Tag Archives: Landscapes

The Flying Baby

Henry first flew last summer.

Exhausted and bored on an assignment, photographer Rachel Hulin, Henry’s mother, thought it would be fun to make her baby fly. So Henry flew.

“The photo was sort of magical in an unexpected way and I wanted to make more,” Hulin said. She posted the photograph on Facebook and soon there was a flurry of comments. “Some people like the cute ones, some people like the spooky ones,” she said. “It’s an interesting litmus test.”

Hovering above a bed in a hotel, through a barn and into a shower, the flying baby photographs transcend cute and slip into the surreal. “I felt like the pictures could show the world that babies inhabit that is all their own,” Hulin said.

While she wouldn’t divulge the exact details of how Henry flies, Hulin did admit that it was more subtraction than addition. “I wanted the flights to feel genuine,” she said. “These are places we are really in everyday, it’s not a cut-and-paste job on random interiors and landscapes.”

Speaking to some of the unusual body positions of her flying offspring, Hulin said, “I never throw him, and I never move him into a place in the frame that he wasn’t in to begin with. I like Henry to fly the way he feels like it, I never pose him in a specific way. Sometimes he’s graceful and sometimes he’s a little hunchback. I think telling you more would ruin it.”

She plans on continuing the series with hopes of showcasing the images in a book or exhibition some day. “I do feel compelled to keep making them,” Hulin says. “It’s funny, I already feel nostalgic seeing how little he was in his first flights.”

Rachel Hulin is a photographer based in Providence, Rhode Island. You can see more of her work here.

Patrick Witty is the international picture editor at TIME. Follow him on twitter @patrickwitty.

Tessa Bunney, Vuorilammen sauna and ice swimming hole

Tessa Bunney, Vuorilammen sauna and ice swimming hole

Tessa Bunney

Vuorilammen sauna and ice swimming hole,
Jyväskylä, Finland, 2010
From the Järvenjää / Lakeice series
Website – TessaBunney.co.uk

Tessa Bunney is a documentary photographer interested in landscapes and the ways they are shaped by human activity. She works closely with the individuals and communities she photographs and her work explores people’s relationship to the environment. Home Work, her series surveying domestic labor in craft villages in Vietnam, was published by Dewi Lewis in 2010. Previous projects include documenting the lives of nomadic shepherds in the Romanian Carpathians and hill farmers in the remote moorlands of North Yorkshire (UK) where she lives and works. She is represented by Zoe Bingham Fine Art in London and KLOMPCHING Gallery in New York.

Max Sher, Untitled

Max Sher, Untitled

Max Sher

Untitled,
Atyrau, Kazakhstan, 2011
From the Landscapes series
Website – MaxSher.com

Born in St. Petersburg, raised in Siberia and educated in Siberia and France, Max Sher took up photography in 2006. His work (personal and commissioned) has since appeared in Courrier International, Monocle, Esquire (Russia), le Monde, Libération, Ogoniok, Independent Magazine, Afisha, Bolshoi Gorod, Russian Reporter, Snob, GEO Traveler, Foto8, Private, Newsweek Japan, etc. and was exhibited in St.Petersburg, Vienna, Moscow, Bratislava, among others. Max was nominated for KLM Paul Huf Awards in 2008. He is currently based in Moscow.

Photographer #420: Joël Tettamanti

Joël Tettamanti, 1977, Switzerland, is a photographer who travels to remote places around the world for his photographic art. His work is a mixture of documentary, architectural, landscape and travel photography. He has traveled to places as Togo, Kuweit, Japan, Azerbaijan, India and Greenland. His photographs are a reflection of a traveling observer who sees ordinary objects, landscapes and buildings that others would pass without noticing. In his images the ordinary becomes the extraordinary and tell the story of man and its environment. In 2006 Joël released the book Local Studies in which his work from various series is combined with texts of 6 different authors. He studied graphic design and photography at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne. Since 2009 he is also a photography teacher at ECAL. His work has been exhibited extensively, mainly in Switzerland and France. The following images come from the series Ayome, Qaqortoq and Harajuku.

Website: www.tettamanti.chwww.tettamanti.li

The Body Beautiful: Arno Rafael Minkkinen’s Self-Portraits

For Arno Rafael Minkkinen, nudity is akin to spirituality. “I don’t want to be seen as a nudist,” he says. “But there is something about how close you get to the act of creation by walking around by yourself in some stretch of forest in Finland, with nothing on, looking for a photograph, climbing rocks and moving around like a monkey. Bared assed and just digging your toes into the soft earth, you really feel like you’ve been created.”

Over the past forty years that sense of freedom has compelled him to photograph himself in a variety of scenarios: sometimes curled up on a sandy beach, other times dangling off the edge of a cliff, always naked as the day he was born. The sites change constantly, but Minkkinen routinely becomes part of the landscape, connecting body and nature in the most surreal ways. In one shot taken in Nauvo, Finland, he hunches over in a lake so that his dirtied back resembles a log or rock emerging from the water. In another—taken in Stranda, Norway—he balances on a tree so that his leg and thigh form a branch extending from the trunk. “There is no age to the picture when it is just the landscape and the body,” he says. “They could be reality from 1305 because of the nudity.”

Born in Helskini in 1945, Minkkinen believes his affinity for nature—and, more specifically, water—reflects his Finnish roots. Another deep-seated influence is that he was born with a cleft palate. “My mother had been hoping for a princess girl and I was the total opposite of that,” he says. “I always felt like an affront to her beauty.” Doctors corrected the cleft palate as best they could, but with results that fall far short of today’s possibilities. “Surely someone who is missing a limb or who is deformed in a really horrible way has to have it a lot worse than my mouth. But a mouth is what you kiss with, eat with, speak with. That’s where people look when they watch you.”

