Cang Xin is a Beijing biased photographer and performance artist. Xin believes that everything and everyone has a soul be they inanimate or animate. He communicates harmony through nature by trying to be a person or object. Xin does these social experiments where he would either swap clothes with strangers in order to become that person. His concepts may be outlandish but the idea of taking over someone's being is almost like stepping away from your self and coming into another. Amazing. Xin is not the character he is being the character.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Jill Greenberg is a well-established photographer from Detroit. She has alot of portrait commercial work for big companies such as Microsoft, Pixar, and Coca-Cola. She is one of the first photographers to pioneer a lighting technique that creates an "ethereal" back lighting on the subject.
Her series, End Times, features large scale portraits of toddlers crying and distorting their faces in ways that is emotionally unsettling. Her work with the distressed toddlers was a key controversial subject in 2006. The title of the piece reflects the artist's commentary on the Bush Administration and Christian Fundamentalism.
Her work with lighting is exceptional. She adds more dimensionality to the subject by manipulating the lights. As you can see in some of the crying toddlers' eyes, you can count the artist's extensive use of strobes and lighting. I am humored by her work because of how she has placed a distressed toddler under studio lights and captured them in the most emotionally distraught way as possible. When reflecting on the title of the piece, I immediately thought of the rapture and the Christian notion of how the world will end.
Shirin Nashat is an Iranian photographer and film maker. In the first photo series "Woman of Allah" combines images if women with religious texts. Nashat pushes the boundaries of taboos in the Islamic culture. I really admire how she takes timid woman and makes them into powerful strong woman. The way she places Arabic calligraphy makes her figures graceful and effortless.
Seydou Keita is a self taught photographer form Bamako, Mali. Keita is mostly known for his portraits of people and families between the 40's and 60's. His work is a record of the Malian people but also as works of art. The subjects in Keita's are in generically posed on a simple set but the spirit of the people and their dress warm up the images.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Pieter Hugo portrays African communities. In the series "The Hyena and Other Men", Hugo travels with a group called the "Gadawan Kura" or hyena guides. These men were entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. This is actually a tradition has been passed down for generations. The way Hugo portrays these men does not seem real at all, this image seem more editorial than portrayals of an ancient tradition. I admire how he captures the exotic and amplifies it to greater heights.
Czech photographer Josef Koudelka emphasizes the death, social and cultural rituals. Koudelka captures the story of the human spirit through dark landscapes. His melancholy consepts make the subject into characters rather than real people. In his series "Gypsies", Koudelka document these roaming people during the time of the Soviet invasion in Slovakia and Romania in the late 60's.
German artist Martin Klimas experiments with motion and the cause and effect in gravity. The concept of Klimas's photographs is the at a certain point when chaos becomes beauty. In "Paint with Sound", Klimas puts paint onto a speaker making the paint dance in the are almost like a 3-D Jackson Pollack. Klimas may have a fun time with destroying objects but the seeing the object before it is destroyed is quite amazing.
In Daniel W. Coburn’s series Domestic Reliquary he uses the salted paper process to reproduce a series of found objects and photographs. This series is a way to explore Coburn’s own dark family narrative. “A complicated relationship with my family, and an immersive, cult-like experience with an evangelical Christian church resulted in my loss of spiritual and domestic faith. My work relates specifically to these personal struggles and explores the quiet suffering that occurs within the perimeter of a family unit living under the auspices of the ideal American dream.” So it is fitting that this process is being used because it uses household chemicals that combine to make the paper light sensitive. Coburn says “The imperfections and technical artifacts of the process allow me to simultaneously deconstruct and repair the image. This method is cathartic and has become a metaphor for my own personal healing process. By working into each print using a variety of mixed media, I create a series of one-of-a-kind domestic artifacts.”
These images are incredibly intriguing. I love the surreal nature of some of the photographs which incorporate alternative photographic processes and what I assume to be printmaking techniques as well as physical manipulation of the paper. By making these additions as the image is created, Coburn is creating more and more layers of depth and meaning to this work. Visually, this series is very inspiring.
