Kameelah modelling Foujita’s Madonna and more cherubs

April 20, 2015

Over the weekend more cherubs popped up, but not miraculously, I made them, im Schweisse meines Angesichts (which is German and means something like ‘I worked bloody hard to get it done, involving a lot of sweat’. Admittedly a gross exaggeration, but it sounds very impressive in my language).

And I will have to make more…. so far there are six now:

Josiane Keller - six cherubs

Josiane Keller “six cherubs” (2015)

(* the fortune cookie wisdom reads: “never despair, but if you do, work on in despair”. Fortune cookies come from China, but they are being enjoyed everywhere.)

And I convinced the beautiful Kameelah to model for the Foujita Madonna, which went probably very similar like Mr. Foujita went up to a beautiful girl in his neighbourhood in Paris, and told her he was painting this Madonna, and she was just the perfect model for that, so history repeats itself.

Here are four clips from the session, which was very easy, as Kameelah is the type of model where you do not need to even look or give any instruction, any tiny twist of of head is incredibly photogenic, so you can just have a coffee and keep one finger on the camera clicking away, and tell her to do as she feels like. Very easy work, very enjoyable and most inspiring (thanks again, Kameelah!):

Josiane Keller - Kameelah modelling Foujita's Madonna - quad

Josiane Keller “Kameelah modelling Foujita’s Madonna – quad” (2015)

even her hands are spectacular! To compare with the original here:

Josiane Keller - sketchbook page Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita Madonna (1962, 2011, 2015)

Josiane Keller / Leonard Foujita “sketchbook page Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita Madonna” (1962, 2011, 2015)

Lucky me.

More cherubs now…..

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Brief interlude: Party Time

April 17, 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly, and then the VERY UGLY! When things seem not to go as planned, hoped and wanted (for whatever reason), there is always the option to make it a reason to party, celebrating the ironies of life (don’t even ask, instead raise your glass) :

Josiane Keller - party time

Josiane Keller “party time” (2015)

That was very good after all, more angels tomorrow.


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Black Madonna – stage four with -two -make that: three – cherubs and what works real well as a cake may still not work well as art

April 16, 2015

So far the Madonna, very dry, but not bisqued yet:

Josiane Keller - Foujita Madonna-model

Josiane Keller “Foujita Madonna-model” (2015)

and so far I have two cherubs, making more (thirteen more to go):

Josiane Keller - two cherubs

Josiane Keller “two cherubs” (2015)

Luckily these guys are not as hellish to make as I anticipated. Still for now it has more of what I rather would put on a wedding cake than make it semi-permanet from clay. I had a brief job in a bakery as cake dcorator, and the most essential thing I learned there was, there are some things that are made from durable matrial, like bronze, silver or marble, that would have worked so much better as a cake, and some things that were made as a cake could have been also a nice statue. It is a very good way to differentiate between kitsch and art, simply ask yourself if it would have been a great wedding cake or not.

Anyways,  this is a work in progress, so let’s wait til it is finished.

Meanwhile one more cherub:

Josiane Keller - three cherubs

Josiane Keller  “three cherubs” (2015)

the top one is the newest. Time for bed now. More cherubs tomorrow….

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Engelmachertag, some more language issues and Camille Corot’s “the lake” and “Venus bathing”, use of colour (and composition) from then to now

April 15, 2015

Today, in fact yesterday should have been, and today will be, I hope, cherub-making-day. Fifteen of them. Ironically so, in German language it would translate to “Engelmachertag”, and that would apply to a woman or sometimes it could be men as well, who provide abortions, in times when this practice was neither legal nor openly discussed, yet with some luck you would still be better off than trying to work it out yourself with a coat-hanger or downing yourself in the village creek.

Paula Rego made a fantastic series of etchings to the topic.

Anyways, coat-hanger-days are gone, thank God, at least where I hang out, and so I am not an “Engelmacherin” but instead I am literally shaping these still missing fifteen cherubs for the Foujita-inspired black Madonna.

By chance I came across yet another wild attempt to use German language marketing Fine Art in ways that not only make no sense anymore, that also are grammatically at least very eccentric or let’s be brutal and say it: plain wrong, but that may or should (?) sound  to some people educated, because slightly or altogether not any longer understandable.
I don’t know of any more bourgeois way of behavior, and yet it seems so popular. Does it improve marketability of art work? If so, to whom? Dangerous questions, yet again. My specialty.
Marketing language use in Fine Arts, what it does and why it is done, I ill never get over the topic. Actually, it’s cracking me up. Oops. Can I say that, and still sell my work in respectable galleries? I am actually not sure at all. I hope so, but I am not sure.

I am actually beginning to wonder if that is a new trend, since now the main art marketing language is English and many words are somewhat fabricated from what it could sound like (but doesn’t) in English, or if that was always that way? For instance in the past when people would use French as secondary language much more, or even older days Latin, and there were once people trying to sell a sinfully expensive painting, wiggling around in mock-Latin and being incredibly impressive (or maybe not?) Come to think of it, probably it was always that way.

But the good thing in it, irrelevant of all other bits and bobs involved, is that I had a look at a certain painting by Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) who was in this specific article mentioned as someone doing mono-chromatic paintings. This startled me, but I don’t want to claim that I have seen every single painting of Corot, so I checked (and I STILL have not seen every single painting by Corot, don’t misunderstand what I am saying!)
I think, there is a difference between monochromatic and nearly monochromatic. Maybe the difference is not so big regarding colour use, but very big in terms of what it would mean in art history when someone for the first time creates a truly monochromatic painting (outside a drawing or coloured work sketch) and calls it a finished piece without being called clinically insane, colour blind or extremely lazy.

Anyways, maybe let’s leave the pitfalls of language aside for a moment and look at the paintings, you can see many of them on this site, unfortunately they plastered their logo all over it, although the copyright should be with the estate of the painter, one could assume, and someone seemingly thought Corot’s paintings alone are not interesting enough for visitors of this site, so he or she created a slide-show with goofy and highly distracting effects, but anyways you can see many of his paintings here (they claim “his complete works”, who knows). Start at the end, this is where Corot is working with less colour, trying new things:


To discuss the topic mono-chromatic, or almost monochromatic I picked this one, (NOT from this particular site, no worries, and anyways it is Corot’s painting, by all means):

Camille Corot - the lake - 1861

Camille Corot “the lake” (1861)

And to check the situation of colour I made a series you can compare with very enhanced colour-hues (which looks incredibly tacky, but definitely shows that they are actually there, and different ones on top of that) and less of them to none, the top one is the original, give or take some slight alterations based on photographic reproduction of a painting and the settings of the computer you are look at:

Camille Corot -  the lake - hue range

Camille Corot “the lake”, hue range (1861/2015)

Pretty interesting, anyways, isn’t it?

If it was mine I would do something like this:

Corot - the lake - 1861 bw high contrast

Camaille Corot “the lake” (1861), bw high contrast

in photography, that is, maybe not in painting.

Anyways, colour and online reproduction. I like this one for specific reasons, but I have never seen the real thing and it turns out to be in a private collection (may the owner please confirm which one is the real or more real colour?) Seemingly we have a late summer and we have also a spring version:

Camille Corot - Venus bathing version I and II - 1873-74

Camille Corot “Venus bathing”, version I and II (1873-74)

and then if it was mine I would do something like this:

Josiane Keller-Camille Corot - Venus bathing IIII

Josiane Keller/Camille Corot “Venus bathing IIII” (1873, 2015)

But, see discussion above, if Corot had done that, people possibly including himself would have thought he was drunk, crazy or this is only a sketch for a nice colour oil painting he is gonna make later on from it.

Anyways, now it is time to make some cherubs for the Foujita Madonna.

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Black Madonna – Stage Three and various other Madonnas

April 12, 2015

Added more base and made the eyes. Still not sure about these cherubs…

Josiane Keller - black Madonna - stage three

Josiane Keller “black Madonna – stage three” (2015)

Doesn’t look like much yet. Has something of the famous Butter Jesus… The figures usually look a bit off during making. I am no expert in religious statues, prostitutes are easier for me. (Ahh, Foujita-san, why didn’t you stick to the naked ladies and cats?!) I hope I can pull this one off…

And then Mike came over showing off his finally completed flying space aliens, which was great as we could try them as cherub substitutes

Josiane Keller - black Madonna and Mike's flying aliens

Josiane Keller “black Madonna and Mike’s flying aliens” (2015)

Compare with Jean Fouquet’s:

Jean Fouquet - Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, right wing of the diptych 1452

 Jean Fouquet “Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, right wing of the diptych” (1452)

and whilst we’re at it, compare also with:

Petrus Christus, Madonna of the Dry Tree, 1465

Petrus Christus “Madonna of the Dry Tree” (1465)

Compare with one of mine:

Josiane Keller - MOM

Josiane Keller “MOM” (2010)

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Black Madonna – Stage Two

April 11, 2015

So far stage two, the basics are modeled, I still need the fifteen cherubs, if I bother, perhaps I will do something different, we’ll see.

Josiane Keller -  black Madonna stage two

Josiane Keller “black Madonna stage two” (2015)

Not sure about that fabric either. We’ll see how it goes. The hands are a tic to high up. Shall I leave them there or re-arrange them? Hmm.

(* Maybe I should just do that: model Madonnas. Where I’m from that is an actual profession, although they are mainly carved from wood, here and there a Saint Christopher chucked in, too. Hmm, again. maybe not for everyday and always.)

Oh gosh, still need to get them fifteen cherubs done. Is there a way to cheat? Anyways, so far this.

