Tag Archives: Creative Process

TIME Picks the Top Photographic Magazine Covers of 2012

The best photographs don’t always make the best covers. It takes a smart concept, a meticulously executed image, smoothly integrated typography and the combination of all those factors to create an immediate and lasting impact. Our top ten photographic covers of 2012 show exquisite use of photography.

The most notable is New York Magazine’s magnificent cover by photographer Iwan Baan of a half blacked-out Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy. It’s instantly iconic and will become one of the greatest covers of all time. In the mix is also W‘s stunning fashion cover image of Marion Cotillard, ESPN‘s high-concept “Fantasy Football” cover, depicting an NFL player in a magical forest with a unicorn, and a photojournalistic cover, the Economist’s powerful image documenting the personal toll of the conflict in Gaza.

We also decided to include two covers in the mix that were striking photo-based illustrations. An aged Obama on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek as well as a thoughtful commission by the New York Times Magazine for the visual artist Idris Kahn to reinterpret an iconic landmark on their London-themed cover.

A great cover is always a collaborative effort. To caption each of our selected covers, we spoke to a mix of editors, photo directors, art directors and photographers who took part during different stages of the creative process. In our selection, we refrained from choosing any TIME covers, though if we were to choose one, it would be Martin Schoeller’s arresting image of a mother breast-feeding her 4-year-old son, “Are You Mom Enough?”

Kira Pollack, Director of Photography

Kirsten Hoving

I recently reviewed portfolios of photographic educators at the SPE National Conference in San Francisco. This week I am featuring some of the terrific work I got a chance to see….

I first got to know Kirsten Hoving as the owner/director of the PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont. I have been a big supporter of her gallery and their exhibition opportunities for emerging photographers, and several times had the great pleasure of serving as a juror for their exhibitions. It took me awhile to realize that Kirsten is also a photographer, and a good one at that. In addition, she’s a Professor of Art History at Middlebury College. It was great to finally meet her in San Francisco and spend time with her work and person. Her new series, Night Wanderers, was a powerful collection frozen assemblages, that have an ethereal beauty.

Night Wanderers is a series of photographs envisioning the cosmos. I photograph objects and nineteenth-century photographs frozen in or placed under disks of ice to create the feeling of galactic swirls of stars, galaxies and spiral nebulae.

For this series, I have been influenced not by the work of other photographers, but by the collage and assemblage art of the American artist Joseph Cornell. In the course of writing an art historical book on the artist, Joseph Cornell and Astronomy: A Case for the Stars (Princeton University Press, 2009), I became aware of the artist’s deep and abiding interest in astronomy. I also came to understand his creative process, which involved juxtaposing objects in often unexpected ways. His working method encouraged me to take risks, to experiment, and to be willing to destroy one object to create another. He also taught me to appreciate the stars.

Using ice as a still life object is always a challenging process. I partially thaw the ice to create transparent and translucent areas, then work quickly to photograph it. While I choose objects and photographs that recall earlier times, such as an outdated globe or old cartes-de-visite, to help remind us that star light is old light, the ice that encases them underscores the elegance and fragility of our place in the universe.

Beau Comeaux

New York photographer, by way of Texas and Louisiana, Beau Comeaux, manages to make the ordinary into imagined realities. His new exhibition, Implied Fictions, opens at the B. Hollyman Gallery in Austin, Texas on July 9th and runs through August 20th.

A presence, felt but not seen, emanates from the shadows, from around corners, and from behind structures. Psychologically inhabiting these images, one can become unnerved and uncertain about exploring the spaces and their ominous overtones. As much about definitions as exclusion, their voyeuristic implications are undeniably tempting. Perspective shifts, color mutates… lighting and focus – seemingly self-aware – further heighten disorientation…

Growing up in the lush and exotic landscapes of southern Louisiana, Beau’s childhood imagination allowed him to transform his neighborhoods into other worlds, and he has continued those explorations using nocturnal approaches and selective focus . “The process of transforming a negative captured hours/days/weeks prior into his current memory/imagination of the scene of immense fascination to him”, and led to an MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas. He currently resides in New York, where he is an Assistant Professor at Sage College of Albany and has exhibited world wide.

