JIMMY & DENA KATZ: Salt Dreams

JIMMY & DENA KATZ: Salt Dreams

DENA & JIMMY KATZ

 “Salt Dreams”

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

My wife and collaborator Dena and I used to travel to Salt Lake City often and decided to photograph the Salt Flats. What struck us most was not the sweeping landscapes but the odd man-made objects and artifacts we would encounter. From random trash to car racing setups, the Salt Flats have become the backdrop of human activity.

Instead of focusing our lens on the landscapes, we decided to explore the impact human civilization had in these ancient places. Many images are absurd and even surreal – very much like human existence itself.

 

WHY I LOVE IT, by Aurélie

I love the surreal quality and absurd humor of this series. The images perfectly capture the folly that human beings are.

Inspired by American landscapes photographers like Ansel Adams, Dena and Jimmy Katz traveled West to capture the Great Salt Lake in Utah. But instead of pristine nature, they found the presence of man everywhere. From seeing trash on the side of the road to reading about pollution, they couldn’t escape the modern world.

Jimmy Katz became fascinated by the unexpected juxtapositions between the timeless landscapes and the man-made artifacts. The contrast between the two often resulted in surreal moments – like finding a group of plastic flamingos planted in a salt bed. The images highlight how humans feel our species is above all else, above nature. But these places have existed for millions of years, while we are barely a blip in Earth’s history.

Spending time in the Salt Flats over two years (2004-2005), Jimmy and Dena Katz met people who come here for annual car racing or rocket launching events. These devoted fans found this unfriendly environment the perfect place for their hobby. And it is true that, with their vast expanse and flat terrain, the Salt Flats are ideal. Ideal but not without danger: arsenic and other heavy metals are commonly found buried underneath. As the lake dries up due to diminishing snow and ice melt, its heavily polluted bed will turn to dust, which will then be carried by winds. As of now, airborne dust is already a problem for nearby residents as particulates can lodge in their lungs and worsen asthma and the risk of heart attacks. The drying up of the Great Salt Lake is an environmental disaster no one knows how to prevent.

Some of the images Jimmy and Dena captured could not be replicated today. With global warming, the Great Salt Lake is getting smaller, from about 3,300 square miles in the late 1980s to less than 1,000 today, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There’s less and less water and more and more desert.

“Salt Dreams” is a testament to nature’s fragility in the face of man’s folly.

PS: You can find their book “Salt Dreams” here.

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW

The salt flats of northern Utah, a vast expanse of mineral detritus planed to level smoothness by wind and water, are a perfect surface for testing homemade rockets, race cars, motorcycles and weirder things. This show includes spectacular shots of such activities by Jimmy and Dena Katz, two photographers who have spent a couple of years exploring the terrain with their cameras.

So bright is the light, so boundless is the space, so gorgeous are the distant mountains that the place looks like eternity itself, but with a litter problem. The Katzes’ searching lenses have also found pink plastic flamingos stuck upright in the Great Salt Lake, a pair of couches huddled under an overgrowth of scrub, a larger-than-life plaster cow pierced by spikes and lying on its side, orange traffic cones near a hand-lettered sign reading “Wait Here,” and, by way of pathos, a limp brown hound glumly looking for shade.

The Katzes see the flats as a limitless American playroom, a place where we don’t have to pick up our toys since the party is never over. By Grace Glueck

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Jimmy Katz was born in New York City in 1957 and studied photography with John McKee at Bowdoin College. Collaborating with his wife Dena, he has become the most prolific jazz photographer of the last 30 years. Together, they worked on over 580 recording projects, over 200 magazine covers and hundreds of editorial pieces – more than any modern photographer documenting jazz.

To better promote the art form, Jimmy Katz developed an integrated approach to his work, combining still photography, video and high-quality audio. In 2018, at friends’ urging, Katz founded Giant Step Arts, a non-profit organization that documents some of the most important jazz musicians of this era.

“Salt Dreams” came from their frequent travels to Utah and interest in documenting the conflict between man and nature.

