Tag Archives: Desires

Photo Shows – Group show I LOVE YOU opens at Tenderpixel London and Mahtab Hussain’s Building Desires on show at mac Birmingham

©EJ Major, Marie Claire RIP (2004-2007). photograph courtesy of the artist.

Today two shows, one opening this week in London and another that has already opened in Birmingham. I LOVE YOU is a group show curated by Richard Ansett at Tenderpixel in London. The show runs from Friday this week until 16 June. One of the series on show is EJ Major‘s Marie Claire RIP (2004-2007), see photo above.

©Mahtab Hussain from Building Desires show. Photo courtesy of the photographer

Already on show and running until 10 June in Birmingham, Mahtab Hussain shows his series of portraits Building Desires at mac Birmingham. Go see, go look, go ponder identity in contemporary British society as explored through the lens of Hussain, who describes himself as a British Pakistani Kashmiri, and asks the question: What does it mean to be a British Pakistani male today?

A photograph is a secret about a secret…the more it tells you the less you know. Diane Arbus
Major says of the series: ”Marie Claire RIP is based on an article published in Marie Claire magazine in 2002 featuring police mug-shots of the same woman taken over a fourteen year period. The article revealed that not long after the last picture was taken the woman was found dead. Marie Claire RIP is a re-staging of these images using the artist as subject.

“This piece was motivated by a desire to memorialise an unnamed person, a woman who had already died and had no control over the use of her image. At the same time the piece is intended to be non-specific in terms of the nature of the character’s demise.. While the piece challenges the veracity of the photographic portrait it also finds an authenticity in a notion of self-portraiture that involves acting. It is me and it isn’t her and yet it is her and it isn’t me at the same time.”

I LOVE YOU also includes work by Grace Brown, Natasha Caruana, Pete McGovern and Andre Penteado. I have to admit though that I am a bit stumped by the accompanying text to the show and how exactly it relates to the title and theme of the show. I leave it with you, dear readers, to follow the link and enlighten me as to how it applies. I get the gist and I can understand some of the references but am not sure how it relates. That said, I will pop along to the opening on Friday briefly as I am back on UK terra firma.

And on the topic of I Love You, here’s a link to the short video mash-up to Lionel Richie’s Hello that I posted in February but feel like linking to again.

Hussain’s project – created over the last four years since he was at Goldsmiths studying for a BA in Art History – introduces three key elements of masculinity; the young boy bound by cultural and religious constraints, the teenager who begins to form a new identity on the streets away from the security of family, and the contemporary Pakistani male who has adopted desirable mainstream ideals of what it mean to be man living in the UK.

For Building Desires, Hussain is also engaging with the local community in Birmingham and has created a live working wall where the audience can answer his key question about identity. “I also add an interview (text format) that I have conducted with an individual each week, talking about masculinity and identity and also an image of the week.” I saw some of Hussain’s portraits from the ongoing series quite a while back and was impressed by his gentle approach to both the individual photographic subjects as well as the topic of identity, as a whole. However, I’ve yet to see the recent portraits.

See more from the project…

©Mahtab Hussain from Building Desires show. Photo courtesy of the photographer

©Mahtab Hussain from Building Desires show. Photo courtesy of the photographer

Filed under: Documentary photography, Photographers, Photography Shows, Visual Artists, Women Photographers Tagged: Building Desires, EJ Major, I LOVE YOU, london, mac Birmigham, Mahtab Hussain, Marie Claire RIP, portraiture, Tenderpixel Gallery

Photographer #427: Nicol Vizioli

Nicol Vizioli, 1982, Italy, is a fine-art photographer based in London. She received a BA in Cinema at La Sapienze University in Rome and only recently an MA in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts. Her graduation project is called Shadows on Parade, a series of bizarre and mythical portraits. “They are declinations of my imagery, desires, waits, silent attempts of redemption. Sometimes they are dreams, more often they are prayers.”…“The casting was very instinctive but precise: twins, elderly, albinos or bald people.” She has been painting and drawing before she started photography and this strongly influences her work today. Her work has been exhibited in Italy and in the UK. The following images come from the series Shadows on Parade, AntiFashionManifesto and Hildegard Von Bingen.

Website: www.nicolvizioli.com

Leigh Merrill

Growing up in the big sky country of New Mexico, photographer Leigh Merrill probably didn’t give the urban environment much thought. After receiving a BFA from the University of New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to attend Mills College in Oakland, CA. It was from this experience of living without visual expanse, that she became interested in the way people live in cities. Now living in Texas, Leigh continues to exhibit across the US and most recently had a solo exhibition, Into the Sunset, at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX. Two of her series, Into the Sunset and Street take similar approaches; I am featuring Street below.

Statement for Street: I am driven to photograph the places where I live, fueled by a curiosity about the architecture we surround ourselves with, and how it reflects larger cultural ideas. The images depict places that waver between fantasy and reality, calling into question ideas of beauty, class and cultural romanticism in our urban and rural landscapes.

