Tag Archives: Nature

Jacqueline Roberts

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I introduce Jacqueline Roberts as next week’s guest curator and writer.  She will be sharing the work of six contemporary European photographers over the course of the week, exposing us to image makers an ocean away. Today I will be celebrating her wonderful work that beautifully explores children and childhood.

Jacqueline is a Spanish photographer born in Paris and now lives and works in Wincheringen, Germany, with her husband Gareth and their children Madoc, Malen and Emrys–making her a perfect European ambassador of photography. Her work has been shown in France, Spain, Germany and Luxembourg and has won various international awards, including the International Photography Awards in New York and the Prix de la Photographie in Paris. Jacqueline works with different photographic mediums, both digital and analogue, as well as with photographic techniques from the 19th century. She has published two books with editor Galerie Vevais, within the collector’s series Werkdruck and she is currently preparing her third monograph Kindred Spirits, which will be published next year.
 Kindred Spirits is a celebration of childhood and by extension life, tinged with nostalgia; a constructed memory for the future… a family album, simply. At a time in my life where my children are growing up and my parents are ageing… a reminder of the trace of time and fleeting nature of life.
 images from Kindred Spirits

Triptychs is primarily a tribute to my children, all born on the same day, which consists of three triple triptychs. With this series of portraits I wanted to emphasise the connection between them, the fraternal bond, the communion almost, that exists between them. Three distinct individuals yet connected. It was relevant therefore to present the work as triptychs, for the religious connotations it confers to the images but also to embrace the symbolism of the number three in a wider cultural realm. Three represents the triad of family: male, female, and child; the triad of the cycle of life: birth, life, and death; the triad of time: past, present and future; the triad of human nature: mind, body and soul and the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit… like an allusion to the sacred status of the child in our contemporary western societies.

images from Triptychs

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

Mona Kuhn lecture at the MoPA in San Diego: audio recordings

from “Native” by Mona Kuhn

This week I had the opportunity to attend a lecture by Mona Kuhn at the MoPA in San Diego, where the artist described her work, starting with earlier projects like Evidence where she photographed her neighbors and friends in a cottage in France where the people walk around nude. It is interesting – as you can listen in the lecture – how she describes the difference between being nude and being naked and the relationship she establishes with the subjects so they feel fully conformable being photographed.

The audio #2 and #3 concentrate in her more recent work, when she went back to Brasil and photographed both the nature and the people, work that has just now been published with the name “Native“. The last audio #4 is a very interesting Q&A between the MoPA director, Deborah Klochko,  and Mona Kuhn.

I have to say that her work is fascinating and the lecture was captivating.