Photographers


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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


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Superman, Hollywood © Bjørn Opsahl

Bjørn Opsahl and I met at Nordic Light last week. We knew we were going to be on a panel discussion together but didn't know anything about each other. Fashion and portrait photographer Bjørn is obviously a bit of a heartthrob and hero, some of the students in the audience for his presentation were gooey. Bjørn was self-effacing during his great slideshow, claiming to be nervous to present in English - he was flawless. He talked about having been a roadie and a rocker and his progression to shooting bands, with no formal photographic education; how being ballsy is how to get great shots, especially when you're shooting celebrities; doing anything that's needed to get the shot (like getting a full back tattoo) and the skills required when handling handlers. 

This particular photograph was the culmination of a few days stalking a Hollywood Superman look-alike. Bjørn talked about how he crawled the curb each morning until he got the right shot. 

Bjørn, baby, how about a new website?

Robert Pledge's exhibition CONTACT/S, hosted most recently at Nordic Light, is monumental.

One would not expect anything less - the show, the layout, photographs from the building of the Berlin Wall to the falling of the Twin Towers, there's nothing to be done but really see, remember, hold photographers in awe and, if you're like me, let the tears run. Perhaps the one uplifting series was the gorilla who rescued a little boy who fell over the railings at the Chicago zoo showing us the humanity we can't see in most of the rest of the photographs. Even the first second of the new millennium, shot in Times Square, is full of Guiliani's disturbing mug.

And of course, the contact sheet is disappearing fast.

Leaving the show, I felt John Botte's interview deserved another airing.

John Botte: The 9/11 Photographs from In The Loupe on Vimeo.


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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. January 2010, Berlin. Photo © Koen van de Wouw

"Last Expo is an online exposition. It is a collection of photographs taken of orphaned art in its final resting place. It's a commemorative album of forgotten human imagination."

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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. March 2011, Amsterdam.

"I walked in the centre of Amsterdam, minding my own business, when I noticed a stray piece of artwork lying next to the trash. I thought maybe this was the first time that this painting had seen the light of day. I wanted to adopt it, but then I realized that this was a big moment for the painting - its debut".

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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. July 2010, Los Angeles.

"For young artists, it is difficult to get your work onto a stage to be seen. It's not easy to get a place in a museum or at the current photo exhibitions. This is why I chose to create an online exposition. It's cheap and the whole world can see it."

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Title: untitled. Artist: unknown. April 2009, Amsterdam.

Koen_van_de_Wouw-kliko.jpgTitle: untitled. Artist: unknown. April 2009, Amsterdam.

All photographs © Koen van de Wouw

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'Cruel Story of Youth' © Jennifer Loeber

Counter Culture Summer Camp sounds wonderful; we uptight Brits didn't do this sort of thing... Jennifer Loeber enlightened me by sharing her project 'Cruel Story of Youth' and speaking from the heart.

"This series explores my personal reconciliation with the slowly fading memories that once had an indelible impact on my path to adulthood. I spent several weeks living with and documenting the emotional landscape of the current inhabitants of the counter culture summer camp I attended as a teenager as part alumnus, part outsider. Connecting with my subjects through a shared history afforded me the trust necessary to be able to watch events unfold without censorship. Drawing from my own self-discovery within this same space, I focused on conveying the spontaneity and supportive atmosphere that is the foundation and legacy of the camp."

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All images © Jennifer Loeber

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Peaches Geldof © Rayon Richards

Work-satisfaction-wise, not much beats witnessing a young photographer develop... I met Rayon Richards several moons ago when he was assisting the one-and-only Ernie Paniccioli. Rayon has always been positive, working super-hard on his career and turning out some great editorial, commercial and personal portraits. He has just launched a new website - a healthy improvement on the last (no offense, but those Livebooks sites sure can be soul-crushingly treacly.) Partake.

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Denise and Toni; Dani Filth; Half Pint; Bat For Lashes. All images © Rayon Richards
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Keeping me entertained today is Ohio-based photographer Stephen Tomasko's current project 'First Place and Our Congratulations'. 

"The start of this project, seen here, is the fruit of twenty days at sixteen midwest county fairs, examining the intense culture of competition surrounding the events."

This body of work will be part of the Proj'ekt LA series at MOPLA.

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All images © Stephen Tomasko

British county fairs feature massive vegetables, and I particularly enjoyed the story of the enormous swede that prompted Snoop Dogg to invite a Welshman backstage...

British photographer David Parfitt's goal here is to see the beauty in the mundane. aCurator believes not much beats a nice long bath with a calming soundtrack of clicking and snapping from a tubful of bubble bath (try Lush!)

Enjoy these little pops of pastel!

all images © David Parfitt
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BDS_4_ben2.jpgI was having a poke around aCurator-featured photographer Brian David Stevens' site today after he Tweeted about the 87th birthday of Anthony Wedgwood Benn, a British politician who, as per good old Wikipedia "...has topped several polls to find the most popular politician in Britain. He has also been described as "one of the few UK politicians to have become more left-wing after holding ministerial office." Since leaving Parliament, Benn has become more involved in the grass-roots politics of demonstrations and meetings, as opposed to parliamentary activities, and has been the President of the Stop the War Coalition for the last decade. He has also been a vegetarian since the 1970s." Yay for Tony Benn.

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Then I connected with this portrait of Molly Parkin ("a Welsh painter, novelist and journalist, who became most famous for exploits in the 1960s") with George Melly (an English jazz and blues singer, critic, writer and lecturer. From 1965 to 1973 he was a film and television critic for The Observer and lectured on art history, with an emphasis on surrealism.)

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BDS and I share a bit of common history so in a nod to the music of our time, a portrait of the Jesus and Mary Chain. I wonder whether I still look just as sardonic, 25 years on.

All images © Brian David Stevens

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JR shoots Liu Bolin © Zachary Bako

aCurator-featured artist Zachary Bako has been working with artist Liu Bolin in China for some time now. Recently they were in New York, with Bako documenting a collaboration between Bolin and French artist JR.

"Liu Bolin's passion for his artwork was clear from the start. The more I worked with Liu, the more interested I got in capturing his emotion, and that of those around him, as he works. When we collaborate, I find myself peeling the camera away from my face, almost like I need to take a minute now and then just to bear witness to the intensity of the atmosphere around me. In particular, when we were in his hometown of Binzhou in Shandong Province, China, last September creating two works."

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"Liu Bolin and JR have known each other for 4 or 5 years ago. They first met in Arles, France. During Liu Bolin's first performance for Hiding in New York in 2011 (at that time, in front of the Kenny Scharf mural on Houston and Bowery) JR stopped by to give his regards. Almost a year later the two would collaborate on a piece."

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"First, JR photographed Liu Bolin's face (the frame denotes his left eye partially visible through the fingers of his left hand) (Liu Bolin is predominately left-handed when creating sculptures and painting) Then JR and his assistants pasted the mural onto his studio door.  Once the pasting was completed, we waited for the correct light and Liu Bolin and his assistants then painted JR into his own image. Perched on scaffolding across the street, (there was a SUV parked from the correct POV, so we elevated camera to combat this) Liu Bolin directed his assistants with a laser pointer to perfect every last detail. The final product, a photograph."

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"Frankly, Liu Bolin and JR respect each other's work; even so much that JR has collected one of Liu Bolin's pieces. I think that it is fantastic that a cultural bridge is connected with these two artists. They are no doubt, two very important artists of our time; both having very distinct messages within their work. I consider their collaboration a homage to one another." - Zachary Bako.

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All images + video © Zachary Bako


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