Monday, December 20, 2010
I wanted to share with you a very interesting story related by Chad Coombs about a unique working photographic process the artist accidentally discovered back in 2003.
Ah, the Golden Days of Polaroid!
The Poladroid is enjoying a vogue on Flickr, but we all know that oddity doesn't possess the magic of the Polaroid itself--which is being rapidly ushered towards extinction now that the film is no longer being manufactured.
The Polaroid was unique for so many reasons, and many of those reasons had to do with the wonderful accidents that occurred during the development of each photograph, its singular sensitivity to the atmosphere of its birth.
And to state the dunderheaded obvious: a Poladroid is digital and lacks physicality. (I mean in the wonderfully grubby, human, hands-on sense.)
You can't attack a Poladroid with your wild ideas for manipulating the image: scratching it, painting on it, burning it, etc.
Although, lest you think these are paintings, I would draw your attention to the opening lines of Coombs artist's statement below.
In this case, the manipulation is actually an artist assaying the archeological strata of the Polaroid image.
I find it fascinating that by removing these layers, Coombs arrives at near replications (or simulacra anyway) of some of the Greatest Hits of European Art in the 20th century.
There are Klimt-like pieces, Matissean portraits and even works that look like some of the productions of the second wave of German expressionists who flourished in the 1980s.
Okay, the artist does admit that he scans the peeled Polaroid, then manipulates it with the "saturation, upsample and sharpen" in some processing software (perhaps Photoshop?)
So these are digital art based in the archeological excavation of Polaroid film.
I think that would be the most succinct way to state what these works actually are.
I like the way Coombs' peeling process often yields strikingly archetypal female forms, strange goddesses that one might see on ancient frescos, also peeling.
You can check out Chad Coombs' entire Polaroid gallery here: The Polaroid and the Unicorn are Moving Closer Together.
Here's the fascinating backstory about how the artist created those:
Most people dont realize a few things about these polaroids.
One that they are in fact nothing more then just that, a polaroid.
Two it is ALL done by hand, every little aspect of it.
Three I am the only on in the world who does this with time zero film apparently.
The reason I say I am the only on who does this is because back in 2003, I got mad at one of my hand manipulated polaroids, threw a hissy fit and tried ripping it in half out of frustration with how much I sucked.
To my surprise I am weak and couldnt tear it in two, but instead it peeled apart like a sticker. I had to layers, back and front of the polaroid now. Which looked like two walls with layers and layers of paint and the image chiseled out of it. I then went through ten boxes of the stuff, all I had left trying to make this newly discovered process work out and have a "good" end result. 100 pictures later, I had 15 that were good, and at $27 a box of ten, its a costly learning process.
So I then emailed my chosen 15 images as a submission to the Official Polaroid website, which was KICK ASS back then, when it was at its prime. Anyways, I got given a Pro Portfolio page the next day as well as a reply email from one of the Polaroid people asking how the hell I did what ever it was I did to make my polaroids look like this.
After explaining, they told me they had never heard of anyone doing such a thing.
I didnt believe them so I google searched for a week straight and off and on for the next four years before I believed I was infact the only one, I still to this day have yet to discover anyone who does this same thing with there polaroids.
Its not a transfer because I dont tranfer anything, All I do is peel, then scan one of the inside sides. thats it. Then play with saturation upsample and sharpen so I can print these puppies a lot bigger then polaroid size. I still have every single polaroid I have done this to ever in a photo album, who knows they might be worth something some day.
I have yet to ever do a full show with these, but think my next one might be only polaroids. I have how ever sold maybe ten total of them, but havent sold a single poaroid for 5 years I think. I feel they are my best photographs because its the closest I can get to painting. Scratching each line, dent, hole etc with the same deck screw I have used for the last decade of polaroiding. Hell maybe that single deck screw will be worth something some day, doubt it, ha.
Anyways, I hope to do a Canvas Art show with these in the next year, but canvas is expensive and its the only way these should ever be printed, fine art paper looks ok, but its the canvas and canvas wrap around that truly finishes the image.
maybe if I ever move out of this place I can sell enough images I dont have to work pain in the ass full time jobs anymore, ha. not that I can complain right now, I havent worked for the past month, but I dont know how im going to make rent for next month.
Anyone wanna buy a polaroid canvas? or two? or ten?
Limitted edition as always....
But now he belongs to the world.
He is fashion's friend and photography's friend.
