Category Archives: Photographic Art

Book Launch: ‘GROUND TRUTH’ by Sheung Yiu

Image of the book by 'Ground Truth' by Sheung Yiu

SEASONAL BOOK LAUNCHES PRESENTS: ‘GROUND TRUTH’

A book by Sheung Yiu

Book launch this Saturday, November 27th, 16:00 @ Art Gallery Kosminen, Helsinki

Sheung Yiu is launching his book ‘GROUND TRUTH’ this Saturday at art gallery Kosminen, Helsinki, at 16:00 (4pm). Please feel free to join the casual celebration and meeting around the local community TTBookshelf books and friends!

Event Name: Seasonal Book Launches, The Temporary Bookshelf
When: Saturday 27.11 17-20:00
Where: Kosminen, Pursimiehenkatu 13,00150 Helsinki

Kosminen
Instagram + @sheungyiuphoto ,  #sheungyiu #theeriskayconnection
The Eriskay Connection

‘GROUND TRUTH’

What is the relation between what we see and what is there? Ground Truth observes the evolution of visual technology in conversation with our perception and surroundings. The more technology develops, the more abstract seeing becomes.

Equipped with the phenomenal power of computation, photography and hyperspectral imaging, a group of scientists set out to approach the boundaries of satellite imaging in the forests of Finland. Using meticulous on-site measurements of physical structures and spectral properties of trees, ‘ground truth’ data are experimental results to verify the performance of predicting models. Their quest is to develop an improved interpretation model of satellite data for remote sensing research, which allows us to distinguish various features of the surface beyond what is shown optically in satellite imagery.

In Ground Truth Sheung Yiu (HK/FI) interweaves archival imagery, documentary photography, experimental data, and artistic work, to acquaint the reader with the mathematical models that provide us the tools to ‘resurrect’ trees from a two-dimensional image. Ground Truth highlights the complexity of seeing in the age of algorithms. What do we see when we are not around? What can we see when there is nothing there?

Concept and photography: Sheung Yiu
Essay: Miina Rautiainen, Daniel Schraik, Aarne Hovi and Petri Forsström, Sheung Yiu
Design: Emery Norton

170 × 240 mm | 176 p
EN | softcover
ISBN: 978-94-92051-74-5
€ 25.00

ABOUT SHEUNG YIU

Sheung Yiu is a Hong-Kong-born image-based artist and doctoral researcher based in Helsinki. His research interest concerns the increasing complexity and agency of computational photography in contemporary digital culture. He seeks to expand its ontology by formulating the connections between photography theories and new forms of realism, object-oriented ontology, and network thinking. Engaging with artistic practice and multi-disciplinary collaboration as a mode of research, his works examine the poetics and politics of computational photography, such as computer vision, computer graphics and remote sensing. Yiu’s work takes the form of photography, videos, photo-objects, exhibition installations and bookmaking.

More info: www.sheungyiu.com

ABOUT THE ERISKAY CONNECTION

The Eriskay Connection is a Dutch studio for book design and an independent publisher. We focus on contemporary storytelling at the intersection of photography, research, and writing. In close collaboration with authors, we make books as autonomous bodies of work that provide us with new and necessary insights into the world around us. The key for us is to convey the essence of their work through high quality editing, design, and production. Our editions are mainly offset printed and bound in The Netherlands and we strive to work with local producers and sustainable materials as much as possible.

More info: https://www.eriskayconnection.com

Exhibition – ‘Sarajevo Roses and Clouds of June’ – Third Space, Helsinki – From 4th – 10th October 2021

Samra Šabanović and Sheung Yiu, as the duo I was there but you didn’t see me*, are having a week-long pop-up screening of their video work on mass protest photography at Third Space starting from next Monday 4th of October. The exhibition is part of Third Space open call selected projects for the year 2021 with the theme ” Vulnerability, collaboration, exchanges”, supported by Taike. The opening will be on Thursday, October 7th, from 17:00 – 20:00.

Exhibition period: 4th – 10th October 2021 from 14:00 – 18:00. Welcome!

