© Claire A. Warden

Claire A. Warden's 'Mimesis' series of mysterious, magical images, references her diverse ethnic background. She says "When looking at these images, the urge to ask "what is it?" echoes the question, "what are you?", a question that has been directed towards me countless times."

This confident young artist impressed me enormously when we met at the Photolucida portfolio reviews. I recognized her images immediately, having voted for her in a competition I judged earlier this year - in fact the exhibition of winners from Flash Forward opens in Toronto on October 8, 2015. She also has solo exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography with this same series, now until October 31, and has been selected as a Critical Mass finalist. No flies on her!

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

"I use saliva and manual manipulation as part of my photographic process, which steers the work away from the signifying functions inherent to the medium of photography. These methods are used as symbolic acts to expose the biologic and socio-cultural forces that stimulate the emergence and performance of an identity. This process produces a series of images that reveal certain truths in identity and simultaneously the inadequacies of language to describe oneself. Resembling systems of the natural sciences - microscopic, topographic and celestial - the photographs allegorize the complexity of systems that make up an individual and the perception of self."

Be sure to also look at Claire's beautiful series Salt Studies in Preservation and Manipulation.

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Xenia © Kevin Horan

What do you see here? Personality? Are the fauna of Langley, Washington, and the photographer relating to each other during their sitting? In Kevin Horan's project he photographs the neighbors, albeit four-legged hoof-footed ones. Thumbing through these, the resemblances to your friends may not be as clear as they are in, say, Jill Greenberg's monkey portraits, but still there's something in their faces and poses. Xenia here for example is clearly "working it." 

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

As great as these lovelies are online, Kevin's prints make for a whole other experience. Great blacks! Another fabulous portfolio as seen at Photolucida
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© Ben Marcin

Another find at Photolucida, I knew Ben Marcin's series 'Last House Standing' from having seen it in various settings and I was interested to hear about the rest of his projects. The photographs in this feature are from two ongoing series: Grids, and Street.

"'Grids' is about different types of structures found in urban settings. These buildings are designed to accommodate goods, cars and people. Viewed individually, few of them are particularly notable in appearance. However, by carefully assembling them into a series of patterned grids, I tried to produce an added dimension, a patchwork of the visual noise that surrounds us."

"Our cities are almost completely carpeted in concrete and asphalt. According to the NYC Department of Transportation, there are over 12,750 miles of sidewalk throughout New York alone. Streets and sidewalks are an essential, although oft-maligned, component of our urban infrastructure. They allow us to get from Point A to B efficiently and relatively cleanly. However, like the air we breathe and the water we drink, all of this hard stuff goes largely unnoticed - unless we're trying to avoid a pothole or protruding crack or some other small mess that presents itself on our path to wherever. Rarely do we really look at what we're walking on."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.
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© Rob Hann

If you are a regular here at aCurator you will be familiar with Rob Hann's photographs. This is his sixth magazine feature!! Rob took off on his annual road trip out west earlier this year and I always love what he comes home with. 

Happy summer to our northern-hemisphere-dwelling friends.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

"I took my first road trip shooting in the American West in 2001. It felt like a faraway place, exotic and mysterious to a person living in London. I moved to New York City in 2003 and I hit the road with my camera whenever I can. I've come to realise that going to faraway places is an important part of my practice. 

"I like to feel a little bit lost out there, to not know what I might come across as I head out at sunrise each morning. On my latest trip I concentrated on California, a place that still feels faraway, exotic and mysterious to a person living in New York City."

Read more about Rob Hann, and how he sells his work in New York, in a piece we did over at aPhotoEditor.

Click here to see all of Rob's previous aCurator features.
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© Jordan Campbell

Jordan Campbell's series stood out among a few hundred entries to a competition I judged earlier this year. Jordan lives in Canada; in his bio you learn that "Before moving to Toronto, Jordan worked in the sail training industry for seven years and holds a Master 150 ton and a Chief Mate 500 ton ticket with Transport Canada." I frequently remind photographers to tell us something interesting about themselves that is not photography related because you never know when it will inspire someone to work with you. 

Jordan's artist statement tells us all there is to know about his project:

"The Thorns We Walk Upon is a social documentary, which gives a glimpse into daily life at the Samburu Handicap Education and Rehabilitation Program (SHERP), an NGO in Maralal, Kenya. Grace Senia, a teacher in the local community, established SHERP in 2001. Since then, and in an effort to accommodate a variety of needs, SHERP has become a home, a community, an orphanage, and a dormitory for children with disabilities.

With help from the Samburu town council, county council, and the Japanese embassy, Grace managed to acquire a plot of land and build two dormitories in Maralal. Over the past thirteen years, various international donors have helped build SHERP's infrastructure, however despite the available facilities SHERP's needs continue to outweigh available resources. Water, food, staff, and full time management are never present in unison, creating a challenging and complicated environment for the kids."

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

"Each child at SHERP has his or her own unique story. Some are left at the front gate, while others come from supportive families, which see SHERP as an opportunity for their child to receive an education. To varying degrees both the semi-nomadic culture, and the traditional misunderstanding of disability in Samburu are a part of each child's story. Their lives have been marked by much pain. In spite of this kids at SHERP come together to lean on each other.

The Thorns We Walk Upon attempts to place individuals before their disability while speaking towards the questions and landscape they must navigate. Theirs is a path marked by layers of hostility. What is taken for granted by most, even in the arid hills of Samburu, are real and immediate concerns for kids with a disability. Their struggle for food and a sense of home, in many ways, is an odyssey for self worth.