I love the way titles and lyrics by the band Air appear in his work, as with the title of this piece (one of my favorite Air songs!)
He photographs men and women with equal reverence.
If you go to his earliest photos posted on Flickr, you can see a glimpse into his then-love life, which is shown with candor and much tenderness.
There are some wonderful captures of gay love there.
At the Morgue (above) is one of those photos one is sure (at first) is a trick photo a la Weegie.
Then one begins to doubt it's a trick photo.
Then one hopes to God it's a trick photo.
And then one knows.
This is not a trick photo.
Because how could death (capital D?) be this funny?
Cut in half and still smiling?
How can a corpse look so relaxed? So amused?
This, for me, for good or ill, is an unforgettable photo.
Danny H. (above) continues the theme of plane sectioning (I'm talking about the pomegranate) but mercifully spins the mind off in another direction.
Although, one does wonder whether the body laid out before the weirdly patriotic figure here (red, white and blue broadly interpreted) is living or dead.
Is this a strange take on the archetype of the undertaker?
There is possibly a caricature of this in the weird finery (hat and glove) that the figure wears.
The pomegranate in Greek mythology was strongly associated with the Underworld. In the myth involving Demeter, Persephone and Hades, it was Persephone's consumption of a certain number of pomegrante seeds that condemned her to remain (at least seasonally) in the underworld, as Hades' (Pluto's) concubine.
So Hades was an undertaker as well.
And, for me, this photo is strangely sexual in the same way that the Persephone myth is.
The nude laid out does seem to be captive.
Or has he been merely captivated into submission?
The strange mythic overtones of the photo are both unsettling and sexy.
Is the strange figure a personification of America? America the consuming?
Is the photographer saying that America is both seductive and cannibalistic at once?
Why am I thinking of Goya's hideous painting of Saturn Devouring His Children?
While this photograph isn't quite that dark, it edges into that territory for this viewer.
It's as if that Goya painting were reinterpreted--with humor. Not that there isn't black humor present in the original painting!
But I'm talking about seeing this as a possible reinterpretation of that, a revisiting of that theme, in a lighter vein.
But the sexual charge to the picture is what torques it off in a different direction.
And I do admit I find it exciting. In that pervy way.
There may be only 264 photos in Belyi's Flickr Photostream right now, but there's more than enough to publish an amazing book.
So many classics I lost count.
Biographical information on his profile is scant.
Born: Odessa, Ukrane
Currently: Astoria and near Albany, NY, USA
He quite appropriately lists his occupation as "preoccupation."
Saturday, December 18, 2010
"This photo was taken on March 5, 2009 in Malá Strana, Prague 1, Hlavni mesto Praha, CZ. "
I love this fountain. And this photograph.
What a perfect tribute to Kafka and his estimation of la condition humaine.
The world as a pissing contest.
Pether-M is the nom de Flickr of the photographer, who is male and resides in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.
"Just Before the Storm."
Başer resides in Antalya, Turkey.
His great love as a photographer is Antalya Bay, which he photographs in all its diverse moods and seasons, almost as if it were a lover.
I'm often impressed by the vicissitudinous nature of the photographer's love object, this sea of many tempers and (often otherworldly) colors.
Concerning technique for this photo, he writes:
The reason why I took the horizon line so high is the catching up the contrast of blue and orange with the sky and the rocks at the right side.
Applying polaroid filtering in CS-5
Here's information from the artist's site:
Chris Bavaria is a photojournalist based out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
He received a BA in Art from Millersville University and an MFA in documentary photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
You can see his work on The Travel Channel, AOL, Brooklyn Vegan, Fight Magazine, Effort Fanzine, and Caveat Lector.
Chris's book is Time & Pressure and may be ordered online.
I encountered Chris's work in one of the Flickr groups based geographically in my home area.
I was impressed with the range of his graphic imagination, and his ability to adapt his aesthetics situationally to very diverse cultural and social milieux.
Whether he's traveling with a band (I believe Bavaria is a songwriter as well) in a van across America, or reinterpreting the icons of Paris or China during a photographic jaunt, he seems to orient himself towards the deliciously oneironautic image with an uncanny precision.
That is to say, I sense a dream narrative underlying his photojournalism, soi-disant--a sort of tightly-controlled surrealism.
What the surrealists called le merveilleux needn't always be an overkill of unreal elements or arrangements of reality.