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A sketchbook page with a rare reproduction of Léonard Tsugouharu’s Foujita 藤田 嗣治 “マドンナ /Madonna”, the quest for an image of a black Madonna – homage to Foujita – Stage One

April 9, 2015

Almost three years ago now I was working on the “Each reflection”-project, and as many times stated now started writing this BLOG as a production diary.

One post was this one on the making of Koala’s figure, and in context with this I put up a picture, or rather a print of a photograph of a painting originally painted by Japanese painter Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita 藤田 嗣治. The picture shows a beautiful youthful black Madonna encircled by fifteen black cherubs, the title is only “Madonna” or in Japanese “マドンナ”.

This is the original post:


I took another photograph of it today including my own hand, to make it visually clear that is this actually a page in a sketchbook, which looks like this:

Josiane Keller - sketchbook page Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita Madonna (1962, 2011, 2015)

© Josiane Keller “sketchbook page: Léonard Tsugouharu 藤田 嗣治 Foujita’s ‘Madonna’ マドンナ” (1962, 2011, 2015)

(* Just for fun as well as symbolism: I put a copyright symbol here. Not that would do anything about it.)

The original painting, as I found out by now, is in a private collection, although I have not managed to track it down (yet) in which collection and where.

It seems my photograph to my surprise is the only online reproduction of this painting. (!?)

The painter himself, born in 1886 in Tokyo, went in 1913 from Japan to France, befriended the local avant-garde of Parisian artists, among them Modigliani,  Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, famously so painted Man Ray’s kinky lover Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Ernestine Prin) several times, inclusive enjoying her bossing him, allegedly because he specialized in painting ‘near white skin’ in a specific technique, as far as I know of mainly the whitish skin of young ladies with sparse clothing on. Kiki was known to him for particularly white skin. Among the many paintings he did of her is this one:

Leonard Tsuhugaru Foujita - nu couche a la toile de Jouy - 1922

Leonard Tsuhugaru Foujita “nu couche a la toile de Jouy” (1922)

which did so well back then, and in the Wikipedia article it says also two years ago in NY at Christie’s, but the image they have on their site looks nothing like a Foujita at all and different from this very famous one, which makes me very skeptical that they got their data right and so I don’t even show it here, but of course you can check for yourself if you are interested.

Anyways, Kiki was modelling for other artist, too, particularly Man Ray, which is great as now we have photographs of her to compare with the paintings, and this is a famous one of it:

Man Ray - Black and White - Noire et Blanche - 1926

Man Ray “Black and White / Noire et Blanche” (1926)

Foujita married three times, did many paintings and lived a very eccentric life, did various travels worldwide, particularly to Latin America, where he painted and showed his work, spent some time back in Japan, eventually returned to France, converted to Catholicism, finally died in Switzerland and was eventually buried in the Foujita Chapel in Reims, France, he had designed himself and decorated with religious fresco.

And because that chapel, Chapelle Foujita, is very special I will also add a link to some pictures, so you can see it, for example this person went there in 2009 and took some photos:


Some links with information on him as I posted it on him on the initial post I will repeat here once more:

His English wikipedia pagehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuguharu_Foujita

to compare, here the Japanese wikipedia site: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/藤田嗣治

and some museums hosting his work, for example: ブリヂストン美術館 Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo:

http://www.bridgestone-museum.gr.jp/en/, as stated: this museum will be closing next month on Monday, May 18, 2015 for construction of a new building, and will remain closed for several years; (*you have one and half month to go see it!)

there is also this one:   東京都現代美術館 Tōkyō-to Gendai Bijutsukan in Tokyo: http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/index.html

and this one:  ポーラ美術館 Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Kanagwa Prefecture:


Still, the very specific painting of his black Madonna is a mystery, and not just that, since I put the picture up it has been passionately copied from my BLOG and put on pinterest seemingly multiple times, and from there made its way on other websites and BLOGS, only in one case I got the credit for this photo, and I am not even sure what to think about that, as I did not paint the picture, Foujita did, but I took the photo and the thing is also a bit from one of my sketchbooks. So I suppose some credit should go to me, no?
Then again, there seems to be no other online image of this specific painting than the one I put up, which is easy to recognize by the handwriting around it and the crease in the paper close to the upper edge, where the picture was folded before I glued it into my sketchbook.

One thing is clear from the online statistics on my website: there is a great need for an image of a young, beautiful black Madonna, it seems particularly among the African-American community, although the picture was probably painted with a North-African-French immigrant modelling, this is only my guess, I have currently no fact at hand that actually confirms this.

And so, although I am against organized religion, which is that I think some things should stay free instead being boxed up, instead of sending complaint e-mails to people who download this picture from my website putting it sometimes in the wildest context with their own stuff (even some sort of TV preacher from the Carolinas has it up!) without giving me any credit for it, which half is fair, as I didn’t paint it, and half not fair, as it is after all a corner from my sketchbook, I decided to produce a new, nice image of the same thing, so my next figure is supposed to be another black Madonna, inspired by Foujita’s painting, because it is indeed an interesting painting and I actually like it, too, very much, (which is the reason why I put it into my sketch book in the first place.)

To begin with we need some clay, that as opposed to my work so far contains iron oxide, which gives it deep reddish brown colour. The last time I used this particular clay was years ago, so by now my remaining material is hardened and needs to be worked over.

So right now the Madonna, Stage One, looks like this:

Josiane Keller - red clay

Josiane Keller “red clay” (2015)

Doesn’t look like much right now, if anything than probably more like a bowl of  Mousse au Chocolat, but then again all my figures start out that way. A direct parallel to various creation mythologies involving forming creatures from clay cannot be denied.

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Test prints in colour

April 8, 2015

One more time every flat surface in the studio seems covered with large format test prints. This time in colour, looks very uplifting:

Josiane Keller - colour test prints

Josiane Keller “colour test prints” (2015)

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Alice mit Krücken – the grass is always green – about colour

April 7, 2015

I started overworking the tons and tons of pictures I took during the photo shoot with Chloë Bass, “Alice with crutches”.

And since its Easter and spring and I survived yet another horrible winter, and since I am originally a painter and did now really a ton of black and white photographs I suppose it is time to think a little bit about colour.

This also, since recently I am wondering if it would be actually not such a bad thing to make some photographs that are intelligent but also attempt to be beautiful, just like that, how bold!

Grayson Perry said that in an interview, “perhaps it’s OK sometimes to make something just beautiful”.

Actually I am not exactly sure how he phrased it. But I think that was what he meant, or at least that is what I picked up from it.

Also Richard Long after years of grey, white and black is all in colour, and what is good enough for Richard Long should by all means be good enough for me, too.

Richard Long - The Spike Island Tapes - 2015

Richard Long “The Spike Island Tapes @Alan Cristea Gallery” (2015)


And finally my favourites, the Expressionists, so colour, anyways.

The title of this series is “the grass is always green”, which has to do with teaching painting, where in the first class many people automatically paint grass green, without much thinking if there might be another, possibly more true option.

Here is what I have so far:

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green

Josiane Keller  “the grass is always green” (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 1

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 1″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 2

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 2″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 3

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 3″ (2015)

this would be actually green grass:

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 4

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 4″ (2015)

Looks quite “real”, although the grass that day was still much more brown and yellow after a long, cold winter, so this just to show.
Instead, more interesting, almost black & white:

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 5

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 5″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 6

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 6″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 7

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 7″ (2015)

well, sometimes the grass actually can be green:

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 8

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 8″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 9

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 9″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 10

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 10″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 11

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 11″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 12

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 12″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - the grass is always green 13

Josiane Keller “the grass is always green 13″ (2015)

These are the images from last Sunday, taking Chloë Bass along, who is currently working on her own project “The Book of Everyday Instruction, Chapter One: you + me together”:


Even though I had planned to do something with colour next, it is interesting to see, what a drastic turn my work took that day I worked together with another artist.

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Photo shoot with Chloë Bass and Alice in the park – “The Book of Everyday Instruction”-Project – Chapter One: you + me together

April 5, 2015

Chloë Bass, SPACES artist in residence of this month, was so very kind to come along with me to day for a photo shot with Alice (wearing crutches) in the park.

Her site is here: http://chloebass.com/

this is a photo of Alice:

Josiane Keller - Alice mit Kruecken

Josiane Keller “Alice mit Krücken / Alice with crutches” (2015)

and this is Chloë Bass:

 Josiane Keller - Chloe Bass in the park

Josiane Keller “Chloë Bass in the park” (2015)

(*Ironically so only a few days ago I had just written on this BLOG… ‘I will not do community projects ever again, well: lesser so, a bit, occasionally’ … fine…. I was interested in her project, as it sounded to me her focus in this project is accompanying another person and integrating herself into another one’s life, besides that the photo-shoots are easier if I have someone helping, and more fun to go with someone else than alone.

Of course, technically, it could also go wrong, which would have been not good, wasting work time, but instead it was perfect, we got a lot done and at the end of the day (literally) I came back with hundreds of shots, left to working them over now. Thank you so much for your help, Chloë, it was great!)

If you are around til April 30th and want to work with her you can book her, see this link:


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Funeral – das Grabloch

April 1, 2015

Josiane Keller - cluster photo - das Grabloch

Josiane Keller “cluster photo – das Grabloch” (2015)

Finally the ground is thawed and we could bury Vanilla, the mouse, who had been since her death stored in an airtight container in my freezer, because the ground had been frozen and was too hard to bury her. 

Everybody came, well… almost everybody: Josette, Jenny, Angel, Lee and Gilberte. The others were at work or overslept. It was nevertheless a very festive event and we all cried a lot. Rest in peace.

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Kiln time

April 1, 2015

Alice made it safe through the bisque firing and is currently busy in the “glaze” firing , although as usual, no glaze, only iron oxide. I was searching for a good name for her, I think I end up calling her Alice (celebrating my Lewis Carroll infatuation and expressing that with the MaryJane-shoes she is wearing), but I was going back and forth between that and Maxine. Not sure yet.

