Happy New Year!


It’s that nostalgic time of year to think back and reflect as another year comes to an end. E.S. has a ton to be thankful for as 2013 was our biggest year yet, so thank you to everyone for all the continued love and support. If all goes to plan, 2014 is set to follow suit and we couldn’t be happier.

Stay beautiful,

Petty Thieves Three Projection Announcement

Events, Feature, Petty Thieves, Pictures, Spotlight


Empty Stretch is very excited to announce the photographers who will be a part of the Petty Thieves Three projection, showing for the first time this Friday, November 8, 2013 at the Petworth Citizen + Reading Room {829 Upshur ST. NW} between  8 – 11pm in collaboration with the awesome folks at Furthermore. You can find out more information about the event by checking out the official Facebook event here.

For those of you not familiar with Petty Thieves, it is our ongoing curation project centered around collaboration and presenting photographs within new and interesting contexts. Petty Thieves Three is the end product of an open call submission, and has now been edited into a projection presentation and an accompanying zine {Purchase here}. We can’t say it enough, please make sure to check out all of the awesome work these talented people are making and thank you again to everyone who submitted. We hope to continue this series, sooner rather than later.

Featured photographers: Aaron Canipe, Adam Malantonio, Adam Robinson, Adrian Celmer, Aimée Pijpers, Alan Hunter, Alanna Yao, Alexi Hobbs, Ali Bosworth, Allison Barnes, Amanda Kleinman, Amanda Newman, Amber Carter, Amy Elkins, Andreas Mass, Andrew Ireland, Andrew Marino, Andrew Querner, Angela Blumen, Anne Erhard, Anthony Gerace, Aria Maisey, Audree Anid, Ava Alamshah, Barrett Emke, Becky Harlan, Ben Clement, Ben Huff, Bethany Barton, Blaise Chatelain, Brad Westcott, Brett Davis, Brittany Marcoux, Caitlin Moore, Carine Wallauer, Caroline Lacey, Carol Burri, Carson Davis Brown, Catherine Lemblé, Catho de Rore, Celeste Ortiz, Champneys Taylor, Charlotte Strode, ChihHsien Chen, Chris Berntsen, Chris Farling, Christine Tharp, Clary Estes, Clemens Fantur, Colin Aherne, Colin Loughlin, Colin Smith, Colin Sussingham, Coral McRyhew, Chris Cunningham, Cynthia Connolly, Dale Rothenberg, Daniel Shea, Danielle Scruggs, David Spence, Dawn Whitmore, Deana Kolencikova, Derek Henderson, Dhanainun Dhanarachwattana, Ding Ren, E. Brady Robinson, Eleanor Barba, Elena Montemurro, Elisabetta Scalvini, Elise Boularan, Elizabeth Moran, Ernesto Somoza, Esben Bøg-Jensen, Ethan Browning, Evelin Saul, Fábio Miguel Roque, Ginevra Shay, Guy Archard, Hai Phung Tran, Halle Chapman-Tayler, Hannah Herzberg, Hannah Kuo, Heather Iris Galt-Mcloughlin, Hollis Bennett, Inga Schunn, IPG Project, Isabelle Evertse, Jack Ashley, Jacob Fogel, Jaclyn Brown, Jamie Hladky, Jared Ragland, Jason Hanasik, Jayme McLellan, Jedd Cooney, Jerry Skiscim, Jesse Sarkis, Jessica Braun, Joan Oh, Joe Leavenworth, Johab Silva, John Edmonds, John O’Toole, Jon-Phillip Sheridan, Jonathan Brown, Jonathan McNeil, Jordan Baumgarten, Jordan Sullivan, Jordan Swartz, Josh Anderson, Juan Madrid, Judy Ruzylo, Julia Clouser, Julia Knoll, Julie van der Vaart, Juliette Guadino, Jurate Gacionyte, Justin Gellerson, Justine Tobiasz, Justine Dupuy, Juuso Haarala, K. Eleanor Bleier, Kaitlin Jencso, Kamil I, Karen Weber, Katherine Squier, Katie Currid, Katja Kremenić, Kristy Carpenter, Ken Ashton, Kevin Tadge, Kimberly Benavides, Kristoffer Tripplaar, Kuba Ryniewicz, Kyle Seis, LaRae’ Fischer, Lasse Dearman, Laura Pannack, Lauren Brown, Lauren Schneiderman,Lauren Zaser, Leanne Surfleet, Lee Clackson, Lee Cuyler, Levi Mandel, Libi Rose Striegl, Lloyd Stubber, Lluís Tudela, Loes van Iperen, Lois Shupp, Lotte Reimann, Michael Wriston, Mads Greve, Margaret Holland Adams, Maria Kazvan, Maria Windschüttel, Marina Kinski, Mariya Ustymenko, Mark Harley, Mark Regester, Mark Strandquist, Marton Gosztonyi, Matthew Borowick, Matt Propert, Matt Rose, Matthew Nighswander, Matthew Swarts, Matthew Mili, Matt Lief Anderson, Maureen Drennan, Maxwell Anderson, Maycec, McNair Evans, Melissa Butler, Michael Ast, Michal Brezinksy, Michela Palermo, Miranda Barnes, Missy Prince, Nabeela Vega, Nancy Breslin, Natalie Zervou – Jack Kerruish, Nathan Pearce, Nathaniel Grann, Nic Persinger, Nikoleta Marković, Nick Kirkpatrick, Noah Vaughn, Noritaka Minami, Paige Townsley, Patrick Joust, Paul D’Amato, Paul John Nelson, Paul Bothwell, Paulette Waltz, Paulina Metzscher, Peter Currie, Peter Hoffman, Phil Jackson, Rachel Wolfe, Radu Lungu, Rebecca Perriello, Rebekah Purcell, Renee Regan, Richard Ramirez Jr., Robert Wiemann, Robert Rutoed, Robin Schwartz, Rocio Perna, Roma Moskalenko, Rosaline Shahnavaz, Rudy Ramos, Ryan Florig, Ryan Oskin, Rytis Gervickas, Sam Block, Sam Clifford-Harding, Santi García, Sarah Cartron, Sara J. Winston, Sara Zanella, Sarah Moore, Sarah Mitrani, Sarah Thomas, Sara Wright, Sebastian Forkarth, Sergej Vutuc, Shan Rixon, Shelly Silva, Simon Vahala, Sofie van Dam, Sophie Göst, Stephanie Hardy, Stephanie Noritz, Stephanie Mill, Stephen Harper, Tammy Mercure, Tara Wray, Taylor Pittman, Thomas Lau, Thomas Bouquin, Timothy Briner, Tommy Nease, Traci Marie Lee, Trevor Powers, Tristan Hutchinson, Uliana Bazar, Veronica Melendez, Violet Forest, Virginia Hammer, Vsevolod Khomenko, William Lloyd Powell III.

