Thursday, June 21, 2012
Photographer: Ed Templeton
Posted by Imogen Brooks
Ed Templeton (not to be confused with the same named creative director of design and branding company Red Design) takes photographs that intrigue the voyeur in all of us. As a professional skateboarder in the 1990s, it was from there that the Californian photographer, sculptor and painter began to develop his ability to capture moments of human intimacy. By his own admission, Templeton was an outsider to the lifestyle that he found himself thrown into; whilst the majority of his fellow skaters enjoyed the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle provided by their success, Ed remained more of an observer. Rather than participate, he would document.
Mainly shot in black and white, Templeton’s portraits record individuals in their natural environment, often involved in their activities without regard for the camera. His ability to readily capture the immediacy of the moment is something that distinguishes his work from the millions of other portrait photographers. And whilst the subject matters are at times distressing or even depressing, the intimacy with which Templeton shoots invites you to replace your identity as spectator with a member of the turbulent world that his work portrays.
Most of Templeton’s projects do not shy from controversy, such as Teenage Smokers, that exhibits a series image of, you guessed it, adolescent boys and girls smoking cigarettes as they stare defiantly down the lens. This, along with Teenage Kissers and other urban-themed projects, display this remarkable photographer’s brazenly raw and at times shocking images that nevertheless manage to retain a sense of the beauty of the human condition.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Photographer: Tina Crespo
Posted by Harry Warwick
There Is Another World
‘There is another world, but it is in this one’ reads the caption, a quotation from William Butler Yeats, that Tina Crespo gives to one of her photographs. The image itself shows a faint blue breaking between dark clouds; it portrays a sky that is uncertain, neither fair nor threatening, defying the sort of firm prediction, the mastery, that we long to impose on the weather. In many ways, the sky, being as mysterious, capricious, and variable as it appears in Crespo’s photo, seems both the sovereign chieftain of this world and, at the same time, otherworldly. It is the master that subjects us to its whims and, by remaining remote and unknowable, essentially alienates us. We are allowed to look between the clouds, to see the clear space beyond, to try to find another world outside of our own. But confronted with this mysterious celestial province, at once dark, light, and distant, we become instead sharply aware that the other world, whatever it is, partakes of this one, as Yeats suggests.
As a symbol, the sky is often invoked to carry messages about liberty. It is partly this meaning that Crespo seems to take from in the first photograph, and she draws from it elsewhere in this same set of images, each of which is cropped into a circle and captioned. Consider, for instance, ‘Caged Birds’, which takes Tennessee Williams’s aphorism: ‘Caged birds accept each other but flight is what they long for.’ The complex relationship between the natural world and the freedom it admits us is simpler here, but still memorable and profound. Nature is a recurrent theme, it seems, of her photography, and she turns it masterfully to beautiful and dark purposes in images such as ‘Dark Forest’ and ‘Salt Water Cure’ as well.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Ones to Watch: Hannah Nagle
Posted by Maxine Harris
Name: Hannah Nagle
Just 18 and already been featured on Dazed Digital, and completed work experience with Mario Testino – Hannah Nagle has a long future in the art of photography ahead of her. Talking on her experience with Testino, Hanna remarked ‘It was such a surreal week. I’ve been looking at Testino’s work since I was about 14 and I couldn’t believe he’d given me the opportunity to meet and work with his team. One thing I learnt was how much art influences his work. Before I’d spend time in galleries looking at work I could use in my art exams but now I focus a lot more on looking at artwork in terms of photography.’ Hannah picks up on an interesting concept here: the ways in which art, still life, portraits, paintings, ink, collage, etc seem to exude many of the same aesthetics and components of photography. Adversely, in the images above, Hannah exhibits the ways in which photography can incorporate a more “artistic” look. They are not simply images printed straight from the camera as they are. Instead, they are edited digitally to become photography and art combined. In some cases, such as the image below, the art seems to dominate the photography
In the above work, the photographic element (the model) is obscured by dark orange brush strokes. At the same time however, the black-and-white of the model creates a high-contrasted image which holds its own against the colourful and beautifully chaotic backdrop.
Asked on what she finds enjoyable about photography, Hannah said ‘It's one of the very few things that comes naturally to me. I've sang and played instruments for most of my life but I always felt I had to try too hard and as soon as I picked up a camera I knew this was what I wanted to do. There's this feeling I get when I know I've taken a great photograph that I don't get from anything else. I also love how universal photography is. Everyone can take photos now, whether it be on their phone or with a small compact camera but I think this is also pushing photographers harder to try and make themselves stand out. Other processes involved in photography, such as editing down which photographs you're going to use or post-production (both digitally and by hand), have now become more important’.
