All posts filed under: Features

Senta Simond’s Rayon Vert on show, in print, and in BJP

“Tu sais qu’est-ce que c’est le rayon vert?” Marie Rivière’s listless character Delphine asks, her legs swinging, in Éric Rohmer’s 1986 film Le Rayon Vert [The Green Ray]. The film – a portrait of its main character’s halting search for summer romance – was based on Jules Verne’s 1882 novel of the same name. While in theory its title refers to an optical phenomenon – in which the appearance of the sun as it rises or falls beyond the horizon creates a brief flash of green, and with it a supposed moment of mental clarity for all those who see it – in reality its subject matter is far more elusive. “I related the ‘rayon vert’ phenomenon to the process of photography – this special and quick moment that happens rarely,” Swiss photographer Senta Simond explains, referring to her project of the same name. Her series, which will be published by Kominek and shown at London’s Webber Gallery soon, adds a new, compelling layer to the meteorological event/Jules Verne/ Éric Rohmer mix of references. Indeed, Simond, a former student of ECAL, University of Art and Design Lausanne, from which she graduated last summer, first encountered the concept via the 1986 film.

2018-04-19T13:09:44+00:00

Riga Photomonth opens in Latvia this May

Centred around the theme of New Chic, the works on show at Riga Photomonth this May “are united by quests in the language of photography,” says curator Alnis Stakle. Raising questions about the materiality of photography, he continues, these projects also examine “individual and collective meanings and identities and the rituals of looking and showing off”. Inka and Niclas Lindergård are showing a series titled The Belt of Venus and the Shadow of the Earth, for example, which addresses the materiality of the photograph and photography’s role in the stylisation of the landscape. Through manipulation and the use of colour flashlights “their works become an open portal to the hyperrealistic synthesis of beauty, kitsch and visual desire in the language of photography,” says Stakle, who is director of Multimedia Communication and Photography at Riga Stradins University, and a celebrated photographer in his own right (bjp-online featured his series Theory of R in March 2017).

2018-04-19T10:13:13+00:00

August Sander: Men Without Masks

Born in 1876 in the German mining town of Herdorf, August Sander discovered photography while working at a local slagheap. Serendipitously meeting a landscape photographer working there for a mining company, he went on to assist the image-maker, and by 1909 had opened his own studio in Cologne. Around this time he also started taking portraits of his fellow-Germans, deliberately eschewing the then-prevalent pictorialist approach in favour of recording as much detail as possible. “Nothing seemed to me more appropriate than to project an image of our time with absolute fidelity to nature by means of photography,” he stated. “Let me speak the truth in all honesty about our age and the people of our age.”

2018-04-18T11:43:09+00:00

Arko Datto’s study of the Indian pik-nik phenomenon

Indian photographer Arko Datto (b.1986) completed two masters degrees in theoretical physics and mathematics before deciding to take a “leap of faith into photography”. After studying photography at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus, his long-term projects have since been published in leading international publications, such as TIME and National Geographic. For PIK-NIK, Datto spent the last five winter seasons photographing picnic spots across eastern India, primarily in West Bengal but also in Jharkhand and Orissa. Here, families and colleagues converge for a day of food, drink and revelry before departing at sunset, leaving piles of rubbish in their wake. “Vats of freshly slaughtered chicken, sacks of vegetables and an arsenal of pots, pans and gas cylinders are lugged along, taking cooking en plein air to a whole new level,” says Datto.

2018-04-17T12:00:09+00:00

Michael Hoppen Gallery presents Thomas Mailaender solo show

Known for his offbeat experiments with printing processes, Thomas Mailaender is an artist constantly pushing the limits of the medium. “I don’t think of myself as a photographer,” he says, having worked for 10 years with found imagery. Typically sourcing images from the internet and sifting out the content that captures his attention, Mailaender says he is interested in “reproducing images rather than making them myself.” A selection of his work is to go on show at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in Chelsea, London. Opening April 18, and following on from his inclusion in exhibitions at London’s Saatchi Gallery and Tate Modern, the show is a combination of seen and unseen work, including a selection from the artist’s personal collection of ‘objets trouvés’ in The Fun Archaeology. Described as a ‘compulsive collector of photographs’, Mailaender has amassed his collection over many years. The exhibition will also showcase his series Skin Memories, in which he developed techniques for printing on leather during a residency at LVMH Métiers d’Art. Plus, The Fun Archive is a collection of absurd, …

