Monday, November 28, 2011

American Idol (part one of an on-going project)


Hobby Lobby, KS
Hobby Lobby, KS


Farmington, NM
Farmington, NM

Thrift Store, KS
Thrift Store, KS

Jefferson City, MO
Jefferson,MO


NYC
NYC


Topeka, KS
Topeka, KS

Thift Store, MO
Thrift Store, KS

Since arriving in the USA I have been working separately on three on-going photo projects which explore the notion of the American Idol. Until recently these individual bodies of work have been very much independent from one another, yet over time all of them have grown and developed very much in parallel and my method of working on them has been very similar in nature. Recently, whilst editing these series for possible publication at Get The Picture, the photo/collective I am a member of, I realized that these three photo series could actually sit well together as three separate chapters of the same long term project. This idea is not entirely a new one for me either as it was first touched upon last year in my interview with Sam Dickey at Amerikana Magazine, but it has taken till now to fully realize it's union and possible potential. Below is an extract from that interview:

"One project you’ve been working on has to do with images of US presidents. Can you discuss this project and what, if anything, you’ve learned about the American Presidency in the course of it?

Well, I terms of passing an exam, I’m afraid I have not learned that much. In fact a lot of what I have learnt about the Presidency has come through listening to the people I’ve met here – an oral history. This project, which is still in its early stages, is really an extension of two other series I am also working on about Elvis Presley and Jesus Christ and comes from a similar place. This project has felt a bit like I am photographing a kind of sediment – a history that has filtered down through time and settled here in the present - all these powerful leaders who at one time stood for so much have now washed up on the shores of the here and now, so to speak - their images have anyway, and then these images become culturally recycled in one form or another, whether it is in advertising, a T-shirt design, a record sleeve, a public monument, or just surface in the clutter of a thrift store. The presidents have become symbols - powerful historical markers and it has been interesting to see how and where they reappear. Right now I am keeping my eyes open and simply recording these appearances and trying to be aware of the context I discover them in, in a hope it will inform me somehow of who they were and what they stood for. It’s really a psychic history lesson I’m giving myself. This is why I like thrift stores so much. It is where all these great once new ideas, fads and fashions, heroes, villains and icons eventually all seem to end up. Walking around American thrift stores is like viewing a kaleidoscope of American culture past all under one roof - It gives me a strange kind of perspective which I understand, but find difficult to put into words."
The photographs in this post come from part one this series, under the working title of  "The King of Kings & I". later I will discuss this project further with images from part two.
Overland Park, KS
Shawnee, KS
Jefferson, MO
The full Amerikana interview can be viewed here: 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Internal Landscapes (II)


Hutchinson, KS

Jefferson, MO

Meteor Crater, AZ
Meteor Crater, AZ

St Louis, MO

For a while now I have had a fascination with internal and artificial landscapes. It is a theme which has threaded it's way through much of the work I have made in the USA and whenever I am lucky enough to see, or be in one, I always feel strongly compelled to photograph them. These images are a continuation of this occasional series.

I am interested in the illusion and the fantasy these places attempt to create and sometimes (in terms of my Cage series) their grim reality too. I love the theatre and suspension of disbelief which goes with standing in a themed museum for example, but what I have always found is these artificial landscapes seem to jar heavily with my own dreams, ideals and experiences and they are always, ultimately, strange, floored and sadly human.

Artificial and internal landscapes often force me to consider my own real life experience of landscapes which I have stood or lived in and questions what I have done with them myself, psychically. I think we are all filled with a lifetime - a history of landscapes, which have themselves, in turn, become a part of who we are as individuals. They become part of our own mental geography, full of archetypes, symbols and markers - integrating themselves inside, with special and personal significance. I always find it interesting and amazing, for example, when a landscape I have recently (or not recently) experienced suddenly becomes the location of a dream I have had. Why has this particular landscape or place been chosen to play out the drama of this dreams events at this time? It is something I find endlessly fascinating..