Implied Fictions’ are a mix of exploration and examination, existing at a point where art and science intersect. This body of work consists of large, contemporary color photographs driven by the photographer’s curiosity and imagination. Working with a digital camera, Beau begins his process by shooting long exposures at night, capturing an empty street, a house on the corner, a construction site, an open field. Alone in the solitude of the night he becomes the collector of raw materials, surveyor of the land and its artifacts. Post-shoot, he continues his creative process and transforms focus, light, and perspective to sculpt what his imagination envisioned. The result is a distorted reality encapsulated in an image that transcends the everyday. These surreal, dream-like scenes provoke a deeper examination of the spaces depicted, allowing the viewer to participate. The process of transforming a negative into his current realization of the scene was an early fascination to Comeaux. A switch to digital technology around 2004 led to new avenues of creativity by bringing the darkroom transformation experience to his color work.

I practice the art of discovery during exploration under the quiet cover of the still night. The pace is slowed, the mood settled, and the liminal spaces normally unattainable are made available. A presence, felt but not seen, emanates from the shadows, from around corners, and from behind structures.

I take ownership and control of domestic and semi-domestic spaces through acquisition and manipulation of digital captures. Focus, light, and color are twisted beyond their quotidian existence in order to transform the spaces depicted into fantasies wrapped in spatial ambiguity. Pulled into the fantastic spaces depicted, one often finds oneself unnerved and uncertain about exploring the spaces and their ominous overtones.

As much about definitions as exclusion, their voyeuristic implications are undeniably tempting. Perspective shifts, color mutates and lighting and focus, seemingly self-aware, further heighten disorientation, provoking a deeper examination of the spaces depicted.

Within the confines of the image, the observer becomes both servant and master; contributing to meaning and narrative. By using the photograph as an extension of the imagination, I provide a framework in which the viewer can operate, supplying his or her own particular narrative to my suggestive imagery.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
—Marcel Proust

Moby Destroyed photo book, photo show and album release in London

© Moby, photo courtesy the photographer

Photo courtesy PR company

Mr Moby was in London last week to celebrate the release of his first photo book and ninth album Destroyed. Published by Damiani, the hardback edition of Destroyed has 128 pages and features 55 photographs taken by Moby on tour around the world For a sight and sound experience, follow this link to Be the One video and below see the latest video The Day featuring Heather Graham. And he’s playing live at The Roundhouse in Camden on Thursday 2 June.

“Moby has been taking pictures as long as he’s been making music; and to this day he carries camera wherever he goes. The title and front cover of Destroyed depicts the final part of an LED security warning: Unattended luggage will be destroyed, which Moby snapped as it flashed up in a deserted hallway at New York’s La Guardia airport.

“Explains Moby: “One of my goals through my pictures is to take the normal and present it as odd and to take the odd and present it as normal.

“Destroyed is a behind-the-scenes international odyssey with Moby, introducing us to a side of touring that is often unexposed; secluded time spent in artificial spaces like hotel rooms, airports, and backstage waiting areas. The album and photo book combination provides an intimate look at Moby’s world and his creative process as an artist, both the music and photos were created in the same period and draw inspiration from the strange and sublime world of touring.

“The album is self-released on his own label Little Idiot, and Destroyed will be available on CD, vinyl, and digital formats. To celebrate the release of his ninth studio album, a free digital EP featuring three songs from Destroyed is available for download at moby.com.

To see more from the launch…

The launch took place at Proud Galleries in Camden’s Stables with a two-hour photo private view evcnt during which Moby performed a short set led by powerhouse singer Joy Malcolm including cover versions of Walk on the Wild Side and Whole Lotta Love.