If all works out well she will be ready in time for the Easter Sunday photo shoot with the ‘surprise artist’ from Brooklyn. If not, well, that’s were the famous Plan B comes in. As usual.

Josiane Keller - Alice in the kiln I and II

Josiane Keller “Alice in the kiln I and II” (2015)

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Drying time and sanding

March 28, 2015

Well, as said above, looks like this:

Josiane Keller - drying time - front

Josiane Keller “drying time – front” (2015)

Josiane Keller - drying time - back

Josiane Keller “drying time – back” (2015)

Same as with Madeleine, she has to speed-dry and all has to be finished inclusive 2nd firing by Easter.

And just for the heck of it, a photograph by Gautier Deblonde of Ron Mueck’s atelier. Ron Mueck makes, as we all know, sculptures, but I like this picture by Gautier DeBlonde of all the bits, bobs and parts together better:

Gautier Deblonde - Atelier de Ron Mueck - 2013

Gautier Deblonde “Atelier de Ron Mueck” (2013)

here is the site of the photographer: http://www.gautierdeblonde.com/, who was so very nice and let me use his picture on my BLOG. Thanks again!!

Once again I am wondering about the question: what is the difference of a picture of a human being and a picture of a doll of a human being?

And: what is the difference between looking at a sculpture and looking at a photograph of a sculpture?

On a BLOG it is impossible to illustrate this question, because every sculpture I show will always be shown reproduced in 2D as a photographic image or drawing.

Anyways, here a link to some work by Ron Mueck, as far as I could see he has no website of his own (doesn’t need it):


Interesting to me, that the article calls the sculptures “hyper-realistic”. As in more real than real. Overly real. Too real. Scroll down in the article to the third photograph, a close-up of Ron Mueck’s sculpture “Two Women”, photographed by Fernando de Sousa.

This photo, blurr and composition, turns the originally “hyper realistic” sculpture in a realistic photograph. To me it comes closer how your sense of vision perceives our environment.

Back to my own models. It’s sanding time (very dusty, by the way):

Josiane Keller - sanding

Josiane Keller “sanding” (2015)


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sunrise movie

March 26, 2015

Josiane Keller - sunsetsunset movie

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Back to real

March 26, 2015


All photographs and texts on this website are the copyrighted property of their authors.
No part of this website or its content may be copied or reproduced without its author’s permission.

Thank you. Remember: texts included. You’re welcome to ask, though. Thanks again.


Back to real life on this planet, as perhaps it applies to many more of us. Pretty boring. Some of it happy, some of it sad.

Sun down:

Josiane Keller - road in sunset

Josiane Keller “road in sunset” (2015)

and up again:

Josiane Keller - sunrise with green lights

Josiane Keller “sunrise with green lights” (2015)

local talent:

Josiane Keller - Aurelian's drawing wheelchair cup holder

Josiane Keller “Aurelian’s drawing wheelchair cup holder” (2015)

now, for now:

Josiane Keller - Mark laughing in March

Josiane Keller “Mark laughing in March” (2015)

when shit hits the fan .. .

Josiane Keller - cancer meds

Josiane Keller “cancer meds” (2015)

in spring:

Josiane Keller - green yellow houses

Josiane Keller “green yellow houses” (2015)

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March 26, 2015

This is the colour of the skin of my friend who is dying of bone cancer, as it was on March 25th 2015.


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Colour diary: WHITE 2532015 – reflection

March 25, 2015

This looks like an empty post depending on the background color of your computer screen, but it is actually WHITE. Please view explanation at the bottom of the post.



This BLOG is a work in progress. It is not my main work, that would be the images I am making, but it started as a production diary to communicate the progress of work I was doing in collaboration with a group of people too far to see otherwise.

I kept writing it since as a production diary of other work I made later and as a form of note- and sketchbook. Since its beginning I went through various stages in my life, because I am also teaching art and at times working on collaborations and commissions.

I originally wrote about artwork in relation to the work produced in the collaboration that started the BLOG, to demonstrate its context to contemporary and historical artwork. I am sharing my time between various very different places and depending to the specific situation where I am at the moment my circumstances may be vastly different.

In 2013 I went through a period of working on several commissions. Two out of three were extremely enriching to my own work and and worthwhile the effort, although the budget was limited and the pay was low. One seemed to turn more and more turned into a collaboration, the boundaries of these project stretched and its nature constantly transformed, whilst I was involved in it. To my knowledge this project is still, seven years after it had been started, not completed.

I was open for this at the time as I was younger and mainly experimenting with animated film projects, that demands a great deal of networking. At the time I was also very interested in street art and followed various other artists and their progress. I was not experienced enough to realize that a constantly transforming project with no real end in sight has not been thought through enough. It will probably always lack clarity to communicate its real concerns to an audience and most likely in the end fail as an artwork. Ironically so the particular project had a realistic budget and my salary had been the reason why I had agreed to it. I learned from that experience, if affordable at all, the pay should not be the indicator if one takes on a commission or not.

Where in 2013 I would agree to many projects partially for the fun of being a part of it and used to be very active in community projects I have now moved away from this, also to have more time concentrating on my own work. I am still open for commissioned work as well as occasional collaborations, but my expectations towards other art projects have become more critical than they were two years ago.

I have come across people who hide some very negative motivations in seemingly comical or banal imagery. I have also come across people who seem to create deliberately offense and conflict in order to realize their own agenda, may it be just drawing attention to their persona, than the artwork they produced, that in such a case generally lacks quality. I am no longer open to just about anything that promises the fun of being part of a communal artwork irrelevant its artistic qualities.

I started a new project, and at the moment I am not sure if it will turn into a more important body of work or stay only on this BLOG as visual note-taking. The project is a COLOUR diary and it involves not only lens-based media but also photoshop.

I am taking a photograph of an important scene of the day and chose with the photoshop color picker function a colour from this photograph, with which I then fill in a specific area of dimensions.

This is the colour WHITE that resembles for me isolation, clarification and new beginnings.


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Germanwing plane crash Dienstag 24. Maerz 2015

March 24, 2015




New project – ten trees in the park – collaboration project about sharing time and “thank you for your time”

March 24, 2015

For the next project I need a nice rural image, meadow with some oak trees.

Luckily there are plenty of them around me, if one knows where to look, that is, not just so in the open. (That would be nice! But better than nothing.)

The trick is to get the dimensions right and to avoid hikers or their dogs running through. It can be good, in some rare occasions, but in most cases it is not ideal.

There will be a surprise artist coming along for the next photo-shoot in two weeks, at least that is the plan right now, and her project is somewhat similar to the now so much discussed last one. The project she is working on is accompanying various people (free of charge) along on an occupation they usually do with another person.

I love it, also love the idea of meeting someone and connecting through an occupation together, sharing with each other, but of course, as long as we have not done it yet nobody knows what the future beholds.

She will come along for a photo-shot, which is great. Usually I grab my own people, who are ‘trained through experience’, so there is another difference: it is not quite something for the ‘untrained’, but then again I will provide basic training on the day, and after all it is not difficult.

For now I need the right scenery. Here some tree test shots:

Josiane Keller - ten trees

Josiane Keller “ten trees” (2015)

Hmmm. Not easy. The leaves on the ground are in my way. Or might be. But we will see, perhaps with combined forces I can come up with something decent.

This artist ends her communication with “I’m really looking forward to our time.” It may only be a casual phrase, but the expression of valuing other people’s time invested in her own art project and the will to support this is making her very sympathetic to me.

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Brief interlude – superspam

March 23, 2015


Haven’t read my spam in a while, today I took the time, as I had just 7 of them, and came across this little gem, too precious to just delete it before sharing:

“Hello, guys!

This locate is extraordinary to me. I have never tried such things, so I don’t in actuality be aware what to write. Anyway…
I’m Jessica. I’m unmarried and I believe abandoned and abandoned. I would like to meet an attractive and ingenious guy to making up dour relations. No swift-flowing relations! I don’t call for to be forward. So, do not force on me. I only after to contain a season or two to find at fault whether we liking costume each other.
I’m shrewd and off-the-wall, and diverse reveal that I’m graceful cute. I give birth to lots of entertaining things to tell you about.
If you are interested charter out’s try and find into public notice how we will take care of it. I hope we’ll net elevated benefits from our fellowship.”

‘No swift-flowing relations’, that’s right! Make sure you wear liking costume when you date her, or it will be one season only, even though she is shrewd, off-the-wall and gracefully cute. AND: she gives birth, and lots of that, to entertaining things.
(Just like me!)

Oh well.


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Why can’t it be about my gaze? A new figure, photographer Nina Leen and “the male gaze” versus “a woman’s viewpoint”

March 20, 2015

 Josiane Keller - new figure

Josiane Keller “new figure” (2015)

Finally, I am working on a new figure. (How fun! – No irony, btw. The figure-making, when I get to it, is incredibly enjoyable.) So far it doesn’t look like much, but I admit I have a fortune cookie wisdom on my laptop sticking that reads “Begin… the rest is easy.”  That should tell you all there is to know…

I spent a lot of time as I placed an ad in a certain photography magazine and… they messed it up. How, do not even ask. So after a lot of flipping and fighting I get a new ad, which will be a little odd, one weird one and one hopefully nice one, this time. This is where for example the Dutch designer Gerrit Noordzij’s could be most helpful.

