Tag Archives: Metaphor

Wheelchair Bodybuilders Muscle Their Way to the Top

When he was 16, Nick Scott was in a near-fatal car accident. He was left paralyzed from the waist down. Nonetheless, Scott, now 30, is also known in certain circles—namely, the wheelchair bodybuilding world, a universe in which his is perhaps the most recognizable face—as “The Beast.” The Beast isn’t sure of his bench press limit, only because he hasn’t yet stopped reaching for more weight. The metaphor’s an obvious one, but true: ”If you want something bad enough, nothings gonna stop you from not getting it,” he has said.

And The Beast wants to spread the word: he was instrumental in the creation of the first-ever competition for certified International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) Pro Wheelchair Bodybuilders, which was held last fall. The 2012 IFBB Pro Wheelchair championships took place Oct. 13 in Houston, an event open only to Scott and the dozen other men who have qualified as pros. Harold Kelley was named the winner in 2011 and 2012.

Photographer Lauren Fleishman has been documenting the sport for over a year, including that first competition. She first heard about wheelchair bodybuilding via a phone call from her cousin, who works in a hotel where a bodybuilding event took place. “I got so excited that I hung up the phone and began researching the sport,” she says.

Fleishman says that when she first began exploring the topic, she noticed that almost all of the photographs of bodybuilders, at least the ones that she could find, portrayed the participants in an almost grotesque manner. She wanted to avoid that look. “In showing a different side to it, it’s a way of connecting people, a way of changing their perceptions about the sport.”

Wheelchair bodybuilding competitions date back about 15 years, and both amateurs and professionals compete in worldwide events throughout the year. After following the participants for months, Fleishman says that, besides the normal suspense that comes with any competitive event, there’s another layer to it. “Seeing what being on stage does for them, they really, really shine,” she says. “You have a whole range of reasons why they compete, but the dedication and perseverance is really inspiring.” And it’s not just on stage: last May, in a Wal-mart in Texas, Fleishman accompanied Scott—the de facto spokesman for the sport—when he went to purchase batteries for his wheelchair, which is rigged to light up when he performs. Outside the store, a teenage boy, also in a wheelchair, approached Scott to say that he hoped one day to be like him. “You can obviously see that Nick has muscles,” says Fleishman. “The kid was impressed. It was a really nice moment to see that.”

But there has been one drawback to immersion in the wheelchair bodybuilding community during her year of photographing the project—and, as the work continues, it may only get worse. “It’s really hard,” Fleishman says, “because you want them all to win.”

Lauren Fleishman is an award-winning photographer based in New York City and Paris. See more of her work here and or on LightBox here.

Brighton Photo Fringe 2012 – Blind Field presents Origins of Encounter until 21 October

Blind Field are showing Origins of Encounter at the Phoenix Brighton until Sunday 21 October as part of the Brighton Fringe 2012. The artists involved are Joan Alexander, Luke AR Hamblin and Louise Maher, all of whom, according to the press release, “examine notions of the encounter in relation to place, narrative and the photograph”.

© Joan Alexander – Study V – Facing North Window – 60 Minutes

Joan Alexander
“Alexander’s work explores the margins of inscription and projection, the unacknowledged spectra between positive and negative. Alexander is interested in the ‘latent image’. A visual in waiting, from between times, like the line between shadow and light; the line, like a map, is always a metaphor. Alexander’s practice immerses the viewer within a passage of time through an encounter with the movement and interruption of light. Her projections create a space where the viewer must pass through lines of light drawing attention to their presence. The correlation between printed and projected material asks for a closer examination creating awareness to the tangible and intangible nature of her practice.”

© Luke AR Hamblin – A study of still life. Sunflowers

Luke AR Hamblin
“Hamblin is interested in the way in which photography enables us to dissect the world and pull it apart. For Hamblin making photographic pictures is about assembling a Cast of characters, analysing their poses, placing them in the picture frame. Hamblin has developed a complex process of picture-making, exploring the role of perception and portrayal in our engagement with ‘place’. His series Studies for a theory of the Epic Photograph encourages us to think about how simple aspects of pose and gesture can embody whole narrative worlds. Drawing on references from early twentieth century modes of portrayal: theatre, cinema and painting, Hamblin’s photographs offer the viewer undisclosed narratives to decipher and re-construct.”