Often, this miraculous feeling comes about through the slightest distortions at the edges of reality, slippage at the edges. And this leads to our unmooring, and sets us adrift, that giddy sensation where the photograph becomes much more than a photograph.
The photograph becomes us somehow.
Optic nerve. Funny Platonic cave.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The photocollages, collages and photographs of Thierry Tillier kept me ensorceled for quite some time this afternoon.
And I look forward to revisiting his online museum.
The artist often works in series; I particularly liked his one series of tondi.
The artist admits to drawing inspiration from Schwitters' Merz and the dadaists, in particular.
I found he left this enlivening comment situating his aesthetics (on another one of his artworks): "L’oeuvre se situe dans une filiation du dadaïsme et du futurisme italien ; en particulier, dans celle de Kurt Schwitters et de son "Ursonate". Isou et les lettristes (Maurice Lemaître, Gil J. Wolman), reprenant la charge iconoclaste des dadaïstes et des premiers surréalistes, veulent porter à son terme l’autodestruction des formes artistiques. L’art traditionnel est déclaré mort ; l’une des alternatives proposées est le détournement (par des collages réutilisant des éléments déjà existants pour de nouvelles créations). Les lettristes aspirent à dépasser la division entre artiste et spectateur, entre vie et art ; le monde est à démonter et à reconstruire sous le signe de la créativité généralisée."
I find it interesting that this "self-destruction of artistic forms carried to its ultimate limit" still tends to be productive of such eerie, disjunctive beauty.
But doubtless this is the endless urge to "reconstruct" to which the artist also alludes.
One marvels at the jarring sexual imagery present in these grieving figures, these tombstone effigies.
Is the reality of emotional coloration all in the angle of our vision? Our parallax?
The unmistakeable conflation of grief and Eros is here glossed with an image of luxurious pleasure.
Only fragments seem to be able to convey the whole truth.
I often index my own art on Flickr as "homo art," so I decided to do a search to see who else does the same.
I was immediately drawn to a series of photographs.
When I clicked on the artist, I saw some photographs of men holding sunflowers over their genitals.
And I thought, "I've seen this before."
But when I had seen a version of the image, it was as a painting.
And I was right! Because it was an artist I had written about and blogged about before: Israeli-born Raphael Perez.
I'll reproduce what one of his curators has said of Perez's oeuvre, since it's eloquence worth sharing:
Pride and Prejudice: on Raphael Perez's Artwork
Raphael Perez, born in 1965, studied art at the College of Visual Arts in Beer Sheva, and from 1995 has been living and working in his studio in Tel Aviv. Today Perez plays an important role in actively promoting the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) art and culture in Tel Aviv, and the internet portal he set up helps artists from the community reach large audiences in Israel and abroad. Hundreds of his artworks are part of private collections in Israel and abroad, and his artworks were shown in several group exhibitions: in Tel Aviv Museum of Art, "Zman Le'Omanut" art gallery, Camera Obscura, The Open House in Jerusalem, Ophir Gallery, The Haifa Forum and other private businesses and galleries.
In 2003-4 his paintings and studio appeared in a full-length movie, three student films and two graduation films.
Raphael Perez is the first Israeli artist to express his lifestyle as a Gay. His life and the life of the LGBT community are connected and unfold over hundreds of artwork pieces. His art creation is rare and extraordinary by every Israeli and international artistic standard. His sources of inspiration are first and foremost life events intertwined in Jewish and Israeli locality as well as influences and quotes from art history (David Hockney, Matisse). This uniqueness has crossed international borders and has succeeded in moving the LGBT and art communities around the world.
This is the first time we meet an Israeli artist who expresses all of his emotions in a previously unknown strength. The subjects of the paintings are the everyday life of couples in everyday places and situations, along with the aspiration to a homosexual relationship and family, equality and public recognition. Perez's works bring forward to the cultural space and to the public discourse the truth about living as LGBT and about relationships, with all of their aspects – casual relationships and sex, the yearning for love, the everyday life and the mundane activities that exist in every romantic relationship – whether by describing two men in an intimate scene in the bathroom, the bedroom or the toilet, a male couple raising a baby or the homosexual version of the Garden of Eden, family dinners, relationship ups and downs, the complexity in sharing a life as well as mundane, everyday life competing with the aspiration to self realization – through Perez's life.