Anyways, now I will write about the male gaze”. Unless you are refurnishing a strip-club, a most peculiar topic, if you ask me. But I am no man. And that is EXACTLY THE POINT.
(Here, I will make a “point”, right here, look:        That is a point, see? Fine, I stop goofing around and will try to explain…)

Recently I had a tiny review written about my work, the person writing it, God bless, was specifically interested in the “Haifischflossen”-album. His original text had a headline that read: work on “women’s issues, and the male gaze” and as explanation he stated, ‘feminist theory being a main interest of his’ and further “the inclusion of provocative and distorted semi-nude hand-made models definitely strikes that chord for me.”

He further explained the part of my artist statement had lead him to this:

“A project on ‘women’ as well as ‘photographs of women’, dealing with clichés and facts on both.
I am interested in the questions:
- why are we taking photographs of women?
- what is the difference of men taking photographs of women versus women taking photographs of women?”

Stop right there. Go back to “perspective” and “stand point”. Start again. Drive the opposite direction.

Why can’t it be about my gaze?

I can see why he would think so. But then again, if my work should be about “the male gaze” then one could also say, since I went a few years ago doing my duty and went to the Louvre staring at the “Mona Lisa”, the “Mona Lisa” is about “the gaze of Josiane Keller”. There, I am staring right at her, it must be about my gaze, right? I have been staring since minutes now.
I am not sure, (how could anyone be sure of anything, anyways?), but I assume it is not. 

Leonardo da Vinci - Mona Lisa - 1503 - 1505

Leonardo da Vinci “Mona Lisa” (1503/1505)

It certainly is about Leonardo da Vinci’s gaze, that I think would be safe to assume. And famously so, in this particular case, the painting is also about the model’s gaze (Lisa del Giocondo), since the model somewhat looks back at the artist and makes eye-contact. Eye-contact to some is interpreted as an invitation or even a provocation, for example silver-back gorillas are said to have this reaction. (That was mean, I totally admit it. Sorry. But I don’t take it back.)

Let’s make one thing clear: I am most grateful to anyone, who is interested in my work, and I am very happy, if they find it triggers any of their own interests, and I even more grateful to anyone who is willing to even write about my work! Absolutely and how wonderful!!! But I would really like it very much, if people who write about other people’s work do keep in mind, that they can’t possibly “just know” what it is about and for that reason I would go the easy route and please make the effort and ask the artist, instead of assuming, even if you are very sure you still might get it wrong after all.
There are people out there publishing “interviews”, what they understand by that is they write some text up that reads very beautifully and elegant, questions by the interviewer, answer by the artist, they almost include description of little laughs and gestures. Then they send it to the artist for an “OK” one night prior to publication.
I am not joking, that really happened to me, and since then I am very suspicious of “interviews” with artists published anywhere really, that read so very nice and elegantly.

It is extremely bad journalism and I honestly do not understand why in the field of fine arts the rules should be any different from other journalism. All their lives long artists, or at least me, spend so much time effort and money to clarify what they are really thinking, over and over again, re-thinking, re-evaluation and finding good ways to communicate that visually. And all of a sudden, just because one was lucky enough to get a review somewhere, one is supposed to be so endlessly grateful that all that should not matter anymore, and one is happy to throw it all overboard only to give the reviewer’s ego a chance to write about whatever he anyways wanted to write about, no matter if it actually applies or not?

I care very much about in what context my work is being represented, because it is a lot about context and lesser so about pretty pictures, in fact the problem is: I am trying to communicate a certain context in images. Of course then that is a form of abstraction, and that can be interpreted or mis-interpreted, and that leaves space for misunderstandings. But if you take my intentions away and use my work to communicate something what I had not in mind saying through it, which is easily done in i.e. an article, then you practically hijacked my work. I am awfully sorry, but as far as I am able to stop such bad art-journalism if it applies to my work, I will do that. If you have no interest in what my work is about then do not feature it.
If you have an interest in making an “interview” with me then PLEASE ask me, I am happy to answer truthfully to all your questions, which you are happy to publish; PLEASE do not override what I say. No matter how badly you wish to write about this or that other topic that interests you and you thought it could fit with it, but ultimately doesn’t. If the urge to express your own issues is so pressing, please have the guts and become a free-lance writer, where you can write about whatever you please.

Or another, maybe even more interesting alternative: IF you think you wish to write about my work and at the same time want to write about a specific topic you are very much interested in, and you think it may (or may not) have anything to do with my work, then set up a real interview. I will happily make myself available for that, and it will probably take less time and work that composing an essay based on things harvested from e-mail communication or web statements made here and there over time, that ultimately do not belong together. Or, even more easy: write all your points down in a questionnaire and send it, and I will fill it in and send it back well in time prior to publication.
[*But do not ask me to send material and then fabricate a “fake” interview written as if we had a lively discussion, you asking, me responding, if that did not take place, even if you are very much convinced you know what I would have replied. There are probably plenty of people out there who are able to write in a language way more elegant and intellectual than I ever could, but it is still not reason to hijack a place that people assume was mine to explain myself. Sounds bizarre, but indeed has happened to me once, see above.]

Instead of bickering, let’s try another one, (I am really not here to insult people, but I am trying to explain something.) So for example Ingres is always big on eye-contact:

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres - La Grande Odalisque - 1814

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres “La Grande Odalisque” (1814)

(Sexy, isn’t she? Well, at least I think she is sexy…) Anyways (- although NOT anyways:  sexy or not sexy does play a role in this discussion!), so this painting about… what? Ingres’ gaze, and the model’s gaze.
Does it count to conclude: everyone who looked at this pictures then can be counted in the list of people and their specific gender this painting is allegedly about?

But this painting was not created free-lance, it is a commission, and it was commissioned by a woman: Napoleon’s younger sister, Queen Caroline Murat of Naples (or full title: Marie Annonciade Caroline Murat, née Bonaparte).


And the lady was married twice with children. Why possibly would a woman, who is not even openly gay, want to look at a sexy naked lady, and so badly that she orders one painted by an expensive painter? Oh dear, how terribly confusing! What does it mean?
So, now that everyone is successfully confused… let’s briefly go back to the statement this writer made, one of his main interests is “feminist theory”.

Wiki knows this: “Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. (…)”


I hesitate calling myself a “feminist”. I live at several different communities not exactly at the same time, but shortly after each other, for various reasons. These communities vary very much from one to the other and living like that has probably clarified my own identity much more than if I had stayed only in one and the same place.

The situation of women within society varies very much from place to place as well as time to time as well as women in general. At some place I experience a relatively clear inequality between genders, at other not so much, but by changing my environment automatically I gain a different position, more disconnected on focusing on who I am outside of any community. If I am not clear about that my life style would be very stressful.  Also my own age and stage within society changes.
Luckily, for once currently I do not feel so suppressed that feminist topics would be so pressing for me to base my main work on this topic.
And further, I am very much opposed to labels that in some ways put things into context, but then also limit work and people to grow beyond that when it is time and stay within boundaries that I find more more stifling than clarifying.

To be honest, the term “feminism” creeps me out a bit. I am not sure if I understood it all, as at the time it was big I was a tiny girl spending most of my time on trees in the woods. By now, as a grown up woman, it seems to be like, let’s stick to the woods for the sake of making an analogy, I was walking around freely in the forest, and right there, when I pass up that huge fir tree, I see that clearing, there is a strange set-up of a kind I have never seen before. So I go a little bit closer, and there is a stick, and some branches and leaves on the floor and over that hangs from a string a frilly apron, dangling in the wind. And I make a step towards the whole thing and reach my hand out to take a closer look, as I have actually never before seen a frilly apron, and whooommm, I fall into some form of booby trap. Once inside some strange people jump out of the bushes and grab me, stick me in a built-in kitchenette and leave me there for life, with nothing but a filled fridge, a book shelf full of how-to-decorate-muffins-books and a husband, who does customer service in the main office of a bicycle courier company.

Currently I don’t care so much about men or about their gaze. Let me re-phrase that: if I take a nude-photograph, posing with a funny (or is it?) sign-board in my hands, and this particular photograph sky-rockets my site views and the source of these particular views are sex-related sites and online-dating sites then I might after careful consideration chose to take this photograph down again from my website, because although the sociological experiment I never intended to make, but that took place more by default, was very fruitful and gave me new insights about men that at the same time I am only to a very tiny level, if at all, interest in, then perhaps my work to some extent does have something to do with ‘the male gaze’.

But I do not make it intentionally for that, it happens by default. In fact, after I found that out I did take the particular photograph off my site, as I feel we already know that sexual attraction is a very powerful motivation for all things living, but at the same times there are other topics to research on as well, that currently I am more interested in.

I am truly interested in why take a photograph and the fetish-effect a photograph does take on, which does also include the option of being a sexual fetish, but that is not my main interest at all, and if there is a difference in taking a photograph of a living person versus taking a photograph of a doll of a person.

The question I am asking is: can one say my work is about ‘the male gaze’, only because men may look at it even if I did not intend to make the work for specifically men to look at it?

In reality I think it is very important to stick to this part of my artist statement:

- why are we taking photographs of women?
- what is the difference of men taking photographs of women versus women taking photographs of women?”

But doing so, when looking at my photography depicting women, even naked ones, particularly my constructed photography, for which I make the models myself, keep in mind in the first instance I am a woman. I am the same (gender) that is depicted in my pictures, not ‘the opposite gender’Hans Bellmer and Morton Bartlett both created female dolls based on the idea of “the object of their desire”. But Mark Hogencamp builds a city (“Marwencol”) populated with men and women, interesting enough the women-dolls saving the doll symbolizing himself. There are practically no male dolls in my constructed photography.