© Louise Maher – Old Head, Kinsale 2006-2012

Louise Maher
“Maher’s practice concentrates upon the inextricable relationship we have to our environment. By focusing on everyday expressions of this connection, she explores perceptions of the encounter. Maher’s approach stems from an appreciation of the historical development of street photography, yet it is also influenced by a typological approach. She values the photograph’s capacity to simultaneously document and picture the world. Her photographic series’ unite aspects of spontaneity and formalization to create a visual language that presents the viewer with space to translate.” From the press release.

Filed under: Photographers, Photography Festivals, Photography Shows Tagged: Blind Field, brighton, Brighton Photo Fringe, Joan Alexander, Louise Maher, Luke AR Hamblin, Origins of Encounter, photo show

Announcing the winners of The 1000 Words Award

1000 Words is proud to announce the results of the inaugural 1000 Words Award for European photographers.

Having attracted considerable interest from a diverse spectrum of committed and passionate photographers, the standard of the open submissions was exceptionally high. And while the deliberations were difficult, the judges selected in their opinion, four photographers who could most benefit from the mentoring and workshop experience and go on to produce interesting and innovative bodies of work from having the time to focus on their practice.

In total, 348 submissions were received from 24 EU member countries.


The winners are: Henrik Malmström (b. 1983, Finland), Lucy Levene (b.1978, United Kingdom), Tereza Zelenkova (b. 1985, Czech Republic) and Virgílio Ferreira (b. 1970, Portugal).


At the core of my practice I seek to destabilise different subjects by reassessing their potential as metaphors for broader questions surrounding photography’s capability for representation and its relationship with the real. My latest work is an installation that comprises of a series of black and white photographs and several objects from my personal collection. This work can be understood as a metaphor for the night as a time associated with both inspiration and imagination, but also melancholia, solitude and isolation. The darkness of the night, like the darkness inside a camera, is a space where images are conjured. Here I am not really interested in the images brought to us by dreams but rather by that point of insomniac vigilance when one can no longer recognise what’s a dream and what’s reality; when familiar objects start to take on shapes of something else, undergoing a sort of metamorphoses. Tereza Zelenkova




A series of un-staged images taken in an Edinburgh nightclub. The title is from the poem by Maya Angelou; Come, And Be My Baby.
Lucy Levene


This series deals with ideas of intangibility related to states of being, by capturing candid moments of anonymous people in the streets of London. In these pictures I attempt to evoke those feelings of vulnerability, bewilderment, impermanence and solitude, which are related to the uncertain times that we live in. They are haunted depictions of our world, and maybe they reflect us.

In these photo-chemical experiments the use of light has a double function: it both records and destroys the information in the picture, denying any secure reality. These manipulations are made on the moment of capture, and all the process of image transformations happens inside the apparatus. Virgílio Ferreira






My work up until now has always been connected to home and identity. I like to challenge myself into finding new perspectives and angles in a search for how things can be represented. Sometimes it can appear as fiction, but still there is always a deeper social aspect to it.
Henrik Malmström  

The 1000 Words Award for European photographers is a major initiative in collaboration with The Other European Travellers, a project co-ordinated by Cobertura Photo and co-organised by Atelier de Visu1000 Words and Festival Voci di Foto in partnership with Magnum Photos. It is part-funded by The Education Audiovisual and Culture Exchange Agency (EACEA) under the auspices of the EU Culture Programme.

Photographers were invited through open submission to apply for an opportunity to realise a new body of work with the supervision of several high-profile photographers and industry experts.
The 1000 Words Award includes:
• £1,000 cash prize
• 18 month mentorship programme
• 3 workshops with Jeffrey Silverthorne, Antoine d’Agata and Patrick Zachmann in London, Marseille and Seville respectively, including financial assistance with accommodation and travel
• Travelling group exhibition through the UK, France, Spain and Italy
• Catalogue and DVD
• Feature in 1000 Words Photography Magazine.
The 1000 Words Award selection panel were:
• Simon Baker, Curator of Photography at Tate
• Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery, London
• Dewi Lewis, Director at Dewi Lewis Publishing
• Tim Clark and Michael Grieve, Editors at 1000 Words Photography Magazine.

