The Collector's Guide to Blockchain Photography
Forget the Moment by Karl Roberts
Berlin Photo Week
Images Vevey Biennal
How smart phone cameras evolved
FlakPhoto is back!
How to find work you like
Forget the Moment - Karl Roberts
Karl Roberts, a 23 year old from England’s East Midlands, has been a photographer since the age of 17. Inspired by the barren environment around him, Karl found his home with surrealism and image making, choosing to create the magic he doesn’t see in the world around him.
His latest series, Forget the Moment, develops the surrealist themes in Karl Roberts Originals through a comic series of self-less portraits.
Karl created a series of portraits with a missing subject. The upper half of the body is dressed for fall weather and shot against moody skies from below. Figures are shot with expressive hands, holding things, gesturing, or in some cases hanging resigned. Images are finished with spinning or shattering distortions, inanimate flora like branches, twigs, and flowers, and kinder-paraphanalia (puzzles, balls, paper planes, books, and butterflies). The strong subjectivity of the images - which are clearly focused on their headless protagonists - stands in stark contrast with the missing-ness of the body (except for the hands, which are very present.)
Karl’s torso-less, headless self-portraits speak to a sense of groundlessness. The portraits represent their subject as a doing, rather than a being: unperceived by both the camera and the viewer, the disembodied figures are caught sometimes manipulating their surrounding unreality, sometimes confronting us with their particular plight by breaking the wall between themselves and the camera, as in “The Possibilities are Unbounded”, which pictures disembodied figure in a flannel shirt holding a bloodied stone freshly used to break the glass through which we see him.
Toeing the line between traditional portraiture, surrealism, and magical realism, Roberts uses props and surface effects to build a narrative of breaking out of invisibility and lifelessness through imagination.
At PhotoVerso, the work reminds us of the anxiety we felt growing up. The call to adventure from the abundant world of ideas, represented by Roberts in wind-blown book pages, paper planes, birds and bird nests — heard by subjects in restrictive environments (felt in the thorns, smashed glass, wilting flowers and barren branches) is a familiar one to anyone that’s left home in pursuit of the vast unknown.
My surreal work comes from a place deep within my mind, being inspired by magic, time, thoughts and feelings I combine these concepts to come up with a simple sketch which after weeks, sometimes months of work ends up as the final image that you see.
Roberts’ work is a good reminder not to take anything our environment provides us with for granted. Whether its resources, friends, mentors, beauty, knowledge, or constraints, all things can become a source of inspiration with the right perspective.
Images from “Forget the Moment” are available on Foundation, starting at 1E.
Karl Roberts Originals are available on OpenSea, starting at 0.2 ETH.
Like PhotoVerso? We’re reader-funded.
Subscribe to support us, dive deep with us in the Collector’s Corner, and to follow the conversations happening around blockchain photography. If you can’t today, that’s alright — we just wanted to tell you the option is on the table.
Berlin Photo Week
The Book of Veles, a blockchain-native conceptual photo-book by Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen, was presented at this year’s Berlin Photo Week running from September 2nd to September 9th. The collection will remain on display at Fotografihuset until September 25th.
The Book of Veles is a “fake news story about fake news producers”: the collection fabricates the story of real fake news producers in Veles, North Macedonia. By using AI to generate components of a photo-documentary, Bendiksen contrived in a masterful blend of image-making, performance art, and social commentary.
Berlin Photo Week is an annual photography festival that serves as a launching ground for emerging artists and a stage for established names alike. This year’s edition is sponsored by Magnum Photos, celebrating their 75th anniversary as a leading photographic institution.
Promise Land, by our own Gregory Eddi Jones, had an enchanting installation at Images Vevey this last week.
Images Vevey Biennial is a visual arts festival, taking place every two years in the town of Vevey, Switzerland. Installations of photographic works are presented to the public in both indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a one-of-a-kind landmark in the international photography scene.
The eighth edition of the Images Vevey Biennial focuses on community and explores the way humans experience time, space, and myriad other things in the course of sharing life with one another.
This week, Fellowship announced the close of auctions for a set of coveted images by Gregory Crewdson.
Working alongside crew and equipment common to film sets, Gregory Crewdson meticulously creates his own version of reality using as canvas the average life and dramas particular to the western middle-class.
His work, often too real it transcends to surreal, has been awarded and exhibited in galleries worldwide in the span of his 30 years of photography. Notable mentions are Natural Wonder (1992–97), Twilight (1998–2002), Beneath the Roses (2003-08) and Cathedral of the Pines (2013–14).
Crewdson takes the word photography to the most literal sense by planning the shots so carefully and detailed they often resemble paintings or frames from a movie. Truly writing with light, the results are masterpieces where it's easy to perceive how deep his touch lies in every single section of the image.
Much thinking in PhotoVerso has gone into the impact of mobile phone cameras on the evolving landscape of photography as an art form. The ability to carry increasingly sophisticated, powerful cameras has allowed for the emergence of citizen-photographers: amateur enthusiasts capturing the world around them as part of a process that’s more personal than artistic.
@fahim_al_mahmud walks us through the development of this enabling technology.
Meanwhile, we’re hyper-thrilled about the re-launch of Andy Adam’s FlakPhoto, one of our favorite photography web blogs from the old days. In his first post, Andy meditates on why newsletters may yet be a better format for consuming images thoughtfully: curation wins over the algorithms every time.
How to find work you like
Many collectors pursue “grails”: works by artists with house-hold names (and the associated price points.) This entry, however, seeks to support collectors who want to build a collection more valuable than the sum of its parts by illustrating a specific worldview.
Collecting gets fun when it teaches you more about who you are. By acquiring work that speaks to a point of view that resonates, a collector can refine their perspective on the topics that thread the chapters of their life together. In simpler words, collectors learn more about themselves by learning what they like. Through an active effort to dig further in on your tastes and preferences, collecting becomes a meditation on subjects that remain top of mind.
To begin this meditation, seek to first understand your taste. What are the common elements that appear across your collection? Do certain themes or subjects appeal? Do you like images with a certain geometry or light? Both the narrative and aesthetic qualities are relevant here, as they create a helpful point of departure.
While art buying platforms do allow for some degree of search, we’ve found it mostly ineffective in surfacing interesting work. The challenge is in part for curatorial reasons (there are many steps beyond selection that are not widely recognized) and partially for endemic ones: the ideal is to show collectors work they didn’t know they would like, making traditional ways of approaching filtering a poor fit for the problem.
Instead, we recommend collectors leverage the unpublished social graph. Start first with the artists your favorite photographers collect from. Artists are frequently the first to discover new and interesting works, due to tight knit networks and a greater focus on their domain of work. In an ideal case, you might be able to get direct recommendations to check out strong, rising talent.
Fellow collectors who patronize the same artists you do are also good jumping off points for your search. If they share your taste, they may have good leads on work you didn’t know was in your wheelhouse. This approach also yields opportunities to connect with fellow collectors, for a pleasant discussion about why they bought the work they did (usually, a point of joy).
Finally, don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. As photography merges with AI, video, digital painting and 3D modeling, the diversity of expression available grows exponentially. It may be that your collection is ready to transcend a medium to more accurately reflect the theme it seeks to cover.