On Saturday April 29th at 6pm, I will be giving a talk about my new book, A History of Photography in Indonesia: From the Colonial Era to the Digital Age, at the Gapura, an Indonesian community center in Philadelphia.
Photography in Indonesia
On Thursday April 27th at noon, I will be speaking with anthropologist Brent Luvaas at Drexel University, presenting our shared interest in Indonesian photography.
Thursday April 27, 2020
Academic Building 302
William Klein: Yes
The recent publication by Thames & Hudson, William Klein: Yes, is a comprehensive retrospective of the innovative photographer, designer, artist, and filmmaker. Accompanied with text by David Campany, the book is richly illustrated with images from across Klein's prodigious output. My review of the book was published by Photo Eye and is available here.
Ewan Telford: Ecology of Dreams
Published by Velvet Cell, Ecology of Dreams by Scottish photographer Ewan Telford is a narrative about Los Angeles, probing all of its landscapes and mythologies. My review of the book was published by Photo Eye and is available here.
My interest in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy took root in 1992, when I visited Bali, Indonesia for the first time. Bali is a unique place, smaller than Rhode Island but with a language and religion entirely its own. Before Indonesia became the Muslim nation we know today, there were two major Hindu/Buddhist empires, the Mataram and the Majapahit, dating back to the 4th century C.E. Bali never succumbed to the spread of Islam, and still pursues a religious practice akin to the medieval society that built Borobudur.
Since leaving Bali that first time, I’ve sustained an engagement with Indonesian art for over 30 years, all the while developing my career as a photographer. My connection to Indonesia has taken a lot of forms, but one of the things I keep coming back to is the Hindu/Buddhist (the Balinese don’t make a distinction between the two) texts and traditions I first learned about in Bali. My photography, too, comes in lots of shapes and sizes, sometimes overlapping with Indonesia but not always.
The work featured in Bright, Bright Day was made largely between 2019-2020. These were hard years for me, but I found sustenance working for the American Institute for Indonesian Studies, taking weekly yoga classes, finding new love, reading translations of the Vedas and Upanishads, and by keeping a collage diary made using small, instant photographs combined with fragments from my readings. The photographs were made with a plastic camera intended for children and the written fragments expanded beyond just these texts, but the intent was always the same - to find new ways of discovering innocence again in such a difficult world. The collages, I think, are best understood as sketches or drawings, work developed quickly to free new possibilities.
This exhibition coincides with the launch of my newest book, A History of Photography in Indonesia. These bodies of work don’t appear to have too much in common, but the majority of the text was developed during the time I made the collages in the series Bright, Bright Day.
Bright, Bright Day
Bright, Bright Day is both a small edition book and a collection of text/image collages. Inspired by my interest in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy, this work is a visual diary documenting some major life changes. The exhibition will be on view at Artist Alley from February 11-March 11. See the dates below for specific events
A Photographer in the Archives
On Thursday February 16th from 2-3:30, I will be sharing some of my work from Indonesia in the Cornell Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library. This lecture coincides with the release of my book, A History of Photography in Indonesia: From the Colonial Era to the Digital Age, and will focus on collections held at Cornell that are included in the book. The event is free and open to the public. Specific details about time and location below.
Inspired by Wisconsin Death Trip, the cult classic book by Michael Lesy, Magnum photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti's newest book Some Say Ice provides a beautiful yet harsh look at the culture of interior American. Published by MACK Books, my review of it was published by Photo Eye and is available here.
Together with musician Chris Miller and movement artist Julie Nathanielsz, I am presenting some of my work from Indonesia at the The Cherry Studio Space (located on the bottom floor of Arthaus!). This event will include photographs, films, talks, and performance, each of sharing how Indonesia has helped shape our work and self-conceptions as artists.
This event will be held at The Cherry Studio. Entrance is through the main door of Arthaus, and the studio is just to the right as you enter. For any questions please text or email Brian Arnold - 607.382.9646 or email@example.com.
Dayanita Singh: Book Building
Recently published by Steidl, Book Building by Dayanita Singh is a retrospective monograph that explores the artist's innovative approach to bookmaking. My review of the book was published by Photo Eye, and is available here.
Brian Arnold is a photographer, educator, writer, and musician living in Ithaca, NY. For more information, please visit my other blog, A Photographer's Journal.