The 1000 Words Award and The Other European Travellers have been supported, in part, by The Education Audiovisual and Culture Exchange Agency (EACEA).

Summer Songs of the Russian Riviera

In 2004, when photographer Rob Hornstra wanted to publish his first cohesive body of work in a book, he ran into a common problem—he couldn’t find a publisher who was willing to fund it. Hornstra’s solution was less than common: he decided to raise the initial funds himself by selling copies in advance via word of mouth and social networking. It took a month, but he succeeded. Hornstra decided to jump start the publication of his next two books the same way, with each volume of pre-orders selling out more quickly than the last. Hornstra is now on his sixth book (plus newspapers, postcards, prints and posters), and still relies primarily on his own crowdfunding efforts to fund them and their related projects. Crowdfunding and self-publishing are less rare these days, but that is thanks in part to pioneers like Hornstra whose distinctive eye and determination helped blaze the trail to get important work to receptive audiences without the backing of traditional journalistic and publishing outlets.

Hornstra’s latest book is on the restaurant singers of Russia’s favorite Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Any self-respecting restaurant on the coast has a live house singer to belt out sappy Russian chansons—take a vodka-soaked ballad and drop in a techno beat, all at full volume—from behind an electric keyboard or a laptop. Sochi is the center of the world, as far as this type of live entertainment is concerned, and Hornstra saw it as the perfect metaphor to depict the city and the region, traveling to more than 60 restaurants over 100 miles of coastline in 2011 to make the 37 photos for the book. The pictures mercifully strip away the noise of the music and cancel out the dark rooms and sharp flashing lights with Hornstra’s trademark, even lighting, allowing the viewer to patiently examine every telling detail of the interiors, including the faux Greek, French, Roman, Slavic and American décor.

Sochi Singers is in fact only the latest installment of The Sochi Project, Hornstra’s five-year commitment to exploring the region in the years leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics Games, which Sochi will host exactly two years from this month. Partnering with writer and filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen, who wrote the essay in Sochi Singers, his goal is to paint a more complete picture of the area than the public is likely to see during those few short weeks in 2014. They have already traveled to a Soviet-era sanatorium outside of Sochi and the troubled region of Abkhazia and the Republic of Georgia, located only 13 miles along the coast to the southeast. Next month they plan to travel to the Caucasus mountains to the east, and the infamous breakaway republics of Dagestan, North Ossetia and Chechnya.

As Russia cycles into the news again next month when former president Vladimir Putin will likely be voted back into office, it is Hornstra’s commitment to “slow journalism” that allows audiences to put the headlines in context, as well as to see past the propaganda and pomp and circumstance that will inevitably surround the Winter Games. By examining the stark contrasts contained within the small region of the world, and recording both what changes—and what remains the same—Hornstra’s work reflects something deeper and more historic: Russia’s continuing search for a post-Soviet identity.

Rob Hornstra is a Dutch photographer. Learn more about the Sochi project hereThe Sochi Singers series recently won first place for the Arts and Entertainment—Stories category at the World Press Photo awards.

Juan Manuel Castro Prieto at Galerie VU’ in Paris

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Sud-Est de l’thiopie, 2005 – Sheik Hussein, lieu de plerinage des musulmans
Juan Manuel Castro Prieto / Galerie VU’

Now we see Ethiopia through Spanish eyes and the virtuoso large-format tilt-shift compositions of Juan Manuel Castro Prieto. On show currently at Galerie VU’ in Paris, his photos are like metaphor-soaked visions from mysterious dreams. article writing submission . Almost surreal in their vividness of color, highly-selective focus, and unusually sharp details his mural-size images seem immediately like long-forgotten memories with which one yearns to linger and to imagine the story of what happened just before and just after these moments were captured as memories on film.