Diane Meyer is a photographer who is interested in what she calls the failures of photography. They cannot fully preserve experience and personal history, and at the same time photographs transform moments into nostalgia that obscure understandings of the past. In her work she embroiders into images in order to further obscure details and understands of a place and time. By cross-stitching into the photographs she is essentially pixilating the images. These images come from three different series that each talk about ideas of memory, nostalgia and trying to make sense of time and place.
The Berlin Series:
In this series Meyer photographed along the former path of the Berlin wall. She was particuallarly interested in photographing places where there was no visible trace of the physical wall, but were still subtle clues of its past (incongruities in architecture). In this series the sewing mimics the unnatural view that would have been created by the wall.
In this series Meyer uses images that are of a more personal nature. In this series Meyer strives to have the embroidery convey the idea of the human brain trying to retrieve information. She also believes that “The tactile, hand-embroidered overlay not only relates to the digital aesthetic, but also hints at the growing trend of photos remaining primarily digital—stored on cell phones and hard drives, but rarely printed out into a tangible object.” The embroidery certainly does bring to mind the action of trying to recover memories, or the idea of how memories can deteriorate over time. However, I didn’t get the idea about the relation to the digital age. I feel that these images are more about nostalgia and don’t think they go so far as to make a commentary on the nature of our digital age.
The Landscape series:
In this series Meyer uses images that are taken during significant points in her life. Meyer explains “the repetitive action of cross-stitching becomes a futile attempt to make the fleeting memories of life permanent and ingrained. This series is also in progress and will ultimately function as an archive of various experiences arranged by location.”
Keliy Anderson-Staley works with wet plate collodion tintypes. Her project [Hyphen] Americans deals with hyphenated American identities (Irish-American, African-American, etc.), but really emphasizes a shared identity. With her work Anderson-Staley hopes to “capture a powerful likeness, which I then title only with a first name. Each portrait is revealing but anonymous. Each is also uniquely representative of an individual but not of a particular group. Therefore, although the heritage of each individual might be inferred from assumptions we make about features and costumes, the viewer is encouraged to suspend the kind of thinking that would traditionally assist in decoding these images in the context of American identity politics."
I was really drawn to these images because of the powerful identity that each individual asserts. It is really interesting to see contemporary portraiture work being done in tintype. Although she is not the only artist currently doing this, Anderson-Staley adds to the conversation by talking about construction of identity. By identifying these only by their first names, we only have our own assumptions about what "hyphen" American they are. Because of this we are made to realize that it doesn't really matter. There is one shared identity that is being shared by all of these individuals, and by us as well.
Mark and Erich
Against the Storm
Emma Powell’s series entitled The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter is a cross between reality and dream. She uses tea and wine to tone the cyanotypes in her work. Powell has this to say about her work: I use self-portraiture to articulate personal narratives, which are often both nightmare and fantasy. Human, animal, and environmental forms interact in unexpected ways to symbolize discoveries and conflicts in my intimate relationships. I use the cyanotype process to suggest an alternative space, such as a dream or memory. This historic process obscures the subjects’ location in time and creates a backdrop for archetypal universal symbols. These images are toned with tea and wine to produce a range of additional warmer tones, making them seem more natural. I choose these substances for the acidic effect on the chemistry, as well as their influence on communication and memory. Although photography is normally considered a medium that represents the present, visible world, in my work I attempt to make visual what cannot be seen in place or time.
These images are incredibly beautiful to me. Most are very simplistic, which is something that I really admire. She is able to create this wonderfully complex and interesting narrative without going over the top using tons of props. What is even more interesting about this work is that these are toned cyanotypes. I really love the soft and nostalgic quality that the toning gives these images. This technique really does create the impression of memories and a type of universal meaning that Powell strives for with her work.
Where There is Smoke