Book Review: “Kievbound” by Mariya Ustymenko


“Home” seems to be a recurring theme within the work Empty Stretch is drawn to. It was the title of our first publication and still has a strong presence within the work we seem to produce. Usually, when I think of the word “home,” a sense of nostalgia crosses my mind, and while the location isn’t always the same, I have a very certain type of image that comes to mind. My mental image of “home” though is not to be found within Mariya Ustymenko’s newest zine, “Kievbound,” published by Antler Press. This surprisingly didn’t hinder me from becoming transfixed within the story Ustymenko’s unravels.

Kiev seems stagnant and not within a “home is where your heart is” ideal. Rather, the city seems as if it’s waiting for something, a something Ustymenko may or may not think will come. The images were taken between 2003 and 2007 using two classic Soviet era cameras, the Kiev-19 and Lubitel-2, a seemingly deliberate decision by Ustymenko to obtain a gritty and even at times, ugly aesthetic. Muddled blacks and blown-out highlights help paint the picture that Kiev is still trying to find its path, like the viewer trying to decipher a shadow from an outline of a dog, the city struggles to distinguish what is old and what is new.

The portraits, of possible friends and family, provide a sense of growth that the viewer is looking for within the zine. While some inhabitants seem content or stuck, others stare definitely at the viewer, countering a gaze that up until that point had been laden towards voyeuristic. It is like a subtle backtrack on Ustymenko’s part; that while things may seem bleak to a certain degree, power, and even love, still flourishes within the city. This complexity, or even contradictory element to the book, is what I find so appealing. “Home” shouldn’t be a simple word to describe, and the emotions it derives are never as clear-cut as they may first seem. This is felt by the viewer when they finish experiencing the zine. A feeling that is hard to describe with words comes to mind, but ultimately that’s okay, because Ustymenko’s images help create a visual story that provides an answer to what that feeling is.

The design and layout of the zine is rather simple and seems more inline with an ongoing series Antler is currently producing, and while I think it would have been interesting to see how a more organic design would fit with these images, the attention to printing and consistent design helps support the narrative that is being presented. “Kievbound” is an interesting short glimpse into Ustymenko’s past and a portrait of a city that may or may not still be looking to be “found.” I’m sure the archive is much larger than what is being shown and ultimately, I hope to see this evolved into a more fleshed out story, whatever that story may be.

Please check out more of Mariya Ustymenko’s work here and feel free to pick up a copy of “Kievbound” here.


Call for submissions!