Hannah describes a typical working day as consisting of ‘answering/sending out emails, planning future shoots and working on artwork and posters for a band called ‘evilalien’ who I’ve been working with since last year.’
As far as the future is concerned, Hannah has made lists of all the artists, bands, and labels she hopes to work with: ‘hopefully one day I’ll be able to say I’ve ticked them all off.’
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Photographer: Rafa Zubiria
Posted by Harry Warwick
The photographs collected in Rafa Zubiria’s project No way home represent a liminal space that reminds us of our roots and, at the same time, asserts our inability to return to them. The top image depicts a flat that, dislocated, hangs impossibly in the air. Yet the traffic lights, streetlamp, and bare branches appeal to familiarity and mark suburbia, the home of the home, as the location of the image. If we can see the house, grounded, as literally a sort of root, then these habitats, lifted into the air, re-enact the uprooting of the subject from its origin. Even though the project, as it stands, depicts only one human figure—whose face is out of focus, in the corner of the picture, and obscured by the first shades of night—it challenges the most instinctual convictions of humanity. We must confront the possibility that home never has been a stable space, that we cannot truly revisit it, and that we ourselves are irrevocably changed because of it.
Two particular images in the collection complicate this simple but provocative theme. The second photograph shows a narrow ladder leaning against a high fence. The trees and bushes rendering with majesty their gold and scarlet hues function primarily to set this image in autumn, which may be the season of decline and death, but is also the promise of rebirth, of eventual renewal. The cyclical life of nature contrasts with the painfully linear quality of human experience, in which the objects of our past make a constant, nostalgic movement away from our present selves. The possibility of a cycle, of a perfect return, is exactly what the other images in this collection deny.
As it proceeds upwards, the precarious, leaning ladder narrows: even if it were to allow us over the fence, would it ascend to the houses in the sky? The other photograph of a ladder, which also does not contain the home itself, is also a profound and disturbing complement to this narrative of detachment. Hanging down to the ground, it suggests a way up, but positioned over a shallow river dividing the suburban space, it is also inaccessible. This tantalising predicament only serves to reinforce the notion of the home as an institution of the past. As something that was, but no longer is and no longer can be. Zubiria’s elevation of the home, the elegant twist he applies to reality, is uncanny and nightmarish.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Stylist and Photographer: Beinta á Torkilsheyggi
Posted by Lulu Liao
The works of Beinta á Torkilsheyggi feature dreaminess, aestheticism and reminiscence. Being both a stylist and a photographer, Benita manages to integrate the model, the props and the environment to make perfect shots with her unique style – classic portrait with a fashionable twist.
In the above group of photos entitled “At Home”, Benita has chosen a classic beauty as the model and gives her light make-up and vintage clothing. She dresses the model in diverse styles, sometimes like a romantic, courageous girl, sometimes like an elegant, sophisticated lady, but always with eyes that silently pierce through your soul. We can tell from the manner and expression the model is portraying that she is well educated.
Benita makes full use of the props, and skilfully sets the environment. The plants in delicate vases, the paintings hung on the wall, and even the patterns on the quilt and the carpets construct a believable scene – a splendidly decorated house of an affluent family.
In the post-production process, Benita blurs the photos and adds some incomplete frames to imitate old photos. Since the styling of the model, the setting of the situation, and the effect of the photos are so coherent with each other, the photos look like a set of old portraits of a young lady taken in different places of her home and at different stages of her life. They lead us into the reminiscence of girly days in the past.
Friday, June 01, 2012
Photographer: Phil Provencio
Posted by Maxine Harris
Phil Provencio is a graphic designer and photographer with a talent for transforming the most commercial and mundane sights into edgy masterpieces. Based in New York, Phil has worked as house photographer at the Improv and Carolines clubs in both Phoenix and New York and had work sold exclusively in fashion store, Urban Outfitters.
It is his use of light distortion and colour which make Phil’s photography so visually appealing to its young, edgy audience. His work seems to possess a retro feel, its use of light creating a worn look, as if kept in a box from the 1960s. Indeed, Phil’s use of colour adheres to a pop-art aesthetic, presenting the sights so often seen in popular culture, and digitally enhancing them to ascertain a retro and vibrant style of photography.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Photographer: Chris Burkard
Posted by Imogen Brooks
In the world of surf photography Chris Burkard is a well-known name, with his work regularly gracing the covers of Surfing Magazine, Wavelength and numerous other sport and geographic magazines. Born in California, Burkard began his photography career at a young age, inspired by the beauty of both the Californian seascapes and the talented surfing community that the state is so renowned for. His own background as a dedicated body boarder partly explains the perceptive nature of his work in its portrayal of the ocean’s diverse temperament and form.
