Tag Archives: Possibilities

Karen Divine

I don’t own an iPhone…yet, so I was excited to juror the recent call for entry by the Kiernan Gallery, iSpy: Camera Phone Photography to see how photographers are approaching this new tool. I was wowed by the array of images and stellar examples of technology’s newest tool. The exhibition opens on today, March 6th, and runs through April 7th. A catalogue of the exhibition is also available on Blurb.

The image I selected for the Juror’s Award was by created by Karen Divine. I had seen her images elsewhere, but had no idea that they were created with a cell phone.

Juror’s Award image

Born in Texas, Karen is a self-taught photographer, who has attended workshops and studied with a long roster of image makers. She was introduced to photography during a career as a model in NYC, and later discovered the possibilities of Photoshop. “I view the world in layers, stacking colors, textures, forms and stories onto each other as if one were walking through their day with blurred vision, not taking in specifics but piecing together various parts and overlapping them. Images that tell a story are important to me, images that are suggestive, a reflection of one’s inner turmoil and dreams, a personal documentary, images where the boundaries are somewhat obscure. I want to look at an image and be forced to look again and again. A sense of structure and design is important of course but behind my shapes and colors, there is usually another order of meaning, however abstract that may appear.”

Karen has created the project featured below, Shooting the Nude, where she explores the idea “Do women shoot the nude with a different vein of intention than the male?” She states, “Being the genesis of the greatest art, I wonder if the viewer of the image perceives the nude differently depending on the gender of its maker! Are we shooting the female form for it’s lines and shapes that make any composition visually appealing or is the image a reflection of our own sensuous or objective being? In answering these questions, I discovered a woman, playful, sinuous, provacative, a bit off in her antics and movements, confident, doubtful but always wanting to present herself in freedom.”


iSpy: Camera Phone Photography

Adrian Samson, The Setup

Adrian Samson, The Setup

Adrian Samson

The Setup,
, 2012
Website – AdrianSamson.com

Adrian Samson spent 4 years on the Caribbean, in the U.S. and a year in Canada before making the U.K. his home in 2004. Born in 1974 in Slovakia to Hungarian parents, he was introduced to photography by his father when he was only 8. His diverse body of work is infused with an instinctive use of light, which has an often apparent cinematic feel and reveals his fascination for film. Preferring to make the most out of the possibilities offered by his camera before processing the images, he often uses the reality of an urban scenario or a modified studio to render his vision. This vision has brought him not only gold and other merits in creative competitions, but also trust in his creative expertise from names such as Motorola, Ford, Microsoft, Sky, Piagio and agencies including BBDO, Ogilvy, TBWA and Lowe. He is currently based in London and is represented worldwide.
 

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

Review: 60 Fotos by László Moholy-Nagy (Errata Edition)

Errata_MoholyNagy_cover.jpg

Here we are, in 2011, and most of the photography in 60 Fotos by László Moholy-Nagy will strike us as incredibly old-fashioned and/or dated. Over the course of the 80 years since the book’s original publication, photography has evolved a lot (our thinking about it a bit less so, of course). But there is something, actually a lot to be gained from going back to the book and from looking at photography with the eyes of and guided by this well-known Bauhaus artist. (more)

Of course, this is where personal bias enters, something which I cannot – and will not try to – escape (Art criticism without personal bias is not criticism, it’s merely a description. Art without opinions is not art, it’s entertainment). Two things have always fascinated me about the way Bauhaus artists approached photography. First, there was an unwavering willingness to explore the medium’s possibilities. Second, photographers worked hand-in-hand with other artists, such as designers. We might have a lot of new photographic opportunities right now, but are photographers as willing to embrace what the medium has to offer as their Bauhaus progenitors? I don’t think they are.

We might smile about many of the very basic photographs, exploring depth of field or whatever else – but the photomontages look dated and fresh at the same time. Experimentation in this day and age often just means to see how large an image can be printed or how to smartly sharpen an image. And ironically, while very old photographic techniques are being celebrated, artists pushing the boundaries have to deal with questions like “Is this photography?” It’s not hard to imagine how Moholy-Nagy would have reacted to that question. Just look at the images in 60 Fotos to see whether or not he was willing to be restricted by criteria what photography might be.

The book is a manifesto, showing what photography can do when you’re willing to take it anywhere it might go. It is fearless. Maybe we need a little bit more fearlessness in contemporary photography.

60 Fotos, photography and photomontages by László Moholy-Nagy, essays by Franz Roh, David Evans, Jeffrey Ladd, 92 pages, Errata Editions, 2011

Spreads from the book kindly provided by Errata Editions – thank you!

Dominic Bell



All images © Dominic Bell

I recently received these intriguing and ethereal images from Dominic Bell as part of his ongoing Broken Waves project. A recent photography graduate of the University of the Arts Bournemouth, Bell’s work explores the state of our relationship with nature.

Broken Wave, seeks to represent the objectification of nature through the investigation of current notions surrounding the contemporary seascape. The work of Broken Wave strives to exemplify the possibilities of the relationship between the sculptural object and the photographic image through an investigation into the nature of time and photography. The photographs within Broken Wave are depicted with the aim of superseding the original objects and making the temporality of the sculptural work be replaced by aspects of timelessness. This work is part of an ongoing investigation in to human interaction with landscape and our incessant desire for ‘objects’. By collecting samples of wave water and freezing them, the work plays on the themes of human intervention and destruction.”

It’s still under construction, but if you’re itching for more you can take a look at Bell’s work on his website.