Perez's first artworks are personal diaries, which he creates at 14 years of age. He makes sure to hide these diaries, as in them he keeps a personal journal describing his life events in the most genuine way. In these journals he draws thousands of drawings and sketches, next to which he alternately writes and erases his so-called "problematic texts", texts describing his struggle with his sexual orientation. His diaries are filled with obsessive cataloging of details, daily actions, friends and work, as well as repeating themes, such as thoughts, exhibits he has seen, movies, television, books and review of his work.
When he is done writing, Perez draws on his diaries. Each layer is done from beginning to end all along the journal. In fact, the work on the diaries never ends.
This struggle never ends, and when the emotion is passed on to paper, and it ends its role and becomes meaningless in a way, the visual-graphic side becomes dominant, due to the need to hide the written text, according to Perez. In books and diaries this stands out even more – when he chooses to draw in a style influenced by children's drawings, the characters are cheerful, happy, naïve and do not portray any sexuality, and when he tries drawing as an adult the sketches became more depressed and somber. During these years Perez works with preschool children, teaching them drawing and movement games. Perez says that during this period he completely abandoned the search for a relationship, either with a woman or a man, and working with children has given him existential meaning. This creation continues over 10 years, and Perez creates about 60 books-personal journals in various sizes (notepads, old notebooks, atlases and even old art books).
In his early paintings (1998-1999) the transition from relationships with women to relationships with men can be seen, from restraint to emotional outburst in color, lines and composition. Some characters display strong emotional expression. The women are usually drawn in restraint and passiveness, while a happy and loving emotional outburst is expressed in the colors and style of the male paintings.
"I fantasized that in a relationship with a woman I could fly in the sky, love, fly. However, I felt I was hiding something; I was choked up, hidden behind a mask, as if there was an internal scream wanting to come out. I was frustrated, I felt threatened…"
His first romance with a man in 1999 has drawn out a series of naïve paintings dealing with love and the excitement of performing everyday actions together in the intimate domestic environment.
"The excitement from each everyday experience of doing things together and the togetherness was great, so I painted every possible thing I liked doing with him."
From the moment the self-oppression and repression stopped, Perez started the process of healing, which was expressed in a burst of artworks, enormous in their size, amount, content and vivid colors – red, pink and white.
In 2000 Perez starts painting the huge artworks describing the hangouts of the LGBT community (The Lake, The Pool) and the Tel Avivian balcony paintings describing the masculine world, which, according to him, becomes existent thanks to the painting. Perez has dedicated this year to many series of drawings and paintings of the experience of love, in which he describes his first love for his new partner, and during these months he paints from morning to night. These paintings are the fruit of a long dialogue with David Hockney, and the similarity can be seen both in subjects and in different gestures.
In 2001 Perez creates a series of artworks, "Portraits from The Community". Perez describes in large, photorealistic paintings over 20 portraits of active and well-known members of the LGBT community. The emphasis is on the achievements that reflect the community's strong standing in Tel Aviv.
As a Tel-Avivian painter, in the past two years Perez has been painting urban landscapes of central locations in his city. Perez wanders around the city and chooses familiar architectural and geographical landmarks, commerce and recreation, and historical sites, and paints them from a homosexual point of view, decorated with the rainbow flag, which provide a sense of belonging to the place. His artworks are characterized by a cheerful joie de vivre and colors, and they also describe encounters and meetings. The touristic nature of his paintings makes them a declaration of Tel Aviv's image as a place where cultural freedom prevails.
Perez's Tel Aviv is a city where young families and couples live and fill the streets, the parks, the beach, the houses and the balconies – all the city's spaces. The characters in his paintings are similar, which helps reinforcing the belonging to the LGBT community in Tel Aviv. The collective theme in Perez's artwork interacts with the work of the Israeli artist Yohanan Simon, who dealt with the social aspects of the Kibbutz. Simon, who lived and worked in a Kibbutz, expressed the human model of the Kibbutznik (member of a Kibbutz) and the uniqueness of the Kibbutz members as part of a group where all are equal. Simon's works, and now Perez's, have contributed to the Israeli society what is has been looking for endlessly, which is a sense of identity and belonging.
Perez maps his territory and marks his boundaries, and does not forget the historical sites. Unlike other Tel Avivian artists, Perez wishes to present the lives of the residents of the city and the great love in their hearts. By choosing the historical sites in Tel Aviv, he also pays tribute to the artist Nachum Gutman, who loved the city and lived in it his whole life. In his childhood Gutman experienced historical moments (lighting the first oil lamp, first concert, first pavement), and as an adult he recreated the uniqueness of those events while keeping the city's magic.