Upon moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 I began looking at the complexity of its urban environment. The Bay Area presents a unique blend of residential living that sits between urban and suburban in a way that never quite reconciles one with the other. In investigating this landscape I photographed thousands of homes throughout the area and then digitally assembled these images together to create new and illogical structures and streets. At first these images look plausible, however, closer inspection reveals their fabrication.

The reconstructed homes and neighborhoods appear skewed, revealing their underlying and sometimes unconscious intentions. These constructs highlight the ways in which our built environments pull from a variety of different architectural and landscape styles and reflect cultural ideas of beauty and perfection. In working with the Bay Area as a site for investigation, I explore what our built environments tell us about our own individual desires as well as our collective culture and ideals.

Photographer #341: Gerardo Montiel Klint

Gerardo Montiel Klint, 1968, Mexico, received a BFA in Product Design and studied photography at the Escuela Activa de Fotografia and Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City. His main focus is staged photography. In recent years his work has revolved around the dark side of the human mind where, according to Gerardo, our true personality and primal instincts are hidden. His work revolves around the themes of good and evil, violence and desires. For the evil he refers to disaster, tragedy, ilness and despair. For the good he refers to the spiritual lighting, the miracle and heroism amongst others. He tries to make his images “hyperreal”, more real than reality itself, making the viewer a witness of a scene he or she is visually attending. Gerardo’s work has been exhibited and published internationally and is in various public collections. The following images come from the series Volutas de Humo, Primeros apuntes para una teoría del infierno and Desierto.

Website: www.gerardomontielklint.com

Sean Lee

Sean Lee is a talented twenty-five year old photographer who lives and works in Singapore. His commercial work is stylized and dynamic, but his personal work is, well, personal. His series, Homework, will be on exhibition at Galeria Tagomago in Barcelona from July 7th – September 10th. In his short photography career, he has already garnered awards and solo shows, including the Discovery Award at the Arles Photo Festival, the Special Jury Prize at the Angkor Photo Festival, and the Icon de Martell Cordon Bleu, a photography prize that recognizes the most outstanding artist in Singapore.

On ʻHomeworkʼ:
I started making images about my family on a regular basis upon completing my course in the School of Theology in Singapore. It was also around that time that I started having a sneaky suspicion that the reason why I have always felt the need to create is because I was first created by an uncreated God. For some reason, this time spent in school in many ways elevated my love for making images. Strange, especially considering how nothing we learntat all was particularly related to photography.

I have always felt that the only kinds of work worth doing are the ones that we are utterly concerned about, whether in photography or otherwise. This is perhaps the reason why I turned to making images at home. There is a kind of quiet delight in photographing the members of my family. In many ways, the process of making pictures has made life at home a little less mundane and uneventful. Sometimes, itʼs almost magical. Like the time when I made my parents hug each other. That was the first time I had ever seen them being so physically intimate. It was pure joy for me.

I do different things with my family members in this work. Sometimes, I use them to say something about my thoughts on faith, desires and fears. Other times, I just want to make them touch each other, which is something that is very new to us. We never touch. And then there are times when I make them do completely weird and crazy things so that we can all laugh it together. That to me is one of the most magical things, making comedy with the camera.

I notice little things, like how looking at my family through the viewfinder feels so different from just looking at them. I am always surprised by their willingness to have their pictures taken and how they have gradually become more involved in the process, often giving me advice and opinions on the end products and setup. More recently, my dad and sister have been asking me to explain my work. I think I might just show them this.

To me, the best thing about this work has been how it has begun to affect all of us in the family and how we interact. This is what Iʼve been looking for ultimately: to be changed by what I do. It is not enough for me to just make images. Ultimately, I want my images to also make me. This work started off as a way for me to organise and to make sense of how I feel towards my family.Iʼm glad that it has turned into something more. I hope that you, too, will get something out of them.

Aman Mojadidi

We are all at conflict. Whether with others or ourselves, with our own ideas, thoughts, desires, history, present, future. We are all at conflict as we try and navigate ourselves through a life we understand only through our experiences, through our confrontation both internal and external with social, political, cultural, and personal strife. My visual arts work in multi-media assemblages, sculptures, 3-D collages, mise en scene photography, and installations, are always inspired by a negotiation through these conflicts, a negotiation between worlds and the multiple experiential landscapes that shape them. My recent work in particular is based largely on the dialogue between the external, contemporary experiences of conflict and the internal – mental, spiritual, and emotional – responses to it that continue to shape the understanding of my own identity and the world I live in. Through and across the different works, one can find threads of cultural tradition (be it real, imagined, invented), identity, politics, diasporas, war, and reconstruction weaving reflections, often contradictory, of humanity; a humanity which finds itself in a post-modern world that is simultaneously globalizing and fracturing, forcing us to confront each other and ourselves in ways we have yet to learn or understand. Complementing this work are my anthropological studies (B.A., M.A.) which provide a strong grounding in the debates around conflict, cultural change, post/colonialism, third-world development, and the representation of culture; while my continuing experience working and creating in Afghanistan provides the contextual richness that leads me down the path of trying to identify and understand not ways for resolving conflict, but rather ways in which we accept conflict as a life-long experience. Creating art as an aspect of, rather than response to, conflict is ultimately an exercise in dissecting the human condition in order to expose the sometimes fragile, sometimes durable, but always shifting relationships we have with each other, with ourselves, and with the conflicts we must endure throughout our lives. In order to do this, it will be necessary to see that condition as a place where external conflicts tied to global processes and internal battles tied to our own experiences are blurring into each other, becoming confused, indistinguishable, and equally personal.