Minkkinen, who immigrated to the United States with his family when he was six years old, rarely features his face in photographs. Even so, he still describes them as “nude self-portraits.” In the same way that Alfred Stieglitz took “portraits” of his wife Georgia O’Keefe that only featured her hands, Minkkinen sees his body as an entry point to humanity. That he’s shot them over four decades adds to the sense of autobiography. “I put my face in there every once in a while just to remind the viewers that it is me,” he says. “They have to know I’m the one who is making the picture.”

Arno Rafael Minkkinen is a Massachusetts-based artist and photographer. See more of his work here

William Lee Adams is a staff writer at the London bureau of TIME. Find him on Twitter at @willyleeadams or on Facebook

Christopher Churchill on American Faith

In 2004, Christopher Churchill began a personal journey with his vintage Deardorff 8×10 camera, driving thousands of miles across the country to photograph what he describes as “an America that felt divided” and “caught in the middle of a cultural tension.” It was three years after the attacks on September 11, 2001 and the photographer was noticing a palpable intolerance in the country. “Questions of what or who was considered American were very prevalent,” Churchill says. “And religion was in the middle of this debate.” This feeling led him to start asking people about their faith, and the resulting journey is the subject of his Chuchill’s first monograph, American Faith, published this month by Nazraeli Press.

In the introduction of the book, Churchill says, “I had assumed that in order to have faith in your life you must be religious. However, when I would ask individuals I encountered through my travels what they placed their faith in, their responses would be something much more universal and simple than religion.”

Churchill had no specific plan when he set out on the road, but followed an intuitive journey where one subject led to the next. How does someone document a faith or an idea that’s invisible? Churchill began by making formal yet intimate portraits of his subjects. Then he carefully weaved in recorded responses from his subjects to his questions about their beliefs. Thomas Putman of Ponca City, Oklaholma, who was photographed holding his young son, told Churchill, “I believe in God. But everybody has a different belief, and as long as it furthers you in life and gives you a better perspective on the things you do in life, then I don’t really care what you believe in.” The response is one of tolerance mixed with independence that feels intrinsic to American culture.

In the book, portraits are interspersed with landscapes and documentary photographs, adding contemplative spaces. In a photograph of tourists looking out at the majesty of the Grand Canyon, Churchill conjures ideas of American transcendentalism, which holds the idea that one must find themselves thought self reflection, which often takes place alone in nature. An image of such idyll could feel slightly ironic or trite, but not in the style of Churchill’s work. He creates a tableau in soft black and white, where the viewer is gently presented with a space to ponder the majesty themsleves.

Churchill himself was not raised with religion. “I find my faith these days is in my family, the kindness of strangers and or course photography,” he says. “I’ve found that if I can get my brain past the obstacles of any given day and think about time from a larger perspective, there seems to be a path that is perfectly sequential and beyond coincidental. And I find great faith in that.”

American Faith was published this month by Nazraeli Press.

Christopher Churchill is a photographer based in Massachusetts. See more of his work here

Outer Space: Thomas Ruff’s Altered Reality

The themes that have defined the more than 30-year career of Thomas Ruff were born while the influential German photographer was studying under famed photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Art Academy from 1977 to 1985. Known for their typology work of water towers in which they photographed with a straightforward point of view, the Bechers believed that images which were photographed objectively were more truthful. Bernd Becher criticized Ruff’s student work, faulting his photographs for not being his own. They were simply clichés, Becher argued, mimicking fictionalized images in magazines. Ruff turned the criticism on its head—he began to make images that questioned the very methodology of image making.

“Most of the photos we come across today are not really authentic anymore,” Ruff once said. “They have the authenticity of a manipulated and prearranged reality. You have to know the conditions of a particular photograph in order to understand it properly.”

It’s easy to see these ideas in Ruff’s space work, the topic of a new exhibition and book called Stellar Landscapes, which premiered at the Frankfurt Book Fair last weekend. In his book, Ruff includes appropriated imagery of space that he has collected over the last 20 years. In some of the photographs, Ruff used images made from NASA satellites, which he downloaded for free online. Ruff often took images that seemed to be abstract renderings of the surface of a planet and used color to abstract them further. Other times, the photographer hand colored the NASA photographs to make abstract scenes more realistic. Ruff has always had a fascination with the dialogue between photography and context of a photograph. It seems only natural, then, that Ruff translated this idea into reworking existing NASA images of to present another—and equally important—view of space.

Stellar Landscapes is on view at the Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster through January 8. The book is available now through Kerher Verlag.

Jorg Bruggemann – Ushuaia

Jorg Bruggemann is a German photographer who has several projects shot in South America. I was particularly interested in his work, Mas Austral, which shows working class youth and landscapes in Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina’s [and the World’s] southernmost city.

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

As Bruggemann notes in his text accompanying the series:

A free trade zone was established which led to fast urban development. Whereas in 1975 there were 7000 people living in Ushuaia, today it hosts nearly 60 000. Most of them were young families  coming North of Argentina looking for work with their children. They are also the reason why I went to the world’s most Southern city. I wanted to know what it was like being young while living at the end of the world.

Jorg Bruggemann

What I find interesting about the series is that, take away the pine trees and sloped landscape and this could be any working class suburb of Buenos Aires. Indeed, while Northern Argentina has distinct regional cultures dating back to the colonial era, most of Patagonia has been settled fairly recently and, culturally, is something of an annex to Buenos Aires province. Rather than being some exotic, uttermost place as imagined by Bruce Chatwin, Ushuaia is really just like a bunch of pibes from Lanús.

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

Jorg Bruggemann – Mas Austral

Bruggemann also has a great series, The Same but Different, documenting backpacker culture around the world. At some point I’ll write a post about the idea of gringos in contemporary photography, for which this series will be key.