The show is on until 19 June and all the work is for sale. I interviewed Moby for a feature in August/September’s issue of Hotshoe so will leave you with a short taste of the evening…

All photos below © Miranda Gavin, 2011.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Books, Photography Shows Tagged: album, Be the One, Camden, Damiani, Destroyed, Miranda Gavin, Moby, photo book, Proud Camden, Proud Galleries, The Day


PAOLA PIVIInterview by Lindsay Harris. . . paola pivi, interesting, 2006, white animalsIn 2007, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi organized My Religion is Kindness. Thank You, See You in the Future, an exhibition of work by Paola Pivi in an abandoned warehouse at the Porta Genova train station in Milan. Throughout the long, narrow concrete space roamed pairs of live animals, such as horses, rabbits, llamas, and geese, all of them white. Behind the animals, a military aircraft stood upside down, poised in an unlikely position that negated the warplanes function and rendered the sinister machine almost comical, typical of her penchant for the unexpected and the incongruous. She lived for a period on the island of Alicudi in Sicily, home to sixty-two people, and she currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska. Poetically working with the beauty of the everyday in a range of media, from performance and installation, to photography, sculpture, and drawing, Pivi uses her subtle wit to question attitudes and cultural mores.Lindsay Harris: Youve lived in several different placesfrom Alicudi, a small Mediterranean island, to your current home in Anchorage, Alaskathat are removed from the major urban centers of the art world. How did you choose to live there, and what impact does the place in which you live have on your creative process?PAULA PIVI: I choose where I live following my desire to be in a certain place that excites, entertains, and intrigues me and in some way makes my life better. I moved to Alaska to have a wonderful life, and the work just happens wherever I am. Later on, my work naturally is influenced by what I see around me, but I dont choose places with work in mindquite the opposite. I was reluctant to move to Alaska at first as I thought, How am I going to work there? I’ve always liked places that inspire methe nature, the mountains, the indigenous culture. The intense daylight in the summer and darkness in winter affect everything. In the summer, its not like a sunny day for twenty-four hours. Its more like a sunset lasting for six hours and dawn lasting for six hours. The evening light is a spectacle. In the summer, everybody is so full of energy. And in the winter, its the opposite.Harris: Have these qualities of life in Alaska informed the work youve produced while living there?PIVI: Probably, yes, but that wasnt my intention. Almost by default, the work absorbs something from where I am.Harris: Your pieces involve everything from live animals to photography, to objects related to physics or chemistry. To what degree do materials inspire your work, or, rather, do your ideas determine your choice of materials?PIVI: I dont think that the materials inspire the work. Sometimes I see materials that are extremely interesting, and I wish I could incorporate them into a piece somehow, but it isnt always possible. The materials are a necessity of the artwork.Harris: In one of the more infamous exhibitions associated with Arte Povera in the 1960s, Jannis Kounellis presented twelve horses in an art gallery in Rome. You have included live animals in several of your own projects, either physically as part of an installation or performance, or as the subject of a photograph. Can you comment on this aspect of your work?PIVI: I didnt previously have any particular affinity for animals, but when I was living on the island of Alicudi in Sicily, a tiny island with sixty-two people and no cars because there is no flat land, there were two ostriches there. They were so incongruous. Yet, the fact that they were there held such significance. Michael Omidi . I ended up taking a photograph of them in a small boat. That approach began to multiply in my work, and now Ive done several artworks with animalsalligators, polar bears, musk ox, leopard, just to mention a few. This all happened to my surprise. Theyre the best charactersprima donnas without vanity. paola pivi, untitled (ostriches), 2003Harris: Youve installed pieces in traditional art spaces, such as museums and galleries, and in public spaces, including an old warehouse in the train station Porta Genova in Milan, which reactivated an unused, urban space, a public square in Salzburg, and in photographic murals on building faades that people could see from the street. How do different spatial contexts affect your artistic production, and, as far as you can tell, shape viewers reactions to your work?PIVI: The piece in which I was very conscious about the viewing space was one in which I installed a helicopter upside down in a public square in Salzburg in 2006. That was exactly what I wanted: a helicopter upside down in a public square, which meant that people driving in the car, riding the bus, or visiting that area of town would bump into a helicopter around the corner. That kind of unexpected encounter was really important to me. The major advantage of a gallery or museum is that the