As a woman I go through different stages in my live and make various typical, perhaps even stereo-typical life experiences, childhood, youth, sexuality, the question of beauty, childbearing, relationships, age. And when I take my clothes off, I swear to God, under these clothes is a totally naked women, what a surprise! Every morning looking in the mirror in the bathroom I am so surprised and my upstairs neighbours can hear me shout: “Oh my God! There is a naked woman in my bathroom!” No, fooled you. My upstairs neighbours leave the house before me, they can’t hear anything.
I fully admit, whilst I actually do spend some thought on not annoying my neighbours, I simply do not think so much about the situation of men in general. Sorry about that. Then again, why should I care?, I am a woman.

There are plenty of male artists out there, that make tons of art about men and a man’s world, and I would not even be able to name any who is willing and able to make art-world about “women’s world” making an effort to portray it from a “woman’s viewpoint” and why would he?

Why should I be any different from that? What do I care what men think and feel, I am sure they will try to communicate some of it to me and then I can discuss, but I am not making artwork that automatically comes from a viewpoint of another person’s situation, that would be a man’s situation, even if I depict something that seems particularly interesting to men.

Josiane Keller - breast

Josiane Keller “breast” (2014)

I am making images about “my world” from “my viewpoint”, naturally that is “a woman’s viewpoint”, but it is also “a human’s viewpoint”. Same as men make work that comes from a “man’s viewpoint” and can also come from “a human’s viewpoint”. 
Besides the work in the “Haifischflossen”-project, I am not always dealing with the SELF and my own gender. I make other work with different topics and at times, when there is the chance, do shared projects, where I am trying to express the situation of others, for exactly the reason to try and relate to others. For instance the “Each reflection”-project would be a project I was making specifically about the experience of other people, in this case street youth, and I tried my very best to go as far as possible to merge into their feelings, experiences and conclusions, as if they were my own, trying to take my ego completely out of the process as much as that is even possible and making myself deliberately a tool for the participants in this project in order to express something through the images we come up with combined forces together, exactly the way they would want to say it to as close as possible to that:


I try the same thing when I interview someone, I make a conscious effort not to use another person’s work or statements a vehicle for my own concerns, although naturally so it happens often enough, and some artists out there do not mind and some welcome it. Personally, particularly in the situation of being interviewed I do not like that to happen, same as if at all possible I try not to allow it to happen with interviews about my own work, that is why I always double-check with people if they are happy with what I wrote and I wish people interviewing me would do so, too. At the end of the day (* a very British expression!) one can’t know for sure what another person is about.

I am only saying, even if you are a man, and have certain ways of approaching life, do not forget to consider that work made by a woman may be not about the same topic as if you as men would have made work that might look similar.

Which finally brings me to the gorgeous photographs of LIFE photographer Nina Leen,


who has a show coming up at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York from March 26 through May 15:


and so there are currently articles about are spooking around the internet, for example this one:




and then:


so she is “surreal”, “mysterious” and “weird” . Is she? Perhaps I don’t get it.

Nina Leen - Miami 1955

Nina Leen “Miami” (1955)

Is that a photograph about “the male gaze” or “the female gaze” or what is this about?

How about this one: male or female gaze, or any gaze, really?

Nina Leen - Teenagers at a party, Tulsa, OK, 1947

Nina Leen “Teenagers at a party, Tulsa, OK” (1947)

To me it she a woman, taking pictures of people, some of them being women. Or photographs of women in situations, to me very much from “a woman’s viewpoint” (as opposed to “the male gaze”):

Nina Leen - with model

Nina Leen /LIFE magazine “with model” (date unknown*)

Then she did this series on the dancer Margaret Severn:

Nina Leen - Mask Dances (Margaret Severn)

Nina Leen “Mask Dances /Margaret Severn” (date unknown*)

Unfortunately despite my best efforts I can’t seem to come up with a reliable *date for these ‘mask dance’-photographs, but since Margaret Severn did her mask dance around 1921 I guess the photographs must stem from about this period, too.


By the way, compare this gorgeous picture of hers, again showing Margaret Severn with mask: 

Nina Leen - mask dance by Margaret Severn

Nina Leen / LIFE magazine “mask dance by Margaret Severn” (date unknown*)

coincidentally similar, compare with:

Josiane Keller - Agnes with mask

Josiane Keller “Agnes with mask” (date known: 2014)

Listen also to Margaret Severn, talk about the masks and the dance in this video: 


Interesting: a female dancer, using masks.

Here you can see some more mask photos from this series:


So far about this for now. Surely more will come up, but enough for tonight, I am going to bed. Happy Spring 2015, male and female gazers!

In this context, one more thing: my ‘prostitutes’- photographs:


are in the first instance not literally about ‘prostitution’ as in the sense of ‘sex-work’, nor are they exclusively only about ‘women’, or even ‘women’s issues’ , but instead they are about the ‘discrepancy an artist may or may not find himself or herself be in, attempting to market one’s work and having to put up with quite a lot of loss of control, to various extents’, where to draw the line is up to the individual artist. That would include for example being confronted with a review that does not seem to truly represent the artist’s concerns for whatever reason that may be, but because an artist is generally in great need to get publication and exposure of any form in order to work as professional artist he or she may easily accept these kind of situations that otherwise he or she might object to.

In connection to this problem I am planning my next project to be on “Circus Life”, similar issue: the partially ridiculous tricks artists find themselves doing to show and market their work. Coincidentally again Nina Leen took a gorgeous series of photographs featuring female (damn, again that bloody male gaze!!) Circus artists, for example this one here:

Nina Leen for LIFE-  Ringling Brothers - Circus - 1949

Nina Leen /LIFE magazine “Ringling Brothers – Circus” (1949)

(At last I have a date for her work!) Good night for now.


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Interview with typography designer Gerrit Noordzij for TYPO Berlin 2014 on “Roots”

March 18, 2015

Originally I wanted to write a post on “the male gaze” or actually rather questioning it expression in connection with certain photography, but instead I cam across a video-interview with Dutch Typography- designer and teacher Gerrit Noordzij for TYPO Berlin 2014, which I thought is so nice and smart and applicable to all sorts of media, that I decided to post this here for now instead and get back to the “male gaze” later on. Have a look:


He is Dutch and speaks here in German, I had to search for a while to find the settings for English subtitles, which is great so I do not need to translate the whole thing and you can see it here also in English, as it is really very cool and insightful. (It does contain some tiny mistakes, for example “da ist das weg” does not mean “that is the way” but instead it means “it is lost/gone/has been emitted”, even if “Weg” translates to “way”. So perhaps it was translated by a machine or someone not-Native-speaker, anyways, anyways, there are not many mistakes, you’ll get the point.)

Some more info on him here:


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Girl in a diner photos and beginning

March 18, 2015

Two new diner photos with different ideas about colour, this one:

Josiane Keller - sad girl in a diner

Josiane Keller “sad girl in a diner” (2015)

and this one:

Josiane Keller - girl with eyes closed in a diner

Josiane Keller “girl with eyes closed in a diner” (2015)


Meanwhile, time for a new figure. All my figures more or less begin like this:

Josiane Keller - beginning

Josiane Keller “beginning” (2015)

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Tsutomu Otsuka 大塚 努 and an incredible pinhole FLAMINGO フラミンゴ photograph

March 16, 2015

Tsutomu Otsuka - Flamingo(フラミンゴ)

Tsutomu Otsuka 大塚 努 “Flamingo – フラミンゴ (2015)

This beautiful flamingo photograph was taken by highly accomplished Japanese photographer Tsutomu Otsuka 大塚 努,

“freelance photographer, based in Kyoto, and the editor in chief for the Kyoto Photo Press. Usually he uses digital cameras, however he loves medium and large format film cameras as Rolleiflex TLR, Holga 120 PC, Tachihara Fielstand 45II, Holga 120, ZERO Image 4×5, Harman TiTan 4×5 pinhole and Deardorff View 8×10, etc. Also he loves Irish and American roots music.”

This is his homepage:


He is working with pinhole cameras (and other cameras) and also running a very friendly and relaxed facebook group ピンホール写真 (which means exactly that: “Pinhole Photography”), where I found the picture and asked him if I may feature it. If you feel up to it you can join the group. Personally right now I do not use a pinhole camera, but many of the images I take have a similar feel to them, so Mr. Otsuka generously lets me show some it on this pinhole site, which is a great inspiration.

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Under Construction – New Positions in American Photography – Show Opening at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation

March 14, 2015

Oh yes, these Americans (but some here are actually Canadians…) “Under Construction”, brand-new show opening tonight organized by Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (where it was first shown last autumn/winter, that is: in Amsterdam from September to December 2014) and now it is in Brooklyn at Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation:

“… Even though the results of the artists’ individual practices are very diverse, the mentality, methodology and presentation of their work show a number of remarkable similarities. A key characteristic is the investigative attitude they adopt in looking at the photographic image and its representation. All the featured artists are explicitly engaged in a fundamental reassessment of the value and significance of photography in the early 21st century. …”


featuring the following artists (I did my best to describe them in one sentence, it is admittedly very basic description, so if you can’t go in person click on the names and read up on them):

Joshua Citarella, (sorry, I do apologize, but I can’t come up with anything to say about this so fast, I would need to stare at it for a long time, and I simply won’t right now, as yet again it is quite late… I went to art school with people who made that type of work and some of them were fabulous and very deep thinkers, but I am a very different person, probably way more simple and right in the face. For this reason maybe best if you have a look for yourself)

Jessica Eaton, (she is the one with the cubes, which I love, too, and: they chose one of hers as image for the article, but I like this one here better:)

Jessica Eaton - cfaal 346, 2013

Jessica Eaton “cfaal 346″ (2013)

you can buy it here: http://jessicabradleyinc.com/artist/jessica-eaton#postImage[post-3599]/5/

Daniel Gordon, (love his work, very cool, he does collages from paperclips, very bluntly put, check it out! You guessed it: he is my favourite and I did write about him briefly in the past already)

Matthew Leifheit & Cynthia Talmadge, I could not find a website of them, although they do commercial stuff for various magazines and also not commercial stuff, for example strange food topiaries changing the colours in it, you can see some examples here:

Matt Lipps, (well, basically 2D paper-cut outs arranged and photographed, some seem very monumental, long rows of crowded paper people, sometimes graduations from bw to colour, have a look!)