He started in the 1970s as a self-taught enthusiast. Blog Submission . Influenced by Gabriel Cuallad and Paco Gmez, whom he met at the Real Sociedad Fotogrfica of Madrid, Castro Prieto makes a distinction between photography as a window onto reality, and photography as a mirror in which the author with all his obsessions, memories and imagination fed by myths and literature is reflected in what he portrays. Thus, for Castro Prieto, photography is a tool for connecting to the world, on his terms, and an excuse for a philosophy of life (interview with Alejandro Castellote, 2003).

In Ethiopia, on several extended visits between 2001 and 2006, he found “an ancestral memory of humanity” that “converses with the objects, signs and behaviors of the modern world.”

Juan Manuel Castro Prieto_Galerie VU_ldd2_800.jpg

thiopie, 2002 – Etip Juan Manuel Castro Prieto / Galerie VU’

Juan Manuel Castro Prieto_Galerie VU_ldd3_800.jpg

Ethiopie, Arbaminch, 2005 Juan Manuel Castro Prieto / Galerie VU’

Juan Manuel Castro Prieto_Galerie VU_ldd4_800.jpg

thiopie, 2008 – Homme Afar Juan Manuel Castro Prieto / Galerie VU’

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thiopie, 2005 – Jeune fille Surma Juan Manuel Castro Prieto / Galerie VU’

Photographer #380: Marcel van der Vlugt

Marcel van der Vlugt, 1957, The Netherlands, is a fine-art, fashion and commercial photographer based in Amsterdam. Once he was finished with his studies at the School for Photography in The Hague he went to Düsseldorf, Germany to assist an advertising photographer. Although his school was largely focused on the technical aspects of photography, Marcel managed to create bodies of work that, although technically perfectly executed, are multi-layered in context. He works on a large-format camera, shooting polaroids to keep control on his final image and to engage the models in the process. The images, autonomous or commercial, are often sensual, poetic and carefully composed. Between 2007 and 2010 he released four monographs. The book A New Day, released in 2008, simulates an imaginary cosmetic clinic where instead of liposuction and nosejobs, the patients get implants of flowers. The blossom is a metaphor for youth, new life and fertility. His work has been exhibited mostly in the Netherlands, but also in other European cities and in the USA. The following images come from the series A New Day, I Like… and Der Kommisar.

Website: www.marcelvandervlugt.com

Photographer #380: Marcel van der Vlugt

Marcel van der Vlugt, 1957, The Netherlands, is a fine-art, fashion and commercial photographer based in Amsterdam. Once he was finished with his studies at the School for Photography in The Hague he went to Düsseldorf, Germany to assist an advertising photographer. Although his school was largely focused on the technical aspects of photography, Marcel managed to create bodies of work that, although technically perfectly executed, are multi-layered in context. He works on a large-format camera, shooting polaroids to keep control on his final image and to engage the models in the process. The images, autonomous or commercial, are often sensual, poetic and carefully composed. Between 2007 and 2010 he released four monographs. The book A New Day, released in 2008, simulates an imaginary cosmetic clinic where instead of liposuction and nosejobs, the patients get implants of flowers. The blossom is a metaphor for youth, new life and fertility. His work has been exhibited mostly in the Netherlands, but also in other European cities and in the USA. The following images come from the series A New Day, I Like… and Der Kommisar.

Website: www.marcelvandervlugt.com

Photo Portrait News – Portrait Salon de Refusés calls for portrait prize images, Alan Powdrill’s Pipe Up portraits and What’s in a Face?

“All portraits reveal something of the sitter, the photographer and also of us as viewers, but none reveal a whole and complete being. This is part of the enduring fascination with the photographic portrait which purports to be an exact likeness but operates more accurately as a metaphor for the self and how that self might exist in the world at a particular point in time.” – Judy Annear, senior curator photographs, Art Gallery of NSW from the press release for What’s in a Face: aspects of portrait photography

Alan Powdrill, Glow from the Pipe Up series

My grandpa, photographer unknown

Alan Powdrill, Amy from Pipe Up series

It’s a photo portrait post, with a pipe-theme, today – that’s one hell of a lot of Ps for a sentence.

