Friday, February 21, 2014

►Menno Aden - Room Portraits

►German photographer Menno Aden shot a series of pictures of Berlin interiors looking down from the ceiling – a series he calls "Room Portraits". To create the 'portraits', Aden fastens a camera with a wide-angle lens to the ceiling of a room and takes pictures straight down. Sometimes he uses a monopod or tripod, other times a boom. The camera is often controlled remotely. He takes about 150 pictures from the elevated position before he begins his post-production processing and editing.

"Watching from a higher position on a small space is interesting because I can see someone's 'compressed personality'," said Aden to Slate in an interview. With the third dimension removed, the objects in a room seemed as if they are placed on an architect's floor plan.

Menno Aden started photographing rooms of friends in Berlin, to make portraits of them without actually seeing them. "Many of them had - or still have - an unpretentious life, which is quite typical in Berlin since rents have been quite low", said Aden. Shooting from above, however, can make even the most chaotic room look neat and organized.
"This happens because all the things on the floor such as the furniture flatten into two dimensions", explained the photographer. "I knew about it and I wanted this organized look over chaotic spaces because it makes the viewer feel elevated - sublime - but to be honest I didn't know that an untidy room would look so organized, too".
"When I find a good one [space] I walk through a room, stare at the floor, and note the furniture or the structure of a room. If a room interests me, I'm making plans where I'll put the camera and check the height and material of the ceiling".
Aden doesn't limit himself to private spaces. He has take images of stores, elevators, basements and also parking garages.

►Christophe Jacrot - Overwhelming Rain

Christophe Jacrot lives and works in Paris. He started his photographic career with Paris sous la pluie (Paris in the rain)€, for which a book was edited in October 2008. Following this success, he photographed Hong Kong under the rain and New York under the rain. Aside from being a photographer, Christophe Jacrot has also directed a movie Prison à Domicile released in 1999.

"In my opinion, there are two ways of capturing the world for a photographer; on the one hand grasping its horror, and on the other sublimating it," says French photographer Christophe Jacrot. "I have chosen the second. More specifically, I like the way rain, snow and "bad weather" awaken a feeling of romantic fiction within me (climatic excesses are another topic). I see these elements as a fabulous ground for photography, an under-used visual universe with a strong evocative power, and with a richness of subtle lights. This universe escapes most of us, since we are too occupied getting undercover. Man becomes a ghostly silhouette wandering and obeying the hazards of rain or of snow. My approach is deliberately pictorial and emotional."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

►Michael Aaron Williams - Portraits Painted with Coffee

►Artist Michael Aaron Williams has been working on a beautiful series of portraits painted with coffee on found sheets of used ledger paper that dates back to the 1920s and 30s.

►Shintaro Ohata - Sculpture and Canvas to 3D Paintings

When first viewing the artwork of Shintaro Ohata up close it appears the scenes are made from simple oil paints, but take a step back and you’re in for a surprise. Each piece is actually a hybrid of painted canvas and sculpture that blend almost flawlessly in color and texture to create a single image. The cinematic figures are sculpted from polystyrene while the backgrounds are made from traditional painting techniques. 
Via his artist statement:
Shintaro Ohata is an artist who depicts little things in everyday life like scenes of a movie and captures all sorts of light in his work with a unique touch: convenience stores at night, city roads on rainy day and fast-food shops at dawn etc. His paintings show us ordinary sceneries as dramas. He is also known for his characteristic style; placing sculptures in front of paintings, and shows them as one work, a combination of 2-D and 3-D world. He says that it all started from when he wondered "I could bring the atmosphere or dynamism of my paintings with a more different way if I place sculptures in front of paintings". Many viewers tend to assume that there is a light source set into his work itself because of the strong expression of lights in his sculpture.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

►Misha Gordin - An image that talk

Misha Gordin was born in 1946, the first year after World War II ended. Having survived the hardships of evacuation, Gordin's parents returned back home to Riga, Latvia, after the war which was then under Soviet occupation. Growing up among the Russian speaking population of Latvia, Russian became Gordin’s root culture. He graduated from the technical college as an aviation engineer but never worked as such. Instead he joined Riga Motion Studios as a designer of equipment for special effects. At this time social realism was an official culture of the country and having little formal knowledge about art, Gordin did not care about it too much. Information about modern western art was scarcely available.

Gordin started to photograph when he was nineteen, driven by his desire to create a personal style and vision. He was involved in portraiture and did some documentary shots, but soon realized the results were unsatisfactory. Putting his camera aside, Gordin concentrated on reading (Dostoevsky, Bulgakov) and cinematography (Tarkovsky, Parajanov). He was constantly looking for the right way to express personal feelings and thoughts using photography.
One year later it came to him clearly and simply. Gordin decided to photograph "concepts" rather than the literal capturing of a moment on film. In 1972, Gordin created his first, and most important image, Confession. Instantly recognizing the potential possibilities of his conceptual approach and the knowledge acquired from creating this image, Confession become the backbone for the work he has since produced.
In 1974, after years of disgust with communist authorities, Gordin left Latvia and immigrated to America.

Artist's Statement…
"My technique, though polished and improved throughout my career, cannot compete with the ease of digital manipulations. My first introduction to digital photography demonstrated how similar it is to analog techniques and I believe that a soul of a photograph, its magnetic language of feeling, can be achieved both ways. At this moment, however, I do not see any reason to switch to digital manipulation. My technique is unforgiving and laborious. Mistakes can be made, but not corrected. A trace of fear of making a mistake is present in every image I make, as is the precision of every move and the complete concentration necessary for my repetitive steps. These limitations and imperfections add to the power of my images with blade-line simplicity. While digital approaches may be instrumental in bringing conceptual photography from the periphery to a well-deserved place in Art Photography, I prefer the glowing material qualities of original gelatin-silver prints. Despite its similarities to other means of manipulating images, I think some element of "truthfulness" is lost in digital photography. It is, after all, truthfulness, and our trust in it, that made me choose photography as my tool.

The greatest power of the photograph – our belief in its straight-forward truthfulness – has been lost forever. We place our confidence in what accurately represents reality, and photography, with its realistic accuracy, has long been aligned with "truth" and its etymological relative, "trust". Its undeniable advantage to painting and other mediums is that we subconsciously believe that what is photographed has to exist. In the digital era, however, truth can be conjured and changes made quickly, with no chemicals, no darkness and no mistakes. An obviously manipulated image tries to "trick" its viewers with its version of the truth, thereby diminishing our trust in its image. The question arises: do my photographs represent external reality, or do they point inwards towards my soul? Am I documenting the existing world, or creating my own world, so real but nonexistent?

What truth can you find in the manipulated image, what is trustworthy about visions of a world that does not externally exist? And does it matter? To me it matters. The translation of personal concepts into the language of photography reflects possible answers to the major questions of being: birth, death, and life. The transformation of a concept into reality is an essential part of conceptual photography, and imbues it with the reality that resonates with one’s inner sphere of experience, as in painting, poetry, music, and sculpture. Conceptual photography employs the special talent of intuitive vision. The poor concept, perfectly executed and realistically portrayed, still makes a poor photograph.

In all my years of creating conceptual images, I have tried to make them as realistic as possible. The plausibility of my scenes is not the most important part; they function in such a way that the question "Is it real?" does not arise. The authenticity that I present is that of an interior moment, so that my viewers may trust and react to the conceptual truths that they may know to be external fictions. I don’t interpret my images. I feel them. Nevertheless I always encourage my viewers to interpret my work as they see or feel it. My goal is to create an image that talk."

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