2018-04-16T09:52:00+00:00

Chloe Dewe Mathews goes In Search of Frankenstein in the Swiss Alps

In 2016, Chloe Dewe Mathews was invited to do an artist’s residency at the Verbier 3-D Foundation in the Val de Bagnes, Switzerland. The chosen theme was the so-called ‘Year Without a Summer’ of 1816, which followed the eruption of Mount Tambora volcano in Indonesia. The eruption, which emitted a vast cloud of ash blocking sunlight across much of the world, caused temperatures to plummet, the dramatic weather changes leading to crop failure, starvation and mass migration. Two centuries later, while researching the area’s history, Dewe Mathews came across the story of a local disaster that happened because of these weather changes. Between 1816 and 1818 the Giétroz Glacier built up to form a great dam of ice, which then burst its banks and tore up the valley below, leaving a trail of destruction all the way to Lake Geneva. She went on to discover that Mary Shelley had also been in the area during that summer-less year, staying on the shores of Lake Geneva with her husband Percy Bysshe and fellow Romantic poets Lord …

2018-04-16T11:06:27+00:00

Q&A: Ronaldo Schemidt, World Press Photo of the Year winner

“Normally people don’t get set on fire during the protests, but there were many barricades on fire and the demonstrators use Molotov bombs,” says Ronaldo Schemidt. “I got the photo when a National Guard motorcycle exploded during a clash between demonstrators and government forces. It was lying on the floor, on fire, surrounded by young people. One of the protestors hit the tank, generating an explosion. Then the guy in the photo caught fire. I was standing a few meters away with my back to him, but when I felt the heat of the flames, I got my camera and turned around to start shooting whatever had just happened. It all took just a few seconds, so I didn’t know what I was shooting. I was moved by instinct, it was very quick. I didn’t stop shooting until I realised what was going on. There was somebody on fire running towards me.”

2018-04-17T11:56:04+00:00

Foam hosts retrospective of Malian photographer Seydou Keïta

When Seydou Keïta (1921-2001) was given a Kodak Brownie Flash by his uncle in 1935, his career path took a new route. Originally an apprentice carpenter for his father, Keïta spent the following years teaching himself the technicalities of photography and eventually opened an outdoor studio in 1948 in Bamako Koura. As word quickly spread, it wasn’t long before Malians began flocking to his studio to have their portrait taken. “My experience taught me the positions that my customers liked best,” Keïta said. “You try to obtain the best pose, the most advantageous profile, because photography is an art, everything should be as close to perfection as possible.” As well as ornate backdrops, Keïta kept an array of props in his studio – from paper flowers to Vespas – and occasionally sitters would bring their own. In the black-and-white images he took during the late 1940s and 1950s, Keïta captures members of Malian society radiating with confidence, dignity and grace, epitomising Mali’s emerging freedom from colonialist rule and portraying them how they wished to be …

2018-04-17T11:56:34+00:00

Clare Strand looks at misinterpretation of information in the digital age

Throughout her career, Clare Strand’s work has been deeply embedded in the act of research. Best known for projects such as The Betterment Room – Devices For Measuring Achievement (2005), Skirts (2011), 10 Least Most Wanted (2011), The Happenstance Generator (2015) and The Entropy Pendulum and OutPut (2015), her interests are often centred around the medium of photography itself, “investigating its origins, uses – and limitations.” For her latest work, The Discrete Channel with Noise, Strand draws on references as diverse as Claude Shannon’s information theory to Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to discuss the nature of communication. It was the book’s Mike Teavee character explaining the process of transmitting a photograph that was one of the starting points for this project, says Strand. In the 1971 film adaptation, Mike says: “You photograph something then the photograph is split up into millions of tiny pieces and they go whizzing through the air, then down to your TV set when they are all put together in the right order.” What Mike fails to predict are the complications and disruptions which can occur …

2018-04-06T17:18:11+00:00

BJP Staff