Burkard’s subject matters are diverse, from wide angled shots that capture the powerful silhouettes of surfers to more intimate portraits of individuals that portray the reality of the surfer lifestyle. Nevertheless, they are unified by a clearly distinct style that focuses on clarity, vivid colour and beautifully balanced visual composition.
Particularly beautiful are his photographs of waves that act as the lens’ solitary focus. The image above displays in sharp clarity the smooth arc, texture and exquisite colour of the wave, to an abstract and painterly visual effect. At times it seems like Burkard is taking you into the waves themselves by shooting from such a close range.
Whilst his more commercial sports photography aptly expresses the immensity of the ocean’s power, Burkard’s clear appreciation of the peace and solitude that surf culture offers is conveyed through his insightful portraitures as well as the magical, serene quality of his seascape photography.
Images: Adventure-journal.com Surferspath.mpora.com Chrisburkard.blogspot.co.uk
Friday, May 18, 2012
Photographer: Rachel Bellinsky
Posted by Maxine Harris
Floral photography is nothing new. Flowers are pretty, detailed, and intricate. They make interesting, attractive and commercial photographs. Therefore it is no surprise that close-up flower shots make a popular addition in many a photographer’s portfolio. However, the floral photography by Rachel Bellinsky offers something more than “pretty”. Rachel doesn’t rest on the intricate features of the flower to make her photograph. Rather, she uses light and angles to take what might be thought of as a “one-dimensional photograph”, and turns it into a “multi dimensional photograph”.
This photograph is entitled ‘On Our Way Out’, representing the decay of the daisy. Rachel’s use of blurring and extreme focus in this shot also represents this feeling of decay, as the daisies in the background work their way “out” of the photograph. Not only this, but Rachel’s blurring technique achieves a sense of ethereality and fantasy within all of her photography. She creates a world which fairies and other magical creatures could easily inhabit, combining effortlessly into the photograph.
As I’ve mentioned before, Rachel’s photography is more than just “pretty”. She creates a world, a fantasy behind the photographs, which makes them so much more than just another photograph of a flower.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Photographer: Emma Walker
Posted by Maxine Harris
The photographs above are taken from Emma’s portfolio, ‘An Assemblage of Improbable Flowers & Insects’. Not a project for the faint-hearted, Emma utilised the slightly irksome art of Taxidermy, warping our sense of perspective by mutating parts of insects and flowers. She explains ‘These series demonstrate the creation of life, in a crude and perhaps disrespectful manner, imitating science, by dissecting and destroying life in order to create it’. In doing so, she questions our perceptions of life and creation, and the ethics of science in its ability to mutate and dissipate our notions of natural design. Her photographs are orchestrated simply with just a white background and the newly created, and unique, insect or flower placed on top. This juxtaposition between the beautifully simple presentation and complex method and design appears to mirror that which we find in daily life. A human for example is on the surface a body, but when one looks at the intricacy with which we were made, the true complexity of our design can be realised.
Emma’s photography is not only incredibly intricate, but also innovative as it crosses the boundaries of what we traditionally know as natural design.
Friday, May 04, 2012
Photographer: Jim Cowan
Posted by Maxine Harris
The sequel in Jim Cowan’s three part series titled L’Iconnu, Part II explores the mediums of sculpture and paint, and Cowan’s role as both creator and destroyer. Cowan explains ‘The paint became the moment of change, ambiguous in its aggression […] Whether the paint was the instant of death; the removal of life, or the moment of creation; the creation of soul, is unclear. But either way the paint becomes as significant as the form it highlights and distorts’. He treats his models as sculptures, their bodies painted white in order to create a blank canvas on which the moment of destruction and creation was devised.
Paint becomes the medium by which wonderful shapes and interesting textures are created, and a blank canvas is destroyed. There are a million ways that Cowan’s work could be interpreted. Symbolically, it is absolutely bursting at the seams: red as a sign of passion, anger, love; black signifying death, melancholy; green as nature’s symbolic colour. The paradox of aggression (Cowan throwing paint on the models’ bodies) meets serenity (the white blank canvas) is the perfect accomplice to the juxtaposition of destruction and creation.
Not only is Part II of L’Inconnu an aesthetically-charged series of photographs, it also invites the viewer into a powerful exploration of the complications and juxtapositions between anger and peace, destruction and creation.