Like Gutman, Perez has also turned the city into an object of love, and it has started adorning itself in rich colors and supplying the energy of a city that wishes to be "the city that never sleeps", combining old and new. Perez meticulously describes the uniqueness and style of the Bauhaus houses and balconies along the modern glass and steel buildings, all from unusual angles in a rectangular format that wishes to imitate the panorama of a diverse city in its centennial celebrations.
Daniel Cahana-Levensohn, curator.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Keo's Flickr bio is worth reproducing in its entirety:
TYPE O-riginal hybrID:
* * * [ this is NOT a typo, this is NOT A TEST, do NOT turn off your broadcast reception system ] * * *
- Ocean bred > Hawaii roots, San Diego branches.
- English is my 2nd language. I do not have a 1st.
- Though monolingual (UN counting Pacific Islander Pidgin English), I do understand 'Somewhere In the Middle', 'Black & White', 'Gray', and of course, the much maligned and classically misunderstood 'Nonsensical', appreciating its DNA duality of simple / deep destruction of the allusive illusory. Translation: Skilled in Confusion Milked Past illUsion.
- Thanks to an attention spent deficiting the Unknown for decades, my vocabulary is limited to 300 words. Endlessly interchanged in intergalactic ways skooled and tooled illegal in an Alieny kinda way.
- I am NOT selfish because I have not made babies (yet) that I know of [note: unoriginal, obligatory 10 macho points just made]. I am selfish because I sell fish. That smells like B.S. (B.eyond S.imple). And I spend too much time on it. And I believe it. My own. And I own it. All thanks to 1 year. In kindergarten (mahalo Ms. Nishimura; even if you never married me). And thanks to Being 66 at Age 6. Disclaimer: DON'T try this at home. This is done by PROFESSionals in controlled settings.
- I am not NOT a professional.
- If ever I reach for a Ph.D, the cover page of my thesis will read: 'WHATEVER' by Keo 101.
- I once asked a woman if she had any children. She said, "No." To which I replied, "That you know of." She did NOT laugh.
DABBLING IN: Spoken Word poetry, abstract painting, corniness, photography, word creation, and dream manipulation. 2Infinity. Being my zip-code. Being. Zipped by this load.
Sip on this Bonus Bio Code:
Creatures great and small. Smiles churched upside down. Homeless on the town. Stereotypes gowned clown. Grown ups playing house on co-op'd playground. Grounded caffeinated spirituality Gone Wild. A lifetime pledge to NEVER utter the word beseech; cause I hate Shakespeare. Though I love pears. Though I hate spears; though I have fave'd at least 4 songs by one Britney Spears. Just when we were going Somewhere, politics neutered by The Decaf Party. Discussions drowned in skin toned striations versed red, Right and blues. EQUALS All things obsessing me via 24/7 hues. Smellin' of 7-Eleven booze; Colt 45 coated like (un) Reality T-V scripted in oxyMoron, slavin' like oxyCotton repurposed to cut off Peter's tale. Till you turn it off. Then you till it, then you kill it - - the machinated, media fertilized seeds dug Machine Jonesin' deep, The Dream we collectively keep. Layin' an ILLusion lyin' lion that makes me oh so WEep. Don't even get me started; less you have the minutes of 100 Monopoly games. Less you're ready to give up Boardwalk 100x without even tryin.' Less you're ready for fryin' of your mindin' by my free flowin' stream of consciousness rhymin.' I'm just sayin.'
And what I'm sayin' is: that I'm dangerous. to myself and Otherz. because Cuz, let me break it down and boldly yell: BORED I DO NOT GET. Including peering at a blanco wall. both a blessin' & Double D downfall ( believe me, you don't want it). Thoughts kite flyin' border f-r-e-e, limited only by this vessel called Me. Results of which I'll only truly see in divinity; a mysterY where I can finally just . . . Be. Hopefully.
Until that fate, eye create.
The photographer was inspired by Hemingway's famed tragic microfiction: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
So he did a series of photos with microfiction captions.
I liked a number of these, but was particularly taken with this negative image.
The moving reconciliation of owner and pet (friend) here takes on the feel of an illustration of a fairy tale--the way the cat is standing makes me think of all those cats undergoing metamorphosis in fairy tales.