Matthew Porter, (a wild one with all kinds of ideas, also cut outs but also other things, have a look, well anyways have a look at all of them, really!)

Sara Cwynar, (another favourite, particularly her “Floral Arrangement” photos, brilliant!!!)

Kate Steciw, (so she is also one where I could not find a personal website, but I found a very nice article on a show she had in Germany, so I am posting that, she is reformatting stock photos, rearranging them and putting them in different forms into new images together, very interesting as well)

Sara VanDerBeek, (again now website that I could fin, but instead I put the gallery site where she is represented, very busy lady)

So reception is tonight 6-9 pm, but by the time you will read this it will have passed…, you can still go, it is up from: March 14 – April 26, 2015

address is here:

159 Pioneer Street (between Imlay & Conover streets)
Brooklyn, New York 11231
1 718 596 3001

opening times are:    Wed. – Sun., from 12pm – 6pm

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In the kids’ world women don’t get hit. Allegedly. The kind one should hang out with and: ask ME first if it’s OK to caress me

March 13, 2015

In the kids’ world women don’t get hit. Allegedly.

Everyone loves it. Just I think, these boys are not the boys that will hit women and neither are their dads. The boys that will hit women, talk quite differently, and do so also at age 7, 9 and 11, and they will call girls “bitch”, and they live right up my street. Because it’s lovely out here.

(That part is regrettable, as otherwise I could do like the people who made this cute, successful little video, and imagine the world is simple and very nice.)
The boys that are now boys and later on will be men who hit women might then also as men say “you should not hit women”, but after they did it they will say “She provoked it, had she not done xyz, I would not need to hit her”.

They will feel she provoked him, made him feel furious, helpless, loose control.
And some of the women hit by these men will say “Had I not done xyz, then he would not have had a reason to hit me.”

And both sides may even feel helpless and hopeless, and have no clue why they cannot stop it.

The other part I am thinking is, darling little boys, you are mighty cute and I would love any of you when you are grown-ups to be my boyfriend, as surely you are going to be wonderful people, the kind one want’s to hang out with, the kind one should hang out with.

BUT I am also thinking: what kind of kids are that where some grown-ups say to them “do this to her, do that to her”, what do you think of her?caress her, give her a kiss, and they do not even once ask Martina, if she is OK with it.
Martina is a doll with great hair.
(One reason stated not to hit her was “because she is beautiful”. So all the beautiful girls don’t get hit? And is it then OK to hit all the ugly Martinas? I’m just asking as there are guy out there who yell at the women whilst hitting her “You are ugly!” But maybe I’m not getting the point, always a possibility.)

Martina, babe, next time some grown-up stands there and says to the very next boy in front of you “caress her!”, you say to him “Listen buddy, you ask ME first if it’s OK to caress me.”

Excellent advertisement, pushing all the right buttons and yet so crap.
Next time go and talk to boys who’s dads do hit their moms and see what they have to say about it all.
Less cute, that’s for sure, but more close to the issue.

Josiane Keller - the kids are doing okay - letter to Lucasville prison

Josiane Keller “the kids are doing okay – letter to Lucasville prison” (2014)

Josiane Keller - I am so sorry that this happen to you

Josiane Keller “I am so sorry that this happen to you” (2014)

Josiane Keller - The Katz Club - Arson

Josiane Keller “The Katz Club – Arson” (2014)

Josiane Keller - bar six hours after owner was shot dead

Josiane Keller “bar six hours after owner was shot dead” (2014)

Josiane Keller - man with a gun on the playground on Easter Sunday

Josiane Keller “man with a gun on the playground on Easter Sunday” (2014)


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Thinking about hair – from clay, or?

March 12, 2015

And let’s move on. I need to air my head. Make some actual work again, after sending it all over the place.

I am thinking about hair. I am happy with my figure’s skin, but the hair sometimes does not come out quite right.

Super traditional animator’s problem, Studio Laika in Portland (for instance) http://www.laika.com/
has a whole fur&hair department, doing nothing but thinking about ways to make hair look natural for their stop-motion-animation. But they love the crisp and everything at all times in focus look, and I like the Moriyama-Daido-style blurriness, looks more like I really see things, for instance hair. Further, Laika work for kid’s entertainment and so their figures and images have to look ‘cartoony-cute’, which I try to avoid. And then, last not least, they use hair for hair, and I use clay.

So first of all a quick research where it actually worked, for example here:

Josiane Keller - hair from clay 6 times

Josiane Keller “hair from clay 6 times” (2015)

In many cases I seem to have (subconsciously?) avoided the hairy problem, by giving the girls simply very little of it. Then again, once more people get the wrong idea from an overabundance of fashion-shots showing ladies with lion manes, that only look that way after 2 hours+ in make-up&hair, when in reality they have about a third of it. In either case, most difficult seems to create a poofy hair effect with clay. The question is: would using a different material for the hair, for example: hair, improve the outcome or make it look less “real”?

Fellini in one beautiful interview said they were driving to the coast to film the ocean, and didn’t get it right. Then they went to the inner country, passing some vegetable fields covered with large plastic sheets waving in the wind like water-waves. So he filmed that and it worked. That is a general insight with lens-based media, some things in front of the lens are absolutely real, but they do not look real and the best lens makes it sometimes even worse. After all how much really do the best lens on earth and the human eye have still in common? We shot way over the goal, decades ago.

So I am trying to take a couple of steps backwards and try to find that point when it somewhat looked right, (probably when cameras were at pinhole standard).

Anyways, it is yet again way beyond midnight, and although my work time has somewhat swapped to a form of night-shift I am so tired right now I could not care less about the solution to great clay hair and will fall into a bed, if I find one and make it in time. Alternatively I will sleep at my desk, that’s fine, too.


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Brief interlude from all the photostuff, let’s sing a song – or two (Jimi Hendrix /Little Wing, Pearl Jam /Yellow Ledbetter)

March 11, 2015

I have been spending a lot of time on what can be summed up as “marketing” the recent weeks. Well. Time for a song. Two songs!

Jimi Hendrix “Little Wing”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03yPUlBE5OU

and whilst were still swooning, that one too, Pearl Jam “Yellow Ledbetter”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs8y3kneqrs

And for those of you who have to make everything themselves, this one by Ukejon “Little Wing” (that will give you something to do for the afternoon, practice, practice, practice!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFGYieVSzew

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Post with FilterPhoto on Image 37 – Haifischflossen

March 10, 2015

… which you can read and look at here:


Very nice, thank you! :-)

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The doll as a mask – (self-)portraits with Agnes and Vicky – Part II – bathroomism

March 8, 2015

Oh how very popular are these aesthetically (and otherwise) pleasant bathroom-nudes!

To explore just a little bit more the topic of “the doll as a mask” I couldn’t help myself and had to try this as well.

Josiane Keller - portrait with Agnes' right eye and Vicky in the bathroom 2

Josiane Keller “portrait with Agnes’ right eye and Vicky in the bathroom 2″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - portrait with Agnes 2 and Agnes in the tub

Josiane Keller “portrait with Agnes 2 and Agnes in the tub” (2015)

 Josiane Keller - portrait with Agnes' right eye and Agnes in the tub

Josiane Keller “portrait with Agnes’ right eye and Agnes in the tub” (2015)

Ahh, those quiet winter afternoons in the cottage… tacky, tacky bathroomism. Anyways, back to more work…

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The doll as a mask – (self-)portraits with Agnes and Vicky in the tradition of Hans Bellmer, Morton Bartlett and Mark E. Hogancamp

March 7, 2015

Meanwhile I am applying to more shows and printing more work to … finally: sell it! I mean hopefully, well, I posted on that already, there is a difference between a good photograph and one that people want to buy, frame and hang up in their space. We will see.

I am goofing around, hailing the God of Procrastination, but through play mankind has gained this or the other essential insight in life on earth….

Josiane Keller - portrait with Agnes' left eye in color

Josiane Keller “portrait with Agnes’ left eye in color” (2015)

Josiane Keller - portrait with Agnes 2

Josiane Keller “portrait with Agnes 2″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - portrait with Vicky and Agnes' right eye

Josiane Keller “portrait with Vicky and Agnes’ right eye” (2015)

I am the doll!!!  – Harharharharhar!!! (There is a spooky movie out right now about that topic…) Actually, these are still one size smaller than what I hope to sell. Scale (in relation to a human) is very essential to what I am trying to do. Time for an essential insight:

It is true: making figures (dolls) as models in my photography I am connecting to the tradition of Hans Bellmer and Morton Bartlett or more recently Mark E. Hogancamp, however, being a woman myself and making mainly dolls of women or animals, the dolls in my work have become also a mask and a double when needed, that grant me the space and also distance necessary to engage in and investigate questions that, as I found out with my nude-modeling series from last year, would leave me no safe arena to exhibit and discuss in public.

And: a doll is a model or stand-in for i.e. a human being. Also a photograph is a form of “doll” or stand-in for what or who it depicts and there are various reasons and purposes to create them. Constructed photographs are “dolls of photographs”.

