Curated Commission Tier

Our signature commission awarded to world renowned photographers to help them create new work for the Obscura platform. Two photographers per month are selected for their outstanding contributions to the medium of photography. We offer the artist a curation team to assist in the selection of the final pieces.
Commission Photographers

Jim Goldberg

Whirlpool

This project, Whirlpool, began in 2019 from a commission by the High Museum of Art as part of their Picturing the South collection. The Obscura Curated commission has allowed me to continue this project and go deeper. I worked in a small, racially mixed, and working-class town by the name of Augusta, AR. Located along the White River in Arkansas’s Delta region, its heyday had long passed with the gradual decline of steamships and use of the river. I was fascinated by the small-town life and its history, the landscape, the hunting culture, the complicated familial ties, and the delicate dynamics of race and economic status that lived there. It was complex and stood out to me as a true reflection of contemporary American consciousness at this moment. The work received its name from the White River, which at one time was the lifeblood of Augusta. In the river, many literal and metaphoric whirlpools are created by opposing currents, and tensions within the community and in the country at large.

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Todd Hido

The Black Mechanism

"This is the gift of the landscape photograph, that the heart finds a place to stand” - Emmet Gowin All photographs are unreal. Even though they are a best attempt at a realistic capturing of a space in time, there is so much else that gets pulled into even the most straightforward landscape photo, unique to both the artist and the viewer. A landscape can evoke a personal memory of a certain space, or point toward a historical significance of the place being photographed. Sometimes, it’s just a mood suggested through the way a certain tree branch bends and twists, or an ominous narrative implied by a neglected house. With my camera in hand (what Italo Calvino referred to as “the black mechanism”), I have tried to express a subtle disquiet, and suggest an ambient darkness that is as much literal as it is metaphorical. The landscapes show a desolate and dark world, a precipice in time from which one senses we will struggle to emerge. Yet even as these images can be seen to reflect the daily barrage of terrible news, it’s important to remember that each image captures light from within. There is always a ray of light, even a frail one, to illuminate the dark roads, the deep forests, and the icy territories. There is always hope.

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Tania Franco Klein

Subject Studies

Subject Studies is an anthropological project on the perception of the subject inside contextualized imagery. Repeatedly creating the same context for a scene to happen, the gaze is now turned into how each spectator constructs their perception of the scene and the characters on it from their own cultural gaze and personal history. The various subjects recreate a similar character in the scenes they inhabit. A scene which maintains the same essence in terms of visual qualities, framing , lighting, editing. In a wider and general manner the way of describing one of the sequences could be for example a person in a green bathroom. After that, it just gets complicated and complex as vocabulary and perception change the atmosphere in which each person perceives the mood of the scene differently depending on the subject in front of them. “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” attributed to the writer ANAÏS NIN

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Alec Soth

Dissolutions (Sleeping by the Mississippi)

I became a photographer to engage with the physical world. Photography gave me an excuse to drive around and watch light bounce off things. I also enjoyed the process of converting this light into physical emulsions. But the goal of bringing these documents together as books and exhibitions was much more ephemeral. I want my photographs to function as springboards for memory and imagination. My first project, Sleeping by the Mississippi, was made out of a desire to drive along the Mississippi River, but I rarely photographed the river itself. By depicting a puzzling mix of people and places, my goal was to prompt the viewer to generate her own imaginary Mississippi. From static images I hoped to create meaning that kept flowing. For my first commissioned NFT project, I wanted to make something that spoke directly to this transmutation of meaning from the physical to the ephemeral. Whether one dissolves the photographic emulsion or converts it to code on the blockchain, the heart of the art is not destroyed.

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Deanna Templeton

The Village

This project started in 2002. A year after my mother passed away, a few years after my father passed. What I remember was one day I was thinking about my parents and feeling a little bit lonely, a little empty and decided to go for a drive. So I decided to drive out to my grandmother's house in San Pedro, which is about a 45 minute drive from where I live. I just wanted to reminisce, to re-explore the surroundings where I would go when I was a child. The liquor store I would walk to to get a Lipton Ice Tea and a bag of Frito’s, to the bakery where I swore all the cookies didn’t have sugar in them and then I drove over to Ports O’Call Village. As soon as I started to walk around I came across a stage with some Mariachis playing and it just hit me, I felt like I was home, I was with family. Over the next 5 years, whenever I could, I started going out there on the weekends. Getting reacquainted with the village and the locals. To shoot everything I wanted to remember.

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Reuben Wu

Aeroglyph Variations

Aeroglyph Variations is a collection evolved from my Aeroglyphs body of work, created exclusively for Obscura Curated. Aeroglyphs explores my method of intervention in landscape photography. By using light carrying drones and long exposure, I’m able to play a larger role in artistic expression all without leaving a trace on the scene. This series was captured over the course of 20 hours in New Mexico, USA on Dec 12-13 2021. It shows the iterative processes and decisions I typically encounter during the creation of a final image, presented as a collection of 55 images. Compositionally, every image is the same, yet in attributes, every image is different. Time of day, light formations (glyphs) and other traits vary within the series to result in a spectrum of unique possibilities. Taking inspiration from generative art and groundbreaking photo projects such as Carpoolers (Alejandro Cartagena), this project examines the notion of the photographer as algorithm; the code that creates and which ultimately derives from our unique programming of life experiences

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Cristina De Middel

The Royal Pinedo

In the tropical region of Los Yungas, in Bolivia, lives an African king surrounded by coca plantations. His name is Julio Pinedo and he is the great grandson of Uchicho the king of the Kikongo tribe who arrived from Congo as a slave in 1820. Julio Pinedo never wanted to be the king of Afro-Bolivians. He is a simple man who likes spending the day between his coca field and the small store he owns with his wife, Queen Angelica Larrea. However, his kingdom and community demand leadership to navigate the contemporary challenges of being a minority in a country like Bolivia, where African heritage was almost erased for decades. A new generation of Afro-Bolivians, including his heir prince Rolando Julio Pinedo Larrea, is ready to take the role and re-connect both his community and his family to his glorious past.

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