Events, Projects in Progress

Good news everyone! We are teaming up with the awesome folks at Furthermore for a one night photo projection on November 7, 2013 in Washington, D.C.. All subject matter, styles, and formats of photography are welcomed and we will even be creating a new Petty Thieves zine to be released at the event. Send us up to two high-resolution images to emptystretch@gmail.com, along with a bit of information about yourself, and whether or not you’d like your images to be considered for the zine. You can submit even more images through our Flickr group, Petty Thieves, which will also be a source for the event.

DEADLINE: October 31 {October 20 for zine consideration}

We look forward to seeing what everyone submits and if you have any questions or concerns, please email those along with your submission. Spread the word and stay beautiful!

– E.S.

“Burnish” Review by David Gauthier


First, we would like to say THANK YOU for everyone who stopped by the New York Art Book Fair and visited us. It was a blast getting to meet so many amazing people. Second, we are thrilled to share a review of our newest photobook, Burnish by Isabelle Evertse, from David Gauthier,  head of Cultural Affairs at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure (ENS) in Lyon, France. The review originally appeared in french here on the webpage, lacritique.org. Below is an english translation of the review and we still have a few copies of Burnish for sale here:

You receive an envelope. You take it in your hands. It is unstamped. Its content is already revealed. Waiting for you. It is no doubt as old as the photographer. Black birds fly against a grey sky: it’s the cover of the fragile letter Isabelle Evertse addresses to her father, to the readers. The letter is entitled BURNISH. The title is preceded by a note from the author: The 1990’s and later today. A girl. Her father. They barely met. Two countries. Two continents. Thousands of kilometres. A few letters. Interpretations.

In the meantime, the mane of a white horse eating grass has appeared. Let’s slowly turn the pages, without precipitation.  An epistolary of time awaits us. We enter the intimacy of a father-daughter relationship, a raw sensitivity “à fleur de peau” as the first flower motif envelope evokes.

The envelopes have crossed seas, oceans, countries… they are all precious. They are all carefully opened with a sharp letter opener and all have been meticulously kept, in a small secret box. Could it be the famous “black box” of this beautiful object? With precaution, we continue to turn the pages, without any rush. We discover what Isabelle Evertse gives away about herself. A story, hers, through photographs, regardless whether they are fictional or real.

She tells us through images of wilted flowers soaking in the used water of a small glass, portraits of her father (we imagine him), almost anonymous self portraits, affectionate landscapes, crumpled paper, so crumpled that they draw garments, white shirts, white blouses (and yet some are receipts), a complete number of four envelopes including the one which contains the book, letters whose inks have evaporated and fly off the paper as the aviator in the following photograph placed under a yellowed paper and then suddenly a banana skin thrown over a bowl with it’s spoon!

Yes, all this is very enigmatic. Isabelle Evertse gives us another key, the last one, at the end of reading BURNISH. Burnish (bûrnsh) tr.v. burnished, burnishing, burnishes 1. To make smooth or glossy by rubbing; polish. n. A smooth glossy finish or appearance; luster. There you have it, the book could end on this definition that could open Pandora’s box. “The Happy End” if there should be one, is elsewhere, no doubt in the last envelope with the floral back (very Victorian, very Laura Ashley) but it’s content will not be revealed to us.

Burnish a very personal little book proposed by Isabelle Evertse. It is composed with tact, in its spirit as much as in its materiality. The American editor, Empty Stretch published it this summer 2013. It is part of those objects so difficult to define that it captivates you. Oh, damn! I forget! The last page ends with words, hand written sentences on the very Hitchcock like motif that is the cover. Don’t dream! Don’t count on me! I won’t say anything on these final words! They belong to the almost confidential world of the photographer, which you need to discover, on your own, parsimoniously. I will say no more.

Already what a privilege to discover her epistolary imagination yet so real! A small precious book to the image of Isabelle Evertse’s pale skin and blonde hair, everything is fineness and delicate in her proposal, skilfully layed out by the editor.

The envelope is cruelly attached to the book (you will not be able to put the book inside the envelope! I assure you!), the fineness of a Bible paper so thin that you turn the pages without moistening them of fear to smudge the ink… and yet the images are magnificently reproduced. There are overlaps even. Everything holds together and slides fluidly… The rhythmic of an intelligently and poetically composed sequence, object-book, object-letters, object-envelope, the exceptional book of an author. If a dark double page, nocturnal (yet the red on the tree is so significant) punctuates the harmony of the diverse image formats, themes and emptiness (blank pages like stage directions invite you to take aback in silence, to catch your breath before diving back into the neither troubled nor clear waters), you can only be sensitive to the message of a “Proust’s madeleine”, announced by the numerous dead leaves, often recurring in this letter.