Perhaps you ask now, ‘OK, that is all fine, but the faces are already bigger than a human head, so why did she say it has to be even bigger?’ The thing is: I want to create images that express our visual memory and that is not always according to measurements with a tape measure. So a tad larger it would resemble for example how we remember the face of a loved-one. Or  to go even dramatically further: the face of our mother when she leaned over the crib. (Well, I should speak for myself when it comes to ‘seeing’: how I could remember it.)


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“Colour burst”-show at PH21Gallery in Budapest and ‘Honourable mention’ for “Lee in a green dress”

March 7, 2015

The online review of PH21 Gallery is done and up online, so I am posting it here as well, since Lee won a “Honourable mention” with “Lee in a green dress / at an art opening”:

Josiane Keller - Lee in a green dress (at an art opening)

Josiane Keller “Lee in a green dress /at an art opening” (2014)

“… Josiane Keller’s Lee in a green dress (at an art opening) captures an impression of shapes and colours. The dark background draws our attention to the tones of the washed out hair and the green patches of the dress, and we are gently transferred into a dreamy state of perceiving just the bare coloured essence of a place and a figure. …”
(Zsolt Bátori)

and Josette got in as well with “Josette waiting”:

Josiane Keller - Josette waiting

Josiane Keller “Josette waiting” (2014)

There is also a catalog, which can be ordered on the website.



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“This is great, but I wouldn’t want it in my living room” – an arresting vintage picture by Larry Clark from the “Tulsa” series, Antoine D’Agata over the sofa and ‘are you experienced?’

March 6, 2015

So the lucky, lucky first prize brought along an invitation to sell my work, particularly the award-winning Madeleine- series in their online site.

So far, so good. In terms of ‘what is a good photograph?’, I think this series is very successful and probably can be counted in the group of best pictures I have taken so far. BUT.

From my painting/ceramic I am well familiar with the sentence “This is great, but I wouldn’t want it in my living room”. …

Josiane Keller - Madeleine standing behind the door looking out 2 (closed ward)

Josiane Keller “Madeleine standing behind the door looking out 2 /closed ward” (2015)

There are many other excellent photographs out there, by very impressive artists, with VERY GRIM subject matter. Interestingly enough: they seem to be in high demand. I am clearly lacking experience, I fully admit it.

For instance the famous “Tulsa” album: how did Larry Clark do it?

Larry Clark - Untitled

Larry Clark “Untitled” (1963)

This photograph by grand-master Larry Clark is for sale, for example online through this site ARTSPACE: size is 11.00″ x 14.00″ (27.9 cm x 35.6 cm), edition of 25, for the prize of $10,000


here is the description with it:

“This arresting vintage picture belongs to photographer Larry Clark’s legendary “Tulsa” series. Here, the image borders on the shocking, as an intimate scene—a young man’s bath—is not only treated as an opportunity for drug use but is also candidly captured by the nearby photographer.”

Very arresting, indeed.

Here is what they say on Larry Clark:

“Larry Clark made his name with the landmark book of documentary photographs Tulsa in 1973. His grainy black-and-white images of youths in his hometown shooting drugs, engaging in sex, and inflicting violence on one another spoke a truth rarely acknowledged at the time. Clark’s work since then has traced the lurid and deviant lives of teenagers with disturbing and controversial results. In 1995, Clark released the shocking film Kids, intent on showing the media’s effect on youth culture while reveling in the pure, immersive, and unfettered experience of young people. Clark’s work has influenced later photographers like Terry Richardson and Ryan McGinley, and independent filmmaker Gus Van Sant.

In 1973, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Clark with a Photographers’ Fellowship, and in 2005 he received an International Photography Lucie Award. A major retrospective of his work was held in 2010 at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in France.”

It ships in 10 to 14 business days from New York. This work is final sale and not eligible for return.

Larry Clark has, as it seems, no website, but wiki knows this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Clark

So I want to know, what do people do after they purchase an image like the above. Will they put it anywhere on permanent display in their house, or will they keep it in a box or portfolio and look at it only occasionally, or never and only purchase it to re-sell it in a while for profit?

I really do not know, but I am very interested.

Larry Clark was also famously teaching Antoine D’Agata at ICP, but that was years ago.

Antoine D’Agata’s info would be here: http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL53T_6

Antoine d'Agata - Sans titre (Phnom Penh,Cambodge), 2008

Antoine D’Agata “Sans titre /Phnom Penh, Cambodge” (2008)

Another one of these arresting photographs. You can buy it here: http://www.fillesducalvaire.com/fr/32/Antoine-d-Agata/works/1000

Then where will it go? Please tell me.

Recently Antoine D’Adagata was teaching a workshop in Arles “In the limits of the photographic act” and it said in the info:

“participants must be ready to photograph intensively throughout the workshop and to extend the limits of their approach. They will have to confront their obsessions and contradictions as they shape a series of images conveying in real or fictional terms their private relationship with the world.”


I was scared and didn’t go.

Sounds like Antoine D’Agata wants that his students do experience their pictures. Which it itself is a great thing, but a fish is a fish and bird is a bird, and one workshop won’t turn a fish into a bird or vice versa.
Further, my life is bizarre enough as is, and without ever shooting up full of obsessions and contradictions. I try not to let it hang out and I definitely try not to push the envelope, but when it comes to something like the “Madeleine”-series, well, I guess you get what you see and no less. Not exactly the a-bunch-of-kiddies-in-the-daisy-meadow-type of pictures. If you overlooked that because it’s only little figures, well, see above, I don’t see much point in rubbing things into people’s faces. You ever see or you don’t. The question is not so much ‘is it a good picture?’ but more so ‘who would buy it and then do what with it?’

Time will tell.

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Constructed photography: galloping horses and a brief sentimental moment

March 5, 2015

Just so relaxing, running horses (even if from clay):

Josiane Keller - black horses running #84

Josiane Keller “black horses running #84″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - black horses running #88

Josiane Keller “black horses running #88″ (2015)

Maybe I should give the naked ladies a break and concentrate on my horses for a while…?

Stills from the film “I anyways live until I die / Part V: Galloping Horses (adult life)”:


by the way:

Josiane Keller - no title

 no title

I wish he were mine… but he isn’t. Oh well.

Back to work.

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Fair Pony 2 versus Fair Pony 4: how to drive yourself and everyone around you crazy

March 4, 2015

Life is back to normal: crazy.

Here is a good home receipt how to drive yourself and everyone around you completely crazy.

Take a favourite photograph you took, ideally a while ago. Revisit it, so to speak. Think to yourself “this is very good, but it could be a tad better if I work it over just that tiny little bit it needs to be, well, fabulous”.

(Don’t use the word “fabulous” in connection with your own work when people can hear you, as they will think you are totally nuts and full of yourself. Use it in moderation and only quietly in your head when you have been procrastinating longer than 24h and need to give yourself that necessary kick to get going.)

Change the photograph a tiny bit, make some prints. Compare with the original version. Go through your folders and drag all versions out you ever made, also those you already dismissed back when you first took it as not good enough for whatever reason.

Put all prints in a row and stare at them for half an hour. Realize you are no longer able to see any difference, although you know there is a difference. Go have a coffee for ten minutes, then go back to more staring.

Then go search some friends or family members. Approach them casually, so they don’t suspect anything and won’t escape in time. Use the sentence “Can I quickly ask you a question? It will only take a second!”

Ask them. Once one person made a choice say “Thank you sooo much!”, then take the whole selection and drag it in front of other people until you have roughly an equal amount speaking up for either version of your print.

Discuss with them in all detail why they prefer whichever they prefer. Do not let them get away with “I don’t know why, I just like it better!” Insist on an explanation. Doing so will help them sharpening their awareness.

Take a brief mental break from it all by allegedly agreeing with one side of your audience and tell yourself this side has chosen wisely and that (any, really) is the better picture.

Then, after a minute is over, question your judgement and that of the people you have been bugging now since an hour+ and realize how wrong you all were and that actually the other print is miles ahead of the chosen one in quality, expression, everything really and only a blind person could not notice that.

Start over. Do not go to bed til at least 2am after midnight.

The next morning get up around 5am and sneak into your studio, keep going. Never ever stop asking, a real good artist never stops asking questions and it is also perfectly fine for a real good artist to be actually or considered by his surrounding to be a bit or very crazy. It adds to the mystique. Never ever give up!

So, after I explained that, which one is better? Have a look:

Josiane Keller - Fair Pony 2

Josiane Keller “Fair Pony 2″ (2012)

or this one:

Josiane Keller - Fair Pony 4

Josiane Keller “Fair Pony 4″ (2012)

Can someone please tell me….?

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Brief Interlude: 1st Prize at INTERACTION competition with Unlimited Grain Gallery

March 2, 2015

Today I got the extremely happy news I won 1st Prize at the “Interaction” competition staged by Unlimited Grain Gallery near Rotterdam in Holland: http://www.unlimitedgrain.com/

I had to fish around online a bit to get the right link, found it at last:


Funny enough, since I submitted two series, I am currently not quite sure which one won, I think it was the “Madeleine”-series, but I also sent some of the “Prostitute” album.

Josiane Keller - Madeleine standing behind the door looking out 2 (closed ward)

Josiane Keller “Madeleine standing behind the door looking out 2 /closed ward” (2015)


Josiane Keller - Suzie negotiating

Josiane Keller “Suzie negotiating” (2014)

I guess I will find out very soon. *

*Actually it turns out: the winning pictures are the Madeleine -series, you can see more of them in the “Haifischflossen”-category:


In any case I am a bit shell shocked and very glad, proud, excited, all that, particularly as I had earlier sent some work to this gallery, because I particularly liked the work and photographers they represent and I wanted to see if I could get them to look at my work. They had a look at my website and told me I should submit to one of their upcoming themed shows.

