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About Nadav Kander, Students and B.O.

October 9, 2009

I was deep into Nadav Kander’s website the other day (following the recommendation of Jorg Colberg) and discovered this picture:

Goal Post, Chile, by Nadav Kander

Goal Post, Chile, by Nadav Kander

I posted my Soccer Field, Gobi here two weeks ago. Many readers can simply scroll down to it.

For the first project in two of my current photo classes, I ask students to do research on the web and elsewhere. My Advanced Photography assignment is to choose a work of art (it does not have to be photography) and emulate it in a picture of your own. In my Introduction to Digital Fine Art Photography I ask students to come up with their own project, and then research images on the web that illustrate the same, or similar, concept.

The first assignment is a great idea. Most students have very little understanding of photography’s brief history, or the history of culture in general. I am trying to give them motivation to discover historically relevant art that resonates with them. I then ask them to pay homage by making photographs inspired by the art.

My other first assignment, whose intention is to make students aware of the contemporary art scene, seems to be a bust.  The problem is that I let students loose to riffle through the reams of photography on the internet. What they are bringing back to class is a mix of snapshots and commercial work, not photographs mirroring the state of contemporary art. Next time, I’m going to give them blog links and let the army of my favorite photo bloggers guide them.

Here’s a Nadav Kander picture symbolic of the plight of my students trying to do their first assignment.

Field II (Ford Dealership), USA, by Nadav Kander

Field II (Ford Dealership), USA, by Nadav Kander

“Outside of a dog, a man’s best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read,” attributed to Groucho Marx.

My students don’t like to read. I’ll stop typing and just show more examples from Nadav Kander’s incredible site.

From The Parade, Untitled #37, by Nadav Kander

From The Parade, Untitled #37, by Nadav Kander

From Obama's People, Robert F. Bauer- President's Personal Lawyer

From Obama's People, Robert F. Bauer- President's Personal Lawyer, by Nadav Kander

One thing I like about Nadav Kander and two things I don’t like about Barack Obama. Nadav Kander is a great photographer who is not concerned with the (often self-imposed) limitations photographers face to be considered viable talents.

B.O. really stunk up the place when he refused to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama out of fear of alienating the Chinese authorities. He is the first president to do so since the first George Bush. He should have his Nobel rescinded for snubbing a fellow Nobel laureate.

I also don’t like Barack Obama’s pro-war, troop build-up in Afghanistan. It’s not Nobel worthy.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2009 1:22 pm

    Frank: The Afghanistan thing is a real problem. I believe strongly that it is not like Vietnam. We had no reason to be there, and there was no real founded fear on what would happen with a North takeover of the South. In the end, it was probably a good think for Vietnam. But I have no affinity for the Taliban, and I certainly believe that all of Afghanistan will be much worse off if they do take over, particularly women. The problem is long and deep. We are at fault for abandoning the Mujahadeen originally after the Soviets left Afghanistan. They could have been our long term friends. Instead they became war lords, Taliban, and hosts to Al Queida. Are we to abandon Afghanistan again? OK, the drone attacks suck, and we are too quick to accept civilian casualties rather than our own. The lack of war does not mean peace. All it means is that we may not be the ones fighting. But I loved the photos of Obama’s people in the NTY Magazine. G

  2. October 11, 2009 12:27 pm

    Glenn Ruga, in his persistent wisdom, is making me rethink my aversion to military escalation in Afghanistan. I’ve been to Afghanistan 3 times in the past 35 years. Most recently was this year when I was not officially in Afghanistan, but in the neutral land around a remote Afghan bridge on the Tajik side of the border. This is where Afghan merchants were allowed to cross to trade with Tajiks. The Afghans were mostly pro-American young men with clean shaven faces (in protest to the Taliban’s bearded traditional look). This is a handsome and tough gang of men. They can fight their own wars and for many of them that was exactly what they had been doing. They were sporting US supplied uniforms and empty holsters. They had to leave their weapons behind to enter the neutral area.

    My point is that I don’t want more US soldiers on the front lines. The Afghans need our support, but not our destructive military methodology. We need to send an army of contractors and construction workers to help build their infrastructure. We need troops to protect our workers who can work with Afghans to modernize their country. More bombs will continue to polarize the population as the civilian death toll rises.

    We owe Afghanistan a chance at peace. They may not take it, but it’s time to offer them the option. We can begin by rebuilding the pro American areas of the country and support the Afghan Army in their efforts to expand the zone of peace.

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