Text adapted from a previous post.


St Louis, MO


Jefferson City, MO



Part one of this post can be found here:
http://simonkossoff.blogspot.com/2011/01/wemego-ks-oz-museum-behind-curtain.html

A Flickr slideshow of my Cage series can be seen here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonpaulkossoff/sets/72157624733834338/show/

Friday, November 11, 2011

CZE Magazine 9 (American Flag)



Issue 9 of the always excellent CZE Magazine has just been published (in time for Veterans Day) and it can be viewed in full at issuu above. George Nabieridze; it's creator, curator and editor has once again done an incredible job putting it together. This latest issue titled 'American Flag' also contains two of my own images (on pages 72-73).

Pleasant Mount, KS
Pleasant Mount, KS


The Pink Lady
'The Pink Lady', Overland Park, KS



KY (South of Lexington)

Holbrook, AZ
Holbrook, AZ

Insurance Agent
Insurance Agent, KC,MO



Untitled

The photographs posted here are a small selection from my own American Flag collection.

It is impossible to photograph America without photographing its flag. It appears everywhere and whether it was my intention or not, it has invariably found its way into my work. Sometimes I have photographed it as a bold statement, or sometimes I have just wanted to record its presence in a certain unexpected place, like I were somehow collecting some form of private evidence - cold and artless. Other times it has made for me an interesting juxtaposition, often at odds with the main subject. Occasionally I have not even been aware that it was there at all until after the picture was made, giving a sometimes quite ordinary image a silent and surprising power of its own. The American flag is such a powerful symbol that its presence in a photograph can often move us to consider and question the true land where the photograph was made.

Robert Frank in his incredibly beautiful book 'The Americans' was a master of using this ultimate juxtaposition and the images he made in the 1950's are still, I consider, some of the finest photographs that have been made in America of America.

This text has been edited from a photo-story I posted at JPG.com a couple of years ago. A theme which was first brought to my attention by my friend and fellow photographer Jim Hart. Jim's wonderful on-going work can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-hart/

Event
Event


TV Area
TV Area, Indoor Market, KC,MO

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

States of Grace (Part Two) at Netherworld Magazine



Part two of my photo series 'States of Grace' has been published at the excellent 'Netherworld Magazine'. Many thanks to Marcin Klimek for doing a terrific job putting it all together. Please follow the link at the bottom of this post to view this feature (which is best viewed as a full screen slideshow) and see more of Netherworld Magazine.

STATES OF GRACE (Part Two)

STATE:

1. the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes: a state of health.

2. a particular condition of mind or feeling: to be in an excited state.

3. an abnormally tense, nervous, or perturbed condition: He's been in a state since hearing about his brother's death.

4. a politically unified people occupying a definite territory; nation.

GRACE:

1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.

2. favor or good will.

3. mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace.

4. favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.

5. an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied: The life insurance premium is due today, but we have 31 days' grace before the policy lapses.

6. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

Macy's
Macy's

Gas Station, MO
Gas Station, MO

Mission, KS
Mission, KS


Jimmy

Tucumcari, NM
Tucumcari, NM

This series of photographs was made during, and also in response to my process of immigration into the United States of America from the UK. It is a personal document – a mosaic of images or even (when viewed with part one) a poem of sorts. The immigration process took approximately one year and it was a difficult and uncertain time for my wife and I. We could not make any solid future plans or put down any roots. While making this work I often felt like my own anxiety and hope was also a kind of an echo of the anxiety and hope of the nation I had arrived in, which was in the grips of recession and in the middle of an election campaign for a new President.

Follow this link to see both this feature and see more of Netherworld Magazine:
http://www.netherworldmagazine.com/presentation/simon-kossoff-2/
Both part to this series can also be viewed here at Get the Picture:
http://getthepicture.fr/En/Photographes/Kossoff/Sog.html
Cave City, KY
Cave City, KY