I was not even sure if I could manage, explaining to them unless I would send work made earlier because I am creating my own models from ceramic it takes a while to complete them and I had only two weeks time til submission deadline. So to come up with something good, make it in time, get in and win, on top of that first prize, that I really very amazing.

Enough bliss for today, I am off to bed.

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Brief interlude on yet another ice-cold grey winter day: the correct positioning of a gallerist giving a talk during a group show

March 1, 2015

… is demonstrated right here:

ph21 gallery - with Zsolt Batori and Gábor Arion Kudász

ph21 gallery “with Zsolt Batori and Gábor Arion Kudász” (2015)

for more info click this link:  http://www.ph21gallery.com/#!colour/c7z1

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Today in Geneva @HEAD events: De-Privileging Art School

February 27, 2015

If you are there now, well, then you can listen to this (lucky bastards!):

ARtFUnSHACK Performance, Evan Ifekoya

ARtFUnSHACK Performance, Evan Ifekoya
© Angela Dennis


27 February 2015 (that’s today)

Conference Room
Haute école d’art et de design–Genève
Bd James-Fazy 15, CH-1201 Genève

from 18h to 20h15 (starting in about two hours, so if you get going now, granted you are in Geneva right now, you can still make it!)

Here is what you get:

This twin-lecture focuses on practices of (de-)privileging art schools and sheds light on research done on privilege and elitism from a critical feminist and postcolonial theory’s perspective. The first lecture by Fabienne Dumont (École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne EESAB, Quimper) will look at privilege and practices of de-privilge in art schools in France. The second presentation by Evan Ifekoya (performance artist, London) und Rudy Loewe (visual artist, London) will explore antisexist and antiracist methods.
Fabienne Dumont, École Européenne Supérieure d’Art de Bretagne EESAB, Quimper
Evan Ifekoya & Rudy Loewe, artists performer, London
Round Table Moderators:
Lysianne Léchot, Professor, Dean of Studies, HEAD – Genève
Carmen Mörsch, Director, Institute of Art Education, ZHdK

De-Privileging Art School, what a wonderful topic! Don’t get me even started…. Art school, art market, art galleries, art conventions, art competitions, art curators, art school professors (I mean you, Dr. Diamond!) and so on.

Maybe just go, if you are nearby.


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Four expectable photographs and why is it sad when Bambi’s mother gets shot?

February 25, 2015

Faceblindness, nearsightedness and seeing in categories – why do we see what we see? Categories: nature, nude, portrait, travel, wild life, a poor memory according to Lewis Carroll, four expectable photographs and why is it sad when Bambi’s mother gets shot?

On faceblindness (Prosopagnosia):


wiki explains it like this:

Prosopagnosia /ˌprɒsəpæɡˈnʒə/ (Greek: “prosopon” = “face”, “agnosia” = “not knowing”), also called face blindness, is a cognitive disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while other aspects of visual processing (e.g., object discrimination) and intellectual functioning (e.g., decision making) remain intact. …”

On nearsightedness / shortsightedness (Myopia):


wiki thinks this:

” Myopia (Ancient Greek: μυωπία, muōpia, from myein “to shut (like a mole – mys/mus in Greek)” – ops (gen. opos) “eye, look, sight”) literally meaning “trying to see like a mole” (mys/mus), commonly known as near-sightedness (American English) and short-sightedness (British English), is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it, causing the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus, but in focus when looking at a close object. …”

I have both of the above.

The thing is: a faceblind person A; can’t visually recognize people he or she should know by facial features, because they are friends or otherwise well enough known that recognition is expected;

and B; consequently, a faceblind person mistakes other people for some they do actually know, same reason, because they can’t really remember all details and check fast enough. Or they go for different ways to recognize a person.

As with other disabilities it comes in various degrees, some have it bad, some a bit. (I am in between.) So, I recognize people by association, that would be a person who always works the counter in such-and-such shop I would know in the shop, but not on the street or in different clothes at a party.

And then through what I want to call just to give the thing a name “recognition by categorical seeing”, I mean by that for instance I remember a certain height, distances in context to each other, like eyes versus nose versus moth, hairstyle or beard, and then things like tone of voice and typical movement pattern.

But the trouble sets in because these are only somewhat unique, and there will be others with similar features, also a red beard, the same lisp and the same high pitch voice. And all these people will end up in that category in my memory and get mixed up with each other.

For instance I still have not managed to tell my neighbors apart, both same height, weight, age, similar voice, beard and each one has a black cat. Oh dear! They seem to me like Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Or during watching a movie with several blond actresses of similar age I will probably sometime along the plot think “Why is she now doing this, if earlier she did that?”, not aware of the fact that they are two different characters.

So roughly like that.

But then I am now combing through these plenty of photography competitions, seeing if there might be some where I could submit my new work to. And some are massive and have these categories, like nature, nude, portrait, travel, wild lifeand so on. And after I look through them I think it almost seems like they don’t want as diverse a range of photographs, but instead they want those that fit with the others, they have seen last year and the year before.

How many times have I seen now that elegant black and white nude, where you see a breast, a belly, and long, brunette curls (usually the model for bw nudes is brunette, I suppose to get more contrast in the picture), and how many times have I seen that series of photos of the Indian HOLI festival, everyone jumping around, covered in colored pigments, how often am I going to see that wrinkly-skin rhino close-up, interchangeable with wrinkly-skin elephant?

And these photographs, no matter how often we have seen them before, always are among the award winning ones, no matter how often they state in the rules they are the one competition or gallery or organization that seeks the unusual, original, out-of-the-box-thinking photographic approach, all what changes is the cameras seem to upgrade and the images show more and more tiny details from top to bottom and left to right of the image.

So even if I am nearsighted, I am wondering if there is every a human being who really sees everything in detail like on these photographs, without being on some wild hallucinogenic drug, just based on his natural eyesight.

Besides that, I am wondering: are we so used to these images that we are not really looking for new images anyways, but for reproduced ones that confirm the images we have in our visual memory anyways already, for instance in the categories nature, nude, portrait, travel, wild life?

Are we only feeding our subconscious expectations, are we even able to create new images at all?

Josiane Keller - four expectable photographs

Josiane Keller “four expectable photographs” (2015)


‘I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. ‘It’s dreadfully confusing!’
‘That’s the effect of living backwards,’ the Queen said kindly: ‘it always makes one a little giddy at first —’

‘Living backwards!’ Alice repeated in great astonishment. ‘I never heard of such a thing!’
‘— but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.’
‘I’m sure mine only works one way,’ Alice remarked. ‘I can’t remember things before they happen.’
‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ the Queen remarked.  (…)

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, Chapter Five: Wool and Water, by Lewis Carroll /Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, (1871)


So perhaps that is where we can see a connection between painting and photography (at least photography outside of scientific photography, where the apparatus for the first time makes us see matters in ways we have never before been able to see that way with the naked human eye, like a microscope does.)

When a child paints a picture and we are able to recognize or at least guess what is depicted the child is happy and the parent is proud (or vice versa, really…), anyways: the objective seems to be not the artistic expression but to communicate the essentials of whatever the child is concerned with painting, which we recognize by association, not necessarily because every detail is depicted, which is anyways how faceblind people see (or not see).

And this sort of let’s say “banal” photography serves the same function: to symbolize the basic features of what we know, very reassuring in some ways. And if it does that, we think automatically it is a “good” picture. Perhaps some people can only see what they know already, not even able to recognize something they have not already on file in their visual memory.

As that is the basis on which we are at all able, as to opposed a dog, to recognize anything in a drawing or on a photograph, any thing that in real life is of a different scale, color and three-dimensional, where on a painting or photograph it may be considerably smaller, possibly black-white and two dimensional, we still recognize it, where a dog would see a small rectangular piece of paper.

The reason why we can recognize anything depicted on a photograph is that we have seen it already before, either in reality or depicted or we have been taught through human language in combination with the image what it is supposed to depict. A shortcut is created in the brain that saves the energy to see what is depicted all new, and the depicted image becomes a symbol for what it shows. That is where we allow flaws, we do not need all details, we are able to understand the image even if only some of the information is being provided and we are able to be tricked.

It is the basis on which a photograph or even an animated movie can cause an emotional reaction in us, such as crying over Bambi’s mother being shot. Bambi is not even a single drawing, it is a huge amount of separate drawings shown in sequence after each other so they create the illusion of an actual fawn, and it is drawn as a caricature of a fawn. The essentials are there that we need to trigger the conclusion: fawn.

Try it out for yourself:

Pretty sad, huh? Why is that sad? It is a cartoon, after all.

But working in constructed photography, where I create the scene before I take the shot I want to go so far as to say: photographers (also those who do not create their scenes), take the picture at that “decisive moment” (*Henri Cartier-Bresson) that is nothing but recognizing an image matching with images they have seen before, in some way or another.

Naturally so, if you have seen more things you have more options to choose from to recognize a new vision.


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In eternal ice – Part III

February 24, 2015

Very last minute I managed to complete my submission to the “Unexpected” show, here it is, topic is “In eternal ice”, starring Josette waiting for the bus on the North Pole. It is unclear if she knows what she is doing and the bis will pop up any minute now, or if she is making a mistake and there is no bus, or if she is hallucinating, or if we are hallucinating: there is no Josette anyways, and no North Pole.

It seems a bit comical, but I guess “unexpected’ can go well together with comical, and sometimes one has too laugh, yet then again, really funny things are always also a bit sad, or quite sad, even. Anyways, here are the pictures:

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice (quad)

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice /quad” (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 3

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 3″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 4

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 4″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 5

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 5″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 6

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 6″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 7

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 7″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 9

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 9″ (2015)

Josiane Keller - in eternal ice 10

Josiane Keller “in eternal ice 10″ (2015)

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