Today there’s a call for “unselected entries to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011″ by Portrait Salon, which considering that only 60 images are selected for the international Taylor Wessing Prize, is a fun and positive way to promote portrait photography through trying to retrieve as many of the “discarded” images as possible. Also, some quirky images of women with some amazing pipes (but are they really pipe smokers, I wonder?) courtesy of photographer Alan Powdrill who also has a blog with a Picture a Day, plus an upcoming photo portrait exhibition What’s in a Face? opening on 24 September in Sydney, Australia and running until 5 Feb.

PORTRAIT SALON
Portrait Salon aims to show the best of the unselected entries from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011. The organisers – two portrait photographers, who are both based in London and are professionally involved in the city’s photographic community – believe that, “out of the 5,973 rejected entries, there must be some good quality portraits which deserve to be shown”. To this effect, the organisers have anonymously (at least at this stage), set up a Salon des Refusés, “which has a long tradition as a fringe way of showcasing artists’ work that may otherwise go unseen”. See Wayne Ford’s blog for more  on the origins of the Salon des Refusés.

This will be a projection of works rejected from a juried art show.  So, if you submitted work to the Taylor Wessing photo portrait prize 2011 and got rejected, then you have another chance to get your work seen and shown.

Simply, email a Jpeg only, at 1000 pixels on the longest edge, of your “refused” submission to: [email protected]

See over for more…

Sure, there may be the possibility that your work will not be selected for a second time, but then, unless you give it a go, how will you know? Also, as the organisers say: “We will show a much higher percentage of work than at the National Gallery” this is also because they will be projecting work so will not be as constrained, in terms of numbers of works that can be shown.  “The venue, date and time, is yet to be confirmed. In order to maintain a high standard of imagery, the projection will be curated, so a selection of the submissions will be shown.”

I’ve agreed to help on the judging panel, which will be announced soon, so send your unselected entries in. After all, you’ve already done the work and it won’t cost you anything, except a little of your time. And if you didn’t enter but know someone who did, then pass the details on. Can’t wait to see some of the “refusés”, so look out for some of them in future posts.

WHAT’S IN A FACE? – ART GALLERY OF NSW

Left: Edward Weston (USA 1886-1956) Guadalupe de Rivera, Mexico 1924, printed later gelatin silver photograph, 20.7 × 17.8 cm. Gift of Patsy W. Asch 2000 © Centre for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents. Right: Loretta Lux (Germany b1969) The waiting girl 2006, Ilfochrome photograph, 38 × 53 cm. Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors’ Program 2007 © Loretta Lux/Bild-Kunst. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney

With portraiture in mind, the Art Gallery of New South Wales has a show What’s in a Face? aspects of portrait photography which is “an exhibition of 45 photographs from its collection. The exhibition focuses on crucial points in the history of photographic depictions of the human face ranging from studio portraiture in the late 19th century to contemporary practices today. Works by Australian photographers, such as Paul Foelsche, Olive Cotton, Max Dupain, Carol Jerrems, Destiny Deacon, Patrina Hicks, Darren Sylvester and others, are placed in an international context, represented by Man Ray, Edward Weston, Iwao Yamawaki, Nan Goldin, Ben Cauchi and Loretta Lux, amongst others.”

If I am anywhere near the Antipodes before then, and you never know what life can bring, then I will swing along, if not I’ll have to make do with virtual enjoyment. I leave you with these thoughts about portraiture from the press release:

“Using photography to depict the face and figure was initially a time-consuming and expensive business. However, the drive to document all things in the world, and rapid technological advances, meant that by the 1880s most people, willing or not and regardless of the photographer’s or their own desires, were documented in some way.

“Spurious 19th century ideas to do with what a face could represent exploded in the early 20th century when identity came to be seen as a psychological rather than social phenomenon. Theatricality and performing for the camera, which had existed in photography since its inception, also became much more evident in this period.

“In the post-WWII era representations of the face and the body quickly acquired a political and socially aware edge. More recently the face has tended to stand less as an expression of personal experience and more a statement that may signify a set of ideas, whether about the individual, the group or the society at large. Many of these highly constructed images acknowledge and play upon the problematics of the photographic portrait.”

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Alan Powdrill, Art Gallery of NSW, Derek Bevis, photo portraits, Pipe Up, Portrait Salon, portraits, Salon des Refusés, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, What’s in a Face?