Growing up in a war, where the bombs were 12,377 kilometers or 7,691 miles (or 6,683 nautical miles though Afghanistan is land-locked so perhaps not as relevant) away.  An Afghan-American suburban dream punctuated by weekend sleepovers, Saturday soccer games, fist-fights with racist children of the Confederate South, and religio-nationalist driven demonstrations chanting “Down with Brezhnev!”, “Long live Islam!”, “Down with Communism!”, and “Long Live Afghanistan!” before I even knew what that meant.  It is what I was fed growing up, in between southern-fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes, cumin-scented meat and basmati rice…

In his work, Aman often uses contemporary, post-modern ideas of conflict and globalization combined with traditional narratives rooted in culture, belonging, and identity. He collects the materials and inspiration for his work from his internal and external landscapes, including growing up Afghan in the Confederate South of the United States and spending the better part of the last decade living and working in Afghanistan.

He has exhibited his work in galleries, independent spaces, and cultural centers in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, Cairo, Hong Kong, and Kabul.

Aman currently lives, works, and creates in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A Day in the Life of a Jihadi Gangster:

Out of the Conflict Bling installation emerged the character in these images, the Jihadi Gangster, as I continue to explore the idea of globalized gangster styles and iconography while exploring my own dual cultural heritage as an American-born Afghan with strong familial ties to politics in Afghanistan, including jihad.

After a Long Day's Work (A Day in the Life of a Jihadi Gangster Foto Series) edition of 5 c-print on dibond 75 x 78 cm



Inspired by real events which led to the death and disappearance of 183 family members in Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion.

183 glass bottle, plastic, anti-aircraft shell casings, 183 self-portraits 30 x 24 x 8 cm

183 glass bottle, plastic, anti-aircraft shell casings, 183 self-portraits 30 x 24 x 8 cm



The first in a line of mobile furniture for conflict environments developed by Emeric Lhuisset and Aman Mojadidi, with support from designer Pierre-Francois Dubois.

Kandahar (nomadic furniture line for belligerents) fabric, wood, steel, paper (assembly instructions) 60 x 100 x 60 cm (assembled), 70 x 10 cm (packed)


Jihad Gangster Afghan Parliamentary Campaign:

The final culmination of the Jihadi Gangster, a faux run for Parliament in Afghanistan.

Jihad Gangster Afghan Parliamentary Campaign Poster c-print on dibond 59 x 84 cm

SLOGAN – “Vote for Me! I did Jihad and I’m Rich”
FACE – “Your favorite Jihadi Face Here”

Jihadi Gangster Afghan Parliamentary Campaign Street Installation:

Parliamentary Campaign 6 c-print edition of 10 28.5 x 42 cm

Be sure to check out Aman’s site HERE or click on any of the photos above to see more from the series.


Alvaro Herrera – Pintor de Puertas

Moving from window bars to doors, I happened upon Alvaro Herrera’s project Pintor de Puertas while Googling some art galleries in Bogota.

Alvaro Herrera – Pintor de Puertas

I actually kind of groaned when I first saw this image as it reminded me of those cheesy posters of “The Doors of [insert City Name].” Then I read about Herrera’s process and it struck me as interesting. He went around to different houses in a poor neighborhood, offered his services as a door painter in exchange for being able to photograph it and use it for this project. The design of the door was a collaboration between the artist and the inhabitants.

When I take a picture of someone, I don’t think I’m taking something from them, necessarily, but I do feel a little bit of guilt about appropriating their image for my own desires. I’m very aware that I’m dependent upon the kindness of strangers [or friends, or family] for the work that I do. Herrera’s project strikes me as a fitting exchange between photographer/painter and subject.

Sexy Valentine’s Day

As a Friday before Valentine’s day treat, I thought I’d share the work of some of our favorite naughty photographers. If you were looking to surprise your sweetie with something sexy, fun and a little off the beaten path, consider hitting up these talented teasers for a session and document your looooove – they are for hire!

Constance and Eric are a team (yes, they are also in love) and they specialize in whatever you like. They have a show up right now at the NY Studio Gallery that is closing tomorrow night! Check it out with your sweetheart! Here are a few images from their appropriately titled Fever series…

Natasha Gornik prefers to be called a “kink” photographer. Specializing in raw, immediate portraiture and documentation, Gornik knows her way around your deepest desires. Here are a few images from her supercharged Fantasy is Reality series…