The old woman's stooped posture is perfect pathos and perfect visual counterpoint to the cat's litheness and limberness.
Stylistically, this negative rather reminds me of 19th century illustrative methods, and also evokes etchings of that century (or earlier).
Not every photograph is better or more mysterious as a negative, but there are those exceptions where the black/white contrast amid grays can yield fantastic results.
Sometimes the subtraction of color can yield a wonderful chiaroscuro.
One senses the vegetal lushness is actually improved by throwing it over to those charcoal tones: it frames this reunion with a gorgeous vignette (literal meaning of the term).
Again, this emphasizes the idea that this story is taking place inside a book.
There is a certain Borgesian metaphysical quality evoked.
Even if the book is invisible, the illustration is not.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The photographs she's been getting lately are impeccably designed and wholly memorable.
You have to visit this photo on Flickr and see the first comment which includes a sort of drawing (left by the artist herself) which explains the "rainbow" reference.
I found it very interesting.
That she would start from that arc of color and then transmute it into the world of black and white.
"I studied architecture in Israel, and then worked there in studios for almost 3 years. During that time I participated in competitions and won a few, and also participated in exhibitions.
I came to Spain to live in a different place, to meet new people, to dance flamenco and to fall in love..
I lived and worked in Granada as an architect, I traveled a few months in the north of Spain, and then I came to Madrid.
When my digital camera broke I decide to go backwards in time and started using a film camera. Since then I have participated in a few exhibitions in Spain and in Ukraine, and now my partner and I are colaborating and planning new projects in photography."
Photocollage offers so many possibilities.
Often, this has to do with the temporal; the photographer has an opportunity to offer diverse moments in a single space.
I am particularly impressed with the way the artist has that single hand floating out at right (seeking stability in the midst of passion?)
Just as that elbow at left seems more awry and dangerous than anything.
The funny awkward balance of Eros in this picture is not what we expect of the sexual snapshot.
But it's so often the funny moments of imbalance that endear the lover to us most.
And that is what I find most charming about this photo-collage.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Nherrisson has one of those mysterious Flickr profiles.
But there is a link to a website, where one discovers the artist's name is Nick Herrisson.
His* blog is a German language blog, so that possibly narrows down his country of residence to a few possibilites (or he could be an expatriate!)
He creates what he calls "pattern porn," kaleidoscopic collages of sexual (and other) body parts.
These end up looking simultaneously like elaborate musical numbers in the glory days (1930s and 1940s) of such films and scary Hans Bellmer sculptures.
The mind boggles.
These are often pretty things (some almost look confectionary) and yet a tad disturbing.
Are the manipulations meant to put us in mind of the endless series of manipulations which underlie all sexual desire?
Or do they merely want us to laugh at ourselves for being trapped in such a Hall of Mirrors in the first place?
Or are they saying that when we multiply our desires (avariciously) we end up with a monster?
I suppose the answer doesn't matter.
Answers rarely matter to physical objects.
Physical objects are all about existing.
They leave the thinking to us.
*I'm not even sure of the sex of the artist. Nick can also be a woman's nickname, obviously, and the Flickr avatar is of a woman. The artist's blog doesn't make this any clearer.
"with my old prints and handmade birds.
typhoon forced us to stay home on Sat.
oh, I went to dentist in the morning BTW and
it looked rather beauty salon and lovely."
not scary at all ;)"
It's often interesting to read notes like this to know a photographer's emotional state around the time of the photograph.
There is a recurrent "fear of dentistry" theme that flits in and out of her photographic notes.
I find this psychologically interesting.
For example, after dentistry the photographer refuses to take photos of herself and focuses on nature instead.
A strange sort of poetry of the focus emerges.
One could imagine a novel in which a photographer's mental state is examined side by side with her or his photographs, over a great period of time.
The idea of the photographer as emotional tabula rasa is silly.
Photojournalists are supposed to be that way, some assert, but even that idea is probably flawed and quixotic.
Her obsessions are perhaps the usual obsessions of youth: great rock bands, toys, love, pets (especially cats), friends and art.
And she photographs all of these things.
But her photographs are not the "usual photographs" of youth.
They exhibit a technical mastery and a remarkably diverse (and entrancing) range of palettes.
The photographer tends to favor pastels and seems to have a nostalgia for some of the cinematic styles of the sixties.