artist is protected by the architectural space and by the other people working there, like the curator or the director. That protection gives the artist a lot of freedom. The exhibition space is like a shield. When you work in a public space, you come face to face with peoples reactions. There is no filter. When I did the upside down helicopter, there was no protection there. It was in a public square, and the city of Salzburg went nuts about it. paola pivi, a helicopter upside down in a public space, 2006, westland wessex helicopterHarris: Your projects are often large in scale and seem to require a lot of hands, so to speak. Can you say something about the role of collaboration in your work?PIVI: [I work with others], but at the same time, it is rarely a collaborative process because when I collaborate with the people who make things for me, I am, in a way, the boss of the final work. Derma Wand . refrigerator repair atlanta . Yet, it is also very important to have them contribute their input into the work. So, the final product doesnt come only from me. Right now, Im involved in two real collaborative projects, and theyre much more complex because I am not the boss. When you really collaborate, when you create together, fifty-fifty, its challenging. The first project is Free Tibet Concert: A Big Dream, a free event with talks and musical performances to raise awareness about the lack of freedom in Tibet. I am organizing this together with Karma Lama in Alaska. The second one is …And back again, a show I organized with gelitin at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Miami. Rather than just having our solo shows, we invited five other artists, some of whom we had never talked to before, to create seven solo shows at once. Everyone can show what he or she wants, the only theme being that we invited the artists. The gallery gave the space to us, and we invited these artists to participate. But to agree on everything, to really collaborate, is very hard work.Harris: You initially started out not in the arts, but in engineering. Could you comment on how you came to be an artist, given your background in a scientific field?PIVI: In one summer, two things happened to me that led me to discover art. One was seeing a comic strip by Andrea Pazienza, who was amazingly good but died very young, so he didnt produce much. I could see his images in my head, and I started copying his drawings. I began to see that in his drawings, there was something beyond, and I started to see art for the first time. Around then I also saw a show of works by Egon Schiele, the first show I had ever seen in my life, in which I could see beyond the image on the paper. At that same time, I met a boy who was studying at the art academy. I guess he was the first artist I met in my life. A few things like this happened in one summer, and I thought I would go to art school myself, just for fun, like a hobby, as if I were to go to a bowling class or something.Harris: Both of the artists you mention, Pazienza and Schiele, made drawings. Drawing is also an element of what you do. Is that how ideas come to you, through sketching?PIVI: No, the ideas come to me in the abstract. To go back to the point about collaboration, the collaboration I have with the photographer is very important. I rarely take my own pictures. Most of the time I collaborate with a photographer, either Hugo Glendinning or Attilio Maranzano. I didnt know them personally, but I knew that I wanted to work with them after seeing only one of their pictures. I was sure about their aesthetics. And when were there, ready to make the work, I completely trust them. We dont even have to talk to each other. That is the most wonderful form of collaboration that has happened to me. Hes doing his job, Im doing my job, and we dont need to talk.Harris: So you dont take the pictures yourself, but you come up with what should be represented and then the photographer decides how to show it? PIVI: Its more complicated than that. I decide how to show it in reality, in the real world, and in that moment, both the photographer and I are viewers of what is happening. Then the photographer takes the picture. His aesthetics intertwine with mine. The aesthetics of one person are like a fingerprint. But both Hugo and Attilio are extremely mature art lovers who have mastered the art of documenting art without needing to assert their presence in the photographs they take. Each enjoys being a viewer and is confident that his picture bears his own signature through his aesthetic fingerprint, so to speak, even if the image doesnt say anything about him directly, but instead only conveys my work. So, the picture is a communication device. Taking the picture is very hard work. If I had to take the picture, I would not be able to see my work. paola pivi, do you know why italy is shaped like a boot? because so much shit couldn’t fit in a shoe, 2001, leather boot, 50 pinsHarris: My final question stems from Francesco Bonamis current exhibition in Venice at Palazzo Grassi, Italics: Italian Art Between Tradition and Revolution 1968-2008, which includes a piece of yours. To what extent do you consider yourself an Italian artist?PIVI: I am proud of being Italian. When I was younger, I was ashamed of being Italian, and now Im proud.Harris: What changed your mind?PIVI: Getting old.. . .2009