Despite living at SHERP these glimpses were viewed as a guest. The Thorns We Walk Upon tries to acknowledge as much. This series reflects both an expression of the kids' lives and the challenges of working across difference and privilege."

Beautiful. Thanks Jordan! 

View the full screen magazine photo feature.
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© Michael Massaia

Michael Massaia's Deep in a Dream portfolio continues to expand as he spins his sunbathers to create a new performance.

It is no secret that Michael Massaia is among my very best most favourite photographers. His capabilities are exceptional. He is compelling and bemusing. His images are spectacular online and his photographs simply glorious when printed, by himself, mixing his own chemicals, cutting his own paper, mastering new talents, blowing you away.

View the full screen photo feature.

See Michael's past features:
Deep in a Dream
Borrowed Time
Quiet Now
In the Final Throes
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© Donna Pinckley

Here is a body of work from another interesting photographer I met at PhotoLucida. Donna Pinckley showed prints from this series, "Sticks and Stones," which is a work in progress, sadly, as Pinckley continues to meet mixed race couples who experience verbal abuse because of their skin colours. 

Alongside teaching, Arkansas-based Pinckley has been making strong portraits for years. When you're done here, check out her colour work.

Read her statement below, and View the full screen magazine photo feature.

"For over twenty years I have photographed a particular social and cultural group of children. Before my eyes and in front of my camera they have passed through adolescence into young adulthood. My goal throughout has been to portray not how the world sees them, but how they see themselves.
"I began by working with one child at a time, but as my subjects have grown up and matured, people and relationships have replaced toys and skateboards, both in their lives and in my photographs--siblings and friends, casual acquaintances, and mostly recently, romantic partners.
""Sticks and Stones" began with an image of one of my frequent subjects and her African-American boyfriend. Her mother and I were catching up in the kitchen when she told me of the cruel taunts hurled at her daughter for dating a boy of another race. As she was speaking I was reminded of another mother in another kitchen many years ago, whose daughter had been the object of similar racial slurs. What struck me was the resilience of both couples in the face of derision, their refusal to let others define them.

"I have continued photographing interracial couples of all ages, aiming as always to capture how they see themselves, the world of love and trust they have created despite adversity. I began adding the hateful words they've been subjected to at the bottom of the images as a reminder of how the world too often sees them. For me, and I hope for viewers, the juxtaposition is stark and disturbing."
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Saint Ortho* © Eileen Clynes

Boston-based Eileen Clynes is a proudly recovering Catholic; she is also an exceptional person: a talented artist, a veteran of US armed forces, and a powerful head-turning presence. She thrilled me to bits with her modern-day saints when we met last April at the Photolucida portfolio reviews. 

Of this series she says: "Exceptional Holiness is inspired by growing up Catholic and having a fascination with religious art. The work is a modern take on traditional Catholic Saint cards, drawing inspiration from tchotchke-style religious art such as hologram last suppers and light-up Virgin Marys."

"I approach this work using a similar style where saints and holiness were portrayed, but also adding elements of political and social issues to explore what modern holiness might look like."

Read more about the modern day saints on the Exceptional Holiness website and over on Clynes' blog. You can pick yourself up a number of votive candles in the gift shop! But where is hologram Jesus??

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

*O Blessed Saint Ortho! With the grace
of God you are a powerful advocate for women
and the Patron Saint of restoration for a
woman's choice. To you I turn today as I enter
my menstrual cycle with heartfelt confidence.
O Blessed Saint Ortho! Please enlighten those
with political and religious agendas who wish to
control my right to take birth control.
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A Photograph of the Milky Way Eaten by Bacteria Found in Unpasteurized Milk © Marcus DeSieno

Marcus DeSieno makes spectacular imagery that is somewhat disturbing. From his microscopic parasites that I joyously selected for exhibition offline for Center for Photography at Woodstock's annual Photography Now! exhibition, and which he printed disturbingly large, to his perverse self-portraits; and now these glorious photographs of various bacteria eating film. Be simultaneously engrossed and grossed out by marvelous young Marcus. 

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

You can see images from "Parasites" on the Photoville Fence in Brooklyn, NY, this summer.
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© Joe Quint from his project "It Takes Us"

On May 23rd, 2014, news came of in a series of murders committed by a young man in Isla Vista, California, near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara. Gun violence is a daily occurrence in the United States, but something about this incident tipped Joe Quint over the edge: he launched "It Takes Us."

"I happened to glance at that week's issue of People. The cover story was about some Kardashian wedding and there was a little blurb in the upper right corner about the shooting... with a subhead saying 'How could this happen - again?' Now, setting aside the disproportionality in importance of these two stories, I was struck by both the naivety and borderline irresponsibility of that subhead. 'How could it NOT happen again?' was my immediate reaction - why should we be surprised when - despite some small gains made in recent years by the gun violence prevention movement, there had yet to be anything remotely resembling a collective shift in our consciousness on the subject? 

"I became increasingly frustrated by inaction - my own, and the inaction of my country. I could no longer simply pay lip service to the importance of reducing the over 32,000 senseless and preventable deaths that take place every year. I want to show how the crisis extends far beyond the typical media narrative of urban violence to include domestic abuse, suicide, children being injured or killed by unsecured guns in their homes, and so many more tragic cases." Joe Quint
Photographs and audio will be on exhibit June 18-20, 2015, at Howard Scott Gallery in Chelsea, NY. 

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Take action.
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