.

    Add media gallery

    Artist Bio

    Noah Wilson graduated with an MFA from San Jose State University and a BA in Art History from Humboldt State University. He’s had solo exhibitions at Haines Gallery and Dolby Chadwick Gallery. In 2010, he was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship allowing him to travel, photograph and attend a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Locally, he’s worked as Artist in Residence at Recology (aka, the San Francisco Dump), and he’s maintained an active residency at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley for the past two years. In 2011, he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund photographic research in Montana and Wyoming for his ongoing Ground Truthing project. He is currently developing an edition of prints for SF Camerawork’s fine print editions.





  • Golnaz Shahmirzadi: Forbidden Beauty

    I was born in Iran during a very difficult time. It was the time of the Islamic revolution in Iran. I witnessed the influx of refugees from Afghanistan in Iran due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After a year the Iran – Iraq war took place, which went on for almost 9 years.

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    Forbidden Beauty — a story of struggle since the known history of mankind. A struggle to disrupt the “assumed normalcies” designed by various societies and structured religions over the course of time to create gender inequality.

    I was very young to comprehend the events that were happening in our society back then, but over time I have realized the sensitive nature of the things that caused the shift in our cultural and cognitive behavior.

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    The concept for my project comes from a very careful observation of events that I can recall, and relate to, since my childhood.

    After the revolution in Iran, women were obligated by law to wear a “burka/hijab” (a veil that covers the whole body, most prominently the hair and neck of a woman) while in a public setting. Women were mostly reliant on men to be the providers, and also a sensibility was ingrained in them that this conservative nature of lifestyle bore a promise of protection and well-being for them, as well as making them virtuous in the eyes of a supreme power.

    The prescribed clothing for the women in Iran was more of a uniform where only the face and hands were exposed off the whole clothing, one color -“Black”. As an individual, I had a very hard time accepting this.

    Beauty must be forbidden, tamed and shunned?” To my understanding it is insuppressible.

    I was very close to the women that migrated from Afghanistan in search of a better life in Iran. But unfortunately, the environment and the lifestyle that was offered to them were very similar to that of Afghanistan. Even more strict and worse burka/hijab was prescribed for the women in Afghanistan where their veil only had a knitted net which enabled them to see their way outside and not suffocate.

    The whole idea of this assumed lifestyle was far away from the basic rights of women, in fact the very nature of a human being to be expressive and be allowed to have the same freedom as the men.

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    I’m very familiar with the saying that beauty lies within. But I’ve also studied the natural case of humans where an individual is recognized from her personality and this involves the notion as to how one carries herself and be recognized equally as her counterpart in any society.

    Not being able to express oneself and being covered with layers of dictated responsibilities, deceptions, lies, rigid consequences and an assumed way of living destroys individuality, personality and blocks the way of progress in any society.

    I wanted to express all these inhibitions and present them in an abandoned setting – an environment which is abandoned by all the nations that have progressed. A torn platform where no mirrors exist, and even nature forbids beauty. I used the same burka/hijab that is the prescribed dress for the women in Afghanistan. I want to be their representative, and express that my heart goes out to them for support.

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    GOLNAZ SHAHMIRZADI: Forbidden Beauty

    This concept is a disruption to both worlds of conservative and liberal beliefs. What is unbelievable in our highly aware society does still exist.

    “Beauty must be forbidden, tamed and shunned?” To my understanding, it is insuppressible.

    Add bio and contact info

  • Todd Sanchioni: New Developments

    Twenty years after ideology and Soviet subsidies, Laos enters a phase of New Developments. Consumerism and construction pave way to new cultural fields. Todd Sanchioni, with his photos and essay, documents Laos Today.

    New Developments: Worker on Mekong

    New Developments: Worker on Mekong

    In the late summer of 2010, I returned to Laos to follow up on a project I was working on in 2007 recording and photographing musicians. I was startled at the change that occurred since my prior visit to this small country sandwiched between Thailand, Vietnam, and China. In the capitol city of Vientiane, the new development was fast and furious. In 2007 there was one ATM machine in the city, and now they were practically on every corner. Now billboards flooded the scenery, youth on motor scooters talked on mobile phones, and there was construction at every turn. I noticed these trends back in 2007, but they had metastasized at a staggering rate.

    Although I had put a lot of energy into my search for musicians (which I shot in black & white and called “The Changing Face of Laos Through its Music”), it became non-inspiring. After a time, the project evolved into the challenge to take a good idea and give it life, rather than an inspired work of photography. I wanted an inspired work of photography! (Or at least to attempt to make one.) I was going to be in Laos for two months but, due to the language barrier, I wasn’t making any inroads into the culture. I had many leads to musicians that resulted in dead ends.

    New Developments: Cleaning the ATM

    New Developments: Cleaning the ATM

    “With the thawing of the Cold War and the end of subsidies from the Soviet Union, ideology was no longer as important as deals and concessions for much desired natural resources.”

    What I did understand was the culture of consumerism, and I have a knowledge of history. I decided to continue the musician project on the side while I set my main focus on the “New Developments” I was so taken by. It may seem subtle in the photos, but — in the context of the recent tragic history of Laos — it appeared drastic to me. Laos has often been called the “land in between;” during the American war against Vietnam, Laos was literally in between the bombing runs that the U.S. launched from bases in Thailand. The U.S. was secretly dropping bombs in Laos near the border of Vietnam to stop the supply route of the Vietcong, the Ho-Chi Minh trail. The bombing was relentless; from 1964 to 1973, the United States dropped more than two million tons of bombs on Laos. Laos has the unfortunate distinction of being the most heavily bombed country in the history of the world.

    In 1975, communist Pathet Lao took over the government and the opposition was either imprisoned in “reeducation camps” or they fled over the Mekong River into camps in Thailand from which some found asylum in countries like France and the U.S. The Laotian government in those years considered the influence of Western cultural decadent and worthy of severe punishment if practiced. With the thawing of the Cold War and the end of subsidies from the Soviet Union, ideology was no longer as important as deals and concessions for much desired natural resources.

    New Developments: Cleaning the squiril

    New Developments: Cleaning the squiril

    The past two decades have brought snowballing economic and social change to Laos. At the moment, subsistence agriculture accounts for 80% of its employment and less than one-third of the population lives in cities. Yet Laos’s rates of growth and urbanization are very high. Large-scale projects like dam construction and a growing tourism industry are bringing money into the country as never before.

    The changes are cultural, too. Consumerism has arrived. Much like dealing with a natural disaster, Laos has to rebuild… but how will it do so and in what direction will it take? Coming from the U.S. and being saturated in consumerism, I found this “progress” out of place in such a unique and exotic place. Though development is desperately needed in Laos and the people benefit greatly from a rising standard of living, culture and native skills will undoubtedly be lost by the steamroller of Western cultural. It is hard not to wonder, is it worth it?

    Artist Bio

    Todd Sanchioni was born in Miami, Florida in 1972 and was raised in Holliston, Massachusetts. He received his BFA at Tufts University/Museum School in 1996, and did post-graduate work at California College of Art in 2003. He has traveled extensively in South East Asia and has been working on a series about development in Laos. He lives, works, and sorts through a glut of photographs in San Francisco’s Mission District.

    Contact Todd Sanchioni: