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Huldrekall © Felipe Vasquez

You have to love photography students - well, those with vision and skill and determination, anyway. I admire Felipe Vasquez. He took his vision, and costumes, off to Patagonia...

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Mandragora

"'Chimeras' is a photographic project that explores mysticism within different societies of the world, as interpreted through conceptual self-portraiture. This series was shot in the Patagonia region of Chile during the months of January and February of 2012.

'Chimeras' consists of four distinct characters inspired by factual ritualism practiced in primitive cultures, in addition to humankind's faithful beliefs in the supernatural. All of these characters were created with the help of artist Andrew Jordan, whose incalculable expertise was fundamental to the development of my vision.

Jordan and I designed the costumes for 'Chimeras' so that they would complement Patagonia's remarkably diverse and rich terrain. Its mountains, lakes, forests and meadows quickly became home to the creatures and through the camera, I was able to capture their metaphysical existence."

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Salamander

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Lilith. All images © Felipe Vasquez

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Li, China, Brazil © James Mollison

"Where Children Sleep" is an important, beautifully executed book and exhibition from photographer James Mollison. aCurator is publishing a selection in two parts.

View the full screen magazine photography feature, part 1.

View the full screen magazine photography feature, part 2.

"When, in 2004, Fabrica (Benetton's creative research centre) asked me to come up with an idea for engaging with children's rights, I found myself thinking about my bedroom: how significant it was during my childhood, and how it reflected what I had and who I was. It occurred to me that a way to address some of the complex situations and social issues affecting children would be to look at the bedrooms of children in all kinds of different circumstances. From the start, I didn't want it just to be about 'needy children' in the developing world, but rather something more inclusive, about children from all types of situations. It seemed to make sense to photograph the children themselves, too, but separately from their bedrooms, using a neutral background.

My thinking was that the bedroom pictures would be inscribed with the children's material and cultural circumstances - the details that inevitably mark people apart from each other - while the children themselves would appear in the set of portraits as individuals, as equals... just as children.

Millions of families around the world sleep together in one room, and millions of children sleep in a space of convenience, rather than a place they can in any sense call their room. I came to appreciate just how privileged I am to have had a personal kingdom to sleep in and grow.

For me, the project became a vehicle to think about issues of poverty and wealth, about the relationship of children to personal possessions, and the power of children - or lack of it - to make decisions about their lives. But this book is not a campaign. There's nothing scientific about the selection of children featured: I travelled where I could, often alongside other projects, and many of the pictures result from chance encounters, following my photographer's nose. I am not qualified to give anyone a lecture on the state of childhood today, or the future of children's rights. Although I have relied on the help of Save the Children, Italy, there is no agenda to the book other than my own journey and curiosity, and wanting to share in pictures and words the stories that I found interesting, or that moved me.

In the end, I hope the pictures and the stories in this book speak to children. Yes, so that lucky children (like I was) may better appreciate what they have. But more than that, I hope this book will help children think about inequality, within and between societies around the world, and perhaps start to figure out how, in their own lives, they may respond." James Mollison Venice, May 2010

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Alex, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil © James Mollison

"Where Children Sleep" was published in 2010 by Chris Boot and is available for purchase.

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This photographer was introduced to me by Elisabeth Aanes who runs NORDPhotography, a center for workshops located in the middle of Norway. 

Ever since she was little, Sissel Annett felt she should have been born a twin. Exploring this feeling has produced this dream-like body of work, using identical models and also turning the camera on herself. More over at Blurb. Oh and she's shooting film on an old Rollei. Yum.

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Blue Lacoste Sandal. © Chris Sellas

Clever Chris Sellas, whose series 'You. I.' ran here in the blog, has stayed in touch which is not only lovely but it's a good idea, people! I went rummaging about on his site and felt the need to publish some germs. "All of the bacterium samples were collected along my Monday commute from New Haven, Connecticut, to New York, New York, November 24, 2007."

This reminds me of the study of the London Underground done recently that showed up never-before-seen bacteria and masses of rodent poo. Researching said study I learned something - that in 1956 Britain's "...Ministry of Defence turned large parts of the country into a giant laboratory to conduct a series of secret germ warfare tests on the public" releasing bacteria on the Northern Line. At lunchtime no less! The Grauniad goes on to say "In most cases, the trials did not use biological weapons but alternatives which scientists believed would mimic germ warfare and which the MoD claimed were harmless. But families in certain areas of the country who have children with birth defects are demanding a public inquiry."

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Webster Bank upper level ATM buttons.

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People's United Debit Card.

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6 Train, handrail.  Not too bad!

All images © Chris Sellas

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Exchange Rate, 2012 © Azhar Chougle

Here's a cheeky little series from shockingly young, Indian-born, Brooklyn-dwelling, SVA photography grad Azhar Chougle : 'Unfamiliar Moments Across the Atlantic.'

"America, in my mind, maintains an amusing state of irony and indecisiveness. These photographs serve as a reflection of my own alienation, frustration and intrigue as I adapt to its atmosphere. Examining random encounters with the American image, the results are a baffling and bizarre recreation of a culture overlaid by a foreigner's perception."

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Preventive Care, 2012

"The portrait I paint of America is an honest and playfully critical inspection that describes the way in which I relate to where I find myself."

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American Spirit, 2011

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Modernization, 2011. All images © Azhar Chougle

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Gregory Peck and Mary Badham, "To Kill A Mockingbird" © Leo Fuchs, courtesy V&M

The fabulous V&M have another gorgeous photography collection on their hands, prints now available at affordable prices. Here's the blurb:

In the 1950s and 60s, Leo Fuchs photographed Hollwood's "Who's Who"-- Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Shirley MacLaine, Tony Curtis, Montgomery Clift and Alfred Hitchcock, to name a few.

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Marlon Brando on the tarmac, "The Ugly Americans" © Leo Fuchs, courtesy V&M

Soon Fuchs was working directly with the studios, prompting his move to Hollywood in 1961. As a freelance magazine photographer, Fuchs was one of the rare outsiders invited onto movie sets, where he captured candid shots, during both shooting and after hours while socializing with the stars and directors. His immense talent and the rapport he built with his subjects allowed him to capture intimate moments that few others were able to accomplish. (He always let the actors see his photos before he sent them to his agent.) Then, in 1964, with the support of his dear friend Cary Grant, Fuchs gave up photography and spent the next 20 years as a motion picture producer, starting with Gambit, starring Shirley MacLaine and British import Michael Caine.

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Shirley Maclaine and daughter Sachi, "Irma la Douce" Paris © Leo Fuchs, courtesy V&M

Recently, Leo's son, Alexandre Fuchs, found 30 trunks in storage, filled with contact sheets, negatives and original prints. Now, limited edition archival prints of some of Leo Fuchs' most famous subjects are available on V&M.

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Paul Newman, "Exodus" © Leo Fuchs, courtesy V&M

Leo_Fuchs_Curtis.jpgMy long-lost relative, Tony Curtis, "40 Pounds Of Trouble" © Leo Fuchs, courtesy V&M and another Paul Newman without his shirt because, well, yes.
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Here's another find from Nordic Light. Tom Simonsen is a gallerist and photographer who came for a portfolio review with me. I love doing them, but I worry about the conflicting information photographers must sometimes receive. Bjørn Opsahl and I gave Tom similar reviews but Tom told me someone else told him to take this photograph of the dog out. It must be tricky to avoid taking the advice one agrees with, but Tom really took everything to heart. I'm happy to publish my two favourites from his portfolio.

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Images © Tom Simonsen

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© Simen Øvergaard

Simen Øvergaard is one of many delightful photo students I met at Nordic Light Photo Festival. Simen attends Bilder Nordic School of Photography in Oslo, and this body of work is part of 'Shameless,' 37 graduating students of 2012 exploring sexuality and shame, with their own visual voice and style. Simen says his is "...a project presenting and neutralizing places that are made for humans to have sexual intercourse. Nothing to hide, it is just sex."

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All images © Simen Øvergaard


Henrik-Halvarsson-image-for-Aday.org.jpgOn Tuesday May 15th 2012, the Aday.org initiative will invite the entire world to participate in the largest and most comprehensive photographic documentation of a single day in human history. Whether an amateur with a mobile phone camera or a professional photographer, Aday.org asks anyone - and everyone - in possession of one of the world's estimated one billion digital cameras to document their experiences of the day: uploading their images in order to create a visual archive of our lives today.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who sits on the Global Advisory Board for Aday.org (and will be contributing his own photographs on May 15th), comments: "Take this unique opportunity with me, and thousands of others around the world, to create a priceless collection of images, to boost understanding and enhance research and education." Fellow Global Advisory Board member, Sir Richard Branson comments: "This great project is about real people taking pictures of real life in real-time. Please get your camera and share your life on May 15."

Aday.org seeks participants of all ages, backgrounds, and from every corner of our planet: each contribution as relevant and significant as the next person's in creating this unprecedented snapshot of humanity. To help get the largest number of people involved, Aday.org has already recruited hundreds of global 'connectors' - leading lights from the worlds of photography (including 30 World Press Photo winners), journalism and academia - who will both take part on the day and spread the word as well as encourage participation among their own social networks, intranets, mailing lists, or fan-bases.

Tons of info over at Aday's website. Join in!

Image by Henrik Halvarsson for Aday.org

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Unknown Soldier, 2011 © Marcin Owczarek

And now for something completely different. "My name is Marcin Owczarek and I am an artist who creates in the spirit of Surrealism."

Marcin Owczarek was born in Wroclaw, Poland in 1985 and studied photography there. He admires Dadaism as well as Surrealism. "I regard my critical collages as the prediction of human degradation. Man is imperfect. Man is a savage, greedy rebel of Nature. I stress the present process of dehumanization, mechanization and standardization of human race, false norms and illusional values that are given as the truth to society by religion, governments, laws, propaganda, the false mirror of the television..."

Focusing on the issues of mechanization and standardization, he tackles them in an antiutopian style, depicting the total capture of the spirit by the machine world. He reflects: "In the times of old Celtic celebrations there were enormous figures made of wood or cane, filled with living people and them burned. I have the impression that nowadays we have superseded these Celtic figures by concrete blocks of flats, dead peninsulas, where we undergo geometrical unification and from which we shout 'like martyrs being burnt alive while still giving songs of life from their stakes'. (Artaud)"

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Visit Marcin on Facebook.

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