Photographers

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Mark Dorf
is based in Savannah, Georgia. I'm thrilled this young photographer has his submission skills down pat, and whilst still in school, is surely getting his work out there. Please enjoy his artist statement and thought-provoking imagery.

"Our current landscape is one that is permeated with man made monoliths, sitting on the horizon, reforming the clean line that was once firmly established. The creation of this ever-expanding human footprint encroaches carelessly upon our environment without control at every moment. Creation can be considered one of the most powerful abilities a human possesses, whether it be through the hand of an artist, the architect or businessman, an inherent amount of power and control is given to the creator. However, this amount of control and power can grow to become intoxicating leading to devastating adverse and unseen side effects. However apparent these effects are, they are not always understood and can be ignored and seen as neutral to those who encounter them until it is too late and the potential damage has been done.
 
Environmental Occupations explores humanity's role of creation and its relationship with its environment. The concrete forms seen in the images, influenced by minimalist sculptors such as Donald Judd and Richard Serra, downplay any sort of expression and instead reference nothing but geometry and the dense substance that they are made from. The aggressive shape, material, and imposing presence of the objects contrast greatly against the natural and spiritual landscapes in which they are found, rendering them out of context and providing a skewed image from what is inherently reality. The question arises, where did these forms originate? Was there a creator? What are these things?
 
Though these forms seem to mimic functional urban horizons, they themselves are useless and loom in the landscape with a quiet devastation. The forms look to have been man made, but their sheer size and lack of evidence of construction leave the viewer with a disconnect between a specific creator and the objects - just as we see in our mass produced urban world today. The figures within the images speak to the various roles found in the process of creation, ranging from the originator to the mindless and passive observer, impotent and unaware of his or her surroundings."

Mark_Dorf_Sovereignty.jpg"Sovereignty"
 
Mark_Dorf_Penetration.jpg"Penetration"

All images © Mark Dorf


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It can only be a good day when Phil Toledano announces a new body of work and on a cold grey one it's warming to see his latest: Kim Jong Phil.

Quoth he:  "I think a great deal about what it means to be an artist."

"I reflect on the elaborate psychological mechanisms required to pursue something so elusive, so ambiguous. I often wonder: 'Am I talking to myself?' 

I don't make work for other people, but as an artist, I need to be in dialogue with the world that exists beyond my overpopulated cranium. I've concluded that to be effective-to be functional-I must guzzle an eye-popping cocktail of delusion and narcissism.

It occurred to me that being an artist is a great deal like being a dictator.

Just like a dictator, I must live in a closed loop of self-delusion. A place where my words and ideas always ring true. A gilded daydream of grandiosity. There can be no room for doubt. I must be convinced that I have something vital to say. I must believe that the world is waiting in keen anticipation to hear my message.

For my palette, I've copied pre-existing dictatorial art. Paintings from North Korea, statues of assorted dictators (Kim Il Sung, Laurent Kabilla, and Saddam Hussein). I had these works re-created in China, and each instance, I've replaced the great leaders with myself."

Bloody brilliant. Read a thoroughly excellent interview with Mr Toledano via APhotoEditor

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Mr Toledano as Laurent Kabila, 20 inches.

International world global domination. Oil on canvas, 40x50 inches © Mr Toledano


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Simone Rosenbauer is one of the selected artists for reGeneration² and she attended the panel discussion at Aperture last night. A young German living in Australia, she told me about her project 'Small Museum'. She's been to 40, and there are more. Bloody brilliant. More projects on her website.

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Karolina Sekula sent this wonderfully eloquent statement to accompany her series on newly-single women. 

"Every year statistics reveal tens of thousands of divorces in Poland. The number becomes even greater when you count in unmarried couples that break up. In 2010 those statistics strangely and unexpectedly started including a large group of my friends and... myself. I began photographing women close to me that recently split up with their life partners, just like I did. All of the photographs were taken in my models' houses, when the first emotions had already been coped with and were replaced by sadness and melancholy."

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Writer/Photographer Ricky Powell posted this bonkers interview with Janette Beckman, which they did together while wandering through Central Washington Square Park last summer, chatting about the musicians, scenes and fans Janette has photographed in her brilliant career. It is a really really good read!

As Ricky says of JB, "Peep her shit. You'll be like, "Whhhaaattt?!""

Skinheads © Janette Beckman

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I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Itkoff this week. Stella Kramer is organizing a panel discussion for the upcoming FotoFusion event in West Palm Beach this coming January and we are both on it.

Michael is the founding editor of Daylight Magazine, and he's also a fabulous, well-published and -exhibited photographer in his own right. In 2008 he published his monograph 'Street Portraits' with the Milan-based art book company Charta.

"Michael has traveled the world since 2002 taking portraits of everyday people in the street. In Itkoff's photographs a makeshift backdrop is held behind each of his subjects... This technique, normally reserved for celebrity and commercial portraiture, creates a striking aesthetic isolating the subjects from their urban contexts and allowing them to exist in a shared visual space as part of the same extended family."

Buy it here.

Henny Garfunkel © Michael Itkoff

rob_hann_seta1.jpgRob Hann's been working on a lovely project for the last year or so and has just published a Blurb book entitled 'The Child Gone'. The story is of "16 year old Seta and her friends in and around the town of Montclair, New Jersey. Seta added her own artwork and poetry to the project. The result is an extended portrait of Seta - part portrait, part self-portrait." - Rob Hann

I truly admire Seta for being able to express herself like this and being a pretty cool artist already, and Rob of course for engaging with these teenagers and giving us a glimpse of what losing one's childhood looks like these days.

All photos © Rob Hann

Artwork © Seta Morton


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Over the last year Melissa has shown me her portfolio of spellbinding images from two series, 'Behind the Glass Curtain' and 'Somewhere Between Sleep and the Clouds'. I've watched the progression and development, and relished her enjoyment of and enthusiasm for her personal work. During a portfolio review recently, we discussed 'lucid dreaming', a talent some people have for taking control of their dreams whilst in them, which could be great fun.

From 'Somewhere Between Sleep and the Clouds':

"Inspired by the mythical worlds in films and fairy tales, the photo montages in this series evoke our timeless penchant for escapism by using imagination and whimsy as a counter point to the banality and stresses of the modern condition. Through these interwoven images, I attempt to create a surreal and illusory world of boundless possibilities and unbridled creativity."

Every image within each montage is created by Melissa.

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© Melissa Lynn


aCurator's most popular feature this year has been M. Sharkey's Queer Kids project. We can thank young Sharkey for heading off for another round of subjects recently, and for producing this video. A healthy dose of laid-bare teenage honesty.

© M. Sharkey


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Fine art photographer and print maker Michael Massaia updated me with an email about his newest body of work 'In The Final Throes - New Jersey'.

While we're all snoozing away, Michael is not getting off our lawn...

"I took all of these images using large format black and white film and developed all the film in a pyro staining variation developer to help me obtain the look I was going after (also it allows for grainless, huge enlargements). After developing the film I'm hand-making 30x40 inch platinum prints as well as 40x60 inch pigment prints. These pictures were quite difficult to take because I literally had to be on people's yards at around 4 am (without their permission in some pretty rough areas) with a large view camera. I was nervous taking them but I'm excited with the results."

Dreamy.

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All images © Michael Massaia

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