*** To visit the exhibition please wear a face mask and consider the safety distance ***

INFO

“Unless we stop indulging in metaphors and start to recognise the politics of visibility and invisibility within the power structure, ‘photography’s future will be much like its past. It will largely continue to illustrate, without condemning, how the powerful dominate the less powerful.’” (Excerpt from video)

Photography has always been a game of hide-and-seek — what to make visible and invisible — but at times of wars and mass protests, these decisions have real consequences. Humans and images are now entangled in the network, each controlling the life and death of the other. Visibility is not just a picture; visibility is lethal.

Amid global protests to support the Black Lives Matter movement, some have called for photojournalists to blur out protesters’ faces to protect their identities. The encrypted communications app Signal released a feature to blur faces in photos. Software developer Noah Conk created an iPhone shortcut that does the same thing and erases their metadata. Some photojournalists oppose blurring and insist that the key issue is consent. That argument misjudges the lethality of visibility, especially in the context of overt and expansive state surveillance. On the other side of the world, Hong Kong pedestrians are filming the arrest of the protestors on their smartphones as they shout their names and ID number, in the hope that their families and lawyers know which police station to look for them and in the fear that they won’t see the sun again — visibility as a means to protect.

“Sarajevo Roses and Clouds of June” (2020) is a 22-minute video essay on images and their relation to peace. Reflecting on personal experience and photographic practices in general, the video essay contemplates the role of photography in the recent waves of mass protests and social activism. The title is a reference to the memorials of the Bosnian War and the months-long protest in Hong Kong that began in June 2019. The video essay, made during the pandemic in 2020, is composed entirely of video footage found on popular free stock websites. In five chapters, the essay delves into the ever-complex politics of visibility and invisibility, offering a critical examination of how photography may or may not contribute to peace in the age of mass surveillance enabled by hyper-connectivity and the omnipresence of cameras.

“Sarajevo Roses and Clouds of June” (2020) is the third chapter of I was there but you didn’t see me*

BIO
I was there but you didn’t see me* is a series of research-based public interventions on photographic images curated by Samra Šabanović and Sheung Yiu. These interventions use images as starting points of inquiry about their indisputable impacts on philosophy, history, literature, technology, science and visual culture. Through prolonged looking and peripheral vision, the duo revisits images (or the lack of them) and situates them in new discourses that extends beyond visual arts. This involves doing double-takes on images seriously and regularly, writing footnotes on and around photographs to rediscover ‘what was there’ and ‘what was not seen’ at first glance.

LINKS

More about Third Space

Defence of dissertation in the field of Photography, MA Laura Nissinen

Zoom Quick Guide

Event page

The audience is asked to join at no later than 12:00. The defence will be recorded.

Event language(s): Finnish

Title of dissertation:

Abstraktin aika. Epäesittävä suomalainen valokuvataide 1920-2020

Opponent: PhD Johanna Frigård, University of Turku.

Custos: Professor Harri Laakso, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Media.

ABSTRACT

In recent years, no follower of photographic art can have avoided coming into contact with abstract photography. It seems to be everywhere, from the most expensive galleries to the smallest independent exhibition spaces. New makers emerge, and established artists who previously confined themselves to representational art are now working on abstract works. Numerous photography magazines have covered it, dedicating entire issues to the theme. What is it all about? And what exactly is abstract photography? Then there is the question of whether combining photography and abstraction is even possible or meaningful? To answer these questions this research gathers together over 100 years of abstract photography and approaches photographers and artists about their practice through interviews.

As concepts, photography and abstraction seem to be almost opposites. The concept of abstract is usually used specifically to refer to non-representational art and photographic medium is tradition- ally described as a medium of exact representation. Interpreting non-representational images is further complicated by the variety of definitions used. The thought patterns and manufacturing techniques involved in producing abstractions are manifold. However, what all the definitions have in common is that they refer to photography with unrecognisable or hard-to-recognise subjects.