She admits a love of the serendipitious lens flare and often allows this to become part of her composition. This often strikes me as rather an anime effect, a way of adding a blissful disorientation to a scene.
Many of her photos make use of bokeh effects to achieve their ends.
Thematically, she often creates fairy tale scenarios.
These are usually my favorite photos by this artist.
She often includes toys she has crafted herself in her photos, and these works often hint at a private mythology, and stories of which see only glimpses.
She has posted over 9,000 photos on Flickr, so there is a quite large gallery to enjoy!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
She has only 66 photos posted on Flickr, but almost every single photo has a raging storm of controversy--both admiration and confusion--around it.
This is because the artist is formalistically innovative in the most seductive way possible--the way of mystery.
This piece, "The Duellists," reminds me of Giacometti's sculpture "The Palace at 4 a.m."
In both works of art, temporal framing is foregrounded.
Here a physical confrontation is almost turned into a strange pas de deux, merely through the abstraction of select moments in this quadriptych.
Do yourself a favor and check out this artist's Photostream on Flickr.
It will feed your imagination with the possibilities of the medium, especially those rarely explored.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I have an attachment to photos which capture liminal moments.
I want to say these kinds of photos illustrate "betweenness."
How's that for awkward?
But this photograph offers betweenness along two separate axes.
We are between day and night, but also between the staged and the real.
Or is this all purely natural?
We get a sense of the supernatural when we feel that nature is playing dramatist.
There is a feeling of a "someone there," where there is ostensibly no one.
Or is there?
The supernatural is often just that wondering: is there someone there?
The artist writes of this photo: " Deep inside the woods we found this sharp dressed little man. That small hand to the right just had to touch him to se if he was for real."
cause every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.
Originally uploaded by Jonas Fransson
cause every girl is crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.
Originally uploaded by Jonas Fransson
Jonas Fransson's profile is not very forthcoming with details.
It is as mysterious as his photos generally are.
I think it is safe to say the artist resides in Sweden and is Swedish by birth.
He is drawn to beautiful absences.
If you visit his Photostream, you will find the artist has a sensitivity for the evanescent. He often creates photos which leave the viewer with the feeling that fairy tales have been half begun, but suddenly interrupted, as the teller of the tales has been called away...for an unknown reason and unknown duration. Possibly forever.
He wanders forests, and often looks at these remotenesses (awkward but accurate word) with the same dark child's eye the Brothers Grimm did.
He photographs abandoned houses found deep in the Swedish woods, but never gives over (as a lesser artist would) to treacly nostalgia or schwarmerei. He realizes the joy which still inheres in these objects, even after their abandonment. That hability lends many of his pictures a slight supernatural tinge. It why the images linger with the viewer, why his photos produce such strong afterimages.
Fransson even manages to make a Swedish IKEA feel haunted (!) and in one photo renders an IKEA shopper a convincing ghost.
He gives many of his photos mordantly funny captions (Jonas knows English well) which often torque the pieces in unexpected directions.
The photograph above (with its funny caption invoking ZZ Topp) achieves the poetic effects I describe above. There is a strange feeling that the abandoned doll is perfectly fine with its abandonment, the spooky sense that "life goes on" even when the human is subtracted.
And, of course, we are in a part of the world where troll mythology is humorously still alive (more so in Iceland, but I'm sure Sweden has its fair share of troll lore).
So the photograph presents a familiar Scandinavian archetype.
The choice of framing, with the human arm presenting the doll makes all the difference.
The human is "put in its place." Nature and mythology are much larger than the individual human, and the photo is proportioning itself (mathematically) along those lines.
We might need the human to prop the doll and take the photograph, but once the doll has entered vision and the imagination, it has a "life of its own."
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
"Education and fine tea is important" reads the caption.
Brett Davies was born in Coogee, Sydney.
He currently resides in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.
"Ceiling light hole above iron cart statue at a Galle Hotel in Sri Lanka."
I like the way the photographer does an end sneak around abstraction with this one.
Makes me think of O'Keefe's and Weston's love of finding abstraction in forms at hand.
And I think of Shiva in that wheel.
An archetypal mandala for sure.
"Veeramunai Festival at Temple. July 2009."
I'd be daft not to choose one or more photographs from the artist's travels throughout Asia.
If you visit his Photostream (by clicking on any of the above photos) you will experience a panoply.
There are numerous shots of Indian and Sri Lankan life that will stop your mouse dead.