Whilst I write this letter, I see yellow-necked chickadees perched on the flowering rosebay, on the look out for a “je ne sais quoi”. I emerge from this book-letter immersed with a strange feeling… as if my mother-son relationship was back in jolts. But, we all have a secret garden. Isabelle Evertse has hers; she made a small modest book of it, humble yet so beautiful, so “poignant” that life is perpetual movement… and hope. Rare are such singular books by their form and content… but is it not also the fact that this project is one of a life in it’s course, a young photographer soon to be a mother, published at a moment in her life where the maturity of the project makes it remarkable.

– David Gauthier

New Book: “Burnish” by Isabelle Evertse

Books, New Zine, Pictures

20130629_WashingtonDC_0094 Empty Stretch is very excited to introduce our newest photobook, Burnish by Isabelle Evertse. It has been a real pleasure working alongside Evertse in the creation of this book and we can’t wait to share it with you all. Check out more about the book below and enjoy!

by Isabelle Evertse
48 pages, saddle stitch
edition of 100
printer: Conveyor Arts
Purchase Here – View Full Series Here

Burnish (bûrnsh) tr.v. burnished, burnishing, burnishes
1. To make smooth or glossy by rubbing; polish.
n. A smooth glossy finish or appearance; luster.

Burnish is a record of a girl and her father, of the words that might or might not have been said, and the intrepid expectations of how things should have been. Letters that once were cherished and loathed, have now yellowed with time as the rough slowly becomes smooth. Quiet gentle whispers build as a girl tries to connect with someone who is both here and not.

flower mail-isabelle evertseArtist Bio
Isabelle Evertse (b.  Cape Town, South Africa) She emigrated to France with her family and her education was shared between French and English schools. She pursued a BFA at the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Toulouse in 2007. Thus she discovered her passion for photography and entered the National Photography School of Arles obtaining her Masters in 2010. She has since then accomplished internships with the Magnum Photo agencies in London (2008) and New York (2009). Photography has become essential in her everyday life. Through the aesthetics of a still image, her primary goal is to combine the vividness of her imagination and the beauty that lies in everyday life. Her work revolves around her country of birth (South Africa) where her soul resides and her country of adoption (France) where her future lies. Immensely attracted to travelling the world, her projects are inspired by foreign cultures and her numerous journeys. She founded and created piK magazine, dedicated to promoting photographers worldwide in March 2012.

Book Review: “I see around me tombstones grey” by Stefano Marchionini

Books, Feature, Pictures, Spotlight

Stefano Marchionini is a photographer who has always engaged me by the range and quality of his work. Whether shooting in color or black-and-white, a very intimate and relatable quality comes across that never seems to dwindle after repeated viewings. Marchionini recently released a self-published book titled, I see around me tombstones grey, that focuses on his relationship with his parents after being away for an extended amount of time and the feeling of “home” that his parents bring to him, even when the physical locations of “home” may have changed.

The book is a strong testament to what smart editing and simple design can do to allow for images to speak for themselves and breathe. The pacing of the book is evenly spread between sequences that build to a sense of short-lived intimacy; short-lived, because as soon as one may start to feel a sense of nostalgia or love take form, a reminder of the fragility of life is suddenly thrown in. The finite quality of our relationships with those we love is a hard universal truth that Marchionini reflects upon throughout the book.

Conversely, the imagery often rejoices in the lighter and mundane moments between the photographer and his parents. An image titled, “my father in the garden,” shows Marchionini’s father working in a garden that seems to slowly engulf him despite all of his attempts at pruning. It is an action that seems important while doing but one that in the scope of things, really doesn’t matter as the garden will outlive us all. Subtle reflections like these build upon the theme of the book to guide the viewer through their own thoughts and feelings, a trip that requires multiple visits to really grasp what is being said, but is luckily made easy through the craft of the photographer.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and please check out more of Marchionini’s work on his website and flickr.

Currently Untitled

Pictures, Projects in Progress

For about a year now I’ve been telling myself I’ve been taking pictures of nothing for nothing, and while that may or may not be true, I feel I’m finally done with whatever it is I have been doing. It’s time to move on and try something new at the very least and while I wish I could write something more profound about what this episode has taught me, I feel I may be more lost now then when I started (but that’s probably fine too). I’ve had a lot of ideas come and go over what to do with these images but as the amount of images kept growing, all that really remained of those ideas are little lists like this one:

  • Hymn Book For The Anxiety Induced
  • As I Was Chasing You
  • (Something with city slicker in title)
  • What A Mess…
  • Rejoice! That We’re Born Again
  • Nathaniel, This Is Your Life

Hopefully something more physical will come of all of this in the coming months but for now, here’s the tip of the iceberg.

ng_001 ng_002 ng_003 ng_004 ng_005 ng_006 ng_007 ng_008