SELECTED MUSEUMS ACQUISITIONS AND EXHIBITIONS:

Islip Museum, Islip, NY: “Salt Dreams” Exhibit (2007)

Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX: “Salt Dreams” Exhibit and in their permanent collection (2010)

 

SELECTED SOLOS SHOWS:

Ex Chiesa della Maddalena: Bergamo, Italy (2022)

Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria: Perugia, Italy (2019)

North Sea Jazz Festival: Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014)

Padua Jazz Festival: Padua, Italy (2014)

*Discover his jazz portraits here.

 

Portrait of photographer Jimmy Katz
STEVEN LOPEZ: Analogue Dreams

STEVEN LOPEZ: Analogue Dreams

STEVEN LOPEZ

“Analogue Dreams”

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

My work simultaneously glimpses into the past, present and future.

By using film photography, alternative and traditional photographic printing methods, I aim to achieve a feeling of timelessness in my images.

My methods and choice of subject matter are a practice in sharpening the focus on what makes its home in my peripheral vision.

 

WHY I LOVE IT, by Aurélie

I met Steven Lopez when he interned at Resource Magazine, a photo magazine I had started with a friend. I was struck by his love and knowledge of film photography and antiquated techniques. No cell phone photography for him! He chose hard-to-find film and hours spent in the darkroom instead.

We stayed in touch over the years. We lived in the same neighborhood, the Lower East Side in downtown Manhattan, and would get together for coffee every once in a while. He would tell me about his travels and photographic experiments.

I love his dedication to film photography and his focus on old techniques. His images are carefully constructed; he puts a lot of time and care into them. You don’t get a gazillion frames of the same landscape – there is only a handful at best. Film is in limited supply and printing is time-consuming so Steven thinks long and hard before pressing that shutter.

The resulting images are beautiful and unique, timeless and moving, arching back to a time when we had time.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Steven Lopez is a multimedia photographer based in NYC with a focus on alternative photographic processes and film photography.

He studied at LaGuardia College in commercial photography and applied science. He currently independently teaches alternative photographic printing in his residence in Astoria, Queens, NY.

Portrait of Steven Lopez
SINDEN COLLIER: Le Réinventé

SINDEN COLLIER: Le Réinventé

SINDEN COLLIER

“Le Réinventé” (The Reinvented)

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

The journey of my art springs from the desire to experience what lies beneath the surface of images and to engage a wide range of emotions. In particular, my intention overall is to create interesting, visual narrative experiences utilizing a cinematic approach, like stills from film noir movies. I also like to capture the magic that light and shadow communicate.

Another thread that runs through my photos includes psychological, emotional, and even spiritual expressions; at times encompassing the Past, the Present and the Future.

My art is inspired by the exploration of going beyond the literal representation of a scene or subject. In that regard, most times I implement multiple layers, which include a vintage, overlay to produce ethereal imagery.

I invite the viewer “To truly see, instead of merely looking.”

 

WHY I LOVE IT, by Aurélie

When a friend of mine showed me Sinden Collier’s work, I was immediately hooked. Her images were poetic and dreamy, with a tactile quality we rarely get to see in photography. It arched back to the early days of the medium, when film was used and effects were added in the darkroom.

I love the title she chose for the show, “Le Réinventé” (The Reinvented). It perfectly fits her work, how she reinvents her images. She first experimented with film and darkroom techniques to create her multi-layered images; she now uses digital manipulations. The tools may have changed, but her artistic intent has not – her vision remains throughout. The world she creates is both romantic and nostalgic, with a bit of surrealism thrown in.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Sinden Collier became a photographer after a successful career as a singer, songwriter and musician. Recording under the Motown label gave her the opportunity to see the world.

She was always interested in photography and learned it on her own. Her unique and at time surrealist viewpoint quickly garnered her recognition and support.

Working at first with film and experimenting in the dark room, she now uses digital manipulation to create beautiful and poetic dreamscapes.

In 2001, she became the first Black female photographer to be signed by Getty Images.

In 2017, her book “Trains of Thought – Welcome Aboard” received an honorable mention in Elizabeth Avedon’s “2017 Best Photography Books.” In it, her fine art images accompany aphorisms written by her twin sister, Rhett Collier.

Her work has appeared in magazines and advertising campaigns, and received numerous awards, including “YourDailyPhotograph.com Hot 100 Photographers of 2021.”

Sinden often contributes her talent to the youth community to strengthen their self-esteem and better prepare them for the world.

Portrait of photographer Sinden Collier