Other recurring themes in abstract photo- graphic art include an investigative orientation, experimentalism, a focus on the working process, and commentary on technical reforms. Medium- related self-referentiality is key: the subjects of abstraction often include the history and characteristics of photography, and the materials of the medium. Throughout its existence, the main subject of photographic abstraction has been photography itself. Furthermore, abstract photographic art is pictorial, non-narrative, and non-verbal. However, this does not mean that abstract photographic art could not be political. Throughout its history, abstract photography has been used as a means to criticise the features and changes of the art world and society in large.

Time after time, abstraction challenges the traditional forms of expression and methods of photography, and functions within this medium as a force promoting renewal and vitality. Abstraction reflects the historical changes in photography over the past century. It highlights the technical changes in photography, but also the relationship between photography and the issues surrounding it, such as science or other art. The history of abstraction reflects the essential questions in the field of photography in each era. Finnish contemporary photographic abstraction returns to 19th-century scientific photography, 1920s avant-garde photograms, and studies of motion. With the emergence of new artists, however, each decade sees a change in content. What all abstractionists have in common is a desire to break the representational character of photography and to boldly study different aspects of photography. Makers of photographic abstractions are always required to consciously work against the norms of photography. Abstraction is bold thinking.”

Photograph. Aleatory Variable (burning b&w sheet film), I (2014) by Laura Nissinen.

Laura Nissinen: Aleatory Variable (burning b&w sheet film), I (2014).

More information on the thesis
Vilho Setälä, who photographed Finland’s earliest photographic abstraction, Sähkökruunu, in 1928, warned in a photography guide he wrote: “And now, my friend, when you try to open your eyes to the unseen, prepare for disappointment. Your friends don’t understand you and the editors reject your best pictures.”

Laura Nissinen’s doctoral dissertation Abstraktin aika. Epäesittävä suomalainen valokuvataide 1920–2020 will be examined at Aalto University on 26th March 2021. The thesis delves into one of medium’s most interesting problems, the possibility of abstract photography. The study, which also includes an artistic part, deals with the production of a total of 32 Finnish photographers and artists through an extensive interview section. In addition, several foreign photographers and artists are involved, as well as 19th Century Finnish and foreign scientists from different fields.

During its 100-year existence, photographic abstraction has established itself as part of photographic expression. However, the reception it has received has varied. Abstract photographs have been perceived as non-photographic and have been seen to resemble too much other visual arts, especially painting. The most turbulent stages in the history of Finnish abstract photography were experienced between 1950s and 1980s. Looking back, especially the 1970s, when many of the permanent structures of Finnish photography also took shape, appear to be problematic in many ways with photographic abstraction.

Today, there are only occasional echoes of the abstract’s sometimes very challenging position in Finnish art photography. However, the reservations of the past decades about the phenomenon can still be seen as interruptions in the narrative of Finnish photographic history and shortcomings in photo archives. Based on the small number of photographic abstractions in archives and collections, we have a gap in our country’s art history.

The strengthened art status of contemporary photography has increased the number of Finnish photographic abstractions and made the unrepresentative form of expression more common. On the other hand, this research shows that the importance of abstract photography in classifying photography as art in Finland has been essential. As Juhani Riekkola, member of the group Fotograafikot stated in his interview: “We hung the first photographs in the galleries, not today’s curators”.

The dissertation is publicly displayed online 10 days before the defence here.

THE DOCTORAND

Picture of the doctorand, MA Laura Nissinen. @Helinä Kuusela

The doctorand, MA Laura Nissinen. @Helinä Kuusela.

Laura Nissinen is Helsinki based photographer, artist and researcher. Her doctoral dissertation “Abstraktin aika. Epäesittävä suomalainen valokuvataide 1920–2020” deals with photographic abstraction. The dissertation includes an artistic production and is published by Aalto Arts Books. In 2017 Nissinen curated the exhibition “Abstract! 100 Years of Abstract Photography 1917–2017” in the Finnish Museum of Photography. Along with her doctoral studies in Aalto University, Nissinen is currently an art history master student in the University of Helsinki. Nissinen has previously graduated with MA from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (Taik). She has also studied photography and art in the University of Westminster, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and École National Supérieure de la Photographie.

More information please contact Laura Nissinen